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.

How She Did It: Window to the World 4×6 Art Card


So, a while back I shared about a 4×6 art card swap I’d participated in that used several different techniques: collage, embossing, watercolor pencils, and word art.

Rose Colored Glasses 4x6 Swap piece

Well, after that post the Blond Duck herself (of A Duck in her Pond and Words & Whimsy) asked for a tutorial and while it took me a little longer to get to this than I’d planned, I’m happy to say I finally bit the bullet this weekend and created a similar card and filmed the entire process.

I still have a bit to learn when it comes to making these sorts of process videos, but I hope this helps disspell some of the “mystery” of heat embossing, watercolor resist and collage for those who haven’t given it a try yet.

(Direct link for the feed-readers: Window to the World: 4×6 Process Video w/Embossing Demo)

There you have it. Any questions?

The entire process, start-to-finish, took about half an hour. Some parts took longer than usual because I was explaining for the benefit of the camera, but then I also don’t show the time spent flipping through the magazine looking for words and images to use. So 30 minutes is about right. A 4×6 art card is one of those great instant-gratification projects and I hope you’ll give it a go and, even more, hope that you’ll share what you’ve been up to.

Now that I’ve finally gone and done this first video, I’m kind of excited to do more and will try to plan ahead enough on future posts where it might be appropriate. That said, I’m also open to requests, so just let me know if there’s something you’d like to see explained a bit more, demonstrated, or just a bird’s eye view of and I’ll do my best!

Oh, and in the spirit of true confessions, I committed one of my crafter’s pet peeves and I can’t believe I did it. During the course of the 30 minute video I must have said Mod Podge a few dozen times (some during those sped-up portions where you are spared my blathering) and, upon play-back, I heard myself (just once–but it was enough) call it “Modge” Podge. I thought about going back and dubbing the right word in, but I figured I might as well leave it and fess up rather than spend ages trying to get a seemless fix in place.

Keepin’ it real!


What is Art 4x6 Swap Piece

Arty Goodness in the Mail

Everyday Adventures

I’ve just made it home from a fabulous time at Ancient City Con. We’ll resume our basket-weaving next week, but for this week I want to share about another fun project with the Gauche Alchemy girls!


After several of the Alchemists participated in Art House Co-Ops 4×6 Exchange, they decided they had so much fun they wanted to do it again! This time we signed up for our own version of the swap using Swap-Bot to handle the random matching of partners, and we each got to make, send, and receive a fun little piece of art.

Rose Colored Glasses 4x6 Swap piece

Mine was inspired by a window pane-style stamp that I’d embossed in white and used a watercolor resist technique to color.  Then I went through a couple of magazines I had lying around to find the words to my phrase: When you look out the window onto the world, do you see the possibility? The backgrounds also came from ads in the magazines, layered with some iridescent punchinella (from Gauche Alchemy, naturally) all stuck down and covered with Mod Podge. Then I wrapped the edges in ruler-patterned washi tape, but just letting the lines show.

It still wasn’t quite right, though. Something was missing. Inspired by all the mists that are popular these days, I grabbed some fabric dye spray I had leftover from making a pair of fairy wings and gave the card a strategic spritz. After it dried–a heat gun makes short work of that!–I was finally satisfied, and off it went (across the pond) to my swap-recipient, Jo of Fiddlesnips!

In return, I received this awesome 2-sided 4×6 from Michelle of My Analog Life.

Create Art 4x6 Swap piece (side 1)

What is Art 4x6 Swap Piece

Want to do some random act of arty-kindness? Take a piece of card stock and trim it to 4 inches by 6 inches. Then put whatever you want to on it: collage magazine cuttings, slap some paint around, decorate it with stickers or tape. Just keep it pretty-much flat. Sign the back of it (or not, if you want to be all crafty-ninja), put it in an envelope, and send it to a friend.

And since it is just 24 square inches, it’s a small thing, a quick project. Working within limitations isn’t a bad thing, every now and then, it gives you a safe space to be creative in.

Are you going to try your own 4×6?

Personal Style

64 Arts

“Style” is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma. Fashion is something that comes after style.

–John Fairchild

Do you know what your style is?

Here’s a quick test to see if your style matches your clothes.

  1. Write down what you consider your style to be.
  2. Go into your closet.
  3. Notice what colors, patterns, and pieces dominate.
  4. Compare the two.

Pretty simple, huh? Our clothes along with shoes, jewelry and other accessories, plus the way we put them together is our way of saying “this is me” to the outside world (or even just to ourselves).

My Closet

My Closet

For instance, I know my style revolves around simple pieces, tops in mostly solid colors, soft stretchy fabrics and that I prefer skirts with a tailored look or details and slacks over jeans. Shoes are a major draw and I like to have plenty of heel, color and style options. My closet?

The facing rack is all tops with dresses on the left and two racks of skirts and pants tucked into the right side. Behind the dresses are built-in shelves of shoes with more stored on the top shelf and still more in my office closet (more about shoes in another post to come). This was taken just after Todd installed the ClosetMaid system–it may only be a rental but that ancient steel rod I knew was going to collapse with the weight of my former walk-in closet all settled on it! I wish it was always this neat, but I do keep my tops in more-or-less color families in the standard ROY G BIV lineup with white on one end and black and grey on the other. Putting my clothes in this sort of order made it very easy for me to see what I was most drawn to.

Sometimes I think it would be fabulous to wear, as Kimberly Wilson does, all black and just accessorize with color but… as you can see, I’m drawn to tops of all hues and just don’t think I’d be happy with such a limited palette!

What if you aren’t particularly happy with your current style?

Longing for a makeover but Clinton and Stacy aren’t knocking down your door to lend a hand? Before you text a 911 to your most fashionable girlfriends, let’s try a fairly simple exercise that will show you what direction your style is heading, even if your closet doesn’t know it yet.

Lucky Style Collage, September 2010

Lucky Style Collage, September 2010

What you’ll need:

  • Fashion magazines (Lucky, Glamour, Cosmo, Elle, etc.)
  • Sticky tabs (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Plain paper
  • Glue or tape

Grab your first magazine and your stack of sticky tabs. I admit, I’m partial to Lucky as they give you the sticky tabs right in the magazine–so considerate of them! Now, you can skip straight to the scissors but I like this first-pass to be look-and-tag simple.

Simply flip through the pages. Don’t read the articles, don’t look at the brands or prices or any of the fine print, just tag whatever catches your eye and makes you think WANT or LIKE! Just do it, don’t think about how it’ll fit funny here or there, we’re going for broad strokes, here.

Once you’ve tagged a magazine or three (I usually do an issue at a time but doing 3 or 4 from the still-to-be-read pile can give you a broader look to work with), start removing pages that you tagged and cutting out the items that interested you. These can be clothes, accessories, colors, textures, the entire image or only a detail if that’s what caught your eye.

Take all your pieces and start to arrange them on your blank sheet of paper. This is collage 101: match up pieces that go together (again, I don’t necessarily mean outfits, just shapes and colors and items that look fun together–we’re not ready to analyze yet) and move them around the paper until you can see the parts you want and like the arrangement. Glue or tape them down.

Analyzing your Style Collage

Lucky Style Collage, October 2010

Lucky Style Collage, October 2010

First we want to look at colors–what color(s) drew your eye most? Going back to your recent closet evaluation, is this something you have in abundance or are you totally lacking that color in your wardrobe? If it’s the latter, you’ll want to look for it the next time you go shopping and buy one or two pieces in that hue (or at least try them on in the dressing room) to see if you like that color on you. If it’s a color that doesn’t work with your skin tone, it’s okay, look for accessories or accents in that color, instead.

Next, did you pull out any total outfits? What about individual garments that have a particular detail you like? Again, if you don’t have it in your closet, considering adding a piece or two that reflects the style your drawn to. You don’t have to buy exactly what’s in the magazine! Visa knows those sorts of things aren’t in my budget, but knowing what you like can help you be on the lookout for items of similar style in the places you already shop.

For instance, the red sweater with the black buttons in my October collage would never stay shut with just those 3 buttons at top–my boobs would make it into a gaping mess! Instead, though, I can look at updating one of my current red sweaters with some over-sized black buttons to get the look without flashing everyone! Same with the skirts–I can find a simple wrap skirt practically anywhere and add my own edge treatment to make it look more tailored.

Give yourself permission to be a little daring. After all, a makeover is most effective if it’s totally unexpected!

Why not ask your girlfriends?

Just because you bff is a snappy dresser, doesn’t necessarily mean her style is for you. Once you’ve determined what sort of things you want to add to your wardrobe, then you can call her up and plan a shopping day or a weekend at the nearest outlet mall.


Clothes may not actually make the man or woman, but I know for a fact that I feel loads better when I’ve put together an outfit that is more my style than someone else’s. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt, even if that’s what everyone else at the event will be wearing, makes me feel frumpy and uncomfortable.

It’s better to be comfortable and have people wonder where you’re going to or coming from to be dressed so differently than wear something that doesn’t reflect the real you.

So, are you planning any wardrobe updates this season?

Art Therapy: Broken Ties

64 Arts

As I was taking the plaster out of the molds I learned (the broken way) that the heart-shaped plaster base wasn’t quite dry enough to handle.


So a few little pieces have now broken off and sit to one side.

I thought I could maybe fix it. After all, I’ve got plenty of glues and, once dry, it could be pieced back together and the mosaic and grout would cover it. Sure, the cracks would still be there but no one would see them.

*  *  *

I was luck to meet my best friend  in middle school, and we were inseparable for 6 years. She stood up for me at my first wedding and consoled me when my future mother-in-law called me an ungrateful little bitch just hours before we stood before the preacher.

We grew apart as I tried to deal with a marriage that wasn’t exactly made in heaven and, eventually, ended. On my own again, I tried to reconnect. In school we loved to go to dances so as adults: we went to clubs. One night we were going out and she had to get “permission” from her on-again/off-again boyfriend for where we were going. We deviated from that plan towards the end of the night wee hours of the morning, and she called to tell him where we were (nice public place, grabbing a bite to eat with some new friends I’d made).

He made her choose: leave now, or she’d never see him again. Furthermore, I later found out, he made her choose between him and me. She chose him. She no longer returned my calls. And when I saw her in traffic one Saturday I followed her, trying to get her attention, to her Mom’s apartment, and she told me she couldn’t talk to me again, and asked me to understand.

I didn’t understand, not really, but I did as she asked. A few months later I got a letter (care of my Mom’s address) trying to explain and saying maybe we’d meet up again at the reunion.

It’s been 10 years. They didn’t make it to the reunion in 2004. They’re still together, married, and (from what I hear) happy. And I’m happy for her even though I’ve never been a fan of his (and I knew him years before I met her). Thursday was her birthday and, well, it stung not being able to email or call to wish her a happy one. I’m still trying to be a friend by honoring her wishes.

*  *  *

10 years weren’t enough time to cover up the cracks in my heart from losing my best friend because of someone else’s insecurity, how did I think some glue and grout were going to successfully patch this piece of plaster?

So instead of a heart-shaped trivet that I wasn’t overly excited about anyway, I have this.

Memory Glasses by Scraps

Painted canvas base, collaged with photographs and magazine images, beads, buttons and other items, the mosaic broken heart, a light spray of pink spray-paint and silver pen.