Category Archives: mixed media

Gold dust makes everything better!

Gold dust comes in many forms, but in this case, I’m referring to the stuff that comes in a plastic tube purchased at Michael’s. I don’t use it often, but I wanted something special for this latest “book” box I made this weekend.

I spread some gloss medium over the surface and sprinkled the dust while chanting “abracadabra.” (Kidding)

Too bad you can barely see the twinkles in the pictures. I tried from many angles.

gold dust sprinkles
Gold dust aside, I went for a mature setting.

There are many layers as you can see, and lots of texture.

Lately, I have been stretching my imagination to make different things, using some of my mosaic tiles, but trying other types of layers. I have a pretty extensive collection of ephemera that I gathered over the years.

It has not been easy

I struggle with new ideas all the time, and often I feel stymied, either for lack of tools, but more often fighting myself and doubting that the piece will turn out well. It’s a constant challenge to try to picture what the finished product will look like, and I have to trust the process and just do it.

I’m used to the struggle, and in that, there is a blessing. By showing up in the studio regularly, I have learned to ignore my doubts. In other words, the trust muscle keeps growing the more I show up to create.

I don’t always like what I make, but I’m kinder to myself than I used to be.

A tip for you: When you see pictures you like, cut them out and save them for later.

I’m always on the lookout for new fodder, and I keep them in storage bins from the craft store. I sometimes (always) forget what I have, so I have to rummage through every time.

Last month I made a bunch of shrines out of old Altoids tins. I have made more mosaics this month. Here are some examples:

gold dust shines on this shrine
Gold in this one too, but the style is new to me.
shrine in a wooden box
Virgin Mary shrine — small wooden box.
Shrine plaque
Virgin Mary wall plaque
Virgin Mary shrine
Virgin Mary and child shrine
Seascape dolphin wall plaque
Seascape dolphin wall plaque

Talk about being out of my comfort zone

The seascape plaque above was wholly out of my comfort zone, but I decided to do something with waves and stay with the blue/green range of color when I made it. All I had was a wooden plaque and a cutout of a dolphin.

It was a bear to cut out the polymer clay and make sure the pieces fit the heart and butted up correctly to the other waves. It came out okay, maybe a bit lame. I like to make some kind of statement with my art, but this will remain pretty and nothing else. ๐Ÿ™‚

What are you working on now? I hope you got some creativity buzz this weekend, but if you didn’t, there is always TODAY.

The struggle is real, but so is commitment. Art making is a happy addiction. It sure beats most other things, including chocolate.

All the above pieces are available in my Etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great week!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. If you need some more inspiration, check out the Instagram artist feeds. There are some fantastic makers out there. My username is @greeneearth if you want to connect.

If you missed my previous post on how to make one of these mixed-media “book” boxes, check this out: Magic Journal Box Tutorial.

Make a mini shrine

Make a mini shrine today I told myself, and make it a tutorial. Yes, that sounded like a good idea. I have some digital print-outs of the Virgin Mary. I love the old-style art. I also have some Tim Holtz metal frames sitting around, so I decided to use one.

But, I have also made some molds lately, including frames. Check it out:

make a mold

The metal hair clip made a terrific indent for polymer clay flowers. I have already made a bunch of those. I used some on this mosaic mirror:

Polymer clay mosaic mirror
polymer clay mosaic mirror

Back to the tutorial:

I used an empty Altoids tin for this mini shrine.

Altoids tin
Altoids tin

But you can use any old tin on hand or buy one. I used the tin as a pattern for the heavy-duty decorative paper I used to cover the embossed lid.

Make a mini shrine
Paper cover

I then gessoed the back and sides of the outside tin to cover the printed metal.

Make a mini shrine
Paper covering the top of the lid

I glued down the paper with craft glue that I spread evenly over the entire surface. The Mary icon I brushed with Mod Podge front and back to preserve the ink image. Then I glued it to the frame and filled in with some cut out white flowers. Then I spread Judikin’s Diamond Glaze all over the image and let it dry. Depending on how thick you spread it, expect to wait a few hours for it to dry.

inside cover of tin
inside lid
Adding a second layer of paper

I used some starred tissue paper to make a second layer of interest to the lid.

tissue paper layer
tissue paper layer
making the mosaic vignette
making the mosaic vignette

It took me a while to add the small mosaic tiles since the corners are rounded, and I had only so much space to play with. I was happy with the outcome though.

front cover
front cover

I had glued down the paper on the front, and then I decided to add a paper border. Lots of measuring and gluing to get everything to fit. I pondered what to use for embellishment on the front. I had many tiles to choose from. I ended up with a leaf tile and the word soul.

Leaf decoration
Leaf decoration
Heart charm
Heart charm

On the inside cover, I glued down a heart charm and the word peace.

Painted the outside lavender
Painting the outside lavender

I painted the outside lavender and added a paper border to the edge of the lid for more interest. I was happy with the end result. I made another tin the other day. Check out the pictures.

Make a mini shrine
Make a mini shrine
The outside
The outside

I never know what will inspire me from day to day, but as I consistently show up in the studio, something calls out and I make it or paint it. Life is good!

If you are not happy with your life, make something with your hands. Crafting is very satisfying, and it takes your mind off other not-so-pleasant things. Word!

I made some different polymer clay mosaics lately, one of them the mirror above. They don’t make mirrors like that with a flat rim anymore, so I had to buy a plain frame and have a mirror cut for it.

You are loved wall plaque
You are loved wall plaque

You are loved…

You are loved wall plaque is something I listed in my Etsy shop this week. You can check out all the new items on Earth and Faery.

A couple of years ago, I made a YouTube video on how to make a tin shrine. If you prefer watching to reading, check it out HERE.

I have posted another tutorial lately on how to take an old painting and transform it. You can check that out for inspiration From Drab to Colorful.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

live with gratitude
Live with gratitude

Magic Journal Box tutorial

Magic is in the air in my studio lately. I have been inspired to try new and different things, as in making this type of journal box where you can write down and hide all your secrets. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have gone into silicone mold casting adventures and making imprints with my polymer clay or air dry clay. I found small frames and other baroque metal borders and do-dads to use in my mold making. So much fun, and there is never a boring moment as you wait to see how everything turns out.

Anyway, try this journal box

I found a wooden box at Michael’s shaped as a book. It’s pretty big, approx. 7×8″ and it would be too big for polymer clay mosaics. I decided to experiment with mixed media paper, paint, glue, and found objects. I made the tutorial for this box.

Magic mixed media journal box tutorial
Magic mixed media box

I did not take pictures of every single step, but here goes. I painted the entire outside box a dark blue. The inside is painted green, but that does not show in the following picture. I’m giving you an idea of the size.

Magic box mixed media tutorial
Inside view of the box

I glued white tissue paper all over the front of the box with Mod Podge, making sure it was good and creased, squeezing it into a ball before I spread it out.

Magic box tutorial
Glued down white tissue paper on the front and spine of the box

On top of the white paper, I glued some yellow tissue paper for contrast and a pale layer of lavender.

Magic box with tissue paper
I glued down some yellow paper on the front
Magic box with glue
Magic box with glue

When I was finished with the tissue paper, I made liberal blobs with white craft glue for added texture. I had to let that dry overnight. You can also use blobs made with a hot glue gun and glue the hardened texture down–it’s faster.

Then I rubbed several layers of paint over the dry and creased tissue paper and glue. I began with a dark brown, rubbing it into the deeper texture. I also used dark purple and some turquoise. To tone everything down, I finally spread some white paint over the whole front.

Magic box with layers of paint
Layers of paint
Magic box tutorial
More layers of paint
More layers of paint
Magic texture!

When everything was dry, I started digging through my stash of do-dads. Placement can sometimes be tricky. I painted the inside green.

Magic box tutorial
Magic making mixed media

What I used

The metal frame is from a Tim Holtz kit. I stamped the word Journal on a piece of paper, glued it to the back of the frame, and filled in the opening with Judikin’s Diamond Glaze. The flower is a polymer clay imprint from a hair ornament. The key used to be part of an old wind chime, and the hummingbird and the dragonfly are die cut paper, which I sealed carefully front and back and edges with Mod Podge since paper can easily deteriorate. I painted those with Perfect Pearl powder and sealed them again.

Magic box tutorial
Magic box details
Magic box tutorial
Words stamped with permanent ink
Magic felt on the bottom of the box
Some felt to make the box softer inside
Magic box tutorial
The back of the box

I cut some green felt that had a sticky side and put that on the bottom of the box for a softer interior. I placed a bought paper border on the outside bottom of the box for more interest. Below is another box I made in the same style. Both of these are available in my Etsy shop Earth and Faery.

If you missed my previous post, Mixed Media Greeting Card Tutorial, you can still find it HERE.

It’s vital to try new creative things, even if it’s a struggle. You master something by doing it. Resistance and self-doubt be gone!

Have a great weekend, and may you always be inspired! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of love,

Maria

Mixed media greeting card tutorial

Mixed media cards are easy to put together. I have so many fabric and paper scraps that I could wallpaper an entire house! I often think about what to do with them as I don’t throw much away, especially the hand-painted fabrics. I have used most of them, so now I have mostly scraps. Why not make some handmade cards and give them along with the gifts to friends?

Two benefits from that: You have fun making the cards, and then passing on the joy (hopefully.) If they don’t like a handmade card, they can “gift it forward.”

The Queen of hearts

I came up with a combo of fabrics and paper to make this Queen of Hearts card. I have many watercolor paper pads, and I don’t paint with watercolors so I’m using the heavy-duty paper in many other ways.

I cut one 9×12″ sheet in half, and then I used a bone folder to press the two pieces of paper into cards. You can also buy blank cards with envelopes at the craft stores.

mixed media base: watercolor paper
Mixed media base

I flattened the card and covered it with a paper background on one side. I like to use cool colors to create backgrounds, so I chose blue tones.

mixed media background
mixed media background

I used an old rubber stamp I have of a female face to print onto tan cotton with Stazon deep purple ink. The face looks grayer in the pictures.

mixed media face
mixed media face

To frame the face I needed bolder tones, so I layered some paper outlines. I started with black, and then used some gold wrapping paper as a halo. I added some paper light beams in yellow for more drama.

Mixed media background
mixed media details
mixed media details
mixed media details

I used some hand-painted fabric for the gown and attached it along with the face that I cut from the fabric.

mixed media card
mixed media card
mixed media embelliishments
mixed media embellishments

It’s all in the details!

I added small touches, like a red /pink heart, some “wings” and some do-dads at the bottom. I also decided to cut out a small bird from a piece of paper to attach across the top circle.

mixed media embellishments
mixed media embellishments

Added drama

I used black Stazon ink to color the edges to give the card a faint frame. I used a light touch. I also outlined the bird and the heart with a ballpoint pen to make them more pronounced. As you can see, the red bits gave some spark to the card.

There she is, the Queen of Hearts. It’s a good idea to stamp some words inside the card or write a personal message. In my opinion, it makes a great gift to someone you care about, but I might be biased, haha. A suitable caption might be; “Queen for a day, Happy Birthday!”

I used the same watercolor paper to make this simple art journal. Check out the tutorial in this post: Make your Own Art Journals.

If you are in a crafty mode, check out my tutorial on how to make a Spirit Box.

If you feel like making a Spirit Doll, I have faces for sale you can use. They are available in my Etsy shop: Earth and Faery.

Have a great creative weekend!!

Lots of love,

Maria

The exotic life of an artist

The exotic life is not for everyone. Artists are supposed to be larger than life, but more often you will find us slugging away in our studios, alone, and fighting resistance, haha.

I think of exotic artists and come up with Georgia O’Keefe, but in her mind, she probably saw herself as a dedicated working woman. She was; I can’t remember reading about any debauched parties or deep discussions with other “tortured” artists at cafes. It’s funny the labels we put on people (throughout history.)

Art is often that, mundane, yet again exhilarating because you don’t know which turn will head you into a new phase of your art.

The only exotic thing I have around here is a flowering Claradendron. I should dress like an artist in flowery, hippie styles with lots of scarves, but I’m a conservative dresser. All my color goes into my paintings. What I wear on a given day are sweatpants, paint-stained tops / T-shirts, and sandals. It’s time for an upgrade! At least get rid of the gray ones.

I have been productive lately, feeling the “vibe.” Here are some of my latest wild shenanigans. They are going to hang in a local shop later today, and I’m glad more people get to see them.

boat of dreams
No title
Love at first sight

Are you adding some exotic flavor to your life?

It doesn’t have to be risky, just something new. Yesterday, I took a different road to a street I always travel, and it opened my eyes to possibilities. An exotic flavor could be to MAKE art, not just think about it. There is nothing to hold you back except your excuses (resistance.) You might as well make friends with it.

I’m moving more into abstract mixed media art lately. My whimsical critters show up on a regular basis, and that’s fun. I love whimsy as much as the next person.

How do you proceed with the art process?

You start. The above art was not planned. I pretty much always start with a layer of paint, and then I add paper scraps that please my eye. If I end up not liking the way they look, I paint over them. I usually do three layers of paints, including marks, and if I see some figure in the mess, I outline it. The outline surrounds the figure, and the unifying color in the background ties it all together. It is a fun and harmless process โ€” no need to feel pressured or daunted by your perceived lack of ability.

Time is now!

You don’t need a charming studio, a painter’s smock or the most popular paints. All you need is a willingness to try, to apply yourself.

Lots of love,

Maria

For more inspiration, go to this post: Every Painting is a Leap of Faith.

I have some new things in my Etsy shop for those looking for a great exotic gift, haha. Earth and Faery

Spirit box tutorial

Spirit box tutorial with pictures is here!ย  If you have followed my blog or posts on Facebook, you know that I don’t like to stay with one art medium for long.ย  I guess I’m half a crafts’ person / art journaler, and half painter.

Mood decides which side wins any given day.

Inspired by mixed media artist Lyn Belisle, I made these Spirit boxes. She wrote a how-to article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors a few years back and I saved said article to experiment with later. Here are my experiments. I made two boxes.

You might have seen my angel shrines described in some earlier posts. I had a couple of left over molded faces from that project and decided to use them for the Spirit box dolls.

First I cut out two pieces of heavy cardboard, 4×3.5″ and glued them together like a “cross.” I covered them with scrap-book paper.

The face is really too small for this. I should have used a smaller cardboard base.ย  But, I decided I would make it look narrower with some vertical stripes.ย  I didn’t get a picture of that exact process, but you can see the result in the finished picture.

spirit box
spirit box

I like to use twigs as a natural element to add dimension. I have some very tough branches in my backyard, and I don’t know the name of the tree, but you need to find tough dry twigs to use or they might break. I suppose you could use green twigs, but I haven’t tried that.

Hook and Eye, but only the eye…

I used a random metal eye to wrap with copper around the twig. I added a bead for some sparkle on the main focus point.

I made a cardboard halo and painted it gold. The second halo is a scrap-book cut-out of a clock face.

spirit box
spirit box

Spirit box
Spirit box

I chose random scrap-book papers and wrapping paper. I used hand-dyed strips of fabric and hemp string to make the parts dangling off the metal eye.

Hair and head are attached here with a large glob of glue. I used eyelash yarn in two colors, green and purple.

spirit box
spirit box

spirit box
spirit box

Where is the box part?

I gessoed an empty Altoids(tm) tin and inserted a metal wire, using an awl to punch two holes on the bottom end of the tin. See picture. The doll will be glued to the lid for unhindered access to the box.

You can glue a piece of paper to the bottom of the tin (that will face the wall when hanging.) Optional.

spirit box

spirit boxspirit box

I added more dangly stuff to the metal eye, buttons on hemp string in two colors, a prayer box charm.

spirit doll

Everything is glued on securely.ย  I believe in heavy application of glue… ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of glue, below is a picture of the attached tin to the back of the doll.ย  As you can see, the lid is glued to the back. I added scrap-book paper to cover up any paper gaps on the back of the doll itself.

spirit doll

Doll number two.

I used various papers and strips I cut to fashion the “clothing” for this doll.

spirit doll
spirit doll

All my materials covered every inch of my work table.

spirit doll
spirit doll

spirit doll
spirit doll

Now make your own. It’s easier than you think. Use whatever materials you have on hand. You could use a thrift store doll face. Great gift idea, and you can put some special treasure in the box for the recipient to find.

I have some doll faces (more elaborate than these) for sale in my etsy shop. They are meant to be used in doll assembly, but would work as talismans or ornaments too. Check them out in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

Free shipping, yay!

You can find Lyn Belisle’s website HERE.ย ย She has so much inspiration to share! I love her spirit dolls.

You can also join my NEW Facebook group for more sharing: HeART Inspiration.