Daily Art and Black Gesso

Today’s daily art has been all over the place.  I made some art journal signatures, cleaned the work room a bit more, painted a firefighter coming through the fire carrying a child (as a gift for my firefighter brother-in-law), and began my gratitude art journal.

And I had my bottle of black gesso open next to the art journal and it tipped over, spilling the entire bottle all over the journal.  I lost one two page layout, but the rest were only slightly damaged by the spill.  Every page has some black gesso on it, with four completely primed with black gesso.  I mean it was all over my table-might as well use it up.  So I smeared pages with the baby wipes I used to mop up the spill.  Fortunately the gesso only got on my craft mat.  It didn’t spill over the rest of the work space or onto another project I began today:  an altered pringles can.

It is certainly a unique way to begin a new art journal.  Maybe it will be the best journal ever!  If it turns out great I’ll have to spill gesso all over all my art journals when I start.

The Pringles can is going to be a small jewelry or trinket box.  I have the base all cut up and drying with clamps.  The next step is to cover the exterior and ends of the can.  Then finish the door.  Then decorate it and add door clasp.  So, I’m pretty early in the process.  I saw a finished one somewhere-Pinterest maybe?-and decided to make one myself.  We shall see how it turns out.


Bible Journaling 101

First, what is bible journaling?  Well, it’s a way to get into God’s word and connect with Him in an artistic and creative way.  It’s art journaling in a bible.  Here are my Journaling Bibles:

NIV Journal bible

ESV Single Column Journaling Bible

NIV Holy Bible Journal Edition

Let’s begin with the basics of bible journaling.  First you need a bible and something to write with.  That’s the bare-bones basics for supplies.  Any bible will do, it doesn’t have to be a “journaling bible”.  Often beginners start their bible journaling experience in a journal rather than in the bible itself.  For some the thought of writing or painting in a bible is anxiety inducing.  That is not what this is about.  This is an art form that should relax you and open you up to hear the Lord’s messages as you work.  You meditate on the passage of scripture you’re journaling, focus on the meaning, the message, the lesson, the warning- whatever your passage offers.  You delve deeply into the meaning behind the words, letting the Holy Spirit fill you with insights from the Word.

Once you have those two things (the bible and something to write with), pray the Holy Spirit opens the Word to you and that you will learn and grow from what you find there, then open your bible and choose the passage you want to journal.  I usually read over the passage of scripture I am going to journal several times before I actually pick up anything to start.  This gives me time to process and absorb the passage and gives me a clear picture of what the passage is saying.  That gives me the direction I want to go in while journaling.

Sometimes I get the whole picture of what I want to do, sometimes only pieces and parts.  And both of those are alright.  If you get nothing from the passage at all, you don’t feel led to journal that passage, whatever-find another one.  If you’re not in tune with the scripture your journaling, you will never be happy with what you did.  It will be a struggle and you will become frustrated.  It’s okay to search for a passage that speaks to you today.  Who knows, maybe the very passage which gave you problems today is the perfect passage for next week Wednesday.  Follow where the Lord is leading you.

As with most art journaling projects, I usually begin with gesso.  I gesso the page and dry it.  Now you can use white gesso, but I prefer clear gesso for bible journaling.  It’s gesso without the color.  Goes on clear, but has some “tooth” which will hold your media on the page.  I do this the way I do any other journal page, I place a dollar tree cutting mat (they come in two) beneath the page I’m working on and I add a layer or two of clear gesso.  This also gives the very thin bible pages some extra strength.

Next I decide what I want to do with the page.  Sometimes I sketch my ideas out onto my sketch pad first, then when I’m satisfied I create them in my bible.  It’s fairly hard to erase in a bible, I’ve found, so sometimes working out the challenges on a scrap piece of paper helps a lot.  The covers are also available for art.  I used the inside covers for “What This Bible Is and What This Bible Isn’t”.

Remember, you’ll have spelling mistakes, you’ll make pages you don’t like, you’ll have a great time but it won’t ever be perfect.  And that’s okay.  Learn to embrace and love those imperfections.  It’s who we are.

Here is a list of of my most used supplies in bible journaling:


  1. Clear Gesso If I were to say anything is absolutely essential to bible journaling (other than the bible and something to write with) this is it.  I rarely do a page without this on it.  It helps your very thin pages stand up to all sorts of techniques and materials.  I normally apply just one coat, but have used two or  three coats, depending on how wet my media is going to be.  You can also use it to seal your page after your finished so the media doesn’t transfer to the opposite page when you close the book.
  2. Pigma Micron Pens or Pitt Pens.  The ink does not bleed through to the page beneath, and it’s archival.  They come in several very fine tipped points, which makes writing small legible. This is the type of pen or marker that I use most often in bible journaling.  I love, love, love my Pitt pens. Edited to add:  I also like the Zig writers.  The ink doesn’t bleed through and the pens go over watercolor paint well.  You can buy sets in different colors.
  3. You can use colored pens too.  I have a set of colored ink pens (Pitt) which I use for my Kay Arthur bible studies, as well as bible journaling.  Also, gelly roll pens are fantastic.
  4. Highlighters.  I have the kids school highlighters which I pick up when they go on sale at the beginning of the school year.  They do show through the paper, but the clear gesso does prevent it from saturating the paper.  One recommended brand of highlighter is Zebra Eco Zebrite Double-Ended Highlighters, Fine Point   They are supposed to be really great at limiting the ghosting you’ll get on the back side of a page.  Another option is to highlight with colored pencils.
  5. I find I use colored pencils a lot when bible journaling.  You can use any colored pencils you have.  I can draw a picture easily with them and I can seal the page, if I wish, with cheap hair spray.
  6. Parchment paper.  I use this a lot for my images or writing, then insert into the bible where I want it with double sided tape. I’ve written small books about details of the time period the passage is talking about, family life at that time, any relevant details, a particular word in the original language and it’s meaning and inserted them into the bible that way.  You can also make pockets which allow you to still see the text beneath, but will hold notes you want to keep.  Or make the page a tucks page with a belly band and that will hold any emphemera or notes you want to keep.  Use the back of both covers for a very strong place to add pockets.
  7. Spray inks.  One of my favorite ways to get color all over the page without it being to much color.  Also use a stencil with the sprays and you can make some really interesting backgrounds.  Cut out shapes to highlight the passage you’re focusing on, use the paper to block where you don’t want the spray to go.  Once sprayed, remove paper shapes and you have highlighted areas easily.
  8. Stamps and ink pads.  Another very useful supply.  Be aware some will bleed through.  I use these over a page I’ve gessoed to help prevent bleed through.
  9. Stickers. There are thousands and thousands of stickers available.  If you don’t feel confident in your drawing skills yet-use a sticker as your image.  Easy to find in most areas, easy to use, and quick.  I use them on tabs so I can easily spot a particular passage I want to refer to often.  Edited to add:  some will peal off your page.  Use a bit of glue on the backside, right over the sticky part, and attach.  The glue dries clear and the stickers stay put.

Here are some nice-to-have’s:  Watercolor pencils and media.  You can create beautiful effects with watercolors.  Inktense pencils are particularly vibrant and once dry will not budge.  A gift card scraper.  I use this to smear my clear gesso onto the page, to add collage to the pages.  Washi tape, either permanently applied with double sided tape/glue or to repair damage done to a page.  Craft or acrylic paints.  I use these quite often too. DIY shimmering H2O’s, has become another favorite of mine for bible journaling.  Mod Podge or gloopy glue.  I use either one to collage in my bible. You could also use your clear gesso for this.  Be aware, some gloss finished will stick together.  You can pry them apart, but I often seal those pages with clear gesso to prevent this.


You can use markers in your bible journaling but I have found they show through the backside of the page like crazy.  Maybe if you used white gesso on the page first it would make a difference, but I haven’t tried that.  It’s just a guess.  I have used the fine tipped markers several times and didn’t really care that they bled through.  I prefer the colored ink pens over markers.

I didn’t mention texture paste.  I find it dries hard and unyielding which makes pages heavier to turn and more likely to rip.  I avoid it in my bible journaling.  Below are a couple examples of techniques and pages from my art journaling bible.

There are several great things about bible journaling.  You can express through art exactly what the passage says to you.  You can build a page with examples from your life that were impacted by this particular passage.  You can use magazine images, paper dolls, scrapbook papers, paper clips, brads and grommets, anything you want you can put into your bible. It’s what is meaningful to your that’s important.  How you connect with Gods Word is up to you.  You can share your love for art and your love for the Lord at the same time, thus not needing to schedule time for both activities separately.  While the bible is giving to you, your also giving back to God by making things within His Word.  He is called the Creator, you know.  Because he was the first to create stuff.  And we share His love for creating too.  It’s a bonding thing between you and the Lord.

I have pretty much filled my bible given to me for Christmas by my two middle daughters and purchased one for half price at the Outlet store.  I prefer the single column bibles for journaling in.  Sometimes you can find large print bibles for a couple of bucks.  Again-go to second hand stores first.  You can pick up a bible there for a buck or less.  And it doesn’t even matter if it has writing in it because you’ll be arting over it anyway.



Lessons I Keep Learning

Personal Post.  Don’t read if you don’t want to know.

I am scheduled for a biopsy tomorrow to let me know if I have cancer or not.  The radiologist who read the tests was very concerned.  In fact, she had tears in her eyes as she spoke to me.  She was unwilling to say it was definitely cancer, but she made it clear it was very serious in her opinion.

Since the hospital only does these types of biopsys on Wednesdays, I have been waiting for 6 days.  Your mind can do a lot in six days.  I’ve gone through the stages of grief several times, been overwhelmed with guilt because I didn’t pay attention to what seemed a very minor thing compared to the rest of my health problems. I’ve been overwhelmed with anger because this is just one more pile of crap on my already huge crap pile.  I’ve had screaming matches with the Lord, telling Him exactly how sucky my life has been and how dare he add this on top of all the other crap I have to cope with…

I wrote out my wishes for my memorial service.  I am filling out the necessary forms for any financial or medical decisions which need to be made should I become incapable of doing it.  I’m updating my will.  I wrote out a list of things I’d like to take care of before I go, to make things easier for my family.  I have made decisions for care and treatments based on every possible scenario.  I have told no one what is going on with me right now, other than my husband and one daughter.  I won’t share this with my family until there is something concrete to share.  Especially with my parents, as they have lost their only son, my dear brother Jeff, to cancer less than two years ago.  To have to tell them their remaining child has it too is my greatest concern.

Some might say my life is tough.  There are health problems, problems with kids, autism, financial problems, in every part of my life there is some sort of issue.  Nothing is easy.  It’s all a struggle.  And has been our entire marriage.  There hasn’t been one time when we weren’t facing some crisis or another.  For us, it has been a battle every step of the way.

Of course I know there are others out there facing battles of their own.  Some are worse than ours.  This is not a post to complain about my life and my struggles.  This is a post about faith, hope and gratitude.  I cannot tell you about that without giving you some background as to where it’s coming from and why.

You may have heard of Job.  He’s a man of great faith in the bible.  Job’s wife is one of the women in my Women of Strength journal.  She’s the most misunderstood person in the bible, in my opinion.  Anyway, the story goes like this:  Satan came to God and God asked him to consider Job.  He was a upright man who respected God.  Satan said “Of course he is.  Look how you’ve blessed him.  He has many wonderful children, he’s incredibly wealthy, he has a hedge around him.  Take that away and he’ll curse your name.”  The LORD said “Alright, do your worst to him, but you may not harm him physically.”  So Satan did.

On one day these things happened to Job:  his flocks of oxen and donkeys were attacked and taken by an enemy army and all his servants killed, except the one who came to tell him of the attack.  As that one was speaking, a second servant arrived to tell Job fire from heaven fell upon the flocks of sheep and burned them all including his servants, leaving only the one there to tell him.  While he still was speaking a third servant came in to announce another army came down and stole all his camels and killed all his servants leaving only the one to come and tell Job what happened.  While the third servant was still speaking, a forth servant arrived to tell Job that while his children were celebrating at his oldest sons home a mighty wind came upon the house and collapsed it upon the family.  All were killed except the one servant who rode to share the news…

In a matter of minutes, Job lost everything he had.  His family, his wealth, his servants (who were really like family members if you understand the customs of the day)-everything gone.  Just like that.

What did Job do?  He tore his clothes, shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship the LORD.  This is a man of incredible faith.  Because when bad things happen to me, I am not in the worshiping mood.  I’m in the bitterness, anger and hopelessness mood, I’m not gonna lie.  It’s not that I don’t have faith, of course I do, but my go-to is to become angry and frustrated by whatever it is that just adds one more load of poop to my already huge pile.  I want a break, I don’t want more poop.

Now the reason Job’s wife is the most misunderstood person in the bible is this:  She just lost everything too.  Her children are dead, her lifestyle is gone.  Everything that was their life together has been destroyed.  She, too is devastated.  But Satan isn’t finished yet.  No, no, no.

Satan again went to the LORD.  And the LORD said, “Observe Job.  He’s lost everything and still he praises ME.  He is an upright man who has not sinned against ME in spite of what you’ve done to him.”  Satan replies:  “Of course he hasn’t cursed you yet.  He is still physically healthy.  Take away his health and he will surely curse your name.”  So the LORD said, “alright you may do what you will to him, but you cannot kill him.”  And Satan did.

He covered Job from head to toe with painful boils.  Job went out and sat in ashes and scraped the boils with a broken piece of pottery.  And he did not curse GOD.

At this point Job’s wife has had enough.  She’s lost her family, her home, her wealth, her status in the community, and now the man she loves is covered with painful boils and sits in ashes.  She has endured all she can.  To see the man she loves in such a state has sent her over the edge.  She says to Job:  “Enough!  Just curse GOD and die!”  for it would be easier for her to lose him than to watch him suffer in incredible pain and anguish.

Job responds with great gentleness and kindness to his beloved wife, who has been utterly broken by these events, and says “You are speaking as foolish women speak…Should we not praise GOD in both good and bad times?”

Of course we should.  But do we?  I didn’t when I got the news there was something very suspicious and I needed a biopsy.  I became all that Job wasn’t.  I was filled with anxiety, fear, grief and anger that this was happening to me. I screamed at God and told him exactly what I thought of this latest piece of crap and how he could stick it up his ass.  I told him if this is what serving you looks like, I’m done with it.  You can keep your promises of love and care and all that other stuff because I was finished…

Much like Job’s wife did.  She had reached the end of her endurance and just said “screw it!”

The truth is God and I have these “discussions” often.  I always tell Him exactly what I think and why I think it.  I never sugar coat anything. I just pour it all out all over Him and afterward I feel much better.  Then He says, “Feeling better?  Now, let’s really talk.”  And we do.  Sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, but I always know He understands me and why I respond the way I respond and it’s okay with Him.  He’s got big shoulders, He can take it.  And He loves me.  He’s patient and kind and filled with compassion for me and my situations.  He wants me to trust that He has a plan and it’s all part of it.  He wants me to know that even though I don’t understand the plan, or see the big picture, He does and it’s good.  Because all things will work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

And I love the Lord.  He’s my best friend.  I couldn’t get out of bed each morning if I didn’t know the Lord was there for me.  How could I ever face all the crap in my life without Him?  I’d go mad.  Or worse, give up completely.  And that is never gonna happen.  I do not give up.  I keep going in spite of it all.  And I try to make the best life I can for my family with what I have to work with.  No one could ever accuse me of being a quitter.

So the lesson I’ve had to learn again, and again, and again, is to be grateful and praise the Lord in every circumstance.  Oh, I always get there in the end, but why shouldn’t that be my go-to instead of worry, fear, anger, etc.  Why do I always have to go though all that angst before I can get to the peace that knows no understanding?

You would think I’d be pretty good at it after all the years of craptastic stuff, but I’m not.  I still have to go through all that misery to get to peace.

And I am at peace.  No matter the results of the biopsy, no matter what happens after that, I’m at peace that I’m loved and cared for by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And He’s got this.  No matter what, He will not leave me or abandon me to my struggles.  My strength has always come from Him, and the strength I need to face this (possible) new challenge will be there too.

But before that happens, I will praise the Lord.  I will be grateful for the things I do have in life.  I will not let the work of the evil one ruin my relationships with my family or my closeness with my Lord.  The evil one will not win, my Lord will win.

And I’m really just along for the ride.



When You Need To Get It Out

This is a technique I have used in my art journaling.  When I am having feelings about something-good, bad or otherwise-I will write them on an art journal page.  Then I will write more over top of that, and more and more until all the feelings and emotions are out there.  On paper and not bouncing around in my head anymore.  Often there is so much writing scribbled all over the page it is utterly unreadable.  This is the purpose of this technique.

Once you have all those thoughts and feelings down on your page you can gesso over it to either mute down the wording or to cover it completely.  If you just want to give it a wash with gesso so you can still make out some of the words, that’s fine too.  I gesso my word page then make my art journal page right over top of what I wrote.

This is incredibly cathartic.  Once you get in the habit of writing down everything you’re feeling-especially during difficult times-it will help you sort through these feelings and emotions in a non-destructive way.  I think so often when we are struggling we don’t handle the stress and emotional garbage in the best way.  We might lash out at our kids, for example, just because they asked for a cookie when dinner is in 15 minutes.  Sometimes anger is a huge struggle and we want to hit something.  Rather than slamming your hand into your bedroom wall, write down what’s going on with you in your art journal.

You can leave the page with the writing alone for awhile too.  In case you need to go back and write some more.  I’ve heard writing letters to the people you’re upset with or who have hurt you is healthy.  Once you write the letters you burn them to get rid of all that hurt, anger, and bitterness.  This technique is similar to that.  You write it all down and then hide it beneath art work.

If you’re struggling with anger, bitterness, hurt feelings, loneliness, loss, health problems, marriage problems, kid problems, financial problems-it doesn’t matter what the problem is.  Get those feelings out of you and onto a page.  Then art the crap out of it.

Inexpensive and Easy Gift Ideas, 9

So far I’ve offered 50 inexpensive and easy ideas for your holiday gift giving.  Why stop there?  Here’s some more:

  1. Mason jar pin cushion and travel sewing kit.  Use the flat metal part of the twist on top and hot glue foam to the top in a rounded shape.  Cover foam with cute fabric and hot glue to the bottom of the lid.  Cut pretty paper into circle, attach to the hot glued fabric to hide the messiness.  Could put your name there or return to label.  Fill with a small sewing kit, small scissors, fray check, straight pins, safety pins, etc.
  2. Cut thin slices 3/4″  from a tree branch which is about 3 inches in diameter. Stamp a rustic image in brown in center.  Use as coasters
  3. Buy wood cutting boards and wood utensils and use a wood burner on them.  You can transfer the simple images to the wood with tracing paper.  Do this at the outer edge of the cutting board, as people would still like to use it.  On the handles for utensils.
  4. Marbled Clay Ring Dish.  I just love Elise and Emma!
  5. Gold tipped jewelry tray.  I saw this and thought is was a great idea.  And so simple!  Get a tray from a second hand store for even less cost.  Get a tray.  Wash and dry well.  Use painters tape to cover the area you don’t want painted.  Then go over your piece lightly with gold spray paint.  It is better to do several light coats rather than a heavy one.  The heavier the coat the more likely runs will happen.  Cover area you want painted completely and let dry.  Gold Mugs and Cups.  Same process as above, just use a clear sealer to finish it.  These are not dishwasher safe.  Keep the paint away from the rim or inside of mug or cup.  You don’t want the chance you could ingest the paint.
  6. DIY Plant Pockets.
  7. DIY Watercolor Mug:  You need a tub of luke warm water large enough to dip the whole mug or cup in.  Two colors of fingernail polish.  A white mug or cup.  In the bowl of luke warm water, pour in several drops of fingernail polish.  Let it float around a bit.  Add second color of fingernail polish.  With a tooth pick, swirl colors around a bit.  Not to much in case your colors will turn to mud.  Dip the mug into the water and fingernail polish.  Hold it in the water for 30 seconds or so.  That way the fingernail polish will stick to the mug.  Remove and let dry for at least three hours.  Pat dry with paper towel-gently.  You don’t want to scrub or all you work will come off.  These are really quite breathtaking.
  8. Frosted Mason Jar Luminaries:
    1. Smooth sided mason jars (Hobby Lobby is where we got ours)
    2. Frosted glass spray paint
    3. Clear matte sealer, or glitter spray paint
    4. Stick on letters to spell your word
    5. Spray paint for the lids (optional)
    6. LED votive candles (Craft stores, or at Home Depot in the Xmas Section)
    7. Ribbon and picks for the lid
      1. Place letter sticker on jar, as centered as possible.  It helps to measure up from the bottom or down from the top and place a piece of painters tape at the right spot on each jar.  You want your letters to to be in a line.  Remove jar lid.
      2. Rub your sticker onto the jar really well.  You don’t want paint getting beneath the letter.
      3. Spray the jars with frosted glass paint.  Let dry 15 minutes between coats and you need three coats.  Let last coat dry at least an hour before you spry with spray sealer.  Let dry overnight.
      4. You can spray the lids at this point if you want.  Or leave them gold.
      5. Once your paint has dried completely, warm up your stickers on your jars with a blow dryer, briefly, to soften and loosen them up.  Should come off fairly easily.  If you see the paint starting to pull or rip, just cut around the letter with an exacto knife to cut paint from letter.  Remove sticker letter.
      6. Add raffia, twine, ribbon, mini-ornaments, mini bows around the neck of the jar.  Adorable!!
    8. DIY Ornament Chandelier.  This is an adorable idea for decorating your home for the holidays.  Using the base of your dining room light, thread ribbon though.  Attach multi-sized ornaments in either all the same color (matching your ribbons) or in multi-colors.
    9. DIY Burlap and Fabric ornaments:  I have been doing this for years and never gave it a thought.  Here’s how:  Wrap old or worn ornaments with burlap or similar fabric.  I would use hot glue and sort of fluff the fabric a bit for fullness.  Add another color burlap ribbon or regular ribbon around the center, add button or gem for added interest, or even words.
    10. Antiqued Mason Jars:
      Jars (cleaned & dry)
      Paint (any acrylic or chalk paint works)
      Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
      Sand paper or block, emory board
      White Glitter (I used Diamond Dust)
      Clear Glitter (I used Tim Holtz Distress Glitter)
      Modge Podge or other thick glue
      Chipboard Letters
      Snowflake punches, thick white cardstock, or pre-made snowflakes
      Paper Dimensionals
      1. You can use any jars you have for this technique.  Apply a coat of paint to the jar.  This could be chalk paint, acrylic paint or even gesso.  Go from the top to the bottom with each stroke.  Let first coat dry and add second coat.  Let dry overnight.
      2. Once they’re dry you can sand them as much as you wish.  I would start out lightly, removing little until you’re used to it.  You can use sand paper, a sanding block, or an emery board for this.
      3. You can add heavy mod podge or gel medium to the lids and dip in chunky white or clear glitter.  Pat it down a bit so it adheres well to the glue.
      4. Punch out stars or snowflakes and add mod podge or gel medium to them as well.  Dip in the white/clear chunky glitter.  Again press down a bit to make sure they’re covered and the glitter is good and stuck.
      5. Using chipboard letters are also painted white and covered in the same way with the glitter.
      6. Once everything is dry, attach to jar with twine.  To make the letters pop off the jar, use foam tape or pop dots.  Adhere with hot glue to the jar.
      7. pop in a battery operated candle and your good to go.

Stash Busters: While Cleaning I Came Across

6 ft of collaged paper.

a cardboard box of scrap papers, flowers cut from junk mail, dried paper towels and baby wipes used to clean up my messes, tissue paper, book pages, and several border punched strips of pink card stock.  All scraps, bits and pieces and taking up a considerable amount of space in my work area.

I set up my large folding table, covered it with plastic, laid out a large sheet of kraft paper and began today’s project:  Unique papers for your art practice.

I think I have probably shared this favorite project of mine with you before, but just in case, here goes:

  1. Once you have laid your base paper on your covered surface, dribble gloopy glue all over it.  I smear it around with an old paint brush or gift card.
  2. I layer whatever paper scraps I have on top of the layer of glue.  I use a gift card scraper to adhere the papers to the base kraft paper.
  3. Then another layer of gloopy glue and more papers and scraps.  I normally stick pretty close to this order of layers
    1. paper towels and baby wipes
    2. junk mail and catalog pages
    3. either more paper towels and baby wipes (depending upon the amount I have) or tissue papers and napkins
    4. Doilies, book pages, kids school papers, receipts,
    5. paper flowers cut from junk mail, decorative elements like punches, borders, watercolor paintings cut up for this purpose, paper tape and ribbon, paper lace, small scraps from pretty papers and embellishments
  4. You begin with a layer of glue on the kraft paper, then add another layer of something.  After each layer you must put more glue on the top of it.  The sandwich is base paper, glue, paper towels, glue, junk mail, glue, tissue papers and napkins, glue, doilies and book pages, glue, paper flowers and pretty scraps, glue.
  5. This sounds like a lot of glue but it is really just to make sure everything sticks together well.
  6. Once the glued paper has dried completely you can add things like stamps, stencils, modeling paste, spray inks, metallics and paints.  This is not necessary at this stage because you will be cutting up the paper you just made into the most convenient for you sizes and using them in your art practice.  You can always add more to the paper while you’re working on it.

A couple observations:  I like thick paper.  If you don’t, use less layers.  I like the thickness of junk mail along with the thinness of tissue paper.  If having lumpy, textural paper will bother you, use only one paper weight for this project rather than several.

The end results are really stunning.  You can use them as papers for a loose leaf art journal, as an art journal cover, as signatures, as tags and embellishments, for envelopes, pocket pages and tuck spots.  I like to use mine for tabs on pages, tags, belly bands and tuck spots, mini-books which I tuck into the journal, flowers and leaves for a fall layout.  Honestly, I use this paper so much, I can’t keep it around for more than a couple days.  And the tiny scraps are used for inchies, twinchies, and rinchies.  Art tiles, inspiration tiles, ATC’s and embellishments.

I find this to be one of the most satisfying ways to use up my scrap papers.  It’s fun to make a mess and the end results are just spectacular.

Same paper, with a light coat of gesso to tone it down a bit

Since I know what I want to do with this paper already, I don’t have to be concerned I put gesso over it.  I wanted the colors more subdued for this particular project.  You can see the colors and patterns through the gesso quite well, they just aren’t quite as vibrant.


Art and Your Health

The benefits of creating art cannot be overstated.  There have been studies done which prove this positive impact upon health.  Here’s an excerpt from an article written by James Clear.

  • “Art filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts of illness”
  • “Improved well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones”
  • “Improved medical outcomes, trends toward reduced depression”
  • “Reductions in stress and anxiety; increases in positive emotions”
  • “Reductions in distress and negative emotions”
  • “Improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks”

Here’s another one.  And another.

The benefits to your health and life are truly astounding.  The results are not what’s important.  It’s the act of creating which is beneficial.  That could be playing music, singing, dancing, writing, wood working, cooking, sewing, making miniatures, or rebuilding vintage cars.  There are literally thousands of ways to express creativity and create art.

If you don’t think what you’re working on is of value-let me assure you it is!  By making art, in whatever form, we are actually making ourselves better people.  Better able to cope with life.  More empathetic.  Less depressed.  Less angry.  More joyful.  With greater appreciation for beauty in all forms.

And couldn’t our world use more joyful, happy people in it?  Let’s share the benefits we receive from creating with our corner of the world, shall we?

Do me a favor, just smile tomorrow.  No matter what happens, smile.  The girl at the coffee counter spills it all over you.  Smile.  The police officer pulls you over to give you a ticket for speeding.  Smile.  Your boss has made more unreasonable demands you can never accomplish.  Smile.  Your spouse has jumped on your last nerve and you want to shriek in frustration and anger.  Smile instead.

Who knows how these smiles could change the world?

Maybe the girl at the coffee counter just found out her loan didn’t come through and she can’t go to college after all.  And your smile let her know she’s going to be alright anyway.

Maybe the police officer was up all night working at an accident which claimed the lives of three people. Maybe your smile reminded him of exactly why he became a police officer, to help people.

Maybe your boss just found out his wife has cancer.  Maybe your smile made him realize that no matter the outcome, they love each other and are strong enough to face whatever the future holds.

Maybe your spouse just needs to vent because the project for work fell apart and it’s all on him.  And maybe your smile reminded him of the love you share and the fun you have together.  In short what is really important in his life.

And if each of us smiles at those we meet, what happens if they smile in return?  Will they continue to smile at others through their day?  We could build a huge ball of smilin’ love out there, people!  It could travel the world.

And it could make a difference.

DIY Misti Stamping Tool, Update.

The DIY Misti Stamping Tool.

This has become one of my essential tools in my work room.

I use it all the time.  Honestly, I have no idea how I stamped without it before now.  What a great investment in both time and money!  Easy to make, use and has made my stamping so much better!

If you are a new stamper or struggling with stamping, I urge you to make one or two of these.  I have two with different grids in each one, two grids per container.  I can swap out the grids or use one on the foam side and one on the back side of the clear box for twice as many options.  I don’t know if you have clear DVD boxes, but you can purchase them.  Look at second hand stores first.  That’s where I found my two, holding magnet puzzles.  I gave the puzzles to the kids and kept the clear boxes.

I’m sure the actual Misti is larger than what I have but mine are 5 1/2″ by 6 3/4″ actual stamp space area.  I don’t have any problem with my stamps being to large to fit the space.  The size of the paper is limited to the size of the box, which is a bit of a bummer.  Nevertheless, it is well worth it.

I wonder if there is any clear bakery packaging which would work for this?  You would need a hinged one that opens and closes with a “door”.  This would be the bottom of the packaging.  The place that holds the bakery goods would be the part that holds your fun foam.  You could fill a deeper one with styrofoam first and add the thick fun foam to get you to the correct depth within the box.  A clear plastic pizza box would be perfect.  Here’s one that could work with a bit of effort…

Oh, here’s a free printable grid.

The size for the actual Misti is 8.125 x 10 x 0.5 inches.  The mini-Misti is is 7″ by 7″.  So there is a larger stamping area to work with.  The regular Misit is 79.99 and the mini-Misti is 45.00.  I’m sure with coupons you can find them for less.

My DIY Misti cost less than 5 bucks to make.  Is that extra stamping area worth it for me to spend a substantial amount more for the same results?  Absolutely not.  I will not spend it and I don’t have any problem not having that extra space available for stamping.  I can make it work, believe me.

This is one project I urge you to make.  It has changed the way I stamp and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Get To Know Your Supplies: Tissue Paper

Tissue paper is one of my staples in my art journaling projects.  But that’s not the only place you can use tissue paper.  Here are some ideas and techniques for you to try:

  1. Use as a collage background for an art journal page.  This is by far my most used technique with tissue paper.  I rip the paper, add a layer of mod podge, gel medium, or gloopy glue to the page, layer the tissue paper over top and then smear the adhesive medium I’m using over the top.  Sometimes I lay it flat on the page or sometimes I crinkle it and smush it so there is texture and creases.
  2. Cut into squares.  Using pencil eraser end, place in center of square, fold tissue paper upward and hold.  Dip in glue and press onto your paper image.  We used to do this in school in art class.  It gives you all these little tufts of color which is cool for making butterflies, flowers, grasses and leaves.  Gives your page an interesting texture and yummyness.
  3. DIY stained glass.  Sketch out your design on a sheet of paper.  Place beneath laminating pocket.  Add your cut up tissue paper pieces to the inside of a laminate sheet, filling in the image you placed beneath it.  Carefully close laminating pocket and run through the machine.  Once finished, outline your design or drawing with black permanent marker.  This works best with simple designs or abstracts.  Hang in the window for a really interesting stained glass look.  Add several together and use as a room divider screen.  Make images for each holiday and hang in windows.  Write out a quote or saying and fill in with tissue paper.  The options are endless.
  4. Using the cheap tissue papers that run, bleeding tissue paper,  (not the better quality acid free kind-those don’t run) you can make several interesting things with the same technique.  The technique is layering the papers onto wet paper, spritzing the tissue paper with water for each layer, putting another paper over top and letting the whole thing dry.  The tissue papers color will bleed onto the papers and give you some really stunning watercolor looking effects.  Here are other option for tissue paper bleeding:
    1. Lay a stencil on your dampened paper.  Layer the torn tissue paper over top of the stencil, wetting each layer as you go.  Always add a second sheet of paper to the top of the stack for an extra, bonus piece of paper.  Let dry and remove the tissue papers.  You will have a stenciled image on your page.
    2. Cut out or punch shapes from your cheap, colorful tissue paper.  Lay on damp paper, don’t over lap the tissue paper with this one. Spritz with water bottle.  Lay second sheet of card stock over the tissue paper.  Let dry.  Now you have a piece of paper with hearts or circles or ice cream cones all over it.
    3. Punch or cut out shapes from card stock and use the material you punched them from as a resist.  Lay the piece of card stock ( or fun foam or chipboard-whatever you used) down on damp paper, layer bleeding tissue paper over top of cut out or punched images.  Dampen well with spray bottle of water and lay another paper over top.  Let dry.  This would also work well in an art journal, as you can simply close the book allowing the weight of the book press out the colors.  Let dry.  You can use both the cut out shapes and the resist on one page for some interesting effects.  Use letters and add a name or word on your paper.
    4. Use white vinegar instead of water to give you even more vibrant colors.
    5. Use on book pages, maps, watercolor paper, newspaper-whatever you have.  You can make some really beautiful stuff for use in your art journal or as wrapping paper.
    6. Use on a paper doily for a really beautiful embellishment
    7. Punch shapes from bleeding tissue paper.  Lay on damp paint canvas.  Spritz with water.  Let dry.  Lift off tissue paper to see the bleeding beneath in the shapes you cut.  Make several from letters, shapes, and numbers for a child’s bedroom wall art.  Or make large letters that spell out their name.
    8. Once you have a multi-colored sheet of paper from the bleeding tissue paper technique, sketch or stamp an image over it.  Color it in, if desired, or leave it as it is.  Outline with fine marker, sharpie, paint and brush, paint pens, ink, whatever your heart desires (if you drew it).  You could use embossing ink and embossing powder to give another interesting look.  Makes a wonderful (and easy to achieve) picture or embellishment.  Cut out and frame.  Or use in an art journal project.
  5. Use as texture on a painting canvas.  Crumple up tissue paper and add to mountains, streams, clouds.  Form into branches, items of interest on your painting for a focal point, add as many layers as needed to give you the texture and depth you want.  (Don’t use the bleeding tissue paper for this technique)  Use mod podge, gel medium or even acrylic paint to secure your tissue paper to the canvas and to make the items you want to include in your piece.
  6. Create texture by smearing paint or gel medium over your page, laying crumpled tissue paper over it and lifting the paper while the gel or paint is still wet.  This will give you a nice texture with it’s little peaks and valleys.  (Use the tissue paper in your “extra” journal you use for all your extra materials.  I use a composition book in which I glued four pages together to make one.  This is where I clean off my brushes, mop up ink and left over paints, clean off stencils and stamps.  Makes for a lovely bunch of randomly covered background pages which I will make into an art journal once they are all filled sufficiently.)
  7. Glue crumpled but flattened tissue paper to cereal box chipboard and paint.  I do several layers, beginning with gesso.  Then various browns, maybe a bit of black but not much.  Lastly age with inks.  Looks like leather.  You can also do this with craft paper.  Really beautiful looking art journal covers.
  8. If your page has gone to dark, add a layer or more of white tissue paper over the whole thing with mod podge or gel medium.  Will tone it down without changing the way the page looks.
  9. Color an image very lightly on sheer tissue paper, add as a layer over book page or on an art journal page.  It will appear translucent and really looks cool.
  10. When watercolor painting, lay tissue paper over your wet wash and lift.  Give really beautiful texture and color variation.  Makes gorgeous backgrounds.
  11. Cut into circles any size you want, cut edges with decorative scissors if desired, stack together, gather in center with button, brad or gem.  Fluff and pull apart the tissue paper to give it body and size.  You have tissue paper flowers.  Make into a bouquet or garland, use as a bow on a gift, or as ornaments for your tree.
  12. Make sun catchers with wood skewers and tissue paper.  Make your shape and glue tissue paper onto the shape.  Hang in window.
  13. You can make tissue paper holders, bowls, earrings, charms, whatever you want by layering and adding gloopy glue, gel medium or mod podge between layers.  Will dry flat for whatever project you want, or shape around a bowl or blown up ballon let dry into that shape.  For the flat sheets, punch out a shape, add hole and add to hook earring findings.  Lightweight, easy to wear jewelry. Or use as charms in your art journals, add to the binding of your journals, on bookmarks or tags, as tabs, as embellishments and art tiles.
  14. Use wire and tissue paper together to make abstract shapes.  Make a loop of wire with long “stem”.  Glue pieces of tissue paper to the loop, filling it in with color.  I would give them a coat of mod podge for extra strength.  Connect all wires together to make an abstract piece of art.
  15. Use 8 sheets of 20 x 30″ thicker tissue paper.  Stack.  Fold into 1 1/2″ accordian pleats. Crease each fold very well.  Cut an 18″ length of craft wire.  Fold over stacked tissue paper in center of stack and twist to connect at the side of the stack.  Trim ends of stack into a curve or point.  Separate the petals gently, one at a time, spreading them outward.  Now fluff and pull apart tissue paper to give you a full pom pom.  Use length of wire to hang pom poms where you want them.  You can make smaller sizes too, obviously, and use as decorations on a table for a baby or bridal shower.  Just scatter multi-colored pom poms over your table cloth.  Looks charming and it’s cheap.
  16. Stamp or doodle all over it for your very own patterned tissue papers.  (Think Tim Holtz papers).
  17. Mix with glue to make a paper clay.  Shape into whatever you want, press into a mold, make into a sculpture.  Let dry completely and paint as desired.  Lightweight.

Many techniques and interesting effects can be made with tissue paper.  It’s inexpensive, easy to find and fun to play with.  That makes it a “Win” in my book.



Get To Know Your Supplies: Toilet Paper Tubes

I can hear you already:  “Toilet paper tubes?  You’ve got to be kidding!”

Well, no.  No I’m not.

There are many, many uses for toilet paper tubes.  If you have a large family like we do you can collect a huge amount in a very short time.  Here are some ideas for using toilet paper tubes in your art practice:

  1. Use as you would quilling paper.  Make home decor pictures, letters, wreaths, picture frames, Christmas ornaments, etc.  Just slice thinly and go to town.  I’ve seen “wrought iron” looking pieces, multi-colored pieces, unpainted toilet paper tube color pictures.  You name it and you can make it with toilet paper tubes.
  2. Make little people or animals.  Use the tube as it is and paint to make Santa, the Three Little Pigs, snowmen, Minions, cartoon characters, etc.  Add a red felt hat, black ribbon belt and white batting for Santa. A couple pipe cleaners, felt hat, ribbon scarf, skewer with twigs for the broom and you have an adorable snowman.  Black and white stripes, a zebra.  Black and white and you have a penguin.  Make a Nativity Scene with all the people and animals, all from toilet paper tubes.
  3. Use as logs for a log cabin for your kids.  Get a huge box, like a washing machine or refrigerator box, cut out holes for door and windows, add tubes to the box and paint when covered.  A wonderful, inexpensive playhouse for your kids.
  4. Use as your mini-art journal cover.  Use as a pocket in an art journal.  Cut up and use to make a scene or picture on your art journal pages.
  5. Decorate a cardboard box and fill with toilet paper tubes to hold your pencils, ink pens, scissor and other items you always use and often misplace.  Keep on your work table.
  6. Cut in half, stack in triangle, add four to base in a square.  Paint to look like a Christmas tree.  Use as an advent calendar or decoration.
  7. Cut tube, roll together in a spiral, gluing as you go, to make flowers.
  8. Using two tubes, paint black.  Slice up the second tube into eight legs and attach to the main tube.  Add eyes if desired. You have a black spider.  Staple one end, fill with candy, staple other end closed. Perfect treats for your kids Halloween party at school.  Paint black, add wings and hang upside down by pipe cleaners for bats.  Paint, add a broom and hat and you have a witch.
  9. Make several into angels.  Use one tube for the angel, another for the wings.  Add string or twine and you have an angel garland for your tree or mantle.
  10. Use as gift bags.  Decorate and fill with money, candy, gift certificates, jewelry,  etc.
  11. Add a fun foam shape and use as a stamp for art journaling.
  12. Use as vases to hold paper flowers.  Decorate as desired.
  13. Decorate as Santa’s suit and elves costume, cut half circle from one half of the tube at the top and bottom.  Santa’s belt and the elves belt are in the center of this part of the tube.  Use to hold silverware at the table.
  14. Decorate and staple one end shut.  Add magnets and you have a pen/pencil caddy for your refrigerator.
  15. Make a layered box from foam core and decorate it.  Add tubes to hold pens and pencils, the rest holds stationary items.
  16. Cut tube in half.  On one end of each cut a half circle.  Open tube fully.  Use a paper towel tube, decorated to match the “legs” you just made from the halved toilet paper tube.  Use for bracelet display.
  17. Add round chip board to ends and decorate with vintage style papers and embellishments.  Looks like a spool of thread for the sewer in your life.
  18. Cut in half, decorate and use as napkin rings.
  19. Make faux candles by painting the cardboard , cutting top at an angle and dripping hot glue down the sides.  Add those battery operated lights in the bottom and you have spooky candles galore.
  20. Christmas ornaments:  a hobby horse, snowmen, stars (by cutting into pieces and shaping into ovals with points on both sides.  Glue together.  Paint and decorate)
  21. Use as base for bracelets.
  22. Paint and add cone top, ribbons streaming from the bottom for a “rocket”
  23. Fill with dryer lint, cover with melted wax, add wick and you have a fire starter.
  24. Paint to look like buildings, cut at different heights to make a city scape.
  25. Cut triangles, scallops, shapes from bottom half of tube, leaving attached.  Fold cut parts out and flat.  Use as a stamp.
  26. Staple one end shut.  Put in crayons, colored pencils, etc. and keep in the car glove box for a quick kid distraction on trips.
  27. Staple one end, fill with purse necessities like emery boards, bandages, ink pens, lip balm and fold over other end to close.  You can add Velcro to keep it closed while in your purse.
  28. decorate, hang by string from skewers and a wire hanger.  You have a mobile.
  29. Decorate and staple top (or not, depending) and your kids have finger puppets.
  30. Cut in half.  Set upright in cardboard box (something that can drain), fill nearly full with potting soil, add seeds.  Inexpensive seed starter kit.  Once seeds are ready to go in the garden, plant in tube.  It will disintegrate in the soil.
  31. Thread charger cords through a toilet paper tube to keep them from tangling.
  32. Cut in half (or less), hot glue together.  Attach to a hanger.  Perfect way to hang scarves or ties.
  33. Cut in half.  Place on large square of fabric or lace.  Fill with candy and nuts.  Fold up fabric and tie with ribbon.  Add name card if desired.  Cheap and easy wedding or party favor or place card for seating an event.

And you didn’t think I had anything did you?  I use these things all the time.  Seriously.  All the time.  There are all sorts of options for this disposable resource.  Let your creativity go and have some fun!