Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nevermore Raven Collage

While I was working on the C'est la vie canvas, Brittany approached me and asked if I would make a "cool canvas" for her.  She's a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe's literature, especially the Raven, so we decided that should be the theme.  It was difficult to come up with a design idea and get started.  Poe's Raven is very popular and has been worked into art projects so many times that it was hard to find an idea that hadn't been done before. As the blank canvas layed on my drafting table for a couple of days, I kept thinking of the quote by Vincent Van Gogh, " Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything."  I put a thick coat of black gesso over the entire canvas and the ideas started to flow from there.  Next the canvas received a heavy coat of purple acrylic paint, and swirled lines made with a texture tool.  I had the new Dylusions paints sitting on the work table and the concord grape just seemed to be calling out try me.  I diluted the paint with some water and painted over the textured ridges in the paint.  After it dried the Dylusions paint added a cool two-tone effect.  Dali's paintings- The Pesistance of Memory (the watches) and Argus (the eyes) were the secondary elements of the canvas and everything just progressed from there.

The canvas is almost finished-just a few finishing touches and it will be ready to hang.

Oh and Brittany if you are reading this post, I hope you remember all of the original art work that I created for you, on Mother's Day!

Canvas in progress.

Finished canvas- the brown on the bird is the light reflecting off the UTEE.

Directions For Nevermore Raven Collage:

Canvas  8x10
Liquitex Black Gesso
Foam Brush
Assorted Buttons
Ivory, olive green and black Cardstock
Raven Poem
Ranger Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel-(UTEE) clear
Heat Gun
Tim Holtz Clock Stencil
Golden Modeling Paste
DecoArt Dazzling Metallics Venetian Gold paint
Dylusions Concord Grape paint
Palette Knife
Small Ceramic Tile
Tim Holtz Ideology Clocks and Gears
Decorative Trim
Martha Stewart Leaf Paper Punch
Liquitex  purple, black and medium grey acrylic paint
Small Roses- Black and Purple
Raven SVG Cutting File-mine is from the Silhouette On Line Store
Art Minds Gold Flakes
Small Metal Brad
The Robin's Nest Dew Drops-Water (blue, purple and green)
Tim Holtz Distress Inks-Vintage Photo and Tea Dye
Small Bowl of room temperature coffee-for aging the poem
Princeton Catalyst Wedge W-02
Tom Bow Aqua Glue
Small paintbrush
Ranger  Distress Ink- Gathering Twigs

1.  Coat the canvas with two coats of black gesso and let it dry completely.

2.  Use a foam brush to apply a thick coat of purple acrylic paint to the top of the canvas. Run the Catalyst wedge to create wavy lines in the paint.  Let the paint dry.  Mix Dylusions Concord Purple paint with a little water to make it fluid. Spread the Dylusions over the top of the ridges in the purple paint. Let it dry.  Paint the sides of the canvas with black acrylic paint and set aside to dry.

3.  Mix modeling paste with the Venetian Gold paint.  Lay the clock stencil in the center of the canvas and cover with the gold modeling paste mixture, scraping off the excess with a palette knife. Set aside to dry.  Once the piece is completely dry, brush (with a paint brush) a small area of the gold clock design with Tom Bow Aqua Glue and carefully lay the gold flakes over the glue. Press the gold down onto the canvas. The flakes should appear textured and not smooth.  Apply the gold flakes to the stenciled area, letting some of the modeling paste show through.

4.  Cut a Raven, using the measurements given in the SVG cutting file (mine is from the Silhoette Store), out of black card stock.  Cut a branch long enough for the Raven to sit on out of black card stock. I drew the branch and hand cut it but you can use an SVG cutting file or commercial die cut.  Apply a Versa Mark ink to the front of the Raven.  Cover the entire bird.  Cover the bird with UTEE and shake off the excess.  Place the bird on a ceramic tile and use a heat gun to carefully melt the UTEE.  Let the UTEE dry and cool down before moving the bird.

5.  Print a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's Raven on white paper using a laser printer.  Tear the poem to fit on the right and left sides of the canvas.  Pour leftover cold coffee into a small bowl and soak the poem pieces for a few seconds, remove and blot on a paper towel. Keep soaking the poem and blotting it until the paper looks aged.  Let the paper dry on the paper towels.  After the poem is dry, apply the vintage photo distress ink randomly to the paper.  Adhere the poem pieces to the left and right sides of the canvas, using Liquitex Matte Gel, smooth out any air bubbles with your fingertips.

6.  Cut 3 pieces of ribbon ( approximately 3 inches and 2 1/2 inches) and tie them together with a knot. Tie a knot at the end of each piece of ribbon. Glue the ribbon just under the edge of the clock face. Glue the Ideology clock face to the upper right corner of the canvas. Glue an Ideology gear to the center of the clock and then glue a small brad over the gear.  Glue a small purple Dew Drop to the center of the brad.

7.  Cut a piece of decorative trim 1/2 inch longer than the length of the canvas.  Glue the trim 1/4 inch above the bottom edge of the canvas, so there is a purple border at the bottom.  If the buttons have a shank you will need to remove it so the button will lie flat against the trim.  Glue 3 decorative buttons, evenly spaced, on the trim. Seal the edges of the trim with the Tom Bow glue.

8.  Glue a black rose to the lower right corner of the canvas just above the trim.  Punch 3 leaves out of olive card stock using the leaf paper punch. Glue the leaves under the edge of the rose. Glue a small gear to the left of the rose and glue a Dew Drop in the center

9.  Glue a small purple rose on the poem just to the right of the Raven title.  Hand cut 2 small leaves from the olive card stock and glue under the edges of the rose.

10.  Glue 3 black buttons across the top center of the canvas. Glue  smaller purple buttons in the center of each black button and glue a green Dew Drop in the center of each purple button.  Randomly glue the Dew Drops along the top of the canvas, leaving room for a title.

11.  Glue the branch approximately 1 1/2 inches above the trim on the left side of the canvas.  Place the Raven on the branch and glue to secure him.  Glue a small purple rose with the stem in the Raven's beak on the canvas. Glue a small dark purple crystal over the Raven's eye. Dot the center of the eye with black paint.

12.  Paint the branch black, apply the paint thickly to give a textured appearance.  While the paint is still wet dab medium grey paint randomly along the branch.  Mix a little bit of black into the grey paint and dab randomly over the (wet) grey paint leaving some lighter grey showing along the branch.

13.  Put a few drops of distress ink on a craft mat.  Use the wooden end of a small paint brush to pick up the ink and randomly dab the ink over the surface of the poem.

14.  Print Nevermore on card stock.  Cut the title out, distress the card stock with tea dye distress ink.  Tear the ends of the card stock, leaving enough room to roll the ends.  Use an awl to roll the ends of the card stock inward toward Nevermore.  Glue Nevermore about an 1 1/2 inches under the row of buttons at the top of the canvas.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bunny Garland

As I started to decorate for Easter, I wanted to do something different this year.  Something that would compliment the bunnies that we set out every year.  I came across this cute Bunny and Carrot Swag from Snapdragon Snippets.  I envisioned the bunnies draped from the banister in the foyer (similar to the Bat Garland).

I cut the bunnies and carrots to the dimensions given in the SVG cut file. Next I inked the edges of the bunny with Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Distress Ink. After assembling the bunnies, I used colored pencils to highlight the inside of the ears and add a pink blush to the bunny's cheeks.  To give the bunny's face more dimension, I glued wiggly eyes over the black eyes.  After all of the bunnies and carrots are assembled; wire them together, using the holes in the paws and the holes in the wreath, then thread purple ribbon into the hole of the bunny's paw (end bunnies only).  Now the bunny garland is ready to hang.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rose Bud Flower Pot

I'm really enjoying all of the capability of my Silhouette Cameo and with the Silhouette Design Store carrying a large selection of cut files finding the right image for a project is so easy.  Jamie Lane is one of the designers' that I found while browsing through the Design Store. She creates the most beautiful 3D flowers.  I loved her Rose Bud Flower Pot and could envision so many uses for it.

Jamie Lane has a tutorial for the assembly of the flower pot on her Bits of Paper blog.  For those of you who own other cutting machines, she has a shop for SVG cutting files on her blog.  I'm currently working on the flower pot to send to a relative instead of an Easter card.  When cutting the flower pot I didn't realize that the top edge would fold over the outside of the pot. Had I realized this I would have chosen a card stock with the same color on both sides.

One rose done, 5 more to go!

Finished Flower Pot.  Bunny image from Sarah Bailey.

 Here's the work in progress.  All of the pieces have been cut out and the edges have been rolled using a wooden skewer. One yellow rose has been assembled (5 more to go).  The project is easy but the assembly of the flowers does take some time, mostly holding the pieces together until the glue sets.

Craft Tip: Lightly mist the card stock pieces with water and blot the excess water on a paper towel.  This makes shaping the pieces much easier and the card stock retains it's original stiffness once it dries.  Misting also made it much easier to glue the pieces together.  The Bunny Easter tag was made by folding a pieces of ivory card stock, cutting the top edge and gluing a strip of light purple paper along the cut edge.  The Bunny is the middle bunny from Sarah Bailey's Bunny Trio (Silhouette Design Store).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chat Noir Chalkboard Sign

It's no secret that I love Chat Noir!  There's just something about him, maybe it's his mysterious air and those deep yellow eyes.  Who knows? In any case he works well in a lot of different art projects.

Recently, while I was out buying canvas for up coming projects I came across this interesting chalkboard sign.  My first inclination was to pass on it because I don't find chalkboard signs that inspiring.  The carving on this sign was beautiful and the subtle grey color just seemed to give the piece depth and character so I decided to buy it although I had no idea how I would use it.

Since the carving on the sign reminded me of architectural carvings from 18th century France, the piece should have a French theme. All of the embellishments used to create the sign are things that remind me of France- Chat Noir, lavender colored flowers, and of course the Eiffel Tower.

Finished Chalkboard Sign
Close up of Eiffel Tower

Directions for Chat Noir Chalkboard Sign:

SVG Cuts Maple Manor cutting file-Chat Noir image
Recollections Paper Flowers and Purple Rose
Martha Stewart Leaf Paper Punch
EK Success Fleur de Lys Paper Punch
Olive green and black card stock
Recollections Sophia 8x8 inch card stock pad- light purple and grey
Paris SVG cutting file- Silhouette Store
Recollections small self adhesive pearls
Recollections Butterfly-purple
Recollections spray ink- light purple
Miss Kate's Cuttables Flower print and cut file
Tim Holtz Distress Ink Vintage Photo
Recollections Chalkboard Sign
Cricut French Manor Cartridge-Eiffel Tower
Swiss Dots embossing folder
Foam Dots

1.  Resize Chat Noir to 4 inches in height for the cat and slightly larger for the outline and whiskers. Cut both the cat and the outline out of black card stock using the Maple Manor SVG file.  Glue a scrap of yellow card stock behind the cat's eyes and use a black marker to make the pupils. Glue the outline to the cat.

2.  Cut the Paris title to measure 4 1/2 inches in length out of light purple card stock. Distress the card stock with the distress ink.

3.  Cut the Eiffel Tower 5 inches high, using the French Manor cartridge.  Emboss the tower with the Swiss Dots embossing folder. Distress the tower with distress ink. Cut the flourish across the tower out of light purple card stock and use the distress ink around the edges.

4.  Print and cut a small flower using the dimensions given for the flower cutting file. Distress the cut flower with distress ink.

5.  Spray the paper flowers with purple ink to give them more depth of color.

6.  Punch a fleur de lys out of the grey card stock and distress with distress ink.  Punch 7 leaves with the leaf paper punch, using the olive card stock.

7.  Attach the Paris title to the chalkboard using foam dots. Apply a small pearl to the top of the tower in the "A" and to the fleur de lys dotting the "I".

8.  Glue the flowers around the left upper corner of the chalkboard sign,  Place 2 paper flowers in the center and 3 roses on the ends (2 on the left end and one on the right). Glue (the 4) leaves under the edges of the flowers. 

9.  Glue the butterfly to the upper right corner of the sign.

10.  Use foam dots to attach the Eiffel Tower to the lower right side of the sign. Glue the flourish over the center of the tower.  Place Chat Noir in the middle of the tower so that his tail hangs just below the base of the right leg of the tower.  Glue the print and cut flower behind the cat. Glue the fleur de lys at the base of the lower on the lower left side.  Glue a purple rose just above the fleur de lys and glue the leaves under the edges of the rose.

11.  Attach small pearls to the fleur de lys and the ends of the flourish.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Owl Thank You Box Card

We're just back from sunny and warm Marco Island.  It was so nice to be outdoors again.  I took lots of pictures.  I always enjoy watching the Pelicans and can't resist taking lots of pictures of them.  Here is a photo of my favorite Pelican. He stood on the pier for quite awhile watching the fishermen clean the fish and hoping for any left over scraps.  He was the only Pelican with beautiful turquoise eyes. He was so adorable that I pleaded with the fishermen to throw some of their fish scraps directly to him.  I wanted to do something nice for him since he allowed me to get close enough to get some great photos.

Large Aloe plant growing along the walkway.

 While I was on Marco Island, I attended the Shell Show.  The Shell Show had some amazing art work and craft items all created using shells.  I stopped to talk to an artist who had carved a cameo in a large shell, using her own antique cameo necklace as the inspiration.  After viewing the exhibits I walked through the shop with handcrafted items made using shells.  I spotted a unique shell sculpture.  I picked up the sculpture and chatted with the artist and decided that this piece would be a really useful addition to my studio to hold all of the small items that usually end up rolling around my drafting table while I'm working on a project.  As I walked away, I noticed a group of ladies crowded around a large table full of baskets of shells.  The ladies' took a small zip-top bag marked $3 and proceeded to fill the bags with shells from the baskets. The shells were beautiful and I was able to fill a bag with about 100 small to medium size shells.  Picking through baskets of shells is a lot easier than hunting them on the beach ( which I also did ).

Shell Sculpture

Sample of the shells purchased at the shell show.

I'm really enjoying all of the capability of my Silhouette Cameo.  I found a Lori Whitlock A2 Box Card in the Silhouette on-line store.  The SVG files for the Owl Thank You Box Card can also be purchased directly from Lori Whitlock.  This card is cute and different.  I cut a second owl tab and added some tulips to the front of the box.

Owl Box Card
Side view of Owl Box Card.

Directions for Owl Box Card:

Turquoise and purple print card stock
Light purple, aqua, dark purple, green and ivory card stock
Small flowers
Wiggly eyes
Lori Whitlock A2 Owl Box Card SVG file

 Cut the card according to template directions.  Cut three squares and a long rectangle out of the purple print card stock.  Cut the box out of ivory card stock.  Cut three rectangles out of turquoise card stock.  Cut the Thank You sign out of aqua card stock and the owls out of light purple and their tummies out of dark purple. Cut three owls (duplicate the owl on the long tab).  Cut the leaves out of green card stock.  Assemble the box according to directions.  Glue one owl in the front of the box and glue two small flowers behind him.  The flowers were some that I had punched using the Martha Stewart Tulip paper punch and scraps of left over card stock.

Friday, March 6, 2015

C'est La Vie! Mixed Media Canvas

There's just something about Chat Noir, everyone seems to love him.  He is the original "cool cat".  Mefiant! He has a mysterious air about him.  When I saw that Chat Noir was available as part of SVG Cuts' Maple Manor cutting files, I could not resist adding him to my collection.  Although he is part of a Halloween themed set, I could foresee dozens of uses in craft projects for him. For a long time I had wanted to do a small mixed media canvas to replace a mass market department store plaque that now hangs in our foyer. Chat Noir would be perfect. The canvas would be centered around the cat and build from there.  The background should have texture, so I mixed molding paste with light blue acrylic paint. I added a lot of distress ink to give the elements in the piece an aged appearance.    I found some free domain music by Mozart and printed it on parchment paper, tore off pieces and distressed them before gluing them to the canvas.

 I'm still working on the piece but I wanted to share what I have so far. I used an unfinished Chat Noir to mask off the portion of the canvas where the cat will eventually reside.  The actual cat will be slightly smaller and have his whiskers added.

C'est La Vie mixed media canvas. Work in progress.

Here's the finished canvas.  I coated the piece in Mod Podge, except the butterfly and the metal accents.  When the Mod Podge had dried, I painted the cat and the Eiffel Tower with black acrylic paint to give the pieces added dimension.

Finished Canvas

Directions for C'est La Vie Canvas:

Canvas-5x7 inch, primed with gesso
SVG Cuts Maple Manor cutting file-Chat Noir image
Cricut French Manor cartridge-Eiffel Tower and oval tag
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Inks- Tea Dye and Vintage Photo
Recollections Butterfly-light blue
Self adhesive pearls
Martha Stewart Fleur de Lys and Leaf paper punches
Turquoise hand made paper-available by single sheet at Michaels
Piece of metal ribbon- large enough for the cat to sit on. Available at Hobby Lobby
Liquitex light blue and black acrylic paint
Golden Molding Paste
Palette knife- for mixing the paint and molding paste and spreading it on the canvas.
Princeton Catalyst Wedge W-02- for adding texture to the paint mixture
Assorted paper flowers
Sheet Music
French Script Stamp
Tim Holtz Ideology Clock Faces and Gears
Spare Parts Round Antique Brads
Mod Podge
Krylon UV Sealant spray
Small paint brush
Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist-Silver
Black, yellow, dark grey, peach, olive green and light grey card stock
Small Ceramic tile

1.  Mix the paint and the molding paste together with a palette, on a small ceramic tile.  Spread the mixture evenly over a 5x7 pre-primed canvas.

2.  Use the Catalyst Wedge to make waves over the surface of the canvas. Turn the canvas to the right and make waves in the opposite direction.  Let the paint dry thoroughly. Then apply the Tea Dye distress ink lightly over the surface of the canvas. Just enough ink to slightly age the canvas.

3.  Ink the French Script stamp with the Vintage Photo distress ink and place on the canvas starting at the top and working toward the bottom of the canvas. Re-ink the stamp before stamping the next area.  Press the canvas down on top of the stamp to make sure that the ink adheres to the surface. Let the ink dry before proceeding to the next step.

4.  Cut the Eiffel tower at 6 inches, using the dark grey card stock, with the French Manor cartridge. Cut the flourish out of peach card stock and cut Tag 1 out of the light grey card stock.  Apply Vintage Photo distress ink to the edges of the tag and the flourish.

5.  Tear pieces off the the sheet music and distress them with Vintage Photo distress ink.  Brush Mod Podge over the back of the torn sheet music pieces and apply to the right side of the canvas.  Apply Mod Podge to the back of the Eiffel Tower and adhere over the sheet music. Attach the flourish to the tower using Mod Podge.  Attach a small pearl to each end of the flourish. Paint the Eiffel Tower with black acrylic paint and let it dry.  Spray silver Perfect Pearls mist on a silicone craft mat. Dip a paint brush in the Perfect Pearls and dab randomly over the Eiffel Tower to create a mottled effect. Let it dry.

6.  Write C'est la vie! by hand on the tag, distress the edges of the tag with distress ink and attach a small brad in the top of the tag.  Place a foam dot on the back of the tag a attach to the center of the Eiffel Tower.

7.  Glue a pale yellow paper flower over the flourish (on the Eiffel Tower).  Punch two leaves with the paper punch out of olive green card stock and glue under the edges of the flower.  Punch two Fleur de Lys out of the turquoise hand made paper using the paper punch.  Distress the edges of the Fleur de Lys and attach three small pearls to the ends and one in the center.

8.  Glue a small brad to the center of the Tim Holtz Ideaology Clock Face. Glue a small pearl to the center of the brad.  Glue the clock face to the upper right edge of the canvas, over the sheet music.  Attach a foam dot to the back of the butterfly and glue to the bottom edge of the clock face.

9.  Glue one large rose and two small ones to the upper left edge of the canvas. Punch leaves out of olive green card stock and glue under the edges of the flowers.

10.  Glue the piece of metal ribbon to the lower left edge of the canvas. Glue a medium size gear on the right side of the ribbon and glue a metal brad in the center of the gear and glue a small pearl in the center of the brad.

11.  Cut Chat Noir at approximately 7 inches in height, using SVG Cuts Maple Manor cut files.  Cut the cat and the cat's base with the whiskers out of black card stock. Glue Chat Noir on the left edge of the canvas, sitting on top of the metal ribbon.  The cat's tail should extend below the lower edge of the canvas and rest on the lower edge of the metal ribbon.  Carefully paint the cat with black acrylic paint, let the paint dry and apply another coat of paint.

12.  Let the entire canvas dry overnight and then spray with Krylon UV Sealant.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Historical Cross Stitch Kits

One of the nice things about visiting Colonial Williamsburg is getting to see all of the handcrafted items used in the 18th century.  Needlework skills were highly valued and girls were taught to stitch simple samplers.  As the stitcher became more accomplished her sampler's became more detailed and elaborate.  It's sad that we no longer value needlework as an accomplished skill.

While browsing the gift shop in the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor's Center, I found some cross stitch kits.  The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation offered a small Governor's Palace kit (including pattern, floss and fabric) for $10, with all of the proceeds from the sale benefiting the Foundation.  I think it's always nice when one can purchase an item that benefits a foundation devoted to the preservation of our history.

The pattern is easy to stitch, the colors were easy to sort and the floss and the fabric were good quality.  Someone new to cross stitch should have no trouble stitching this design.

This is the progress after a couple of hours of stitching.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bunny Boxes

Looking out my window all I can see is snow.  It's March, time for Spring!  Keeping that thought I decided to work on a project with a Spring theme.  I found Lori Whitlock's cute little Bunny Belly Boxes and couldn't resist making them.  How cute?  These little boxes can be filled with chocolate eggs or jelly beans. I downloaded the SVG file and started cutting.  One bunny filled up most of a 12x12 sheet of card stock.  I was able to fit the ears, feet and bow for 4 bunnies on half a piece of 8 1/2x11 inch card stock.

The bunnies were adorable assembled as depicted in the picture but I had to add my own touch. I replaced the card stock bow with a ribbon bow, embossed the ears with Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder and glued wiggly eyes over the bunny's cut out eyes. The feet were attached to the front of the box with foam dots to make them stand out.

Bunnies with shading added.

I cut the boxes according to the cut file measurements. The finished size of the assembled box is 3 inches long by 1 3/4 inches wide by 2 inches high.

Directions for Bunny Boxes:

Cutting machine capable of cutting SVG files- I used the Silhouette Cameo
Lori Whitlock Bunny Belly Box SVG cut file
Tan, brown, black and pink card stock
Assorted ribbon
Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder
Ranger Tim Holtz Tea Dye distress ink and foam pad
Colored pencils-pink
Wiggly Eyes
Tom Bow Aqua Liquid Glue
Foam Dots

1.  Cut the Bunny Belly Box to the dimensions shown on the computer screen.  Cut the bunny's body in tan, the paw pads in brown, ears and nose in pink and the rectangle in black card stock. I hand cut a piece of black card stock to fit over the openings for the eyes and whiskers rather than using the Silhouette.

2.  Assemble bunny as directed-glue the brown paw pads to the feet, the black behind the eyes, the pink to the ears and whiskers and the body to the back of the bunny.  Attach a small foam dot to the nose to raise it slightly off the face and foam dots to the feet.

3.  Ink around the edges of the feet and the bunny's body with the distress ink.  Use the pink colored pencil to apply blush to the bunny's cheeks and to highlight his nose and ears.

4.  Tie a small bow with the ribbon of your choice and glue to the top of the bunny's head.

5.  Glue the wiggly eyes over the spaces for the eyes.