Monday, December 28, 2015

Superhero Sampler

Michaelangelo had the Sistine Chapel. I have a superhero sampler from weelittlestitches. 

Ok, so that's slight exaggeration. But after two years of off-and-on work, this baby is finally done and gifted to my nephew. It pales in comparison to several Lego sets and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sewer play set that he received (he is four, so quite understandable), but his parents loved it.

Here are a few close ups. It was sort of odd stitching the Hulk's nipples.

Electra is showing a bit of skin.

Wonder Woman is my favorite. 

I am proud of my signature! Totally winged it.

I don't see myself doing another piece of this size anytime soon, but I do feel accomplished. My attention span rarely sees a project like this to the end!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Vintage Christmas

I have a thing for vintage Christmas decorations -- and by thing, I mean borderline obsession. This is a little shelf area in our kitchen that needed a bit of merrying up, so I though I'd display some of my treasures.

I got this Santa at a yard sale, along with the ornaments that are still in their original box. 

The trees are not actually vintage -- they just look vintage. (Wink, wink.)

I picked up the little churches at another sale. It's so much fun to find goodies like these in the middle of summer!

Oh Christmas Tree...

Here's a tiny Christmas post for the day -- the season has been incredibly busy for us this year. (Isn't it that way for everyone?)

I made this little tree last year, and I'm still enjoying it. I sprayed a white bottle brush tree with a bright green spray ink, then went crazy with mica flakes. It is sitting in a mini plant pot that I covered with dictionary paper and painted with a red wash. A bit of green glitter ribbon and a flower for the trim and voilĂ ! You now have a very sweet "vintage" Christmas tree. 

This would make a lovely swap gift!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Golden Girls Counted Cross Stitch

"Thank you for being a friend... Traveled down the road and back again... Your heart is true... You're a pal and a confidant..."

Now you'll have that in your head all day. You're welcome.

This was a counted cross stitch project that I worked on a few years ago for my college roommate -- we share a long friendship and mutual obsession with the Golden Girls. The pattern is from weelittlestitches on Etsy, and It was a joy to work with.

I took this photo with my Hypstamatic app to make it look old school. Much like me and my college roommate. (I'm Dorothy and she's Sophia, btw.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

All You Need is Love Mixed Media Canvas

More love today -- I found this in the Craftin' archives. Sometimes, all you need is a great quote to inspire you. Oh, and love.

This 12x12 canvas was created for a Craftster swap. I covered the canvas with an adorable tissue paper that has music notes all over it, and got out my ink sprays for the background.

I added paper hearts and a little washi tape banner that I made from baker's twine. The letters were from a pack of die cut alphabets that I had, then jazzed up a bit with a white gel pen.

There are some stenciled hearts in here too -- the white gesso picked up some of the spray inks, which I love. LOVE. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mumford & Sons Pyrography

Last year, I got a bee in my bonnet about learning to do Pyrography, or wood burning. Turns out, it's pretty easy to learn and produces some great results! 

I made this piece for my husband in celebration of our anniversary a year or so ago. We are big Mumford fans, and these are some of my favorite lyrics. I designed the lettering myself, and the plaque came from Michaels.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Peace Prayer Flag

I made this a few years ago for a prayer flag swap -- it was one of my first sewing projects. I also incorporated some paints and stamping into it, which opened up a new door for me in terms of mixed media. Painting on fabric feels kind of rebellious for some reason! You put paint on that fat quarter? You wild woman, you!

The purple swatch behind the text was made from a plain piece of fabric that I stamped metallic paint onto with bubble wrap. (Bubble wrap is one of the best craft supplies out there.) The peace text was done using a stamp set, and I inked in the open spots in the letters. The background fabric behind the peace sign was also created with bubble wrap and paint. More rebellious fun.

I thought maybe we could all use a little bit of this today. I hope you find peace today in your little corner of the world. And may there be messy painting on fabric in your near future. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Rainbow of Mixed Media Tags

I adore making tags. There are days when my attention span can only focus on something small, and it's almost like having a tiny journal page to play on. Instant gratification.

I created these tags using a mixture of spray inks, Hero Arts inks, stamps and embossing powder. I'm a big fan of stamps that just look like doodles, and these are some of my favorites. 

Retro starburst -- I feel like I got this for about 50 cents at Michaels, and it's one of the stamps that I use the most! The backgrounds here were done with spray inks. I'm really digging the pink and yellow one in the middle. The colors mingled a bit, so this lovely orange made an appearance.

Another cheapo stamp that I like -- lattice work.

Finally, we have the circle doodle stamp. Another bargain bin find. The background on this was created using the Hero Arts ink daubers. I wanted a child-like effect, which I think worked out.

And one more, with the same technique.

All of these colors perked me up during a dreary November. I'm looking forward to the sparkle of December!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mixed Media Flowers

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! I was MIA from this space for the holiday, with lots of cooking and family to enjoy. Crazy thing is, I really enjoy making Thanksgiving dinner. (Now that I know how to cook a turkey.) But it wears me out. Yesterday, I was passed out on my couch for the majority of the day with a good book. Not the worst way to recover from a holiday, I must say.

Last week, I was messing around with some mixed media flowers. The papers range from wallpaper to watercolor paper, which I had painted, sprayed, inked, etc. Then I ran them through my Sizzix Big Shot and ended up with these darlings. I really like them!

The blue flowers were made from a marbled paper a friend had sent to me. I inked around the edges for some depth.

Here's the wallpaper version -- I painted and inked these up with some metallic goodies.

The bright pink flowers are on watercolor paper.

The purple are also on watercolor paper -- I am particularly fond of these.

These flowers are also really fun to make from leftover scrapbook paper bits -- but I love how they look with papers that I decorated myself. They are a great way to use up those half-used papers that you have kicking around!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cleaning House

True story.

Also, I just stumbled upon the blog,, and they have some pretty cool ideas going on over there! I wonder if they stage interventions...

Monday, November 23, 2015

Glass Flower Pendants

It's been some time since I played around with glass, but I wanted to show that side of my work here on Release the Craftin'. After the holidays, I hope to get back into it -- I have tons of ideas and many, many supplies.

These were some flower pendants that I made a while back. I purchased pressed flowers (now I would probably try to use my own from my garden -- but this was back in the pre-garden days.) I think the purchased pressed flowers have a bit of color added to them to really make them pop. Here's  a shot of a yellow daisy type of flower in glass bevels.

And another shot with a rose, also in glass bevels. I use lead-free solder for all of my jewelry pieces.

I used faux suede cords, which are fun. But I'd like to come up with another option. Ideas? Thoughts? What kinds of cords or chains do you like for your jewelry? Leave me a note in the comments below!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Greatest Thanksgiving Stickers Ever

I found these Thanksgiving stickers at a local dollar store recently and fell in love. As a child of the '80s, I certainly had (and still have) my share of stickers. These seemed almost too good to be true. My favorite part is that they are from the 1990's and have made their way to this store. Do they even stick? No clue. But with eyes like these, who needs stickiness?

Were the Pilgrims really this surprised?

The turkey looks on in horror.

I question whether they really had stop signs back then. 

I didn't purchase these treasures, but had to share. Nothing shares the spirit of Thanksgiving like googly eyed, stop sign toting pilgrim and turkey stickers. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fabric Feather ATC

Here's some more fun with mixed media and fabric! I am a big fan of this ATC that I sent out a few months ago. Feathers are fun, right? I have been experimenting with putting fabric through my Sizzix Big Shot and seeing what happens with it. The Big Shot did a great job with this silver feather. (I, however, am a klutz and managed to tear off the feather stem in about a millisecond. But it was easily camouflaged with some stitching.)

I believe that I used either watercolor paper or heavy card for the background. Then, lots of paints, sprays and one of my favorite stencils were used. I really like what happens when you don't clean your stencil off from any previous spray ink usage and then use gesso -- you get a little bit of color. (See upper left corner. That's some yellow that didn't get wiped off.) Sometimes there are bonuses to being a messy crafter. :)

Here's the back -- some of my favorite batik fabric, with a card stock tag. And through the magic of computers, I have added that black box there to hide the recipient's name and so forth.

This was the first project that really solidified for me how much fun it is to combine paper and fabric in a project. I love the look, and loved sewing through both. I see a lot more of this happening in my future! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Absolutely Everything

This weekend, my favorite store in the world closed, and I am still mildly traumatized. Absolutely Everything was a mixed media and scrapbooking store in Topsfield, Mass. that sold, literally,  everything. They had stuff you didn't know existed! They had vintage things from people's personal stashes, all the latest in Ranger products, new products from new craft companies. It was a great mix of everything, and a wonderful resource to have locally. 

They used to have amazing yard sales that allowed customers to have tables outside while the store had huge clearance sales inside. This is a photo of my haul from this past summer. Amazing stuff. And because it was a yard sale, it was all at a fraction of what you'd normally pay. 

But what was really fun was going into a small store where everyone says hi, and they recognize you after you have been there a few times. (Or a thousand.) All the employees were warm and wonderful, and brought their own ideas to projects and classes.

It was incredible to have a place nearby that was trying new things, and that didn't just sell the mainstream craft stuff that they have at the big craft store chains. I credit Absolutely Everything for introducing me to craft and art mediums I may never have tried otherwise, and for having amazing classes that really inspired. (I took a class from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer there once! A dream come true!) 

I wish the very best for everyone at Absolutely Everything, and can assure them all that they will be missed. We need those small businesses that create communities and inspire people. They certainly did their share of that for nearly 20 years.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Absolutely Everything!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Fabric Journal Cover That's for the Birds

Drum roll please... 

This is one of my Top 10 favorite projects ever! And it has reached that ranking mainly because I wasn't sure that I could pull it off. Sewing is not my top skill, but I'm working on it. I absolutely adore mixed media fabric projects, and I think this sort of falls under that category since it's a journal cover. 

This was for another Craftster swap, and the challenge was to create a cover for a composition notebook. The plain green fabric is one of my favorites -- it's linen-like, if not actual linen. (One of my goals is to be able to better identify fabrics.) I have a mild batik obsession, so of course I had to incorporate some of that as well, and wanted to try my hand at a patch work look. Also, my partner loved birds, so I made mini appliques out of some bird fabric that I had.

I incorporated some crazy stitching too with embroidery floss. Oh, and beads. Tiny, annoying beads. (The things we do for crafts.)

I also tried this embroidery stitch for the first time, and have to say, it's a technique I will totally do again. It looks difficult, but is actually pretty simple. I love stuff like that.

A shot at the inside. I considered doing something fancy, but ended up liking the simplicity of the green.

This journal cover was definitely a project that I wish I had made for myself. Thankfully, I do have more of the linen left. That green is my favorite!

Monday, November 16, 2015

J'aime Paris

As a student in college, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad. This meant that part of my journey ended up in Paris. (If you go to Europe and don't see Paris... you didn't see Europe.) The art -- oh, the art! It is a city full of elegant places and sophisticated people. I was out of my league in every way imaginable, but was thrilled to be a part of things, if just for a weekend.

I lit a candle in memory of my grandmother at Notre Dame Cathedral. We went on an evening boat ride along the Seine, and I felt quite fancy. I wrote a postcard home after I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. My friend and I laughed as we watched art vendors argue at the Sacre Coeur and have dishes thrown at them by waiters in a nearby restaurant. It was nothing short of magical to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night.

There's a little bit of magic in Paris. And I refuse to believe that the events of this weekend extinguished any of that magic, for even a moment. May the people of France shine as brightly as the tower that Gustave Eiffel built for them. May their hearts heal. May they know that we share in their grief. 

J'aime Paris. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Shrine to Crafting

I've been cleaning my craft room out this week, which is quite the undertaking. I love working with everything: paper, clay, fabric, glass, yarn, wool, buttons, jewelry, ribbons, odds and ends. It's a real hodge podge in there, and frankly, has been a disaster for the past few months. (My husband would argue, years.) So it's time to make some sense of things. When it's clean, I'll post pictures.

I made this shrine a few years ago for a Craftster swap, and I thought of it last night when I was doing some organizing. This kind of represents my brain when it comes to crafting -- I love all of this stuff so much. The background was a favorite scrapbook paper that I had hoarded, and you can see all the random little things in there that I have squirreled away.

The felt crown with the buttons on it was an unfinished project -- it was going to be a pin -- but it looked really cute in this. I made the tag with the rose on it, as well as the bunny pressed into paper clay that's above it. To the right is a Tim Holtz acrylic square with some alcohol inks on it, and music paper behind it. I also altered the key in the upper left corner with alcohol inks and a shiny flower.

I really liked the corners accents -- the swirls are old cake decorations that I scored at a yard sale. I got the girl in the prom dress there too. Those yard sales see me coming a mile away.

I have the craft room to prove it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hangin' with my Gnomies

Paper clay is one of my top 5 favorite things to craft with -- it creates beautiful results, handles paint well, and is very forgiving. 

Here's a little guy that I made for a Craftster swap a year or so ago. I am thinking of doing some Christmas versions this year. He'd make a cute ornament! I winged the design from my head. I think he's about four or five inches tall.

After sculpting the paper clay and letting him dry over night, I painted him with acrylics and sealed him with matte medium.

Again, I like his little nose. And I wish I had a photo of his bum -- that was pretty cute too.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Shrine to the Bowling Queen

I stumbled upon this image the other day and had nearly forgotten that I made this a few years ago for a Craftster swap -- which is kind of sad since I really loved making this piece! My swap partner was an avid bowler who lived in Oklahoma, thus the theme.

I made this from a Masonite shrine kit -- Masonite is a material that feels like wood and looks like wood, but I don't think it's all wood. It's a nice weight for making shrines, though. The gold was created with a gilding pen I had, and the image was from a piece of scrapbook paper I had kicking around. The bowling ball and pins are stickers, and the bling is self-explanatory. 

I love the atomic brad up at the top. I have a few of those left, and have been hoarding them. You never know when you'll need to make another retro bowling shrine!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The trials and tribulations of being a diva

Some days, this sums it up for me. I feel like I'm balancing a little too much, while trying to still appear put together. 

Do you get that? It's not easy for divas like us!

This is an artist trading card (ATC) that I made a while back, using a playing card as a base. Artist trading cards are like baseball cards for artists. You create them and trade them, but the main rule is you never sell them. They are little art pieces just meant to be enjoyed.

The background of this card was created with gelatos, washi tape and markers. The diva herself is from a sheet of images I purchased. I love how she seems to be rolling her eyes.

I do that a lot too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Seeing Stars

It's amazing what you can make with foil.

I've used this technique many times, and it's one of my favorites. This is another one that I will do a tutorial for one day soon. This week, I am helping to organize a local holiday fair. (My hat is tipped to anyone who has done this before. It is a LOT of work, but will hopefully be a success!) So after that, I may have my brain back again.

This technique uses crafter's foil, but you could certainly use a heavy aluminum foil in its place. Essentially, you glue interesting bits and bobs to a canvas, glue on foil over that stuff, burnish the items that you had under the foil, then decorate with alcohol inks. It's one of those projects that looks way more complicated than it really is -- and those are my favorites.

The only trick about these is that they are a beast to photograph! But they are gorgeous for the holidays.