Thursday, August 11, 2016


Every once in a blue moon I give my studio a good going over and I manage to find things that I have been looking for at one time or another. I also find some things that surprise me like a small roll of craft chicken wire. I think I must have purchased this to use on a cage doll at one time. So that immediately put my mind in motion.On many occasions I've made art creations depicting the famous Marie Antoinette, but I never considered a Marie Santos Cage Doll until I started looking at the supplies over at Retro Café Art Gallery, my favorite go to place. That is where I spotted the antlers. It always pays to check out the sale items as well. That is where I spotted 4 mixed bags of paper flowers by Prima and that along with the antlers was all the inspiration that I needed to inspire  me to order another large Santos Cage Doll and the Marie Antoinette face to go with  it.

In one instant the flowers, the antlers, the chicken wire, and Marie Antoinette all came together in my mind. I loved the idea of making a Santos Cage Doll with her, and Marie being such an interesting figure in history, she gave me a lot to work with. It also inspired me to read more about her. 

  I just fell in love with these antlers from Retro Cafe Art Gallery and I adore how they look on her.

I never remembered reading the story about Marie Antoinette and the diamond necklace, so of course adding the diamond necklace to her added a little history flavor and creativity to her design. 

  I knew instantly when I saw the paper flowers that I was going to use that chicken wire as a skirt over the bottom of her cage. 

The chicken craft wire proved to be a small challenge, only because  what I had wasn’t quite as big as I wanted to make her skirt, but it did wrap around the cage nicely and being craft wire, it was easy work with adding just the fancy she needed to do her justice.

 I love these little tassels I found at our local craft store to add to the wire cage. I added several birds around the cage and some stamped fabric tags along with the variety of fabric and paper flowers. 
                 HOW SHE CAME TOGETHER
  I prepped all the doll pieces with Gesso. I painted all the pieces with my main color which was pink. Next I stenciled the bottom and side pieces of the cage. 

Before putting together the cage doll, I used a stencil on the base and outlined with a gold gel pen,then I added my writing. I like to lay out my embellishments or other pieces like the antlers that I plan to add to the doll to see what pieces need to go on first and how they will be attached. Before adding other pieces of interest to the head and back, I attach the arms so the holes don’t get covered up. After all the pieces are painted, I complete the body of the doll first, attaching arms, face, and any other embellishments to the back and front. (Hint: this is harder to do once the doll is attached to the cage and you can’t lay her down.) Once the body of the doll is completed, I attach all the sides, making the cage, again doing all my work on the cage before assembling everything. When the cage part of the doll is completely dry and the body is completely dry, I attach them together.  After the complete body of the doll is firmly dry and attached, I began working with the chicken wire. When cutting the wire, leave long pieces of wire on one side so that you can attach the skirt together by wrapping the wire to the other side once it is on the doll. 

After the skirt was attached, I added the paper flowers and stamped material tags to the wire using a glue gun. I finished off the skirt by adding pearl and diamond embellishments to the inside of the flowers.

 On the back side, I used letter stamps and added some jewelry findings as well as a large flower, bird and bird nest. I used Stickles glitter glue to give a glittery shine to the flowers edges and on the head piece.

 Thanks for stopping by ;)
Happy Creating!


Acrylic paints


Wire Cutters

Craft Chicken Wire

Paper Flowers byPrima / Retro Café Art Gallery
(I used a variety package on sale) but there is always a great selection of flowers available

Jewelry embellishments

Fabric Tags
Wooden Decor Scroll -Used behind head

Alphabet stamps

Ink Pad

Monday, August 8, 2016


I can't sing the praises enough for the uses of Dresden foil. You can add ornate designs and texture to just about any project you are creating. I started with this simple basic Large Ornate 3D Bird Cage Shrine from Retro Cafe Art Gallery. It is not complicated to assemble and yet by time I finished this one, I had imagined 6 more creations using this Bird Cage Shrine. You can find another version of this same Bird a Cage Shrine here!
The Goose is a piece that I added to the bird cage using the body piece of one of the Large Santos Cage Dolls and making my own sort of "Goose Cage Doll". 
This is how the 3-D Bird Cage comes, 8 pieces. The three white pieces you see are from Sandra Evertson's beautiful line of Relics and Artifacts. Three that I could not resist using for this particular piece.
After deciding on the papers I would use, I used the back and bottom pieces of the bird cage as patterns for my paper.

 The goose was a little representation of me looming over my nest of little goslings. :) I painted the dresden foil trim to add a design like you might find on one of the old vintage bird cages.
 Retro Cafe Art Galley has a new shipment and a sale going on for some beautiful designs of Dresden Foil.
 You can see how the bird cage is 3-D in this photo. I did a collage on the very back piece front and back, sides and the bottom piece before gluing all the pieces together.
 I used Dresden Foil trim at the top of my collage and a flower by Prima. This assemblage reminded me with all the graduations taking place this time of year and how extremely hard and important it is to let go and let your little birds grow their own wings. Not for the faint of heart. "Life is a balance of holding on and letting go" Rumi
 As I did the collage on the back piece of bird cage, I also stamped the back piece of the body that I used for the goose. The goose body was very easy to attach using E6000 clear transparent glue. I used the same glue to attach the cage pieces after painting them.

 Here you can see the sides of the cage, they just pop into the slots with a bit of glue. 
 You may not choose to add a body to your own design, but if you do, I simply used a couple clothespins on the back piece until the glue firmed up, which is very quickly with the E6000. I used the Ver- Day Paint kit on the Relics and Artifacts, it really gives them that special vintage look. The Ver-Day paint kit is a must have staple in my studio, quick simple steps to use to produce timeless pieces.

 Finishing touches always look great with Tim Holtz distressed mini ink pads. I keep those on hand to edge most all of my collage work.
 After adding the painted Dresden Foil trim at the top, I added some gold dots using a Gold Pearl Pen. I just the door knocker design from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.
 The little bird is one of Sandra Evertson's Relics and Artifacts. In the above photo, you can see how adding Guilders paste - Patina, can add more dimension.

 This is it, my finished Bird Cage Shrine, I just adore it and I know you will have as much fun making one of your own. The cage stands about 9" tall, 5 1/2" wide and 2 3/4" deep. You can easily place personal items or things you love inside your shrine.

Or maybe, you might want to create your own special cage doll. I loved making this one SO much that I already made another one in the next post below,so I hope you will stick around and check that one out for more ideas on this fantastic bird cage shrine.
                                                          SUPPLIES USED

E6000 clear Adhesive 
Word Stencils
Glue stick, Golden Matt Medium, Artist papers and if you choose to add a doll piece on top, Retro Cafe has a lot to choose from.

Don't go away, you have to see the next post using this same Large 3-D Bird Cage Shrine and how Dresden Foil Trim can change a simple to look to a elegant Victorian Shrine.
Thank you for you visit today!

Friday, August 5, 2016


 When I think of ATC's, I think of ALICE, simply because ATC's are little works of art and can be anything you want them to be. I personally love making and collecting these from other artists.

 This is  my monthly post for August as a design team member for Retro Cafe Art Gallery. I am totally in love with the  variety of ATC holders available from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.This is my first ATC box, but for sure not my last. I have many ATC's that would look amazing in these little ATC boxes all lined up on my shelf.
 “The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings”
Lewis Carroll

 ~  HOW I MADE IT  ~

Lay out all the pieces from the kit: Santos Cage Doll ATC Box Kit
Dust off any residue from the pieces
Apply white gesso to back and front and let dry.
This is when I decide on a face to use. RCAG had a large variety of faces that fit each size kit.
The face I use generally determines the dolls personality and what the rest of the doll will look like.
Once the gesso is dry, I painted all the pieces back and front with my base color that I chose which was red acrylic paint.  

After the red paint was dry on both sides, I added images from Alice in Wonderland to the sides and the back piece that would be facing outward. I put the paper on the pieces and traced the pieces with my finger so it outlined the piece onto the paper making a pattern. After cutting out the images, I edged each piece with gold and then glued them to both wood sides and the back side.
I also used the gold with my fingers to edge all the wood pieces and the stars on the back piece, front and back. I did the same with the front piece adding gold touches to the stars and the edges.
I added three pieces not included with the kit, but available to purchase, two small keys and a word scroll that says "Cherish".  I glued these to the front piece of the box after painting them gold as well.

To her crown, I painted it gold and added the word:
(using Tim Holtz Remant Rubs)

On the bottom piece, I decided to go with a stencil, adding pink and then gold dots to the stencil. Then I enhanced the stencil design with a black gel pen.
After everything was dry, I added a word stamp to the dolls arms and attached them to the front of the body using the included brads.
For the word frame, I painted it gold and used the words: "The Journey" from Tim Holtz's Word Remnants onto a small white piece of poster board, cut it out and glued it to the back side of the frame. Next I glued it on just above where I positioned the dolls hands.
For the back inside, I cut two butterflies out and glued them to a piece of poster board. Before cutting them out, I painted the backside of the butterflies pink and stamped with a word script rubber stamp. Then I cut out the butterflies and glued them to the inside back of the box on each side.
I also added a little tea cake on the back with the word: Observations 
Lastly, I glued the face on and then edged all the pieces with some Patina Guilders Paste to give it more dimension, which I thought looked really good with the gold and red.
I assembled all the box together attaching the sides to the back and then adding the front and the bottom piece. Gluing it altogether with a strong clear transparent glue. 
Thank you for being here today and reading my post. I just adore this kit and I love how even without the ATC's placed inside, it almost looks like she is sitting on her throne.
If you want to make an ATC box of your own to store your ATC's, 
Be An ALICE, don't do nothin' at all!

She drank from a bottle called DRINK ME
And she grew so tall,
She ate from a plate called TASTE ME
And down she shrank so small.
And so she changed, while other folks
Never tried nothin' at all.”
Shel Silverstein,



(used on crown and frame)
Guilders Paste - Patina
E6000 Transparent Clear Glue
Art Alchemy Paint - Gold Rush
Red Acrylic Paint
Mat Medium