Big news deserves a big altered art project–I am joining the esteemed Alpha Stamps Design Team!

Big news deserves a big altered art project–I am joining the esteemed Alpha Stamps Design Team!
Big news deserves a big altered art project–I am joining the esteemed Alpha Stamps Design Team!

Dreams really do come true. I found that out firsthand when I recently got invited to join the Alpha Stamps Design Team.

I can’t adequately describe what an honor this is. Nor how terrifying it is. Many artists I have most admired over the years are on this team. Simply put, their work is brilliant.

Austin Kleon says, “Stand next to the talent” because you will only be as good as the people you surround yourself with.  He tells artists to hang around people who are smarter and better than themselves. That’s what I am doing–I  just fervently hope I don’t fall on my face (subsequently impaling myself with craft scissors or suffocating from all the glitter on my studio floor).

Paper Calliope-7

alpha stamps badge

Alpha Stamps is announcing my arrival on their blog tomorrow. For my debut Alpha Stamps project, I created a three-dimensional Altered Art Greenhouse from two 6.5 inch tall House Oddities Boxes, complete with a mossy roof, wind chimes, iron bridge and flower urns. You can see this miniature greenhouse featured on the Alpha Stamps blog

On each end of the greenhouse, the windows open to reveal a scene.

Paper Calliope-13

Paper Calliope-9

However, the true magic literally unfolds when you open the box and discover the accordion-fold buildings inside.

Paper Calliope-14

One side of the accordion shows the interior of the greenhouse, where shelves are heaped with just about anything a gardener could want to purchase.

Paper Calliope-23

Perhaps our miniature shoppers will want some spring bulbs in clay planters, crates full of tiny seed packages or a garden gnome.

Paper Calliope-25

Or maybe they need a crate full of pumpkins, potted roses or a carnivorous plant that looks suspiciously like Audrey from the Little Shop of Horrors.

Paper Calliope-16

They may need a birdhouse and water fountain complete with running water. Or perhaps they just want some crates of garden fresh fruit and vegetables.

Paper Calliope-22

After shoppers are done perusing the inside of the greenhouse, they can make their way to the lush grounds on the other side of the accordion assemblage to visit beautiful gardens.

Paper Calliope-24

They enter through the center garden gates, with the greenhouse in the distance. Birds, butterflies and a lone turtle are there to greet them.

Paper Calliope-27

From there, shoppers can stroll paths filled with flowers, vines and children playfully watering the flowers.

Paper Calliope-26

Paper Calliope-28

A glimpse into making the Altered Art Greenhouse

I adhered the two House Oddities boxes with light blue, Provincial Mail and Provincial Cobblestone papers using Beacon Fabri-Tac. Then I cut away some of the bricks from the Greenhouse Collage Sheet Set and layered it over the first set of papers so that crumbling brick would reveal a stone foundation.

The entire project required a seemingly endless amount of fussy cutting. This is just a portion of what I eventually cut out.


Making the inside accordion

To make the accordion folds, one could purchase cloth book-binding tape…or one could do what I did and use first aid wrap scavenged from the medicine chest to create a lovely linen binding–heh heh. I marked each of the chipboard houses 3/4 inch up on both sides so I could adhere the tape in a precise line.


The Provincial Mail Scrapbook Paper reminded me of glass windows, so I adhered that to each of the chipboard buildings to create the inside glass walls of the greenhouse. For the lower half of the greenhouse, I used the China Cabinet House Wallpapers Collage Sheet.


I made the hanging shelves freehand and altered the construction on two of the Mini House Shadowboxes to create standing shelves. Then I gave all the windows and shelves a couple coats of white paint.

Making Audrey the Carnivorous Plant from clay was fun. However, fitting those tiny teeth in was challenging, to say the least.



Paper Calliope-30

I also found a nifty technique for making miniature flower bulbs. By the way, don’t tell my kids that I stole some of their old Legos to make the white planters. I just hollowed out the inside connection piece and filled it with a mixture of coffee grounds and hot glue.



I added flowing water to the water fountain and watering can by using a technique I learned from fellow Design Team Member Laura Carson.

To construct the itty-bitty fruit crates, I just cut and scored chipboard rectangles. You can see from the picture below how I made them. Then I added Tiny Labels for Crates, Jars and Cans.


Alpha Stamps offers so many darling miniature supplies ranging from hay bales to bunnies, that it was hard to stop filling my greenhouse. But I eventually reigned myself in–at least until the next time I visit the Alpha Stamps store.

You can find my complete supply list here.

P.S. This project also includes the Greenhouse Collage Sheet Set and Greenhouse Elements Sheet–the first in what will hopefully become a long line of products that I personally design.

10 Responses »

  1. Fabulous news – many congratulations and what a great project to kick off with! I love the accordian book with all the wonderful details and enjoyed reading how you put everything together.

    • Thank you Maggie!. I glad you enjoyed reading it. Thankfully I realized that with a project of this magnitude, I simply could not write a complete tutorial or it would turn into a novel! Luckily, most of it is pretty self-explanatory. 🙂 -Betsy

  2. I’ve been a customer of Alpha Stamps for years, and follow many of their designers. You will fit right in, and bring your own special creativity and talent to their team. They made a great choice in you, and I am very much looking forward to seeing your future projects. This greenhouse is absolutely amazing. My kit still sits on my work table, waiting for me. You have inspired me and sparked my imagination.

  3. Holy cow, Betsy! This is a masterpiece! I want a tiny Audrey II. I love that you always add a bit of quirkiness to everything you do. Congratulations on a well deserved design team spot!

    • Thank you Sweet Jess, You know…. I do know your address. You better watch your fingers when opening your mail–you never know when a hungry carnivorous plant might arrive in your mailbox.

  4. Wow! First congratulations on being part of this fantastic team. Your project is simply amazing with so many attention to detail. Takes great patience to create something like this and all that fussy cutting. You should rang me up I would have been more than happy to help. I love, love, love to fussy cut. lol. I think I just might have to have this kit and see what I can do with it. I use to create, build and own a miniature business so this is right up my alley. Can’t wait to see what you have in store next.

    • Sandra, Thank you so much. Better be careful–I might just take you up on that offer. I am already doing lots more fussy cutting for my next project. It is rather cathartic, isn’t it? The only problem is that I can’t Netflix binge and fussy cut at the same time. I have to give all my attention to the fussy cutting or I end up chopping off limbs, heads and what-not. Maybe I will have to make some zombie altered art with all the damaged pieces. 😉 If you do get the kit, please send me a picture so I see what you make! -Betsy

  5. This is one of the most amazing creations I’ve seen on the Alpha Stamps site, & I immediately bought the supply list. I look forward to your future designs!!

I love reading your comments and questions. Comment away!