Friday, June 18, 2010

What's new at The Loft - Episode 27


I have been so busy as of late that my "fun" time has been full of playing catch up for my new Photoshop class with Susan Tuttle on Digital Layers.  Susan is such a great teacher, and I'm learning so much. 

Here are just some examples of the work I'm done for this class.  I apologize for the poorer quality of the photos, I used a copy of a copy of the actual photo file.  To see larger images in better quality please visit my flickr page at


Outside right now the temperature is 91 degrees but the heat index is making it feel like 104 degrees. That's too hot even for us here in Central Florida at this time of year, and my electric bill from running my AC 24/7 is proof of it.  If it's like this in June, it will be really bad in August.  YUCK!

ATC 3.6.5. Challenge

Still going strong on the challenge and I have been really trying to push myself to try different things so I hope you like what you see. 

6/1 "A Woman's Purse"  Anyone who knows me knows that I carry a large purse that pretty much has everything but the kitchen sink in it.  I get so many comments on it that it is funny, especially when I complain about how heavy it is.  I'm frequently asked what I have in it, or why do I carry all the stuff I carry.  All I can say is that I have what I need and feel lost if I take something out.  So there you have it and in honor of that theme I created this cute "purse" card.  The purse is hinged with a small white cardstock strip folded and glued to each side and opens downward actually opens downward, and is held closed when up by tiny Velcro tab.  I created the purse front out of some white cardstock that I covered in the animal print fabric.  I then attached some metal distressed snaps with my Crop-O-Dile at the top.  I used a soft copper wire to make the purse handles and twist with pliers, and the inside card is lined with a textured blue paper to which I hand wrote a little note.  It reads "The contents of a woman's purse is always a mystery to a man".

6/2 ""Where My Heart is"  My inspiration for this card was these cute little house shaped paperclips I bought a long time ago but haven't used yet.  Keeping the house in mind then I went to my computer and printed out a map of my neighborhood and adhered it to a card blank so that the house clip would sit in the upper left corner of the card, right over where my actual house is.  I then trimmed the excess to fit the card.  Lastly wrote the title, then hand drew a slotted line to show a driving route and a heart around where my house sits on the map all using a black Zig marker. 

6/3 "A Woven Moment in Time"  My inspiration for this card actually came from 2 different places, a piece of artwork I found online and an online site that sells yarn but also carries weaving looms.  The concept here was to take a still photo (hence the "moment in time" part) cut it into strips, and then weave it (the "woven" part) together.  The artwork I saw had used a photograph which was cut into strips and then small pieces of the similar parts of the photograph were woven into a geometric shape, that was adhere on top of the piece.  For example, they took a photo of 3 flowers, one red, one purple,and one yellow.  They cut the photo into strips and then on a larger substrate they took all the strips of the purple flower and had woven them into a square shape.  The results were and intriguing dimensional embellishment.  So I took a fairly large magazine photo (approx. 5x7 in) and cut it into strips, and began to lay out the strips to try and align them so that the similar colors or patterns of the original photo would be grouped together.  Since I was going for the whole card being woven I ran into a few problems.  The first of which was that the magazine photo was not large enough when cut into strips to be able to do much color or pattern matching.  The second of which was that with a background this small, to weave any kind of shapes you would need thinner strips or more nimble fingers.  I let my frustration (and the late hour) win out and I settled for a plain weave, with no pattern or color matching, and even though it wasn't what I intended when I started I actually liked it in the end.  The mix of colors and patterns works well, and adds to the visual interest, and reminds me of those photo puzzles where the overall image is made up of dozens of smaller images.

6/4 "What's On Tonight" I have this great book on making interactive scrapbook pages which inspired me to make this spinner card.  Spinner cards while easy to assemble, are not necessarily easy to design.  Your images have to be precise to fit in the window so you can see the changing images.  My inspiration in doing the spinner card came from listening to my two daughters discussing what to watch on TV.  They have a large age gap between them (6 1/2 years) which can sometimes cause conflict when it comes to what they watch.  So the basic concept for the card was create a spinner card on channel surfing.  So I took some brown paper and drew a  small TV and cut out the screen.  I adhered this on white cardstock, cut to ATC card size and then cut the screen space out of the white cardstock.  I then drew the antenna and dials on the TV with a silver marker, and outlined in a black Zig marker. I then hand wrote the title, and cut out an arched notch at the bottom of the card for access to the spinner.  The spinner which sits underneath the white cardstock is a large circle which is divided into 4 even sections and is attached to the card blank with a small brad.  It features 4 different images and/or TV logos.  The images and logos were taken off the Internet and reduced in size (my husband was a sweetheart and did this for me).  Each image was adhered into one of the sections on the round spinner.  Sounds easy doesn't it, but it really wasn't.  With the TV screen being square and the TV images being rectangular this created all sorts of problems with sizing every time you turned the wheel.  After a lot of maneuvering and trimming I managed to get each image to fit and look halfway decent not only as it was turned, but how it looked when it ended up in the TV screen.  Once this was done, I put very small amounts of glue in each of the 4 corners of the top card and base card, being careful not to get it on the spinner, or anywhere where the spinner would lay.  For those of you interested when you flip through the channels on this TV (by moving the spinner wheel at the bottom)  you have a choice between Burn Notice, Lost, The Simpson's, and The Family Guy.  Overall I was happy with this card, but if given the chance to do again I would have dressed up the front more, and added some typed text instead of handwriting it.

6/5 "ATC Doll"  I have to admit that my inspiration for this card was actually a copied idea I saw in a Somerset Studios magazine.  An  ATC doll was such a cute concept that I had to try one.  And even though I really like what I had done here, I would have changed a few things, like using brighter colors and different patterns for the papers  The papers for the arms and legs were actually tags from 7 Gypsies, along with the hand in the center.  The arms with inked along the edges in red using a Color Box Cat's eye ink pad, and the legs were edged with Distress ink in walnut.  The bingo card was from Jenni Bowlin which was distressed with some Tsukineko chalk ink in turquoise.  The head was cut from some Tweety Jill collage paper, which was adhered onto the neck piece cut from a 7 Gypsies tag.  All movable parts were punched with a Crop-O-Dile, and joined with small brads.

6/6 "A Little Bird Told Me"  An altered art piece featuring a nest cut from pages from a book was the inspiration for this card.  I really loved the nest of words idea and wanted to do something similar.  I started by taking a card blank and coloring most of the back in light blue, with a small strip of brown at the bottom using my Neo II watercolor crayons.  While drying I found this cute bird in a 7 gypsies tag pack and colored it red with the same watercolor crayons.  On my computer I found as many quotes as I could find that was bird related and printed them out on a beige cardstock, cutting them into small strips.  I distressed the edges and the surface with tea stain Distress Ink. I then built my nest by first putting a strip on each side and laying then at upwards angles and then laid a strip over the top. Then another strip on each side angled, and then one on top.  The side strips were of course too long so they were cut and were placed at random on top of other strips.  My goal was to stack them to make it look like a nest but also be able to read some of the bird quotes.  Before they were dry I lifted one of the top horizontal strips and glued the bird underneath the strip to lend to the illusion that the bird was actually in the nest and not appearing to sit on top of the nest.  I then used a purple metallic Gelly Roll pen and traced along the wing doodle that was already on the bird.  Lastly I drew an eye on the bird using a white Uniball "Signo" pen and a black Zig marker.

6/7 "The Apparition"   My inspiration for this card came from a technique I was trying called a gel skin.  I started this card by taking a black and white laser jet image and applying at least 3 coats of Liquitex gloss gel medium to the image, letting it dry thoroughly between each coat. While each coat was drying I created the background on a card blank.  I started by tearing small pieces of the pages of an old telephone book and gluing them down randomly on the card, so that not all the text was facing in the same direction.  When still slightly tacky I applied random areas of red and orange acrylic paint using my Adirondack paint dabbers.  When dabbing with the paint dabber, the tackiness actually lifted up parts of the paper underneath, so I went with it and tore them away, leaving the raw phone book page underneath.  When the paint was dry I went back over the whole background again lightly smudging some white acrylic paint on with a dabber.  This gave the back a more marbleized look.  While this was drying I went back to my image covered in gel medium.  I detail cut the image out then turned it over and applied warm water with a paint brush.  (you can use a small mister with warm water, which I have tried many times in the past.  It works well, but the brush worked better in this case)  With the white paper saturated, I began to rub away all of the white paper back until all you are left with is a semi transparent image transferred to a gel "skin" which the built up layers of gel medium created.   This "skin" was then glued on top of the background , so you could see the paint and the phone book pages through it.

Note: A gel skin is different from a gel medium image transfer in that with a transfer you are generally transferring an image from one substrate to another.  A gel skin is a image transferred onto a new physical form like a "skin", which is a rubbery, flexible transparency.

Well I have lots more to show and tell, but this post is getting long, so I will end for today.  Come back soon as I have lots more to show.  And coming up DIGITAL WEEK!!!.  All digital ATC's every day for a week.  I've done 5 so far and I'm loving it.  It's also had the gears in my head turning on other theme weeks we can do, and some other mixed media pieces I can do.  I'm very excited so I hope you come back soon to check out all the fun. 

I really love comments so please drop me a line .  Tell me what you like or don't like, share your ideas, or suggestions for improvements or other tips and techniques to try.  I'm open to anything and love feedback so don't be shy. 

Thanks again for stopping by!!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What's new at The Loft - Episode 26

It's Already June and School's Almost Out

I can hardly believe that schools almost out and in just a few short months my oldest daughter starts high school and my youngest starts second grade. I feel so blessed that I have two wonderful girls and I'm exceedingly proud of them for their accomplishments this year.

ATC 3.6.5. Challenge

Inspiration sometimes doesn't come easy for me but lately I've found inspiration in places I didn't expect to find it.  With the inspiration however usually means more complicated cards which have a tendency to take more time to create, leaving little time for any other creative endeavors. 

5/14 "Pocket Full of Wishes"  My inspiration for this card came from a layout I saw in a scrapbook magazine.  The layout was baseball themed, where the mom had  used pockets with journaling tags to highlight her sons' accomplishments in the sport. I played off this theme but with my own twist.  Instead of using a journaling tag to note some sentiment or relate some personal story, I turned the tables away from the "me" factor (I pick the sentiment, or relate the story) and asked for my family's participation.  I had everyone tell me one wish to which I then took to my computer, typed and printed out.  I then cut them out and adhered them to some strips of taupe cardstock.  Next I took this great paper that looked like jean material that was given as a free sample in Somerset Memories magazine and cut it into a pocket shape.  I then machine stitched two lines going around the pocket, one right along the edge and a second about 1/4 inch in to mimic the stitching of a real jean pocket.  I then applied glue to the inside of the pocket in between the two lines of stitching and adhered to a piece of brown textured cardstock that I cut for a backing. Once dried I slipped the journaling strips inside.

5/15 - "The Tulip" I have been wanting to include more fabric and fibers into my ATC's for some time but hadn't really worked up the courage, but I came along a photo in an article about art quilting that encouraged me to experiment.  I started this card by cutting a piece of bleached muslin that was 1/4" larger that the card on all sides, and taped the muslin to the background card using blue painters tape.  I next used my Neo II watercolor crayons to draw the tulip, stem and leaves onto the muslin.  Using my H2O water brush, I added water to the lines, and pushed the color towards the center.  I didn't want the tulip to have even color so I made sure to only push a small amount of color towards the center petal.  One mistake I made however was to let this hang to dry, which caused some of the red to run into the green. on the stem.  After the muslin was completely dry I then took the card to my sewing machine where I stitched around the petals, stem and leaves using a beige thread.  I then added a second line of stitching to the tulip petals.  I next removed the blue painters tape and stitched a zig zag border around the edge of the card to hold secure the edges.  I added a second stitched zig zag border to not only reinforce the edge, but to give the stitching a more messy look.  Lastly I hand sewed 3 clear buttons on with lime green thread for a little more color.

5/16 "I Love" - My inspiration for today's card actually came from a picture of a stamp on a piece of scrapbook paper from K & Company called "Life's Journey Stamp Collage" which featured small stamps that you could essentially use as tags or an embellishment.  One stamp featured the word "forever" on a strip of paper attached to the background with safety pins.  It also had ephemera tags adhere to the stamp with a button.  I played off of this same concept but with a personal twist.  On my computer I typed the words I love, and then I typed my husband and two daughers' names and added a short sentiment for each telling what I loved about each of them and printed on a manila cardstock.  I then cut the "I Love" title into a small strip, and each sentiment was cut into a rectangle shape and inked all the edges in Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  Next I worked on assembling the card.  I cut a background from some text paper scraps I had lying around and adhered to the card, and inked the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  I then took a different text paper and ripped a strip approximately 1 inch wide, inked the edges with the same ink, and adhered the strip going across the card at an imperfect angle.  I then attached the title piece to the card with 2 small safety pins.  Next I stacked my journaling and punched a small hole through each in the top right corner.  I also punched a hole through the card backing below the title.  I put a small copper eyelet through the holes of the journaling cards and crimped with my Crop O' Dile.  To view each card, all you have to do is move it to the side. 

5/17 "Everything You Need" - Today's card was a MOTW "Made on the Way" card, as I knew I wouldn't be home in the evening to make a card, so instead I made one on my lunch break from my "real world" job.  The inspiration for this card was this cute picture of the cartoon drawing of the girl, and the sentiments that were conveyed in the ad to which I found this. I honestly don't even remember what the ad was for, but the tag lines stuck in my head.  On this day however I didn't have any supplies with me other than an old glue stick, so I couldn't do much more with the card except tor cut a similar type background from another part of the magazine and piece it together.  For not being one of my more thought provoking cards, this MOTW card I thought really worked just for the sentiment it carried.

5/18 "Cute Fact #14 About Lynn" - very rarely do I feature anything about myself in my cards, other than my own creativity.  I'm a very guarded person, and not comfortable talking about me in general, and I've never been comfortable journaling at all, so one of my personal goals is to try and let go of that "fear" of being exposed, and try more journaling in my work.  What better way than to turn the tables on myself but to make a journaling card about me.   The inspiration of which was this cute little card tag that had "Cute Fact No." already printed on it from My Mind's Eye's "29th Street Market" collection.  Ok I did cheat a little bit in that since the card is about me, I wasn't about to write it myself too, so I enlisted my the husband's help to write down several things about me or my personality that he found cute. While he was doing that I went to work on the rest of the card.  I started by taking a card blank and taking some purple ink from my Color Box "Cat's Eye" inks and laying down an edge of color that extended toward the center of the card approx 1/4 inch on all sides.  I next cut a small tulip card from  pink plaid scrap of paper (manufacturer unknown) using my Cuttle bug and the Sizzix tulip card big die.  I folded two of the sides of the card in and glued to form a little pocket and adhered the whole thing to the background card with the pocket orientated to the bottom.  I next detail cut some flowers from some other paper scraps and adhered them to the top of the pocket using pop up foam dots.  In the center of the flower on top I glued a small gem stone.  I then inked the entire edge of the of the card again with pink Color Box "Cat's Eye" chalk ink.  I then went and retrieved the paper my husband had been working on and wrote one of the items he listed onto the journaling card with a black Zig marker.  For those of you wondering what it says, it reads: "Knows how to make me laugh even when I'm mad at her".   Finally the card was secured in place by a red heart paperclip I found at Staples.

5/19 "Tree of the 4 Seasons"  My inspiration for today's card came from an abstract painting I say in a poster catalog of a tree.  The four seasons as it turned out was a happy accident.  I don't have much talent for free hand drawing, but a tree I can do with a small degree of success, so I did my own take on the poster I saw.  First I used a pencil to draw the tree, which I then colored in with a brown Zig marker.  Next I doodled some flowers on the tree branches and around the trunk with a black Zig marker and added more doodles with red, green and brown Zig markers and a white Uniball "Signo" pen.  I then added color to the background using some Portfolio water soluble oil pastels that my friend Maura gave me (Thank You, Maura!!!!!) and added lines of color to the back which I smudged with my finger to soften and blend.  I then took the white stick from Portfolio pastel pack and doodled some more to the background.  If you look closely you can see some doodled lines between the blue and green and at the base of the flower in the orange section.  I absolutely love these Portfolio pastels, they are very creamy (and very messy in your hand) but they blend beautifully.  The only problem I have found with them is I need to find an art marker that can color on top of these without bleeding.  I added a black Prismacolor art marker as the stems for the flowers at the base of the tree, and you can see that the line had had a little bleed out, and is not as crisp as when I first drew it.  I will have to experiment with other markers to find another art marker that would work better in combination with these.  I didn't plan the colors for the background I just grabbed colors that I liked.  My 7 year old daughter was the one who spotted that I chosen the colors of the seasons and put them in a clockwise seasonal pattern with spring being represented by green in the upper left.  Subconsciously my mind must have been thinking seasons as well.

5/20  "The Key to My Heart" - In keeping with wanting to incorporate more fabric into my ATC's I quilted my first card using some scraps of turquoise fabric that I had left over when I "updated"  a memory board that I found at a Goodwill shop.  This also marked the first time I've ever made an ATC that had no card backing to it.  I'm not a quilter (I'm still trying to learn) so I'm not sure from a quilting standpoint if I did this in the correct order.  I first made my quilt sandwich with the batting and backing and machine sewed inside out leaving a small gap at the top.  I then turn it right side in and top stitched around the entire outside of the card.  I then machine stitched the heart three times in 3 different colors and then sewed the trim on at the top. I found an old key charm which I hand sewed on with embroidery floss in the middle of the heart and added some beads on the the side of the key with embroidery floss.  Lastly I stitched a doodle line at the bottom for additional hold. 

5/21 "Portrait of a Lady"  Here is another example of a black and white laser copy of a silent movie star which I colorized using my watercolor wheel, some Neo II watercolor crayons, a clear "Stardust" Gelly roll pen and a H2O water pen.  When I do these types of ATC's I noticed that I tend to pick more blue tones for the recolors, so I made it a point to choose a different color this time, with pink for the dress and brown tones for the walls and hair.  I don't think this one worked as well as some I have done in the past, but it's not all around bad.  Perhaps I don't like it as much because I didn't use blue tones!

5/22 "Mona Lisa"  I love inchies, which were my inspiration for today.  I have made some cute ones, but my favorite thing to do with inchies is to cut my inchie squares from a heavier watercolor paper, and using repositionable adhesive align them next to each other in the shape and dimensions I want and stamp on top as if it were one solid piece.  (Alternatively you could stamp on a solid piece first and then using an exacto knife and ruler cut your one inch squares, but I prefer my method) 

After I have stamped I then add the color to my stamped design.  For Mona Lisa here I used my watercolor wheel, and a clear "Stardust" Gelly roll pen for bling.  Once the watercolor paint has dried I then removed the squares and began gluing them to a black background, with space between each square allowing the black to show through to give the image a tile look.  I use glue sticks to adhere the squares permanently.  I like to use Tombow or Scotch glue stick for this because while they create a permanent bond they allow me some time to align the squares evenly.

5/23 - "Fabric Flower" -  Continuing on my experimenting with more fabric in my cards I cut three different sized circles from some scrap fabric and pinked the edges.  I stacked the circles and sewed a loose stitch in a circle near the center of the flower and pulled to gather.  I then added a button to the center and sewed in a criss-cross stitch. I then took a card blank and painted a colored background using my Neo II watercolor crayons and water.  I then attached the flower to the card by hand stitching and I also added a little glue to make a more secure bond.  Lastly I hand drew the stem and leaves with a green Portfolio water soluble oil pastel crayon for a messy hand drawn look.


 I really love abstract art so for a change to my usual routine I decided to do a theme block of abstract ATC's for the entire week from 5/24 to 5/30.  These cards don't have any cute titles and are simply numbered as part of the series, because to me abstract art is about the viewers interpretation of a piece as well as what the artist is trying to convey.  With that in mind I won't tell you about my inspirations on these cards, but instead I will just give you a list of the mediums and any other materials used to create them and invite you to let me know your thoughts and interpretations on the pieces.  

5/24 - "Abstract 1" - created using Portfolio water soluble oil pastels.

5/25 "Abstract 2" Crayola watercolor pencils,  Prismacolor black art marker and a white Uniball "Signo" pen.

5/26 "Abstract 3" This is more of a graffiti piece than an abstract piece but I've included it in this group anyways.  For this card I used Portfolio water soluble oil pastels, Liquitex "Basic" acrylic paint, stamps, and a Prismacolor art marker.  As you can see the art marker when applied on top of the water soluble oil pastel did bleed out again and was worse than when I used it on my card from 5/19, however even though you can't read the words clearly I think it works with the whole graffiti look.

5/27 "Abstract 4"  Made with Ranger "Adirondack" paint dabbers applied with the dabber and a brush.

5/28 "Abstract 5"  made with Liquitex "Basic" Acrylic paint.

5/29 "Abstract 6" made with Tsukineko chalk inks,  Color Box "Cat's Eye" inks, Ranger "Adirondack" paint dabbers, and rubber stamps.

5/30 "Abstract 7" made with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels and Ranger "Adirondack " paint dabbers applied with a brush.

5/31 "Bliss"  My inspiration for this card were materials that I just bought at the Scrapbook Expo in Orlando, FL.  I used a Jenni Bowlin mini bingo card as a background to which I placed a scroll heart glimmer screen and then sprayed with red velvet "Glimmer Mist" both from Tattered Angels.  Next I lightly and imperfectly hand drew some small hearts with a black Zig marker.  I then cut a small photo from Graphic 45's "Le Romantique" paper and adhered it at the bottom of the card at an angle.  I then hand wrote the letter U and glued a heart charm to the card, to make an imperfect I heart U but as you can see the concept doesn't work and I wasn't happy with my end result on this card for today.

Whew!  That sure was a lot but I've just caught you up on my cards through May.  I'm looking forward to posting the really cute cards I've done so far for June. 

For those of you curious to know if I  have been cheating or not on the challenge, the answer is no.  I have been following my rules faithfully which is 1 card per day and no do-overs.  I will admit that on some days it is tempting to skip a card and make up for it on another day when I have more time, but I'm proud to say I've been true to my challenge to which my family can attest to and is evidenced by the lack of creative quality on days when I was very tired or stressed out from my "real world" job (see card from 5/31).  I also keep true to my rule of not doing another card if I don't like the results of the first one I did. I like to treat each card as a learning experience and examine them to find what works and what doesn't.  If I don't like a card, what is it about it I don't like, and what could I have done differently to make it work better. 

I hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far.  As always your comments are welcomed and encouraged so please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think.  I'm glad you stopped by and I hope you come back soon.