This is a unique challenge blog where we are inspired by and focus on the Vintage; shabby; mixed-media; art journaling; industrial, timeworn and steampunk genres and encompass the talent, flair, expertise and ideas of many artists that we are inspired by. We welcome all types of projects - cards, journaling, assemblage, layouts, albums, atcs, altered art in fact whatever you want to share (as long as it is in good taste).

Friday 15 March 2019

March Challenge Tutorial - Brenda

I am sharing the process steps for the project I made for the birthday challenge this month. I loved making my shabby piece of home decor and added a word banner I made to fit the title.


The background paper was a piece of a paper mixing palette left over from a brayering session some time ago but the colours are so beautifully neutral and perfect for stamping on. I chose images that represent something for AVJ, the challenge and our birthday. The large gear represents transport, the whole idea of moving on this journey, the clock face is about time and that we have been travelling together for five years now. The typewriter is about the blog posts that we write and how all the Creative Guides share the running and workings of the blog including the communication between us all. Five little stars for the 5th birthday, a shabby border pattern for one of the genres that we like to use and see and part of a map that is representative of the fact that we are a multinational team and you our readers pop aboard from all around the globe too.

Candlestick and box

I used chalky finish paint (heirloom, rustic, relic, everlasting and primitive) and roughly stippled and blended these neutral colors over it and let it dry. Then I repeated with a second coat. I rubbed a little candle wax in random places and then stippled on everlasting, primitive and restore. Before it was fully dry I rubbed with dry kitchen paper to make it look more aged and worn and finished with three waxes clear, deep brown and white, rubbing some away with water before buffing to a beautiful shine.

I did the same to the circular board. 

The Tim Holtz box also got a paint job with similar colours and then some crackle paste trowelled on with a palette knife and when dry I edged with dark grey value 6.


I collected together lots of stamped, die-cut and metal embellishments to use to decorate the top and create a diorama and I made my own word banner.
The suitcases are showing we travel with our supplies and unpack them at every destination and the paper doll is representative of our fabulous team of ladies - The Creative Guides.

The word banner was typed on the computer, printed out and mounted on a strip of greyboard. I covered it with matte medium to seal the surface.

You'll probably see some other bits that were added to the project which is what frequently happens once I start putting things together.

I could have added more to the sides and the back but I didn't want to over do it - less is more they say and I think I have hit the right balance.

I hope you've managed to see the wonderful line up from the Creative Guides and there is some lovely work that has already been entered. You still have time to play along at the AVJ challenge blog, we'd love to see you cone and join in the celebrations.

Thanks for stopping by.

hugs Brenda xxx


  1. Brenda, you definitely hit the balance right with your embellishments, they look fabulous. I love how you used items and stamping to interpret the journey that the team has been on (even those of us who are wayward) - such a thoughtful and beautiful interpretation! The neutral tones are a delight and that crackled box is stunning! A complete triumph and such a wonderful way to celebrate AVJ's birthday! Hugs, Anne xx

  2. Brenda, your shadowbox is the perfect project for this 5th birthday celebration! I love the shabby look to the box; so perfectly aged! Your representations of the team and the journey we are on are so thoughtful and beautifully executed. How wonderful to see how this all came together! Sending hugs your way!

  3. I adore your this project Brenda and its been wonderful to see how it all came together and your excelllent creativity throughout . The neutral tones are the perfect choice as they take nothing away from 'the AVJ story you are telling through your creativity, they only serve to enhance.
    Thanks for sharing .
    Hugs x

  4. I so enjoyed reading this post Brenda x a thoughtful, beautifully made shadowbox that will decorate your home and be a reminder of this amazing journey we are all sharing, together with our followers, here at AVJ. Wonderful details and so insiring as always xx Love it !!!

    Huge hugs and a happy weekend to all
    Annie xx

  5. I loved this project Brenda and this is a super tutorial, - thanks so much for all the details!! The result looks fanatastic!

  6. Brenda this is such a special piece, celebrating not only the 5 years that AVJ have been inspiring the creative community but embracing the fine relationship you all have as a Team. Each element tells it's own mighty story wrapped in true vintage style and tone. A beautiful way to celebrate and a creation that will bring a smile every time it's looked upon.
    Thank you for sharing it's story step by step.
    Creative Hugs Tracey xx

  7. What a lovely creative process for your beautiful piece Brenda - love the images on the background and the ephemera! The box and stand are colored and crackled wonderfully! A beautiful project for our AVJ celebration! xx