Welcome! Artfully Musing is a blog dedicated to sharing art and the techniques and products used. I'll be showcasing collage, altered and mixed media art. I have giveaways of my art and lots of free tutorials. I hope you'll check back often and are inspired. Thanks for visiting! Laura

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

ATLANTIS - Mermen & Mermaids with a Steampunk Twist - New Collage Sheet & Digi Set

With a series of three 12 x 12 framed collage pieces, I’ve depicted the remnants of the fabled city of Atlantis, lying at the bottom of the ocean, now the domain of mermaids and mermen.  This underwater world has a steampunk twist as I imaged the merpeople would adopt the Atlanteans technology.

A statue of Poseidon stands guard over the ruined city while mechanical fish and crustaceans swim through the water and walk on the ocean floor.
A mermaid frolics in the Temple of the Seahorse while her companion searches for pearls.
The Queen lounges in her chariot pulled by a mechanical seahorse with her faithful guard nearby.

Last year I create a series of mermaid themed collage sheet.  This year I thought I would add to the series with a merman themed collage sheet.

This set is packed with a 110 merpeople (mermaids & mermen) and sea themed images.  Most of the images are also found on the Mermaid Garden Collage Sheets and the Mermen Collage Sheet.  But since this is a digital image set it gave me the opportunity to include several images not in any of the previous collage sheets.  All of the images in set can be re-sized for your project as they are high resolution (300dpi) PNG formated images.  Images found in the set:

Mermaids (4),  Mermen (3), Pearls (4), Shells (29), 12 x 12 Ocean Backgrounds (3)

22 – Architectural, Relic & Miscellaneous Images which includes:  Diver Helmet, Fantasy Clock, Helmets (2), Chariot, Architectural Ruins (4), Rocks, Fountain, Frame, Pots, Shell Chair, Shell Throne, Trident, Compass, Medallion,  Statues (4)

45 - Sea Creatures which includes: Sea Horses (10), Fish (8), Crab, Squid, Octopuses (2),Sea Anemone, Sea Urchin, Star Fish (7), Sand Dollars (2), Seaweed, Coral (10)

Leslie at Alpha Stamps has put together a swimmingly fabulous kit (see above)  for orders placed today through Saturday (July7/21-23, 2016).  You don’t have to do anything special, just place an order and the kit is yours!  

Included in the kit is collage sheet designed by yours truly.  If you want some inspiration using these tails, fabulous Alpha Stamps Design Team member Ronda Secrist Thomas added tails to Victorian ladies and gents.  Click here to see Ronda's "Becoming a Steampunk Mermaid" post for ideas.
The collage sheet contains 15 tails of various sizes and colors which fit images on the collage sheets listed below and they'd probably fit a lot of other women and men (and creatures?) on other collage sheets too.


  • The mages you see in the three framed pieces are from the Mermaid Garden digital image set.  You can also find many of the images on the series of Mermaid Gardens collage sheets and the Merman collage sheet.  The only exception, are the gauges on the large steampunk seahorse which are from the Steampunk Elements collage sheet or the Steampunk Elements digital image set.
  • The background images are from the Mermaid Garden digital image set. 
  • To create more dimension I popped all of the images using double stick foam tape.
  • Each piece is showcased in a shadowbox frame that has a 12 x 12 opening.  Many times you can find these frames in stores that carry scrapbook supplies as they are used to frame a 12 x 12 scrapbook page.  I removed the glass so that the view of each piece is not obstructed by a glare.

I added spinners and a rondelle to the compass on Poseidon chest.
At the top of the colonnade is a steampunk clock.  I used Glossy Accents in the middle to create a shinny dome effect.  Flanking the clock are two statues.
Swimming in front of the columns is a steampunk fish.  The body of the fish is a piece of brass filigree (it comes in a set ) rubbed with Patina Gilders Paste.  I used filigree fans as fins, a skate key as the tail, a brass drop for the face, a rondelle (painted silver) and an olivine cat eye bead for the eye and watch parts for the nose and face.
Sleeping on the balustrade is a merman guardian with his partner sleeping nearby.  The balustrade is made from a die-cut chipboard painted with stone texture spray paint.  
On the left hand bottom of the picture below, you’ll notice some 3-D shells.
The shells are made from paper clay and a silicone mold.  I painted the shells with various colors of Liquid Pearls paint.  I incorporated some of these shells in each of the three pieces.
The columns are wrapped with fibers that resemble seaweed and underneath are Mica flakes.
The sparkly coral and seaweed that you see in all three pieces are die-cut chipboard that I painted.  Next, I dressed them up with mica flakes, glass chips and micro beads.

In the background I used stencils to paint seaweed on the right and left sides of the piece.
On the pediment of the Temple of the Seahorse, is a painted brass shell and a brass patina seahorse.  Hanging over the temple is fiber seaweed.
The body of the steampunk seahorse is an image.  Along the length of the body are rondelles.  On top of the rondelles at the tail is a swirl hook.  At two positions on the body, I attached watch parts and then glued propellers on top of the watch parts.  To the back fin I added a bronze skate key.  The eye is a rondelle and a cat eye domed sticker.
Behind the seahorse is more seaweed like fiber.
At the bottom of the piece is a steampunk lobster.  The body of the lobster is made from a piece of filigree.
The tail is a Victorian drop or handle and a propeller.  The legs are brass flourishes which hook into the holes in the filigree and are glued in place.  The claws are lobster claw clasps and the eyes are black glass rondelles.  The body is painted with Garnet - Metal Patinas Paint.

The base of the large steampunk seahorse is made from die-cut chipboard.  It comes as a two part set.  
I painted the solid back piece a metallic blue color and the intricate top piece a metallic copper.  I attached gears to the face, a  dome bead cap and watch part to the snout.  In the center and at the base of the tail are various watch parts.  I also used gauge images from the Steampunk Elements collage sheet.  I added Glossy Accents to the gauges to give them a 3-D appearance.  I used pen nibs to accent the fins.  Behind the pen nibs is a piece of vellum that I cut in a semi circle and then accordion folded.
To dress up the chariot, I added Glossy Accents to the center of the medallion.  I printed the chariot twice on paper and once on vellum.  I added the extra paper and vellum wings to the chariot to give it a fuller look.
The queen’s crown is made from a brass starfish and beads.
The body of the fish is made from a piece of filigree that is part of the same filigree set as the first fish.  All of the pieces in the filigree set would make great fish.  The fins are brass flourishes, .  The tail is made from a gear and an octopus charm.  The face is made from watch parts, a bead and a domed cat eye sticker.
I used die-cut chipboard feathery flourishes as seaweed to accent the columns.
At the base of the columns are Mica Flakes.

This list has the supplies used for all three framed collage pieces.




Saturday, July 9, 2016

Treasure Chest Gift Box with Jewelry

Good things come in small packages and this one is no exception.  If you are looking for a special way to present a small gift, how about making a gift box from a mini kraft treasure chest.
My version of a gift box is mermaid themed and contains a ocean themed necklace and bracelet.
Below you can see the undecorated chest which would work for whatever theme you have in mind.
I started by painting the chest using teal acrylic paint, then rubbed the raised areas with Inca Gold Gilders pasteThe straps are Dresden borders.  To add more interest to the straps I added bronze buckle connectors.  The closure is fancy mini latch set.
On the sides I attached small swivel drawer handles.

At the top is a paper compass star which you will find below.  Feel free to download and use it in your art.

Attached to the top is a brass mermaid rubbed with Patina Gilders Paste.

Alpha Stamps Supplies Used to Make the Treasure Chest

The necklace sports a couple of starfish and brass shells.  The larger starfish comes in the patina color.  To coordinate the other starfish and shells, I rubbed them with Patina Gilders Paste which gave me a perfect color match.

The to achieve a matching color on the rosary chains, I used Clover Alcohol Ink.  To dye the beads, make a bath of the Alcohol Ink and Blending Solution, you just need enough to cover the beads.  Drop the beads in the bath and leave them for about 5 minutes.  Carefully remove the beads from the bath making sure you don’t touch the beads (I used tweezers and grabbed the chain part).  Hang the beads to dry (about 30 minutes).  The nice thing about Alcohol Ink is, that if the bead is transparent, it will still be transparent after you apply the ink.  With this technique your beads can be matched to the color of your jewelry or art piece.

Alpha Stamps Supplies to Make the Necklace
Rosary Chain Pale Green – Colored with Clover Alcohol Ink

The simple bracelet below sports antique pewter starfish and antique silver seahorse charms.

Alpha Stamps Supplies to Make the Bracelet
Antique Silver Seahorses

Saturday, July 2, 2016


For this month’s theme at Alpha Stamps; which is Vintage Beach Cabanas, I’ve used the new Cabana Row House Set to create 3 mini cottages by the sea.  I came up with names for each of the cottages and that drove their unique designs.
Shell Cottage
Using House C from the Cabana Row House Set
Shell cottage is the beachiest of all of the cottages, surrounded by sand, seashells and palm trees.
The palm trees are die-cut chipboard.  I painted the trees using various acrylic paints.  The base of this cottage is foam core.  I cut slits in the foam core, inserted the trees and glued them in place.
For all of the cottages I first assembled the house (minus the roof) and then in the case of Shell Cottage, I papered the house and roof using an 8 x 8 paper pad titled French Riviera. 
The doors and windows are from the Window Frames & Shutters collage sheet.  I used a tiny double sided seahorse charm for door handles.  If you snip away the loop at the top, the seahorse comes apart into two pieces.
For the roof I started by painting the chipboard white using acrylic paint.  I then glued the seashell sequins in place using E6000 glue.  I added some of the French Riviera paper to the top of the roof and trimmed the peak with the Under the Sea chipboard border painted with acrylic paint.
In the front of the cottage are two white beach chairs painted with turquoise acrylic paint.  The chairs have a slit at the top which is where I inserted the cocktail umbrellas.  In front of one of the chairs lies a beach babe which you can find on the Bathing Beauties #2 collage sheet.

Shell Cottage Supplies from Alpha Stamps
Sailors Cove
Using House D from the Cabana Row House Set
For this house I again used the French Riviera paper
The door and windows are from the die-cut chipboard set, Seaside Doors & Windows.  I dressed the door up with a brass anchor and seahorse charm.  Around the window in the front I used corrugated saucer beads.  The ladies coming out of the door can be found on the Vintage Beach Babes collage sheet.  The lady in the window is on The Fourth of July collage sheet.
At the top of the roof is a ships wheel and nautical flag which are glued to a toothpick that is inserted into the roof.
The trim on the roof comes from the Seaside Décor & Beach Umbrellas chipboard set.
Below you can see the two umbrellas from the chipboard set.  In front of the cottage is a paper sailboat with two children which you can find on the Seaside Victorian Children collage sheet.  You'll find all of the nautical flags I used on the Sea Calls to Me collage sheet.
On the sides are more windows from the Seaside Doors & Windows chipboard set.

Sailors Cove Supplies from Alpha Stamps
Rose Cottage
Using House B from the Cabana Row House Set
The Rose Cottage is papered with House of Rose on the Porch scrapbook paper on the house part and French Riviera paper on the roof.
The base is foam core which is covered with Natural Grass scrapbook paper.  To create a path, I cut out cobblestones from the Provincial Cobblestone scrapbook paper.
The front door is from the Mini Old Windows & Doors collage sheet.  Around the door are pink and cream mini rose buds.  Above the door is a brass bee.
The fence is made from flat matchsticks painted white with acrylic paint.  I poked holes into the foam core and inserted the matchsticks into the holes.
The windows on the sides are from the Window Frames & Shutters collage sheet.  On the fence at the front are pink roses.
The flower boxes are made from the ends of matchbox drawers.

Rose Cottage Supplies From Alpha Stamps