Friday, March 29, 2013

Artist Trading Card Box

We all have them. Some people have more than others. Some are patterned. Some are solid colors. But rest assured that no matter what your craft of choice is, you’re always going to have scraps…and scraps….and scraps.

Here’s a little solution to eliminate some of those scraps: Go ahead and prep those smaller pieces for Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) or card backgrounds. This way, when you participate in an ATC swap or need a card or a little something to dress up a project or gift, you have it right there at your fingertips.

Artist Trading Cards have been a round for a while, so much that some folks have forgotten the ATC rules.
Size: 2.5” x3.5”
Restrictions: ATCs are just what the name says: Artist TRADING Cards, not Artist SELLING Cards. ATCs developed among artistic groups as a way to have a little piece of art from your colleagues without a huge monetary investment. Each artist would create mini-masterpieces, then swap them with their artsy friends.

I love this box size and shape. I love it so much that I have several around my studio, holding different things, and therein lies the problem: I spent more time trying to find the one with ATC sized cards than it actually takes to cut the paper to size.

Duetica to the rescue! I love all the Duetica Lettering Arts Studio fonts, some more than others. I set the letters A,T, and C, using DT-Mandolyn, DT-Piper and DT-Tin Whistle. I used the software features to get just the right letter styles I wanted. I then opened the files in Photoshop and added background colors.

Here are  the  instructions:

Duetica Lettering Arts Studio Software
White cardstock
Cigar box (approx. 6 ½” x 4 ¾” x 4 7/8”)
Assorted printed papers, three patterns (Graphic 45 Le Cirque Collection)
Tags (Graphic 45 Le Cirque Collection)
Adobe Photoshop or similar imaging software
Stazon Black ink
Stamps, 1”, Leaves All Over and Stripes.Dots.Hearts. (Ann Butler Faux Quilting Collection for Unity Stamps)
White Pen (*Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen )
Fiber, embroidery floss
Wheat Grass (optional)
Premium Extreme adhesive (Kool Tak)
Ribbon doilies zigzag strip (Basic Grey Paper Ribbon)

a. All paper edges were aged using a sponge and black ink.
b. All papers were adhered with Kool Tak Premium Extreme Adhesive.

1. Sand edges of box and remove any loose papers. Coat edges with Stazon Black Ink.
2. Measure and trim papers to cover all sides and inside lid of box.
3. Set type using Duetica Lettering Arts Studio.

Box Lid
• Stamp upper and lower edges of lid paper with black Stazon Ink.
• The ATC top is all one piece of paper with the words artist trading cards added in reverse type.
• Add complimentary paper strip1/4” larger top and bottom than your printed piece.
• Attach ATC type sheet to box lid.
• Adhere zig zag strip to bottom of lid.
• Attach fiber strip (box outside lid and just to the edge of the inner lid) to top with Premium Extreme adhesive.
• Tie embroidery floss around box lid and attach tags.
• Attach zigzag paper ribbon, wheat grass and/or additional embellishments

If you lid is a tight fit to begin with, use a knife to cut notches on either side where the floss and fiber wrap around the edge.

Box Sides
• Layer each letter on a scrap of the papers used on the box.
• Sponge edges and adhere to all sides.


Use the white pen to customize your letters.

This took me about an hour to create, but the time it saves hunting through my stash to find this box makes it worthwhile.

Now, go find someone to enjoy this wonderful Good Friday with (the someone can be yourself if you prefer)  and have a beautiful Easter!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tribute to Spring

Welcome to Pam Bray's All Things Altered Spring Blog Hop! Be sure to hop through the list below to see all the fabulous art. Several of the bloggers including Pam are giving away some eye candy, so be sure to read the directions on each give-away blog for entering. To hop to the next blog, just click on the blog on the list at the bottom of this post.

I have been looking at a big ball of rusty wire in my studio for more than a year, trying to come up with something really cool to create with it. I filched the wire from my hubby’s workshop. He didn’t remember buying it, so that meant it was up for grabs as far as I was concerned.

The wire easily bent to form the flowers.
Although the metal was rusty, it was still very strong, perfect for this little bit of spring art. Finally, I had inspiration. I began to twist the wire with the help of a couple of jewelry pliers until I had a fairly large flower. I had purposefully left about 4” of wire on each end and wrapped these over the front center, twisting it in the back to secure the petals, then curled the ends of each wire. I repeated the flower, using small petals this time. I then cut two pieces of wire18” long, gently folded them in the middle and then, beginning at about 3-5” from the folds, twisted the four pieces of wire into a stem, pulling and curving the top of the loops into long leaf shapes. I added a couple more twists mid-stem and at the bottom.

Here’s how I made the rest:


  • Frame, 12” x 12”  (Darice)
  • Printed Paper, 2 sheets (Bo Bunny)
  • Wired tissue ribbon, 12” (Peacock Park)
  • Metal Keyhole (Tim Holtz Ideaology)
  • Metal latch (Stanislaus Imports)
  • Tags, one large and one small (These are from my stash and are hand colored and hand-stamped)
  • Colorbox Chalk Inks
  • Acrylic craft paint, ivory
  • Printed sentiment from computer
  • Lace, 12”
  • Assorted paper scraps
  • Inka Gold, assorted colors (Viva Décor)
  • Temporary adhesive
  • Spray Adhesive, Super 77 (3M) Note: I only use this to attach the background
  • papers.
  • Kool Tak TM Clear Adhesive Foam Pads
  • Kool Tak TM Clear Foam Roll
  • Kool Tak TM Ultra Clear Adhesive, ¼”
  • Butterfly stamp (LaBlanche)
  • Phrase and embellishment stamp (Oxford Impressions)
  • Swirl Stamp (Bee Line Stamps) 

 Note: All edges are inked with brown ink.
1. Create wire flowers and stem and set aside.
2. Remove the glass and photo holder from the frame opening. Paint all the edges with ivory paint, including the small frame edges. Allow to dry, then add inks around all the edges to match your papers.
3. Apply paper to the outside edges of the small frame opening. Flip the frame over and trim out the center.
4. Trim one piece of scrapbook paper to 11” x 11”. Ink edges with brown ink and adhere to front cover with temporary adhesive. Flip the frame over and cut away the photo center. Measure 3/8” inch all around the inside frame opening on your paper and trim this away from the opening. Ink all edges, then adhere to frame base with spray adhesive.
5. Stamp swirls and butterflies.
6. Adhere lace to frame. Tear a strip of scrap paper 11” wide and 1 ¼” tall. Trim ends straight with scissors. Ink edges and apply over lace.
7. Tear a strip of scrap paper approximately 3 ½” wide and 12” in height. Ink edges. Apply to top and bottom over frame opening with spray adhesive, then cut away from the frame opening. Ink the new edges created with the cut away.
8. Apply spray adhesive to wired tissue ribbon and press to frame cover, gently easing wire as straight as possible. This tissue is delicate, so be gentle. Rub chalk ink over the tissue to highlight the texture.
9. Stamp large tag with phrase and embellishment stamp. Pull string through keyhole, adhere tag and keyhole to the frame and tie bow in string. 

You can replace the quotation with a spring photo.
10. Attach latch base with Kool Tak TM Ultra Clear Adhesive. Position tag hole over latch and attach tag to framemwith Kool Tak TM Clear Adhesive Foam Pads.
11. Determine which points of your metal pieces will touch the frame base. Place Kool Tak TM Clear Adhesive Foam Pads and Strips to wire backs and arrange on frame base.
12. Print or hand-letter sentiment and embellish with additional stamping. Place glass, sentiment and easel into frame opening.

13. Apply Inka Gold to wire for highlights.

Today is not only the first day of the rest of your life, it’s Friday and the weekend is here! Do something creative this weekend. Get out of your comfort zone, push the envelope and have a great time doing it!

I received product from Kool Tak, Clearsnap and Viva Décor.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring is here...almost!

Since Spring is supposed to be here already - flowers are pushing up, trees are blooming, birds are singing and ripping the stuffing out of my porch swing cushions to pad nests, but the weatherman has issued a winter storm watch for the Mid-South.

No need for worry. I have brought spring into my studio with this Spring Chimes project on the Kool Tak blog. Go here to get instructions and be sure to come back to my blog March 31 for a tutorial on creating a wire and glass wind chime, similar to the one used in this project.

Happy Spring. Don't hurt your back shoveling snow!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hats off for Buttons Galore!

 Upcycle a Hat for a Spring Garden Party or Wedding, Plus Two Cute Headbands 

Welcome to the Designer Crafts Connection (DCC) Designer Challenge. This month’s challenge product is from Buttons Galore, and believe me, they definitely have buttons galore! I received an assortment in different sizes, colors and shapes, plus some gorgeous goodies from one of their Trim Collage Kits. The colors were so spring-like, and the styles blended beautifully.

Buttons Galore prizes!
Buttons Galore and Viewtainer ( are providing prizes, one for a reader (just go to the Buttons Galore website (, and leave a comment and your favorite project from the blog hop before March 17) in a random drawing, and one for a participating designer, to be selected by the fine folks at Buttons Galore. 

Be sure to click to hop forward or back on the Designer Crafts Connection button at left.

This inexpensive hat (less than five bucks at a discount store) is pretty as-is, but I like dressing it up with a pretty hatband for a spring event. Buttons were just the ticket. I began by measuring the diameter of the hat crown, then added about 36” to that measurement to determine the length of the green grosgrain ribbon (Offray). Beginning in the center of the ribbon, I simply attached the large buttons with needle and blue thread, stitching the green, yellow, blue and periwinkle buttons 2 ½” apart. I then took the tiny flower buttons, removed the shank and attached them between the large buttons with Beacon FabriTac. After that it was just a matter of tying it around the hat crown and trimming the streamers to the lengths I wanted.

The headbands were just as simple.

I used the Buttons Galore Dotted Buttons on the black stretchy headband, stitching them so that the sides were touching, to make them about an inch apart when the band was stretched.

I added a couple of inches of ribbon on either side of the gathered ribbon button (from the Buttons Galore Oceanic Trim Collage Kit), trimmed them to fish tails and stitched them onto the blue stretchy headband.

The entire project – a hat and two headbands– was completed in less than an hour from conception to photography. It doesn’t get much quicker than that.

Now I’m off to a party, but sad to say, it isn’t a Spring garden party ,so I can’t wear my classy hat. I can, however, wear the dotted button headband!

I received product from Buttons Galore and  Beacon Adhesives for this project.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Art & Soul

Welcome to the First Monday Blog Hop of the Designer Crafts Connection (DCC). The theme this month is home decor/favorite technique or media. Those who know me well know that it's just like potato chips ...I can't have just one. I love 'em all...well, most all of them. I chose to do a mixed media piece since I can combine a lot of techniques into one piece.

This started off as a painted canvas many moons ago. I wasn't happy with the look so I stashed it away to come back later. Later turned out to be a couple of years (I told you it was many moons) and it has been sitting there patiently waiting for me to return. I had been playing for this for the last couple of weeks before I decided to complete it for a DCC post, so I haven't taken any in-progress photos of the process. It's pretty much just as it looks: various colors of Golden acrylics for the base, a layer of printed tissue, a layer of painted tissue and some paper napkins. I used Golden Matte medium for the glue for these papers, then started layering on the wax. I used a multi-tip heat iron made for wax (Purple Cows) to apply the colors (wax and crayons) and a heat tool to make it smooth. I also stuck the printers' letters on with hot beeswax by heating up the waxed surface and pressing the letter blocks into the wax.

The metal piece at the top was in an old bag of mismatched handles and drawer pulls. It is designed to go under the pull, and for the life of me, I can't find a name for it anywhere. It's just a metal plate. The finish was originally a semi-bright brass, but I added some Inka Gold to give it the violet/green look and tone it down a little.

This whole piece was designed for one purpose only: It's the resting place for the necklace. I made it back in January, and the two little girls are my sister and me. I had trouble with it getting tangled in my jewelry box, so rather than going through the hassle of untangling it every time I wanted to wear it, I just hang it on it's own personal little mixed media piece.

How did I come up with the title?
Art: My sister and I were encouraged by our family to try every aspect of art, from watercolors to pottery. We were both equally good, but I was the only one who pursued it. Lynn was a gardener and created beauty with everything she touched. Sadly, she died in 1989, but lives on in the hearts of those who loved her.

Soul: This piece includes a lot of symbolism from our childhood: the bird (the first thing we learned to draw); the birdcage where our Parakeet, Petie, lived; the silver jacks on the necklace, which represent one of our favorite games; the music notes at the bottom represent singing, which we were encouraged to do also; and the printers' blocks, which represent our dad's career in the printing industry (he actually printed one of Elvis' first album covers and he said Elvis was fascinated with how the old printing press ran.)

Here are the supplies in the order in which they were applied:
1. 8" x 10" gallery-wrapped canvas (Hobby Lobby)
2. Acrylics (Golden)
3. Printed tissue paper (7 Gypsies)
4. Printed paper napkin
5. Matte medium (Golden) 
6. Rubber Stamp (&) and Black Stazon Ink
7. Encaustic wax and bees wax (Purple Cows)
8. Multi-tip heat iron (Purple Cows)
9. Wax crayons (Crayola)
10. Heat tool11. Inka Gold, Violet and Mint Green (Viva Décor)
12. Printers' block letters (antique shop)
13. Drawer pull plate
14. Beads and embellishments for necklace (assorted from my stash)
15. Watch pocket frame (unknown source)

That's about it. I really like this piece and may try a larger one in the future. Now, go find some jewelry you want to show off a bit and make its own little piece of art. I can just see earrings for pierced ears hanging on a small block canvas that has been embellished with eyelets. Just hook those french wires in the eyelet and you can have an instant, ever-changing display.

Have a great week and don't forget to hop through the other blogs by clicking the Designer Crafts Connection button at top left.

Oops, there's more! Tune in Saturday for a Designer Challenge using gorgeous buttons!