Friday, November 29, 2019

Miniature Victorian Christmas Mantle

FA LA LA LA LA!!!! Are you filled with holiday spirit yet? Pretty sure I'm driving people nuts with my gung-ho yule-tiding and my out of tune carol warbling.

When I was deciding on what sort of project to create for this month I saw the 
"Narrow Victorian Fireplace" in my stash and knew I wanted to create a cozy Christmas mantle.

It's a pretty little thing. Just a few little additions, extra wee touches, make a big difference here.

Some simple strips of cardboard are added as decorative elements. I've also trimmed the outer arch from the "Wrought Iron Window Grate" as it perfectly reflects the curve of the opening of the fireplace. Finally, a flourish from this Silicone Mold is added as a focal element. But don't feel limited by these suggestions! You could use any elements you like and by painting everything with a heavy coat of white paint it will all come together.

Inside the fireplace I've used 1/2 Inch Tiles on the floor, and Red Brick Wall Scrapbook Paper to line the interior. 

Note: There IS a small notch in the back of the fireplace so that you can easily add lighting. I'm not quite ready to add lighting yet so I've papered over that hole. When I install this inside a dollhouse I'll cut out the notch so that I can have a glowing hearth.

Because I've been a bit holiday crazy, I've decorated this mantle with all sorts of seasonal bits. Miniature jingle bells, ribbon and garland. Fairy sized Christmas cards dot the mantle. There's a plate of tiny cookies and a glass of milk too.

See that little iron grate? It's the gate from this Mini Fence and Gate painted matte black and curved slightly to fit the opening perfectly.

Want to create your own? Great! I have a walkthough to show you how I put the fireplace together.  You can find the video HERE.

And here are all the bits you'll need to create this project:
Narrow Victorian Fireplace
Wrought Iron Window Grate C23X
1/2 Inch Tiles
Red Brick Wall Scrapbook Paper
focal element such as these Architectural Flourishes
acrylic paint

The decorative elements I used include:
Fairy sized Christmas cards
Green Leaf Garland

wrapped chocolates
1" sisal tree
miniature jingle bells, gift boxes, stocking, candycanes, cookies and milk

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Altered Notebooks - Christmas Gift Ideas - Part One

Hi crafty friends,

It's Elle here from Empire of the Cat and I am in full-on Christmas making mode this week - Christmas cards, Christmas projects etc and so I have some Christmas gift ideas to share with you and this is only part one!  I actually went into my art room with something totally different planned (Christmas cards) and somehow managed to produce these notebooks instead!

So here we go!  I decided to make some custom notebooks for a Secret Santa exchange that I'm part of and I thought the notebooks were a great idea and easy to post, but a plain black notebook isn't so exciting on its own, unless it's customised of course!

I have quite a few of these ruled notebooks as I also use them for bullet journalling, so I grabbed a couple of them off the shelf and started by painting the covers with black gesso, to give myself a good, primed base.

While that was drying, I sorted through my GSL chipboards and selected a few that I might potentially use, keeping in mind the person for whom they were intended.  I was actually talking to my friend last week about how much she loves fairies, so these Garden Fairies were the perfect choice for her, plus she mentioned a recently purchased mushroom stamp so I thought she might also love this Mushroom Shape set, so I put them both together, with the little seated fairy on top!

 All that was missing was some words to add to the cover, so I pulled out my Tim Holtz alphabet dies and die cut MAKE A WISH using some old cereal box cardboard.  I cut each letter twice and stacked and glued them on top of each other to give them some strength and dimension.

 For the second notebook, I chose this cool GSL Pen and Ink Set for my writing buddy, using both of the quill pens from the set, and die cutting some letters to say TELL YOUR OWN STORY.  I glued it all down and left it to dry.

(I actually ended up making a couple of extra notebooks so I decided to split this into multiple posts, so I have almost hidden the third notebook in the above photo and that will be covered in part 2.) 

So once everything was dry, I painted over all the chipboard pieces and cardboard letters with black gesso.

Then it was time for my favourite part of the process - the painting!  I chose different colours for each of the notebooks and I tried to tailor each one to colours that the recipient liked.  I used a combination of liquid acrylic paints and metallic acrylic paints - pinks and purples for the fairy/mushroom cover and black, brown and golden colours for the quill pen cover.

Then after all the paint was dried I went over everything with Metallique waxes to add highlights and additional colours to each cover.  I use my fingers for this job as they are easier to clean than brushes, though you can use old paintbrushes for this job, or stippling brushes also work quite well.

 Again I worked very organically on this project, adding elements on the fly and then painting them, thinking up words to put on the covers, then die cutting them etc.  If you want a less organic approach, sketch out a plan for your notebook covers, assemble all your elements in advance, and then glue them down and gesso them all at the same time.  But as I started off with the intention of making Christmas cards, I did not have a plan in place for notebooks but was still able to make it work!

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 now for Christmas gifts that can be tailored to the recipient.

Till next time,

Elle xx


GSL Cuts:
Garden Fairies Medium YB4,
Mushroom Shapes D102B,
Pen and Ink Set D72D

Other supplies:
A5 clothbound notebooks
Black gesso
Finnabair Metallique Paints, Liquid Acrylics, Wax
From Stash: cereal box cardboard 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Take Time to Soak it In

We are in the month of Thanksgiving we are reminded and encouraged to be grateful for all our many blessings. To wake up each morning and to be given the opportunity to do what we love, if but for a moment, should not go unnoticed. I am so thankful for my art and it has brought me through many a dark night. I also love how a good movie can give us escape from the burdens of our everyday lives. This is the inspiration for my current blog post, "Take Time to Soak It In."

1.  Cut apart GSLC Alarm Clock Frame Ups
2.  Use WOW Embossing Pad to add Emerald Creek Allure Oil Rubbed Bronze, Hammered Metal, Charred Gold Embossing Powders to the GSLC Alarm Clocks.
3.  Cure with Heating Tool.
4.  Add patina with various Rub’n Buff and a paintbrush.
5.  Choose and print images and transparencies for your GSCL Alarm Clocks.
6.  Adhere Transparency to image with double sided tape.
7.  Cut out pictures and glue to inside of GSLC Alarm Clocks.
8.  Glue Front portion of GSLC Alarm Clock into place.
9.  Use clamps to hold securely in place.
10.                Once dry fill in frame with DecoArt One Step Crackle gel.
11.                When fully dry use DecoArt Antiquing cream and a paintbrush to fill in the cracks.
12.                Take off excess Antiquing Cream with a damp cloth.
13.                Spray with hairspray or a matte spray to seal your art pieces.
14.                Your GSLC Alarm Clocks are now ready to use as you wish.
Some final thoughts.
From Harry Potter “You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” I was born to a humble home and have found my way in a world that is most different than I was born, but I like to say, “You can take the boy out of the country, but not the county out of the boy.”
From Alice in Wonderland, “There is no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then…” So many people let their past define them but the only day we are promised is the one we have been given, I like to say, “Live and let Live”
From the Wizard of Oz, “Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.” I’ve always had an optimistic personality and have been thankful to see so many of my dreams come true. I never want to loose hope in better days and the fact that all sorrows will one day pass.

Supplies:  Soul Laser Cuts-Alarm Clock Frame Ups [D72C], Emerald Creek Allure Oil Rubbed Bronze, Hammered Metal, Charred Gold Embossing Powders, WOW Embossing Pad, Heating Tool, Rub’n Buff, Paintbrush, Printed Images, Printed Transparencies, Double Sided Tape, Weldbond, Clamps, DecoArt One Step Crackle Gel, DecoArt Antiquing Cream
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!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Meet Minty the Snowman by Betsy Skagen

Meet Minty the Snowman. Some say his attitude is a little fresh, but I maintain that is just the splenderifious combination of peppermint and newly fallen snow.

To make Minty, begin by covering a Styrofoam ball with Paper Clay. Poke a small hole with a tooth pick. Let dry overnight. If not completely dry, you can help it along by heating it in the oven for a few minutes at a very low temperature.

Paint the clay ball with white acrylic paint and dab on some light pink cheeks. Let dry. Paint the entire ball with matte medium and then cover with fine clear glitter. Paint a toothpick orange and secure the tip of it tip of it in the hole with some glue.

Fill the interior of the jar with red and white straws that you cut to size.
Cut apart the chipboard snowflakes, paint white and dry.
Cover both sides with matte medium and glitter.
Use permanent glue to adhere the snowman head to a glass bottle. While it cures, thread small white beads through the top of a salt shaker and secure it place with a permanent glue. Add the snowflakes to the back of the saltshaker hat.

Use more permanent glue to adhere the salt shaker top to the top of the snowman head.
Wrap a pipe cleaner around the neck to create arms and cover the rest of the neck with some festive ribbon.

Add a tiny jar filled with tiny Perler Bead miniature candies (there are many tutorials you can find online). Add labels, such as the adorable labels made by team member Nichola Battilana and your snowman is complete.

Have a wonderful, frosty fresh weekend! -Betsy

Great Stuff

Let it Snow chipboard
Merry Little Christmas Labels
Glass Jars
Paper Clay
Styrofoam ball
Craft glue
Matte medium
Fine clear glitter
Saltshaker top
Acrylic paint
Paper straws
White beads
Miniature peppermint candy made from Perler Beads

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Bee obsession . . .

No matter the season,
I can't get enough of bee and butterfly images.
I found this butterfly image
combined it with several chippies
Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts

I began with this 
Bees + crowns
what's not to like!

I used black embossing powder on the bee
gold chunky embossing powder on the crown.

Using a piece of the honeycomb,
that was also embossed
bronze embossing powder.

Next was the frame for the butterfly image.
It was a small image 
so I used one of the square frames from the

Keeping the color theme going,
I first painted the frame in
black acrylic.
Once the paint was dry,
I inked up a detail background stamp
and stamped on top of the frame
then used bronze embossing powder
over that and embossed.

Layering, flowers and a small ribbon
followed to complete the card.

Hope you enjoyed this little foray
into my world of bees & butterflies.

You can see more bees here:

And just in case you're more of a 
butterfly afficionado
you can find those here:

See you in a couple of weeks 
and thanks for visiting.