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March 2014
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May 2014

A Family Portrait

Nicole sent this picture a few weeks ago and I about died laughing. It was taken last Fall when Adorable-Niece-Aubrey was getting her first pony ride. As you can see, she was super psyched about it.

IMG_2997And a few close-ups... all the better to see the joy on her face.

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IMG_8395Nicole had said she enjoyed this photo as a family portrait because it was so indicative of personalities at that point in time. I have to agree! Priceless moment. And note that the pony is totally unphased. lol. Gotta love it.


April Mixed Media at the Clubhouse

We had our monthly Mixed Media Club at Papercraft Clubhouse two weeks ago, and I had such a fun surprise when I walked in!

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It was a surprise going away party for me! I was so touched... they had really gone all out! We had delicious snacks and treats from Patty, Tracie, and Carol who brought this insane chocolate bomb.

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We started the official part of our meeting by sharing things that we've done with techniques we've learned since we started the club almost a year ago.

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Mixed Media Club 1And Tracie taught us a really fun resist technique using glue sticks with stamps and stencils.

IMG_2986Here are the samples I made in between snacking and shopping:

IMG_2990We also got to play a bit with some samples of Dina Wakely's new paint... it's really cool! I got a little carried away and accidentally covered up some of my resist on the pink and yellow tag, but I came home and wrote the directions in my book along with my tags so I can try it again - it was a lot of fun and definitely something that I'll be doing again!

I'm really going to miss these monthly meetings! I'll be looking for something in Chicago, but I'm sure I won't find a group half so wonderful! A huge thank you to everyone, especially Tracie and Patty! I'll have to keep an eye on airfares so I can come back and visit :)


A Stenciled Mini Art Journal

There was a fun tutorial video posted on the StencilGirl blog yesterday that shows you how to do a quick mini art journal. I thought it would be cool to take that and combine it with some of the techniques I learned in our class with Michelle McCosh last month to do one of my own.

I took two sets of stencils from the club - the stencils from January (peacocks! And the one that finally made me decide that I HAD to sign up) and also the April stencils (not yet on the site.) I used one set on either side of the paper - I just used a 9x11 sheet of watercolor paper.

Here's the cover:

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IMG_3065I used Dylusions sprays, Distress Paint and Adirondack paint daubers for the background, also used some gelatos and then removed the color through the stencil to get a kind of ghosted pattern - subtle, you can see it here and there.

Then the inside - I used the April stencils by Carolyn Dube for this, then went in with some Dina Wakely and Tim Holtz stamps, paint pens, and Liquid Pearls.

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IMG_3067I'm loving all the color and pattern... it was a super fun little project and I'm definitely going to have to make some more!


More playing with stencils

I'm on a bit of a kick lately! Last night I pulled out the large stencil from the set that came for the February StencilGirl Stencil Club.

IMG_3048I prepped the background with gesso and acrylic paint, then I used the stencil to trace the flower onto scraps of patterned paper and make paper pieced flowers. Then I used the stencil as a placement guide and adhered the petals to the page with Golden Fluid Matte Medium. Once that dried, I put the stencil over top to use as a guideline to trace details with mint green Liquid Pearls. You can still see the patterns in the close-up below - it's subtle, but it adds some depth, I think.

IMG_3050Once that layer was dry, I laid the stencil down again and filled in the sections between the petals with Bolivian Blue Silks. I also cut out a few scraps to make leaves and painted on stems, then went to town with my Liquid Pearls and Scribbles puffy paints.

IMG_3053I added some washi tape on the edges, then went through with a different shape from the stencil (looks like a cross-section of a kiwi) and added a border with Viva Molding Cream in gold. When that was dry I added some more Silks and Liquid Pearls (there are never enough!!!)

IMG_3052Finally, I stamped a quote that fits with life right now using Staz-On. I've come to terms with the fact that at this point, I'm not an art journaler that fills the page with lots of writing... heavy emphasis on the "art," less on the "journaling." What works best for me is to find a quote that fits with what's going on at the time. Sometimes I'll put hidden journaling in the foundation layers, but this is what's comfortable for me and I still get that cathartic feeling from expressing myself. I know what it means, and that's all that matters to me :) And later on, even if I don't remember exactly what was going on, I still have a book of fun inspirational quotes! So maybe an inspiration journal more than anything? Whatever works, I guess!


A little art journaling

I've done a few pages in my art journal over the last week... just playing, exploring, trying out new things... I came up with three very different pages, but I really like them all.

First, I did some collage for this one - lots of found paper scraps, washi tape, acrylic paint, and some liquid pearls. Words cut from magazine pages... I already had all of these cut out, and they formed a fitting sentiment for the direction I'm heading right now :)

IMG_3025The next one I started right after I finished the above page... I had bookmarked a gorgeous picture of a Mona Lisa Anenome, and I wanted to try drawing it, so I did it right in my art journal and kind of went with it as it evolved.
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The image is painted mostly with my Angora watercolors, along with a little touch of Inktense pencils and some Derwent watercolor pencils. The blue border is acrylic - I wanted it a bit stronger, and then I used oil pastels over the top to give a bit more intensity to the color here and there.
IMG_3026Finally, I felt like it needed red so it wasn't quite so anemic looking, so I brought in the Liquid Pearls and some patterned paper scraps. Another magazine word and some letter stickers. I'll have to do something like this again in the future - I love how it turned out!

And last but not least, Saturday I got my April stencils from the StencilGirl stencil club, and I wanted to do something with them right away. I took the 6x6 lightbulb stencil and the 4x4 alphabet and used them for this page:

IMG_3040I used silver paint to paint the bottom 2/3 of each of the lightbulbs onto the page through the stencil, moving it around to place them. Then I painted flower blobs with lots of different colored acrylic until it looked the way I wanted it.

IMG_3041I used Silks to paint the insides of the bulbs, with oil pastel over top once it had dried. I also painted the bulbs and flowers first and then put in the background - I used Golden Fluid Acrylics - teal, cobalt turquoise, and green gold. For a bit I thought I'd ruined the whole thing, but it worked out! Then I used some ink to put bits of alphabet here and there, and then to edge the page.

IMG_3042And of course, because I have a Liquid Pearl addiction, I outlined everything with them. I especially like the way it added some dimension and definition - the silver worked really well for detail on the bulbs and to ground them like they're on poles. I finished it by adding a quote with rubons. I ended up starting it too high so I wasn't happy with the positioning... I originally did the smaller type all in black and hated it, so I went over it with a yellow Montana paint marker and while the positioning still irks me a bit, I'm much happier with it. This quote is especially a propos for me right now... lots of scary things with great potential on the horizon!

And now, since my boxes aren't going to be delivered for another day or two, I'm going to take advantage of not having to start packing yet to play some more while I watch playoff hockey :)


I'm an auntie again!

Adorable-Nephew-Brayden joined us today... our own little Easter miracle :)

Brayden is here 2I can't wait until I have a chance to meet this little guy! Isn't he adorable? The perfect addition to a wonderful Easter. We're so glad to have him in our family.


More peeks into my Moleskine

A few more pages I've done in my Moleskine over the last few weeks... the first one is a page of mandalas / zendalas. Still on a kick with these!

IMG_2950And this one is done based on a card I saw while I was browsing in Barnes and Noble between LDS General Conference sessions on Saturday... it was a peacock card, so you know I noticed it! I was in Chicago so I did this in my hotel room while listening to Sunday conference. This one is pen, Inktense pencils, and Tombow markers.

IMG_2967This last one is a stendoodle - I traced a stencil - the 6x6 Rose Window stencil from The Crafter's Workshop, and then tangled in the openings. I really liked this one.

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I've been working in my art journal this week, enjoying the last days of having my full studio before I have to start packing it up! I'll post more of that soon.


Believe in Miracles - Art Journaling

I absolutely loved the canvas that Donna Downey did for her free online class for getting 40,000 Facebook likes. I think at some point I'll do a canvas as well, but I decided to start by doing the class as an art journal page.

Believe in Miracles Art Journal Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur

For the base, I used some stencils from StencilGirl (that's the stuff you can see in the colored sections that's in black) and lots of fun color. I didn't have the lotus stencil that Donna uses, so I found an image online and used it as my model for painting it on the top at the end.

Believe in Miracles Art Journal Page 2 - Gwen LafleurI absoultely LOVE the color peeking through the black... and circles! I always love circles.

Believe in Miracles Art Journal Page 3 - Gwen LafleurAnd, no surprise, I managed to sneak some Liquid Pearls into this as well. I can't resist! This was a super fun project... I'll use this technique again, and probably do that canvas as well.

Believe in Miracles Art Journal Page 4 - Gwen LafleurAnd with that, I'm doing some cleaning out and running to Goodwill today to drop off... lots to do! TTFN!


52 Pick-Me-Up Part 2

I'm really loving this little class... the instructions for the 2nd set of twelve cards were posted in the classroom on 4/1, and I worked through them to do my cards and I love them. The techniques were a little different this time - lots of fun layers, some different mediums, and lots of color!

52 Pick-Me-Up Cards 13-24 - 2Each of the cards has a definition on it for a word that resonated with me... the first letter of each word should help to spell out BEAUTIFUL YOU which was fun. Here are the individual cards with all their lovely layers and their words:

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52 Pick-Me-Up Cards 13-24 - 4I've put together a little box to keep all of these in so I can just pull one out when I want a pick-me-up. I can't wait for the next set in July!


A little Easter Decor

I have literally had these giant foam egg things for years... sitting in a bag in my closet with a very specific project in mind. This year, I decided it was time to pull them out and actually do it! I was originally inspired by these gorgeous ostrich eggs and have had it bookmarked, also for years. I used them as inspiration, and I'm pretty thrilled with my eggs. I made four of them, since that's all I thought to pick up when I found these babies on clearance at Michael's for like $1 each.

First, I did a pink one:

IMG_8371I gesso'd and painted the egg first, then added lots of trims including some vintage lace I've been hoarding as well as a vintage pendant... I cut off the loop on top and glued it down. TONS of Prima flowers and leaves on top (I edged the leaves in some pink Art Glitter) and added a variety of pretty ribbons. I decided that a common element on all 4 was going to be some kind of jewelry on the front, and a butterfly on top.

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IMG_8373I also did a nice little orangy-yellow number... I messed up with the glueing on this one, but managed to fix it so you can barely tell (whew!)

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I decided to get a little whimsical with this one and used a round sponge applicator to put on gold polka dots.
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I absolutely LOVE the Prima Say-It-In-Pearls swirls that I added on some of these... along with more gorgeous Prima flowers and some pretty gold ribbon and trims.


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I couldn't NOT do my favorite color, right? And something with a hint of peacock? So for this one, I added a few extra steps.

IMG_8363I painted the egg turquoise, but then I used a stencil from The Crafter's Workshop and some Radiant Rain mists on plain tissue paper. I made several sheets so that I'd have enough for what I wanted.

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After it was all dry, I used Matte Medium to kind of decoupage it to my egg.
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IMG_8355Then after that layer dried, I decorated. I had tried to apply the tissue so that the design would show around the decoration - I think it worked out pretty well.

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IMG_8364More pearls!

Finally, I finished the last one tonight. I went copper, brown, and cream on this one. A bit non-traditional, but I liked it... I really wanted to use the vintage cameo pendant.

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IMG_8393Well, now that my glue gun has gotten a workout, it's time to move on to some other projects. Like maybe listing stuff on Craig's List? And packing? I'm thinking about it ;)


2 Classes with Joanne Sharpe

Last weekend I got the chance to go up to Right at Home Scrapbooking in MA to spend a day taking classes from Joanne Sharpe. I had gotten to take a class from her a few months ago up at Absolutely Everything - I took Decorative Doodling, but the rest of her classes had already sold out by the time I found out about it. So when I saw that the classes I'd wanted to take and missed were being offered, I jumped at the chance to go!

First class of the day - Watercolor Whimsy. We played with watercolors of all kinds - a pan palette, Peerless watercolors (which I'd seen but never used before - they're super cool), markers, watercolor pencils, etc... and learned lots of different techniques for using them with doodles, journals, sketching, etc... We started out with a sampler where we tried eight different watercolor mediums and learned the technique for applying them, then we moved on to a "master" project where we doodled 8 different pictures and then used the mediums and techniques to color them. I ended up finishing most of this at home that night while watching the LDS Women's Broadcast.

Watercolor Whimsy with Joanne Sharpe 1 Watercolor Whimsy with Joanne Sharpe 2

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Watercolor Whimsy with Joanne Sharpe 3
Watercolor Whimsy with Joanne Sharpe 3
Watercolor Whimsy with Joanne Sharpe 3On the back side, we were supposed to do a palette or series of samples using the same doodle with different colors. I started mine, but haven't finished yet. I'll get back to it at some point.

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It was fun to get out of my comfort zone and do something so loose and whimsical!

The afternoon class was called Power Pens (or something similar) and was all about... pens! We used our notebooks and went through and practiced 20 techniques / ideas with various pens. It was meant to serve as a reference guide - I always like that kind of thing since it helps me remember what I've learned.

Power Pens with Joanne Sharpe 1
Power Pens with Joanne Sharpe 1And a little mid-process shot during class...

Power Pens with Joanne SharpeAnd the finished version of that page:

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Power Pens with Joanne Sharpe 3I actually finished all 20 techniques in class... 'cause I'm a nerd like that ;) I learned quite a few new tricks and had fun trying out new supplies and finding new ways to use supplies I already own.

Me with Joanne SharpeIt was a long day that started early with a long drive, but it was worth it. I had a good time and learned a ton! Not to mention getting an autographed copy of Joanne's new book ;)

I kind of took a lot of classes in March, huh? April's going to slow down a bit while I take care of some details on the Next Big Thing... lol. But I'm already eyeballing some of the classes at the Create event in August. I've picked out the classes I want, now I'm just hoping they're still available when the budget comes through! I'll just have to take it as it comes, right? It's all good :)


52 Pick-Me-Up!

So while I was in Asia in February, I missed getting to take classes from Stephanie Ackerman at Right at Home Scrapbooking in MA. I've been a fan of her work for a long time and I was bummed about the timing. So after I got home, I went ahead and signed up for her online 52 Pick-Me-Up 2014 class. I worked through the first twelve cards over about a week and a half or so. I mostly followed the class instructions, but gave it my own spin, of course!

Starting with the base... I have TONS of Project Life cards that I'm not going to use (the big core kits are a great concept, but having that many of the same card is definitely not for me. Glad I only got the one kit!) so I used those instead of playing cards. A little bit bigger, but good to use something I had.

52 Pick-Me-Up 1-12 AThen after adding all the layers on top, it was time to start embellishing. I decided to go with a technique I shared in the class I taught in January where we used phone book pages for collage and art journaling. So phone book pages, gel medium, and glitter on chipboard butterflies.

52 Pick-Me-Up 1-12 BThen I added the final touches and I had twelve gorgeous cards! (At least, I think they're gorgeous, and that's the important part.)

52 Pick-Me-Up 1-12 DI went with words from magazines, book pages, and then stickers and letter stickers that kind of resonated with me to add the messages on the front of each one. Here are some close-ups of the twelve cards:

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52 Pick-Me-Up 1-12 Close-up 1On the backsides, I used printouts from the digi version of the Project Life Midnight kit - they were already printed, and I had done them on a thin presentation paper. I wrote quotes that matched the theme on the front on about 2/3 of the cards - some I'll add later when I find something that I love that fits.

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I'm really liking these, and I love how just looking at one makes me smile. The 2nd round of cards (13-24) was posted on April 1st (a new set goes up every quarter) so I've started working on those and I'll share them when I've finished. I can't wait until the whole collection is finished! I'm loving these little guys :D


Recent Classes at the Clubhouse

I was able to get to a few classes at Papercraft Clubhouse during March - one was our monthly Mixed Media Club - Tracie gave us a refresher course on a few Dyan Reavley techniques - we did the bleaching technique and also ghosting.

Here she is giving us a demo (and having way too much fun going crazy with the mist! Sue was frantically looking for refuge from the overspray. lol.)

March Mixed Media Club 1

And my sample in my notebook at the end of the night:

March Mixed Media Club 2I always forget how much I love these techniques until I do them again - I'm so glad we had a little refresher!

Next, I was able to take an art journal class from Ranger educator Michelle McCosh - we made a small art journal from watercolor paper using lots of different paints, mists, and mediums, lots of stencils, stamps, and deli paper. It was a lot of fun and I learned some gret techniques!

Here's our class (photos from Tracie) - all hard at work! (There was so much packed into this class that we were heads down non-stop for the whole 3 hours!)

March Mixed Media Club 3And I'm in the background spritzing and drying while Michelle was contemplating misting another class member.

March Mixed Media Club 4I started out keeping it pretty clean...

IMG_2896But that obviously didn't last. It took me almost 2 days to get the stain off my hands, but it was worth it!

IMG_2898I got the album almost completely finished in class - I just added in the quotes and stamped images and embellishments at home. I may keep adding quotes or leave it as is - it's also a great reminder of all the techniques we learned - I really love it! Lots of colors and layers, and stencils! and stamps! and paint! All my favorite things :)

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IMG_8334This last page below has a little accordion fold-out on the right hand side - you can see it in the last picture.

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IMG_8334I'm really glad I got to go! Lots of fun and some great techniques and projects.


Colorful New Mixed Media Canvas

Another little project I finished in March... this one was actually started back in January and ended up sitting partially done on my desk throughout February while I was in Asia. I picked it up again at the beginning of March and worked on it off and on until I was happy with it. It took a while, and it's different from anything I've done before, but I like it.

This was another canvas redo - this is the original canvas (I actually remembered to take a "before" photo!)

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I liked the shape of the flowers and the background color palette, so I pulled off the fish and started working from the flowers out until the whole thing was redone.

Good Things Mixed Media Canvas - Gwen LafleurFor some reason, about half the time I look at it, I just see a colorful map of the UK. That's probably just me, though. lol.

Good Things Mixed Media Canvas Closeup 1 - Gwen LafleurI started by taking dictionary pages and spraying them with a few colors of Dylusions sprays. I crumpled them up and adhered with matte medium - I wanted lots of color and texture. Then I painted the other ones for some contrast and to pull in a bit more color. I also tore some random pieces from an old atlas and added them around and embedded them in the background.

Good Things Mixed Media Canvas Closeup 3 - Gwen LafleurNext I put a whole bunch of random alphabet stickers around some of the edges and filled in the background with teal and turquoise. I knew I wanted to go around the shapes with a different color so I went with a few shades of green, keeping a white border to make them pop. I used some yellow india ink to get some drippage - that deliberate imperfection adds a lot, I think.

Good Things Mixed Media Canvas Closeup 2 - Gwen LafleurI had some flowers made from phone book pages that were already sprayed and assembled, and when I played around with setting one on top, I actually liked it. I added those, then stamped sentiments in gray using masking to keep them within the shape. I wanted it subtle so that it didn't take over when you looked at it. Some of them you can barely see unless you really look, but it adds a lot, I think.

Good Things Mixed Media Canvas Closeup 4 - Gwen LafleurI used Pan Pastels with mica and glitter on the book page flowers, then used oil pastels to add shading on top and around. And of course, I used Liquid Pearls to outline each of them in turquoise and add a few other details.

It turned out nothing like I'd planned and yet looked like what I'd envisioned all at the same time. So I'd say that's a success! I tried new things and had a lot of fun, and I enjoy having it hanging in my little gallery. On to the next project!


A few new Tangles

So I'm slacking again... March ended up being a crazy month! (I'll join the choir of people stating that I can't believe it's April!) Lots going on right now... getting caught up at work, another trip to Chicago, lots of classes and other good stuff. I'm trying to get caught up on the artsy posting, starting with a few Zentangle pieces from the last month. If you follow me on Instagram, these are probably familiar, but I wanted to get them up here as well.

First, I actually started this one at the airport before my flight to Singapore, worked on it just once on the trip, and then finished it and added the color after I got home.

Colorful Swirled Zentangle - Gwen LafleurNext up is one I started at church and finished up at the hotel in Chicago - I was wanting to get back to circles again and had a lot of fun with this one.

Zentangle Circles 4 - Gwen LafleurFinally, one of my absolute favorites so far... a mandala / zendala that I started at church (I do them at church most of the time - I've found that it really helps me be able to focus more on the talks and lessons and I get a lot more out of the meetings!) and then I finished up and added in the gray (Copic Multiliner) at home. I decided to keep this one black and white.

Zendala 1 - Gwen LafleurI'm working on another page of zendalas - it's been in progress for the last few weeks and I'm hoping to finish it up during General Conference this weekend while I'm in Chicago again. So you know, that means I'll post it here in about 6 weeks, right? lol.