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. I have regular giveaways of my art and lots of free tutorials. I hope you'll check back often and are inspired. Thanks for visiting! Laura

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Coffin Apothecary with Raven Doors – NEW Collage Sheet & Digital Image Set – VIDEO TUTORIAL

Oh how I love apothecaries!  This year I’m ratcheting up the creep factor with a coffin shaped apothecary that has ravens for doors.  The project includes a video tutorial where I demonstrate how to assemble the coffin using a free coffin template that you’ll find below.  There are also some free images that I used in my apothecary as well as a new Potion Bottles Silhouette collage sheet and a digital image set.
This sheet is filled with potion bottle silhouettes.  Several of the images are sized to fit the coffin apothecary.
The digital image set contains 54 bottle images.  27 bottles have labels (the same as on the collage sheet) and 27 are blank.  Add your own labels to the blank ones, or use them for a different purpose such as perfume bottles, or as a template to cut-out a piece of chipboard.
To download the template and images, click on the image to expand it, right-click and select Save As.
If you wish to enlarge the template beyond what will fit on a single 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper, download the separate template images.

Alpha Stamps Supplies Used for this Project
Resin Scull Beads-Used 4 as feet
Cat Eyes 5mm Yellow-Used on Resin Scull Bead Feet
Gilders Paste - Inca Gold-Used on skull feet


Other options for doors are: - Gargoyle Front View Die-Cut Chipboard – cut in half or Gargoyle Side View Die-Cut Chipboard – use two for doors
3D Skeleton Hand Charm-Holding Potion Bottle
Fancy Fleur Drop- Holding the feathers
Tiny Skull Beads - Silver-Used as bottle stoppers for bottles in skeleton hand

BOTTLES – The list below includes some of the bottles I used and others that are the right scale for the coffin

16mm Clear Glass Marble-Used as crystal ball
Filigree Cone Bead Caps - Used to hold crystal ball
Mini Ceramic Gargoyle Beads-Used as bottle stopper
Silver Cup Box Feet-Used as a potion cup filled with red wax
Brass Skull & Cross Bones Charms-Used on front of bottle
Resin Owls - Black-Used on front of bottle
Small Resin Skull Beads-Used as bottle stopper
Eyeball Beads-Used as bottle stopper
13mm Flat Lace Edge Setting-Used for candleholder base

CANDELABRAS - On Sides of Coffin
Antique Bronze Spider Pendant

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Festive Halloween Votives and Candles – NEW Collage Sheet & Digital Image Set

To kick off the Halloween crafty season, how about decorating Votives and candles for your Halloween displays.  
When I created the Pretty Potions & PoisonsApothecary two years ago, you may have noticed that I used decorated candles as part of the overall display.  To decorate the candles I used rub-ons from my stash.  Unfortunately I’ve had a hard time finding good Halloween rub-ons.  Since Alpha Stamps can produce their own sticker sheets from any of the collage sheets they carry, I decided to make a Halloween Silhouette collage sheet that would be east to cut-out and work great for decorating things like Votives, candles, bottles and as backgrounds for layered artwork.  And in case you want to take the images in some other direction or scale them up for really large projects I have also created a digital image set of the images.

NEW Collage Sheet & Digital Image Set
This sheet is filled with spooky silhouettes.  Many of the images are sized to fit the Votives. 
The digital image set contains all the images from the collage sheet plus 4 more images (cat, coffin, spider & a different tombstone).
The Details
For all of the samples I used the sticker sheet version of the collage sheet.  Cut the image out from the sheet and carefully separate the sticker from the backing as to not damage the ink on the image.  Apply the sticker and smooth to remove any bubbles.

You’ll notice I have all the Votives on stands as I think it dresses them up and it looks more interesting for them to be at different heights..
The bone trim around the bottom of the green Votive is from a Gothic Lace Border set of stickers.  The image of the bones is raised from the transparency to give it dimension.  The base of the votive is made from a wooden egg cup.
On the purple votive I have used black lace to trim the bottom and a wood candlestick holder as a base.  The holder is trimmed with beaded fringe and another of the gothic lace borders.
For the orange Votive, I trimmed the bottom in sweeper fringe.   The base is made from gluing a wooden knob into the grove of an egg cup.  The knob fits perfectly into the grove.
Another option for the sticker version of the sheet is to apply them to candles.  I used the ghost images on the tall candle and a couple of the tombstones at the bottom.  I tied black tulle around the base of the candle holders.  For the larger candle I used glitter bat stickers in addition to the images from the collage sheet.  I used a box top as a stand decorated with paper and pumpkin pods.
Alpha Stamps Supplies Used for this Project
Glass Votive
Egg Cups  - Green Votive & Orange Votive
Tim Holtz Crossbones Set – Green Votive
Black Beaded Fringe Purple Votive
Wooden Knobs – Orange Votive
Dazzles Black Thin Line Stickers Purple & Orange Votive
Black Sweeper Fringe – Orange Votive
Halloween Fiber Set – Orange Votive
Pumpkin Pods – Large Candle

Monday, September 1, 2014

Over the Summer Sea

To wrap up the summer, and before I start throwing Halloween projects your way, I have a collage piece to share with you. 

The red netting is made from cheese cloth died with Red Pepper Alcohol inks.  The silver leaves were originally part of a huge green spray of leaves I purchased at the craft store.  The leaves are very tiny so I thought they would be a perfect size for small projects.  I spray painted the leaves silver and added blue Microbeads. 

Other embellishments include paper leaves, real seashells and brass fish from my stash.  I also added blue mulberry paper tulips and white foam stamen.

Collage Sheet and Digital Images I Used:
Beach Babes – Sea Gulls
The Sea Calls to Me – Victorian Woman
The Deep Blue Sea – Coral and Sea Shell

Frames & Borders – Weathered Blue Frame

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood with a Halloween Twist - Tutorial

Since Little Red Riding Hood is such a dark story, I thought why not push it a little further with a touch of Halloween.  The poor much aligned wolf in this story gets the short end of the stick. 

I decided to use a paper mache house accordion shrine as the backdrop and create a faux book with the story.  The book rests tilted and open in the niches.
I used a textured sand paste and a stone stencil to create the vintage crumbling look on the house

The touch of Halloween comes from the pumpkins, bats, ravens, spider webs and large moon.

Prepping the Houses
I started by removing one of the house shapes.  The shapes are attached with hinges that are screwed into the paper Mache.
Next, I marked the areas for the niches and cut away the marked area using a box cutter and metal ruler (as a guide).
I spray painted the houses black (because it was a fast and easy way to paint both the inside and outside).
I papered the outside of the houses and the inside back of the niches.

Stone Work
To create the stonework I used a textured sand paste.  I started by taping down the decorative paper with low tack painters tape. 
Next, I taped the stonework stencil to the paper.
I mixed up a batch of the paste by coloring it with black acrylic paint.  You can color this product with ink, paint, or pigment powder.  Start by adding your color slowly, stir to blend and then decide if you need more color. 

VERY IMPORTANT:  The more liquid you add to the paste the thinner it will get.  You need to let the paste dry out to the consistency it was before you added liquid color; if you don’t, it will seep under the stencil.  As the liquid evaporates, stir the paste occasionally so that the parts exposed to the air don’t dry out and clump. 
Next, spread the paste very carefully over the stencil using a light touch  (I used a popsicle stick).  Be careful not to push the paste under the stencil. 
Carefully remove the tape from the stencil while holding the stencil down Next, lift the stencil.  You don’t have to immediately lift the stencil but don’t wait too long as the paste will dry and parts of the paste that you want to stay on the paper will be lifted with the stencil.
You can reuse any of the excess paste on the stencil. 

Carefully cut away the stenciled area and then you can start the process over again with a new section of paper.

I suggest you wash your stencil between each usage as the paste will build up in the open areas and you won’t get a good result.

To give the house a vintage crumbling look, I cut up the stenciled stone pieces and attached them randomly on the house.

Decorating the Houses & the Chipboard Support
I framed two of the story images with a frame from my Antique Frames Digital Image Set and used double sided foam tape to pop them out from the back of the niches.
Next, I used one of the pieces I cut out of the houses as a support.  I covered the support with decorative paper and glued the houses to the support.
I spray painted spooky trees black and then added a sparkly textured mix called Elements that I purchase online from the Art Glitter Institute.
I glued the two larger trees to the front edge at an angle and added bats and owls. To the top I added spider web pieces and titles.  I also attached Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf to the trees.

Making the Faux Book
I didn’t have a book that was small enough to use so I cut one.  The final size of the cut down book (pages) is 3” x 5”.  I removed the cover and cut away the side and bottom.
Next, I cut a piece of paper for the spine and two pieces of chipboard for a new cover.
I glued the paper to the front and back of the pages but not to the spine, then glued the chipboard to the pages.

I covered the chipboard with paper.
Next, I glued the covers to the front and back pages.
I opened the book to the middle and glued story images to the pages.
The book is glued to the chipboard support and rests on the niches in the houses. Since the houses are glued in place and won’t move, they support the book so you don’t need to glue the book to the niches.

Decorating the Back
On the back I painted brown vines, attached the remaining trees and two windows with images from the story.

Feel free to download the image below that I used in my book.

Alpha Stamps Supplies Used for This Project
Oh Grannie Dear! Collage Sheet - Grannie in bed & wolf in Bed
What Big Eyes You Have Collage Sheet -Red Riding Hood in the front & Title on Faux Book
Red Riding Hood #3 - Red Riding Hood in window on back
Halloween Carnival #2 Collage Sheet or Halloween Carnival Image Set -           Bats and Ravens

Stone Wall Stencil - Used for brickwork
Texture Sand - Used for brickwork
Red Music Scrapbook Paper - Used on houses
Tan & Red Music Scrapbook Paper - Used on houses inside of recesses
Double Dot Vintage Wild Berry Scrapbook Paper   - Used on cover of faux book
Creepy Chipboard Tree Cut-Outs - On front of houses
Dead Tree Cut-outs - On back of houses
Resin Owls - On the front trees
Small Plastic Pumpkins - In front of faux book