Friday, January 30, 2015

Mixed Media Bulk Valentines Day Cards

Hello Everyone! This is my 1000th post! I almost missed it. LOL

Since it's a milestone I thought I'd share a tutorial for bulk Valentines Day cards. This way if you're inspired you'll have plenty of time to make and send them. 

I made mine with a hand-carved stamp, but any heart-shaped stamp will do. This works for any shape really, but V-Day is all about the hearts. 

Indulge me as I show you the whole process, just ignore the bits that don't apply or roll your eyes a bunch and say, "duh!"

This is my drawing transferred onto a piece of Speedy-Carve. To transfer to rubber all you do is lay the front (pencil side) of your drawing onto the rubber and burnish with a spoon, pen lid, your finger... until it transfers. Which is pretty much immediately.

This symbol has been haunting my dreams lately. Don't know why but I'm following the trail to see where it leads. 

Carve your stamp.

As soon as I finish a hand-carved stamp, I usually stamp it a few times in my art journals. It serves as a nice record of what I made as I frequently give stamps away. You can see I made a stencil too (orange, mid- left)

But let's get to the Valentines, shall we.

Supplies (loose suggestions, this is mixed-media after all)

  1.  Watercolor - mine are liquid as I use them to make spray ink, but pans work just the same.
  2.  Stamp, Staz-on ink
  3.  Heat tool
  4.  Paper towel
  5.  Water, brushes
  6.  Watercolor paper, cut or torn to desired size.
  7.  Map or book paper (I used both)
  8.  Adhesive (Mod Podge)
  9.  Gold Paint

Step One: Create your watercolor backgrounds.
1. Add water with a brush where you want your paint to spread. It will only move around the wet area. This is a wonderful quality that allows you to blend colors or keep them separate.
2. Dab paint into the wet area
3. Paint spreads (or you help it a bit with your brush)
4. Repeat with new color (orange) having some parts mingle and some not.
5. To soften the color roll over card with paper towel
6. Keep adding colors until satisfied.

Note: At any point you can use your heat tool to dry an area so the paint won't spread into it. 

Once you've painted your background, take a clean brush and flick water all over it. Wait a few seconds and then roll over the card with your paper towel. It will lift off the paint and leave pretty lightened areas. 
Another option is to get one card covered in paint and place a second dry card on top to transfer the paint.

left is the top (dry) card, right is the painted card. 
 It's more smooshy and diffused - a nice effect.

Or, if you're me, you'll be all, "That's dusty rose and brown. EW!"
All you need to do is add a pop of a bright color and the whole piece perks up.
You'll also note that I intentionally avoided water spattering the fuchsia bit so it has more weight in the background.

Make a lot of backgrounds because A. You've already hauled your stuff out, and B. it makes you less attached to the success of any one piece. 
For example:

I love the tulippy one with all the white space (right) but think the left one looks like someone sneezed paint all over  the place. *shudder* But who cares... I made about 20. No one card is a deal breaker. And that messy one - punched, torn into strips, or with some stamping will probably be pretty great too. 

So these soft ones are for Valentines, there is enough color range to suit all my friends different personalities.

And these wild, bold ones with lots of luscious white space and distinct edges are for art journalling and future projects. FWIW, I've never used my black watercolor before. Oh, my! It's my new favorite thing.

Now that we've made a big pile of painted cards, let's finish them off. 
Once they're dry, of course. Too soon and it'll be a big mess.

Stamp your image on the card.

(don't mind the bit of acrylic on this one. Years ago I'd stamped off some bubble wrap into my watercolor pad and decided to not worry about it)

Stamp again on your map or book paper. Since I'm only filling in the heart I only stamped the top half. 
Cut out the heart. 

Glue the heart into your image.

Be careful as your watercolor will react to the glue. I put the Mod Podge on once, with a brush, not going back and forth over the area. Just one quick pass. Then you smooth down the map paper and carefully remove any seeping glue with your finger. No need to go over the top of the map paper like you would with a collage. This is just a card and you'll risk mixing up the paint.

Gild the edges with gold paint. I could only find my gold fabric paint (which worked fine). The edging really creates a beautiful frame, adds a little glamour and accentuates any torn edges.

And there you go! This set of nine cards took very little time.
They are different enough to keep me engaged but I didn't have to worry about design choices at every step.

If you click on the picture to see it full-sized you'll notice that there are a few with french dictionary pages instead of maps. Again, the variety keeps me interested and if the colors of the map and the card were too close I needed more contrast. 

I'll add a sentiment or a note on the back, and  leave the fronts plain so they can be enjoyed year round. 

Sending a little piece of art in the mail is sure to bring smiles to your loved ones. 
If you try this please let me know.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Simple Health Week Four: Printable

So sorry this is late. We've been out of town for the past eight days and I'd imagined I'd have time to take care of blogging and such while away. Instead, I barely touched my computer and had tons of fun soaking up the Southern Florida sunshine.

Bus Tour


We spent loads of time making new friends and getting to know Florida culture. It was amazing.


As you can see, I abandoned trying to track my foods pretty early in the week. But I did make a point to order whole-ish foods when possible and to add a simple smoothie (not one of those juice and sherbet extravaganzas) to each day. I also misplaced my markers. LOL.

So, new(ish) week. Time to get back at it. In the real world, every meal doesn't come with craft beer.

The last two weeks of, "under reacting to problems' has been absolutely life changing. I'm making it a goal for the foreseeable future.

As for that step goal... slaughtered it! I clocked 17K-21K of steps per day. In dressy shoes no less. To quote my Grandpa, "my dogs are barking!"

This week's challenges are:

 One small adventure (zoo, hiking, museum etc.)
 Do the OBB Squats and Push-Ups challenge 4x this week

Let me know if you're joining me this week. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Painted Cream and Sugar Set

You know when you try something new and you feel like:

That's kind of how I was with the cream and sugar set. 

We've had the old things for at least 15 years. Bought them at Starbucks, never used them much. I host bi-weekly coffee and crafts at my place so I do finally have a chance to use them now and my sweetie bought me a gorgeous new set (with tray) at an art sale; they're made by an incredibly talented local potter.  Not needing two cream and sugar sets, I put the plain old ones in the giveaway box.

Then everyone started doing cool things with Pebeo Porcelaine markers and I wanted to play too. So I picked up a red and black marker (fine tip for the black, medium for the red) and rifled through the house for something to draw on. Sure enough the cream and sugar came to mind and the risk was very low as I'd already said goodbye to them so to speak.

But drawing is NOT my thing at all. Seriously, not. And it stresses me out something fierce. I also got very performance-anxiety-y and put it all away for about three weeks. 

My plan was to approach the task methodically:
1. Research designs
2. Practice on paper
3. Perfect the image and increase confidence.
4. Use tracing paper to transfer image to vessels
5. On a quiet, well lit, calm day paint the images.

Then one day I got all, "the hell with it" and in the near dark (5:00 PM in winter in OR is not well lit) with a terrific headache, I drew the first mushroom of my life onto a weird shaped substrate with an unknown media. 

Turns out mushrooms are a lot like wonky houses. And since I like wonky, the stress level was really low. 

And I thought they were marvelous. And I show them to everyone who comes over. 

I'm such a craft nerd. LOL

Now my cool cream and sugars (with tray!) are languishing on a display shelf and these are seeing all the action. Because... life :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Simple Health Week Three: Printable

We had a REALLY tough week family-wise. I pretty much threw out my high cards if you know what I mean. But I did make an effort to drink water and not exist solely on coffee and sugar. It wasn't pretty. Since only good, quality foods count, there are a lot of gaps when I ended up grabbing a bagel at Panera. It's Sunday morning so I still have all day to fill in - maybe I'll finish strong :)

Look at those yummy new challenges this week! Yay!

Here's the download link:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Altered Calendar Challenge

You start with a cheap calendar and then you go to town altering it as you see fit, including the monthly challenge. 

I really don't get excited about Monet (so not my taste) so I chose one of his calendars to paint over. 

The poor man is probably rolling in his grave.

His pretty painting of sailboats:

My take on it :)

I'm including this photo to show that the wings are crackle painted as per the January challenge. The clear crackle really didn't add much to the composition at all aside from shine and a little texture. I'll be sure to use a colored crackle if I try it again. Also, I used my french book script stamp to add book text to the image in a very subtle way. My goal was to keep the original art as 'intact' as possible while altering it radically.

And I think it's safe to say that collaborating with a 15 year old boy who is drawn to horror themes has really rubbed off on me. LOL

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hand Carved Cake Stamp and Card Set

This year I'm going to try to be a bit better about birthday cards. I'm absolute rubbish. And Facebook made it easier to remember but I left Facebook last year so I'm right back to not.

Carving a cute new stamp seemed as good a place to start as any, no?

And this card set ensures at least four people will get cards this year. Which, sadly, will be a huge improvement.

All the cards were made the same way:

1. Stamp image on white card stock using black Staz-On ink
2. Stamp image on post it note. Cut out and use as a mask to protect the nice clean cake image.
3. Dab Ranger Distress Ink through 'stencil' with a foam cosmetic sponge - in this case the stencil was some old fancy cut out paper... KI Memories I think. Laser cut cardstock was quite a thing a few years back. Note: On the top card, I stamped a Hero Arts French Script stamp with distress ink, let it dry and then stenciled over top.
4. Add a sentiment - these are Papertrey stamps on bits of Gelli Prints.

This one was a little different, same idea but with a number laser cut, no ombre effect and I stamped the sentiment right onto the card like a ribbon.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Simple Health Challenge Week Two

Welcome to Week Two of the Simple Health Challenge. You can read more about it on last week's post HERE. As promised, each week has a new printable chart to fill in as you eat and move and complete the challenges.

You can start any time so please, jump in and join me. 

There are a few minor changes. The stars (bonus food) are now earned for no screens after 9:00 PM and no eating after 8:00 PM. 

Also, a second challenge was added to the week:

Under react to problems. 

Lets see how that goes :)

Last week I ate more fruits and veggies than the entire month of December and I made sure to go for walks even on my rest days. Overall I consider it a huge success even though I didn't have a single 'perfect' day.

My philosophy is to never make the same mistake twice. So if I came up short on veggies on Wednesday I had to get the vegetables on Thursday but missing something else would be okay. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Any Day Diet Challenge

Hey everyone, as predictable as leaves changing color in the fall, the desire to improve your health in January is a strong one. It's something I've been working on since last summer but January is always a kick in the pants to level up your efforts.

But I'm not a real big fan of any one diet. I tend to cobble a lot of ideas together into on cohesive (to me at least) idea of what 'healthy eating' looks like.

This year I made myself a plan that is scalable to as little or as much as you need. For example, mine says, "120 Day Diet" because our trip to St. Croix is about 120 Days away. If you were using it you could say, "Seven Day Diet" as anything is possible for seven days. Or 21 Day Diet as there's always jibber-jabber about habit-forming and such being a 21 Day thing. My point, it can be whatever you need it to be.

Here's the basic  Simple Health plan. Print a sheet each week. Fill it out as you meet the objectives.

(click to see it bigger)

I included a bribe in there... did you see it? You can exchange not eating late at night and turning off your screens for booze, candy and chips. Because realistically, a diet without a glass of wine or the occasional cookie is doomed. DOOMED I tell you!

Each week there will be two challenges. One is to have a small adventure i.e. do something fun. The second one will be announced each week. It will be diet and exercise focused for the most part. For the first week there is only one challenge as I thought getting used to the chart is challenge enough.

I think it's pretty self-explanatory but if you have any questions let me know and I'll answer them as well as I can. 

This plan suits whatever you fancy; vegan - no problem. Paleo? Check! Pescetarian? No problem. Only eat white foods... might be tricky. 

It goes without saying that I'm not a doctor or dietician. Use at your own risk ;-)

You can download and/or print this week's file HERE.