Friday, March 14, 2014

Graphic 45 Design Team 2014 Audition

It is with great excitement that I present my audition for the Graphic 45 Design Team - 2014 Edition.  For years I have admired and collected Graphic 45's beautiful papercrafting products.  However, a long-time habit of mine has been to save and savor the supplies I like best, waiting for the "perfect" time and project for which to use them.  In other words, the more I like it, the less I use it.  Why is that?   The good news is that I had quite a collection of papers to choose from to create my audition projects.  But I vow to break my ridiculous behavior for the future.  I had so much fun I'm going to continue to enjoy using my collection.  Stay tuned for more!

Ladies' Diary Shadow Box Frame

The majority of paper used in this project came from A Ladies' Diary collection.  However, I did slip in a few pieces from French Country.

I had a lot of fun pulling together some of my favorite embellishments to coordinate with this elegant lady.  While shopping, I am often drawn to embellishments that come in my favorite colors.  But lately I've found it helpful to have neutral colored items that can be "dyed" as needed.  For example, the scalloped ribbon (left below) was originally white.  I used a champagne colored ink pad and my water pen to "antique" it.  Likewise, the pink flower was also white in its original state.  A little blush ink warmed it up to coordinate with the lovely lady's dress.  The string of beads on the right were a classic pearl white.  While beautiful, the bright color stood out a little too much against the cream palette.  I simply added a little Copic marker to create the perfect shade!

Fashionista Canvas

This 12x12 paper was one of the many created by Graphic 45 designers that makes you say "what can I possibly do to alter this already perfect piece of artwork?"  For me, the only answer was to layer (just a few) more embellishments to add depth and texture.  I used cutouts from the Fashionista collection, background papers from On The Boardwalk, and just a few other goodies!

The corset was created using a technique I learned long ago, but haven't taken advantage of lately.  (Never fear, I will be using it again very soon!)  I stamped the corset on a transparency sheet, cut it out, then ran it through my Xyron to add a solid layer of adhesive. I adhered Magic Leaf flakes to the exposed adhesive to create a metallic corset. It doesn't get more special that that, does it?   I also darkened the stamped lines with my extra fine Sharpie.  The dress was my own creation and the lovely lady was stamped and colored with colored pencils. 

I raided my scrap bin to create this many-layered fabric flower.  (Believe me - I didn't make a dent in the box!)  I cut the shapes from a Spellbinders die.  Some fabric cut more easily than others.  But I found by running it through my Cuttlebug a few times and shimming the layers correctly, I was able to get some really clean cuts.  There were just a few spots in which I had to trim a determined thread.  The bottom brown layer is a single large flower.  The next layer, beige and gold, is created from two medium sized flowers, each folded in half and glued next two each other on top of the brown layer.  Next, I cut four red blooms, folded each in quarters, and overlapped the edges and center when gluing them to the assembly.  This created some nice "poof".  The small beige flower is a single layer.  To finish, I add a circle of gold beads.

I just wanted to make note of the fact I used both the positive and negative from my cardstock butterfly, cut from a Spellbinders die.  Don't throw anything away!  :)  The gold beads flowing through the top of the canvas are the same as the ones I added to the center of my fabric flower.

Bohemian Bazaar Card

Normally I do my best to avoid glare in my photographs, but this time I wanted to include enough for you to see that I added a layer of acetate to this card.  The acetate, just a bit smaller than the pink, orange, and turquoise frame, is raised up above the center bloom.  The left and right flower sprays, as well as the bottom bud and ribbon, are all layered on top of the acetate.

French Country Birdhouse

I picked up this cute wooden birdhouse a couple of years ago.  I painted it last year, but it kept getting moved from shelf to bag to box waiting for its day to take center stage.

I loved the kaleidoscope effect I could create on the roof with the rooster medallions. But I had to add my sunflowers and gem sprays to make the home really special for my feathered friend.

On the Boardwalk Plaque

This wooden plaque is another piece that's been waiting to be decorated (I have a quite a collection of items in that queue!)  It is dedicated to all my friends who have been dreaming of hot summer days through this challenging winter.  (I do not share that particular dream.)

The painting of the starfish and scallop shell was one of those "happy accidents" artists love to stumble upon in the creation process.  Originally wood, I wanted to give these pieces a bit of shine.  My copper Krylon pen has been in my tool bag for many years.  Apparently over the years the ingredients have separated.  When I tried to apply the paint, I was only able to generate a pale layer of non-metallic tint.  So I tried my gold Krylon pen and discovered magic!  The gold paint, also a bit "aged", reacted with the copper to create a speckled finish.  It was similar to the reaction you get when combining a Krylon pen with alcohol inks.  The resulting pieces look so much better than I planned!

Couture Gallery

Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime.  I took one look at the diamond pattern paper from the French Country collection and thought, "this has to be a floor."  And from there, my gallery was born.  From the wall paper to the carpet to the wrought-iron balcony railing (from the Couture collection), I found the perfect patterns to create an elegant backdrop on which to showcase the fashion posters of the Couture collection.  I am so thrilled that I was able to execute my vision for this piece.

These golden urns started their lives as wooden dowel caps.  I painted them a warm gold, filled them with glue and added tiny slivers of paper to simulate fronds.  I had so much fun growing these plants because no dirt or worms were involved!


  1. You never cease to amaze me with your creativity. Your talent and resourcefulness in truly and inspiration! I love the wooden board. The images remind me of photos I have of my grandmother & her cousins from that era! I may have to make that using actual reprints of photos I own! I also love the Downton Abbey-esque Gallery! I think the Gallery is my all time fave! I especially love the ferns! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Really great pieces. Especially love the Couture Gallery and your Ladies Diary printer's tray. Best of luck to you!

  3. Excellent job, everything is so detailed. Have the best of luck!!!

  4. Just love this! Beautiful work.

  5. Gretchen, thank you for sharing your amazing work for your G45 audition. The details and layers in your projects are awe-inspiring. Thanks again. Happy Papercrafting! -Charee

  6. LOVE the Couture Gallery!!! Awesome projects! Good luck!

  7. Thank you, everyone. I appreciate the support. So glad you enjoyed browsing!