Creativity Shared

Everyday Adventures

We’ll tackle the next art on Thursday, but first I wanted to catch up on some projects that I’ve been working on away from the 64 Arts.

In this month’s installment of The Dirt (Gauche Alchemy’s newsletter) I shared a little bit about the faux terrarium I made out of found objects:

UpCycled Terrarium

UpCycled Terrarium

Then for the blog I made this (I think) very cool Cocktail Clutch out of an old book mailer and the Shaken Not Stirred Mixed Media Kit.


And then before that I got to play with some more outstanding Helmar Glues as part of a swap Gauche Alchemy and Helmar hosted.


The grape clusters and vines are glue applied directly to the glass and (in the case of the clusters) dusted with shimmery glitter.

And speaking of swaps, I participated in a Button Fairy swap with the good folks at Viva Las VegaStamps. This was my first introduction to the concept of Button Fairies and I put together this girly, delicate, pink & pearl fairy for swappin


I received a fun and funky button fairy in return and am contemplating make a few more just for fun.

Of course, there are plenty of other projects still waiting for their turn. Unfortuantely both the antique desk and the bedroom redo are in limbo–the desk still needs a couple coats of varnish. The bedroom, on the other hand, did get a new bedspread and throw (both from West Elm and our trip before last to Jacksonville) so the pink and grey is creeping in, but I haven’t gotten any farther than that.

Time is the answer for everything, of course, but with the wedding coming up in just 4 months (!!!) I think the bedroom might take longer to finish. I’ll stick to the shorter-term projects until then!

In what ways have you stretched your creative wings lately?



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.

Each section of the stained glass image colored in with watercolor pencil and wet to blend.

Make-Up Box Makeover

Everyday Adventures, Projects

The finished box with brass-toned clasp and corners

As promised, today I’m going to share the details of my “whatnot” box makeover that I made as part of the Gauche AlchemyViva Las VegaStamps swap the blogs did last week.


A few years back Todd and I hosted a beach-themed, couples wedding shower which left us with some beach-themed decorations. In that house, the hall bathroom was white with blue fixtures (like powder blue sink and tub and blue-veined “marble” counter tops), so some of the decorations got recycled into bathroom decor. I also used that bathroom to get ready in the mornings, so this beachy “Welcome” box hid my makeup for when there were actual guests using the room.

Beach-themed box

Fortunately, our current home has enough room in the bedroom for my vanity (an antique desk) but the beachy box just doesn’t jive with the Moroccan theme we’re sorta half-heartedly attempting. When I got my VLVS stamps in the mail, I started thinking it was a good time to give this make-up box a bit of a make-over.

First I had to prep the surface, which meant 3 coats of red paint, Mod Podged pattern tissue on the lid and flap and some diluted brown paint to make it look somewhat like aged leather. The bottoms and sides were sponge-painted with the same brown paint.

Box painted red

It took 3 coats to mostly cover the beachy designs (note to self: primer!).

Tissue from a sewing pattern applied to the lid and flap with Mod Podge

Tissue paper (from sewing patterns!) is one of the many tricks I've picked up from the Gauche girls.

Diluted paint applied to the tissue paper "leather"

Diluting the paint was a happy accident--the brush was still wet and I just went with it.

Brown paint sponged over the red base of the sides and bottom.

A natural sea-sponge, dipped in the same brown paint from the lid, created a nice pattern over the red background of the rest of the box.

While the box did its drying thing, I got to work on the stamped portion of this project.

From VLVS I’d ordered the Stained Glass background stamp and an “Intricate Design”. I knew the stained glass pattern had potential, but it was really the designy one that got the wheels turning. At first I thought it would turn out more like an antique brooch, and had planned to make it into some stamped jewelry (and might still!) but when I held it in my hand I immediately thought it looked more like hardware than jewelry, and this product’s direction was set.

To go with the VLVS stamps I pulled out a layered morning glory stamp set from my old CTMH days and stamped it in a burgundy and brown on a sheet of card stock. On top of that went the stained glass pattern, embossed in black. I filled in the open sections of the pattern with watercolor pencils–working from red outside layers to a warm yellow just around the morning glory. A few spritzes of water and some paintbrush smooshing and I had my central image.

Double-layer stamp from Close to my Heart, morning glory, leaf and vine curl

I've had this stamp for 7+ years and only just now finding a use for it.

Stained Glass stamp embossed in black over the morning glory image.

The shiny black embossing looks JUST like stained-glass leading. Silver would also rock.

Each section of the stained glass image colored in with watercolor pencil and wet to blend.

This really got saturated, so if you try it, make sure to use thick, heavy paper. Watercolor paper would be even better.

It was still a smidgen too bright, though, so I pulled out my metallic watercolor palette and smeared on a bronze tint (which I first put on thicker than intended, so had to spritz and blot until we got to the finished layer of just aged enough.

The stained-glass image overpainted with bronze metalling watercolors.

I love the way this turned out, I can't help but smile when I see it.

Letting that dry for a bit, I moved onto the design bits and stamped four of those with clear pigment ink and embossed them in gold. After fussy-cutting each motif and scoring it to fold down the center, length-wise, I noticed the edges and background were both a little too stark, so used a dark grey rub-on paste to antique them.

The Intricate Design stamp embossed in gold

I was worried the detail of this stamp might clog up but it really worked beautifully!

The intricate design images cut out and scored to fold.

Do you see what I see? I see some ornate hinges. Gorgeous!

Two of the scored "hinges", one aged, one not.

The one on the left has been antiqued with grey rub-on paste, see the difference it makes?

Whatnot Box Assemble!

The stained-glass image went onto the lid of the box, centered, adhered with Mod Podge. I didn’t add a coat to the top, though, to avoid a too-slick finish. The “hinges” went two on the front fold of the flap and two on the back fold of the lid. Not snugging it up to the fold allowed me to still open the box without the hinges busting. Since I had the rub-on paste still out, I used a lighter gold and a clean make-up sponge (fitting!) to burnish the top and flap, and blend in the central image a bit to the background.

Closeup view of the assembled makeup box lid, with stamped images applied, and a gold paste rub-on finish to blend it all together.

Again, I've had these rub-on pastes in my stash for 10 years or more--a little goes a long way!--but they do a fabulous job on a project like this to tie everything together.

Finishing touches included a purely decorative latch (I glued it in place after removing the prongs but it stuck okay on it’s own since there’s a magnet inside the flap to keep the box shut) and a couple of metallic corners, both from clearance-aisle purse parts picked up ages ago. The inside got a layer of wood-veneer shelf paper (easy for cleaning up make-up residue) and the whole thing will get a coat of matte sealer before it heads back to my make-up table.

The finished box with brass-toned clasp and corners

Now I’m wondering if I couldn’t make over the entire desk this way!