Publication Celebration!

August 31, 2015

A couple of months ago, my favorite publishing company, Stampington, put out a call for adult coloring pages, and I was just notified they have accepted one of my entries! (I knew there was a reason my clock radio was playing the song “Happy” when it woke me up for work yesterday!)

The Coloring Studio, a special publication that will feature pages to color, advice from coloring artists and ideas for using your finished artwork, is set to hit newsstands December 1st. With adult coloring being all the rage, this book and a set of colored pencils or gel pens would make a great holiday gift!

While I can’t show the artwork that was accepted (let’s just say it’s of a feline persuasion), I can share the second one I submitted, Nature Girl. Click to see it full size (8×10) and print out to color, if you like. I colored it twice, the first time using mostly greens and blues; the second time I went crazy with bold and bright and a widely expanded palette. Which one I like better pretty much depends on my mood at the time I view it.

nature girl

Many thanks to the inimitable Jane Davenport for teaching me (painlessly) how to draw a beautiful face! I couldn’t have done this without her and, until a few months ago, wouldn’t have even tried. I’m currently taking two on-line classes with Jane and they have been invaluable! (Thanks, Jane!)

It’s Never Too Early

August 15, 2015

I’ve been keeping a journal/diary/smash book for several years now, one per calendar year. They’re so interesting to look back on and remember what was going on in your life a year or two years or ten years ago. (And can be very helpful to prove to doubting spouses that you bought the “new” TV over five years ago! …I mean, for instance.)

In the past, I would use a commercially-made desk calendar/planner, but decided last year to make my own. I love it so, so much. I would save it in a house fire before I even considered those five bags of Cheetos Puffcorn in the kitchen cupboard. Last year Dude gave me a hard time for starting my 2015 smash book so early in 2014 (yes, it was May!). But as I told him, you have to strike while the iron’s hot, and I’ll probably be too busy later. At least I waited until July this year.

2016 smash book 6

Yes, there is glitter. Yes, there is lace. And washi tape. And a butterfly. I’ve been enamored of this particular butterfly image ever since I found a pair of wings that look exactly like these at a campground/marina in South Carolina last month on our way to New Hampshire.

2016 smash book 1

I couldn’t think of what to put in the space in the upper right, and finally decided on either the word “life” or the word “love.” Then thought, heck, why not both? It’ll be  good reminder to LOVE LIFE, ’cause I sure do!

I used four pages for each month, three of cardstock and one of which is from this beautiful 8″ paper pad from Graphic 45 called “Time to Flourish.” I found it while shopping on our trip and immediately knew it was perfect for my new smash book.

graphic 45 padEach month is represented by a double-sided patterned paper and a page with coordinating cut-outs that I can use throughout the year. I just love these!

I also did a beaded binding; rather an ambitious one! Since the book is so thick, I had room for two types of beads.

2016 smash book 2

Here’s a view of the inside front cover. I normally start my smash book with a New Year’s quote from Neil Gaiman, which will go on the left side once I decide which one I want to use.

2016 smash book 4

2016 smash book 5

I made the covers from an existing hardcover book published in 1969 called Julia Harrington. It’s full of pictorial advertisements from the 19th century and is supposed to be the diary of a girl who lived in Iowa (where I’m originally from). When you take off the lacy, flowery dust jacket, there’s a pretty picture of “Julia” and her name embossed in gold. (The gold keeps flaking off in little glittery showers, which I don’t mind at all.)

book cover

I used the front cover for the back cover of my book because I couldn’t bear to cover that pretty picture!

2016 smash book 3I am now officially ready for 2016 and all the adventures it is certain to bring!

More ATCs

August 11, 2015

I got another set of five ATCs done for a swap (see previous post); I am calling these “Dream Girls” as each has a quote about dreams. This card has a quote I saw recently and really like: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

dream girl atc

I am so grateful to Jane Davenport and her amazing videos and online classes for giving me the confidence, the motivation and the technical knowledge necessary to begin learning to draw faces! I did all these in graphite; it’s my favorite medium (so far) because mistakes can be erased and it’s easy (and fun!) to add some shading just by rubbing with a finger. Graphite is probably the least expensive way to create art as well; all you need is a sheet of paper, a pencil and an eraser.

These ATCs were created on inexpensive drawing paper and then glued onto cardstock. The camera didn’t quite pick up the correct color of the paper, which is a pale beige. I prefer it to stark white for drawing; the results seem softer that way.

dream girl set

I am taking Jane’s online “Supplies Me” class in which we learn to use all those many art supplies we just HAD to have: markers, pastels, crayons, watercolors, etc. I am working my way VERY slowly through the lessons (I’ve only done colored pencils so far!) and continue to practice faces using graphite in order to become more confident with shading and get better at creating facial features. Jane is an excellent teacher (and who can resist her lovely Australian accent?), so if you’re interested in learning how to draw beautiful faces, you can’t go wrong with Jane. (Two months ago, I could barely draw a stick figure!)

ATC Frenzy

August 10, 2015

Last year I joined an ATC swap with Roni at the Ink Stains blog. We could make up to 30 cards each, so I did just that! Unfortunately my cards got lost in the mail and the swap went on without me. :( After a couple of weeks I got back my torn, empty envelope and a search request submitted to the post office turned up nada, zip, zilch. Hopefully someone who enjoys ATCs found them and they weren’t totally destroyed!

So with fingers crossed, I am joining Roni’s swap again and this time hoping for a better outcome. I’ve made 15 cards so far and hope to get another 15 done before it’s time to send them. We can make no more of five alike, so I’ve done five sets of similar cards. The first are called “Definition Birds.”

bird definition card

The backgrounds are Distress Inks, applied directly to the card and then squirted with water; an easy and fun technique. The bird images are by Artchix Studio and the definitions are from a sheet of pet-themed scrapbook paper.

bird definition set

The next set uses backgrounds made by “pouncing” Distress pads onto the paper and then squirting with water. A bit of a different look, and just as easy and fun. The images are again by Artchix Studio. I call this series “Signs of Spring.”

signs of spring card

(Shhh…don’t tell anyone, but the red eyes on those birds are kind of creeping me out!) I added mulberry paper, lace and some little flowers to each card.

signs of spring set

And finally, art I drew myself! These mermaids are done with colored pencil, ink and chalks.

mermaid card

I’m currently working on another hand-drawn set, this time in graphite; hopefully I’ll get five of them done before the deadline. I LOVE ATCS!

mermaid set

The Final Challenge!

August 7, 2015

It is with more than a bit of sadness that I post my very last project for the very last Compendium of Curiosities challenge. It has been so much fun to take part in these challenges, get inspiration from the Curiosity Crew and see how other artists interpret the techniques. Linda has been an amazing hostess and I’ve had a great time getting to “know” the talented gals who inspire us with their beautiful projects. Oftimes these challenges were just the kick in the pants I needed when the muse had fled and I was feeling less than creative. I will miss them so much!

Clearly, Tim Holtz needs to write another book ASAP so we can do it all again. :)

This, the very last challenge, is sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique, and all you have to do to win a great prize is create something using the Monoprint Stencil technique, as shown on page 48 in Compendium of Curiosities III. This was a fun and easy technique; once I got the right amount of water in the second step – that part was a bit tricky! Fortunately I have many, many blank tags, and as they are tough little guys, you can add layers or paint over “mistakes” and still have something great to show for your efforts.

I used Tim’s Burlap stencil for this challenge, along with Distress Inks in Spiced Marmalade, Picked Raspberry, Mermaid Lagoon, Shabby Shutters and Fossilized Amber. I only just bought the Fossilized Amber while on a road trip to New Hampshire last week, so it was great to have a reason to try it out right away! I picked the two tags that came out the best, glued them to a chipboard backing and used them as the cover for a little book.

On our way to New Hampshire, we stayed one night at a lovely, rustic campground/marina in South Carolina, where I gathered lots of natural souvenirs: shells, feathers, pine cones, flowers, and my favorite find: the wings of a butterfly that look almost exactly like this one.

butterfly tag book 1

I’ve been enamored with beaded bindings ever since I tried my first one a few months ago, and the butterfly beads fit really well on this little book. I used two colors of velvet ribbon for the binding to coordinate with the tags and filled it with patterned papers from K&Company (this line is called Abrianna).

butterfly tag book 2

butterfly tag book 3

Every time I look at the butterfly on the cover, I’m reminded of that beautiful marina in South Carolina, with its blue skies, scented pines, inviting lake and warm breeze. I think this book will be perfect to showcase photos from our trip!

Thank you, Linda, and thank you, Curiosity Crew, for your friendly encouragement and inspiration these past few months. I have enjoyed every moment!

butterfly tag book 4

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #33

July 21, 2015

Amazingly, this is the second-to-last challenge from Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities, Volume 3, and I will miss them so much! The lovely and talented Linda Ledbetter is our hostess for these challenges and has done an AMAAAAAZING job coordinating the projects and the equally lovely and talented “Curiosity Crew” of artists to inspire us. Great job, all of you!

We are turning to page 45 in our Compendiums and discovering the Altered Surfaces technique. This involves using the heat gun, and Tim specifically warns against using it for too long on plastic surfaces, lest they melt. So naturally, one of my plastic surfaces melted. It’s okay, though – I was able to twist it back into shape and it’s not even that noticeable! (Note: Please pretend not to notice.)

I had to hurry to get something done for this challenge, as we will be traveling for ten days starting tomorrow. Coincidentally, I hadn’t yet made a travel log for our trip, so that seemed like the perfect project! Dude and I always bring a travel log on our trips, into which we take turns writing entries about our adventures. (Mine are always like, “Hooray, we saw the world’s biggest ball of twine and it was awesome and I took a million pictures and can’t wait to get to the next city tomorrow morning!” whereas his lean towards, “Gas was $2.75 per gallon.”)

I started with a plain composition book and covered it with torn scrapbook papers. I did the “Altered Surfaces” technique on Tim’s plastic letters, using Mermaid Lagoon, Cracked Pistachio and Worn Lipstick Distress Paints. Fun! (And a little scary when the “S” melted).

travel journal letters

I used matching Distress inks, along with Wild Honey, to color the scrapbook papers, a stamped Tim compass, and a motor home die cut. I also stamped Tim’s flight of birds and added two Philosophy tags with tiny brads. Added a bit of black & white checkered ribbon and called it done!

travel journal

There is plenty of time to join in this challenge and oh-so-tempting prizes to be won! The sponsor is Inspiration Emporium, who are offering a very generous gift certificate to one lucky winner, and yet another will win a lovely box of Tim Holtz products – you certainly can’t beat that!

Bon Voyage!

A Colorist Never Forgets

July 19, 2015

I never thought I would try coloring as an adult, much less enjoy it so much. I just didn’t think it would be creatively satisfying enough to color an image that someone else had drawn. But then it occurred to me, I used to do that with rubber stamped images all the time – how is this different?

Coloring for adults is all the rage these days, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It is so relaxing, so much fun to pick out the colors and decide where they go, and so satisfying to have a beautiful piece of art when you’re done!

I just finished reading a novel by Jodi Picoult called Leaving Time, which is about a woman who studies grief in elephants. She is found unconscious near a trampled body and later disappears from the hospital. It’s a really good read with a surprise twist ending, and also got me really interested in elephants. So I was quite excited to run across these beautiful – and free! – elephant coloring pages!


You can find them here – and the very generous artist is currently working on horse images in the same style!

I printed these out full size – they take up an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with a bit of a border – and spent an enjoyable few hours coloring them with Prisma colored pencils. I have about 55 pencils, which is far too many choices. I’ve found I get good results by picking about eight colors and putting the rest away; it makes for a cohesive result, even with very busy images.

For these elephants, I used orange, purple, teal, yellow, red, blue, pink and green. I use one color at a time and try to spread it out among all the spaces fairly evenly before moving on to the next color. I’ve also done several that are monochromatic (different shades of green and blue, for example), and those can be really stunning in their own right.

elephant left

There are so many things you can do with your filled-in coloring pages. Framing them, of course, is one possibility. But you can also scan them to create a digital file and then have the image printed onto all manner of wonderful items: tote bags, phone cases, laptop skins, pillows, T-shirts, etc. Wouldn’t one of these elephants be amazing on a shower curtain? (Yes – you can have a full-size shower curtain made with your art!)

elephant right

My next adventure in coloring? This gorgeous elephant, which I found here:


Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #32

July 17, 2015

We are getting SO CLOSE to the end of these exciting and inspiring challenges, and I for one will be very sad when they are over! We’ve been working our way, via Linda Ledbetter’s wonderful site, through Tim Holtz’s latest book, Compendium of Curiosities, Volume III. This time we are turning to page 59 and learning how to play with Frosted Film. There are prizes to be won – the sponsor of this challenge is the Funkie Junkie Boutique, and Tim has also generously donated some amazing products for one lucky artist!

I found this particular challenge…well, challenging. I’ve never worked with the Frosted Film before and was happy to learn it’s sparkly! Sparkly is right up my alley. Frosted Film is a self-adhesive thin sheet that can be applied to many surfaces and colored with alcohol inks and used with die cuts.

After some experimentation, I was able to create two beautiful rosettes using Tim’s die with the Frosted Film and one other “ingredient,” which I cannot name – but if you get your own copy of Tim’s book you’ll see exactly what it is! :)

The rosettes are sparkly and translucent and were made even more beautiful with the addition of some Platinum and Copper Stickles. There might also be a wispy cat hair or two, which is only fitting, given the theme of my project, and not at all surprising, given that I had considerable “help” from Taz in my studio today.

cat tags close

I decided to treat the rosettes like flowers and cut them some leaves from the Frosted Film as well. The rosettes were used on tags with images of flowery cat silhouettes. I made the tag backgrounds with alcohol inks using a technique I learned waaaaaay back in Compendium of Curiosities Volume 1!

cat tag blue

I added several layers of Tissue Tape to the bottom of the tag so the leaves would show up better and outlined them with a Sharpie fine-line pen. A butterfly die cut and my favorite translucent gold ribbon finished each tag.

cat tag gold

I wish the camera could show better the sparkly beauty of the Frosted Film elements; they are stunning in person! This was a fun challenge and I can’t wait to see what we’re doing next!

cat tags 1

Want more inspiration for using Frosted Film? Check out Linda’s site for amazingly beautiful projects from the Curiosity Crew!

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #31

June 24, 2015

For a change, I got done early with my project for the next Compendium of Curiosities challenge, wherein we are turning to page 47 and learning the paint resist technique with layering stencils. The prize this time is a generous gift certificate from Inspiration Emporium, and I can tell you from experience it’s a great place to find almost any Tim Holtz product you can imagine!

Check out the site for some inspiration by the Curiosity Crew, who always hit it out of the park with their beautiful projects!

I made three backgrounds on tags using the techniques; I usually do more than one when trying something new so I can use the best one. But this technique is so awesome and fool-proof, they all turned out great! So I decided to make all three as a set, using images of sweet Fairy Babies, tissue tape, Tim Holtz stamps and pretty ribbon.

challenge 31 all three

I only have three Tim Holtz layering stencils (so far!): Burlap, Dot Fade and Honeycomb. But they work really well together and I love the results.

challenge 31 left

I used Worn Lipstick Distress Paint for the first step, then Peeled Paint, Spiced Marmalade and Broken China inks for the second and third steps. This technique makes such beautiful backgrounds!

challenge 31 center

I haven’t done the ruffled Tissue Tape technique for awhile and forgot how pretty it is. And I think Tim’s scribble heart is one of my new favorite stamps!

challenge 31 right

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #30

June 17, 2015

Have we really done 30 of these? Wow. Actually, I can’t speak for myself, because I missed a few, either because I didn’t have the right supplies or LGITW (life got in the way – that should totally be an acronym if it’s not). But the time has really flown; seems like we just started this a couple of months ago!

This time we are coming up off the paper and creating faux cracked glass! Everyone turn to page 54 in your Tim Holtz Compendium of Curiosities, read the simple directions and then prepare for some fun! You’ll get plenty of beautiful inspiration from the Curiosity Crew over at Linda Ledbetter’s challenge blog, and once you post your fabulous creation, the chance to win a prize from the Funkie Junkie Boutique!

As soon as I read the instructions, my eye fell on a couple of pretty glass bottles with metal lids that once held paper flowers by Prima. Who could throw away something this cute?

prima jar

I decided to make them look like old bottles that had been sitting in the back room of an ancient, long-forgotten seller of medicines and tinctures and potions and lotions from the Victorian era. Maybe they even contained arsenic for that perfect complexion! I wanted these bottles to look like something that may have appealed to the lady of the manor in her quest for products to enhance her beauty.

After creating the crackled appearance via Tim’s instructions, I colored each bottle and its metal lid with alcohol inks. I dabbed the lids with bronze Distress Paint, sanded them and sponged on some permanent black ink to age them.Then applied printouts of pretty rose images, cotton lace, tiny tags colored with Distress Ink and prettied up with wee butterflies, and a sheer gold ribbon bow.

bottles side

I added Distress Ink to the edges of the label of the pink bottle so the color would coordinate with the amber one.

bottle pink

The amber is my favorite, because I think the color sets off the rose label better.

bottle amberI love the cracked glass technique! This was a ton of fun.

bottles above


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.