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')

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Spotlight Artist - Astrid - Visual Journal Cover

Hello Everyone!

Pamellia here and I am so excited about our Spotlight Artist this month! I have been of fan of this gal's work for so long, and with all of her obligations, I was more than thrilled when she agreed to share her amazing techniques and art with us today!! Buckle your seat belts because you are in for one heck of an incredible post!!

A very warm welcome to the super talented  ASTRID of ASTRID'S ARTISTIC EFFORTS!

Hello all, and I am super excited to be here! Thank you Pamellia for inviting me!

My name is Astrid, and on the web many people know me as Astridchristine. I have been stamping and paper crafting probably for about 10 years or so, but did not get seriously into it until about 2008.

My paper crafting hobby has developed from those early stamping and card making days into using many different media and I would like to call myself a mixed media artist. I love journaling, altering all sorts of objects and playing about with gesso, acrylic paints, collage and many layers. Often I use my stamps more for creating backgrounds rather than as a main focal point. My style is Vintage/Shabby Chic and I love playing around with ribbons, flowers and lace.

I also love designing scrapbook papers in Photoshop Elements, all in vintage style of course. More of my work can be found on my blog ASTRID'S ARTISTIC EFFORTS.

Today I would like to share a project with you that includes most of these techniques, - the cover of a new kind of visual journal/mini book that my lovely daughter gave me as a Christmas present.

The book itself comes from Heartfelt Creations, it is about 6 x 9" big, 3.5" wide, and comes with 5 double pages and numerous fold-outs and inserts, - I know already it will take me ages to complete...

What I want to share with you today, is how I created the cover, using multiple layers and altering several scrapbook papers and embellishments from my stash, so here goes:

I started with a piece of paper from the Prima Timeless Memories A 4 paper pad and cut it to size, above you can see what it looked like to start with.

I started by altering it with help of a stencil by Seth Apter and put down a first layer with Archival ink in black. Next I used a Tim Holtz stencil and a mix of Vintage Photo and Rusty Hinge Distress Inks. This was followed by some background stamping using a variety of background stamps by Andy Skinner and Indigo Blue, I used both Orange Blossom and Coffee Archival inks for that.

Next I gathered a number of embellishments I wanted to use for further layers, as you can see, this included some further scraps of paper and diecuts (cut from packaging) as well as some ready chipboard pieces. I'll give you an overview how these were altered below.

This piece is also from the Timeless Memory collection, - this time I started with adding some texture through another Tim Holtz stencil, using Ranger Transparent texture paste. After that I used similar techniques to colour it, adding further stencilling and background stamping with Archival Inks and finally colouring with slightly deeper tones of Distress Inks, to draw in the eye once it would be layered onto the first piece. Next onto the embellishments:

For the bracket piece on the left I first added a thick layer of gesso to cover the print from my packaging. Next texture was added with a Crafters Workshop stencil and Ranger Texture past and then the piece was coloured with Decoart Media Fluid Acrylics and Distress Paints in a range of colours to tone in with the rest of my project.

The keyhole and number were altered with the help of paints and in the case of the keyhole some additional rusting. I'll give you more explanation on that further down.

Time to start putting it all together:

So here you can see how it all landed up, - as you may notice, - in the process of layering it up, and seeing which element should be placed where, several other elements were added, because putting a layered collage like this together is always a living process, and at least in my case I never know how it will end up eventually..... Let's look at some details:

The focal point in the centre was a little Couture Creations postcard, I added some acrylic paint to it, some scraps of old music papers and then distressed it a bit with some water drops and wrinkling. The number one (1) was a Tim Holtz plastic number I altered following one of his techniques that he explains on his April tag of 2013. You can find it here. The pen nib was a last minute addition, journals and pen nibs for me always go together somehow, and this one was altered in the same way. I also added a couple of flowers (they started life as a blue and white one), I coloured them with Adirondack Colour wash spray and then highlighted with gilding waxes.

To rust up the lock I started by adding Finnabair White Sand paste, then put down some Distress paint in Peacock Feathers and when that was still wet added some embossing powder, when that had melted and dried I just added some Ground Espresso paint still to grunge it up a bit further.

Here you can perhaps see another little trick I want to share. I love the effect of stitching around a card or project like this, but sewing and me don't really agree with one another, - it can take me half an hour to just thread my sewing machine lol. So instead I got a sewing pattern piercer.

Using a ruler, I pierce right around my project, if you turn the paper over and do it on the back, you get a better effect. I then use a Stabilo All pencil to go over the raised bits, to make it look like stitches, and in this case added some loose bits of black thread to add to the faux sewing effect.

Well that's it, hope you have enjoyed my little tutorial here.

If you want to see more of my work, you can visit my blog by clicking here.
Thank you so much for having me here today and happy crafting and creating!!

WOW!! I don't know about you, but I've learned so much about Astrid as a person and as an artist today! What amazing techniques and the end result just blows me away! Every inch of this journal cover is loaded with texture and vintage colours! What a wonderfully rustic project, and I can't wait to see more as Astrid fills all the pages this year!

Thank you so much Astrid for joining us today. From the entire team here at Anything But Cute, we send warm wishes and huge crafting hugs!! 

Don't forget, you have until the 4th of February to play along with Anne's current challenge :

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.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Feature Artist - Lisa - Ring out the Old, Bring in the New

Hello Everyone!

Cec here and I am so excited to finally get the chance to introduce you to our Feature Artist for January. She was the winner of my It's Ornamental challenge in November. Please welcome Lisa of A Mermaid's Crafts!!

Lisa is a fabulous paper artist and is able to create in a variety of styles that you will see when you check out her blog.  She also has a real knack for flawlessly combining mixed media with her paper to create wonderful eye candy.

Lisa has created another gorgeous card for us and added a step by step so we can see how her fantastic flowers came together.  What a bonus!


Hi, everyone!! My name is Lisa from A Mermaid's Crafts, and I am so excited and honored to be the Feature Artist at Anything But Cute.

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 crafty 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 love Anne's theme of Ring Out the Old, Bring in the New for this challenge. I used several new products on this card, starting with the base papers from Lemoncraft's House of Roses paper stack. The paper is so beautiful, I hated covering any of it up!! All of the edges were distressed with a Zutter Distress-It-All. For the next layer, I used Wendy Vecchi Crackled Texture Paste with a The Crafter's Workshop Art Is stencil on heavyweight cardstock. Distress Ink in Spun Sugar and Victorian Velvet was sponged on top and then it was covered with DecoArt Crackle Glaze.

On top of that layer, I used a (new) Prima Flourish with Crackled Texture Paste.  Spun Sugar and Victorian Velvet Distress Ink were sponged on as well. The banner is a Taylored Expressions Banner Stacklets 1 die. Make a Wish is from Inspired by Stamping. It was heat embossed with Sparkle N Sprinkle Snow Embossing Powder.

I used Spellbinders Rose Creations to make the flowers. I had several inquiries as to how I made the poinsettias on my winter sled card (here) so I thought I'd put together a quick tutorial (please ignore the stained craft mat :)

You will need a pair of flat-edged pliers, a water spritzer several different sizes of paintbrushes (or any round tools) and the Rose Creations dies. I started off cutting two of each of the five sizes of the flowers in heavyweight cardstock.

Spritz the flower with want it to be pliable when you shape the sides. This is different from how I created the poinsettias. The individual petals of the poinsettias are so thin at the base, they tend to tear if the paper is too wet. With those, you want the paper damp but not wet.

Wrap the petal around a paintbrush and grip the top and bottom.

With the flat-edged pliers, start scrunching the sides together.

You will work up and down the petal until you get the texture you desire.

If the paper starts to dry, you may need to give it another spritz of water.

Once you have all of the petals done, use a stylus tool to shape the flowers.

Glue the two flowers of the same size together, offsetting the petals as much as possible. I use Glossy Accents but you could use hot glue or any glue of your choice.

Now it's time to layer your flower. You may not need all of the petals to achieve the look you desire. I left off the next to smallest set of flowers.

For an subtle shine, I added Iridescent Red Twinkling H2O's to the petals.

Once that was dry, I brushed DecoArt Glamour Dust (new) over the petals so they really sparkle.

I finished off the flowers by adding pearl stamens from Wild Orchid Crafts.

Memory Box Botanical Stems and (new) Marianne Designs Leaves were tucked among the blooms.

A Tim Holtz Weatherd Clock die was also layered under the flowers. It was covered with DecoArt Crackle Paste and then inked with Spun Sugar and Victorian Velvet Distress Inks. The beautiful crinkle ribbon is from DL.ART.

The butterfly is a Memory Box Isabella die. It was covered in DecoArt Glamour Dust. The paint splatters were created with my new Tim Holtz Splatter Brush.

I would like to thank Pamellia and all of the amazing ABC Design Team for having me as a guest today!! If you haven't already, I hope you will join in the Ring out the Old, Bring in the New Challenge!! I can't wait to see what you create :)


When I first saw this project I immediately wanted to play that game where you describe what you are seeing by saying the first word that pops into your head and in this case that word was "yummy".  There are so many gorgeous elements making up this very pretty shabby chic card.  The colour palette is so feminine and the pretty flowers, soft bow and little butterfly just add to that feel.

I hope that seeing Lisa's wonderful creation will inspire you to join us for our current challenge...

You have until the 4th of February 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!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

WINNERS - Challenge #8 - You've Got Happy Mail

Hi, Niki here,

2015 is done and gone but not forgotten. We are so thankful here at Anything But Cute to continue our creative journey and share with all of you lovelies. I am tickled pink with all the entries into our  #8 You've Got Happy Mail challenge. I bet the Post Office was overflowing with wonderful designs and perhaps a few (okay, more than a few) smiles for the Happy Mail. After a long and arduous decision making process I have chosen the winner of my challenge:

WINNER -#30-Elli
This card is luscious with the metallics and grunge! Elli used a lot of leftovers from previous designs and you would never know it because everything flows together so smoothly. I love that grunge and delicate are in this design. The elegant filigree and the soft polka dot paper=awesome sauce! Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous! I bet the recipient of this Happy Mail was ecstatic!

Congratulations Elli! 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.

RUNNER-UP -#20 Max
I chose this lovely Nativity Scene because it captures the spirit of the season and showcases the meaning of the holiday. I love how dimensional this card is but at the same time it is flat for easy mailing. Did you see it has 4 layers? Say what? Yeppers, wowzers! There are so many wondrous techniques used on this card and that punch star is the perfect finishing touch!

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

Anne's Favourite - #37 - LISA F
Lisa's shabby chic Christmas card is so elegant in the white and gold, I love all the layering of the die cuts, the gorgeous lace and the shabby bow.  The handmade shabby poinsettias really do steal centre stage, they are so incredibly beautiful.

Branka's Favourite#4 MARCH/CORINNE DE FRANCE

This wintery mixed media piece of art is absolutely stunning with fantastic textures and beautiful colours! I especially love those touches of gold and silver and such awesome use of pearls and beads! The center piece is so elegant and vintage looking! Simply brilliant! 

Cec's Favourite - # 9 Silje Kristin
This card made with Maja papers is stunning with all the layers and the unique shape.  I love how the frosting has been added to everything and that the back of the card has a special place to add a personal note to the recipient.

Pamellia's Favourites :
As an extreme card lover, I found it especially difficult to narrow down my favourites this month. I usually choose two that stand out to me, but I just couldn't get this month, I have three!

12. Coldwaters2
I am completely drawn in by the traditional reds and greens on Lorraine's card! There are so many wonderful details included, like pom pom trim, snowflakes, poinsettias, and even a glittery Christmas tree!! What an amazing festive creation!

36. Sanderijn de Bruin
There's no escaping my affinity for blues this year and I just melted the minute I saw Sanderijn's stunning tag! Layer upon layer of shimmering blue tones with splashes of metallic blue for that extra pop! The silver accents are just icing on the cake, and that deer atop the big shabby bow...WOWZERS!!

48. Jacquie's Jewels
There's just no escapin the fact that if I was a 2D, 3 inch tall person, this is where I would want to live! Jacquie has created a winter scene that is so realistic, at first I thought it was a digital printout!! So much atmosphere and it was done by hand, WHAT!!! Now that's amazing talent!

Samra's Favourite#31 Julie Lavalette
I have "a thing" for Christmas Wreaths: love to see them hanging on the homes' front doors, inside the home, on the cards, you name it! Julie captured the spirit of the season so perfectly with this gorgeous card and the vintage feel to it makes it even more beautiful.

Sara Emily's Favourite -# 24 Strangly Creative

As usual there were so many wonderful creations, but I just had to choose Cathryn's sensory card as my favorite.  Not only is it beautiful in it's color and design, it was made with the recipient in mind, who is partially sighted.  Cathryn's thought was to make her card larger and include many tactile elements so her friend could "see" it! She even included the sense of smell on her card! Be sure to visit her blog to see how she did that!  Bravo, Cathryn!

We have a special award to give out this month to one of our favourite artists. She has been with us since we started and never misses a challenge. Her work is just beyond amazing and the entire team loves her creativity and her style.  

Last month her entry was one of our favourites, but unfortunately, it didn't follow our challenge theme. To read her post about WHY it doesn't follow the theme, will leave you in stitches! What an amazing sense of humour and ability to laugh when things go wrong. We have all been there and completely understand, so to the very amazing...

Joi - Joi at the Ranch
...congratulations, you had the best Non-Themed Project!

Here is some of Joi's previous works - if you're looking for inspiration, here it is!!
Joi - may you always keep your sense of humour and the entire team sends a thank you for being so loyal and for lighting up our challenges with your art and your spirit!!

Honourable Mentions



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 Anne's current challenge "Ring Out the Old - Bring in the New"! We can't wait to see what you come up with this time!

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