Sustainable Souls Project-January: Planet Earth, We are all Connected, Ecosystems

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Good morning! This is my first project for the year long Sustainable Souls Project hosted by my good friend Tina Walker. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please click HERE. Every month we are exploring different themes through art. This month’s theme is Planet Earth, We Are All Connected, and Ecosystems. I chose to express this theme with the creation of an art journal made from recycled materials and eco dyed papers.

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For the cover, vintage silk ties were quilted together and backed with muslin and then machine stitched. In my mind, the different styles and types of ties represented the diversity of humankind. Stitching them together is a way of “connecting” us. Binding the book with the string is what holds us all together.

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The inside signatures were created using the eco dying process on heavy weight paper, a technique that I learned from Tina last summer. The pages were created using only items found in nature to create color and texture.

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I am looking forward to creating more pages in this book as they year moves along, using the different themes that we have planned!

#MakeThings–Playing Along with Punk Projects!

Just a really quick share today of an art journal spread I created for Katie Smith’s Make Things 8 Week Challenge.

Last week’s challenge was to create something using a photograph. Several months ago I bought some of Tim Holtz’s Found Relatives photograph cards. I collect actual vintage photos also, but these are fun because I don’t feel bad about using up all of my real ones 🙂 I created this spread in my newest altered book, which will be featured this Thursday on the Amazing Casting Products blog:

Looking forward–have you been wondering what to do with all of the artwork your kids are bringing home from school? Next week on the blog I will be sharing some fun ideas on what to do with their little masterpieces!

Have a great day!

Mixed Media Vintage Fabric Book

Good afternoon! Today I am sharing a quick (heavy on the pictures) post on my latest project–a mixed media fabric prayer book featuring vintage and antique ephemera, lace, and papers.

It started when I was browsing Etsy in search of vintage fabric. Somehow I ended up finding these beautiful prayer cards from ThisOldCouch and immediately was inspired to create something with them.

This originally wasn’t intended to be a book. I was just playing around with some muslin and thinking I might make a banner or prayer flags, but after I finished several pieces they seemed to work together nicely as a pretty little book.

Here is the finished book, with some close ups. This was such a fun and meaningful project for me!

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Catching Up!

Good morning everyone! It’s been a while…..

In personal news, things around here have been pretty busy! One of my daughters is on the high school dance team and competition season has kept us pretty busy. DSC_2108
State Champs!!

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My favorite dancer!

In art news, I have been working on a few projects. I joined the Amazing Casting Products Creative Team and have produced a few pieces for them.

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Upcycled art journal made from mail order catalog

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Follow Your Heart mixed media canvas

(you can view the tutorial for the mixed media canvas HERE)

I created this art journal spread for an art journal swap with my good friend, Tina Walker.
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I’ve also received word that I will have four of my digital art journal pages published in Stampington’s Art Journal magazine in April, I will keep you posted on when that hits the shelves! 🙂
In the meantime, I have a few other projects that I am working on including a brand new website!!! Hopefully that will be making it’s debut here pretty soon.

Have a beautiful day!!

The Secret for Finding Time to Create Art

Hi everyone! So much has been going on here lately, summer is winding down and the kids and their activities are starting up again. Luckily I’m still managing to carve out a few minutes for some art time. I have a lot of people who ask me where I find the time to run a business, manage the kids, run the household, and still make art.

Want to know my secret?

Laundry, people. Laundry.

You see, I have four kids at home plus myself and my husband. That makes for quite a bit of laundry, as you can probably guess. When I needed to relocate my art space, I converted half of my laundry room into a mini art studio. I have shelves, cabinets, a nice standing height countertop and stool, plus most of all my lovely supplies. So now while I’m waiting for the washing machine to fill up so I can throw the clothes in, I smear some paint on a blank page. When the dryer is almost done, I add another layer to the page. By the end of the day I can usually get a background done by just keeping it simple. A little collage. A little paint. Some spray ink and stencils. I just use whatever I have close by.

The great thing about this method is it has allowed me to actually DOUBLE my creativity. When I finish a background I snap a pic of it with my iPad, then go back to it later to work on digitally. When I know I will have a nice block of time, I can go back to that same background and finish it with traditional art supplies.

So now you know my secret!

Here is what I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks. These pages are all digitally altered pages from my actual journal.

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Going Digi in My Art Journal!

Good morning everyone! There are few things I love more than getting messy in my art journal; however, after spending a day with my super cool and techy sister in law (the Tech Chef) I was really inspired to learn more about digital art.

In order to teach myself how to incorporate some new techniques into my work, I signed up for Tracy Bautista’s Digital Canvas eCourse. So far I have played with both the Paper 53 and Noteshelf apps. I have to say there is a bit of a learning curve here for me, but so far I am loving mixing up some of my traditional art pages with digital elements. I feel like it’s the best of both worlds. I can still play in my art journal and make a big mess, then take a picture with my iPad and continue layering, adding color, and doodling while on the go.

Here is the first page I did in Noteshelf, using a prompt from the course:

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Here is a before page I did in my art journal:

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And here is the page after being digitally altered:

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Here is a gelli print piece of background I started in my art journal;

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And here is a completed page, finished in Noteshelf:

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I’m really looking forward to doing a lot more of this type of art!

My Top 5 Tips for Starting an Art Journal

Good morning everyone! I typically enjoy sharing tutorials and pictures of my work here, but I wanted to mix it up a little bit by giving you my top five recommendations for starting an art journal. I think there are many people out there who would love to dip their toes into the mixed media waters but are afraid. They say to themselves “I can’t draw”, or “I don’t have the right supplies”, or “I don’t know where to start” etc.
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1. LET GO OF YOUR FEAR AND HAVE FUN!
The most important thing to remember about an art journal, especially when starting out is that it’s a place to experiment and play. A place to try new techniques, make mistakes, try new products. There’s no pressure for perfection here. I’ve created some of the most beautiful, as well as the most hideous pages in my art journals! 🙂

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2. CHOOSE THE RIGHT JOURNAL FOR YOU
There are so many choices out there now for art journals. You can purchase, or even make your own. Consider the type of art you think you might like to create. Also consider the size and paper type for a journal you think you would feel comfortable working in. I have used many different types of journals through the years: ones made of handmade paper (a little challenging), Strathmore mixed media books in varying sizes (my personal favorite right now!), watercolor paper books, books with paper made from heavy cardstock, and the Dylusions journals (also very good). These types of journals can be found in most local Hobby Lobby or Michaels stores now. Of course Amazon is also an option!

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3. START WITH THE BASICS
When starting out art journaling you don’t need to buy every single mixed media item you come across (although I won’t lie, there are WAY too many tempting goodies out there!). Some basic items you will use over and over again include:

  • gesso–this is a must have. You can erase virtually any mistake with a coat of gesso. It’s my best friend!
  • decoupage/Mod Podge/matte medium/gel medium/heavy duty glue stick—anything that you want to use as an adhesive
  • acrylic paints (I started out using the cheaper brands paints, gradually adding higher quality paints)
  • decent brushes-at least one flat brush is good, also some foam brushes–nothing too fancy)
  • stencils-these can be store bought or homemade
  • texture tools-again, these can be bought, but look around your house for things with interesting textures
  • stamps-background texture stamps, word stamps, letter stamps (I like the ones at Michaels that cost $1)–this is an area of supplies that can be built up over time.
  • Pens for drawing and doodling. I like the Faber Castell Pitt pens.

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4. LEARN FROM THE MASTERS
I am not ashamed to say that I am on online art class junkie. I like these types of classes because they are self paced. There are so many amazing artists out there that are willing to share ideas and techniques through online classes, YouTube videos, blog tutorials, and even live teaching events and retreats. Go online and Google mixed media art. Find examples of art that you like and find out who the artist is. Check out their blogs or You Tube video channels. Browse Pinterest for styles of art that you might be interested in recreating. For a long time I was so worried about finding “my style”. I don’t worry about that anymore. The more you learn, the more you find that you will start incorporating bits and pieces of many styles–and eventually YOUR style will emerge. Don’t be so quick to put yourself into a “style” box–experiment!

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5. FILL YOUR PAGES
Wondering exactly what to fill your pages with? There are many art journaling groups on Facebook and elsewhere online that offer great art journal prompts. Check out magazines like Art Journaling by Stampington & Company, or other art journal blogs for even more ideas. Getting connected with like minded artists is a big benefit. Some people host art journal swaps, where everyone takes a turn working in someone else’s book. These may or may not have a specific theme. Speaking of which, themes are also a good way to fill your book. A while back I created an entire “Love” themed journal. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Create a “background” journal. Fill an entire book with nothing but layered backgrounds. You can always add to these pages later.
  • Create a journal based on a word. I just started a book for my OLW for this year, which was GROW.
  • Start a quote journal. Collecting quotes that inspire you into one journal can be very uplifting!
  • Create a color journal. Challenge yourself to use one palette or particular color through the entire book.
  • Start a “Study the Masters” book. This is actually one I want to do myself. I always thought it would be fun to make a list of artists whose work I admire and try our their styles in one book dedicated to only that.
  • Create a memory journal. Document the special moments of your life with a combination of photos of your family or from your travels, with paints, doodling, and written journaling.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and feel inspired to start an art journal of your own if you haven’t already. I’d love to see your work, so feel free to post a link to your gallery or blog in the comments below!