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!