Christmas in July with StencilGirl & Imagine Crafts

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Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on our awesome Christmas in July blog hop with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts! I love Christmas, so it was really fun to get into the holiday state of mind in the midst of our 100+ degree weather here in Utah.

If you've ever been to my house or seen pictures I've posted of my Christmas decorations, then you know that my holiday decor is a mix of classic, bohemian, and just plain eclectic. I'm pretty picky about what I'll put out in my house, so it was a fun challenge for me to make something that I would actually use!

I was chatting about this project with my mom (who has very similar taste in decor - I wonder where I get it from... lol) and she reminded me of this cool ceramic planter that a friend of hers had made for her that she uses for poinsettias - I've always loved it because you can take off those foil wrappers that they come in at the store. I thought it would be fun to try and make something similar for my own house; I had a feeling that the Imagine Crafts irRESISTible sprays and Pico Embellishers would work great for giving me a glassy, ceramic-esque finish. I was right!

Here's what I came up with - a planter, and while I was at it I also made a matching ornament to hang on my tree.

Christmas Decor with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts - Gwen Lafleur

I was pretty skeptical at first about whether this would work, but I have to say... I really love how these turned out! Here's a little overview of how I made both of these pieces.

The first thing I did was to create some molds and do some casting with clay in order to make my cherubs. I had a nice sized vintage Frozen Charlotte head, so I made a mold of that and then just used the front half along with epoxy clay to make "cherub" faces. I also had a set of vintage metal wings that I made a mold of and then made sets of clay wings from that.

Molding and Casting to Make Cherubs - Gwen Lafleur

While those pieces were curing, I worked on getting my pot ready to go. I got an inexpensive 6" plastic pot at the store and took some lightweight epoxy clay and covered the entire thing with a thin layer of clay. Depending on what you want to do, you could skip this step - I wanted to even out the ridges on the outside of the pot and also create a surface that would take paints and glazes and help give me the faux ceramic finish I was looking for.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

When the clay was completely cured (I let it go overnight,) I took my Decorative Medallion Stencil and spread texture paste through the opening. I let it set and then moved the stencil and did it again until I had 3 medallions, roughly equally spaced around the pot. I originally planned to make an all white pot like my mom's, but decided that I actually wanted to bring in some color so I took the Imagine Crafts Creative Medium in gold and added another layer on top of the white texture paste. 

Once all of the texture pastes were dry, I used more epoxy clay to put the cherub heads and wings on the pot. I positioned them and then let them cure for a few hours so that they wouldn't move for the next step. For that, I used my irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in Pear Tart and Lilac Posies to add some color into some of the stencil openings (I like to design my stencils so that you can color in the spaces, which you can do with lots of different mediums!) 

Below, you can see where I took gold paint pens and added borders on the top and bottom of the pot, as well as around the wings of each cherub.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 4-6 - Gwen Lafleur

I also took some of the new StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and put that all over the cherub and the textured stenciled area. I let it dry for a minute and then used a baby wipe to wipe some of it off - it leaves hints of gold in the nooks and crannies. (This was the point where I decided to add the purple glaze into the stenciled area - you can see that in the 3rd photo above.) After that, I took my irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress and took off the sprayer and used it with a brush to put a heavy glaze of transparent white all over the whole piece. This is the step that really helps everything to look more like ceramic. I left that to dry, then added some jewels around each medallion.

Here you can see a few more views of how the planter turned out after everything was dried:

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur
Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Obviously, you don't have to use all the clay if you want to do something similar - you can take a plain pot (terracotta would work great) and just paint it white, then stencil on top of it and add the glazes. You could use ready made cherub tree ornaments, or find something else entirely!

Next up, the tree ornament. This ended up being my favorite of the two pieces :)

To start, I stenciled my Decorative Curvy Ornament stencil onto a sheet of thin chipboard, then cut around the design. Next, I took some epoxy clay and covered the whole piece of chipboard in clay, carefully working around the details and making sure the clay covered the sides of the chipboard.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

Before the clay was cured, I lined my stencil back up with the shape and used a rubber color shaper tool to trace the design into the clay. After that was done, I mixed up some more clay and rolled it out into long, thin ropes and used it to outline the traced areas so that the details would be raised up from the base. (Yes... in case you're wondering, this clay stuff was tedious! But so worth it in the end.)

Note that I put the hole through what was going to be the top of the ornament while the clay was still soft. I also turned it so that it looked more like a 4-point star.

I let this cure overnight and then when it was hard, I used the StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and then again in purple to glaze the ornament.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 4-7 - Gwen Lafleur

For the first layer of each color, I mixed the glaze with water and applied it all over with a brush, waited, and then wiped some back. Then I went in with the undiluted glaze and added some more directly into the nooks and crannies. When the gold was dry, I repeated that process with the purple. When both of those were dry, I used the irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress for another thick coat of transparent white glaze. This with the colored glazes below it really transformed the look of the piece.

Next, I used more clay to put the face and wings onto the ornament and let that cure for a while so I wouldn't disturb it when I went back to work some more.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 8-10 - Gwen Lafleur

When that was ready,  I used irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in gold and Lilac Posies to flood the insides of some of the raised detail areas. I've always thought that the irRESISTible products looked a lot like stained glass when they dried because they're fairly translucent and shiny when dry - I think the look you get from them here is so cool!

With that, it was just finishing touches. I outlined everything with a gold paint pen, added some gold stripes to some of the clay lines in the design, and added a few jewels. You can't see it here, but I also gesso'd the flat back side of the ornament and then painted it gold. 

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil 1 - Gwen Lafleur

This one will definitely make it onto my Christmas tree this year!

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

So that's it for the projects... now for the part I'm sure you've been waiting for. The giveaway!

Christmas in July GIVEAWAY image

We'll be picking one lucky winner
to receive $100 in Gift Certificates – a $50 Gift Certificate for StencilGirl Products and
a $50 Gift Certificate for Imagine Crafts!

Take your time and visit each blog showcased July 9, 16, & 23 and leave your comments.

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!

One comment per person per blog please.

You will have until Saturday, July 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner will be notified by email and announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, July 31st.

 

Here are all the blogs from all three days of our hop... make sure you stop at each one and leave comments to be eligible for this awesome and very generous prize!

July 9:
StencilGirl Talk
Mary C. Nasser
Kristie Taylor
Karen Gaunt
Neva Cole
Nadine Carlier
Monica Edwards

July 16:
StencilGirl Talk
Janet Joehlin
Cindy Gilstrap
Anna Friesen
Alison Heikkila
Martha Lucia Gomez
Roni Johnson

July 23:
StencilGirl Talk
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Carolyn Dube
Carol Baxter
Mark Melnick
Jowilna Nolte
Terre Fry

 

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StencilGirl Stencils on Sale!!!

Just taking a few minutes for an artsy PSA - there's a great sale going on today and tomorrow (July 7-8, 2016) over at StencilGirl. If you're interested in getting your hands on any of my stencil designs (hint hint!!!) or any of the other fabulous stencils from more than 40 awesome artists, now's the time!

StencilGirl - Mary Beth's Birthday Sale 2016

Make sure to take note of the coupon code BIRTHDAYPARTY and enter it in during checkout in order to get 14% off your order of stencils (plus, you still get an additional discount if you order 6 or more of the 4x4, 6x6, or 9x12 stencils!)

What are you waiting for?

 


n*Studio - Mini Art Journal - Advice to My Future Self

Hi All! Just popping in to let you know that today I'm up on Nathalie Kalbach's blog sharing a project featuring several of Nathalie's stamps and stencils. Our theme  for this month centered on a letter to our future selves (like 10 years from now selves.) I thought it would be fun to make a little mini art journal where I could write out advice to myself. It's 2"x3" and I picked 5 pieces of advice to include:

Letter-to-Future-Self---Mini-Art-Journal---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over to see the full post - there are pictures of all of the inside pages as well as a little tutorial for how I made the entire thing. Enjoy!

 

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Gwen's Gems: Stenciled Mixed Media Panel

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you  know that the June installment of Gwen's Gems is up on the StencilGirl blog! This month I have an 11"x14" mixed media piece (on a 3/4" cradled birch panel) made with lots and lots of layers of stencils and paint.

One Fish-Two Fish - Stenciled Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur
So what are you waiting for? Head on over for more photos, step-by-step tutorial, and links to all the stencils I used for this one.

 

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All Occasion Handmade Cards with n*Studio Stamps

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on today's blog hop with Stampendous and n*Studio! I'm excited to be able to participate today in sharing some fun project inspiration using Nathalie's Stampendous stamp sets.

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For today's post, I decided to use the Elephant Foam Stamp, Cling Rubber, and Stencil Set to make some handmade cards. I can always use some fun all occasion cards; I like to keep a little stash of them in case I need a card quickly, and the elephants seemed like such a fun motif to use for these. Who doesn't love elephants?

All Occasion Elephant Handmade Cards - Gwen Lafleur

I put together a quick little overview of how I made each of these cards, along with a few more photos so you can see some of the details.

First up, I really wanted to make some kind of a window card. To start, I made my own card base from cardstock and sized it to work with the stamps. I took the stencil from the kit and inked through it with gold pigment ink, then I heat embossed with Aged Gold Frantage Embossing Enamel.

Elephant Window Card Steps 1-4 - Gwen LafleurNext, I used some gold paint in a dauber bottle to paint the solid side of the foam stamp - I centered that on the embossed area and stamped it. I wasn't worried about precision; I just wanted the outline so that I could use my x-acto blade to cut out the elephant shape.

Once I had my window, I used some gold foil washi tape to add a frame around the edge of the card.

Elephant Window Card Steps 5-7 - Gwen LafleurI found a fun printed transparency with purple foil polka dots, so I cut a piece of that to back the window. Then on the front, I outlined the cut-out area with gold dimensional paint. Once that was dry, I stamped the rubber stamp elephant on the inside, lining it up with the opening on the front. I painted around the elephant with gold matte paint, then added a sketchy outline around the image and a border around the edges.

To finish it off, I decided to add a little nod to India with some sequined trim and a fun sari applique. The perfect touch, don't you think?

A few more photos of how this card turned out - I think it's kind of fun, elegant, and eclectic all at once!

Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur
Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur
Stamped Elephant Window Card - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the second card... this one is actually reversible! I used the detailed side of the foam stamp plus the rubber stamp - they face opposite ways, so it makes it perfect for this type of card.

Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Top View - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a quick overview of how I made this one.

First, I lined up the two stamps on the cardstock, then stamped each one of them in black. I cut around one of the elephants, leaving about a 1/4" border. When I got to the point where the images met, I folded it in half (carefully - it takes a bit of checking to make sure they line up) then I used the first cut elephant as a guide to outline the second one so the edges would all line up. (I don't usually have much luck folding it in half and cutting both at once - it's almost always wonky!)

Reversible Elephant Card Steps 1-2 - Gwen LafleurNext up, I pulled out a gouache palette and added some watercolor to the stamped images. I used complementary colors to reinforce the reverse / opposites theme.

Once the watercolor was dry, I used glitter glue to add some fun sparkle and detail.

Reversible Elephant Card Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

To finish off this card, I mounted it on another piece of cardstock to add some more stability, then punched some holes and threaded ribbon through the top. Here you can see each of the sides:

Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Reversible Stamped Elephant Card Side 1 - Gwen Lafleur
That's it! I hope you enjoyed today's projects, and that you're feeling inspired with new ways to use Nathalie's awesome stamp and stencil sets.

Before you go... make sure you comment below and stop at all of the blogs on this week's hop for even more chances to win one of three awesome prize packages from Stampendous!

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Here are all of the blogs on today's portion of the hop... make sure you check in on the Stampendous blog each day so you can be sure and catch all of the fabulous inspiration this week.

 Until next time... happy stamping!

 

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Art Journaling with nStudio - My Own Drum

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that I have a post up on the nStudio blog today featuring Nathalie Kalbach's Fashion Dame stamp set. Our theme for this month's creative squad posts was "my own drum." I did my own interpretation of the theme with a page in my art journal:

My Own Drum Art Journal Page - Final - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to Nathalie's blog to see the story behind this month's page, as well as a tutorial for how it came together.


StencilGirl Throwback Thursday with the Dia de los Muertes Mask Stencil

Throwback Thursday Blog Hop Banner

Hi all, welcome to Throwback Thursday with StencilGirl! We're pulling out some of our older stencils - if you've already seen or bought them, hopefully this will give you new ideas for using them! Some of these stencils will also be new to many of you - since we release every month, it's easy for some of our oldies but goodies to be missed! 

This month I'm showcasing the Dia de los Muertes stencil by Andrea Matus deMeng. This was a stencil that I passed on at first, but once I realized all of the different ways I could use it, I couldn't get my hands on this one fast enough!

For this project, I had an idea to try something fun and different in my art journal. Here's a view of my finished project.

Art Journaling with Dia de los Muertos Mask Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

But wait! There's more! This isn't just a single art journal page, and I don't know if I'd call it a page either! Ha! Do you remember those fun flip books that you got as a kid where you could flip a section of the page to combine the images on each page into something new? I thought it would be really fun to do that for this project. Here's a peek of what I'm talking about...

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling - Gwen Lafleur

Last month I was traveling and I had some time to kill in the Denver airport. I stopped into this really cool gift shop and as I wandered, I noticed a fun book tucked away on a clearance shelf in the back (it had some damage to the covers;) it's called The Big Book of Art

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Combine the killer discount with all of these split pages on the inside, and I couldn't pass it up! Some pages have holes in them, etc... so that multiple pages came together to create something new and tell a story. (Of course, you don't need this book or one like it - you can always just cut the pages in your art journal and make your own flip pages. Three sections would be even more fun!)

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Step 1a - Gwen Lafleur
 So I bought it knowing that I wanted to use the book as an art journal and it became my starting point for this idea. To start, I took it out along with the Dia de los Muertes stencil and the Abigail, A Timeless Woman stencil - also by Andrea Matus deMeng. I had a chance to take classes with Andrea last October, and I learned a little known fact - did you know, many of Andrea's stencils are designed to work together? Her original 9x12 face stencils (Eve, Abigail, and I believe Doris as well,) will all work with the mask stencil (and many others!)

I started by using painter's tape on the back of the page to keep the two halves in place while I was working. Then I sanded the pages of the book - they're a bit glossy which can make them hard to paint. Next I gesso'd, put down lots of collage papers, and added a layer of paint. After that, I stenciled with Abigail first in a dark brown.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Step 2-5 - Gwen Lafleur

Once that was done, I pulled out more of my paints and turned the stenciling into a portrait. Finally, I used the Dia de los Muertes stencil and lined it up with the painting below before stenciling in black (you can see above how easy it is to see the image on the page through the mylar stencil.)

Once I had the outline of the mask in place, I looked up images of sugar skulls online and went through and added color and detail inside the stenciled areas.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 Of course, what good is a flip book with only one page? I repeated a similar process on the following pages, I just varied the colors and the way that I combined the stencils.  As I finished each page, I took the tape off the back. For the first page where I'd collaged over it, I went back through with a ruler and an x-acto knife and re-cut the pages. On the second one, I also used  Andrea's A Rose by Any Other Name stencil  to do some Gelli printing with a mini square Gelli Plate. I decided to go a bit on the funky side and make her yellow. In order to try and get the faces to line up (it didn't always turn out perfect, but it was usually pretty close!) I put half of the previous page over the new one and then use painter's tape to hold my stencil in place after I'd positioned it so that it would match.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 2 - Gwen Lafleur

 The third page was almost entirely paint - I wanted lots of brightness, contrast, and a bit more of a pop art look.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 3 - Gwen Lafleur

The back page isn't split - it's the base for the whole section. For this part, I wanted to use just the mask stencil and go a little bit on the creepy side.

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Page 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Once all of the pages are done, it's time to play! Here you can see all the different combinations of looks you can get... all from two stencils!

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
Mix and Match Faces - Art Journaling Mix 7 - Gwen Lafleur
 So there you go! Which one is your favorite face / mask mash-up? 

Finally, what would a blog hop be without a GIVEAWAY??!!!

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One lucky winner will receive EVERY StencilGirl Stencil showcased on today’s Blog Hop! That inluces these six stencils:
Stitch a Greek Border
Stitch a Circle
Sweet Gum Balls
Dia Muertos Mask
Art is Good for You
Broken Circles
Retail Value $84!

What do you have to do to enter? Just leave a comment below by Sunday, May 29th at 11:59PM Central Time. The more blogs you comment on in the blog hop, the more chances you have of winning! (One comment per person per blog, please.) The winner will be announced on StencilGirl Product’s Facebook Page on May 30th.
 

 


Gwen's Gems - Mini Hand Shrine with Stencils

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you know that my monthly installment of "Gwen's Gems" is up on the StencilGirl blog. This month I did quite a bit of playing and ended up with a kind of hand sculpture made from a stencil base that lives in its own little box - I'm calling it a shrine for a lack of a better term (and I guess it sort of is one!)

Mini Mixed Media Hand Shrine - Gwen Lafleur

If you're interested, you can head on over to view the full post where there are more photos (with close-ups, naturally!) as well as a tutorial / overview of my process for making this piece. Enjoy!

 


May StencilClub Inspiration - Handmade Book

It's StencilClub inspiration day over on the StencilGirl blog! This month's exclusive club stencils were designed by Terri Stegmiller and are perfect for Spring! Of course, my project ended up going in the opposite direction, but I still absolutely love it. 

This month I made myself a new art journal - it's a 6"x8" codex-bound book and I used the stencils to make the covers and binding.

May2016 StencilClub - Handmade Art Journal - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to see the full post with more photos of my project as well as more fabulous inspiration from the team!

 


n*Studio - A Childhood Memory in my Art Journal

Hi everyone, I'm up on the n*Studio (Nathalie Kalbach) blog today with this month's project using her awesome stamps and stencils. Our theme this month was to represent a childhood memory using the Elephant Stamp and Stencil Set to represent the memory (because an elephant never forgets, right?) This was fun to do...

Never Forget - Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur - wm

Make sure you head over to Nathalie's blog to read about the memory that inspired this page and also get an overview of how I made this art journal spread - there are more photos and a few step-outs. Enjoy!