Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Heart Strings

Funny how things go.
Sometimes you never intend on going down a path, but feelings or events seems to take your hand and lead the way.  Let me tell you what I mean.
The 30th of April is my mother’s birthday, something that has been on my mind all week.  She has been gone for 20 years now.  Seems unimaginable to be without her beautiful smile, her chatty nature, and her kind heart for so very long.  I have a hard time remembering her voice now, but I do know I will recognize it when we meet again.

Today I was working on a project to share and was almost done, when I got some news that a good friend of mine’s father in law passed away.  In my sentimental state of mind the entire theme and feeling of the project changed (for the better) and I was able to create a piece that evokes the memories of my mother and the passing of a loved one.  The “thread” between the two places is so very thin that sometimes I think we can catch glimpses of their hand in our lives. 
Follow along and I’ll show you the elements that make this piece complete.

I bought this little balsa wood house at Joann Crafts.  It measures about 5 x 7”.
I took it home and sanded the edges till smooth with my Sanding Grip.
Next up I painted the little house with Dina’s White Gesso.  At this point I had no idea what I wanted to create so I thought using the Gesso was a good place to start since it adds the “tooth” for paper and paint, plus seals the wood.
I like the grayish papers included in the Correspondence pack so I picked one for the background.  The ticket paper on the sides was a little bit brighter so to meld the two papers, I painted a wash of Multi Medium and Iced Spruce Distress Paint.
Blue patterned paper from the same pack was added to the top portion of the house with Multi Medium.  All the papers used in the projects are 6 x 6”.
Now for the outside of the house. 
Tim created a new cardstock that was released at CHA and is now in stores.  The cardstock is metallic on one side and kraft on the other.  The pad has copper, gold, and silver, which is what I’m going to use today.
side note: the metallic cardstock also comes in pre-folded cards with envelopes for all you card makers out there!

I cut 4 pieces for the sides of the house and ran them through my Vagabond machine using the "Tiles" texture fade.  The Texture Folder worked perfectly.  It may be hard to see in this shot, but in person they look just like metal. 
I used a thick coating of Multi Medium on the box before adding each piece to the sides of the house.  It looks like a vintage tin ceiling!
I know I could have gone with black or brown to color the “tile” but I decided to punch it up and use Chipped Sapphire, more of a Moroccan feel I guess.  I just used the dapper top of the bottle, pouncing it onto the surface in a random manner.  I rubbed it in with my finger (your hands are your best tools) and then wiped away the excess with a paper towel.  The metallic surface is slick so the paint easily wipes away, leaving the paint in the recesses of the pattern.

I painted the front of the house with the same color paint.  Once dry, I sanded and inked with Gathered Twigs.
I also took the Sanding Grip to the sides of the box and lightly sanded the silver cardstock.  This gave me the opportunity to add a bit of Distress Ink over the surface.  Of course if you want the shiny silver finish, then just skip this step.
I cut out the children from the Found Relatives pack to use in the house.
I know I have said this before, but Pumice Stone is the perfect ink color to get rid of the white cut edges.
Even though the children fit nicely into the box, I decided to cut away the little boy on the end.  I thought maybe I could use him as a layer in the box or remove him all together at this point.
My husband cut me a bunch of wood pieces for a class I am teaching in stores.  I snagged two from the bag to use as risers for the main image.
A little hot glue, and now the image can be easily glued to the back of the box.
I colored the girls dress with Fossilized Amber (terrific new color).
Then wiped away most of the ink with a bit of paper towel, leaving just a hit of the Amber.
The Trophy Cups are fun to use in assemblages.  They come very shiny but can easily be altered to suit your needs.  Here I sanded the cup with Fine Grit Steel Wool, then painted it out with a light coat of Iced Spruce.  Once dry, I added a light layer of Slate Alcohol Ink.
A 1” Styrofoam ball, moss, and a word from the Big Chat sticker book.
I added a bit of Crinkle Ribbon and a vintage earring.  The clip back is still on and helped to tilt the earring up from the moss.  I have had that set of earrings for 4 years, and it finally came in handy today.
I stamped one of the butterflies from the Watercolor set onto Specialty Stamping Paper.  Adding the marker ink to my craft mat, I picked up each color with my Detailer Water Brush and colored the wings.  Love the subtle color of the inks - and the Fossilized Amber works well with Worn Lipstick and Peacock Feathers. 
My intention was to use the butterfly in the background somewhere but that is when a thought came to me... add the wings to the boy (sometimes it’s good to listen and just do) and the whole trajectory of the piece changed.

I filled the bottom of the box with some cheesecloth before adding the pieces I had created.  Once everything was in place, I added the small spool of thread that had been sitting on my display shelf (been saving that spool because of the size and color).   
I added the boy with the wings to the top of the house, as if he’s ready to fly away.  To keep him figuratively “grounded”, I poked a hole through his fist and threaded the string, pulling it taut and securing with Multi Medium.
I made sure the thread in the piece is pulled tight, since I believe we want to hang on as tight as possible to those that have gone on before. 

What a lovely time I had making this simple piece.  I love the delicate detail of the Texture Fade on the outside of the house...still can’t believe it’s PAPER, because it appears as metal to the eye.  I also like the simplicity of the piece, not too many messages, just a thought, a feeling of wanting that is in all of us when a friend or loved one moves on without us.  And that’s enough for me.

now carry on,


  1. Oh Paula what a wonderful evocotive piece...stunning, it really is just stunning x

  2. A beautiful piece of art both for the sentiment that evokes and the perfect creation, simply... marvelous!

  3. Wow, this is fabulous Paula. love embossing on metallic cardstock and how you colored it. I would like to do that kind of alteration for cups, which are newest in my stash. Thanks for inspiration :)

  4. Paula what a fabulous and evocative project - I love what you did with that little wooden box and transformed it. The embellishments in the cup are just stunning! And … yes I am with you with regard to your sentiments. My mother is often at my side when I am crafting x

  5. Paula, you are unstoppable, not me! Your art is is beautiful, delicate and stylish! Great inspirations as always! BArbarayaya

  6. Love how it all came together. We can all relate to that feeling. Um, yes that metallic paper is awesome and I can see now that the tiles texture fade is a must have. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Wow! This is amazing! I am in awe of the details.

  8. This is beautiful Paula! Love what you did with the metallic paper!

  9. This is exceptional in so many ways, Paula. First, your step-outs cover all the important details including one of my pet peeves--not inking the edges of cut photos. Hope your point about mixing stain with medium to make a transparent glaze doesn't go unnoticed--it's a great tip. And what a good example for using the metal kraft core which I didn't think I'd need until now. ☺

    Your personal thoughts and how you changed direction provide insight to a piece of art that seldom gets communicated and makes the viewing experience richer.

    Thanks for a great post. You are such a treasure and the world of crafting is "lucky" to have you!

  10. Hi Paula -- this is amazing, I love it! So sweet and creative! THANKS for sharing what you do.

  11. Really enjoyed your post and creative process Paula. This is a magical piece - I can very much relate to it at the mo. Beautifully made in every sense. Nicola x

  12. Like others I can really relate to this piece, the little boy holding the thread is a wonderful touch... and actually, quite moving..

  13. Paula, this is such a touching creation. I love the detail on the paper created with the embossing folder. I also realized that I have to have the found relatives.

  14. Beautiful texture folder use on that silver for the outside. I especially like that vintage earring in the trophy cup, too. Great project overall.

  15. Paula, what a beautiful creation and I love the thoughts behind your process, especialy the string. This is truly a wonderful piece.

  16. Simply brilliant Paula, and such a clever concept. Need to keep my eyes peeled for that tile texture fade. Jenny x

  17. What a lovely piece to remember those that have gone on before us!

  18. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing your step by step.

  19. As always Paula, such a beautiful and inspiring creation! Gorgeous detail and a heartfelt message many of us can relate too! Bobbi xx

  20. What a wonderful assemblage! It was like a good novel... intriguing, suspenseful, and with a lovely surprise at the end. :)

  21. Beautiful and very touching xx

  22. Paula, I love everything about this. Such a special feeling it evokes. Sweet and somber at the same time. Very touching. That faux tin look for the exterior is something I will surely try and I've made notes on that trophy of yours. I recently picked up a pack of them and they're sitting here waiting for me. Always thankful to you and your lovely inspiration.

  23. I can't believe I missed this last month, Paula! Oh gosh, where was I? Oh, I remember, dealing with an uncooperative septic system! LOL!! But, really--this is a lovely piece and consider heart strings plucked :) A beautiful and bittersweet creation. XOXO-Shari

  24. This is magnificent Paula! I love the metallic cardstock, thanks for demonstrating this, something else you've helped me realise I never knew I needed. ;) Your little trophy stuffed with greenery and flowers is a triumph. Just gorgeous. :)