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.


  1. Fantastic journal cover created with lots of great techniques. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  2. Astrid is such a wonderfully talented artist, who I am honoured to have as a 'real life' friend and I am lucky to have a few pieces of her amazing artwork. Astrid's journal cover today is exquisite and so typical of her wonderful work! So lovely to see you here Astrid, thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us! Hugs, Anne xx

    1. You're so lucky to have such a talented real life in the flesh friend!

  3. Wow Astrid, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this book!! Your textures are just amazing, I especially love the faux rust effect on your metal bits! The pops of aqua work so well amid all the rustic neutrals and I love how you layered all the elements! Your step by step is amazing, so many wonderful techniques! It's just such a complete honour to have you here with us today! Thank you so much, hugs :)

  4. BIG BIG TREAT today - thank you Astrid and Anything But Cute. What an inspiring and enlightening post. When I think of Astrid's art - I think... "Elegant and Rich Vintage Creative Lusciousness" - and this project is not exception. WOW WOW WOW - just AMAZINLLY FABULOUS Astrid. My favorite part is the dimension of it... everything is a bit off kilter - abstract placement!!! The colors and texture are beautiful. And the sewing - sheer genius! INCREDIBLE SPOTLIGHT ARTIST. j.

  5. Wow, I am so excited to see Astrid here today! I am a big fan of her fantastic artwork and this journal cover is spectacular! Brilliant rust patina effect and such marvelous textures! Thank you so much, Astrid for such detailed tutorial and it's a great honor to have you here today with us! Big hugs! Branka xxx

  6. What a fantastic post! I think Astrid is quite one of the most talented mixed media artists in the industry today - she is simply outstanding. Cxxx

  7. What a great cover you created Astrid! I love all the pieces you put together, inked, pasted and rusted! Julia xx

  8. Brilliant tutorial, Astrid!! LOVE your patina, and that background!! Very inspirational, as usual! xxx Lynn

  9. Fabulous cover, Astrid! I admire your talent!

  10. Can I hear a big AMEN on the taking an hour to thread the stupid sewing machine?! Love your pattern thingy trick, and adding the thread had me fooled into thinking you had won the battle with your machine! I love the rusted keyhole and numeral and the grungy bracket--awesome techniques! This is a fabulous journal and we are so happy to have you here to share all your techniques with us! What an honor! Hugs!

  11. Really love the layering and dimensionality here Astrid. The color palette is gorgeous too!

  12. Well Astrid you always manage to delight with your magnificent techniques and this cover just shows your talent. I am so lucky to have you as my friend and be able to meet up for crafty days. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and it is so much appreciated too. See you Soon. Hugs Rita xx

  13. Stunning work from Astrid - fascinating to see how the distressed layers and textures build up to a piece with such character and beauty. Love the warm rusty tones, and the contrasting rusted verdigris blue-greens. Completely fabulous!
    Alison xx

  14. Stunning work Astrid! It is an honor to have you with us!!!

  15. Astrid always amazes me - her work is beautiful and always designed to perfection. Thanks for the wonderful post with tutorial and all the pictures!
    sandy x

  16. Just gorgeous, Astrid! What a great array of photographs! I know you're so proud of this piece. It's amazing!

  17. Astrid this lovely piece and how to has had me glued to this page for ages, Thank you for sharing your amazing knowledge for altering items. Mo x

  18. I am totally gobsmacked!! This is so amazing and so incredibly beautiful Astrid. So much detail has gone into this and there is so much to drool over. Love your explanation of the techniques and have to say, your 'sewing' is absolutely brilliant!! Pure mixed media magic!! xx

  19. Drooling over here! Thank you so very much for sharing this gem and for the info about each little bit. Awesome sauce and amazeballs design and details. It is such a treat to have you here with us! Still learning how to thread the machine (just got one for Christmas)! Lol! Love the rusty goodness and the pops of blue. Smashing! Hugz! ~Niki

  20. Oh gosh... Astrid you always do impress me. This book cover looks awesome. Love the colors, the layers, the embellishment. And your tutorial is fabulous... Love it all.
    Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic ART..
    Hugs from Monica.... Spain

  21. Ps.. Sorry for disturbing you twice. Can I adk what color of embossing powder do you use on the lock ? You described the proces so good. But just wondered which color of embossing powder...please can you help..
    In advance thank you dear.
    Hugs from Monica

  22. Beautiful "Old World" feeling, Astrid! The richness in every layer and detail equals one amazing book cover! It is always such a treat to view one of your tutorials. Love this!

  23. Absolutely gorgeous Astrid and thank you for so generously sharing your techniques and process. Wonderful journal, a real treasure that will be filled with much beauty I am sure! Deb xo

  24. So happy to see Astrid over here!
    What a fabulous make! I absolutely love all over Astrid's yummy grungy textures and her sewing/non sewing tip is great!!
    Jackie xo

  25. A.W.E.S.O.M.E! Amazing skills, texture, depth, I would love to go to a class with Astrid as the tutor. You get a wow and a cor!
    I also wanted to take a minute to thank the DT here for sharing your art, skills and tutorials with us. I would not have been able to do half of what I am doing right now without your help and support - my huge thanks to all of you Karen x

  26. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial Astrid, your work is absolutely gorgeous and your book cover is stunning and so beautiful!!!
    Sorry for the late visit and commenting on this post... Really enjoyed reading it anyway, congratulations for this Spotlight post, so well deserved! Coco xo