Tuesday, February 7, 2017


One week until Valentine's Day.
How are you celebrating this year?  Have you created something heartfelt and personal to give to your "significant other?"  If not, perhaps we at Creative Carte Blanche can inspire you with some great ideas with our February art adventure exploring "LOVE".

Hels Sheridan is our lovely hostess for this adventure.  Later this month, she will have a very special guest designer to share her fabulous art with you so be sure to keep watching for that special feature!

When I think of Valentine's Day and love, I think of hearts and loving couples.  So, naturally I "married" the two in creating my piece to share with you.

This was not a difficult piece to do and I would love to share the step by step with you.

As per my usual, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to create with a heart and a couple.  But that was the basic idea.  I have two really pretty stamps from our last month's guest designer, Beverly Seymour with B Line Designs.  The man stamp is named "Chris" and the woman stamp is named "Lisa".

I stamped Chris several times using a combination of Potting Soil and Jet Black Archival Inks.  I love how the stamped image has even more dimension when you mix the ink colors.  I heat set the images, chose my favorite and went to work bringing Chris to life.

I could have mixed acrylic paints or used inks to get a good skin color but DecoArt Americana Flesh Tone is a good base color, so I just used it.  I made almost a wash of the flesh tone and brushed it on in layers so as not to diminish any of the detail from the stamping.

I continued to add facial tones and hair using combinations of different DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics shown above.

I love DecoArt Media's Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide.  I lightly brush it on over the entire face and hands and it gives such a warmth to the skin tones as it subtly blends everything together so perfectly.

Then I began adding color to his suit, shirt and more blush to the skin and lips with the colors shows above.  Finally a light brushing over it with Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide when I finished.

I repeated this process for Lisa's profile stamped image. Once the stamped images were complete, I started to work on other items I decided to use on this "LOVE" heart.  I punch cut butterflies out of scrap cardstock I had laying around.  I'll show you more about those and what I was thinking to do with them in a minute.  I also decided to use some scrap fabric in my background over the wooden heart.  The heart measures 9" at the widest point and 8" long.  I found it at a local craft store for $1.49.  

I cut out a piece of fabric to cover the heart then I brushed a generous amount of DecoArt Media's Matte Medium over the wooden surface.  I laid the fabric in place, smoothed out all of the wrinkles and air bubbles and brushed another coat of Matte Medium over the fabric. I heat set it in place and then trimmed away the excess fabric around the edges.

I mixed a combination of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue and Titanium White to match the color of the fabric. Then, using my finger, I covered the raw wood edge with the paint color.

To soften the bright teal color, I lightly brushed over the fabric first with a wash of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White and water.  Then I added more lightly brushed paint randomly on the heart.  I set that aside to dry and kept going with the other elements that I would use to embellish the heart.

I found a piece of cardstock with script.  This one was even a sort of love letter.  Perfect! I tore the edges to make it fit where I wanted it on my heart.  One problem...it looked brand new instead of old and worn.

No problem! I simply created a bit of a wash (not too wet) using a combination of DecoArt Media's Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff and Burnt Umber to give me a worn brown color.  I brushed this over the paper, especially soaking the torn edges.  I heat set it and then added a generous amount of DecoArt Media Crackle Glaze over the surface.  This would make fine cracks on the paper so that I could add more aging effects after it was dry.  When dry, I added some DecoArt Media Patina Antiquing Cream, wiped off the excess and then added a bit of Raw Umber Antiquing Cream in the cracks and wiped off the excess.  That aged the letter beautifully.

Next I added random little patches of DecoArt Media Crackle Paint.  You need to let any of the crackle products naturally air dry before proceeding to the next step.

Here is what the heart looks like at this point.  It's too much of a stark contrast for me.  And things look new, not old.  So ...

Time to add a bit more of the magic Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide randomly over the surface of the heart to warm it up and pull everything together.

I positioned the love note in place and then added Chris and Lisa using adhesive pop dots underneath them.  I used a mix of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Paynes Grey, Raw Umber Antiquing Cream and a little water to create a shadow effect that I brushed underneath Lisa and Chris.  It's subtle but it's there.

Next I started working on the punch cut butterflies.  I decided to either edge them or cover them with glitter glue from DecoArt's Twinkles Writers.  I used Crystal, Silver and Gold.  I let them dry and then bent them with wings up.  

Next I strategically glued them in place (going different directions) using DecoArt Media Liquid Glass in the center of their little bodies.  That way, the wings remained dimensional and really added a lot of interest to Lisa's "hair".

Here is a closeup view of the faces and the butterflies that form Lisa's hair.  You can better see the detail on them and the dimension that their lifted wings provides.

After I finished putting everything together, I used my finger to add an edge of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Paynes Grey around the edge of the entire heart.  I love how the black defines the edges of the heart and sort of frames everything to the center of the heart.

Finally, I added "LOVE" from Tim Holtz' Alpha Parts letters.  I glued them in place using DecoArt Liquid Glass and then ran a bead of Liquid Glass over the tops of the letters to give them more dimension.  The Liquid Glass comes out a milky fairly opaque consistency but dries clear.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and maybe learned something along the way.  
Now it's your turn to join us at Creative Carte Blanche and show us some "LOVE".  Just link up to our site so that you can share your creative process and finished piece with others in our art community.  

Have a great week and Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2017


Brr ... Baby it's COLD outside!  
What a perfect theme for those of us who are experiencing winter ... and NOT on a beach!

Susan Mostek is hosting this month's art adventure at Creative Carte Blanche!  I hope you'll join us!

When trying to come up with an idea for this challenge, I started looking around my art studio and really zoned in on gears.  It was amazing to me how much they resemble snowflakes. Well, maybe in a weird way they do!  Anyway, I decided to mix actual snowflakes and gears to create a unique snowman.

I created this unique little guy from basic blocks that I fashioned out of chipboard, cardstock, some DecoArt Media products, metal and chipboard gears, sticks out of my yard, a little bling and a couple of our guest artist this month Beverly Seymour's B-Line Designs stamps.  If you get a chance, check out her website.  HERE is a quick link to her catalogs of stamps.  They are amazing!

In the children's movie, "Frozen" ... the musical question is asked
"Do You Want To Build A Snowman?"
Well ... do you??  Then let's get started!

First you create three blocks from chipboard.  My blocks are 3 1/2" square.  
I used "structure strips" to join the chipboard squares together.  These were made from 1" x 3 1/2"  strips of cardstock, and folded in the center.  Each side of the strips has a 1/4" piece of Scor Tape (double sided tape) to hold the block together.

Each block requires six chipboard squares and twelve structure strips. Simply remove the tape backing and place one side of the structure strip underneath an edge.  Then place another chipboard square upright along the edge of the chipboard block with the tape already in place. 

Remove the tape backing and while the chipboard pieces are perpendicular to each other, press the cardstock strip up against the standing chipboard piece.  Then lay the chipboard square down and there will automatically be a perfectly spaced joint.

Continue to join the chipboard squares together until you have created a block.  Do this three times to make three blocks.

Here is your snowman at this point.  
(The color of chipboard doesn't matter.  I used black because it is what I had.)
Now the REAL fun begins!

I put on some gloves (not necessary) and added DecoArt Media Modeling Paste all over the blocks using my fingers.  You could also use a palette knife or some other tool but I just love using my fingers! 
Let this air dry and continue to add until all sides of the blocks are covered.  I used the Modeling Paste because it adds a little bit of texture and it is opaque so that whatever color you add on top of it will be a more pure color.

Once the Modeling Paste is dry, brush over all of the sides of blocks with DecoArt Media Crackle Paint.  It is also opaque and will dry white.  The more paste you add, the larger the cracks.  The less paint, the smaller the cracks.  Let completely air dry.

LOVE these cracks!  This is your snowman at this point.

I wanted my blocks to be sort of a frosty blue color so that the white snowman would really stand out on the block fronts.  I combined DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White and Cerulean Blue and brushed a light coat of paint over all of the blocks.

Next I brushed a thin, random coat of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Interference Turquoise over the surface of the blocks.  The interference paint brings a showy iridescent glow to the paint and when the light catches it ... it's beautiful!  Very frosty looking.

To add a more blue-ish wintery edge to the blocks, I mixed DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue and Interference Turquoise and brushed it around the edges of the blocks; brushing from the edge and feathering inward.

Then I added a mix of DecoArt Media Metallic and Medium Grey Value 6 together to create a bit of a shadow and age effect around the edges of the blocks.  Again, I gently feathered from the edges of the blocks inward.  Notice the iridescence of the block on the left?  That's the Interference Turquoise paint.  Love it! 

Here are the blocks at this point. But something is missing ... a defining edge to each block.

Enter DecoArt Media Paynes Grey Fluid Acrylics and my finger again!  I paint with my finger a lot!  I love the way painting with your finger feels and how it really makes me feel like I am more a part of the art I am creating. I also like the randomness that paint on your finger leaves behind.

Here are the blocks now; all crackled, painted, defined and ready for the snowman and whatever else is to come.  After this picture was taken, I added some DecoArt Black Antiquing Cream over the surface of the blocks and wiped off most of it using a damp cloth.  I left the black only in the cracks to emphasize those and blend the image of the gears with the crackled, vintage look of the blocks.

  I absolutely LOVE this snowman stamp by B Line Designs.  He is the perfect face for my quirkly little guy. I stamped out several of the images on a sheet of stamping paper using Jet Black Archival Ink and then heat set the ink.

Then I painted the snowman using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics:  Pyrrole Orange for his nose, Primary Magenta for his scarf, Viridian (Green) for the holly, Dark Grey Value 3 on his hat and a mix of Medium Value Grey 6 and Metallic Silver for the hat band.

What is a snowman without a little snow on him?  I made my own snow using DecoArt Media Modeling Paste and sprinkling a little glitter in it while wet.  See the shiny areas on his hat?  That was done with a DecoArt Twinkles Crystal (glitter) Writer. You'll see more about those in a bit.

I set the snowman face to the side to air dry and began working on some chipboard gears.  First I used Metallic Silver to cover the chipboard and then using my finger, I softened the shiny silver by wiping a very light amount of Paynes Grey randomly on the gears and specifically around the edges to create a worn look.

Not all metal is silver.  So I made more gears using DecoArt Media Metallic Gold and then adding Quinacridone Gold to add that rusty look randomly on the gears and around the edges.  Finally, I added some more of the Paynes Grey just at the edges to define them and add more of a distressed look.

Here are the plain chipboard gears after being transformed with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics paints. I love their rusty, grungy, steampunk-ish appearance.

Now to decorate the very top block.  I had a snowflake in my stash of Christmas stuff that I simply pulled out and glued to the center of the block.  I used DecoArt Liquid Glass as my glue.  I am in LOVE with DecoArt Liquid Glass!  It dries clear but is not glossy.  It works wonderfully as a glue, creates a faux glass look and it also can add dimension to things.  I added Liquid Glass to my snowman's carrot nose and black eyes.  They appear to be raised from the snowman's face.

Then I added little metal gears to each corner of the block using Liquid Glass as my glue.  I added a rhinestone piece in the center of each gear.  I added two of the chipboard gears to the center of the snowflake and then a metal gear topped with a rhinestone to complete the snowflake.  See how the gears blend so perfectly with the snowflake?

Here you can see the how the Liquid Glass creates the illusion of a raised nose and eyes.  I glued small metal gears over the mouth and added a metal gear and rhinestone to the hat band.

Now it was time to start working on the other three sides of the blocks. I ran across a lovely poem on the Internet that I thought would be perfect for my snowman.  This poem was written by Mandy Williams and here are the words:

No Two Alike
Beautiful beautiful snowflakes, floating down to earth
All created to be unique, each holding significant worth.
Just like an intricate snowflake, we come from up above
To bless the world with beauty, to sparkle the world with love.
No two of us alike, we hold our own design
And because we are so different, we get a chance to shine.
When our Heavenly Father makes snowflakes
I think He takes great care.
He works on every detail
He makes them precious and rare.
He lovingly spends time on every one
He blessed them all the way through
If He cares this much about snowflakes,
Imagine what He thinks about YOU.

I figured out how to divide up the poem for each side of the blocks. I typed out the words and sized each phrase to fit on the blocks.  Then I printed them out on a piece of heavy cardstock, cut them into pieces to be glued on to every side of the blocks and edged them with black ink.

Each side is embellished differently.  Different shapes and sizes of snowflakes adorn each side.  Little metal gears; some with rhinestones are on every side. Each side also has metallic silver glitter flourishes and designs made from DecoArt's Twinkle Writers.  And of course, each side has it's section of the snowflake poem.  The Twinkle Writers are super easy to use and the pointed tip allows for finer writing or drawing.

These were some foam snowflakes I had in my Christmas stash.  I simply wiped my finger over the surface of the snowflake that had Metallic Silver paint on it.  Then I added the Crystal Twinkle Writer on top of the silver snowflake.  Done! 

Next, I used another of B Line Designs wonderful stamps.  The one above is titled Snowman.  Isn't it precious?  I created "Do You Want To Build A" on my computer and sized it to fit with the Snowman stamp and also to be a cute sign for the snowman to hold.  Once inked with Archival Jet Black Ink, I centered the snowman stamp under my computer letters and created the sign. I backed the white cardstock with black cardstock and created a nice little border.

I cut out two 3" circles out of heavy white cardstock and ran a black permanent ink marker around the edge.  Then I began gluing a mix of the transformed chipboard gears and metal gears onto the "body" of my snowman.  They were then glued in place on the center of the bottom of middle blocks to create his stacked body.

His arms were created from some sticks I had out in my yard.  I wired two sticks together to make each arm and then I painted them black using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black paint.  I cut off the excess length of the sticks, made a hole in the sides of the center block and glued the arms in place.

Here is a closeup of the center body section of my snowman.

Here is an example of one of the sides of the blocks containing the poem.

And here is the finished snowman again, minus his little sign.

I hope you've enjoyed this pictorial tutorial bringing my snowman to life.
I really hope that he has inspired you to think outside the box (no pun intended) and see the possibility of what things COULD be instead of what they are.

I encourage you to join us over at Creative Carte Blanche.  It's such a nice place to share ideas, art, our stories and just a general happy place to be with artsy friends.