Thursday, September 20, 2012

Techniques Class & Challenges

Alot of the blogs, group lists & websites I follow offer challenges every week or so, and lately I've been really trying to get on board. 

Simon Says Stamp is a terrific online store that carries pretty much everything that's out there, including Tim Holtz items and Wendy Vecchi's lines (two of my favorite designers, duh).  They offer a challenge every week, where a random entrant can win a $50 gift certificate to shop for goodies from their site.  I just found out last week that there are actually two different challenges ... their weekly challenge, and their vintage challenge.

One of the challenges for last week was trendy--use either neon colors, hexagon shapes, or a chevron design.  The first two weren't gonna happen here, so I chose to use my new Chevron embossing folder from Stampin' Up!  I had to prepare for my monthly Techniques class, so I killed two birds with one stone.  Here's what I came up with:

I used Tim Holtz's Alterations Rickety House die using SU Crumb Cake card stock, then ran the diecut through my machine again in the Chevron folder.  I applied Pumice Stone Distress Ink, and then went over it all with Frayed Burlap Distress Ink.  I cut a 2nd house on scrap to use as a stencil which I laid over some SU So Saffron card stock and inked the windows with So Saffron ink to create a kind of glowing light effect.  Then I adhered the yellow card stock to the back of my house.
The base of the card is SU Early Espresso card stock with a layer of Elegant Eggplant to which I stamped SU's Cheesecloth background w/Versamark ink.  I also made a stencil of a 'hill' for the bottom which I inked up with Frayed Burlap.  I distressed the edges and added more Frayed Burlap ink.
The moon was SU's Very Vanilla card stock, punched out with 1", 1-1/4" & 1-3/8" circle punches, then stacked and ran them through the Bigshot in Tim Holtz's Rays Texture Fade folder.  They were colored w/So Saffron ink before embossing, and swiped w/Spiced Marmalade Distress ink after and layered w/Dimensionals.
Alas, my entry didn't win, but never fail, there's more!
One of the talented people I met on the last Tim Holtz cruise was Linda Ledbetter and her mom.  Linda has a blog where she posts a challenge, and there's usually a prize.  Most of the time (as far as I know--haven't been following more than a couple of months), it's also a gift certificate for Simon Says Stamp, about $25.  Her challenges run through the techniques from Tim's books, and as I said, I just started following them.  She's up to page 46 from A Compendium of Curiosities Vol. II.  The techniques go to page 66, so I'm very late in the game.  lol

I also belong to a couple Yahoo Groups:  All Things Tim (subscribe at, Kindred Souls (invite only), and Everything Wendy Vecchi (subscribe at  These groups have challenges as well.

This next card is from another challenge.  Simon Says Stamp happens to be having their Stamptember event, and Tim did a technique video for them, as well as Wendy.  Lori Hassler, who is the list mom for Everything Wendy Vecchi challenged us this week to do the technique Wendy did in her video, so here's mine:

I used Encore Gold ink first for the script background from Wendy's Live & Make Art set.  I then stamped the flourishes in the top left & bottom right corners w/Adirondack Snow Cap ink and heat dried them (sorry, I don't know which company makes these stamps).  I then swiped over them with the ink blending tool w/Seedless Preserves Seasonal Distress ink.
I then used the Snow Cap again and stamp the leaves with a stamp from the Precious Butterflies set from SU.  After heat drying, I swiped Peeled Paint Distress ink.
I put some Ranger Gold Paint Dabber on my craft sheet and added water with my Aqua Painter.  When the mixture was watery enough, I splattered the background.
I put some water in a small dish and added a dropper-full of Dusty Concord Distress Ink, plus about 1/4 teaspoon of Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls & mixed well.  I dropped in a Prima paper flower to color & then heat dried.  I added more color with the Dusty Concord Distress ink & an ink blending tool to highlight some details.  For the flower center, I inked up my SU Canvas background stamp w/Versamark ink and set aside.  I put a Pop-Up Glue Dot in the flower center & covered with gold embossing powder.  After melting the powder, I quickly pressed it onto the inked stamp to give it texture (the Versamark ink helps to release the embossed glue dot).
The card is layered on some Elegant Eggplant card stock, then Shimmery Gold, and finally onto a Basic Black card base.
This final card from class wasn't a challenge, and I learned this technique from a fellow Stampin' Up! demonstrator, Louise DelVecchio.  She came up with this flower fold using the SU Scallop Circle Punch.  I just chose my colors, and added more flowers.
I thought this was a fairly simple card since it's just the white card base and two stamps.  Boy, was I wrong!  lol  I figured after they scored & folded their 2nd flower, they'd be pros ... not so.  But, they all liked the card, so I think it was OK.  lol
We used Basic Black ink for the sentiment, and Garden Green ink for the leaves.  The flowers are made with Rich Razzleberry, Melon Mambo, Regal Rose, Pretty in Pink & Pink Pirouette card stocks.  Everything used to make this card was by SU.
One of the ladies at class last night was from the classes I taught at Michaels, so she's been to about 7 of my classes.  The friend she brought with her was an absolute (and I mean absolute!) beginner.  I love teaching beginners because everything is a WOW.  It's just tough when you have very experienced stampers and a newbie in the same class with advanced projects.  I hope I didn't overwhelm her and scare her away!  lol

Monday, September 17, 2012

Simon Says Stamp Blog Challenge

I was supposed to be making cards today for my techniques class on Wednesday, but I really wanted to work on the challenge for the Simon Says Stamp Blog challenge.  The winner gets a $50 gift certificate to shop at their online store, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone.

The challenge was "trendy" ... more specifically, use neon, hexagon, or chevron.  Since I'm not into bright colors, neon was out.  The hexagon band wagon hasn't hit me yet, so that's out.  But, I do love Chevron, and I recently got the new Chevron embossing folder from Stampin' Up!  I don't know when the deadline is, so I'll post more deets on this after Wednesday's class.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 2012: Classroom / Studio

I can't believe I've had my classroom/studio for a year and a half already!  And, I'm still not finished organizing!  We all know how that goes, huh?  Back about, oh, March or April 2011, I posted the progress of creating this space.  If I knew how to find the link to a specific post, I'd add it, but alas, I'm lacking in that area. 

I'm going to give you a little tour of my heaven ...

This is my favorite section ... starting on the left, all the drawers are filled with punches and on the shelves above is all my grunge, sticky back canvas, Ranger stamping paper, adhesive sheets, Tim Holtz & Wendy Vecchi books.  The next section from top to bottom are my four Tim Holtz binders, foam alphabet stamps and Wendy Vecchi stamps.  Next shelf are my Distress ink pads, re-inkers and spray inks.  Then we've got Ranger Crackle Paints and Painter Dabbers.  In the back is a clear box of Tattered Angels sprays and in front of that is a plastic container filled with Tim  Holtz Fragments.  The next shelf is an Art Bin box with all my Distress Stickles and loads of little embellishments I like to use on my Tim-inspired tags, and a drawer filled with painting items.  The bottom 3 shelves are beading except for the little set of drawers which hold clear stamp alphabets, and the teal bag on the bottom containing all my Idea-ology.  The next section at the top is my Teresa Collins stampmaker and my clear blocks.  The next shelf hold my Alcohol Inks, Distress Stains, Bind-it-All and lots of coils.  The two drawers are filled with Ranger goodness:  Glossy Accents, Multi-Matte Medium, ruler ribbon, tissue tapes, and much, much more!  Then I've got the melting pot & accessories, 4 draws of miscellaneous wood-mounted stamps and 2 drawers of Adirondack stamp pads and Archival inks.

The other sections contain all my embossing powders, adhesives, glitters, boxes of finished cards from classes, polymer clay, binders of cling-mount stamps, Stampin' Up! chipboard, Cricut cartridges, Stamp 2 Cut cartridges, embossing folders, and lots of scrapbooks and books on art.  The wooden drawers on the bottom house fibers, material, and my collection of paper crafting tools.

The short wall has all my Stampin' Up! cardstock and stamp pads.  I also have the newest addition to my studio ... my kiln!  My hubby is worried about a fire, so I had to purchase a metal cart to house it on.  So, on the shelves are the kiln supplies as well as my new metal working tools.  I just noticed that next to the kiln I have my storage box for all my Spellbinder and thin metal dies.

Opposite the kiln cart is my die-cutting station.  My Big Shot lives here with all my dies in the drawers.  I'm going to have to come up with something new because this is filled to the hilt!  The drawers' glide (well, not, actually) on a flimsy strip of wood, so with all the weight of the dies, these glides days are numbered!

This is where my organizing stopped.  I started at the wall housing things that I've collected over the years to alter in classes.  I wanted this section to also house my scrapbooking paper & supplies, but I ran out of shelves, and things just got thrown on what shelves I did have set up.  Gotta clean this out and maximize the space like I did on the opposite wall.

Here's a look at my 'creation station'.  There hasn't been much creating here in a long time because things just get moved to here when I need to clean the table off for a class!

The drawers contain all my paper cutters, stamp cleaning pads, markers, pastels and a few tape runners.  On the top shelf is my Cricut Expression, eClips (I bought when Tim introduced his Stamp 2 Cuts, but I haven't tried it yet).  Next to that is my brand new prize--a purple eCraft machine!  The rest of the shelves are cluttered with all types of containers, baskets, Big Shot bag and underneath is my Cricut bag.  The white rolling bin holds my collection of tote bags (stop me, I'm soooo addicted!).

Here is my wall-o-Stampin' Up! stamps.

My computer on my always cluttered desk.  I print out everything so I can re-create, but it's all just a big pile of papers!  lol  I just can't stop tho!

This back corner is where the sump pump is.  We used to always get water down here, but we had it waterproofed before finishing it, and knock on wood, haven't had a drop of water since!

I bought the little refrigerator when The Crazy Cropper went out of business, but I'm still waiting for my electrician hubby to finish installing outlets for me, so it's just taking up precious space right now.  I purchased the white storage cubes every time they were half off at Michaels.  Since this wall has one of my 3 outlets in the whole room, my Vagabond sits here.  The white things on the floor are ceiling tiles from my laundry room waiting for dear Rick to finish the new vent to my dryer.  Why they have to be here on the floor, I don't know.

These shelves are on the other side of the wall of shelves (my laundry room).  There were two sets of shelves, but it made it a tight squeeze to do laundry, so I removed a set and just kept this set for my ribbon collection.

This is the Scrap Rack that I just had to have!  It sat empty for about 2 years before I finally organized all my scrapbooking embellishments into one place.  When I moved it down to the studio, I put it on my sewing machine cabinet, and all new embellishments have just been piled on top waiting for new pages to be purchased.

This pile on the floor was over by my cardstock, but when I added the metal cart for the kiln, I moved it all here next to my desk so I could sort through it.  That was over a month ago!  I'll get to it soon Rick, I promise (he thinks I have too much stuff!  ha!).

And, this is the other pile of stuff I have to find homes for.  I used to hold up to 7 classes a month here besides the classes I taught at Michaels every month.  I got burned out and quit Michaels in May, and I haven't taught a class here since the Wendy Vecchi wall hanging.  I decided to schedule some and maybe then I'll get moving and finish cleaning up around here!

I hope you enjoyed my tour, and maybe you'll be able to come play here and create sometime!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Yesterday I posted this pic showcasing the Text Tiles I made in Seth Apter's class.  I alluded to today's post on my growing Wall-o-Art I've been hanging since we created my classroom/studio, and promised to show it in detail.

These are two of the projects I made on Tim Holtz cruises (not sure if they were made on the same cruise, but I think the layered canvases was made on either the New England/Canada cruise, or the Caribbean cruise, and the bird was made on either the Mexican cruise or the New England/Canada cruise.

Now that I think about it, I think this bird was on the Mexican cruise.  The mirror below was made on the first cruise which was to Alaska.

We used strips of textured grunge paper and colored them with paint dabbers and glued them to plain wooden frames.  The letters were grunge paper painted with black paint dabbers.

This is an ATC frame from 7 Gypsies.  I'm not an ATC artist or trader, but I did collect some on the 4 Tim Holtz cruises, and these are my favorites.  I know the top left was by Eileen Bellomo.  The 2nd row, 3rd from the left is by Tim Holtz, and the 4th from the left is by Pamicat.  The bottom left corner is by Wendy Vecchi.  I'd have to pull out the others to get the artist's names.

This is a wall hanging I made to show my students some techniques using Ranger supplies and Wendy Vecchi's stamps by Stampers Anonymous.  I made it about two years ago, and I finally taught the class about 2 months ago!  lol

I made this frame in a class at the Scrapbook Expo in Somerset, NJ this summer.  The matted pieces on the front are mylar that we ran through a Cuttlebug in an embossing folder.  We then used denatured alcohol to remove the coloring off the raised images.

The pieces on the sides are metal.  This was my first introduction to working with metal this summer.  We used colored metal, embossed it, and sanded the color off the raised areas.  Some was brass colored, and some black.

I made this welcome sign several years ago to teach my students how easy is was to cover plain wooden letters with scrapbook paper.  After sanding off the excess paper around the letters, we embellished with ribbons and buttons and glued the letters to a painted piece of wood.  This was the first piece of art I hung after my room was completed.  My classroom is the basement, and this is overhead as you go down the stairs.

As a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, used to have a Christmas party every year where we created a gift to swap.  I made two of these so I could keep one.  This was the Christmas following the Tim Holtz/Wendy Vecchi Mexican cruise where Wendy taught us to make the grunge paper roses.  Not such a great pic of the mirror's frame, but it's a great reflection of my laundry room!  lol

And, finally, the last piece I want to showcase is a canvas my daughter made in High School.  Her assignment was to watercolor something technical.  She held a bunch of circuit boards & wires in her hands and asked a friend to take a picture.  Then, she made the watercolor using the pic as inspiration.  I love the colors, and I think it's really cool.  What makes it even cooler is that it's hanging on the angled wall/ceiling under the staircase that leads up to my living room.

Tomorrow I'm going to post the current state of my studio/classroom.  It's JAM packed with supplies and many a student wants to move in here! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Evening with Sept Apter

I met Seth Apter in June at Create NJ.  Unfortunately, I wasn't in any of his classes.  I had wanted to take his Text Tiles class, but the time slot was the same as the Banner Wrap Beach class I was taking with Andrea.  When our class was over, I snuck into Seth's class and was in awe of everyone's beautiful work!  I was talking with Seth and found out that he lives locally in NYC!  I begged him to teach this class somewhere in the city, and luckily, Michele from Little Bird Creations (a Meetup group) scheduled him to teach this class at her little studio in the Upper West Side!

Not only was this a fantabulous class, but I got to hang out with some art friends from the Tim Holtz cruises (Eileen & Pat), but I finally got to meet the very talented and sweet Heidi Bound, who is a friend of theirs, and I always heard so much about her.  I also got to meet Michele (our lovely host), Rosie, Violet, Teri, and some other talented ladies.

I never took any kind of art classes in high school, and I've always been more of a crafter.  In the last 12 years or so, I've been mostly paper crafting, and that led me to mixed media.  Between my classes at Create and this one with Seth, I now have a much better understanding of the use of Gesso and Acrylic Glazing Liquid and liquid acrylic paints (not the kind from the craft stores!  lol).  Here's what I made ...

Seth aptly titled this class Text Tiles, not only because they're 'tile-like', but also the addition of added rub-on letters.  Anyone who knows me knows I love anything to do with text, fonts, lettering (I was a typesetter for 15 years).  He also encouraged us to try using rubber stamps, stencils, or anything else our little creative minds could conjure up, but I was so into the text!

Since this was my first real class learning how to use liquid acrylics and layering colors, I wanted to stress that in my text.

I started with the smaller piece, so when I was ready for the rub-ons for the larger piece, I felt (get-it?) I really wanted to emphasize the word feel, so when I got home, I used some foam letters and stamped using super heavy gesso.  I wanted it to be textured, and this stuff is really thick!

I hung my text tiles on my growing wall-o-art in my classroom/studio.  More details of that in tomorrow's post.

Here's some pics of the master at work ...


And some pics of the gals creating ...

And some great pics of some artsy friends ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What's in the box?

I received this big, fairly heavy package, and I knew exactly what it was!

My fabulous prize from the Craftwell blog hop!  They notified me several days ago while I was getting my kids settled at college.  I had already received emails notifying me of 2 other prizes I'd won from blog hops, and my hubby was getting skeptical (he always thinks it's some kind of scam! tee hee)  Especially since this was a big prize.

So, back to the details of my prize.  It's a eCraft machine, which is an electronic cutting system.  I'd never heard of this one, so I'm very excited!

It's a sleek, slender machine that's alot smaller than a Cricut, and you don't need a cutting mat.  There's a paper tray that holds sheets up to 12", or you can use a roll of paper (gotta find out where I can get these!)

I barely got it out of the box and decided I needed to snap a few pics and blog about it!

It's got a little control panel with a LED screen.  Very simple, easy to use controls.

This little mechanism holds both a blade, and a pen!

There's an adorable little secret storage tray in the back under the control panel.  It stores tweezers, a little alan wrench, 4 new blades, and an SD card.

Skimming over the manual, it says that you have to use the special Craftwell SD cards--don't use the ones for your camera or you'll ruin your machine!

Can wait to crank this baby up and try it out!  It doesn't look like it takes any kind of cartridges, so I don't have to worry about going broke buying those, or storing them!

Thanks again to Craftwell for my absolutely amazing prize!  mwah!