Friday, June 27, 2014

Chanel Glass Block Light

I have always admired the ultra chic, elegant and outspoken Coco Chanel. While browsing through Stamp Francisco's on-line catalog, I discovered the Fashion Icon stamp. I couldn't resist ordering the Chanel stamp for use in my projects. After all I have always considered Mademoiselle a sort of mentor to me. It is from her that I learned that "fashion fades but style remains" and pearls (not diamonds) are a girl's best friend.

Now that I have acquired the stamp I wanted to use it in a project. I floated several ideas (a mixed media canvas, cards, journal projects) but none of them were right. Suddenly the idea hit me. I had bought a glass block that I wanted to turn into a light-what about a Chanel light?

First I stamped the image on the block with Staz-On black ink, but the glass was slick and the stamp shifted causing the image to blur. I cleaned the glass block with nail polish remover and then washed and dried it. I decided to stamp the image on transparency film for laser printers. The image came out crisp and clear. I trimmed the film close to the image and ran it through the Xyron machine to make a decal which could be applied to the glass block. I embellished the block and put a strand of 20 mini white lights inside. I was originally going to use the light in another part of the house but I really like having it in my studio, so it's staying. The light was difficult to photograph because of glare from the reflection of the lights. The actual block is beautiful when lit.

Chanel decal.
Detail of the top-bow and roses.
Finished block.
Finished light.

Directions for Chanel Glass Block Light:

Stamp Francisco Fashion Icon rubber stamp- available from Stamp
Strand of 20 mini lights-white- available from Hobby Lobby
Glass Block-available at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn
Dark Rose 1 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon- mine is recycled from a package
Pink self-adhesive pearls and one white pearl
Prima roses-one off white and one pink
Martha Stewart Rose Leaf craft punch
Scrap of dark green card stock- a piece large enough to make three rose leaves
Staz-On Black ink
Transparency film for laser printer-available from Office Depot or Staples
Hot glue gun
Xyron Create a sticker machine
Craft Wire

1.  Wash and dry the glass block to remove any residue.

2.  Ink the Chanel stamp with the black ink. Press the stamp on the transparency film and lift the stamp straight up off the film. Don"t let the stamp shift as you stamp the image or lift the stamp away. Shifting the stamp will distort the image.

3. Trim the film, leaving approximately a 1/4 inch border around the sides and bottom of the image. Trim the Chanel name away from the top of the image.  Run the trimmed image through the Xyron machine (face up) to make a decal. Peel away the paper backing and center the decal on the glass block. and press into place.

4.  Attach a row of pink pearls above the top and below the bottom of the decal.

5. Cut a piece of rose ribbon to fit around the glass block. Glue the end of the ribbon near the opening for the light on the bottom of the block. Wrap the ribbon around the sides and the top of the block and glue the edge of the ribbon under the block near the opening for the light.

6.  Make three ribbon loops, each one slightly smaller than the previous one. Pinch the center of the loops to make a bow and secure with craft wire. Glue a white pearl to the center of the bow (over the wire).  Cut a piece of ribbon to fit over the top of the block and extend over the edges to make a streamer. Glue this to the ribbon and then glue the bow on top of the streamer.

7.  Glue the Prima roses to the top of the block in front of the ribbon.  Punch three leaves out of dark green card stock, using the rose leaf craft punch. Glue the leaves under the roses.

8.  Insert the mini lights in the block and plug the light in.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Making Embellishments With UTEE

Lately I have started to experiment with some of mixed-media products found in the craft stores. I try to set aside some time every two weeks to search for new products. Ranger Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel or UTEE was one of my finds. I purchased the Ranger Melting Pot at Hobby Lobby but couldn't find the UTEE. Michaels carries both the melting pot and UTEE but it was out of stock. Since I really wanted to do a melt art project I decided to make a trip to Photo Scraps. Photo Scraps is located in Eldersburg, Maryland and the owner Tracy stocks a variety of scrap booking and mixed-media supplies. I walked in and turned the corner and found the UTEE, not just the clear embossing powder but other colors (platinum, black and white) as well.

Photo Scraps is an independent store that stocks rubber stamps, Ranger and Tim Holtz products, scrap book supplies including Graphic 45 papers, Memory Box and various mixed-media supplies. One of the things that I really like about Photo Scraps is that Tracy and her staff are happy to special order products- try getting one of the large craft stores to do that. Don't live within driving distance or have time to take a class? No problem, Tracy will ship the supplies to you. Many of the classes offered are available as kits. Check out Photo Scraps at 1213 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD 21784 (Phone: 410-549-5187) but go on a day when you have time to browse.

This project uses a variety of techniques: rubber stamping, distress inks, Cricut die cuts and UTEE.

I started by stamping Lapin Jardinier (available from Stamp Francisco) on white card stock with Archival Coffee Bean ink. Next I colored the image with Derwent Color Soft pencils. Using the Cricut Ornamental Iron cartridge cut the gate of your choice at 3 inches. Cut out the Lapin Jardinier image and run it through the Xyron Create a Sticker machine and remove the paper backing. Attach the Lapin to the gate. Heat UTEE in the Ranger Melting Pot on the UTEE setting until the powder is melted. Do not stir the powder while melting or it will cause air bubbles to form. Using teflon coated craft tweezers pick up the gate and dip in the melted UTEE. Continue to move the image around until the entire piece is coated. Be careful not to touch the image while it is hot to avoid being burned. Place the coated image on a non stick craft mat and let it cool completely. The UTEE will harden as it cools. Any imperfections in the piece can be corrected by remelting the UTEE at the site of the imperfection. To do this use a heat tool on the lowest setting until the UTEE melts.

Once the piece has cooled and hardened, cut a backing of light blue card stock and glue it behind the fence.

To make the background paper use Ranger Concord Grape, Evergreen Bough, Peacock and Vintage Photo distress inks. Apply each color randomly around the paper using the foam blending pad (one for each color) and the Ranger blending tool. Use the Tim Holtz distress tool to distress the edges of the card stock and apply Vintage Photo distress ink to the edges with the blending tool. Use foam dots to adhere the gate to to card stock.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mona Lisa Plaque

Lately I have been experimenting with Ranger's Distress Inks. I decided to use distress ink to make my own paper. I gathered up my ink pads, a stencil, white card stock, some foam blending pads and spray bottle filled with water. After applying two different colors of ink with the blending pads, I laid a stencil over the paper and applied vintage photo distress ink. Then I misted the paper with water and let the droplets dry on the paper to create a mottled effect. Now the paper is ready for use in a project.

I had a picture of the Mona Lisa and Graphic 45 Couture Collection tags laying on my drafting table. The colors in the Mona Lisa painting worked well with the distressed paper. I found a small wood panel to use as the base for the project and grabbed my trusty Mod Podge and a foam brush.

Distressed card stock.
Mona Lisa picture and distressed card stock decoupaged to wooden panel.
Finished plaque.

Directions for Mona Lisa Plaque:

Mod Podge
White card stock
Ranger Distress Inks- Broken China, Vintage Photo, and Peeled Paint
Ranger Foam Blending Pads and Blending Tool
Tim Holtz Harlequin stencil
Graphic 45 Couture Collection Tags- A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous.
Self Adhesive Pearls- medium and small
Small violet silk flower
 Black gesso
Art Minds medium laser shape ( 5x7)- available at Michaels
Small picture hanger

1.  Print a 3x5 image of the Mona Lisa with a laser printer. Image of Mona Lisa courtesy Leonardo Da Vinci- The Complete Works. Plain white paper works better than card stock.

2.  Trim the white paper away from the edges of the picture.

3.  Coat the wooden panel with black gesso and let it dry.

4.  Fold an 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch piece of white card stock in half. Cut the paper on the folded line. Randomly apply Broken China distress ink to the card stock with the ink blending tool. Leave areas of the card stock white. Next using a clean foam pad, apply the Peeled Paint distress ink in the white areas of the card stock. Overlap some of the blue areas and blend in a circular motion. Using a clean foam pad, apply some Vintage Photo distress ink around the edges of the card stock.

5.  Lay the Tim Holtz Harlequin stencil over the distressed card stock. Apply Vintage Photo distress ink over the stencil until the diamond shapes appear. Go over the stencil a second time with the distress ink for a darker diamond image. Remove the stencil and lightly mist the card stock with water. Let the water droplets dry on the paper for a mottled effect.

6.  After the card stock is completely dry, cut it to fit the wood panel. Apply Mod Podge to the panel and glue the card stock to the panel.  Coat the back of the Mona Lisa with Mod Podge and center the image on the panel.  Apply Mod Podge to the wood panel to seal it. When the Mod Podge is dry apply two more coats, letting it dry between coats.

7.  Punch out the Classy and Fabulous tag from the Couture Collection. Brush the back of the tag with Mod Podge and glue to the lower right corner of the wood panel, slightly overlapping the picture. Cover the entire wood panel with Mod Podge and let it dry.

8.  Attach four small pearls to the bottom of the tag and glue the silk flower to the top of the tag.

9.  Attach the medium pearls to the center of the buttons and glue the buttons to the left side of the wood panel (evenly spaced).

10.  Attach a small picture hanger to the back of the wood panel and hang.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Owl's Garden

Owl's Garden is a journal project that was inspired by the book The Secret Garden.  I have been experimenting with Ranger's alcohol inks and distress stains and wanted to use them in my journal before committing them to an actual project.  I really enjoy journaling because it allows me the freedom to experiment without limits.

For this project I used acrylic paint (blue, lavender, periwinkle and lime green), an old novel, Ranger alcohol inks and distress stains, stencils, modeling paste, and Cricut's Ornamental Iron cartridge. Start by covering both pages of the journal with a thin coat of Gesso and let it dry. Paint the pages with lime green acrylic paint and let it dry. Dab blue paint over the green base coat with a craft sponge and let it dry.  Lay a butterfly stencil on the page on the right side of the journal and apply modeling paste with a palette knife. Scrape off the excess modeling paste with the palette knife. There should only be paste in the open areas of the stencil. Repeat this process for a second butterfly. On the page on the left side of the journal, lay a honey comb stencil and apply modeling paste. Once both pages are completely dry dab periwinkle, lavender and blue paint over the stenciled areas and blend with the background. Apply Tarnished Brass distress ink to the butterflies and let them dry.  Paint the butterflies with a light coat of water color (I used pink and green) and let it dry. Apply pink glitter glue to the top butterfly and blue glitter glue to the bottom butterfly. While the glitter glue is drying cut a gate at 5 inches out black card stock (using the Ornamental Iron cartridge). Draw an owl on white paper and cut it out. Don't worry about details because you will be painting over the owl. Paint the owl with brown water color and let it dry. Apply gold glitter glue on the owl's body leaving his chest and face brown. Apply blue glitter glue to the owl's chest. Cut two small circles out of vanilla card stock for the owl's eyes and glue to the owl's face. Attach a small blue crystal to the center of the circle for the eyes. Cut a small beak out of orange card stock and glue to the owl's face.  Add purple feathers to the owl's tail and add pearls. Cut a small perch out of green burlap, add pearl trim and a small bow and then glue the owl on top of the perch.

Glue the iron gate to the center of the left page and then glue the owl in the center of the gate.  Roll a 1/4 inch piece of pink paper around a quilling tool to make small roses (make 11 roses). Cut 22 small leaves, free hand. Glue the roses around the iron gate and then glue two leaves under each rose. Shape a small piece of green floral craft wire around an awl to make a spiral form and glue under the base of the rose.

Randomly tear pages from an old novel. As a book lover I had hard time tearing up a book, even though this book was destined for the trash. Distress the torn pages with tea dye distress stain and then pounce alcohol ink randomly over the torn pages. Glue the distressed pages around the edges of the journal and along the center spine.  Type "The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless." -Jean Jacques Rousseau in Microsoft and print on white paper. Tear the quote out and glue over the iron gate. Add buttons along the edges of the journal pages. Glue small silk violets along the bottom of both journal pages. Using a leaf paper punch, punch 8 leaves out of green print card stock and glue under the edges of the violets.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lapin Jardinier Father's Day Card

My husband likes gardening and has a beautiful vegetable garden. We live in an area that is over run with rabbits. Not the cute little bunnies but big, ugly brown rabbits with voracious appetites. These pests destroy our flowers and vegetables and nothing seems to deter them.

Recently I ordered some stamps from Stamp Francisco and Lapin Jardinier was among them. I couldn't resist the cute bunny carrying his flowers and spade and decided to use the image for a Father's Day card. I am very impressed with the quality of the stamps that I received from Stamp Franciso, the images stamped clearly on the paper each time.

Update: My husband loved the card and couldn't believe that it was a stamped image. He thought I had printed it. He also liked the irony of Lapin Jardinier and the sunflowers. It's not clear if Lapin is planting or stealing the sunflowers. The rabbits at our house have destroyed all but one of my sunflowers.

Directions for Lapin Jardinier:

White, dark teal, olive green and kraft card stock
Lapin Jardiner stamp- available from Stamp Francisco
Aqua and white print ribbon
Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder
Ranger Tim Holtz distress inks- iced spruce and vintage photo
Ranger foam ink blending tool and foam pads
Derwent Color Soft colored pencils
Archival Ink coffee bean
Recollection blue spray ink
Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist- Pearl Mist
Martha Stewart Rose Leaf paper punch
Tan decorative trim- available at Hobby Lobby

1.   Ink the Lapin Jardinier stamp with coffee bean colored ink and stamp the image on to white card stock. After the image is dry, color with colored pencils.

2.  Trim the stamped card stock to approximately 3 7/8 inches high by 3 inches wide.  Apply iced spruce distress ink to the ink blending tool and color the edges of the card stock with the ink using a circular motion. Dip a paint brush in water and paint over the distress ink to lighten it. Pull some of the ink toward the stamped image so that the ink fades into the white card stock. Don't apply too much water or the card stock will start to degrade. Continue to apply ink to the sides and edges of the card stock to darken them.

3.  Mist the stamped image with Tattered Angel's Glimmer Mist (Pearl Mist) and set aside to dry.

4.  Cut a piece of dark teal card stock approximately 1/4 inch larger (on all sides) than the white card stock with the stamped image. Spray the teal card stock with the Recollections blue spray ink and let it dry.

5.  Cut a piece of kraft card stock 5 1/4 inches high by 4 1/4 inches wide and emboss using the Swiss Dots embossing folder. Use the ink blending tool and clean foam pad to apply the vintage photo distress ink to the embossed card stock.

6.  Glue the Lapin image to the teal card stock and then glue this to the embossed kraft card stock. Cut two small pieces of aqua and white print ribbon to wrap around the corners of the kraft card stock, glue in place and attach a bow to the ribbon in the upper left corner.

7.  Print Happy Father's Day with Microsoft Word and trim around the greeting. Glue the greeting to a piece of teal card stock to frame it and then glue this to the top of the card, centering it over the bunny image.

8.  Place three small sunflowers evenly spaced across the bottom of the card. Using the Martha Stewart Rose Leaf paper punch, punch 6 leaves out of olive green card stock. Glue the leaves under the flowers.

9  Cut the decorative trim the length of the card and glue along the right edge of the card.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fine Art Cross Stitch

Lions and Oiseau is almost finished.  I was searching for another project and came across sites that feature fine art cross stitch patterns.  Cross Stitch Collectibles has reproduced the works of several artists into cross stitch patterns. I was mesmerized by the Mona Lisa pattern and ordered the PDF. Being the ambitious person that I am I didn't just stop with the Mona Lisa. I also found Van Gogh's Starry Night Over the Rhone on the Scarlet Quince site. 

The patterns from both companies are clear and easy to read. Scarlet Quince also gives the option of ordering the pattern in a large print version. Scarlet Quince binds their patterns in booklet form. While the patterns are easy to read, the frequent color changes and blended colors do require some cross stitch experience. Both patterns use full stitches only-no quarter stitches or back stitching. Since I dislike these things this was a selling point for me.

I am stitching the Mona Lisa on 18 count Zweigart Antique White Aida. Brittany suggested that I stitch the Mona Lisa in half cross stitch with 3 strands of thread over 18 count fabric. The stitches are similar to the tent stitch in needlepoint. At first I wasn't sure that I would like the results but the stitching is going a lot faster and the result resembles needlepoint.

DMC floss colors for Mona Lisa.

After 3 weeks of stitching page one is almost completed.

Cross Stitch Collectibles included Pattern Instructions along with the pattern. The instructions give the stitching sequence for the 16 pages.  The pattern is gridded in 10 x 10 blocks, which is how they suggest stitching the design. Stitching the 10 x 10 blocks is easier if you grid the fabric first.  To do this I measured a 3 inch top and side border and marked the placement of my first stitch (in the upper left corner of the fabric). Next I counted over ten squares and drew a faint line with a blue water soluble cross stitch fabric marker (available at Jo-Ann). I continued to draw the grid lines until I reached the end of the top row of the design (page 4). This is the first time that I have tried gridding my fabric and it does make a difference. It is much easier to see where each 10 x 10 block begins and ends, reducing stitching errors.

Cross stitch supplies are very limited in my area. Michaels and Jo-Ann were the only stores that carry fabric and needles. The pre-packaged  fabric was not large enough and was poor quality and the only needles available were DMC. The DMC needles that I used in the past do not hold up very well to a lot of stitching and tend to break at the eye.  I found a large selection of supplies at 1-2-3 Stitch. They had several types of linen, aida and even weave fabric in a variety of counts and sizes. They also carry a variety of needles. I ended up ordering Bohnin needles from France. I love the quality of these needles. They are a little pointier than the traditional needle so they can split the fabric threads if you are not careful, but they are smooth, easy to thread and a joy to stitch with. I would definitely order from 1-2-3 Stitch again. My order arrived promptly (within in 2 days of placing the order) and was packed in plastic and shipped in a padded mailer.