Altered Art - Decoupage Earthy Blocks~

This was a fun project I worked on today! I started imagining making sets for family & friends because they are so cute & cool!

~Here's some personal news that I want to share with you all: Speaking of family, last week I received a letter from my natural father's sister, my aunt. My mother divorced when I was an infant. She remarried when I was very, very young -- still almost a baby, at the tender, toddling age of 1 1/2 years old. Circumstances were such that I did not get to know my natural father's side of the family. Although, I did have a few warm memories of my Grandparents & their visits to see me when I was a young girl in grade school. For many years, I had often wondered about them all & whether they were thinking of me! I found out recently that my natural father & his wife had passed away a few years prior to my Grandpa. It was very disheartening to learn of their loss. My aunt had contacted my mother about my Grandpa's death & told her that she wanted to speak with me. I was overwhelmed with such a mixture of emotion that I did not feel comfortable talking to anyone. I spoke sketchily to my parent's & avoided conversations that I should contact her. And I was a little angry with myself for not moving forward by getting his address and mailing a letter I had written him. I considered contacting him very often, even more so as I grew older. After hearing that he had become ill and was on oxygen, my thoughts and questions about him & his family occurred much more frequently. Several months after this, I wrote a letter conveying my feelings & updating him about my life & family. The letter was never mailed, regrettably. I did not keep a copy but feel it was close to the time of his death.

Fortunately for me, I have this *Angel* of an aunt, who had even spoken to him about contacting me while he was alive & really believed for my benefit & the family's that he should.
As it were, my natural father and I had jointly but separately decided not to disrupt each others lives for the sake of each other & our families. My aunt had also tried to e-mail me unsuccessfully. Her determination did not stop there; she wrote & mailed me a letter. The letter was mixed in our stack of mail but, as you flip through & see something hand-written, you gravitate towards it! As soon as I saw the address, I knew it was her & immediately opened it while I was walking back to the house. I stopped in my driveway to read it while I burst into tears of emotion, joy, remorse and happiness. It was one of the most beautiful letters that had ever been written to me. She told me that I had always been a part of their family, that I was very loved & that several family members really wanted to get to know me - including my sister, Nicki.

Emails between my Aunt & I were rapidly sent back and forth. The two of us feeling very much the same way about the situation & sharing information about our families & our lives. She spoke to her niece, my long lost sister, at a family get together this weekend, then proceeded to show her my photos. And last night, I received another heart felt email from someone I've missed & thought about over the years but didn't know. Nicki. I was so excited to hear from her! I read and re-read her letter, happily, realizing the importance of this for the both of us, as well as my Aunts. Then, I stayed up til 1:00 a.m. writing her back! So, today -- I was just a tiny bit sleepy! Kinda cool, huh?

So, my mind has been reminiscing about the past today. Bittersweet in that we did not have the opportunity to know each other growing up but now, we do! I have also been thinking about my Dad a lot because of all this; the guy who raised me. You know you love someone but for me this further amplified the importance of him, his family & how much I love him. And even though my Mom had a rocky start as a single mom, she hung on & ensured that our lives fell back into place by working hard, marrying Dad & the gift of my sister & brother, Cheri & Donnie.
It has been an emotional whirlwind that I am grateful for.~

{okay, I'm getting vah-klempt again}

Sid Dickens Memory Blocks provided inspiration today. Most of you are probably familiar with his product line collection of 6 x 8 plaster blocks designed whimsically Old World.
After looking at the beautiful creations, my mind started weaving images of me making my own plaster blocks by hand! Yea, here we go! And, no, I probably won't!

Since I have quite a bit of ArtChix Studio's altered art images left, as well as a memory block project kit & above inspiration, I dug in. I also decided to use what I have and to make quick decisions in order to wrap it up today for a fun post. The blocks still need to be sanded, antiqued and possibly gold leafed. The stamping ink needs to cure before I can finish them out. I'm sure there is a better way to do this so the ink doesn't smear (like paint) but ink is so handy & quick! Having done the decoupage boxes, my mind was already in altered art mode which propelled me to get them done. Overall, I'm happy with them thus far. I believe after they are distressed, it will add more character & depth.

Here's a few pictures illustrating some of the steps:

Lightly sand & wipe off blocks. Paint black completely around, leaving top side of block and bottom side of block natural. Paint Color: Folk Art Acrylic, #479, Pure Black

Paint tops of blocks Red. Paint Color: Folk Art Acrylic, #914 Light Red Oxide

Paint bottoms of blocks Sage. Paint Color: Folk Art, #467, Italian Sage

Here are some ArtChix Studio playing cards cut down. Select bird-themed suit of Spades, use 4 Red blocks and 4 Green blocks, then arrange the birds at opposite angles as shown. Choose the birds that appeal to you the most!

Next, decoupage an additional set of birds to bottom side of blocks, as well as random ArtChix Studio images that are earthy in feel. Try to stick with the secondary theme when selecting additional images to use for each of the blocks.

Select scrapbook papers as filler, cut to size & apply. Basic Grey has very antiquey-styled papers that work great with ArtChix Studio. You could also use small, left over pieces from other projects.

Or, just do your thang!

Finally, use several stamps to layer on the final 2 sections of each block using red and bronze pigment stamp ink. If a spot looks bare, apply a portion of a detail in the corner or layer on top at angles. Usually, it adds more interest to angle.

So far, so good ... This is what I've come up with thus far. Sometimes when I sleep on things, fresh ideas occur to me, especially after that 1st morning cup of java!

After this dries tonite, I'll finish them out tomorrow to soften them with golf leaf accents & antiquing.
They look really cute already!!

Cross your fingers for me!

Please do not be shy & leave a comment! I always enjoy receiving notes from everyone & would *luv* to hear from all of you.

Happy Crafting & Blogging!!




  1. Oh my, how wonderful for you. Scary, exciting and nervous all at the same time. What a wonderful Aunt she is. She never gave up and I am sure that they always thought of you through all the years. It's a piece of the puzzle that you need solved. A sister? How tremendous. Oh, it gave me the shivers reading your post. You deserve it so!!

    As for your boxes. I just love them!! They would make excellent gifts. And you could personalise them too. I must get into doing something similar. I am starting another blog in the next few days called Inspiration. Full of beautiful things I find or make. This would be one of them. Congrats with your art and craft efforts. I hope you catch up on your sleep. Very exciting days for you. Yoo Hoo!!!

  2. @Lilly's Life It's been great & cathartic corresponding. Hopefully, we'll be able to meet some day soon. I also have a brother, Dennis, but the women in the family are gathering right now - typical, eh? So, we will see.

    Your *Inspiration* blog sounds like a terrific idea! I've really enjoyed crafting over the past few months. Creativity creates such a positive aura for me, personally. I love getting lost in the process & seeing where the *artsy fairies* take me. Cannot wait to see what you'll be up to!

  3. Juls,

    Oh I'm both happy and nervous for you! What an....adventure really, that you must be having right now. I wish you all the best in your learning of one another. *hugs*

    Now your boxes....Wowzermarvelous! And I loooove how you showed us step by step how you did them too! Très magnifique, Mme Artiste!!! I've always wanted to do something like this with a romantic fairytale feel. Now I'm wanting too again. I'll add that to the list. Keep showing us how you go about your wondrous creations! Not only is it a beautiful and insightful process to look at, but your writing is also one of the reasons I love your blog sooo much.

    Angelique (sorry for the anon, just a quick flyby and then offline)

  4. I'm very excited for you Juls. You can never have too many great people in your life and it sounds like you have an extended family that you didn't even know you had!

    Your blocks are awesome - such a busy girl you are and keep the creativeness coming!

    Peace and much Luv,

  5. @Jeannie Yes, they are really sweet, sweet hearts & fun! And so are my blogger-budz!~

    Hopefully, I'll finish them *tamale*, pronto!~

  6. @Whimsical Interludes (Ms. Anonymous)! Girl, I was half out of it the other and just realized I didn't respond to your post! Thank you so much for your kind words. It is very exciting getting to know my aunt and sister. They are incredible people and I'm very lucky that they've come back into my life.

    Looking forward to seeing what you are up to, girl!


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