Tuesday, December 10, 2013


December is a frenetic month in so many ways, but there are moments to stop, think, and reflect scattered all through the month.  I had some of those moments this week when we spent some time riding in the car with soft holiday music playing.  I LOVE to look at Christmas lights as many times during the month as I can.  Tonight was no exception.  There is always familiarity, of course, with all the icons of the season, but there is something new to experience every year if you really look closely.  I love to see the color changes in the whites, the lines people choose to accentuate outside, the color trends, and love the variety of wreathes.

I feel the same way about ornaments.  I love to fall in love with them every year when we are hanging them.  (Yes, I have weeded some out through the years, so the ones I have made the cut.)When I saw these ornaments by Rubbermoon, I knew they would be perfect for my "Victorian" era Christmas project.

Stamp references:  white and black border (db4986i catalog p. 60), spiral ornament (mk264a catalog p. 89), checkerboard ornament (ge2551c catalog p. 86),  stars and swirls on ball (I drew the topper), and my all-time favorite word, joy.

I have been obsessed with manipulating Citrasolv backgrounds so I took a random National Geographic page that had already been sprayed with Citrasolv in a National Geographic and left to dry while the magazine was still intact.  For more info on this process, visit the tutorials on my blog in September and October. So, as you can see below, this piece is torn straight out of the magazine.  I didn't trim it down so you could see the raw manipulation (totally happenstance).  I believe the original picture was some kind of cricket match.  I chose it only for color.  I went in search of a page with green and then fell in love with the peachy secondary color on this page.  This page was done around six weeks ago, but you can rework it after the fact.  I make piles of pages.  Become best friends with someone with a National Geographic stash.  You'll be glad you did. 

 These are some of the supplies I use when reworking a page.  I often use India ink and dip pens, stencils, stamps, paint brushes, etc.  That's only the tip of the iceberg, though. 

For this particular design, I chose to remove a pattern around the edges with Terri Stegmiller's Layered Salad stencil.  I did first cut down the design to remove the text from the article and to have a workable size.  The detail picture below shows which part of the stencil I used with a paper towel scrap lightly dipped in Citrasolv.  I was able to remove a lot of the green, leaving the peach behind. The second picture below shows the finished border. 

Now it was time to make this into something interesting.  I started by stamping the white and black border stamp in the middle using Black StazOn. This addition of black pushed the background back where I wanted it and began the composition.

I continued with the ornaments, starting the ball in the lower right corner, and then the checkerboard ornament in the upper left corner.  I rough cut a mask of the checkerboard ornament and placed it over the stamped image so that I could stamp the third spiral ornament behind.  I hand drew lines and made a ornament top with a XS Pitt Artist Pen.
To compliment the composition by I then masking off all but one side of the border stamp and stamping it along the perimeter for a repeat pattern.  I added some black into the border with another great stencil by Joanne Sharpe for the StencilGirl's Club. Then I finished it off with the simple word joy at the bottom.  Now who would have thought this was a cricket game????  That's the beauty of creating art from something else.  I know.  You now know, but no one else would see anything except a complex background. 

While I liked this so far, but it still needed some tactile texture so I mounted all of it with two sided tape to green cardstock, and then sliced a tiny bit of peach to slide under before adding it all to matte black heavy cardstock.  (I decided to make this a card, but this could also have been mounted and framed.) I then took my all-time favorite PPA matte glue from USArtquest and some of their Guilt Trip pearls and went to town using my toothpick with a little bit of PPA to pick up the Prills right from the container.  The antiqued gold color and organic nature of the Prills was perfect to finish off the ornaments.

I love to do oddly colored Christmas pieces.  It keeps it fresh for me!  I hope you enjoyed it.  Rubbermoon has oodles of other Christmas and holiday stamps.  Check them out and please comment with any technique questions you might have here, my website or on my facebook art page. I'll see you on my blog on December 24 for holiday part 2, a holiday gift from Rubbermoon and me.


  1. Fabulous!!! I totally love it!!!!

  2. Another Wonderful Tutorial Ms. Currry. YOU ARE GOOD!

  3. Thanks SO much, Nancy! More amazing info. from another amazing artist!

  4. Wow, Nancy!!! Fabulous tutorial!!!! Thank you for once again sharing your brilliant holiday inspiration! I enjoyed the story behind the project too! xoxo

  5. We love what you make and share! Just beautiful once again!

  6. Wonderful tutorial Nancy, thanks so much. Love the piece!