Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Between Shadow and Soul: A Spooky Vignette

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 1

Welcome! Today marks the start of a new challenge at The Funkie Junkie Boutique challenge blog and Cec is hosting. She calls her challenge 'Staying in the Background' and here is what she says about it:

"My challenge to you is to create your own background and use it in a shabby chic or vintage project - no pre-printed patterned paper this time. You can create the background in any number of ways and it can be simple or intricate. Using embossing folders, stencils, dies, stamps, washi tape, paints, inks or a gel press are just a few ideas. Make sure you give a brief description of how you created your background in your post."

As always, the winner will earn a chance to be a Guest Designer at a future date at The Funkie Junkie Boutique challenge blog, and everyone who enters and follows the rules will go into the draw for the chance to win a $25 spending spree at The Funkie Junkie Boutique. There are also Top 3 Badges for three additional outstanding entries, chosen by the Design Team. Please see the blog for details.

Making backgrounds is so much fun, and I was excited to learn of Cec's challenge. Perhaps it's all the mayhem in our country that makes creating for any theme a bit of a challenge for me right now, and I had no ideas in mind.  But the show must go on, so I decided to not sweat it, and got to playing in my Closet, without any direction in mind what so ever. Usually, just getting the ink flowing gets the ideas rolling.

So let's take a look at my Between Shadow and Soul vignette, and then I'll share how I made my background(s).

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 2

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 3

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 4

Starting with a Vignette Box, the exterior is painted with Picket Fence and Black Soot paint and smeared with crackle paste and Translucent grit paste mixed with Prima's Mini Art Stones. Crayon to accentuate the texture.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 5

Bun feet from my stash.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 6

The Spider Web Thinlits web die cut is Metallic Kraft Stock. It's colored with alcohol inks and cut into two pieces.  A Creepy Eye altered with Black Soot paint and crayon fills the void from where I cut out the center of the web. 

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 7

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 8

I tucked in a twig I found taking a walk and some cheese cloth already colored from my stash. My guess it would be Hickory Smoke and Seedless Preserves spray stain. The plastic spiders from my stash are smudged with  Prima's Antique Brilliance. I just can't take this spider seriously with those whimsical antenna.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 9

The spider also from Spider Web Thinlits die set is sponged with Black soot paint and then given a fat body with Liquid Pearls in Onyx Pearl. The Halloween Words Adornment is smudged with Wilted Violet crayon to make those words pop.
Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 10

This spider is definitely creepier.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 11

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 12

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 12

I included this photo, because it brings the silver spiders a bit more into focus.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 13

This photo, while over exposed, really shows off the texture of the embossed background.

Now onto the tutorial! Actually, I consider this making lemonade when my efforts handed me lemons; there are few total losses, especially when it comes to backgrounds.

This may be a little difficult to follow along with, but hopefully the photos will help. It's confusing because I am actually working on 3 backgrounds at a time and they play off of each other. As I already said, I didn't have a plan in mind, but my play led me to create a spooky background, and the other two spun off from the first. The first one - and most obvious- is the spider web background inside the back wall of the Vignette Box. I started with a piece of heavy card that had some artwork on the reverse side. It was inside a watercolor pad I picked up at a yard sale a while ago, but it's clearly not water color paper and much heavier than any other paper in my stash. It is a good substrate for all the product I intend to throw at it.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 14

Using the Shattered stencil, I laid down Translucent Grit paste and generously covered it with Distress Glazing powders in Hickory Smoke and Speckled Egg, keeping the colors separate, before removing the stencil. Rather than pouring off the powder, I tapped the panel from underneath, as Tim Holtz suggests, to blend the colors. When the paste was covered completely with the powder, I poured off the remainder. I put the remaining mixed powders in an empty jar, and maybe I'll use it on another project. I allow the paste to thoroughly dry.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 15

Once the paste is dry, I heat it to melt the powder and then some, to get a bit of bubbling from the paste. After it's cooled, I blend the panel with Frayed Burlap Distress ink, and wipe it off the embossed areas. I scribble on Black Soot Distress crayon over the embossing and blend with a slightly dampened finger and a light touch so as not to get it in the 'cracks', working from the center outward.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 16

Repeat with more crayon in the 'empty' spots: Chipped Sapphire and Seedless Preserves, blending each with my finger. When I was happy with it, I cut to size to fit the vignette box. I actually didn't know this was going to be used on a vignette box until this point. Lastly I edged with Black Soot Distress paint, and below is the completed panel ready to adhere in the box.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 17

Second Background

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 18

In a 'what if' moment, before cleaning the stencil, I laid the soiled and still wet stencil from the previous background face down onto a tag that was close by. I covered it with a piece of copy paper and used my brayer to transfer the product to the tag.

It didn't look like much, so I sprayed the tag with Chipped Sapphire Spray Stain and then with water to mingle the color, and really that was no better. The web I was hoping to see wasn't really visible (yet). 

After drying the tag with my heat tool, some of the 'webbing' appeared. Even more webbing was revealed when I blended with Rusty Hinge ink. Still, npretty horrible, but worth playing around with some more. You'll see in the collage two photos down, I splashed it with water and dried at this point, hoping to make some improvement, before doing the steps outlined below.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 19

I thought the tag might be salvageable if I lightened it up, so I blended Distress Microglaze through a portion of the stencil onto the darkest area of the tag  to work as a resist. 

I got out Picket Fence Spray Stain, but it was clogged.  I removed the cap and splattered some on the tag and sprayed with water. 

After drying, I was pretty impressed with the result, but the tag needed lightening elsewhere. I flipped the stencil over  in the upper corner and blended Speckled Egg Oxide ink over the stencil. I was pretty much over the tag at this point, so I didn't bother to take a 'completed background' photo. I did end up cutting the tag up to line the side walls and ceiling. You can see a bit of this in the close ups below.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 20

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 20

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 21

Third Background

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 22

Not one to waste anything, I took a piece of card I had on hand and laid it over the tag above while it was still wet with Chipped Sapphire, and then patted the card into the drops on my mat. After drying, I blended with Rusty Hinge and then splashed water on both the tag and the card. 

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 23

Using the inked card, I laid the numbers mini stencil over it and blended with Microglaze. Spray stain in Vintage Photo and Rusty Hinge are resisted by the Microglaze. I should have stopped there, but I sprayed Speckled Egg Oxide spray over the bottom left corner (not shown), and pretty much ruined the background. 

In an effort to salvage the panel, I sprayed the corner with water to thin the Speckled Egg out and dried. Once again, I laid the stencil over the numbers and sprayed with Speckled Egg Distress Oxide Spray and water. I removed the stencil and dried the panel with my heat tool. 

I replaced the cleaned stencil and outlined the numbers in areas with Walnut Stain crayon and blended with my finger to create shadows. This is where I decided to call it a day and figure out what do do with my original embossed background panel. I hope to make something out of this numbered background.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 24

Bonus Fourth Background

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 25

Here's a background I created from the deli paper I sprayed the moss on and which was used on the back of the Vignette Box. I used Black Soot and Wilted Violet spray stains to color the moss and I rubbed the moss in the paper to distribute the color. This left an interesting pattern on the paper, and thought it would make a good background.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 26

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 27

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 28

 I dried the paper and blended it with Frayed Burlap ink. I crumpled the paper and mostly flattened it back out. I rubbed the Ground Espresso ink pad directly to the wrinkles and then also applied Antique Brilliance randomly. This was adhered to the back with Distress Collage Medium Matte.

Sara Emily Barker Mixed Media Tutorial 29

That's all for me, but there's more background inspiration by my talented teammates over at the blog. I hope you'll stop by and then I hope you'll link up your vintage or shabby chic project using a background. Remember to tell us how you made your background. I can't wait to see what you'll make! Happy Crafting! Sara Emily
Challenge Shares

These products were used and can be purchased at The Funkie Junkie Boutique:
Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Glaze  - Speckled Egg, Hickory Smoke
Tim Holtz Distress Ink Pad- Walnut Stain, Frayed Burlap,  Rusty Hinge
Tim Holtz Distress Paint -Black Soot, Picket Fence
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Crayons - Black Soot, Wilted Violet, Walnut Stain, Chipped Sapphire, Seedless Preserves
Tim Holtz Distress Spray Stain - Black Soot, Wilted Violet, Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo, Picket Fence


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Altered Bird House Tutorial

Hello ! As promised, today I have a step by step tutorial for my bird house which is my DT project for the current challenge " Birds" at The Funkie Junkie Boutique challenge blog. You can see why I couldn't include the steps in my DT post; this is such a long post by itself. Let's start with the original birdhouse...

It's demo day! I always love this part of these rehab projects because that's when the ideas start flowing. After removing all the bark, nails, most of the glue and a piece of gingham fabric (What??), I ended up with what looks like a band stand. Band stands make for spooky places, and I made another here.


I gave it a new rusty, mossy roof. I smeared streaks of Translucent Grit paste down from the top and sprinkled with Chunky Rust powder with a bit of verdigris sprinkled here and there. When it was about dry I hit it with my heat tool to melt the powders and bubble up the paste a bit. The hanger is painted with Black Soot paint. I smeared on thicker blobs of Grit Paste and allowed it to dry. I scribbled the dried paste with Peeled Paint crayon (lost the crayon in the photo when I did the photo collage) and smudged it with my finger. Lastly, I dripped on alcohol inks in Mushroom and Rust and spritzed with water, drying with my heat tool when I was happy with the way it dribbled and ran.


Next, time to work on the wood work. I had a vision of a burnt out charred house that has sat empty for years. I painted the wood with black gesso, right over the old glue and bits I couldn't remove. Grungy is good. To add more grunge and icky texture, I smeared the beams, ceiling and floor randomly with grit paste and let it dry. When it was thoroughly dry, I sprayed with Weathered Wood Oxide spray and dried it with my heat tool. Next, I added random patches of Crackle Paste and let that dry. Once more, I heated with the heat tool to make sure it was good and dry, and then smeared all the texture with Distress crayons in Ground Espresso and Peeled Paint.

 I added some dead and diseased rambling roses climbing up the walls by wrapping black string around the beams and securing with collage medium. I also adhered some thorns to the vines (Funky Wreaths) cut from black card.

I elevated the house on a base made from chipboard pieces glued together and painted with more black gesso.I adhered this piece to the bottom of the birdhouse. I die cut and embossed silver Metallic Kraft Stock scraps with the Star Trim Impresslit. I painted on Black Soot paint, sprayed with water and dripped on Mushroom alcohol ink. These pieces were adhered to the edge of the chipboard circular piece.

 I felt like it needed something else, and I found an unfinished wood square plaque in my stash, which I also painted with black gesso, then wrapped with Halloween Design Tape at the very bottom. I coated that with collage medium and when dry, scribbled with Ground Espresso crayon and smudged with my finger. I adhered some fence die cuts from my stash across the back.

I used Brickwork 3D Texture Fade and black paper coated with Distress Collage medium and cut out a section for my brick walkway.  I colored the bricks with Fired Brick and Crushed Olive crayons and adhered the piece to the square base prior to adding the birdhouse and creating the garden.


I cut a pair of gates using the Gate Keeper dies and old Tim Holtz paper stash glued together, so front and back would look similar. This also makes the intricate dies more substantial and stiff. It helps to use the Chrome Precision Plate to cut these out. Because of the thickness of the papers glued together, I ran it through 3 times to get a nice clean cut. After applying Translucent Girt paste to the gates and allowing it to dry, I scribbled with Rusty Hinge crayon and smeared with my finger. These pieces were added to the two beams at the opening.

Now that the house is constructed it's time to add the embellishments.

I cut two panels of mixed media card and spray both with water. I spray one with Distress Spray Stains: 
Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain and Ground Espresso, spritzing with water to blend further, tilting my paper and allowing to drip onto my craft mat. I use the second panel to blot up the extra stain. When the panels are dry, I spray randomly with Frayed Burlap Oxide spray, activating with water spritzes and drying again. I blot up the extra with the second panel. I repeat on the opposite side of the panels, so there is color on both sides.

I use the darker of the panels to cut three of the thorny Funky Nests and some of the other die set's  accompanying twigs. I cut thin strips from the lighter mop up panel. The strips are spritzed with water, crumpled in my hand and set aside to dry. I cut sections from two of the wreaths and glue the ends to make nests of different sizes, and assembled everything over the crumpled strips within the birdhouse.

I placed some bones (Boneyard) and a skull (Skulls and Pumpkins) in the nest. I did nothing to the skull, but added Black Soot and Ground Espresso paint to the bones.

Next, I cut the spider and web (Spider Web) from clear waste packaging, and a second spider from black card (the spiders were cut off the photo when I made the collage, sorry.) Using a felt applicator I colored the spider and web with Mushroom alcohol ink. I applied Snow Cap Mixative to the reverse side of the spider, as shown above. These were glued into the bird house with collage medium. Because the medium dries clear, the web look like it's been put there by the spider. I applied Translucent Grit Paste and Antique Linen crayon to the black spider, and he's hanging in the eaves out back.

I used the larger of Feathered Friends dies to cut a raven out of chipboard recycled out of my cat's canned food box. I cut two of everything and glued them together, so there would be more substance to them. After drying some throw pillows in my dryer the other day, I found some feathers in my lint filter and glued these around the wings. Everything was painted with Prima's Impasto in Pitch Black. This paint is super thick, and you can achieve some great texture. I sealed with Distress Collage Medium Matte to set down a surface over which to scribble and smear Brushed Pewter Distress crayon, highlighting that texture (not pictured). I finished off the raven with a black half pearl for his eye (also not pictured).

I made a little prop to hold the bird up with a piece of waste packaging. After cutting a rectangle of it, I used my scissors and straight edge to score (but not cutting through) two horizontal lines, and then folded the clear plastic at the lines. I used collage medium to secure the bird to the house. Be sure to leave it sit until the glue dries, and it will hold like cement! (I used collage medium for all the gluing, including securing the birdhouse to the base.) You can see the prop clearly in the photo below.


I colored an old Halloween Token with Antiqued Bronze and Black Soot paint. I found a die cut dot laying around and used that to cover the hole and adhered this at the entrance. Three Pumpkins of different sizes and a sparkly foam pumpkin from my stash were each smeared with Crackle Paste and when dry, coated with collage medium. I scribbled and smeared crayon in Ground Espresso and Peeled Paint and layered them up at the doorway and placed a single one by the raven's feet.


I sprayed a panel of olive card with Ground Espresso Spray Stain on one side and dried. From this panel, I cut some foliage using Garden Greens and Funky Floral #3 die sets. I colored a piece of Mummy Cloth with Bundled Sage Spray Stain and Peeled Paint Oxide Spray. These were adhered in the garden and in and around the pumpkins.

More vines hanging off the front of the house come from my stash left over from this very creepy project combined with  more die cut twigs cut with the Funky Wreaths set. I sure have toned down since then!

So here is the completed bird house. If you haven't seen my original post with all the close up shots of the details, you can pop over here to see it. Thank you for stopping by! Have a great week! Sara Emily

These products were used on this project and can be purchased at The Funkie Junkie Boutique:
Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Spray  - Frayed Burlap, Weathered Wood, Peeled Paint
Tim Holtz Distress Spray Stain    - Walnut Stain, Vintage Photo, Bundled Sage, Ground Espresso
Tim Holtz Distress Paint   - Black Soot, Ground Espresso, Weathered Wood, Antiqued Bronze
Ranger Tim Holtz Distress Crayons  - Peeled Paint, Crushed Olive, Antique Linen, Fired Brick, Rusty Hinge, Brushed Pewter, Ground Espresso
Ranger Tim Holtz Alcohol Ink  - Snow Cap Mixative, Mushroom, Rust
Seth Apter Baked Texture   - Chunky Rust

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

An Altered Birdhouse With Tim Holtz

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (1)

Hello and welcome! Today we start a new challenge at The Funkie Junkie Boutique blog. Our hostess for the current Birds challenge is the amazingly talented Suzz, and here is what she says about it:

"For this Challenge I want you to be inspired by our flying friends.  You can take the challenge literally and have images or die cuts of birds on your art, you can be inspired by the words describing birds or even showcase their homes.  Make sure to share with us how you were inspired by the birds."

As always, the winner will earn a chance to be a Guest Designer at a future date at The Funkie Junkie Boutique challenge blog, and everyone who enters and follows the rules will go into the draw for the chance to win a $25 spending spree at The Funkie Junkie Boutique. There are also Top 3 Badges for three additional outstanding entries, chosen by the Design Team. Please see the blog for details.

I do love birds, and this time of the year, my mind turns to spooky little bird houses. We've seen so many crows around here all summer long; quite out of the ordinary for these parts. Although I really don't care much for crows, they are one of God's amazing creations, and they were what inspired me to create this grungy altered bird house.

Before we take a look at the details, here are before and after demo shots of this fixer upper bird house I picked up at a sale a long time ago with intentions to alter it. I was just getting ready to throw it in the trash, when I saw Suzz's challenge theme.

**Today, I will show off the little creepy bird house, and I will take you through my process next Wednesday. So if you are interested  in seeing how it came together, stop back here next week.**

Let's take a closer look at it after it's finished...

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (2)

The tin roof is rusted and mossy but apparently without leaks. Good bones.

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (3) 

I envisioned my sinister crow inhabiting the charred long neglected remains of this old bird house. Speaking of bones...are those the remnants of his mate, or has he been bringing home someone else's remains to fill his empty nest?

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (4)

His feathers, so black and shiny, are dull in comparison to his dark, glassy ever-knowing eyes. 

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (5)

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (6)

Dead and diseased thorny rose vines twine around the rusted gates hanging in disrepair.

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (7)

The house number seems so appropriate for such a foreboding abode.

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (9)

The mildewed brick walk leading to the creaking, rusty iron gates are slick with moss.

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (10)

Rotting pumpkins stacked up at the garden's edge are ready for a chilly fall meal for our feathered friend.

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (11)

Or maybe he has his sights set on that juicy spider dangling from the eaves.

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (12)

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (13)

Sara Emily Barker #timholtz #sizzix #chapter3 (14)

Around back you can see just how beautiful that spider's web is, and if you look closely you'll spot another spider--this one fuzzy, making his way up to the eaves.

I hope you were inspired by my viewpoint on our feathered friends. Be sure to pop over to the blog and see the gorgeous projects my teammates made to inspire you to start thinking about Birds. Then it's over to you! I  hope you'll get your craft on and play along for a chance to win one of the wonderful prizes! I can't wait to see what you'll make! Happy making! Sara Emily

These products were used and can be purchased at The Funkie Junkie Boutique: