Previous month:
January 2015
Next month:
March 2015

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!)

Another Sculpture from a Stencil - Seahorse!

Following yesterday's post with my plaster elephant sculpture made from a stencil, I had another sculpture I wanted to share that shows a different sculpture technique and using a different shape. This time I used the Seahorses stencil and the Coral stencil, both by June Pfaff Daley.

Seahorse Sculpture by Gwen LafleurFor this one, I started out the same way as my elephant sculpture - trace the design onto the cardboard and build the armature.

Seahorse Sculpture 1 by Gwen LafleurOf course, seeing as how seahorses don't have any legs, I had to come up with an alternate way to get it to stand up (but you could also hang it or make a mobile or something.) I used a bamboo skewer.

Seahorse Sculpture 2 by Gwen LafleurPart of my goal with this sculpture was to see if my idea for an alternative to plaster would work. For this one, I used masking tape instead, wrapping it pretty much the same way I did the plaster.

Seahorse Sculpture 3 by Gwen LafleurI found the tape to be harder to work with - it doesn't have the same give as plaster and it's harder to smooth out areas or work it into tighter spots. Plus, when you're done, you probably want to put another layer on top to get a more workable surface, and to cover up some of the harder lines you get from the edge of the tape. I put down a layer of extra heavy gesso and let it dry overnight.

Seahorse Sculpture 4 by Gwen LafleurThat gave me a pretty decent surface to work with. From here I added a few layers of paint, ending with a top layer of a Pebeo iridescent orange paint that was kind of translucent and very shimmery. Then I used liquid pearls, micro beads, glitter, and jewels to decorate the seahorse. I also used the coral stencil to make some coral to build up a bit of an underwater scene around my base. I used the ATB die from Sizzix again and stuck the skewer through the center and used some Helmar glue to hold it in place. All in all, it turned out pretty fun!

Seahorse Sculpture Other Side by Gwen Lafleur
Seahorse Sculpture Other Side by Gwen LafleurI could have kept going on that base indefinitely, but decided to just call it quits. It's been really fun to work on creating these little sculptures, and I have some more ideas along this line... I'll get to them eventually!

Making Plaster Sculptures from Stencils

Hi everyone, I've got a post up on the StencilGirl blog today showing more details about how I made this fun plaster elephant sculpture!

Stencil-Sculpture Elephant Final - Gwen LafleurI loved this project... I'm thinking about turning it into a class. Would anyone be interested in that? I've got a few more ideas for possible shapes. Just let me know :)

In the meantime, make sure to head over to StencilGirl Talk!

Catching Up: Inspiration Wednesday

I've shared all of my Inspiration Wednesday pages on Instagram / Facebook, but I wanted to get them all in one place, so here they are... up through the February 4th pages. 

Starting out, I made my own inspiration journal. I had some turquoise canvas and this cool embroidered linen cloth that was leftover from some curtains I made for my house in Connecticut. I followed the same pattern as the ones Donna makes and then made two signatures for the inside - that should be enough for the whole year.

Inspiration Wednesday 2015 Cover - Gwen LafleurThe first week was just the front page - the introduction to this year's journal. I kept it pretty close to what Donna did in hers (especially since I share her obsession with teal,) but I had to include a peacock feather :)

Inspiration Wednesday 2015 Week 1 - Gwen LafleurFor the letters that spell "artist," I had a super old set of cardstock letter stencils like you get at the hardware store. I swear I've had them for 20 years or more! For the "2015," I used numbers from one of Seth Apter's stencils.

Here it is with the inclusion flipped so you can see the quote - that's a sentiment from an old Studio Calico stamp set.

Inspiration Wednesday 2015 Week 1b - Gwen Lafleur
Week 2 (which isn't actually week 2 but like week 4 or something, but I'm keeping it simple.) This was all about collage and layering, which I don't do a lot of. But I really liked this - lots of fun texture.

Inspiration Wednesday 2015 Week 2 - Gwen LafleurI had been at Blick looking for extra heavy gesso and they only had the gigantic tub, so I passed and came home and realized that I had some that I'd bought in CT last year and forgotten about. Duh. I like the texture and dimension that adds. And I pulled out some thin paper that was in a stash of stuff I brought back from China several years ago and used it to create kind of a travel / exploration theme. The sentiment is from a recent Studio Calico kit.

Inspiration Wednesday 2015 Week 2b - Gwen LafleurAnd the one I just did last week - week 3 (February 4th.) Another one where I followed Donna's process pretty closely. Mainly because I had literally every. single. thing. on the supply list for this project, right down to the identical colors. And I liked hers, so why not?

Inspiration Wednesday 2015 Week 3 - Gwen LafleurI got the drywall tape from Donna's store because that's the only place where I've seen it with the circles and I love that. I also used Donna's number stamps and used Seth's Numbers stencil again. It was a crazy week when I did this one, so it suited my mood perfectly to get in there and finger paint and do something really grungy.

Inspiration Wednesday 2015 Week 3b - Gwen LafleurAbove is the right side with the inclusion flipped over.

Can't wait for the next video in another week! In the meantime, I've got lots of other projects in the works that will show up in the near future both here and over on the StencilGirl Blog.


Catching Up: Documented Life Project

Just popping in to do a little catch-up on posting recent projects. I've shared all of these on Instagram / Facebook, but I wanted to get all of my pages so far this year that I've done for The Documented Life Project posted here as well, including the cover that I did months ago.

I started this back in July of last year, thinking I'd start half-way through 2014 and then do all of this year. I did the cover, prepped all the pages in my 18-month Moleskine planner, and then did 4 layouts and never really got back to it. But this year I'm really trying to keep up because I just love the concept, and I like having a place to just jot down a few notes about daily life, even if I'm not writing a ton. So, here's the cover... and I have to say, I totally love it! (so much humility!)

Full view front / back:

DLP Cover - Gwen LafleurI used the Elephant March stencil along with the small one from the June 2014 StencilClub set. And the front cover when the book is closed:

DLP Cover Front - Gwen LafleurThe first week, I did a start to 2015 page that I've already shared - this was done with DecoArt Media projects for a blog post on StencilGirl Talk.

StencilGirl-DecoArt Journal Page 4 - Gwen LafleurThe next one was the challenge to use gesso. I painted and stenciled the background, then used DecoArt Media black gesso to cover a lot of it up. The circle and background stencils were from the January StencilClub kit.

DLP2015 - Gesso - Gwen LafleurThe next challenge on 1/17 was based on the Color Wheel. I decided to take this one pretty literally and used the Complimentary color wheel stencil by Pam Carriker to make my own color wheel. The butterfly is a stamp from Dina Wakely, and then I used the 4x4 dots stencil from the October StencilClub kit to finish it off.

DLP2015 - Color Wheel - Gwen LafleurI kind of skipped the Words with Friends challenge... I'll go back and do that page, but I might just do something besides the challenge. Then this week's 1/31 challenge was to use some of your under paper (the scrap paper that gets all junked up with paint as you work on top of it.) The piece I used reminded me of an underwater scene, so I painted a tropical fish on top.

DLP2015 - Under Paper - Gwen LafleurIn the bottom right corner, you can see some remnants from working with Carolyn Dube's Small Union Stencil, and I finished it by using the Bubbles Stencil.

So that's my Documented Life Project work so far this year... looking forward to keeping this up as much as possible. More catching up to come :)