Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fall Textures

I love fall.  I created a tag to try to capture just a fraction of the beautiful colors and textures of this wonderful season.

The background of my tag is a #12 Ranger Manila Tag.  This was colored with Frayed Burlap and Tarnished Brass Distress Stain spritzed with water to spread the color.  Ground Espresso Distress Ink was used to go around the edges of the tag and  filigree metal corner stickers were added to give the background more of a frame.


I had the pleasure of catching up with our favorite crafting butterfly, Alison Bomber, in New York this summer.  As you can imagine, our conversation turned to inks, paints, and paper.  At the time, I did not have a great deal of time to keep up with all the new techniques and tools.   Alison was playing with Distress Oxide Inks.  I asked her what she thought was so special about them.  Although they are amazing in their own new properties, Alison said that she thought they would show how incredible they are when we start integrating them with other Distress products.  So ... that is what I used to get the gorgeous fall colors on the next layer of my tag. 

I began with applying Spiced Marmalade, Wild Honey, and Seedless Preserves Distress Oxide Ink on a craft sheet.  I spritzed it with water and started dipping my heavy mixed media paper into it in layers (spritzing and drying in between layers). You can see the Scrap Time video where Tim does this technique at Creativation.    Next I blended some regular Wild Honey Distress Ink over the entire Distress Oxide creation. (I wish I had thought to take pics at each stage!)  I spritzed that with water and dried it with a heat tool.  The edges were then inked with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.

I added some script stamping in Ground Espresso Archival Ink.  I thought I might add more imagery with additional stamping, but remembered that I had some of Tim Holtz's Vellum Ephemera (I think from the Thrift Shop pack).  The vellum pieces were adhered to my inked panel with Matte Distress Collage Medium.  I wasn't sure what would happen if I added a coat of Distress Collage Medium over the entire panel, but I said "what the heck" and experimented.  Wow!  It really brought out the incredible color.  So gorgeous!!!!

My next layer was a kraft paper doily that I think I found at Hobby Lobby.  I gave it a thick coat of Rock Candy Crackle Paint.  When the crackle was dry, I inked it with Walnut Stain Distress Ink (on a blending foam) and then Spritzed it with water.  The color seeped into the cracks!  Really lovely.  I adore what it looks like in the sun!  Another Filigree metal sticker went on top the doily.   It gave it added some additional color with a Spiced Marmalade Distress Crayon.  Yellow and orange alcohol ink gave autumnal hues to one of Tim's Ideaology roses as well.  That went on top of the filigree metal embellishment.

 My final layer is a natural canvas tag that I got at Michaels.  I stamped Tim's Mini Blueprint Pumpkin on it in Coffee archival ink.  I colored it with Distress Crayons and a water brush. Some fall vines were stamped around the edges.  The edges of the fabric tag were grunged with some Old Paper Distress Stain.  The tag was embellished with a jute bow (held to the tag with an alcohol-inked Halloween fastener), some fall-colored trim, and one of Tim's word bands (alcohol-inked and Black Soot Distress Crayon used on the word "REMNANTS").

 Before I assembled all the layers of my tag, I attached a burlap ribbon. Tim's Tattered Leaves, die cut from mixed media paper, were covered in Wendy Vecchi Crackle Paste and spritzed with Ground Expresso and Black Soot Distress Stain Sprays.   The color was diluted with water and left to dry.   The leaves were adhered with Matte Multi Medium.  Finally all of my layers were assembled and more trimmings were used a tag tie.

 I am entering this in

A Vintage Journey's: Crazy for Autumn Color Challenge
Country View Challenges: Mixed Media with Autumnal Hues
Words 2 Craft By: Autumn Challenge
Let's Craft and Create Anything Goes with Witchy/Autumn Colors Challenge 

I thought I had better get this homage to fall posted soon.  We had our first snow flurries flying today.  Brr ... winter's chill is here.  Warm wishes to you all! -- Mary Elizabeth

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Happy Halloween

Will wonders never cease?  Two posts in two days!  I'm back for just a quick Halloween tag post.  I have several Halloween stamps that I rarely get a chance to use.  I had a blast stamping and coloring.

I started with a Tim Holtz Distress Mixed Media Heavystock tag.  Oh ... I love this surface!!!  It works so well Distress products.  I began by stamping the Jack-o-lantern, vines, leaves and bat with black archival ink.  I used Distress markers to color each. and Coffee archival ink to stamp the text script in various places around the tag.

Then it was off to coloring the background.  I used various Distress Ink browns applied with an ink blending foam.  I spritzed the background with water. 

I finally added some Halloween Remnant Rubs, a "haunted" text sticker (outlined with an archival pen), some Halloween bat washi tape and jeweled brad. 

I am going to enter this in Frilly and Funkie's 'Tis Near Halloween Challenge.  Thanks for dropping by.  Hope you have a chance to get your hands inky this week.

Mary Elizabeth

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Enjoying the Journey with Man's Best Friend

Hello everyone!  I'm back with a project for this week's Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge: It's a Dogs Life.   In fact, I was inspired by SSS Design Team member, Zoey, and her "Mr. Tibbitts and his traveling companion" tag.  I decided to document Mr. Tibbitts and his faithful companion's journey.  They took a cross-country road trip in Mr. Tibbitts' old jalopy.   This project celebrates the fact that you can always enjoy the journey as long as you have your best friends along for the ride.

 The background of this project is a chipboard insert for a scrapbook album. I covered it with a page containing a map of the US from Tim Holtz's Idea-ology Correspondence Paper Stash.  Ground Espresso Archival Ink was used to add a few more travel-related stamps from own considerable stash.  Once I was happy with the images in the background, I decided to mute them with a wash of Antique Linen Distress Paint and water.  When that dried, I added some washy tape printed to look like a rode to help frame the project.  Black crackle paint was added along the edges of the chip board and also on the border of the background paper to create a "worn and torn" look for the edges of my map.

 Next I wanted to highlight the friendship between Mr. Tibbitts and his dog.  To go along with my travel documentation, I grabbed some of my Tim Holtz Idea-ology stickers that include the entire alphabet made out of piece of old license plates.  I spelled the word "FRIENDS" using these cool letters.

 Next came Mr. Tibbitts, his dog, and his jalopy.  I've made quite a few projects with Tim Holtz's Old Jalopy dies (both the large one and movers and shapers version).  I think this one has to be one of my favorites.  I cut just the body of the car out of heavy duty mixed media paper.  The die cut was stamped with Tim's Gears Blueprint stamp and then one of his stamps that has text & images from a catalog of bicycle gears and parts.  I watercolored the stamped jalopy with Pumice Stone, Hickory Smoke, Walnut Stain, and Black Soot Distress Crayons. I adhered the jalopy to the background with Distress Matte Collage Medium.  The cracked windows were made with Ranger's Crackle Accents.  Once dry and cracked, I used a Walnut Stain Distress Marker and water brush to bring out the crackle texture even more.  Then Mr Tibbitts and his dog made their appearance.  They are from Tim's Idea-ology Paper Dolls Paperie pack. 

I stamped and heat embossed Tim's Enjoy the Journey stamp on more mixed media paper.  The "N" license plate letter inspired its Spiced Marmalade Distress Ink coloring. The left side of my project looked a little bare, so I added Tim's Enjoy the Journey die (Stacked Artful Words Sizzlet Die Strip) cut from some vintage script Paper Stash paper.  After all of my paper embellishments had added to the project, I gave the entire thing a coat of Distress Matte Collage Medium.  Once this dries, you can grunge to your heart's content with Distress Crayons.  The medium allows the crayon to glide on and makes it "smudgeable".  I went to town with Walnut Stain and Black Soot Distress Crayons to add "grunginess", outlines and shadows.  When I needed more control, like with the Enjoy the Journey die cut outline, I used a detailing paint brush and water with the Distress Crayons.

Et Voila, the project is complete.  I had a great weekend playing in paper.  Thanks for the inspiration SSS Design Team.  What a fun challenge!

Since I stamped myself all around this project, I'm also going to enter it in

Craft Stamper Take It Make October Challenge: Anything Goes Stamping Challenge

I have to say, it is awesome to be back in the craft room again :)  Mary Elizabeth

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Autumn Blessings

It has been a very warm Autumn day here in the North Carolina mountains.  I've had the day off and spent some time crafting.  Here is one of my latest projects.  A very special family member has her birthday in October.  I created this charming acorn gift box to hold her present.

My gift box started off rather plain.  I found these adorable Martha Stewart boxes at my local Tuesday Morning store and knew it would be perfect for a fall birthday keepsake.

I began with the interior of the box.  I stamped this lovely leaf background with an Inkadinkadoo clear stamp on Tim Holtz plain tissue wrap with black archival ink.  I adhered it, in strips, to the interior of the box with Vintage Distress Collage Medium.  The outer band of the box interior was painted with Walnut Stain Distress Paint.

The exterior painting and images was all trial and error.  I painted the exterior shell part of the acorn with a variety of brown Distress and acrylic paints.   I stamped it with a variety of fall-themed Inkadinkadoo clear stamps and a rubber "blessed" stamp (that I cannot for the life of me remember  its manufacturer).  Stamping a rounded 3D object is not for the faint of heart!  I don't think I made too much of a mess of the stamping.  I must confess that I used an archival pen to clean up a leaf that smeared on the front of the box.  I gave the shell a light coat of Vintage Distress Collage Medium.  Then I decided to try to get a little more texture.  I used some Crazing Distress Collage Medium.  I put on a pretty thick coat.  I got a little impatient and dried it with a heat gun.  I know better, but did it anyway.  I did not get all the amazing crackles that I typically get with this product, but I did get the texture that I wanted for the shell.   I used a Ground Espresso Distress Crayon to fill in the nooks and crannies (wiping off the excess with a baby wipe).  I love the final effect.

I mixed Antique Linen Distress Paint with Brushed Corduroy Distress Stain to cover the acorn cap of my box.  Once that dried, I covered it with a layer of Vintage Distress Collage Medium.  Then I worked in some Walnut Stain Distress Crayon to detail texture on the cap (once again wiping off excess crayon with a baby wipe).

Finally, Tim Holtz's Autumn Gatherings die strip was used to die cut leaves from printed paper.  I colored them with Distress Ink in autumn colors.  Some chit chat stickers were adhered to the leaves and outlined with a marker.  The leaves were glued together with collage medium and embellished with some wire and a decorative brad. I put the whole fall medley on the acorn cap with Ranger Matte Multi Medium.

Well, that's it for my fall-themed gift box.  I think I will have to make one for myself!

In the mean time, I am submitting this gift box to the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge:  Not a Card (I thought this one was funny.  I tell my family that they either get a gift or a card from me, but not both.  So since this project was a gift, I definitely did not make a card for this challenge :) )

A Vintage Journey's: Crazy for Autumn Color

Country View Challenges: Mixed Media with Autumnal Hues

Craft Stamper's Take It Make It October Anything Goes Challenge

Hope you were able to get your hands inky this week.  Hugs -- Mary Elizabeth

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Fighter ... Chiari Awareness Month

Ah ... my friends ... it has been way too long.  I kept hoping to blog more over the summer and my time just got away from me.  My job has kept me extremely busy and my presence in crafty blogland suffered as a result.  I have missed you all so very much.

However, I am back with a special project that I really want to share with you.  I planned to post it yesterday, the last day of September (but my computer had other plans for me).  Yesterday was my 50th birthday.  While that may not be a very good day for many people, it was an amazing milestone for me.  You see, I once thought I would not make it past my 30th birthday.  Many of you know that I have a condition called Chiari Malformation and that it took me a very long time to figure out why I suffered from some serious and often debilitating symptoms.  Chiari Malformation Type I is an abnormality in the lower part of the brain called the cerebellum.  The bottom part of the cerebellum is called the cerebellar tonsils.  In Chiari I, the tonsils hang or are pushed through the opening at the base of the skull into the spinal canal. This can often slow or stop the flow of spinal fluid from the spine to the brain and back again and cause horrible headaches.  It can also impinge on nerves and other vital structures that can cause a variety of symptoms all over the body.  This often makes Chiari very difficult to diagnose.  We all present with different symptoms, depending on the position, length, thickness of the tonsils.  Each September, I try to raise awareness for this condition since so many go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.  If you are interested in my story, you can follow it via the posts below:

This September, I have been working on a very special project.  Last year, I introduced you to one my "Chiari Sisters", Elizabeth.  What a blessing it has been to have a fellow Chiari patient to talk to and understand the issues related to our conditions.  As much as our family and friends care about us and try to understand, it is so very hard to understand the variety of bizarre things we experience on a daily basis.  Elizabeth has been a rock for me and encouraged me.  This year, she presented me with a water color painting of boxing gloves that she painted for me.  (See above image)  Isn't it fantastic!!!  The gloves represent the fact that I've taken up boxing (non-sparring) as a way to increase flexibility, core strength and strength in my shoulder, arm and neck muscles in my continuing fight against the impacts of Chiari on my body. 

This painting touched me so very much.  I wanted to create a special frame for it.  The frame began as an Easter shadowbox frame purchased on clearance at Big Lots.  I knew I wanted to create a very grungy frame, taking my inspiration from old city boxing gyms (with old brick, rusty metal, grungy paint, etc.)  And here is how the rest played out in my craft room ...

The top, bottom, left and right outside surfaces of the frame were sanded and then some areas were given a some swipes of Vintage Photo Distress Crackle Paint.  This added some texture and color.  Then I gave all of these surfaces a light overall coat of Weathered Wood Distress Paint.  Then I mixed in a little Antique Linen Distress Paint to lighten it up.  The edges were sanded again and then I began added Black Soot and Walnut Stain Distress Crayon (rubbing into the  crevices made by the crackle paint and paint brush strokes), then wiping some of it off with a damp baby wipe. 

Then it was time to embellish.  I was so touched  by Elizabeth's gift that I wanted to decorate the piece with words ... all the words that I associate with our friendship and journey together through this thing called Chiari.  Out came the Tim Holtz's Remnant Rubs. I used a light coat of Matte Distress Collage Medium to reduce the "white edges" around the remnant rubs and make them look like they have always been on the frame.  (Thanks for the tip Paula Cheney!)  Then I grabbed Tim's Alpha Parts "This is Life" and "Remember".  They were painted with Rusty Hinge, Antique Linen and Broken China Distress Paint.  Now to add some metal!  I knew I wanted to hang the frame on my wall, so I used a Hobby Lobby Spare Parts Drawer Pull (colored with Silver Mixative, Mushroom, and Black alcohol ink) as my frame "hook".    I used some jute to tie on a 45 cent tag (made with Tim's Ephemera collection) and a Tim Holtz Muse Token ("knowledge" since Elizabeth and I have learned a great deal about Chiari through this journey).  I added another Muse Token (memories) and a Type Token (story) that were colored with distress paint and/or alcohol ink.  I use an old Distress Black Soot Marker to grunge around the 3-D parts and add shadows.

The front face of the frame was given the same Distress paint/crayon treatment.  I used another TH ephemera piece "special delivery" and a chit chat sticker "kind" to say just how much I think of this painting!  I had some chip board letters from Hobby Lobby that I painted with a base layer of Rusty Hinge Distress Paint.  I sanded them and inked them Walnut Stain Distress Ink.  I wanted them to look like rusty metal, so I added a little Walnut Stain Distress Embossing Powder and then dipped them in Broken China Distress Oxide Ink that I had applied to and spritzed with water on my craft sheet.  Not a bad rusty metal look for paper!

 At the bottom for the front face of the frame, I wanted to highlight the word "FIGHTER".  I had some of Tim's Grungeboard letters.  I knew I wanted a metallic look, but nothing too bright and shiny.  I wanted something that looked like it had been beaten up a bit and weathered.  I covered the letters with some Ranger Matte Multi Medium. I used it like embossing ink.  I covered the wet medium with silver embossing power and heat embossed the letters with a heat gun.   It made the medium "bubble" and created this "hammered" metal look on the letters.  I used my Black Soot Distress Crayon to grunge the nook and crannies of the letters and wiped off excess with a wet baby wipe.  I loved it!!

 Next came more TH Chit Chat stickers.  This was an amazing process.  Elizabeth and I have been through so very much together.  We truly have become like sisters.  I was in NY with her when she had her surgery.  We have added other "Chiari Sisters" (from right here in our local town and across the country) to our family.  We supported each other when we both found out in December 2016 that we both may have more surgeries in our future.  It's been a relationship forged through trials, laughter, faith, and friendship.

Since this was a shadow box frame, I wanted to make the most of the 3-dimensional aspect of it.  I used Tim's Brick Texture Fade on some light colored card stock (colored with Fired Brick, Black Soot, Frayed Burlap and Walnut Stain Distress Crayons).  I pasted these pieces of card stock onto the back panel of the shadow box frame.  This gave me the exposed brick wall feeling of an old boxing gym.   Alcohol ink was used to "rust" some Hobby Lobby "chicken wire" (yes, you really can get just about anything there).  I used wire cutters to cut a piece big enough to insert in the frame and glued it (using Matte Multi Medium) inside the right and left side of the frame.  This later allowed me to insert watercolor in at the top and bottom of the frame where the wire was not glued.  I used the remnant rubs "breathe" and "brave" on the tiny wooden clothespins (stained with Weathered Wood Distress Stain) to attach the painting to the wire.

I grunged some of Tim's linen ribbon with Walnut Stain and Rusty Hinge Distress stain and ran it through the wire to attach the perfect Tim Holtz Quote Band (colored with Candied Apple Distress Crayon) on top of the painting.

 I am going to enter this piece in the following challenges:
A Vintage Journey's Altered Art Challenge
Simon Says Stamps Monday Challenge:  Heavy Metal (for both the metal embellishment and the paper embellishments made to look like metal)
Mixed Media World -- Anything Goes

Thanks for sharing this special blog post with me.  And a very special thank you to Elizabeth for this amazing painting, your friendship, and getting me through some very tough times! 

Elizabeth was with me in December when I found out that along with Chiari and Ehler's Danlos Syndrome, I have another condition called Eagle's Syndrome.  There seems to be a tendency for some complex Chiari patients to have all three of these conditions.  I am now part of an ongoing medical study to investigate this phenomenon.  And the journey continues ...

Mary Elizabeth