Here at Anything But Cute we love to see all the seasoned and expert mixed media artists, but we also want to encourage those who are just getting their feet wet. Our design team will always be on the lookout for these exceptional artists, and you just never know when we might be giving out something special to a talented mixed media newcomer.
Make sure to put 'newbie' after your name in the linky so we know who you are.
(new refers to 'new to mixed media' NOT 'new to our challenge')

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Feature Artist for It's Ornamental - Welcome Cathryn!

Hello Everyone!

Niki here and I am so excited to finally get the chance to introduce you to our Feature Artist for November. She was the winner of my "Mixed Media Makeover" challenge in September. Welcome Cathryn Wood of Strangely Creative!!

Cathryn is an amazing crafter. She is such an amazeballs and versatile crafter. She has also been known to teach some interesting techniques. Every time I visit her blog, I learn something new. She shares some of these techniques with this gorgeous design!

I think you will all agree that Cathryn is a creative force to be reckoned with and I am so proud of the project she put together for our current challenge "It's Ornamental"! Feast your eyes on this!! Not only did she design a gorgeous, vintage display box but she made 2! What! Shut the front door! Both are stupendous and make perfect displays for any house during the holidays! I can go on and on about these but you should know more about this lovely, and Strangely Creative lady!


I am thrilled to be chosen as Feature Artist for such a lovely challenge blog as Anything But Cute - I am Cathryn Wood, although I am known as Strangely Creative.

I have always loved art and crafts, and have had huge fun within the industry and along the way have made some lovely friends as well.   I have taught art all over the UK and Holland, designed various products, done TV work, and just had a great time! I am always laughing, and hope to keep it that way!

"It's Ornamental" is such an inspiring challenge - straight away I knew that I wanted to do something using a box canvas, and that would stand alone.  Also I wanted to use my faux microscope slide technique.

First of all I created the faux microscope slide by choosing an image (I collage a whole sheet of images at once). Laminated it, and for the back of the slide used some hardboard but you could cut an old book cover, grey board etc to size.

Next, I stuck some kitchen foil to some double sided tape, and attached this around the edges to look like soldering,  It is really effective!  There is a tutorial on my blog for this which I hope you will view.

So here is my "stuff" - my start point!   A canvas, a cotton spool for the base, 2 faux slides (I couldn't decide which one to use at this point), a frame cut from scrapbook paper, a crown I cut from foam-board and 2 bells.

First of all I die cut some snowflakes and glittered them up and then stuck them to the back of the canvas,

The next stage was to paint the back and sides of the canvas with a colour darker than the scrapbook paper (I used a deep Rookwood Red).   Then glued the scrapbook paper frame into place and drilled a small hole into the top of the frame.

I cut and shaped a length of card to look like hanging snow, and glued this to the top of the frame then used texture paste over the card, on the inside of the frame and around the edges and also glittered it whilst it was wet.

The foam board crown was covered with scrapbook paper and then the edges neatened using the faux soldering idea (as used on the faux slides).  Then I inked the edges of both frame and crown, the 25 comes from the Tim Holtz Salvage Stickers Lost and Found collection.   The key is from the TH Alterations movers and shapers die, and its actually 10 layers of card stuck together.

I gathered together various bits of lace, the large bundle in the front I dyed with tea for a really vintage feel.

I then decided I wanted the frame to stand proud from the cotton reel, so drilled another hole and glued some doweling into it.  The lace was glued onto the back of the canvas in layers so its really full, then I added some Stickles in Diamond for further interest. I sunk the key into the foam-board and then glued it into place.

The next step was to tie the bells onto some thread and stick the thread along the back of the slide, and up through the hole in the canvas where I glued it firmly down.   The slide moves slightly and looks really good.

Finally the crown was glued into place and I added some more Stickles along with a red bow and popped it into the cotton reel!

I enjoyed it so much I made a second one - exactly the same way but slightly larger and using cardboard numbers instead of the crown.

I hope you have enjoyed this project and feel inspired!


WOW, is about all I can muster! My vocabulary escapes me! From faux soldering, to faux microscope slides, these are brilliant and so very festive and not to mention stunning! Did you see that snow effect!?! Are you inspired because I know I sure am. Thank you Cathryn!

I hope that seeing Cathryn's wonderful creations will inspire you to join me for our current challenge "It's Ornamental"!

You have until the 4th of December to play - and you'll find all the challenge details as well as lots of inspiration from the brilliant Anything But Cute design team by clicking on the challenge link.

Happy Crafting and Carpe Diem


  1. This is a great Christmas ornament! Thanks for the tutorial Cathryn!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous Cathryn!! I am intrigued by this 'faux microscope slide technique' so I will definitely be checking that out! Your frame is just stunning with all the snowy icicles hanging down and the fabulous papers underneath! I love the images you used and the wonderfully vintage traditional Christmas palette! Thank you so much for joining us here today as our Feature Artist, you really rocked our theme! hugs :)

  3. Nice work Cathryn!!! Great step by step too :) Thank you!


  4. Wonderful ideas and great art piece

    Love Chrissie xx

  5. I just love the idea of your faux microscope slide technique, they really do look... well, real! They look perfect in your shadow box designs and the snow/ice looks amazing too. Both projects are absolutely wonderful! Anne xx

  6. Wow, Cathryn! What an amazing job you did both with your step by step and those wonderful ornaments! I love all the details, but that snow really knocked my socks off! You have put so much love and hard work into these, and we appreciate you sharing them as our Feature Artist! You are a brilliant artist! Hugs!

  7. Oh, Cathryn, I love both of your amazing creations! Wonderful step by step! So glad to see you here as our Feature Artist! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful art with us! Hugs!

  8. I just love both of these pretty reverse canvasses - what wonderful scenes you created inside!

  9. Wonderful, what fabulous Christmas decorations, thanks so much for sharing your techniques! Deb xo

  10. Absolutely adorable! I love both pieces!! Well done Cathryn!

  11. Fabulous Christmas decor items and a terrific tutorial. I love that you used the back side of the canvas to make these and they have such a wonderful vintage feel to them. The faux slide technique is great fun and I must try that out too. So glad you could join us as our Feature Artist.