Monthly Archives: September 2012

A puzzling adventure

Cleaning out my basement I found a bag of old puzzle pieces left from my days as a Brownie’s leader.  I looked, and looked but I could not really find a great example of art that I wanted to use.

Photograph by Horia Varlan

There are a lot of examples of using puzzle pieces in jewelry, larger puzzle pieces as a canvas for individual canvases and so on but nothing that really ‘seemed to fit’.  (Get it?  A little puzzle joke for you all)

As a result I began to experiment in my art journal.  I started with a blank page and applied a coat of gesso.  Once that was dry I built up my background using acrylic paints.  I only used 4 colors (crimson, titanium white, cerulean blue and yellow ocher) and mixed/blended and played with the colors until I had a background that I was happy with.

Next I put together a small set of puzzle pieces and laid a few spares and painted them with gesso.  Once the gesso was dry I used a solvent ink to stamp some images on the background and used a whitewash to tone the bright black down a little.  Next I drew in black marker a picture on the large group of connected pieces, and a similar yet different picture on one of the other pieces.  I painted the image I drew on the two puzzle pieces using the colors I already had on my pallet, but I added hooker’s green to the mix for the flower stem.  On the spare piece I painted the image in a similar manner, but also in a way that it just wasn’t the same.  Finally I broke a few pieces form the large block of connected pieces and distressed them and painted a completely different design on the last piece I had set out.

Finally I added doodling and accents on my background, used a black marker to write my sentiment in my journal and applied my puzzle pieces.  This is just a first run of this technique, I already have ideas churning in my mind just waiting to get out.

Now that you have a little inspiration it is time to get some supplies!  Visit Home and Garden Welcome to pick up the art and craft supplies needed to complete your own puzzling project!

Happy Crafting!

~Nikki

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Inspiration a little early

For those of you familiar with the Mystery Kit Contest, you are aware that I’ve made a rule that you won’t know what is in the kit until the month ends.  Well, rules are made to be broken!  I’m not going to tell you what is included in the September Mystery Kit, but I will show you what I created!  You still have time to order the kit and create your very own art work and enter the contest for your chance to win.

As a wonderful sneak peak at the September Mystery Kit and an example of something that could be created with this kit.

After creating this beautiful piece I still have TONS of supplies left over!  Purchase your September kit now for your chance to create something wonderful.

Happy Crafting

~Nikki

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Introducing the October Mystery Kit

It is that time again, time to introduce a new October Mystery Craft Kit!  This month I am going to try something a little different.  In addition to giving you the description of the kit’s theme I will also show one of the items that will be included in the kit.  All the rules are still in place, and the chance to WIN is still there.  The clue for October is:

Whether October calls to mind ghouls or gourds, frightful sites or frosty mornings, jack-o-lanterns or juicy apples

this kit will help you create the perfect piece of artwork for these cool fall days.

Included in this kit is a package of Ranger Shrink Plastic to help you create your fall masterpiece.

Of course, there is still time to purchase the September Mystery Kit and create an entry for your chance to WIN! Why not purchase both the September and October kits and get FREE SHIPPING on your order?

And for a special treat, keep an eye out on the Craft Test Dummies site for Jenny’s creation using the September Mystery Kit! Watch next Friday for her post, see what kind of amazing she creates using this kit.

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Busy, busy, busy

Well, it is fact that I have been running like a chicken with his head cut off (and believe me, it really does happen if you have never seen it happen before!).  I have had little time to do any crafting, and even less time for my garden.  Especially since I’ve discovered that deer saliva judiciously applied to your vegetable plants is NOT a fool proof way to increase your harvest.  It does, however, increase the yield of deer excrement that can be found amongst your few remaining leaflets.

While I have been thinly spreading my time between substituting in a kindergarten classroom (much like attempting to herd cats), commitments regarding the school board, catechism class for the kids and soccer practice and games the other design team members have been busily planning a HUGE LAUNCH PARTY over at Things Crafty.

Look for new TV episodes, tutorials, great giveaways, and lots of inspiration and more!

Mark you calendars for this Tuesday’s huge lineup of Tuesday Schmoozeday broadcasts leading up to the launch party scheduled for Friday Sept 21st!  Look for Link Up parties, Mixed Media tutorials, weekly giveaways and more as you find inspiration and support from such an amazing crafting community.

In the meantime, visit my other blog My Creative Chaotic Life to see the progression of my year long art journey.

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What will you create?

The kids are back in school and you are settling into a routine.  You can FINALLY catch up with all those summer memories.  Visit Home and Garden Welcome today and stock up on all your scrapbooking needs.  You can even save BIG!  15% off your order using the coupon code septsaver15 .

And why stop at scrapbooking?  It is time to start working on your Christmas Cards, and maybe even make a few goodies for your little goblins and ghouls who will be visiting in just a few weeks.  Order by September 15th and a FREE GIFT will be included with EVERY ORDER!

Happy Crafting

~Nikki

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Faux Brick Texture

Have you seen all the faux brick in the mixed media art projects and wondered just how that was done?  Well, it is quite simple, and I will show you how you can create a brick wall on any art or craft surface in just an evening.

To begin you need to gather your supplies.  You will need a surface to create your texture (I am using a page in my art journal).  You will also need some molding paste.  I am in love with the Golden Light Molding Paste.  It is super easy to work with, is flexible when dry and will absorb water colors when dry allowing you to blend your colors when painting your surface.
You will also need a pallet knife or other utensil for spreading your paste and creating a semi-smooth surface and either a sharpened pencil, stylus or other tool to carve ‘mortar’ lines in between your bricks.

The molding paste has the texture of a medium bodied frosting.  Spread a layer of paste over your surface where you’d like the brick texture.  A layer of about 1/8″ is perfect.  I feathered the edges of the paste so it would almost fade into the page. Once you have your paste spread across the surface you can begin to tool the surface.

Using a pencil I carved horizontal lines in my molding paste about 3/8″ – 1/2″ apart.  How far apart your lines are all depends on the scale you want in your brick wall.  If you want it to look close have a larger distance between the lines, far away make your lines tighter.  Once you have your horizontal lines carved in begin to carve your vertical separations.  Your vertical lines should be about 2 times the distance as was between your horizontal lines.  All these lines/measurements boil down to one thing – carve a brick pattern into your paste.

When you are carving the paste you will need to keep something close by to collect the extra paste from your stylus (or pencil if you are fancy like me).  Make sure that you add your border lines even between the ‘bricks’ where your paste fades in to your background.

Set your project aside and allow the molding paste to dry completely.  This can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more depending on how thick your layer of molding paste was.  Once it is dry you can gently rub your hand across the surface to remove any extra globs of paste that may have been left by your carving.

Now comes the really fun part – coloring your wall!

It is up to you how you would like to add color to your faux brick wall.  You can use acrylic paints in reds/browns/greys and make a traditional red brick wall.  Here I used a dark grey to add the mortar in the bricks.

In the piece I made for this tutorial I went for a different look.  I wanted the look of an old whitewashed brick wall.  Using Glimmer Mist sprays in Nougat, Black Magic and Fern I sprayed my surface.  The molding paste is absorbent so the wet spray soaks into the surface of my ‘bricks’, and the colors blended beautifully without much manipulation. You can allow the spray to dry on its own, but I am impatient so I used my heat tool.

After my bricks were dry I needed to add some mortar between my joints.  I could have used a water brush while my glimmer mist was still wet and helped it go find all the nooks and crannies but I wanted a darker look. Using a water brush and an iridescent watercolor paint I painted the mortar joints between my bricks with a deep brown.  Because the molding paste is so absorbent the watercolor paint bleeds into the brick, automatically mixing with the paint that was applied earlier.

And here is the final product, along with some closer views.

Notice the different appearance you get between a colorwash on the molding paste and the acrylic paste.  The molding paste is so absorbent the water colors soak in and bleed quickly.  The acrylic paints don’t soak in as well, they sit more on the surface.  If you want to use products like Glimmer Mist or Perfect Pearls Sprays on the brick wall and DO NOT want the paint to soak in spread a thin layer of gesso, acrylic gel medium or acrylic paint over your molding paste and let it dry.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and will try to create your own textured backgrounds.  If you do, please share them with us all at Home and Garden Welcome!

Happy Crafting!

~Nikki

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A few new endevours

Wow, what a few days!  Alot can happen in a short amount of time.

First off, at Home and Garden Welcome we introduced some new guest designers for the Home and Garden Welcome Mystery Kit.  In case you missed the post, get to know the new designers here.

Secondly, I have given myself a challenge.  I have begun a new blog called My Creative Chaotic Life.  There I will be creating a piece of art over the course of the year.  Each week for 52 weeks I will add something to my canvas that reflects the events that are important.  I have an art journal I will also share with you from time to time.  In that journal I will be trying different techniques before I try them on my final project.  Some will be successful, some will utterly fail but I will push myself to try new techniques, and combine with the old techniques I’ve come to depend on.

Here is an example of my recent art journal trial.  I will be posting the first week’s addition soon.  I invite you all to watch as this piece of art develops and if you feel  inspired I challenge you to start your own journey as well!

And finally, I have been invited to join the Things Crafty design team!  Check out the site and find wonderful inspiration, ideas for new projects and a fabulous team of artists ready to help you further your craft.  Come on over and check things out!

It sure is amazing how things develop, just further confirmation in my belief that there is a plan for everyone and regardless of what you try to do otherwise God will certainly find a way to get you where you belong.

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Welcome to the Team

I am excited to welcome some new artist to the Home and Garden Welcome team.  After some very difficult sorting, resorting and deliberating between my husband, my kiddos and I we have selected the artists who will be guest designers for Home and Garden Welcome.

Each member will be creating a unique project using the contents of the corresponding month’s Mystery Kit.  They have to follow all the same rules as everyone else.  Their creativity and skills are sure to inspire you to create something amazing as well.  Enter the mystery kit contest and you could even win!  How could you go wrong there?

In October we will have the pleasure of welcoming Lori Batronis from Illinois to the contest.  Lori art can be seen on her blog Lori’s Happy Place.  She has worked as an instructor as well as an in-house designer for The Scrapbooking Studio in Bloomington, Il.  Lori brings a unique, mixed media approach to her crafting.

Look for Lori’s creation using the October Mystery Kit in early November.  Until then, here is a sample of her work.

In November we will welcome Donna Coughlin, a crafter from Pennsylvania will share her creation with us.  Donna has three different blogs she maintains, each highlights its own scrapbooking niche.  You can see her work on her Hawthorne Hills blog.  For inspiration from sketches visit her For the Love of Sketches blog, and for all things Disney check out her Disney 2009 scrapbook layouts blog.
Here is a sneak peak at one of her projects.  Look for her November Mystery Kit creation in early December.

Last but not least, December brings us Michelle Wofford.  Michelle comes to us from Oregon.  She is a guest designer with The Craft Warehouse, and enjoys the challenge a mystery presents.  You can see her creations on her blog Memory Garden Designs.

Look for her creation using the December Mystery Craft Kit in early January.  Here is one of her creations, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with in December.

A hearty welcome goes out to these creative, crafty ladies and a HUGE thank you to all who applied as a guest designer.

In the meantime, enter the September Mystery Craft Contest by purchasing your kit from Home and Garden Welcome and maybe YOU could be the winner of FREE CRAFT SUPPLIES!!

Happy Crafting!

~Nikki

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August Mystery Kit Creation

It is that time again, time to reveal what came in the August Mystery kit.  Remember the clue?

“It’s the dog days of summer. The sun is shining, the mercury is rising                                                                                                                           and small town celebrations are happening all over.”

Well here is what would have surprised you when you opened your package.

This month I had the pleasure of inviting Tiare “ClassyGirl” Smith from iClassygirl.com to play along.  I am thrilled to introduce such an amazing lady to all my friends.  This is her creation using the contents of the August Mystery Kit.

“Freedom” by Tiare Smith

Such an inspiring creation, and she certainly captured the ‘free’ feeling of those lazy late summer days.

Visit her blog and check out the September give-away!  Play along with us all by purchasing the September Mystery Kit from Home and Garden Welcome and you could win a $50 gift certificate from Tiare, enter your creation to the Home and Garden Contest and you will be in the running to win a $50 gift certificate from Home and Garden Welcome!!!  Win both and you could find yourself with $100 of crafting supplies to spark your creativity.

Come along and play with us this month!

Happy Crafting

~Nikki

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