Sunday, December 29, 2019

Tiny Little Shadowbox Houses

Recently I've been playing with new materials and techniques. I made a slew of little colourful houses and moons with Apoxie Sculpt not too long ago and wondered what to do with my townful of little abodes. 

I enshrined them in Tiny Little Shadowbox Houses and they are cute as buttons!

The exterior of the boxes were covered in dreamy blue-hued scrapbook papers. The inside lined with old music sheets and painted in a black to cyan ombre.

A sprinkling of glitter to create a magical stary night and a wee clay moon popped into place above a group of tiny colourful cottages.

A little bit of gold embossing powder adds nice little finishing touch to the edges.

The Tiny Little Shadowbox Houses come in a four different sizes, each one just the right size to hold in your hand.

While these little shrines aren't perfect, I love that they show off something new. Here's hoping the new year will bring even more new little creative adventures to show off.

Tiny Little Shadowbox Houses
Scrapbook paper
Old papers
Acrylic paint
Gold embossing powder
Apoxie Sculpt (houses, mushrooms and moons)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Shuttered Soul by Betsy Skagen

With holiday crafting put away for the season, I am able to refocus on mixed media art.

I am a classic over-thinker when it comes to art. Okay, truth be told, I might just be a classic over-thinker when it comes to everything--but today we are focusing on art. In creating this piece I pushed myself not to meticulously plan every detail and just go with the flow. 
The driving force behind this piece was Gypsy Soul's Window with Shutters. First I covered the shutters with black ink. Then I applied a coat of embossing ink, added Rocky Road embossing powder and activated with a heat gun. 

Setting that aside, I created my background paper by layer after layer of acrylic paint, spray ink, ink pads, paint pens, washi tape and stamped images to cold press watercolor paper. 

Next I took a collage image from a magazine and layered it behind the window. I then adhered the window shutter to the background paper. 

I then adhered a couple of my favorite rusty found objects to the page. 

To create the frame, I added grit paste to the edge of a piece of chipboard that I cut slightly larger than my background page. After it was dry, I painted it with black acrylic paint and then sealed with a matte polyurethane spray. 

After the frame was dry, I adhered the background page to it and my project was complete. 
That was it! Projects are definitely easier when I don't overthink them! 

My wish for all of you is that you each enjoy a holiday season filled with loved ones, warmth, good food and good feelings. 

Love to all, Betsy

Great Stuff

Distressed black soot ink
Embossing ink
Seth Apter's Rocky Road Baked Texture Embossing Powder
Cold press watercolor paper
Acrylic paint
Washi tape
Black ink
Spray inks
Paint pens
Rubber stamps
Found objects
Beacon Adhesive Fabri-Tac
Grit paste

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Fall and Winter Altered Notebooks - Christmas Gift Ideas - Part Three

Hi friends,

I'm here with my final notebook gifts tutorial to share with you all, this time using a 3D tree chipboard in a different way than intended!

So here we go!  As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to make some custom notebooks for some Christmas gifts and I thought the notebooks would be easy to post and easy to customise to each person.

Here are the notebooks I'm using, which are A5 size, and a popular size with bullet journalists so you will probably know the size I mean.  It's approx 5.5 x 8.x inches. The process is the same so I started by painting the covers with black gesso, to give myself a good, primed base especially as these are clothbound books.

While that was drying, I sorted through my chipboards and selected a few that I might potentially use, keeping in mind the person for whom they were intended.   I had already made this notebook and this notebook and also this notebook. For these final two notebooks I am using fall and winter inspired chipboard elements and sharing this 3D tree chipboard between the two books.

This chipboard has two parts that slot together to make a standing 3D tree, but I decided to cut both parts down the centre and then line up the matching pieces to make a double thickness and glued them together. If you didn't want them as thick as this, you could actually make four tree notebooks, using one half tree on each.  I wanted a little more dimension, so I doubled them up.  You can see the double thickness in the photo below.

For the winter notebook on the left, I also used three snowflakes from the Snowflake Shape set, and some die cut letters using some cereal box cardboard and glued everything down.  Then for the fall notebook, I also used two words from the Fall Words set - FALL and MEMORIES - and glued everything in place.

On the back cover of the notebook, I used an A5 sized wood slice stencil and some paper texture paste to create a dimensional pattern on the Winter notebook...

and the Fall notebook...

Leave the paper texture paste to dry and then paint everything with black gesso.

Now it was time to start painting!

I painted the Fall notebook with this gorgeous golden brown metallic acrylic, then used a Metallic Russet to paint the words.  Here is a look at the back cover which is stencilled with the texture paste and then painted.

The fall cover - complete or not complete?  I can't decide!

I felt like it needed something more in the cover so I die cut these leaf clusters and painted them with a variety of gold and copper metallics.

Then I cut them into smaller leaves and drew some veining on them with a dark brown pen.

I kept two leaf clusters whole and stacked and glued them together.  Then I punched a hole near the top and attached it to the bookmark ribbon which is part of the notebook.

And here is the finished Fall notebook.

Now it was time to focus on the Winter notebook.

For this notebook, I used this great icy blue metallic paint for the cover, and then used silver metallic paint for the snowflakes and a dark teal metallic paint for the text.

I hope you enjoyed this project and that it has given you some gift ideas for reasonably quick and customisable gifts that can be used all year round, but are perfect last minute Christmas gifts that can be tailored to the recipient.

Till next time,

Empire of the Cat

GSL Cuts - Snowflake Shape Set D38A, Fall Word Set D81E, 3D Chipboard Tree 6" C1B,
A5 clothbound notebooks
Black gesso
Finnabair Metallique Paints
Jacquard Lumiere metallic paints
Tim Holtz Handmade font dies
From Stash: cereal box cardboard

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Iconic Imaginings

I’m honored to be posting on this Christmas Day. I was raised in a strict Baptist home and have had a long and winding road to my current beliefs.  This is not meant as a religious post but rather a reverence remembrance of a promise kept, and a longing fulfilled. I’ve always loved the majestic masterpieces manifested during this holiday season. They are inspiration behind this project. Many of the images are copies of those gifted to me from a fellow designer.  
1.  Using all six Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Arch Top House Silhouettes [D10L] Dry Brush a base coat by alternating between Prussian Blue Hue, Quinacridone Nickel Gold Azure, and Vintage Gold Acrylic Paints

 2.  To add further highlight and depth gently dry bush on Cerulean Blue Deep and Fluorescent Blue Acrylic Paints. I also like using a spread and press technique on glossy magazine pages.

 3.  Make Ink Jet Copies of Iconic Artwork of Your Choosing, many of these were shared with me from a fellow designer.
4.  Add patina to the copies by spaying with rubbing alcohol and water curing with a heating tool. This does not work with laser printed copies.


5.  Fussy Cut out Portions of Artwork You Find Most Pleasing.
6.  Adhere Selected Images to Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Arch Top House Silhouettes with a Matte Varnish Medium.
7.  While they are drying Completely Flat by Using Clamps or Some Other Method Prepare the Other GSLC Products Listed.
8.  I Used my WOW Embossing Pad and Embossing Powders in Gold Tones I used Metallic Bronze, Tarnished Bronze, and Gold.
9.  Cure with a Heating Tool Adding Layers Until You are Pleased with Their Patina.
10.                Carefully Select and Cut the Pieces You Would Like to Add to Your Artwork
11.                Glue first to the Front and Dry Completely Flat and Pressed Before Adding Additional Pieces to the Backs
12.                Edge Each Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Arch Top House Silhouettes with Silver Leaf Rub ‘N Buff for Added Interest and Patina

13.                Still Feeling Like They Needed More Depth I Took a Script Stamp and Added Red Embossing Powders to the Pieces

14.                Once Cured with a Heating Tool I Went Back and Touched up the Gold Embellishments Using a Q-Tip and Gold Leaf Rub ‘N Buff
 15.                I Have Left Them as Is as I May be Adding Them to Books or Boxes, but They Could Easily Be Turned into Ornaments by Drilling A Hole at the Top and Adding a Decorative Ribbon.
Some final thoughts. I Hope You Will, Take Time This Holiday Season to Relax and Reflect on the Wonderful Masterpieces You Are. Take a Moment to Wonder.
One of My Favorite Holiday Songs is by Another Amazing Artist, Tori Amos titled “Star of Wonder”

We three kings are coming again
Bearing gifts from the East
From the East

Some say a star will rise again
In the hearts of humankind
Some say we have been in exile
What we need is solar fire

Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
Westward leading, still proceeding
A star
A star of wonder

We bring gold and myrrh for him
From the East, frankincense
From the East

Some say a star will rise again
In the hearts of humankind
Some say we have been in exile
What we need is solar fire

Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
Westward leading, still proceeding
A star

Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty
Westward leading, still proceeding
A star
A star of wonder
Of wonder.
I cannot wait to see your interpretation of this project. Share it on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Craft Group Page on Facebook. I would love to see what new creations you are working on!