Inspiration Wednesday Week 8

In an effort to not get so behind in my posting, I thought I'd pop in and share my pages in my inspiration journal from this week's Inspiration Wednesday video with Donna Downey.

This week was a lot about texture, and I went ahead and followed along with Donna to get some darker colors on the page.

IW2015 Week 8 - Gwen LafleurI used a bit more green and kept mine a bit more opaque than hers, but I really liked it. Donna used thin wooden letters on her pages, but I didn't have any of those. What I do have is a TON of old chipboard letters - this was from a set of old Heidi Swapp letters... they were pink and came in a box and you had to punch them out of a square (so you get the negative too) - the squares were like 3", so I liked both the size and the lightness of them for my pages.

Here's the view with the inclusion flipped over:

IW2015 Week 8b - Gwen LafleurI went ahead and used the same word as Donna - "becoming" because it resonated with me right now. I added some more text below, but I did it in a darker color. I tried it in white first and it was too much contrast for me.

Of course, I have some kind of allergy to monochromatic pages. I liked it when it was done, but I was dying for that pop of color, so I turned to my trusty Liquid Pearls  and added some of my signature dots. Then I wanted to do something to outline the letters a bit, but I didn't want color to stand out anymore than it already did, so I used black opal and dark chocolate Liquid Pearls and did some scribbling around them.

IW2015 Week 8 Letter Closeup - Gwen LafleurI think you can see it okay above, but it's even cooler in person. I loved this. I'm going to have to do more of this embedded chipboard lettering for sure!

And with that, I'm off to enjoy a beautiful weekend!

Documented Life Project: March / April 2015

Wow... I've been meaning to get this post up for weeks and it just kept slipping! But I'm finally getting around to knocking stuff off of my to-do list, and here we are - the last six weeks worth of art journal pages for The Documented Life Project. Again, most of these were posted on Instagram / Facebook, but I like to get them all in one place :)

Without further ado, my pages for March and the first half of April. The theme for the month was mark making and doodling, and the first week was to incorporate doodling as a layer. I did most of my doodling with Liquid Pearls and then added just a bit of pen work (there's a little journaling hidden in there too.)

DLP2015 - Doodle Layer Element - Gwen LafleurThe next week was to use mark making to create borders of some kind. I was at my parents' house after spending a weekend taking classes with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer up in Connecticut, so I kind of slapped this one together using a leftover gelli print from class, and then I doodled on some scallops and then added a baggage sticker - ephemera from my week! It's not my favorite page, but it's good enough.

DLP2015 - 5 Mark Making Borders - Gwen LafleurThe March 21st challenge was using something I'd made as a focal point - I was still at my parents' house, so I pulled out some colored pencils and a sheet of book paper and did a kind of doodled sketch inspired by a bird that Julie had shared that I really loved (and she was inspired by someone else!) I think I'll play with this motif some more... I have a few ideas that are on that never-ending to-do list. (My mom loved this one when she saw it, but she thought it was a Christmas ornament. Ha!)

DLP2015 - Doodle as Focal Point - Gwen LafleurMarch 28th was a challenge to use a custom element. Since we were still talking mark making, I pulled out some hand carved stamps and then added some hand lettering on top (and crossed my fingers that I didn't jinx our weather!)

DLP2015 - Make a Custom Element - Gwen LafleurWith the April 4th challenge, we switched to a new theme: exploring inks and paints. The first one centered around watercolors, so I got out some Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus watercolors along with Golden QoR watercolors and used them to do a mini version of one of the exercises in week 2 of the Paint Mojo eCourse with Tracy Verdugo. (I signed up for the course last October and, of course, I'm just now getting around to it. I'm almost through week 3! lol.) I like this one a lot. I used the 6x6 stencil from last October's StencilClub kit for the center of the dream catcher.

DLP2015 - Watercolors - Gwen LafleurAnd finally, the most recent challenge (April 11) was with acrylics. Since this is something I use all the time I wanted to make it a little more interesting for me personally, so I used acrylics to paint a pattern for the background, then stenciled a face on top and used more paint to add some highlights. I'm actually liking this one a lot too - it goes with my new obsession with faces that I succumbed to during Julie's classes (I know this has been a *thing* for a while now, but I didn't think it was my thing, so I'm just getting on board.)

DLP2015 - Acrylics - Gwen LafleurAnd that's it! All up to date again. Hopefully it won't take another 6 weeks before the next round-up :-P

StencilGirl: April Club Stencils

Just dropping in to let you know that I have a post up on StencilGirl Talk today where I share several projects I made using the new April StencilClub stencils.

This month I got the embroidery bug - it's been a while, but I had a lot of fun pulling these together. I also included some fun tags showing how you can take the same technique and use it with paint and paper if you're not in the mood to sew.

April 2015 StencilClub Projects - Gwen LafleurIf you're interested, head on over to see more photos of the individual pieces along with some details.

Inspiration Wednesday Weeks 4-7

I just realized that it's been a while since I did a round-up of the pages in my Inspiration Wednesday art journal, so I thought I'd post the new ones since my last IW2015 post. All but the most recent one have been shared on Instagram & Facebook, but I have a few additional views below, and week 7 is hot off the press!

First up, week 4 - working on book paper with stamping, molding paste, and glazing.

IW4 - Gwen LafleurI had picked up a book of vintage French comics at the Create vendor fair last summer (I'm so sad that Create isn't happening anymore!) and I used some of those in the background. The stamps are a set by Donna Downey, and the stencil is Rembrandt's Words by Carolyn Dube.

IW4 Close-up 1 - Gwen LafleurAnd the other side with the inclusion flipped:

IW4b - Gwen LafleurNext up, week 5. This one was lots of fun - I didn't realize you could make skins from molding paste the way you can from acrylics, and I loved learning a new technique! This week really has my brain going on other ways to experiment with my supplies.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 5 - Gwen LafleurThere's lots of texture gel in the background, plus the dimension from the molding paste skin seahorses, and I crumpled and collaged on some black paper ribbon at the bottom to kind of suggest coral and then painted and glazed it. I added some turquoise Inka Gold around the edges so it's a bit metallic. The seahorses were done based off of one of my favorite stencils by June Pfaff Daley. I traced the outline onto some thin chipboard and then used that to make masks to create my skins and then stenciled on a few details.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 5b - Gwen LafleurMoving on to week 6; I didn't have any of the tags Donna was using in her background - I had a punch if I wanted to make them myself, but I decided to go with the inspiration she used for this - use up something in your stash. I had a bunch of old Making Memories vellum metal-rimmed tags, so I used all of my circle and oval vellum tags. It gave me some interesting texture that was a bit challenging to work with, but in the end I like it, and I used some tags that I think I've had for 10+ years!

Inspiration Wednesday Week 6 - Gwen LafleurFor the inclusion, I used the Wall of Words stencil by Carolyn Dube - another favorite that's been getting a lot of use lately.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 6b - Gwen LafleurAnd finally, the challenge from last week involved using some of those rolls of gorgeous decorative paper that you get at Paper Source or the art supply store. Yeah... like I have any of those sitting around. (Patty can testify from a trip to Jerry's last year that the previous statement is 100% untrue. My basket of rolled paper is sitting right next to me and there must be 50 of them... some that I've had for 10-12 years!)

Inspiration Wednesday Week 7 - Gwen LafleurI picked one that I thought would work on this (read that as: I picked a roll of paper that I could bear to cut in to) and got to work.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 7b - Gwen LafleurThe words I highlighted on the book text are: gratified, shining eyes, happiness, bloom, flourish, enthusiastic, and indulgence. The test of the text is a bit odd, especially out of context! I might go back and obscure it a bit.

Inspiration Wednesday Week 7c - Gwen LafleurAnd once again, the Wall of Words stencil is making an appearance, looking quite nice with more molding paste and acrylic glazing.

So with that, I'm all caught up on Inspiration Wednesday! I've been keeping up with my challenges really well so far (I'm up to date on Documented Life too and will share an update soon.) And I'm even catching up on some online classes!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a Happy Easter (or Passover, or just a lovely Sunday!) I'm just enjoying some playtime in my studio between sessions of General Conference... I have some more fun projects that I'll share soon. And with that, I'm back to playing!

Mixed Media Classes with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to spend a weekend taking classes from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, Connecticut. I had been looking forward to this for a long time! It was so fun to go back and see friends, make art, shop, play, and of course, to meet and learn from Julie! She was just as fun in person as I'd imagined from her videos.

The first day was an all day class called Art Journal Playground. It was so cool to see Julie's art journals in person - they're stunning! I was so inspired, and it was awesome to get to hear and see more about her process. I think it may have changed my own perspective and process for art journaling.

Sharing Samples - Classes with Julie Fei-Fan BalzerAnd one of the demos:

Class Demo - Classes with Julie Fei-Fan BalzerI've never been a face person. I've admired them when other people do them, but never thought I'd do them myself. But seeing how Julie makes faces in her journal was too intriguing for me to pass up trying it in my class project. I made three background spreads, but this is the one I finished. I added a quote from class - something Julie said to Kirsten who was sitting next to me.

Day 1 Project - Gwen Lafleur - Classes with Julie Fei-Fan BalzerAnd yes, I did in fact add Liquid Pearls to my spread. It's a sickness! (And I really don't want to get over it. lol.) I did really like learning how Julie does the shadows on her hand lettering - I don't usually do my own lettering in my books, but I loved how this turned out!

Then, obligatory fan-girl moments. I hauled my copy of Julie's book Carve Stamp Play to have her sign it for me - she's the one who got me into carving stamps. (More on that in a future post!)

And photos... Julie and I, and also Patty and her niece Jen.

Julie and I - Classes with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Patty, Jen and Julie - Classes with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

After class, we went over to a restaurant called the Cukoo's Nest for dinner. I'd been there before - it's supposed to be Mexican food, but when I was there in October, they were having a German Oktoberfest special (which was pretty good!) We were placing bets as to whether they'd have a corned beef and cabbage special this time... and they did! But I got the nachos. Yum! It was a fun night :)

The second day's class was Painted Paper Collage. We spent the morning learning different techniques for printing our own patterned papers and then that afternoon we cut up our papers and turned them into collages. I've been wanting to learn this for a long time, and it was so fun! Julie did a fantastic job of breaking it all into steps - there were some absolutely stunning collages from the different class members.
Painted Paper Collage Demo - Classes with Julie Fei-Fan BalzerAnd my final piece... I loved Julie's sample so much that I decided to try a face for mine.

My Painted Paper Collage - Gwen Lafleur - Classes with Julie Fei-Fan BalzerIt was such a great weekend! I learned a lot, and I've already signed up for Julie's Junque Journal class bundle online. It was also wonderful to spend time with Patty and Tracie, and of course everyone else that I've gotten to know from the store, classes, and Mixed Media club! I really love that I've had chances to go back and see people and keep in touch.

Julie put a really great post up with a recap of the weekend and lots more pictures for anyone who wants to see more of what we did.

I can't wait for my next chance to head out... I think I'll be teaching again in late spring, so I'll post as soon as I have all the details together.


StencilGirl & Ken Oliver Blog Hop

Hi everyone, welcome to day 2 of the blog hop with StencilGirl and Ken Oliver!

StencilGirl-Ken Oliver Blog Hop Banner

Today I'm sharing a project I did using Ken's awesome products with StencilGirl stencils. I'm mostly going to be using the Ken Oliver Crafts Color Burst collection, along with some of his very cool Click It stamp pads. If you want to see more, Ken has put together a great video on Color Bursts showing how to use them.

For my post, I've wanted to play with one of the Tim Holtz Folios for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to do it. Below is my final project, and I'll share a few tips on how I used Ken Oliver Crafts products with stencils for some fun techniques.

First up, the cover (using the Falling Feathers stencil by Lizzie Mayne) with the flap closed (I just doodled on that using dimensional paints.)

StencilGirl and Ken Oliver Folio - Gwen Lafleur

Without the flap covering it:

Folio Cover 1 - Gwen Lafleur

And the back cover (using the Nature Notes stencil by Roxanne Evans Stout:)

Folio Back Cover - Gwen LafleurFor both of these, I used a mix of Color Burst and DecoArt Media fluid acrylics along with lots of dimensional paints (of course!) To start, I gesso'd the whole thing and then just spritzed some Color Burst powder around and sprayed with water.

Folio Outside Base - Gwen LafleurI let all of it dry (it lightened a lot as it dried) and then went through with paints, stencils, and more color burst. For the stenciling, I tapped some powder (like in Ken's video) over the stencil and then spritzed with water to get the shapes. You do have to be careful - both the Color Bursts and the Click It stamp pads will react to water, so you need to plan for that as you build up your layers.

Color Burst Technique - Alcohol Ink - Gwen LafleurI wanted to get more saturated color around my stenciled images, so I mixed some of the Color Burst powder with rubbing alcohol and then used a pipette to drop it onto the folio. Because I'd outlined my feathers in dimensional paint, that acted as a resist and kept the liquid to the background area. I just used a paper towel to dab any seepage. I love the effect! You can see it even more clearly on the back cover.

Now for the inside...

Folio Inside 1 - Gwen Lafleur
I decided I just wanted three pages, so I glued down the tabs to work the way I was picturing it, and added some Ranger watercolor paper to make the actual pages in my little booklet.

For the pocket on the inside cover, I made more feathers. Again, just tap the powder over the stencil and then spritz through it with water.

Color Burst Technique - Stenciling - Gwen LafleurThen I just cut them out and embellished and made them a little pocket. I thought it would be fun to journal on the backs of the feathers.

Folio Inside Cover 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Folio Inside Cover 2 - Gwen Lafleur
For the first page, I created a stenciled background using the Color Burst and the Curvy Ladder stencil by Julie Snidle. I used the Love Story stencil by Cathy Nichols along with acrylic paint to stencil the design on top and outlined with dimensional paint.

Folio Page 1 - Gwen LafleurFor the second page, I used book paper to help create the background and then built layers on top of that.

Folio Page 2 - Gwen LafleurTo get the pattern on the right side, I started playing a bit with the Color Bursts - I mixed some of the powder with my gel medium to create a colored gel.

Color Burst Technique - Tinted Gel - Gwen LafleurI used my palette knife to spread that through the Love Collage stencil by Traci Bautista, waited for it to dry, and then used it as a gel resist to get more color onto the background with Color Burst and water. It worked so well, and I love how vibrant the gel turned out! I also used the Click It stamp pads with some Dina Wakley stamps to do the left side.

Folio Page 2 Close-up - Gwen LafleurFor the third page, I did even more experimenting...

Folio Page 3 - Gwen LafleurFirst, I made my own color mist by mixing some of the Color Burst powder with water and then spritzing through the Doodle It Tornado Bloom stencil by Maria McGuire.

Color Burst Technique - Homemade Mist - Gwen LafleurThen I stenciled some blooms onto the page with white paint (keep in mind it will pick up color from the dye below it) using the Nosegay Stencil by Cecilia Swatton. I outlined again with dimensional paint, and then made a dimensional colored glaze using some Color Burst mixed with Diamond Glaze (you could use Glossy Accents or other similar products.)

Color Burst Technique - Diamond Glaze - Gwen LafleurI apply this with a rubber brush so that it doesn't gunk up and ruin my regular brushes. It worked pretty well!

Folio Page 3 Technique - Gwen LafleurAnd that's it! I had a lot of fun experimenting with all of the different ways I could use Color Burst and the Click It ink pads - these are really fun and versatile products, and I hope you enjoyed today's project! If you're interested in trying them out for yourself, you can find Ken Oliver Crafts products at Blue Moon Scrapbooking and of course, all of the stencils can be found at StencilGirl or your local store.

And now for the really fun part! Each of the creative teams has a fantastic giveaway, so make sure you visit and comment on all of the blogs this week to enter to win. Leave a comment here to be entered to win a $50 gift certificate from StencilGirl: to enter, comment by Sunday, March 29th at 11:59PM Central Time  (one comment per person per blog, please.) Make sure to check all of the posts each day to find out about the other prizes and enter to win - the Ken Oliver Crafts team has some fantastic prizes as well!

Today's hop list:

Thanks for visiting, and make sure to visit StencilGirl Talk every day to get each day's participants in the blog hop! 

Documented Life Project: February 2015

Just popping in to post February's art journal pages for The Documented Life Project. Personally, I'm pretty excited that I've managed to keep up so far! I've posted these on Instagram / Facebook, but I like to gather them together here whenever I can find a few minutes to sit down and post an update.

February's theme was all about layers, and for the first week the challenge was "when not to stop." All about knowing when to push it and when enough is enough. I used a LOT of layers on this one! Acrylic paints, some watercolors, ink, pen, dimensional paints.

DLP2015 - When Not to Stop - Gwen LafleurThe second week's challenge was "Under Cover" - covering up good stuff on your page. This is something I do quite frequently in my work so it wasn't too out of the box for me. To push myself a bit, I started with a layer of writing. I did it with a fountain pen in water soluble ink so that it would float up through the layers a bit, but still be mostly hidden. More acrylics, hand-carved stamps and ink, spray ink, and pens.

DLP2015 - Under Cover - Gwen LafleurThe third week was about using repeating elements. I ended up carving a few more stamps that I used, and did a second page in one of my journals as I was working in my planner. Stickers and rubons, paints, oil pastels, stamps, pen, embossing paste, paint markers. I really liked both of these pages (added words and a border to the larger one later on.)

DLP2015 - It's Worth Repeating - Gwen LafleurThe last week was five layers or more. It's been super cold here with more snow and ice, so I took that as my inspiration for color and theme. Watercolor (with salt,) stamping with more hand-carved stamps, acrylic paint doodles, dimensional paint, spray ink through stencils.

DLP2015 - 5 Layers or More - Gwen LafleurOne thing I liked about this month's pages: I pushed myself to try a new style of working. One thing I didn't like - I felt like my pages looked very similar. I like having things have a style so it's obvious I made them, but these started to look too much alike - especially the first two weeks. I guess we'll see what March's theme is and go from there. If nothing else, I experimented a bit and ended up with pages I enjoy, so it's all good.

StencilGirl: March Club Stencils

Hi everyone, I'm over on the StencilGirl blog today with a post highlighting the new March StencilClub stencils. I've got several new projects that combine stencils with hand-carved stamps.

March StencilClub Project Preview - Gwen LafleurHead on over to StencilGirl Talk if you want to see the full projects and get more details on how I made them :)

Color Themed Book with Doodle It Border Stencil

I'm pretty excited to share this project... it's been under wraps for a while! A month or so ago, I got a chance to work with Maria's new stencil from StencilGirl called Doodle It Borders.

Doodle It Borders Stencil by Maria McGuirePretty cool, huh? I thought this would be awesome to use with some of the Pergamano techniques I've been playing around with, so I pulled out some vellum and my embossing tools and started playing. In the end, I decided to make all the pieces into a book and I LOVE it!

Color Themed Coptic Book by Gwen Lafleur

And, in my first ever blog video, here's a walk-through of the inside of the book. (This was just a quickie with my iPhone... one of these days soon I'll get an actual video camera with some editing software! But this worked okay for my first video, I think. Apologies for the vertical view - I wasn't thinking about how it would look when I uploaded it. Oops!)


Here's a quick overview of how I did the vellum pages. I'll admit... it can get a tad tedious. I did most of this sitting in front of the TV which helped a lot.)

First, I embossed the borders. Just use a stylus and a foam pad underneath - I have a Pergamano pad, but you could probably use some thick craft foam or something similar. I use wax with my stylus to help it glide better. You have to watch your pressure or it will tear through the vellum. I might have done that a few times, but you can work around it.

Color Themed Coptic Book 1 by Gwen Lafleur
Color Themed Coptic Book 1 by Gwen LafleurNext was the paper piercing part. (Say that 5 times fast!) I used Pergamano tools, but you could just use a needle or skip this part. I wanted to get some more texture into the design. I also cut out a few pieces from one of them.

Color Themed Coptic Book 3 by Gwen Lafleur
Color Themed Coptic Book 3 by Gwen LafleurThen I got some watercolor pencils and started coloring. This was about the point where I decided each one was going to be its own color, but I hadn't yet thought about keeping each signature the same color.

Color Themed Coptic Book 5 by Gwen Lafleur
Color Themed Coptic Book 5 by Gwen LafleurThis is the "ugly phase" that my project went through. I almost chucked it and went another route, but decided to see if maybe my Liquid Pearls could save the day. (Duh. Of course they could!!!)

Color Themed Coptic Book 7 by Gwen Lafleur

Color Themed Coptic Book 8 by Gwen Lafleur
As I was getting everything ready to make the signatures and start binding, I decided it would be really cool to have each signature be the same color, so I dug out patterned papers that went with each design and cut it all down to size, then bound it up.

The cover was painted with iridescent Pebeo paints and DecoArt black gesso, then detailed with more Liquid Pearls.

Color Themed Coptic Book Close-up by Gwen LafleurThere you go! My finished book. The Doodle It Borders stencil couldn't have been more perfect for this project... I can't wait to play with it some more! (And while you're looking, check out Maria's other stencil that was released today - Doodle It Bigger!)