Tag Archives: mixed media

Mini Deer Ornaments with Retro Cafe Art Gallery

There is always something purely magical about handmade ornaments on a tree.  Sure, the ease and convenience of beautiful store bought is appealing, especially to me as I am very busy all of the time it seems.  But handmade just lends a genuine one of a kind look and always seem to stand out to me.

It’s good thing Retro Cafe Art Gallery has a plethora of cut-outs and pieces to make any kind of ornament regardless of style!  These little beauties are made from the Deer Mount cut-outs and are super easy to do.

Step 1:  Paint your base.  I used metallic acrylic paint and when it was dry, I stamped over the top with a funky cool filigree pattern.

Step 2:  Cover the adorable deer heads with patterned paper.  Glitter the antlers and add itty bitty tied bows.

Step 3:  Add final touches.  I used plain white dresden as my border.  You could use twine, string, or even wire for the hanger but I opted for gold chain and jump rings.

This type of project is perfect for gift giving, ornament swaps, or even for use as gift tags.  I worked in an assembly line fashion and not including drying time, these were done in about an hour!  Can you believe that?!

Stay tuned here for more Christmas and holiday decor items!

Supply List:
Retro Cafe Art Gallery Deer Mount Cut-Outs
Retro Cafe Art Gallery Dresden Border Fleur
Tim Holtz Idea-ology Paper Stash Christmas
Finnabair Art Alchemy Metallique Paints
Jewelry Chain
Jump Rings

A Colorful Day of the Dead Canvas-Turned-Shadow Box for ColoriQue

Who doesn’t love a splash of color, especially during this time of year?  I know I’m a sucker for color, skulls, Fall, and anything Day of the Dead inspired.  You know what else I am?  I am a hoarder of all the cool things because I swear, at some time, **THE** perfect project will come along and I’ll have just the perfect idea for it!

Such was the case for this wood skull, sent to me by my iBFF, Jess Mutty.  She sent about a year or two ago and I’ve held onto it, just waiting for the “AHA!” moment to strike.  And boy did it!  Using one of the thicker canvases I had stashed away, I came up with this piece of decoration that just sings to me.

Take a flat, one dimensional wood cut and give it life by enhancing the features with rolled out Easy Sculpt clay and my signature bead work.

And just look at that vivid, lush color!  That, my friends, is courtesy of the amazing ColoriQue inks by Lisa Jimenez.  These inks are high impact, bold, bright, and absolutely blendable too!

I’ve used them on the clay detailing of the skull, but I’ve also used them on the Papel Picado from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.  Just look at that blindingly beautiful pigmentation!


In all honesty, I could’ve also colored my metal milagros charms with the ColoriQue ink (because it’s multipurpose as all get out!) as well, but they just looked marvelous in their bare, naked state.  And yep!  I’ve been hoarding those gems for a couple years too.  ::wink::

Add in some colorful glass seed beads to finish off the framing and I can call this bad boy DONE, SON!

Supply List:

ColoriQue Inks by Lisa Marie Jimenez: Turquoise Mountain, Avocado, Honeybee, Ruby Slippers, Grape Vine, Poppy, Black Diamond

Retro Cafe Art Gallery:  Papel Picado Cut-Outs (15 pieces)

ETI:  Easy Sculpt epoxy clay

Liquitex:  White Gesso, Black Gesso

Fire Mountain Gems:  Seed Beads, Undrilled 1mm Round Beads

Ribbon trim

Milagros charms



Jackolynn the Pumpkin Witch

I admit it!  I’m a sucker for pretty paper!  The paper I used for this Halloween gem for Retro Cafe Art Gallery I have been holding on to for years.  You see, I started out as a scrapbooker so I had built up this massive stash of paper.  Fast forward a number of years and I realized that I am probably done with the scrapbooking arena and have my feet firmly planted in the realm of mixed media.

However, the urge to play with paper comes along every now and then and I have to dig through the very little paper I kept and put it to good use.  This piece uses K & Company’s “Que Sera Sera” paper pad.

One of my favorite things to do is to make the simple look complex and complicated.  Jackolynn was constructed using the simplest of techniques.  You’ll be amazed.

Step 1:  Grab that paper you’ve been hoarding and get ready to hack into it.  Trace each piece and cut them out.  Glue each cut piece to its substrate.  See that file in the photo below?  It is THE key to get nice, flush, and fresh edges.

Step 2:  Use an ink pad to ink your edges.  Ready for the mind blower?  Embossing powder!  Get your embossing pad and powders and go to town on those edges!

Step 3:  For the base, add moss for an instant upgrade!

Step 4:  Assemble your pieces and admire at how simple it was to do!

Supply List:

Retro Cafe Art Gallery Articulated Victorian Pumpkin Art Doll Kit
Retro Cafe Art Gallery Pumpkin and Jack-O-Lantern Cut-Outs
Retro Cafe Art Gallery Mini Bats Cut-Outs
Iced Enamels Relique Powder Carnelian
Piccolo Embossing Powders: Gilded Rose Gold, Shamrock Dreams, Girls Night Out, Mossy Glen
Embossing ink
E6000 adhesive
K & Company “Que Sera Sera” patterned paper
floral moss
printable face


A Journey Through Simplicity

This is my monthly post for the wonderful Retro Cafe Art Gallery and while I usually do technical tutorials, I feel I need to do a different type of tutorial.  This particular step by step serves as a reminder for me.

Often times, I get so wrapped around how big, grand, and detail oriented I feel my projects and creations must be, especially when I am representing another company or shop.  After all, isn’t that what my “claim to fame” is?  Aren’t my creations most noted for the amount of detail that goes into each piece?

The pressures I put on myself are stress-inducing and as a result, I often hit a road block that I can’t seem to get over or through.  What happens in the end is I sit down, get to work, and hate every second of it.  Something that is suppose to be joyous and a release from the day to day turns into the day to day and a chore.  The mojo flees.  The creativity stagnates.  The desire is extinguished.

Please.  Sit back, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and just relax with me as I take you through my journey in simplicity.

It’s important to remember where we started as crafters and artists.  For me, it all started with a piece of pretty patterned paper and a photograph.  While I no longer scrapbook, I do still have remnants of those deeply seeded roots.  As such, it’s only fitting that I use a piece of patterned paper as a starting point.  Since I work in mixed media and I was focusing on more humble beginnings, collage seemed to be the way to go.  Simple yet effective.  On one side, I have this beautiful patterned paper, on the other, newsprint tissue paper.

Once my tiny shrine was assembled, I had to laugh as I sat down to add beads.  I guess I can never truly let go of the smallest details.  I came to understand that these tiny beads which are applied one by one with a needle and glue are very much a part of my art journey.

What this simple, tiny shrine has told me as it came to life is that detail may not be my problem.  Size is.  This teeny piece has taught me that even the smallest of projects and ideas can carry the same impact that larger pieces like my dolls and crowns do.  And maybe it isn’t necessarily about impact but more about heart.  My heart, soul, and a lot of self reckoning went into this itty bitty darling but the vision it has blessed me with is much grander.

“Go big or go home” can be equally applicable to the smallest of undertakings.  It’s okay to keep things simple even if your idea of simple may be a bit different than what is literal.  For me, “simple” means small.  Details can still be big, like the beads and the jewelry finding tucked inside this shrine.  But scale doesn’t always have to be “bigger is better”.

Supply List:

Retro Cafe Art Gallery Mini Houses Shrine Kit
Firemountain Gems Seed Beads
Patterned Paper
Tissue Paper
Mod Podge
Bookmark Blank
Jewelry Findings


Aged Crown Finish

I have received quite a large number of requests on how I did the finish on my Crown of the Ocean.

Because of the response this piece received, I decided it’s time to share just how simply this aged finish is to do.  Keep in mind that I am not replicating this finish exactly.  I am using a different crown base with different colors because this base will be used on my next crown.  You’ll have to stay tuned to see how it turns out!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Retro Cafe Art Gallery Style 2
Ten Seconds Studio VerDay Patina Paint System
Art Alchemy Metallique Paint “Steampunk Copper”
Gold Leaf
Leaf Adhesive
Heat tool

Stand by to be blown away at just how easy this is to do!

Step 1:  Coat crown base in gesso.  I do this so that the paint that will be applied in the next step stays nice and vivid without absorbing the chipboard color.

Step 2:  Apply acrylic paint with a sponge brush.  I brush it on and then dab over it to give it a rough finish.  It’s also a great way to hide brush strokes that you don’t want to be seen.

Step 3:  Once the paint has dried, use a sponge brush and randomly dab the iron paint from the VerDay kit onto the base.  Remember, perfection and precision are the enemy here.

Spray with patina spray and apply second coat according to product instructions.  Once it has cured, about 4 hours, this is the finish you end up with.

Step 4:  Be sure to carefully read the directions on the bottle of leafing adhesive.  If it is applied incorrectly, your leafing will not stick properly and will flake off.  Once your adhesive has dried for the requisite amount of time, stick the leafing on like you would do foiling.  Again, precision is not the goal here.  We want a random, muddled look that adds to the aged finish.

Step 5:  Use a SOFT paintbrush and brush away the excess leafing and finish the edges.  If you notice you have some hard edges in the leafing, simply scratch at it with your finger nail.  I recommend using a cheap synthetic watercolor brush.  A hard brush will remove the leafing.

Keep brushing the leaf and finishing the edges until you are happy with how it looks.  You can also reapply the adhesive and leaf to cover any “holes” you may see.

Step 6:  The easiest way to I have found to shape the crown without creasing it is with a heat tool.  Gently heat up the chipboard bases from behind and slowing shape the crown until the ends connect.  Take your time and be patient otherwise you will end up with creases.

Connect the crown pieces with the brads that are included and call it done!

The wonderful thing about this finish besides how simple it is to do is the crown could be considered complete at this point.  It’s such a beautiful and high impact look that any further embellishing is not necessary.  However, if you’re like me, more is more!

“Gabriella” Santos Shrine

Hi everyone!  I’m back today to share with you a project that was intended to go one direction, but in the end, took on a completely different idea as one idea failed and another proved to be fantastic!  I wish I had taken photos of the mishaps that forged the road ahead for Gabriella, but alas.  I did not.  In all honesty, I think I was too frustrated to even think about grabbing my camera.

You see, at first, she was going to have the face of Frida, but since that idea fell apart, more like broke upon my floor (literally), I decided to go in a different direction instead.

I have had this beaded beauty in my cabinet for some time now, just waiting for the perfect piece to put it one.  And talk about serendipity!  If you have followed me for a while, these pieces are hand beaded one by one using a needle, glue, seed beads, and micro beads.  Her “halo” is a piece of magic in itself.

I also wanted to try my hand at painting.  Not just regular shading, full color type painting.  Actual images in the vein of tole art painting.  I knew Gabriella was going to have a mix of cultural infusions and I wanted the shrine to be of a Mexican folk art style.

The inside of the shrine is a very cool printable from Xquizart that simply enhanced the look I was going for.

Gabriella’s heart is always at a low and hot smolder.  Passion for life, even in death is her mantra.

Would you like to know the secrets in assembling this piece?

Step 1:  I always prep my pieces with gesso simply because I almost always end up painting them.

Step 2:  I used Sandra Evertson’s “MUSE” stamps and stamped into Apoxie Sculpt.  I cut the excess clay away and used them in other moulds.  You notice the Frida face?  Yeah, well, she broke when I dropped her, thus the change in direction.  You can paint the pieces without the clay being dry.  It’s perfect for us impatient types.

Step 3:  Draw your design onto your pieces.  I used a pencil and then painted it in with acrylic paint.

Step 4:  Trace panels onto paper.  Cut and glue them to each piece.

Step 5:  Highlight the flowers with a white pen and ink edges.

Step 6:  For Gabriella’s smoldering heart, paint a base coat of acrylic paint.  Once it dries, apply a thick layer of Kroma Crackle that has been tinted with acrylic paint.  Heat set it with a heat tool.  This technique is one I learned from Michael DeMeng.

The Santos heart that serves as Gabriella’s bodice was done using a faux Kintsugi effect which I demonstrated on Facebook.  You can find the full video here.

Assemble your pieces using an industrial glue like E6000 or Goop.

Supply List:

Large Exquisite Santos Doll Antiquity Shrine Kit
Relics & Artifacts® “Rising Spirit IV with Wood Support”
Relics & Artifacts® “Flaming Hearts Ex Votos I”
Relics & Artifacts® “Ancient Soul”
Sandra Evertson “MUSE” Art Stamps “Mandala”
Sandra Evertson “Muse” Art Stamps “Muse”
Kroma Crackle
E6000 Industrial Adhesive
Xquisart “Hippie Chick”
Tumble Fish Studio “Cut apART”
Signo Uni-Ball White Gel Pen
Liquitex Acrylic Paint
StazOn “Jet Black”

“Make A Wish” Butterfly Doorplate

I remember when Kristin first came out with this beautiful Escutcheon Plates.  They were unique, simple, beautiful, and I had to have them.  Buuuuuuuut I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them.  Until now.

I’ve recently developed a newfound love for dies and my kids got me this Tim Holtz butterfly die with coordinating embossing folders and I’ve never used it.  Until now.

As many of you already know, I also love Relics & Artifacts and will continue using them when I can.  Especially now.

You know what else makes me all sort of giddy?  When friends come out with cool stuff to use.  Like Lynne Moncrieff’s stamps.

Would like to see how I put all of the elements I love together?

Step 1:  Prepare your pieces with gesso.  When gesso dries, use an adhesive and sprinkle glitter onto the plate.

Step 2:  Cut butterfly and emboss with coordinating folder.  Paint with acrylic paint and highlight with Inka Gold metallic rub.

Step 3:  Paint framing element with acrylic paints.

Step 4:  Use the flourish stencil and acrylic paint over the glittered doorplate.

Step 5:  While the doorplate dries, paint the Flora piece with acrylic paint and highlight with a lighter color.

Step 6:  Stamp sentiment and cut works apart.

Step 7:  Chalk the edges of each paper cutout and arrange on doorplate.

Step 8:  Add beading detail.

Simple stuff using elements we all love!

Supply List:
Retro Cafe Art Gallery Escutcheon Door Plate Style 1
Retro Cafe Art Gallery Large Flourish Stencil
Bohemian Jewel Aquamarine
Inka Gold

DecoArt Glamour Dust
DecoArt Acrylic Paint
“Lynne’s Affirmations” stamps
Tim Holtz Butterfly Die
StazOn Jet Black ink


A Teaser of My Heart

I’m active in my art universe again and working to keep this place here, my little creative space on the interwebz, updated!  I have a sneak peek here of my latest piece on the Relics & Artifacts® Muse!

I wanted to try something new and you’ll have to head over to see what I came up with.  Let’s just say, I needed to remind myself to LIVE OUT LOUD!