Monday, July 30, 2012

Graphic45's "A Ladies' Diary" stamp set

A visit to my local scrap store, where I am now finding products either suitable for or made specifically for art journaling, led me first to the Graphic45 area.  I immediately spotted the stamp set that goes with the "A Ladies' Diary" paper collection, which I recently purchased (see my last art journal page using these papers here).  I didn't have a particular page layout in mind, but just let the "artsy" process unfold.  Here's the final page, which I will follow by a description of the processes I engaged to get there:

I began with a coat of Gesso to prime the page to accept anything I was about to do!  I began with 3 ink pads, all in shades of yellow.  I began by "pounching" on the lightest shade first, followed by the medium shade, then the darkest.  I have been meaning to use my homemade "spritzers" (water and a bit of Perfect Pearls), so first applied a few layers of yellow, then wanted to add orange...but, the sprayer had clogged so I abandoned the orange here (to reappear later).

Next came the stamping.  I added my orange here for both the alpha and numeric stamps.   I love the image of the lady, but she definitely needed a bit of pop.  Using an orange marker, I touched up her jewelry, then the flowers.  The last step was to mask the title and orange text and to stamp down and over the hat.  Once I saw how cool it looked over the hat, I wish I would have stamped over the whole image--next time!

Here is some of the detail:

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


What a fun page this was to create!  I recently purchased one of the newest pads of paper from my most favorite manufacturer, Graphic45.  It's called "A Ladies' Diary" and includes a lot of old fashioned images and patterns.  Here, I have used one paper for my background, layering the (rectangular) image of the woman on top.  I "fussy cut" her hands away from the surrounding area...not easy, I might mention, cutting out those fingers!  First, let me show you my completed art journal page, then I will share the steps and elements I used to create it:

On a recent trip to my local scrapbooking store (Absolutely Everything in Topsfield, MA), I was delighted to find that they are recognizing the growing number of art "journalers," and are adding many products and elements just for us!!  I was able to buy some of Christy Tomlinson's rub-ons which I added in the bottom right-hand corner:

I also used brown ink and a circle stamp by Ditto randomly around the page to add further texture (see full image above).  Next came the journaling part of my art journal page.  As part of the pad of paper, there came some text, but it was too large for me to use on my page.  I chose to computer-generate the text for my page and printed the quote (author unknown) in brown ink on cream card stock.  Then, I fussy cut around the letters to add a bit of interest:

For balance in my text, I simply divided the word "saying" and placed the text strips on either side of the lady's right hand.  I love how it looks!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

ART JOURNALING: The Learning Curve

(transferred from, dated 6-30-2012)

A learning curve might be described in a graph that shows one's rate of learning.  In a perfect world, that curve would not be a curve at all, but a straight line always moving in an upward direction.  Well, with this art journaling page, that straight line took a dip for me!  While I am definitely pleased with the final outcome, I learned in this process more about what *not* to do than what to do.  But, this is not without merit.

First, the big reveal, then the steps I took to get there:

After covering my page with Gesso primer and heat drying it, I got out an old stencil acquired silently from my husband.  I had watched a video about adding acrylicGesso (this one is not a primer but a gel medium--the consistency of a soft paste) to an art journaling page, and I felt ready to try it!  After placing the stencil on my page, I used an art palette knife to cover the graduated circle portion of the stencil with a pretty thick coat of gel medium.  This was my first of several errors!

Knowing that it would likely take forever for these five fat circles to dry, I moved on to other elements.  I got out my brand new box of water color crayons from Stampin' Up!  I have actually had this box of crayons for about five years, yet had never used them.  I felt like a kid again grabbing whichever color caught my eye and scribbling back and forth of my page!

Next step was to add the water to my page to blend the colors.  I began by dabbing my finger in the water and swiping across the page, dragging the color with my finger.  I guess my thought was that if coloring felt so good, would finger painting now also feel good?  Another mistake!  My finger dried out almost immediately and the "finger" painting came to an abrupt halt!  I grabbed a paint brush, dipped it in the water and things went more smoothly from there.  

I have been careful with my photography so that you would not easily notice that the number of circles created with the acrylic Gesso and stencil has gone from 5 to 4!  I made the mistake (yep, another one) of grabbing the upper left-hand corner of my page to move it and squished the largest circle at the top.  I pondered for about 3 seconds on how I might "repair" it, but grabbed that palette knife and just started scrapping it off the page.  Well, along with the Gesso came some of the paper!  I needed to cover up this mistake, so tore a piece of patterned paper and adhered it over the space, then added a piece of tissue paper over that.  I then added another piece of tissue paper to the lower right-hand side for balance and hoped it looked like it was always part of my master plan!

OK, moving on again.  I have shown you how to do the bubble wrap stamping before, but since it is one of my favorite techniques for adding a bit of interest to my page, I grabbed some bubble wrap and green ink.  What I have learned since the first time I used bubble wrap is that a quick-dry technique is to blot the stamped image by rolling a paper towel roll over it.  Doing this leaves a bit of wet ink on the paper towel, which you can now roll over a different part of the page for a lighter imprint.  Scroll back up to the finished page and you can see the "second printing" through the center of the page from the top almost all the way down!  Love this look!

 The title or message for this art journaling page comes in the form of a sticker.  It adhered well to the page, so I decided not to add any topcoat, but did use a brayer to make sure the edges wouldn't lift.  

While I said in the beginning of my post that this project created a dip in my art journaling learning curve, I want to encourage you to try new things without being fearful that they won't be perfect.  I admitted to a fellow crafter recently that I did remove--ok, ripped out--my first attempt at art journaling and threw it away.  Subsequently, I have created pages of which I am not really "happy," but, still, I created them so I am keeping them.  If you are creating an art journal, I would love to see it.  In the meantime, thanks for visiting my blog.  Please take just a moment to leave a comment and let me know you were here.  If you like what you see and are not already a follower, please join and select the "follow by e-mail" option.  That way, you will receive an e-mail notification when I update my blog!



(transferred from, dated 6-28-2012)

I am continuing to learn about art journaling and, today, am introducing another stencil into my journal.  But, let's back up a bit.  I made a trip to Hobby Lobby, a first for me!  I have long heard others around the country saying, "I got it at Hobby Lobby!"  Like I should know what that is.  I can talk Michaels and I can talk JoAnn and I can talk ACMoore, but Hobby Lobby?  Nope!  An aside here, Hobby Lobby is a Christian-based company and is not open on Sundays, which makes this cartoon fit nicely into this blog post!

I am not now sure how I found out Hobby Lobby had opened a store in New Hampshire--last Thanksgiving!  But, my husband loves road trips and eating out, so I suggested we scout out Manchester, New Hampshire, for a cool breakfast place and then nonchalantly mentioned that I wanted to make a side trip!  (Crafty, huh?)  Well, over $100 later, and not having seen the whole store, it was time to go home and get to my scrap loft (fancy talk for third floor scrap room)!

Back to the present!  First, the big reveal, then the steps I took to get there:

I first removed my art journal page from my spiral-bound book--a simple procedure where I use my scissors to carefully snip between the bindings and remove the page.  It's much easier to work on pages in "the flat" as I call it, rather than trying to work on a page while still in the book!  Next, I Gesso'd my page (you knew I was going to say that, right?).  I adhered a piece of patterned paper with a bit of text in the background onto my page.  Then, I eagerly opened up the 12x12 package containing my new stencil, placed it upon my journal page and began to paint with my stipple brush.  Stipple brushes are used when I want to "pounce" my paint into a stencil.  (Do I not sound quite knowledgeable?)  

It really looks quite a mess at this point, but have patience!  Remember the thrifty technique that I previously shared?  As you can see, there remains a lot of paint on the top of the stencil that really shouldn't go to waste.  I take the juicy wet paint and press it onto a blank page in my journal waiting for attention at a later time.  

OK, here's where we are now:
At this point, I am not too sure where I am going, except that I know I have a stamp that deals with time and know I want to use it:

I am thinking that using the whole stamp is going to make this page *way* too busy, so I decide to use only the first sentence.  I used tape to block the first line of the second sentence, then inked up my stamp with StazOn black ink.  I remove the tape and stamp onto my page:

A less than desirable impression has me disappointed, but after an "ah-ha" moment, I grab a black Flair pen and trace over the script!  Sometimes, I just amaze myself!  ;-)

Next step is to walk away for about 3 days--there are several reasons why!  (1) the paint is not yet dry, (2) the ink is not yet dry, and, most importantly, (3) I had several other things to do!  I finally found a few moments today to touch the paint, then the ink to find them both dry.  While I pondered what to do next, I decided "nothing" might be the right option!  I am a simple person at heart and, most often, find that when I try to overwork something I end up with a disaster.  One final element, I thought.  I then found just the perfect add-on--a Jolee sticker which promised to add a special touch of nostalgia and charm to my creative project!!

I enjoyed using this stencil and think it a good investment that I will use again and again!

Thanks for visiting my blog today!  Please leave a comment so that I will know you were here--and because it makes me think all this is definitely worthwhile!  Also, while you are here, why don't you sign up to "follow" by e-mail.  An easy step which will ensure that you will know when I update my blog!



(transferred from, dated 6-18-2012)

Composing an art journal page is most generally thought to be a gathering of elements onto your page.  For instance, one might gather papers or paints or chalks, or another might gather papers and paints and chalks!  We don't usually consider the words we add to a journal page (if any) as part of this composition, but rather the icing on our cake.  There are times, however, when we want our words to be the cake (the meat) and not the icing.  It is that thought with which I approached my most recent art journal entry.

I love this old adage providing sage advice:  "Don't make a permanent decision for a temporary emotion."  This has saved me more than once from making the wrong decision!  Since this adage is the focus of my page, I wanted it to stand out above all other elements.  I also wanted to make a collage for my background.  I began with these smallest of scraps in earth tones:

To both adhere the individual strips and to give a sealing topcoat, I used Modge Podge which also gave the page a nice sheen.  I had already prepared a homemade spritz (a squirt bottle with water and a small amount of Perfect Pearls), which I then applied generously, allowing the spritz to drip down the page.  I used my heat gun to randomly push around small pools of color.  This application served to soften some of the brighter colors. 

Once completely dried, I decided the background was still too bold.  I had a background stamp that is large and has a random "dirty" texture to it, so I grabbed that and covered the entire page using this stamp and black ink.  Here's the stamp:

I absolutely loved the result.  It seemed to "mute" everything, yet provided an interesting yet not overpowering background for my quote.  To enhance the presentation of the quote, I printed it on glossy photo paper, then matted each word in black for a very sharp contrast:

So glad that you stopped by to visit my blog and check out another art journal entry.  Please do leave a comment so that I know you were here.



(transferred from, dated 6-14-2012)

Art journaling can be a very serious hobby...or not!  I am having an "or not" day at my craft table today.  I recently made my first journey to the nearest Hobby Lobby (big box craft store) in New Hampshire.  It took over an hour to get there, and, though I spent an hour in the store, I have yet to explore all of it.  My description of my visit to this store piqued my daughter's interest, and we are planning a girls' field trip soon.

When not crafting, I spend way too much time on (so very addictive and sucks more time out of your day than you can imagine---yep, rivals Facebook!).  That said, I have learned a great deal about art journaling on that site.  I have learned there is much out there that I need to buy!  Stencils!  I bought two 12x12 stencils and broke open one of those packages today to create a background for today's journal entry.

So, let us begin.  After carefully removing my page from my art journal and applying a coat of Gesso, I positioned the stencil over my page.

I had already decided that the journaling for the page would be "I am from Venus; you are from Mars" after a similar book title (Women are from Venus/Men are from Mars), so I chose to use blue ink.  I also knew that I didn't want the inking to be perfect, so decided to sponge it on.

I carefully lifted the stencil a couple of times to look at my progress, and, when satisfied, lifted it off.  I loved the result.  Then, I saw this:

What you're looking at here is that stencil coated with still very wet and beautiful blue ink.  I had learned from watching a video on Pinterest that you can take this stencil and transfer the ink to a different page in your journal simply by blotting it there.  You then have a perfect start for another page at a later date!  Here's what it looks like:

To continue to create the background, I grabbed a can of brown spray paint and gave 4 or 5 random shots of paint to my page.  I loved the look and, when it dried, I was so pleased that it had a definite sheen to it that just added interest.

You can't really tell from the photo above, but I will share with you that when I began this project today, I began by embossing the page in my Big Kick.  I had an "oops" moment when I discovered that I had embossed the wrong side!  My daughter always says there are no "oop's" in scrapbooking (which transfers nicely to art journaling, as well), so I just pressed on.  In the next photo, you can actually see the indentations of the embossing plate--and I think it actually looks pretty cool!

I had gathered several possible elements to use on this page:

My attempt at using watercolor crayons on the King and Queen of Hearts failed miserably when I began to blend the colors with a damp paintbrush.  That King and Queen didn't make the cut!  I moved on and remembered my Brilliant Blue ink pad from Stampin' Up!  After all, Martians are blue, right?  I also love to stamp on my art journal pages, so used a stamp of a stamp (haha)!

So, here is the big reveal.  A trifle sparse, perhaps, but I am happy--which is what is important.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today!  Please leave a comment so that I know you were here.  That makes me happy, too!



(transferred for, dated 5-22-2012)

Just a quick moment to add an art journal page that I just completed.  I really do like how this came out.  I am learning to like that once-dreaded yellow!  ;-)

The quote I used is truly mine!  I searched quotes about dreams, but found none quite so perfect as this one!

Thanks for coming by.  Leave a comment so I will know you were here!



(transferred from, dated 5-17-2012)

Before losing the momentum I have going here, I wanted to do the flip side of my art journal page that I completed on Tuesday.  Mainly, because a scrappy friend of mine noticed that I had removed the journal page from my spiral-bound art journal and had asked how easily they go back in.  I will add a P.S. and let you know the answer to that!

In the meantime, I had watched a video tutorial by Journal Artista (who, by the way, works in a corrugated box factory!) on how to create one's own corrugated paper for use in paper crafting.  The required supplies included paper, glue and a "crimper," and I had them all!  If you're thinking, "Hmmmmmmmm, what's a crimper?" here is a picture:

And here is what is does:

Place your card stock between the two rollers, squeeze the blue and orange handles together with your left hand, and turn the orange crank with your right hand (reversing, of course, if you are left-handed).  This crimper is by Fiskars and can be purchased in your local craft "big box" store for short money--especially with a coupon!

Next, I took a brown ink pad and rubbed it several times over the crimped paper until I was happy with the effect:

At this point, I adhered the corrugated paper to my already prepped (Gesso, of course) journal page and set it aside to dry while I worked on my top layer.  As you can see below, I am going for the grunge look (which I am told is pretty much opposite the "Victorian" look (prim, proper and pretty).  I first tore the right edge of the patterned paper, then tore a piece off the lower left corner.  Next, I cut an X in two locations on the paper (shown here by pencil marks). 

I used the tip of the utility knife to lift the four corners of the X's and began to tear away the paper.

When I liked the look, I added some brown ink to the outside edges and some lighter ink to take away the "whiteness" of the torn paper.  It was then time for a bit of decoration and journaling.  When I first got into paper crafting, I got sucked into to buying *way* too many stamps.  It's not that I don't *like* them, I just don't *use* them!  For this project, I wanted to use some stamping.  I took a seat in front of my boxes and boxes of stamps and had a great walk down Memory Lane!  I finally chose two that seem to describe me perfectly--even after 68 years!

For those of you who know me well, you know that I struggle with journaling on my artwork, and struggle even more with handwritten journaling.  I decided to tackle both hurdles here!

Here's my art journal page entitled, "I DON'T DO MORNINGS!"  The journaling reads:  "@ 68, I have yet to outgrow the desire to sleep late."

OK, here's that P.S.  The page went perfectly back into my bound art journal!  WooHoo!

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