CUTTLEBUG Cuttlebug where have you been all my life!

CUTTLEBUG Cuttlebug where have you been all my life!

Can you tell I am EXCITED!!!……You know when you have been mulling over something for a very long time, researching reviewing and going around in circles! That been me with die cutting machines!! It took me a whole year of going back and forth to decide on my Cameo and then between the Sizzix and Cuttlebiug and other smaller diecut/ embossers I just could not make up my mind!

A big thank you to Juliet over at Scrapfinnity (Durbanville, CT) who finally helped me to make up my mind! PNA had its annual sale a few weekends ago and this baby was just calling out to me!

I have been collecting embossing folders and dies for a short while now. Especially when they have been on sale or promotions. Now I can finally put them to good use!!!

This baby can cut some amazing stuff! Its is so easy to use and wayyyyyyyyy cool! (Ofcourse you need dies and folders for every design but hey its still so much more convenient than any other die cutter) It can cut dies from almost any brand. All you need to do is adjust the ”sandwich” (A, B C plates)


Look what I did yesterday. One more avenue to pursue my love of fonts! And the negative can even be used as a stencil or to create texture.


This is what I used my first letter cuts for. And a befitting page to use them in too. See the blog post about this page here.


Today we had our neighbourhood craft club meet up and we made some yummy cuts for our napkin stand projects too. I will update this post with links and pictures soon.

If you have never heard of a Cuttle bug look it up here and to see how it works check out this video. I’m off to play some more!





TLC – Inspired By Maremi Small Art

TLC – Inspired By Maremi Small Art

So as I type the title of this blog post I realize that the short form for ‘the Learning curve’ is TLC….how appropriate!!!

This page was inspired by a You Tube video by Maremi Small Art. Marta’s work is always very inspiring and this page really seemed to be simple and doable. I came across this video on one of my many ‘browsing sessions’ and saved it to my ‘must’do’ list.

So first of all watch the original video here so you know what Marta’s process was.

And this was my rendition…….I did say it looked nothing like hers!


My Approach

Layout – This new journal is an A4 portrait layout so that was the same as the original

First layers – I did the music notes collage with my own placement. Then regular Gesso only as I did not have any clear gesso or heavy gesso.

Main motif – None of my tissue designs would make an impression like those poppies so I decided to use a laser print of  vintage roses that I had been wanting to work with for a while.


Stencil – The TCW Art is stencils are my favorite script stencil, but I decided not to use them here as I wanted to try my new Americana old French script one instead. I used a regular texture paste through it and gessos as per the instructions.

Color layers – The sprays/inks in my color box did not match the colors I would have needed in this project so I decided to go with Acrylic paints instead. In retrospect inks would have been so much nicer because they are translucent as compared to Acrylics which tend to be more opaque. I used a whole lot of paint in varying shades, of pink, magenta, burgundy and plum along with some drippage effects to create the colored background. The roses were covered with gel medium before adding paint so I could wipe of any smears and keep the image clean. The excessive amount of wet media somehow melted away some of the texture paste (which was partially dry) but that gave it a bit of a grungy look so I was ok with that. The text was also very spaced out so it did not pool the paint quite like it would have if it were closer. Inks also pool a lot better than watered down acrylics. Also ideally the page should have had an off white background first to create sufficient contrast and show of the pretty roses more. It became a little too pink and blurred out the roses a bit.

Quote – I wanted something that expressed the sentiment behind this journal and I think this was just perfect.


Upper layers – I stamped whimsical flower motifs with Color Box chiffon white. The music sheets were barely visible anymore after all the layers of acrylics so I added some dictionary page stamps randomly in a royal purple Stazon. The text was stamped with stone grey Stazon and the while alphas were die cut with my Cuttlebug using the X-cut alphabet die.


Finishing touches- I created some shadows around the edges of the roses with Pitt brush pens in pink and brown. Remember I had covered the roses in gel medium, so that allowed me to have a non porous surface to smudge the pens on. The page looked to plain some how so I added some punched blossoms and a butterfly in the foreground.

And there you have it. My ”original” from an inspirational Video.


New Journal alert!

New Journal alert!

The trend of having many journals going on all at once seems to be catching up with me too! Although I am still very pleased with my Zequenz 360* books, I have been experimenting with newer page formats and papers too. (And yes I have finally succumbed to the adult coloring book mania too)


The latest journal I have started to use is by Lana. It is a gorgeous spiral bound A4 book with lovely Kraft paper cover.


The pages are a natural white in 150gsm and going by my first page experiment can handle a fair bit of wet media.




This is gong to be my ”Learning Curve ” journal. Find out why and check out my plans for this book here.



The learning curve

The learning curve

There have been a fair number of discussions about ”blank page scare” and ”scared to copy” and ”I want my page to be original but don’t know where to begin” on every art journaling and mixed media forum I am part of. We all face the same fears when starting out.

Mixed media whilst being very liberating can simultaneously be very overwhelming. All those layers, techniques, media, paper types, styles, equipment, used etc etc…….I can spend hours just ‘browsing’ trying to decide on a plan for my page/canvas.

Even though art journaling is about self expression we are infected with the ‘perfectionist’ bug and those gorgeous pages on Pinterest and and Facebook and on other forums just make us want to be able to turn out a masterpieces each time. Overthinking my art is one my biggest hurdles to actually creating. I still have days when I want to make art but the ‘originality’ corner of my brain just wont switch on. I will either keep browsing and end up making nothing or push myself to choose a video to follow and go for it. The end result is often nothing like the tutorial but it serves as loose guide to get me going……but wait! if it looks nothing like the tutorial it becomes an original right? just like that, by default.

When queries related to these fears surface on the forums I usually advise newbies to just follow a video from start to finish if you are struggling. IME the more you do  (whether original or ”copied”) the more adept you become at using your media, materials and tools. Its practice no matter how you choose to do it. And practice does make perfect when it comes to art.

In order to be able to do  more of these default originals,  I am employing one of my new journals as my ”Practice” Journal. Its like those art school books we had, where we did all our practice work, learning, scribbling notes, etc. I have named it ”The learning curve”. In this journal I will link to the video or tutorial I used and explain where my steps/ materials etc were different so other beginners can see how these fears can be overcome. I doesn’t have to tick all those boxes that form the foundation of my art approach (see what mean here), but it will almost always leave me happy with what I created or wiser for the experience. I hope you will enjoy this series as much as I am enjoying making them.

Ta for now!



Live in the moment (Soul Food)

Live in the moment (Soul Food)

This has pretty much become my mantra …….and its does work wonders to live in the moment. Life is so unpredictable and a moment in time can never be gained back.

There is a definite mood reflection in this page. There is a lot of stuff that’s blurry at the moment. some that are in very clear focus and others sort of in between.

From a technique perspective The embossing went a bit awry…;( First time using the silver powder and the ink was dry before I could get it on because it came to me as an afterthought.

I also have some process pictures to share on this.  The colors were inspired by a beautiful winter sunset. Look at those colors!! The picture really does it no justice!IMG_2468

This time instead of Gesso I used a canvas primer as a base. It is much smoother than gesso and has less of that grainy rough feel. Started my page by stamping grassy and tree pattern stamps in different colored Stazon in the center of the page. I have used Saddle brown. Timber brown, Grey and black. Went over it with an oatmeal colored acrylic paint but did not cover all areas. Then I stamped another layer in the foreground and edges.




This was my main color palette based on the reference pictures but I used all kinds of different paint mediums and not just in acrylics as seen here.

IMG_2671 Next I marked the direction of the light with some rays in the flesh tint acrylics and used a baby wipe to smear the paint.   IMG_2672

Added some more lower foreground stamping with smaller patterns and more colors, drying between each layer.IMG_2673 You can see how blurry the initial stamping is but because different colored inks were used there is still depth to the piece. I have used the purple and pinks and some paynes grey acrylic at the edges helped condense the image. All smeared with a baby wipe but drying between colors. You can see the colors used on the scrap paper on the right in the picture above.


The acrylic color stays open for a very short time so its important to work fast.  Once the acrylic was dry, I also added some distress inks in colors that matched the reference pictures . After stamping the message I decided it looked too dull as the page was flat with  no texture paste, or embellishments added. So used my embossing pen to outline the wording. the Silver embossing powder however was a mess. My page flew shut and it touched the other side too….lessons learned here though… very careful with embossing powder….;((





The little white spots are water drops sprinkled on the page and wiped off. Where ever they fell on distress ink the ink reactivated and came away when wiped. IMG_1256


The page reflected that sunset and I managed to keep that glow so boo boos and all this page was fulfilling.






Do More of what makes you Happy (Soul Food)

Do More of what makes you Happy (Soul Food)


The first page of my ”happy” journal was not half as disastrous as the Contemplating life journal…:))) I learnt my lessons well.

The internet has a number of projects with these little flowers that gave off this really happy, innocent, cheerful feeling. So I thought it was perfect for this page. The flowers are random cuts of scrapbooking paper and the leaves cut from old dictionary or magazine text. I love how the muted background really makes the flowers pop.



The flowers have become a bit of  favorite and I have since used them in my workshop projects and craft group tags with very pleasing results.



Creativity (Soul Food)

Creativity (Soul Food)


That wandering mind that often tries to understand why some of us wear our creativity on every fibre of our being yet others need for it to be almost wrenched out of them to believe they possess it!

This was a bit of a test run of some new Staz on colors I got as well as a new color theme and stamps.

My favorite part of this page is the little birdies in their art nest although I see how they blended into the background a bit and the sharpness of the image was lost. I’m always learning…!!







Memento Tags – Art Therapy

IMG_2623 In my pursuit of finding a new career I have been looking into a number of art and creativity related career avenues. I am oscillating between studying to be an art teacher at school, running my own creative arts and crafts school or qualifying as an art therapist. Over the last few months, I was part of an experiential group and my time there has further enhanced my desire to investigate art therapy as a profession. It was a wonderful way to connect with each other and these were some of the tags I made as mementos for the ladies in that group. Each of them is designed to express something unique about them or something revealed in our time spent together. IMG_2625 IMG_2626 IMG_2627 IMG_2628   XXX g


CL Art Journal 7- Gratitude

This page happened after a bit of a whirlwind of anxiety and stress. It just seemed like it would not stop at the time. I have had a few instances of this happening in recent times but with each new one I seem to cope better. It is sometimes best to try and step aside from that situation, thank the Lord for all the good things and try to ease that anxiety about the unknown with gratitude for what we already have.

I started with black gesso on this page because that darkness really does envelop you. There was a stenciled doily pattern done with modelling paste (used some left over paste from a different project) The circles were meant to represent me going around in circles but eventually turned out more like gifts and ornaments, which clearly shows a mindshift from that anxiety to a more calm space.

The doily got a little messed up as I tried to highlight just the raised area of the paste. My chalk ink pad had a mind of it own. Coincidentally there is a bit of text in the circles that says ‘happy girl’…:) Love how these things just happen!!

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