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Mixed Media Prints – Wabi Sabi Inspired


Jul 18, 2018 Mixed Media, Paintings Comments are off

Painting with Dye Ink & Acrylic Glaze Medium

I purchased Serena Barton’s book “Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop” a while back and have been trying out the tutorials she kindly shared in her book. I am quite taken with the idea of Wabi-Sabi, which in its very simplest definition means the acceptance of imperfection. This was quite helpful to me in pursuing my art by allowing myself to let go and be content with the process and outcome.


Remember to click on the photos to get a closer look…

Serena introduced me to the idea of using dye inks mixed with acrylic glaze medium to paint (along with other acrylic paints of course). Specifically, Ranger’s Adirondack Dye Ink Re-inkers was the dye ink she uses. I happen to have a large quantity of them and was thrilled to incorporate them in my mixed media art prints. Unfortunately Ranger Ink no longer makes Adirondack Dye Ink, but I am sure there are many inks on the market that can be used. I plan to experiment with other inks and see what effect I get with them – will keep you posted when I do.


Most of Serena’s tutorials I practiced were painting landscapes. Looks simple enough, but there are so many layers and details that are not apparent in a photo.


Further in the book she introduced many more techniques, design compositions, layering, and textures. I haven’t had a chance to try them all.

Below you will find a few up close photos showing the texture details of some of the prints.

Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.




I was so inspired by the art I was creating, that I went to Serena’s website and found she was teaching a class in Portland Oregon. That was a few years back now. I remember the classes and the art I created fondly. I am still inspired by her art and keep an eye on her work.

Just thought I would share the inspiration I found in this book. Thanks Serena. There are many books offering motivation and ideas, find yours.  Val

Alcohol Ink Backgrounds – Ink Lift Technique


Jul 17, 2018 Cardmaking, Paper Arts, Tutorials Comments are off

Alcohol Ink Backgrounds using Ranger’s New Alcohol Lift Ink

Just sharing some playing around I did with the new Ranger Alcohol Lift Ink. I watched Tim Holtz’s tutorial video and was inspired to practice his techniques. (Click this link to view Tim’s video… Ranger Alcohol Lift Ink ). Remember to click on the photos below to enlarge them.

I love my alcohol inks and was so excited to have a new technique to apply them. I also bought Ranger’s new Yupo Paper, even though I already had some other brands that I have been using with my alcohol inks. It will be interesting to see the difference between the various brands (maybe that will be a future blog).

First I did a basic lift, by following Tim’s technique, and tapped the Alcohol Lift Ink onto a stamp and then pressed the stamp onto a Yupo paper background coloured with alcohol inks. Now that I have “lifted” the ink, I stamped the image onto glossy card stock. In this case I stamped a butterfly image. Wow – not only was I pleased with the stamped image with so much detail and colour; but also the ghost image left behind on the Yupo background. These backgrounds and images will be a great start to a card.  (NOTE: remember to clean your stamp before and after applying the Alcohol Lift Ink).


For the next sample, I coloured a rainbow effect onto Yupo Paper with alcohol inks. Then I took a large background stamp (Gears) and did the same transfer technique. But this time I stamped the image onto regular card stock. The colours are more muted when stamped onto a more porous card stock. I quite liked the soft, water colour effect the regular card stock gives.

Still following Tim’s techniques, I lifted the alcohol ink through a stencil using a drop of Alcohol Lift Ink onto a foam pad. By buffing off the extra Lift Ink with a paper towel, the faded effect of the stencil pattern really shows through.


Well that was fun! Can’t wait to make some cards. Happy to share!  Val

Metallic Glimmer Cards


Mar 30, 2018 Cardmaking, Paper Arts, Tutorials Comments are off

Handmade Cards using Metallic Polishes & Waxes

Just sharing some cards I  finished making….

I recently purchased a new Sizzix embossing folder and die cut combo (Sizzix – Just a Note Butterflies 662753). Combos are great for quick crafting and I love it when they include butterflies! It makes my crafting a lot easier when there are matching pieces to complete a project. The embossing folder creates a beautiful butterfly background. What makes the set special is that the butterfly thinlit die-cuts match the embossing folder, so the project is instantly coordinated.

Remember, you can click on the images below for a larger view…


Metallic colours in any medium are a favourite of mine. I have to admit that I own too many paints, waxes, powders, rub-ons, and even water colours. But they all seem to have special applications and qualities that make my heart sing. For these cards I used Cosmic Metallic Gilding Polish, Cosmic Glitter Kiss – both new to my stash. I also used  Prima/Finnabair Antique Brilliance Waxes. Of course the metallic shimmer is most apparent when applied to black card stock, but I also used the Cosmic Glitter Kiss on cream card stock.


For the first card, I rubbed on the Gilding Polish onto the embossed background (the base card stock was black). The colours I blended were Rich Red, Red Bronze, and Gold Treasure. You can apply the Polish lightly to hi-light the butterflies only and leave a bit of black contrast, but I chose to colour in the whole background. I think the butterfly embossed images still shows through very well. I then rubbed the Glitter Kiss (Sahara Gold) onto the die-cut butterflies.

Placing the background image onto my black card base, I realised I needed some matting between the two. I wanted the mat to be a coordinated colour, so I took a piece of black card stock slightly larger than the embossed image, and rubbed some the the same Glitter Kiss (Sahara Gold) around the edges. A second mat of black card stock is used between for even more contrast. The Cosmic Gilding Polishes and Glitter Kiss come with great sponges to apply them, but I also used my fingers to smear and blend them. The words are polished with Rich Red, and glued to a label die cut (Hero Arts), and raised with black foam tape to add dimension. Then the butterflies are glued over their matching embossed images. A few rhinestones on the butterflies for bling, and the card is complete.


For the Second card, I used cream card stock to emboss the image and gently rubbed the Cosmic Glitter Kiss over the raised butterflies as I wanted only the butterflies hi-lighted with glitter. The same process is used to colour the matting; rubbing Red Bronze around the edge of a black mat and also using Red Bronze to colour the die-cut butterflies.  The top embossed image is popped up with foam tape over the next black mat underneath to add some depth.



For the Last card, I blended Prima/Finnabair Antique Brilliance waxes over the embossed image (Mystic Turquoise, Lucky Emerald). As before, I coloured the edges of my black mat, using Amethyst Magic wax for a purple contrast. I also used Amethyst Magic to colour the butterflies, and then rubbed a little Glitter Kiss Frosty Sparkle on them for some added bling. This time I raised the butterflies with some dimensional tape before placing them over their matching embossed butterflies. Again, some sparkly rhinestones are added to the butterflies, and we are done!



Hope you enjoyed!       Val

Industrial Themed Cards


Sep 8, 2017 Brush, Cardmaking, Industrial, Paper Arts Comments are off

Industrial Themed Cards

During this long, hot, dry summer, its been a respite to stay cool inside and keep creating. I have been working on a few projects this summer. Mainly making lots of hand made cards. Here are a few of my newest creations with our signature industrial look.

I know I am suppose to be de-cluttering and organizing my studio space, but every time I try, I find a project that needs to be finished (and boy do I have a lot of projects to finish). There is no excuse this time though, because these cards are made from the brand new Kaisercraft paper just released. The line of paper is called Factory 42 and I couldn’t resist the industrial theme to make these cards.



Hope you enjoyed!       Val

Stay tuned for more organizational inspiration from me. LOL

Mixed Media Altered Clock with Wings and Heart


Jun 19, 2017 3D Art, Altered Art, Finnabair, Mixed Media, Steampunk, Tutorials 4 Comments

Wings & Heart Mixed Media Altered Clock!

I had so much fun making my previous altered clocks that I had to make some more. I was asked to make a custom design for a customer with a steampunk/gothic look. Her favourite colour was purple and so she had to have some in the clock. No problem, as my fav colour is purple too – yummm! I plan to enter this one into Sandee & amelie’s Steampunk Challenge, as I think it fits with their design challenge. The vintage market we were so busy getting prepared for is over, so I have a bit more time to play around with some new ideas (coming soon!).

For this clock I used an old clock from the vintage thrift store as my base and my inspiration again comes from Finnabair.  I just finished taking some classes with her when she was here in Canada in April, and I loved all of her new waxes (so I had to buy all of them). I used Antique Brilliance Ruby and Amethyst on this clock.

I distressed and painted the metal clocks with paints from Finnabair’s Prima line and added texture on the surface. Then I glued on an assortment of embellishments (wings, gears, flowers, flaming heart, etc.). With the clock being so deep, I knew I had to make layers to bring the centre piece forward. I adhered layers of the gears using jumbo foam dots that I painted black to hide. Be sure to click on the images below to enlarge them.


I was pleased with how they turned out  – Hope you enjoyed!       Val

P.S. As for organizing my craft room – I did manage to get rid of  lots of supplies I wasn’t using at a garage sale – best they go to a better home than I could provide LOL. Now I just have to make sure I don’t just fill the space with more “stuff” (don’t hold your breath).

Mixed Media Altered Clock with Gears


Apr 4, 2017 3D Art, Altered Art, Finnabair, Mixed Media, Steampunk Comments are off

Mixed Media Altered Clock!

Hi there, I just finished another project that I plan to enter into Sandee & amelie’s Steampunk Challenge. I continue to gather great inspiration from their blog!  We have been so busy these last few months working to make things for our Vintage Market (see events page), these pieces included. I used old clocks from the vintage thrift store as my base. My inspiration comes from Finnabair as I am really drawn to her style. It just so happens that I took some classes with her recently. It was a great class – but more on that later.
I distressed and painted the metal clocks with paints from Finnabair’s Prima line and added texture on the surface. Then I glued on an assortment of embellishments (gears, button, butterflies etc.). With the clock being so deep, I knew I had to make layers to bring the centre piece forward. I adhered layers of the gears and trinkets using jumbo foam dots that I painted black to hide. Be sure to click on the images below to enlarge them.

I was pleased with how they turned out and have already sold one – Hope you enjoyed!       Val

P.S. I know I was going to take on the task of organizing my craft room – but that will now officially be “spring cleaning”. Stay tuned.

Starting off the New Year


Jan 19, 2017 Altered Art, Mixed Media, Paper Arts, Vintage Comments are off

Hello and Happy New Year!

I’m busy starting off this New Year refocusing on what makes me happiest. That will be, rolling up my sleeves and getting messy with paints, gels, and mixed media. All the while staying true to my love of rusty, grungy, abstract, dimensional art (along with altering vintage pieces for our upcoming markets of course).

First, I am going to organize my craft room, which will hopefully include moving my office out of my creative space.  It really is a distraction with unanswered emails, and mountains of paper work calling to me. Look at this mess that accumulated when I put my art on hold over the holidays and used the space for storage and rushed Christmas projects. Ugh – Wish me luck!

craft room 1  craft room 2

craft room 3  craft room 4

Then, I am going to just play and do what ever comes to mind.  I think this Finnibair style altered journal cover I did last year, will be my jumping off place.  As well as the inspiration I get from from art journaling, like these Dina Wakley pieces I did during a recent class with her. Hopefully this all will give me the motivation for a productive and happy year of art making.

create art P1050215

dina 1 dina 2

Have fun this year with what ever makes you happy.

I’ve been seeing this quote recently and it struct a chord with me….

You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always.

Happy New Year,

Cheers Val

Vintage Handmade Tobacco Cards


Oct 13, 2016 Cardmaking, Paper Arts, Tutorials, Vintage Comments are off

Handmade Cards using Vintage Tobacco Cards

Just sharing some cards I  finished making….

I always go through my stash of ephemera looking for paper to incorporate in my art.  I came across a stack of 1912 Tobacco Cards that I collected long ago. They were a collection of beautiful flowers and butterflies (my favs). I didn’t want them to sit in a box any longer so I knew I had to transform them into an art project. Tobacco cards are miniature works of art and needed to be enjoyed by others.  Incorporating them into a card was my game plan. Mindful not to alter the original tobacco card, I presented them in a small vellum envelope (Sizziz Die).

Tobacco card 1 tobacco card 2 Tobacco card 3

I also came across a stash of Song Cards from the 1950’s. So I knew I had the basics for the cards I had in mind to make.  I also have sheet music from 1909 Etude Music Magazine that I love to use. The Song cards became the background for the Tobacco cards on the front of the card. The sheet music was used on the inside of the card, as a background for a place to write a personal sentiment.

p1040748 p1040770 p1040745

I choose cardstock in colors to compliment the Tobacco card and all of the paper and ephemera was aged with Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Vintage Photo & Gathered Twig). The front just needed a few embellishments to highlight the Tobacco card so I added some metal key paper clips (Prima) and various metal and wood trinkets (Prima & Tim Holtz). I added some inspirational words using Tim Holtz Ideology Small Talk. These are great because they look like they have been typed on an old typewriter (I have a 1910 Underwood that I use to type words to use in my art, but these are much easier). A few pearl beads in the corners, and I was done.

p1040781  p1040782


I loved the authenticity of the ephemera, making the card truly vintage. These one of a kind cards could also be framed to be on display for all to enjoy.

Hope you enjoyed!       Val

Steampunk Altered Phone Frame


Jun 11, 2016 3D Art, Altered Art, Mixed Media, Steampunk, Tutorials 4 Comments

Prima Steampunk Phone Frame made into altered art!

Hi there, I just finished another project that I plan to enter into Sandee & amelie’s Steampunk Challenge. Love their blog – all things steampunk, industrial, and vintage – and great inspiration from all the other entrants!  We have been so busy these last few months working to make things for our Vintage Market, so it has been nice to be able to get back making art to share. This distressed metal phone from Finnibair/Prima Marketing was delicious all on its own. So I didn’t want to alter it too much and hide the phone. I wanted to have one of Prima’s Flower Cherubs to be the focal point. With the phone being so deep, I knew I had to make layers to bring the centre piece forward. So I started with a piece of wood (5×5 and 3/8″ thick). First I coated it with gesso, then I spread modeling paste around the edges and sprinkled glass beads into the modeling paste before it dried.  I was happy with the texture it provided.  Once dried, it was painted with various Golden Acrylic Paint (Burnt Umber, Paynes Gray, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Red Oxide).  I set that aside to dry while I worked on the Cherub piece. Be sure to click on the images to enlarge them..

altered phone 2  altered phone 3  altered phone 4

For the Cherub centre piece, I covered a 4×4 art board with gesso, before decoupaging tissue paper with text onto it (Tim Holtz Tissue Wrap – Terminology).  I added texture to the edges of the art board using Golden Fine Pumice Gel, and Fiber Paste. After it dried, I high lighted the textured areas and some of the edges with Lumiere Metallic Paint (Bronze, Rust, True Gold). The white Cherub Flower needed a touch of colour, so I painted the edges with Finnibair’s Steampunk Copper acrylic paint. The cherub was first attached to a piece of foam board to raise it up off the art board to give it even more depth.  I also glued a piece of foam board to the back of the art board so that when it was glued to the 5×5 wood background piece, it would be raised up even more. This also allowed for the metal embellishments to poke out from the different layers.

altered phone 5  altered phone 6

I used Finnibair’s new Prima Mechanicals as embellishments around and tucked under the Cherub piece. I had this old, rusty 10 gauge wire that I wrapped around the Cherub piece before attaching it to the 5×5 board.

altered phone 6 altered phone 13 altered phone 8

Before attaching the entire piece to the back of the phone (I had to take the back off the phone to do this), I realized that the piece still wasn’t brought forward as much as I wanted. So I glued another piece of foam board onto the back the the 5×5 piece before gluing it onto the phone back and inserting it back into the phone.

altered phone 9 altered phone 10 altered phone 12

I was pleased with how it turned out – Hope you enjoyed!       Val

Steampunk Altered Sewing Machine Frame


Jun 8, 2016 3D Art, Altered Art, Mixed Media, Steampunk, Vintage 4 Comments

A 1898 Antique Sewing Machine Frame made into altered art!

Today I am entering this project into Sandee & amelie’s Steampunk Challenge .  I like how the Steampunk assemblage really works well with the antique wood frame.  The frame is from a 1898 New Williams sewing machine.  I love antique sewing machines – they look like Steampunk artwork in and of themselves.  Tissue with vintage styled text on it was decoupaged to an art board to create the background. As for the dress form image, it is card stock from the Timekeeper set from Marion Smith Designs; which is distressed and attached to black card stock to bring out the image. The gears, wheels, and butterfly are from Finnibair’s new mechanical release (love these so much!!!).  A few more metal pieces to decorate the corners (they actually hide the holes where the sewing machine was fastened), and a vintage style key finishs off the piece.

Steampink sewing frame (1)      Steampink sewing frame (3)

Hope you enjoyed!       Val

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