Friday, February 8, 2019

Sweet Valentine ATCs

I love the color pink. I love the heart shape. And lace ...and cherubs ...and vintage images, which pretty much makes creating valentines irresistible.

This year, one of my art groups, StencilClub, hosted a small art trade with a valentine theme. So, I create these sweet little Artist Trading Cards.

First, I took a sheet of watercolor paper, squeezed out magenta and white paint onto my teflon® craft mat, mixed up some delicious pink shades, and sponged the colors through some of my favorite StencilGirl and StencilClub designs.

After it was dry, I cut the stenciled paper (using a cutting mat and exacto knife) into 10 little pieces (2.5" x 3.5") for the ATC base. I decided to keep half of them without any more embellishment, and added lace and vintage images to the other half.

One of my "go to" sites is the Graphics Fairy. They have a huge and wonderful selection of all kinds of vintage images. Along with the Graphics Fairy images, I used a beautiful rose from Gwen Lafluer's website.

For all of the cards, I used sepia archival ink and a fingertip dauber (purchased at The Ink Pad NYC) to finish the edges and add to the vintage look. A happy accident was realizing that I could use a thin strip of the leftover paper, instead of ribbon, to thread through the eyelets on the lace.

For some of the images, I tore them and aged the paper with an ecru stain. I love the antique linen Tim Holtz distress stain, but it is not being made any more. A light tan watercolor or solution of coffee achieves the same effect. After aging the paper roses, angel, and vintage French postmarks, I again added sepia ink to the very edges.

To adhere the lace, flowers and hearts, I used either a glue stick or heavy gel medium.

Here's my set of ATCs...I wonder if my trade partner can guess which one will be landing in her mailbox?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


For the past few years, like many other artists and creative souls, I have chosen a word of the year each January. This year it was SHINE. After a difficult 2017 marred by corporate downsizing and a shift to a new job, on the heels of the loss of our beloved Maltese Coco, and followed by a steep learning curve of a new job throughout 2018, I decided that 2019 would be my year to shine.

My journal page not only features the word SHINE, but has shiny gold gesso and some of my favorite Gwen Lafluer stencils done with Emerald Creek embossing powder

The word was a good omen: the shining for 2019 even began a little early--at the end of 2018 I taught my first mixed media art class at the Ink Pad NYC and it was sold out. There was even a waiting list. I figured I was on a roll and shine was a good indicator of a great year to come.

More good news at the end of 2018 was being selected to be one of the StencilClub Voices. As part of Voices, I get early shipments on some new stencil releases. My upcycled shoebox was on the Stencil Girl blog a few weeks ago, and more work will appear on the Stencil Girl blog in March.
My first StencilClub Voices project: an upcycled shoebox

Here's a peek at what I have been making (and forgetting to blog about!) lately:

ATC paper doll sample for my first Ink Pad class
Intention Card side 1
Intention Card side 2
Sample 1 for Ink Pad: Industrial Modern journal page
Sample2 for Ink Pad: Industrial Modern journal page
Samples for Ink Pad class featuring Character Construction stamps
Frida Santos Cage Doll from a Character Construction kit
Tag with inspirational words for 2019, using Stencil Club designs
Journal page for The Stencilfied Journal 2, with music prompts. The first theme was Bohemian Rhapsody
Handmade books constructed from painted and stenciled paper, with button/grommet/ribbon closures
Articulated paper dolls made from paper scraps
Paper doll made with Character Construction stamps, Dina Wakley face stamp and The Graphics Fairy body parts
envelope front, made from stenciled and embossed deli paper
envelope back, made from stenciled and embossed deli paper
Mail Art envelope front, made from collaged paper scraps and washi tape
Mail Art envelope back, made from collaged paper scraps and washi tape

Friday, December 28, 2018

Faux Antique Ephemera Box

Serendipity would have it that for my very first StencilClub Voices post, I had the joy of working with some brand new Stencil Club designs that were a collaboration between Seth Apter and MaryBeth Shaw. Using Seth's grunge technique and his Emerald Creek Baked Texture Embossing Powder seemed like a perfect compliment to the new designs.

I live in a small space, so storage solutions have to be both functional and attractive. I keep many of my supplies in decorative shoeboxes, which are then artfully arranged on my tables, bookshelves and closets. Since I had recently purchased some new clogs, there was a nice clean Dansko box waiting to be transformed.

Last winter I took a class given by Seth at the Ink Pad NYC. (And I am happy to announce that I am now teaching there! Can you see me happy dancing?)  The class was called Radiant Rust. I decided to apply the grunge and bling techniques I learned from Seth to my humble shoebox.
Ready to paint the shoebox with black gesso.
I started by painting the outside with black gesso.

When it was dry, I began the grunge process.
The box was dry and ready for the "grunge" process.
Color 1 was applied with Seth's special technique.

Color 2 was added.

Color 3.

Almost done with the grunge technique.

Grunged box, ready for the "bling" of Baked Texture through the new stencils.

Once the grunge effect was dry, the magic began: I added Ancient Amber embossing powder through the new set of stencils. I used a VersaMagic stamp pad first, then sprinkled on the powder, tapped off the excess, and zapped it with a heat gun. I repeated the process all over with most of the January StencilClub set. When the light catches it right, the effect is magical, like petrified wood in an ancient forest.
The VersaMark goes on clear, but is sticky and holds the embossing powder.

Ancient Amber embossing powder was generously sprinkled on.

Excess embossing powder was tapped off, leaving the stencil design.

After a few minutes with the heat gun, the embossing powder melted and shimmered.
A closeup of the new stencils over the grunged background.

 The effect was great, but I felt that a central focus was needed, so I pulled out one of my "go-to" stencils: a fleur de lis compass rose, which was part of Gwen Lafluer's recent StencilClub set. This time, I used Patina Oxide embossing powder. The fleur de lis compass rose was just what the box needed to add some extra magic.
One of the stencils from the July 2018 Ceramic Tiles design set was added to the box.

I added the fleur de lis compass rose on the top and half on the front.

An extra touch was a keyhole shaped brad that I placed in the center of the outside.
I decided that it needed just a little something more...maybe legs? Maybe a knob to open it? I searched around my art storage drawers and found a set of beautiful aqua floral knobs that I picked up on sale a while ago. The color worked...the design was not a perfect match, but the shape and color were right. I threw caution to the wind and poked a hole right through the center of the compass rose fleur de lis shape.
It was just right!

Now the big decision: do I fill the box with stamps? stencils? pencils? paper scraps? Decisions, decisions! Maybe I'll have to make a few more of these Faux Antique Boxes since I'm always adding to my art supply collection!

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Stencilfied Journal Project

Back in May 2018, artist Tina Walker posted an idea about a Facebook group she was starting. The idea was to use StencilGirl stencils in a creative way, take chances, and try unusual materials. When I first tried stencils in my mixed media work, I discovered that I had a lot to learn. Way back in elementary and high school, I had occasionally used a stencil, but the effect was hard edged and, well...boring. After taking some mixed media classes, watching videos, and exchanging tips with other artists, I am now a stencilholic.

Starting on June 4, Tina posted the weekly prompt for the group. We could interpret the prompt any way we wanted, as long as we used Stencilgirl designs, and each week we shared our journal pages in the private Facebook group. The following week, we publicly posted our projects to social media with the hashtag #thestencilfiedjournal. We started with 16 prompts, but so many people loved the project that Tina added an extra eight, for a total of 24.

Here's my complete set of 24, along with the corresponding prompt card:

This journal page hung outside my window, 15 stories up, in the middle of NYC.

The leaf is on the right top. It was glued to the page with matte medium, then stenciled over with white and yellow paint.

Least favorite color? Royal blue.

Holes were poked with an awl and scissors. They were highlighted with gold embossing powder and hot pink silk.

My daughter created this page using her favorite color, and without any input or interference from me.

This journal spread documents my daily commute. I get on the subway in midtown NY at the Chrysler Building and travel to 149th Street in the Bronx, where I transform from a wife, mother, and artist to a healthcare worker. It also illustrates the recent change in my work location and job title. The spirals illustrate the subway tracks, the face are the hundreds of people I am in contact with every day, and the butterfly (middle right) indicates transformation.

After hanging out my window for weeks, there was very little wear and tear on the page. Only the bottom right corner was worn away from rubbing on the nearby brick. I added a beautiful StencilClub fluer de lis designed by Gwen Lafluer and some blue dots to illustrate the rainstorms that the page survived.

The journal cover fell apart after the soak in coffee. I tried gluing it back together, but it was never quite right, so I eventually made a new cover.

On top of the magenta clog print, I added a vintage image of a woman, a Nathalie Kalbach floral stencil, and my own hand-carved  spiral dot stamp, plus the word "dare" from a Gwen Lafluer Deco alphabet stencil.

The under layer has lines, numbers, and handwritten words documenting significant years in my personal history. I painted over much of the background with white gesso, then added my own hand and a favorite quote by Kaitlyn Walsh.

The used envelope is on the left side. Peeking through the envelope window is some "scrappy" fabric that I made from leftover fabric and thread scraps.

The blue color and tile-inspired stencils reminded me of a pool. A swimming figure from a magazine photo was added, along with more paint and colored pencil to give the feeling of waves.

Art is magic, and the embossing powder adds even more of a magical feeling to the page.

Stars were made from staples on yellow sticky notes, and white dots were punched from index cards.

Nine and ones were my numbers of choice, because they're my birthday numbers.

My daughter stenciled the words in just the right places.

Beet juice gave the pink color, and chlorella powder, mixed with water, made a beautiful green.
There is some beet juice in the background and chlorella green, plus indigo and sepia ink.

Many sizes and colors of washi tape was added to a background of white stencils on recycled teabags. Gold embossed stencils were added, alnong with an old postcard of Mata Hari and some decorative coins.

Last but not least, I decided to create a new journal cover to replace the one that fell apart when I dipped my journal in coffee. Fortunately the pages were stitched together and were okay, aside from some coffee stains up the spine and some indigo ink that was not permanent.

For the new cover, I cut some heavy cardboard a little larger that the length, width, and thickness of the pages. I used my own fabric (designed by me and printed at Spoonflower) for the binding and cover, and salvaged a piece of grunged, stenciled, and embossed paper and from the inside flap of the old journal. The new cover melds the pattern mixing of my own fabric designs with my textural stenciled work.

The Stencilfied Journal project has been one of my favorites. I "met" new artists in the group, I thought outside the box, I tried things that seemed crazy but I pushed myself to take a chance and did them anyway. Not only did I grow as an artist, I also made a lot of beautiful art that I love and am proud of.