Altering stamps for art journaling

Yesterday I shared a page I made with some Janet Klein images that were altered to make them more usable for art journaling. This is how they began life.

Cute, no doubt, but less useful (for ME) in my art journal. I love the technique that MANY people do, of creating figures with more “normal” heads but amorphous blobs for the body. I am a fan, but don’t have a ton of appropriate images. Plus, the journal I am working on at the moment is my very small one made from a free Roben-Marie class. The scale of many of the things one MIGHT use is all wrong. These stamps are just the right size.

While I love the faces and the body bits, those hats! Interestingly, I found that cutting them off produced what I needed. That little dip from removing the cup?

Perfectly filled by flipping the cup, minus handle upside down, creating a little hat.

And that technique works for a couple of them. The birthday cake, when cut away, leaves a hatless lady that can be used as such (see final page) but the hats can also be shuffled around to fit all of them.

And other hat or hat-like things can be brought in as well!

Nice! On the final page I also used a large flower stamp, stamped on deli-paper then coloured and coated (both sides) with GLOSS (not matte) medium on a non-stick surface, like a page protector, and left to dry. This creates what I have seen called crystalline paper.

You can sort of see the shiny translucent nature of the bits, and cut in a certain way they make nice butterfly wings!

I did say there were three things I altered, so lastly, and the most scary, I cut into a stamp set. Yep. I have this stamp and die set, but the dies actually don’t include the little words, and those words could be very useful in many other ways.

With micro-tip scissors I snipped away the text

and used it on the final page.

I think this cluster of figures idea is one that I will explore more. In fact, I had a book delivered that I want to play with, that has some tools (sort of) inside that I think will be useful in this.

Watch this space! And HAPPY NEW YEAR’s EVE! 2021 cannot come soon enough…


WOYWW 604 – altered stamps

Happy WOYWW to all – and creeping closer to the final days of 2020. They cannot come soon enough for me.

I finished an art journal page that I quite like. It is what is on my desk today:

Yes, careful watchers will note that I now own a set of Janet Klein images. I have commented for many weeks on WOYWW how tempted I have been by them. Mostly I have seen the little people with flower eyes, which I like well enough, but when I saw these, I just couldn’t resist.

Ignore the rubbish stamping – it was more for demonstration purposes than for use in the final page above! I almost passed them by, because of the head-toppers. I have been wanting images that will work as collage-y figures in my art journal but oh my, that fruit bowl! Anyway, once I got them in my hands, a little knife work and they were transformed. I ended up using them exactly as I intended when they fell into my basket.

A few posts back I mentioned I was on a mission to find supplies that could be used in different ways, to make standard issue items more unique to me. There are three things on that page that have been altered or used in a different way. I wonder if you can spot them all? I have a few step-by-step sort of photos to take but I will be sharing probably tomorrow.

Hope you all had the best socially-distanced Christmas that you could – we are still working our way thru family Zooms, cause if Thanksgiving taught us anything it was that massive multi-houshold Zooms are rarely satisfying. I prefer smaller groups, so that means many more Zooms!

I have not made it thru the list from last week, as of today as I type, but expect to do so by the time WOYWW posts tomorrow. Here are a few more can’t comment links that I like to add to let people know that I visit even if I can’t leave a comment to prove it! ~Stacey had a great idea for using monogram letters as gift tags! I will totally do this next year. Dorlene is another who often posts scrapbook layouts that I love seeing and can never say so.

See you in 2021!!


Art Journal text for not very confident writers

Well, that sums me up in a nutshell. I love adding text to my pages, but my lettering is not great. I know I should be fearless, like I keep telling myself, but I am just not. I also know with time it is likely I WILL get better. But what to do in the meantime?

I am always finding things when I am tidying up and organizing. I found a ton of old scrapbooking frames and journaling spots and I thought how can I use those in my art journals?

Turns out, LOTS of ways. Even the journaling spots, which I thought might be a bit useless, actually work well. Hands up if you have a ton of these and haven’t used them in ages?

They work well if you stamp them with some sort of very light ink, then use the lines as guides.

And then cut them out to add them to a page. This is just the block, plunked down on an old page, to show you how it might look:

I love that I can make 50 samples if I need to and stick the best one on the page – and all that practice has to help me improve!

The frames offer many more options, I think. Just filling the space with quirky lettering looks cute.

A little not-perfect drop shadow looks good. You can also stamp on old gel prints, watercoloured backgrounds, whatever.

Drawing a few curved lines, you can do some funky lettering inside the frame

Then cut it out to stick to your page

And if you REALLY are scared about lettering, you can add pre-printed bits of text (either with the blank paper inside the frame or you can cut that away, leaving the page to show thru)

Or you could stamp the letters within the frame – helpful if your stamping is dodgy or your placement is, or if you want to alter the stamping – like maybe stamp one word on each line, rather than the way it is laid out in the stamp:

Or use simple stamping as a jumping off point and do that thing where you make the ends into triangles, to funkify the text a bit. I have plain letters in many sizes, and there are LOTS of ways to alter plain letters – bullet journal lettering tutorials always seem to have a ton of simple ideas.

This is so photo-heavy, sorry, but there were a lot of samples. I am not so much altering these old supplies, and I am only sort of using them in a non-traditional way. – a frame is a frame, a journaling spot is well, a journaling spot for keeping text aligned. It’s more about looking at my stash of stuff and finding a way to use them TODAY. And the practice I get taking the time to make something a little better than just my writing on the page is a bonus!


Altering common art journal supplies to make them yours

Merry Christmas! Hope you all had a good one. I am excited cause I found a few new art supplies under the tree and I have been playing with them. Well, between all the holiday movies my darling daughter has insisted we watch, and all the cooking that we have had to do. Seems like the fact Christmas was not the usual affair didn’t sink in till we were faced with a very full fridge and a dawning realization that we were only THREE people this year. So my holiday goal is to not shop till after New Year and I think I can do it!

Anyway, back to the art. I have mentioned that I tend to watch a LOT of art journaling videos while I walk on the treadmill. I have my favourites, and they all have their favourite supplies. Some of them (a LOT of them) are sponsored videos, or monetized in some way, so I always watch them with that in mind.

I have resisted, mightily, buying a Dina Wakely face stamp. Don’t get me wrong, I love them SO much, but I just felt like every page I used them on would be more about HER art and less about MINE. But in the end I caved. I bought one.

I like the words too, and that was probably what swung me towards this one over another. Well, that and availability LOL! I wanted to figure out a way to alter it to make it more useful to me, to make it look more unique. I liked the different halves of the face and that was what gave me my idea.

I started my masking off the mid-line of the face and stamping just half on deli paper.

Then, I inked the same half and turned the deli paper over. with the stamp on the desk I lined up the midpoint as best I could and pressed the deli paper on to the stamp.

Not perfect, but then on the right (forward facing) side, I drew over the face stamped on the back and fixed any little issues with alignment

Not bad, if I do say so myself. As it is on deli paper, over a background, it all melds together even better.

And adding the catch lights makes it even better. Ages ago, I saw Teesha Moore do this with her collage images (Good lord! I just checked – that video was from 2009! Crikey) and I was reminded of that trick when I saw it again it on a few more recent videos. It really makes a difference, don’t you think?

What’s more, I also have the OTHER side of the face that I can mirror, so I get two versions with one stamp!

I think by masking off, for example, the squiggle over the eyebrow on one side it could make it all look less symmetrical. And this technique would ALSO let me stamp on the reverse to use the half-face along the edge of the other side of a page. So stamp a right-side image then reverse it so I get the half I want along the right edge of the page rather than the left edge.

It is a small thing, but as my proficiency in drawing faces is, well, pretty much non-existent, this lets me use the image in a way that is unique to me. Well, until someone reads this and does the same LOL! This is one of my goals in 2021 – find as many ways as I can to make mass-produced supplies my own. I like the challenge and while I may falter after a month (because I mean really? how many options are there?) I will give it my best shot and see how it goes. And I suspect future purchases might slip into my basket only after I have considered how appropriate they are for altering…


WOYWW 603 – shocking, really.

Ha. I did say it was shocking, but in a different way than you might have expected. Happy Clean Desk WOYWW, y’all! I even managed to scrub all the gunk off my pink self-healing mat. The X you can see in on a clear mask, cut to match a Dina Wakely chipboard shape. I keep losing track of it, being clear and all. The little journal that I made from a Roben Marie class is there, and it is going to become a very specific journal for 20201. More on that in the future. Oh and the Fude Ball black pen. Love it cause it writes on ANYTHING, but wish it were permanent.

And it isn’t just this desk.

Even my computer desk is mighty tidy. On the left you can see The Moth – I was hunting up one of my favourite stories, Lego Crimes, to listen to while I cleaned. It’s not long and it makes me smile. I can get lost in that site, listening to the stories, some funny, some sad, some uplifting, some tragic – all true, told by the people who lived them. I also listened to the most haunting story, so tragic, so unbelievable I won’t link it. I will tell you it is called It Wasn’t Enough by Charlene Strong, and it resulted in a change to the laws (this was before marriage equality) and a documentary. It made me cry.

Back to desks – my gel printing desk, and to the side where you can’t see (above and below) my Cricut cutting desk, both are also very neat. I have a die cut that I am experimenting with, maybe to stick into my journal as a see thru lace page. I’m not yet convinced I want to cut into a page that is sewn in, which is why I’m playing with a tape-in-between option. I am contemplating doing something with the circle layout to the right as well, as another lace page idea, if I get over my hesitation.

Over where I do my die cutting and embossing is a standing desk. It has been completely taken over by gift wrapping stuff.

So that is me this week. Nothing really exciting, maybe just what you would expect this close to Christmas. And speaking of,

Have a wonderful and Merry Christmas!

(DOH! Completely forgot to add my shout-outs to those I can’t comment on! Lillian B. has fab cards almost every week and Wipso and Twiglet are inspiring if needle arts are your thing. )


Not twinchies, not ATCS…

Cards, I think. The little twinchies from the Life Book taster will make sweet cards. They only need a stamped or die cut sentiment added. But first, how I finished them off. I had this tool that I must have bought back in the days when shabby chic was all the rage, and before I realized that the better tool was a scissor blade, scraped along the edge. But I found it while tidying up and thought why not give it a go?

I don’t think it was particularly effective, certainly not for a heavily scuffed edge, and I soon abandoned it. I did want to add more to the little squares so I stamped a bunch of stars, keeping them to the same colours and added some tiny gold dot hole-less sequins

Adding the sequins was a huge pain in the butt till I had an idea. I had been trying to use another old tool, the picker-upper thing with a bit of blutack at the tip. I never felt that thing worked very well, the blutack wasn’t sticky enough and stuff was always falling off it. So in my eye-line was a bottle of Tack It. I use this stuff all the time. Also in my eye-line was a pot full of scoring tools, some less useful than others, many of them up to 25 years old. I dipped one into the Tack it and viola! A picker-upper that actually picks stuff up and holds it.

The first few pick-ups have the opposite problem – the things stick almost too much. But that soon diminishes and I guess I prefer stuff to stick and need to be helped off a few times than for stuff to fall off as soon as you lift them off the desktop! I have had too many cases where I have just enough of something for a project and I drop it on the floor. Anyway, this worked a treat and I will use it a lot, I bet. And the twinchies look cute and will make sweet cards – definitely the way to go for me.

I have a stack of these slimline cards that I never seem to find a good way to use. This will be a nice way to quickly make a card for almost any occasion, with the right sentiment!

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Another Life Book taster – twinchies

I have been working thru the Life Book taster sessions that appeal to me, trying to decide if I want to enroll for the year-long session. I’m struggling to decide if I want to put the money towards a laser printer or spend it on a class that hopefully might inspire me for the year. If only it were not so heavy on the portraits. I just am not into that AT ALL. <sigh>

Anyway, I did the Laly Mille class on twinchies. Another thing that I am not super in to – I like making and occasionally trading, ATCs (to be fair, mostly for the annual WOYWW crops) but I am just not part of a group that does this sort of thing regularly. But the process was a bit of fun. The beginnings were usual art journal techniques – a bit of collage, a bit of stenciling, some daubs of watercolour…

and then I added a bit of some holiday tissue paper, full of little flecks of gold:

It just set off one edge nicely and even under matte medium, it stayed shiny!

They need a little more to finish them up. I have a few ideas….and then a decision on what to do with them! I COULD, I suppose, turn them into the focal point of an ATC. Or….


My Quirky Bird done!

Well he’s (she’s?) done and i like it a bit more than I thought I would.

and the lettering turned out far better than it had any right to. The quote is from George Eliot, with the Be Fearless added as advice to myself. You can maybe see I cheated a bit. And really, the irony is not lost on me. Had I been truly fearless I would have dived right in and lettered right on the page and been OK with it if it was rubbish. I’m not there yet. See my bin?


Anyway, the method I used was pretty useful. I did a sort of wash with very watery acrylic paint on a few pieces of heavy paper

and then just drew the curves and did the lettering in pencil. I went over it in waterproof pen and then cut the curves and attached them. THAT was the clever bit. If I screwed up any bit, I only had to re-do a line!

Maybe my shadowing isn’t perfect but I rather like it anyway. I also like the body decoration on the bird and I like those head tufts even better than I did before. So cute! Most of my embellishing is stamping or stenciling, but baby steps…

So there you have it – my very own little quirky bird and pretty much the first thing I have actually drawn in a very long time. What next?


Quirky Bird art journal page

In working thru the Life Book taster pages, I can across one of the free resources that looked interesting. It’s a video for drawing a quirky bird! Now, I like art, but I am not an artist. Or at least not a “fine artist.” I do art journaling but artist is not a label that I apply to myself. I guess when I think artist I think of someone who can draw. I can’t. I have no sense of perspective, I would struggle to draw anything that was representational of, oh I don’t know, REALITY… LOL!

I do wish I could draw, and I am drawn to loose, sketchy portraits, like Dina Wakely does, but frank.y I suck at that sort of thing. Honestly it is the thing about the whole Life Book course that holds me back. It says right in the promo info, this may not be for you if portraits are not your thing. Out of the 32 taster sessions thee were maybe 10-12 that I really liked. The rest of them, well, I wasn’t going to get thru them all in seven days, so I picked the ones that appealed to me and my style, and got on with them.

The quirky bird was an exception. I just loved them. I sketched along, and came up with a few I liked a bit. I may do another page with the weird one of the trio at the far right. He’s weird:

And then got sucked in to doing more realistic eyes – you can see what I mean here. Not really realistic at all, but not horrible.

It is not as charming a the samples in the video but I don’t actively HATE it, so that is progress.

I have started painting it, with watercolours! I have never done watercolour before. I have no idea what I am doing with them, but I am not totally horrified with how it’s going.

It clearly has issues, but I do quite like elements of it – like the head feathers, and the colouring on the face.

I think the blending of the watercolours could be better but for a first attempt, it doesn’t totally suck. I’m sure I will find a way to cock it up…just give me time…especially when it comes to the lettering. Eek.

More tomorrow. Off for a scan today to see how brittle my bones are LOL!.


WOYWW 602 – Life Book page DONE!

First off, here is a page close-up!

Happy WOYWW! Not too many left in 2020. Cannot WAIT for this year to be DONE! My desk is, as ever, a massive chaotic mess, but front and centre is the page that I have been inching towards this week. While the Electoral College vote on Monday might well have been my signal to move on to adding the Good As Hell words and finishing up that damned page, I think I really have to wait for the first day of a new administration. But I will not mention it again unless (God Forbid!) things take a turn away from where it is heading now, towards a much anticipated and very welcome Biden/Harris inauguration.

So if you read back to my musings of yesterday, on classes and doing the obvious thing, then you will see I kinda went a different way here. In the class, the focal point was a circle placed according to the rule of thirds (well-remembered from my scrapbooking days) and was specific – add an image, like an animal, and a word for moving forward. I fought the temptation to use a circle as the main focal point (for all the reasons I mentioned yesterday) which was easy when my eye landed on this stamp. I used the bee to make the phrase Be Positive as my 2021 focus, and added a secondary focal point along a diagonal. I think it works and I am really quite happy with it. The small pointing finger and the scattering of dates stamped around the edges all reinforce to forward motion I hope for in 2021. Overall, there was a lot more thought that went into the composition of this page than is usual for me. I am way more a fling it all on the page and make it ALL stick kinda gal. But as I work thru the class maybe, just maybe, I can learn to slow down and savor the process.

In that vein I will move slower thru the desks this week! And I made a few notes from LAST week. Chrissie made me smile cause she got her Christmas tree in Alexandria – not far from where I lived in the States and in the year I graduated high school. She was once a NoVa gal! Nice. Elizabeth always has lovely scrapbooking layouts on WOYWW week and I always want to comment, but not enough to give Google another way to collect my data. I know, I am annoyingly pedantic. And lastly Sylvia – I loved paging back to her challenge winning mini-book, something I also love making. Looking forward to seeing what she does with the scraps from her hubby’s destruction of the cot…

Once again, Happy WOYWW!!