September Edition of Gwen's Gems - Stenciled Collage

Hi all, just dropping in to let you know that I have a new project and tutorial over on StencilGirl Talk - this month's installment of Gwen's Gems features a stenciled mixed media collage on a cradled panel. I'm sharing a tutorial to go with it, as well as the story of how my original vision was pretty much obliterated as I worked, and how I worked intuitively to just keep on going and see where it ended up.

Final verdict? I like it! I should let go of control a little more often :)

Stenciled Abstract Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you stop by StencilGirl Talk to see more photos along with the tutorial.


Making Beaded Mosaics with Stencils

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that I have a project and tutorial up on StencilGirl Talk today. This is one of my favorite projects in a while - I used a stencil as a pattern for a beaded mosaic!

Beaded Hamsa Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over for more photos along with a tutorial for both the beaded hamsa and the background.


StencilGirl Throwback Thursday with an Orly Avineri Stencil

Hi all, welcome to Throwback Thursday at StencilGirl! Every month we're pulling out some of the awesome StencilGirl Stencils that have been around for a while that you may not have seen yet and playing with them. This month I chose to work with the Hats stencil by Orly Avineri. This is a really cool stencil, with lots of great texture elements that are perfect for all kinds of projects! This month I've started working on some ATCs for a group I trade with, and our theme is Halloween. It couldn't be any more perfect!

Here are the ATCs I made with this stencil:

Stenciled Halloween ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

I used a different image from the stencil on each of them which was great because I got a lot of variety in my cards with just one stencil design!

Here's a very quick overview of how they all came together. First, I cut patterned paper to size (2.5"x3.5") and then I used a gold pigment ink pad and a blending tool and inked through the stencil onto the background. I heat embossed the pigment ink with a different embossing powder on each one of them to get a variety of looks:

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I kind of love them just like that, don't you think? Of course, I like to pile on the layers, so my next step was to go through the collage sheets that came in the kit for this month's swap and pull out some images that I wanted to use on each card. I cut those out and paired them up with the stenciled image.

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

From here I did a lot of fussing and embellishing. I added color, swapped out a few of the backgrounds, and put on lots of trims and embellishments, also from the kit.

Stenciled Halloween ATCs Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Even with all the layers the stenciled designs are still really prominent, but you can't tell exactly what the original image looked like. I love how you can take the designs and really make them yours this way - by using part of the design on the card and / or covering part of it up with my layers. It really customizes it, don't you think? 

Finally, one of the requirements for this month's swap was to use a quote from one of a list of books we could use that matched our theme. We each got a used paperback from this list in our kits , and I happened to get The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allen Poe, which was totally perfect. It might be surprising to hear that I love Poe - I studied his work a lot back in high school and still find his writing and poetry so descriptive and evocative. I went through and found a few ominous sounding lines from the book and added them to my cards. Voila! Six ATCs in just a few hours! (That may sound like a lot to some of you, but it was fast for me... lol.)

Here are some close-ups of the cards:

Stenciled Halloween ATCs 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Halloween ATCs 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Halloween ATCs 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it from me today, I hope you enjoyed these examples of some of the versatility you can get from Orly's fabulous Hats stencil! Make sure you check out the main post on StencilGirl talk to see more Throwback Thursday projects from the team!

 


2016 Asia Travel Journal - Before the Trip

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted anything that wasn't for an assignment I was working on!  Life is as crazy as ever, but I've also been in a bit of a slump where I haven't worked on much besides what I'd already committed to. Sometimes you just have to wait those out, you know? I'm starting to pull out of it, and what better to get me excited about new projects than a big trip that needs a travel journal? 

I'm getting ready to head out on this year's adventure which I started planning more than two years ago. To think that it's almost time to actually go is a little weird - it hasn't quite sunk in yet, but at the same time I'm very excited! I ran across a word the other day - "resfeber." Sounds like something that someone made up, right? But the definition is "the restless race of the traveler's heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; wanderlust." That's exactly  how I've been feeling lately! But enough of that, on to the journal!

For the last 5-6 vacations I've taken, I've made a travel journal from scratch. I started with the Ali Edwards Scrapbook on the Road approach, using binder rings to hold them all together. I love the three journals I did that way, but I take big trips and save a lot of stuff, and the rings were HUGE - it makes the books a bit unwieldy and it's hard to turn the covers and pages. When I went to Bali last year, I made a case bound book and it worked really well, so that's what I did again this year. 

Here you can see where I've already made the signatures (14 of them!) and started pulling out things I thought I might use to decorate the outside and maybe some of the pages.

Asia Travel Journal - Preparing to Assemble

In case you couldn't guess, China is on the itinerary this year! I had a few bits and pieces I've picked up recently, along with some things saved from when I was there 8 years ago. Also some Russian book pages (because I'll be in Siberia / Russia!) I'll also be in Mongolia - I don't have anything specific to that (go figure,) so I just made do with what I had in my stash. I bound the book - here you can see where I left the end papers to dry overnight. I made the spine bigger than the text block (which is also bound a little loosely) so that I'll have room to add brochures, photos, and other ephemera as I go.

Asia Travel Journal - Gluing Down End Papers

When it was done, I used my Decorative Curvy Repeating Ornament stencil with some molding paste on both covers, leaving room for where I knew I was going to wrap fabric around the spine. I glued down letters for the title, then painted the whole thing gold. When it was dry, I added some color into the decorated area on the front cover, then I clear-coated both front and back and then waxed them lightly. I had a piece of beautiful Chinese silk that I cut to size and wrapped around, then added some dark blue flower trim along the edge.

Asia Travel Journal Covers 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Asia Travel Journal Covers 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the inside! I had some Asian looking wrapping paper in my stash and I used that to cover over the end papers on the inside covers - I clear coated those too to help protect them since the paper wasn't all that durable. Then I started adding a little to the pages. For the front, it needed a title page! I had this awesome stamp of a map of Asia from Studio Calico (it's huge too!) and I stamped that and then added in my route and colored the countries I'll be visiting.

Asia Travel Journal - Title Page and Pre-made Labels - Gwen Lafleur

The title on that page comes from the fact that I will go in a complete circle around the globe on this trip - I'm really excited about that! You can also see all the labels... I've learned through experience that it's much faster, easier, and better for luggage space and weight if I prepare as much as possible in advance, so I take the absolute minimum of supplies with me. I go through my itinerary and make labels for the main things we'll see - cities, countries, points of interest... specific activities that we'll be doing (like sleeping in a yurt in Mongolia!) Then I just tuck them all in an envelope and I don't have to bring stamps, letter stickers, or anything like that. I do throw in a few blank labels so I can add dates or put in something that I did during free time. 

I made a pocket on the back of the title page to tuck in the official itinerary. This is handy, plus it covers up where you can see what I stamped on the front of the page :-P

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 4 - Gwen Lafleur

In the second picture above, you can see where I added a few rubons to one page right at the front where I'll probably put travel info from my flight, add a ticket stub, etc... I also stuck in a fun Chinese envelope from my stash and stamped with a custom designed chop I got in China last time  I was there - it spells out the phonetic sounds of my name in Chinese characters. The third picture just shows a fun piece of paper I had that I stuck in the book to make it interesting.

I had very little to use for the Russia section of the book, so I carved a quick Matryoshka stamp to add into my book.

Handcarved Matryoshka Stamp - Gwen LafleurI mentioned it when I shared this stamp on Instagram / Facebook, but I tried a new kind of rubber for this one (Speedy Cut, ) and I did NOT like it. I keep checking around to see if I find anything new that's really wonderful, but I'll be sticking with my Moo Carve and Speedy Carve for now! I still like the stamp, even if the rubber was too soft for the detail I originally wanted.

Below you can see where I used the stamp along the bottom of one of the pages in my journal:

 

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I also added a few rubons here and there, and I collaged in a piece of a map I happened to have that shows an area of China where we're going to be traveling.

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 1 - Gwen Lafleur

The above-left photo has a little tipped-in glassine bag for ephemera, and I stenciled it with the 6x6 stencil from the August 2016 StencilClub kit - it's actually taken from a map of the Moscow metro! We're going to ride the metro while we're in Moscow in order to see some of the historic stations, so I tucked that in toward the end of the book for when we'll be there. Above-right, I found this stamp set by Lynne Perella for Paper Artsy and immediately fell in love. I think it's supposed to be Japanese, but I put her in my Mongolia section - I don't know why, but that's what I thought of when looking at her! I colored the image with watercolor pencils.

Asia Travel Journal - Inside Pages 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Just a few more shots of some of the more interesting spreads in the journal... most don't have anything extra done to them. Top left, I added a layered dragon diecut I've had in my stash for at least 10 years. Anyone remember L'il Davis Designs? Some flocked 7 Gypsies paper I've also had forever that I love... top right, I collaged in some Russian book text on a flap - I'll probably clip something to it. We'll see! Bottom left I've shared before, that uses the July 2016 StencilClub kit - I thought it looked a bit like Russian Folk Art, and since I didn't have much for that section, I just went with it! Bottom right is just the last page of the book.... I have this fun "globe" trotter stamp that I thought was great for the very end - I think that's from Evalicious.

That's it for the interesting (or even sort of interesting) inside pages - they'll hopefully be very cool at the end of the trip! Each signature in the book is made up of patterned paper, a sheet of watercolor paper, drawing paper (mostly for journaling,) and some of the signatures also have manila folders.

Here's what comes with me in my carry-on to work in the journal on the road:

Asia Travel Journal Supply Kit - Gwen Lafleur

I made a travel watercolor palette by cutting off small rectangles from my Peerless watercolors and gluing them inside of a partial file folder - I have a piece of deli paper that I put in to keep them from touching when it's folded. A few sheets of labels and my pocket of pre-made labels, water brushes, a small pair of travel scissors with blunt tips, a mini stapler, some clips and a little twine, a few rolls of washi tape, a glue stick, a tape runner (with a refill,) and a few pens and pencils (plus an eraser and pencil sharpener.) I bring ball-point pens since I've learned from experience that trying to use Microns or similar pens on drawing paper will dry them out quickly - I just use those for sketching. 

Here's the final package of what will come with me:

Asia Travel Journal - Ready to Pack

I also have a pouch with colored pencils that will be dual purpose - I can use them in my journal (since I'm really hoping to be able to add some sketching to this one,) and although I haven't gotten into the adult coloring book fad (despite owning several that I bought for the patterns,) I found one at Michael's recently called Imagimorphia that looks awesome - I figured it would be great for long plane rides when I need some variety to keep me sane.

So that's it! Depending on how much wireless access I have on the road I'll try and post some photos of the trip or maybe do some travel blogging. Hopefully I'll have a cool, bursting at the seams, travel journal when I get back :D Now I just have to get everything packed for a 3 week trip and still under the weight limit with room for souvenirs. Somehow I think I'll manage... I always do!

 


Adventure Themed Art Journal Spread

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that today I have a new art journal spread and tutorial up on Nathalie Kalbach's blog! This month the team is working with the theme, "say yes to adventures!" Not something I usually have a problem with... lol. I used stencils, stamps, paints, and a photo I took in Cambodia a few years ago to make my adventure-themed spread.

Adventure Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you hop over to Nat's blog to see more photos and the tutorial. Enjoy!
 


Christmas in July with StencilGirl & Imagine Crafts

Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

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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