Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday: My Favorite Fall Place

It's starting to get pretty with the Fall colors around here! So for today's Throwback Thursday post, where I share older projects and photos, I thought I would share my favorite Fall Place. These photos were taken a few years ago at the state park in my hometown of Bemidji, MN. When colors are at their peak, this is the perfect place to go for a drive and walk on the trails at Bemidji State Park. The entrance driving into it is one of my favorite places to take pictures. Then the trails are so pretty too, like in the featured photo above. Even though I love Summer, Fall is always so beautiful in Minnesota and it makes me so I'm thinking it must be my favorite time of year!

{ The pretty entrance to Bemidji State Park. }

{ I love how the tree trunk and branches stand out against the colorful leaves. }

{ Love the colorful shots you get when looking up at the sky through the leaves! }

Hope I get some pretty shots this year! Stop by my Instagram page to see. Where are your favorite Fall places to take photos? I'd love to find out for possible future trips!

Happy Fall & Thursday to you!


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Monday, September 14, 2015

Live Your Dream Mixed Media Art

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Are you living your dream? I know I'm not yet, but I'm working on it. I think it's a good question to ask yourself regularly. And if you're not, do you know what your dream is? If you're not sure, some questions you may want to ask yourself are: What brings you the most joy? What is your purpose? How can you best serve the world? What are you most interested in and what comes easily to you? If you've got it figured out, then what steps you can take everyday to move you closer to your dream? Having an inspiring quote around your home may help you to remember to work on it, or if you are living your dream, to keep pushing yourself to be able to continue doing it.
I found an interesting article on Huffington Post about why you may not be living your dream life: The Real Reason You're Not Living Your Dream Life (And It's Not Time or Money). In it the author Alexis Sclamberg includes 7 excuses people make to justify why they're not living their dream:

Excuse #1: I don't have the money.
Excuse #2: I don't have time.
Excuse #3: I've already started down one path; I can't change direction.
Excuse #4: I'm too scared.
Excuse #5: People will judge me if I fail.
Excuse #6: I'm not _____ enough.
Excuse #7: I'm not ready yet.
I can relate to a few of those right now. My dream goal is to start selling art prints of my canvases and of my digital designs, on my own and also in shops. And then hopefully to license some of my work to be put on products. I've been selling mostly one of a kind and made to order signs and some wall art so far, and it's been a hard transition. Now I'm trying to focus on my long term goals and to not just continue with what I've been doing so far, what has worked for me in the past. Also, making the switch to focusing on Art and Design and extending my work, rather than on selling individual crafts and getting only that one time sale. The biggest hurdle and excuse for me is believing that people will want to buy my prints (excuse #6 and #7), and not just my original signs or canvases, which has led to me procrastinating quite a bit. I think referring to that article when I'm stuck will help.
Now onto my canvas quote art. I wanted to go for a really doodly, textured look in warm colors. This mixed media canvas features a honeycomb pattern, flowers, spirals and hand lettering. The materials used include: acrylic paint, paint marker, stencil, stamps, chalk pencils, charcoal pencils, colored pencils, texture tool, acrylic ink and archival stamping ink. I really wanted to give it a complex textured look, so there's lots of layers, doodles, speckles and texture sponging using my favorite texture tool.
{ I added some doodles and colors to the black letters }

{ I made some spirals with white and black charcoal pencils }

{Here you  really see the doodles, texture and stamping }
I want to leave you with a few of my favorite inspiring quotes about dreams:
"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow." - Doug Firebaugh
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." - C. S. Lewis
"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." - David Frost
"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls." - Joseph Campbell
"If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney
P.S. Follow my #DareToDream board on Pinterest for quotes and inspiration!
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Monday, August 31, 2015

My Favorite Little Quote Books

I just got the second book in a series of quote books I love. They are the perfect little books of quotes, measuring only about four inches square. I like to keep mine on the table next to my chair in the living room. That way I can flip through them regularly for inspiration. There are so many creative artists and quotes featured; there are 400 pages with tons of quotes by a variety of artists. Not only are there quotes, but also happy little tidbits such as lists, recipes and inspiring people listed throughout. I found mine in a great local gift shop, but I have spotted the "Think Happy" book at the chain store Francesca's. I have provided the Amazon links below, check them out! They would also make a great gift for quote or design lovers.

You Are Doing a Freaking Great Job 2015

My favorite artists in this edition:

Becca Cahan  (in both books)
Veronica Chen  (in both books)
Aimee Myers Dolich of Artsyville
Unraveled Design (also in other book)
Lindsay Hopkins of Pen and Paint (in both), who made this quote below:

Think Happy, Be Happy: Art, Inspiration, Joy 2013

My favorite artists in this edition:

Alyssa Nassner
Steph Baxter (in both books)
Jessie Schneider of Yellow Button Studio (in both books)
Emily McDowell, also the cover designer (also in both)
Katie Daisy, who created this quote below:


Hope you have a happy day :)


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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dare To Be Different Glittery Sign

Sometimes it's fun to just add a lot of glitter to your project! This sign started out cute with my hand lettering and stamped leaves, but it got so much better with some sparkle. I went over my title with a plum purple glitter glue, but it wasn't standing out enough from the brown, so I added a layer of pink on top. Then I went over the leaves in a lime glitter glue and added multi-colored glitter centers to make it pop. I used two to three layers on each glittery area to fill it in more. The bottom lettering was in white, but I went over it with a gold paint marker, which made the letters stand out more, rather than just putting the gold directly on the dark background. I finished it with gold dots accenting the leaves.

A close-up of the sign, which is still available as of this posting date in my Etsy shop. 
Post links to your glitter projects, I'd love to take a look!
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Diamond Rio Concert Layout

For today's Throwback Thursday post, I have a favorite old concert scrapbook layout. It's of a Diamond Rio concert from all the way back in 1998. This was when their song Unbelievable was out, which is such a fun song that I still love! It was an especially great concert, because we had front row center stage seats! And so some of the photos are of a weird angle, because they were right above us.

I really like the way this turned out, because of the fun techniques I used, and also the diamond patterns to mimic the band name. First, I created the title and journal block and printed it out on a transparency. I attached them with brads, adding blue strips and yellow paint behind the title. Then on the second page I painted the back in a swatch of red, which made the lettering stand out. I printed my favorite songs on colored paper and cut into them into paper strips, attaching with brads also. For the red background, I stamped a diamond foam stamp into a pattern using clear Versamark Ink and then I darkened it slightly with a cotton ball and black chalk. The black background was stamped with another foam stamp and royal blue paint. Then I distressed it with a stipple brush and black ink, adding specks of yellow paint using an old toothbrush. A yellow mat and blue paper borders finish off the layout.

This is what the pages look like together. I love making concert scrapbook pages and listing my favorite songs of theirs at the time. It brings back such good memories. I have seen them one more time since in concert, but I would still love to see them again.
Have a great day :-)

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Digitizing Hand Lettering in Illustrator

Lately I've been using my hand lettering on my projects more and more. One reason I like using it is it makes my art and crafts more unique and personal, and with a lot of practice it's been getting better. Another reason is that it can be quicker than using fonts, because of the time spent picking out fonts, designing the quote and cutting out vinyl. Well, for the shorter quotes and smaller signs anyway. But it can be taxing on your hands, and the paint markers I use aren't readily available, I have to order them online and I'm always running out. So, the idea came to me about digitizing them, which means turning them into vector images, so I could use them over and over again!

It seemed like a daunting task to attempt, but I was kinda excited about it. I would have to create it using Adobe Illustrator, and wasn't very experienced with it. I had originally taken a class in it in college, but I never really mastered it, I was only comfortable with some of the basics. And even though I was already using it to make most of my quote signs, I wasn't very good at manipulating vectors. Then, I happened upon a site called Skillshare and I signed up for a trial to take a class by Bonnie Christine about making patterns in Illustrator, another interest I had and wanted to learn. To my surprise, she went over the Illustrator basics, plus how to use the shortcuts and was a great teacher! I was excited to be learning so much and it didn't seem so hard anymore. Plus, I was happy to find Skillshare, which is a really great site. There are so many skills you can learn on there with their video tutorials, including skills by hand such as calligraphy, to Photography lessons, to software lessons like Photoshop.

I started drawing my lettering in a sketchbook (see above) with Microns (08, 1 & 2), which ended up taking quite a bit of time. I would do so many letters a day, and I wanted to make more than one of each letter, so I ended up drawing a LOT of letters! But it was worth it, I wanted the variety! Then, I took another class on Skillshare, which was also about making repeat patterns, it's called Reign Repeats by Majo Bautista V. (links below). She also had many tutorials that were helpful, so I was gaining more confidence in Illustrator.

The last class I took to help me with Illustrator was a new one that showed up on Skillshare. It's a font class called Create Your Own Hand Drawn Font by Jenn Coyle. It sounded so exciting to me, because I love fonts and I always hoped to create my own font. She makes digitizing your lettering seem pretty easy, utilizing scanning, Photoshop tricks and Illustrator live trace and shortcuts. Well, it helps if you already know the software some. The last part of the class is on using an app called Glyphs to turn your lettering into a font, which seems to be the trickiest part of the process. And then I found out it was only for Macs, so I went ahead and created my lettering without converting it into an actual font. Hopefully someday I will though! I checked out her website Hello Brio and found her blog tutorial about making a font, so I included the links to both below:

This is her font tutorial on her blog.

Otherwise, you can take her Skillshare Class.

This is a preview of some of my lettering I digitized in Illustrator. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out! I am going to use this lettering on a coffee cup quote print. I also made the coffee cup to go along with it, just quickly adding some random colors and patterns to it for fun. I originally drew the cup on an iPad with the Inkpad app and then cleaned it up in Illustrator.

I hope to finish some of my quote prints soon, and then I'll share them here. Please check out the links to view some Skillshare classes. If you would like to give it a try, my link for a free month is below :)

Have a fantastic day!


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Classes for learning Adobe Illustrator basics:

These are the classes I took, there are even more Illustrator classes on Skillshare.

~Intro To Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator | Create Patterns by Bonnie Christine.

~Reign Repeats: Create Perfect Repeat Patterns in Illustrator by Majo Bautista V.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Altered Acrylic Picture Frame

For my first Throwback Thursday blog post, where I share older projects and photos, I have a cute and quick altered acrylic picture frame. It uses a 5x7 clear acrylic frame, which you can find at most home stores and dollar stores. It's so fun and easy to decorate them and you can decorate both the inside and the outside. Plus, they are inexpensive to make and they would make great gifts and kids craft projects.

I decided to go with a dog themed frame, featuring my sweet old dog Brodie. He was so fun and happy all the time, I miss him so much! The photo I used was cut down to fit a 2x3 acrylic magnet frame, where you slide your photo in. I adhered it to the larger frame with Glue Lines, putting the strips just on the magnet part.

The inside of the frame is like making mini scrapbook page, which you just slide into the frame. I took a 5x7 piece of cardstock and glued on 3 strips of paper, including the red border which was cut down from a patterned piece of paper. I measured it to make sure it would look good with the photo on the outside. For the finishing touch, I added a chipboard heart to the outside (with Glue Dots), which was accented with a "cute" word from a rub-on sheet. Other options to consider when making the frame include: adding stickers, stamping, painting, rhinestones, buttons, embellishments, die cuts, ribbons & more. So many possibilities! :)

Happy Thursday to you!

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Make a Creative Quote Scrapbook

(Paper and quote by Lisa Bearnson, circle punch by EK Success, others: markers, Spritzer Airbrush tool, embroidery floss, thread, fibers and spiral paper clips).
If you are a scrapbooker and love quotes too, why not combine them into a quote scrapbook! I was first introduced to the idea a long time ago from Lisa Bearnson (aka the scrapbooking queen), and bought a kit of hers to start. But then I continued on making them with my own materials. My favorite things about quote albums are: picking out quotes to use, deciding what theme or materials to use on the page, and also getting to use up scraps and supplies. If you are like me, sometimes you just buy things you like and you hold onto them for a while or don't know what to do with them. It's also a great way to try out new techniques, fonts or dingbats (picture fonts), or to use new tools on pages.
I like to make mine 6x6 inches, because I just love those cute little scrapbooks. And I don't usually like to scrapbook in that small size. It's also a great excuse to go buy one you've been eyeing, but didn't know what you would do with it. So far mine have no photos in them, but you can add a picture page across from a quote you like, or incorporate the photo(s) into your page. What's great about this is you can always go back and rearrange and incorporate photos if you change your mind down the road.
Other options to make a quote scrapbook:
  • Use a Smash book or an artist sketchbook (like an art journal).
  • Use tiny mini albums or make your own with chipboard.
  • Use a regular photo album and make your pages in a standard photo size 4x6, 5x7, or 8x10.
  • Use  Project Life or similar pocket pages and use all the same size pockets, otherwise vary your quote sizes.
  • Use a standard letter size binder or half-size binder, possibly with a pocket front to make your own cover and spine.
  • Mount multiple smaller quote pages onto one 12x12 black or white cardstock page and put into a scrapbook.
  • Display your new pages in a frame before putting them in your scrapbook. Or use smaller quotes in a bi-fold, tri-fold, or a collage frame.

(Swirl paper by Provo Craft, font is Gypsy Switch, fibers by EK Success, paw print punch by EK Success, others: brown marker, chalk, chalk pencils, and office tag).
I'm such an animal lover, and I love this quote, so I had to make an animal quote page. On this quote block I cut the title wavy freehand with a craft knife and chalked the edges with a cotton ball. I chalked the tag and the border with chalk pencils. I added the plaid line effect to the background paper with a slightly darker brown marker.

(Sun paper cutouts by Rebecca Sower for EK Success, font is Avril, Color Spritzer Airbrush tool, others: deckle edge scissor, orange paper, cream cardstock, chalk, and brown marker).
One of my favorite quotes ever by Benjamin Franklin: " Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight." For this quote page, I cut the wavy borders freehand with a deckle scissor. To make the lighter textured cardstock, I started with cream cardstock and crumpled it up into a ball, then flattened it back out. To color it, I chalked it with a cotton ball in yellow, then went over the creases with orange chalk. On the orange paper, I printed out the quote first, then I crumpled it up a little bit, then flattened it out. I added little dots to it using a brown marker and the Color Spritzer Airbrush Tool. I love the way the textured paper turned out! To help flatten out these papers, put heavy books on top, otherwise use a regular book with hand weights on top.
I hope you give this project a try, thanks for dropping by!
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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Take Time To Do What Makes Your Soul Happy

I love the quote "Take Time To Do What Makes Your Soul Happy." It is such good reminder to find the time to do the things that make you happy. And so I decided to put it on a canvas. This mixed-media canvas features painting, stamping, paper flowers and buttons. I hand lettered the quote in paint markers and a small paint brush. I decided to make it in one of my favorite color schemes: blue, green and browns. You can find it available in my Etsy shop.

This close-up shows the subtle stamped background of flowers, paisley, and corner flourishes. I used the method of dry stamping over wet paint to remove the paint. I believe there is a name for this technique, but it is not coming to me right now! I find that it works best using a color wash, stain, or glaze. I also took a stylus and scratched swirls into the still wet paint. The paper flowers were dyed, layered, inked and topped with buttons.
This is an alternate version I made for a custom order. She went with a sage green, buttercup, cream, and browns for her colors. It was made to match her craft room, which is in the next photo. I thought it turned out pretty good, compared to the original. It can be tricky trying to recreate your work!

I love when I get photos of my work in my customer's homes. It doesn't happen very often, but it makes me happy to see my art in people's homes! :)
Have a great day!
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