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Monday, November 7, 2016

Tiny boxes

My friend made me this adorable little box for a swap. I loved it and even more when I learned that I could make it with a template I already own. 

So here's my box, made from 6x6 double sided paper. 

This is the envelope template used to make the box!  

The template made by We R Memory Keepers and it punches and has score lines to make various sized envelopes. It comes with a plastic folding tool. 

Just line up to 1 3/8" and punch, then use scorer to make score ling along the groove starting in the bottom right corner.  Then move to 4" and repeat.

Turn the paper counter clockwise and repeat on each side.  You'll end up with the following.

Cut along the score lines and use a corner rounder!  You'll then just tape up the sides and have a little box!  You can punch holes and attach ribbon to decorate.

Great for party favors!!  Here's a blog post that has the complete instructions tiny box template

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Makeshift Billboard

I happen to pass an intersection on my way home from work and I've noticed that there is a very basic wooden sign. Periodically, some mystery person decorates the sign, customizing it according to current events, or their take on life. 

Don't know who's doing in this but I'm starting to really be entertained by it!!  Here's one of the recent displays, voicing an apparent opinion on the election. 

The latest, a take on the horrors in Syria. I love this homemade billboard. 

Let's see what comes next!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


My neighbor grows these beautiful dahlias and I thought I'd send out a virtual bouquet!!!

Beauty speaks for itself. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Love this use of paper!

Went to the Chicago History Museum and saw this creative display with a costume from the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Love the paper hair!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016


I used to live in Chicago over 35 years ago. Just visited and the city looks amazing. Chicago has amazing architecture and there are so many cool things to see.  I was eager to see Millenium Park. They have fountains where they project photos of native Chicagoans and they "spray" water on people!  Whimsical and clever and the kids love them, particularly at this time of year. 

Public art that is interactive is the best!!

We saw "the bean" as locals call it. Amazing from every angle, and it's great watching people interact with it. 

Love this selfie!!

Then we went across the street to the Chicago Cultural center. Totally amazing building beautifully preserved with intricate, gorgeous inlaid mosaics everywhere. 

This stained glass rotunda is breathtaking. 

Loved this tour!  

How about this table at a restaurant we passed by?

Then we walked past the Tribune building and embedded in the outer walls are relics from all over the world. Fascinating!!!  Too many to take pictures of, but there is a piece of a moon rock on the building. 

Here's a link to a story about it!!  

I just adore this city, the people are nice and it looks fantastic. There is a lot of pride and those stewarding this town are doing it well. 

Monday, July 11, 2016


I think I have a new addiction! It's KIRIGAMI, which is similar to origami, using knife cuts, in addition to folding.  

A search of Pinterest opened up my world to this topic. I found some amazing templates, which I was able to print on the back of cardstock. Doing this allowed me to cut on the back and reveal the design.

The one below is one of my favorites. It's supposed to be a pencil/pen holder, but I cannot help imagine Ida, the charming protagonist from the game Monument Valley, walking up and down these steps.

I found the template at the site below:

The card below is a castle that I found on YouTube. I love it because it's primarily straight cuts, only a few curved ones. Plus, it's a great pop-up card.


Give it a try!!  It's really rewarding!

Have a great week!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Smash books

You know how sometimes a new thing comes along, or a new way of looking at an old thing?? Something that totally changes your perspective?? I had no idea what the term smash book meant until five years ago when I watched a YouTube video by a company called K & Company. They created their own line of journals called smash books. They coined the term and came up with a really clever video that just made me want to create them. 

In fact here's the original video that really got me started I love everything about it I love the music I love the demonstration versus words to show what it's all about. 

I think what I loved most was the idea that you didn't have to be perfect, you didn't have to agonize over what to put in the journal. It was meant to be a daily life journal that you wrote in every day and that you used to capture the ephemera of your life. 

That concept really freed me up!!

So my smash books have evolved from composition books that were decorated to the official smash book. Some were gifts. The nice thing about the official version is that it comes with a pen attached to the journal.  Also the pages are not blank, so it takes some of that fear of the white page away. It really doesn't matter what you use for your smash book. The main idea is that you capture  moments and have fun. 

I went to break in a new smash book and found my old ones and decided to stop and reminisce. 

There's really nothing like going back and looking through these books it takes you back in time and remind you of all kinds of fun things you did. 

Addicted to rosettes

I started making rosettes out of scrap paper and I just couldn't stop it's so fun!!!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Window boxes

So in the interest of spring cleaning I've been pulling out all kinds of amazing embellishments that I had stashed away. I had a plethora, an amazing collection, of little gems.  Some of which I featured in my Spring cleaning post not long ago.  It dawned on me that I could try to use these pieces to make a collage. 

What I also had laying around was a piece of a shower curtain liner and I couldn't help but think it would be fun to cover the pieces and see them each in their own little "box". 

So I used beautiful embellished flowers, paper scraps, tiny little colored images with clear shapes, faux postage and stamped images. 

I had some die cut chipboard shapes and cool papers with interesting images.These came from Somerset Studio magazine that used to include collage papers in each issue. 

I loved making these and finding a way to arrange and use the pieces. 

I have just barely scratched the surface of what I have lying around. My goal is simple, use them up and make art!!!

The piece below is a teeny bit different because instead of closed in stitched boxes, I made pockets. So the elements I tucked in each pocket can be removed for inspection. This idea came from my need to save a beautiful two-sided tag that a friend gave me. I had my smashbook and wanted to make sure I could still look at this gorgeous tag so I created the pockets and that's what inspired me!!!!

This collection is interesting, a diecut frame, images of one of my favorite characters Totoro. Finally, I found a big stack of tree punches all made from sandpaper. I think I originally punched them in order to sharpen up my punch but the images are perfect color and texture. In order for it to stand out on the khaki colored background I had to put it on brightly colored paper so it pops. 

All my works were done on a khaki colored background card stock, I found this color very appealing. Khaki is a neutral and it was perfect with the black thread. 

I challenge you to take out your stash and make a collage. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


On my way home the other day I couldn't help but stop and take pictures. The flowers look like confetti. It's beautiful!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Time capsule

I'll fess up, I've long been one of those "stashers" whose idea of cleaning up is putting things in a storage box, drawer or folder and getting it out of sight. It seems like a valid approach, however this strategy (if you can even refer to it as such) doesn't effectively deal with the clutter issue. After deciding to open up a plastic shoe box, cutely labeled with the equivalent of "miscellaneous", I was presented with an amazing collection of partial art, shall we dub this "partart"? For me this is artwork that was created for swaps, artwork created while learning a new techniques or items that just could not be otherwise tossed in the recycle bin.

My criteria for what to save has evolved since I first began making art almost 20 years ago. At that time a small piece of paper the size of a credit card was to be saved and reused. The problem with this approach is that I didn't go back to the stash to use these pieces and it eventually pushed me to a potential hoarding situation. So, I now am much more discriminating now on what I keep.

The fun bit is that I have approximately 20 of these shoe boxes, so this is just the beginning of raiding my lost art.

Now that I've highlighted the problems of having all this stashed stuff, I'll turn the tables and find the silver lining. One benefit is being able to take a trip down memory lane. Colors, stamped images and even techniques are like food. They can be trendy and looking back can make you realize how far you've come artistically.

So here are some crackle stamp backgrounds, and an attempt at a collage.

This collection is from classes I had with a favorite teacher MaryJo McGraw. I stalked her years ago.  I went to see her at every convention and took any class she offered. This technique used acetate and Diamond Glaze.  I don't recall exactly how it was done, but the translucent and glassy finish is great.


The images above are backgrounds using alcohol inks and it was called "polished stone."  In addition to the inks, we used the Krylon leafing pens.  Brings back memories.

This is another MaryJo McGraw project involving clear shrink plastic, flattened with a stamped image to get a relief, then using alcohol inks to get the amazing colors.  

These are some polished stone pieces that are stamped and ready to go.  I also worked on a book cover and used some Ultra Thick Embossing enamel (UTEE) powders to make the gold design on the front.  I have two mini book covers in the back on the right, with what appears to be wax seals on the front.  This was when the glue sticks were being used to create the look of a wax seal, but they were much more flexible. And you could add embossing powders to the glue and heat them prior to stamping.  It was a great technique.

The one piece here I want to talk about is the lower front piece which was made with strips of paper, woven together and then attached to a backing.  Then the entire surface was covered with clear embossing ink and UTEE was applied to create a clear thick coating on the surface. This would make a great cover to a book. There is some gold powder as well.

So, I made an attempt to color in a stamp, inspired by a teacher I loved called Kristen Powers. Look how I even wanted to map the colors used, like a legend.  So adorable. 


This is from a class I took from a teacher long ago.  I'm not sure I recall her name but we used products to get a patina on the paper that made it look like metal.  So cool.

So this is it.  The assorted ephemera from years ago.  I want to use it or lose it at this point.  Remember, this is only the first box. Wow, can't wait to see what else lies ahead.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Stencil spree

Back in February I attended a retreat with Dyan Reaveley and I picked up some of her gorgeous dylusions paints. I'd been telling myself that I didn't need new paints, I had paints. As I used them during the retreat I realized that the colors she offers are my favorites. The typical art store paints are classic colors. These are eye candy colors. So, I purchased some.

What I really appreciated about Dyan is that she told us how to care for the paints. She also told us one of the best things ever, which is we should go home and use them. Don't buy them to put them on the shelf and think "some day" but to use them up asap.  

After I saw them in my paint stash the other night I decided she was right. So I busted them out and had a blast. I used the Tim Holtz applicators with foam tops and designated one for each color. I pulled six of my favorite stencils and grabbed a bunch of manila tags and got to work.  

One tip for collage, choose a variety of stencils.  Some that are open designs (like the Tim Holtz spider's web) and some that have few openings (like the graduated dots - which is becoming my favorite). Doing this will allow for varied amounts of paint to be distributed on the work. Sometimes you feel you need a little something in a small area, this is great for the less open stencils. The first layer of design is great for the more open stencils.

Then I had to choose colors. I picked three colors that are harmonious or analogous, that are next to each other on the color wheel - in this case dirty martini, calypso teal and after midnight. I worked with these as the predominant colors used.  For the pop of color I picked a complementary color, which is a color opposite one of the colors I used for the designs. In this case cherry pie works as a pop for the green and blues I've been using.

Once I started working I just kept grabbing for more paper to color. After I used up the tags I found some envelopes and started to color them as well.  

This is a tag I made for a friend's birthday. I cut out a monogram and colored it with the stencil and the pop of color. I then used my white Uni-ball Signo pen (LOVE IT) and colored the larger dots in the background. Fueling my neglected Zentangle relaxation time.

So then, I colored some basic backgrounds by applying paint and used a large stencil and colored over with the same colors as used in the background. I love the way these tags turned out. They are large tags, so I think I can fold them and turn them into cards.

These are the paints. The jars really show off the color. You turn the jar over, then back before you open. Then remove the lid take the applicator and grab some color from the lid. These paints go a long way.  

So I found these two die cut images in my stash, and had to color them.  

Here are my stencils and the one in the lower left is becoming one of my most used. There are large dots and small dots so you can use whichever you like. I am not a nut about cleaning them every time, however I don't want them to build up too much paint and affect the ability to use them, so I do wipe them down periodically. It's actually good for some to get a little paint-coated, particularly the more delicate stencils.  

Finally, my tip for working with stencils is have some washi tape handy. The great thing is that washi tape can be used on the edges if you don't want paint to go over the edge, it secures the stencil to the paper and generally won't hurt your paper. As you use the washi tape over and over, it's even safer on your work. The tape lasts a long time. Plus, you can isolate an image as I did above with the arrow. This stencil has dozens of arrow images but I wanted to use just a couple. By masking it with the washi tape you can get just the single image you want.

I really channeled my seemingly long-lost inner child working with finger paints. Time was lost and I can't wait to make more.