Ampersand & My Polearm: A Mixed Media Layout

Black and white mixed media scrapbook layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills and die cuts.

Funny title? I'll explain the story about this picture, one of my very favorites of Isaiah. {that's Zae's real name...weird that it came out because I don't usually call him that--except that he has been on a little naughty binge lately, testing his limits, so I guess I've been calling him that a little more often--along with the middle name!}

He was about 10 weeks old here when he discovered his hand. He was so enthralled about this discovery that he held his arm up all day long, for days and days, just staring at it.

One night my mom went to check on him and he had fallen asleep with his arm up! We couldn't get over how funny this was. We started calling it his polearm. {his previous fascination was with the pole of his swing} I captured this picture with the focus on his hand, and it's been one of my faves ever since. You can just see the fascinated intense focus in his eyes.


I created this layout with some challenges in mind. The challenge at More Than Words this month was to use/be inspired by the word "Together" and an ampersand.


Black and white mixed media layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills and die cuts. This picture immediately came to mind. I used a quote by Audrey Hepburn, "You have two hands: one for helping yourself, one for helping others." I truly hope Zae grows up kind to others, and that he sees the sky's the limit and he just has to reach for it.

I sketched out the {perfectly imperfect} ampersand and filled it in with texture paste, then dabbed at it with some mesh that left the interesting pattern. My first try made it look too much like snake skin, so I had to get a little messier. {awww, poor me} 

Black and white mixed media layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills and die cuts.

Black and white mixed media layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills and die cuts.
I entered this layout in the Anything Goes Scrapping4Fun challenge. The other challenge was from Colorful Creations very first challenge - B/W +1. I was really thinking about using a pop of color, but instead decided to go monochromatic and use gray/silver as my plus one.

This die cut from Tim Holtz's Expedition ephemera pack was perfect for the theme. Not only was it in black and white, it's a hand... I am pretty sure he designed this just so I could create this page. {Thanks for that, Tim. You're making this so easy on me}

Black and white mixed media layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills and die cuts.

I sprinkled Prills Minnie Pearls from the Spring Bling collection in the beautiful Blue Fern Studios chipboard, which I customized by snipping into two pieces, heat embossing it first with a glittery powder, done in one layer, which gives a more grainy finish that I wanted, followed by a few strokes of Prima's heavy white gesso and a little hint of Tattered Angels Shimmer Mist in Black Magic from a paintbrush to add some dimension.

Black and white mixed media layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills and die cuts.

If you haven't worked with Blue Fern's chipboard, I give my wholehearted recommendation. Not only are they beautiful, quality pieces, but they allow no-minimum wholesale orders for shops like my Etsy shop, so I can add their gorgeous pieces to my kits.

{They don't pay me in any way to say that, I just love their products. What's more: they've made it easy for boutique like mine to grow, so I'm a genuinely happy customer. Segue: Have you ever heard that statistic that we share bad reviews and news more than the good? We need to change that! Every time you say something negative, try saying two positive things to make up for it! The world just might become a happier place, one of us at a time!}


Black and white mixed media scrapbook layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills, Blue Fern Studios chipboard, and die cuts.

Here's a close-up of the beautiful Wild Orchid Crafts rose, a part of a box of goodies given to me by my dear friend, Lisa Landry. Can you imagine, scrappy friends, getting a surprise box of goodies on your doorstep? It was amazing! Not only were the embellishments beautiful, but the thought behind it made me tear up. Good friends are a blessing; and good scrapping friends are a step beyond amazing :)

{You know I had to add flowers to balance out my masculine color scheme...you know, you know, this was a compromise for me. It's not pink! So flowers, you're not going anywhere, and you know you're always welcome on my layouts}

Mixed Media distressed prima flower I gave both the flowers (the one on the left is from Prima) a layer of gesso to add a little texture and match the white I was using. The rose looks rather looks porcelain! So pretty. For the Prima flower (see it here) the original was a silky fabric with feathers...and it just didn't quite fit with the distressed look, so some gesso, some texture paste, a sprinkle of glitter, and voila--a harmonious embellishment that looks like it fell into the same paint can. {plus the glitter fairy got to pay a visit and you know I always love her visits!}

Black and white distressed mixed media scrapbook layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills, Blue Fern Studios chipboard, and die cuts. I did a lot of painting with black and white gessos, along with texture paste. I am sooooo loving Bazzill's cardstock right now {like so so so much} as I'm delve deeper into the world of mixed media. It holds up so well to all the distressing and paint and the canvas-like texture works so well for adding texture--when you distress it, some of the color stays behind in the paper texture and gives it this gorgeous finish. The picture of the rose up above gives a good example of the the effect of the darker color settled into the grain of the paper. This technique {done by first using a darker color, letting it set for a few minutes and then using a wet brush and cloth to take off some of the excess} is perfect if you're looking to make a rustic or grunge layout. Or if you're looking to add a little dimension or texture. I'll be sharing another layout soon that uses this technique for a more romantic style layout, but still with the distressed feel to it.

I'm all about finding deals, shopping sales, finding alternatives, making my own, recycling, etc., but when you're creating a piece of art, your canvas is important, so you really can't skimp on paper if you intend to do any type of mixed media sprays or paints.

Black and white distressed mixed media scrapbook layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills, Blue Fern Studios chipboard, and die cuts.

Black and white distressed mixed media scrapbook layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills, Blue Fern Studios chipboard, and die cuts.
If you're new here, let me tell you how much I can't abide to waste things. I snipped these little butterflies off the chipboard because of the way I used it, but I couldn't just throw them out, even though one of the wings was lost during the chipboard amputation. {lovely imagery there, huh?} So {if you'll notice some of the pics don't have them yet!} they landed here in this corner and I love that they found a new home fluttering off the page.

Black and white distressed mixed media scrapbook layout with prima, wild orchid flowers, buttons, distressing, mixed media, cheesecloth, prills, Blue Fern Studios chipboard, and die cuts.

I added some buttons and used some Helix pens and a Sharpie around the edges because, as you can see in the picture above, I had done a little machine stitching, but it just wasn't bold enough. So, yay for scribbling!

Speaking of scribbling, I've done enough of that for today. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, and maybe you'll get to do some scrapping today!

34 comments

  1. Fascinating! I really loved this when I saw it with the wonderful journaled quote & your extra words of advise for little Zae...then when I read the whole story behind the absolutely adorable photo - WOWOWOW! Stories and feelings behind photos or embellishments have always been treasures when I scrap. What a wonderful and interesting write up - thanks so much for sharing this 'growing up' story! And thank you for the mention :) I absolutely LOVE all of the treatments & textures (the linen look paper is gorgeous!)

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! You're such a wonderful "cheerleader" for me here! <3

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  2. Love those words, such a lovely touch to add to this beautiful creation. Thanks for playing along with us at More Than Words.

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  3. Wow! So gorgeous!!!!! The ampersand is amazing!!! Thanks for playing with us at More Than Words!

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  4. What a precious layout! Great take on our challenge this month at MTW! :)

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  5. Beautiful colour scheme and such a wonderful way to record the memories from his early years. ❤ Thank you for joining us at More than Words.

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    1. Thank you, Anguree, I'm lucky I found scrapbooking before he was born :)

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  6. What a beautiful layout. Thank you for joining us at Colorful Creations! Agnieszka DT

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  7. Oh my, I love the story behind the picture.
    I am a grandmother and love to see all the new things the little one is discovering!
    Beautiful layout.
    Thank you for your entry at Scrapping4funChallenges.
    Rachelle DT
    http://scrapping4funchallenges.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Rachelle! It is definitely a special time!!

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  8. Gorgeous layout! Thank you for playing along with us at colourful creations!

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  9. Beautiful details. Lovely page. Thank you for playing with us at morethanwords challenge.

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  10. I really love your layout. The quote of the hands is absolutely unique! I love it!. I love the picture too, with his polearm, such a funny story, but I regognize it from my ow daughter, she did it too! Thank you for joining More Than Words challenge this month.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comments, Sanderijn =)

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  11. This is amazing! Lovely layout !! Thank you for playing at More Than Words :)

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  12. So very beautiful and adorable photo too! Thanks for joining us at Colorful Creations:)

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  13. Wow, love your take on the challenge. Thanks for joining in with us over at Colorful Creations.

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  14. I absolutely loved reading the story behind your layout, the adorable picture and your inspiration! Gorgeous page! Thank you for playing along with us at More Than Words! Just a note... remember to add our challenge board image to your blog post in order to be eligible for a prize. :)

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  15. Oh, love the story so much!!!! Beautiful project!!!! Thank you so much for joining us at More Than Words!!!!

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  16. This is amazing! I love your story and the fabulous photo! Thanks for joining us at More Than Words.

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    1. I appreciate that, Heather, thank you!

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  17. WoW what a beautiful baby LO you made :-))
    Thank you for playing with us at Scrapping4funChallenges. Hugs, Andreja

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Thanks for all your kind comments!