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')

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Spotlight Artist - Cec - Foil Tape

Hello, it is Cec here and I am pleased to be presenting the spotlight post this month, which is about working with foil tape. 

There are sheets of foil tape on the market, some of which come in a variety of colours and while those would be useful when you need to make a larger element, you don't need to spend the big money that they cost in the craft store.  I pick this tape up at my DIY store and it comes in a very large roll that is 2" wide.  It is used in the heating and air conditioning business so I also have a roll of 3" wide tape because I talked the furnace service man into selling it to me out of his truck.

I am going to show you some sample pieces that I have made for the purpose of this spotlight and then will share a few finished projects from the past.

For the first one, I decided to add some texture under the foil tape by gluing down some gears, washers and drywall tape.  Next I cut small irregular sized and shaped pieces of the foil tape.  I peeled the backing off and affixed it to a scrap piece of card stock making sure I overlapped the edges and each piece.

I would suggest you start by laying tape loosely over your dimensional pieces first and use a paper stub to outline it.  In my experience if you lay down all your tape first and then start to outline it, you run the risk of tearing it because it is too tight.  Make sure you work on a craft sheet or something that will allow you to lift this up because once the paper backing is removed, this stuff is sticky.

Once I covered everything in pieces of tape, I trimmed around the edge of the panel and then I set about to give everything some pattern and texture.  I used a small embossing stylus, a two-pronged seafood fork, a paper stub and the end of a clickable ball point pen without actually clicking the pen.  I own a set of metal working tools because I was able to pick them up on sale but you can achieve a great effect with the tools I listed.

Once everything has some pattern, give it a good coat of a dark acrylic paint (in this case I used black) and then wipe the paint off so some remains in all the depressions you have created.  If it looks like you removed too much paint, just repeat the process.

Finally I took a variety of alcohol inks and gave the whole panel some colour.  I did not use any blending solution but put a few drops of each colour on my felt pad.

I covered a second piece of scrap card stock with just foil tape pieces and did not add any dimension underneath.  It was textured with the same tools along with a couple from my fancy set and painted black as the first panel was.

I gave this one a different colour palette and can see this appearing on a fall card soon.

Then I switched gears and created some flowers from the foil tape.  I started by cutting lengths of tape twice as long as I wanted, carefully peeled the paper backing off and folded it onto itself (adhesive to adhesive). This is a bit tricky because of how sticky the back is but it can be done and if it isn't perfectly aligned, it is no big deal.

The flowers were cut with a flower die but could also be hand cut.  DO NOT use your punches to cut them because the adhesive will gum up the punch and cleaning them is painful - a lesson I learned early on.

For these flowers, I ran them through an embossing folder but they could be given texture with the tools.  Once they had some texture they were painted black and the paint was wiped off.

Some alcohol inks were added to provide colour.

For this demonstration, I stacked three identical petals of each size, added a brad to the centre to keep them together and shaped them with my fingers and a dowel.  The foil tape is very malleable so it is really easy to shape them.  I did each one slightly differently.

As you can see, there are lots of uses for the tape.  Here are a few of my past projects that have utilized the tape.

This is a Christmas ornament I made for my tree and the top "petals" and a disc on the bottom are made from metal foil but I painted them with a dark red on the reverse side of the embossing and then highlighted the raised areas with Treasure Gold wax paste.

For this masculine card I added texture under and over the foil tape.  The zig zag is ric rac from my sewing closet, which shows that you can use all sorts of things to create dimension.

I added a foil tape flower to this frilly steampunk card.

Here I used the foil tape to create the mermaid's tail using an embossing folder to give it texture.

This card has a foil tape wing that I cut by hand and textured with an embossing stylus.

Finally, this is a cigar box that I literally covered with foil tape to make a treasure box for my 6 year-old Grandson.  It is looking a little worse for wear because he set it on the floor, threw his comforter on top of it and forgot the box was there so his Daddy stepped on it when he came in to tuck him in.  I have tried to fix it but I will wager I have to make another one because he loves it and I am not sure the repairs are going to hold up.

As you can see foil tape is a very versatile product for crafters so I hope you will pick some up and create with it too.

There's still time to join in the fun for Samra's mood board challenge...Summer Romance.

You have until the 4th of August 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

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Feature Artist for Summer Romance - Welcome Libby!

Hello Everyone!

Branka here and I am so excited to finally get the chance to introduce you to our Feature Artist for July. She was the winner of my "Vintage Garden" challenge in May.  Welcome Libby of Sweetest Earth!!!

Ahoy to All and Thank You for having me! I am honored.
I go by the nickname of Libby and I am, by profession, a Critical Care nurse but my spirit longs to create. I am in my mid 50's and can't remember a time when the urge to create did not exist. I , like so many, am self taught and over the past few years gravitated from painting in oils and photography to mixed medium arts. I am trial by error learning all of the new mediums and techniques out there and always experimenting with my own ideas, (some not so bright). Every day's a school day and there is no shame in experimenting with art!

Libby is an amazing crafter. She brings a wide range of different creations in art - from oil paintings and making jewelry to mixed media art. Her style is original and unique full of vibrant colours and great textures. You should take a look at her altered art makes and you would see how many clever ideas she has.

I think you will all agree that Libby is a creative force to be reckoned with and I am so proud of the project she put together especially for Samra's current challenge "Summer Romance"! Feast your eyes on this!!

For this month's challenge, I created The Mermaids Cove using a vintage serving bowl from the secondhand store.

The floral images reminded me of wildflowers I had seen near the beach. Mermaids evoke a spirit of romance to me so I chose it as my primary focus. I began with alcohol inks and after allowing them to naturally blend and mesh to form the blurs of color I wanted....

I began to brush paint coral and seaweeds while attempting to maintain the bowls original images. Looking back, I feel I over painted and lost most of the lovely florals. Next time I'll know better.

I originally stamped the mermaid image onto a plastic baggie, thinking the archival ink would dry and allow the alcohol inks natural, water-like flow to show through but alas, the ink would not dry on plastic so I moved to stamping on a thin layer of white tissue paper, (the kind used for gift wrap). It was necessary to do this because the bottom of the bowl was curved and my flat, block stamp would not work.

I cut around my image, leaving a fair amount of tissue paper border. A very fine layer of slightly watered down glue was gently applied to the back of my archival ink stamped image. Once dry, I lightly spritzed the tissue paper image with water and this allowed the dried alcohol inks beneath to show through without blurring the mermaid image.

I should have left well enough alone at this point but my lust for more color won and I added more inks in an attempt to achieve more depth. I'm a color addict and the white of the bowl bothered me at the time. I wanted it to appear as if it were underwater therefore added more blue and green inks.

I sprayed my completed bowl with clear gloss acrylic spray, added natural shells and coral to give it more depth and then applied another layer of the clear gloss spray. There are quite a few errors in this piece and although it did not meet my minds standards for it, I will hang it for the lovely, positive qualities it does possess and as a colorful reminder of "what-not-to-do" next time. Fearless creating is what gives birth to beauty so, get out there and go!

WOW, is about all I can muster! My vocabulary escapes me ... What a gorgeous summery mixed media piece you have created out of a vintage serving bowl! It's full of fabulous vibrant colours, awesome natural elements and great techniques! I am sure everyone will have enjoyed reading and seeing how you created your beautiful art!
Thank you so much, Libby, for joining us as a very well deserved Feature Artist and we do hope you will join us again soon!

I hope that seeing Libby's wonderful creation will inspire you to join us for Samra's wonderful challenge...
Summer Romance.

You have until the 4th of August 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

Sunday, July 12, 2015

WINNERS - Challenge #2 - Make it Masculine

Hello Everyone!

It is Cec here with the winners of the Make It Masculine challenge.  When I selected that theme, I knew there might be some who would say they found making masculine projects difficult but I also knew some would be up for the challenge.  Needless to say I was pretty impressed that 77 talented people were willing to get their mixed media supplies out and create the most incredible masculine projects to inspire us. Of course they all brought their "A" game so it made choosing just two very difficult for me.  I spent one day going through the entries over and over and then narrowed it down to a short list and then it took me another day to decide on a winner and a runner-up.  I wish I could have chosen more but I know the rest of the team will have some fabulous picks as well.


I chose this project because it is not only full of wonderful texture but has a fabulous masculine colour palette.  Art should evoke some sort of emotion in the viewer and this piece made me laugh.   The sentiment is wonderfully cheeky and all the metal bits and pieces that were lifted from her husband's toolbox to spell out Google make this a very fun masculine canvas.

Congratulations!! Pamellia will be contacting you via email to send you your personalized winner's badge and details about being our Feature Artist for the next challenge.


I chose this piece because it is a great example of steampunk and is chock full of wonderful stamping and industrial elements that make it super masculine and very dimensional.

We have a special award to give out this month to a very talented artist who captivated the entire design team with her incredible techniques. Her project was filled with the most amazing textures and colours, and she explained every detail of her process so we could learn how she achieved such greatness. Congratulations Tracy, you have...


If you have never been to visit Tracy, I highly recommend that you do. It's impossible not to be inspired by her creativity and talent!

Now on to our DT Favourites

Samra's Favourite#50 Lisa F
Well, there are so many reasons why this canvas stole my heart! One of them is such a superb color combination. All those wonderful clock gears and the fancy Steampunk butterflies made my heart sing with joy! Great attention to detail and such a beautiful design make this crafting gem stand out in my eyes.

Niki's Favourite#76-Amanda
I love that Amanda has used so many wonderful techniques and created this crisp image of some lovely gents. The handmade details, and clean lines are what caught my eye. The use of salt on the gears is genius and so very creative for this masculine wall hanging. To know that this background could have ended up in the trash, but instead, was altered into this is awesome sauce!

Branka's Favourite#45 Tracy Evans
This piece of art is a rusty heaven with such rich textures and perfectly chosen colours! I adore all those fantastic techniques Tracy has used here! Fabulous design, amazing dimension and phenomenal crackling! I just love all the metal embellishments she put there and that faux cracked glass little bottle is a perfect addition to this brilliant masterpiece!   

Georgie's Favourite - #66 Irina R
I just fell in love with the gothic-grunge, dark style of this piece! The texture and use of masculine elements is just jaw-dropping to look at, and every time I see this there is something new drool over. Irina created so much depth and interest, with a gorgeous asymmetrical layout!!

Sara Emily's Favourite#42 Scrumplescrunch
I had so many favorites, but in the end I chose Sue's card.  I felt she put so much of her heart (no pun intended) into this amazing card for her husband.  I also love that her card had humble beginnings as die cut negative waste, but WOW, such amazing colors and texture in the end!

Pamellia's Favourites - I had such a hard time choosing just one favourite, so once again, I went on ahead and chose two!! 

I was sucked in to the fabulous layout of Candy's piece! Her splashes of yellow amid all the greys and blacks are so fabulous and her brickwork and harlequin textures create a wonderful ambience!

This piece just captivated me! There is such a an amazing depth to MARCH's piece. I love all those wonderfully blended colours and the white highlights just pop off the page! Incredible work!

Honourable Mentions 

Once again, there were just so many amazing projects that we decided to honour some addition works that stood out to us in style, structure and beauty!

18. Irena's art          22. Nikki Acton            24. Shilpa             28. Deb Riddell

32. Ingrid                     34. Max                  36. Sally D                   44. Chrissie

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 is still plenty of time to enter Samra's current challenge SUMMER ROMANCE! We can't wait to see what you come up with this time!

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

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Challenge #3 - July - Summer Romance

Hello dear Anything But Cute friends! Samra here hosting this month's challenge: "Summer Romance".

Thank you so much to everyone who played along with us last month for our Make It Masculine challenge. There were so many amazing projects and each one was a gorgeous work of art! Don't forget to check back with us next Sunday when Cec and the team announce the winners. Now on to this month's theme.

I have found some beautiful romantic sea inspired photos that our dear Pamellia put together into this gorgeous mood board. What I would love to see is projects with a romantic theme a beach/sea theme or both, but they must be strongly inspired by the colors of this mood board. 

For your convenience, here is the image URL -

I hope you will find some seashells that you brought home from vacation, get that Bahama Breeze paint that is waiting to be used and put them all into good use and "whip up" a mixed media piece for this month's challenge!

And now for some gorgeous inspiration from the the talented Anything But Cute design teamI hope you will take a few minutes to click on their names, so you check out all the details up close.

I chose this theme because I love the summer and sea. I altered an old fancy chocolate box and gave it a new life as a sea and love themed decorative box. I painted the box with 3 different paints to give it this weathered seaside look. I used a lot of real seashells and some gypsum starfish, painted them all white to match the seashells and starfish from our mood board. I also used cheese cloth, dew drops and some Cricut cutouts to complete this design. 

Branka - Vintage Handmade

I love everything related to summertime and sea. 'Summer Romance' is just a perfect theme for this time of year so I decided to create a canvas full of seashells and blue/green tones. I used a lot of mists, sprays and paints, crackle and sand paste, distress crackle paint in Clear Rock Candy and some embellishments. To imitate coral reefs I used Tim Holtz's Tattered pinecone die. 

Cec - CW Card Creations

For this project I decided to concentrate on the romance aspect and use the colours from the photo inspiration.  This is a Tussie Mussie that would have been carried by a bride in Victorian times but I added some shabby twists.  The cone is made from paintable wallpaper and I have added a variety of handmade fabric flowers, some embossed feathers that were fussy cut, a crackle lock and key and a handmade stick pin.

I absolutely love the theme Samra set for us... romantic blues, teals, turquoises and white are just perfect for this time of year and I felt inspired to create this card. The background was created using Spellbinders Shell Beauty 3D embossing folder and inked with Ecolines. The netting chipboard was some left over s from another project from Dusty Attic. 

Summer Lovin happened so fast! Yes, I just watched Grease a couple of weeks ago, anyhoo. This wonderful and soft theme made me think outside my comfort zone and try my hand once again at a sea and blue piece (the last one ended up in the trash). I love love because I have found my true love and I do believe that "True Love is Deeper than the Ocean". I even made my own seashells and sand!

I was so inspired by Samra's mood board! All of those blues and aquas with the surf and sand, who can resist the beach! I decided to put together a mixed media frenzy of waves and sand using lots of crackle pastes and glitters. The sand dollar, starfish and seashells are all authentic and the hand painted wood piece is a memento from a vacation taken many moons ago.

Sara Emily - sarascloset

I made a canvas this time using lots of texture and natural objects found at our local beaches.  A ton of mixed media products were used including pastes, inks, paints, stains, and sprays as well as fibers,beads, die cuts, rub ons, stamped images, and more! What could be more romantic than a walk on the beach with your sweetie!

Wow, what an amazing line up of creations from our design team...and now it is your turn to let your imagination loose and take our breath away with your makes! I hope that we have inspired you to head to your craft room and put those summery paints and embellishments to work.

The winner will receive the honour of being our Guest Designer 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 talented mixed media newcomer. We all have to start somewhere, right?


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