Imagine That: Backgrounds to the Forefront

In The Studio

Background stamps are, by their very nature, excellent as a foundation for a project. But some are just so gorgeous that I hate to cover them up!

For today’s project over on the Imagine blog, I used a white embossing powder resist technique with a very detailed Joy Clair stamp and highlighted it with three ink colors from a Kaleidacolor pad.

The result was a really pretty blend of colors and pattern that reminds me of a color fabric that I could not bring myself to cover up with more than a simple button-and-brad embellishment.

Head on over to the Imagine blog to see how quickly this card came together!

You Look Mahvelous!

In The Studio

If you’re my age, you probably know that as a quote from Billy Crystal impersonating Fernando Lamas, which then became the video Fernando’s Hideaway. If you’ve never seen it, well, feast your eyes…

This is what popped into my head when our May color challenge was announced: magenta. I used a couple of Fireworks! sprays, some embossing, and a lot of Post It! Tape to put together a card I think would make a great pick-me-up for someone.

Those cat-eye glasses are adorable. They’re from the Geek Chic stamp set by My Favorite Things and I was just waiting for the right project to come along to use them.

See the video of how the card was created over on the Imagine blog.

Paper Pendants and Studio Calico

In The Studio

A few months ago I decided to treat myself to the Studio Calico monthly stamp subscription, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed receiving that sheet of acrylic stamps each month. Because they’re topmost on my desk, usually, they’re much more likely to be grabbed when I need a starting point for my next project.


Case in point: Build a Bouquet (January 2017) meets Imagine embossing. Jewelry ensues. Check out the play-by-play on the Imagine blog.

Now, this is not my first time making paper jewelry. Back when I was with the Gauche team I made paper brooches as well as a slew of paper beads that I turned into a Day of the Dead rosary.Paper and stamping is just such an unexpected material for jewelry that it never fails to impress, so I dipped back into the well this month for a project that incorporated the color challenge (Rose) as well as the theme (Heart of Gold).


Paper jewelry tends to be very delicate, it’s a given, but for this project I wanted to protect the stamped blossoms and give them the high shine of resin (but without the mixing and waiting that resin crafts require). Multiple layers of clear embossing powder provided the desired effect and the gold that gets swiped just on the edges melded into the clear rather than creating a hard line–something you only see when you look closely, but that’s okay, too.


I decided to make earrings at the same time, since the Studio Calico stamp set had both a large layered blossom and a small one. For the earrings, since they’re likely to get a bit more hard use with hair and phones and scarves nearby, I doubled the images so the bail is sandwiched between them and both sides are glossy.

Of course, my m.o. is always to make multiples of something when I’ve got all the stuff out, so I have enough stamped and embossed images to make 3 more necklaces and a couple pairs of earrings, I just have to put them together.


Back to the Studio Calico subscription–I really can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a simple program (in a good way): the stamps are sturdy and a full sheet’s worth; there’s minimal packaging; and they come with a little booklet that serves the backing board in the package and includes examples of how their designers have used the stamps. There’s also a url for an online classroom where more projects are featured. While I’ve only been getting the stamps for a few months, the designs are very versatile and they tend to include a range of bog and small pieces within each.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with them and if you’ve been on the fence about the Studio Calico stamp subscription, I’d say give it a try. Tools are always a good investment, and stamps are awesome tools.

The Stamp Subscription from Studio Calico is $19.99 a month. This post was not sponsored by Studio Calico, I’m just a happy customer.

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!

Project | And Yes, They’re Paper


For those who haven’t subscribed to the Gauche Alchemy monthly newsletter (and just why not?), I’m thrilled to get to share a project I’ve had to keep close to the vest for more than a month! I know, the suspense was killing me, too–I hate keeping fun stuff from you guys. Even if you did see the project in the newsletter, I’ll be showing step-by-step photos of the process, so it’s worth a peek if you’re curious how I put these awesome Paper Brooches together.

If you recall my altered make-up box, I used  the Intricate Design stamp for the faux-hinges and I believe I mentioned that  I’d had other plans for that stamp to begin with. This is what I had in mind when I ordered that stamp.

After stamping the image on colored card stock and embossing some of each in gold and silver,

I antiqued the embossing with some metallic rub-ons, applied with a cotton swab.

Antiquing the embossing with metallic rub-ons

Since I wanted to hang chains from the motifs, I wide-trimmed each design,

Wide-trimming the motifs before punching the holes

punched a few strategic holes (3 sets along the bottom for the horizontal brooch, one on each side and at the bottom for the vertical) with a 1/8″ hole punch. After that it was time to fussy cut the images, leaving little circles around the punched holes.

One the holes are punched, trim about 1/8" around them

I cut different lengths of jewelry chain and used needle-nose and round-nose pliers to open the links, slip them into their holes, and close them back up. (You could also use jump rings–much easier if you’re stringing multiple chains together, like I did with the silver brooch).

Adding chains for movement and insterest

After that it was all about the decorations. The beads for the silver brooch came from the Black Out mixed media color kit, while the flat-backed gem and coppery brads for the gold brooch came from the It’s All Gravy Baby brown color kit. Also on the silver brooch is a Tim Holtz button (I punched a hole in the center of the paper background to allow for the shank and used clear glue to secure it to the front).

Added buttons, gems, brads and beads to jazz it up

To help the chains on the gold brooch hang correctly, I added a beaded spacer bar between the 2 outer sets–the gold-tone bi-cones added a little sparkle while also serving a purpose.

Beaded spacers to keep the chains hanging correctly

All that was left was to add the pin-backs and let them dry.

The backs of the cards, just about ready to wear

On my next go-round–because I do plan on making more– I think I’ll reinforce the back of the pin with another layer or two of card stock, just to make sure the brooch can stand up to lots of wear. (Probably only necessary if you’re a klutz, like me!) The gold/coppery brooch went to a friend as a birthday gift and was very well received, the silver one I plan to keep for myself.