Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Buried Treasure

Seth Apter runs an occasional challenge to unearth an all-time favorite post and repost it for the world to see. He calls it Buried Treasure, and you can read more about it here. I decided to participate this year and came up with this post from 2010. That year, I hosted a blog hop for altered houses. I took sign-ups and then sent all participants an envelope of goodies for them to use to make an altered house. I then hosted a blog circle blog hop (which you can find here, although I'd be surprised if the links all still worked). In preparation for the hop, I wrote this tutorial which I think holds up pretty well to the test of time. This post also contains a link (in the third paragraph) to another tutorial I wrote on "how-to-collage" which is also pretty good. I hope you enjoy these tutorials. 
I'd be curious about how many of you remember (or participated) in the altered house blog hop . . . and wonder whether we should do another one . . . 

Altered House Tutorial (The Beach Shack)

Welcome House Party guests and anyone else interested in altered houses!  Several people asked for a tutorial on making altered houses, so I thought I would walk you through the creative process I used to make this house, which I call my Beach Shack. I hope you find the tutorial useful. I started with an envelope of supplies, which included the following:
I began by looking at the supplies to decide what kind of house they suggested and whether I wanted to go with it or change it entirely.  I thought these supplies suggested a beachy, funpark kind of theme, and I liked that. [If I'm starting from scratch (without a bag of supplies), I usually start with a theme in mind and pull out supplies (images, paper, embellishments) which support that theme.  Or, I might start with an image that calls to me and then choose supporting papers and embellishments.]  The next thing I did was to think about any of my own supplies that I might want to add - things that had a similar feel and color scheme.  I pulled out a few things, including paint, ink, brads and some 1940's pictures of women in swimsuits:
From here, I basically proceeded to follow the three steps that I outlined earlier in my collage tutorial:  create a background; add an image; and add embellishments. You can find that tutorial here.  It's truly not so different than what your probably do in making cards or scrapbook pages.
Step 1:  Background. To create a background for my house, I considered a variety of different ways to use paper and paint to cover my house.  I started with these three papers:
I liked this basic approach, but I really wanted my beach shack to have a rustic feel, so I tried out my two paint colors to see if either would work:
The brown seemed too drab. I liked the blue, so painted the bottom half of the house blue.  I still wanted it more rustic, so I considered using either crackle paint on top of the blue or spritzing brown ink onto the blue.
Since my crackle paint was a little dried out (and also drab), I decided to spritz the bottom with brown ink.  I also used brown ink to ink the edges of all the papers and the edge of the blue. Then I glued the papers in place, and my background was done:
Step 2:  Images. I decided to use two images:  the elephant from the envelope and a 1940's woman doing a handstand.  I double-matted the elephant, single matted the woman, and placed them on the house:
Step 3:  Embellishments. When it's time to decide on embellishments, I usually try a few different variations to see what I like before I glue anything down.  I used a selection of things from the envelope and from my stash for my first pass:
I thought this looked pretty good, but thought it felt a little plain still. I wanted to add something else, and I realized I hadn't used any of the cool gingham ribbon from the envelope. I tried out the idea of putting some under the roof line or maybe some squares in the lower right corner of the house:
I decided I liked it along the roofline, but not so much on the house.  I decided to put some yellow brads in the lower right instead.  I adhered everything to end up with this:
I liked it pretty well, but I felt like it still needed one more element in the upper left hand corner of the house.  I rooted around on my desk and found a cream-colored star button with orange polka dots.  The orange pulled some orange out of the elephant picture.  I adhered the star with yellow brads, and my beach shack was complete! [Just to be sure it was complete, I toyed with the idea of adding something else (small shells, a flag on top, flowers), but they all made it feel cluttered.]
A few things about the design that I think work well.  The color scheme followed the gallon-quart-pint formula (where you use approximately 70% of your main color - blue; approximately 25% of your supporting color - brown; and approximately 5% of your third color - yellow) which often works for me. The vertical line of the brads reflect and balance the vertical image of the woman doing the handstand (she's a friend of my Aunt's, by the way), the star with the circular brads reflect and balance the picture of the elephant on the round ball.  Like many of my collages (or scrapbook pages or cards), there's a background, a title (live simply) and then three embellishments (tickets, star and brads).  Everything (color, images, embellies) supports the theme of a Beach Shack. I've never studied design, but I think this is why the house works for me to feel balanced and complete. Usually when I'm creating, I don't think consciously about any of these design principles, but I can look at the completed product and describe them (and I find it an interesting exercise).  If I'm struggling with a project, then I usually try to think about design principles to find out what is or is not working.
I didn't use everything that came in the envelope or that I pulled out.  Here's what I had left over (it's probably enough for another house - LOL!):
A few additional thoughts. There were other directions to go with the background and embellishments. For instance, I considered painting the roof brown or using a brown paper on the roof piece and then cutting some of the flowers out of the patterned paper to decorate it.  I also thought about cutting out some of the compass designs and using those as part of the background on the house or cutting little triangular flags out of the yellow paper. Any of these could have worked.  Second, if the theme suggested by the supplies in the envelope doesn't speak to you, feel free to substitute for any or all of the supplies.  Third, just play with the embellishments until you find something you like. As Paul Gardner said, "A painting is never finished.  It simply stops in interesting places."  I love my beach shack.  I think it's an interesting place to stop and spend a few moments. It might even be a fun place to have a house party . . .
I hope you found this tutorial useful.  If so, I'd love feedback as to what was helpful.  If not, polite suggestions as to what to add or delete are always welcome.  Party on!
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To see the full list of Buried Treasure participants from this year, click over to Seth's blog here.

23 comments:

debs14 said...

Was it really 4 years ago?! I still have mine on the bookcase in the study, it was a fun project!

scrappyjacky said...

I can't believe it's that long ago!! I loved taking part and mine are hanging on my lounge wall. I think another one would be a great idea.....it was such fun....I ended up making three.

Diane Baker-Williams said...

As a newbie to mixed media art, this tutorial is perfect just as it is; easy to follow, simple directions with good photos. I wouldn't change a thing! Thank you for sharing.

helena said...

I didn't take part as I was too nomadic at the time but I remember watching them all with interest on the blogs - amazing that all the links are still live. I'd be up for a re-run

~*~Patty S said...

We hadn't 'met' yet back in 2010 Rinda. Such a fun project you put alot into that post!!
My Buried Treasure is also from 2010 oxo

Gaby Bee said...

What a wonderful project. I enjoyed your step by step.
Gaby xo

scrappyjacky said...

Rinda....have popped over after seeing your comment on Deb's blog.....we grow sunflowers in England so you definately have enough sun to grow them in California.

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Not only do I remember this project, but I was just thinking of it this morning when I saw your adorable little birdhouse! I was thinking it would be a really fun project to create and link up, just like your altered houses.

And I was also going to say the same thing as Jacky did about sunflowers in California! :o) Just plant them in the sunniest spot you have (no shade) and you should be fine.

PS: The links work but only to the home page of the blogs that participated in your original blog hop. My house that I made for your blog hop back in 2010 is here: http://paperturtle.blogspot.com/2010/05/house-party-blog-hop-birthday-party-at.html Loved that project!!! :o)

nancy y said...

Really, that long ago? I remember and my house is still on my "art shelf" in the guest bedroom!

Jo Murray said...

Gosh Rinda...such a long time ago.....but still very inspiring. Love watching your process....some great tips here.

elle said...

This was a great idea!

Lin Collette said...

I've been wanting to do an altered house and this is a fab tutorial - thanks for sharing

Mary C. Nasser said...

Fun altered house! Thanks for the tutorial!
Wonderful Buried Treasure!
All the best,
Mary
Mixed-Media Map Art

Sheeps Peeps said...

Really enjoyed the tutorial, looks like it was a lot of fun!

Beverly said...

Totally perfect seeing this today and your current summer of color house :)

Sian said...

Okay, now I'm laughing because as I read and commented on the dice house, I was thinking about the altered houses and I hadn't realised this post was here. I still look at my little house every day as it sits on the shelf above my desk.

Melissa said...

How FUN to look back at some old posts! I don't remember this one, but that was only a couple of months after I started blogging and I don't think we had "met" yet!

JackieP Neal said...

Rinda, what a great tutorial- your beach house is adorable! Great post for Buried Treasure!
Jackie")

Lisa-Jane said...

What a great project?! Thanks for visiting me during the Refresh blog hop!

Lesley G said...

What a great idea and such a fabulous tutorial, thanks for bringing it back :)

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

This is fantastic. I also participated in a house swap, but mine was a tip-in. You did a fantastic job, and really like how you took us through each and every step to the end. Thanks for sharing this tutorial and glad you dug it up for your buried treasure.

Karen said...

Oh, I remember these wonderful houses. I made one, too, and I need to get it into my house album.

Gail said...

I don't remember this one, I must have started reading your blog shortly after that.