Video | My Gauched-Up Planner Pad

Everyday Adventures, Projects

One of my goals this year is to make more videos–and maybe actually be in them (not just my hands)! So I figured I’d get the first one out of the way to show off my Gauched-Up Planner Pad that I made in part to keep me sane this year and in part as my February Newsletter project for The Dirt.

(Direct link for the feed-readers: Gauched-Up Planner Pad)

Apparently I ramble as much on video as I do in “print.” Or maybe more so, since the first time I tried this video it was almost 20 minutes long. It’s a learning process, I hope.

Pertinent links:

Gauche Alchemy ( The newsletter sign-up is in the sidebar and the shop is currently in vacation mode due to a move, but it should be back open for orders once they get resettled in a couple/few months (hint: the newsletter is probably a good way to keep up with that sort of thing, yes?). After checking through my notes I see that I used the Moshi Moshi Paper Crafting Kit, the Envy Green and It’s All Gravy Baby Brown Mixed Media Color Kits, as well as washi tape.

Planner Pads ( my current planner, the one I’ve made-over, is the Seasons, personal-size.

Here’s what it looked like before I gave it a spruce:


And after:


Sadly the process pictures I took were part of the my-SD-card-hates-me war, and were lost when my laptop “fixed” some bad files (i.e., fixed the entire month of December into oblivion–rarr!).

Oh, and before I close for the day, I just wanted to mention that I’ve started creating digital stamps! Basically, I’m turning my years of comics-drawing skills into making usable images for others to enjoy, and that makes me far happier than I thought it would. I have a couple of sets up in my Etsy shop just perfect for Valentine’s crafting.

#36 Carpentry | Project | Stuck On You

64 Arts, Projects


I really do love it when a plan comes together!

We’ve been blathering on about woodworking for a while, now, and I’d been meaning to get some projects done but not succeeding very much. You’ll be happy to know that has changed, and I’m going to go ahead and throw the next art into the mix, since it’s so simple (I don’t know why I didn’t post ’em both together to begin with).

36 Carpentry

Sawing planks to make seats and beds.

In the mind of the list originators, woodworking was the fancy, artisan-level stuff and carpentry the more functional. It’s not a seat or a bed, but I do have a functional carpentry project to share with you today that solves a need as well as gave Todd and I a chance to work together on a project.

Of course, when I say work together I mean I dreamt it up, he did most of the carpentry work while I took pictures, and then I added a few details.

First, let’s start with the problem:

I often use liquid adhesives (as opposed to tapes, etc.) and once the bottle starts to approach the half-full point, it seems like it takes forever to get the glue to start to flow–especially when I’m mid project and impatient.

From time to time I’ve stuck the glue upside down in a cup to keep it ready-to-go, but that’s cumbersome and the cup (unless very heavy itself) would tip over if the glue wasn’t put in just right. Annoying.

Then I found that I could sort of wedge some glues more or less up in this tray I’d picked up years ago, probably at the Dollar Tree, but it was still a clumsy, klugy work around.

And then I found my inspiration:

Image via

We have a plastic test tube rack like the one above that I got from American Science and Surplus several years ago to use in our Halloween decorations (gotta have that mad scientists lab, doncha know). What if we made something like this to hold my glue bottles upside down and ready to roll, whenever I needed them?!

So we did:

wooden glue stand on a blue desk with cutting mat in front

All loaded and ready to glue!

Because I have a combination of tall and short glue bottles, we designed the stand to nave two levels. The base is a 6″ x 18″ piece of 1/2-inch solid wood from the hardware store (pine or some other solid wood would do), the legs are 4″ and 3″ cuts from a 3/4″ dowel rod. The top levels are 3″ strips cut from a 1/4″-thick piece of 6″ x 18″ plywood we picked up at Hobby Lobby, and the whole thing is held together with 8 wood screws.

The holes were cut using a hole saw, which is actually just a special drill-bit that works on any power drill. We Todd used 2 different sizes, one for each level, though admits the one saw of his set that was missing would have been a better size for the lower level. The holes drilled are 2 1/8″ on the upper level and 2″ on the lower level. We could have gone much smaller on the lower level, but this way I can actually store more larger bottles on both level, should the need arise.

Cut and drilled pieces of wood, pre-assembly

Ready to assemble glue stand, courtesy of Todd

One of the great features of the test tube rack was that there was a little bowl or divot underneath that kept the tubes from slipping around. While I suppose we could have sanded out a similar feature using a Dremel, I decided to use bottle caps, adhered with a 2-part epoxy, to act as stops to keep the tips of the bottles from sliding around too much.

Now, you might wonder, as I did just before we finished this project, if something already existed that would have saved us the trouble of making our own. Surprisingly, not really. I found some bendable metal stands that would work well for super-glue and other small-nozzled bottles, but not for the types of glue I use. Then I found a couple of 2-bottle glue stands, meant for 2-part epoxy but they would have worked for me, if I only had a couple of glues to concern myself with.

And how many crafters do you know who only use 2 glues?

Glue stand, filled, slid into a narrow spot on a shelf

Tucked out of the way but still ready at a moment’s notice!

Finally, when we were deciding just how long to make the stand, we took into account that I won’t always need this stand out on my worktable all the time. Since the shelving units I have in The Abyss are 18″ deep, that became our maximum length so I could easily slip the stand onto the shelf when not needed.

It’s still bare wood right now because I haven’t decided how exactly I want to finish it. Right now I’m leaning towards decoupage–that seems somewhat fitting!

And some process pics for the curious (click on any of the thumbnails below to enlarge).

Have you made anything interesting lately?


And with that, we’re back to our regular blogging schedule. Thank you for your patience while I took January off to work on various behind-the-scenes projects (one of which was the look of this site). I’ll have a new post up on Thursday, too, so make sure to come back then to see something else I was up to in the off-season!

Trio of Skull Tags made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

Tag, You’re It!


I’d spend so much time on the Memorial Canvas & Frames that I didn’t have enough time to even start the next project I’d planned (still in the works, by the way) before the next deadline came due, so I needed a quick fix for an impromptu project.

Enter the concept of highly-decorated tags!

Tags were never really my thing back when I paper-scrapped a lot. They were nice to have and could fill some space on a page quite nicely, but I never really got into them the way others did. I think I’ve now changed my mind on the “simple” tag.

Trio of Skull Tags made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

The thing about tags is that they are, as mentioned, quick. But they’re also great for other reasons:

  • Instant gratification gives you a creative boost for other projects.
  • They can be used to decorate packages, gift bags, or decorations.
  • The small size means there’s not a lot of space to agonize over.

And, possibly the best reason to try your hand at tags:

  • Tags are a great way to use up miscellaneous supplies.

In the case of the Dia de los Muertos kit, it was the 3-D skull stickers. They’re cool stickers with a little bit of a girly-biker vibe, and I loved that they were part of the kit, but they were the type of thing I’d squirrel away and not use because either I didn’t have a specific use for them or I didn’t want to use them up.

Plopping them on some tags meant I got to use them in a no-pressure situation, and I still get to keep the pretty tags around until such time as I find a better home for them. It’s not quite the same as having your cake and eating it, too, but it’s pretty darn close!

Each tag is 3.5″x6″ and is cut from some of the cardstock supplied in the kit. Here are close-ups and details about each one:

Garnet & Gold cameo tag made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

For the Garnet & Gold cameo tag, I stamped the background with the VLVS stamp, highlighted the texture in the braille paper with cranberry ink, then layered it all with woodgrain punchinella and brown & cream lace, stitching the looser bits up along the top edge.

The cameos in this kit kinda make me want to start wearing pins and brooches again, but I gave this set up for the tag and added some buttons and ribbon from my own stash to round it out. In the center I sewed one of the cross beads in the kit and called it a day.

Staring Skull tag made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

The two pink & black tags exist solely to highlight the multi-layer skull stickers. For Mr. Staring Skull, He got embellished with a heart/motif sitcker from the same pack, turned on its side, a purple gem, some pen detailing on the other side traced through the sugar skull mask, a bow from wired mesh ribbon, and a bottle milagro. Cheers, dude!

Talking heads skull tag made from Gauche Alchemy's Dia de los Muertos kit

The talking heads, on the other hand, got a layered heart sticker, some faux stitching care of a silver Sharpie, a matching mesh bow and a heart milagro.

So how ’bout it? Why not drag out those unused stickers and supplies and make some tags?



So that project that had me all in knots last week? All done and up over at Gauche Alchemy today!

Dia de los Muertos Memorial Canvas

I got to play with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Mixed Media Paper Crafting Kit and I’m really having fun with all the pieces and parts. My first project was, perhaps, a bit ambitious, but it never hurts to go all out.

It started with the frames and fabric.

I used a trapunto quilting technique to stitch and stuff two of the faces in the fabric.

Trapunto quilted skull-face fabric

Then I trimmed them up nice and neat. Hint: there are commercial fray-stoppers out there but I couldn’t find mine. Instead I used clear fingernail polish on the prone-to-fray taffeta ribbon and it worked just fine!

The frames that came in the kit are these awesome Victorian bubble frames that not only have 3 layers to the front of each frame, making the different cuts customizable, but also rounded “glass” (plastic) so that you can place non-flat things behind them.

Close-up of bubble frames

It was fun to work with the frames, and they have so much potential, but I went with a simple prep of charcoal gray paint highlighted with bright fabric paints around the edges to make the layers really stand out.

Painted frame layers

For the background of “portraits” I Mod Podge’d some of the book pages to the frame back and then spritzed them with Art Anthology Colorations Mist in Asphalt. After some dry time all around, the faces got paired with some punched film strip (from the Black Out Mixed Media color kit) and a purple feather from my stash for the female face, and two of the milagros (charms) and metal flowers from the DotD kit for the male face.

Assembled frames with quilted portraits

Originally this was going to be it for this project, and the canvas was going to be a separate project altogether, but I decided that they’d make a better project together, so on we go!

The canvas was one of those pre-primed things that I picked up on sale at the craft store with no particular project in mind.

First I layered book pages and sheet music onto the canvas with Mod Podge, then sprayed it with the Colorations like the frame backgrounds.

Then I used the sugar skull mask (as in stencil, not the type you wear on your face) with the Art Anthology Gelate in Splashed, and created a skull image on the layered canvas. When I couldn’t scrape all the gelate off the front I decided to flip it over and use it as a pseudo-stamp just to see what happened.

Applying the Art Anthology Gelate through the sugar skull mask

After the gelate dried I realized what LOOKED like white with sparkles in the jar actually dried clear. That’s okay, though, as I wanted the background darker anyway so just kept spraying and blotting the mist on until I’d reached the right shade of dark and the gelate was standing out nicely. And the secondary “stamp” turned out awesome.

Not quite dry gelate--still looks white, won't last for long!

Since the whole idea of Dia de los Meurtos is the remembrance of those who’ve passed on before us, I dug up some pictures of my grandparents in their younger days and printed them in a few different sizes. I ended up using the largest and the smallest of each to decorate either side of the canvas. A few details added with more puffy paint (make fun all you like, those precision tips are awesome) and then the single word, freehanded along with some scrolly bits.

Decorated canvas

To finish the canvas I glued on some burgundy ribbon from my stash, then attached the frames to two wide pieces of taffeta ribbon, the lace from the kit, and more black ribbon from my stash.

Finally, I declared it done.

And you know what’s even more awesome than having a completed project from one of the awesome Gauche Alchemy kits? Having tons more supplies left to do even more fun stuff. There will be more projects from this kit, but first we’re going to get back to the woodworking art for a bit.

Clearer of Obstacles


Recently we Gauche Alchemy girls teamed up with the awesome folks over at 100 Proof Press to make some awesome stuff with their stamps. While I have all sorts of plans for some of the other stamps I picked up at the same time, what I have to share with you now is my Ganesha Shrine.

Ages ago I read that Ganesha was the opener of doors and remover of obstacles. When I saw 100 Proof’s Ganesha stamp, I knew it would be perfect for a shrine. I was also fascinated by the shape of the Gears cluster, and wondered if I could combine the two, somehow.

First I stamped and embossed Ganesha in black, coloring him in with watercolor pencils.

Then I stamped and embossed 2 of the gears clusters in silver and fussy-cut all those little notches so the shape would stand out that much better. It’s a somewhat tedious project, but that’s never stopped me before!

The body of the shrine is actually a box from a trio of tequila samples. I painted the outside of the box with white gesso and the inside and front with brown craft paint.

After fitting patterned paper into the backs of the sections, I layered some lace in each of the outer wells, and then topped all 3 with strips of punchinella, trimmed to fit the width but a smidgen long to give the look of undulating sky.

With the backgrounds prepared, I placed a piece of wine cork in the center well so Ganesha would sit up nice and forward, while each gear was mounted on layers of foam tape (about 6 layers to get just the right middle-depth going. The candles are just for show, of course.

I love the idea of the gears pulling the rain away at Ganesha’s command.

Inspired by the bright colors and rich textures of Indian textiles,  I pieced together a “rug” for in front of the shrine from fabric and trim from the Banana Hammock and Pink Parts mixed media color kits.

To “stitch” the pieces of fabric together, I zig-zagged white fabric paint along each border and then layed in a couple of pieces of gold sequin trim. Hitting that trim with the heat gun made some of the sequins dull and curl which might sound like a bad thing but was actually kind of a happy accident.

The box itself was looking a little plain, my decision to paint it white just wasn’t holding up to the awesomeness inside, so I spritzed some strips of Ouchless Cardboard with pink and purple mists and then sprayed them with silver glitter, but that wasn’t enough!

A light touch with some more gesso, though, that brought out the ridges a bit. Once dry I glued them onto the sides of the shrine. The “roof” was prepared similarly, but I let the peak fold how it wanted, which resulted in a sloping, undulating line that I outlined (along with everything else) in gold glitter glue. Finally, some crystal butterflies, bits of an old earring, and strings of seed beads and this shrine was all done but the drying.

This was a ridiculous amount of fun!