Friday, November 30, 2012

Bits and Bobs + FREE!

OMG holidays already?!  Crazy.  I've not had much time to play lately, but I did finish this darling travel jewelry holder; it was a goodie-bag kit at the wonderful Spellbound Art event.

It was presewn, leaving us to snip up the lace and attach it.  Here's the inside -

I can't wait to travel somewhere and use it!

On another note, the wonderful Karla Nathan is offering some free holiday images; bop over to her site to download the hi-res version
Hope you're enjoying the holidays so far!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Artsy Week-end

I spent the most amaaaazing week-end at the Spellbound Art Event in Pasadena; I can't even say how wonderful it was, and how many great classes I got to take!  

Of course lots of stuff came back not-quite-done, so I'll be posting that stuff as I finish it, but here's something I did complete there... cute is this?!!   It was taught by the magical Debrina Pratt  (check out her blog and be astonished at how enchanting her stuff is).   She was so sweet and easy-going, it was really a pleasure to meet her.

Hope you're having a great week-end too, and getting some time to make things!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spread Your Wings

I am liking this!  Finished the other side of my journal page just in time to write on it...

...the pocket (Liberty of London fabric, god how I love it) I sewed on before I bound the book; I added the bow doo-dad stuff today, and slipped a gift tag that I love into it.   Added some pale blue dots, just because it seemed to need blue dots, and BOOM, done, ready for some journaling.  I'll do something special with the back of that tag, maybe a quote or something.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bits and Bobs

This page is glorious in person - it's so incredibly shimmery-coppery-lovely, compared to the matte of the watercolor bits - but of course, shimmer doesn't scan well....'s just some bits I'd done previously, pasted and pop-dotted into a quick journal page for writing on.  The gorgeous copper paint is Jaquard, with some Twinkling H2Os in aztec gold around the edges of the page and watercolor square.


Come see it in person at the next Art Journal Circle!  Just a fun place to work on your stuff and meet other art journalers.  I'll have lots of supplies and toys to play with and share.   It's November 4th, so sign up now!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Art Journal

Allllmost done with this one...
...the quote is a stamp, "Those who look for beauty, find it."  The flower was fussy-cut from upholstery fabric, and hangs right off the bottom of the page.  That's an actual old leather book spine in the center.  Between that and the brown burlap, this is just a yummy, touchable page.   It needs a bit more, but I'm done for today.
By the way, lots of my big, lovely collage elements, like the photo on the right, come from Somerset magazines - this one was from Artful Blogger.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Haunted Apothecary

Spent the morning with my girlfriends making the coolest Halloween decoration!   Soooooo incredibly cute, and they were a blast to make!

Yes, those are cookie sprinkles in there, so this is a great little kitchen decoration PLUS ready for actual use! Start with the Wilton cookie decorating thingie (from Joanne's/Michaels/Albertons)

Add in some Martha Stewart test tube party favors (from Joanne's/Michaels) if you like variety.  

The labels were from KandCompany, some free (!) online from artbliss,
 Art by Marilyn Girling

and from Alpha Stamps - check out Laura Carson's insane bottles!  
 Art by Laura Carson
She has great tutorials, too. Her stuff is amazing and gorgeous, and you need to go check out her site.

 I was initially all geared up to make Laura Carson's Apothecary Chest, throwing stuff into my online shopping cart, until it hit 100 bucks, and which point I rethought it.  It would cost about 5-15 bucks for the ones I made with my g.f.'s, especially if you had a Joanne's/Michaels coupon. (Did you know you can just pull those up on your smartphone now and they accept them?  You'll never be without a coupon again!)  

It's a great little project because you can mostly use whatever you have on hand from Halloween projects past.  I didn't quite finish mine, and I can tell I'm going to spend the next month running across stuff to add on there.    Hope you have time for a fun seasonal project!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Latest Journal Page

Did this today in an art journal I haven't worked in lately....

I'm pretty happy with it, and it fit in my "hour or less per layout" mantra.  On the left is some yummy fabric and dyed cheesecloth, so it's very tactile in person.  I think I'll add a few words, like "the constraint of luxury" somewhere, but not tonight.  There's lots more pics of this album on my Flickr (right sidebar), if you're curious.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Things we hate...

What to do with things we make that we hate, eh?   My first instinct is to walk away and stop working on something; very often when I go back later, I think "eh, it's not that bad, I'll use it somehow".  And so it was with this, which kind of highlighted all the ways I suck at watercolors.....
....but after folding it up the middle and haphazardly binding it into my art journal, I don't mind it so much!

The nice part of watercolor failures is that they are pale enough that they don't need a wash of gesso to allow for journaling over.   Hope you had some time this week-end for art successes or upcycled failures!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stencils in the waiting room

Have you seen this cool new stencil from Crafter's Workshop?
I grabbed it and some pens to play with while sitting around waiting for my daughter to get out of dance....
...perfect for Halloween!   I used painters tape so I didn't need to worry about it moving around, and my Slicci pens

 (you really need a pen with a tiny tip for this kind of intricate stencil - my gel pens bled under it, and even paint is probably too thick.  Fine spray paint like Glimmer Mist might work.)  I might not have had the patience if I'd not been stuck sitting there an hour anyways - but if you have downtime, this is a portable, fun lil project!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Latest Art Journal Page

Just some stenciling with glimmer mists, and doodling over.   Fast, easy, fun; my mantra.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Montana and Posca Pen Review Update

It's no longer a tie between Montana and Posca acrylic paint pens (my review is down a post).   After working with them both, the Montanas have this wierd thing where they look great wet, but melt into the page as they dry, especially layered over other acyrlic paint.  The Poscas "sit up" on the page and stay vibrant looking.  Here's an example - I was in a doodle mood, and went to add an edge to this page....

 ...and the Montana pens kept sinking in, making me go over it 3-4 times.   I then edged the bumps with the Posca pen, and it covered nicely the first time.  Here's a close-up, where you can see the fading out pink edged with nice strong pink....

I'll definitely be reaching for the Posca pens first.

Fast and Easy Background

Isn't this kinda pretty and organic looking? 

Reminds me of a distant galaxy or something - and the best part is that it took just a couple of minutes.  I had smooshed some Ranger Distress Ink around the page, and then spritzed it with water.  After it had beaded up a bit, I blotted the water off, and it left the nice mottled effect.   Soooooo fast and easy.   Hope you have some time to play in your journal, and if you're free Sunday, come play with us at the Art Journal Circle!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Montana Acrylic Markers Review

Paint Pen Smackdown!

I recently got some acrylic paint markers by Montana, and wanted to compare them to my Posca ones.   Both are water-based for easy clean-up, and to be honest they are very, very similar.  Here's the Montanas...

 They are new to the market, and based on their popular "artist's" spray paint  line.  In theory they are a 2mm line, but as you'll see, they act more like the 1mm line of the Poscas....

                  yeah, there's no colors noted because the writing on the pens is all Japanese.    

Both types are high-quality, don't bleed through paper (looking at you, Copic markers), and have excellent coverage.  They are almost opaque layered over each other, with just a hint of the under-color showing through.

"M" =Montanas, "P" = Poscas - the flower is all Montanas, and you can see the yellow flower centers pretty much cover the blue.

I did this just to compare the colors, and you can see that sometimes the Montana's blurped out a fat line, but usually it comes out fairly fine.  The control over a detailed pic would definitely be better with the smaller tip of the Poscas.   Both types of pens come in multiple tip sizes, so you could just buy fatter/thinner if you like, but this was considered "fine" size by both.

They work well on slick surfaces (glass, plastic, etc.), but I usually use them on paper.   They will blend nicely on glossy paper, but not so much on watercolor paper, so it's a flatter, more cartoon-y look.

Why would you use them instead of ink markers or gel pens?  Because they are much, much more opaque, and can be cleanly layered over each other.  They really "pop" off the page because of that.   Painting over collage work or photos is a breeze with these.  As to which to chose, go with the brand that you like the colors of better, or are cheaper.  I generally get pens at JetPens, a mom-and-pop business with great service and huuuge selection of off-beat pens.

So there you go, the acrylic marker smack-down ends in a stand-off:  I'm calling this one a tie.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Halloween Freebie!

Here's another wonderful free download from Artchix Studios, perfect for mixed media or art journaling around Halloween!

Just go here to get it!  (They are such a fun resource to get stuff from too, very unique stuff there.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Once I decided to focus on texture in our next Art Journal Circle Meeting, I noticed it everywhere in my journals.  Here's a recent page....

                             The "fashion" quote was made Yapping Cat Studio, I think - I just had it around
The fabric in the background is really nubby, the doily has a nice lace effect, and the raised embossing on the dressform is just yummy.   I'll definitely bring all this stuff and something for everyone to emboss, because that technique is just the best (thanks Suzy West, for teaching that at Treasured Memories!)

Tbh, I don't love the color of the dress on the purple page, but I'm not that dedicated to fixing every little thing on my journal pages.  Some people spend hours per page, and I respect that; but for me, when it gets too fussy it stops being fun. 

The Mess of Life

My art space is an incredible mess....seriously, I can't even post a pic of it 'cause it's too embarrassing.  So I sat down today and decided whatever scraps were on top of my art desk I would use up on a journal page.   Here's the result....

This is in my "writing" journal, which is why it's primarily large open spaces.   Gorgeous paper scraps deserve a home, and I'm happy these found one.  Down in the lower left is the business card from cathy b.: I don't even remember what I bought from her etsy store (the thank you vellum envelope may be from her too).

On another note, my Art Journal group will be meeting on the 30th at Treasured Memories - if you're in the Ventura, CA area, come by and play!   Whether you work in a journal or Smash Book, or are just interested, you'll have fun. We're going to focus on incorporating more texture into our pages, so I'll have fabric and molding paste and all kinds of things to experiment with.  Sign up ahead, so I know how much to bring!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Playing with watercolors

Sometimes I only post stuff to show that if *I* can manage this, anyone can.  In that spirit, here's a little watercolor I did today, just a quick take on some dried, crumpled leaves.  

 It took around 20 minutes, but left me feeling that calm happiness that creative activity brings.  Hope you have time for some today!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Latest Journal page

I've been very bad about blogging and sharing lately, but here's today's page.

I recently ordered a couple of Pam Carriker's stamps to play with, mostly inspired by how she makes a gorgeous entire journal page out of one little stamp.  Here's her incredible version...

NOTE: Not my work, Pam Carriker's!

I decided to try and replicate her page first, just to play with it.  I'm not shy about copying someone I admire, because I think that's a huge way that we learn (of course, I'm always careful to credit the original source).   Here's my imitation journal page....

 I like the stripes on the left to journal on - I'm looking forward to getting to this page!   It was quite fast and fun to create, just as I'd hoped.   The stamp provides a nice center for the page, and smushing some Neo-Color 2s around was short work.  (I definitely lost patience around the fiddly bits in the upper right corner, so they got rather haphazard.) I have to admit that I have limited patience for working on a page, so stamps or stencils that speed things up are always appreciated!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

FREE lovely download

Creative blog My Artistic Life posted a free download for some yummy gratitude artwork/pages/what-have-you's

here's the link  -you need to email her for the free download.

It's just some swipes of watercolor and space to write what you're thankful for, but she did a lovely job.  I'm thinking it will make a super-easy art journal spread someday when I'm feeling lazy!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Birds In Hats!

Completely whimsical and silly, but I was inspired by a contest Alpha Stamps did - something about Birds in Hats just tickled my fancy.   So my girlfriends and I made some, and then my daughter and her friend had to make some, too!   They were so fun and easy, everything that a summer social craft should be.  Here's mine...

Here's the ones my girlfriends did - terrible pic, sorry....

I think I'll pop it into my Smash Book or art journal, whereas my daughter put a stick on hers so we can nestle it into a houseplant...

 ...too cute!   The trim, by the way, is Dresden scrap, which is just a joy to work with.  It's foil covered, so it holds a bend, and so richly embossed and die-cut.

This is starting to look like an ad for Alpha Stamps, which I didn't intend - hopefully all of you are just as excited as I am about sources of art supplies and inspiration!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

VERY exciting FREE crafts + Smash Book fun!

Treasured Memories is having a HUGE 15 year anniversary party next weekend!   The make-and-takes are going to be ammmaaaazing.  Amy Tangerine will be doing one! Squee!!  Doing free art with someone I have a crafting-crush on is a dream come true.

I'll be doing a make-and-take on Saturday from 10-12, and if you like art journaling at all, you have to come!  I've made up little journaling  card pockets in 7 different designs for people to paint with Twinking H2Os, and then pick a Smash Book journaling card for.

Here's a few - kinda cute, huh?   For a quick, easy, freeeee craft I think it will go over well.   There will be lots of other make-and-takes to do, and other exciting stuff going on.   I hope to see you there, May 11-12 - say "hi" if you come by!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

More Smash Book Image Transfers

Here's another tape transfer I did; it's as easy as rubbing some packing tape over an image, then soaking off the paper.
You can see that it's 3 separate strips of tape - I used an Anthropolgy catalog again, because I get great results from them - they use a matte paper that just peels off the tape like a dream.

I layered it over some type in my Smash Book

Don't you love the translucent effect?   Not sure what else I'll do on this page, but I wanted to show the tape before I doodled all over it or something.

 I have to warn you though, I got really poor results from my printer.  In theory you can print images for tape transfer, but maybe because my printer uses special photo ink, they just did not transfer well at all.  Have fun playing!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Smash Book / Art Journaling Group

I've been away from my blog for so long -  I had some health problems, and then just seemed to have no time for myself.  BUT I'm back and determined to carve that bit of time out for myself to create!

The last time my Smash Book/Art Journaling group met we had so much fun playing with Twinkling H2O paints and stamps!   I really wish I had taken some pictures, there was so much amazing stuff made. 

This month we will be exploring transferring images into your art journal - ways to take photos, magazine pics, copies of whatever and get them into your journal.   I'll talk a bit about different techniques, and bring everything you need to do some tape transfers and Artist Transfer Paper work.
Here's one I made recently, from a pic in an Anthropologie catalog, using tape transfer.

I love the translucent effect you get with transfers, so just a hint of journaling shows through.  It's easy to adjust how see-through you want it to be.

We'll be meeting this Sunday at Treasured Memories, sign up and come on by if you can!   Take a little time for yourself!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Latest Smash Book

This is the page I started at the Art Journal group Sunday  - I tweaked it a bit, and am really happy with it.    The pics I grabbed from Artful Blogging (a Somerset magazine that is pure eye-candy), and most of the bits and bobs are from Treasured Memories

Some vintage bits are the blue sequins and the silk-covered snaps (bottom right corner), both of which I scored on Etsy.    Hope you're enjoying whatever creative thing you're working on!

Monday, January 23, 2012

WHY art journal?

We had such a fun time at the Art Journal Circle yesterday - some people had yet to start a page, and some brought art journals they had made already.    As we shared and talked a bit about about why we art journal, I was reminded of this page from Julie Balzer - here's the short version

  • I art journal as a way of experimenting with ideas and techniques.
  • I art journal as a method of memory keeping.
  • I art journal to express my feelings.
  • I art journal to process my feelings.
  • I art journal to make pretty art.
  • I art journal to use up leftover supplies.
  • I art journal to allow myself to fail.
  • I art journal to use up all of my bad ideas.
  • I art journal to learn about myself.
......this commenter is giving away her cards and making her scrapbook pages for her family.  And that gives them purpose because they're "for someone."  Please don't ever forget that you are someone too.
And making something just for you should be reason enough to create.
If no one ever sees my art journal but me, that's fine.  Because the most important reason that I art journal is because I enjoy it. - Julie Fei-fan Balzer

As your eye candy for the post, here's a fave page from Julie (not mine!  Julie Balzer's):

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Art Journal Circle for Chinese New Year

Sorry I've been so quiet on the blog, but Chinese New Year is  BIG deal at our house.   Not particularly for the superstitious part, but because we give a big dinner party every year.    This year it will coincide with an Art Journal Circle meeting, which is fun!   Please come by this Sunday (the 22nd) if you're nearby, for meeting other creative folks and working in our journals.  I'll talk a bit about how to work with your natural handwriting to make it look interesting and expressive.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Easy Word Cloud Fun!

A new site called Tagxedo will make word clouds from your website, twitter feed, whatever, in just moments!   For free!!   It doesn't get much better than that.   There's tons of shapes, color themes, etc to choose from - here's one I made in literally a minute or two.

Hope your day is creative and fun!