Saturday, August 26, 2017


I feel very fortunate and blessed that I was asked to write an article for publication of my Birdie Shrines for September-October issue of Somerset Studio Magazine.

 I had some requests to post on my blog as well since many that I know do not have the magazine available  to them. I am always happy to share and perhaps you will be inspired to make a shrine of your own!
I started out to make this trio of shrines on a total religious theme but somehow my heart was drawn to these little winged creatures and soon I was off on a different path, which seems to happen often when I let go of my plan and let my muse take over. Even though the look changed, the path felt the same. As an artist, I always seem to be drawn to add a bird to my creations. My heart is so grateful for them and what they bring to offer for such a small penitence of food and water. I was very happy with my re-directed path because the trio of shrines truly reflected my personal feelings of a good day, a good life, and reminders that the best things in life lie in the smallest details and a reminder how empty the world would be without these extraordinary little creatures.
Each shrine began with one of three different small shelf shrine Triptych’s found at Retro Café Art Gallery. They come with metal rings but I chose to sew mine together instead. The standup shrines can be used on either side.

Shrine: Never Give Up
Gesso front and back of each piece. Paint each piece a different color. With your brush go over the edges with a different color than the base color. Use a dry brush for a textured look when adding more layers. Lay out your collage images for each piece. Add colors to the edges that coordinate with the colors in your images. Use matt gel medium or glue stick to adhere your images. Use your fingers to blend in color with the edges of your collage image. Using a white gel pen, add white dots to the blue background. Place words on each shrine and outline the words in black going around the word several times. Do the same to the back sides adding your colors, layers and images. Use a stamp design across the top, above the word, “believe.”  On your collage image, use Tim Holtz’s Remnant Rubs, “gather hope.” Use black string or black embroidery thread to lace the shrine pieces together. Cut and tie in a knot. Use paint that coordinates with each piece. Use your fingers go over the laced thread. Add more color to the edges where needed. Back side below:

                     Shrine: Precious Things
 For a distressed look, do not use gesso on the shrine pieces. Add layers of white, ivory and cream paint. Allow the brown Masonite base to show through some of the color. Paint each piece back and front. Add paper and neutral color images. For the middle piece use the top half of the Circle Shrine found at Retro Café Art Gallery. Stencil a design using modeling paste on it and let dry.  Add antiquing medium and wipe off. Place your image inside. Glue the circle shrine to the middle piece shrine. Use gold paint and paint the inside of the top circles on each shrine piece. Use a gold gel pen and outline the cut outs on either side of the circles. Add the bee from Tim Holtz’s Remnant Rubs to the middle circle already painted gold. Use gold Pearl Dot paint to add dots to the other two circles and around the middle circle with the bee for a 3-d effect.  Use Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs to add words “spread your wings” and “fly away” to the first and last shrine piece. Repeat for the back side. Use a black gel pen to scribble script. Use Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs for words “precious things.” Lace the pieces together using white string and use your fingers to add paint to the string.

                      Shrine: Come Birdie
Gesso each piece of the shrine back and front. Paint shrine green with acrylic paint. Once dry stamp with script stamp. Use your fingers to apply more paint rubbing in different areas over the script. Leave some script showing through. Add your bird image blending the edges with paint. Scribble wording with black pen. Paint red flower in the corner of shrine. Use the back half of the Circle Shrine from Retro Café Art Gallery left over from the “precious things” shrine. Paint it dark blue. Add a jewelry pendant  with an image to the center of the circle shrine. Use gold Pearl Dots to add color and dimension to the outer part of the shrine. Use Tim Holtz Remnant word “Love” at the top of the middle piece. Add the bird image, “Come Birdie” to the third piece. Using your finger, smooth on paint around top circle covering up some of the script stamp. Use black pen to scribble script on side of shrine.
Add another layer of color to the back side on the edges and around the circles. Use a stamp across the top of each shrine piece. Glue on your images. Blend paint around the edges of the images with your fingers. Add paint to the edges of the shrine pieces. Add words, life, abundant and beautiful from Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs. Lace together each shrine piece using back string or black embroidery thread, tie in knot and cut off excess. Use fingers to cover string. Add coordinating colors of paint to edges of shrine.
Back Side:
      Small Shrine Triptych - Lace -Gothic Arch            
      White gesso
      Acrylic paints
      Antiquing Medium

      Mat Medium Gel 

      Gold Pearl Dots

      Neutral paper scraps
      Bird images
          Script Rubber Stamp
          Small design stamp
          Stazon Ink pad
          Household String
          Black Embroidery Thread
         Jewelry pendant

Happy Creating!

Sunday, August 13, 2017


A work in progress I finally finished today after taking a class over at Artful Gathering this Summer with Darlene McElroy called "The Mystical, Magical Gesso with a Twist". I always treat myself to a class or two there each Summer. I have a new found love for gesso, especially the red gesso! I hope your Summer found you doing something you love!


Friday, August 4, 2017


EeeeeeK! The 2017 Tombstone Swap is here! I look forward to this awesome Halloween ATC ART Swap every year, so for my post as a Design Team member for Retro Cafe Art Gallery for August is of course going to be my Tombstones. I am hoping to inspire you to join us in some Ghoulish fun!
All you need to do is to order your Tombstones from Retro Cafe Art Gallery link at the end of this post and get started. You will receive some fabulous Tombstones from other participants and can start growing your collection for Halloween! You will wonder why it took you so long.
These four will be also be included in this years swap.

No.1 Tombstone - Playful Spirits:

When the apoxie sculpt was still damp, I did a stencil press and then embedded my eye ball and a couple spiders that I actually cut from one of the paper stencils. I also pressed in my skull that was first painted and then took a little more clay and smoothed around it. Once this was dry I washed in a little white acrylic to fill in the cracks and edges trying to keep the concrete look and added some  Copper Acrylic Metallic paint to the spiders. Then I glued on the lid of a casket to the back side after painting it and then glued one of the Dia Los Muertos Wooden Cats to it. Next, I added some Halloween words and one of the masonite Zombie hands and glued it on my stand.

No.2 Tombstone - Vampires                                      
After adding apoxie sculpt to my tombstone and pressing in my bat stencil, I added some white to my tombstone when it was thoroughly dry (I usually just use my fingers lightly rubbing it on and wiping it off to get the look I want) and painted the raised bats. Next I added a coffin lid to the back side and glued it in place after painting it black and edging the sides with a metallic copper paint. I used one of the images from my Halloween stash and added some packaging board to the back of it and cut it out to give it more stability.
Then I glued it to the front of the coffin and added a Halloween word. (You will find the packaging boards in most of the die cuts you order from Retro.) I never throw these out because they are perfect for backing images. Next, I painted my wings red and added two of the bat cut outs to the top of each wing. Lastly, I added one of the Dia De los Muertos Wood Cats to the front of the tombstone and the stand.

No.3 Tombstone - Wicked Gravestones
On this one I did the same thing, adding the Aves Apoxie Sculpt and a stencil. However on this one, I added a brass Cherub decoration and pressed it into the clay as well as one of the little skull beads. Once my clay was dry, I painted over it with some white gesso and then gray paint which made it look like it was carved into the headstone. Then I added some white for a little distressing on the tombstone. Next I painted one of the larger skulls and glued it to the backside as if it was peeking around the tombstone. I glued one of the Dia De Los Muertos Cats to the top and also to the skull for more stability. Lastly, I added one of the scroll words, "Wicked" after painting it and one of the Halloween words "Gravestones" to the stand.

No.4 Tombstone - Shadows
I did the same thing on this one with the Aves Apoxie Sculpt and pressed the stencil and then added some of the little skull beads pressing them into the clay. I also added a little metal leaf stem and pressed it into the clay leaving it there to show through. To the top of the tombstone, I added a metal jewelry skull charm. I pressed it into the clay and once it was all dry, I painted the face with gesso and white paint. Then I used Rust and Patina paste to age the texture the crown. Lastly, I added another one of the adorable Dia De Los Muertos wood cats to the

front,added my wings to the back side after painting  them and finished it up with one of the Halloween words, "Shadows".

I hope you have enjoyed the process I used making my Tombstones. Here is the link to get signed up for the swap. There are many ways to decorate your Tombstones, your imagination will take you there - CLICK HERE!

Oh my and did I mention, they glow in the dark? 
               I hope to see you there!



Aves Apoxie Sculpt
                       Patine Effect Paste Set

Halloween Collage Image
Acrylic paints