Pagoda Inspired Cottage

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I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve updated this blog! Talk about life just perpetually getting in the way. Quite frankly, between finishing school (and starting school again), getting a new job, and then a huge promotion, art just fell to the wayside. It happens sometimes, but I think I’m back in the saddle and heading out of the chute with a bang! Just check out what I did!

As most know, Kristin, who is the owner of Retro Cafe Art Gallery, designs THE BEST kits on the market. Her latest stroke of genius are these fenced cottages which are meant to store ATCs and Artist Trading Coins. Of course, you can use them for whatever you want. I have plans for this one but need that perfect accent to finish the fenced yard off.

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I absolutely LOVE Japanese and Asian art styles and living here in Okinawa just adds reinforcement to that love. I’ve been hoarding Graphic45’s "Bird Song” collection since it debuted several years ago. When I saw these cottages for the first time, I ran upstairs, pulled it out of the drawer, blew the dust off, and began hacking into it with a frenzy. I knew exactly how I wanted this darling to look.

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As the pieces came together and the details were beginning to work themselves in my mind, I had a nagging thought. I had NO idea what I was going to do with the fence and the roof. I could see what I wanted to do, but Lord knows, I am quite the opposite of a “fine art” sculptor. Instead, I decided to do what I do best. WING IT!

For the fence, I dug into my embossing powder stash. At first, I just had this mossy green layer on the fence. “Too bold and clean,” I thought to myself. More rummaging ensued and I remembered this lovely brownstone inspired powder I had and had not used in aaaaaages. Layering that on top of the mossy green was perfection!

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Finally, things were coming together! Gluing, dresden, assembly, and that nagging roof!

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The best part of putting this together is figuring out the details. Those little details are crucial in making a piece unique. Imagination is the only requirement! And perhaps a stash of leftover resin “pours.” This Sakura is one such piece. I had used resin for something and poured the leftover resin into one of my most favorite flower moulds.

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The gold accenting on the Sakura (courtesy of Inka Gold) ties in the embossed red and gold porthole frame.

Now it was time to handle that pesky roof! Initially, I wanted to replicate the traditional Japanese tile roof. The easiest way to do something like that is to roll out “tubes” of clay and place them side by side all snuggly and close together. I used Aves Apoxie Sculpt because it has an adhesive property that makes gluing unnecessary.

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The roof trim along the top was embossed to match the porthole frames. Back to the clay! I used some tools to make grooves on the tubes and seams between them. Unpainted, they could be tiles or even resemble bamboo. I considered going the bamboo route but thought it wouldn’t go very well with all of the glitz I had on the cottage body.

Instead, I went with my original inspiration source, Japanese roof tiles. Modern houses have black tiles and wouldn’t you know?! I had plenty of black paint. After a layer of gesso, black paint was brushed on using a wet brush.

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Breaking out my trusty Inka Gold and my fingers, brushing the ink onto the black paint helped to tone down the stark contrast the black brought to the rest of the piece. It also helped to accent the general stylization with the Asian patterns, gold trims, and overall “feel.”

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And of course, baby got back! Can’t have a 3D piece and not do the back!

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Yes! The roof has been blown off this joint! Well, mostly because you can use these cottages to store other items like paintbrushes, makeup brushes, chopsticks, or anything else tall.

Any how, thank you for stopping in and checking out my latest endeavor. There is much, much more to come!

Supply list:

Retro Cafe Art Gallery ATC Cottage house Kit Style 3
Retro Cafe Art Gallery German Dresden Border Fleur
Inka Gold Ink “Gold”
ICE Resin
Graphic 45 “Bird Song” paper
Piccolo Embossing Powder “Ruby Red Slippers”
Piccolo Embossing Powder “Brownstone”
Piccolo Embossing Powder “Mossy Glen”
Piccolo Embossing Powder Adhesive
Liquitex Acrylic Paint “Ivory Black”

Tattoo Inspired Dream Catcher

I have only done one other dream catcher so when a friend of mine requested one for her mom, I jumped at the chance to make another.  I had the itch to make one anyway. The concept behind this particular dream catcher was a tattoo she and her sister both had done.  Since her mom doesn't do tattoos, an actual dream catcher was in order.

So her mom's home decor is inspired by Southwestern motif.  I wanted to keep colors neutral, true to the spirit of the theme but have the same elements as the tattoo.

The dream catcher tattoo consisted of one prime catcher with three smaller catchers attached below.

The catchers are wrapped in suede cording and the weave is done with waxed cotton twine.  Because I have a large stash of beads, it was easy to accent the weave and the butterflies.  I prefer to keep my catchers rustic and allow the knots where wrap cycles are ended and begun.  I suppose you could consider it a signature of mine.

The butterflies are symbolic of my friend and her sister.

If you are interested in a custom dream catcher, feel free to contact me via the Twisted Muse Designs Facebook page and we can discuss details!


Frosty Christmas Ornament

This time of year is always so wonderfully chaotic for everyone.  For me, I've closed a major chapter in my life by finally finishing my Bachelor's degree.  Now, I'm in the midst of applying for jobs and preparing for upcoming interviews.  Throw all of that into the mix with holiday parties, volunteer work with my husband's unit, and taking care of household stuff, it doesn't leave much room for serious crafty time. Thankfully, with the help of wonderful friends like my fellow Retro Cafe Art Gallery team members, I'm learning that bigger doesn't always mean better and that the small is just as beautiful.  This ornament was put together in about an hour including the bead work (which I've gotten quite nimble with).

First, lay down a nice coat of gesso then go over it with Snow-Tex paste.  If you don't have this wonderful faux snow paste, modeling paste is just as effective.  While it's still wet, sprinkle some Glamour Dust or any other white or clear glitter you have lying around.

I like to add my embellishments while the paste is still wet so I can embed them slightly.  It provides a nice stable base but it also lends a slightly more realistic depth with the paste creeping up the sides of your embellishments.

Add bead work.  For mine, I used my usual needle technique and applied each bead one by one.   You could also use gel medium and micro beads or even some velvet flocking.  Frosty's dear face was also done with beads.  They are glued down but I also smooshed them into the snow paste.    Finally, just finish him off with some fancy buttons or beads and a bow for his scarf.

Supply list: Retro Cafe Art Gallery Masonite Snowman Ornament DecoArt Snow-Tex Paste DecoArt Glamour Dust Clear Glue Beads Ribbon


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 Return and a Flaming Heart

Oh man does it feel GREAT to be back!  When the lovely Kristin of Retro Cafe Art Gallery decided to take some time away in order to prepare for the arrival of her gorgeous daughter, I thought it would be a good time to just relax, enjoy the down time and focus on other avenues such as school.  Now that the shop is open, it's time to give this space here a little much needed TLC and what better way to start off on a new foot than sharing my HEART with all of you!

I'm always a sucker for shrines, shadow boxes, and niche boxes and this is one I've had in my stash for some time now.  To sit down with the pieces and paint and just let the process take over was pure magic.

After seeing some beautiful Mexican folk art pieces by my fellow Art Sister, Kim Collister, I was inspired.  I just let the vision in my mind flow through my hands but at the same time, I wanted to keep an element of traditional inspiration in the piece.

Shall we take a journey into my technical process?

Step 1:  Prep your Fancy Flaming Heart Milagro Shrine pieces with some gesso and color those babies!  Go wild, honey!  Go.  Wild.

Step 2:  Bust out that acrylic paint and sponge brush and go to town!  I like the bumpy look so I dabbed the paint onto the heart rather than brush it on.  You can also dab it onto your hands.  I may or may not have done so myself.Step 3:  Add more color and accent with some shading.  Like splatters?  Then splatter away!  (Mine ended up getting covered up, but I'm okay with that.)Step 4:  Glue everything together.  If you are like me and use E6000 or Goop, don't forget to open a window.  I think I may have gotten a wee bit loopy unintentionally huffing the Goop.  I'm a sucker for beads and if you've seen my work, you'd already know this about me.  Why should this piece be any different?

Step 5:  More fine beading on the flames and tips.  For the niche, add some glue and dump some microbeads into it.  Why wait for that glue to dry?  Bust out the Goop (and a fan!) and glue your charm in.  Lovin' my dainty border?  Take a length of seven of the small daisy chain dresden and cut that baby in half.  Be sure to use super sharp scissors!

Step 6:  Make a margarita, sit back, and just admire your creative process!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy not only my return to blogging but the re-opening of Retro Cafe Art Gallery.  I'm sure I speak for the rest of my Art Sisters by saying we are thrilled to be BACK!

Supply List: Fancy Flaming Heart Milagro Shrine Finnabair Art Alchemy Metallique Paint "Gold Rush" Finnabair Art Alchemy Metallique Paint "Rich Turquoise" Finnabair Art Alchemy Metallique Paint "Fresh Orange" Finnabair Art Alchemy Metallique Paint "Ancient Coin" Finnabair Art Ingredients Micro Beads "Copper" Relics & Artifacts® Dresden Trim "Daisy Chain-Small" Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint "Cadmium Red Medium Hue" E6000 Glue Milagros Charm Seed Beads