Jul 182017

I love how creative ideas multiply! It’s really true what somebody once said that as long as you are working with your creativity you can never run out of ideas. The more you work in the creative arts trying to express what it is you want to convey the more ideas will come to you.

altered feathered fringe cover

As I’ve mentioned before, this has helped me to recently understand why artists work in series. It’s because one idea truly does beget another. As creative people we are always asking, “What if?”

A  couple weeks ago I shared with you my Feathered Fringe  Earrings. I wasn’t totally in love with them when I finish making them, but I have found since that I do really enjoy wearing them, mostly because of the dangle factor. But as I mentioned in the video, I found myself questioning when I started writing the descriptions about boho and gypsy. With all that bright silver were they really?

Then I remembered a technique I learned some time ago from a card and paper crafts artist, Jennifer McGuire. She showed how to use embossing powders to alter metal charms which she mostly used for decorating cards and scrapbooks.

The key to using these embossing powders successfully in jewelry is to make sure that they are fully melted.

If you are using an embossing powder that doesn’t melt to a smooth shiny finish it can be tricky, so always test them by rubbing firmly with your fingers. If the embossing powders come off then you need to recoat with sticky ink and try embossing again, perhaps for a slightly longer time, but being careful not to scorch.

To continue the boho and gypsy style my funky altered feathered fringe pendant was hung with just a simple lark’s head knot on 1/8 inch suede strips . I suspect this one is going to get a lot of wear this summer!

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How to Alter & Customize Jewelry Findings-Altered Feathered Fringe-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Feb 212012

Much of the past holiday weekend was dedicated to making this.

(Click on any of the photos to see a larger image.)


“What is it?” you may ask.  Well, let me ‘splain.

In the interest of being efficient while sewing, I made the observation that I always hold my scissors or snips in my right hand and thus thread tails and fabric trimmings end up in my left hand.  The usual practice is to then reach across my body to drop them into the serger’s thread catcher, way to my right.  This, of course, is silly and wasteful of time, energy and effort. (And who has extra time and energy these days?  Not me.)

I decided to find a container for trimmings that would live to the left of my sewing machine.  This Costco-sized cottage cheese bucket has been doing the job perfectly for some time now.


But it’s not very attractive, is it?  It was crying out to be altered.

Most of you know I’ve been working through Tim Holtz’s 12 Tags of Christmas.  I’m up to day 11, but I’ll skip that for now, as the plans for day 11 require supplies I’m still waiting for.

To cover this container I loosely followed Tim’s directions for the day 12 tag.  His whole thing on day 12 was about using his Tissue Wrap.  I don’t have any and can’t find it locally, so I made my own.


To make your own, use a waterproof ink such as Jet Black Archival Ink and stamp a piece of tissue paper all over with a large stamp such as Hero Art’s Music Background cling stamp, then rub Antique Linen distress ink (or color of your choice) over everything.


I stamped another piece of tissue all over with Hero Art’s Play Print definition stamp.

With that done, I started adding layers to my container.  (Sorry there are only photos of the first two steps.  I was having so much fun I forgot to take pics!)

Here are the layers: (Make sure to let each layer dry thoroughly before going on to the next step.)


  • Torn dictionary pages glued on with Matte Multi Medium. (Burnished smooth with an old gift card.)




  • Apply an uninked piece of Symphony Tissue Tape to inside edge of container, covering ragged edges of colored tape.

Here’s a closer look at the background.


To decorate the background I added:


Tim Holtz Trimmings spritzed with Vintage Photo Distress Ink Reinker mixed with Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold and water in a Mini Mister.  Once dry the flower tops were dabbed with Pearl Paint Dabber.

Letters cut with the Vintage Market Sizzlits Decorative Strip Die out of paper from the Crowded Attic Paper Stash.  I really liked Tim’s idea for cutting out cardstock backed foil tape, but didn’t think metallic letters would look right on this project.  I did LOVE his tip for cutting the same letters out of a darker color and placing them offset behind your title to really make it pop.

The letters read, “Give Thanks In Everything,” which is from I Thessalonians 5:18 and had been a theme of mine lately.  The interesting thing about this being on a round container is that you can start at any word and not lose the meaning.  (Try it!) Note that you will  sound like Yoda if you start with “Thanks.”  (“Thanks in everything give, hmmmmm……”)


Tissue flowers made according to Tim’s directions on Tim’s directions for the day 12 tag.  All these flowers are the same, the only difference is how I cut the ends, pointy, rounded or really rounded.  Once they were fluffed out, I spritzed them with distress reinkers mixed with Perfect pearls in mini misters.  I used Broken China Distress Reinker with Blue Patina Perfect PearlsWorn Lipstick Distress Reinker with Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold, and Dusty Concord Distress Reinker  with Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold. The beaded centers were made by adding a glob of Matte Multi Medium and sprinkling on seed beads.  The matte medium is great because no shininess shows through the gaps once it’s dry.

Leaves cut with a very old Sizzix die, a yellow one called “Leaf Stem.”  These were cut from the Seasonal Paper Stash Pad, the edges inked with Peeled Paint Distress Ink, dabbed with Peeled Paint Distress Stain and brushed lightly with the green from the Perfect Pearls Aged Patina Set.

Butterflies punched with the Martha Stewart Classic Butterfly Punch out of the Seasonal Paper Stash Pad.  You know those little 2 inch squares in the paper stash?  You can get two butterflies out of each square. 🙂  I had a little too much fun late one night decorating the butterflies with all sorts of Stickles, including Worn Lipstick Distress Stickles, Broken China Distress SticklesButtercup Liquid Pearlsfrosted lace stickles and white enamel accents.


Here it is, right where it belongs.  I’m going to enjoy looking at this much more than that ol’ cottage cheese container!

By the way, that cute little boy in red is going to be 22 tomorrow.  I can hardly believe it.

Happy Creating, ya’ll!

Mar 142011

So sorry I haven’t posted for the last couple of days.  I was hoping to get a video up, but had several technical, scheduling and procedural difficulties.  Soon, very soon!

Anyhow, I thought I’d take this time to show you what I did with a cheap frame I picked up at Ocean State Job Lot for $3.  I really liked the embossed design, but it was a plain, flat, boring color.

Here’s the finished product:


I should have taken a “before” shot, but it was just so dull I had to get to work on it right away.  Here’s a pic of the back, to give you an idea of the overall color:


And here’s a close up of the finished frame:


To achieve this look, first I brushed the whole thing with some dark grey acrylic paint, then wiped it off with a rag, leaving the paint in the crevices & crannies.

Next I took Vintage Photo Distress Ink Reinker, mixed it in a Mini Mister with Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold and spritzed it all over.  A little selective wiping, a new ribbon bow to replace the raffia and it was done.

Don’t forget to look for the potential all around you!

Jan 242011

Have I mentioned that I love all things Tim Holtz(Maybe once or twice, lol.) Last fall I got to take not one, but TWO classes with him.  It was a blast, and a highlight of my year.

I’ve already posted one of the projects we made, the Christmas Configuration.  The other was this book made of grungeboard, which I LOVE so much, it’s been sitting out in my craft room as decor.  One of these days I may put photos in it, but I think it’s fantastic just as it is.

tim holtz grunge book class cover bird cage alterations

The front & back covers and all of the pages are made of Grungeboard(This link leads to a pack of 10 sheets which will make the entire book, with 2 sheets left over.)   The pages were embossed with a variety of embossing folders, including the Swirls Textured Fades Embossing Folder(You can see this one on the magenta page on the left, below.)

tim holtz grunge book class distress ink

One side edge of each page was cut with a Sizzix Alterations on the edge die.  My favorite of these is the Scallops On The Edge Die(Used on the green and magenta pages below the cover.) The Bracket On The Edge Die is also great, it’s not too busy and works well for manly or feminine uses.  (Used on the turquoise and mustard pages.) The Scrollwork On The Edge Die is used on the cover.  (I own that one, too, it’s quite fancy and nice for girly pages and cards.)

The first step in making our pages (once they were cut to right length) was to paint them all with paint dabbers.  I tell ya, if you haven’t tried them, you need to, paint dabbers are terrific!  Instead of having to get out paint, paintbrushes and a dish for the paint, you simply pick up a paint dabber, give it a squeeze and use it like a marker.  No mess and so easy!

Some of the colors we used:

Pitch Black Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Pearl Adirondack Metallic Paint Dabber 1 Oz.
Lettuce Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Cranberry Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Espresso Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Red Pepper Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Bottle Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Denim Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Stream Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers
Eggplant Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers

 Tim warned us while we were painting to only put on one thin coat of paint, or we would regret it.  You see, the next step after the paint dried was to use the Sanding Grip and sand the paint off the raised areas and the edges of the pages, exposing the raw grungeboard.

To give them a wonderfully distressed and aged look (and quite change the colors) we then inked our pages with Distress Inks.  The paint resisted the ink, but the exposed grungeboard took it, resulting in awesome looking pages.  You can see this page below was painted with a Lettuce Paint Dabber, sanded, then inked with Faded Jeans Distress Ink . It was great fun trying out different combinations of paint and ink colors! (After you apply the ink, use a damp paper towel to wipe the excess off the painted areas.)

tim holtz grunge book class distress dyed silk ribbon

 For additional pages we make little pockets out of Tim’s Lost & Found Paper Stack.  I asked Tim where he got all these images (license plates, game pieces, and bottle caps, to name a few, all vintage) and he told me that he owns all of it!  It all gets laid out and then scanned to make the paper.  That is ONE serious collection.  Wow.

We also got tags to ink and bind into our books.  They were embossed with several different embossing folders, including, Tim Holtz Rays & Retro Circles Sizzix Textured Fades Embossing Folders , the Tim Holtz Bingo & Patchwork Sizzix Textured Fades Embossing Folders , Tim Holtz Damask & Regal Flourishes Sizzix Texture Fades Embossing Folders and the Tim Holtz Bricked & Woodgrain Sizzix Texture Fades Embossing Folders. (The Bingo folder is used on the tag above, the Patchwork folder on the tag below.) 

tim holtz grunge book class embossed tag

 We also colored the silk ribbon from the Lavish Trimmings set.  (It started out white.) First it got dipped in water, then wrung out so it was just damp.  Then we swiped a variety of distress ink colors over the ribbon, crumpled it in a ball and set it aside to dry.  Once it had dried the colors had transferred and bled from different areas and it was just gorgeous!  This one yard piece got snipped into seven pieces and tied to our tags.  Yummy.

We used the Cinch Book Bindery Tool to put everything together (a very cool machine, I think I gotta get me one) and then got to decorate the cover.

tim holtz grunge book class gears flourishes

The cover was decorated with grungeboard cut with the Tattered Florals Bigz DieHardware Findings Bigz Die, Gadget Gears Bigz Die, Elegant Flourishes Bigz Die, and the Caged Bird Bigz Die.  These were all painted with paint dabbers, sanded, scratched with the Craft Scratcher, then inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink and Walnut Stain Distress Ink.

tim holtz grunge book alterations bird cage dangles

As finishing touches, we hung crystals on the bird cage (you could use Baubles,) glued Accountrements to the flower centers and used a Swivel Clasp to hang Adornments, Type Charms, and Muse Tokens from the spine.


tim holtz grunge book class tattered florals

If any of you would like complete directions, including a supply list, all dimensions, all techniques and how to assemble the covers, leave me a comment and let me know and I’ll get it right out to you.