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

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Magician Tarot Card Designed For Alpha Stamps

This is the third of four tarot cards I designed as an inspiration piece for the Alpha Stamps "Gypsy Fortune Teller Swap”.  The base of the card is made from a chipboard pennant which measures 4” x 6”.  The magic stick is made from a wooden skewer.
On the back, I added the explanation for the card. 

Alpha Stamps Products Used in This Piece

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Christmas in July Bookshelf and Mini Albums - Designed for Alpha Stamps

Let’s take a short break from gypsies with “Christmas in July”!  It’s never too soon to start thinking about your Christmas projects.  Here’s a project that could be used as a festive piece of art to display during the season or as a gift for a loved one.  I’ve decorated the sample for Christmas, but it could be used for any theme.  The Mini Album Bookshelf with books is made from an easy to assemble Masonite kit.  The assembled bookshelf is approximately 9 1/4 “ high (without the embellishments you see in the sample above).

The bookshelf holds several mini albums depending on the thickness of each album.  The albums are also made of Masonite and come in packages of 3 albums.
Below are some tips on assembling and decorating the bookshelf and mini albums and a supply list.
Decorating and Assembling the Bookshelf
  • Before I started decorating the bookshelf I figured out how it was assembled.  Familiarizing yourself with the assembly helps when deciding where you want different pattern paper to go and to make sure it’s on the side you want and going in the direction you want.
  • You’ll also want to do as much decorating as you can before assembling the bookshelf, as it is much harder to decorate once the piece is assembled.  I painted, added all of the paper and borders before assembly.
  • I started by painting what will be the visible edges of the bookshelf red and the pages of the mini albums green.
  • Next, I glued paper on all of the visible surfaces of the bookshelf.  I used an X-acto knife and sandpaper to trim the paper from the edges.
  • If you use paper to cover the surfaces you will need to reopen the holes used to assemble the bookshelf.  Reopen the holes on the inside of the pieces not the outside so that the outside paper hides the construction.
  • To give the piece a more vintage look and to cover the white edge of the paper I used Ranger Distress Ink (Brown Corduroy) on the edges of the paper.
  • I added Visions of Christmas Foiled Die-Cut Cardstock Borders to the outside and inside of the pieces.  I love these borders.  Some of the patterns can be used for non-Christmas projects.
  • I glued the bookshelf pieces together. 
  • For feet I bent Brass Filigree Corners and attached them to the bookshelf using E-6000 glue.  You need to use a strong glue to support the weight of the bookshelf.  I also used tiny brass nails to add extra support to the feet.
  • Next, I added collage sheet images and other decorative embellishments to the outside of the bookshelf and trimmed the edges with Dresden borders.
  • To create the wreath at the top, I cut the center out of a plastic lid so just the edge remained.  I then wrapped the edge with gold, red and silver tinsel. And of course added lots of embellishments.  I glued the wreath to the bookshelf with E-6000 glue.

Decorating and Assembling the Books
The mini album pages come in a sheet.  I broke the sheets apart, clipped the tabs off with a pair of sturdy scissors and then used sandpaper to file away the excess.
  • There are different ways you can assemble the album pages.  You could use paper to create an accordion fold album or you could glue the pages to a spine (which is what I did).
  • If you are going to glue the pages to a spine you need to decorate the pages first and stick to flat embellishments (paint, paper, rub-ons stamping etc.).  Whatever you add will create bulk.  If you attach the spine before decorating the pages the book won’t close.
  • I covered each page back and front with decorative paper.  I inked and embellished the inside pages.
  • I cut a piece of paper to act as the spine.
  • I glued the front page to the spine paper. 
  • Next, I glued just the edge of the two inside pages to the spine.  I used E-6000 glue as you need to have a strong bond between the Masonite pages and the paper spine so that when you open the book the pages won’t separate from the spine.  Alternatively you could use fabric tape (bookbinding tape) as a spine.
  • I glued the back page to the spine paper.
  • Lastly, I decorated the covers of the albums and the spines.
Book Covers
Inside Pages
Alpha Stamps entire line of Christmas collage sheets are on sale plus all of the Christmas paper.  This includes the collage sheets and papers I used in this project.  Some of the embellishments I used are also on sale.
Alpha Stamps Products Used in This Piece
Brass Filigree Corners – Bookshelf Feet
Christmas Filigree Set – Wreath / Bookshelf
Cameo Frames: Ovals – Mini Album
Collage Sheets

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pretty Potions and Poisons Apothecary Event September 2012

Treat yourself this Halloween by joining me here at Artfully Musing where I’ll show you how to build a witches apothecary.  I've posted a series of free video tutorials where I walk you step by step through the process of creating your own apothecary.
I’m also excited to announce, that as part of this event I’ve created a series of apothecary collage sheets that are licensed exclusively to Alpha Stamps.  In addition, Alpha Stamps will be carrying most of the products I use and demonstrate in the videos.

In the tutorials I show you how to decorate an apothecary cabinet, alter bottles and tins, make books, and more.  Even if you don’t want to create an entire apothecary cabinet you might enjoy learning new techniques and altering a few bottles to add to your holiday decor.

I hope you’ll join in the fun and help me spread the word by grabbing the code below for the event badge!

<center><a href="http://artfullymusing.blogspot.com/2012/07/pretty-potions-and-poisons-apothecary.html" target="_blank"><img border="0" src=" http://i921.photobucket.com/albums/ad54/lauracars/ApothecaryEventBadge.png" width="180" height="400" border="0"/></a></center>

The first tutorial covers assembling and decorating the apothecary cabinet.  
The second tutorial covers altering bottles and tins. 

The third tutorial covers making books, coffins and cauldrons.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Moon Tarot Card Designed For Alpha Stamps

This is the second of four tarot cards I designed as an inspiration piece for the Alpha Stamps Gypsy Fortune Teller Swap”.  The base of the card is made from a chipboard pennant which measures 4” x 6”.
The moon at the top is covered with various rhinestones and pearls.
On the back, I added the explanation for the card.

Alpha Stamps Products Used in This Piece

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gypsy Caravan Designed For Alpha Stamps

Whenever I get a new assignment from Alpha Stamps I like to create at least one over the top piece.  This time it’s a gypsy caravan.  The frame is built with the Concertina Chipboard Pennants. The overall dimensions of the piece are 6" wide by 11" tall (that includes the moon topper).  I thought the curve at the top and bottom pennants was an interesting shape for the caravan.  I used the pennants for everything but the roof.  At the bottom of the post you’ll find a complete list of the products I used. 
The picture above is of the back of the caravan.  I used stars, moons and beads to create the beaded curtain.  The steps are made from dollhouse shutters attached to pieces of swirled chipboard.
The square piece is a Phases of the Moon Rubber Stamp that I stamped in paper clay and once the piece was dry I colorized it with various colors of guilders paste.
I used two different beaded trims to accent the sides.
The doors are made from dollhouse shutters.
I used a bead cap to mount the top piece on the roof.  The jeweled moon and silver ring are floating in the middle of the clock.
Side That Opens
One of the sides is hinged and opens to reveal a gypsy fortune teller.  There is a small latch under the roofline that keeps the side closed.
To the inside I attached pillows and a rug made of paper and cotton balls.  When the side closes they fold up into the caravan.
Inside, the gypsy sits behind her table with lace, fabric and lanterns made of beads hanging from a false ceiling that is under the roof.
Here is a picture of the table before I glued it into the caravan.  I used bead caps for the candlesticks and the crystal ball (a marble).  The candles are wooden skewers.  The tarot cards you see on the table are small versions of ATCs that I made a few years ago.  I thought it was fun to use my art as a prop for another piece of art.
Alpha Stamps Products Used in the Piece
Concertina Chipboard Pennants
Celestial Stickers - Top Piece
Antique Wood Clocks - Top Piece
Gilders Paste - Patina – Clay Piece on Side / Moon on Front / Sun on Back
Gilders Paste - Black – Clay Piece on side
Gilders Paste - Copper - Clay piece on side
Cranberry Alcohol Ink- Railing on Front
Wine Beaded Fringe- Roof Fringe
Yellow Gold Beaded Fringe – Roof Fringe
Amber Gypsy Bead Mix in Bottle – Beaded Curtain
Coin Fringe - Side
Large Fancy Oval Beads- Lantern Inside
Iridescent Moon Mix – Beaded Curtain
Iridescent Star Mix- Beaded Curtain / Top Piece
Rosary Chain - Garnet – Table inside
Mauve/Red Bead Mix – Beaded Curtain / Pillows
Lavender/Pink Bead Mix – Beaded Curtain
Small Square Brass Hinges - Used to Hinge the Side That Drops Down
Tiny Faux Ring Handles– Front Door
Brass Halo– Top Piece
Large Game Spinners– Top Piece
Fancy Star Bead Caps– Candlesticks and Lanterns on the Back
Gypsy Coin Mix– Table Inside

Stay tuned as there is a lot more of my gypsy art in your future!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card – Designed for Alpha Stamps

The Gypsy’s have come to Alpha Stamps and they are one of my favorite subjects!  As you can imagine I was so tickled when I found out that they were our next theme.  I’ve been super busy over the last few weeks creating tons of gypsy themed art.  I’ll be posting the pieces throughout the rest of July and into August. 

This first piece is the tarot card “The Wheel of Fortune”.  The base of the card is made from a chipboard pennant which measures 4” x 6”.  On the back, I added the explanation for the card.  The background papers I used for this piece and several other pieces is the yummy Weekend Market 6” x 6” paper pad that is full of rich vintage colors and images.
Alpha Stamps Products Used in this Piece
I’ve looked into my crystal ball and have seen that there is new gypsy themed video tutorial in your future.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome To My Studio

Were Blogger's Create Event
It's time again for the "Where Bloggers Create" annual event hosted by Karen Valentine at My Desert Cottage.  The event officially starts on July 14th.  Karen generously puts together this blog party so that bloggers can share their creative spaces.  I hope you enjoy touring my studio and seeing some of the art I've created over the past year.  And when you are done, you can hop over to Karen's site where there is a list of other bloggers participating in the event.  Last year I checked out most of the spaces and it was very inspirational.

Here on my blog you'll find a variety of art by me and other artists whose work I enjoy.  There are also free tutorials and images as well as regular giveaways of my art.

I've always wanted a space that was tailored to my creating my art.  I’ve worked in the garage, a walk-in closet, guest bedroom, and on the dining room table.  A few years ago we remodeled our house and that gave me the opportunity to create the space I’ve always wanted.  Now I’m happy to sit in my studio and play all day!
Work Tables
I decided to go with bistro height work tables as I like to stand when I work.  There are four tables with leaves (they are actually dining tables) which makes it easy to reconfigure them.  I cover them with cutting mats for protection.  I chose black because it would not compete with the color of the art and I thought it would be the easiest to repaint once I totally trash the surface.
Tigger of course supervises all of my work.  I keep a basket on my work tables sprinkled with a little catnip to him to lay in the basket instead of on my projects.
There is lots of storage space under the tables where I have hanging racks and storage cabinets on wheels.
For seating around the tables I use stools.  This works well when teaching classes.
Altered Bottle
Photo Studio
My husband gave me this portable Photo Studio for Christmas.  It comes with the lamps and box of diffuser screens.
Art Deco Brooch
Antique Display Cabinet
Several years ago when we lived in Pennsylvania, I bought this Victorian cabinet.  I now use it to display some of my treasures and art.
Collage Piece on Chipboard Shoe Stand
ATC – The Dance
Marie Antoinette Diorama
Beaded Trim Storage and Display
Altoid's Tin Book
Storage and Display Cabinet
I sold many of my collections on eBay to purchase this piece.  It has lots of space for storage and display.
Altered Hinged Painter's Canvases
I use lots of flowers in my art so I use apothecary jars to storage and display.
Miniature Mermaid Shrine
I use a carousel to display my supply of lace and larger art pieces.
Altered Jeweler's Tins
This rack stores chipboard and foam core board.  Karol Taylor’s (Creative Team Member) husband Paul built these for us.
This is a bin for screws, nails etc. that has been re-purposed to store ephemera.
Voyages Extraordinaires
I purchased the cabinets below from StorageandDisplay.com.  They come finished or unfinished.  Each cabinet had 10 drawers and can be stacked.  I have two stacked towers of these plus two on wheels that fit under my work tables.  I purchased the unfinished version so I could paint them black to match my other furniture.
Witches Mask
Witches Apothecary
I hope you’ll join me in September as I'm hosting a special event where I'll be showing you how to build a witches apothecary through a series of video tutorials.  Stay tuned for more details.
My husband built this cabinet for me so where I store bins of patterned paper and ephemera.  I have another storage project for him this year if I can talk him into it.
Art Deco Fan
I use a basket to store my large sheets of paper.
Accordion Folded Book
I used ScrapNCube cubes storage units for my cardstock and tools.  I purchased the paint carousels at Michaels Craft Store.
Matchbox Chests
I keep fabric in this basket.
These bins were purchased on-line from Target.  I bought these last Christmas as they had a free shipping offer.
Mermaid Sandcastle - Diorama
A girls gotta have her technology.
I use a TV stand for my scanner and Wishblade Die Cutting Machine.
My printer is on a ScrapNCube storage bin.   I added wheels to the bottom and the drawers hold my printer paper, transparencies, vellum and Rub-Onz paper.
I used a picture frame, chipboard, batting, fabric and ribbon to create this notice board.  I have fabric and trim to make a matching skirt for the table below.  It's one of those projects I just haven't gotten to.
Here is a matching chalk board.  The background structure is the same as the note board except in the center I mounted a piece of chipboard that I sprayed with chalkboard paint. You can find the paint in most hardware stores. 
Some of my petit point work.
Display Cabinet for Art
Ethereal - Dress Form
Victorian Christmas Toy Shop Diorama
This is one of the pieces I designed for Alpha Stamps.
A Place for Visitors
After a tour of my studio I don’t want you to get the wrong impression and think that I am neat and tidy.  Usually it looks like a bomb went off in the room.  Every surface is stacked high with projects and supplies.  Nothing is where it belongs and it’s hard to walk around the room with all the stuff on the floor.  I don’t seem to be able to create without making a huge mess.  Every once in a while I break down and spend a day cleaning it up.
 Sandy - "Excuse me mom, could you stop working on your art and play with me?  I brought enough toys for both of us!"