Strut Your Stuff with Stencil Girl and Imagine

In The Studio

It’s Blog-Hop time! This month Imagine teamed up with Stencil Girl for a product/design team collab as well as a giveaway (more details below–make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom!).

I had a lot of fun working with my new tools from Stencil Girl and used them to put together a mixed-media canvas. It started with an acrylic paint base and then–why I don’t I show you, instead.

Strut Your Stuff Process Video

As you can probably guess, I took my biggest inspiration from the peacock feather stencil and chose colors that worked with that idea. I was more amused than I necessarily should be that I turned the dancing figure into a fan dancer, but it worked (I think?).

Once I had all the basic layers in place, I ended up leaving it on my work table for almost a week, trying to decide how to finish it. The overall look was really bright, which is not my usual goal, and I wanted to add a stamped phrase but I wasn’t sure of the best way to do that at first.

I ended up adding a couple layers of ink buffed over the creative medium bits to highlight the textures and then stamped the message onto vellum, applied it with the Shimmer Artist’s Medium, and called it done!

Here’s the full product list for this project
(any amazon links are affiliate links, thank you for supporting this blog!)

Imagine Products:

Stencil Girl Products:

Other Products:

One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Imagine Crafts! Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win! The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN! (One comment per blog please.) You have until Sunday, July 23rd at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments. Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl’s Facebook page and Imagine Crafts’s Facebook page
on Monday, July 24th.


Episode 14: Sweet Tea


Today’s episode turned out to fit beautifully with the September challenge over at Gauche Alchemy, so I decided to run with it! While not all of the songs are strictly “country,” they all have some aspect of down home earnestness, a twang to go along with the back-beat, or something else that makes them fit in my head; there’s even a bit of the rolling zydeco rhythms in there in tribute to my beginnings in Louisiana. And an apology for my voice, today, I’m still getting over the cold that prevented me from putting out an episode over Labor Day weekend as planned. Hopefully we’re back on track again with this episode and I’ll find a good time for the “missing” set of songs to fall into place 🙂

Sweet Tea—Kim McLean 
If You Feel Froggy—Freighttrain Jones
That Texas Girl—Late Model Humans
Mercury In Retrograde—Sean Wiggins
Space monkey—Jim Hodgson
Rolling Back To You—Codie Prevost
Hard Way Home—Runaway Dorothy
Need a Little Squeezin—Copper Box
Zydeco Junkie—Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band
Strip Tease—Musical Spa
As Far As My Heart Can See—Norma Jean Martine
Evelyn’s Green—She Swings, She Sways
One Monkey Don’t Stop The Show—Dann Schumann

Of course, this isn’t my only contribution to this month’s Gauche Alchemy challenge. To go along with the music I painted up an old pair of lace ankle boots into appropriate dancing shoes. Check out today’s post over at to see and read more about my project and find out how to enter your own inspired creation for a chance at this month’s prize.


And on a technical note, can I just say how much easier it is to create this podcast now that I’ve started using Adobe Audition?! When I started podcasting I used Garage Band because it came on my my Mac and it was fairly user-friendly. Since Minnie the Mac finally gave up the ghost last year, I was kinda dreading how I was going to put the episodes together and, truth be told, it was part of the reason I kept putting off relaunching the podcast. I know a lot of people use Audacity (the fact that it’s free helps) and I downloaded it to edit some songs for our wedding last year. It’s okay, but it wasn’t as intuitive as I’d hoped; even reading the help and tutorial files didn’t help all that much.

Now, Audition is cheap, but since I subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service anyway for Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom and (more recently) Premier Pro, it was nothing extra to download Audition as well. And even though the process of putting together the podcast still involves selecting and rearranging the playlist to the point where I’ve listened to the whole thing about 5 times before it’s all said and done, using Audition means that the actual putting-together of the show takes about as long as listening through it all once more time. Even the transitions that took forever to fiddle with in Garage Band are automatic in Audition, to the point where I maybe have to tweak one each show.

So, you know, if you’ve ever thought of creating your own podcast on whatever subject or in whatever format, I can’t rate Audition highly enough for making the technical aspects super simple.

[/end PSA; no affiliate links just a really happy customer :)]

How To | Joined Name Banner

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

It was the Wednesday night before our Saturday engagement shoot and I get the hare-brained idea to make us a banner to use as a photo prop.

Now, before we go any further, I want to assure you this story has a happy ending, as evidenced by this awesome shot from the day of:

Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography, cropping by me (mostly to remove our kissy-faces)

Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography, cropping by me (mostly to remove our kissy-faces)

But it wasn’t guaranteed when I went to start.

You see, just after Christmas I treated myself to an addition to my craft room: an eCraft electronic die cutter. I’d just gotten it, and barely used it so far, but I figured I should be able to have it cut out the letters and leaves with no problem.

Yeah… Not so much. When you’re learning a new tool it helps to be smarter than the machine and the software that powers it. I know, now, what I did that made the first night so tough on myself, but it wasn’t much consolation when I spent 3 hours and I don’t even know how many sheets of card stock trying to cut out 2 sets of 9 letters. In the end, the cutter did save me a lot of time, once I got out of my own way.

Eventually I did get my letters cut out–one set of slightly larger, silhouetted dark shapes for the backgrounds and a set of speckled ivory card stock letters for the fronts. The lighter card stock just wasn’t doing it for me, plain, though, so I set them out and spritzed them with some Glimmer Mist in Burlap and Gold. At that point it was late and they had to dry, so I called it for part 1.

Adding a little dimension and sparkle never hurts.

Adding a little dimension and sparkle never hurts.

The next night it was time to dress up the letters and finish the cutting. I found a free cutting file from that had just what I was looking for: a grape leaf, and it was layered, too! Thankfully this night’s cutting went much smoother (a few hiccups, but I got the hang of it) and before long I had plenty of layered leaves cut out, assembled, and put together with the letter sets and let them dry for the night.

The leaves got scattered among the letters.

The leaves got scattered among the letters.

I also cut out the rounded squares for the letters and leaves to rest on. I found this coppery, embossed paper with grapes and leaves on it in my stash–no telling how long it had been there, but I was happy I’d hoarded it.

My canvas was thin enough where I could fold it double and still cut through with ease. I cut some extras just in case I screwed one up.

My canvas was thin enough where I could fold it double and still cut through with ease. I cut some extras just in case I screwed one up.

With this much done, though, I could finally decide how big each of my pennants needed to be and what shape would work best. Sure, the inverted triangle is pretty standard, but I’m still on a square kick so wanted something blockier. Plain squares weren’t quite right, either, so we went with a pentagon that looks like a little house upside down. I cut those shapes out of some lightweight canvas I had lying around (again, being a craft-supply-hoarder pays off) with pinking shears so I wouldn’t have to hem anything. The pentagons are 5 inches wide and 5 1/2 inches long from top edge to point.

Laid-out banner bits.

Laid-out banner bits.

Now, usually I’d spell out our names my name-his name, ladies first and all that, but I knew that with us standing to hold the banner, I’d need to be on the left if my engagement ring was to show (something I knew our photographer would prefer, if nothing else). I could have held his name and he mine, but it would have bugged me to no end, so I put his name first so it’d look right in the pictures. It works well that we have names of equal length, too, but that’s  just luck.

Mr. Road Trip was actually okay with the banner as-is, but I couldn’t leave it that plain. It just went against every decorative fiber of my being, so to the stash I went.

The grapes and leaves also got a touch of metallic watercolors for a little highlighting sparkle.

The grapes and leaves also got a touch of metallic watercolors for a little highlighting sparkle.

I started by adding some strips of lace along the top edge and added another rounded square in a darker color behind the copper to make it pop more. The other edges were still awfully bare and I was nearly out of time for night 2, and I knew there was no way I’d have time to do any stitching on Friday night. Then I remembered my beloved fabric paints and pens. A few quick swoops around the edges with green and some purple grape clusters and my edges finally looked finished.

Just hanging out, like banners do.

Just hanging out, like banners do.

Finally, Friday night, between pin-curling my hair and grabbing the rest of our props, I glued down the lace bits (something I only did for time’s sake–I’m usually quite adamant about sewing fabric to fabric) and the letter clusters and set the 1/4-inch eyelets in each corner. I had a surplus of 1″ binder rings so used those to link the individual pennants together. Turns out they stretched perfectly from one end of our mantle to the other, so that’s where they’re hanging out when not being used for wedding props.

Not counting the cutter (because it’s not strictly a wedding purchase, I plan to use it for lots of things well after the wedding crafting has passed), I spent a grand total of nothing on this project–I had all the supplies in my stash. Can’t beat that when you’re on a budget, right?

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.