"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bottle Cap Fobs

I have been fortunate to find a few friends who are keeping me supplied with bottle caps. Some of the caps are really interesting and I didn't want to paint over them, or cover them with magnets. I decided to make some cell phone fobs with them. Here is my first batch. The orange one in the center shows the back of one of the bottle caps (cool, huh?). I am also going to make some keyrings. I need to find a good source for small charms ... these are some of the ones I had on hand, and I like the detail the charms add.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Toilet Tissue Stamping - TUTORIAL

Wow, several people asked for a tutorial for the Toilet Tissue stamping that I did in my previous post, and I'm honored to provide it. This is my first tutorial! If you have any questions, leave a comment and I'll do my best to provide an answer. Here we go ...

Gather your supplies:
*Stamps (large ones work best, detail is ok but don't get too fussy!)
*Roll of TP (I used Charmin because that's what we've got!)
*Old Paintbrush (this was one of the kids' brushes ... notice I said "was")
*White washable glue (Elmer's in the US, PVA elsewhere I believe)
*Two small containers with water
*Mod Podge or other decoupage medium (for use later)
*Paint (for use later)
*Beverage of choice (coffee, black please)
and prepare your work surface (this one isn't too messy).

First Step: Using PLAIN WATER, wet the surface of your stamps (you might as well do several, it's easy but it takes a while). Cover the stamp with one layer of toilet tissue. You may need to overlap a few pieces if your stamp is really large. Just make sure it is all moistened.
Use your brush to gently push the TP into the details of the stamp. For the pear, I pounced the brush and for the fish I brushed gently along the fin lines. Do whatever feels right, but be gentle - you don't want to tear the TP (if you do, just remove and start over).
Now mix some glue in with your small water container ... I don't know what ratio I used, probably about 2 parts water to 1 part glue. I don't think you need to be too picky about it. Brush the watery glue onto the TP on your stamp - cover the whole surface of the stamp, plus a little around the edges, but don't worry about going all the way to the edges of the TP - you will be cutting the image out later.
Add another layer of TP, and then paint it with glue. If your shape is large, make sure you place the TP pieces in different directions and locations - you don't want all the seams in the same place.
You may find that the center is building up faster than the edges ... just add partial pieces around the edges until it looks even.
Keep adding layers of TP and glue until it seems like a reasonable thickness ... about 8 to 10 layers of TP.
OK ... now we wait ... go work on something you are avoiding ... go clean out a closet ... go to the grocery store ... take a nap ... hum the "Jeopardy" theme song over and over again ... whatever but don't peek at your images!!!
If you feel the top of the TP on your stamps, it will feel slimy. You don't want to move on until most, if not all, of that sliminess is gone. I set my pieces on the counter underneath a ceiling fan and waited about 4 hours ...
When the time comes that the sliminess is gone, CAREFULLY peel the TP off the stamps. The impression should be there ... and the TP will still be wet, so be careful. Go wash any residue off your stamps (there shouldn't be much glue on the stamps - this is why the first layer is water - but clean them anyway).

Here are my pieces once I removed them. Now you need to wait again - a couple of hours - until they are completely dry. You can turn them over to help dry them out from the other side as well. Make sure they are totally dry before you continue. If there are seams that aren't glued down or small bubbles, don't worry about it (you can see some in the flower).

Time for the Mod Podge and another beverage - tea this time. Now that your pieces are completely dry, paint them with Mod Podge to seal them (you did wash the glue out of your paintbrush, right?). Once the front is done, and dry, flip them over and paint the back. Let dry.

Now we are ready to paint!!! Use your favorite acrylics to paint your pieces. For these I used Golden Fluid Acrylics, Setacolor Transparent Acrylics, and Lumiere. You can use whatever you like. It's your art!

Once the paint has dried, cut out your images. For more complicated images (like the fish) it is helpful to refer to the actual stamp for the details. You can glue these, or stitch them. You can seal them with varnish if you'd like. You may want to paint the edges. If any of the layers are trying to separate, just dab some glue in there. They did NOT respond well when I subjected them to a heat gun, but go ahead and experiment.

Below is a detail of the fish: I painted it using red and yellow directly on the fish, so that they combined to varying shades of orange (rather than one solid color). When it dried, I rubbed gold and turquoise lumiere on it to bring out the details. I just LOVE the way this stamp works with this technique.

If you give it a try, be sure to let me know!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tissue Paper

I have been experimenting with tissue paper and here are the first two pieces I've completed. They are both 6x6 inches square - a fun size to work with. I really enjoy square pieces. The backgrounds are torn tissue paper (the kind used to wrap gifts) applied to a stabilizer. The raised images (the fish and the guitar player) are casts made with toilet tissue (yes) layered up with watered down glue on some of my larger rubber stamps. They were fun to make. If you try it, be sure to remove the piece once it has set up, but before it is completely dry - you don't want to glue the tissue to your stamp!

Once the pieces were completely dry, I coated each side with decoupage medium (mod podge) and let dry, then I painted the images and cut them out. I'm pleased with the results and will do a few more before I move on.
I feel like I've been very busy lately, but haven't had much to show for my efforts. Hopefully that will change soon.
(The first piece is titled "Pesce d'oro" which means "Goldfish" in Italian. The second is titled "La Cancion" which means "The Song" in spanish. The wording on the piece translates to "My heart's song")

Thursday, August 16, 2007

In My Garden

I've been making some journal covers, though they're not too exciting. They are for the store, and since the owner wants me to use recycled stuff, they are covered with corduroy fabric remnants and bits of old denim and such. I'll post some pics soon. I would really like to be making these out of my hand dyed fabrics. I am realizing that I need to be careful to not lose touch with my Muse and what she wants, just in order to fill a niche.

I also continue to hem and haw over the frames, and to move my stuff into it's new space, so full-out creating is a bit difficult right now. I am planning to do some more dyeing today (even though the weather forecast is 102!). I have an idea floating in my head for a small quilt that might turn into a series if it works out, so I'm sure there is plenty to come!

For today, I thought I would post some pics I've taken around the house this year. I love the freedom of digital photography. No wasted shots! Maybe someday I'll take time to figure out how to really use my camera. For now, enjoy!

May is a terrific time for flowers here:

I love my peonies!

and Clematis!

Later in summer as the heat sets in ...

This Canna Lily is fantastic - yellow and orange, and at times streaked with dark red!

This is the same plant as it begins to bloom - it's about 4 feet tall right now

Here's a new leaf poking through on my banana palm!

Thes are the seed pods that form on my Japanese Snowbell tree after it flowers in May. It was one of the first things we planted when we moved here 15 years ago, and it is still one of my favorites.

And finally, a Caladium leaf - it is over a foot long and a riot of red, green and pink.

I hope you enjoyed your visit!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Always an Adventure

So, I found these frames and wanted to do something with them. When I was dyeing fabrics, I used some paper towels to mop up my spills. I took these towels and decoupaged torn pieces to the frames. I love how they turned out. The problem is, they "need" something... something dimensional, some focal point to add interest. I'm having absolutely no luck figuring out what that "something" might be.
Any suggestions are welcomed!!!

Monday, August 6, 2007


Check this out:


You can create your own Jackson Pollack-style work of art! Although I can't figure out how to save the image, so maybe it is just for play, but it is fun and good stress relief. You will start out automatically with balck - move your mouse around the page, when you want to change colors, just click! Have fun!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007



I need to learn how to photograph art! This one is framed behind glass, so I had to shoot from an angle to avoid the glare and reflection. Of course it looks better in person! But I really love this piece. I made the background out of dryer sheets - similar to "jewel" but obviously a different color scheme. I was having a hard time deciding what to put on top, so I started stenciling and stamping with my paints - ok, now I hated it! So I set it aside for a while. I hadn't played with Tyvek in a while, so I finally decided to paint some up. I stamped some words on it, and stitched it to the dryer sheet base. Then I blasted it with a heat gun. I added assorted beads to some of the squares and framed it up. Success! I'm really pleased with this piece.

More Dryer Sheet Art

A few more pieces that I've made recently:


"Sunny Side Up"

"Blue Ridge Morning"