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 as well as miniature. I hope you'll check back often and are inspired. Thanks for visiting! Laura

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

CAFE du CHAT NOIR - The Black Cat Cafe - Streets of Paris Event

The Café du Chat Noir is now open and offers the finest in dining experiences.  
After a day of shopping, stop by the café, sit down, rest your feet and enjoy all the restaurant has to offer.  
On the corner, you’ll find a sandwich board with the daily specials.
Take a peek in the window to see the fine imported cheeses, wine, and premium seafood dishes.
This restaurant is a place where black cats are always welcome.  If you look closely, one of the regulars is sitting on a bar stool.
The café houses an extensive wine selection.
You can choose an umbrella covered table outside and enjoy the fine weather or step inside for more elegant dining.
Enjoy a tray of cheeses, sausage, crackers, and bread with a side of grapes and cherries.
Perhaps you would enjoy spaghetti and meatballs with a baguette and red wine.   
The café offers a selection of hand-tossed salads and sandwiches for more casual dining.
If it is sweets you are after, try the tea tray with delectables from the Chocolatier or an ice cream sundae.
Order a designer cocktail from the resident mixologist.

I don’t think I could have packed one more thing into this project.  I have so many ideas, tips and tricks to share with you that I’ve recorded three video tutorials.  The first video covers assembling the café and the non-food items.  The second and third cover the polymer clay food and drinks.

To go along with the project I’ve created two new collage sheets and a digital images set – details below.


This collage sheet includes images to decorate the inside and outside of a French café.  Included are posters, bottle labels, a menu and sandwich board.

This sheet contains two or more copies of miniature vintage wine, soda & liquor labels perfect for 1:12 scale miniatures.

This image set is packed with images to decorate the inside and outside of a café.  There are 56 images including the ones found on The Black Cat Café collage sheet.   Included are:
8 French Poster/Signs
Window Glass Sign (This fits the 2 column rectangular bay window)
French Menu Sandwich Board
19 Unique Wine & Champagne Labels
28 Unique Liquor & Beer Labels
17 Unique Soda & Other Drink Labels
7 Unique Cheese Labels
4 Sets of Different Styled Black & White Awnings
Black & White Umbrella Panels
2 Types of Napkins, 1 Placemat & Menu

AWNING STYLES & SIZES - The Black Cat Cafe Digital Set includes 5 styles of awning pictured below but in black & white.

NOTE: Since I have covered building the main structure and making sweets in other videos, in these three tutorials I’m going to focus on putting the Cafe together and making the food.

In this first video tutorial, I cover architectural changes I made to customize the store, additional furnishings, lighting, bay windows, a wraparound sidewalk, signage and new image sets.

In the second video tutorial, I cover making bread, cheese & sausage out of polymer clay.

In the third video tutorial, I cover how to make spaghetti, salad, ham sandwiches, ice cream sundae, olives, cocktail onions, grapes, cherries, & drinks out of polymer clay and Glossy Accents & Alcohol Ink.


Feel free to download the stained glass image to use in your projects.

Rectangular Bronze Filigree – Medium – Window shelves
¼ Inch Square Wooden Dowels – Ceiling Supports & Glass Rack
Large Gold Filigree Bead Cap – Window lighting
Symmetrical Bronze Flourish – L-bracket for glasses shelves
Tim Holtz Adhesive Mirrored Sheets – Option for mirrored bar
Stained Glass Border – Trellis
Set of Stools – 1 Inch Scale
5 Inch French Doilies – Used on tables
Small Metal Box Feet – Wine Rack
Dazzles Gold Thin Lines Stickers – Wine Cabinet & Bay Window
38mm Long Bronze Filigree – L-Brackets for Liquor Shelves
Rectangular Bronze Filigree – Large – Liquor Shelves
Plastic Serving Tray – Cheese platter
Round White Serving Dish – Used for Spaghetti
Mini Silverware – Set of 12 – Used for serving plates
Pewter Dollhouse Dishes – Used as chargers
Orange Color Mini Teapot Charm – Painted silver & red
Flat Miniature Bread Basket – Similar to what I used but prettier
Tiny Resin Cookie Cabochons – Used as crackers on the cheese tray
Miniature Ice Cubes – Used in glass of soda
Flat Round Wooden Beads – Glued 2 together, wrapped in tissue paper with label for cheese wheels
Twinklets Diamond Dust – Cocktail glass rim
3 Miniature Vases – On tables
Mini Fern Garland – Flower arrangement & lettuce on sandwich

Saturday, June 2, 2018

MINIATURE CONSERVATORY - Hinged Accordion Folding Book - NEW Collage Sheets

Who doesn’t love a conservatory filled with flowers, statues, and fountains all showcased in beautiful architecture.  This month's kit theme at AlphaStamps is"Mini Conservatory".

The core of the piece is made from the Mini Conservatory Accordion Book which is perforated for folding.  For my conservatory, I chose to separate the pieces and then hinge them back together.  This approach allows for the use of more embellishments.
To go along with the project, I’ve created two new collage sheets (details below) Mini Conservatory & Stained Glass Collage Sheet.  AlphaStamps is also offering a New Conservatory Parts Collage Sheet.

I used the transparency version of the Stained Glass Collage Sheet and sandwiched the images between two of the accordion books to create a realistic stained glass look.  Using two books allowed me to decorate both sides so it looks lovely from every angle.

This collage sheet is filled with lots of lovely images to decorate a miniature conservatory or garden themed project.  Many of the images are also found on the larger Conservatory Garden Décor Collage Sheet.  
This sheet contains a series of stained glass images that can be used in smaller art & miniature projects.   When the images are printed on a transparency film, it creates more of an authentic stained glass look.  To look even more authentic, add and melt embossing powder on the transparency film image. 

I started separating the pieces and sanded the edges, which smooths the perforated edges (used for folding).  I used two sets of the Mini Conservatory Folding Book.
Next, I painted and the papered the pieces (the same on each side) using paper from the Wandering Ivy 12x12 Paper Pad.  I then added images from the transparency film version of the NEW Stained Glass Collage Sheet to most of the openings. 
I used hinges to reconnect the conservatory pieces.

Below I’ll walk you through how I embellished each side of the same piece.

I decorated both sides of each piece.  On one side I used a door from the Mini Conservatory Parts Collage Sheet and the sundial from the Mini Conservatory/Garden Collage Sheet.  
At the bottom, I added pieces of mini creeping vine garland. On the other side, I used the same sundial and an image of a terrarium from the same sheet.
The piece pictured below is decorated the same on both sides.  The architecture at the bottom comes from the Mini Conservatory Collage Sheet and the finial is from the Mini Conservatory/Garden Collage Sheet.  Sandwiched between the arches is a stained glass image from the Stained Glass Collage Sheet.
The leaves at the top are made by cutting up Green Embossed Dresden Leaves.  Each leaf has 5 points so I used each point to guide where I cut.  Using a stencil brush, I lightly applied dark green acrylic paint to give the leaf some contrast.  It also helps to bring out the embossing on the leaf.

The leaves on the side are from the Dollhouse Laser – Cut Fern Leaves.   I first painted them brown and then using a stencil brush, lightly applied dark green then light green paint.
The piece pictured below is decorated the same on both sides.  The architecture at the bottom comes from the Mini Conservatory Collage Sheet.  Sandwiched between the arches is a stained glass image from the Stained Glass Collage Sheet.  The leaves are stitched ribbon that I accented with beads.

The piece pictured below is similar on both sides with the exception that one side is decorated with a tiny green garland and pink roses.  The statue and Greenman are from the Mini Conservatory Garden Collage sheet and another image from the Stained Glass Collage Sheet.
For the piece pictured below,  I used another stained glass and statue image.  On one side is an image of a birdbath, three tiles from the Mini Conservatory/Garden Collage Sheet and a resin songbird (its part of a set of 3).
The leaves are cut out from one of the sheets of paper in the Wandering Ivy 12x12 paper pad.

For the piece below I’ve used another stained glass image.  The paper is an embossed brick pattern.  

I embellished the top with mini wrought iron flourishes set on the top and Architextures Iron Fence at the bottom.

I used some of the Mini Wrought Iron Flourishes to add a piece to the side and an urn image from the collage sheet.  The greenery is leaves from the Mini Fern Garland.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Couture a Bejeweled Altoids Tin Dress Shop - NEW Collage Sheets & Digi Image Set

AlphaStamps May kit is aTiny Dress Shop.  For my shop, I thought I would create dresses made from images of vintage jewelry.
The tiny shop is made from Altoids tins so you can imagine how tiny the dresses are.  What gives the shop an architectural look is the 3D roof chipboard kit designed to fit the top of an Altoids tin.
I could see the items I used applied to other themes like Halloween, Alice in Wonderland, Fairies, etc.
For this project, I created two new collage sheets and digital image set.  One of the sheets is filled with dress forms that can be used standalone or layer over the chipboard dress forms from the two shape sets I used.  
The Mini Bejeweled Collage Sheet is a mini version of my older Bejeweled & Bejeweled #2 Collage Sheet and is Free With Purchase for a limited time at Alpha Stamps, see details below.  
The digital image set contains most of the images on the older Bejeweled collage sheets plus some new images.  The great thing about the digital image set is that it is easy to size and flip images and to print multiples of an image which is what I did to create my dresses.

This sheet contains three sets of different sized dress forms with each set made up of 14 unique patterns.  The dress forms are sized to work with the Dress Shop Shape Set & the Mini Paper Dolls Shape Set.  You can layer the images over the dress forms in these sets or use them standalone.
This collage sheet is a mini version of my larger Bejeweled & Bejeweled #2 Collage Sheets and is packed with all kinds of jewelry.  The images are great for smaller projects.  Use them as an accent or combine multiple pieces of jewelry to create clothing. 
FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE - All orders at AlphaStamps on Thursday through Saturday. May 24th, through 26th (2018) will receive one of these collage sheets FREE.  Click here for more details.
This sheet contains 72 vintage jewelry images which are also found, with a few exceptions, on the Bejeweled and Bejeweled #2 Collage Sheet.    You can “jewel up” these images by adding rhinestones, Glossy Accents, microbeads, glitter, and Stickles. 

I started by assembling the roofs which are made from a chipboard kit and then covered them with Hampton Brick Scrapbook paper.   Notice the grove at the bottom, its designed to fit on top of an Altoid’s tin.

For the tins, I started by removing the lid and flattening the prongs.  I covered the back and sides with 1:12 Brick Wall Sheet which is embossed.  
I covered the surfaces on the inside with papers from the Moments In Time 6x6 Paper Pad.
To make the dresses, I used dress forms from my New Dress Form #2 Collage Sheet.  I applied the dress forms to chipboard dress forms found on the Dress Shop Shape Set & Mini Paper Dolls Shape Set and painted the bases of the dress forms black.
To create the dresses, I used jewelry images from the Mini Bejeweled Collage Sheet.  Since for many of the pieces I need multiples and flipped pieces, I also use the Bejeweled Digital Images Set.  The longer curved images and leaves work great for bodices and skirts.  Birds are great for shoulder accents and bodices.  Horizontal pieces work well for belts or connectors for long waisted dresses.  Wings turned upside down work well for collars and the use of multiple wings upside down can create a tapered skirt.
To give the jewelry more dimension, I applied Glossy Accents to some of the jewels.  You could also add rhinestones, glitter, Stickles, microbeads and metal findings.

I glued the dresses inside the tins by using layers of double stick foam tape which popped them up from the back. 

The frame I glued on top of the tin is from the Altoids Tin Facades which dresses-up the edge of the tin.  I cut away the top of the frame as it would have covered up the roof.  Next, I glued the roofs on the top of the tins.

For the centerpiece, I used two more of the Altoids Tin Facades.  I used the same paper for the roof and the main area of the frame. 

The posters displayed in the opening of the façade come from the Mini French Fashion Magazines Collage Sheet.  To the image in the front, I added a feather and jewelry images from the Mini Bejeweled Collage Sheet to the hat and used part of an image for the earring to which I added Glossy Accents.  In the center of the flower on the hat, I added a red bead.  

I glued the poster images to paper from the Moments in Time paper pad then sandwiched the images between the two facades.
Finally, I glued the edges of the Altoids tin on top of the edges of the façade.