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')

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New DT Members - Welcome Lisa and Autumn!!

Pamellia here, and I am so excited to be here today to introduce you to not just one, but two extremely talented ladies who will be joining the design team here at Anything But Cute! Do stay tuned and get to know these ladies as they introduce themselves to you!

It takes a special kind of artist to be able to mix two different art styles together successfully, and Lisa does it better than any crafter I have seen! Her shabby chic softness is just breathtaking and the way she blends that softness with mixed media products is not just a matter of skill, but also a real talent for balancing paper and paste. But Lisa doesn't stop there, she also does vintage, quirky, bold and beautiful and so much more...lots to love about everything she makes! I am just tickled pink to get to craft along side her over the coming months, and I know you will all be truly inspired by her creations!

Hi, everyone!! My name is Lisa from A Mermaid's Crafts. I am a writer and I live in southern Indiana in the USA. I've always loved to craft but didn't seriously pursue it until about fifteen years ago when I became hooked on the craft shows HGTV used to air. I first saw Tim Holtz on The Carol Duval Show and fell in love with his grungy, inky style.

I started blogging in March of 2011 and have loved every minute of it. My style is always changing, but my current favorite is shabby chic. I love distressed edges, torn paper, crackle paste, shabby stitching, lots of flowers and ribbon. I admire people who can do CAS because I just can't. I have to have layers...big open areas on a card make me break into a sweat. I have an almost compulsive need to keep adding embellishments!! I have a serious die, stamp and crinkle ribbon addiction and probably have enough paper to cover the earth...yet I still keep buying more (not quite hoarder status, but close ;). I'm so excited to begin this journey with this amazing design team!!

I've picked out a few of my favorite mixed media pieces to share with you today. I had so much fun making this canvas, which combines two of my favorite things...the ocean and mermaids :)

This canvas was a gift for my sweet niece. The sentiment is one of my favorites so I wanted to build a scene that was filled with texture and visual interest.

I rarely make masculine projects...I love flowers and ribbon and bling too much :) But for this steampunk inspired canvas, I used a mixture of metal and wire and texture paste. Even though it was masculine, I couldn't resist adding a butterfly and this one made of gears was perfect for this.

This journal page is one of my earliest attempts and also one of my favorites. I love the vibrancy of the Dylusions sprays. I filled waterbrushes with different colors of the sprays to color the leaves. A funky Dylusions stamp and Beeswax floor stamp finished the page.

Mixed media cards are my favorite thing to make. I love adding layers, texture and dimension to cards. This one includes several of my favorite mediums...crackle paste, texture paste, distress inks and sprays and frantage.


Autumn is fairly new to the crafting scene, but she has exploded across the mixed media world with her amazing creations!! I fell in love with her work instantly and just knew she was going to be someone to follow and keep watch on! She does it all, layouts, cards, tags, you name it, and her styles are just as ranged as her project base! She has such a great way with texture and dimension, even on a flat surface, and every creation is filled with elements that you want to reach out and touch! I really look forward to seeing what she creates and can't wait to get to know her better as an artist and a friend!

Autumn here to share just a little bit about myself...I am married to an amazing man, and my biggest supporter.  We have four children, yes four!  I live in the US and work full-time as a church secretary. I have been stamping for over 15 years, but making art throughout my entire life. Creativity is my outlet, passion and purpose. I define my style as grunge meets elegance. Though I love to distress everything, I like to balance my work with a touch of pretty and neat.  In addition to stamping, I love to draw and paint and have found that mixed media allows me to blend these skills and create rich artwork, filled with depth and texture. I started my blog, SewPaperPaint a little less than a year ago. The girls at Anything But Cute have been such an inspiration to me in my first year of blogging.  I am thrilled to be joining this team!  

It was no easy task to sift through my work and pick "favorites", but I picked a few pieces that I feel really showcase who I am as a mixed media artist and stamper.  This butterfly piece is my favorite mixed media creation to date.  I love the soothing colors, the subtle grungy texture and the vintage elements. I love the stamped focal point and the little crocheted cocoon. I can't relate this piece to anything else and think that is what I love most about it, the uniqueness.

This reverse canvas is another favorite because I love the natural, woodsy feel of it.  It was a gift to a very dear friend and has sentimental meaning.  I like all of the layering and imagery and puddled paint around the frame.  Handmade embellishments are one of my favorite ways to dress up a project.

I love constructing mini albums and filling them with my collections.  Here I enjoyed using a hodgepodge of leftover paper and tons of stamps.  I love the simplicity of this cover and the handmade flower stem and tape.  When I need a card idea, I flip through this album and pick a layout. Works for me every time!

As far as journal pages go, this is my all time favorite.  I drew the feather and made a stencil from it. I love developing my own designs and experimenting here with neon paints, and the contrast with the shadowy, ethereal background.  Not to mention, I really enjoy lettering and handwriting in my projects.

As far as cards go, though I do love making my own backgrounds, I always enjoy a nicely layered card from designer paper.  I love mixing multiple patterns with the "more is more" theory.  This card is a favorite because of the pretty vintage seam binding, the DIY embellishment, and the machine stitching.  Using inspirational quotes and scripture is one of my favorite ways to personalize my cards.

Again, thanks so much to this team for welcoming me!  I cannot wait to join in these artful adventures with you!  Also a huge welcome to Lisa, who is such an amazing crafter and encouragement.  Hugs, Autumn


Are you folks as blown away as I am right now?? WOW, look at all those gorgeous projects!! I feel so lucky to have scooped these talented gals up, what a treat it will be to learn more about these ladies behind the scenes and share their work with you every month!

Lisa and Autumn will be presenting their first projects for Anything But Cute on May 5th for our One Year Blogiversary Challenge!!! You won't want to miss out on this one, as we will have tons of surprises and prizes!!

Happy Crafting, Hugs Pamellia :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spotlight Artist - Sara Emily is Tempting You With Texture!

Hello! It's Sara Emily here, and I'm excited to present this month's Spotlight Post, where I will be tempting you with texture! For those of you who see my work, you might see I like to add a bit of texture.

Two things come to mind when I think of texture: visual  and tactile.  Visual texture creates the illusion of dimension, while leaving the surface smooth and flat. Tactile texture has dimension that you can both see and touch. For today's post I'm going to provide some examples of different types of texture, focusing mostly on the tactile version. Even though I don't claim to be an expert on the subject, I do tend to use a bit of tactile texture in my work, but not as much in the line of visual texture.

A couple of examples of visual texture follow.  In the first project, you can see visual texture on both the smaller tags and the larger tag. For the two smaller tags, I applied Distress paint, and then blended on distress inks once the paint was dry.  By flicking on some water, allowing it to sit for a moment, and then heat drying, I was able to give some depth to the background.  By layering paints, inks and then paints again, I can achieve a lot of depth. Specifically this is done by first giving the surface a coat of gesso. Then I placed some Distress paints on my craft mat, spritzed with water and dragged my dried gesso covered card through the puddles. I heat dried and repeat until I'm satisfied with the look. In this example I stamped a Tim Holtz Flourish image with Picket Fence Distress paint and heat dried.  Next, I blended on some Distress inks, and wiped over the flourish to remove the ink from it.  The dried Distress paint acts as a resist.  I flicked on watered down Distress paint in Picket Fence, and then finished with a stamped sentiment. Lot's of depth while the surface remains smooth and flat--visual texture!


In the following project, I used paper products--vintage book pages and tissue wrap and stamped images to provide  some visual texture. Of course there's some tactile texture here, too, in the form of crackle and rusted metal elements.

For my card Let It Snow (again!), I created visual texture and depth using a household product--plastic wrap! This is not my idea, but I saw it somewhere in blogland quite some time ago.  I gave my card a coat of gesso, and dried.  I sprayed with Distress spray stains in Wilted Violet and Blueprint Sketch, misted with water, and laid my wrap over the wet sprays.  I scrunched it up and left it to dry overnight.  When I removed it, it left this beautiful frosted appearance. Additional visual texture is made using a snowflake stencil and paints and inks. Tactile texture is given using an embossing folder and embossing powder.

OK, you get the idea of visual texture, and now let's move onto the good stuff--Tactile texture!!! Tactile texture can be achieved in a variety of ways--using mediums, pastes, papers and other textiles, embossing folders and powders, gesso and paints, die cuts, found objects, and even household products. I could go on and on, because I am always searching for more ways to add texture, but I'm afraid I might bore you.  So, I'll try to limit myself to some of my favorites, and save others for another day.  I'm sure much of this is not new to you, but hopefully there will be something that will inspire you!

We'll start with my favorite--RUST! I'm always looking for new ways to get a rusted look, and recently I've had the opportunity to try some techniques new to me. There are many, many ways to get the look of rust, some of them require fancy products,some just paints and others use a variety of mediums. Mine came strictly from what I had on hand. I guess you could call me a frugal crafter!

For the following two projects, I used similar techniques.

In the photo below, you can see I added visual texture first by adding  gesso, vintage book pages, and paint to my background. To get the rusty texture, I added glass bead gel at the top and bottom over my rusty colored paint.  This starts out white in color, but dries clear.  The stuff on either side is crackle medium, and we'll talk about that later.

In this next photo, the glass bead medium has dried (as has the crackle medium), and I've added Distress paints in Rusty Hinge and Walnut Stain and DecoArt Quinacridone Gold and Cadmium Orange followed by Ginger alcohol ink. This is a bit too glossy, so I gave it a coat of DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish and then a light dab of Walnut Stain paint once more. I repeated this technique on the butterfly, and the metal embellishment. To see more photos of this project you can visit my Rusted Porcelain post.

In the next two photos, I've made rusted embellishments by using a couple of pantry staples: cinnamon and instant coffee. In the first photo it is used on the rusted grate on the backing and in the following photo, it's used on the buckles. For the grate, I used packing material, added Mod Podge and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and coffee.

I start by adding Mod Podge to each buckle, then sprinkle with a mixture of the cinnamon and coffee. When dry, I add another coat of Mod Podge to seal. I find it helpful to pour out some Mod Podge to a little cup, so you don't contaminate the large bottle with your cinnamon and coffee. For the buckles, but not the grate, I gave the dried buckles a coat of the Ultra Matte varnish to take down the shine of the (matte) Mod Podge and then a light touch of Quinacridone Gold.

Another rust technique I used on one of these projects is using household chemicals to create rust on metal hardware.  while the nuts and nails were already rusted in the garage, I rusted the keyrings and washes with a bath of vinegar for 24 hours followed by a soaking of kosher salt and hydrogen peroxide for another 24 hours, and finally, a sun bath for another day. A bit time consuming but effective.

On my next rusted project, I was looking for a rusted tin roof vibe.  I got that (I hope), by using a piece of corrugate board from a shipping box.  I distressed it and painted it with Folk Art Metallic Gunmetal Grey and heat embossed while the paint was still wet with a mixture of embossing powders: Embossing puffs in brown and a mixture of Cloisonne  High Gloss Granules (which are like Ultra Thick Embossing Powder), black embossing powder, and Perfect Pearls Powder in Pewter. To see more detail s of this wall hanging you can visit my Stay Curious post.


I don't really know what look I was going for here, but it all ended up looking like rust to me in the end.

I started by embossing my card with a Tim Holtz Steampunk Texture Fade and sprayed with Distress Spray stains, Distress inks, Lindy's Moon Shadow Mist, Ranger embossing puffs, Burnt Copper Leaves embossing powder, and some of my hand compounded Cloisonne Granule/embossing powder/Perfect Pearls powder. I can't tell you the exact colors used, because I was just flinging stuff at this at the time.  but start flinging your own colors, and see what happens! That's the beauty of mixed media. The ball chain is altered using alcohol inks and embossing powders, and the gears paint and embossing puffs, powders, and Cloisonne Granules. To see details of this and the other textures on my card, visit my Grungy Valentine post.


Well, I think we might move on to something other than rust!  How about CRACKS?  Another favorite of mine. The following two photos show hearts with cracks, although  it's hard to see them in the second shot. I actually followed Pamellia's tutorial here, but I thought no discussion of cracks would be complete without mention of  her Mega Crackle.  I added a little heat embossing for additional texture. The purple frame also has cracks.  I used Crackle paste (Golden in this case), Distress ink and paint to color it, and DecoArt antiquing cream to show off the crackles.

Special Gift

The bigger cracks on this little guy's top hat come from crinkling up the card before making into a hat. I rubbed a little Ranger Perfect Ink Refresher into the card before wrinkling and beating on it and then forming it into a tophat. I used Distress Crackle paint, acrylic paint, and DecoArt Grey Antiquing Cream to get and highlight the small cracks.

Something A Little Less Sinister 

I got the nice large cracks on this skull by using DecoArt Crackle Paste in thin and thick layers. By priming the styrofoam skull with black gesso before applying the paste, I got a nice old, decaying bone look. I highlighted the cracks further and aged the "bone" with DecoArt Creme Wax. I invite you to click on the link below the photo (if you dare!) to see how gruesome this little guy is, and to see how I made his rotted hair.

Decay and Spiders! Beware!

I love the love of cracked glass, and here I made faux cracked glass on my clock faces using Tim Holtz' Faux Cracked Glass technique.  I used Ranger Glue and Seal (matte) on  clean and dry vials, acetate, and glass watch crystals, followed by Distress Rock Candy Distress Crackle paint in a medium layer. Make sure the Glue and Seal is perfectly dry first. Allow both mediums to dry on their own. I used various alcohol inks to give the glass an aged appearance.  You can click on the link below the photo for details on how I crackled the clock die cut.

Fe Fi Faux Fum 

Other ways to create texture on your mixed media pieces include embossing folders like I used in the example below.

Oh, Baby It's Cold Outside 

Use stencils and paste--texture or crackle like I did on this shabby card.

Shabby Wedding Card

Or throw everything including the kitchen sink at your paper or card. Here I used pieces of coffee filters, cheese cloth, and microbeads and then topped it off with crackle paste and a stencil. Isn't it yummy?

Shabby Monochromatic

Or use your mistakes! Here, I used a piece of card I had heat embossed with Distress Embossing powders which leave a gritty texture when heated.  I did a poor job on the embossing, but saved the panel in my "trash" box anyway. For this project I tore it into strips and adhered to a heavy card base. I gave it a coat of gesso using a credit card, and before the gesso fully dried, I scraped over it with the  credit card again, revealing a gritty worn texture. A few torn vintage book pages with a watery wash of gesso complete the background all ready for what ever you want to throw at it or leave it just as it is for a shabby vintage look.

Sometime's it's just fun to see how your new products will react with your old ones! In this sample, I had sprayed my scrap of card with Rusty Hinge Distress Spray stain and dropped on some Perfect Pearls powder in Forever Green.  I spritzed with water and dried with my heat tool.  I added a thick layer (like spreading peanut butter) of my new Distress Crazing medium and again dried with the heat gun. This looks really amazing in real life--like old worn and musty leather. Oh, I love grunge!

I think I will leave it at that before I bore you to tears! Remember, with mixed media there's no wrong way to do anything! Just try different things, and you will find something you love!

There's still time to play along with Samra's Earth Day challenge which runs until May 4th! Get out your earthy colored mixed media products and possibly a recycled/upcycled item, and let's celebrate our great beautiful earth!

Thank you for giving me your attention and sticking with me through this LONG post; I do hope you come away with some inspiration!

Hugs and Blessings!
Sara Emily

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Feature Artist - Earth Day - Welcome Jenny

Hello Everyone!

Anne here, I am so thrilled to introduce you to our Feature Artist for April, the lady who was the winner of my 'Ring out the Old' challenge in January.  Please give a huge welcome to the super talented Jenny of Pushing the Right Buttons !

Jenny is one of those fabulous artists whose work and style is instantly recognisable, she is so clever with design, layers and textures.  Whether it is a card or a large canvas Jenny's attention to detail is exceptional.  Jenny has some fantastic tutorials on her blog, HERE, that are definitely worth visiting - she loves to share her experiments and new techniques.  Every time I visit Jenny's blog I learn something new!

Jenny's project for us today really showcases her style and also the thought that she puts into each and every project she does.  Can you tell, I am a big fan!

Hi everyone! My name is Jenny Marples from 'Pushing The Right Buttons' and I'm thrilled to have been asked to be a Feature Artist here at Anything But Cute. Being lucky enough to count several members of the Design Team as good friends and 'colleagues' it's a real honour to join them for this month's challenge.

As a mixed media designer, educator and demonstrator I love getting the opportunity to share tips, techniques and ideas wherever possible. I am proud to be Design Team lead/member for several companies/blogs, to have appeared on a number of online tv shows and to have had my work published in craft magazines on a regular basis. Behind the scenes I am lucky enough to be married to my best friend and be mum to three wonderful sons (oh, and one rather large daft dog). Being creative is a big part of my life and I hope some of that passion rubs off others along the way - we all need to 'share the love' in our own way!

When the theme 'Earth Day' was mentioned I went off in search of inspiration and was hit with a multitude of logos featuring the planet and branches. This is my interpretation of that logo with the addition of butterflies to symbolise the beauty and delicacy of the natural world.

It was also an opportunity to experiment further with the new Distress Crayons; here are some suggestions for using them on your backgrounds. I started with some Tissue Wrap and a die cut globe stuck down and covered with a thin coat of gesso this time. You could easily use some patterned paper instead and by cutting the main image from black card you will help it to stand out more.

Having scribbled blue and green Distress Crayons on top I blended them together with my finger. If you find they are not blending easily add more colour and you'll find they glide together.

The great thing about these crayons is that they are water reactive, so having spritzed the entire background with water I was able to dab off some of the colour with a tissue. To be really eco-friendly you can save this and use it in another project!

To finish the background I blended some of the Black Soot Distress Crayon around the edges with my finger again and rubbed the Picket Fence version over the globe die cut. And it was all mounted on a piece of MDF board painted black.

To finish the piece I added a die cut branch covered with muslin, lace flowers, buttons, paper flowers and a coat of Antique Linen Distress Paint.

The die cut butterflies were also coloured with Distress Crayons and I added a little Ground Espresso Distress Ink over the top to provide some shadow contrast.

Hopefully you will now feel even more inspired to create your own Earth Day project and share it here at Anything But Cute. I really enjoyed working with this theme and would like to thank Pamellia and the Design Team for inviting me to be a Feature Artist this month.

Wow, how impressive is that!  Jenny's attention to detail just shines through in this gorgeous project!  Thank you Jenny, from the whole team for joining us here at Anything But Cute.

I hope you will feel encouraged to join in Samra's Earth Day Challenge, if you have not already done so.

You have until the 4th of May to play - and you will 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