Interesting art journal techniques

I made a page where I tried out a couple of odd things.  The first was an I wonder…? thing.  I wondered if tinting water with acrylic ink might alter the effect of water-over-Distress ink.  Simple enough to test.

I smudged the ink over a bit of paper – not particularly carefully, or blended particularly smoothly.  Just decent coverage

I added a drop or two of acrylic ink in white to a small mister bottle.  I misted the left with plain water then the right with the white-tinted ink. Only managed to remember to take a photo of the white side.  Doh!

After letting it sit, and blotting off the excess you can see there is a slightly more…opaque look, I think, to the white mist side.

I agree, it is not a starling difference, but it seems like the stencil outlines are more defined and less, well, distressed I guess.  I also added a drop of a teal colour and also a bit of white to another mister and did a different area:

This resulted in more of a halo in the darker teal at the edges.  Again, subtle, not dramatic.  Interesting and well worth playing with to refine the concept.  I also saw a thumbnail on YouTube of a hedgehog painting using a snipped-in-strips loo roll tube as a paintbrush.  I thought it was a pretty neat idea, had a loo roll or two I could rescue from the recycling bin, and gave it a go. I tried it in dark Payne’s Grey, and used it in white on my page.

One is snipped quite closely in very fine shreds (dark) and the other is snipped a little wider.  I expected to like the thinner more, and I ended up liking the fatter more. Or maybe it is the light vs dark that pushed me that way,  time will tell. Here is the page:

Since he text is a stencil I cut, what I SHOULD have done was re-cut it laid out so I didn’t have to line up the words – something I am clearly not good at.  But otherwise I am pretty happy with the page. 

Overall I am happy with the way it is going in this experimental journal.  Finding my way again, trying new techniques as they occur to me, playing and having fun.  Frankly I need the distraction, and it is kinda working.

Lastly, I noticed that the image of the stencils that I have multiples of was missing from yesterday’s post. Happy to consider any trade of an item you have multiples of, not just stencils. I’ll probably re-post this for next week’s WOYWW – or maybe offer them as giveaways for the 600 week Zoom Crop. Now that’s an idea….


WOYWW 595 DIYing like mad

Howdy Y’all and Happy WOYWW again.  After a pretty tiring week up in Salisbury, I am now playing the waiting game to see how much of an improvement I get from the treatment.  It wears me out, but probably just the early rise, long drive, and stress of leaving the house LOL!

Let’s see.  What is on my desk this week? First let me show my head-swap from last week.  Quite pleased with the results.  Hard to read but the stamped image says Your Artistic License has just been revoked.

MOSTLY what is all over my desks are bits and pieces of various things I have been creating. It isn’t very taxing or time consuming, so easy enough even when I don’t feel up to doing much. I grabbed a few magazines at the hospital shop, and cut out a few silhouettes that I think will work on journal pages.

I am always looking for an interesting outline that I can use.  The ladies faces are line drawing I converted into stencils.  I’ve used them, they are OK, once you fill in the bridges (gaps in the lines) that keep the whole inside from falling out in one blob.

Here is a trio of pages where you can see one of them

Both quotes (Hey, hey, hey now don’t be mean and Mystery is the source of all true art and science) are from a movie, although as the tiny little line of text says Einstein expressed the sentiment, but Buckaroo (Banzai) said it better. Love that movie SO MUCH. You will also see another movie line in the stencils I cut here:

No matter where you go, there you are. The blacked out bit is another quote, Creativity takes courage.  Matisse, not Banzai in this case! Another conglomeration of stencils.  I have used the weird arcs and the glyphs and the globe and the quote.  I have a plan for the circuit board too – oh and the cluster of roses I used on the journal cover.  

I cut some stamps out of fun foam, from a die. What I love about that process is depending on whether I cut from the foam side or the backing paper side, the stamp orients a different direction. So every time I can cut a mirror image if I want.  Looking forward to testing that out!

Looking forward to testing this one out as well.  I think it is going to look fab. 

Lastly, anyone want to swap for a stencil?  I ended up with FOUR of these (don’t ask) and while I do really like the images, I do NOT need four of them.  They are 5×5 inches. Got a mistakenly bought duplicate you want to trade? Leave me a comment, and I’ll get in touch. 


I did well last week, visiting every desk, commenting where I could, and saw lots of fun and amazing art.  I have missed this and am glad I have been able to join in. Here’s hoping the IVIG really takes and I feel like dancing in a month. Will there be dancing on the WOYWW 600 Zoom, I wonder?  Oh dear!


Confetti is not a victimless crime

Finally done with the hospital, although it is likely to be a month or so before I really feel the benefit of the infusion.  Based on the last one, I expect it’ll be a coupe of blood tests before I can see a drop in my CK levels and a real return to strength.  I had to crawl under my desk the other day to re-connect my mouse and I was in fear I would not be able to stand up unassisted!  Ugh.

The week has been stressful and tiring but I managed (over a few days) to make a page in my journal – pretty much sums up how I am feeling.


I created the text from a few different things. 

The little Confetti is not a victimless crime stamp is from a long ago grab bag.  Lots of good ones in the bag, actually, but this one was my absolute fave.  The other bit is from a Jane Davenport stamp set and if you look at the link you can see I cut off a couple of bits, top and bottom.  The I am and but are from different alphabet stamp sets, one def. from Banana Frog and one from a Scrap-a-go-go kit (?) or maybe retreat goodie bag, can’t recall.  Wondering if AND rather than BUT might have been better….The globe-like thing I cut as a stencil.  I wish the confetti had stamped clearer, but my archival ink pad needs re-inking.  Typical.  I HAVE the ink, I just didn’t remember it needed that.

Again with the stencil cutting.  I DID buy some mylar sheets, and they do work with a deep cut (60 degree) blade.  BUT buried in my stash was a HUGE stack of HiTi dye-sub printer sheets with labels on them. 


Seriously.  I must have over 150 sheets. They are labelled as either 4×4 or 4×6 but the size of the backing is about 5 3/4 x 6 inches.  And they are wipeable and reasonably sturdy.

I hate to waste stuff and I hate to buy stuff if I have things that will work.  This is pretty exciting. cause it means I can just play around with any design that strikes my fancy! I think I could even tape 4 together to create a big stencil, depending on the design placement.  Of all the things I have tried, this one is by far the best.  I have one more Idea I want to try , to see if it works, and if it does, I’ll report back on it.  While I am well aware that there are not going to be many people who have this sort of resource tucked away in their craft room, I just think it bears mentioning, because you never know what you DO have that might work!

Back to finish my WOYWW visits now!


WOYWW594 – my desk is here but…

I’m not! It’s all been a bit of a rush but I am actually up at the hospital (and in fact am up every day this week) for another IVIG infusion. My rheumatologist sorted it all, so it’ll be every 3 months for the next year. All a bit wearing, but it it keeps the weakness at bay, hey, I’m all for it.

I have done a few pages in my recently made journal. I did intend to explain how I made it (from Amazon packaging) cause I really like the varied options for using one, two, or even three of the tall, thin(ish) pages for one spread. Last week it was two pages, and this week I have one completed and one in progress single pages.

You can’t really see the finished page but no matter.  The one in progress is better anyway LOL!  I am testing out some head swaps.


I kinda want a female face on the juggler, but I’ve stamped a few options and will cut them all and see if any work.  I also need to find my stash of hat stamps.  I have seen the beanie with a propeller on top recently but pretty sure I have a steampunk-ish top hat around.  And then I plan to drag out the Copics – been a while since I’ve done that!

I did get interrupted during last week’s visits, as there were tests to be done and transport issues to resolve, etc etc. but I did pretty well till all that.  Still aiming to visit every desk, even if I can’t comment, and will continue to strive for perfection. Not sure how good the NHS wifi is but I might try participating from there.  If it doesn’t work, you’ll see me at yours on the weekend.

Happy to hear of the planned Zoom virtual crop, I just need to work out how I can do it!  We usually Zoom on the TV so I can see my son lifesize (well, nearly) rather than teeny tiny, but given my desktop computer doesn’t have either a camera or a microphone, I will need (and have!) time to sort out another option.  Happy WOYWW, y’all!

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Pan pastels in my Art Journal

I must head back to WOYWW and finish up my visits. I am determined to visit EVERY participant, whether I can comment or not!

But first – I never really used pan pastels often in my art journal. Funny story. The other night we were doing a family TV night and my daughter was trolling thru YouTube. Up popped a video from…omg, 7 years or so ago where Carolyn Dube (love that gal SO MUCH – so inspiring) had done a video of my seal pan pastels with gel medium idea. Yes, she did ask me and gave me a shout out in the video, which totally made my daughter crack up. Like most kids it surprises her that I have a life outside my Mom role. ANYWAY, because that happened, pan pastels were on my mind.

I decided to do a little experiment with them. I ALSO have a tube of iridescent medium (also never used) and I thought I would try brayering the medium on over the pastels instead. Yep. Works great. I brayer it onto a sheet of fun foam, although using the gel plate works to, it’s just more of a clean up.

and the result is a very pale and shimmery page.

I wasn’t sure if the while chalk marker pen around the leafy stencil was bold enough so I went around it again.  Maybe I should have left it. Oh well. And added some text from a word stencil I cut last week.  Because this journal is all about experimentation, the words seem appropriate.

Might be work showing the page from WOYWW finished off too.  A reminder to myself that I don’t always need to speak my mind when it comes to things other people love, that I don’t.  While I may be happy to speak freely on SOME topics, taking care over the feelings of others must me in the forefront of my mind.  Just cause I am not a fan of the cute doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be gleaned from it.

It looks all askew cause I was trying to snap a quick photo without showing the page from today! Might as well show the side-by-side, with the other page still in progress, so you can see that I am not worried about the pages coordinating.  I was like that in my scrapbooks too. Each page stands on it’s own and does not need to be matchy-matchy with the neighboring page!

I really like the way I organized the pages to offer me so many options for how I use them and I really WILL share the journal construction tomorrow. 


WOYWW 593 – .svgs anyone?

Happy WOYWW!! Things have deteriorated. Back to a huge mess. Oh well. Here is a tightly cropped shot, all you get this week:

Working on a page, in my newly built art journal.  More about that in the next few days, and about the bookbinding cradle I built.  I think it was helpful. It’s on the other desk, and here it is in action:

In the last few days I shared some stencils I had cut and asked if sharing the .svgs might be helpful.  It is a set of ladies faces – a bit more bold and actually they might be easy enough to cut by hand if you don’t have a machine but like the idea. They would be great for masking on Gelli plate prints. Here is the full set. The numbers on the faces correspond to the file name, 1, 2, and 3. The last file is all of them, smaller, on a single sheet. Hopefully they will be useful!

I has been a while since I used Dropbox, but if I have managed it correctly, here are the download links:

   They can be used as a mask or a stencil.  I LIKE sponging around a mask, with all the rough and messy edges, like on the page above, but I accept not everyone does! Sorry for the crappy photo but this is the cover of the journal all opened out. You can see I did the sponging around the mask on those two flowery blobs. The text is clearer in daylight but it says I have read and agreed to the terms and conditions. Also from a stencil I cut, but stenciled a little lopsided LOL!

And I finished my left-leaning politically themed mini-art journal. You can see it here, if you wondered about the end product.

Lastly, lets all take a moment to reflect on the fact that WOYWW is nearly 600 weeks old. What a milestone! And I just want to say that I am making a huge effort to visit every blog, even if I can’t comment, due to my pedantic insistence that I won’t let Google have one more way to grab my details. And I’m sad, cause I always see stuff I want to comment on. I am thinking I might have a way to comment indirectly….I shall test!


Odd stencil material

Thank you so very much to all the commenters who suggested that I print my journal and sell copies. If there were time and I had any method of doing it, I would, and donate the money to one of the great causes at Crooked Media, like VoteSaveAmerica. But I am just not one who sells my “art.” And in point of fact, I very much hope in a few more weeks it will be irrelevant. It would take me that long to organize it. But thank you, All the positive comment (at least as of when I typed this) outweigh the naysayers. That give me hope.

Many, MANY years ago I was at a local place that sold house and Office clearance stuff. We bought many a book case from them. Many. I used to buy all kinds of oddball things from them. I bought some weird foam stamps, possibly since disposed of or donated to a school, some magazine racks and desktop dividers, and once, I bought this transfer film.

I think I’ve used it before, by printing on to it and sticking it over…something.  Maybe a set of ATCs? Not sure.  I don’t think it worked brilliantly, but I tend towards hoarding, so I’ve kept it.

The other day I wanted to cut some stencils.  I cut some from transparent sleeves, like I have done in the past, but they are so thin, they work less well than I would like. 

I usually add a cardstock or duct tape frame but my supply of duct tape is running a little low right now. Probably hard to really see, but I think you can imagine, the film is floppy and it can be a struggle to keep it still while using with paint or ink.

At some point I thought about the Transtext film.  Not the FILM, which is basically a very thin, self-adhesive, fragile full-sheet sticker, but the BACKING.  That stuff is like release paper.  It can be wiped off (unlike paper) and cuts really well on my second-hand Cricut (Thank you Scrapdolly!) with SCAL.  I love the use of faces in art journal pages and I love the feminine but very simple silhouettes. They come from a service I pay for, which lets me use them for both personal and commercial use.  I had cut the page protector version (giving me both mask and stencil) but wasn’t happy.  I was VERY happy with the version cut from the Transtext stuff. I bought the pack I have for like 50p but they sell it now on Amazon.  Not sure I would recommend it at that price!

The release paper will NOT stick to the Cricut mat, but the back of the film will.  Which is OK because when it does stick (and it is dang hard to fully remove) the upwards facing bits are, well, STICKY.  So I just use the one mat always for this. Look. Ugh.

You can scrape it off, and I do, every few cuts, but it hasn’t impeded the cutting so I don’t worry about doing it every time.

Some of the stencils:

I still have to be a bit careful of things like the curl of hair, but that’s fine. I cut LOTS for that art journal project.

Some are stencil-ized photos, some my own design. Oh, and the blades for the Cricut work amazingly well.  I love the 60 degree one – I assume equal to a “deep cut” blade?

Obviously I need a better solution.  I have seen that there is thin stencil film you can buy, an maybe it would cut OK, but at the moment, I am OK with this material. I would be very interested in what other people use. Also if there is interest in the .SVGs of the ladies silhouettes.  Still not sure how best to share them other than going back to good ‘ole Dropbox, if I can even remember how to use it! Anyway, LMK on both topics please. If you have a got-to item for stencil cutting do share!


In His Own Words mini art journal

We all cope with things in our own way. This is how I am coping with the craziness in the USA right now. One follower has already waved goodbye and I waved back. I feel like I have neither shouted about (OK, well, till NOW) nor hidden my political leanings, so you can either embrace the differences we might have or I am happy to wave goodbye to you too. I feel strongly about the direction I want the country to take. I feel strongly about who I think is going to get us there. I might not live in the USA but nearly all the people I love, deeply, reside there. I pay my taxes (there AND here) and I feel I am entitled to my opinion. I am sorry if that offends people. But for the first time (and maybe the last) I exorcised my angst, and my anger, thru art – which is, I think most would agree, a time-honoured tradition.

As I mentioned I am calling this In His Own Words, because ALL the quotes are directly from TV tape of Trump or from his Twitter feed.

The Cover:

All the pages started as A4 heavy cardstock, Gelli-printed using inks. Most of the stencils are ones I cut. More on that later.

This is a quote from The Apprentice.  Something The Donald said to one of the contestants.  It has one of my favourite bits – the pig from a Cake album cover and the words wallowing towards the apocalypse.

This is a timeline of all the quotes denying the seriousness of the virus and/or saying how little masks would help. Most from TV press conferences, a couple from Twitter, all well-documented.  Stats from Worldometer.

The now infamous refusal to deny white supremacists during the debate.  The little bit of music is something I recall from my favourite documentary Harlan Country USA (I stress, documentary, not the lame movie of the same name!) and is entitled Which Side Are You On? That harks back to the Good people on both sides comment after Charlottesville. It is actually the first lines of a couple of different stanzas, but the words seem appropriate. It was also nice to get to use all my wacky and crying people stamps. 

A snapshot in time. On the day we heard the President had the virus, and would be getting world-class health care, courtesy of the taxpayers, I grabbed the details from Worldometer again.  I think the ultimate irony (IS that the right word?) is that the event that probably infected him was the mask-less Rose Garden event to announce his Supreme Court nominee. She  has shown, thru her writings and decisions in the past, that she is the PERFECT pick for him.  With a few critical cases due to be heard soon (Obamacare, Roe V. Wade, and election-related lawsuits) you might say she is the Anti-RBG in nearly every way and is expected to vote accordingly. 

You saw this the other day.  I won’t re-hash it. 

Honestly, his words say it all.  Madness. What a slap in the face to the 100000s who have died, who didn’t have his access to world class healthcare.  For some, no health care at all.  If he gets his way, that number will increase by multiple 1000s more.  Where is that Trump-care plan?  When will we see it?  How will it protect people? 

Back to the first page I shared.  Back to when I had no idea where this project would end up. Back to when I wasn’t sure I would be sharing anything else other that the VOTE page.  I’m with her – and this time I mean Michelle Obama – when she says Vote. Vote like your life depends on it.

And finally, the back cover.  Two things – a Banksy stencil, and a quote that is often attributed to George Orwell.  If you want to read a really interesting overview of the quote attribution issues, click the link to the Quote Investigator, it’s pretty informative.  I don’t have the same questions about the quotes I’ve used here.  I saw most of them play out on TV – except the Apprentice one, to be honest. I never watched that show.

Do I have ANY hope this might change anyone’s mind? Not bloody likely.  But did working thru this process help my state of mind?  It did.  It really, really did.

I’ll save the stencil details for another post.  This got waaaaay long.


Shoo fly, don’t bother me….

Funny how things come together sometimes. Just yesterday I was working on another page in my subject-oriented art journal, about the spread of the virus in the circle around Trump. When I finished it, I think the news was reporting something like 24 people – that had increased before the paint was even dry, and this morning I read it was up to…maybe 34 or 35? More than the entire country of Taiwan, one TV show reported. Anyway, here is the page – a few elements will become relevant to the discussion in a moment.

I am not sure there has been a more disrespectful and horrifying image than the infectious President defiantly pulling off his mask, as if he were a hero. I keep hearing “…the villain unmasked” in my head.

Also just yesterday I made a comment on another WOYWW participant’s blog about insects.  I had a massive tidy up of my space just a week or so ago, and I found a little set of bug stamps.  I keep handy a bee, a spider and a fly. I have tucked them into little corners of projects recently, cause I like the smallness of them and what I can make them “say,” if you will.

I found a little ad in my collage stash, for Flit.  Who remembers that?  Me, but not cause we ever had a flit gun, but because I consume old media as much as current stuff.  I clearly recall reading “Quick (name)! Get the flit gun!”  in a book.  Could have been Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and other disasters (which at least in part eventually spawned the movie A Christmas Story. It could have been a Stephen King novel, or an old favourite called Where did you go? Out. What did you do? Nothing. Anyway, as soon as I saw it, and two little bits of text, I knew I had to add it.

and the rest:

So all that seemed pretty serendipitous when I went to bed last night, but honestly, who could have predicted it?

All I can do is echo Michelle Obama (and a fair few others) and say Vote. Vote like your life depends on it. 


WOYWW 592 – a tricky one

The dilemma with this week’s WOYWW is do I show what I am REALLY working on, or do I create a false narrative? What I am REALLY working on I started last week, well before the current situation in the USA developed. Now, I have never been shy about where I stand on the political spectrum (well left of centre) but I am struggling with sharing, and in what detail, my current project, given the diagnosis of the President.

I’d love to be able to strike just the right tone, but the fact of the matter is that while I hope for a full recovery, I equally hope for a full recovery for the country. So for better or worse, here is my current project – loosely titled In His Own Words, although I have not finished the cover page and that could change – on my desk:

I am also working on two additional pages, one built around “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” and one as yet undecided. I might have to wait for another day to see if any recent quote moves me.

Once the situation resolves, hopefully with a good outcome for both the President and the First Lady, I will feel more comfortable sharing these very negative (but I stress, true and factually accurate, as much as anything can be in the age of disinformation!) pages.

The binding will be the back-to-back method, which I also did a fair few years back, and I still quite like that way, as it is simple and effective. I am also looking for a good way to share SVG cutting files. I used Dropbox eons ago but not sure if that is still the best way – I have some nice files that will work well for art journals, but I can’t share them on WordPress – or at least not in the current free .Com version. Watch this space!

And, as ever, Happy WOYWW!!