Clay Ornaments with Stamps

Thank you so much for all your outpouring of love on my previous post where I shared Colorado Craft Company’s newest Anita Jeram Christmas release!

I made a quick process video for the way I used these stamps to make ornaments — please refer to the instructions on your Sculpey box and also check your toaster oven settings. My toaster oven isn’t calibrated properly so I had to experiment quite a bit until I found just the right temperature and figured out the right amount of time for my clay ornaments to bake and not burn.

I also recommend placing your ornament on a piece of cardstock (not hard to find if you’re a paper crafter) and using aluminum foil as a tent over your ornament. Just make sure your aluminum isn’t touching the clay.

That’s really all there is to it! So simple. And once the ornament has cooled down, you can color the stamped image with any supplies you choose … again, experiment and see what you like. I hope this video is helpful. If you still have questions after watching, please do leave a comment here and I’ll do my best to help.

Now for the random pick from the comments on my previous post. The winner is…Beckie Walden!! Congratulations! Beckie wins one Hanging Stockings Mini stamp set!

If you didn’t win, please don’t fret. You can take advantage of the Black Friday + Cyber Monday sale over at CCC. Just use code BF2CM to get 15% off and free shipping over $75.00. The sale begins at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, November 26 and ends Monday, November 29 at midnight Mountain Time.

Supplies used:

All links above are affiliate links which means they generate a small income for me at no additional cost to you.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Until next time,

Here Comes Santa Claus…

Oh how I love this time of year! There is music everywhere, people’s smiles reach their eyes, warm holiday spices fill up the air and there’s just a little bit extra love to go around. Colorado Craft Company’s newest release of Anita Jeram stamps and dies captures this spirit of the holiday season just right. There are stockings to be hung, shopping is done, excitement is electric and Santa’s bag just seems to be filled with mysterious goodies.

This is also the time of year when I start making ornaments…so, I decided to use these stamps to adorn not only our Celebration Tree but also our friends’ trees! I just recently learned how make an explosion box, so I used this newly-acquired skill set to make cute keepsake boxes.

But things didn’t turn out just so fantastic the first time I played with Sculpey clay! I followed the directions on the box to the T and yet my ornament went from being a soft white to a dark brown in a matter of minutes! It, in fact, looked like a burnt cookie…but my kiddo wouldn’t throw it away. “This will be such a great memory, Ma!” she said. “I’ll always remember all that smoke coming out of the toaster oven!” Lol. Kids!

Well, I tried to salvage it with all the extra gold you see on here…and I know years from now I might still cringe when I see this ornament, but I will also remember what a fun experiment this was.

Burnt clay ornament that now looks like a chocolate cookie

As I poked around my oven settings and did a couple more experiments, I finally figured out the correct temperature, the correct substrate for the clay and the correct amount of time. For this next set, I handprinted a votive with all those excited little bunnies in bed and made an ornament that takes inspiration from Van Gogh’s Starry night. The lid of the box has Santa Bunny treading ever-so-softly to deliver mystery gifts. Tap the images below to see a bigger version.

I am just thrilled with how these gifts are turning out and, trust me, I’m just getting started!

Colorado Craft Company has generously decided to give away one Hanging Stockings Mini stamp set to a lucky commenter here! So, make sure you comment here as well as on every designer’s blog (to increase your chances) and Instagram profile. Come back here on November 25 to find out if you won! I’ll be sharing a video walkthrough of these goodies I made (including that cute little votive!). The giveaway ends on November 23 at midnight Mountain Time. Please also follow @coloradocraftcompany on Instagram.

More inspiration to be found here:

Adrienne Kennedy CCC <BEGIN HERE>
Angelica Conrad
Jenn Gross
Bibi Cameron
Jennifer Kotas
Daniel West
Emily Midgett
Jenn Shurkus
Kassi Hulet
Erin Thompson
Mansi Bhatia — you are here
Donna Hitz
Amy Young
Kelly Griglione
Caly Person
Jessica Frost-Ballas
Nichol Spohr
Cathy Zielski
Sandy Allnock

Instagramers:

Joe Sysavath
Traci Jenkins
Chris Dayton

Supplies used:

All links above are affiliate links which means they generate a small income for me at no additional cost to you.

Thank you for visiting and I hope this gives you some inspiration to create your own Christmas ornaments this year!

Catch a Falling Star

As many of you know, I had a bad fall exactly four weeks ago sustaining multiple internal injuries and a couple of minor fractures. While the bone-breaking was minimal, they were the “wrong” bones! I can’t do much without my hands and not being able to use them for any creative endeavors this past month has been a huge struggle!

So, I was thrilled to bits when I received Catch A Falling Star, the new Anita Jeram stamp and die set, the same day that I got the green light to craft again! Wishes do come true, you see 🙂

I love the huge mice in these 6×6 sets just as much as I love the mini mouse wishing upon a star and if you scroll all the way down, you could win this mini-cutie in a giveaway!

I made this book for my daughter and even penned my own version of “Twinkle twinkle little star,” inspired by the sentiments included in this set.

I just love how this book carries you through the story of this little mouse, encouraging her along the way to pursue her dreams. As you’ll notice in the flip-through, I used a couple of other stamps previously released in the Anita Jeram series as well as some tile background stamps that were released last year. It’s so fun to be able to combine different stamp sets to create a storyline and I love being able to do this in the form of mini-books. You might remember the watercolor pride book I had created a couple of months ago…

Given my injuries and current physical therapy regimen, I couldn’t watercolor any of these images…so, I got creative! I cut up a couple of my alcohol ink paintings and turned them into dresses for the mice on the front and back covers. I even added ruffles! And for all the mice inside, I simply stamped them in black ink and did a bit of light colored-pencil shading, so they would pop against the patterned background.

I also used star-patterned paper as one of my layers to bring this book together and printed my poem out on glittery gold-flecked paper for added oomph. And if you watch closely, the front cover has a repeat star pattern in watermark ink … it’s all in those little details, people!

I love how this book turned out and I CANNOT wait to see my daughter’s reaction when she receives it.

Check out the entire Catch a Falling Star collection here:

Please note that all links here are affiliate links which means everytime you click and shop using them, I get a teeny-tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete affiliate disclosure policy here.

Giveaway

I am giving away one Dream Big Mini stamp set to a randomly-drawn name from my comments section here on this blog! Make sure to type in your name and email address, so I can contact you! The giveaway ends on October 23 at midnight Mountain Time. Winners will be announced on the Colorado Craft Company BlogPlease also follow Colorado Craft Company: @coloradocraftcompany on Instagram. They’re very generously hosting this giveaway and would love your support!

Until next time,

cropped signature

Take a breath

Press pause
Look up
Notice the clouds
The shades of white
And blue.

Hold on
Close your eyes
Smell the breeze
As it heralds
A change of seasons.

Take a breath
And listen
To the thoughts
Buried deep inside
As they whisper.

Slow down
And ease into
The moments that
Make up your life
As you know it.

Live in the here and now
Laugh with friends and family
Love this fleeting time
And take it easy…
Life is too short to be
Rushed all the time.

Trusting the Process

When I create anything in my art journal, I have one rule: to give myself the permission to change my mind.

Fluidity is important. I might have an idea or a feeling I pursue initially but if it doesn’t sit right with me in the moment, I don’t keep myself tethered to it.

This video is part of the mindfulness exercises I had done as part of The Artist’s Way…the prompt was “I AM” and I had written down a number of things about me — all things positive and negative … when I started painting over the words, I felt a strong urge to create leaves. Something about renewal, evolution and growth…and I could have left it like that but when the leaves were done, it felt wrong, disjointed, uninspired. And I felt another strong urge — to paint a face.

I didn’t know if it would work…I had no clue if I would “ruin” the leaves and all that under painting beyond repair. But I chose to give in to my intuition instead of bowing down to fear. You’ll see the page start transforming drastically at the 2:34 mark.

My strokes were bolder, more purposeful and more assertive with the face than they had been with the leaves. But if I hadn’t painted the leaves first, if I hadn’t gone through that process…the face wouldn’t have come to me.

Trusting your gut is such an important part of the creative process. Even if everything in your mind tells you otherwise. And I think the more we train ourselves to follow our hearts, the more vulnerable and emotional our art becomes. The more authentic and raw it is. The deeper it connects.

I hope this video inspires you to create freely. Give yourself permission to deviate from “the plan.” Stay open to new ideas. Listen to that little voice. And do it all afraid.

Until next time,

cropped signature


Supplies Used

Please note most links here are affiliate links which means everytime you click and shop using them, I get a teeny-tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete affiliate disclosure policy here.

Getting Creative with Stamps

Every time a new release comes out from Colorado Craft Company’s Anita Jeram series, I am in awe. This time was no different. And my head was spinning with ideas when I saw all the amazing little critters — but the one stamp that stood out right away was the Conga Line! I mean, look at these cuties! How can you resist them?

Conga Line Stamp Set by Colorado Craft Company

Just like last time, I didn’t want to make a card. Don’t get me wrong — nothing wrong with making cards, and I’ll probably be making a ton of them with this series of stamps. But I really wanted to stretch out of my comfort zone and do something different. I’ve been doing a lot of journals, so I skipped that idea. I also considered using them in conjunction with gel plate prints but what’s new about that? And then, while walking to school with my little one last morning, inspiration struck! I needed to give that Conga Line a 3-D avatar!

Conga Line Stamp, Hero Arts Intens-ified Black ink, Grafix white shrink film and Tim Holtz stamp pad

I love working with the Grafix line of products, be they the Dura-lar archival polyester film or their craft plastic but the white Shrink Film was new to me, so you’ll see me feeling a bit challenged with finding the right mediums to work with. In the past, I’ve worked with colored pencils successfully on sanded shrink film, but this opaque white film didn’t take colored pencils at all. I finally settled on a combination of alcohol ink markers — if you have Copics, they’ll work great! — and POSCA acrylic markers along with some accents with Sakura glitter gel pens. I also gave them (my traditional) garments easily enough with a Sharpie retractable ultra fine tip marker.

Giving these cuties clothes is my favorite part!

You might have noticed that I also chose to die cut the image before coloring, something I never do! The reason? I was worried the colors might smudge when passing the shrink film through my Big Shot die cutting machine.

Of course, it’s nerve racking to bake a colored piece in the toaster oven! What if it curls up horribly? Or the colors run? Maybe the whole thing will burn! So many fearful thoughts. But I reminded myself that it’s only a piece of polystyrene. And I did it afraid! Yes, the whole thing curled up and warped…yes, one of the hats extended a bit much and the tip broke off…but that gave me another idea — use a real pompom!

Nerve-wracking business!

Oh this is just so darling! And I know my kiddo will be over the moon when she puts these cuties on her backpack! They will definitely be the talk of the school, don’t you think? I hope you enjoyed this little fun project that filled my heart with so much warmth. I can’t wait to experiment more with the shrink film and these stamps — who knows what’s next? Magnets? Earrings? Keyring charms? Buttons? Zipper pulls? Oh the possibilities!

Giveaway!

And before I forget, no release is complete without a giveaway! So here is all the info you need and a list of all the fabulous artists who are joining me in celebrating Colorado Craft Company! To participate in the giveaway, please leave a comment here for a chance to win a stamp set of your choice. There are 19 designers participating in this blog hop, so your chances of winning are higher if you leave a comment on each designer’s blog post and Instagram account. The cutoff for entries is midnight Mountain Time, September 6. Winners will be announced on the Colorado Craft Company blog on September 8.

Instagramers:

Check out the entire stamp and die lineup here:

And if you’re still new to this line, I highly recommend checking out some of these mini stamps and dies which are just too adorable to not have in your crafty stash!

Music credits

Looked Back, Saw Nothing by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Source: http://www.twinmusicom.org/song/273/looked-back-saw-nothing-kenyon

Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org

Transforming Backgrounds

I do a LOT of gel plate printing and as a result have a ton of sheets that I roll off excess paint on — I call these “brayer sheets.” I also have many prints that are, honestly, just “meh” but I never have the heart toss them. Maybe I’m just a hoarder.

Anyway, I keep all my brayer sheets from my gel plate printing sessions and random “test prints” as well as discards bound in this journal. From time to time, when I’m in between projects or just procrastinating, I’ll doodle in this. There’s no agenda or particular style, as usual, but just a desire to play and see what happens.

Exercises like these, on a whim, are important to me because there is no burden to create something “worthy.” It’s all discarded paper anyway. It helps give myself permission to create “whatever.”

I usually don’t record these sessions because they’re never done with the intent to share but I wanted to record this one so I could show you just how ok it is to play, to change your mind over and over and to keep going even when, at several points, it seems like you could stop.

I hope you enjoy this hyperlapsed video and it will encourage you to take out a scrap piece of paper and create something — anything — just so you can enjoy the process regardless of the outcome.

Supplies used:

cropped signature

One Day at a Time

While my kiddo is excited about all the back-to-school events lined up for next week, I am a nervous wreck. I try to stay away from the news as much as possible, but when in-person neighborhood conversations start teetering on the edge of “did you see the number of Delta variant cases in the county recently?” there is no escape.

The end-of-summer is starting to feel a lot like February 2020, right before lockdown. We have dealt with so much uncertainty this past year that I was hoping we could go back to some semblance of normalcy this fall. But it doesn’t look like the “normal” we were used to back in 2019 will ever be back. Who knows what the next couple of weeks or months will look like?

When anxiety hits, I find myself gravitating toward doodling. This morning, I spent 20 minutes easing the worries in my mind, breathing, staying in the moment and transforming a “leftover” gel print into something beautiful.

I’ve realized it doesn’t take much to re-center myself…I don’t have to create something spectacular or jaw-dropping. It can be a really simple drawing that allows me to clear my head and truly just take it one day at a time.

I hope you’re all staying well, keeping healthy and allowing yourself the luxury of enjoying today — because the present is all we really have.

Take care!

cropped signature

Supplies:

Seasons of Life

These photos are from that season of my life when I was moving away from big canvas paintings to small functional pieces of art. These alcohol ink ceramic pendants enclosed in a fluid acrylic gift box were one of my best-sellers at pop-up craft shows and many of these were commissioned.

I don’t make jewelry anymore or do fluid acrylics paintings. I rarely use alcohol inks and, even though I have learned to never say never, I will NEVER do pop-up craft shows again.

They are relics from a time I was creating, not for myself, but for others. When I look at them I don’t see beauty … I remember the countless frustrating hours sanding, filing, varnishing, mixing just the right proportion of chemicals to get the “perfect” lacing in my pours…and then wondering if they would sell. It wasn’t fun.

But these played an important part in my journey to get where I am. I didn’t have this clarity of purpose back then…I couldn’t have. I had to go through this phase, create these things, and learn from doing what gives me joy. Ironically, my tag line those days said “custom pieces of joy!”

This is a different season of my life. It’s not about tangibles anymore…it’s about living in the here and now. For myself.

This is me

I create what I want, even if it will forever stay hidden from the public eye in a journal page…it’s dictated by my desire to enjoy the process than focus on an end product. It’s about following my heart and paying close attention to its whispers. It’s about sharing, learning, being.

I’d love to hear from you…is there something you used to create that you don’t anymore?

Embellishing Tags with Quick Focal Imagery

It’s been five weeks of leading the Let Loose with Mixed Media workshop in collaboration with Alexandra Stapleton-Smith of Maker Forte and I am so enthused and inspired by the variety of tags people are producing as they discover (or re-discover) their inner artist.

These mixed media tags have several layers of paint, inks, texture pastels, gels, kaleidoscope powder, printed paper, lace, buttons, washi tape, colored pencil marks, brads, glossy accents and watercolor markers. Phew!

We have two more weeks to go before our tag books are complete and I can share the final flip through of my project, but in the meantime I wanted to share this quick video demonstrating some of the techniques I’ve been sharing with workshop attendees.

The tag backgrounds you see here were made using a gel plate and are heavily textured with pastes and gels. There’s a lot of depth owing to the subtle variations in color and the play between different textural layers.

Each tag gives. And then gives some more.
Lots of mixed media layers to invite the eye to explore more.

This is, of course, just a small peek into how various different elements can be corralled together to create a cohesive piece. How you arrive at those decisions, what prompts specific choices at specific steps in the journey and how you synthesize all of it into a bigger narrative — those are all addressed in this seven-week workshop.

Even though this isn’t a detailed process video, I hope it still gives you some inspiration and ideas to create a multi-dimensional mixed media piece.

If you’re interested in detailed instructional videos with voiceovers or live sessions on creating powerful, layered mixed media tags, please let me know in the comments.

Supplies used:
Tags from Maker Forte
Lace
Gel Plate
Color Hive Inks from Maker Forte
Texture paste from Ranger Ink
Grit paste from Ranger Ink
Ground Espresso Distress Oxide
Blending tool
Acrylic Inks
Dictionary paper
Karin BrushMarker Pro
Black Derwent Water-Soluble Pencil
White Acrylic Ink
Fabritak Permanent Adhesive
Brads
Wood Buttons
Washi Tape
White gel pen