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')

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spotlight Artist - Anne - Add Sewing to your Project

Hello everyone, Anne here, I would like to share with you a few sewing projects and also some hints and tips that I find useful when sewing craft projects.  My samples mainly incorporate machine sewing as I find that the quickest and easiest method of adding interest to a project.  However, faux stitching (with a pen) or hand stitching can also be very effective.

You do not need an 'all singing and dancing' expensive machine to get good results, even the cheapest little sewing machines from the craft store will work fine as long as you are not trying to sew through too many layers.

Firstly, there are a couple of things to remember when stitching with card or paper (I have put my tips into bullet points, throughout the post, for easy reference).

  • Machine stitching onto paper or card will blunt your needle!  I keep one needle separately for use with paper and card.
  • Take your time!  Stitching on paper leaves holes, so if you do go wrong you will be left with an unwanted hole.
  • Always stitch on the 'right side of your paper/card - holes from the back look like the paper has been punctured and trust me, it is not a good look.
My first project is a simple one.  I took some watercolour paper and put a wash of turquoise watercolour ink across one section and when dry, I added some washi tape for interest.  I die cut some hearts from card and decided where I would like them to bit.  I used a bit of washi tape to hold the edges of the hearts and machine stitched down the middle of the hearts.  This could be used as a card topper with the addition of some words.

You can leave the stitching messy as I have done, or you could pass the thread through to the back for a neater look.  If you are going to pass the thread through, just leave a nice long length of thread, so that you can thread it onto a sewing needle and pass it through one of the holes you have already created.
  • Use a larger stitch length when stitching onto paper or card, too small a stitch may rip the paper/card.  You can see below, my craft sewing machine has just a few basic stitches, I used the 'C' stitch, which is the middle sized stitch, but a larger one would work equally well. 
  • Never use pins to hold things in place for stitching - you will not be able to get rid of the holes and that will spoil the look of your project.
You can stitch by hand onto your project, it will take a little longer but it looks just as effective.  On the example below I decided where I wanted my heart, held it in place with washi tape and used a pokey tool on a mat to make the holes.  You could stitch direct onto the card but poking the holes through first makes it much easier to control the spacing of the stitches.

I tend not to use a back stitch when I sew onto paper/card, I used a running stitch (bottom left) going from one end to the other and then a running stitch on the way back (top right) to fill in the gaps. This method looks very neat as you can see in the picture (bottom right).

For my next project I took some book pages, coloured them with ink and then drew out some quirky houses, along with a couple of doors.  Book pages are very thin, so I usually coat them with a a layer of clear Gesso - this gives the book pages a bit of 'body' and makes them easier to handle, for stitching.

After creating a mixed media background, using ink, paint, stencils, rub-ons and some washi tape, I laid the houses where I wanted them and held them with a little washi tape.  

I stitched around the houses with black cotton but you could use white or another light colour so that the stitching will be more prominent.
  • Don't be tempted to use sticky tape on the back of something that you will be sewing over, it will make your needle very sticky and it will affect the way your machine works (ask me how I know this!!).
My next project includes both card and fabric.

I started by drawing a beach hut onto cream canvas fabric and used a watercolour pencil to draw in and colour some stripes.  I also did the door in the same way.  I find it much easier to draw out the elements onto canvas/fabric and then machine stitch the edges BEFORE cutting them out.  This helps to prevent the edges from fraying too much when you cut out the elements to add to your project.

I cut two more pieces of fabric to create some 'sand dunes' and then stitched these to the tag base.

I stitched the beach hut in place, going all around the edges and then did the same with the door.  Several rows of stitching adds interest to your project.  I added some coloured gauze at the bottom to represent the sea.   This photo shows me placing the pieces onto the tag.

If you are adding gauze or any other flimsy type of fabric, just remember to stitch slowly across it, gently pushing it under the needle as you go.
  • You may get a build up of lint in your machine, when using card/paper - just check from time to time and using the little lint brush that comes with most machines, clean this out of the compartment where the bobbin sits, if you see that there is a build up of lint.
My next project uses sewing onto a cotton canvas base to create a simple picture.  I started by sketching out in pencil, where I wanted the hills, houses and trees to be.  I stitched all the lines in black cotton to make them stand out.  I coloured the little houses with watercolour pencils to make them stand out more.  I have not decided yet whether to watercolour the rest of the picture or possibly add some embroidery.

Finally, this is a project from a year ago, I just added a little machine stitching to the heart but I think it makes the heart stand out beautifully.

I hope you may feel inspired to get your machine out and add some simple stitching to a project, I think it can add a lot of interest to projects, it does not need to be fancy, a few stitches even by hand can make such a difference.

If you have any questions, please do leave them in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Our current challenge - Crazy for Colour  is being hosted by the lovely Branka.  If you have not joined in yet we hope that you will, there is still plenty of time left!

Thanks so much for your visit to Anything But Cute today!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Feature Artist - Crazy For Colour - Welcome Jane

Hello Everyone!

Pamellia here and I am so excited to introduce you to our Feature Artist for March. Welcome Jane of Jane's Journal! I have been following Jane's work for quite some time and I always find inspiration in not just her projects, but her posts as well. Every post is filled with the images of nature and her surroundings and the places where she finds her inspiration, it's hard not to be motivated with every visit to her blog. She is crazy talented and we are honoured to have her here with us today!

Jane has put together a gorgeous project for our current challenge Crazy For Colour. I am just blown away by the beautiful vibrant colours, and I think you will be too!! And now, over to you Jane...

Hello, I'm Jane from Jane's Journal and I am delighted to have been invited by Pamellia as the Feature Artist for the current Crazy for Colour challenge. You will see my spelling of colour, yes that can only mean one thing...I'm English.

I live in Surrey in the UK and I am just about to finish working as a physiotherapist for the NHS after 34 years. It's a long story, the funding for our posts has stopped so I decided it was time to do something very different. Next week is my final week and I have decided to follow a crafting journey instead. Exciting times are ahead.

I have been blogging since 2010 and I have just taken on my very first DT post. I never had the time before. I have been a make and do girl since I could hold a pen and scissors and I adore all things paper crafting, including mixed media.

As well as my paper crafting I am also a silversmith, jewellery maker (note that English spelling again ;0) gardener, keen photographer and occasional cake decorator. Most of my inspiration comes from Mother Nature and my pretty little garden. I am lucky enough to have a garden studio where I can create outside in the warmer months.

For inspiration for this Crazy For Colour challenge I just looked around at all the lovely spring colours exploding around me. I needed a gift money wallet for some Easter cash so I reached for my brightest Distress Inks to come up with this

Yes put those sunglasses on! Below is how my money wallet started out. After blending the inks I added extra colours through 3  of my favourite Tim Holtz stencils.

I also embossed, stamped and fussy cut out a Visible Image butterfly which I coloured with glitter pens for some extra sparkle.

I also added some gold Treasure Gold to the CL die cut leaves for a total bling effect.

Please pop over to my blog here to see the inside of my money wallet and also the gorgeous spring flowers which inspired my post today. A very warm welcome awaits you there.

Thanks again Pamellia for inviting me here today and I really hope that I may have inspired some more readers to join in with this great colour challenge.

Crafty hugs, Jane


I'm drooling!! What a gorgeous project! All those beautiful colours make me so excited about the upcoming spring and summer seasons! Such a great project idea and Jane has really captured the essence of our challenge theme! Thank you so much Jane for all your work, you have made a stunning spring creation!

I hope that seeing Jane's wonderful spring wallet creation will inspire you to join us for our current challenge..."CRAZY FOR COLOUR!

You have until the 4th of April 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!
Pamellia :)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Winners - Challenge #10 - Grungy Love

Hello, it's Sara Emily here, and I've got to do  the most difficult task of being hostess for last month's challenge--pick a winner and runner-up!  Thank you for all your AMAZING grungy entries; I'm amazed at how many fabulous grungy love projects we received!  In my heart you ALL are winners, but I'm limited to choosing just one --so without further ado, here is the winner!

WINNER - # 33 Nikki Acton
Nikki created so many grungy layers on her canvas with incredible textures and gorgeous grungy metallic colors! This artwork is like four different projects in one, and has provided me with enough inspiration to last me a year! Wow!  You've got to visit her blog to see all her amazing techniques!

Congratulations Nikki!  Pamellia will be in touch by email to send you a personalized winner's badge and to provide details about being our Guest Designer for the next challenge.

And now for the Runner(s) Up!  I couldn't possibly pick just one!

RUNNER-UP - # 21 Aisha
Aisha added so many artfully arranged embellishments to her grungy heart, but my favorites are that little caged fairy popping out at the center of it all and the fairy dangling at the bottom (not shown in photo).  Beautiful colors, too! I could sit and stare at this for hours, and this is one I'd like to hold in my hands to get a real good look-see!

RUNNER-UP - # 36 Mayoori
I adore Mayoori's crusty lock, key, and chain on her altered bottle, but the entire project is just beautifully grungy!  I also loved that she included a step by step of her work--I'm a curious crafter, and it helps me to appreciate her work that much more!

Now let's have a look at our DT favourites:

Anne's Favourite - #59 Joi@RR
To be honest, I had about 4 favourites but I just love how Joi put this canvas together, the black heart the chainsaw chain surrounding it, the gorgeous colours, the texture, it just screams grungy love!

Branka's Favourite#2 Tracy Evans
Gorgeous aged frame with awesome industrial elements. The colours and distressing on the frame are simply fabulous with those amazing splashes of red. A stunning piece of art so cleverly put together.

Cec's Favourite - #8 Boozybear
There were two parts to this tag that struck my fancy.  The background has some wonderful texture and colour to make it grungy on its own.  Then add to that the fabulous steampunk heart that started life as a piece of styrofoam from the dollar store and was transformed into a grungy work of art.

Niki's Favourite -#53 Merethe Arstein
What I really like about this altered egg is the love behind it. Merethe made this for her son and every element that she added represents a memory or something that her son likes. I can only imagine the time and love that went into this grungy egg and it will remain a treasure for her son for years to come. That's grungy love!

Pamellia's Favourites:
#25. Anna
I am so in love with Anna's creativity on this canvas. The way she carries the pattern around the edges of the canvas is amazing. You should pop in and see her close up shots, so the detail of her project can be truly seen!

45. Elli
I was just captivated by this drop dead gorgeous piece! The brilliant colours mixed with soft flowers and filigree butterflies just grabbed me and pulled me right in! Shabby goodness at it mixed media finest!! LOVE IT!

Samra's Favourite - #27 Elena Vinogradova
Stunning work of art with details that are special and meaningful to the recipient, just like certain details and charms that I added on my Grungy Love card :) I am so glad that I stumbled upon this creation while browsing the web, it simply stole my heart!

Outstanding Technique
To me, outstanding technique has more than one meaning. Sometimes it's trying something new and getting an incredible result, sometimes it's perfecting an old technique to make it new and exciting, and sometimes it's mastering a style that is considered difficult to others.

A style that I find super hard to do with any degree of success is One Layer/CAS Mixed Media Cards. It's a tough one to pull off, and this month we had not just one, but three absolutely gorgeous entries that were crisp, clean, simple and grungy - all at the same time! To these ladies, I say...YOU HAVE OUTSTANDING TECHNIQUE!

#3 - Suzz                             #4 - Loll                              #16 - Ksenija

Honourable Mentions:

I think this may have been the toughest Honourable Mention board to date. There were so many outstanding projects last month, and we truly loved each and every project in the end! In the order of entry, our Honourable Mentions are...

6. Kerstin                  11. Jane R.                18. Lula                     19. Lozzy

34. IrinaR                 44. Autumn               52. Suzz               54. Elizabeth 


A huge congratulation everyone! Thank you so much to everyone who played along with us last month and don't forget to grab your badges! You earned them!!

There's still lots of time to enter Branka's current challenge Crazy For Colour! We can't wait to see what you come up with this time!

Hugs to all, from the 'Anything But Cute' Design Team

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Challenge #11 - Crazy For Colour

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to a new challenge here at Anything But CuteBranka here and I am your hostess for this month's challenge. First of all, I would like to thank everyone who participated in Sara Emily's 'Grungy Love' challenge last month with all their amazing and very grungy Valentine's projects! Don't forget to check back with us next Saturday when Sara Emily and the team announce the winners of the 'Grungy Love' challenge. Now on to this month's theme.

Spring is coming! A time of the year that brings amazingly beautiful vibrant colours! This is what inspired me to choose the theme for this challenge...


To celebrate the springtime, we would like you to create a mixed media project using vibrant colours! It can be a tag, a card, an art journal page or anything else! Just be sure it's vibrant! It's time to go 'crazy' with colours!


And now for some inspiration from the talented Anything But Cute design team!

Anne - Redanne
I absolutely love the faux crackled glass technique I thought I would experiment with some really vibrant colours and give a 'facelift' to this oil diffuser set.

Branka - Vintage Handmade
A lots of acrylic paints (mostly fluorescent), Dylusions inks and acrylic inks have been used in creating this vibrant art journal page. I also used my hand dyed wool, a medical gauze, a piece of dyed burlap and some buttons. 

Cec - CW Card Creations
This Pot of Posies art journal page was made with lots of inks and stencils for the background.  The posies and butterfly utilize some watercolour techniques while the pot came from a painted page.

Niki - Pawsitively Creative Crafts
Going through my art supplies made me realize I do not have really Vibrant colors so I used what I had and enjoyed the end result. All of these colors put together really pop! Both butterflies are 3D! Embossing powder, alcohol ink, and Colour Arte paste took me "off the beaten path" with this tag. Hugz and Carpe Diem!

Pamellia - My Little Craft Things
I just love Branka's "Crazy for Colour" theme, it gave me a chance to just let loose and start spritzing those ink sprays every which way!! Lots of handmade embellishments, paints and texture products put together to create my Rainbow Sherbet Canvas!

Samra - Paper Talk with Samra
To create this card, I used neon paint that I got in Spirit Halloween store last year; some texture paste added through geometric stencil; hand made flowers and a few rhinestones. I hope this inspires you to create something bright and happy for this challenge. :)

Sara Emily - sarascloset
I had to dig deep to find my bright colors, but I finally put to use my Dylusions sprays, my long forgotten LuminArte Silks, Distress paint, transparent texture paste, some yard-sale-find fluorescent embossing powder and even a little bling to make my little canvas .


Truly inspirational and stunningly vibrant works by my talented teamies! Wow, ladies, what a treat for the eyes! Please hop over to the team blogs to see more photos and get some details on how these projects were made. And don't forget to leave some bloggy love while you're there.

I hope that we have inspired you to get out your vibrant colours and create some wonderful projects for our challenge!

The winner will receive the honour of being our Feature Artist for an upcoming challenge!

Here at Anything But Cute we just 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 projects and artists. You just never know when we might be giving out something special to a lucky mixed media newcomer. We all have to start somewhere, right?

Challenge runs until April 4th - we can't wait to see what you come up with! Happy Crafting from the entire team and thanks for visiting Anything But Cute!