Paper Theaters

Leslie at Alpha Stamps asked me if I would like to be a guest designer for the new Paper Theater items that Alpha Stamps is now offering - what fun!

So, secretly . . . because I was creating these miniatures before the new items were even available . . . I have made 2 Theaters, shown here.

You will find the Diorama Boxes for making these at Alpha Stamps, and all the coordinating collage sheets can be found on the new Paper Theater page.

The large box I used (with the shiny gold fabric curtains-shown above) is 6-1/8" wide x 5-1/8" tall x 3/4" on the sides, with the glass window measuring 5-1/8" x 4-3/16".

The small box shown to the right is 4-1/4" tall x 3-1/4" wide x 3/4" on the sides, with the glass window measuring 3-1/2" x 2-1/2".

These are a lot of fun to put together!
Click on any image for more detail.

I used foam mounting tape to achieve different "levels" within my theaters. I think my attempts are fairly simple compared to some of the talented Design Team Members at Alpha Stamps.... Wow! There are some amazing intricate and detailed theaters made by the Team. You can view ALL of the Paper Theaters in the Alpha Stamps Gallery - enjoy!

The frame for this Theater (R) is from the Fairy Tale Curtains collage sheet - I just love that cat band! The couple holding the Banner is from the Large Theatre Harlequin sheet, and the columns and arches are from the Large Theatre Jumping Jacks sheet - all of these sheets are found at Alpha Stamps on this page. The dancing couple is from the Dance Costumes collage sheet and the background images behind the arches are from Pierrot #3 -click on the image to see it better!

Alpha Stamps ABC Pencil Box

Created as part of my job as a design Team Member for Alpha Stamps (smile). If you click on this photo you will be brought to my flickr photo sharing account where you'll find lots more views! Below, I'll share how I created it with you .
AlphaS.ABC-box03, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

This started as a plain, stained wooden box. The owner of Alpha Stamps, Leslie Elledge recently published a number of new ABC/School related collage sheets and also new clear Pen & Ink stamps that I wanted to use together on a design team project. This was on my mind as I was unpacking yet another box in my studio from our move last fall. The good thing about finally trudging through the unpacking of what my husband Steven lovingly calls "most of what we moved" is that I am finding cool things I have not seen in months or in some cases even a year & a half (we moved twice!). In a large carton with canvas boards and pads of paper and my label maker, was this wooden box -a perfect match for my idea! This box did not need any prep first, to be able to work on it. *If you start with a rough wooden box or container, I would sand it and stain it (if you wish) first.

To start, I looked through the new collage sheets and chose images I wanted to work with that would fit on either the sides, top, or inside lid of my box. I cut out more than I would need and played with their placement by trying them out on different places. I decided to begin with the inside lid that you see above. I chose an image from the chalkboard sheet (Y & Z) and one from ABC Books #3 (A,B, C,D and ABC).

I thought about HOW I wanted to attach these paper images to the wooden box and decided upon Yes Glue. From my experience Yes Glue is one of the best glues to use when you really do not want the paper you are gluing to buckle, and especially if you will be covering the paper later with some type of medium. I trimmed the images to fit the inside lid space and used an old credit card to spread the Yes glue on the back of my images (it's almost like a paste). Once in place on the box I used my bone folder to make sure the paper images adhered to the wooden lid securely and I let the images dry.

I decided they needed some 'framing' -- so I reached for some ribbons from Alpha Stamps:
a 3/8" dark brown velvet ribbon that I ran vertically on either side of ABC and then a 3/16" reversible tan/rust ribbon I found in Christmas Set #1 that I used around all the edges of the lid and images. To attach the ribbon I used a thin line of tacky glue on the back, cut to size, and then pressed the ribbons into place. See the photo above.

Next, I turned my attention to the outside of the box. The large main image on the top of the box is from the new Alpha Stamp collage sheet Animals in School. I really wanted to use this entire image along with the "S" text; I think it is so cool! By doing a little trimming it fit nicely. I went ahead and made decisions about additional images from this sheet, the Chalkboard sheet and the ABC Books #3 sheet. I trimmed the images to fit the available space on all sides of the box and once again used Yes glue and a little burnishing with my bone folder to make sure all of the images were secure. One of my favorite images is from the Animals in School sheet, called "kittens in school" . . . probably because at this time we have 2 kittens at home. I think that's what makes this image is so endearing to me! I will use it to show my next step in creating this box. (see the back of the box below)

I wanted to 'age' the images (and the box) a little bit so I used brown acrylic paint and a rag. By rubbing a bit of paint on the edges of the paper collage images & also some areas of the box and then before it dried, rubbing some of the paint away with a damp rag -this gave the box the 'old' look I wanted. Since I liked it, I went ahead and did this process all over the box!

Next came rubber stamping. To combine both collage and stamping for this project, in line with my theme, I grabbed the new pen & ink set of clear stamps from Alpha Stamps to use. Because these stamps are perfectly clear, when I mount them temporarily on clear acrylic blocks, I can see right through to whatever I am stamping, a blessing when working on a project like this. I used a black StazOn Ink Pad which is a Permanent ink and just right for a wooden box! You will want to practic first at least on paper. Permanent inks are different - tackier (stickier). Practice first and make sure you have a re-inker handy to refresh your ink pad as needed. With unmounted clear stamps such as the pen & ink set I worked with here, you have the option of stamping without the acrylic block and bending the stamp around the corner or re-stamping (clear=easy to line up again) if you did not get the entire image the first time. Check out the corner below by clicking on the photo. Not my best 'around the corner' stamping, but fun!

The final thing I did was use my heat gun all over the box to make sure all the ink was dry. Then I used a self-leveling matte medium by Golden for the nice sheen you see all over.

I hope you enjoyed learning about my process & you try this project out yourself! If you would like to view a slideshow of all the different sides of this box, go to this page and chose 'view as slideshow'. p.s. my husband says he's stealing this box for his art pencils!

Roses for Frieda!

Now that I know she has received it, I thought I would upload the fabric ATC I made for my friend Frieda Oxenham who lives in Scotland -she is an award winning quilt artist and mixed media artist extrordinaire! Frieda & I are both Design Team members for Alpha Stamps, we both belong to the ARTchix studio yahoo group and we are in two artist groups together: Colour Groupies -a small group of 5 artists sharing ATCs monthly on a color theme, and Tip Top Journals - a group of 10 artists sharing tip-in journal pages monthly. Frieda does the hosting & organizing of both of these artist groups (along with Debby Harriettha). We are also both members of the Alpha Stamp yahoo group and recently, I have been participating in a few "inchies" swaps that Frieda is hosting through ATCards - my first time creating them. Wow! Suffice it to say we have a lot of the same interests . . . Frieda posted on her blog recently that she was knitting again -- I thought the yarn she was using looked familiar?? When I checked my knitting bag in the closet - a project abandoned a few years ago, I found I was using the exact same yarn as Frieda was for her scarf - and it's from Uruguay ~ so wild!

I feel very blessed to have as much contact with Frieda as I do & be involved in many of the same projects as she is. A lot of people consider me a prolific artist, but I know Frieda is! I am constantly amazed with the amount and quality of inspiring art that she produces, and most of it is fabric art. When I sent Frieda my Black & Gold Colour Groupies ATC, I slipped in an extra ATC to thank her for all she does (see the rose ATC above-click for more detail).

Since Frieda's theme for her Tip Top Journal is Romance & Roses , I thought she might like a 'rose' fabric ATC. To make this I dried some roses in a microwave flower press. Then I prepared cotton fabric to go through my inkjet printer/copier by ironing it to an adhesive sheet and then taping this to a piece of card stock with masking tape so it would be stiff enough to run through my printer. I took my pressed roses, laid them on the copier and made a color copy directly onto my prepared fabric! I used this as a base for Frieda's ATC, stamped the saying with VersaCraft ink and glued on a string of gold beads.

To finish up, I used my test piece of paper, to which I had color copied the same pressed roses and ripped a section of it to fit on a card and stamped an appropriate saying. Thank you, Frieda!! Looking forward to continued inspiration from you : )

Pen & Ink samples

As a member of the Alpha Stamps Design Team I am given "assignments" of working with new products to create sample artwork. (I know, it's a rough life!) One recent package sent to me included a set of perfectly clear pen & ink stamps. I was busy with other projects (organizing & unpacking my studio) and did not work with these new stamps immediately. So, I was glad when Leslie asked about them - was anyone inspired by these new stamps? I took them out and was impressed! They work so well with a clear acrylic block. You can see right through to your paper or previous work for perfect placement. I really love them! Here is what I have created so far with the new pen & ink clear stamp set:

It's fun that the image on the postage stamp is from an Alpha Stamps Tallulah's collage sheet: Drama Queens

The design is from one of my journal quilts and I created the postage stamp via!

ATC closed-and OPEN! This was created for an ATC Lotto on the newly formed Alpha Stamps yahoo group. Join us for rubber stamping, collage art and general artsy-type discussions, plus swaps & projects!

Alpha Stamps Design Team Member Project

Lenna-Christmas07.01, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

Well, I often do things in a big way and I also often obsess about things - getting them right, so maybe it will not surprise you that I took on such a big project for my Alpha Stamps Design Team Holiday project! I took a blank book with about 15 sets of pages and created a Gift List/Card List for the Holidays that perhaps I will even use!!

You'll see the Cover here, and if you follow the link to my flickr account you'll see a lovely slide show of all the pages I created. I do admit it was a ton of work, but something I wanted to do and something I enjoyed doing, plus I got to use A LOT of lovely images, papers, and other goodies from Alpha Stamps, yum! The slide show is quite nice, but if you are looking for links to specific products, look at the pages individually. I hope you enjoy! Creatively yours, Lenna

Ribbon Sachets!

_LennaRibbonSachet1, originally uploaded by creativelenna.

As a design Team Member (DTM) for Alpha Stamps I get to try many of their products. The "Ribbon Sachet Kit" is something I ordered from Alpha Stamps via my allowance - my pay in product, so to speak for creating samples for the company. WOW! I love this kit! It is chock full of beautiful ribbons and comes with a delicious smelling rose & lavender 'Victorian Shadows' aromatic sachet blend. Mmmm! It's lovely! And you can put these sachets together easily without any sewing - glue strips & dots (that are very sticky & work well) are included in the kit. I will show you a few variations I made and I still have ribbons, images and sachet mix left over! Click on the images for more detail . . . . The main square portion is a folded wide ribbon which holds a teaspoon or so of the custom sachet blend in the middle of it. Wonderful!

It's hard to 'capture' what these little ribbon sachets look like in a scan . . . here's another try with a photo, below:

I used the irridescent glass spheres from Alpha Stamps around the round pendant image onthe right, and on top of the white trim on the left - I love these things!

Alpha Stamps Design Team

Leslie Elledge of Alpha Stamps sent a call out through her website for "Design Team Members" this summer. Over the past year or so I had been informally creating Alpha Stamp samples for her on an as needed basis, but this was something different; a more formal arrangement with a contract. Here is the original Design Team Call that Leslie posted in August, 2007. I was in the middle of selling my home, buying a home, packing & moving when this call came out and I almost did not go through the application process. I felt even though I probably had a pretty good shot at making the team because Leslie knew my artwork, my reliability, and my output -- I was not sure I had the time to answer the application questions, and come up with samples (photos) to show my style. I put off filling the application out and wondered if I would let the opportunity go . . . until I heard that my on-line friend from Scotland, Frieda Oxenham was applying! I thought for sure Frieda would make the team, and that spurred me on to take a break from the house-related activities to apply. I thought the chance to work with Frieda and other artists like her would be a wonderful thing for me.

Drum Roll . . . . I finished the application, send everything in on time , and found out last week I made the Alpha Stamps DESIGN TEAM! I am so very, VERY happy about this! It is an honor. Leslie's announcement about the team is on her Alpha Stamps Blog. As far as making samples now, things will be much more organized and on a schedule, plus I will have the added benefit of working with the other very talented Team Members from all over the world. Thank you, Leslie for this opportunity and to Bella, DTM Coordinator, for all your efforts. This will be good!

This is the photo I sent in for my application - Steven took this great photo of me, with our pups Asia & Chloe on the Deck of our new home. : )) Since then, we have adopted TWO 5 month old kitties - but that is another story I will share with you later!!