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This blog is for sharing a love of paper crafting. You can also check out my Pintrest pages. If you find the ideas here to be helpful, I'd love to hear from you. It is what helps make the time I put into this blog feel worthwhile, and always brightens my day. I love hearing your ideas too!

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Friday, July 29, 2016

It is GOOD!

For a discussion of the meaning behind this artwork - check here.  As for how I created it:
  • Page Prep: Knowing that I wanted to use the border stamp, I started with white gesso (Art Basics) to cover extraneous print on the page that would be in the way.  I then covered the whole page with clear gesso (Art Basics).  Both took 2-3 coats.
  • Border Stamp: Stamped with Celebrations black ink (HOTP Matching Borders and Focals)
  • Background: I knew I wanted a colorful page and started to look for my acrylic paints thinking they might work well.  As I was looking through my paints, I came across this "Transparent Wash" (DecoArt "Ocean Teal"), and decided to try it.  It worked great!  It's probably important to prep the page first, as I did, but this wash gives a deep color that is really transparent!  Great for adding color without covering up the words!
  • Text Boxes: However, with such a deep all-over color, it was a bit challenging to know how to proceed.  Perhaps next time I would mask off the verses on which I was focusing, but I hadn't thought to do so and I knew most ways of highlighting them wouldn't look good over this wash.  Sooo - I decided to create boxes for the verses using thin gold border stickers (HOTP Thin Line Dazzles). As you can see, that worked well.
  • Border Embellishments: I love the little flower stickers in my stash (HOTP Jewel Flowers), and knew they would really help dress up the borders.
  • "Thanks": Now it was time to add the illustration in the margin.  Going through my stamps, I found this decorative "Thanks" stamp (K & Company) and knew I wanted to use it.
  • "Good" & "Give": I had some larger sized plain alphabet stamps that I wanted to use for the word "GOOD" - except that they wouldn't fit!  Sooo - I stamped the "G" and the "D" and then hand drew some narrower "O"s to fit!  I also used these stamps for the word "GIVE" (thankfully these ones fit!).
  • Other words: The other words were hand drawn with a Zig Archival Ball pen, but before I wrote the word "to", I decided to add the "present" since there was plenty of room and the word "GIVE" suggested the idea of a gift.  I liked the way the Archival pen worked for the lettering.  I had stamped everything using my Celebrations hybrid ink, and I just didn't think it was showing up as well as I liked - partly because it wasn't stamping as clearly on the background wash as I would have liked.  So I ended up going over all the lettering with the archival pen.
  • Present: I wanted the present to stand out a bit from the background, so used a pink Smooch ink to color it.  It worked well because the Celebrations ink allowed me to paint over it with the Smooch ink & have the lines still show through - not something that works with most mediums.
  • THANKS: I wanted the word "THANKS" to stand out a bit better, so surrounded it with decorative lines of Smooch ink as well.  I liked what I had on the sides, but didn't like the way the Smooch ink looked on the top and bottom - so I took a gold jewel border sticker (HOTP) and covered most of it up top and bottom.  I liked that much better.
  • Finishing Touches: I finished off this page with musical notes from a set of "Music" stickers (also HOTP Dazzles).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I will Joyfully Sing in the Morning

As usual, for the spiritual lessons learned while doing this page, check here.  As for how I created this page:
  • Looking through my stamps for something to illustrate the idea of joyfully singing of God's lovingkindess, I came across a musical set I got from JustRite called Musical Notes Labels Twenty.  After preparing the page (with Art Basics white gesso in the upper corner to cover the page heading, and then Dina Wakley clear gesso to protect the whole page), I stamped the saying in the upper corner (It says, "Music washes away from the Soul the dust of Everyday Life".), the bird part-way down the page, and a few musical notes scattered between - all with VersaFine ink. (StazOn might have been a better choice since I ended up using watercolor pencils and had to be very careful to try to keep the stamped ink from bleeding.)
  • After stamping the images, I colored them with Zig Scroll & Brush markers, watercolor pencils, and Wink of Stella.  Oh yes, I took a white gel pen & added color for the bird's eye.
  • Next I added the lettering with a Scroll & brush marker.  I decided I wanted a background on the page, but since the words & bird were blue, blue wouldn't stand out as well for a background, so I decided to try for a brownish-gold color.  I remembered the ONE gelato I have - a gold one.  I scribbled with it on my craft mat & then picked up the color with a water brush, brushing carefully around the words & images before adding it to the rest of the page.  It was my first time to use gelato like this and I really like the result.  In real life its got a soft glimmer to it.  Very pretty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Relic or Relationship

Today's page was prepared with clear gesso first.  To read about what this page means to me check here.  This is how I created the page.  I wanted to draw a picture of the ark of the covenant but was unsure how to do so with the small margins I was dealing with.  Then I came across a great resource - Kidco Labs has several downloadable Bible coloring sheets - one of which I was able to shrink to create a small picture for the upper part of the margin.  Here's a close-up of it:

I used several media to color this little picture.  Gold Smooch ink covers the ark itself and it's carrying handles.  Smooch inks also form the stones on the breastplate.  Most of the rest of the picture was colored with watercolor pencils - and blended with a bit of water.  The sky was colored with Glimmer Mist.  I sprayed a little on my craft sheet and then applied it with a small brush.

The text was highlighted with watercolor pencil blended with Wink of Stella.  The background color in the margin below the picture was colored with watercolor pencil (same color as for the path in the picture) and blended out with water.  I added words using stickers I had on hand, and finished with small lettering using a fine-tipped Sharpie.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My Cup Overflows

As usual, to read more about the spiritual meaning of this artwork check out my other blog here.   Here I just want to briefly explain how it was done since it represents a way to layer stamps without masking them as you do so!

After preparing the page with clear gesso as usual, I stamped these images with Spellbinders "Celebrations" hybrid ink (all stamps from HOTP - "You're Tea'riffic" small stamp & "Sweet Blossoms & Swirls" stamp set).  I'm not sure this ink gives me as crisp an image as either StazOn or VersaFine, but I wasn't sure what I would use to color it & didn't want to have to worry about the black bleeding.  This ink doesn't bleed whether using alcohol inks OR watercolor based ink.

Usually when I stamp multiple layers, I mask part of the stamp, but it just wasn't very practical to do that with this one.  It was just too hard to know for sure what parts of the cup would need to be masked to add the flowers!  SO, I started by stamping the cup.  Then stamped one bunch of flowers & took white gesso and a very fine paint brush to remove any lines from the cup that needed to be removed.  I repeated this process for all of my flower additions.  I already knew the white gesso was pretty much the same color as my page and it worked really well.

I ended up coloring it with my scroll and brush markers, using multiple colors to add a bit of depth to the flowers.  Even in person, you really can't tell the difference between areas with white gesso and areas without! I DID go over a couple of lines with my fine-line Sharpie where the white gesso had covered a bit more than I wanted.  I finished with some hand-drawn lettering using both a very fine Millennium pen, and the fine-line Sharpie.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Shepherd

The personal meaning of today's picture is discussed on my other blog, here.  In this post I'll talk about what I did to create this page.

I knew I wanted a shepherd and sheep on this page, and chose places for them.  I also knew I wanted to write some quotes on the inside of the images, and wanted bigger words "The Lord is My Shepherd" as sort of a title.  I remembered having seen Rebekah Jones writing big words on a Bible page - right across the printed words - and having it still readable, so I went back and checked to see how she did it (check her blog here).  She used Inktense pencils, which I don't have, but I figured my watercolor pencils would work.  I also decided to use my computer to create the words and trace them like she did.  

I found a font that was close to what I wanted (unfortunately, I don't remember which one now).  I overlapped the letters, stretching them to fit the space I had to fill, and then printed out the result.  Because it was so hard to see them through the page (because of the writing front & back) I colored them with a sharpie.  This gave me a chance.   Though I could still see them only imperfectly, it was enough to enable me to get the gist of it:
  1. I first traced them lightly with a pencil, then erased as much of the pencil marks as I could (since I knew it wouldn't erase perfectly and I'd still be able to see it).  
  2. Next, I colored the letters in with a watercolor pencil.
  3. Following Rebekah's advice, I took a paintbrush, dipped it in water, and dabbed it on a paper towel to remove most of the moisture before using the brush to blend the color on the letters.
  4. After that, I took a Sharpie and outlined each letter.
  5. Finally, I went over the letters with clear "Wink of Stella" to add a bit of glitz and help them stand out.
For the shepherd and sheep, I first tried to find pictures that I might be able to trace (since I often find drawing what I want to be a challenge).  I couldn't find what I wanted.  No ready-made pictures were oriented quite the way I wanted them or else they were too cartoonish.  The "how to draw" shepherd & sheep videos were also more cartoonish than I wanted.  But together, they all gave me enough ideas that I was able to draw these (though they came together easily enough that I frankly believe it to be a miracle!). 

I first drew them on tracing paper (since I've discovered that Bible pages prepared with gesso don't erase well and the tracing paper allowed me to see through to the Bible page so I could form them around the printed text).  After I got them drawn I went over the outlines with a Sharpie and then placed the drawing behind the Bible page so I could trace them.  That worked pretty well for the shepherd, but I couldn't see the sheep well enough because of writing on the back side of the page.  So, I resorted to a trick I learned a long time ago.  Since I had drawn the sheep on a piece of tracing paper, it was easy to do:
  1. Take a soft pencil and traced the outline on the BACK of the drawing.
  2. Place the drawing in place on the page, right side up (back side with pencil marks facing the page).  
  3. Trace again around the drawing.  The pressure will transfer the pencil marks from the back of the tracing paper to the page.
  4. Remove the drawing and go over the resulting marks with a pen (I used a Sharpie).
I really was pretty pleased with the way it all came together.  I hand-wrote the verses I wanted inside the drawings and colored/shaded the shepherd and sheep with my Scroll and Brush markers.  When coloring the sheep, I discovered that if I put just a touch of the marker and then came back over it with a water brush, I could blend it out to a much lighter color (especially when working over the clear gesso!).  For instance, I used the same marker to color the sheep's face & the shepherd's face - but you can see that the sheep's face is not nearly as dark.  To color the sheep's wool, I drew with the marker near a curved (fluffy) part and then took the water brush over it in circles to create a bit of texture from that.  You can't tell as well in the picture, but in real life, you can see that it worked pretty well.

Next I highlighted the words of the Psalm in green with a Scroll & Brush marker before going over them again with a Wink of Stella clear pen.  

For my last step, I colored in the "grass" and the sky with oil pastels.  I applied the color, and then rubbed it with my finger to blend it out.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bible Cover Part 2

Even creating the cover of my Bible fed me spiritually (you can read about that here).  You can read about the basic process of adding this Bible cover here.  Today's post is about how I added the "decorations".  

Since my cover was vinyl, I wasn't at first sure how to go about adding art to it.  Certainly water color pencils wouldn't cut it!  Then I thought about STICKERS!

I started with my stash of alphabet stickers.  I found I had several sets of stickers that were basically the same size and style, but different colors.  Though I didn't have enough letters of any one color, I could mix and match them to create the title - which I did.  I then outlined the letters with a fine-line Sharpie to help them stand out better.  

With the title in place, the cover looked better - but still a bit plain.  I went through my stash searching for something suitable.  I thought maybe I'd find some flowers, but stopped when I saw these butterflies (HOT Dazzles), knowing they were perfect!  However, the turquoise stickers wouldn't look good by themselves, so I backed them with a pink foil before adding them to a double-stick sheet and cutting around them.  Then I added the butterfly "swirly trails" (also Dazzles).  They really added a nice touch.

But there was still a feeling that the cover was incomplete.  As I sat looking at it and thinking about how butterflies symbolize for me the transformation God is making in my life, a verse from the beginning of Romans 12 flashed in my mind. "Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind".  That was the perfect thought - a subtitle if you will.  I had several sheets of the smaller black alphabet stickers, so used them to add that - and a couple more thoughts that seemed appropriate.  Now my cover felt complete.

As the days went by, I enjoyed looking at (and feeling) my new Bible cover, but I soon became aware that the stickers would not last well.  Already little corners were trying to come up!  What to do?  Then I thought, what if I cover it all like decopage?  So that's what I did.  I had some Mod Podge in my stash, and used it with a foam paint brush to apply several thin coats, letting it dry between coats.  It worked great!  I now have a new decorated cover that looks like it will last well for some time to come!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Father's Day

This card (and the next one that is similar) are actually last year's cards that never got posted.  You can tell that I was dealing with a lack of time as both cards are similar.  Here's the 2nd one:
As you can see, both use a similar focal - made using stamps and dies from JustRite ("Celebrate Today Vintage Labels Four" stamp set & "Vintage Labels Four" die set).

First card:
  • Focal: stamped onto patterned paper using dark blue ink and embossed with clear embossing powder.  
  • Papers: older Hot Off the Press
  • Ribbons: White 1/4" satin topped with a narrow navy
Second card:
  • Focal: stamped onto plain white card stock using dark blue ink and embossed with clear embossing powder. 
  • Paper: ??? don't remember for sure where I got this 
  • Ribbons: Navy 1/4" grosgrain ribbon
As you can see, both cards were made in a similar manner:
  • Cut the background paper a bit smaller than the card and ink the edges.
  • Add ribbon, tucking ends under background paper
  • Adhere background paper to card & then add focal.