Brush Set Giveaway! Chicken Sketchbook Sunday & Tips for Working with Gouache!

Hi friends! I had so much fun playing with gouache in my sketchbook today. I forget how awesome gouache (opaque watercolor) paint is and how fun and forgiving it is to paint with.

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The brushes I used today were perfect for gouache and I get to give away TEN 7-piece sets and winners can pick from the unicorn or mermaid Mythos brushes by Royal & Langnickel. Do to shipping restrictions this contest is open to USA residents only. For a chance to win simply leave a comment saying what state you are from and which brush set (unicorn or mermaid) you prefer. I will draw 10 winners at random next Sunday and you will be notified by email. *You do not need to put your email in the comment, I can see it in my admin, I will contact you by the email you signed up to comment with. Don’t worry if your comment does not appear right away, if it is the first time you have commented here I have to approve it.

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Speaking or Royal & Langnickel I am the Featured Artist on the Month! You can read the article here. I am so thrilled to be featured by a company whose brushes I have used for decades, I hope you give it a read:)

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OK, now on to the Sketchbook Sunday video! I hope you enjoy it!

Supplies: (Affiliate links may be used)

Tips for Gouache:
1. Work dark to light.

2.Work in thin layers (use a light touch to layer or be more aggressive to blend back to previous layers)

3. Use alone or with other media (over watercolor and marker, under pastel and colored pencil)

4. Mat and frame under glass as you would a watercolor.

5. Do not work in thick layers because the paint can crack.

6. Paper or matboard are excellent surfaces for gouache as it can bond well. Avoid using it on canvas or acrylic primed surfaces as the paint may not adhere well.

7. Play, experiment and have fun!

I hope the video give you insight on my process. I think diving in with the dark color can give you confidence and also speeds up the process because you get the dark values established quickly and you don’t have to fight the white paint which can overtake things quickly and muddy things up. If you want more help on your art journey, including real-time versions of 2 sketchbook sunday paintings a month consider joining critique club. You can post your current paintings and get a detailed critique from me and encouragement from other members, so you can improve and reach your artistic goals. Learn more here!

And one more shameless plug for the road…

If you want to paint better birds I have a class on that too:  Texture Toolbox Feathers & Fowl where you can learn how to capture the beauty of birds and the textures of feathers and plumage by following along with four step by step real-time tutorials with patterns included. There is also an archived list of all past bird tutorials I have created in case you are looking for something specific.

Phew! That was a long post! Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a set of brushes, give gouache a chance and til next time happy crafting!

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It’s Trendy and You Can Do It Using Supplies You Already Have!

Hi friends!  Since Christmas I have been going through all of my art and craft supplies and seeing what I have, use and need to let go of. As you know I have a home based business and over the year things can accumulate. Plus I get asked to review a lot of products that turn out the be the same as other stuff I already have. I tend to have a bit of a hoarding tendency (I think all crafters do because we see potential in everything but this optimism can be out downfall sometimes LOL!) So I called a teacher that runs a drama program and she is taking some unneeded leftover paint, fabric and yarn off my hands and I feel good that my excess will get used. While going through my huge totes of yarn I found all of my embroidery floss and craft thread. It was in a large ziplock bag with copies of crochet patterns for little flower and butterfly patterns I used to like to make for embellishments for cards and scrapbook pages. I would haul this bag of supplies with me everywhere and crochet up a storm. I realized when I did my huge Konmari clean out of 2017 I never touched the yarn totes. I guess I decided that the totes “sparked joy” as is and there was no need to open them (HaHa! What a naughty cheater I was!) but I did go through them last weekend and found lots of treasures! Both for me to keep and use and some to give away. I almost didn’t open the floss bag, I figured they were “organized enough” right were they were but then I thought I’d probably use them more if they were organized by color and I had a couple empty clear tackle boxes in storage so I decided to get to work!

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As soon as I started running my fingers over the smooth colorful threads I knew I wanted to use them! Any new skeins I sorted by color in flat open clear boxes and any open skeins I untangled and wrapped around cardboard bobbins and put in a divided tackle box by color. I will look first to the bobbin thread and if I don’t have the color I need I’ll go to a new skein and wrap the excess on a bobbin. When I crochet flowers I try to use up a whole skein in one go making about 3 mini flowers. One of my first ever YouTube videos was of me making the crochet flowers LOL! Remember that old camera that made me sound like I had a lisp? I redid a flower tutorial in my Crochet Basics video that might be better if you are brand new to crochet. I started thinking about how stitching was really popular right now in the cardmaking world and about all of the specialty products (stamps and dies) sold to incorporate stitching in your cards. These cards are pretty but I know I wouldn’t probably do it a lot so it would be foolish to invest in something so specific so I used what I had and made these cards:

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The stamp set I am using is Apple of my Eye by Stampin up. It seemed to be retired soon after it was released but I really liked it. I sometimes wonder if stamps get discontinued because they are unpopular or because they are trying to urge people to buy now. Stampin up keeps some stamp sets around for years so maybe it was unpopular, who knows? If you don’t have this set you can use any stamp you like that has a bold image. It doesn’t have to be fruit but I think fruit is fun for this technique because it reminds me of vintage embroidered tea towels. The technique I’ll show you today is satin stitch and backstitch. It is just like embroidery but when working on paper there are a  few things to keep in mind so it doesn’t tear through. Watch the video to learn more!

Supplies: (Keep in mind many supplies may be discontinued. As always feel free to substitute. You will get truly original cards that way! I have tried my best to find all the supplies I used and affiliate links may be provided.)

  • Stamps (Apple of my Eye by Stampin Up) *This set is retired but used sets can be found on ebay or Etsy
  • Jillybean Soup Lemonade stamp set
  • Small wood fruit stamps (Michael’s Dollar Bin)
  • Embroidery floss or craft thread *I recommend craft thread if you like to crochet with it as the threads are wounds together like yearn as opposed the floss where you can split the skein into smaller threads but either will work equally as well for this project.
  • White cardstock
  • Dye ink cubes (Gina K)
  • Dye markers (Ohuhu)
  • Dye for focal point (spellbinders label 22)
  • Ribbon polkadot (citrus slice ribbon is by American Crafts but I can’t find it anywhere)
  • Enamel Dots *Here is a diy video!
  • Foam squares

It feels so good to use what you have. You can erase any guilt associated with a purchase by using it. Then you can feel good again by mailing your creation off to a friend or family member! Remember, you bought these supplies to USE them! Besides, I’m pretty sure consumable supplies like embroidery floss multiply when you are not looking so don’t worry about running out LOL! I don’t know what goes on in my craft room when I leave for the night! I hope you found this post inspiring and if you have suggestions for older supplies you would like to see used and made new again let me know in the comments below. Happy crafting!

My Watercolor Went Off The Rails LOL!

Hi friends!  I started this clylamen flower painting intending to do a simple ink and wash watercolor. I though, maybe a little gold ink, that won’t hurt anything, then I thought a samp would be nice and oh! What about a stencil? Yes!

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So I am sorry if you were expecting a simple watercolor today (and you can do just that aspect of the painting if you like) but I did enjoy letting my intuition take over and create from the heart. I hope you enjoy this quite in-depth video tutorial. I hope it inspires you to grab your supplies and play too!


Supplies *Affiliate links may be used. Feel free to substitute with supplies you have on hand.

I bet if you dig through you supply stash will find supplies you have forgotten about (like my 15-year-old bottle of gold ink) that would love to be put to use. With mixed media art(or any art or craft really) the point is to take an idea and make it your own so see what you have and make something new! Thanks for watching and til next time happy crafting!

Sketchbook Sunday & Can I offer you some constructive criticism?

Hi friends! I’m so excited to share something I have been thinking about for a while. I often get asked by viewers if they can share their art with me and I love seeing it. I have noticed the amazing progress my students in my online classes make as they work through the lessons and get feedback on each one. They can improve the problem areas in a painting and keep the things that are working. I think being able to give that feedback honestly pushes their skills to new levels. I have wanted to offer that service to more people so that’s why I came up with Critique Club!

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You can post any painting or drawing that you are currently working on or have finished to get personalized feedback by me (and encouragement by others) and you can make corrections and post them if you like. Often a new set of eyes can pick out something “off” in a painting you might have missed or help you appreciate an overlooked good part in your paintings that you might have taken for granted. You can even learn by seeing other student’s art and their critique because we often find we share the same struggles.

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I wanted to make this group extra valuable so I decided to take two of my sketchbook Sunday projects each month and post them in real-time with narration so you can see how I work through the paintings, what is going on in my mind and how I overcome obstacles during the painting process. The poinsettia painting from this weeks Sketchbook Sunday is available in the group now and a new lesson will post in the group every 2 weeks. Even if you don’t have a chance (or you are a bit shy at first) to post a painting you can still enjoy the painting lessons. The cost of Critique Club is $5 a month and you can cancel anytime.

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Since it is Sketchbook Sunday I have a time-lapse painting of something I wanted to work on this week. I purchased this pretty little poinsettia two weeks ago for 88 cents at Mardens. I loved the unusual red and yellow pattern on the leaves and I though the yellow veining was especially striking. As always I am never quite sure how my Sketchbook Sunday paintings will go (that is part of the fun, challenging myself, experimenting and trying different techniques) and this was no different but I did learn a thing or two. I hope you do too and that it inspires you to work in your sketchbook today!

I highly suggest you try cropping a page either with tape or by drawing a box to work inside. Something as simple as that can give you a whole new perspective on your subject. Remember if you want a full real-time tutorial of this painting it is included with your Critique Club membership.

Supplies:

  • Watercolors (Renesans) Carmine, lemon yellow, sap green, indanthrone blue and phthalo turquoise.
  • Watercolor paper (Hahnemuhle)
  • Brushes: #2, #8 round
  • Other: masking tape, pencil, eraser, and assorted colored pencils.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Sketchbook Sunday project and if one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to grow your artistic abilities please consider joining Critique Club. You can learn more about it, watch the promo or sign up here. Happy crafting!

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Cute Upcycled Furniture Project! DIY Upholstery!

Hi friends! I’m back with a couple more gifts I made, or should I say refinished!

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These storage benches were rescued from the basement after one of my girls asked for a pretty gold bench with a white fur seat for her room. The request was mentioned a couple of days before Christmas and after my shopping was complete but then I remembered the old benches they used to have when they were little for holding dress-up play clothes. I decided I would refinish both of them, one for each of my girls for a last-minute gift. They loved them and I have a bit less clutter in my basement now! watch the video to see how to do it and how I made the custom cushioned seat. You could use that technique to turn any storage trunk or toy box you might have in your basement into a storage bench. Imagine the treasures you can make! Why buy new when you can renew?

Supply list: Keep in mind you probably have everything you need in your stash and substituting is totally fine. Everyone’s furniture will be unique and that is part of the fun! I have provided a supply list with links for your convenience and affiliate links may be used if available.

  • Old wooden bench, trunk, toy box or other furniture you want to refinish
  • Paint: I used chalk paint but you can use acrylic paint or leftover latex house paint (you can tint the house paint with acrylics if it is not the color you want.) My recommendation for this project is chalk paint because often old furniture can be a bit beat up and chalk paint hides the flaws and is quick to apply.
  • Plywood: If you are not upholstering directly to a seat you will need to cut a piece of plywood to match the size of the seat. Often if you buy the wood at a home improvement store they will cut it for you.
  • Foam cushion to match size of area to be upholstered
  • Heavy duty stapler: I have an Arrow Power Shot but this one made for furniture upholstery is half the price.
  • Fabric or a blanket cut 4″ larger on each side than your foam.
  • Stencil (the paris sign one)
  • Acrylic paint pens (I added doodle over the thick stencil lines on the gold bench with Jane Davenport paint over pens because I though the thick black lines looked dated)
  • Hot glue
  • Assorted paint brushes

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Directions:
1. Clean the furniture inside and out with a rag damp with warm soapy water and let dry. *Note: if you are using regular acrylic or glossy house paint I suggest you prime the furniture. No need to prime if using chalk paint.

2. Paint the furniture including the inside of the bench for a fresh and clean surface. You will probably want 2 coats.

3. Stencil over the dry paint if desired.

4. Make the cushion. Cut plywood and 2″ foam cushion the same size as the bench and then cut fabric 4″ larger on all sides. Center the foam and plywood over the fabric and wrap it around stapling the fabric to the back of the plywood.

5. Glue the seat to the bench with hot glue.

My husband and I have refinished many pieces of furniture in out home and so have the kids. I think getting in the habit of looking at something you have and thinking “How can I make this work better” is a wonderful skill. It makes your home personalized and keeps things out of the landfill and from cluttering your basement.  I love knowing that something is one of a kind and there is a special satisfaction in doing something yourself especially when you give new life to something at would otherwise go unused. I hope you are enjoying the last weekend of 2018 and til next time happy crafting!

Make Pretty Dimensional Elements with Scraps!

Hi friends! Today I have a quick tip for making page titles and embellishments using stuff you probably already have!

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This is the year title on the scrapbook calender I made my parents for Christmas. All you need is small scraps of craft foam (aka fun foam or foamies) something with texture like a rubber stamps and a heat source like a light bulb or heat tool. You can also use pigment ink like I did for a more dramatic effect. Watch the video to see how!

I hope you are enjoying the last few days of 2018 and til next time happy crafting!

Have you ever got sick of your hobby?

Hi friends! I apologise for not having a sketchbook Sunday for you today. We celebrate Christmas and we are hosting Christmas Eve this year and traveling on Christmas Day so we have a lot of prep to do today. In addition to store-bought gifts I have been working on secret handmade things as well so even though I am creating like crazy I can’t share the results yet;) This video was made in response too an epiphany while I was working on my yearly scrapbook calendar I make for my parents each year. I used to scrapbook all the time and I really enjoyed it. As I was fighting with my printer that decided to no longer accept heavyweight photo paper and searching the far corners of my computer and phone (my kids phones and facebook friends photos) for enough 2018 photos to fill the 12 page calendar scrapbook I longed for the day when we had one device that took pictures and then we picked up the stack of photos, such as they were, at the photo lab. There wasn’t the endless amount of options for taking photos, editing, enlarging, and printing. What we had was “good enough” and it was certainly a lot more efficient and fun!

As I was working on selecting, resizing and editing my photos I was listening to a “best products” of 2018 video and they were talking about a new tool that was just the same as another tool we all have and have been using for years but it had a different grip and color so it was so worth adding to out hoard and it hit me! This is what has been bugging me about cardmaking!

  • The same tools and products rebranded as “new”
  • Super specific “life changing” tools and supplies that do only 1 thing (non-versatile) that you need to store, find and remember what you bought it for. These items take up space and take longer to find and use than any time they are theoretically supposed to save.
  • Constant churn of supply releases. New stamps released every month only to be discontinued the next moth so people feel like you need to get it while you can. I reminds me of fast fashion. Rubber stamps are designed to pretty much last forever but many people (myself included) have stamps that have only been used once and some that have never met an ink pad!
  • Slightly different versions of the same thing such as nesting frame dies with stitching, double stitching, wavy stitching, (stitching holes) changes up year upon year so you never quite feel “on trend” and the collector aspect of the hobby makes you feel like you should add each new version to your stash. There is also “full set syndrome” where you feel the need to own every color in a product line or every peice of a collection.

The #1 thing that annoys me though is the planned obsolescence of items that can theoretically last forever. If I buy a stamp (I really like stamps!) and use it on a project to share with you and then you can’t find it because it has been discontinued you might get upset with me that you can’t find it so I feel bad using the older stuff but on the other hand I like the stuff I already have more than many of the new things and I also think you can substitute images and supplies for what you have and prefer, otherwise all our cards will look the same and what fun is that?  I will discuss that and more in today’s video.

What do you think? Have you been feeling the same thing? I have to admit I also felt a bit horrified that I could be contributing to this feeling in others by reviewing products and in my tutorials. If I have made you feel overwhelmed instead of inspired I apologise. Please know that the work you make is enough. You are enough. Sometimes I feel that companies market on the premise that you are missing out and who you are and what you have is not good enough but let me set the record straight. You are enough. No stamp, die or watercolor set will make you a better artist. It is within you and anyone who makes you doubt that is wrong. Hobbies are meant to enjoy, art is there to inspire and taking part in these activities should foster a sense of growth and challenge yourself to improve and gain mastery and satisfaction. Shopping and collecting can be fun, no doubt, and as makers we see the potential in everything. In an age where it is so easy to add to our stash we must be vigilant to make sure it does not subtract from out creativity. Did any of this make sense to you? Maybe I am the only one who has had these feelings lately and if so it’s probably good because I don’t want others to be overwhelmed but if you were feeling like this I hope it helped. Happy crafting!

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