Five years ago my friend Tom started The Red High Heel Party. This unbelievable, blowout, shindig, gala, party of the year is a fundraising effort for the Long Beach (CA) AIDS Foundation and their AIDS Cancer Life Emergency Fund. Over the course of five years a small group of dedicated friends and volunteers have hosted this event and have raised more than $25,000 to directly benefit HIV+, AIDS and Cancer victims in Long Beach, CA. It’s been a blessing and a pleasure and a literally mind-altering experience to be involved with this group and watch this party grow year after year from 20+ friends in the driveway of his apartment to over 200 people renting party space and getting all crazy.

We’ve always worn red high heels… it’s the party thing. And each of the last three years has had a “theme” as well.  This year it was Masquerade.  Tom chose this gorgeous image for the cover photo of the party Facebook page. It was love at first sight for me!


I wanted to make something special for Tom to commemorate our big fifth year hosting. And I found a fantastic paper mask at Michaels.  Hmmm I thought… I will try to paint that picture. (This is very brave of me. I am not an artist.)

I got a canvas with thick sides and I got me some DecoArt paints, and I sat down to have some fun.


I started by kind of drawing the shape from the mask in the image on my mask with a pencil. Then I went over the pencil line with hot glue. It’s important to note that hot glue guns, particularly the mini kind, are not made for drawing. It is easy to burn yourself since even the center of these guns gets very hot. By the same token the low temp ones are useless. Maybe next time some better kind of adhesive from a tube that is paintable.
I, of course, was working at the last minute.


I painted the outside of the mask with a gorgeous White Pearl from the Dazzling Metallics line of DecoArt paints. Then I brushed DecoArt One Step Crackle over the top of the paint and let it dry. When it finished crackling (2-4 hours), I rubbed some Cocoa Bean Multi Surface over the cracks and wiped most of it off. It left me with a gorgeous cracked finish like the one in the original image but slightly finer.


Meanwhile, whilst all of these steps were drying and such, I started my canvas. I outlined my curtains in pencil and painted in the black area with DecoArt Black Acrylic Paint. For the curtains I made a mix of Poppy and Dark Scarlet Multi Surface Paints with some Cocoa Bean thrown in. I basically poured a bit of each into the dents in my plastic palette and mixed as I went with the brush in the middle. This paint dries really quickly, so you get a sort of streaky look if you aren’t even handed. But that’s exactly what I wanted here. I was soooo excited with how great it turned out!


By the time I got this done, I was ready to add the gold to the mask. I used DecoArt Metallic Lustre Champagne Ice and Gold Rush for this part.  Mine was sort of dry so I used a really wet, flat brush which worked perfectly. I was careful to paint over the top of the hot glue so no pencil lines showed through. I was pretty darn excited about how it was coming together!


So I wanted the word like it was on the original image. But I was afraid to wreck it by trying to write it with a gold pen. So, I stole a page from the decorative painter’s art and used carbon paper to trace a copy of the image that I enlarged in Photoshop to be the right size for the space I had. Then I painted over it with DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Venetian Gold with a teeny, tiny brush.


I wanted to attach my mask, which had holes on the side for string, with decorative brads. I had some vanilla ones from Stampin’ Up! that were gorgeous, but too white with my antiqued mask. So I rubbed a bit of Dark Chocolate Americana Acrylic Paint by DecoArt on them and wiped most of it off for a great antiqued look.


I added some feathers to the back of the mask to enhance the 3D flair of the piece. I just attached them with some of that really sticky red double-sided tape. I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of something I’ve made. This just came out so fantastic!


You can really see how dimensional it is when you see a side view of it –


Do you love it? I didn’t want to give it away! Tom loved it, and he suggested we all sign the back and give it to the venue that hosted our amazing Masquerade this year. I thought that was a lovely idea! I gessoed the back of the canvas so that we could all sign and brought some Zig Micron Permanent pens to the party.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this project. I adored making it! I’m thinking something similar might be fun for Halloween with a darker drape and a more purple/black/etc feel.  What do you think?

For those of you, like the FCC, who care about this stuff, DecoArt has been very generous to the Stampendous design team, and I shared in that generosity. I got my Dazzling Metallics, Metallic Lustres, and Americana Acrylcs from them, but I purchased my Multi Surface Satin paints and my One Step Crackle at Michaels along with the rest of the supplies for this project. And, as always, if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t use it, no matter who gave it to me.

Meet Bimwinkle


This is Bimwinkle (he came with the name). He’s a lawn gnome that we won in a silent auction at my son’s middle school years ago. He is not your usual ceramic or resin gnome, he’s actually cast iron. Heavy little bugger and he’s hollow. He’s not super valuable, but he’s cheerful, and I like him. The years have not been kind to Bimwinkle, though. He guards our front yard, ostensibly from mushrooms (or so his hang tag said when he was new), but now he’s rusted, faded, chipped and not feeling quite up to snuff. So, it’s time to restore him!

I used Americana Multi Surface paint by DecoArt for this project, because I know it will stick to metal/paint/etc without a lot of prep work. Bimwinkle is fun and cheerful, but I’m not spending time stripping paint, sanding, etc. I just want to paint over the mess. I did clean him off with a soft brush and a damp paper towel first, but that’s all the prep I did.


A couple notes about this paint. First, it doesn’t come in many colors. That’s ok, I like mixing my colors anyway. Second, when they say multi-surface, that is what they mean. It will paint your skin, it will paint your clothes, it will paint your table, it will not come off easily. Take necessary precautions like putting down papers, wearing an apron, etc. I got flesh colored paint on a new black t-shirt, and I’m not happy about it.

So I started with his skin, because his clothes/beard/etc all overlap the skin. Start at the lowest level and work to the front.  I mixed pink cadillac and buff beige until I had a skin tone I liked, then I added more pink for cheeks, shading, tips of ears, nose, etc. Once his skin was done he already looked much better.


I continued with the beard/hair/eyebrows/mustache. Then the clothes/mushroom, belt/boots/hat. He came with a purple hat, but I decided to go red for his new one. I also asked David how the mushroom should look since no one remembers the original, and he thought we should go a little Mario Bros. just to nod at our geeky household.


The original had some black over the paint to make him look “distressed”, so I added some black with a fan brush to give his hat and coat some depth. It looked amazing!!

My family was stunned at my mad art skills. LOL.. I don’t know why this stuff always surprises them. I obviously don’t do enough crafting.

IMG_6772I actually added red in his mouth that he didn’t have before and evened out the highlights in his eyes this time. He really looks better than new.  I sealed it all with Krylon Matte UV Resistant spray sealer. And returned him to the front garden. He’s so much happier now!!  And, of course, we still have no mushrooms!!