Monday, June 22, 2015

*Drum Roll Please*........ THE STAIRS.

A while back my sister-in-law Marleen presented me with a project and asked for my help: she had been looking at images of decorated stairs on Pinterest and wanted to know if I could paint her stair risers to look like the covers of her favourite books.


You damn betcha I could.  I like books.  I like painting.  And I even like stairs, now that I think about them.  This project was right up my alley.

Well it took a while (sorry Marn!) but it's finally done.  She sent me these pics yesterday of the boards all installed and pretty-looking.

I know it's hard to see the top ones but they are:

 - Gone With the Wind
 - Charlotte's Web
 - Outlander
 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
 - Dracula

This was one of the most fun projects I've ever done and I love that they loved it enough to permanently install it in their home.  Biggest compliment EVER.

Now... back to work.

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015



I signed up for a swap on swap-bot and got super-lucky - my partner ended up being someone I'm already BFFs with, so I immediately knew what kind of pages I wanted to do for her.  Happy, ridiculously bright, totally experimental ones!

I started with some fairly random 4"x6" pieces of cardstock from my overflowing collection, slapped a little paint, gesso and collage stuff on them...

... then started adding bits of bright colour.  I also darkened up the colours around the edges using some Inktense blocks and a water brush.  GOD I LOVE THOSE INKTENSE COLOURS!!!  They go on like watercolour, but then when they dry, they're permanent.  So you can keep layering without ever losing the work you did underneath.  Perfect for if you're not a talented watercolorist.  Ahem.

Some drips here and there, more random splashes (I wore a beret and tilted my head thoughtfully to one side while I did this)*

Some watered-down white paint to push the background into the background...

Ohhh, now we're cooking.  A few more layers of that juicy Inktense colour really brings the whole thing together.

Then a bunch of random marks and doodles with markers and paint...

A quote on happiness... (that was the theme, hence the bright happy colours)

And finally, I thought the balls of weirdness looked a little too floaty so I attached them all to long spires, as though they were alien-like eyeballs on stalks.  Nice imagery, hey?

Some detail shots:

Making these two pages brought me such feelings of peace and joy.  I definitely gotta keep doing this stuff.

But first... sleep.  Goodnight.

Love Shelley!

* I totally didn't.  I don't even recall wearing pants, now that I think of it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


So here's how to make this postcard:

1.  Eat all the Alpha-Bits; disassemble the cardboard box
2.  Draw the shape of your monster onto the coloured side of the cardboard
3.  Cut out and base coat with white gesso
4.  Block in colour with gouache (thick highly pigmented paint that covers excellently*)
5.  Drybrush lighter colours on to get highlights - you can just add white to your first colour if you don't have two shades
6.  Make warty-looking dots by dipping the back of your brush into the paint and dabbing onto the horns
7.  Use a Stabilo Marks-All pencil to add outlines and shadows
8.  Stand back; admire work; slap a stamp on the back and mail it to someone you like

*yes, I know that's not a word

Go. Make monsters.

Love Shelley!

P.S.  This technique also works with Mini-Wheats.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pocket Letters

So here's a new idea: pocket letters.

I found them on Pinterest (where else), followed the links to the original post, and this is my first crack at making a couple of them.  Guess what: they're super fun.

You just take a 9-card baseball card holder, mine are from Staples, and fill up all the pockets with goodies for your pen pal.  Each slot is 2 ½" x 3 ½", the same size as Artist Trading Cards (ATCs).  NOT the same size as your Project Life cards.  Those are a majestic 3"x4" and won't fit in here.

Anyway, these were for people who like very specific things, so they were easy to create.  The first lady likes fabric, sewing, stickers, buttons, lists and gum.  Those are sewing needles, by the way.

The second lady loves her garden, used stamps, stickers, tea, band-aids, buttons, and things for gift-wrapping, hence the twine.  Oh, and sparkly things.  You probably can't tell by the pic but the star card stock and a few of the buttons are pretty glittery.  Hopefully she'll like it.

I wasn't sure how I was going to cram a proper letter into a single tiny pocket but I did figure out a way.  I folded a piece of card stock in half, then added 3 sheets of onionskin paper, also folded in half and stapled in. Because the card is so small I was able to use my regular desk stapler for this, no special equipment required!  The paper is nice and thin, and although I  didn't write a novel-length letter or anything, at least I was able to say a few things.  

If you're careful about how chunky all your items are, you can fold the card holder into thirds, because it fits perfectly into a business size or #10 envelope, and then mail it off.  It'll likely be heavier than a regular letter, so you might need to add more postage.  But if you don't make it too fat, you won't have to send it as a parcel.  Hooray!  

If you want to send bigger items, then this format may not be for you.  But for a novelty, it is kind of cool.  

Now, go make something!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

So you like the wee books.

I am a crappy blogger.

I tell you guys I'm going to be back and show you stuff after it's done, then I either finish it and forget all about it, or get all dazzled by a new idea and never finish the initial project in the first place.

I go weeks or months between posts.

I make stuff then forget to show you.

I haven't updated my profile or links or anything in for-ev-er.

BUT.  I did a Real Blogger move a few weeks ago and looked at my stats, and I realized that the only two posts that have had over 100 views are the one with the tag "Satan's Testicles" (you guys are weird) and the one with this little book I made.

And that made me realize that one of YOUR favourite things was also one of MY favourite things.  So I made another one.

This one's a bit smaller - 3 ½" x 3 ⅝" x 2 ½" thick.  You know what it's perfect for?  Instagram photos.  Or Instax photos.  Or just using as a junk journal.  Or... something even more creative that I haven't even thought of yet.  It has over 750 pages.  Which is insane, but in a good way.

And, remember how yesterday I showed you my craft room, or at least some parts of it?  Well, I managed to gather up 4 big bags/bins of material for making these little books.  (Formerly spread all over the place.)  So you haven't seen the last of them.

Want one?  Go see it in my etsy shop.  And I'll let you know when I make the next one.  I PROMISE.  No really, this time it's for real.  Pinky swear.  Oh fine, I know you won't believe it until you see it.  Fair enough.

Until then!


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Workspace Wednesday

I'm only showing you guys this stuff because I cleaned up.  Usually it's a total disgrace in here.  And because I love seeing other peoples' desks and having a virtual snoop around.  So I bet you do too.

Oh, you DON'T?????


The Desk.  Unseasonably tidy but probably won't stay that way for long.

The Ikea rolling cart.  Yes, everybody has one.  You know why?  Cause they're AWESOME, that's why.

Small bookshelf to the right of my desk.  The top shelf is scotch tape, a stapler (usually but I see it's on the desk at the moment), and two containers of washi tape.  Middle shelf: different media for painting and a wooden drawer full of different sizes and styles of index cards.  Mainly vintage.  Bottom shelf: a basket full of odds and ends like eyelets, wire, hinges, all sorts of crap.  To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what's all in there.  Beside it is a wooden crate full of more index card stuff.  The bottom crate has SECRET IMPORTANT STUFF in it.  You know, things I needed to have but now have no clue what I needed them for.  Example: 20 mismatched fancy silver spoons.  

This bookshelf has a lot of empty books and journals.  In fact, I don't dare count them because I'm not sure I can fill that many in my lifetime.  But I'm going to go down trying.

Third shelf is all my fountain pens and inks; then a basket full of heavy-body acrylics.  Bottom shelf is a basket full of Jo Sonya acrylic paints and a bizarre selection of CDs, and a flower pot full of paintbrushes.  Because I'm Fancy.

The clamp lamps are for the white photo booth I made myself in January.  I haven't figured out the finer points of photographing with it yet but when I do, you'll know.  Hint: because my photos won't be so mediocre.

That's enough for today.  I'm enjoying the fact that it isn't an obstacle course to get to my desk.  I might go sit in there and gloat a little.

Love Shelley!