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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

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).

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

Altered Clip Board


May 23, 2016 Altered Art, Tutorials, Vintage Comments are off

Today I wanted to share with you how I altered an inexpensive clip board and added a vintage illustration to make a decorative wall art piece.  Altering clip boards is all the rage right now. They have that vintage feel and really dress up any altering or art you add to them. I wanted to keep mine simple and when I found illustrations from a 1921 German agricultural textbook, I knew they would work perfectly. I like sets of three, so I made them from different prints and different backgrounds.

  1. I started by staining the drab silver clip with Alcohol Inks. I did this first so that I would not spill the ink on my finished piece (which I have done before). I just taped off the board to keep over-spills to a minimum.
  2. Next I painted the board white (I used up some old white paint, but white gesso would work too). I also painted the edges of the back of the board white.  Depending on how you are altering the board, you may not have to pre-paint it white.  But I wanted a really crisp white background so that the tissue paper I use next would stand out and be a nice contrast to the print.

altered clip board 1 altered clip board 2 altered clipboard 3

3. Once the paint dried, I decoupaged on some of Tim Holtz tissue paper, using a different background for each of the three prints I did.  I made sure to have enough to overlap a bit on the back edges of the board. I prefer to have both sides of my art pieces to looked finished if I can.  I stained the edges with Vintage Photo Ranger Distress Ink.  I love the weathered aged look that distressing the edges with brown stain creates.

altered clip board 4  altered clip board 5  altered clip board 6

4. I created a background layer of green card stock for the illustration to go on.  The edges were torn and inked to give it a distressed look. To adhere the illustration to the board I used gel medium.

altered clip board 7 altered clip board 8 altered clip board 9

4. To finish the back of the board, I cut a piece of card stock so that the tissue edges could still be seen. I wanted to share a little history of where the illustrations came from, so I wrote a little note to explain. I also photocopied the inside cover of the German agricultural textbook to give it some authenticity.

Altered Clip Board 10

5. Here are the three finished pieces. All different, but I think they coordinate nicely. Bye for now…

altered clip board 11  altered clip board 12  altered clip board 13

Heart with Wings


Nov 2, 2015 3D Art, Altered Art, Industrial, Mixed Media, Steampunk, Tutorials 4 Comments

Hello again!

It’s been a while since I have posted. I have been busy creating for an upcoming Vintage Market. It will be our first adventure – should be fun. Reinventing lots of vintage and rusty treasures. Here is an art piece I made from an old picture frame. I call it Heart with Wings.  I have entered this piece into SanDee & amelie’s latest Steampunk Challenge.

I started with a salvaged frame that had seen better days.  I liked it because it was one solid wood piece, with a raised centre where an old print had been glued on.  After striping the print off the centre, I painted the outer frame with chalk paint, sanding the surface back to show some of the wood before I waxed it to seal it, (being careful not to get wax where I was going to glued down the music sheet in the centre raised part).

Years back, during one of our “junking” trips, I found some awesome sheet music that ranged from 1902 – 1938.  I used gel medium to decoupage the sheet music from 1935 onto the centre raised area.  I used Distress Ink to age the edges of the music before gluing it down. Even the song title resonated with me; “I’m in the mood for love”.

Heart - chalk paint Heart - frame detail

Now it was time to add a focal point to bring the piece together.  I combined Sizzix’s Tim Holtz – Feathered Wings die with Prima’s Sandra Evertson’s – Relics & Artifacts Heart and Flame. (did I mention that I love her stuff – and his too!)

Heart - supplies

After gluing the wing layers together, I painted a few coats of gesso on them.  Then I painted them using tips I had learned from Andy Skinner (Easy Rust Painting tutorials). First I painted the wings with Paynes Gray, then a coat of Quinacridone Gold.  I found it too light and a bit too yellow, so I sponged on some Transparent Red Iron Oxide.  To bring back some of the Paynes Gray; I gave the wings a wash of the gray watered down.  I hi-lighted the tips of the wings with Red Oxide because it is very opaque (I used Golden paints – my favourite).  I did the same for the flame, and I rubbed on some Inka Gold (yellow gold) on the tips of the flames and feathers for more layers and hi-lights.

Heart - closeup 1

For the heart, again using some of Andy Skinner’s tips, I painted on sand texture (pumice gel).  A layer of Payne’s Gray was painted before sponging on Quinacridone Gold. I love Ranger’s embossing powder “Brick” for rust effects, so I sponged on some embossing gel ink, sprinkled on the powder, and embossed it.  I was worried about using a heat gun on the paint – but it actually worked!  I found the powder too dull without enough texture, so I experimented again.  I put on a layer of Deco Media Ultra-Matte Varnish, sprinkled some Brick embossing powder over it.  After it dried, I painted on another layer of the matte varnish to seal the powder.

Heart - closeup 3                 Heart - full view

The pieces were arranged and glued down with Golden Extra Heavy Gel Medium – and it was done.  I loved how it turned out!  Thanks again for tuning in.


Altered Window Pane


Jul 20, 2015 Altered Art, Home Decor, Steampunk, Tutorials, Vintage 4 Comments

Today I wanted to share with you a home décor project I designed from an old salvaged window pane.  At first I was content to simply hang it on my wall, enjoy the patina, and wonder about who had looked through that window for all these years, and what view did they gaze at. But alas, I had to do something to make it my own…

So, again inspired by Sandee & Amelie’s Steampunk Challenge Blog, I altered the window panes with some distressed Vintage/Steampunk/Industrial paper, made some rusty gears, hardware, pulleys, and generally distressed the look a bit more. I used quite a few of Tim Holtz products to distress and alter my piece.

This challenge was unique because you had to choose 3 ingredients from a tic-tac-toe grid. For this project I used; Rust, Top Hat, & Metal as my 3 ingredients. Here are the steps I used to alter the window pane…

1. I started with a vintage window frame that I had salvaged, cleaning it up just a bit.

window pane

2. I used vintage, steampunk papers, tore the edges, and inked the paper with a variety of Ranger Distress Inks. I love this paper from Tim Holtz and was happy that I found a way to display the Industrial images. The paper was adhered to the back side of the window panes (facing forward), I brushed on a very liquid decoupage glue that was safe for glass surfaces. Because it was very fluid, there was only a thin layer on the front of the paper – which made sure that the image wasn’t clouded with the glue between the glass and the image.

distressed papers

3. For the gears & hardware, I used Sizzix Gadget Gears and Hardware Findings die cut from grunge board. Then painted, embossed, and inked the grunge pieces (using Distress Embossing Ink & Powder, Acrylic Paint, Distress Inks) to look like rusty pieces of metal. I glued the gears and hardware to the wood using Glossy Accents.

Die-cut Gears

Gears rust effect

Gears on window

4. The rope was aged by soaking it in freshly brewed coffee and the grounds (oh, the sacrifices we make for art).

rope coffee stained

5. I used Tim Holtz pulley wheels (Idea-ology pieces) and distressed the color them with Alcohol Inks. I fastened them to the top of the window frame (I am a bit handy with a drill) with screws. The rope was used to loop around the pulleys and attach them to a salvaged small barn pulley that was cleaned and polished up.

pulley & ink

Pulleys before and after adding Alcohol Ink

pulley & hardwar

Pulley screwed into top of window

Altered window pane

Finished altered window pane

And Voila! the newly transformed window has found a new home on my wall. It enjoys a view out of my windows, and hopefully many will enjoy viewing it!

Bulletin Board


May 23, 2016 Altered, Brush, Decor, Tutorials 0 Comments

Altered Clip Board

A inexpensive clip board is altered to make a lovely piece of decorative art. The botanical illustration is from a 1921 German agricultural textbook.  A little white paint, tissue paper, and distress ink pulls the pieces together and gives it an aged vintage feel.

Materials Used

  • Thrift Store Clip Board
  • White Paint
  • Tim Holtz Alcohol Ink
  • Tim Holtz Tissue Paper
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink
  • Gel Medium
  • Green Card Stock

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