Wall Spackling as Texture in Mixed Media

For week 20 of the Documented Life Project, the art challenge was to use modeling paste on the page to add texture. I did not have any craft modeling paste, but I did have a small container of lightweight wall spackling paste (used to fill in nail holes, etc on walls) that I decided to try.

My inspiration for this page was a photo I took on the deck after a rain.


I used my finger to rub the spackling over a woodgrain design stencil onto the paper. After the spackling paste dried, I painted over it with acrylic paint and then lightly sanded the raised texture to give a weathered wood look.


For the leaf I painted with watercolors on watercolor paper, then cut out the leaf shape and glued it to the woodgrain.


The grandkids thought this project was one of the best. They enjoyed getting the spackling all over their fingers and using the various “tools” I gave them to make fun textures.


And here are their creations after painting.

Miss Tickles:


My Princess:


Ninja Boy:


Melinda’s creativity right now is focused on figuring out what they need and how to fit it into their RV, which will be their home full time for a while as they travel for their ministry. After she gets settled in, you will be seeing more posts from her again.

Digital Creativity

You might be wondering why it seems to be so quiet at In A Tickle the past couple of weeks. I’d love to say we were all on vacation at some tropical beach, but that’s not the case. We’ve actually been quite busy.

Melinda’s family sold their house and had a couple of weeks to get moved out, sort what goes into storage, and into a garage sale, and what will go with them in the RV (still to be obtained.) They are moving into an RV full time and taking their ministry (BecauseFamily) on the road traveling around the USA to help strengthen families. Grandma and Pa’s house/driveway will be a home base for them. Their kids are excited about the adventure.

Last week Melinda and her husband focused on creating a video that is the first of a series they plan to produce. Melinda shot video and did voiceovers, Michael is the main character, and even the two oldest kids participated with their acting skills. Michael used his creative editing skills to finalize a great video about the movie rating system. If you have children or grandkids, be sure to watch and learn.


This week, they shot another video in our garage to advertise the fireworks stand they are doing to raise money toward their ministry. Even if you don’t live close by, you will have fun watching Michael and Ninja Boy in this crazy ad! Go to THIS LINK.

This week was also Dance Recital week, so lots of hours of rehearsal and two performances for everyone but the baby. Melinda and the three oldest dance, and Michael is the official stage manager for the recital.

Meanwhile, between helping Melinda out with kids and moving and garage sale, I was busy finalizing a website I have been designing for my sister’s new company, Aerosol Devices Inc. If you are in the field of aerosol research, check out their new instruments for collecting aerosol particles. If you are not into that and just want to see what I’ve been doing, you can check it out at AerosolDevices.com.

All Stitched Up

The art challenge for the 19th week of Documented Life Project was stitching.

For this challenge, I pulled out a box of small fabric scraps and picked out pieces that were small enough to not need cutting. I arranged them on a piece of fusible bond on top of a piece of interfacing . When I liked the arrangement, I used an iron over the whole piece to bond the fabric pieces to the interfacing. Of course there were pieces overlapping that were not touching the fusible bond, so I cut tiny pieces of the fusible bond and placed them under the overlapping fabrics and ironed them. I was not concerned with trying to stick down every edge, but wanted to make sure the fabric pieces stayed in place while I stitched. The I “doodled” with embroidery floss making random stitches over the whole piece.


I didn’t have any sewing stuff with me while I worked on this page, so I decided to draw some cross stitch. One of my favorite shows is Doctor Who, so I drew the Eleventh Doctor and wrote out some of his lines from different episodes.



For the kids, I asked them to draw a simple picture on cardstock and then let them punch holes in the paper along their drawing lines for their stitching holes.


Then they each got to pick out embroidery thread which I threaded on a blunted needle, showed them how to sew and they did the rest. They were so proud of their creations.


My Princess:


Ninja Boy:


Miss Tickles:


You don’t need to purchase fancy “sewing cards” to teach your kids how to sew. The grandkids were more excited to be sewing on their own drawings than they would have on something pre-made.

Painting Fabric

For the month of May the theme for Documented Life Project was Touchy Feely (Texture) and the art challenge for week 18 was Fabric. The journal prompt was “The Fabric of Your Life”.

I used a scrap of leftover fabric from a dress I made for one of my girls many years ago for a performance. The white fabric had a textured design printed on it.


My inspiration for the challenge was the newly blooming columbine flowers in my garden. I planted them last year and they only grew leaves, so it was exciting to see the blooms this spring.


I drew my design on the fabric using Derwent Inktense Blocks and then blended the color with water. The white design printed on the fabric created a slight resist for the color. When it was dry, I added some lines with black marking pen.



I haven’t been at a place where I could use fabric lately, and I finally had some time to work on DLP. I decided to draw my fabric by drawing some dresses inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest. I used water color pencils and water with a watercolor brush. To add some detail, I used fine tip Sharpie and a white gel pen. I kept having the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” go through my head, so I added a verse.


Someone recently commented she loved the fact we were doing the Documented Life Project as a multi-generational activity. The kids are enjoying trying new supplies and techniques in their journey of discovering what they can do with their creativity. They jumped at the chance to try out my Inktense Blocks on fabric.


My Princess:


Ninja Boy:


A New Dress for the Birthday Girl

I love when my nieces and nephew have birthdays. That means it is time for me to make something fun for them. Last year, I gave Songbird a dress made from the same pattern that I made a dress for Miss Tickles. Miss Tickles wears her dress all the time, and when we skype or get a picture of Songbird, she is so often wearing the dress I made her. I decided to go ahead and make another one. The top part is still big enough to fit, but my sister requested the new dress be a little longer for her to be able to grow more. I found some cute fabric and got double the amount needed so I could make an opposite twinsies dress for Miss Tickles. When she was here in February, they liked matching each other.



We needed buttons for the dress, but instead of buying some, mom decided to go ahead and make some from polymer clay.


Mom created a custom made necklace to match the dress using polymer clay. She used this tutorial for stringing the beads together using crochet thread.


Since she did not know how she was going to put the necklace together at the time of making the beads, she had to use a “real” button for the clasp. She says if she had been thinking ahead, she would have made extra buttons like the dress buttons!





We Facetimed (love technology!) with her to watch her open her presents. After she tried on the dress she told her mom it was a Cinderella dress. Now that’s a compliment!


Alphabet Necklace

One of our granddaughters, our little Songbird, is celebrating her fourth birthday. She is fascinated with the alphabet and is quickly learning the sounds the letters make as well as learning how to write each letter. Because she loves necklaces, I thought she would enjoy a customizable necklace of the letters of the alphabet.

I first formed letters of the alphabet from purple polymer clay and baked them to hold their shape. Next I made a block bead for each letter to fit into, inscribed various designs on all the sides of the blocks, lightly colored the blocks with light purple powdered pigment and baked. Purple is her current favorite color. To add a little variety, I also made small round beads of pink—her second favorite color. I bent wire to hold each letter unit together and added a spring clasp to the top.


To make sure the letters stayed in each block, I put a small bit of Sculpey Bake & Bond on the back of each letter before baking in the block. You can see in the picture below some of the designs I put on the blocks using pins, tiny cookie cutters and whatever else was available. In this post, I shared suggestions for texturing clay with things found around the house.


Of course, the letters needed a place to be stored and I found a cute purse shaped wooden box at Michaels craft store and a little wooden bird.


After painting and gluing some flannel fabric inside the purse, it made an adorable storage “box”.


Songbird will be able to connect the letters together to make simple words as she begins to learn to read.


Or she can string a bunch of letters together to make a necklace to wear.


I also included a silver chain to which she can attach whatever words or letters she fancies for the day.


I hope she enjoys playing with it as much as her Auntie Melinda did when she saw it.


The Beauty of Ink

The art challenge for the 17th week of the Documented Life Project was to use ink. The journal prompt was “Before the ink is dry.”

A few weeks ago I was playing around with embossing foil by hand and adding alcohol inks. I covered a notebook with the colored foil and still had a large piece left over which I used in this challenge. First I painted a watercolor background using similar colors as the inked foil.

Then I added in mountains and river cut from the embossed and ink colored foil. After gluing the foil in place, I added some extra color and metallic shine to the watercolor background with metallic gelattos. Photographing foil is difficult and the beauty of the ink on the foil doesn’t show well in this picture.



I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was fun. I was looking at my daughter’s sippy cup that had a monkey on it, and I decided to use that shape for my page. I drew the monkey then zentangled around it with different colored sharpies. I used a pencil to add shading to make the monkey look slightly raised or indented depending on how you look at it.


The kids chose pictures they made the night we played with marking pens and rubbing alcohol.

My Princess:



Ninja Boy:

Tiny Houses

Several months ago, I asked my Dad if he could use his woodworking skills to make a dollhouse/playmobil storage case for my girls. We needed something that wasn’t too big so that it would fit in our new home easily. Dad finished his part pretty quickly, but it took me a few weeks before I got all the decorating finished and the girls could finally play with it.


This week has been a big exciting week for my family because we have finally sold our house and will be moving into a small one room apartment for a few weeks until we get our RV to live in and travel full time. If you want to know more about why we are moving into an RV, you can check out our ministry BecauseFamily.org and our fundraising campaign.

Because living in an RV with four kids means we won’t have a lot of extra room, I wanted to make sure the toys my kids play with the most had the right storage as well as playability for the small space.


Dad put together the box to be sturdy but easy to carry with enough space for the Playmobil guys and the tiny bunk beds he had made for them.



I painted the outside then “wallpapered” the inside with scrapbook paper and modpodge. Dad used cedar wood for the flooring. So fancy!


Dad put it all together with hinges and a latch to keep it secure for transportation.

They love it! Their tiny house will fit perfectly in our tiny house/RV.

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Gelatin Printing for DLP Art Challenge

For week 16, the Documented Life Project was the Gelli® Plate and the journal prompt was , “A lot on my plate.”

This type of monoprinting is a favorite of mine. I like to use my homemade gelatin plate to make prints. I have used the same plate for the past year and a half made in a 9X9 glass pan. I finally made a larger one in a big glass pan and can print on a whole sheet of paper now. My inspiration for this print was a plant growing in my flower bed called a Silver Dollar plant. It has very unique seed pods that dry into a silver color disc. These plants were originally brought over by the Pilgrims.


My plants were just past the blooming point. The ends of the stems were filled with tiny purple flower clusters. When I was a child we had a large bush that we called a Silver Dollar Tree in our yard and my sister and I used its leaves for play money. The plants growing in my yard only get about three feet tall, so I am not sure what the plant we had was officially called when I was a child.


I made many prints using these stems adding layers upon layers. Several times I got to a point where I really liked the print, but then would decide to add one more layer and it ended up being too much. I decided that my response to the journal prompt of “having a lot on my plate” was going overboard with my layers of print. You just have to know when to say, “Enough!”


Has literally had a lot on her plate lately and will get to this one when she can.

My Princess:


Ninja Boy: He wanted to try the string printing  like I made a few weeks back.


Combining Marking Pens with Alcohol for Paper Art

Three of the grandkids were over one evening and as happens many times at our house they wanted to do some kind of art project. I had seen images online of marking pens used on fabric and then treated with rubbing alcohol to make a tie dyed effect but I wondered what it would do on paper. Out came the markers (an assortment of cheap markers the kids like to use for drawing) and some card stock paper as well as some watercolor paper. We drew designs and then used droppers to put rubbing alcohol on top of the markers. The ink ran and blended making unique pictures.


It was interesting to see that two different black markers would produce different colors when the alcohol was applied.


The kids had a blast and kept asking for more and more paper to experiment with for almost two hours. Of course, I was enjoying experimenting as much as they were. Even the three year old loved it.





Let your kids or grandkids give this a try. Be sure to place something under their papers to protect the table like an old placemat or sheet of plastic. Our table needs refinishing and I did discover some rubbing alcohol that was dribbled on the table surface eventually started stripping off the varnish. So if you care about your table, protect it, so you can have fun creating!