Friday, July 31, 2009

Reasons to Stamp in August

We all need a little inspiration once in awhile. Here's some ideas in August to get you going!

1 - Girlfriend's Day / Simplify Your Life Week

Take some time to reconnect with that special friend on Girlfriend's Day!

2 - Sister's Day / Friendship Day

We all have friends that are like sisters and sisters who are our best friends. Let's take some time today to give these special people in our lives a little handcrafted smile!

3 - National Clown Week

Clowns are like walking smiles! Have some fun clowning around today!

4 - National Golf Month

Hit a hole-in-one with a glorious golf card!

5 - Neil Armstrong's Birthday

Last month was the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and this month is Neil Armstrong's birthday! Let's celebrate all those giant steps for humankind today! Or, you can just get spacey!

6 - Peace Day

Peace Day - what better reason for an unexpected card to someone you love! Then again, you could just go all tie-dye and peace symbols with this one.

7 - Lighthouse Day

Living in New England, lighthouses have a special place in my heart. They always make me feel calm and serene! Pass on this feeling of serenity with your own take on a lighthouse card!

8 - Happiness Happens Day

This isn't just a single day! There's a whole Happiness Happens Month! How cool is that?

9 - First Sighting of Smokey the Bear in 1944

I barely need to tell you what fun ways you can use bears in your creations today! If bears aren't your thing, think about campfires (safe ones) and the great outdoors!

10 - Smores Day

Chocolate, marshmallows and the wonderful outdoors! Gotta love Smores Day! I love smores because they have wonderful layers, all with different textures, colors and tastes. Why not make a creation using the same formula?

11 - Sons & Daughters Day

While I love Mother's Day, sometimes I like to give my daughter a card to let her know how much I appreciate her too!

12 - Sewing Machine Day

Sewing is a way of binding two separate pieces together, so what theme for a card about friendship or love?

13 - Left-handers Day

Know any people who are left-handed? Celebrate their distinctiveness on this day just for lefties!

14 - Doc Holliday born in 1851

Doc Holliday was a fixture of the wild west! He enjoyed gambling and the lawlessness of the Old West while finding precious little time for his chosen profession, dentistry. Make a card using a playing card or a wild west/cowboy theme today!

15 - Napoleon Bonaparte's Birthday

Think French today! Make a card with a theme of France or its famous capitol city, Paris.

16 - Elvis Memorial Day

Make a card saluting the King today! Don't have any Elvis stamps? Why not a blue Christmas card?

17 - Mae West's Birthday

A famous lady with her own special unfettered style, Mae West lit up the silver screen in the 1930s. Today, why not make a creation demonstrating your own special unfettered style.

18 - Cupcake Day

Yes, there is a day dedicated to these mini treats! Sweet! Make a cupcake creation today!

19 - Aviation Day

Fly high with Aviation Day! Air mail is one way to go!

20 - Radio Day

The radio has been part of our lives since early last century. To celebrate this now ubiquitous invention, create something that reminds you of your fondest memories listening to the radio!

21 - Poet's Day / Daffodil Day

Flowers and flowery words seem to go together! Have fun with your own flowery words!

22 - American Artist Appreciation Month

So many great American artists to choose from! Don't restrict yourself to making a creation in honor of paint and brush artists. Think outside the canvas and remember those in theatre, music and dance!

23 - Be an Angel Day

Be an Angel to someone who needs one!

24 - Family Fun Month

Celebrate family fun with a creation today!

25 - Wizard of Oz premiered on this day in 1939

Have some fun and let your imagination travel down Yellow Brick Road!

26 - National Dog Day

Let's not forget our faithful furry friends! Dogs make such great subjects for all sorts of creations.

27 - American Adventures Month

Make a creation celebrating the many adventures Americans have taken over the years!

28 - Dream Day

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. He spoke eloquently and passionately about his dream for the future. Why not create something that expresses your dream for the future?

29 - Be Kind to Humankind Week

What better excuse to perform a Random Act of Kindness then Be Kind to Humankind Week?

30 - National Toasted Marshmallow Day

Sweet and warm, just like August, toasted marshmallows are a fabulous summer tradition! Why not make a creation with a sweet treat?

31 - What Will Be Your Legacy Month / Waffle Week Starts

Why wait until January to think those heavy Meaning of Life questions when August is "What Will Be Your Legacy Month"? Why not make something that demonstrates what you would like your legacy to be.

Need more inspiration? Here's this month's Springboard Suggestions:






Still not inspired? Check out our fabulous challenges for even more ideas!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Collage Corner Meets Colonel Mustard

Whether you have played Clue or Cluedo or not, you probably have heard of Colonel Mustard. This iconic character has always been one of my favorites so when I came across a few older versions of Clue at flea markets and garage sales, I thought it would be fun to play with this idea.

I wanted to show the different faces of Col. Mustard so I decided on a tin project. I had a gift card tin that seemed to be a great size for the cards. I want to say everything went smoothly but I really should not have started off on my little collage adventure without rereading some info on prepping. After a couple false starts, I prepped my tin with a couple of coats of gel medium and then a couple coats of Old Brass Lumiere paint.

I used a peeled paint technique from Claudine Hellmuth's Collage Discovery Workshop, which I recently reviewed, to give the cover of the tin an aged appearance.

I used gel medium to attach the image and then covered the portions I didn't want to paint with petroleum jelly, painted over with a couple of lighter colors and then wiped away the jelly. Col. Mustard reappeared from under the paint unscathed. I then went on to create some smaller assemblages.

Inside, I recreated the classic "Col. Mustard in the Conservatory with a Candlestick" scenerio. I used another technique from Collage Discovery Workshop to do a contact paper image transfer of the candlestick and its title. I paired this with the "case file" folder used to hide the solution in the game. I was also able to snag an actual candlestick from the game to further add to the look.

On the inside of the lid, I showed a couple of the more recent faces of Col. Mustard on a backdrop of the conservatory.

The little guy in the right corner is actually from Clue Jr. I added some gold paint over top of these images to antique them a bit and add a little more yellow to my mustard creation.

Hope my take on this classic board game character was up to muster!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Redhead Review: Collage Discovery Workshop

Collage Discovery Workshop was one of my first purchases when I started to experiment with collage. I adore Claudine Hellmuth's amazing collage work, so buying the book was an obvious choice.

Collage Discovery Workshop has it all! It is divided into two separate sections. The first section goes over techniques for collage running the gamut from super easy for beginners like me to more involved constructions for the advanced collage artist. The second section shows you how to bring all these ideas together into a cohesive piece of art.

I knew I was going to love this book from the moment I started reading the introduction. In bold lovely letters, the first section declares "You Don't Need to Be an Artist". Whew! What a relief! For me, this was license not be intimidated by any of the techniques. The next heading announces "It's All About Play". Now, I was completely comfortable and at ease. The whole book is so accessible that I was instantly hooked and could visualize not only myself doing the techniques but the projects that would ensue from this new-found knowledge.

Claudine takes the time to provide instructions for 4 paint techniques, 4 image transfer techniques, 3 techniques using beeswax, and 4 antiquing strategies before moving on to her imaginative projects. Throughout the book, there are wonderful tips to help the new collagist to be successful in their art creations.

Ali , from our Creative Team, also has a copy of this fabulous guide to collage and volunteered to share the creations she made by following various tutorials in the book.

Here's what Ali made using the contact paper image transfer technique:

She also made a sensational altered book page using the peeled paint technique:

Here's a close-up:

Finally, Ali shared a journal she made by combining a number of the techniques - peeled paint, contact paper image transfer and glazing paint:

A closer look:

My copy of this book is so well-worn from constant use it is starting to look vintage itself. If you are looking for a great introduction to the world of collage, this is one of the books I would highly recommend to start out on a journey into assemblage.

More a stamper than a collage person? Check out Claudine Hellmuth's fabulous stamp images at Stampington.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back to Basics: Masking

Most of us have run into masking somewhere in our stamping life. The technique is fairly simple - stamp, cover, stamp again, repeat as desired. What you cover that first image with can vary from masking solution to masking tape to a self-adhesive sticky note to clear embossing powder but the principle is still the same - stamp, cover, stamp again.

Sometimes we move away from these basics but, like old friends, they keep on helping us in our art as we find new ways to use these simple ideas. When I first started using masking, I only used to repeat the same image varying its location. Now, I pull together tons of images to produce themed backgrounds.

To begin, you need to select you focal image. This will be stamped first and will seem to be "on top" of all the other images. Additional layers will appear to recede so choose wisely. I used this fabulous set from Invoke Arts that I got at the West Springfield Rubber Stamp and Papercrafts Festival to put together my creation.

I picked out the "Play/Art" combo for my central image. I used sticky notes for most of my masks this time, taking advantage of the strip of adhesive at the top of the note. I made sure to cut out my masks on the inside of their outlines to try to avoid what I affectionately call "masking halos" or reverse shadows around your images.

I decided to make this project colorful so I switched colors and stamped two more images. I made two more masks and added them on top of the images.

I kept switching inks and adding masks until my creation looked like a complete jumble.

Before I removed all the masks, I sponged in some game table green to fill in the white spots. I then used some copics to color in my Play/Art focal image and to add some dimension.

As a final touch, I used distress ink to take down the white a bit and to blend the inks. My red did smear more than anticipated but I really liked the slightly smudged effect I got. This step also covered the occasional "halo".

Here's the final result all set for either the Chestnut Fun & Games Challenge or the Spicy Supply Ribbon Challenge!

Once I refreshed myself on standard masking, I decided to do another quick project using a technique I first saw Michelle Zindorf use - embossing as a mask. Her fabulous tutorials also introduced me to one of my favorite tools - the Versamark Pen - which I have been happily using ever since.

For this quick project, I used both embossing powder masking and reverse masking. I started out by coloring my image (Alpha Stamps) with copic markers. I then used my Versamark Pen to go over the entire surface of the image. I love that the pen has a brush tip and a detail tip. I used that detail tip for the ax and the rose!

After coloring the image, I made my reverse mask by simply using a favorite punch and a scrap piece of paper. To get it to stick to my base panel, I used repositional Tombo adhesive.

Next, I used a sponge dauber to add blue to the exposed part of the image. The beauty of using embossing powder as your masking agent is that you can get very close to the image thus avoiding halos altogether. Any ink that gets on the image can be wiped away with a soft cloth. I always sponge from the edge to the center so as not to have any unwanted "bleed" under the paper.

When I was finished, the image looked like this:

To finish up, I used a Technique Junkies technique called Cuttlebug Highlights to create a complimentary background and put it all together!

I love the sentiment on this one as it SOO suits me and my life!

Try and reconnect with those stamping basics and see how all the newer techniques in your repertoire influence your old standards! My masking certainly has come a long way beyond layering daisies!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alison Manning: Found Papers Tag Book

I made this tag book a while ago and I figured this would be the perfect time to share it with you because we're concentrating on collage resources this month. Sharon shared some great collage resources a few weeks ago and if you're a member of the Gingersnaps Yahoo Group (all are welcome!) there's an extensive database of not only collage and altered art items, but rubber stamps and patterned paper available to you.

These ladies are from an ARTchix Studio collage sheet called Loveliness and I adore buying collage sheets, but I want you to remember that you can find things to collage with everywhere you go. You'll find a few ideas as you make your way through this (long) post!

I wasn't thinking about a tutorial when I made the book, it just took shape as I added layer after layer. But I have recreated one tag to show you how I made the background. It started out as a Tazo tea advertisement (source: Starbucks).

I applied a layer of gesso on the front and back of the tag. You might wonder why I did this when I collage over the whole thing. The reason is that it strengthens the pages, especially applying it on both sides, so I can add as many layers of paint, paper and ink as I like. And it gives some tooth to the surface, making it easier to adhere things to it.

Next come the collage papers, which I attached with Golden's soft gel medium (I swear by Golden products). The papers are an old letter (source: a flea market), a Swedish map (source: tourism office while traveling) and a piece of printed tissue paper (source: packing from some lotion purchased at the mall).

I trimmed the edges with a sharp craft knife and sanded them.

I made a small amount of Burnt Umber glaze by combining a teaspoon of gel medium and a very small amount of paint about the size of my pinkie finger nail (very technial!). I applied two layers of the glaze, wiping it off and allowing to dry between each layer.

Next comes some stamping, more sanding and inking around edges.

Once I was happy with the background, I mounted my lovely lady onto a piece of a page from an old book (source: library book sale) and adhered her to the tag. The finishing touches are a copper eyelet, fibers (source: local knitting store) plus a stamped word and some trim (source: scrapbooking store).

Next time you're out and about, keep your eyes open for items for your collage stash - you will find them in unexpected places. And I'm always looking for new ideas, so please leave a comment if you have an interesting or unusual source that you'd like to share.

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