Stenciled & Wood-Burned Diptych Photo Frame

SG & WH Blog Hop Header

Hi all! I'm excited to be joining in with the StencilGirl / Walnut Hollow blog hop today! This was a very fun project for me as it gave me the opportunity to try something entirely new with my stencils. I knew as soon as I saw these decorator plaques from Walnut Hollow that I wanted to make a diptych and do some wood burning with my Versa-Tool.

Here's what I made - a diptych photo frame for me to display in my house - I love it!

  Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Gwen Lafleur

I've got a quick tutorial to show you how I made this piece. Ready?

First I started by stenciling each piece with my Decorative Medallion stencil using a light color of brown ink. I knew I was going to trace over this design with my Versa-Tool, so I wanted to make sure that the color I used wouldn't interfere with the beautiful burned wood color that was coming next.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Next step? Get comfy... this part takes a while. I pulled up a chair and turned on the hockey game and patiently traced over the stenciled lines with the detail tip of my tool. I really wanted that dark brown color, and I love the way that it created almost a debossed effect as I worked over the design. You can clearly see the difference in color and texture as each section was burned. Beautiful!

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

You can also see a circle drawn in the center - I knew that I was going to cover up the middle with a circular element, so why waste time burning sections that would be covered up? This was my line to tell me where I could stop since it would later be hidden.

With the burning done, I didn't want to do any painting, so I coated the plaques with a glaze made from polymer medium, transparent yellow iron oxide fluid acrylic paint, micaceous iron oxide, and gold interference paint. (All from Golden.)

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

I have several ready-made colored glazes I keep in small bottles, so I used those to add a few touches of color to some areas of the design. (These were cobalt turquoise and pyrrole red, both mixed with polymer medium and nothing else.)

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Next I used some metallic waxes around the edges to frame the design and add a bit more depth. 

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Everything was still feeling very flat and "blah" to me (keeping in mind that more is usually more in my world,) and I glanced over at my palette and just randomly started peeling off sections of dried gold paint and sticking them around the edges of my plaques. It was working for me - it looked a bit like gold leafing, so I kept doing it and then sealed it.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

It was still all feeling like it was missing something, so I pulled out some molding paste skins I made several months ago and then didn't use. These were done from the Damask Borders stencil by Michelle Ward. (To make a molding paste skin, you just put molding paste through your stencil onto a non-stick surface like a Teflon of silicon craft mat, then set it aside on a flat surface and let it dry completely. The "skins" will peel off and work great as dimensional embellishments! I stored mine in wax paper until they were ready to be used. As always, make sure to clean your stencil immediately after using any kind of texture paste!)

Here you can see the steps I took to paint them - I wanted them to look kind of like metal, so I used several layers of paint and finished with a bit more wax.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 7 - Gwen Lafleur

I picked out a few other embellishments to use with my flourishes; some Dresden border trim, and some really cool vintage Turkomen jewelry findings. I adhered everything into place and let it dry.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 8 - Gwen Lafleur

From here I got out some small hinges and mini screws and turned my plaques into a diptych by connecting them together:

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I took a few family photos and sized them in Photoshop, then printed them and used a large circle punch to shape them. I mounted those on some wood circles (I burned a pattern around the edge of them with my Versa-Tool that looks pretty cool!) I edged the photos with strands of rhinestones and then adhered them in the center.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 10 - Gwen Lafleur
Done? Of course not! I took some gold and brown beads strung on wire and adhered those around the circles - this helped cover up gaps between the circle and the plaques where there weren't any embellishments.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 11 - Gwen Lafleur

Okay, last step - for real this time! I took out some Liquid Pearls and added dots along my Dresden to bring the colors out from the center and into other parts of the piece.

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Step 12 - Gwen Lafleur

Voila! C'est fini! 

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Just a few close-ups...

Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur
Stenciled - Woodburned Diptych - Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I'm thrilled with the results :) I hope you enjoyed today's project! Of course, now is the part that I'm sure everyone is waiting for...

GIVEAWAY!

One lucky winner will receive both a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products AND a $25 Gift Certificate to Walnut Hollow!

SG & WH 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 blog please.)

You have until Sunday, March 19th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and Walnut Hollow's Facebook page on Monday, March 20th.

 

March 15

March 16 

March 17 

 


February ARTifacts Art Journal Spreads

It's time for the next monthly installment of the #ARTifacts 2017 art journaling project! (Details about the project and the first month's pages are in my original post.)

ARTifacts-Project-Banner---Gwen-Lafleur

February was a very busy month - lots of projects, lots going on! I managed to squeeze all of my photos into just three spreads, though. I did them more by theme this month instead of chronologically since that seemed to make the most sense.

For the first spread I focused on introducing my artsy goals for the month, then featured my February StencilGirl projects (stenciled and embroidered handmade book using Kraft-Tex, and another handmade book using ICE Resin coated stenciled papers for windows in the pages.) Coincidentally, the little handmade books inside embroidered book from the Kraft-Tex blog hop are the ones I'm using for my ARTifacts journals.

 

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

The tag pulls out of the little envelope to show pictures of the second project:


ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

The back of the tag has my journaling about the two projects.


ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 For the second spread, I focused on the projects that comprised my main goal for the month - pulling together the new classes I needed to flesh out my in-person class offerings, along with at least one sample for each class (as well as a new sample for an existing class.)


ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Here's just the left-hand page - I have kind of a folder that opens up to show all of the other class samples and the journaling. On the front are photos of the samples for the Of Angels and Icons and Mixed Media Floral Still Life classes.

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 2a - Gwen Lafleur

Here's the inside with more samples, including the new one for the Mixed Media Shrines / Shadow Boxes class (which I'm teaching in Connecticut this May if you missed it,) along with the Art Journal Design: Stamp, Stencil, & Collage workshop and the Mini Mixed Media Medallions class.

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 2b - Gwen Lafleur

The last page was just a quick overview of the art journaling I managed to get done from the Wanderlust class lessons. I keep getting further and further behind! Too much to do... I'm always happy when I can get anything done for this.

ARTifacts Art Journal - February Spread 3 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for this month! Still tons going on even if I managed to squeeze the recap into fewer pages this month. I can't wait to see what the other ARTifacts participants were up to in February!

As always, you can see all of my pages for the entire year on the ARTifacts page on my website :)

 


March ATCs - In the Garden

It's time for another ATC swap! The theme for our group this month was "In the Garden," and it came with another fabulous kit to play with. I managed to work ahead enough that I didn't have to do all nine cards the night before they went in the mail, so that's a win for me!

Here's what I sent in for our swap this month:

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden - Gwen Lafleur

I dug into my old scrapbook supplies a bit to try and do some stash busting. Here are close-ups of each of the cards and a little description of what I used:

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

Both of these use dies from the Spellbinders Art Deco collection. On the left, I layered several cutouts from our collage sheets with patterned paper, ribbon, and adorable pieced bumble bees (Jolee's, I think? They were in the kit.) On the right, similar formula with a white paper leaf from the kit plus some flat-back adhesive pearls from my stash, liquid pearls, an adhesive pearl border, and scraps of a border punched from gold cardstock. Both were edged with gold wax.

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 3-4 - Gwen Lafleur

Above left is another frame from a Spellbinders die, flowers cut from patterned paper, ribbon, stenciled background, and the image was selected because her expression seems to say exactly how she feels about that hat. On the right, lots of glitter, a patterned cardstock frame from my stash (Pebbles, I think,) and a cutout layered on patterned paper. There's some stenciling in the background that's hard to see, but it's there!

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

Above left, collage cut-out layered over another collage cutout that worked as the background, plus flowers and trims from the kit. The top border was punched from gold cardstock. Top right - this might be my favorite one. I layered three collage images from the kit with ribbon and another punched border, and there's light stenciling in the background.

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Cards 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

Top left, stenciling in the background that I went over with glitter glue, then a few collage cutouts and a "rusted" diecut from a Spellbinders set. On the right, stenciled background, punched border, another patterned frame, and a fun charm from the kit.

March 2017 ATCs - In the Garden Card 9 - Gwen Lafleur

Last but not least, patterned paper background, the frame is a printed chipboard diecut (Studio Calico, I think,) around a collage cutout and patterned background. I added flowers and trim and some Liquid Pearls.

That's it for this month! My cards are off and should be there any day... I can't wait to see what everyone else did and which cards I get back!

 


Mixed Media Shadow Boxes / Shrines Workshop

Hi all! As you probably know, I've been working hard over the last few months to get new classes available to be scheduled for in-person workshops. I'm excited to announce that my first workshop of 2017 is now open for registration!

I'll be teaching Mixed Media Shadow Boxes / Shrines at Papercraft Clubhouse in Westbrook, CT. The class will be Wednesday, May 3 from 10am to 5pm (there's a 1-hour break in there for lunch,) and the class is $100 for the day, which includes the cost of the supplies I'll provide (clay, shared tools, a few other goodies...)

Mixed Media Shadow Boxes - Shrines - Class Samples - Gwen LafleurHopefully I'll see plenty of you there! I know it's a weekday, but I'll be in the area for an art retreat that weekend and Tracie was kind enough to invite me to teach while I'm there. As a little teaser, I'll also be back at the Clubhouse June 16-17 with more classes! (We're still working out details, but watch for another announcement soon!)

In the meantime, you can get all of the class details and lots of close-up photos of the samples on my website, or you can call the store at 860-399-4443 to register today!

Hope to see you there!

 


Wanderlust 2017 Weeks 1-5

This year I wanted to challenge myself to do another year-long class; the last two years I did Inspiration Wednesday (although I stopped in August 2016 and haven't yet finished - too much traveling the last half of the year!) but this year I wanted to try something different. I liked the idea of Wanderlust from Everything Art, since it looked like a good mix of teachers, techniques, and learning about different tools that I want to try. So I signed up and as the lessons have begun, I've been trying to keep from getting too far behind! 

The first lesson was from Kasia Avery (one of the hosts) and was kind of an introduction - this lesson is the title page in my book, which is a new 11x11 handmade art journal (I'm LOVING both the book and the size!)

Wanderlust Week 1 - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

My statement for the year is "to learn, to explore, to grow." 

Wanderlust Week 1 - Art Journal Page Close-up 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Another close-up with some of the layers and texture on the page:

Wanderlust Week 1 - Art Journal Page Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Week 2 was with Mary Wangerin and I really liked this one - it was kind of a mandala inspired project with a lot of layers and exploration.

Wanderlust Week 2 - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

If you look closely, you can see some hints of the many layers on this page:

Wanderlust Week 2 - Art Journal Page Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Some fun texture too :)

Wanderlust Week 2 - Art Journal Page Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Week 3 was with Wilna Furstenberg and I really enjoyed this one as well... I added a bit more color and pattern and made it more "me" (but we're supposed to do that, right?)

Wanderlust Week 3 - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

Close-up of some of the page elements... the flowers are all hand-painted with a detail brush and acrylic ink. I added stenciling on top.

Wanderlust Week 3 - Art Journal Page Close-up 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Week 4 was a break for catching up (I'm so glad they built those in!) Week 5 was back with Kasia again, this time just working on breaking the blank page and creating backgrounds, with a focus on maybe using products or techniques that we don't normally use. I made a few backgrounds, including this one that featured my neglected Gelatos:

Wanderlust Week 5 - Art Journal Background - Gwen Lafleur

I'm looking forward to finding some more time to get to work on the next sets of lessons. It's fun to have something I can do now and then that's just for me and challenges me to go out of the box, try something new, or look at a new perspective. I like it so far!

 


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!

 


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!  

 


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!

 


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!

 


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! 

 


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!


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!

 


Adventure Themed Art Journal Spread

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

Adventure Art Journal Spread - Gwen Lafleur

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


Christmas in July with StencilGirl & Imagine Crafts

Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on our awesome Christmas in July blog hop with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts! I love Christmas, so it was really fun to get into the holiday state of mind in the midst of our 100+ degree weather here in Utah.

If you've ever been to my house or seen pictures I've posted of my Christmas decorations, then you know that my holiday decor is a mix of classic, bohemian, and just plain eclectic. I'm pretty picky about what I'll put out in my house, so it was a fun challenge for me to make something that I would actually use!

I was chatting about this project with my mom (who has very similar taste in decor - I wonder where I get it from... lol) and she reminded me of this cool ceramic planter that a friend of hers had made for her that she uses for poinsettias - I've always loved it because you can take off those foil wrappers that they come in at the store. I thought it would be fun to try and make something similar for my own house; I had a feeling that the Imagine Crafts irRESISTible sprays and Pico Embellishers would work great for giving me a glassy, ceramic-esque finish. I was right!

Here's what I came up with - a planter, and while I was at it I also made a matching ornament to hang on my tree.

Christmas Decor with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts - Gwen Lafleur

I was pretty skeptical at first about whether this would work, but I have to say... I really love how these turned out! Here's a little overview of how I made both of these pieces.

The first thing I did was to create some molds and do some casting with clay in order to make my cherubs. I had a nice sized vintage Frozen Charlotte head, so I made a mold of that and then just used the front half along with epoxy clay to make "cherub" faces. I also had a set of vintage metal wings that I made a mold of and then made sets of clay wings from that.

Molding and Casting to Make Cherubs - Gwen Lafleur

While those pieces were curing, I worked on getting my pot ready to go. I got an inexpensive 6" plastic pot at the store and took some lightweight epoxy clay and covered the entire thing with a thin layer of clay. Depending on what you want to do, you could skip this step - I wanted to even out the ridges on the outside of the pot and also create a surface that would take paints and glazes and help give me the faux ceramic finish I was looking for.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

When the clay was completely cured (I let it go overnight,) I took my Decorative Medallion Stencil and spread texture paste through the opening. I let it set and then moved the stencil and did it again until I had 3 medallions, roughly equally spaced around the pot. I originally planned to make an all white pot like my mom's, but decided that I actually wanted to bring in some color so I took the Imagine Crafts Creative Medium in gold and added another layer on top of the white texture paste. 

Once all of the texture pastes were dry, I used more epoxy clay to put the cherub heads and wings on the pot. I positioned them and then let them cure for a few hours so that they wouldn't move for the next step. For that, I used my irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in Pear Tart and Lilac Posies to add some color into some of the stencil openings (I like to design my stencils so that you can color in the spaces, which you can do with lots of different mediums!) 

Below, you can see where I took gold paint pens and added borders on the top and bottom of the pot, as well as around the wings of each cherub.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 4-6 - Gwen Lafleur

I also took some of the new StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and put that all over the cherub and the textured stenciled area. I let it dry for a minute and then used a baby wipe to wipe some of it off - it leaves hints of gold in the nooks and crannies. (This was the point where I decided to add the purple glaze into the stenciled area - you can see that in the 3rd photo above.) After that, I took my irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress and took off the sprayer and used it with a brush to put a heavy glaze of transparent white all over the whole piece. This is the step that really helps everything to look more like ceramic. I left that to dry, then added some jewels around each medallion.

Here you can see a few more views of how the planter turned out after everything was dried:

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur
Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Obviously, you don't have to use all the clay if you want to do something similar - you can take a plain pot (terracotta would work great) and just paint it white, then stencil on top of it and add the glazes. You could use ready made cherub tree ornaments, or find something else entirely!

Next up, the tree ornament. This ended up being my favorite of the two pieces :)

To start, I stenciled my Decorative Curvy Ornament stencil onto a sheet of thin chipboard, then cut around the design. Next, I took some epoxy clay and covered the whole piece of chipboard in clay, carefully working around the details and making sure the clay covered the sides of the chipboard.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

Before the clay was cured, I lined my stencil back up with the shape and used a rubber color shaper tool to trace the design into the clay. After that was done, I mixed up some more clay and rolled it out into long, thin ropes and used it to outline the traced areas so that the details would be raised up from the base. (Yes... in case you're wondering, this clay stuff was tedious! But so worth it in the end.)

Note that I put the hole through what was going to be the top of the ornament while the clay was still soft. I also turned it so that it looked more like a 4-point star.

I let this cure overnight and then when it was hard, I used the StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and then again in purple to glaze the ornament.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 4-7 - Gwen Lafleur

For the first layer of each color, I mixed the glaze with water and applied it all over with a brush, waited, and then wiped some back. Then I went in with the undiluted glaze and added some more directly into the nooks and crannies. When the gold was dry, I repeated that process with the purple. When both of those were dry, I used the irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress for another thick coat of transparent white glaze. This with the colored glazes below it really transformed the look of the piece.

Next, I used more clay to put the face and wings onto the ornament and let that cure for a while so I wouldn't disturb it when I went back to work some more.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 8-10 - Gwen Lafleur

When that was ready,  I used irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in gold and Lilac Posies to flood the insides of some of the raised detail areas. I've always thought that the irRESISTible products looked a lot like stained glass when they dried because they're fairly translucent and shiny when dry - I think the look you get from them here is so cool!

With that, it was just finishing touches. I outlined everything with a gold paint pen, added some gold stripes to some of the clay lines in the design, and added a few jewels. You can't see it here, but I also gesso'd the flat back side of the ornament and then painted it gold. 

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil 1 - Gwen Lafleur

This one will definitely make it onto my Christmas tree this year!

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

So that's it for the projects... now for the part I'm sure you've been waiting for. The giveaway!

Christmas in July GIVEAWAY image

We'll be picking one lucky winner
to receive $100 in Gift Certificates – a $50 Gift Certificate for StencilGirl Products and
a $50 Gift Certificate for Imagine Crafts!

Take your time and visit each blog showcased July 9, 16, & 23 and leave your comments.

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!

One comment per person per blog please.

You will have until Saturday, July 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner will be notified by email and announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, July 31st.

 

Here are all the blogs from all three days of our hop... make sure you stop at each one and leave comments to be eligible for this awesome and very generous prize!

July 9:
StencilGirl Talk
Mary C. Nasser
Kristie Taylor
Karen Gaunt
Neva Cole
Nadine Carlier
Monica Edwards

July 16:
StencilGirl Talk
Janet Joehlin
Cindy Gilstrap
Anna Friesen
Alison Heikkila
Martha Lucia Gomez
Roni Johnson

July 23:
StencilGirl Talk
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Carolyn Dube
Carol Baxter
Mark Melnick
Jowilna Nolte
Terre Fry

 

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StencilGirl Stencils on Sale!!!

Just taking a few minutes for an artsy PSA - there's a great sale going on today and tomorrow (July 7-8, 2016) over at StencilGirl. If you're interested in getting your hands on any of my stencil designs (hint hint!!!) or any of the other fabulous stencils from more than 40 awesome artists, now's the time!

StencilGirl - Mary Beth's Birthday Sale 2016

Make sure to take note of the coupon code BIRTHDAYPARTY and enter it in during checkout in order to get 14% off your order of stencils (plus, you still get an additional discount if you order 6 or more of the 4x4, 6x6, or 9x12 stencils!)

What are you waiting for?

 


n*Studio - Mini Art Journal - Advice to My Future Self

Hi All! Just popping in to let you know that today I'm up on Nathalie Kalbach's blog sharing a project featuring several of Nathalie's stamps and stencils. Our theme  for this month centered on a letter to our future selves (like 10 years from now selves.) I thought it would be fun to make a little mini art journal where I could write out advice to myself. It's 2"x3" and I picked 5 pieces of advice to include:

Letter-to-Future-Self---Mini-Art-Journal---Gwen-Lafleur

Make sure you head over to see the full post - there are pictures of all of the inside pages as well as a little tutorial for how I made the entire thing. Enjoy!

 

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