Friday, October 21, 2016

An Exuberant Song

 Many thanks to Magaly Guerrero for hosting this fantastic blog party. We need more magic in the world and too often it's the small quiet wonders that have vanished before some of us even knew they were there.

I have a garden and it has a purpose bigger than me. It's not a veggie garden or a tidy flower border or trimmed topiaries. Those kinds of gardens are all wonderful, but it isn't what was intended in this place. This garden, my garden, is a crazy, haphazard, joyful mix of echinacea, anemones, salvia, lavender, roses, foxglove, mallow and butterfly bushes. It has at least a dozen herbs scattered through it. Sweet woodruff, lemon thyme, sage, dill and many more.
   Every fall the witch-hazel is full of praying mantis nests. I've come out the door a bit too fast and startled two dozen or more yellow finches feasting off the tops of the echinacea cones. They flew off in a whir of golden wings.
The garden is a circus of hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.
There are jewel-colored beetles that I have no names for and some very pretty spiders. (not my favorites, but I have found if I don't quarrel with them they generally leave me alone)
This particular garden is a lure, a siren singing an exuberant song.
It's melody is in it's scents and colors, the swaying stems of sunflowers, the plop of rain on leaves. The droning of insects in the summer sun. It's singing, 'come here, you are safe, you are welcome. There are no poisons, no death to carry back to your hives and your nests. There is enough for all. Be welcome, be safe. Rest awhile. Return. There is plenty.

I made this doll as a kind of representation of the garden and how I see it's abundance spilling over, protecting and nurturing the small living things that come to it and need it so.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the rest of the wonderful offerings!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A teeny, tiny little clock

It is a really small clock! I received this from the lovely gals at Alpha Stamps. It's hand painted and here are some tips on how to go about painting one yourself.

First of all, with pot metal, which is what this is made out of, you need to give it a good scrubbing with something like Dawn or (if you wear gloves) Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP. Dawn is the mildest option, but basically you need to do this to get the mold release compound off of the metal or nothing you put on it will stick.
Here is a picture of the back of the clock and what the metal looks like after it's been scrubbed. I can feel the difference in the less slippery texture of the clock after scrubbing it with Dawn and an old toothbrush.

Having started life in a mold, there are some bits and raw edges that can be filed off to give the clock a smoother look. I used a couple of jewelry files to do a bit of this, but this thing is so tiny that I ended up leaving it (for the most part) as is. I filed off the most obvious sticky-outy bits but the other don't show up much and basically disappear when the paint goes on, so don't worry too much about it.

Here is the clock painted with a coat of gesso. I used this a ground for the rest of the paint. It gives the paint something to stick to and allows nice, bright color to come through as the white gesso is nicely reflective.

Using a number 2 round brush (it is very fine and has a stiffness in the bristles that allow for fine detail painting) I painted in the gold first.

Next, lay in the primary colors you've chosen for your clock. I wanted mine to be reminiscent of the fancy French ormalu clocks with the gold gilding. They sometimes had very bright enamel colors as well and that is what I was going for here.

You can see I decided to change the ring around the clock dial from gold to blue and painted the main skin color on the cherubs. They look like they need some serious sun screen!

Don't worry about correcting any mistakes yet unless you've streaked a big blob of color across your gold. All that can be corrected in a later step.
I started laying in the dark and light blue at this point as well.

I pretty much have all my color in at this point, including some darker pink shading on the cherubs skin and a couple of different greens on the wreath around the clock. I also painted the dial using an even finer brush and black paint.

Now is the time to go in and correct over brushing or adding color to spots you missed. You can see in the picture below, I need to add some gold to correct some over painted blue on the front base of the clock and add blue to a patch or two I missed toward the back.

The faces need to be touched up but I apologize that I don't have a picture for them....for some odd reason, my camera would not download that photograph. Perhaps the cherubs thought I was Paparazzi......

The supplies for this project are pretty simple and listed below. Thank you for dropping by!

Metal Victorian Cherub Mantel Clock

Numbers 2 and 3 round paint brush (use what you are comfortable with! A liner brush also works well, but I found for me, it was a bit too flexible)
Gesso (I used Liquitex white gesso)
Acrylic paints
Dawn dishwashing liquid
Old toothbrush
Files if you have them

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Halloween Heart

Yep, Halloween Heart. Because Halloween is my favorite-est favorite and I'm spreadin' the love! Lora here with a fun project using the Mini Display Tray-Heart.

I started out using the overlay tray (front piece) as a template for my orange paper, cutting carefully inside the pencil line, which is a much truer cut and fits the shape without too much trimming afterwards. I also cut out my background paper for the solid back piece. I glued both papers in place.

Once again, using the overlay tray as a template, I traced around the images I decided were suited to each section of the tray. In this case, I cut OUTSIDE of the lines so I would have a little extra paper space to glue onto the frame.
I then used a scalpel (you can also use a craft knife) for some detailed fancy cutting on the images so that the background paper would show through.

The above photo shows me checking the layout before I glued things down. Next step was to glue each piece to the underside of the overlay tray. (Pictured below)

Once all the components were secure I gave it a few minutes to dry.....

And glued the overlay tray on top of the back piece, taking care to make sure all the edges lined up neatly. The hard part for me is waiting for the darn thing to dry. So I went into the kitchen and made some gingerbread cake.
An hour later I flipped the piece over and painted the back black. I also chose one of the Stackable Labels from the Stackable Labels Shape Set and painted it black (back and front).

I covered the top layer of the label with the orange paper I used on the overlay, printed out 'We Love Halloween" and glued it on the bottom of the label.
I wanted to attach the label to the heart with wire, so I lined up the label, centering at the top of the heart and carefully marked both pieces with a marker, indicating where I wanted the holes to be (two holes for each piece)
You can see my tiny white dots on each piece, well at least you can on the label, referencing where to drill.

I used my little hand drill to make the four holes, made two jump rings out of my favorite hardware store wire, and attached the two pieces. I glued a little eye hook the the label, added a couple of details like a tiny witches hat,  a pair of glasses and the number 31. It's ready to display!

Stackalble Labels Shape Set
Mini Display Tray-Heart

Additional supplies
Graphic 45 Rare Oddities Scrapbook Paper
Bo Bunny Vintage Double Dot Scrapbook Paper
12 Gauge Black Wire
Metal Numbers
Black Acrylic Paint

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Trio of Tags

Hello everybody, it's my first gig as an official design team member for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts ( ) and I'm thrilled to be part of the team!
Today I'm keeping it fairly simple with this pretty trio of tags......

I started out with the Chipboard Decorative Tags Large and the Chipboard Decorative Tags X Large. I used the tags as templates for the paper I chose and traced enough for both sides of the x large tags and for one side of the large tags. I brushed a light coat of matte medium on the paper and another, heavier coat for each tag and stuck 'em together.

After they all dried I inked the edges with gold and I glued the smaller tags (large tags) on to the bigger ones (x large tags) making sure the smaller tags were centered and that the papers were complimentary to each other.

Whilst they were drying, I painted the smaller three frames from the Filigree Frames Shapes Set a lovely shade of black.
I love the fun stencil 'opposite' the paint made when I lifted the frames up for drying. Hmmmm, that might be a fun project for another day!

Make sure you lift the frame up off of whatever you are painting them on and set them on a piece of plastic or wax paper to dry. Otherwise, the paint may act as glue and you'll be peeling the poor things off of your scrap cardboard. Not that I've EVER done that.

After everything is dry, I cut narrow strips of paper borders and glued them to the center of the smaller tags and then glued the frames on the tags. Once that is done, it's just a matter of embellishing and adding bits and pieces until you are happy with your results.

The papers I used were all from the Graphic 45 'Olde Curiosity Shoppe' 8x8 paper pad, which is one of my favorites. I also used a fine black marker to make dots and lines around the bits I wanted a little extra shading on. You can see that really well in the picture below;

I strung the tags on some pretty green velvet ribbon, threaded a big wooden bead through the ribbon and added a bit of glue on the bead to secure it. A little brass filigree flower and a tiny crystal added to the center for a bit of sparkle and glued on to the ribbon where it goes through the center hole of the tag completes the pieces.

Filigree Frames Shapes Set
Chipboard Decorative Tags Large
Chipboard Decorative Tags X Large

Additional Supplies
Graphic 45 'Olde Curiosity Shoppe' 8x8 paper pad
Black acrylic paint
Black permanent marker
Green velvet ribbon
Filigree brass flower stamping

Thank you for taking a look!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Day of the Dead Frame

Hello everyone! Lora here with my last project for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts as a guest designer. It has been a boat load of fun and I want to thank Gina for letting me play!

This weeks piece is all about the very cool Victorian Frame and Easel that I've transformed into a Halloween-ish Day of the Dead frame. I love all the bright colors on the skulls made of sugar and a hundred other medium nowadays to celebrate the holiday and I wanted to paint my version of them on the frame.
It really lends itself to this style of painting with all it's pierced swirls and curlicues.

This project is really straight forward....just the frame and some paint. I mostly used Ceramcoat Matte Acrylic Paints.
The first thing was to prime everything in a coat of gesso, and then I painted the back piece of the frame orange.

Everything else got a good coat of black and I gave it a lot of time to dry completely. Like about fifteen minutes, because that's a long time for me. Maybe in dog years it's about an hour and a half.

After that, it was mostly painting around the edges of the pierce work, emphasizing the shapes. I used mostly bright shades of green and purple with a little red and accents of white to make things pop.

This guy was hanging around on my work table and wanted to get into the pictures....

For the easel that the frame is resting on I drew (in pencil) the repeated flower design that is in the center of each side of the frame and painted it green to match the frame. I added some dots and a couple of curlicues that help tie both pieces together.

I really like that you can turn the frame long-ways to fit a different shape picture. I plan on using this frame to show off my business card at my market table this Halloween.

Victorian Frame and Easel
Skeleton Shape Set

Additional Supplies
Ceramcoat Matte Acrylic Paint
Golden Black acrylic paint

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Some people have flying monkeys.......

I prefer flying pumpkins. Because a) they look ridiculous and b) they look ridiculously cute. And lastly, those flying monkeys always scared the terwillikers out of me and seeing as how this piece walks on the lighter side of Halloween, flying pumpkins fit right in.
Lora here again in my third installment as guest designer for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.
This time around I chose to mess with the Mobile Birds set but instead of using the pretty birds,  I decided to dangle GSLCuts Skeleton Shapes Set on it and put a Halloween twist on the whole thing.

A challenge to photograph, those elusive, pesky skeletons just did not want to cooperate, but I did get them in the end!

 A close shot of the little witch and her flying pumpkin minions.

I used little seed pods that look like pumpkins, painted a bright orange. You can get them HERE.
The cute little wings are GSLCuts Bat Wings Miniatures.

Here are a few how-to's for making this mobile....

I primered the mobile pieces and skeletons first. I find that gesso gives the matte medium and paints something toothy to stick to and I only need to use one coat of paint and a thin layer of matte medium on each piece.

A lick of paint on the skeletons and paper on the Mobile pieces and they're ready to go.

I cut five pieces of orange linen twine about 10 inches long.
I made holes in the top center of each skeletons forehead, pulled the orange linen twine through the hole and threaded a wooden bead (which I painted black) through the twine making sure the loose end was also inside the bead, and squirted some glue into the bead hole and let it dry.
After they dry you can add beads and doodads like I did to mine to fancy the skellies up.
It makes them happy.

Whilst they were drying, I used a black permanent marker on the bat wings. It's easier to do this before you pop those babies out of the cardboard...saves your finger tips from getting black and having the check out lady at the grocery store ask you if you have zombie rot.
No kidding.

I also dabbed some glue in the center of each pumpkin pod and stuck a piece of twine in there to dry.

After I popped the wings free I cut little tabs of black paper and glued them on the wings, leaving half of the tab free to glue on the pumpkin.
I then glued the wings on to the pumpkins, let them dry and then painted the pumpkin orange as well as the part of the tab that attaches the wings to the pumpkin, making the tabs 'invisible' and therefore making the wings appear to be growing out of the pumpkins.
This wordiness has happened because in my creative frenzy (hehe) I forgot to take pictures of this part of the process.

After all was safely dry and doodads and such were added to twine and the mobile itself was embellished with bits and bobs, all was put together. The results were pretty fun!

Mobile Birds
Skeleton Shape Set
Bat Wing Miniatures

Additional Supplies
8mm Looped Bead Cap
Thin Ornate Filigree
Black Zig Zag Dresden Borders
Pumpkin Pods
Brass Stamping
Orange Linen Twine
Acrylic Paint
Matte Medium
Wooden Beads

Thank you for visiting!