Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Love Affair with Alcohol Markers

Over the last couple of years I have discovered alcohol markers, and I have fallen completely in love with them. The first ones I owned were a set of 12 Copic Sketch markers that my daughter gave me for my birthday in  December 2014. I loved them so much that I asked her to get me some more for Christmas, and I also used some Christmas money from my husband and stepson to add to my small collection.
 They are terribly expensive at $7.99 retail, although many places like Jerry's Artarama, Dick Blick, and Target have them for $5.24. Even with a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby or Michael's they are still $4.79 each. Gradually over the past 23 months, I have managed to accumulate a good number of them, although I started buying the Ciao version, which is identical to the Sketch marker except a bit smaller. These generally retail for $5.49, but Blick and a few other sellers have them for $3.59.

There was one problem with the Ciaos, as far as I was concerned, but I discovered a way to solve it online from a lady named Asela Hopkins at Hop Art Studios. The problem was that the Ciao markers don't have the color identifiers printed on the ends of the barrels, but just on the sides. That may seem like a nit-picky detail since the lids and barrels are colored. However, the lid colors are not always completely accurate in matching the laid down colors. And many colorists have become accustomed to searching for a marker by its label. Ms. Hopkins solved this problem by drawing a bunch of little circles with the color identifiers typed inside for all 358 colors. She made this available online for free. How very nice of her! Anyone could print them off on white cardstock, color with the correct marker, and punch each one out with a 1/4" hole punch. She suggested applying each one with a small Thermoweb Zot, which is a 1/4" wide double-stick circle. Here is a link to her site: hopartstudios.typepad.com/hop_art_studios/2012/07/copic-ciao-lid-labels.html

I tried to find a comparable alcohol marker by researching online. Someone suggested that Bic Mark-Its were pretty good, and they were definitely cheaper. However, they are not refillable, and do not blend anywhere as well as the Copics. Also, there are only 36 colors, so blending would not be very subtle anyway. Copics have 358 different colors. I also bought a few Blick Studio markers which were $2.69 each, but although they work well, they are not refillable. Another good alcohol marker is by Prismacolor. I used these years ago to color cut-out figures for bulletin boards when I was still a school librarian. I remember being very impressed with the fact that they did not leave a streaky look. Believe it or not, I have a few of those on hand that still work, and I've been retired over 16 years. However, they are not refillable either.

I had heard about Spectrum Noir markers and knew that Joann's carried the 6-pack sets in my local store. They were $14.99 per set, which came to $2.50 each, or $1.50 with a coupon. Yah! So, I bought 3 sets, and found that I liked how well they blended. I also preferred the bullet nib over the so-called "Super Brush" on the Copics. I mostly use alcohol markers to color stamped or digital images to use on cards, and find that these smaller nibs get into the tiny crevices much easier. What I did not realize until recently is that the Spectrum Noirs are refillable, and have replacement nibs. They even have a brush nib, comparable to Copic's, which you can use to replace the broad nib in the end opposite to the bullet nib. In my opinion, this gives them even more of a leg up on Copics besides just having a much better price.
So far my only complaint about the Spectrum Noirs is that the colors on the lids are so far off from the actual color as to be laughable. However, taking off on Ms. Hopkins' idea, I have printed out all the color identifiers, spacing them into columns in Word. I printed them off on Neenah Solar White Classic Crest 80 lb. coverstock, and cut two small rectangles from a sheet of stencil material. These are just large enough to fit over the identifiers. They are both 6/32" tall. The smaller one is 11/32" wide and the larger is 15/32" wide. I know, I'm cursed with perfectionism! I used these and a pencil to lightly outline each identifier. Then colored around each rectangle. Some of the darker colors would obscure the lettering if colored over the writing. The last step was to use a 1/2" hole punch to create a circle that fits over the top of each lid to show the true color. A hole punch this size can be hard to find. I ordered this one from Consumer Crafts. To adhere them to the lids, I used 3/8" Glue Dots from Memory Book. Some people have complained about the lettering rubbing off the plastic lids, so this method not only fixes when that happens, but corrects to the true color of the ink.

When I only had a few alcohol markers, I stored them upright in jars or plastic barrels. When I wanted to use them I had to get up from my desk and go into the storage closet. I really wanted to have them stored right on my desk. Also, I wanted to have a way to keep them separated by color. That isn't such a problem when you only have a couple of dozen, but as a collection grows, it becomes a hassle. Also, many people recommend that it's best to store the markers horizontally. I looked around and realized that I could probably use an old wooden CD storage unit. I had found it years ago in an antique store and had been using it to store ink pads. As my stamping has evolved, I mostly use Memento Tuxedo Black, which is the most recommended ink to use with alcohol markers. I sometimes use Staz-On ink for other things, but you should definitely not use it to stamp images you are going to color with alcohol markers. It will smear and may discolor your markers, as well.
So, I unloaded all the stamp pads and moved it to my desk. Here's what it looks like with the Copics in place. I even had room left on the side to store my most often used stamp pads.
I was very happy with this storage system until I started buying the Spectrum Noirs, as there was definitely not room for both the Copics and the S.N.s in this one shelving unit. That's when I discovered the stackable trays made by Spectrum Noir. ConsumerCrafts.com has a set of 6 for only $17.97. That's less than $3.00 per tray, each of which holds 12 markers, or 72 for the whole set. Most vendors want at least $20. I did discover that it's much more economical to buy them in sets. Buying one tray at the time will cost @ $5.00. I initially ordered 2 sets of 6 trays each, and when they arrived, I liked them so much that I ordered 2 more sets to also accommodate my Copics. Those 4 units will take up less space on my desk than just the CD shelving by itself. The really good news was that I discovered they were on sale when I went to check out. So, I got them for only $13.47 each. Everything on their site was 25% off their already discounted prices. I treated myself to the rest of the Spectrum Noirs that I didn't already have. I just couldn't resist when they were only $1.12 per marker with free shipping. Here's a look at the storage trays.
The trays can be stacked straight up and down as in the picture, or at an angle with each tray slightly further back than the one below it, or even vertically if you choose, although that's not ideal for markers. They will hold a variety of markers as you see here, or anything that is no bigger than 5/8" wide.

I have just recently discovered the great difference in the types of cardstocks to use with alcohol markers. As I was reading online about these markers, I noticed that people kept referring to Neenah Classic Crest Super Smooth Solar White 80# Coverstock. Well, I already had some Neenah white cardstock that seem to work quite well with my markers (although not this specific type), so I thought I just wouldn't be bothered to pay $38 for 250 sheets. However, I occasionally did get a bleed if I wasn't super careful, especially with the Copic's bigger brush nib. So I decided to quit being a Scrooge and buy a ream. Wow! I was amazed when I tried it. What a difference. No bleeding at all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

January 2011

The borders for this spread were made with a stamp that I hand-carved. It's really quite simple...just vertical and horizontal lines, though you do need to be careful to keep them straight and more or less the same width. I picked up the colors from a multicolor pad called Splendor "Misty" by Tsukineko.

The title letters were sketched, outlined with a fine Pitt pen and colored with Prismacolor pencils.

Band of Brothers (Jan. 5, 2011)

This page was in memory of Major Dick Winters who died this week. His WWII exploits were made famous by the book and miniseries Band of Brothers, which is my all-time favorite TV series. I have watched it in its entirety at least 4 or 5 times.

We watched The Pacific a few months ago, and although it was made by the same people (Tom Hanks & Steven Spielberg notably) and was very good and interesting, it just didn't enthrall me like this one.

I wrote the title using a white Prismacolor pencil. It is an adaptation of the Art Nouveau alphabet. Good brands of colored pencils work great over craft acrylic paint, although you have to sharpen them quite frequently. That can get tiresome if writing lengthy passages, though I don't find it a problem for something like this.

Noah's Ark (Dec. 25, 2010)

I don't recall the specific paints I used for this background, but I can tell by looking that the yellow was painted  first, and the watered-down red brushed on afterwards. The blue at the top of the right page was a bleed from the following page, but I don't really object to it. It kind of reiterates the water at the bottom of Noah's ark. Years ago, this would have bothered me no end, and I would have probably tried to "fix it" by  painting over it, and simply ended up calling more attention to it. I do avoid the majority of these bleeds by using page protectors which are simply freezer paper folded in half and a quarter inch slit cut down the center through which your pages are pulled two at the time, and each one folded back over the freezer paper, which then protects the underneath pages while you paint these two. These move less than single pieces of wax paper which often slip around as you work, letting wet paint that has gotten onto them smear off and transfer to the back sides of the pages you are working on.

The Noah's Ark illustration was from a book catalog that I got many years ago when I was a school librarian. Have you ever found the perfect illustration for a journal page, but it was too big or too small? Just throw it on your copier to make the size you want. But...but, you say, I don't know what percentage to set. A wonderful tool I use for this is called a Proportional Scale. It's just 2 circles that revolve around each other. You line up the present size on the inner scale under the new size wanted on the outer scale. The percent of enlargement or reduction will appear in the cut-out window. Most good art stores should carry these. I know Dick Blick has them for about $5. I've had mine for years, and would hate to be without it.

Note: Some newer readers of this blog may not be aware that I offer a set of journaling lessons that comprise over 80 pages of instructions with accompanying photos. Just one of the things covered in detail is exactly how to make page protectors. To see what else is offered, look here: http://creatingyourownstory.blogspot.com/

Blake Learns to Walk (Dec. 16, 2010)

To create these pages, I first masked off the edges with 1.5" wide Safe-Release Painter's tape by Scotch 3M. This is a little less sticky than their blue painter's tape, although it works well too if you are very careful when removing it. I let the tape extend over the edge by a quarter inch, since I only wanted the borders to be 1.25" wide. Then I painted the centers of each page with Anita's "Island Green." When this was completely dry, I removed the tape.
For the left-hand page, I cut strips from a colorful catalog page to cover the unpainted border, stamped the tree and colored with Prismacolor pencils and gel pens.
To complete the right page, I covered the edges of the blue rectangle with Painter's tape and painted the exposed border with Anita's "Rust Red." The gingerbread boy was cut from an ad.

Granny in the Nursing Home (Dec. 12, 2010)

This background began with Americana's "Light Buttermilk", which was then swiped with the dregs of red paint that had been in a brush left in the water jar.
I wrote the date with a Pitt Brush pen in "Pink Carmine" and shadowed it with one in "May Green".
The poinsettia is a rubberstamp done with Prismacolor pencils.

Latest Fashion Accessory (Nov. 18, 2010)

It's been way too long since I've written in this journal. I've been spending several days a week at Missy's house helping her with sewing projects and taking care of Blake while she does stuff for the restaurant.
The baby is learning to do so many new things. She understands many words and commands, although the only things we understand her to say are "Mama" and "Aa" (the first syllable of Alley. I think this means any little critter to her, since she also said it around Granny's dog, Daisy. She shakes her head when she hears "No," cuts her eyes up at the light when I say that, waves "hi" and "bye-bye" and blows kisses. She also points to everything and says "dat?". She loves music and shakes her shoulders & her booty whenever she hears any.
She loves cellphones and remote controls and eyeglasses.
Of course, at this age, everything goes in her mouth. We had to take her books away, except when we're right with her, because she gnaws on the covers. She was also biting off bits of the plastic foam cylinders that Missy had put around the bars of the child gate. It looked like a rat had been gnawing on everything.
The photo shows the latest fashion accessory according to Blake. She dug through the clean laundry and appropriated a pair of her mommy's panties to drape around her neck. Tres chic!

I painted the background with "Light Buttermilk" using a brush that had watered-down yellow paint still in it. Then I pulled a couple of more brushes from my water jar with leftover pink and green in them.
The babies across the top of the page started out as a rubberstamp images to which I tried adding panties around their necks. They're colored with Prismacolor pencils.

Pearland in Little League World Series (8/20/10)

The acrylic paints I used on these pages were Bright Yellow and Tangerine. The illustrations are from the newspaper and a piece of gift wrap.

Enchiladas (Aug. 13, 2010)

The background for this spread was made with Anita's Morning Blue, Seafoam Green and Americana's Wisteria. I sketched the "E" and outlined it with a black Pitt pen. The interior zen doodles were drawn with various small sizes of Micron pens and colored with Prismacolor pencils. The rest of the word was written with a fine Pitt pen in the script known as Akim.

She's a Little Monkey! (July 19-22, 2010)

The left page is soft pastel chalk sprayed with Fixafif. The right page is French Country Yellow & French Vanilla acrylics. I drew the monkey with a black pen and colored her with Prismacolor pencils. The black shadow around her was done with a black Neocolor II which I smudged with my finger. For a touch of whimsey, I glued a couple of paper posies in her hair and added a tiny gemstone to the center.

Blake has accomplished a lot this week. She is becoming as agile as a little monkey. She learned to crawl in her hands and knees instead of just scooting and to pull herself to a standing position in the crib.

Small Flower - Big Flower (July 14, 2010)

I tried out two different approaches to making flower illustrations. The small one is just a little ink drawing touched up with watercolors, while the large bloom is a cut-out colored with Prismacolor Illustration markers, FW ink, and soft pastels.

My text says:
We went over to see Blake today. She is cutting her first tooth.
We only stayed an hour, but all three of us noticed & commented on the disappointed look she go on her little face when we started saying "Bye-Bye." I guess she really does understand what it means.
I made a Peach-Pecan cobbler when we got home. It had a double baked crust with pecans in between the layers that was wonderful.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Last Week of June 2010

This is a nice sunny spread. I had previously painted it using Americana's "Light Buttermilk" and Anita's "Tangerine" paint. It was perfect for a summer spread.

P.S. the picture at the bottom may look like flowers at first glance, but it's really pineapple slices which we had with our supper.

Ferberizing Baby

These pages are an example of using odds and ends and little scraps to perk up a journal spread.
The mandala was from a brochure; the butterfly was a rubber stamp cut-out left over from another project; the colored strips are scrapbooking papers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Red Bird

I really like this spread. I first painted the pages with "Antique White". When it was dry, I used Post-It tape to block off sections and painted with "Lime", "Island Green" (which is the aqua), and "Raspberry". The splotchy area was made by dabbing with paint on a wadded-up paper towel.
This technique creating some interesting spaces for the writing instead of my usual boring method.

June 1-3

For the last few days I have enjoyed reading Martha Lever's blog "Art du Jour". She is a calligrapher and watercolor artist who lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
I've gotten some great ideas from her, which she says she's gotten in turn from other folks. All of us seem to "steal" and adapt from each other. In her book "Cover To Cover", Shereen LaPlantz said "One of the great joys in art is transmutation. We all learn from others' ideas. The process of adapting these new ideas to our tastes and needs is transmutation." I especially admire Martha's fun lettering. She has taken Suzy Ratto's brush letters to a different level by adding black micro lines to them in the style of Sherri Kiesel. And who knows where Suzy and Sherri originally got their ideas?
Another thing I really love on her blog are her wonderful watercolor doodle flowers. Since I'm not much of an illustrator, I adapted that idea to make the flowers on the right page. I used HeroArts "A Real Candytuft" stamp, coloring directly on the stamp with Tombow markers, and spritzing with water before pressing it to the paper. This is a favorite technique that gives a watercolor look to stamps. The taller, darker flowers were the initial stamping, while the lighter, shorter ones were the second stamping done without reinking. After they dried, I used a micron pen to draw the black lines to define them. This is what gives a hand drawn look to a stamped image. I had to extend the stems with the pen.
On the word "June", after writing it with a Zig brush marker in one color, I added a new layer by giving a flick on top of each letter with a darker color. This is a trick I've used for years after learning it from Suzy Ratto's booklet "Color Layering System". However, the new layer just sits there. For some reason, this time I decided to see what would happen if I used my Kuratake Waterbrush filled with blending fluid to pull the top color around. It blended nicely, and that was an interesting discovery, which I'll try to remember.

Wilma's First 100 Years

More strange experiments creating backgrounds.
These pages started off by me using up the yellow paint left in my brush. Later, I had some blue left in a brush and I added that around the yellow. On another day, I had stirred some blue Plaka paint with a wooden skewer and rolled it around on the page, making the funny little marks.
My next experiment was a suggestion from Martha Lever. She says that she often uses the cardboard insert from a toilet paper roll to make marks on backgrounds, so that gave me the white circles.
The flowers blossoms were made with a Fiskars decorative punch. It's one of the kind where you squeeze the handles. This type works so much better than the kind where you have to mash really hard on the top of it. The paper I used was made by dabbing stamp pad inks onto cardstock. I cut the leaves out of some scraps of textured handmade paper.

Two Birthday Parties

The circles on this spread came about in an unusual way.
Several months ago, I bought a rubberstamp of a sunflower at Dollar Tree. The stamp itself was okay, but I didn't like the fact that it was mounted on a 2" tall plastic handle shaped like a door knob. That's actually easier to grasp than the wooden blocks that most stamps come on, but it was too tall to fit in the shallow drawers where I keep my stamps, so I eventually peeled the stamp off and just use it on an acrylic block. After I did this, I noticed that this exposed a round piece of black foam on the bottom of the handle. Aha, I thought. I bet I can stamp a circle with this. I spread some white acrylic paint on a piece of plastic, and here's what I got. I like the fact that there are empty spots left inside the circles with lots of texture.

Blake in the Bluebonnets

We took these photos in Granny's field. This was a bumper year for bluebonnets all over the state since the winter had been cold and the spring wet.
The bluebonnets that grow in this East Texas field are daintier than what we see along the coast and in the Hill Country. They are "Lupinus Subcarnosus", while the bigger and showier ones are "Lupinus Texensis".
This was Blake's first experience touching flowers and grass, and she was fascinated, as she is by everything. Of course, she wanted to put them in her mouth.
This spread is different looking, to say the least. I was experimenting with backgrounds, and this is the result. I began by partially painting the pages with red and green acrylics. When those were dry, I brushed on gesso, letting the colored paints show through. The bluebonnet borders were from a rubberstamp, colored with Tombow markers and spritzed with water.

Bunny Ears

For this spread, I carved a rubberstamp from a Speedball Speedy-Cut block. I was inspired by one I saw on Martha Lever's blog. She said she used watercolors to stamp hers, which is what I used on the back egg, but I think I got a better result on the front egg by using stamp pad inks.

Little Piggy

Today Blake was 4 months old. She is so adorable. She grins, grins, grins when I talk to her. She is also trying out lots of new sounds. For the last few days, she has been grunting like a little piglet. It's such a funny little noise that we can't help laughing when she does it.
We had to take her to the pediatrician for her checkup, and she grunted the whole way there. We knew from how she has been outgrowing her sleeper suits that she was getting lots bigger. She weighed 14 lbs & 1 oz. and is 25" long. Dr. G. says that puts her in the 60th and 75th percentiles.

New Books

The art books I ordered finally came, but I have to say that I was pretty disappointed in both of them, but especially the one by Judy Melvin. Her work and her classes are SO GREAT, but her handouts are almost non-existent, so I was really hoping for a lot from this book. Actually, it's just a little 18-page pamphlet, and although the photography of her artwork is gorgeous, each technique is described by only 3 or 4 sentences.

St. Patrick's Day

March 17 has always been a special day to me.
First because it was the birthday of my great grandmother (my mother's mother's mother).
Then later, it became more special when it was Missy's half-birthday. And last year, it was the day when she found out that she was pregnant!
This year, we marked the occasion by taking Blake out in public for the first time. For some reason, she had a screaming fit in the car, but she was super good in the stores. We went to JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby looking for fabric to trim the drapery material that Missy wants to use to make cornices for her kitchen windows.
The next day, Missy & Jerry came over and planted a live oak in our backyard in Blake's honor. They wanted to put it in our yard since they figured that we're here to stay, whereas it's likely that they'll relocate someday.
The shamrocks are a rubberstamp and I created the rainbow with soft pastels.

Peter Rabbit Story

Some of Missy's favorite stories as a little girl were the ones by Beatrix Potter. That's why we used that theme to decorate Blake's nursery.
While Jerry made a trip to Florida to pick up some restaurant equipment, I stayed with Missy and the baby. One night she asked me to read to Blake before she put her to bed. I was astounded how that 3-month-old baby smiled and never took her eyes off my face. I know she didn't understand the words, but she certainly reacted to the sounds. Missy says it's because I read with lots of expression. That comes from having been a children's librarian. Reading to kids was one of the things I enjoyed the most. I really missed it when I switched from my elementary school to a junior high position. I can't wait until Blake can really interact with the stories.

Blake Meets Granny

Alas, another page that didn't photo well. I bought a new camera (a Nikon CoolPix) right before Blake was born. It takes fine pictures of people, etc., but I'm not happy with the results from photographing my journal pages. I think my old Fuji FinePix did a better job, but the little door that holds the batteries in place broke off.

January 2010

This is a pretty page in real life, although it didn't photo very well. The background is a soft pink brushed in the middle with "Seafoam Green" after the pink was dry. You don't want to mix these two colors when wet, because you would end up with a light gray (unless, of course, that's what you're aiming for!) This would happen because all three primaries are present in these colors (red in the pink and blue and yellow in the green). Anyway, the date and the decorative stripe were written with a metallic green ColorSharp marker, and the tiny calendar page was from a shopping list pad.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We get snow so seldom on the Gulf Coast, that it almost becomes a holiday when it happens. It is rare any year, but it never happens this early in the season. It's not even officially winter yet.
I first painted these pages with "Antique White" just to cover up the lines and to give me a base to apply the diluted blue and green fluid acrylics. Fluid acrylics are fun to use. The Golden brand is what I have, and even though they are quite expensive to buy initially, they are very concentrated so you only need a few drops for intense color. They also give a nice sheen to the paper and have a yummy feel. Almost silky. This picture doesn't begin to show the intensity of the color, let along the sheen.
I used a white pigment inkpad to stamp the snowflakes, and a white Prismacolor pencil to journal. The swirly lines were added with FW white acrylic ink.


The photo of this spread is not very good, but I had to include it anyway because it shows Blake getting her first sponge bath and also features the sweet thank-you card that Missy gave me. Inside, she listed in detail the things that she was thankful for that I've done for her lately. I'm thankful that I am so blessed to have such a loving daughter.

Coming Home

The top picture shows Missy and Jerry as they are just about to take the baby into their house for the very first time.
The bottom one shows Alley taking a sniff of this strange new critter that they've brought home.

Ta Da! Our Baby's Here

This spread commemorates the birth of my granddaughter. They'll be calling her Blake, but I'm so honored that they chose to make her middle name Eliece. She is just perfect!

New Camera

This spread features three different days separated by rubberstamped frames.
I first painted the background with Seafoam Green and Morning Blue. When that dried, I stamped the top frame with Kaleidacolor's "Caribbean Sea" dye pad. Notice how badly it bled. Maybe dye pads are not the best to use on top of acrylic paint. I colored in some of the spaces with a "Brite Purple" Prismacolor pencil.
After stamping the smaller rectangle, I added some extra greens to the page with Neocolor IIs and a babywipe. I also used a sponge and ColorBox inks to apply the pinkish colors inside the rectangles.

Coquette Weekend 2009

I used Seafoam Green and Wisteria to paint stripes for the background.
I'm usually pretty good about making notes in the back of my journals that remind me of how and what I used do various spreads, but I fell down on the job for this one. I have no idea what I used to color the rubberstamps used on these pages. It appears to have been a multi-hued pad, but I don't seem to have one with those particular colors. Maybe I dabbed on individual colors.

Granny's Little Rocker

This spread shows various items that I've worked on to get ready for my grandbaby. The photo on the left side shows the dust ruffle on the crib that I referred to in my "Eyelet" post. In front of that is the little rocking chair that belonged to my mother. After refinishing it, I wrapped it up for Missy to open at her baby shower, and included a tiny book to explain it. There were pictures of the three of us as toddlers and this is what it said:
"This little chair first held your granny.
Then me
and you.
Now it's been refinished to the color it was 85+ years ago,
and is waiting for a new little girl.
With love
from Mom"

Flu Shot

This spread is an example of pages that started out so ugly and ended up looking really good.
I began by painting with "Wisteria" and "Moon Yellow." Because purple and yellow are complements of each other (directly across the color wheel), they go well together and make what is known as "neutrals" when mixed together. This is usually some version of gray or brown, and you can see that happening where the two colors came together.
My next step was to brayer some bubble wrap with the "Hydrangea" ink from a Ranger pad. I randomly applied this to the pages and then wiped with an old T-shirt to blend and soften. The resulting dots are quite subtle, so you may have to look carefully to see them.
I used various purple hues of Prismacolor pencils to draw the swirls, which were further embellished with a black Pitt pen. The dates were written with a Prismacolor "Parrot Green" pencil.

Diaper? What Diaper?

This illustration is another picture that I had been saving for years. Little baby butts are so cute!
It was perfect to help tell the story of our search for a changing table that would match the crib, be small enough to fit in the designated corner, and have drawers.
The background paint is "Wisteria" with streaks of "Hi-Lite Flesh". I used a black Pitt brush pen to draw the swirls and to write the heading. These were shadowed with a "Platinum" Brushable by Zig. I used Dr. Martin's Bleed Proof White to paint the white spaces on the swirls.

Eyelet Trim

This spread is to commemorate how I made the dust ruffle for the baby's crib.
I painted the background with dark periwinkle paint. Then I used my "Elegant" multi-punch to cut holes along strips of white paper to resemble eyelet fabric. To simulate the pink grosgrain ribbon that I threaded through the eyelet, I ran a piece of linen-textured cardstock through my shredder to quickly and easily make quarter-inch strips. Cutting the slots to pass the strips through was the tedious part. I wish I'd had one of those ribbon stitch punches to save me having to cut each one of these holes with an Xacto knife.
I attached the shower invitation with a strip of Magic Tape along the side so that it can be flipped back to read the reverse side.


People just shake their heads when I show them this spread. It relates our experience in putting together the baby's crib.
I got the brilliant idea (????) to make a little replica of the crib from glossy cardstock. You can't really see this from the photo, but the front and side pieces are cut separately and layered over the back piece, and the drop-gate folds up and down. Also, I used a ball-tip burnisher to deboss designs onto the legs. Yes...I need to get a life!


The illustration here was an experiment where I cut out a picture from a magazine and applied repositionable spray adhesive to it to create a kind of reverse stencil.
After painting the background with lavender and aqua paint, I pressed the tacky cut-out into place and brushed red paint around it.
This didn't work out quite as I had planned.
I discovered that some of the printing inks had transferred to the background when I removed the cut-out. I didn't really object to that since it created a funky look.
I think I would have liked the red paint better if I had sponged it on instead of using a brush.

Creating Your Own Story

This spread shows a label that I made to go on some copies of CDs of my art journaling lessons that I plan to give the Coquettes when we get together in October.
If anyone is interested in these lessons, you can read about them here:

Julie and Julia

The illustration on this spread came from the food section of the newspaper. It appeared months (maybe years) ago, and I had been saving it all this time because I really loved the look of it. It was perfect for my entry about seeing the movie "Julie and Julia."
I first applied the yellow paint called "Melted Butter"...how appropriate is that name for this background? Overbrushed that a bit with a wash of turquoise.
I carefully cut around the vegetable drawings and ran them through my Xyron machine. I positioned it just where I wanted it on the pages, and peeled the backing paper away a bit at the time while pressing it down so it wouldn't curl up onto itself.
I added shadows all around the cut-out with a gray Prismacolor pencil, as well as a few curliques and spirals.

M Is for Melissa

The background for this is "Steamed Milk" by Anita. Occasionally, I like to have a plain background instead of something more colorful. This allowed the initial letter to show up nicely. It's an Art Nouveau letter that I colored with Prismacolor pencils.

Multi-Punch Border

The paints for this background were "Spring Green" and "Bright Blue". To make the borders, I used a multi-punch called "Elegant" by The Paper Studio and strips from a magazine page. The top one is the lacey look that the punch makes, but I thought the part that was left over was interesting looking, so I stuck it to the bottom of the right-hand page.
For my journaling, I used Dr. Martin's Bleed-Proof White and a Nikko G nib. It's not necessary to be a calligrapher to use these materials. This is just my ordinary handwriting. It's difficult to find a pen that writes reliably with white fluid. Believe me...I've tried every kind I can find! It's especially difficult when writing over acrylic paints. The Bleed-Proof White works better than anything else for me. I decant some into a tiny container that will hold no more than 1 teaspoonful. You can use the pop-off lid from a bottle of hairspray or something similar. Just so it's narrow and just deep enough to accommodate your nib. After putting a small amount of the BPW into the container, add some distilled water drop by drop and stir it to mix well. Try it with your nib until it flows well, but is still opaque. You'll need to rinse it out of the nib periodically so it won't get clumpy.

Visit to New JoAnn's

The background for these pages was "Bright Yellow" and "Wild Berry" overbrushed with "Cream" when dry. I inked up a foam butterfly stamp that I found in JoAnn's $1.00 bin with the Versacolor "Velveteen" pad.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yah! The Cast Is Off

The stamps on this page are some more of the bargain ones I found in the $1.00 bin at JoAnn's.

Updated Sister Study

This spread is rather unremarkable except for the fact that I decided to make a paper facsimile of a real throw pillow that I made for the nursery.
I had seen this pillow at Sew Contempo and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find all of the exact same fabrics, and I wasn't real happy with the look of a couple that I used, particularly the bow. Now, mind you, I had already tried two different fabrics, and had even zig-zagged the second one in place. Really close together zig-zags! I disliked it so much that I wasn't even going to show it to Melissa, but I'm glad I did, because she came up with a suggestion that worked well. She said why not use some of the pink striped fabric that I'll be using for the window valance. So, that's what I did after spending about 2 hours painstakingly clipping and pulling out all that zig-zagging.
After all that work, I just had to commemorate it in my journal by making a tiny replica. At least that was fun.
It's probably hard to tell from the picture, but the green dotted part at the top is a whole pillow stuffed into a sack that's made from a soft blue fabric covered in white dots. This is appliqued with a gift package, a party hat, and a small heart. The inner pillow is held in place with straps.

Nursery Pillows

I got a real bargain on the stamps that I used on this page. I found them in the $1.00 bin at JoAnn's. There are 4 different styles of flowers on a foam block. You can hardly beat 25 cents per image! I added the vine with Tombow markers.