Wednesday, April 13, 2016


It's hump day and I'm playing "catch up" on some projects.

Our latest Wanderlust 2016 Word Prompt Pages had the theme "What happened today..."
I took that quite literally to mean what I actually had been doing the day I started my pages. 

I had started Spring cleaning my entire house and that became my inspiration for my art journal pages.  

I began pulling some tissue papers and napkins with various colors and images to use in my background.  I had absolutely no idea where the pages were going but it's always fun to get a background going.

Here is the beginning of the background; tissue papers and 2 ply napkins (with the excess backing papers removed) torn and laid randomly in place.  They are glued and sealed using DecoArt Media Matte Medium. 

I kept adding layers of napkins and Matte Medium.

Once I had all of the papers in place and they were dry, I started wiping some DecoArt Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff over the surface using a baby wipe to soften the colors and meld everything together a little better.

Then I followed that up with some starker DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White to give more contrast.  Finally, I added some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide.  I am in LOVE with this stuff!  It adds such a richness, warmth and aged feeling to the pages with just a few swipes of a baby wipe.  I love how the little bird in the nest is peeking out of the right side and soon I would come to love it even more as I began working with my focal point ...

While my background was drying, I decided to start working on my focal point.  The first thing I thought of was Dina Wakley's Scribbly Birds stamps.  I think they are so cute and I wanted to use one for my pages.  The stamp was a bit too small so I scanned it and enlarged it to fit on my page.  Then I added a head kerchief and broom to fit my "Spring Cleaning" theme on a separate bird.

I traced it onto a piece of heavy cardstock and brushed over it with DecoArt Media Matte Medium to seal it.  Then I could add paints, watercolor crayons, colored pencils; whatever I wanted to use.

I decided to use a combination of Neocolor II Watercolor Crayons and a Detailer Waterbrush, Prima Colored Pencils and a Black Permanent Micro Ink Pen to outline.  I also added polka dots to the kerchief using a stylus and DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff paint.

I cut out the housecleaning little bird and glued her in place on my art journal page.  Then I penciled in the nest underneath her, the tree branches and the leaves.

Here are the pages before I painted in the details of the branches and leaves.

The first things I painted were the brown things: the nest, the branches.  These were done with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Raw Umber, Titan Buff and Burnt Sienna.  The leaves were basically painted in with the colors in the photo above.  I combined all of the green DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics to colorize the leaves.

I added highlights on the leaves with the combination of the DecoArt paints shown in the photograph above.  Here you can see the progress of the art journal pages.

Next I penciled in "Spring Cleaning" and colored it in using a Permanent Black Micron Pen.

To add a light black mist to my pages, I used Tim Holtz' tool and a Black Soot Distress Marker.

Next I randomly added a crackle effect from Andy Skinner's faux crackle paint stamp from his Steampunk stamp set.  I love this stamp!!!  It's perfect for backgrounds!  

Then I added Seth Apter's text stamp from his ConText stamp set to add a little more interest to the background. Perfect for filling in the empty spaces without cluttering the pages too much.

I finally added a few musical notes that I drew in using a Black Permanent Micron Marker and it's all finished!

Thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you'll make some time to play and let your creativity take over!

Friday, April 8, 2016


I love art journaling!  

Yet I have to admit that I was petrified of trying it in the beginning because:
  • I didn't think I could do it.
  • I thought of art journaling as regular journaling; lots of writing where all of my private thoughts and feelings could be exposed for the whole world to see.
  • I didn't have anything valuable to say that people would really be interested in seeing.  After all, I am just a normal person; not complicated or all the "deep" with unbounded knowledge to share.
But I have found that art journaling really is so much fun and nothing like I had envisioned it to be.  It is a wonderful form of self expression.  It can be "deep" and thought provoking or it can just be whimsical and fun ... because it is YOUR ART and therefore it can be whatever you want it to be.  

Once you get past those roadblocks, a whole new creative adventure awaits!

Through Wanderlust 2016's biweekly word prompt journal (as a part of their yearlong online classes), I am discovering things about myself and where my art takes me that have really been eye opening.

A recent word prompt was "My Past".  Just reading those words made me so reflective of my life's story; where I came from, who helped mold me along the way, my life today and where I'm heading on this journey called "life".

So these two art journal pages were created to tell my story in pictures.  From my actual birth announcement to just this past week at my first grandson's first flag football game; my life has been rich and full of blessings.

I decided to create puzzle pieces out of my photographs as if my life where a big jigsaw puzzle with all of the pieces interconnecting and fitting perfectly together once arranged.

The background was created using DecoArt Media gesso first as a base.  Then I added cardstock with time pieces on it to emphasize the passage of time along with some floral napkins on the outsides to give these pages a sweet, feminine quality.  I covered the pages with DecoArt Media Matte Medium to seal them and then added DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide to give them an aged, sepia tone.  I added DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Paynes Grey around the edges to sort of frame the pages.  

The first page begins with my birth certificate and the puzzle pieces wind around from my 1st birthday picture, a spring day with my older brother when I was barely 2, Kindergarten Western Day to cherished family photographs.

The second page begins as a Junior in high school where I was on the dance team and met my future husband.  We dated and married and were blessed with two beautiful children.  They brought so much joy to our lives and now that joy has been multiplied with four beautiful grandchildren.

I am a firm believer in "everything happens for a reason" and I know that the people who have been placed in my life's path have also been placed there for a reason.  God is so good and I trust Him completely as I continue on this wonderful journey.

If you don't art journal, I encourage you to give it a try.  It's a wonderful way to explore your own creativity and maybe even allow yourself to open up a whole lot of wonderful memories.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Happy April everyone!  Spring has sprung and I for one find myself in a MUCH better mood when I have sun on my face, hear birds chirping their sweet songs, see trees budding out and new little flowers stretching towards the sun.

This month's Creative Carte Blanche art adventure is brought to us by our Graphic 45 Guru, Annette Green.  She has challenged all of us to take a plain old cigar box and transform it into something wonderful.  
Last month, I created a painted wooden 5x7 frame using corrugated paper, lace and metal to create a sweet little Spring themed home decor piece.  You can see that HERE.  I'm still loving making Spring themed pieces so my altered cigar box features softer pink tones, embossed leaves and sweet little butterfly babies.

This really was not a difficult project to make.  It is just done in layers and needs a little drying time in between.  From start to finish and not working on it constantly, this project took me two days.

Here is the complete pictorial tutorial for you.  Again, I typically use DecoArt Media products because I love them;  love the results I get with them and I am on their Mixed Media International Design Team.  But you can use whatever products you like or work for you. 

Supplies you will need for this project:

  • Cigar Box - this one happens to be approximately 5 1/4" x 7 1/4" but any size would work
  • Computer images of the little girl, boy and "How to Know the Butterflies" cover sized to fit the box top
    Computer images of butterfly wings sized to fit the little girl and boy
  • DecoArt Media White Gesso
  • DecoArt Media Matte Medium
  • DecoArt Media Titan Buff Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Burnt Umber Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Paynes Grey Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Yellow Oxide Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Transparent Yellow Iron Oxide Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Titanium White Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Quinacridone Red Fluid Acrylics 
  • DecoArt Media Metallic Gold Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Blue Green Light Fluid Acrylics
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Cream-Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Modeling Paste
  • DecoArt Media Crackle Paste
  • DecoArt Media Ultra-Matte Varnish (optional)
  • Workable Fixative spray sealer
  • Old book text and sheet music
  • 2 ply napkin with the extra paper layers removed (floral print)
  • Craft sticks for picket fence (I found them at Hobby Lobby)
  • Chestnut Roan Cats Eye Ink Pad
  • Neocolor II Watercolor Crayons
  • Detailer Water Brush
  • Glossy Accents
  • Dylusions large leaf stencil
  • Spare Parts metal legs
  • Spare Parts metal handle
  • Spare Parts metal tab
  • Little paper flower on stem
  • Baby wipes
  • Vintage laces
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Excelsior (brown colored)
  • Adhesive pop dots
  • Misc. wire
  • Cardstock to cover inside of box (I used Pink Paisley's Butterfly Garden)
  • Archival ink pad-Jet Black
  • Words for Thought Tim Holtz stamp set
  • 18" and 1/4" Scor Tape
  • Tim Holtz Mirrored Stars
  • Small stick and scrap of ribbon
Now let's get started on the altered cigar box!!

I chose a cigar box to alter.  This one measures approximately 5 1/4" x 7 1/4".  I knew that I wanted to continue my Spring theme so I selected some vintage images to use on the top of my cigar box and sized them accordingly.  I will share these images with you at the bottom of my tutorial.  I also decided to make my own little picket fence behind the children so I used several little wood sticks purchased at a large craft store to do this.

I painted a coat of DecoArt Media Gesso completely over the outside of my cigar box.  Gesso is a fairly opaque base and will give the surface "tooth" to grab whatever I choose to add to the outside of my box.  Let it dry thoroughly.

Next I added vintage German book text and sheet music using DecoArt Matte Medium.  It is used as a glue and a sealer.  It goes on clear and dries clear.  Brush the gesso'd surface, add the papers then brush over the top of them with Matte Medium to seal them in place. Let dry.

I used some flowers from two ply napkins (all of the back papers removed) to embellish my cigar box top.  These added a softness and sweetness.  Simply tear the images you want to use out of napkins, brush some Matte Medium on your surface where you will add the images.  Lay the images in place and brush over them with the Matte Medium to seal them in place.  Let dry.

While the cigar box top was drying, I painted my wooden sticks with a basecoat of DecoArt Media Titan Buff Fluid Acrylics and then distressed them using my finger and DecoArt Burnt Umber Fluid Acrylics on the edges and randomly on the sticks.  Let dry then cut off the rounded lower edges of the sticks.

To add a more vintage look to the cigar box top, I distressed it using these DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics colors and my fingers.  First I began with a light pink made from mixing Quinacridone Red and Titanium White.  Next I added some Yellow Oxide to give more of a sepia tone.  Finally I accented around the edges to age and darken them with Burnt Umber and finally a light touch of Paynes Grey just at the edges.

Print out the vintage images of the children onto semi gloss photo paper.  (I used my inkjet printer to do this). Cut them out and colorize them using Neocolor II Watercolor crayons.  (You could also use colored pencils or some other medium).  I love doing this technique as it really does bring "life" to the babies as you are coloring them.  Adorable!!

Next I lined up my picket fence bottom along my Tim Holtz ruler, spaced the pickets and then ran a bead of Glossy Accents across the back side of the cross fence pieces.  I carefully laid them in place and let them dry thoroughly.  

Using Dyan Reaveley's large leaf stencil, I first used DecoArt Media Modeling Paste to scrape through the stencil using a straight edge hotel key.  When that was dry, I laid the stencil back over the leaves and scraped a layer of DecoArt Media Crackle Paste over some of the leaves.  Then using my finger, I randomly added some Crackle Paste to the sides of the cigar box to add more aging and texture.  Let dry.  Do this on all four sides.

I added DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold to the edges of the butterfly wings by swiping them with my finger.  Then I glued the wings in place on the children with Glossy Accents.  I also glued the sweet rose in the little butterfly boy's hand using Glossy Accents.

I added some Metallic Gold around the edges of the cigar box lid by swiping it on with my finger.  This better defines the edges and pull the top together as well as blend with my antique metal pieces.

I altered the appearance of these metal embellishments that were originally a silver color.  I used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold, swiping it over the surface of the metal with my finger to create an antique gold surface.  Let dry.  Then I added a small butterfly  to the center of the rounded tab using Glossy Accents.

Before I would finish the top or glue on the legs, I needed to complete the sides of the box.  So I added color to them using a baby wipe and DecoArt's Media Fluid Acrylics Primary Magenta mixed with Titanium White mixed together.  Once that layer was on, I added some Yellow Oxide to give a sepia tone; just like I had done on the top of the box.  I also did this to the bottom of the box.

To pull the leaves and the greenish colors from the top of the box, I used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff and Blue Green Light mixed together to create the leaf color around the sides of the box.  I added highlights of Titan Buff using a small brush on some of the leaves.  Let dry.  Notice the beautiful crackles from the Crackle Paste?

For that very vintage, aged look, I brushed DecoArt Media Antiquing Cream in Raw Umber over all of the sides of the box and let it dry.  Once dry, wipe off with a lightly damp paper towel or baby wipe to remove all of the brown that you do not want on the surface.  This antiquing cream is amazing and leaves beautiful results in the crackles and textured surface. (In this picture, I have not yet wiped away the excess antiquing cream).

To pull in the gold around the sides and give that little shimmery magic to the surface, I lightly wiped a little DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold over some of the leaves, along the edges and randomly on areas of each side of the cigar box.

Now the sides were finished and it was time to complete all of the embellishments for the top!  I added some blue to the vintage image of a book cover using my Detailer Water Brush and a Neocolor II Watercolor Crayon.  I later colored the butterflies using variations of yellow and orange from Neocolor Water Color II Crayons.  I love how subtle the color is!  I lightly distressed the edges of the book cover using my finger and some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Umber.

Next I laid the picket fence approximately where I would put it on the cover.  Then I laid my vintage lace in place and glued it on using DecoArt Media Matte Medium first as a glue and then as a sealer to hold the lace in place.  (I did not go completely across the top of the box with the lace because my vintage book cover would hide about 1/3 of the lace). Let dry.

I added Glossy Accents to the backside of my picket fence and laid it in place.  Once dry, I sealed over the fence using DecoArt Media Matte Medium.  When that was dry, I hot glued some brown excelsior grass between the picket fence and the lace.  I wanted to add the texture and my picket fence was not long enough to reach the lace.  So, the excelsior grass was a great filler!

I added adhesive pop dots to the backs of my butterfly children to put them in place.  I also added dots of Glossy Accents to the pop dots to ensure a good hold.  I used 1/8" Scor Tape to adhere vintage lace around the vintage book cover.  Then they were glued in place on the top of the box.

I also added a little butterfly flying above their heads by attaching a small cardstock butterfly to a bent wire and gluing it in place using Glossy Accents.  Finally I added a little magic wand, held by  the butterfly girl.  This was done with a small stick and gluing a Tim Holtz Mirrored Star on top of the stick using Glossy Accents.  I tied a small bow using teal organza ribbon and glued the wand in place in her hand.  I glued the metal handle on the box in place using Glossy Accents and slipped the butterfly tab on the vintage book cover.  Finally, I added a few small Tim Holtz Mirrored Stars onto the top of the box using Glossy Accents.  It's amazing what those little stars add!

The outside of the box was adorable but THIS was the inside of the box!  That is NOT going to work!  So, I dug into my stash of papers and found some Pink Paislee's Butterfly Garden papers.  Perfect for the interior of my box!

I measured all of the interior areas, cut paper to fit those areas and distressed all of the edges with a Chestnut Roan Cats Eye Ink Pad.  Then I added PVC glue to the sides of the box and glued those papers in place.  Next I did the bottom of the box.  

I measured and cut a piece of paper for the interior lid of the box.  I used Jet Black Archival Ink to stamp a sentiment on the right side of the paper...just the perfect space for a sentiment!  I glued the interior lid in place using 1/4" Scor Tape and then using my finger, I added DecoArt Media Metallic Gold around all of the exposed interior edges of the box. 

Here is the new and improved cigar box interior!  I have this sitting next to my Spring Frame that I created for you last month!  It's MUCH better than that old cigar box I'd been holding on to forever!!

Here are the images I promised to share that I used on my piece.  You can just right click on them to save them to your computer.  

I hope that you will join us at Creative Carte Blanche for this month's art adventure:  altering a cigar box.  So much fun and the possibilities are endless!  Plus it's a great way to meet new artists who are also on this art journey to find our own authentic voice and creative style together.  Share your creation by linking it to our blog and allowing others to enjoy your work and leave comments.