Friday, August 7, 2020

Stitches & Stencils by Kristi Nazzaro

Stitches & Stencils by Kristi Nazzaro
A Mixed Media Tutorial Featuring StencilGirl© Products

Hello Friends! I was so excited when StencilGirl© invited me to do a guest blog post for them.  I love their stencils and use them frequently in my work.  Talk about a Fan Girl moment.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with monochromatic themes in my art journals and wanted to share how fun these can be using StencilGirl© Products.  I adore big, bold, bright colors in my work.  Rainbows bring my heart such joy.  I’ve created an acrostic poem using our old friend ROYGBIV.  Do you remember him from grade school?  An acrostic is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, message or alphabet.  I put a fresh spin on an old classic (ROYGBIV) by creating a poem that not only acknowledges goals I have achieved but encourages me to keep reaching for those stars.  Acrostic poems are a fun way to keep important words front and center. 

The stencils I used for this project are:

I can’t wait to see what fun acrostics you come up with and the amazing StencilGirl© Products you choose for your project!
My website is:

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Stencils that will make your desk happy!

Just where is a push pin, rubber band, safety pin, paper clip, or staple when you need one?

Who needs office supplies when you have these patterned stencils handy?

These are sharp objects, and they're larger than life but nowhere as vastly oversized as Claus Oldenburg, the sculptor, would make them. Andrew's mini 4' x 4" Push Pin and Staple can be used singly or together. 

A dropped box of push pins caused Andrew to look at them a pattern and this 6" x 6" stencil was born. 

Ever needed to unbend a staple? The 6" x 6" Staples Stencil was inspired by the countless times that Andrew had to unbend or throw out the "bad" staples. When scattered across a piece of paper, they looked promising as a pattern that could be used on the paper.  

Andrew thinks the fact that safety pins are springy and one has to squeeze to either expose or hide the sharp point is interesting but you won't need to worry about sharp tips with either of these stencils.

Choose from a scattering of safety pins in the 6" x 6" stencil or pick the mini 4" x 4" version when you want things orderly, plus there are 3 sizes to meet your needs.

Rubber bands are everywhere - in offices, in schools, at home, and at the grocery stores. They are available in varying sizes, and Andrew has created a montage of bands for an interesting effect of being scattered all over desk drawers.

Use the pattern of randomly distributed images in these 4" x 4" Rubber Band minis alone or as a pair for an interesting effect on any surface. 

Andrew has created these two images of paper clips - as a stencil and as a mask in the mini 4" x 4" mini. He says, "They're larger than life but not as oversized as Claus Oldenburg, would make. The stencil (or the mask) is ideal for creating clips out of paper which are great as embellishments for the art journaling or scrapbooking project - it's flatter than the metal or plastic paper clips." 

For the 6" x 6" Paper Clips Stencil, Andrew has come up with a design that allows you to either stencil an orderly pattern or to create a mask of paper clips. 

Go ahead. Order some office supply stencils and make your desk happy.

Great for art journaling too!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

StencilClub Voices Create with the Shaw-Apter At the Improv Mash-Up Set

From Jewelry to Cards this month's StencilClub Voices, Sherie Weiser Eddy, Marge Taylor, Lucy Medeiros Tyson, and I, Carol Baxter, have an explosion of inspirational ideas for you!

Jewelry? Yes!

Paintings? You bet!
Cards? Quite a few.

They began with:

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Sherie's Mixed Media Take-Out, Necklace, 
and Stenciled Paper

Sherie says: First up is an upcycled Chinese take out food container. (Washed and bleached, of course!) I gessoed both sides, then stenciled it with acrylic paints in lots of layers. The last layer is gold foil: I used tacky-when-dry medium through stencils and adhered gold foil. The chain is made of Sari ribbon, fabric wrapped vintage key, vintage tag, and beads.

Necklace: This was stenciled with acrylic paints on bleached muslin. Then I added eyelets with my Crop-A-Dile, and strung 2 rows of beads. On each end of the necklace I used bits of fabric I dyed with Tumeric and machine stitched it on. The two reddish beads on the second strand are lava beads. Used for holding essential oils, which I added.

“Your Voice Matters” This is a piece of my recent eco-dyed paper stenciled with the left-over acrylic paints and some Dina Wakley gloss sprays. 

Marge's Art Journal Page and Mixed Media Tags

Marge says: For the journal page, I often tear interesting words and phrases from magazines, to use at a later time. It felt like a good time to use this particular sentiment.

I also made the set of tags, and then thought I’d like to make a card to accompany the tags.

Lucy's Vibrant Paintings

Lucy says: I love mixed media, so I was excited to get August 2020 stencils from Seth Apter for StencilClub. I love the large grid stencil with the circles interspersed at intervals, the smaller stencils have a variety of mark-making shapes you can use in a variety of ways. I used multiple products, acrylic paint and inks, texture paste, collage, Neocolor II water-soluble crayons, Posca paint pens, and Pan Pastels. I also used some extra stencils by Seth Apter Recede M285 and Valarie Sjoden Celtic Spirals L764.  

The Zen of Improv Note Card Making with Carol

My goal one recent weekend afternoon was to use cards I had started and put down and create something, either simple or complex, that was snail mail worthy.

I must say, At the Improv is a go-to set for integration.

These first two have just the dancers in orange, so I used the large At the Improv stencil to put the ballerina silhouette behind the "window" and the leaping dancer in front. Then I embellished just a bit with gel pens and the small Improv stencil.

I began with several partially painted backgrounds and one with words, which I honestly did not think was salvageable. Mary Beth knows best and when she says to keep painting. Bronze paint knocked just enough of the sloppiness from a black crayon out.

I was listening to the song Jet Lag by Joss Stone while cutting and gluing and painting these last two cards. She was singing about how love makes you feel crazy bad and crazy good. Red, black, tan, and white came together just as I hoped. I used a craft knife to cut layers.

Want to create with At the Improv? Here are the details.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Passages, Doors to New Experiences with Shel C and Peg Robinson

When thinking about this month's theme for our StencilGirl Creative Team 'Passages' Peg and I talked at length about the idea of passages through time and into experiences. About how each leap forward in our lives seem to take on a certain framework. We wondered about how we could express these thoughts and ideas using StencilGirl stencils. Then we came up with the idea of using stencils that have doors or window frames. How moving through our experiences is like moving through openings in time. We decided on stencil designs from Pam Carriker and Carolyn Dube.

I made my mixed media collage on a 11X14 canvas flat panel using papers made while gel printing with Pan Pastel and acrylic paint and royalty-free photos that I altered and printed in black and white. 

After collaging on all the various layers of paper made with the stencils, I added the photos on the top. I then finished the piece with pan pastel tinting over the black and white photos and background. 

I also did mark making and blending using various black and white pens and pencils. I added a quote I thought fit the piece perfectly using a white acrylic marker.

To see the process, watch my video here - 

Peg had a great time with this challenge. She created a number of passages, windows, and doors using Stencils from Carolyn Dube, Pam Carriker, and the StencilClub.

First, she created a background on a two-page spread. Then she stenciled the passageways.

By adding products from the distress line and Izinc pigments from Seth Apter she was able to achieve the look she wanted.

Here is a video of the process:

Discover more about Shel & Peg.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Art Journaling with StencilGirl® Stencils

            Hi! I’m Sarah Gardner, also known as Juicy*S. (Juicy*S is my DJ name. I'm not a DJ. I would love to be a DJ. It's one of my fantasy dream jobs, really.) I have found that being creative, that making stuff, especially art journaling, contributes to my well-being. It’s my self-care. 

            I am so honored to be posting as a guest here on StencilGirl® Talk. I admire all the artists whose work inspired these stencils. And I absolutely love working with them in my art journal. I hope you will enjoy learning about how I made this journal spread.
            I’m working in my Illo art journal, which is an 8”x8” journal resulting in an 8”x16” spread. When I work in my art journal, I usually work a spread. I’m just like everyone else when it comes to starting pages in my art journal…the blank page can be daunting. I often start by adding high contrast, black and white, and sometimes gray scale collage materials, or black Sharpie journaling. This solves the problem of the blank page and will create depth in the final spread.
            The “parts” (as Mary Beth calls them;) for my current spread are some black and white collage papers I made. First, I stamped a paragraph of words onto copy paper using letter stamps and black archival ink. Then, I scanned the paragraph, cropped the photo, and created a document with three copies of the photo to come up with a full page of “typing.” I printed this out on my inkjet printer and left it out overnight to “cure” so that the ink wouldn’t run when I glued it to my pages. For my other “part,” I pounced black gesso through a few stencils onto tissue paper, for some high contrast, interesting printed paper.  These are the stencils I used:  Traci Bautista’s Deconstructed series,  Chrysanthemum, Double Zinnia, and Zinnia; Rae Missigman’s, Playful Bloom and Nonsensical Bloom; and Mary Beth Shaw’s Layers of Scallop.

            I like to use soft gel medium to adhere regular paper to my pages. For tissue paper, I usually use matte medium.  I find that a more fluid medium helps make the stenciled features of the tissue paper stand out because the paper becomes more see-through.
            Once I have conquered the blank page in this way, I look to my collection of magazine cut outs and pages for inspiration for my journal spread.  Everything in this curated collection is something I liked, or that inspired me, so it is a ready source of inspiration for any journal spread.  From the images and elements I choose, I begin to find colors and imagery, themes and moods, that can inform my choices going forward in creating my pages. 

            I chose a face and lots of florals as elements to create a “garden” in my journal.

            With my high-contrast collage in place, it’s time to add color.  I start small, with scribbling, using water soluble media:  a Tim Holtz Distress Crayon in Peeled Paint and a purple Stabilo Woody.  I’m just playing around, adding colors I know will play well with the images I’ve chosen.

            Over this, I add absorbent ground.  This is a gesso-like ground that is chalky, but a little see-through.  So, it activates the water soluble crayons, and at the same time, covers the high-contrast elements with a cloudy white layer that unifies the spread into a cohesive whole.  I know I’ll be adding wet media at some point, so the ground will support that as well.
            Now I add some more scribbling with a Caran D’Ache Supracolor soft watercolor pencil in Grass Green.  The ground makes the surface of the pages gritty, so the color really comes off the pencil well.  Next, I use watered-down acrylic inks to add even more color to the spread in patches and puddles, letting these run together a little, and blotting where necessary.  I love these inks and try to find ways to use them every time I create in my journal.  I can create a watery, translucent look, knowing this layer of color will stay in place.  Because, unlike watercolor which will reactivate when you apply other wet media over it, these acrylic inks do not reactivate. I used Olive Green Light (Amsterdam); and Primary Magenta, Florescent Pink, and Flame Orange (Daler Rowney).
            Now I have a very bright couple of pages.  The next step is to push some of this color back by applying a white, or almost white paint.  I chose to stencil Paper Artsy Fresco Finish paint in Nugat through Traci Bautista’s Deconstructed Zinnia stencil/mask that I had already used in my tissue collage paper. (In the video, I mistakenly refer to this stencil as her Chrysanthemum!) I added some sponging of the paint around the stenciled images to unify the spread and create a new layer for the addition of even more color.
            So, you guessed it, the next layer is color.  The surface of my pages is matte and a little gritty from the absorbent ground and the Fresco Finish paint, so it will take marks well.  First, I add some fine scribbles with a Prismacolor pencil in black, and some marks with an Inktense watercolor pencil in Dark Aquamarine.  On top of this I add Dr. Ph. Martin’s liquid watercolor in Ice Blue, activating the Inktense pencil.  Then, I add Moss Rose, and Warm Brown.  I have a wet brush and I’m adding pools and patches of this color where I want it.  I know that a lot of the space is going to be covered by my collage elements, but at this point, I’m just having fun creating these layers, so I’m not too worried about what’s going to be covered.
            Next, I try to remove some of the color using a “subtraction” method. I rub off some of the color using a baby wipe with Rae’s Playful Bloom stencil over the pools of color.  I get some of the color off and blend the pools into the background a little, as well as create some mottling and marks using the stencil.  But I need to push back more of the color in this layer, so I brush on some gesso and blot and blend with the baby wipe.
            Are you noticing a pattern here?  Yes, you are.  I put down color and then I remove it, cover it or take it away.  Then I add more color back into the spread.  This way I’m creating a random layered effect that is rich and interesting.  And it’s fun to do because it’s all about playing with different media.

            So, the next layer of course, is color.  I decided to use some pieces of gel prints I had made using the same stencils on deli paper.  I wanted to select a couple that would coordinate with the magazine imagery I knew I would be adding last.  I also wanted a little contrast.  I chose a print that had a bunch of the colors already in my spread and images, as well as a purple print that would balance out the one dark dahlia image I planned to collage into the spread.
            Now it’s time for some final mark-making for this background. I scribble with that Prismacolor black pencil, adding some grunge and outlining some of the collaged gel print shapes. I add some oil pastel scribbles and marks in colors that are more neutral, but add interest.  Over these, I brush a thin layer of clear gesso.  It’s rough and has some tooth to receive the last marks:  leaf shapes with Stabilo Marks All in Green and Yellow.  I activate these with a wet brush and the background is done!
            I adhere my collage elements arranged the way I like, and then accentuate them by outlining in Stabilo Marks All in black.  With a wet brush I feather this black outline into the background and now my elements stand out better from that gorgeous background. 

            I add a handwritten lyric from the Led Zeppelin song “Goin’ to California” and integrate the torn piece of white copy paper into the spread by using Caran D’Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons in coordinating colors around the edges of the paper. I add some splatters of Magenta India ink (Bombay) to further integrate the white paper into the pages.

(insert Image #15)

I add outlines in a fine Micro black ink pen to the magazine images, and add the “Eye of Horus” to the magazine image eye.  I add some butterflies and outline them as well. Finally, I add some white dots with a Posca paint pen to give the spread some movement.
            Wow!  That was fun!
            Here’s a video showing the process of making this spread.  Keep in mind, I did wait for some of these layers to dry between them!  I hope you will create an amazing layered background like this yourself!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

At the Improv: A Shaw Apter StencilClub Mash-Up Revealed

A face greets you from the mini 4" x 4" along with harlequin diamonds and square patterns complete with drips! Ready for art journaling and card making.

Mark-making is a process important to Mary Beth Shaw and Seth Apter so of course, there simply had to be a small 6" x 6" mark-making stencil in their At the Improv Mash-Up. You get rocks, plus signs, hash marks, numbers, paint splotches, and paintbrush strokes.

The symbolism of the circle gets graffiti gridded in the large 9" x 12" stencil. Seth has some "direct" art projects in mind with this stencil in particular.

You may have seen these designs as minis or smalls from Mary Beth and Seth but these have been resized and in some cases redrawn.

Which of the 3 stencils will be your new fave?

Get them and more goodies when you join StencilClub by August 15th, 2020.

Reading this later? As a member of StencilClub you can order past club sets and you have access to all the former projects too.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Travel Journal with Flap Pockets by Claudia Neubacher

Isn't it strange how traveling makes us feel and behave differently than when we're at home, leading our everyday lives? It's as if being on a journey and in a different place allows us to set free our more adventurous personalities or aspects of our personalities that seem to get put to the side when leading our normal lives. In new and foreign places with new and foreign people, we act more spontaneously, we are so much more open to what is waiting for us to be discovered, be it a different culture with new food, unfamiliar tastes and smells, different clothing and different ways of transport (I still remember my camel ride around the pyramids of Giza - I was struggling not to fall off the camel's back, but I loved it!). 

But as adventurous as I get when traveling - I still need to feel I am in control of where I am going and how and at which time. So I always carry a little notebook around in which I have written down train connections and stuck small printed out and folded timetables - just so I never get lost (which seems to be something I have a general fear of...but I've developed my own way to deal with it, so it has never become an issue really...only that I get smiled at by my loved ones for my urge to have a non-digital analogous source of all the travel information I feel I need at hand and ready at all time). 

So when I found that this month's theme for the Creative Team is "travel", I decided to create a new travel-journal for future travels. 

I have created a little travel scenery across both the front and back covers...

...and even the flaps that fold inwards are part of it (with the continuing skyline).

What I especially like about this particular kind of journal, is the fact that you can adjust its size to any kind of bought cheap notebooks - I will explain how a bit further down this post - and that you can create it from two A3 sheets of sturdy mixed media or water color paper. The binding is simple and there is an additional flap that forms the pockets on the insides of the covers, so you can tuck in additional notes or tickets. 

My cheap bought notebooks measured 4 1/4 inches (10,5cm) in width and 6 inches (15cm) in height. 

As I wanted to use two of these for my travel journal, I also measured their combined thickness (which was 3/8 of an inch (1cm)) and added about 3/16 of an inch (0,5cm) to that for the spine.

I also added the same 0,5cm to each the width and the height of the journals to get the size of the front and back covers. You can - as always - click on the images for a larger view, but I have also taken a close up of my sketch, so you can see where I've added what. All you have to do is take the measurements of your bought notebooks and replace mine with yours. How many inches or centimeters you add to these stays the same. 

The flaps to the left and right should be about two thirds of the notebooks' width and the flap at the bottom should be about one third of the notebooks' height.

I have placed the notebooks in their later positions so you get a better idea:

Your cut to size journal cover should look like this:

IMPORTANT: don't do any folding yet! First we are going to create a background and then some stencilled layer goodness on top of that!!!

Also cut out two covers for the "signatures" (=the bought notebooks). If you don't want to do any measuring, simply place the folded open notebooks on the paper and trace around them with a pencil before you cut the covers to size. 

Time to start our journal cover journey!!!!

I like to use an easy quick background technique that I call "smudged dots". 
All you need is a collection of colors of your choice and liking (I used DecoArt Americana and Americana multi-surface satin acrylic paints) and a plastic card. 

Apply dots of different colors directly from the bottles randomly across the whole surface...

...and then smudge these with the plastic card.

The secret to not creating mud is that you should not move the card across the same area more than twice! If you do not like the result, let the first layer dry and add more dots on top and smudge these again. You can repeat this step until you are content with the outcome.

Also a good hint is to start with the darkest colors first and then move towards the lighter ones.

After the acrylic paints are dry, you can move on to creating your travel scenery. For mine I used the following StencilGirl® stencils:

- City Stories Stencil by Cathy Nichols
- Clouds & Stars Stencil by Valerie Sjodin
- Wall of Words Stencil by Carolyn Dube
- Open Buildings Stencil by Carolyn Dube
- Map Stencil by Mary C. Nasser
- Cityscape Stencil by Andrew Borloz

The skyline was what I started with. As I wanted to have my background show through, I used DecoArt Vintage Effect Wash paints - these are translucent and come in different colors. My first color used was Turquoise.

As my cover was wider than the stencil, I added one of the two masks that come with it to continue the design.

Mary C. Nasser's beautiful "Map" design had to become part of my journal cover too of course. As I wanted it to only show on the outer covers but not on the flaps, I masked the borders with some tape. I also placed the Cityscape mask on top of the previously stencilled skyline to mask that too. (if you look closely you can see the black border of it below the Map stencil). For the Map design I used Vintage Effect Wash "Patina".

That was the look of my cover so far. The skyline would need some highlighting later during the process, but for now I was still on track to my planned "creative destination".

I added some clouds to the sky using white DecoArt Vintage Effect Wash. 

Then I continued with brown Vintage Effect Wash to add a much needed vehicle to the front cover.
(Remember to leave the bottom flap untreated - otherwise added designs will be upside down on the cover's inside once the journal is finished).

IF you want to add designs to that flap - like I did - simply turn the cover upside down:

By that time I had also added some houses and trees from the "City Stories" stencil.
Time to make the skyline more visible.

For that I used Brown Vintage Effect Wash paint again and the according parts of the Cityscape stencil to mask the sky this time. This way I could sponge on the brown paint starting with the very top of the skyline and creating a fading effect while moving downwards with the sponge, using less and less paint and pressure.

NOW you're finally allowed to fold over all the flaps, the spine and the covers! I like to fold along the edge of a ruler and use a bone folder to get exact creases.

Replace the covers from the cheap notebooks with your smudged-dots-covers. The binding of the whole journal will be explained in a second...

This is how the folded in flaps should look.

At that point I felt I needed some additional texture, so I stencilled some patterns that remind me of city maps onto some linen ribbon.

The two pieces of ribbon were glued to the edges of the flaps using matte DecoArt Decou-Page.

My cover still wasn't grungy enough (actually you can never get grungy enough) - so I decided to add some scratch pattern stamping here and there with brown StazOn stamping ink.

The cover also needed a quote as a focal element - so I stencilled one using the "Wall of Words" stencil, a very small size stencil brush and Americana Charcoal Grey acrylic paint.

The three sponges in the picture below point to the three areas where the bottom flap needs to be glued to the journal covers' insides. By only gluing the spine area and the outer edges of the flap to the insides of the covers we are creating two pockets that can hold tickets, additional notes and small collectables from your travels.

The journal was still not looking worn enough for my liking! So I went in with a palette knife and scraped on some DecoArt media white Crackle Paint here and there. I let that dry naturally.

I also decided to use Walnut Gel Stain to tone down the whole design a bit and highlight the cracks. I simply used a wide soft brush and applied the diluted Gel Stain across the whole cover. Using a soft cloth I removed most of it off the crackled areas while the Gel Stain was still wet.

On to the final stop on our journal journey: the binding! 

I eyeballed a template for the three holes and used a sharp pokey tool to add holes to the notebooks, their covers and the spine of the journal cover.

Using some rough cord and an upholstery needle I did a simple three-hole binding by starting in the middle hole from the inside moving the thread to the outside, then moving the thread back to the inside at the top hole, leading it all the way down and outside again at the bottom hole. From there back to the inside again through the middle hole. By placing each end of the thread on opposite sides of the long inside stitch I could tie a simple double knot to finish up the binding.

I added some final touches by outlining some of the designs with a fine tip black marker.

Destination reached! 

One of the two inside pockets...

...and the flaps help keep ephemera in place and make the cover more sturdy. 

Some close ups: 

What kind of rituals do you perform (or do you need to perform) when traveling? 
I definitely feel safe and free to explore, be in the moment and adventurous as long as I have my travel journal with me. ;) 

Hugs and happy (creative) travels!