Friday, June 27, 2014

A Tutorial on Alcohol Inks

Given my lack of technical savvy, I figured it would be easiest for me to do pictures and written instructions. A few of my friends asked to know how I created my alcohol ink creations, so this is how I did it. I am not very experienced in this art form, but it is so fun and unpredictable that anyone can get similar results.


  • Gloss paper, yupo, transparency film, metal....just about any nonporous surface
  • Alcohol ink (Adirondack, Piñata, or any alcohol ink marker refills such as copic)
  • Blending solution (or alcohol)
  • Applicator and felt pads
  • Needle tip bottles
  • Compressed air or air compressor with fine nozzle
Here are all my tools and supplies. I don't have alcohol markers yet, so my color selection is limited, but if you have Copies or other alcohol ink markers, you could add them, as well.
 Here is the paper I am using today. It is called Gloss Paper,
 Here are a couple other options. Those who do a lot of AI work talk a lot about yupo paper, I only recently got some and have not had a chance to try it yet.
 Here is the postcard I am working on. I dropped raspberry ink and sprayed gently with the compressed air. Do not shake the can, and keep it as upright as possible.
 Here I dropped some salmon ink and sprayed again.
 This is with citrus drizzled on through the little needle bottle.
 I added some watermelon to the centers of the pink, but it spread fast, and I ended up spraying it as well.
 Because the watermelon was more red than I wanted, I put blending solution on a felt pad and dabbed it over and over just on the pink areas. The blending solution will pick up some of the ink, and if you mix pink and green, it is not a pretty color!
 Here I put some blending solution into another needle bottle and touched it to the green areas. I kept working it until I had it like I wanted it. I will go back later and use my gel pens to highlight or outline various areas.
 The next piece has basically the same technique only I used piñata lime green and added a drop of wild plum in the center. Of course it was too purple for what I wanted, so I added salmon and more raspberry and blender.
 The last one I had blender and the pink ink it had picked up from the last one, so I just dabbed it all over. I did the same thing with a green felt pad, then went back through and used the needle tip to more precisely add the green. Then I got wild and dripped the ink along the edges while holding the paper it a steep slant so the ink would run. I did this on all four sides, the two short sides with pesto and the two long sides with raspberry. As a finishing touch, I dropped some pearl mixative on and sprayed with air to spread it out.
As you can see, all three have very different appearances with almost the same techniques. I hope it was helpful!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Journal Pages and Cover

My pen friend Karen received her ojswap journal almost six months after it was started, and was sad to find several blank pages within. So she asked if I would do another spread to help her fill it up. She hadn't decorated her cover either, so I offered to do the front. Here are pictures.

 I covered the front with gesso to give it a clean surface, then adhered printed tissue paper and a few torn squares of lime green tissue with matte gel medium. I cut the letters free hand from a variety of papers except for the Tim Holtz playing card A.

 Here is the spread. Below are closer shots of each page. The background is twinkling H2O watercolors dribbled on, then manipulated with bubble wrap and a baby wipe. The banner flags are gelli-prints, all but one are made by me, the r is on one made by my friend Jonathan. The spread took me a full (long) day to create.

I wove some strips of paper (mostly gelli-prints) behind the f. The bicycle is stamped and embossed in white. The flowers between the r and i banners are torn bits of washi tape. The letters are stamped with making memories foam stamps using distress paint by Ranger. 

I always try to use some washi tape on my artwork, and on these pages, in addition to the torn strips along the top left and bottom right pages, I cut pieces to hang the flags on the green eyelash yarn, a leftover from my daughter's last shawl. The feather on the d flag is cut from the front of a pen pal letter-- a bit of recycling... The little flower pot is actually metal, and the leaves and flowers came from other pen pals. 

I have one more single page to do before I send it on to another pen pal to work in. I got some new alcohol inks yesterday and plan to do something with them. Happy Sunday!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Instagram Friends Traveling Journal Home!

I posted a number of weeks ago about a traveling journal project I was doing with some friends on instagram, and it came back today with the most amazing art inside!!

All the @references are instagram usernames. I encourage you to check out their feeds if you enjoy art!
Front cover by me! 

Intro letter by me.

Contents page, which indicates there is still room in the 'hood for more artists!

First page by Kim Burk (@kluvmy4js) "Gossip in the 'hood"

Second page by Kim Burk. Shimmery, textured goodness!! 

By Darlene Winter (@dar63) "Crafting in the 'hood"

Second page by Darlene Winter. Amazing textures, rich colors, such amazing attention to detail!! 

First page by Ramona Samuels (@ramtalk) "Romance in the 'hood"

Second page by Ramona Samuels. Such fun collage elements! Love the ribbon banner and the washi tape!!

First page by Syda Howery, (@kreativenotions) "Night in the 'hood" 

Second page by Syda Howery. These pages are awesome! Texture, rich saturated colors, just so fun!

First page by Karen Adams (@yeah_its_mom) "Happy 'hood!" 

Second page by Karen Adams. Both pages are reminiscent of cards I have sent to her. The style and theme is very much her own, and I love every sparkly colorful bit of it! 

Both pages by Nicole Bray, (@wholeheartedart) She is in Canada, and sent her pages to Karen to be added to the journals. 

I added a page in back for each participant to add a few snippets of washi tape. I love this page! 

And, finally, the back cover, made by me, my gelliplate, and a fun sticker by David Icon (@davidicon) 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Altered File Folder Mail Art

I recently joined a small group of women who enjoy swapping snail mail, and the group provides challenges to the members who wish to participate. I do.

The first challenge was to send each member an introduction piece, any style or length, and I have been in the altered file folder mode, so that's what I made! Ten of them! Here are the pictures. Inside I printed several little pieces of paper with various facts about me, cut them all out and glued them in. Did I mention I did this ten times?

All but one together on the floor. :-) 

The last one is the only one I decorated on both sides. It was the first one I did, but after that I realized what a big task I had set for myself.

The project was fraught with difficulties from the start, when my trusty 15 year old heat gun died a smoky sizzling death. Then I mistook a lowercase g for an a on one of the stamp sets, and ended up with a mirror image. I thought I could be cute and turn another letter upside down, but it looked too goofy for a first impression.

These will all go out in the mail tomorrow, then I have an art journal to work in and several other projects to tackle.

In other news, Ornery finally finished the enclosed patio this weekend! All it lacked was exterior trim around the back door and some floor leveling cement next to the threshold outside. When the guys poured it on the inside to set the door back in January, it was 0° outside, and they had to really work to heat up the area to the minimum temperature of 50°, using propane heaters. With one thing and another, the project kept getting shuffled to the back burner.

Last weekend, he finished all but three blocks on the wall in front, so that project is moving right along too! We will put down weed barrier on the flowerbed side of the wall, then amend the soil and start planting.

Our renters of one year will be moving out in July, so it looks like we will be looking for new ones soon. Meanwhile, we plan to replace the back section of privacy fence and hire a tree trimmer for some branches on two massive oak trees in back. Hopefully that will be the extent of needed repairs... No shortage of projects around here!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

In and Out Mail Art

The mail has been flying around the world between Zoe Cottage and parts far-flung! Here is a picture of my table last week while I was sorting things out, filing, and tossing a bit of the incoming mail...

The box in front is full of ONE pen pal's letters/mail!  She is a prolific mailer! :)  We swap a lot of washi tape, and have done other projects together, besides just writing letters.  I imagine her stash of MY incoming mail looks similar!  I ended up recording a lot of the information gleaned from the letters and tossing the actual letters in the trash because I just don't have room to store all that--and then to what end? I am not very sentimental, but I will say that some of these letters were keepers, and I couldn't part with them. They are inspiring with all the artistic additions and sweet sentiments. It's okay to keep, but it is also okay to toss, right?

I have also sent my fair share of fun out into the system, and here are a couple of mailings I sent recently.
 This one was an altered file folder.

And this was a pile of outgoing mail last Monday. I do love sending pretty envelopes with washi tape and vintage stamps!

Art Journals

Once again I have been away from my computer, thus these projects haven't been posted. First up, a couple of art journals in a round robin swap. I didn't get a side-by-side view of the first pages, but they were for a person who mentioned feathers, flowers, and dragonflies as some of her favorite themes, so I created pages with that in mind. Gelli-print backgrounds (I tore two up to use because one wasn't big enough.  It added more color, anyway!)

 The flowers are punched, the word feathers is stamped and embossed, the words dragonfly and wings are stickers, and the feathers on the side are stenciled modeling paste that I added a bit of distress ink to. The & is chipboard.

 On this page, the words are, magical and things are all stickers. (Yup, I have a LOT of alpha stickers!!) The word Quite is rub-on letters, and the word wonderful is cut with QuicKutz die cutting system.  The flowers on the right are glass bead gel pressed through a stencil, then painted lightly with distress paint. Note, on both pages there are bits of washi tape. Because I can. :)

The next journal is probably my least favorite of all I have done, but only because I am not a pastel pink, shabby-chic, romantic type of person.  Give me some ORANGE! Some BOLD! I like my colors to vibrate!!  So, even though this style appeals to a LOT of people, it isn't me. BUT, I rose to the occasion and created what I hope will make her happy. :)

 The background started as a sheet of Tim Holtz tissue. I painted over it with distress paint, then around the edges added some white acrylic paint. I layered on some tattered rose distress ink, and later some vintage photo distress ink.  I spritzed with Tattered Angels glimmer mist, although it is REALLY faint and hard to see it.  The left side is a strip of gelli print, then I used lace, flowers, pink pearl trim, a title page from an OLD hymnal that had been mouse eaten (so I just tore it up a little more...) some washi tape, and the metal embellishment from a greeting card someone had sent me a couple of years ago. The heart was super shiny, so I roughed it up with a wire brush, then added pale pink and latte colored alcohol inks to it.  Several layers of that finally started giving it more of a distressed look. The flowers are layered, the outer pink flowers were the last of those left over from Ryan and Ale's (our son) wedding five years ago, and the little satin centers were from a set I got a few years ago. I didn't have any creamy colored brads for the centers, so I added a drop of dimensional paint to the center of each white brad. I wove the pearl trim around through the flowers, and I thought it was just enough to frill it up without being too ostentatious.

 The right page started with a piece of patterned paper, beneath the tissue, but the pattern was lost beneath all the layers, so I may as well have skipped it.  It did give the page a little more substance, but otherwise only served to lighten my overburdened stash of scrap papers.  The fan is more of the gelliprint I used on the left panel, embellished with a bit of ribbon and fiber.  I laid a couple of rubberized leaves (cream) beneath it, but you may not be able to see it in the photo. The brown flowers down the center are rub-ons, the little fairy is a scrabble tile someone sent to me.

And here the spread is all together. I think I have used up all my pastel goodies now, so I have an excuse to say, "I can't do that." :)