Photoshop with Art

February 15, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Whenever I play around with paints, Gelli-Art prints, stamps etc I can usually make them do double duty- by scanning in the results and working with them in PhotoShop.

Since I am still learning there are plenty of times that I look at the image and think, hmmmmmm, that needs some work! One of my favorite “tweaks” is using Puppet Warp which can be found in PhotoShop CS5 and above. Using Puppet Warp, you can warp just a piece of your image. Adobe had a video where the tutorial showed you how to move a person’s arm!

The trick with Puppet Warp is getting the “thumbtacks” set correctly. If you don;t pin down the surrounding image enough, you can end up warping more than what you need. I usualy pin the 4 corners, down the middle, and then I pin an area surrounding the section I will be working on in a circular fashion. Once everything is locked down, I can put the pins on the section I want to tweak, and those are the pins I will drag to move and twist and gently guide my image in the direction I would like it to go. If it looks wonky, I can always undo with ctrl-z and try adding more pins and trying it again. When things look good, and I like the changes I have made, I accept the warp.

Once you accept the puppet warp, you can always use undo (ctrl-z) to undo the entire puppet warp change, but if you want to try again and go back into Puppet Warp you need to set up your pins all over again.

Oh- and I always do this on a copy of the layer, so I have the original and can compare.

Here is a piece I am working on from a class, Twinks on Yupo, I am taking with Jodi Ohl- (very fun BTW!):

Before Puppet Warp
Before Puppet Warp
I wasn’t crazy about the beak after I finished painting it, so I brought it into Photoshop to tweak the beak :):
After Puppet Warp
After Puppet Warp

Gelli Arts Faux Washi Tape and Decorated Duck Tape

February 6, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I generally like to make my own everything, and that includes Washi Tape and decorated Duck (Duct) Tape. I usually stamp on these, but recently I have been playing around with them on my Gelli Arts Printing Plate.

Remember the Contact paper I decorated a few blog posts ago- Gelli-Arts-on-Contact-Paper ? Well I used the left over carrier sheet from that, to “host” my duck tape strips.  I just laid down strips of the tape next to each other, to fill up an entire “page” of strips. Then I used that page of strips in the same manner as a my normal papers on the Gelli Art printing plate, to get lovely decorated Duck tape strips!  That was a lot easier then my first attempt at rolling the roll of tape across the Gelli Arts plate- although it did work ;)

The other thing I do, is run tissue paper through my Xyron machine and then cut that into strips. I can then decorate the adhesive strips anyway I want and because they are tissue paper, they are translucent- like Washi Tape!

Here are some of my latest experiments:

Gelli Arts Decorated Duck (Duct) Tape

Gelli Arts Decorated Duck (Duct) Tape
Gelli Arts Faux Washi Tape

Gelli Arts Faux Washi Tape

Burlap and Wax

January 31, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I have been playing with encaustics since I got a starter set as a gift. I have not done any real paintings- mostly cards and tags, but I have to say I really enjoy it and hope to take a live class sometime.

I thought this was a cute idea for a Valentine, even though I originally made a set of these for the Holidays. And it really only requires melted Encaustic Medium or Beeswax. You don’t need all the colored encaustic paints or lots of tools. Just the medium or plain beeswax, something to melt it in, and a paint brush. I know some folks have the Melting Pot that Ranger/ Suze Weinberg make and melt beeswax in that, and that should be fine.

Basically you are just going to coat a piece of burlap in encaustic medium or wax. Be careful when melting wax, that you do not get it hotter than 250 degrees F or the encaustic medium/wax can start to put off more toxic fumes. I always err on the side of caution and use a thermometer, and keep the temperature well below that- usually around 180 degrees F.  Also make sure that your room is well ventilated.

I use a griddle with a thermometer control, and a small tin where I melt the encaustic medium. Then I paint the melted medium over the burlap until it is well saturated. After I remove it from the griddle, I let it cool on one of the Ranger craft sheets.

After the waxed burlap has cooled, it is stiff and can be cut using a wood- ruled die, or with scissors. I used an Accucut machine with this project, but the Sissix and any of the thick Tim Holtz dies should work equally as well.

I then used dimensional paint to add the trimmings to my little person, and glued his heart on, and voila!! A burlap Gingerbread man!!


Burlap Encaustic Gingerbread Man

Burlap Encaustic Gingerbread Man

Greek Stamps on Shrink Plastic

January 25, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Today is Braggy friday! I am bragging about a husband and wife that are each amazing in their own right. And I happen to be the lucky recipient of their respective talents!

Susan is the own of Susan’s Charming Trinkets. She makes amazing jewelry, and this year became a design team member for Susan Lenart Kazmer. In the facebook group that sprang out of Kelly Rae Robert’s Flying Lesson’s class that we all took together, we know her as the Ice Queen. Ice Resin, that is!! When anything resin related comes up, Susan is the go-to gal!

Because Susan helped my friend Lori and I out when we were starting Creative Clearinghouse, I sent her some Easy Scraps stamps. I was amazed with what she did with them, and even happier that she sent the grand results to me!! Check them out:


Greek Rubber Stamped Shrink Plastic Earrings

Greek Rubber Stamped Shrink Plastic Earrings


I love them and wear them all the time!!

Now, if that talent wasn’t enough for one family, her husband Wendell is the owner of Slogbelly Studios where he creates iPhone/iPad apps for creative types. He made an app for Creative Clearinghouse and had to figure out how to make an app work with our dynamic site. We love the way it came out!! You can download it if you are running IOS 6, and then you can always have the latest and greatest classes at your fingertips!! Just search for Creative Clearinghouse in the Apple App store.

Yes, it is great to have friends! Even better to have talented ones ;-) .

Gelli Arts on Contact Paper

January 18, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

I was in a scramble, late as always, for getting a birthday card out to my Dad. So I grabbed one of my experiments, and made it into a card for him, and hopefully he gets it on time.

I had been playing around with my Gelli Arts printing plate a few weeks ago, and tried printing on a variety of surfaces. One of them was… contact paper. Now, you can use sticky paper to pick up dried paint, and maybe the contact paper is sticky enough to do so, however that was not what I did. I printed on the non-sticky side.

Originally, I grabbed a package thinking it was canvas fabric, and I was going to print on that. However, it turned out to be cheese cloth. Since it had a very open weave, I decided not to even bother trying to get a print directly on the cheese cloth, so I looked around for some other options. That was when I spied the roll of  clear contact paper :idea:. I did a print on the non-sticky side of the clear copy paper (not using a lot of paint, and using one of my custom stencils to print with). It printed great! Then, when the paint had dried, I pulled of the backing off the contact paper and adhered it to the cheese cloth. Cool!

I left it in my pile of experiments, and then found it again the other day. To adhere it to the card, I needed to use glue on the under side, since the sticky was now covered with cheese cloth. I strategically  placed the glue where there was paint from the Gelli Arts print- even though it would dry clear, I wanted to limit the amount of glue that might show through the clear contact paper. I could have used brads, or staples or ribbon, or some other means of adhering, but the paint hid the glue well, especially since it would dry clear.

And voila! A quick card made from one of my experiments! My pile is now one piece smaller ;-).


Gelli Arts Print on Contact Paper

Gelli Arts Print on Contact Paper

Carving Stamps

January 11, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts, Video Posts by Ursula Smith

With a little bit of help from my son, I did a quick tutorial on how I carve stamps. There are tons of videos on how to carve stamps (plus I had no more room on my phone!), so I whizzed through this tutorial. I used a very simple die cut shape in this tutorial, for speed purposes, but the same concepts apply to a more intricate design, as well. In that case, you would want to use the smaller carving blades. Even with the smaller blades tho, it will still have that “carved” look. That is, curved edges aren’t quite as smooth as manufactured stamps, straight lines tend to be a bit wobbly, and there are usually stray pieces of carved rubber sticking up so you get additional, ghost lines in your image. I tend to like all of that, so I loved carved stamps!

I have been experimenting with adding texture to my carved stamps, so I wanted to show how I make polka dot texture on my carved stamp in this tutorial.

Here are the results of my carving, and stamped images from the stamps. NOTE: make sure you clean up all the little shavings from your table before you stamp. The white carving block, especially, leaves little bits of rubber around and gets onto your ink pads. It adds more texture tho ;-)

Also, I don’t think I mentioned it in the video, but when I am fiddling around trying out textures, I used a little piece of the block to test it out first, before trying it on my carved stamp.


Carved Stamp Finished before Texture

Carved Stamp, finished, before adding Texture


Stamped image from Carved Stamp without Texture

Stamped image from Carved Stamp without Texture. This would be a great stamp to use the kissing off technique!


Here is my finished stamp with texture next to my tester piece:

Carved stamp and sample piece


Stamped image from Carved Stamp with Texture

Stamped image from Carved Stamp with Texture



Stamped image from Carved Stamp 2 with Texture

Stamped image from Carved Stamp 2 with Texture
Some friends of mine think carving stamps is a fun thing to do, as well. I will update this post with more as they come in so it will be a mini blog hop. Enjoy!

Patience is my One Little Word

January 7, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

For anyone that knows me well, you won’t be surprised that I have chosen the word “Patience” as my “One Little Word” for 2013. When I was a teen I remember that the parents of the kids I babysat or taught used to tell me that I had the patience of an angel. If they could only see me now!!

I have no idea what happened to my patience, but I definitely need to get me some of that! Patience is NOT my strong suit anymore- not by a long shot. I pride myself , generally, on being able to get a lot done in a day. But with that comes the inevitable- no patience for people who get in my way, slow me down, take up valuable time. You should see me in a car- it is not a pretty sight. You should see how many projects I have ruined by not waiting long enough for paint, ink, glue, etc to dry. You should see how often I lose my temper when something isn’t going my way. None of this is a good thing.

And so, this year I decided to take on “Patience” as my word for the year. To remind myself to not lose it. To count to 10. To hold my breath. Whatever it takes to hold on to those words before I yell them, stop that sigh of aggravation from escaping, wait and let the project/meeting,/conversation unfold.

Just today I was working with my Gelli Arts printing plate. Usually I go through reams of paper and come out with a nice stash of backgrounds on which to stamp, draw etc. But today, I was rushing, and not having good results. I almost packed everything up in frustration. But then I remembered my word- Patience. So, I slowed down a bit, and tried again. I took the time to try a couple of additional colors and patterns. And yes! There it was- that print with all the colors and patterns of previous prints, showing up in one awesome, serendipitous, complicated background. The kind that can’t be rushed, that can’t be planned, that can’t be duplicated.

So, yeah- patience. I am gonna get me more of that ;-)

PS- I am participating in a blog hop with my Creativity Tribe friends. You can find the blog hop here . I almost didn’t add my link because I thought the page was broken. And that is because, well, yes, you guessed it- I didn’t wait long enough for the page to load. Sigh- this may be a long year :D

ATCs- a calm in the Holiday storm

January 5, 2013 in Mixed Media Posts by Ursula Smith

Winter ATCs 2013

What a happy way to take a break during the Holiday season- receiving Artist Trading Cards! I was in the midst of Holiday madness, when I opened the envelope, hardly even paying attention to what it was. As soon as I saw the pretty little cards, a huge smile broke across my face. I really wish everyone could have the fun that we are having exchanging these little gifts of Art each month.

The Holidays can be a bit stressful, and downright unhappy for some folks. I bet if they received the ATCs I did, they would do the same thing I did- smile and spend a few fun moments cherishing each one before heading back into the Holiday madness!

I received these ATCs from:

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