Monday, December 4, 2017


I've never been good at giving directions, at least not in the normal sense. I don't notice street signs as much as I do the color of houses or the shape of buildings. Sometimes I start on my way and then I veer to another path if I see something interesting that peaks my curiosity. The same thing happens with my art. I can begin with precise directions and before you know it, I am wandering off, paving my own path. But I think that's how all art should be, learning to pave your own path and listening to your heart's direction.

This month's post for Retro Café Art Gallery started with an Antique China Doll ATC Shrine Kit from Retro. Once assembled, this little Shrine makes a wonderful place for housing some of your favorite Art Trading Cards. One of my favorite things is having a really cute space for my business cards or those business cards of favorite shops I am always hunting for. It didn't take long into the process to find myself "wandering". Hence, I love the quote: "All who wander are not  lost",  perhaps they are just following their heart's direction.

If I am painting and not using paper, I always start by giving all the parts a nice layer of gesso.

While the gesso is drying, I am thinking along the lines of what embellishments or cutouts I might use. As you can see by this photo and the end result of  my piece, I already switched direction and did not use the shells.

Next, paint one layer of ivory acrylic paint on the box or shrine body. Once dry, glue the shrine box together. Once that is dry, give a second layer of ivory paint to the box after assembled which will fill in any cracks and make everything extra sturdy. The decorative embellishment that goes on top is optional but I decided to use it because I was already thinking that I could loop some wire through the holes.
Next, I added doors to the front, which are also optional. Using washi tape, I lined them up and taped them to the sides, then I painted over the tape with a layer of gesso and acrylic paint.
 To the front doors, I decided to add these adorable mini door knobs. I didn't care for the bright gold so I gave them a coating of Golden Van Dyke Brown acrylic paint.
On the inside, I cut and added the words from Tim Holtz "Small Talk" which says:

 "What seems ordinary is often extraordinary, listen to your heart it will show you the way." 

Then I added some grungy paint and used a black pen to line and circle around the words.
 On the back side, I used a stamp on paper first and glued it on. Then I added Tim Holtz Alpha Cubes for feet which gave the Shrine a little more height. 
To the sides, I added some paper embellishments that I had in my stash. Next, I painted two skeleton key cut outs and then rubbed on Inka Gold (Copper) to give them that vintage appearance. I attached them with annealed wire through the holes on the top of the shrine.
 I attached my head piece last and added a Fish Paper Cut because it reminded me of what a sweet friend and mentor once told me, "Be like the fish that swims up stream, go your own direction."
 To the top of her head I added a large Moth Paper Cut to a thicker backing and glued it to her forehead as a reminder that not a day goes by that I am not in "The Presence of Wonder".


Acrylic Paint 
Rubber Word Stamp
Artist papers


I love the Santos Doll Kits at Retro Cafe Art Gallery, all sizes of them. Working really small is generally out of my comfort zone so I tend to put those things aside until the moment finds me. At Christmas time I love to decorate my tree with handmade ornaments and ornaments that represent the things I love, so I thought this was a perfect time to put this doll together and make her an ornament for my tree.
She is very basic and simple to put together. You position her arms the way you want them and then glue them on. With a variety of mini paper cut faces at Retro, you have a lot to choose from for her face,
the same for wings.
 I also used Tim Holtz Idea-ology Small Talk Words in white and they fit the all the little cage slats perfectly. Then I just distressed the edges of them.

The little wooden embellishment I used for wings, I found in a package in the wood section at Hobby Lobby.I pick up embellishments wherever I go. The little brass Christmas Tree and trinkets hanging from her arm were tied on a package I received from a sweet artist friend, Diana Darden. There are a lot of ways to personalize this mini Santos Doll. 
Lastly, I gave some gold to the edges of the doll's body, and added wire to her wings for hanging. 

Now I have a a memorable easy to make Mini Santos Doll Ornament and I can't wait to get it on my tree!
Acrylic Gold and Ivory Paint
Annealed Wire
Wood wings-
Lots of Wing Options at Retro. 
Just put wings in the search box. 

and May your Tree be full of SPARKLES!


  1. Both projects are fantastic Kim!!! Perfect for Christmas too! xoxo

    1. Thanks Kristin for all the giant treasure trove of inspiration in your shop!Love Retro Cafe!!

  2. Everytime you create something beautiful like both of these I'm off to visit Kristin Hubick and Marcella to order things! Like an antique China doll ATC shrine kit! Unfortunately for me it will have to wait as they just mailed me a big box!!! You know how much I love you work !! Thank you for the Art and Inspiration 💖

    1. You are welcome Kathleen! Thank YOU for being such a bright shinning star in my universe! xoxo
      Merry Christmas to you and a stocking full of blessings!!

  3. Beautiful work Kim. I love how you put things together, so unique and awesome. Always always inspiring.

  4. Oh, Kim, everything you do is filled with wonder. I always enjoy your work. Have a joyous Christmas! Love, Linda

  5. These are gorgeous! I love what you did with the shrine kit ... amazing!

  6. Kim, I absolutely love that you shared that about your "paving your own path" I am exactly the same way and have often scolded myself for not following ALL of the directions!
    Your shrine is great! I love what each piece represents and that you shared your process with us-Love the fish!! And the Mothra is just a beautiful addition!
    Your Santos doll is gorgeous, please post a tree shot of her up sometime!
    Working on some Christmas things myself today!
    love & hugs,Jackie

  7. Love the cube feet and crystal doorknobs on the shrine, and the moth headdress is stunning -- takes a moment to register what it is, then wow! The Santos ornament is darling. I'm a believer in the "less is more" theory, and the ivory/gold and dangling charms are just enough. Love the vertical text on the skirt, too.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. You are a blessing to me!