• Live Life Inspired. Dream With Possibility! Donna Downey
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Haunted Mini Birdhouse

Another birdhouse I actually finished last year but after the holiday and I just saved it for this year and then it went into the October issue of Scrapbook News + Review so I’m just now sharing it.

The paper is from Zsiage and I decorated everything with a mix of Jolee’s stickers from EK and some transparent elements from Making Memories.  The transparent spiderwebs are kind of fun because they’re actually set onto the outer roof lines so it looks like they’re hanging in the eaves.  I don’t remember what kind of adhesive I used on the ghost, but obviously it wasn’t the best choice (ahem, and I’m assuming I chose something that SAID for vellum/transparency…).

But my absolute favorite thing about this birdhouse is the roof. Or roofs.  Those little dimensional polka dots?  GLOW-IN-THE-DARK Scribbles!  So much fun!  My son got the biggest kick out of how it lights up, lol!






Technique Thursday – Faux Pointillism with a Stitchery Pattern

Pointillism was a style of painting in the late 1800’s.  Artists would paint entire scenes using precision dots of just primary colors and when you’d then look at the painting, you could see a larger range of color based because of the way your eyes would blend the colors (the same basis as CMYK color today in computers and print technology).  The one painting everyone knows, of course, would be George Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte” which is located in the Art Institute of Chicago.  As a side note – this is an incredible piece (think back to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, lol, if you’re in my age range) – worth the trip to Chicago just to see this! Once you see this piece in person you can appreciate the magnitude of how BIG it is and the work and genius put into where to put all those teeny tiny dots!!

But I’m not going to teach you how to do that, lol!  Instead, I want to show you a fun way to take the basic concept of dots making up a picture and use that to convert a stitchery pattern into something…non-stitched.  This will work with any pattern – cross stitch, bead weaving, etc.  Try to find one that’s small or that you can take a small section of, and you’re going to want one without a lot of colors.  You CAN do a more complicated piece, but it will probably make you crazy.

In order to show you the technique, I’m going to use the adorable giraffe baby sweater pattern (so it’s a knit pattern – these are ideal because they’re usually not super detailed) to make a little window hanging.  For a base I’m going to use a page from an acrylic album (don’t forget to remove the plastic film over it first!  Yea…ask me how I know that…).  You can do this in any medium – paint, ink, etc.  This can be done on any surface though, just use a paint/ink made for whatever you choose.  You can also convert the size depending on what you use to make your dots.  Try using a small hole punch and using bits of patterned paper!  It’s an adorable look but for this, since I wanted the transluscent quality to be retained (so it can hang in the window), I used Staz On ink.  To apply my dots, I used pencil erasers.  Yup – head on over to Staples for their penny boxes of plain old wood pencils during the BTS sales!  You will need a separate applicator for each color so cheap is good!  This pattern is ideal also because it only uses 3 colors (it’s on page 101 of the October 2008 issue of Crafts ‘n Things magazine) – perfect for a starter project.  I’m actually only going to use two of the colors as the third is the background.  PLUS, it just so happens that the pattern is sized to almost the same size as a pencil eraser so you can cheat and just work right on top of the pattern if you’re using something clear!  Otherwise what you would do is line up your first row and do lots and lots of counting .

So, the first thing I did was to use a temporary adhesive to attach my acrylic to the pattern.  Normally you’d REALLY want to remove it from the magazine first, but a, I’m lazy, and b, I hate taking apart my magazines!  Try printing patterns from the internet – there are TONS of them in all different skill levels and of all kinds of images.  Then I just went at it!

The colors I used are Saddle Brown and Rusty Brown Staz On. I ended up not liking the Saddle Brown so I went over it a second time with Versamagic Jumbo Java.  It smeared a bit going over the color a second time (I probably should have waited a bit longer for the Staz On to totally dry), but the color works much better.


Using an eraser as a “stamp”

Going in with the second color

See how the dark brown looks kind of yellow?  I didn’t like it.

Better after the color correction.

I’ll show you the final project once I finish it!

Tune in next week – I’ll show you a really fun variation of this!

Window Frame Clock – working with sketches in altered items!

This is a clock I made from a scrapbook layout sketch for the first issue of Scrapbook News + Review. A lot of sketches really lend themselves well to altered items, whether you use pictures or not. For this one, I happened to use pictures, but I could have just as easily made each of the blocks just a coordinating piece of patterned paper, a quote, whatever works for the piece.

I started with an unfinished window frame from Walnut Hollow. It actually changed color a couple of times and got crackled before I ended up with what I was looking for. The window frames will fit a 12×12 piece of paper behind it exactly but I decided to use a piece of acrylic for the backing. Then I used a 6×6 piece of the same acrylic on the front of the frame to add my clockworks stuff to.

To add the clockworks itself (also from Walnut Hollow), I had to drill through both acrylic pieces and the window frame. With a large hole. This was NOT easy (if you’ve got someone handy with tools who knows of the proper drill bit to use, ASK THEM for help!!) and I definitely have to put the PSA out there to wear eye protection!! In retrospect, it would have probably been easier to use a blade and taken the time to carve out the holes that way (except in the wood frame – that took a drill just fine). Other tips – make sure you use a piece of scrap wood behind the acrylic when you drill. I also used a couple of pieces of masking tape in an “x” over the drill hole as a guide and also to help keep the acrylic from splintering as badly and flying everywhere. Kind of. Pretty sure a different drill bit would have helped, but I used what I had.

From there it was easy sailing. I used tiny screws to attach the back piece of acrylic. I made guide holes for the screws using my trusty Forster hand drill (see the bottom of this post for more info on this handy tool!). The hand drill and it’s tiny hole went through the acrylic beautifully. I then matted each of the photos on coordinating pieces of patterned paper from My Mind’s Eye and edged everything with a copper leafing pen (Krylon) and arranged them according to the sketch. I also edged the 6×6″ piece of acrylic and used the leafing pen to color my clock hands and stamp the word Memories onto another piece of edged paper from MME.

I set up the center 6×6″ acrylic piece and used the clockworks to secure it into place (with some more adhesive behind that piece of pattered paper as well, just to be sure it wouldn’t turn since the clockworks is like a big screw). I used some old decorative brads from Making Memories with the prongs clipped off as my clock “numbers” and set them by turning the clock hands to find the right placement. I love the way it looks against my gold walls in my living room!!

Tried to photograph it from underneath to show the way it’s layered with the 6×6″ center piece on top of the frame and the larger piece beneath it.

So has anyone else tried altering using sketches? Try it! There are tons of gorgeous sketches out there. Round sketches (see Becky Fleck’s Page Maps) are great for regular round clocks. 8.5″x11″ ones are great for clipboards. Remember the elements shown in the sketch aren’t necessarily what you have to use for your project. Replace pictures with patterned papers or embellishments. Replace journaling with a quote, or some other element that will make up the right size.

The very first thing I ever had requested for publication was actually an altered wooden gift bag done from a sketch for the newly released Scrapbook Blueprints 2! You can actually see my project in the preview PDF there on the website. As you can see there, I replaced the top three photos with flowers and the journaling at the bottom with a quote tile!

I’d love to see what you’ve all done with altering based on sketches! Link me up if you’ve done one or do one in the future!!