Mixed Media Collage

Terms of EndeermentTwo months ago I attended the Spellbound Event in Pasadena and it was the funnest thing I’ve done in a long time. Spellbound is an art retreat hosted by A Gilded Life and I’m definitely planning on going again this year. The collage above is from the first class I took at the retreat. The class was called “Terms of Endeerment” and was taught by Cathe Holden. I picked this class mostly because of the deer head. It’s awesome.

Rosette corsageCathe was a fantastic teacher and although there were a lot of layers in this project she broke it down and made it seem easy. Cathee has a book out called Rosette Art, so I guess you could call her a rosette expert.

I never did sports growing up so I don’t have any ribbons hanging on my wall or stuffed in boxes. I think this one’s prettier than all the hundreds my sister got for gymnastics. No, I’m not bitter, just lazy and prone to fainting spells when I sweat.

I loved how this piece came out, but when my daughter’s friend saw it in my studio, she really, really loved it. Now normally, I’m generous with my stuff, but like I said, I love how this piece came out, so it’s not leaving my studio anytime soon. I decided to make her something similar. It makes me look generous without having to give up any of my own stuff.

rosette art collageI made the background out of a foam core board that I plastered with a scrap of flocked wallpaper. (I love flocked wallpaper!) I made the rosette from a fabric covered button that I recovered with velvet. I got the pendant at the bottom from Michael’s, but the rest of it came from the stash drawers in my studio.

velvet rosette collageI think it’s a close enough reproduction to make her happy. It definitely says something for Cathe Holden’s ability to teach that I was able to duplicate it without her help two months later. Taking classes opens you up to to new ideas, tools and techniques, and I waited way too long to take one again. I’m so glad I got the chance to take this class, and in turn make something cool for a really deserving girl that could use a little frivolous beauty in her life. Everybody wins.

A Gilded Life – Spellbound Event


Welcome Dinner
The Spellbound Event hosted by A Gilded Life Studio was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. Forgive me for taking so long to post this, but the amount of photos I had to go through was a little overwhelming. I want to take you through the event, but I don’t want this to be a never ending post so I’ve made collages to keep the photos to a minimum length.

Pre-Event SoireeFor people that were able to get to the hotel one day early, they were treated to a Pre-Event Soiree at A Gilded Life studio in Santa Ana. A bus collected all of us for free and took us to a place where my kind of dreams are made of. They really should have handed out napkins at the door because the drool was seriously flowing.

The studio hosts classes and is also a retail shop for the most beautiful things you can imagine. They primed us with an amazing buffet, ridiculously beautiful desserts and of course champagne. Then they taught us a craft with a brand new embossing/cutting machine that’s yet to be on the market. Crafting AND Champagne?! I was giddy. So of course I went shopping.

A Gilded Life purchaseThis was my first night, so I really tried to reign it in because I knew there were going to be many other shopping events throughout the week. I bought this remnant of ruffled fabric that I plan to make a skirt with for Dianna. The two yards of lace are also for Dianna, but the lime green, velvet leaves are for me. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them, but I just had to have them.

The French General StoreThe next day a local store called The French General hosted a free crafting/luncheon for those attendees who could drop by. I have loved French General products for years so to have a chance to craft in the store was so exciting. The store did not disappoint. They have an incredible assortment of fabric, beads, buttons, ribbon and paper ephemera. I ate my lunch, made a couple bracelets and scanned the store for what was going to have to go home with me.

French General NotionsMy restraint had started to weaken, obviously. So, so many pretty things.

We rushed back to the hotel with all our goodies and got ready for the Welcome Dinner in the ballroom of the Pasadena Langham Hotel.

Gift Tote bagThe first thing I noticed was that every chair had a really beautiful tote bag hanging on the back. We took our seats and tried to be grown ups and not the little kid inside who wanted to dump out the bags on the floor and check out all the candy. It took a couple glasses of wine to quiet that desperate impulse. I was able to keep a handle on it, which was difficult considering that this is what the inside looked like:

gift bag treasuresThe hosts and sponsors of this event were extremely generous with their products. There were so many cool new products in this bag that I think I’ve returned to  square one on my destashing efforts. But wait………there’s more……….

Spellbound embossing machineAfter dessert they surprised us by giving every single attendee a brand new, not on the market yet, Spellbound Artisan machine and a ton of dies and plates to go with it. I thought Oprah was going to come out and hand out car keys next. If you haven’t heard a room full of grown women squeal before, you’re definitely missing out. It absolutely made my heart race.

embossed bookThere are lots of embossing and die cutting machines on the market. This new machine’s advantage is that it can do both at the same time. The little book above is what we made the night before. We inked the plate before running the linen covered paper through the machine so not only was it embossed, it was stained in the low areas as well. So beautiful and so easy. It works on paper, fabric and leather. You have to get one.

When I got to my room with my new machine and bag full of awesome crap I totally dumped it all on my bed like a little girl and looked at every little treasure one at a time. It was awesome.

mixed media classesThe four classes I took over the next two days were amazing. I would love to show you all the finished products but I’m going to give a couple as gifts, so they have to remain a secret. The teachers were great and I learned so many new techniques that I’m still pumped up with ideas.

mercantile displayFriday night was the Dreamland Mercantile, and with a lot of help from my roommate I got my display set up with enough time to shop the other vendor tables.

Dreamland Mercantile vendorsThey had about 30 vendors, all real different, but all so beautiful. I sold enough to pay for my table and make a little profit. The feedback I got was very valuable so I’m definitely glad I did it.

Saturday night they hosted an Up All Night Craft Party that was a total blast. The vendors set up about six different craft stations with a different project at each of them. More free stuff!

They also provided late night munchies like sliders and mac n cheese, which was followed by an amazing display of desserts. I should have taken a picture but I was in a chocolate coma.

Craft party projectsThese are the things I made. They taught us how to make flowers with our new machines and we cut flowers out of a bunch of different fabrics and glued them all on an apron. It’s adorable. I made a mixed media tag book that’s so cute. I also stenciled a canvas bag to hold all my new stuff. The long necklace laying on top was the name tag every one wore. They made 150 of these, and each metal bezzle has our name floated in the resin inside. It’s stunning and actually one of my favorite things from the event.The Rose Bowl Flea MarketThe event was topped off with a Sunday morning trip to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. I had always wanted to go, and it was definitely worth the drive. They have a huge number of very good vendors with a vast array of antique and vintage finds. I loved the fabric stall at the top which specialized in vintage fabrics and trim. Very good prices and a large selection.

I have to say sorry to my good friend Jerry for not picking up the clown painting. I know it would go great over your bed, but I just didn’t have any more room in my car.

Rose Bowl purchasesThis is what came home with me. I’m going to use the vintage runners on my Thanksgiving tables this year and they’ll be so cute.

From there I drove home with a car full of treasures and a brain buzzing with ideas. The event was more than I could have dreamed of and I will definitely be returning next year. The generosity of the hosts and sponsors was overwhelming, but it was their attention to every detail that really pushed it over the top. It was obvious that they understood what makes a woman’s heart sing, and they were just so willing to make it happen.

A big Thank You to the women at A Gilded Life and the people at Spellbound. You gave me more than you’ll ever know.

Are you The Queen of Washi Tape?

Washi tape cabinetWashi tape is all the rage right now and if you haven’t bought a roll to play with I’d like to know what you’re doing with your time. Seriously! Washi tape is almost like post-it tape on a roll. You can tape something up with it, pull it off and it doesn’t harm the surface.

Washi Tape mural

Washi tape mural

The mural above was made using washi tape and when Rosa gets tired of it she can pull it down without leaving a trace of tape behind it. Great if you’re renting or in a dorm.

washi tape inspiration

washi tape inspiration

As you can see, the ideas are endless and the craft companies are coming out with new tape designs every day. I’ve even seen people striping their walls with the stuff, which totally beats painting stripes, striping with paint totally sucks.

washi tape storage

In response to the need to contain a person’s obsession, I created this washi tape cabinet.

salvaged wine boxI found this box at a yard sale. I’m guessing it was a wine box, based on it’s size and the imprinted graphic.

drilling holes for dowelsI drilled four holes on each side, big enough to insert four wood dowels. Easy peasy. Next I embellished it a little.

washi tape rackOkay, so I embellished it a lot. I wallpapered the insides with this cool grey, green and copper paper, painted the side a matching green, painted the dowels copper (Royal Design Studio Copper Stencil Creme), and glazed the whole box.

The collage on the front was a ton of fun to do. I painted in the castle, added a Queen, some flowers and two angels flying with bouquets of hydrangeas. Perfect.

lots of washi tapeThis cabinet can hold 80 standard washi tape rolls. Can you even imagine?! Now, obviously, I am not The Queen of Washi Tape. This is all the tape that my daughter and I own, and to be honest, we went out and bought a few more just so this photo didn’t look pathetic (that’s the kind of sacrifice I’m willing to make for my art). But for a serious taper (not a tapir, they don’t have thumbs, just hooves) this cabinet would give them the ability to not only contain their collection, but also add to it. Nirvana!

This was a really fun piece to make and I love how it came out. If you think you might be the Queen, or know someone who is, the cabinet is for sale in my Etsy Shop now.

Inventory used: acrylic craft paints, Stain & Seal

A place to keep your craft

craft supply organizerCraft supplies tend to reproduce if you don’t watch them carefully. This blog was created as a result of paint procreation that I allowed to get out of hand. Unfortunately, my hoard is not limited to paint. It also includes fabric, ribbon, paper ephemera and recently I’ve noticed that my washi tape collection is multiplying.

I know I’m not the only girl out there with this problem, so I decided to make some wall organizers that address the specific needs of crafters. This piece is the first of four organizers I’m building to help prevent craft overload.

washi tape rackThe left side of this organizer has two small wooden tea crates that are perfect for holding stickers, small scrapbook pads and SMASH book pads. They could also hold markers and pencils.

Beneath them is a washi tape holder I made from a little box I picked up at an estate sale. The dowel is removable so you can add or subtract rolls as needed. It will hold at least a dozen rolls which is more than any one person should have (at least one normal person….I’m not talking about tape hoarders).

mail organizerThe right side of the organizer has a medium size mail holder that I made from an old speedreading text book. The lining was made from a vintage cotton fabric and the book is decorated with black felt ribbon and two flocked resin roses. It hangs from two s-hooks hanging from two vintage drawer pulls. It’s the perfect size for journals or sewing patterns.

Along the bottom of the piece is a galvanized steel shelf that I made from whatever the heck this thing is……..I have no idea. It’s really sturdy and the perfect size for craft paints, glue and bottles of glitter.

On either side of the shelf are two wrought iron hooks I bought at Kobey’s swap meet. They look rusted, but I sprayed a clear topcoat on them so the rust won’t rub off on to anything.

art supply organizerAround the top section I’ve attached an old metal folding ruler, just because it looks cool. All the wood moldings are salvaged, but the paint finishes are new.

It’s a great little piece and I’m really happy with how it came out. It would look great in a craft room or above a childs’ art space. It’s available in my Etsy shop now.

One down, three more to go!

Inventory used: latex paint, craft paint, Stain & Seal

Study Spot – Day Two

The base paint is up and now I’m working on the back wall which is going to be the focal point. If you’ve checked out my Pinterest board dedicated to this makeover you’ve seen the various wood-paneled walls that I’ve pinned for inspiration. I also love the idea of installing drawers on walls to use as shelving. We got lucky at a barn sale at Matilda’s Mouse a few months ago and scored three antique drawers with painted metal handles which were perfect. Then we scored a large crate and two small Kraft cheese boxes at Kobey’s Swap Meet last weekend.

I got lucky at a thrift store last week and found an entire dollhouse kit, that I decided to use for scrap wood. When I opened up the box I could see why someone got rid of it. Every single detail has to be put together. Nothing is assembled. There is a whole bag of just shingles. What kind of crazy would you have to be to do this?

The siding pieces are nice and I went to work staining all of them. They came in varying lengths so I’ll be able to do the wall kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. I’ll also be using big flat rectangles of wood for images and poetry.

Once the drawers and crates were scrubbed I laid them out on a piece of butcher paper to make templates that will help me lay out the wall.

I traced around each box. It’s important to do this when you’re working with antique pieces because they are rarely straight, and you need a precise outline of each drawer.

I also wrote on the template the depth, and any notes that apply to this drawer. This one is going to stick out 4 3/8″ and needs to hang horizontally because it has a divider inside that we want to use to showcase a rubber duck collection.

After I cut out all the templates I taped them on the wall to figure out where I want them to hang. (This isn’t the arrangement I used in the end)

Excuse the quality of this photo. It was taken with my phone last night. But at least you can see the progress. The boxes are all up, and I installed paper into the backs for interest. The one piece of paper that is still hanging is a place holder for a door panel that I haven’t finished painting. Over the next few days I will be paneling the rest of the wall with bits and pieces of wood, so stay tuned.

Inventory used: oil-base stain

O’Farrell Charter School Project – Finished

I am now enjoying a well deserved glass of wine and smiling at my photos of this week’s makeover. To fully appreciate it, let’s take a look at the before pictures…..

Ewwwwwwwwwww…..grody! This school has gone through a lot of changes since it was built in the 50’s, and I believe this color scheme was left over from when it was an elementary school. Now the school serves middle schoolers, but they are planning for the school to serve K-12 in the near future, so it definitely needed a more mature palette.

This room is the lobby of Family Social Services which is an incredibly busy place.  This room hosts the community’s families and all the many needs they have. O’Farrell staff just wanted a place that conveyed security and warmth. So let’s see how we did…..

This is a work station and library. It’s a great piece donated by Pottery Barn, and they make good use of it. The artwork above was sitting in my studio. I had made them for a home show years ago and they were just collecting dust. I looked at them last night and realized they would be perfect, both in color and material. They’re plaster samples embellished with stencils from Royal Design Studio. The samples were mounted on foam core board which is really light weight so I was able to mount them with 3M velcro strips instead of nailing them to the plaster wall.

This is an interior window that was sadly covered in butcher paper. Apparently the room is used for meetings with students in crisis, so privacy is very important. I pulled down the butcher paper and replaced it with a scrapbook paper quilt. What I really like is that most scrapbook paper is double sided nowadays so it’s as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside, unlike butcher paper, that’s ugly on both sides.

The cabinet and bulletin board makeovers were the most fun to do. My idea for the bulletin board was to put up “frames” for all the important notices that go up there. These metallic rectangles make it easier to differentiate between all the similar pieces of paper, since each piece is framed in a different color. Even if you put something on the green background it shows up better because the color is broken up. The green spaces are for bigger posters and things.

The cabinet was fancified with a fantastic painted pattern thanks to my awesome stencil from Royal Design Studio (the only place to get stencils). Both of these projects were painted with metallic Royal Stencil Cremes from, you guessed it, Royal Design Studio (I’m sure you’re wondering if I get a commission from them, but I don’t, they’re just the best decorative paint resource in the world, I’m serious). These stencil cremes are awesome. If you’ve ever painted with metallics, you know they are notoriously transparent, so you have to paint 10 layers to get them to show up, and stenciling with them is a huge drag. Royal Stencil Cremes have fixed this problem. I am not lying when I say that this stencil was created with one coat. NOT LYING! Run out and buy one in every color (I swear I don’t get commissions).

Last, but not least, the conference table is stunning. Now that it’s been sanded, stained and declared profanity-free, it’s open for business. I’m not so naive as to believe that the students will be so taken with the restoration that they’ll no longer feel compelled to carve an F word on to it’s virgin surface, but for this moment, it’s beautiful. That has to be enough.

Thanks again to my family for helping me out on this project. Your potty-mouthed stories made the time go by more quickly and helped me ignore the sweat running down my back.

I’d also like to thank O’Farrell Charter School for giving me the opportunity to pay them back for all the good they do every day for the children of this community. I’m sure if there are levels in Heaven you will be far above me, so it was nice to get to hang out with you all before the afterlife.

Inventory used: Latex paint (one gallon and two quarts more from The Stash)