This mixed media project started with a curbside find.  Poor outdated little thing!  In the picture, I have started with a coat of artist white gesso on her

How many times might you have looked at one of these 1980’s cast offs in the thrift store?  Well, I thought I might be able to do something to her to give her a lovely make over.  With Christmas coming, I got to work.  I did a cut out on my scroll saw to accommodate a miniature frame, creating a shadow box effect for a Tim Holtz Idea-ology Birdcage.   I used a mixture of Delta Ceramcoat navy and Gleams 14k gold acrylic paint to create my own version of a colored metallic paint for the base color which created a shimmery teal color which made me happy.

Today, after a mixed media application of a sculptured head that I wasn’t completely happy with,  a variety of materials; Creative Paper Clay used in an Iron Orchid Design casting (on the head piece) and vintage buttons castings, several Artminds laser cut wood scrolls from Michaels, beads, microbeads, rhinestones, a Vintaj brass bird whispering in her ear, and bits from my collection of cast offs, with metallic gold highlighting and Thicketworks DIY rust paste, I’d say she was looking a lot better.

Isn’t that rust paste gorgeous?

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key

Eagles-Already Gone

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It’s been some time since I made a post about our DIY renovations.  There’s a reason for that.  We are slow.

But, today I’ll show you the painted faux bricks on the kitchen walls.

I’ll admit, I’ve grown a little weary of French Country shades of grey.  My Pinterest  page is full of the rooms of white and grey, but I just can’t make it work with the items my husband and I have collected over the years.  Sorry, we like color.

I started with some paints that I had in the basement left over from painting my bath.  That was before I found French Country, it’s more of a Tuscan feel.  The colors, available at Home Depot, were Behr’s Chai Spice, Warm Earth, and Home Decorator’s Collection Chenille Spread, which is an off-white. I also used some Valspar’s clear glaze,  and Mystic Sea paint available at Lowes, but any paint glaze would do.  For the base coat, I mixed one part Chai Spice and three parts white primer and rolled that on.

Making a Faux Brick Stamp

I created my own brick stamp using, of all things, adhesive backed craft foam cut into brick shapes and adhered to a piece of cardboard.  This worked really well.  The bricks are about 3 x 5 and 6 inches.  I staggering the ‘bricks’ for a realistic effect, measuring so the staggering is the same distance on each row.  That way, the bricks will ‘fit’ together when you stamp on the wall.  I left about a quarter inch between the bricks to represent the mortar.

I distressed the edges of the foam using the edge of a scissors blade and added some distressing to the inside of the rectangles by scratching with the end of the scissors.  This gives your stamping an uneven impression, which is what you want.  I made other stamps of various sizes to fill in spots which the large stamp didn’t reach, and one with bricks side by side for the top of the doorway.

Remember when you stamp on the wall to leave the quarter inch space between the bricks to represent the mortar.  I eyeballed keeping the rows straight, and I did a pretty good, but if you’re not comfortable with that, use a straight edge and level to draw a few guide lines on the wall before you start.  Start at the top of the wall and work your way down.

Stamping the Walls

Put a bit of the Chai Spice and Warm Earth in a paint pan. With a mini roller, roll on both colors at once.  It doesn’t matter if they mix.  You want a variety of color going on your bricks.

Roll and stamp, and sometimes you can stamp twice with one roll, giving a more subtle coloration.  If you feel the color is too dark, no worries!  The next step takes care of that.

Adding Subtle Textures

Once the bricks are dry, add a layer of white wash.  I used about a quarter cup of Valspar clear glaze mixed with about three fourths cup of Chenille Spread, and used a natural sponge to wipe a thin coat of the mixture on the wall.   Pounce with the sponge to give a slight textured look.  This will be very subtle.  Don’t go for big details.  Each layer adds more to the look.

When dry, using a 1 inch flat artist brush, I went back in with the Chenille Spread/glaze mix and added a fine line to the top and one side of each brick, blending in with the existing whitewash in the mortar line.  Decide which side of the brick would be facing the light and do the same side on all the bricks.  Highlighting and shading add depth.  With a small piece of natural sponge, shade the opposite side and bottom of some bricks with Warm Earth and Chai Spice on some other bricks.  Again, a very small amount of paint and a light touch.  If you find you got too heavy handed, as I did, go back and lighten it up by applying a small amount of Chenille Spread/glaze mix on a small sponge.

Also, pounce more Chenille Spread on the areas of your bricks that didn’t fully stamp to simulate weathered whitewash.  You can add as much or as little as you like.

The colors still appeared too uniform in color, so I took a stamp I made of one brick, rolled some of the Warm Earth and randomly stamped a few bricks, repeated with the Chai Spice, and then with the Chai Spice/primer mix.  This should be done sparingly!  I also intentionally did not press on the whole stamp on some of the bricks so they only partially stamped.  Back up frequently and look at your wall to determine where you think it needs some variety.  Don’t overdo it!

Making It Real with Patina

After all that is done, I used a small amount of Mystic Sea on my small sponge and added tiny pounces of it here and there to represent a bit of lichen growing on the bricks.  You can use any light blue or green color that is to your liking for this.  That color is just what I happened to have.

Here is a before and after of the progress so far.

My next post will give you an update of the cabinets painted with Heirloom Traditions All in One Paint!  Love this stuff!

This was a long post!  Thanks for hanging in there and reading it!

Lisa

The Pumpkin Witch–she will cast a spell on your fall harvest!

Reminiscent of the old kitchen witch, the pumpkin witch will guard your kitchen and home against evil.

This Pumpkin Witch is a bespoke doll made with sculpted and painted head, hands and feet from paper clay with a soft posable body made with wire and polyester batting.  Remember those sculpted hands I posted on  my Facebook page?

Her clothing is made from vintage fabrics and lace salvaged from napkins, bureau scarves, and other items.

Happy Halloween!

 

(After my last post, I noticed a lot of people who are interested in genealogy started following me.  Although genealogy is one of my interests, this blog is more about my art and my home renovations rather than genealogy, although I may occasionally throw in some mention of my or my husband’s family history.  I apologize for any confusion in what this blog is about)

My next blog post will be about creating faux brickwork on my kitchen walls.

 

Thanks for reading!

#creativepaperclay

Jeff and I took another trip north looking for the elusive fall foliage.  The warm spell put a halt to the colorful progression.  If you want to follow what is going on with fall foliage, check out his page.

We stopped at one of our favorite spots on Route 16, Our Favorite Things Collectibles in Albany NH.  We love to stop because the proprietor is such a delightful, spitfire of a woman.  I also wanted to stop because I saw something there last year that I didn’t pick up and was hoping it was still there.

And it was!

This is a milk crate from Ferland Dairy in Mexico Maine.  The importance is that’s my mother’s maiden name.  They aren’t direct relations, and I am still working to find the family connection.  All Ferlands in North America descend from one Ferland who immigrated to Canada in the 1600’s.  So, I have my work cut out for me to locate this one!

Collecting for a farmhouse look is great, but when you can do it with a family connection, even better!

I created Jack in 2014 and you can see him when I originally wrote about him Here.  I’m especially proud of Jack because he was the first thing I made out of Creative Paper Clay and he emerged magnificently!  I was going to enter Jack into an exhibit, and this would have been his debut.

I had to work on him again due to some construction issues.  I’ve learned a lot since creating him.

I wanted to spiff him up a bit and I proceeded to improve upon his base.

However, the dates for the show take-in was changed and because of other commitments, I didn’t finish him in time for this show before Halloween.  Well maybe next time.

Before

After

Thanks for checking him out!

#creativepaperclay

Sweeney Todd–was he real or a myth?

When Salem Art Association had a call for art with a horror movie theme, I did a little research on Sweeney Todd. It was the first idea that came to mind to use the new techniques I learned in the Mixed Media online class through the Graphics Fairy with Heather Tracy of Thicketworks.  If you want to see what I made in the class, check it out here.

So, is he real?  Sweeney Todd is possibly one of the oldest urban myths.   Made popular in the mid 1800’s, as The String of Pearls, a Romance, published in a Penny Dreadful, a cheap publications with tales of horror. Credit for the tale about a demented barber who killed to steal from his victims is generally given to Thomas Prest.  Through the years, details were added.  Some by other authors stealing the story, each putting their own spin on it, which happened a lot at the time.   Eventually a more well rounded character of Todd emerged, also the addition of Mrs. Lovette and her pies, then making Lovette a love sick partner rather than a blackmailed accomplice.

But, was the story made up?  There is no account of an actual Sweeney Todd or a barber on directly on Fleet Street.    However, in the 1800’s, authors gleaned ideas from the gruesome true life accounts of crimes committed, which were then told and retold in the streets with details embellished, making fertile fodder for the popular genre. There was an actual case of a barber in 1784, near Fleet Street, who murdered someone in his chair.

Then a family was executed for robbing, murdering and consuming the flesh of their victims. In 1818, a scandal writer penned a tale about dead bodies being found at a butcher shop.  A butcher, who lived on the street mentioned in this particular article, brought the publisher to court for libel.  He won the case, but the bit of gossip was out there, circulating for creative writers to exploit.

There was an account by a Minister of Police in Paris of a barber in 1800, who killed his customers and the pastry chef next door used the victims to fill her meat pies.  Sound familiar?  Although it is not documented as a fact, it was printed in a London magazine in 1824 as a factual story.  But was it?  This could be the first documented printing of the legend Sweeney Todd was created from.

 

I had a great time creating this shadow box/cabinet of curiosities based on this tale of horror and woe.

 

Sources:

PBS: Penny Dreadful, From True Crime to Fiction

Sweeney Todd, Wikipedia

In my last post, I promised to show you my completed opera house.  When I did this online course offered by Heather Tracey of Thicketworks through the Graphics Fairy, the course was to create an opera house out of a cigar box.  So naturally I had to go off on a tangent and create a Moulin Rouge type dance hall with mine.  It’s name is the ‘Rats De Cave’ meaning The Rat Cellar.

So here is the completed box setting on top of it’s new home, my Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 table.

 

Here is the back of the dance hall depicting the stage door area

The base is constructed of altered books.  Niches were created in the books to house drawers for little treasures.

And just a reminder of what the inside looks like.

Next post I will share with you how I used many of the techniques learned in this online course into a Sweeney Todd themed box.