Sunday, September 23, 2018

Little Bird Blue Ornament and How to Pickle a Tart Tin

My mom liked her bird tart tin so much that she asked me to make one to give as a hostess gift to her friend Jackie, who she was going to visit.  Since I had only bright, shiny tins left in my stash, and I like a grungier look, I started by "pickling" or aging my tart tin.

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Unaltered tin on left.  Pickled tin on right.

I used a mixture of mostly hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and kosher salt to pickle my tart tin.  I put the three ingredients in a small plastic container and stirred them until the salt was dissolved.  (I didn't measure anything so I can't tell you any amounts or ratios.)  I swished the tin around in the mixture, shook off any excess, and set it on a paper towel in a glass dish to dry.  (Some folks on the internet suggest using a spray bottle to apply the mixture, but I didn't have one handy.)

As the tin dried, I turned it over every so often.  I repeated this process several times over the course of two days, until I liked how the tin looked.  Basically, I wanted to reduce the shininess of the tin but I didn't want a lot of heavy, orange-colored rust.  Once I had the amount of patina I wanted, I sprayed the tin with a matte acrylic sealant.

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Jackie's finished ornament

Without further ado, here is Jackie's completed tart tin!  Doesn't that bird look adorable sitting on her little nest?  I love how the white berries really pop against the darker background, and the bows on top are so sweet.  I was super pleased with how everything came together.

Since I had just finished my mom's tart tin ornament and the steps involved were still fresh in my mind, Jackie's tin was easier to complete.  In case you're interested (and for my own future reference) here are the steps I followed.  I don't take step-out photos as I create, but I have inserted some closeup photos for you.

1.  Dab matte gel medium around the rim using a plastic palette knife.  Sprinkle on chunky glitter.  Let dry completely (overnight).  Spray tin with acrylic spray sealant, paying special attention to the glitter, and let dry.

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Closeup of die-cut sheet music and leaves on Mom's tin

2.  Attach a piece of vintage sheet music to cardstock and die-cut with a scalloped circle die.  Sponge distress ink around edges.  Cut smaller circles out of chipboard and adhere to the back of the sheet music.  The number of additional circles needed will depend on (a) how deep the tin is and (b) whether your bird is small enough to fit down in the tin or has a tail that will extend over the outside edge.  Adhere the entire sheet music 'stack' to the center of the tin and let dry.

3.  Adhere "nest" to bottom of tin and let dry.  Amount needed will depend on size of bird.  Make sure it's packed in tight and adhered well.  I used regular matte gel medium.

4.  Adhere bird to nest and let dry.  Make sure the nest and bird are centered so the sheet music behind them is level.

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Closeup of die-cut leaves on Jackie's tin

5.  Adhere vintage book page to cardstock and die-cut several small leaves.  Tint leaves with distress inks, and use fingers or craft tools to shape and bend them.  Trim leaves as needed to fit, dip ends or backs into adhesive (I used matte gel medium), and tuck them behind the bird and into the nest.

6.  Trim berries as needed and adhere behind bird, tucking stems into nest if possible.

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View of jewelry bail and cord for hanging Mom's tin

7.  Adhere jewelry bail to back of tart tin (I used E6000).  Make sure the bail is centered with your bird so that he's sitting level.  Dry completely (overnight).

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Closeup of ribbon on Jackie's tin

8.  Choose lace and/or ribbon(s) to make a bow.  On a larger tin, use wired ribbon so the bow will maintain its shape, like I did for the first tart tin I made.  For Jackie's tin, I used needle and thread to sew together two pieces of white lace to form a foundation bow, onto which I sewed the blue bow made of dyed seam binding.  Adhere bow to top of tin, making sure it is centered (I used E6000).  Let dry completely (preferably overnight).

9.  Adhere pine cones using E6000.  (You can't tell from the pictures, but there are three super cute, super mini pine cones on top of the blue bow.)  Let dry.

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Closeup of bail and cord for hanging Mom's tin

10.  Cut piece of twine, ribbon or cording and thread it through the jewelry bail so you can hang the ornament.  One thing I discovered is that my tins wouldn't hang straight, because the weight of the bird made the front dip a little.  This isn't too big a deal if you plan to use the tin as a Christmas tree ornament, because you can usually tuck the ornament into the branches to steady it.  Or forget hanging the tin, and just set it on a small easel to display.  I may try to figure out a different way to add a hanger on future tart tins, or I may not.  Usually a problem like something not hanging straight would bother me, but for some reason it isn't in this case.

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Another satisfied customer

And finally, here is Jackie with her tart tin!  She was thrilled to receive it and because we also got an easel for her, she can display it immediately (straight or not!).

Just two final notes I want to share about these tart tins.  First, quality adhesives are essential when you're adhering items made of different materials.  I recommend Golden brand matte gel medium (regular or heavy) and E6000 industrial adhesive.  Second, these tart tins require a lot of drying time after certain steps to ensure that pieces are firmly attached before adhering the next ones.  Give yourself plenty of time to make one of these, especially if you're not keeping it for yourself.


I hope you found this post helpful.  I know for myself, I found it useful to write down the steps and some of the little hints I had forgotten since I made that first tin.  And if someone else can benefit from them, even better.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fab day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Calendar Cars - Artist Trading Coins

Artist trading coins are all the rage right now in the mail art community, so I thought I'd jump in and make some myself.  At 2.5 inches in diameter, the coins are the same width as an artist trading card but not as tall and, of course, are round instead of rectangular.  I created these four coins for a swap with an open theme.  They're kind of a riff on the calendar car postcards I made a couple of months ago.

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I started by adhering a road map to a piece of heavy cardstock, then used a Spellbinders Nestabilities circle die to cut four coins.  I used an old gift card to scrape on a thin layer of white acrylic paint, which mutes the background so it doesn't compete too much with the focal images.

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After fussy cutting the cars, I selected vintage postage stamps to coordinate with each one.  Then I chose the stencil, which required some consideration due to the scale of these coins.  Achieving a good composition can be tricky when working on such a small piece, especially when it's round.  I settled on the Harlequin stencil by Tim Holtz and used distress inks to add the design to the background.

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After adhering the cars, I stamped on some spatters and the text, added the postage stamps, then stamped on two types of faux postage cancellation marks:  the wavy lines in gray and the round mark in red.

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The "Fig. #" images are rub-ons that were the perfect size for these coins, and they helped to ground the cars so they don't look like they're floating in space.  The final step on the front of the coins was sponging gathered twigs distress ink around the edges.

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To finish the backs of the coins, I adhered patterned paper and a mini label with the name of the swap, my name, and the date.  I like my art pieces to have a clean back, and the additional layer of paper made the coins a little sturdier.

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Other than working with the small scale of these coins, the biggest challenge for me was with the shape.  I've made a lot of really small collages, but most of them have been on substrates with straight edges. The curved edges of the coins was a new twist.  Have you tried making artist trading coins?  If so, what did you find most challenging about them?  And if not, what are you waiting for?!

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Chickadee-dee-dee Tart Tin for Mom

Last December I made this tart tin ornament for an art exchange, and was super pleased with how it turned out.  My mom really liked it, too, and has been waiting for me to make one for her.  Well, Mom, your long wait is over!

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This tart tin is smaller (only 3.5 inches at its widest point) than the one I used for the goldfinch, so I used a smaller bird which looks somewhat like a chickadee.  My mom wants to display this throughout the year so the sheet music in the background is not a Christmas song, and I used darker berries that will go well with her furnishings.  The steps to create this ornament were pretty much the same as the first one I created, with minor adjustments needed due to the size of the tin (for example, the ribbon and pinecone are smaller).

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I've started to prep more tins, because now my mom wants me to make one for a friend of hers, and I still need to make one for myself!  Stay tuned...

Have a beautiful day, and thanks for reading my blog.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fishing Tackle Vintage Collage and Flying Fish Get Well Card

The 1952 Hammond's Nature Atlas of America in my stash is full of beautiful images that I've started to mine for collages.  Today I'm sharing two projects featuring fish.

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This collage started with the lovely brook trout.  He appears to be leaping out of the water after a fly, which sent me on a search through some old geography textbooks for water photos.  The fishing tackle text came out of a reproduction 1900 Sears and Roebuck Catalog.  I chose the vintage orange postage stamp because its color complimented the fish, and the final touch was a postal cancellation mark stamped on top.

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Since the first fish collage turned out so well (if I do say so myself), I made a second one as a get well card for a co-worker who was recently in the hospital.  She and her boyfriend love to fish, so I think she'll like this card.  I believe this fish is a tuna, and he is really leaping out of the water.  I chose a pink vintage postage stamp which played nicely against the green water, and stamped on two postal cancellation marks.  This collage was matted on vanilla cardstock before being adhered to a black card base.

In case you're wondering where I got a 1952 Hammond's Nature Atlas of America:  it was in a box of books that my dad purchased at an auction.  After he pulled out the books he wanted, he let me sort through them and take what I wanted.  My vintage book stash has definitely benefited from my dad's joy of reading!

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a fabulous day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Vintage Birds - Altered Envie

My altered envelope for this month's exchange started with an "a ha" moment.  As I was going through my paper stash looking for a piece of 12x12 cardstock, I came upon a package of Graphic 45 patterned paper that I bought a while ago at Tuesday Morning (a small discount store).  I love Graphic 45 designs and I thought I was getting a great deal on a collection of patterned papers.  Imagine my disappointment when I opened the package and discovered not the collection, but 25 sheets of the same design!  I thought, what the heck am I going to do with 25 sheets of the same design?

Yep!  I bought 25 sheets of this two-sided paper.

Well, I shared a couple sheets with a fellow crafter, and then the packet went back into my stash until this month when I stumbled upon it again and had that "a ha" moment:  this paper would make a great envelope!  It's quality, heavy cardstock and the side with the text provides a neutral background.  So I used my We R Memory Keepers envelope punch board (another Tuesday Morning purchase) to create my envelope, then dug through my paper stash for items to build a collage.

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The front of the envelope started with a vintage bird illustration from an old natural history book.  The yellow flower was fussy-cut from the same book.  I added an envelope wrap, a scrap torn from a reproduction Sears and Roebuck catalog, and a vintage postage stamp.  The final touches involved some rubber stamping.

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The reverse side of the envelope features another bird from the natural history book, scraps of vintage sheet music and book text, rubber stamping, and the other end of the envelope wrap.  See what a great background that dark Graphic 45 paper makes?  I'll have no problem using 25 sheets of that!

Here's hoping you have many happy "a ha" moments yourself.  Thanks for reading my blog, and have a fabulous day!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Handpainted Tulip - Altered Envie

My altered envie partner for July has received the envelope I sent her, so I can share it with you here.

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My partner lives in The Netherlands, which is famous for its tulips.  Since my signature flower is the tulip, I decided that would be my theme.  I started by creating my own envelope using a monoprint I made with a Gelli Plate.  I used acrylics to paint my tulip, and let me tell you, that right leaf took a looooong time to get right!  Thank goodness acrylics are very forgiving.

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On the back, I wrote a quote by Ana├»s Nin:  "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Thanks for stopping in!  Take a risk and blossom.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the mail art giveaway is...Gemini Norn!

Gemini Norn said:
Welcome „back to Life“ of art and blogs. I love that you used car images from an outdated wall calendar, it made me eye my own current wall calendar with greedy eyes. Thank you for being an inspiration for me today ;-)

Congratulations, my zodiac sister!  And thank you so much for your lovely comment.