Sunday, October 04, 2015

Carla's Antique Buttons

Last week, I  visited with my new friend Carla S. who has a fantastic house filled with books and antiques, and 101 little photo vignettes.  You'll be seeing photos from her house in coming weeks.  Before I left, I gave her a bar of soap for allowing me to come in and disturb her afternoon.   She seemed pleased to have the company, and let me pick a number of antique buttons from her vast collections.  She has drawers-full of buttons, and books to study them.   I'm always looking for buttons to use for closures on my journals.

 Aren't these some beauties!

Thank you, Carla!

Here are a few more of Carla's favorite buttons (in her own hands) :

Oliver's Black Diamond String Quilt Top

Finished Oliver's quilt top this week.  If it looks familiar, that's because I finished one for me and my husband last year.  Oliver liked it so much, he wanted one of his own, so ...

These string quilts are fun to make, and I knew the color combination worked!

Now to do the work of pin basting and quilting it to finish it ...  Good thing I have 2 quilt camps coming up before Christmas.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tissue Paper and Distress Stains : Another New Altered Journal

As I said yesterday, a few people at the craft show ask for lined journals.  Up until now, I haven't had any to offer.  So this year, I'm exploring a few techniques to ALTER (aka : make my own) the covers of a few purchased "stock" journals with lined paper.

This is another torn tissue paper technique from Laura at Artfully Musing.   The difference with this one is that instead of paint, I used distressed stain to give it color and an aged look.  I laso used a few more additional layers of tissue paper on this one.

Here's it is layer-by-layer :
Layer 1 : Torn and crumpled tissue paper, Modge-Podged onto a stock hard-cover journal cover. Let it dry.
Layer 2 : Go over it with another layer of Modge-Podge. Let dry.
Layer 3 : Acrylic White Paint. Let it dry.
Layer 4 : Seal the apint with another layer of Modge-Podge (otherwise the stain just soaks in and looks blah)
Layer 5 : Distress Stain - Vintage Photo  Let it pool in the valleys.  Add additional stain (more or less) to vary the coverage and add interest.
Layer 6) Rub Inca Gold and Patina Gilder's Paste Wax over the high spots for additional highlights.

Here are some additional pics of the very interesting textures this technique produces.
Enjoy, Texture Lovers!

This journal will be for sale in the December Craft Show. 

torn tissue paper technique by Laura at Artfully Musing - See more at:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Blood and Gold : New Sweet Leaf Journal

I've been exploring some new surface design techniques for journal covers.  Occasionally at the craft sale, people ask for a journal with lined pages.  So far, my hand-made journals come with blank (unlined) pages--that's the linen stationary I use for signatures.  So in the interest of giving people what they want, I thought it was time to offer lined pages ...  I purchased 3 ready-made journals (with lined pages) and altered the covers to make them my own.  This is one of them.

This one uses a torn tissue paper technique by Laura at Artfully Musing.   The tissue paper is torn and glued on in layers with Modge Podge, then painted, and the high spots rubbed with Inca Gold paste wax.  I am quite pleased with the results.  :-)

And just because I like the texture so much, here are some detail shots of the cover :

More journals to come ...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hollyhock Fresco

Still playing with the hollyhock image ...

I cropped down the previous pic, and ran it through Topaz Impression with the Cracked Fresco Filter.
Click on it to see the larger view.  It's pretty neat!

Summer Hollyhocks on the Farm

Here's the photo processing recipe layer by layer :

Good thing I saved that old pallet for a background!  I had my husband holding up the pallet behind the flowers so I'd have more of a barn wood background

Layer 1) Background Image Hollyhocks
Layer 2) Copy Layer 1 - Screen Blend Mode - 24%
Layer 3) 2LO Winter Storms 10 Texture - Multiply 50%
Layer 4) Copy Layer 3 - Soft Light - 100%
Layer 5) Sweet Leaf Texture - Alcohol Ink #5 - Soft Light 100%
Layer 6) Sweet Leaf Texture - Iron Gall Ink - Soft Light 100%

Layer 7) Crop to middle section for Rule of Thirds
Layer 8) Vignette

Crop to Square-ish
I think I like this one best.
I just couldn't bring myself to muddy up the old wood with text.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Just a simple reminder ...

Made with one of my watercolor textures.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Loved by the Sun

Hmmh ---  There's more "glow" to my original than this version small-ified for the web.

Too hot to do much else today, but sit under the fan and play with images.

Here's the recipe layer-by-layer :
1) Background image of cone flowers, cropped.  Extended canvas with respect to Rule of Thirds.
2) Lighten
3) Topaz Impression - Watercolor Treatment
4) July Watercolor Texture (Scan 6 - mine) - Soft Light 100%
5) Copy Layer 4 - Multiply 90%
6) July Watercolor Texture (Scan 6 - mine) - Used the texture this time. - Soft Light 43%
Masked off some of the texture on the flowers.
7) Photoshop Artistry MO8-2012-3 - Screen 43% - (Lightens the center area.)
8) Photoshop Artistry Edge 18 - Overlay 27%  (Lightens the edges)
9) Text - Dear Joe 4 font (one of my favs) - Soft Light 100%

I was thinking about an old movie that I love, called Legend, with Tom Cruise and Mia Sara.  Jon Anderson from Yes does a song called "Loved by the Sun" as the credits roll up.    Someone made a nice video retelling the whole story in just 6 minutes.  Here it is :

Saturday, August 01, 2015


I made this as a card for one of my Nun-Friends who is celebrating 60 years with her Community.  She likes purple as much as I do.  ;-)

Made with one of the Distressed Stains Textures.

So nice to have a bevy of my own textures to choose from for backgrounds.

So nice to have a color printer at home!

She Laughs ...

"She is clothed in strength and dignity
And she laughs without fear of the future."
                           --Proverbs 31:25

I made this for a friend who recently endured a bout of domestic violence on the dating scene.  I am so proud of her for standing up for herself and not putting up with it.  She called the cops, and the guy was sentenced to jail for 9 months (but only served 3 for "good behavior"--kind of ironic, huh?).  

She deserves so much more ...  She has strength, dignity, laughter, and love.  I wish her all things good.  All things this dude could not see nor appreciate in her.

And still -- it makes me sad, because we lost a family member last February to domestic violence.  She was my age, murdered in her own home by her boyfriend of 5 years.  Not everyone lives through it.

So I post this here for ALL women who have lived through similar ugly situations.   They are Survivors.    My hope is that they will KNOW their true worth in this world is without price, that they learn what they will NOT put up with, that they find the people who will love and treat them well.

May it be so ...

Sunday, July 26, 2015


One of my favorite color combinations.
Added one of my new Sumninagashi textures on soft light to boost the blues.

Enjoy this summer's day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Suminagashi : Ink on Water Take Two

Step 3 : I tend to love the blue tinted versions best.
Step 1 : The original print on copy paper.. The ink fades more than you;d thin it would ...

Step 2 : More contrast in post-production work after digitizing. 
I wanted to try some more Suminagashi -- with the right stuff this time :  Sumi Ink and rice paper.

This time, I set up down in the wet studio in the basement.  There I have sinks, and it makes setting up and clean-up much easier.

I learned that it takes a certain touch to apply the ink to the TOP of the water, and not let it sink down to the bottom.  I used a dried stalk from the garden as it was the closest thing to the traditional straw tool.  This seemed to work reasonably well.

I need to learn patience with this technique, and not try to stir and mix it up too much.  The idea of Suminagashi is that just the passing wind, or the slightest bump to the tray can cause the ink to move and make patterns.  I need to let it do it's thing, and not force it. 

I learned that I need to lay the paper on the water with the shiny and smooth side down.  If I use the other side, it disintegrates faster when it's pulled up.

I learned that the rice paper is very delicate when it's wet.  The first 7 or 8 sheets looked wonderful sitting atop the water, but shredded when I pulled them out.   I finally started taking pictures of the paper as it sat on top of the water, knowing it would disintegrate when I pulled it out of the water.  Again -- there's a trick to it, and I finally figured it out by the end of this session.

I was also trying to "hang" the wet sheets on a drying rack.  Wrong!  More shredding and disintegration.  I finally figured out they have more support laid out on a towel to dry.   And I need to have that ready before I pull a Suminagashi print.  It was helpful to have a cutting board, or some kind of support under the towel so it would be easily moved.

I also learned that once the rice paper is dry again, it regains it's strength.   I even took a few of the crumbled and torn sheets and laid them out on towels anyway, hoping they'd be recoverable once dry.  Yes -- they were still torn, but usable. 

The Sumi ink on the rice paper is definitely the best match--with the most contrast.  The ink fades on regular copy/printer paper and cardstock.  Fortunately, those can be saved post-production in PSE or even Picassa (Sorry -- Things disappear in Light Room, so I'm afraid to use it now, so I'm sticking with what I know.)

I had just enough success to want to try it some more.  Enjoy this days work :

This one is my favorite.  Subtle.