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February 2015
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April 2015

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 :)