Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sara Emily is Stopping By the Blog

We are excited to welcome Sara Emily to the blog today as a guest designer. Sara Emily creates stunning mixed media pieces and were honoured that she has agreed to do a couple of guest posts for us. Sit back and relax and enjoy Sara Emily's amazing project!

Hello, friends! I'm honored to be invited by the super talented Design Team at Southern Ridge Trading Company to be their Guest Designer today!  I made my first ever dimensional layout using some of their amazing chippies. Here is my finished layout, and if you are interested in how this came about, I have a brief tutorial at the end of this post.  First, allow me to invite you to grab a cup or glass of your favorite appropriate beverage, because this is a photo heavy post.

This started as a cheapo piece of "art" I picked up at a yard sale about a year ago with intentions of making something with it.  It ended up in one of my boxes destined for our semi-annual sale coming up next month. It seems I have a hard time parting with things, especially when I have an idea in mind. Recently, my husband mentioned he would like to see some of our family photos on our walls, and I knew just what I wanted to make.

I used the beautiful Leafy Branches chipboard to make a sweet place to hold a nest at the top of my canvas. Papers from Tim Holtz Wall Flower paper stash and a few pieces from one (or maybe two) of his Ephemera packs make a wonderful backdrop and additional embellishments. I've added some Remnant Rubs here and there and stamping from Prima, Heidi Swapp, and Stampin' Up.

I've been eyeing up those art stones everyone's been using, and thought to myself, I must make some of those! My recipe for art stones on a budget: paper clay and a half hour of watching our presidential candidates on the news.

This Remnant Rub seemed perfect for the photos.

As do the little pieces of ephemera-"Handle With Care" and "Air Mail".  You can see I got out my gesso, marker spritzer, and nail file to give these a vintage look.

I chose another gorgeous spring like chipboard piece for my layout--Floral Frames. It's so intricate and lovely, and comes in three sizes.  Mine is the smallest and is the perfect size to hold a little nest of eggs.

And as for me, here are the stars of the show--my little twins when they were just three years old.  Every day we would pick them up and let them look at the house wren's nest made in our mailbox right outside our front door. How delighted they were to watch the birds come and go, making their nest, and counting the eggs each day. On this day, the eggs had hatched, and they were admiring the tiny birds. I just adore the expressions on their tiny faces! 


House wrens set up their nests in either our mailbox or in our garage every year, and last summer I had to hand carry a few babies out because they were getting trapped in the garage, and driving our cats nuts! Late this summer, one decided to come in the house through the front door when my daughter was leaving one evening. Of course, Roger, the cat, chased it around the house for awhile, but my all ended well. My husband caught it, and released it safe and sound back outside. I guess that's why they're called house wrens.

Here are some process shots of how this canvas evolved.  I added 3 coats of gesso to the glossy "canvas" (I had a different idea in mind for the background at first.) Next I added some textured paper I had in my stash and then the Wall Flower papers edged in Frayed Burlap Distress ink  in torn layers. I used a sea sponge and gesso to blend the papers to the textured background. Finally some additional texture was added using crackle paste and a homemade brick stencil.

 When the paste was dry, I added some Tissue Tape, chicken wire stamping in Potting Soil Archival ink and a wash and a sponging here and there of watered down Walnut Stain Distress paint. I did some additional stamping with Jet Black Archival ink.


The Floral Frame and Leafy Branches were prepared in the same manner.  I started by coating them with gesso and drying. Next I swiped on Distress Crazing Medium with a brush and dried that. I colored them with Distress crayons in Twisted Citron and Walnut Stain, using my fingers to blend the colors and get it into those cracks.  Doesn't it look like real bark?

I assembled my ephemera, layered my photos on a piece of corrugate board from our waffle box, added rub ons, sprinkled on some handmade art stones, and gave them a wash of watered down Walnut Stain paint and splattered with watered down Walnut stain, taking care to cover my photos. I even tucked in a feather I found!

Thank you for stopping by to see my layout and for all your lovely comments! Hugs and Blessings!


  1. This is gorgeous! I LOVE how you upcycled and used what you had - such a great reminder of the beautiful things we can create with what we already have! :)

  2. Great layout!! Thanks for the tutorial. Love all the texture especially the tip on how to make bark look real. I will have to try that!

  3. Thank you, Jessica and Karen! It was my pleasure to join Southern Ridge as Guest Designer and use their wonderful chippies on my recycled canvas!

  4. This is beautiful Sara, lovely depth and texture! It's fabulous art Karen x