Author Archives: Chrissy

Inspiration in Experimentation

alcohol-ink-pendant-2So I was playing around one afternoon and a thought occurred to me.  Relics & Artifacts® take and hold different mediums and paints so well, alcohol ink had to be sure thing.  Inspired, I sat down with some bright colors, a makeup sponge and a Chandelier Pendant and went to work.

A little dab here, some more dabbing there, add a rub-on and holy smokes!  It worked!

chandelier-5At this point, I was playing around with Bohemian Jewels as a finishing accent.  Aren’t they just lovely against those bright colors?

I decided to try to glitter up the rub-on a bit, and while the effect isn’t exactly what I was looking for, it didn’t turn out too bad.  I also went with the rhinestones compressed together instead of spread apart.  Slap a coat of Ice Resin® on top and just let that baby goooooo!


Stay tuned over on the Relics & Artifacts® Muse for a tutorial and some different looks and effects in the very near future!

Supply List:
Tim Holtz Alcohol Ink “Dockside Picnic”
Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs “Botanical”
Relics & Artifacts® Chandelier Pendants V
Relics & Artifacts® Bohemian Jewels Aquamarine
Ice Resin®

“Merry Christmas” Banner


Can you believe we are already getting ready for Christmas?  I know I can’t.  This year has just flown by!   Today, I have a cute banner for you using the layered ornaments and snowflakes from Retro Cafe Art.

banner-7You would never believe how easy this banner was to put together!  For real!  And I’ll bet money you have all of the supplies I used here already in your stash.

banner-5Some pretty Christmas themed scrapbook paper, embossing powder and a heat tool, some super awesome alphas, glitter, and Ice Resin is all you need!

banner-4Oh, and no worries if you don’t have Ice Resin.  You can use Diamond Glaze but you won’t be able to fill the bezel wells.  Trust me.  It looks just as adorable without the resin.

banner-3I chose to use Ice Resin because (shhhhhh….don’t say anything) the stuff scares me!  YES!  It scares me.  But after doing this bad boy, it’s not nearly as daunting as it was before.

banner-2Wanna know how I put it all together?

Step 1:  Cut your pretty paper to fit each piece you want covered.  I used Mod Podge to glue my paper down.

banner-step-1Step 2:  Use your embossing powder and heat tool to cover the snowflakes.

banner-step-2Step 3: Decorate each piece with beads and glue down the frames.  Mix your Ice Resin according to the manufacturing directions.  Sprinkle in some round beads or glitter and let it cure according to the instruction.

banner-step-3Step 4:  Prepare your awesome alphas with some paint and for extra sparkle, add some glitter. Dump that stuff all over!

banner-step-4Step 5:  Place your alphas inside the wells created by the frames and dump more resin to fill and cover the letters.  I sprinkled some more microbeads to get a layered effect.  It also helps to use the leftover resin and paintbrush and spread it all over the whole piece to seal it.

banner-step-5Attach the pieces to ribbon with hot glue and add some Bohemian Jewels to the ornaments’ hanging holes.

Supply List:
Snowflake Ornaments
Christmas Ornaments
Bohemian Jewels
Dresden Trim
Ice Resin
Iced Enamels
Acrylic Paint
Scrapbook Paper

2016 Tombstones from Retro Cafe Art Gallery


This year is the first time I’ve ever worked with any of the Tombstones from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.  You see, every year, Kristin hosts a Tombstone swap and every year, I’ve always watched from the sidelines, always a bit nervous to commit and play along.


Some of that apprehension was due to logistics in that I live overseas.  I was always nervous that my submissions would arrive late or not at all.  I was also worried about damage to them during the shipping process.


I also worried about my level of talent.  I mean, I have seen most of the tombstones after they were altered and decorated and they were just mind-blowing.  To throw my little creations into that kind of mix was daunting, to say the least.


Fast forward and here we are and it’s 2016.  I decided, “What the heck!” and decided to play along this year only it’s not a swap.  It’s a challenge.  And I’m not a regular participant.  I’m a design team member.  A much different perspective and the guise of participating under obligation is one heck of a motivator.  After all, I can’t be a spoil sport simply because I’m a scaredy cat right?


So there you have it.  My 2016 Tombstones, all dressed right and purty for this Halloween shindig!  Wanna know how I did it?

Step 1:  Using the “Witch Hunt” digital collage, trace, cut and glue down your chosen designs to the tombstone.  I used Mod Podge.  If you don’t plan on painting or inking the paper, you can seal it with a coat of Mod Podge over the top.  I chose not to since I chalked my edges.


Step 2:  Prep your embellishments with a coat of gesso.  I do this so that when I paint them, the color holds true.


Step 3:  Start embellishing your embellishments!  I used paint and glitter over mine.  The Finnabair Crackle Pasts gives my zombie arms a nice, scaly look.  I dusted some dark brown mica powder into the crack and wiped clean with a baby wipe.


This one, I covered in glitter.


Step 4:  Wind wire around a skinny skewer and clue your mini bats and pumpkins to them.  Attach to the tombstone with hot glue.


Step 5:  Finish your embellishing and assemble your tombstones.  I glued moss onto my bases and added some finishing touches.


Be sure to jump in on the fun in the Retro Cafe Art Gallery Community and order your 2016 Tombstones today!  A $25 gift certificate to the Retro Cafe Art Gallery store is up for grabs with this year’s challenge.  Be sure to use #2016Tombstones in your entry post!

Supply List:
Gothic Tombstone ATC Bases V
Gothic Tombstone ATC Stands
Frame Silhouette Ornament (Spider)
Frame Silhouette Ornament (Witch)
ATC Witch Hunt Halloween Background Collage Sheet
Sugar Skull Cut Outs
Pumpkin and Jack-O-Lantern Cut-Outs
Mini Bat Cut-Outs
Broken Fence Cut-Outs
Gothic Fence Cut-Outs
Spooky Black Cat Cut-Outs
Zombie Arm Cut-Outs
VerDay Paint & Patina Set
Inka Gold (Lava Red)
Finnabair Art Alchemy Metallique Paint (Green Olive)


“Curious Curio”

Curious Curio 1

I just love shadow boxes and curio cabinets.  They treasures stored inside, the mysteries, the stories, they commonality between each item it holds just gets my imagination flowing.  I’ve only ever done one multi-cubicle shadow box before,  I figured it’s high time to do another!

This “Curious Curio” is just filled to the brim with the curious, the odd, and the weird.  Everything just seemed to come together so easily.

Curious Curio 9

It’s super easy to put one together if you use the Keepsake Curio Shrine kit, Relics & Artifacts, and some found objects you most likely already have in your stash.  Let’s take a stroll through the curious and the odd and learn how I put this beautiful collection together.

Step 1:  Prime your Curio pieces with some lovely VerDay paint and patina according to the package instructions.  Don’t be shy with it either!  My beautiful color variation is the result of three coats, the last coat being applied with the previous coat still partially wet.

Curious Curio Step 1

Step 2:  Assemble your Curio once the VerDay has completely cured and dried.  Once your adhesive has dried, start hacking into some really cool paper for you cubby backgrounds.  I used a mix of Graphic 45’s “Steampunk Debutante” and “Old Curiosity Shoppe”.

Curious Curio Step 2

Step 3:  Add a strip of paper around the outside of the curio if you choose to cover the assembly notches.  I like decorative edges so I “aged” some white Fleur Dresden trim with VerDay to finish it off.  I used a chalk edger to make the very deliberate “lines” on the paper and age it a bit.

Curious Curio Step 6Step 4:  Now it’s time to focus on the cubbies!  I used the Circle Shrine Trinket in one cubicle and the result is beautiful.  Use some Art Alchemy Paint and Crackle Accents to dress up your trinket and a micro head from the “Figureheads” set of Relics & Artifacts  I ended up going back and finishing mine off with copper studs and Finnabair Micro Beads.

Curious Curio Step 4Step 5:  What is a “Curious Curio” without some tiny vials of questionable substances?  Decorate your vials with medical labels from the “Antique Medicine Bottle Label” collage sheet.  I also filled my vials with Art Stones and more Micro Beads.  I dressed my vials up further using some jute and leftover Dresden.

Curious Curio Step 3Step 6:  Let’s add another Trinket shrine, a head with a mind’s eye!  I painted my Head Trinket shrine with some more Art Alchemy paint and dressed him up with more micro beads.  I toned down the beautiful vivid green with a chalk edger.

Curious Curio Step 5Step 7:  Let’s add some body parts but without the “eew” factor.  The “Milagros” set of Relics & Artifacts are PERFECT for this curio.  Now some of the best results happen because of happy accidents and this is one of them.  To get that cracked, pivoted, aged porcelain look, apply a REALLY thick coat of Crackle Accents and let it set overnight.  The result will be nice crackling along the edges but a shiny and “clean” surface on the main areas.

To get the pivots, I used a pair of pliers and actually hit the pieces directly.  Be careful and don’t beat them but don’t be gentle and tap them either.  Once you think you’ve done enough damage, brush over the cracks with Artisan Powder and wipe the piece down with a dry napkin.Curious Curio 6Step 8:  The “Treasure” cut-out that serves as my title uses a technique I learned from the amazing and lovely, Linda Cain.  I have ALWAYS adored how she does her paint work and blending.  She shared her secret with me and I could not believe how simple it was.  She paints the piece with one color.  Once dry, she does the edges with a second color using a sponge!  Brilliant right?!  I need more practice but I still love how mine turned out.

Add a drawer pull to finish off the top.

Curious Curio 3Step 9:  Finish assembling your cubbies as you feel.  I used a Frozen Charlotte, a vacuum tube dressed in a Fleur de Lis crown, and some found objects and beads I had in my stash.

Curious Curio 7

Would you believe that the gold eagle piece is simply the top to an old cologne bottle?  Dig around and use your imagination!

Curious Curio 8

These curios contain endless possibilities and the fun is limitless.  Be on the lookout for more of these coming from me!

Supply List:
Keepsake Curio Shrine Kit
Chipboard Art Scrip Word Cut-Outs Set 3
Circle Shrine Trinket Pack of 2
Head Trinket Keepsakes Kit Pack of 2
Antique Medicine Bottle Label Collage Sheet
Ornate Fleur Cut-Outs Style 1
German Dresden Border Fleur White
Frozen Charlotte  China Doll Small (2″ – 2.5″)
Vintage Vacuum Tube
Antique Brass Fleur-de-lis-Crown Set of 4
VerDay Paint & Patina Kit
Vintage Mechanicals Clock Face Small
Art Alchemy Metallique Paint “Gold Rush”
Art Alchemy Metallique Paint “Royal Red”
Art Alchemy Metallique Paint “Green Olive”
Art Ingredients Micro Beads “Copper” (linked to Bronze)
Art Ingredients Mini Art Stones
Art Basics Soft Matte Gel
Ranger Inkssentials Crackle Accents
“Milagros” Relics & Artifacts
“Figureheads” Relics & Artifacts
Tim Holtz Locket Keys
Graphic 45 “Steampunk Debutante”
Graphic 45 “Old Curiosity Shoppe”
Various Found Objects

Under the Sea Crabby Fun!

Crabs 1Summer is in full swing and I am feeling all things “Under the Sea”!  These stand up crabs from Retro Cafe Art are just the cutest things!

Using some items you probably have in your stash already makes dressing these up super easy.

Crabs 5I’ve had these Prima light bulbs forever just waiting for the perfect project to use them on.

Crabs 4Some VerDay paint makes these crabs look aged and refined.  I used iron, copper, and brass.

Crabs 3Put those seed beads to use as the perfect accent for highlights or giving the sea corals a look of bubbly perfection.  For the posts, add Finnabair’s micro beads for texture.

Crabs 6

Finnabair’s Art Stones provide the perfect sea bottom for my crabs to lay claim to.

Crabs 7

Would you like to make your own?  Follow along for a quick tutorial!

Step 1:
Apply VerDay patina paint according to the directions.  Set the crabs aside to dry and cure.

Crabs Step 1
Step 2:
Use a foam brush to apply gesso to the base.  I dabbed it on so that when it dries, it will have a grainy look between the large art stones.

Crabs Step 2
Step 3:
Using gel medium (it’s totally THE BEST adhesive), sprinkle art stones onto the base.  Tap off excess and set aside to dry, preferably overnight.  When dry, spray with a gold toned spray mist. I used Prima’s Color Bloom Spray in Empress Gold.

Crabs Step 3
Step 4:
Once the patina paint has dried, glue on Prima vintage light bulb onto the body.  Brush on gel medium onto the post and sprinkle with micro beads.

Crabs Step 4
Step 5:
Glue seed beads on using an adhesive like Diamond Glaze.  Embellish posts and the edge of the base with rhinestone trim.

Crabs Step 5
Step 6:
Paint coral pieces and add beads.  Assemble crabs and glue into place.  I liked how mine tilted to the sides a bit so that’s how I glued them.

Crabs 2
Supply List:
Crab Sticks Specimen Stand Ups Kit

Chipboard Coral Cut Outs

VerDay Paint & Patina System

Finnabair Art Stones

Finnabair Soft Matte Gel Medium

Prima Color Bloom Spray “Empress Gold”

Gold Faux Rhinestone Trim

Judikins Diamond Glaze

Finnabair Micro Beads “Copper”

Prima Light Bulbs

Golden Acrylic Paint

Heidi Swapp Color Shine “Coral”

Seed Beads

“Springy Summer” Santos Birdcage ATC Shrine Doll

Santos ATC Fairy 1
It seems that Spring is in full swing and Summer is hot on its heels.  Here in Okinawa, that means we are in rainy season as well as the early part of typhoon season.  It’s been rather dreary lately so I needed a burst of “Spring Meets Summer” sunshine in my life.  Cue my “Springy Summer” Santos doll complete with an ATC birdcage bottom.

Santos ATC Fairy 2
She is just so peaceful and serene.  Just looking at her makes me smile and just savor the moment.

Santos ATC Fairy 4
Her not-so-gilded cage holds what I think to be hope for a bright and full bloom sunshiny season.

Santos ATC Fairy 6
And because I’m a sucker for details, we can’t leave out her vivid body and it’s adornments.

Santos ATC Fairy 5
How did I put her together?  It’s actually quite easy and I use techniques and products you probably already have in your stash!

Step 1:
Find some lush paper you just can’t get enough of.  Trace the outline of her rather svelte torso.  Cut and adhere using gel medium.  Don’t have gel medium?  No problemo!  Bust out that glue stick or tape runner and get to stickin’.

Tip:  If you use a digital collage like I used from Tumble Fish Studio and printed it out using an inkjet printer, spray a fixative over the top before applying the gel.

Santos ATC 1
Step 2:
Grab yourself the beautiful “Wings” collage sheet from Retro Cafe Art.  Adjust the size of the wings using editing software.  Simply cut, paste and apply some sparkly goodness to make them shine.  I used some Stickles on mine.

Santos ATC 2 copy
Step 3:

Let’s give this li’l mama a face!  I find the best mould for these types of faces is by Sculpey.  It’s the “Art Doll” mould.  Squish some polymer clay into the mould and pop it out once you’re satisfied with the shape.  Bake your clay castings on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper in a preheated oven at 275*F.  Typical baking time is 15 minutes per 1/4″ thickness.  Once your clay has cooled completely, mix together some acrylic paint to achieve your desired flesh tone.  Set aside to dry completely.

Tip:  No parchment paper? No problem!  Just cover your cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Also, her headpiece in the finished photo is cut from the “Valentine’s Day Patterns” collage sheet.

Santos ATC 3
Step 4:
Let’s get busy on this cage!  Dig through your stash and pull out those ancient embossing powders because they are going to get a workout today!  I used powders by Piccolo because I love the depth of color they have but you can use whatever your heart desires.  Apply and emboss just like you used to do back when heat embossing was cool.

Santos ATC 4
Step 5:
Once your pieces have cooled, glue the doll to the top of the cage and attach the hanging chain for the flower piece using hot glue.  Cut a piece from the Black Scroll dresden trim.  Remove any undesired pieces so that your scrolly piece fits nicely at the doll’s waist.

While you’re at it, spray some of the Mini Scalloped dresden trim bright yellow.  Let it dry to the touch and glue it onto the top of the cage.  You can glue it all the way around if you choose but it might make assembly of the cage a little difficult.  For this step, I only glued the front border.

Santos ATC 5
Step 6:
Now it’s time to work some magic.  Grab the pieces of the cage and apply Verday paint according to the instructions on the paint.  Since I wanted a two-tone look on the door of the cage, I taped off the center design so that it wouldn’t be affected by the iron paint.  Once the iron paint had oxidized, I went ahead and used brass on the inside.

Tip:  I tried a little experiment to see if the oxidation process would be affected if I used a heat gun.  The answer to that is a resound, “YES!”  It not only hampers the process; it completely nullifies it.  Let the patina spray do its magic, which means you have to have some patience and about 4 hours of time.  Since I did a two-step process, total curing time was about 8 hours.

Santos ATC 6
Step 7:
Just look at all of that patina goodness!  Patience really does pay off when using this paint.  Now it’s time to glue together the pieces of the cage.  For this step, you want to use a really strong adhesive.  I busted out my “mama means business” glue, E6000.

Santos ATC 7
Step 8:
I hope you left your glue gun plugged in.  To apply the mossy floor, just squirt that glue all over the bottom and press the moss directly into it.  Remove any glue strings and watch your fingers.

Tip:  When gluing the moss, be mindful of the cage door that needs to close.  Don’t apply the moss all the way to the front edge of the cage.  I’m not saying that *I* made that mistake, though there is a very strong possibility I *might* have. ::sheepish grin::

Santos ATC 8
Step 9:
Dig through your stash or just go ahead and pull the trigger on the “Flora” Relics & Artfacts® set you’ve had in your Retro Cafe Art cart for ages now.  Lay down a coat of gesso and let it dry.  Once it’s dry, apply a coat of whatever color you choose.  I went for a tone on tone look to get some depth on the flower.  That Royal Red metallique paint looks simply lush against red acrylic paint.  Just sayin’.

Tip:  Use Inka Gold paint in Lava Red for added pop on the edges of the flower.

Santos ATC 9
Step 10:
Attache a good sized jump ring and hang your flower from the chain.  Glue butterfly to the flower if you decided to add one like I did in the finished photos.

Santos ATC 10
Step 11:
Doodle away!  I doodled on the door of the cage, the scrolly piece on the doll’s waist, and the doll’s wings.

Santos ATC 11
And there you have it!  It seemed complicated right?  But it’s not.  It’s mostly a lot of “paint drying” time but the patience totally pays off in the end.


Supply List:
3-D Articulated Birdcage Doll ATC Shrine Kit
“Wings” Digital  Collage Sheet
“Valentine’s Day Patterns” ATC Backgrounds Collage Sheet
“Art Doll” Faces Sculpey Push Mold
Sculpey III Polymer Clay
Black Scroll Decorations Dresden Trim
White Mini Scallops Dresden Trim
VerDay Paint & Patina Set
“Flora” Relics & Artifacts®
“Royal Red” Metallique Paint 

Other Supplies:
“Cut ApART” digital kit
“Mossy Glen” Piccolo embossing powder
“Lemon Zest” Dylusions Spray
“Butter” Heidi Swapp Color Shine
White Signo pen
E6000 Glue
Acrylic Paint
Hot Glue