Tuesday, February 13, 2018

key to my heART

Lately, I have found myself fascinated with assemblage. This form of art can take on so many variations, especially depending on the artist and their interpretation. Some of Pablo Picasso's cubist constructions are considered assemblage. There are many artists, both historic as well as contemporary, creating these three dimensional pieces of art.
Today I am sharing "key to my heART" an assemblage piece that I created.

My base is an ATC Shrine with Feet by Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. These laser cuts are made from sturdy chipboard and arrive flat, then you assemble the piece yourself. This makes it very easy to alter with paper or paints prior making it three dimensional. 
 I began by selecting a paper pattern with a design that would complement the main focal point without overpowering it. I selected a paper from the Tim Holtz Mini Stash Christmas pad. Although the design is fairly bold, I intend to use distress inks to soften the impact. Using collage medium, I coat the face of each chipboard piece and adhere the patterned paper. I use a brayer to ensure that there are no air bubbles and to flatten the paper onto the surface. Once dry, I use an exacto knife to cut around the edges where the paper overhangs. I ink around the edges with walnut stain distress ink. Using black archival ink, I stamp the back and sides with a stamp from the Stampers Anonymous Classics #4 set.  
I would like the assembled shrine to appear that it is actually made out of wood. In order to achieve this effect, I trace the outline and cut pieces of wood grain cardstock to fit the outsides of each of the pieces. These cardstock pieces will be inked with gathered twigs, walnut stain and ground expresso distress inks, before being glued into place. 
Before I assemble the shrine, I add some ideology gilded accents remnant rubs on the main panel. 
I use tacky glue to assemble the shrine and allow it to dry. Next, I adhere some idea-ology (regions beyond) design tape around the edges of the main opening. I like to add a thin line of glue beneath the tape to ensure that it doesn't lift once the project is completed and handled.
After the design tape is in place, I glue the wood grain pieces to the outside of the shrine. Be sure to ink the edges of the cut cardstock so that it blends well and looks like authentic wood, with no white edges showing.  I did not cut pieces for the inside of the legs, I simply used my ink to achieve a matching color. I select a piece of coordinating cardstock for the back side of the main panel of the shrine. Using the second stamp from the Stampers Anonymous Classics #4 set, I stamp the paper, and allow it to dry.
My design incorporates an idea-ology locket and key, as well as a mercury glass heart that I found while gathering supplies for valentine making. In order for the heart to be suspended from the keyhole, I need to attach the locket plate so that it sits away from the main back panel. I will be using wooden beads that I have painted with black soot distress paint.
I secure the beads to the back of the locket in a location that will be hidden from view. Once that glue has dried completely, I mark the location where the locket (via the beads) will be adhered to the back panel. I drill two small holes at the marks so that I can use a fastener for additional stability when securing the beads to the panel. Everything is attached with a strong glue and set aside to dry overnight. The last piece to be adhered is the key at the top.

I hope you enjoyed this step by step, and maybe even want to try to create your own assemblage.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.
May your valentines's day be filled with love. 
~ Ann

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

love note

I am a huge fan of handmade valentines.
 There is something so absolutely wonderful about a token of love that has been created with care, for someone special. Handmade love notes seem to be few and far between these days. Today I am sharing "love note," a piece I created with Valentines Day in mind.   

I started with Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Arch Top House Silhouettes. These chipboard pieces are so nice and sturdy. This set could be used to create three individual pieces or used in multiples, as a pair or even a trio.
 I used all three to create my piece.

Once I had an idea in mind, I looked through my stash of paper in search of something that would lend itself to being a good base to build upon. I then coated one side of the chipboard piece with collage medium and placed my paper onto the shape, centering the design. I used a brayer to make sure there were no air bubbles and that the paper was completely flat. I repeated this process for each of the three panels. After allowing the glue to dry completely, I turned the pieces over onto a cutting mat and used my Exacto knife to trim the paper around the edge of the chipboard shape.

Next, I completed this same process for the back side of each panel using a coordinating paper. I inked the edges of the pieces and inner areas of the paper with Distress Ink in brushed corduroy. 
I knew that I wanted the pieces to be "hinged" at the two interior seams when the pieces were situated side by side. Contemplating a few ideas for how I would accomplish this, I settled on using wire.
I first marked the location of each hole. Using a dremel, I drilled four holes onto each panel edge. Be sure to use a cutting mat or board beneath the piece that you are drilling through so that you don't ruin your tabletop. These holes aligned with four holes along the edge of the adjacent panel. I threaded a piece of soft wire through the holes to create an "x" at two locations along each seam.

Now it was time to add all the special details. Using the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Words & Phrases 1, I carefully removed the word "Love." I covered it with embossing ink and coated it with Ranger embossing powder in pink. Using a heat gun, I melted the embossing powder.  I repeated this step three times, giving the word a faux enameled finish. This set of Words & Phrases contains two sheets of different sentiments, and can be used in so many different ways.  

I cut a piece of pink parchment paper and using black soot archival ink, I stamped an image from the Tim Holtz Stampers Anonymous Nature set and allowed it to dry. I distressed the edges, inked with worn lipstick and brushed corduroy distress ink, and then spritzed with a bit of water and rumpled the paper to give it a tattered look.  

I die cut some roses out of coordinating paper using Tim Holtz Sizzix tiny tattered florals dies. These were inked along the edges and rolled into shape, then glued and set aside. I colored a Tim Holtz idea-ology paper doll with distress ink, Copic marker and distress crayons. Everything was arranged on the panels and manipulated until I was pleased with the layout. I like to play around with the embellishments before gluing everything down. That way I can make adjustments and decide if it needs additional pieces without disrupting everything.

 When I examined the piece, I decided that I wanted to increase interest by adding a few more elements and removing some others. On the first panel, I added an idea-ology sticker from the clippings collection. The sticker was inked around the edges and then layered onto a piece of chipboard that had been inked with worn lipstick distress ink. Using a charm from my stash, I cut a circle of coordinating paper inked around the edges and added the "love" rub-on to the middle. I used a mini hex-head fastener as an "attacher" and glued this onto the face of the panel. I also added a charred gold heart and a couple mini heart cutouts leftover from a different project.

 On the central panel, I decided to add a larger heart to give added height. Using the Tim Holtz Sizzix mini love struck die, I cut a heart out of thin chipboard.  I inked directly onto the chipboard with Distress Ink in worn lipstick. I then embossed around the edges with Emerald Creek charred gold embossing powder. I brushed a small amount of Ranger alcohol ink in gold onto an idea-ology pen nib and then adhered it on the heart to give the impression of an arrow. When the piece was dry, I adhered it to the top of the middle panel with a quick dry multi-purpose glue. I also added some mini hearts that I inked around the edges with brushed corduroy distress ink.

The third panel only needed a few hearts to tie it in with the other panels. I heat embossed a small and a medium heart with charred gold, and combined them with a few mini hearts.  

 Once I was satisfied with the layout, I glued everything into place and allowed it to dry.

Wishing you a love-filled February and beyond, and hoping that this inspires you to create a love note for someone special.

I am entering this in:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

a soulful journey

Hi everyone, today I am on The Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Blog, sharing "a soulful journey."
Some of the first Gypsy Soul laser cuts I was drawn to were the triptychs. I have always been in awe of antique triptychs. Growing up, we had a few prominently displayed in my family's home that had been passed down through the generations. Many of these were religious; however, more and more nowadays I notice a number of mixed media artists utilizing triptychs as a canvas for all types of art, both secular and religious. I am excited to share my altered triptych with you.

The Triptych - Towers Top is comprised of 6 pieces. Each of the three components has a solid back and a frame front.


When I look at the design of the towers top arched frame, I envision a bronzed and copper patina. I set about creating this with some of my favorite embossing powders. I coated each framed top piece with embossing ink and covered it with Emerald Creek burnt copper leaves powder. Before heat setting it, I sprinkled a pinch of turquoise antiquities embossing powder by Ranger in various spots. I then heat set the powders. I wanted a varied texture, so I only heated it all the way smooth in spots and other portions are only partially melted creating a bumpy surface.

Once the frame pieces were completed, I set about selecting a background paper for the three openings. I selected a paper from Tim Holtz Menagerie paper stash that I felt complemented the frame and had plenty of depth to set off the accents that I will be adding to each opening. I traced the outermost edge of each frame onto the paper and fussy cut them out. 

When the papers were placed between the frame and backing piece, I felt that the uppermost portion that has open framework needed to be brighter. I was hoping to end up with a "glowing" effect. To achieve this, I traced the boundaries of the open framework onto the paper while the top piece was in place, then I removed the uppermost triptych frame pieces and painted the outlined area with Dina Wakley acrylic paint in penny. I also painted the innermost edge of the "frame" to give the appearance of added depth when it was put back together as well as to tie the upper areas to the lower. I try to use similar colors throughout a project so that it all ties together when it's complete.  

Once the frames were done, I set them aside and painted the backsides of each of the triptych's solid back panels. I first painted a layer of Distress paint in walnut stain and then went over it with a dry brush and a small amount of the penny acrylic paint. I also painted the front edges of these panels just in case they did not align perfectly when I put them together (since I will have multiple layers in between.)

I glued 1-5/8" long antique bronze colored hinges to the triptych backs and allowed them to dry before I adhered the painted and inked papers. In order to ensure that the hinges lined up and that the triptych would be level when placed upright, I used a straight edge below all three backs to keep them in place. I marked the location for the hinge placement and then measured the correct distance on all pieces. Although the hinges have holes to be screwed in place, for my purposes, I simply used a strong multi-purpose glue.

I then began work on the inner areas. Using Hero Arts manuscript background stamp, I lightly inked with Brilliance cosmic copper metallic ink, and I stamped the script design to the paper backing piece. I did this to all three papers, randomly inking areas of the stamp to simply add some interest instead of the solid stamp image. The metallic ink blends nicely, and reflects the light when viewed from different angles. I inked all the paper edges with walnut stain distress ink as well as some areas on the front face of the paper.

Next I die cut three ironwork gates from heavy weight cardstock with the Tim Holtz Sizzix gothic gate die, each of these were inked with an embossing ink dauber and coated with Emerald Creek burnt copper leaves embossing powder, then heat set to a smooth finish. I painted some highlights on the embossed fence with the penny acrylic paint once they had cooled. These gates were placed behind the triptych frame front, trimmed to the correct size, and then glued in place.

While the ironwork pieces were drying, I stamped a Character Constructions Doll stamp from the Timekeepers Garden collection on watercolor paper. I colored her with distress inks, Copic and fine tip Steatdler markers. I also stamped butterflies from the Stampers Anonymous flutter collection on watercolor paper. I reduced the size of the stamps on my copier and colored those in as well. I then fussy cut the butterflies and die cut the doll stamp. Theses pieces will be located on the open areas of the triptych.

Now it was time to assemble the piece. I glued each piece of background paper to the respective back panel, covering the hinge flanges. Each of the side frames (with ironwork embellishment intact) was then placed over their respective back panel and glued in place. Since I had multiple layers between the two chipboard pieces, I made sure to put a heavy weight on top of them while they dried.

I adhered the colored butterflies, as well as a small key for her hand. Lastly I added a Tim Holtz word band that has been dabbed with gold and mushroom alcohol ink. I felt that this sentiment was a perfect finishing touch. I used leather cording and secured it around the bottom of the middle triptych panel.

I hope that you are inspired to create something in this new year.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

wish keeper

The new year brings new blessings.
I am really happy to share that this year I am a member of the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Design Team. This is such a fabulous opportunity, I am inspired by the other members of the team and am able to work with such amazing products. I am very thankful to be a part of this amazing group of talented designers.

 Today I am sharing my very first post for the Gypsy Soul Lase Cuts Blog with you.

Each year as my children grow older I notice that the innocence and dreams of childhood become more and more distant. In an effort to find a special place to tuck away these hopes and dreams, or "wishes" as I like to call them, before they blow away in the wind, I created a "Wish Keeper" box for my daughter to store her precious thoughts. 

I started with the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts ATC Sized Faux Book Box (BD12T), and searched my Tim Holtz paper stash for the perfect papers to complement my vision. The  book box arrives flat, so I laid out all the pieces and temporarily created the box portion to get an idea for paper sizes and orientation.

Once I selected the papers to use, I went ahead and adhered the floral paper to the base so that I could locate the main design within the interior of the box. I used my exacto knife to cut out the areas where the sides fit into the base so that they would insert freely. I then glued the sides of the box into place on top of the covered base.

I adhered an Idea-ology design tape along the top edges of the box sides, cutting into the corners so that it would wrap around the edges and lay flat.

I then selected a coordinating piece of solid Distress Cardstock and cut a long strip the height of the interior "walls." I cut this strip into the exact lengths for each side of the box interior. Using distress ink in walnut stain, I inked around all of the edges and let dry before gluing these pieces onto the interior box "walls."


I then cut another long strip of the solid cardstock, the same height, for the outside of the box "walls" and inked the edges along the top and bottom. I left this piece as a strip and fitted it around the outside of the box, creasing it at each corner. Once wrapped, my strip did not meet end to end, and therefore, had a slight gap. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to use some more of the decorative tape.

While I set the entire base aside to dry, I began to plan out the cover. I love the look of frozen charlottes, they are so reminiscent of childhood days gone by, and wanted to incorporate this into the design. Using a Tim Holtz Idea-ology Salvaged Doll, I dabbed mushroom alcohol ink on it to give it an overall aged look, then colored her dress and other details with Copic markers. I embossed a pair of wings from the Gypsy Soul Laser Cut Steampunk Shape Set (D33A) with Emerald Creek's Charred Gold embossing powder on both sides.

These wings were then wired onto the doll body with bronze jewelry wire. I created a large paper rosette with a die and added details on the rosette with Stickles. When the details were dry, I used a hot glue gun to adhere the winged, salvaged doll onto the rosette and set it aside.

Using a Sizzix die, I cut the word WISHES three times from thin chipboard. I layered these on top of each other for dimension and then heat embossed the word with the same Charred Gold embossing powder I used on the GSLC wings. I selected a piece of patterned paper and cut strips of the floral base image to incorporate on the cover.

Now it was time to begin working on the spine, and hinging the book base and cover so that it could all be put together. I used masking tape to create the hinge where the front and back covers meet the spine. The outside taped edges will be covered with paper. On the interior, when the book is open, the hinge gaps can be seen. I covered these gaps with more of the decorative tape. I like the way that this tied all of the areas together in a subtle way. 


I measured and cut pieces of the solid cardstock to cover the inside face of the spine as well as the inside face of the cover. These pieces were inked along the edges and adhered with glue. 

I decided that I wanted to be able to latch the wish box to keep the wishes secure inside. Without getting into adding chunky hardware, I thought a great way to keep the box closed would be with a piece of ribbon. I tied the ribbon around the box before adhering the exterior coverings, thus concealing it, as well as ensuring that it will remain intact.

I wanted the spine to give a glimpse of what was to come inside, so I cut a piece of the floral pattern 1/2" wider than the spine chipboard piece itself. This will allow it to cover the hinge area on each side. I scored the piece at each extension so that it could easily bend when the book box was opened and closed. I glued this piece to the flat plane of the spine and let it dry. You will notice that the ribbon closure is in place prior to adhering the spine cover, hiding it and securing it in place. 

I found an interesting piece of cardstock that contained a vintage image I thought would be perfect for the bottom of the base. I cut the piece 1/8" wider than the base piece to allow overlap onto the spine hinge area. I inked the edges of the piece and adhered it to the bottom. I placed a heavy weight along the spine and base hinge line, making sure that the seam was completely flat. I allowed this to dry completely before continuing. 

Similar to the bottom, I cut the Top cover piece wider than  the measured laser cut so that it would overlap my spine/hinge paper. I inked the edges and glued the soil cardstock to the laser cut, concealing the ribbon closure and creating a flat seam along the hinge. Using an embossing ink dabber, I ran it along the edges of base and dipped them into charred gold powder and heat embossed. I did this for each edge of the book.

 Once the embossing was cool, I adhered the final layer of details onto the cover. 

The "Wish Keeper" has harnessed her wings and is ready to soar to any of the places the heart desires when reminiscing through hopes and dreams once tucked away.

Wishing you a year filled with promise! 
~ Ann