Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Tales of Poirot -- Guest Design Team Piece for Frilly and Funkie Challenge Blog!

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited to be this week's Guest Designer over at The Frilly and Funkie Challenge Blog.  I nearly fell over when the lovely Linda Coughlin (the funkie junkie) asked me to design a project for this month's challenge.  What an honor.  Thanks Linda!!

I was truly inspired by Suzz's Author, Author Challenge.    Suzz said,

I have a great love for reading and was a permanent fixture at the library growing up. I decided it would be fun to host a challenge inspired by books.
There are so many wonderful books that inspire the mind to imagine the worlds created within them. Think fairy tales, mysteries, romances or even science fiction and use that to inspire your art. Your challenge it so create a shabby chic or vintage styled project inspired by a book. Provide an explanation of how the book and author inspired your project.

I was so inspired that I chose and entire series of books!  I absolutely love Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot Books.  I started reading them a few years ago and just couldn't stop :)  Dame Christie first introduced us to Monsieur Hercule Poirot in 1920 through the pages of The Mysterious Affair at Styles and bid him adieu in her 1975 Curtain.  Although Agatha Christie was not always fond of him (referring to Poirot as "a detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep"), much of the world loved him.  He even had his obituary published on the front page of the New York Times.  

My project is dedicated to the many tales of Hercule Poirot is a Paper Mache Book Box.  To go along with the 1920's introduction to Poirot, I decided to give my book cover an Art Deco feel.  I painted the cover in a semi gloss black paint.  The spine is decorated with Tim Holtz's Gilded Accent Remnant Rubs.  I just love how they sparkle on the black background.  I stamped Agatha Christie's initials with some Hampton Art alphabet stamps and gold embossed them.

Unfortunately, the cover of my paper mache book started to crack while I was working on it.  I taped reinforced it with some of Tim Holtz's Gothic Tissue Tape.  The front cover is decorated with more remnant rubs and a great Art Deco shape stamp (in the upper and lower corners) by Inkadinkado.  I filled in the shapes with Glossy Accents to really make the black pop.  I've got to say ... I really love the title of my book.  I used some of Tim's Deco Type Industrious Stickers as a mask and pounced over them with Gold Alcohol Ink Mixative applied with a Alcohol Ink Applicator.  I then removed the stickers and filled in the letters with Glossy Accents.

I wanted to make this box look like a real book, so I grabbed some Tarnished Brass Distress Paint to create my gold "page edges".  I used a stiff-bristled paint brush to drag through the paint to make it look like I have several pages in my book.  I added more tissue tape to create a decorative background for my inside front and back "covers". The tissue tape was given a light coat of Tim Holtz Distress Vintage Collage Medium.   

What really inspired me to do this project was Tim Holtz's Evolution Stamp Set.  Every time I saw this profile stamp, it reminded me of Hercule Poirot!  So this stamp graces the inside front cover of my Book Box.

I began with a piece of Glossy Paper and created a stamp collage background with images related to Poirot stories (images related to England, France, tea cups, trains, 1920's females, etc).  The background images were stamped in Tea Dye Distress Ink.  To give the white paper a more vintage look, I went over the background images with Antique Linen Distress Ink and an Ink Blending Tool.  I also added an "evidence" remnant rub to the background.

I tried stamping the Evolution image on the paper in various archival inks and it just did not look right.  I then used Walnut Stain Distress Ink and it turned out amazing!  It gave the stamped collage an amazing vintage feel.  Some of the Tea Dye stamped images came through the Walnut Stain ink.  I was not expecting that!  In fact that, "bleed through" effect was much more pronounced until I glued the Glossy Paper onto my inside front cover (with Distress Matte Collage Medium).  The moisture in the glue may have caused the water-reactive distress inks to mix more after it was glued into the book. Anyway, I love my "Poirot" image.  It turned out so much better than I expected it would.

Of course, to pay homage to the author, I cut out her signature off of one my paperback bookcovers.  I also added one of Tim Holtz's Mover and Shapers typewriter die cuts.  It was painted with the black semi-gloss paint and I added silver accents with gel pen.  The typewriter keys were given a coat of Glossy Accents.  I stamped the word Murder with Martha Stewart's Your Own Stamp Set Alphabet stamps and added it to my typewriter.  I also die cut a pen (from Sizzix's Sewing and Writing Set) out of chipboard.  The handle was painted black and covered in Glossy Accents  The nib was covered in Perfect Medium and gold embossed.  To create my "blood" on this writer's murder weapon, I mixed Glossy Accents with Barn Door Distress Stain

As for the interior of my box, I really added several details from some of my favorite Poirot books.  I used foam squares and foam blocks to put pieces at different levels. 

The background is a collage of various Tim Holtz Idea-ology Paper Stash papers.  You can see an advertisement for a Cairo hotel (Death on the Nile).  Also I have the blueprint from a train's dining car (Murder on the Orient Express).  I stamped one of Tim's trains on Glossy Paper and colored it with Distress Markers (Fired Brick, Black Soot, Hickory Smoke, Walnut Stain, and Mustard Seed).  From The Mysterious Affair at Styles, I have some added a tea cup and some "poison" glitter in one of Tim's Corked Vials.  To make sure we know it is poison, I added a Poison remnant rub to the vial. 

Poirot is often called "the little Frenchman" by people that he meets; however, he was not from France.  He actually had flee Belgium during the war.  He was a Belgium Policeman.  I created my own version of a Belgium Police Shield with a Sizzix die, paint, Distress Markers, Glossy Accents and some gold embossing powder.  The British flag makes an appearance for Poirot's adopted home.  You will notice a lost button in the middle of the flag (a clue from Murder on the Orient Express).

Although many of Poirot's cases take place abroad, he does not travel well.  He gets a bit air sick in Death in the Clouds.  I added a plane and some layered clouds from Tim's Mini Airplane & Cloud Movers and Shapers dies.  Here you can see several words I associate with Monsieur Poirot ("little gray cells", "mon ami Hastings" for his friend Arthur Hastings, "mystery", and "method").  I used a Black Soot Distress Crayon to highlight these words and some of my other images in the collage background.

Thanks again Linda for inviting me to be a guest designer this week.  If you get a chance, drop by Linda's store, The Funkie Junkie Boutique.  I just got some new Distress Crayons to play with from there!  I can't wait to break them in!

Thanks for dropping by!  Mary Elizabeth

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Getting a Little Spooky with Tim ... Holtz 12 Tags of 2016 -- September

Hi everyone!  I'm back this weekend with my take on Tim Holtz's September Tag for 2016.  Tim has been doing a Remix series this year where does a "mash up" of two different crafting techniques.  This month's techniques are Paint Petina (for the tag background) and Alcohol Ink Resist (for the focal image).  I absolutely love Tim's Evolution stamp that he used for his tag, but I just purchased some of his great Halloween items (Batground Layering Stencil, word bands, Gothic Remnant Rubs, etc).  So I ended up with a Halloween-themed September tag.

I pretty much followed Tim's techniques with the exception of using some of his ric rac trim instead of sewing.  I also used a little tip he mentioned in one of the Creative Chemistry courses (can't remember which one) on how to use Ranger Ink's Cut and Dry Foam to get the reverse image of a stamp.  I found a You Tube video from The Gentleman Crafter (Ranger U grad) on this Cut & Dry Foam Reverse Stamp technique .  Check it out if you are interested.   Anyway, I used this reverse stamp technique on the skull stamp from Tim Holtz's Apothecary set.  This foam stamp created the focal image used in the alcohol ink resist technique.

I used Black Soot Archival Ink on a script stamp from one of Tim's Halloween stamp/stencil sets (one of my new purchases form Michaels this fall) to get the script image on the skull.   Notice how I used the resist technique on the right part of the script stamped image that went into the alcohol ink background.  So cool!!  I used the resist technique with other script stamps around the skull image.  I also grabbed Tim's Splatter stencil and Batground stencil to use with Alcohol Ink blending solution. Love that effect.

Several Idea-ology Halloween embellishments (some new and some from previous seasons) were added to round out the entire tag. 

Oops ... I almost forgot to telly you about my background.  My paint patina background has a whole kitchen sink of colors:  Ripe Persimmon, Blueprint Sketch, Lucky Clover, Rusty Hinge, Broken China and Antique Bronze Distress Paint, as well as Candied Apple, Walnut Stain, Broken China and Ground Espresso Distress Ink.  As with Tim's tag, the paint patina was carried over to my Alpha Parts "Spooky".  Since my background a was a little dark, I added some Ripe Persimmon Distress Paint around the edges of my "Spooky" embellishment to make it pop a little more. 

This was so fun!  Since the official first day of fall was this past week, I'm feeling in the Halloween mood.  The temperatures were in the 80's (degrees F) that day and way too warm.  I'm looking forward to cooler fall days ahead.  I hope you are finding something to inspire you to get your hands inky!    Hugs to you all -- Mary Elizabeth

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Chiari Awareness Month 2016: The Gift of One Another

First, let me warn you that this will be a long post.  As many of you are aware, I suffered from Chiari Malformation (Type 1) for many years.  Chiari is a condition where the bottom of the brain, called the cerebellum, herniates through the opening at the base of the skull into the spinal canal.  This can cause all sorts of problems!  Most Chiari 1 patients, like myself, have a skull that is too small which causes the herniation.  Accidents have been known to bring on the condition in others.  September is Chiari Awareness month and I dedicate my blog during this month to providing information about this often debilitating and misdiagnosed condition.

This month's first post is incredibly special to me because it's not solely about me :)  If you are interested in my story you can find the details in the following posts: Crafting with a Cause -- Chiari Awareness MonthChiari Awareness Month, and  Chiari Awareness Month: Steampunk Butterfly -- A New Chapter in My Chiari Story. This story is about my friend Elizabeth.  Elizabeth's husband, Nate, is one of my colleagues.  Two years ago, after my second surgery, Nate came and asked me if I had a friend who had Chiari.  I told him that yes I had friends with Chiari, but I also was a Chiarian.  This came as somewhat of a surprise to Nate.  He then told me that his wife had Chiari and her symptoms were getting worse.  He asked if I would mind coming to his house and talking to Elizabeth.  That first meeting led to an amazing friendship.

Elizabeth had Decompression surgery for her Chiari in May of this year.  Before she went to New York for her surgery, she wrote her own Chiari story entitled The Gift of One Another.  The story begins with a photo of an old rusty chair.  I wanted to create a frame for this very special photo and give it to Elizabeth to remind her of our incredible journey together.  I am including her story here and will give you some details about this project at the end of the post.

The Gift of One Another

The story I am sharing begins with a rusty old chair. As a landscape designer, this is not the sort of chair I would give a second look. But the man who used to sit in it, whom I’ve never met, is one of several people who have impacted the course of my life these past couple of years.
I was diagnosed with a Chiari One malformation of the brain in 2007, then Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in 2015. In laymen’s terms, my brain is too large for my skull. As a result, my brain and spinal cord are being compressed, and spinal fluid is not flowing like it should be. As you might imagine, a lot can go wrong with one’s balance, perception, strength, vision, sense of feeling, etc., when the contents of one’s head are under such pressure. The result: I have a freakish set of symptoms that if a couple of wonderful, compassionate doctors like Dr. Mahmood and Dr. McAdams hadn’t linked together, I still would have no idea what was going on with my body. Nate, my husband, is always baffled when I tell him the latest symptom. He can’t believe so many random things can happen to one person. Fortunately he makes the best of it and provides me with comic relief, which is so important when you don’t understand what is going on with your health. He is also the strong and steady arm that supports me all along the way when my legs aren’t working. I am so thankful for his love and solace through this all.

Around the time that my symptoms began to worsen in 2014, Nate discovered a co-worker, Mary Elizabeth, who had struggled with the same condition for over 15 years before getting a diagnosis and surgeries. While undiagnosed and visiting doctor after doctor as her health deteriorated, Mary Elizabeth experienced enormous daily struggles, including chronic pain. She endured a prolonged time of total uncertainty and physical suffering for many years. While she was still recovering from her most recent surgery, she came along side me. She grabbed me by the hand and helped me navigate all of this, literally every step of the way, and led me to the best neurosurgeon in the country for my condition. Even when she was exhausted from her surgery she would come over in the evenings to offer encouragement and answers to our entire family. I know without her friendship I would have battled constant fear and anxiety over the past two years. She has truly been a God-send. But ironically, she says meeting with me on a regular basis has been God’s greatest gift to her because she says she now knows her physical and emotional struggles were not in vain.
I love Mary Elizabeth. She is my hero. She and her mother have already bought plane tickets to fly up Long Island and support Nate and I prior to the surgery, along side Nate’s entire family. I pinch myself every time I think of her flying up to Long Island for us.

See, Mary Elizabeth had a woman named Stella come alongside of her in a similar manner. Stella instructed Mary Elizabeth to “pay it forward” someday and help someone else.

I actually had the pleasure of meeting Stella recently. She is one of a kind, and God has gifted her with an amazing amount of resilience and a generous heart. She has been through 23 surgeries, and was even once told by doctors that she would not walk again so she might as well get used to being in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. However, Dr. Bolognese, my neurosurgeon, wouldn’t give up on her. She was up and walking the day we met. She still has struggles from an injury she sustained that undermined her last surgical procedure. Even though she wasn’t feeling well the day we met, she wanted to help me in any way possible. She and Mary Elizabeth instructed me on everything I needed to know about my upcoming surgery, including details like what cab driver to call when we get to Long Island. “Call the Chiari Cab, and here’s his number,” she said. Mary Elizabeth chimed in, “He knows where to take you and he will avoid the potholes!”

It’s surprising to me how people like Stella and Mary Elizabeth, two people with whom I had no former relationship, have tried to help me. People we’ve never met have sent us cards by mail and told us they are praying on our behalf. For example, my mom ran into an acquaintance in the grocery store, and before long they got on the topic of my surgery. As they parted, the woman told my mom that she would pray for me. Weeks later, my mom and a girlfriend were out walking around the town together and decided to peek into a Catholic church in town. (I know this sounds strange, but we like to look at the interior of churches when we get a chance. I blame it on the fact that we’ve spent a lot of time in churches that meet in schools or gymnasiums, so there is something that intrigues about the reverent architectural style of an historic church.) Anyhow, my mom walked to the front of the sanctuary and happened to glance at the open prayer book below the flickering candles. The most recent entry read, “I’m praying that Elizabeth’s brain surgery goes well.” My mom immediately knew that God had led her there.

We’ve also been overwhelmed by the love and care we have received from family members, friends, co-workers, employers, clients, neighbors, and church family. We’ve been fed, chauffeured, babysat for, offered financial assistance, prayed over, prayed for, and encouraged through written messages…all occurring in a perfectly orchestrated manner when we need it the most so that it is evident Who is doing the orchestrating. I’m here to say that my life and my family’s life has been changed by the faithfulness and actions of others.

Anybody has this capability to change another person’s life. For instance, you might be a Mary Elizabeth someday that steps outside of your comfort zone and comes alongside someone in their hour of need saying, “I’ve been through this. Let’s do this together.” You might be the one in need of help who prayerfully takes hold of that hand that is being offered to you, and as a result, experience the depth of God’s love. You might listen to the Holy Spirit leading you to pray for a complete stranger and in turn reveal God’s sovereignty to a mother who is concerned for her daughter. You might be the doctor who never gives up on your patients and gives them the gift of hope and healing. Or you might sit in an old, rusty chair in the woods and ask God to heal your daughter for fifteen years like Mary Elizabeth’s father did….not ever seeing that healing come in your lifetime and not knowing that your prayers would have a domino effect on the lives of people you’ve never met.

In summary, like the big idea we’ve been teaching the kids in our Sunday school class as we’ve followed the journey of the Israelites in the Old Testament, God uses people for His glory and our good. However, similar to the Israelites, I know that the closer I get to having surgery, the more I will forget everything that He has orchestrated. I don’t want to allow fear to creep in and control my thoughts about whether the procedure will be successful or not. That is why I am writing this. This is not just my story…this is me setting down my stone of remembrance; an endless reminder of God’s sovereignty, and that He has given us the gift of one another. 

  -- Elizabeth W.


 So now you know that the photo in the frame is special to me too.  That is the chair that my dad sat and prayed in for the 15 years until Alzheimer's took him from this world.   My dad was in the hospital when I went to New York to meet with and be diagnosed by Dr Bolognese.  The Alzheimer's had progressed to his frontal lobe which caused him to have Epileptic seizures.  I was afraid he wouldn't be alive when I returned to North Carolina.  He was still there when I came back.  He never really understood though that I got my diagnosis and would need brain surgery.  When I told Elizabeth about his prayers and the fact that he died 21 days after I was diagnosed, she just broke down and cried.  She was overwhelmed by the fact that he never gave up on his prayers.  When I asked my Mom to read Elizabeth's story and showed her all the words I could have put in Tim Holtz's shield charm (like hope, courage, strength, etc), Mom immediately was drawn to "faith"  She said my Dad always had faith that God would take care of me.  That's why he kept praying.

I truly meant that this journey with Elizabeth over the last couple of years has been a gift to me as well.  For years, I thought I was going crazy.  I was very depressed because it seemed very few people truly believed that I was ill.  Even a neurosurgeon in North Carolina told me that I did not have Chiari and that all I had was carpal tunnel and tension headaches.  You don't argue with neurosurgeons, do you?  Well, I did and I certainly am much better for it!  Finding Dr Bolognese was a miracle.   I was so glad to help Elizabeth get in touch with him and be able to offer what I knew about Chiari and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (which I have as well).  I was glad to share tears and laughter.  I was glad to be there and say, "I've been there.  I know how hard this is."  Dr Charles Stanley, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, said, "Don't waste your pain."  Pain is allowed in your life for a reason.  My pain has not been wasted.  I've been able to make Elizabeth and Nate's life a little easier.

My mom and I did get to go with Nate and Elizabeth to NY.  I remember not knowing anything about what to expect in regard to brain surgery or recuperating from brain surgery.   I met Stella after my first surgery and she prepped me for what to expect and how to deal with all sorts of issues from getting off of narcotics to dealing with insurance companies.  Stella is my hero!!!  I can't imagine what it would have been like to have navigated all of that alone.  It warmed my heart to share that knowledge with Elizabeth.  It also gave me a different perspective on Chiari.  It is much harder being the one waiting in the waiting room during a 7-hour brain surgery than being the one on the operating table!  Watching someone in pain in ICU is just as rough as being the one in pain.  There are so many things that family members are afraid of doing for you (like brushing or washing your hair) after you have brain surgery :)  Having been through neurosurgery multiple times, I was able to help Elizabeth do these tasks without a lot of pain or getting her incision wet.  (Thanks Mom for helping me with this after my own surgeries!)

Ok ... are you wondering how Elizabeth is doing today?  Absolutely amazing!  She is working 9- hour days and coaching soccer in the evenings.  Here are a list of some of the physical improvements she has had since her surgery:

    1.    My head no longer hurts when I cough
    2.    My mind is so active and I want to learn and read again instead of just vegging out and watching tv in the evenings
    3.    Face lift ... Left side of my face used to droop and has now lifted back up.  Left brow no longer feels heavy.
    4.    My swallowing is greatly improved.
    5.    Shoulder/neck soreness that I can't remember living a day without is completely gone.
    6.    Feeling in extremities, like feet and shins, has returned
    7.    Legs no longer swell.
    8.    My legs move easily
    9.    My balance is WAY better like I can stand on one leg without falling over
    10.    Movement surrounding me already doesn't bother me as much (something as simple as scrolling the screen on my phone used to make me feel bad.)
    11.    My left leg that used to turn in is now straight
    12.    I'm not favoring my left leg anymore... It feels just as strong as my right
    13.    I walk down stairs without my legs buckling
    14.    Persistent nausea is gone
    15.    Have not had the world turn sideways on me with the feeling like I'm going to pass out.

    16.   The headaches that plagued me right before surgery are gone.  
    17.   Unmentionable issues :) have resolved!
Thanks for letting me share this next chapter in my Chiari Journey with you.  New chapters are opening up.  Elizabeth and I are working together to help other Chiari patients now.   I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the next year.

Now back to some crafting information!

 I wanted to make the chair in this photo stand out, so I used a waterbrush to add Tim Holtz's Walnut Stain Distress Crayon the edges of the chair and background.  It gave the background a great vintage look. 


The frame came from Tim's Artful Fragments Frame Kit.  The "barn wood" covering the frame is actually Grunge Paper.  I cut different sized strips of the paper then painted them with Antique Linen Distress Paint.  While the paint was still "tacky", I pressed Scrapabilities Scratch Texture stamp, non-inked, into the pain.  I added some light strokes of Weathered Wood or Bundled Sage Distress Paint on top of this.

Then I took sandpaper and distressed the painted strips of paper.  Finally I added Ground Espresso Distress Ink over top of everything to bring out all of the distressed textures.  The strips of painted grunge board were glued on to the frame.   I added some Idea-ology Tiny Attachers in places to make it look like my "barn wood" was screwed into the frame.

The letters came from a variety of sources.  The "gift" and "another" letters are chipboard.  I gave each of these a lovely coat of Broken China Distress Paint.  I did some additional stamping on the "gift" letters.  The "one" letters are grungeboard.  They started out painted in Barn Door Distress Paint.  It was too much red.  So I went back over them with Broken China DP.  All of these letters were distressed with sand paper and Ground Espresso Distress Ink.   The "of" letters are Idea-ology Alpha Parts.  After all the letters were adhered to the frame with multi medium, I gave them a soft drop shadow using Black Soot Distress Crayon and a water brush.

I had fun using Tim's Ephemera butterflies and tissue tape to embellish this lovely frame.  I loved the Passport Tissue Tape as the background for my stamped "Chiari" (in Picket Fence Distress Ink).  The frame's border  is from Tim's Dapper collection.

I added this incredible metal piece from my stash.  I aged gave it some "rust" with Walnut Stain Distress Embossing Powder and Walnut Stain Distress crayon.  I added a mix of Festive Berries and Spiced Marmalade Distress Crayons to the "1" for just a small pop of red.

Whew!!  Ok ... I've finally reached the end of this post.  I'm going to enter this project in A Vintage Journey's Create Within A Frame Challenge.  

 Hi -- I'm back with a postscript.  I managed to miss seeing this month's theme for Anything But Cute's latest challenge.  Thanks Anne for letting me know about the Friendship Challenge.  Love the inspiration pieces!!!  They are each amazing and so very  different.  Anyway, I'm going to enter this in Anything But Cute's Challenge #17 -- Friendship.  Yes Anne ... this post and project fits the theme to a T!  I hope you get a chance to check out this Mixed Media Challenge and celebrate you own friendships with an entry this month.

Thanks for letting me share this special project and story with you.  I hope to be back later this month with a couple of other Chiari-related projects.  I promise, the posts won't be this long next time.   Hugs to you all -- Mary Elizabeth

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2016 for August -- Take 2 ... and 3!

At the beginning of the month I created a tag inspired by Tim Holtz's August tag for 2016.  I also wanted to do a version of the tag that really followed Tim's directions pretty closely.  Instead of just making a 2nd tag, I also made a 3rd take!  The techniques are the same here but I did have to substitute some die cut leaves and pine boughs for Tim's wildflower diecuts.

 I went with seasonal themes for these two tags:  one for fall and one for winter.  The fall tag background was made with Mustard Seed and Spiced Marmalade Distress Stain along with Ground Espresso Distress Ink.  I die cut Tim's Trellis Frameworks border out of his medium brown substrate.  The insets for the trellis are die cut out of some of Tim's Paper Stash and Textured Surfaces (burlap and cork).

Here are some close ups!

My winter tag background was made with Picket Fence and Shaded Lilac Distress Stains and Ground Espresso Distress Ink.  I die cut the Courtyard Frameworks border out of Tim's grunge paper and painted it with Weathered Wood Distress Paint.  I grunged it with some Walnut Stain Distress Ink.  I really loved making the inset for my framework.  I used Tim's mirrored sheets and textile surfaces in dark denim.  I also applied Wendy Vecchi's Crackle Paste to some of my grunge paper insets and Tim's Distress Grit Paste others.  I used Hickory Smoke Distress Crayon and water brush to bring out some of the texture on these texture paste insets.  Instead of black paint splatters, I went for snow flurries with Picket Fence Distress Paint splatters.

Now for a few close up pics of the winter tag.  My sentiment comes from lines of the hymn Silent Night.  I got these snippets of the hymn from Tim's Christmas remnant rubs.

 Ok ... that's it for now.  I'm sorry I haven't visited lately.  I will be by to chat soon.  Hugs to you all and thanks for dropping by!  -- Mary Elizabeth

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Inspired by Tim ... Holtz 12 Tags for 2016 for August Part 1

I'm back today with my first take on Tim Holtz's tag for August.  I must say that I was more than a little influenced by Creative Chemisty 103 this time around.  I added a couple of techniques here to Tim's August 2016 Remix Techniques of Brayered Stains and Frameworks.  I started my tag with brayering Salty Ocean and Broken China Distress Stains on my manila tag.  However, the stain color was just a little too bold for my taste.

So I grabbed some Tissue Wrap and added some miscellaneous stamping (using one of Tim's Artful Flight stamps).  I collaged this over the entire tag, thus muting the brayered stain colors.

 I die cut several pieces Tim's Courtyard Framework and began to disassemble them to see what I could make of them.  First, I saw a flower.  It is made up of 3 sections of framework diecut grungepaper painted in Seedless Preserves and Victorian Velvet Distressed Paint.  The inserts are some of Tim's paper stash pieces that I've watercolored with Seedless Preserves, Mustard Seed and Fossilized Amber Distress Crayons.   I used some "petal like" pieces from the framework as leaves.  I painted them with Peeled Paint  and Antique Linen Distress Paint and grunged the edges with Ground Espresso Distress Ink.

 I also saw a butterfly!  Again the butterfly was made from grungeboard framework pieces.  I painted it with Black Soot, Mustard Seed and Picket Fence Distress paint.  I used some extra wire for antennae.  I used foam squares to mount the butterfly to my tag.

 Finally I  saw the gorgeous summer sun.  My sun was die cut out of some of Tim's Paper Stash print paper.  The "petal-like ray" pieces and central "circular sun" piece came from the framework die.  I collaged them on the tag and waterolored them with Distress Crayons. 

I added a fleeting, floating cloud out of corrugated cardboard (popped up with foam squares).  It was painted with white washed Picket Fence Paint and colored with Black Soot and Hickory Smoke Distress Crayons.  The sentiment comes from Tim's Odds and Ends Stamp Set.  It was embellished with a cute charm from my stash (with "fly" remnant rub added).  A stained crinkle ribbon tag tie finished it off.

Well, that's it for my whimsical summer take on Tim's August tag.  I hope to be back this weekend with another version.  -- Mary Elizabeth

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tiny Travel Trunk

So ... I have been inspired yet again by a couple of great challenges this week: Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - Try to Contain Yourself and Frilly and Funkie's -- It's a Small Small World Challenge.  For my project, I took a cute little wooden trunk from Michaels that I bought for $1 and tried to give it that aged varnish look. 

I used a variety of Distress Stains (Wild Honey, Black Soot, Walnut Stain and Vintage Photo) that I mixed with Gloss Multimedium to create layers of glaze.  Black Soot was used for large grooves.  For the overall woodgrain, Black Soot was also added sparingly in some places to get into the deep crevices of the wood grain.  I then wiped off the surface layer of Black Soot and let the crevice layer dry.  I then added layers of the Wild Honey, Walnut Stain and Vintage Photo until I got the color that I was looking for.  

I added some rub on gold letter for my initials and some tiny travel stickers.  The hardware was given some tarnish with alcohol inks. 

Each of the sides of the trunk get some remnant rubs and/or stickers

On this end, I added a handle.  This is made out of grunge paper and Tiny Fasteners. 

The most significant travel that I've made in the last few years has been to New York.  As most of you know, I've had brain surgery and my neurosurgeon in NY literally changed my life.  So I really, really, really love NY.  It has been quite a journey.  You may notice the Subway tissue tape on the interior lid.  I used some industrial stickers and one of Tim Holtz's blue print stamps to decorate the trunk bottom.  I again made a glaze with Gloss Multimedium and Distress Stain (this time in Barn Door) to color the heart.  It makes such a great transparent colored window to view the architecture print underneath.  More tissue tape lines the interior of the trunk. 

 So, I'm going to enter my tiny travel trunk in the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge (a trunk is a container -- even if it small :)) and Frilly and Funkie's challenge (it definitely is a small world ... isn't it?)  Thanks for dropping by!  -- Mary Elizabeth