The heart of the tin man - Mixed Up magazine blog hop

Hi there and welcome to my blog! We are having a blog hop day today with the Mixed Up team - I hope you are enjoying meeting everyone!

So maybe a few words about me to introduce myself? My name is Riikka Kovasin and I'm a mixed media influenced crafter from Finland. I do layouts, cards, canvases and altered items. I so enjoy getting my fingers to paints and relax by creating after a full day at work. My favorite color palette is turquoises, blues and greens - kind of reminds me of the sea which I adore. I design for several companies such as Prima Marketing and Wow Embossing Powder and I'm a brand ambassador for 7 Dots Studio as well as for Finnabair. I craft in our living room as I don't have a craft room of my own. If you want to see some of my favorite past projects, try this link (link) for example or if you want to see my so-called craft space, try this (link). Delighted to see you here!

As you might know already, each of us is sharing our favourite makes for Mixed Up today. I wanted to share this canvas with you. I've been saving it for a while for this occation. It was published in March on the Mixed Up site with a step by step tutorial which you can even download as a pdf.

The inspiration to this piece came from Valentine's Day as I wanted to do something sweet and love related. So I made a little canvas with a tin heart. Do you know what's the medium I used to make the background? Embossing powders! You can also "paint" with them if you know a few tricks and what you are doing.

The Mixed Up website has tons of mixed media projects, including these you see during the hop and many more! If you want to know more pop on over to the website (link).

Make sure you visit everyone’s blog to be in with a chance of winning the Grand Prize - a one year subscription to Mixed Up plus 10 Mixed Up Printable resources of your choice! Here’s the hop list:

Mixed Up Magazine
Leslie Lineberry
Riikka Kovasin (you are here!)
Erica Evans
Debs Wainwright
Carol Fox
Corrie Herriman
Fiona Potter
Mags Woodcock
Lisa Taggart

Hop Rules:

Visit each designer and leave a comment on their blog for a chance to win a fabulous mixed media prize! The draw is open internationally. The draw closes 31st May 2018 at midnight GMT.

Thank you for stopping by today! It was great to see you, I hope you come again! 

Materials: Wow Embossing Powder, Prima Marketing, 7 Dots Studio, Tsukineko


In the mirror

Hi there and sweet Sunday! How's your weekend been so far? Sunny and crafty, I hope! Today I'm sharing a workshop sample I did some time ago when keeping a workshop over at Varalusikka. The piece is done on top of an old book cover and the title - "Kuvastimessa" is the title of the book. It translates "in the mirror" or maybe even more "in the looking glass" as the term is a bit old fashioned. 

I chose a moss colored cover for my piece and that partly decided the colors I used for me. Really surprising that I chose turquoise to add to the green, right? I got the book cover and the lovely spoon from Varalusikka. I really liked doing this piece and even more visiting the Varalusikka! Such a great place and sweet people! 

Thank you for stopping by today! Wishing you a great start to the new week! Be sure to stop by tomorrow, too  - just hinting!

Materials: Varalusikka, Prima Marketing, 7 Dots Studio


Celebration ATCs - Sizzix

Celebrate good times, c'mon! The little ATCs are done using several new Sizzix supplies - there's the Essentials but also new dies. You can see all the new dies here (link) and familiarize with Essentials here (link)

The base for the cards is cut from a kraft colored cardstock using "Pocket Frame" die. Then the techniques in both stay the same, but colors and embellishments change. I used the "Valentine" set for the pink one and the "Birthday" for the one in green and teal. 

First I textured a piece with the little embossing folder that's in the set. I inserted this to the pocket and then added some gesso on top. While the gesso was still wet I added a die cut circle in and then added some water color to add a touch of color on top of the white. After the paint mediums had dried, I added a confetti looking tiny dots using the permanent felt pens. Then I decorated the card with die cut elements - chocolate box, letter and hearts for the sweet pink one and cake, balloon and candle for the green one. Lastly I inked the edges using a brown ink. 

If you'd like one of these, please let me know by sending an email! Thank you for stopping by today! Have a great weekend!

Sizzix supplies used: 

Materials: Sizzix, Prima Marketing, Ranger


Pastel spring cards - A Flair for Buttons

Sweet Friday! It's Riikka here today to share a couple of spring cards with you. The inspiration to these came when I was looking through the flair buttons for my previous layout and had some Bee flairs, a pale blue bicycle flair and the lace looking yellow flair on the table next to each other. The color palette looked sweet and I thought to use that in some cards.

I made these cards a bit differently compared what I normally do. I used white cardstock as my base and also cut the leaves and blooms out of white. Then I first colored the background with watercolors and inks, glued the leaves and blooms in place and added watercolor to them as well. 

As you can see the center of the flowers are flair buttons. The yellow is from "Sweet" set and the beehive is from "Vintage Bee 4"

Thank you for your visit today! Wishing you a sunny spring or early summer!

Sets used: 


Materials: A Flair for Buttons, Sizzix, Prima Marketing, Ranger


Shine brightly - 7 Dots Studio

Moikka! Here's a layout I did as a 7 Dots Studio ambassador this month. The inspiration for this page was not only the photo of my daughter but also the beautiful colors of this month’s challenge board (link). I loved the sweet and soft colors that made me think about summer and ice cream. My page took a turn for the stronger palette along the way, but that’s where the inspiration rose.

The picture is taken when we were just leaving for a weekend in the country side. The light was so perfect, so I just grabbed my camera and took several photos of my younger daughter. She’s a fun mixture of tomboy girl and princess style. She loves her black leather jacket and dinosaur hoodie but also tulle skirt and faux fur bolero. 

I started the page with some paper layers, gesso and paints. The chipboard shapes I covered with glimmering gold paint. If you want to see how I made the page, please see the video below! 

Thank you for your visit today! Wishing you a great day and lots of inspiration!

Materials from 7 Dots Studio: 

Cold Country: Clear Stamps 
Homegrown: Flower stencil
Homegrown: Chipboards 

Um Wow Studio: Dreamscapes – Tell Tall Tales flair

Materials: 7 Dots Studio, Prima Marketing, Ranger


More - GDT CSI #254

Hi there! So sorry for the absence again! I'm working like a crazy person and even though I have projects to share and blog, I can't seem to find the time to write the posts! I need a secretary! 

But I managed to type something to share this layout I did as a guest designer for CSI challenge as Mixed Up magazine (link) people are guesting there. You can see the current challenge here (link) and the Rules to participate here (link)

I used to be a CSI detective, part pf the design team, so doing this page as well as the previous one (link) was a trip down the memory lane. Back in the day, solving of the challenge required the use of all the colors, one idea from the Testimony and at least three (or was it even five) from the Evidence section. I usually had fun and tried to add as many as possible from the Evidence section. But nowadays the challenge is much more free so don't get intimidated! 

I did this layout "old school", like the previous page, and used all the colors of the Case File, several pieces of Evidence and a topic from Testimony. My jumping off point for the page was the topic from the Testimony as I documented something about reading. I so wish I'd had more than 24 hours in a day to do fun things! I used to read a lot but nowadays I'm ashamed how little I manage to read. In a way the reading "challenges" for the Inspired By (link) were really good as then I forced myself to find time to read. Before I devoured a book a day but now it's more like a book a month... Although I read regularly to the kids! I also tried to include the presentation part of the Testimony, as I wrote my journaling running across a label.

From the Evidence I included florals, flowers, labels and bling as well as puffy stickers, book pages and washi tape. I guess these are easy to spot, but gold embellishments and especially vintage elements might be harder. I'm not sure if a title is embellishment, but that was the inspiration for the golden, sparkly Thickers. And the vintage part, there's an old button hiding near the photo.

Underneath you can find the Case File and all the things I used from it. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day!

The scene: light warm gray (labels), ballerina pink (paint), light cherry red (rose), black (doodles), buttery yellow (background)

Evidence: floral pattern (patterned paper), flowers, labels (stickers), bling, puffy stickers, book pages, gold embellishments (Thickers), washi tape, vintage elements (vintage button)

Testimony: topic (document something about reading), presentation (put your journaling on a label)

Materials: Prima Marketing, 7 Dots Studio, American Crafts, Sannin Helmi


Inspired By... Vol 5/2018

Today is again the 10th and a new post in the "Inspired By"  series! I really struggled with this time, maybe because I really liked the piece I did last month or maybe because I was so excited about the topic I chose but then came overwhelmed...

Do you remember, that this year we are doing "Inspired By" a bit differently than before? "Inspired By" is something crazy talented and inspirational Marsha and me have been doing for years now. Until 2018 it was that we chose a subject to be inspired by and then did something inspired by that theme, a piece of art or a book. The inspiration could be anything but we both turned that into some kind of project and blogged the creation on the 10th. You can browse the past "Inspired By" posts from here (link).

Inspired By is a playground, a concept we can use to explore, to play and to discover. We can do as much or as little we want and have time for. I guess it's not a surprise then that we both enjoy "Inspired By" very much but after doing it the same way so many years, we thought to change the things a bit.

This year, 2018, we both just post on the 10th with some source of inspiration we found that month. Or rather on a period from the 10th of previous month to 9th of the current month. It can be a series of photos, a book we read, an artwork we saw, just a pebble on the street or a new product we bought. We can make something using that source, but it's more about sharing just the inspiration. Consider it as a window to our creative minds!

I had one main source of inspiration this month and another on the side. The main inspiration came from the season and the change of eating habits. Yes, you read right, eating habits. I always try to make sure that at least half of the plate is "greens" when we make food. My husband is more the kind "one tomato is enough" but I always try to think new vegetables, berries or fruits to accompany the main dish. Kids especially love blueberries and I like zucchini for example. 

Each spring I start to crave even more and more greens and lighter food so the amount of vegetables just increases. And they are of such pretty colors, too! They also make me think about a scene in "Girl with a Pearl Earring" where Griet arranges the vegetables by color when chopping them for food. Other place I found vegetables, too, was work. We received some new collections of kids clothes to work sometime ago. Mini Rodini has a pattern called "veggie", which you can see here (link) and Molo Kids also has a pattern titled "eat your greens" (link)

So with all these veggies around, I chose vegetables as my source. But the same thing happened as so many times before when I choose to go with a too broad of a source for inspiration. I had gazillion ideas and none. I thought about making dimensional little vegetable sculptures (kind of like the bunny I did for an earlier "Inspired By"), about a doll with the theme, about handmade paper with veggies... Then I set my mind on the colors and more over to colorants. I decided to use vegetables as my colorants and dye...well, that caused another problem - what to dye. To dye fabric or paper or... I thought about fabric first and doing another piece like I did last month, but then it seemed a bit dull - like I would repeat the same thing each month. Then I thought about the vegetable portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (link), but realized in a heart beat that my skill level was too far to even attempt that. So I decided on paper instead.

Paper naturally caused a problem of its own. I knew I needed to make the color bath hot or even boil the paper so the paper need to be sturdy and not turn into pulp right away. I decided to go with something else than pure paper and bought a huge sheet of watercolor paper that has some fabric in it. It hold the boiling very well. 

Then I needed to gather colorants. I have a huge issue of using food in crafting. For example I dislike the macaroni crafts and wouldn't do those when my kids were little. Even printing with a potato is a bit questionable to me. Food is meant to be eaten, not to be played with. So I needed to think about if I actually could use food as a coloring medium, would that feel OK for me or should I continue searching. I decided it was OK to use parts that otherwise would have gone directly to bio waste, so I used peels and left overs instead of the real deal. This naturally then caused that I didn't get that much of the colorant and could only dye a small patch of paper. But as I didn't have the actual project in mind, this wasn't a problem and I was just experimenting.

I googled some colorants and went experimenting with others. The very first was beetroot, which was the best in the end. I boiled some beets for a dish I was making and gathered the boiling water and used that as a dye bath. For carrots I boiled some carrot peels. Artichoke I got from an old artichoke which would be thrown away by the shop but instead I got it, chopped it into pieces and boiled to get the color. If you want to see the colors I managed to get, please see a photo a bit further up!

After I had some papers once again a problem rose. What to do with those? The colors weren't that vibrant, the papers were more pastels than anything and some even had just a faint tint. First I thought to leave the project in that as this year it doesn't have to be a ready made piece, we can just experiment or even describe a thought process. But as I'm so thick headed and stubborn, I wanted to turn those pieces into something. Partly because I realized if I'm not doing it now, I will never do it.

The solution came from my other inspiration source. I went to a calligraphy workshop last month with a spectacular teacher, Marika Koskimäki-Ketelä (link). We tried different pens during the workshop but the topic was brush lettering. It was such a joy to take a part to a workshop instead of teaching one, even though I just love that, too. It was also so fun when we started with simple lines and I realized that I couldn't even draw a line - but after the workshop I managed to write a little something that didn't look too bad (link). So I wanted to add some handwritten pieces to the papers. As the paper pieces were really small, I then turned to the project I often use to experiment - ATCs.

I wrote a piece of paper with my normal handwriting, tore it apart and adhered it and the colored pieces to some kraft colored ATC bases using Soft Gel. I used a non-permanent pen while writing and got the wick out effect I was hoping to some of the pieces. In other places the ink didn't smudge at all and in some places it reacted a bit too much. 

For the focal point I created little vegetable pebbles. I painted some veggies with watercolors, then added Soft Gel under a Melange Pebble and then adhered it on top of the painted figure. After the gel had dried a bit, I then cut the excess paper off and adhered the shapes to my cards. To add a bit more texture to them I used Paper Texture Paste with a stencil, a piece of cord and some sewing thread in greens. I thought the Paper Texture Paste fitted the watercolor paper texture so well as it has a similar finish. 

Here's one of the cards on its own - the kraft cardstock background, beetroot colored piece of watercolor paper, written piece of paper and then an artichoke pebble on top. I've shot the picture on top of the worksheet I did during the calligraphy workshop. 

Like always, the cards are free for swaps or I can just send them out to persons willing. So if you'd like to have one, please send me an email! 

I wonder what Marsha has been inspired by this time! Here's a direct link to her post (link) but I highly you visit her blog and just browse through. She has such a talent to make out of the box projects and tutorials!

Thank you for stopping by today! And thank you if you managed to read the whole long post! Wishing you a lovely Ascension!  

Materials: Prima Marketing

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