Gwen's Gems: Stenciled ICE Resin Papers in an Art Journal

Hi everyone, it's time for Gwen's Gems again over on StencilGirl Talk! This month I'm tackling a new technique that I've wanted to try for a long time... I used ICE Resin to coat stenciled papers (so fun and cool!) and then used those papers to make a handmade art journal with window pages and covers.

Stenciled ICE Resin Window Art Journal 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you head over to StencilGirl Talk to see the full post with instructions and more photos of the finished book!

 


Mini Mixed Media Medallions

I'm still at it, working feverishly in my studio as I try and finish up the samples for all of the prospective in-person classes I'm offering. The latest samples are for a class I'm calling Mini Mixed Media Medallions. I've used clay, metal findings, beads, and other goodies to make "medallions" (for lack of a better term) that can be anything from a funky statement pendant to an elaborate version of a Lover's Eye (or not so elaborate, but I like everything pretty over the top!)

Here are the three I made as samples:

Mini Mixed Media Medallions - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, I have individual photos and close-ups for each of them... I can't decide which is my favorite. Maybe this one?

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 1 - Gwen Lafleur

It would be a bit big as a necklace, but maybe on the cover of a book?

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 1 - Book Cover - Gwen Lafleur

This might be my favorite too...

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 2 - Gwen Lafleur

It could definitely work as a pendant - a very funky, tribal feeling statement pendant...

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 2 - Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

Last but not least, this one went through a rough phase, but I think I pulled it out in the end and I really love this one too:

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Maybe a book cover? More likely the focal point of a larger mixed media piece at some point in the future.

Mini Mixed Media Medallion 3 - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

There are more photos on the class page along with a class description, etc... (this class isn't scheduled anywhere as of right now, but hopefully it will be!) If you'd like to see this as an online class, make sure to leave me a comment and let me know (I'm keeping track of requests so I know what to work on first when I start putting together online classes.) If you're interested in hosting a class, shoot me an email!

 

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Mixed Media Floral Still-Life

I've been on a total creative roll over the last few weeks! So many ideas are running through my mind, and I've been lucky to spend pretty much all of my free time in the studio getting those ideas out of my head and into my art. 

One of the larger ongoing projects I've been working on has been making samples for the new in-person workshops I'm offering for stores or groups who are interested in having me come teach. The latest is a sample for another new full-day workshop - Mixed Media Floral Still-Life paintings, and I was actually kind of shocked at how quickly and easily this one spilled out and onto the canvas. I love how it came out, and I hope you do too!

Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Gwen Lafleur

Just a few close-ups of the piece:

Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Floral Still-Life - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

The focus for this class will be working with paper, acrylics, and mark-making to make our own beautiful floral compositions. If you want more info, you can check out the class page with more photos and description. If you're interested in hosting a class, shoot me an email!

 


Make a Stenciled, Embroidered Book with Kraft-Tex!

Hi everyone, I'm so excited to be joining in on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and C&T Publishing (makers of Kraft-Tex!) This week the creative teams are using stencils with Kraft-Tex... I can't tell you how much fun it was to stencil on this incredible product. It's so cool! I could keep talking, but why not just show you?

First off, here's what I made - it's a riff on a traveler's notebook style book cover with two book inserts; I made it with elastics to give me the ability to swap pamphlet books in and out of the inside, only I customized the structure to be more like an actual book.

Stenciled-Kraft-Tex-Notebook-Cover---Front-Bottom-View---Gwen-Lafleur-sm

Here's how it all came together...

I started with the brand new turquoise, pre-washed Kraft-Tex and cut a piece approximately the size of the spine and covers, then used some Archival Ink and my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil to put down a pattern on what would become the front cover of my book.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that Kraft-Tex is paper, but it has a lot of the qualities of fabric and leather, so I started the process of embroidering my peacock feather designs. 

  Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

A few tips for sewing on Kraft-Tex:

  • It feels like leather, but it's still paper. If you put the holes too close together, it will tear. (You'll probably want a designated Kraft-Tex or paper needle, for either hand or machine sewing.)
  • If you poke a hole in it and it's not where you wanted the hole, it will show - it doesn't disappear the same way it would on fabric. To outline each section of embroidery, I used a needle to pre-poke the holes for my back-stitched borders.
  • Use a needle with a hole that's big enough for your thread, but not unnecessarily big - you don't want too-wide holes because it will show.
  • It can be hard to pull the needle through - I wore Finger Gloves on my thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. This helped me grip the needle to pull it through as well as protect my fingers (I hate thimbles... I have a really hard time working while wearing one.) The other big help for pulling the needle and thread through - Thread Heaven - it takes some of the hand stress out of the stitching process.
  • Working with a design like this one with sections of color, work from the inside out. Re-use existing holes if you can when setting new stitches.

Honestly, all of that satin stitching probably should NOT have worked... lol, but I love how it came out! Of course, you do NOT have to stitch! You could stencil the design on as a pattern and then use paints, Liquid Pearls, markers, etc... to add in color and details.

When the stitching was done, I wanted to put some structure behind it to make sure that my stitches were secure, so I cut pieces of thin chipboard and adhered them to the back of my cover piece where the front and back covers were going to be.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I cut another piece of Chocolate Kraft-Tex the same size as my cover and clipped it to the back to sandwich the chipboard and give me nice inside covers in a contrasting color. (Mine wasn't pre-washed... I cut a chunk off of the roll and threw it in with a load of colors in my washing machine, detergent, fabric softener, and all! It's colorfast, so there was no bleeding. Then I took it out and laid it on the table to air dry.)

I pre-poked holes around the chipboard and back-stitched with gold Sizzle thread from Wonderfil to bring it all together.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

You can also see where I added some ribbon... I had the perfect piece of peacock feather patterned ribbon so I tucked the ends between the pieces of Kraft-Tex and sewed it into place as I stitched the border. 

After I finished the front cover, I poked the holes for the back and then slipped another piece of chipboard into the spot which would become the spine. I kept stitching until the whole thing was finished.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I punched holes where I wanted to insert my elastics and put in grommets, then added Tim Holtz elastics (2 kinds - one for the inside to hold the book inserts, one with only one end that would wrap around the outside as a closure.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I went back and stitched a few beads onto my peacock feathers as a finishing touch.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6a - Gwen Lafleur

You could leave the inside covers plain, but of course... I stenciled them! I used gold pigment ink through my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil and then heat embossed.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 6b - Gwen Lafleur

With that, the covers were done!

Of course, next I needed to make some booklets that would fit inside. I measured my book - the height shouldn't be much taller than the distance between the holes where your inside elastics go. I kept the width about 1/4" smaller than the width of the cover. I cut and folded some papers - bristol and watercolor paper, and also cut and folded covers from Stone Kraft-Tex and Chocolate Kraft-Tex. Then I used my awl to punch four holes into the creases (you want an even number of holes for this method.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I used the pamphlet stitch and waxed linen thread to bind the books together. In total, it takes about 10 minutes to make one of these little books... quick and easy! I repeated this process for the second book so I could fill up both of the elastics I'd attached to the spine.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 7a - Gwen Lafleur

Now for the fun part... embellishing the covers! Starting with the stone book, I once again stenciled with Archival Ink, this time using my Decorative Medallion stencil. Then I used Liquid Pearls / dimensional paints and Stickles and went over the top (this is another way you could do the outside cover if you don't want to sew.)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

I added a sari applique in the center (I picked it out first and then matched the colors of the Liquid Pearls and the Stickles,) and a scribbled gold border around the edge.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 8a - Gwen Lafleur

For the second book, I did something a little different to decorate the cover... I stenciled with Versamark ink, then with the stencil still in place, I went over top of it while it was still wet using bronze PanPastels.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

I sealed that layer with a workable fixative, then used the same process to embellish with dimensional paints and Stickles.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 9a - Gwen Lafleur

I let everything dry... I just love how these turned out!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur

Slide your new journals into the elastic in the cover and you're ready to go!

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10a - Gwen Lafleur    

I really like the stiffer, more structured covers, but you could totally follow this same process to construct your book and just leave the chipboard out. In that case, though, you'll want to make sure that the height of the books you make to go inside is a little shorter than the distance between the holes in the spine... without the chipboard, it would probably collapse it a bit to add that extra tension.

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover Step 10b - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! A finished reusable notebook cover with your own custom books inside. I'm already using mine as an art journal :)

Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled Kraft-Tex Notebook Cover without Band - Gwen Lafleur

That's it from me... I hope you enjoyed the project and tutorial! Of course, now it's time for the best part of all...

 GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products

AND a $25 Gift Certificate for C&T Publishing!!

February Blog Hop GIVEAWAY image
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)


You have until Saturday, February 18th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and C&T Publishing’s Blog on Sunday, February 19.

February 15

February 16 

February 17 

 


Of Angels & Icons

Lately I've been working on putting together a list of class offerings so that I can try and schedule a few in-person teaching appearances this year. I've already added some existing classes to the list, but I've never taught full-day classes and I'm working on developing a few (along with a few new half-day classes) so that I can add variety and options to the list.

One of the new classes I'm going to offer is called Of Angels & Icons and it's inspired by a few things I love all mixed together. The first is Mexican folk art - I love the bright colors and the relative simplicity of the shapes and figures. The second are icons - I spent ten days in Russia last summer and visited a lot of Orthodox churches and cathedrals. I was incredibly impressed by the beautiful icons and the artistry and detail (and let's not kid ourselves... I love how ornate they were with lots of beading, gems, embroidery - they were stunning!) I took those two influences and mixed them with a touch of Indian / Asian flair and my own personal style.

I was super excited to work on the sample for this class, and I LOVE how it came out!

Mixed-Media-Angel---Gwen-Lafleur

Here are a few close-ups so you can see some of the details:

Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-1---Gwen-Lafleur

Her halo is based on a gorgeous diecut from Spellbinders, her wings are from the Fractured Angel stencil by Kate Thompson.


Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-1---Gwen-Lafleur

The heart is hand-made - I used clay, jewels, metal findings and paints and I love it!


Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-1---Gwen-Lafleur

I also hand made my own applique for the sample (making the applique isn't part of the class - sewing takes a while!) I used die-cut felt flowers from the Tim Holtz Tattered Flowers Sizzix die and the leaves were from another Spellbinders die set (did you know wafer thin dies could cut wool felt? I didn't, but they can... beautifully!) I spent WAY too much time adding all the stitching and a little beading, but I love how it came out. I even took my first stab at doing a fish scale technique with sequins. I'm thinking I'll do a separate tutorial on making your own appliques. I know I'll make more - I learned a ton from making this one.

Mixed-Media-Angel-Side-View-2---Gwen-Lafleur

The background features one of my all time favorite stencils - the Marrakech Mix stencil by Michelle Ward. There are tons of other stencils in the background, and some in the body as well but they all kind of fade into the background (deliberately, of course!) The head is a Dina Wakley Media stamp - it was just perfect for this project!

Mixed-Media-Angel-Close-up-5---Gwen-Lafleur

It was so much fun to work on this and to plan out how this class will work. I'm really hoping someone chooses this one for me to teach at some point, but I guess we'll see! If not, I still love her and I'm going to be making more soon!

 


ARTifacts - January 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen a few of the art journal spreads I've posted recently that are labeled #ARTifacts. This is a new art journal I've started to try and document my creative / artsy year. If you haven't heard about this, the mastermind behind this project is Seth Apter (read more about the concept on his blog.) I think it's such a cool idea! I've already been tracking everything I do during the year in a kanban board on Trello, but I love this idea because it really celebrates each project and ultimately the book becomes a piece of art on its own.

So without further ado, here are the pages in my book for January (it was kind of a busy month for me, so there was a lot to document!)

Title page:

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---Intro-Page---Gwen-Lafleur

The first spread was entirely dedicated to my first beaded art quilt. I worked on it for almost 10 months, finally finishing it last month. I think wrapping up a project that big definitely deserves two pages!

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-1---Gwen-Lafleur

The second spread is probably my favorite... this one documented my January Gwen's Gems project as well as the cards I made for my bi-monthly ATC swap.

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2---Gwen-LafleurThe book I'm working in is handmade, and only about 5"x7". I wanted the pictures to be big enough to really see the project, so that meant I had to get creative in order to have room to write and also decorate the page. So, there are lots of interactive flaps on both sides of this spread!

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-2a---Gwen-Lafleur

For the third spread, I documented the projects I'd done for Seth's new Paper Artsy release, and you can also see where I tipped in one of the jumbo ATC cards I'd made in January as well. Again, I had to get creative with the space, so this time it was a library card pocket and card to hold the pictures and journaling (it was for Library of Memories Take 2, so that seemed appropriate!)

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-3--Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-3--Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-3--Gwen-Lafleur

Naturally, the fourth spread including the back of the jumbo ATC included my post on Julie Fei-Fan Balzers blog for her blogiversary celebration. On the right I got pretty fancy in order to document the launch of my new website and Facebook page. I block printed on the flap and embellished, then underneath I did a photo collage of all the work I'd done so far and wrote about it.

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-4---Gwen-Lafleur
ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-4---Gwen-Lafleur

For the last January spread, I documented my project day for Creative JumpStart 2017 as well as a few art journal pages I'd managed to get done that I particularly love.

ARTifacts-Art-Journal---January-Spread-5---Gwen-LafleurWhew! That's it for January... looking back at all of that kind of makes me tired! lol. I certainly got a lot done as my artsy year got off to a fast but very good start. Lots more to come, I hope!

I've put together a gallery page on my website where I'll post photos each month so that I have a single location for the entire project... I'll add new photos there as I finish spreads in the book and then link to the summary blog post after it's live. That's the plan, at least ;) Hopefully I can keep it up, the first month was lots of fun!  

 


Creative JumpStart and My New Website!

Hi everyone! Just popping in with a few quick updates. If we're friends or you follow me on Facebook, you've probably already seen these, but just in case you missed them I wanted to post here as well.

First up, yesterday was the second-to-last workshop / video for Creative JumpStart 2017 and it was me!

My Day on CJS2017 - Gwen Lafleur

Yes, today was the last day of new videos, but you can still sign up through October of this year, and you can still download all of the videos through November. Bonus, now you can get feedback from the people who are already in it so you know how awesome it's been! I've been super inspired as I'm watching the videos and have lots of new ideas and techniques to try!

Second, and I'm pretty excited about this... I finally got around to launching my website where I can host my portfolio, an online store (coming soon,) and also where I can get all of my tutorials in one place so you can see the projects without lots of searching and scrolling and then link directly to the tutorial.

Blog Banner - Gwen's Mixed Media Tutorials

I've also added a little banner to the sidebar on the right and in my menu (look for the hamburger icon in the navigation) so you can jump there quickly from my blog.

There are over 60 tutorials already (I was pretty shocked at how many there are!) and I'll continue to add as new ones are posted here on the blog and elsewhere on the web.

Of course, an artist website means that I needed to create an Artist Page on Facebook (you can't connect a website to a personal profile,) so if you want to follow me there, I'll be posting all kinds of artsy goodness :)

Gwen Lafleur Studios Facebook Page

I'll post updates when I add any major changes - there should be an online store coming soon with original art and jewelry, probably some collage packs, a few homemade art journals, and eventually I'm hoping to get some of my own rubber stamp designs available for sale... but more on all of that later. For now, I'm just excited that this is up!

That's it for today... hope you're feeling inspired and ready to make some art!

 


January ATCs - Of Mystery & Magick

It's time for sharing for my bi-monthly ATC swap! I'm lucky enough to be in a fabulous ATC swap group with some friends from Connecticut, and this month's theme / kit was called Of Mystery & Magick. It was such a fabulous kit! I was really swamped... holidays, some family stuff, assignments, my actual full-time job... so I almost just gave up and didn't send mine in this month, but I loved the kit and theme so much that I pushed through and finished them!

Here are all of my cards that I sent in to swap:

Jan2017 ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

Can you tell this kit and theme were right up my alley? So much fun! Here are close-ups, of course.

Below left is fun patterned paper from the kit, gold foil washi tape, trim and sticky rhinestones, and the sun kind of thing was cut from some really cool fabric paper in the kit. Right is more fabric paper background and more images cut from fabric paper. I loved the little applique thing kind of like a halo. Woodgrain star sequins and glitter glue in the background.

Jan2017 ATCs 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 

Next, below left I painted the background gold, more cut-out fabric paper, gold foil washi tape, glitter tape along the bottom, glitter glue in the background, and some fun jewels and findings stuck on. Below right, patterned paper background, more foil washi tape, the waves are another sheet of awesome fabric paper, then more glitter tape, findings, rhinestones, and glitter glue.


Jan2017 ATCs 1 - Gwen Lafleur

In the kit I had some little sun and moon charms, so I thought it would be cool to do Sun, Moon, and Stars cards and I added some metal star stickers from my stash. 

Below left, I stenciled in the background with my Decorative Medallion stencil then traced it with red glitter glue. The border is done with a Fiskars / Jenni Bowlin border punch on red foil paper, then added trim and charms. Middle, fabric paper background, more border punches (Fiskars, silver foil paper,) more gold washi tape, trim, charms. Below right, fabric paper background, another Fiskars border punch in gold foil, more washi tape and glitter glue. The stars are from a set of fairly new Theresa Collins embellishments.

Jan2017 ATCs - Sun Moon and Stars - Gwen Lafleur

Here are the last two cards:

I used some fun sequins from the kit to make a sort of halo along with jewels and half a brass finding. Glitter glue in her hair, stenciling on gold foil paper in the background. (I used my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil.)

Jan2017 ATCs 3 - Gwen Lafleur

 

Last but not least, gold foil paper background from the kit, some foil washi tape (from a set I found at Target,) waves cut from fabric paper, jewel crown (Say it in Crystals from Prima,) and then the bird is from the kit.


Jan2017 ATCs 3 - Gwen Lafleur

The swap is tomorrow... I can't wait to see which cards I get back and to find out what the next theme is!

 


Tutorial Redo - Colorful Garbage ATCs!

Hi all! Just popping in to let you know that I was lucky enough to be a guest poster on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog today as part of her 10-year Blogiversary celebration! I got to do a tutorial redo, and while it was hard to pick from among her many fabulous tutorials, I decided to put my own spin on her Colorful Garbage ATCs.

Here's my version:

Tutorial-Redo---Garbage-ATCs---Finished-2---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over to Julie's blog to see more photos and my take on the tutorial!

 


Playing with New Seth Apter Products

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to have been asked by Seth Apter to create some projects with his new stamps and Wood Chips from PaperArtsy! For these projects, I thought it would be fun to take inspiration from the Library of Memories masterclass I took with him in 2015 and make a new version of that class project. 

Library of Memories Take 2 - Gwen Lafleur

These two projects are made to fit together, so here you can see how it looks when you put the book inside of the case:

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book in Case Open - Gwen Lafleur

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book in Case - Gwen Lafleur wm

There are lots more pictures and some short tutorials and process descriptions over on StencilGirl Talk, but that post is so chock full of photos and information that it was too long to include everything that I wanted to share from this project.

So, without further ado, here's a bonus tutorial showing my process for making my own patterned papers to use inside the handmade book.

On several of the book pages I did a patchwork background technique that Seth taught us in class. This time I made my own patterned papers using his StencilGirl stencils, his PaperArtsy paints, and his new stamp sets.

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

To start, I took five sheets of 28lb copy paper and painted the backgrounds. (I liked this paper weight because it's sturdier and a nicer quality than regular copy paper, but it was still thin enough to easily use for making backgrounds in my book.)

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

I used paints from Seth's PaperArtsy paint kit, as well as a collection of some of his favorite paint favorite colors. From left to right, Mahogany, Terracotta, Toffee, Midnight, and Squid Ink.

When the backgrounds were dry, I went back through and used the Urban Outsiders Stencil to stencil repeated shapes. I decided that each piece of paper would be a different shape, and I started with circles. I used Turquoise paint to start.

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I used the Urban Insiders Circle Stencil and the Techno Insiders Circle Stencil and added patterns inside of some of the outlines. 

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur
I repeated the process using stamps instead of stencils - I used the circle stamp images from both of Seth's new stamp sets. ESA 03 and ESA 04 (part of the Eclectica collection.) I stamped these with teal and red pigment inks and heat embossed with teal and red embossing powder. I also used a Versamark pen to draw in a few places and then heat embossed that as well (it's a fun way to add some extra details!)

Note that in some places, I stamped on top of the stenciling - Seth designed the stamps to work with the stencils, so they layer really well!

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I just repeated that process with the other four shapes until I had five full sheets of patterned paper. In the end, I used every stamp in both the ESA 03 and ESA 04 stamp collections, and I also used all of the following stencils:

From there, they were ready to be cut up and used to make patchwork backgrounds!

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I also used pieces from these sheets to make the end papers for my handmade book...

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

...I cut out larger sections to be used as focal points on some of the pages...

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages 9-10a - Gwen Lafleur

... and I also used some of them to make backgrounds and covered the entire page.

Library of Memories Take 2 - Book Pages 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

I still have quite a few scraps left - they'll be great on future projects, so I'll make sure not to throw them out!

That's it for my post here, but make sure you hop over to StencilGirl Talk to see my full project and more tutorials, plus even more fabulous projects guaranteed to inspire!

 


Gwen's Gems - Stenciled Statement Necklaces

Hi everyone, I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with a new project and tutorial... this month I made nine statement necklaces using stencils as my foundation.

Stenciled Statement Necklaces - Gwen Lafleur

If you hop over to StencilGirl Talk, you can see more photos of each of the necklaces, as well as a quick little tutorial on how I made them. Enjoy!

 


Creative JumpStart - My Interview with Nathalie

Hi everyone, just popping in to post the video of a fun little Skype interview that I did a week or so ago with Nathalie Kalbach. We talked about my project for Creative JumpStart, how my travels inspire my work, finding time to be creative with a full-time job, and lots more! I hope you enjoy it :)

 

You can learn more or sign up for Creative JumpStart - we've already started, but videos can be viewed and downloaded through December, so it's not too late to join in!

 


Top 5 favorite things from my Creative JumpStart project

I was lucky enough to be included, for the 2nd year in a row, amongst the amazing talent that Nathalie has lined up for Creative JumpStart 2017! I can't share my actual project with you - you can only see the whole thing if you sign up, but I thought I'd share a few of my favorite things about the process so you could get a peek (or better yet, decide to sign up and join us!)

1. I got to use my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil from StencilGirl. You know the saying "put a bird on it?" For me, it's "put a peacock on it!" (Or at least a feather.) I may have also experimented a little with embossing powder for this bit.

CJS2017 Project - Peacock Feathers Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

2. Clay! and beads! and gold! and more beads! The main tutorial video shows the process of making these guys... one of my favorite parts of the whole thing. Plus, a little vintage applique never hurts ;)

CJS2017 Sneek Peek 2 - Gwen Lafleur

3. Assemblage (pronounced like Collage, a la Michael deMeng.) Wood, resin, sculpture, more wood, bling, paint... I seriously had so much fun making this project.

CJS2017 Sneek Peek - Gwen Lafleur

4. Sculpture! I couldn't resist adding two bonus videos showing my entire start-to-finish process for making the beaded sculpture that becomes the centerpiece of my project. Huge thanks to Nathalie who offered to add them as a bonus to my workshop and make them downloadable!

CJS2017 Project - Beaded Sculpture Centerpiece - Gwen Lafleur

5. All of the other artists! So many wonderful and inspiring teachers... one of my favorite things about being a participating artist is that I also get to be a student... Dina Wakley, Michelle Ward, Rae Missigman, Mary Beth Shaw, Jodi Ohl, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Andy Skinner, Nathalie Kalbach (of course!) In all there are 27 amazing teachers (I wish I had space to list them all! but that would be a very long paragraph,) and I'm excited to learn from each and every one of them! (Make sure you check out all of the artist interviews on the CJS site.)

Hopefully I'll see you there, but if not... I hope you enjoyed the sneaks of my project! 

  


Mixed Media Medallions with StencilGirl and PaperArtsy!

PaperArtsy StencilGirl Header

Hi everyone, I'm excited to be participating in the blog hop with StencilGirl and PaperArtsy! It was loads of fun to combine stencils together with all the fabulous Fresco Finish acrylic paints, Infusions, and the awesome rubber stamp designs. In fact, it was so much fun that I made two projects!

Mixed Media Medallions 2 - PaperArtsy and StencilGirl - Gwen Lafleur

First, I made what I'm calling a mixed media medallion - I've named this piece "The Lady of the Lake" - I think you might be able to see why!

  Lady of the Lake - Mixed Media - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a little overview of how this came together:

I started with a sheet of vellum finish Bristol paper and put down some color with the Fresco Antarctica paint. Then I stamped the large image from the Lynne Perella Collection 009 stamp set with black Archival Ink (important to have something permanent since I was going to layer on top.) Next I put some molding paste through the Cornish Petals Large stencil by Lizzie Mayne, making sure to put the center of the stencil over the stamped face, and I let it dry. 

Once dry, I cut it out and then used Space Cadet, Turquoise, and Lake Wanaka Fresco paints over top. Originally I wanted more of the stamped image to show through, but as I painted it seemed to be telling me to keep edging in a bit more. I'm glad I listened!

Mixed Media Medallion Steps 1-4 - Gwen Lafleur

I took some Gold Fresco Finish and used my finger to rub it across the raised areas of the design, then mixed Slate with satin glaze and glazed the entire thing, let it dry for a minute or so, then wiped off the excess with a baby wipe. This really helped to highlight the dimension!

Once that was dry, I used gold glitter glue to go over all the gold areas and really bling it up. Here you can see how I considered just stopping here and using this in an art journal:

Mixed Media Medallion Art Journal Idea - Gwen Lafleur

As much as I loved this, and I did! I wanted to keep pushing with this idea. I mixed up some Aves Apoxy Clay and then sprinkled in some Infusions Dye Stain (A Bit Jaded.) I added just a spritz of water to activate the dye as I kneaded it into the clay so that it would stain it for me. I rolled that out and put a ring of clay around the stamped face, then inserted some clear crystals around the outside edge and embedded lots of brown and gold beads into the surface of the clay.

Mixed Media Medallion Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Once the clay was no longer water soluble, I filled the well in the middle with Diamond Glaze and then sprinkled more Infusions onto the surface. They spread just a bit on contact with the liquid (which I wanted,) and I was careful not to disturb it so that they would just be dots and splashes of color and not completely dye the glaze. I left this until the glaze was totally dry and the clay was cured (overnight.)

Of course, this still wasn't done in my book! I pulled my Gold Fresco Finish paint back out and rubbed it all over the clay and beads. Some of the color still showed through, but it helped to better integrate that area. Next I took out some brass findings and cut them and attached them onto the back of the medallion using E6000 glue.

Mixed Media Medallion Steps 6-7 - Gwen Lafleur

I wanted a bit of a patina effect on the metal, so I just used my fingers again to rub in a little White Fire Fresco Finish, as well as some Guacamole. I added a strand of rhinestones around the inside of the circle to cover up the seam with the glaze (and add more bling!) and then glued a few jewels into some openings on the metal bits.

Mixed Media Medallion Unmounted - Gwen Lafleur

Loving this! I felt like it now needed to be mounted on something, so I took out an unfinished wooden plaque type thing I'd gotten at the craft store, sanded the rough parts, then painted it with Gold, Guacamole, and Tinned Peas. I stenciled some flourishes from the 9x12 of my Heraldry StencilClub collection with gold texture paste and then filled them with a glaze mixed with more Gold. I also added some stamping using smaller elements on the Lynne Perella 28 stamp collection and Background Plate 5 with gold and chartreuse ink.

Mixed Media Medallion Steps 8-9 - Gwen Lafleur

I edged the whole thing with more Space Cadet and Turquoise paints and then coated the entire surface with metallic glaze for a little shimmer. Finally, I added some Dresden trim borders and some skeleton leaves and glued it all together. I'm so happy with how this turned out!

Lady of the Lake Close-up - Gwen Lafleur
Lady of the Lake Close-up - Gwen Lafleur
Lady of the Lake Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

Of course, that wasn't enough. I also really wanted to do something that I could turn into a big statement necklace pendant, so I used similar techniques along with my stamps, paints, and stencils and made an artsy necklace - a conversation piece for sure!

Mixed Media Pendant - StencilGirl and PaperArtsy - Gwen Lafleur

 

For the pendant, I started with a piece of white cardstock and stamped one of the large images from Lynne Perella Collection 34 with black Archival Ink. Next I took the Marrakech Mix stencil by Michelle Ward and used one of the larger openings to trace around the face - I wanted this to be the part of the stamp that showed in my pendant.

Mixed Media Pendant Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

I used colored pencils to color in the area defined by the stencil, then I cut it out, leaving about 1/4" since I knew I wanted to frame the colored image with clay. I also knew that I wanted some "stuff" sticking out of the clay, so I got some headpins and various colorful beads and made some picks to stick in there.

Mixed Media Pendant Steps 4-6 - Gwen Lafleur

I mixed up more Apoxie clay (I really love that stuff!) and rolled it out to about 1/4" diameter and then wrapped it around the image, pressing it lightly into the cardstock base so that it would stick (I also covered the back of the pendant with a thin layer of clay.) Since I wanted this to be able to be used as a pendant, I put a loop of wire into the top where I could attach a chain.  I then stuck my beaded picks into the clay around the bottom, added spike beads in between the picks, and added more beads into the other areas of the clay. I let the clay cure until it was nice and solid before moving on.

Next up, I got out my trusty Gold Fresco Finish paint and painted over the clay and beads as well as the back, then when it was dry I flipped it over and glued on some different gold trims that would show around the edges on the front.

Mixed Media Pendant Steps 7-10 - Gwen Lafleur

Again, I took some metal findings and added them onto the back with E6000 (to actually wear this as a necklace, you could cut and glue on a piece of felt or add more clay to cover up any rough bits that might bother your skin.)

Finally, I filled in the front with more Diamond Glaze and then edged the inside of the pendant opening with some fine gold trim to help emphasize the original shape. Add a chain, and voila! A fun and artsy statement necklace. (Of course, this could also be used on the cover or a book, on a mixed media piece, in assemblage art... it definitely doesn't have to be worn!)

Mixed Media Pendant - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Mixed Media Pendant - Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it from me today - I hope you enjoyed my projects and that you're having fun as you go through all of the awesome projects in this week's blog hop. Make sure you comment on each one, because there's a giveaway!

PaperArtsy StencilGirl Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a $75 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products

AND a £50 Gift Certificate for PaperArtsy!!


Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win!

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)


You have until Friday, December 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and PaperArtsy's blog on Sunday, January 1.

 

Blog Hop Order:

Dec. 21

Darcy Wilkinson

Kim Dellow
Mary C. Nasser
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!


Dec. 22

Jo Firth Young
Lauren Hatwell
Kristie Taylor

Tina Walker

Dec. 23
Clare Lloyd
Lin Brown
Anna Friesen
Janet Joehlin

Dec. 24
Kay Carley
Emma Godfrey
Cindy Gilstrap
Karen Gaunt

 

 


Stenciled Mixed Media Door Signs

Hi Everyone! It's time for Gwen's Gems again on StencilGirl Talk... this month I'm sharing a tutorial for making some fun stenciled mixed media door signs. My sign is being used to mark the door of my studio! (Well... since I'm lucky enough to have a studio AND a spare room, this marks my sewing / storage room.)

Stenciled Mixed Media Room Sign - Gwen Lafleur

Stenciled Mixed Media Room Sign - Hanging on Door 2 - Gwen Lafleur

If you want to see more (including that tutorial I mentioned,) head on over to StencilGirl Talk for the full post.

PS... don't forget, the extra $5 coupon has expired, but there's still a discounted price to join me and 26 other fabulous teachers for Creative JumpStart in January!

 


Creative JumpStart 2017 Sneak Peek 1

Have you signed up for Creative JumpStart 2017? Last year was my first year, and I was so impressed with the variety of projects and how inspired I was to create and try new things as I watched the videos! 

If you've been thinking about it, I thought I'd post a little teaser that may (or may not!) push you over the edge ;) 

CJS2017 Sneek Peek - Gwen Lafleur

The theme this year is Mix, Match, and Master, and we're mixing styles and supplies in our projects! I'll give you a little hint... mine is mixed media assemblage, and I even added 10+ minutes of bonus video demonstrating how I made the focal point of this piece (you should also be able to download the bonus video.)

Here are some fun facts and figures about what you get with Creative JumpStart:

Hope to see you there!

 


December 2016 StencilClub - Heraldry!

Hi everyone!

I'm super excited to announce that I'm the designer for the December 2016 StencilClub collection from StencilGirl! This month's set is called Heraldry, and I think you can see why:

December 2016 StencilClub Collection 2 - Heraldry by Gwen Lafleur

This set is chock full of hand-drawn designs. You can create your own family crest or coat of arms, or you can use individual elements for backgrounds, borders, journaling blocks, and more! Here's a little video I put together to introduce the stencils; I share my inspiration along with a few different ideas and projects for things you can do with this stencil set:

These are two of the projects I shared in the video - the first, and most obvious application, was a coat of arms!

Family Crest with Heraldry Stencils - Gwen Lafleur - wm

In this second project, I just used one of the sets of mantling designs as corner flourishes for a background in my art journal:

Family Crest with Heraldry Stencils - Gwen Lafleur - wm
Third is an art journal spread where I've used the stencils to create a background, borders, and an embellished journaling block.

Gratitude Art Journal with Heraldry Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

As a little bonus, I put together a full start to finish process of me creating this spread! This will show you some different ways to layer and mask with the designs in a very non-coat-of-arms way. 

 

I really love how these stencils come out - they're actually very versatile, and I'm looking forward to both using them in my work, and in seeing how StencilClub members use them!

These stencils are only available to StencilClub members, so if you want them, you'll need to sign up. If you're signed up before 12/15/16, this is the set you'll start with. Interested? All of the details are on the website.

Make sure you check out StencilGirl Talk on December 7th for even more inspiration from our StencilClub Voices! 


 

P.S... If you're looking for great online classes, don't forget that I'm also one of 27 fabulous teachers participating in Creative JumpStart 2017! Click on the banner below to get more info and sign up if you're interested... there's a great early bird special going on right now! 

 


Announcing Creative JumpStart 2017!

I'm super excited to announce that I'll be back again this year participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2017, run for the 6th time by Nathalie Kalbach. If you're not familiar with CJS, it's a one-of-a-kind online event to kick your creativity into high gear in January 2017. 

Learn techniques, discover new materials, and connect with other artists and crafters. 

Throughout January participants get access to 27 downloadable videos from 27 featured artists. I'm proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.” See for yourself:

Announcing Creative JumpStart 2017 - CJS17 from Nathalie Kalbach on Vimeo.


Head on over to Nathalie's site to sign up and for more details!

You get 27 videos for just $40 (USD) if you sign up before November 30th, (11:59 pm (EST), 2016. Afterwards it will be 45USD until December 31st, 2016 before it goes to its normal sale price of 50USD. 

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!


Cyber Monday 2017 at StencilGirl!

Guess what? It's Cyber Monday at StencilGirl! This means that all of my stencils (and hundreds of other amazing designs,) are all on sale!

Save 25% off from now until 12pm Central Time with coupon code: cyber25

Then, you can still save 20% off from noon until 11:59pm Central Time with coupon code: cyber20

StencilGirl Cyber Monday Artist Promo

What are you waiting for? Time to get shopping!


Stenciled Holiday Ornaments

Hi everyone, I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with my November project for Gwen's Gems! This month I'm making stenciled holiday ornaments.

Stenciled Holiday Ornaments Final 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure to head on over so you can see photos of the individual ornaments, as well as a quick little tutorial on how I made these!

P.S., all of these ornaments are now available for sale! $18 each including shipping within the United States. If you want one, better hurry - they're already selling!


China, Mongolia, and Russia - Sites and Sounds

One of the things that's fallen to the back-burner with all the travel, work business, assignments, etc... going on over the last few months has been documenting my trip to China, Mongolia, and Russia on the Transiberian Railroad. I flew to China in August and spent a week there (where I took precisely one short video,)  before crossing into Mongolia and boarding the Zarengold private train where I spent the next two weeks going up through Mongolia and then into Siberia and all the way across Russia to Moscow.  From there I flew back to Salt Lake (via Frankfurt and Chicago.) My first trip completely circumnavigating the globe!

While I still haven't edited photos (I have over 2,000 - yikes!) I've been working on editing video for another project that will be shared soon, so I figured that while I was in that mode that I'd pull in all of the snippets of video I shot on my trip and make a little montage.

This video is mainly for me - watching it in conjunction with the memories and feelings I have from this adventure makes it much more enjoyable for me than anyone else, I'm sure... but, there are friends, family, and a few fellow travelers who have expressed interest in seeing it, so here you go. It's far from professional (I had never shot video on my Canon DSLR before, and it shows!) but I think this conveys a lot of the feeling of the trip.

Enjoy!

 


November ATC Swap - La Belle Epoque

Wow, an actual new post! I've been busy with lots of stuff lately, but a good chunk of it has been for projects that I can't share just yet, so my poor blog has been neglected while I work on my deadlines. I'm trying to start squeezing in a few posts here and there... I thought I'd start with the ATCs I made for this month's swap. Our theme was La Belle Epoque, and we had such a fun kit to work with! There were lots of great collage images, and I had a great time pulling these together.

Here's the view of all nine of the Artist Trading Cards I mailed in for the swap:

November 2016 ATCs - La Belle Epoque - Gwen Lafleur

Here are close-ups of the individual cards so you can see some of the details. I did some stenciling with pigment inks and then heat embossed the designs in gold, and I also had a lot of fun with the fabulous door images on our collage sheets. I cut them so the doors would open, then put one of the figures inside as a surprise when you open the door.

November La Belle Epoque ATCs 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

The one on the above right had some cool trim under the photo, and you can just see some rub-on flourishes inside the doors.

November La Belle Epoque ATCs 3-4 - Gwen Lafleur

Above, another door (there's a little metal "knob" too!) and on the right there's more embossed stenciling in the background, and I gave her a crown with butterfly wings and some jewels.

November La Belle Epoque ATCs 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

Again, more embossed stenciling, and on the right I made a frame from metallic trim - there's some pattern you can see under the trim, and I added a little piece from some broken gold colored jewelry that I thought fit nicely with the card.

November La Belle Epoque ATCs 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

The next two both used die-cut frames from Spellbinders - I painted them bronze and then added embellishment, Liquid Pearls, dots, etc... I pulled out the old scrapbook supplies on these - OLD Prima flowers (like from the original collections!) and an old Making Memories metal brad. I love it when I can find good uses for all that stuff!

Last but not least...

November La Belle Epoque ATC 9 - Gwen Lafleur

This has some French book text in the background, and it might be my favorite door. The corners are old gold photo corner stickers (I got them in one of the early Club Scrap kits... maybe 12+ years ago?) and you can see a bit more of how the inside of the door was decorated. Those were kraft butterfly stickers with gold ink.

That's it for this month! I can't wait to see what everyone else did and to get my swapped cards back in the mail. I'm sure they'll all be fabulous, as usual!

 


Mini Stenciled Junque Journals

Hi everyone, I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today sharing some mini stenciled junque journals that I made to give out as gifts. Here you can see the books I made:

Mini Stenciled Junque Journals - Complete - Gwen Lafleur

You can head over to the StencilGirl blog to see more photos of the books as well as a little tutorial on how I made them. Enjoy!

 

 


Alter Egos in my Art Journal: Throwback Thursday with StencilGirl

Today is Throwback Thursday over at StencilGirl Talk, and I jumped in this month to make a new art journal spread featuring two awesome oldie but goodie stencils (along with a bunch of others, of course!) I was really itching to use the Face Map Side Version 2 stencil by Pam Carriker, and I couldn't help but think of doing some kind of face to face concept in my art journal. So, I took that as my starting point and went with it! As I went, I added in the Fade Circle stencil by Michelle Ward - it's awesome for adding pattern to the background as well as layering with other patterns. Here's where I ended up:

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

I really ended up liking this spread, and I had so much fun with the process of putting it together! Here's a little overview for you of the different phases of the project.

I recently had a comment on Facebook referring me to an awesome video by Anne Bagby (Collage, Paper, Patterns, & Glazing) and I took some techniques I learned in that video as a starting point to make some collaged figures with the face stencil; that included making some black and white collage papers using my stencils, Michelle Ward's Fade Circle stencil, and a few hand-carved stamps.

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I traced the outline of the head on the gesso'd background - I flipped the stencil for the second one so that they would face each other across the center of the spread.

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Following Anne Bagby's lead, I blocked in around the figures with black paint, leaving areas as I went to embellish the figures (no plan for what they would look like, I just went with what I was feeling at the time.)

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I started tearing up pieces of my collage papers and adhering them in place with matte medium. I tried to do it quickly without thinking too much, but I was still considering where everything would work best - I just didn't spend forever overthinking every choice. Moving quickly and just going with my instincts and impulses led me in a kind of unexpected direction, but I found myself LOVING it very quickly.

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

The hair on both of them... totally my favorite part. I have no idea where the idea for the spikes came with, but I kind of adore that part of the collage.

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 4a - Gwen Lafleur

I seriously considered just stopping here and calling it done. I loved it. Of course, you could follow along to this point and just leave it black and white. Or do more than one at the same time and go in different directions! (That's what Anne suggested in her video.) Naturally, I kept going - why stop now? The next step was to use the stencil to pencil in where the facial features would go.

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

I kind of sketched in how I wanted those to go and then layered on top with a permanent pen. From there, I pulled out some paint markers and started adding a few spots of really intense, glossy color.

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I pulled out the Fade Circle stencil again and used some bronze paint to add pattern into the background. Normally I don't use the bottle directly through the stencil this way, but this one wasn't very juicy so it worked well (although watch out - you can tear up your applicators stenciling directly through the stencil like this.)

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

More color... this time using more transparent paints and glazes. I followed this with some straight bronze paint to get a bit more depth.

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

Some finishing details... lots of dots... done! I love it!

Alter Egos Art Journal Page 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Close-ups:

Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Left Side Close-up- Gwen Lafleur
Alter Egos Art Journal Page - Left Side Close-up- Gwen Lafleur

If you're interested, here are all of the stencils I used:

Oldie but Goodie Stencils:

 
My Stencils (Not oldies, but hopefully still goodies!)
 
If you haven't already, don't forget to hop over to StencilGirl Talk to see all of today's awesome Throwback Thursday stencil projects!
 
 

Art Journal Cover with StencilGirl and Impression Obsession

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and Impression Obsession! This week members of both creative teams are combining StencilGirl stencils and IO stamps to make fun new projects that we hope you'll love!

SGP IOS Blog Hop Banner

For my project, I decided to decorate the cover of a small art journal I made a while ago that I haven't used yet (hopefully this will help change that.)

Here's what I came up with:

  Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover - Gwen Lafleur

This could also work for an art journal page, mixed media canvas or panel... it could translate to a handmade card as well! Here's a little overview of my process as I made my cover, along with links to the products I used.

First, I used gold pigment ink and embossing powder and stenciled with my Decorative Folk Flower Screen stencil until I had covered the whole background. (I inked, applied the powder, and embossed before moving onto the next section. The background was painted back when I made the journal, so it made it easy to get started!)

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next, I took a few stamps and used black ink to add in a little texture. I randomly stamped over the cover without using a mount since I didn't want the entire image to print. I rubbed off over the embossing so that the stamping just showed up on the background (obviously you could do this before stenciling and embossing, but that would just be too easy.) For this step I used images from the Alphabet Scramble and Faded Fragments stamp sets, both by Seth Apter for Impression Obsession. 

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur
With the background done, I moved on to the frame that I wanted to make for my focal point image. To do this, I got a good piece of thick paper (I used a scrap of Rieves BFK left over from an art class,) and then I tinted some molding paste with fluid acrylic paints. I put a nice, thick coat of molding paste through my Decorative Medallion Repeating Corner stencil - probably about 2mm thick. I used a heat gun to form enough of a skin that I could move on to the next section without smudging the paste (I made sure to oscillate it a lot so that I wouldn't bubble the wet molding paste.)

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Once I had repeated the image four times to complete my medallion, I let it dry long enough to handle and then cut around it and applied some gold spray ink. I used a baby wipe to clean the ink off of the molding paste surface so that it only stained the paper.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

I set that aside and worked on the focal point of the cover - I knew that I wanted to build everything around this Peacock stamp from Hannah Davies Designs.  (As soon as I saw this stamp, I knew it had to be mine! LOL.) I stamped it in black on heavy copy paper and colored it with Inktense pencils and Staedtler Triplus Fine-liner pens. (Later, I colored the background with a gold acrylic glaze.)

Coloring Stamped Image

After I colored the image, I used the Simple Geo Squares stencil by Kae Pea to frame the image and determine what was going to be shown through the frame I was making with my molding paste medallion. I traced the line around the peacock, then as you can see below, I used it again to trace on the back of my medallion to know where my opening was going to be.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

 I cut out my opening and then glued the image to the back of the frame.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

I went ahead and glued the frame onto the journal cover, then used some Aves Apoxie - Fixit Sculpt, and put a clay border around the opening to frame it. I embedded some metal findings and rhinestones, then I used an another image from Seth's Faded Fragments stamp set to add some texture. I spritzed the stamp with a mold release spray and then pressed it into the soft clay. The mold release made it so that it didn't stick to the clay or ruin the stamp, and I got some really fabulous texture!

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

When the clay was cured, I painted the clay with black gesso and then added some Art Stones around the edge for texture.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 7a - Gwen Lafleur

In between clay drying and paint curing, I also made a little label to be a title for the front of the book. I stamped a ticket image from the Balzer Designs Tickets stamp set, then used another image from Seth Apter's Alphabet Scramble set with gray ink to add some pattern to the background. Once that was done, I took the "Saturday" stamp from the Balzer Designs Days of the Week set and used a black brush marker  to just ink one letter at a time so I could spell "ART" on my ticket / title card. On the back of the stamp I placed my finger over top of the letter so that I would know where the letter was when I went to stamp it - it worked great!

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

I finished up by adding a few layers of paint on top of my clay frame, then I glued my title tag onto the cover. 

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Close-up 1- Gwen Lafleur

I also decided I wanted a little more stamping on the background, so I used the numbers stamp from the Balzer Designs Tickets stamp set and put the lightest wash of white paint inside the image. I really love how it turned out.

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Close-up 2- Gwen Lafleur

Stamped and Stenciled Art Journal Cover Close-up 3- Gwen Lafleur
Voila! Finished art journal cover!

I really hope you enjoyed my project today... make sure you visit all of the blogs on this week's hop and leave comments so that you can be eligible for an awesome... 

GIVEAWAY!!!

 
SGP IOS Blog Hop Giveaway image
StencilGirl Products will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Impression Obsession will be giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to TWO lucky winners!
Visit the fabulous designers from both teams and comment for your chance to win one of these 4 great prizes during the hop!
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)
 
You have until Friday, September 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winners will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, October 2nd.
 

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!