Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Blog Hop - Craft Attitude Collage Tutorial

Welcome to the Craft Attitude Holiday Blog Hop!

Teaming up with the enthusiastic and uber talented Jonathan Fong, equally talented jewelry craft expert Candie Cooper and other well known Arts/ Crafts/Design professionals and enthusiasts,  I am delighted to share with you  a relatively new  and exciting collage technique  I've developed and test over the past several months.  I call it the "Collage Under" and I'm excited to share this exciting new image transfer technique.

In this step by step tutorial,  I will walk you through  a few simple steps showing you how easy it is to combine a few scrap papers ( you most probably have on hand)   along with  one sheet of Craft Attitude,  to create a one-of-a-kind mixed media collage.  

 I love receiving  handmade gifts - nothing feels more meaningful to me in these days where time is such a valued commodity.  Why not begin today and in less than a few hours, create an inexpensive but  great gift for one of your friends or family members this holiday season? 

 "My Baby Sister - A Special Gift"
8 x 10 mixed media collage 
Mixed Media Artwork by Trudi Sissons
Image Credits:  Tumble Fish Studio - Winged Splendor and Merry Merry Kits
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved

Skill Level:  Beginner-Intermediate Mixed Media Craft Enthusiasts
Time Required:  2-4 hours max

Here's a list of what you'll need:

* 1 sheet of Craft Attitude Art Film  (you can buy any one of the various packages of "Attitude" - they all contain exactly the same product, just different instructions explaining different ways to use it) 
* UHU stic  - acid free glue stick that dries clear (or other comparable brands, like Mod Podge or Elmers)
* Photograph  -  I used a vintage image from Tumble Fish Studio's "Winged Splendor" kit available from DeviantScrap   But, why  not add that extra  personal touch to your gift  by using your own vintage family photograph?  The Graphics Fairy also has a large selection of vintage photographs available at no cost. 
* An assortment of left over scrap paper bits (if they're handmade or cotton, even better!)
* One page from a book  slightly larger than the  finished project dimensions (I used a vintage paper from an old dictionary)
*  an Inkjet Printer
* a brayer or similar roller (in a pinch, use your finger tips...I often do)
* Golden  Artist Colors - Soft Gel Matte #3010-5 (optional as a final top coat and/or as an adhesive)
* Optional - Mat and Frame (see Step 5 for money saving tips)


1.  Gather up a collection of complimentary  paper scraps combining different colors and textures. 

2.  Using whatever image software program you have, print your  photograph on to Craft Attitude, remove it from its carrier sheet and place it on your work surface shiny side facing up. 

 Photograph used - Copyright Tumble Fish Studio's "Winged Splendor Kit"
(see above information to purchase this image)

Tip:   If you like, go ahead and test different compositions by placing different papers under the transparent art film  image until you are satisfied with your composition.  I decided  on the  arrangement above and then numbered which scrap I would glue first and so on.  A bit of planning at the start of your project may save you time overall.

3.  Glue each scrap of paper right side up, then turn it over and adhere it to the shiny side of the Craft Attitude art film. Using a brayer or your fingers, smooth  the surface to ensure maximum adhesion.  Repeat, layering each scrap until you have achieved your desired composition.

Front and Back of  Collage -  Work in Progress 

4.  Take the final large printed page from a book or dictionary, cover it with glue and adhere it on top of all of the other smaller scraps, again using a brayer to ensure a full adhesion.  This layer will cover any spots  not covered with the other paper you've attached and shine through to the top.  It also provides a good substrate to hold your final piece together.

5.  Attach your collage to a mat and frame and PRESTO - another gift ready to go!  

Tip:  To save money, size your final piece to standard sizes - 4x6, 5x7, 8x10.  That way you'll be able to buy ready made mats and frames at a fraction of the cost of  having  your artwork professionally framed.  Michael's often has 40% off a large selection of their standard frames too.

 The images below  illustrate the final collage (both front and back) and  a sequence of  photos  as it progressed from start to finish.

Now it's your turn!   I would love to see your mixed media collages using Craft Attitude.  You can mail me at with a link to your work. 

For questions about where you can purchase Craft Attitude please visit their website at

Press  here to be redirected to Craft Attitude -  FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTIONS

Happy Creating and Happy Holidays from my home to yours.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Secrets, Life and Videotapes!

If you are reading this post, more than likely it's because you've been to The Altered Page and learned about Seth Apter's new book "The Mixed- Media Artist: Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams From Over 40 Amazing Artists" and how he is featuring 30 Artists 30 Days .

Thanks for taking the time to visit and Congratulations Seth!

Waves of gratitude flow through me each day when I view work of other artists included in this book.  I mean that.  To be among them is a true gift.   I can't imagine life without continuing to explore my creativity daily, and this, well, it really encourages me. 

My work in Seth's book took on more than what I'd initially anticipated.  As many of you already know,  he has a knack at digging below the 'surface' and is gifted  in 'drawing out' artist's  thoughts, motivations, desires, and visions.  It's no surprise considering that, apart from his artistic endeavours,  he also holds a PhD in psychology. 

As a positive consequence, many of the questions he posed in this process shone the spotlight on several of my own thoughts/musings and encouraged me to reexamine them in detail.
Over several weeks, one of these thoughts became a goal* and finally  transpired into this 47 second video below (which shows just a smattering of an estimated 150 iterations and edits.)

*To provide a tiny glance into my digital art process and provide viewers with an opportunity to understand and better appreciate this emerging new media.

In real time, "The Chairman" took over 40 hours  to complete, not counting the photographic elements, nor the time spent on the initial old  tattered drawing (circa 1980's) I dug up from an exercise in Betty Edwards book "Drawing From the Right Side of The Brain". 

I hope it will give you a glimpse from my side of this computer screen  and increase your understanding  of how new media  has far more in common with non-digital, traditional art techniques than what immediately meets the viewer's eye.

 "The Chairman" - From a Graphite Drawing to a Digital Collage - Trudi Sissons Two Dresses Studio

As for the secrets and dreams behind what inspired me to create "The Chairman" - well, you'll have to read about them once your copy of  Seth's book arrives.   They may surprise you!

As always, comments and feedback are appreciated.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

After a full week of stressful events, one of which was a big scare over whether one of my daughters would have to undergo surgery involving her CNS, another involving a very scary plumber who I feared was going to attack me, I decided I needed some pure one on one time with my imagination. 

This digital illustration had several incarnations until it finally became my imaginary Victorian Stripe and Polka Dot Maker Machine. 100% fun to create with images from two of my favorite designers - Tumble Fish Studio and Itkupilli. I hope this tickles your own imagination!

Digital Illustration:
The Imaginary Stripe and Polka Dot Maker
Image Credits:  Tumble Fish Studio and Iktupilli
Copyright 2013 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Tunnel


"The Tunnel"
Digital Art
Image Credits with thanks to Holliewood Studios - Altered Reality
Copyright 2013 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's not a dream, It's not a dream....

 Good Evening Folks,

Mindi is off this week.  I am pleased to announce, due to popularity, and with a bit of coaxing with treats, she (Mindi)  has accepted  responsibilities here at Two Dresses to assist me as a  part-time blogger, volunteering for literally the price of a small piece of bacon.  Now, it`s my job to bring some home!

This week I have had to pinch myself a couple of times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  I've always subscribed to the idea that if something is too good to be true, then...well, you know the rest.  I also have a tendency to hesitate announcing anything until it is 'signed, sealed and delivered.'  But now the 'cat is in the bag' - I'm delighted, proud, pumped and overall giddy to share my news...

First, I received an email from Seth Apter to announce his second book titled " The Mixed Media Artist:  Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams from 40 Amazing Arts" is now listed on Amazon for pre-purchase.  I have two pieces of artwork featured in his book, along with a link that will go live  to an exciting stop-motion video of one of these pieces as it progresses from a graphite pencil drawing to a full color collage. 

-The Mixed Media Artist - 
Art Tips, Tricks, Secrets and Dreams From Over 40 Amazing Artists
Author - Seth Apter

Secondly, in December 2012 (aka I received word that I was among the winners in a competition hosted  by  Artists Network culminating in this hardcover book -  Incite: Dreams Realized - The Best of Mixed Media.     "Over 100 of the most inspiring works from the mixed-media art community are featured under the theme "Dreams Realized," offering readers a level to aspire to. This premier competition book will unite artists from around the globe and will showcase the power of positive intention!"

"Incite" is also now listed for pre-order via Amazon.  Preordering prior to publication equals savings of approximately 35%   Both books are due to be released at the beginning of  October 2013!

Incite - Dreams Realized - The Best of Mixed Media
Publisher - North Light Books

Thanks for visiting and also for your encouragement in the form of comments to keep me blogging for the past six years!

Friday, March 08, 2013

My new Haircut and Mom's Craft Attitude India-Ah Treasure Box

Mom just asked me to publish a quick post to let you know she's been busy taking photos of me and Buddha but will be back sometime soon!  We're hoping the snow will all be gone on Sunday.  I don't like "going" in the snow - it's so cold and even colder now with my new haircut.

Happy Weekend Blogland!


Oh, I almost forgot,  besides the photos, she also  made this box last weekend.  It took her for-EVER!    It's made out of Nepalese handmade Lotka papers, layers of Craft Attitude , the curio feet come from Tim Holtz's Ideology line and the images from Iktupilli.  She called it "Indie-Ah".

"Indi-Ah" - Mixed Media Box
Copyright 2013 TwoDressesstudio
All Rights Reserved
Art - Trudi Sissons
Images - Iktupilli

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Finger Tip Heaven - Random Snapshots with Craft Attitude


                                   Snapshots of Mixed Media Applications with Craft Attitude

Holy Cow!

Keeping the momentum of blogging "top of mind" - today's "share" from yesterday's creating - please enjoy !

"Holy Cow" - Sacred Celebrations
12x12 digital collage
Element Credits with thanks to Iktupilli Holliewood Studios (flames) and Lorie Davison (background)
Art - Trudi Sissons Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Returning to Artful Blogging.... Family First

Today I am back to the blog hoping to post  work I created in the last six months in 2012 as well as posting a few snapshots from the CHA show in January! 

But before that,  I've also decided to share with you a bit about my absence from blogging for several months.

In June last year I had to switch my focus  to  my Dad who had his 86th birthday in May.  If you met my Dad, you'd fall in love with him.   He always has a joke to tell, a good word to say, and something from his past that always reminds me of how important the simpler things are in life.  

At 86 he still golfs at least once a week and when the golf courses close, he takes up bowling.  His rescue dog - Fergie is never far behind him.  She's an elderly toothless Bichon he adopted shortly after my Mom passed away.  If I can't reach my Dad on the phone normally it's because he is  out for a walk with Fergie. And you can set your watch to their schedule of walks that occur three times a day.

Unfortunately, Dad has had to weather several years of financial stresses  because he lent a large sum of money to a family member who had not been able to repay him.  So Dad and I worked together over the summer and fall and things are finally back to where he does not have to be anxious about his finances and I can relax knowing he is OK.

Here's a photo of my Dad  and my daughter Hayley opening presents at my daughter Hayley's home at Christmas this year.  He looks almost as though he's the present in the box!    What a dear sweet man and a true gift!

Christmas 2012 - Dad and Hayley at Hayley's

Monday, February 11, 2013

In My Mind's Eye

I thought I would pepper some of the older work I will be posting with some new digital collages as well. Hope your Monday is off to a good start to the week!

In My Mind's Eye
Digital Collage
Image Permissions: itkupilli, Tumble Fish Studio and Public Domain
artwork Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Old work from Summer 2012

I swear I am months behind on posting.  Since I rely on this blog as a personal reference, please bear with me as I catch up. 

This collage had at least 9 previous lives  before I finally decided to leave it as photographed here.    It is thick with layers of acrylics, handmade papers and stamping.  

8x8 inch mixed media collage
(Craft Attitude, Stencils, Acrylics, Handmade Papers)
Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

Three views of the same collage including images from Tumble Fish Studio, the geisha's are made with Craft Attitude along with handmade papers.   I think there may be a bit of wrapping paper too!  Obviously, it's not acid free.

8x8 mixed media collage
(Craft Attitude, handmade papers, Images from Tumble Fish Studio -( building on side)
Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 07, 2013

New work from the past week

Things are buzzing over at Deviant Scrap lately!  Hollie Haradon (Holliewood Studios) gathered all of the designers together to create a series of new work/images all in the theme of "Once Upon A Time" plus announced a new designer to the team - Iktupilli, whose images I've long admired and used in some of my artwork.

I titled this first one "Jam Session - Unplugged" - I think you'll get my 'drift'. 

Jam Session:  Unplugged?
Copyright Permissions from:  Iktupilli, Tumble Fish Studio (globe) and Holliewood Studios (cliff)
Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

Last week I took a break from trying to get my technology to sync with iCloud to create this multi-layered composition.  It's dedicated to a wonderful woman, a colleague and friend from my social work days (my "first life") who had suggested a nice cup of tea might take the edge off the learning curve.  Again, I had the pleasure of working with some of Iktupilli's images as well as several from my own personal stash.

"High Tea"
Copyright Permissions - Iktupilli
Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

My dear friend Marsha came up with a true Tumble Fish Studio style of Once Upon a Time that transported me back to all of my childhood memories of fairy tales.  I was reminded again of how 
'large' my imagination had been as a child and how much I love returning to those memories.  That poisonous apple was quite frightful back then!

 "Mirror, Mirror"
Copyright Permissions from:  Tumble Fish Studio
Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

One last one using Iktupilli images, I printed out the composition on Craft Attitude and heat set it onto a piece of silver metallic paper with the large dots you see below.  I've long subscribed to the "Golden Mean!" 

"Monkey On My Back"
Copyright Permissions: Iktupilli
Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

Thanks for the visit and as always for taking the time to leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Chunky" Artist Trading Blocks


Last week I mentioned I'd be back with more images and details about "Chunky ATC's.  If you've never heard this 'term' before, well, you wouldn't be alone!

While Artist Trading Cards have been around since the mid 1990's.  A "Chunky"is a solid wood substrate with the same dimensions of an Artist Trading Card (2.5 x 3.5 inches) and includes 1.5 inches in depth, thus "chunky".  I purchased mine via Outside The Margins and noticed today that they are on sale for $12.00 for 12 blocks. This price does not include shipping and handling.  Be warned - they are heavy. 

All but one of the five you see below are all made incorporating Craft Attitude transfer film/skin.   If you look closely at the one at the top with the star, the blueprint was printed with Craft Attitude  and then, using UHU glue, I attached it directly to the wooden block.  I liked how, being transparent, you can still see the wood grain through it.  The one to the left of it with the partial body of the man holding the Royal Flush was created by first adhering some beautifully embossed natural paper to the block and then adding the Craft Attitude layer over the paper, again with UHU (or any other acid free glue).

- An Assortment of  5"Chunky Artist Trading Blocks - 
Copyright 2013 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved 

"Samurai SteamPunk"
Chunky ATC Block and 6x6x1.5 inch cradled wood panel

Samurai SteamPunk Chunky
Mixed Media Collage 3.5x1.5x1.5 inches
Image Credits:  helmut only - Mr. Whiskers 

 Samurai SteamPunk 2
Copyright 2013 Two Dresses Studio
All Rights Reserved

Monday, January 28, 2013


Monday morning and I am hoping to make some progress this week in blogging, artwork, wrapping up details from the CHA show, get my newsletter finished and start on some new tutorials I promised using Craft Attitude to share with the art blogging community.

I spent last week reorganizing after I had literally pulled apart my studio and parts of our home to accomodate the large canvases I was creating.  It wasn't pretty and I was noticing how often I was distracted as I tripped around heaps of paper, etc.  not to mention the ' visual chaos'!    Slowly things are getting reordered and I'm adding  several new storage compartments to organize the growing number of  supplies, paints, papers...well, you name it, ...STUFF.   This has taken some time to come to fruition as I  wait until I can get a 40% off coupon at Michael's to buy the "Recollections" modular shelving units.  They are affordable and if I splash some media on them, I won't be too upset.

 Maybe I am trying to rationalize that if I'm organized, then I can't be labelled a hoarder!  The above collage  is a composite of some of the work-in-progress as I reorganize, like my personal "cabinet of curiousities".  Some may call it a variation on a junk drawer, but each little knick-knack has  personal meaning to me, usually a good memory of a friend or a time in my life.

Another goal I have to work on is how I will 'give back' this year.   I have a few ideas about charitable work, how I can contribute, or 'make a difference' , however small.   I am open to ideas and would love to hear your thoughts on 'giving back', or "paying it forward."

I know I woke up this morning thinking "I have it all" - I am so grateful for my life.   I really feel blessed.

Before the holidays in December one of my dearest artist friends sent me the image below.  I now have it framed and hanging next to the kitchen sink as a reminder.  I hope it brings a smile to your face and that somehow today, I've made a teeny little difference in your life by sharing it as she did in mine.  Thanks for this Linda.

What are your plans today?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Around The World in 80 - Steampunk - Bombay - Mini Mixed Media Tutorial

 As promised, I'm back to share more of the mixed media artwork I recently completed for the CHA Winter Show last week along with a few snapshots of some of the wonderful artists I met  along the way for those of you who don't follow my FB posts.

Suze Weinberg and Yours Truly

When I first began to explore the mixed media/altered art world  in 2006, one of the first artists I ran across on-line was Suze Weinberg.  Well, I'm here to tell you for a fact, she is every bit as delightful and loving and kind as you may have gathered from watching her many on-line videos.  Suze, I love ya!   What a treat it was to meet you.   Thanks for all of your encouragement and for your generous blog post review!   

 Back to the art.....

One of the unintended and  enjoyable consequences of searching for images to consider  for this project was how much I learned about the various cities.  I became an armchair traveler as I scoured the internet for copyright free images to collage. Bombay was one of my top favorite "Destinations".  I love the  rich and vibrant colors, flavors and the spirit of its people.

I'd like to quickly clarify, that while the Taj Mahal is indeed not located in  Bombay,  to me it is such an enormous architectural icon for India, I couldn't resist using it in the background.  Is this what they meant as an "Artistic License"? 

Here's where my "musings" took me.... aka  What Were You Thinking?

The sadhu is seated on the steampunk sacred cow who I equipped with a metal "OM" symbol (solar powered by the way)  in Sanskrit  and the beginning  syllable in the common mantra " Om Mani Padme Hum ."

If you look closely  (it's easier in person!) you will see the sadhu is holding a key that rotates the "OM" symbol similar to a dharma wheel.   It really works.  I swear.    While he  rotates the OM, the steampunk sacred cow moves forward and  accumulates wisdom and good karma. The Ever-Ready Steampunk Sacred Cow.  Who knew?

Around The World in 80 - Steampunk - Bombay
24x24 x 1.5 inch mixed media on gallery wrapped canvas
Image Credits:   Holliewood Studios and Eena Creations -
Copyright 2013 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved


Supplies and Materials

Gallery Wrapped Canvas
Craft Attitude ( 7 8.5 x 11 inch sheets)
Handmade Textural Paper (for border)
Iron (see TIP below) or Laminator (depending on finished size)
Parchment Paper (to protect iron and Craft Attitude film)
Copyright Free Images
Acid Free Glue (for handmade cotton paper)  and E6000 glue (for metal ephemera)
Ephemera (stars, sprocket, letters)
Liquitex Satin Varnish 
Large Paint Brush 
Exacto Knife
Computer/Inkjet Printer
This collage has seven individual layers to it including the handmade paper border in ochre and silver that wraps around the edges of the canvas.  Unfortunately, I do not have a series of step-by-step photographs.  Next time!

1.  Image of Western Hemisphere -  inkjet printed onto canvas and then stretched and wrapped  (24x24x1.5 inches)

2.  Print images onto Craft Attitude with any inkjet printer.  Cut out the images as desired.

3.  Place canvas on a secure surface,  and  using an iron on a cotton setting over parchment paper,  layer and adhere images one at a time sequentially.   Much like a sandwich - secure surface, canvas, image printed on to Craft Attitude, parchment paper and the iron.  Repeat with each image.

 TIP:  You may want to first test your iron on a small remnant of the Craft Attitude film.

If you are creating a smaller composition, you also have 3 other alternatives for adhering the Craft Attitude film to your substrate - with a glue stick, with a spray adhesive, or if you are working on a flat substrate, you can run the substrate and the Craft Attitude film together, sandwiched between a carrier sheet through a heat laminator.  

4.  Create border with paper of your choice.  I like the handmade cotton papers because if there is any seams created, the fibers on the edges seem to blend well.

5.  Apply a coat of varnish to seal the images (optional).

6. To finish,  I added the Sadhu's sandals, the wing and sprocket on the cow's ear,  the stars that I sprayed silver and distressed and finally the letters to spell Bombay.  As you can see below,  I had initially altered the cow digitally to add the wheels (inspired by Hollie Haradon's Steampunk Animals Kit) but reverted back to regular hoofs on the final canvas.

 Here are a few of the 'screen captures' as I mapped out the composition:

Next up this week:  Chunky TEXTURAL ATC wood blocks!  Thanks for dropping by - I hope you enjoyed the "Why and How I Created This" as much as I enjoyed creating it!

FYI - Craft Attitude is available for purchase  here

Thursday, January 17, 2013

For those of you who weren't at the Craft Attitude booth at the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) Winter Tradeshow Jan 12-15th in California, here's a photo of the eight mixed media pieces I created for the combined theme of "Around The World in Eighty Days" and Steampunk!

Having recently taken on the role as one of the Designer/Instructors for Craft Attitude, I'll be focusing in on Craft Attitude Mixed Media Art applications, Candie Cooper is the Jewelry Designer/Instructor and Jonathan Fong is wowing everyone with his design expertise and overall Hootsba! in capturing the smorgasbord of surfaces Craft Attitude can be applied to as he gives us step by step directions in his videos online at

Craft Attitude is an amazingly versatile image transfer film  that takes ALL the mess out of image transferring in one convenient inkjet printer-ready sheet!! It takes on the surface texture of whatever substrate it's adhered to.   Amazing technology and endless applications!

Visit for more info!

Series:  Around the World in 80 - Steampunk
8 24x24x1.5 inch gallery wrapped mixed media canvases
Copyright 2013 TwoDressesStudio
All Rights Reserved

Copyright Permissions

Thanks especially to the following designers/image providers for use of the wonderful images I had the opportunity to incorporate into my pieces!!  

Deviant Scrap Designers:
Finecrafted Designs - Evelyn Ducote
Tumble Fish Studio - Marsha Jorgensen
Holliewood Studios - Hollie Haradon, Owner and Designer
Mr. Whiskers
Eena's Creations
Mermask - Deviant Art

Stay tune for MUCH more to follow in the upcoming days and weeks as we launch this fabulous new product to the world! 

You're also want to sign up to receive my newsletter (click on the sidebar link)  if you haven't already because that's where you'll get the inside scoop on how you can enter draws, and sign on to projects I'll be hosting in the following months!   

Thanks for dropping by!