New Year’s Day Project: Card Collage


It’s the annual Christmas Party for my studio regulars tomorrow, and traditionally we do a project that upcycles the now defunct Christmas cards and wrapping paper. This time I thought we’d do a little home decor piece ready to pack away with the decorations to bring out again next Christmas. Here’s my example, created in a Tando Creative Mini Printer Tray (laser cut greybeard).

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The Apothecary: Sign writing and Vignettes

I posted a week or so ago the start of an assemblage in a printer’s tray – The Apothecary. Over the last few days I have been making a sign for the top, building it from foamcore board, and coating it with several layers of paint to try and match the colour of the tray. Eventually, I ended up brushing on some tan wax shoe polish and buffing it back, and adding a small amount to the wood exterior of the tray. I think it warmed up the wood and helped make the both seem a whole. The inlay ‘brass’ line is Letraset metallic tape, and the lettering and logo are cut from 160gsm card, layered four deep and then painted with Treasure Gold Liquid Leaf Florentine and then a quick layer of Classic Gold.

I’ve also taken the photos into Photoshop and added vintage effects.

Now I’ve been looking at it from the photos, and getting a little distance on it, I’m wondering if the answer to making the bottles both accessible and not able to fall out is to make a glass door and change it into a cabinet?

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The Apothecary: an assemblage

This is very much a work in progress, but since progress seems to be going smoothly and fairly quickly, I’ve something to share mid-way. I was sorting out the sheds on Saturday and came across this printer’s half-tray that had been tucked away. I have a feeling it’s another save from my grandfather’s outhouse.


I brushed it down, glued it back together, and then lined it with Tim Holtz French Industrial papers with Walnut Stain distress ink to blend it all in. I then set about finding all my little bottles that I’ve accumulated – a combination of Tim Holtz and Woodware. They looked a little too clean, so I’ve added Latte and Mushroom alcohol inks to give them an aged/nicotine stained look.

I raided the kitchen for every spice and herb I could get into the bottles and decided to leave one shelf free to hang some bay leaves in, and to make a mini-pestle and mortar to fit. Now all I needed was some labels, so I have spent the afternoon making my own in Illustrator and cutting them out on the Silhouette Cameo before ageing with distress inks and water. Next was working out how to get a liquid appearance in the tall bottles without it actually being liquid. UTEE came to the rescue, and I think it turned out ok – although there was some shrinkage as it cooled, so that might not remain the case. Here’s what it looks like now:


I’ve had a lot of fun with the labels, finding the latin names for everything, including the silver balls, tapioca and hundreds and thousands. The shelf is ready for the leaves and pestle and mortar and I think a couple more adverts as well. I’m not too sure if I should stick the bottles in place, or keep them loose so that they can be pulled out… or fall off when on the wall…


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Inspiration Seeds: an altered art assemblage

I recently undertook a house clearance, and one of the items that caught my eye was a wooden caddy that had been used for many years to keep tea bags in:
IMG_5778_wI decided this box needed a new lease of life, and rescued it from the pile destined for the tip. A quick discussion in one of my Tuesday evening groups came up with the suggestion to make it a seed storage box. After a bit of a rub down, addition of some moulded embellishments and some cut and layered lettering, I painted everything with Americana Decor Chalky Finish in Lace:
IMG_5788_wI then decided to age it, and covered it in tarmac and left it over night to ‘set’ before cleaning it back to get the vintage look.


It was at this point the seed of an idea took root and I decided that it would become a ‘seeds of inspiration’ box and went on to cut out and make matchboxes, pillow boxes and seed packets ready for my collection. Over the past few weeks I have filled, labelled and collected and here present my altered art assemblage ‘Inspiration Seeds’:

Now when I have a creative block, I can dip into my box, and with just a few items can hopefully spark off the next piece of creative genius.


Artist’s Palette Assemblage



This project started several years ago as an impromptu challenge with another crafting artist – it’s had bits and pieces done to it in between other projects, but with my altered art demonstration day today at Coleman’s Craft Warehouse, it seemed the perfect time to get it finished and on display!

Made with a Tim Holtz Configurations box, a free wooden palette and various bits and bobs gleaned at pound shops I’ve tried to include both colour, texture and materials used by an artist. Now all I have to do is find somewhere to put it!


Altered Art Samples

Aside from feverishly making samples for Craftwork Cards latest collection (details on their blog as well), I have been preparing for my next demonstration day at Coleman’s Craft Warehouse on Saturday 6th December. I’ve been given the (rather broad) title of ‘Altered Art Tips & Tricks’, so I’ve been busy gathering together ideas and samples to share.

Brand new, especially created for the day, are these altered paper mache letters featuring embossed card, inka gold and tarmac technique; napkin decoupage; Tim Holtz/Ideaology/Distress techniques; acrylic crackle and beads.

IMG_5472_wThis is a Tando Creative mini-print tray decorated with the Christmas Post set from Craftwork Cards – I’ve a quick trick to share with you for colouring in the frame. Embellishments by Mark Richards via Woodware stockists.

I’ll also be revealing my ‘Artist’s Palette’ assemblage for its very first public viewing, as well as bringing along my ‘Sewing Room’ assemblage for your inspiration and sharing ideas. Hope to see you there 🙂


St Nicholas Collection/House Shadow Box (for Jones Crafts)

Christmas for crafters starts soon enough, but for distributors and sample makers, it starts even earlier! This is the first of many I have been working on to be published – and is a little late as well. I blame the drying time… Anyway, enough of that, here’s Kaisercraft’s St Nicholas Collection of papers and stickers, their wooden snowflakes and laser cut tree, and House Shadow Box in a festive assemblage:

House Shadow Box

It’s a cracking set of double sided papers, some of which are designed to be backgrounds, others are vintage postcards and quotes ideal for cutting up and making into boxes, mounts and individual items for layouts. Others form great backgrounds for shadow boxes. The House itself is 30cm square with the roof on top and is pre-cut MDF which is easy to assemble. Here’s a gallery of close ups:

Other things you might need: Cosmic Shimmer Crystal PVA, Glossy Accents, Walnut Stain/Fired Brick/Peeled Paint Distress Inks to colour edges, Kaisercolor Raw Umber acrylic paint, Cosmic Shimmer Specialist Acrylic Glue, and Cosmic Shimmer Polished Silk Glitters for the tree. Oh, and lots of patience for all the cutting out!