Exciting News – Here is the second card I made published in the latest edition RubberStampMadness Magazine

I am very excited that two of my card were publishes in, RubberStampMadness magazine – www.rsmadness.com.

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Detailed directions in the article published, February 1, 2019 on this blog.

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Exciting News – Two of my cards will be in RubberStampMadness Magazine


I’m so excited that this beautiful Christmas card that I created will be in the Winter edition of, RubberStampMadness – www.rsmadness.com magazine! I have made literally hundreds of cards and by far this is my favorite one.





  • Cut base card to A6 size 9” x 6.25”.
  • Cut watercolor paper to 4.25” 6”.
  • Fill the mini mister with water.
  • Place watercolor paper in the base of the Misti stamp positioner. Place Christmas Berry stamp on the Misti stamp positioner. Align the stamp. Determine where the Merry Christmas sentiment will go, but do not stamp at this time.
  • Color stamp with Tombow markers using the brush side with seasonal colors.
  • Mist the stamp with the mini mister and stamp the watercolor paper. As needed repeat the process layering the colors.
  • Stamp Merry Christmas sentiment using Stazon ink.
  • Spray Gansi, yellow gold with mini mister. Pickup wet paint with fan brush and flick gold on the watercolor paper.
  • Adhere watercolor paper to card stock base.


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Birds of a Feather Flock together on a Gelli Plate


I love print making on a Gelli plate – www.gelliarts.com and recently taught a mono printing class at the, Springfield Art Association – www.springfieldart.org. While preparing for the class, I found some white feathers I had purchased and knew I had to try them on the plate.


The steps are quite easy. Apply acrylic paints to Gelli plate with brayer. Lay down and press the stencil into the paint. Use any stencils you have, but my favorite stencils are from StencilGirl Stencils –  www.stencilgirlproducts.com. Remove the stencil and lay  the feathers down on the wet surface, cover with paper and press paper down with the palm of your hand. Remove paper and feathers. Voila!


Speaking of birds of a feather, progress continues on my needlepoint peacock. This beautiful hand painted canvas was purchased from, Stitch Boutique –  www.stitchboutiqueofboston.com. I’m using silk thread on the piece.


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Eco Dye Printing and Bookmaking – Part 2


This is the second part of a two part series on eco dye printing and bookmaking. Part one focused on eco dyeing.

Last year I took a class at Shake Rag Alleywww.shakeragalley.com on faux metal etching using copper and brass metal pieces and leaves. The class was taught by Leighanna Light – www.leighannalight.com.  We made several wonderful etched pieces and while I really liked them, I had no idea what I would do with them until I made some eco dyed papers and a match was made in heaven.


After eco dyeing the paper, the paper was placed in a press to flatten the paper. Four sheets of paper were then folded to create a signature. Three signatures were made for each book. Holes were punched for each signature set using the book cradle from, Vintage Page Designswww.vintagepagedesigns.com.

Measurements were taken for leather used in the interior and spine of the book. PVA glue from Books by Hand – www.booksbyhand.com was used to adhere the leather to the metal.

Signatures were sewn into the spine.


Open book! The beautiful blue dye on the paper was from a snapdragon flower.


Ribbons, string and beads added to the binding.

This was only the second book that I have ever made and first that I designed. I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

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Eco Dye Printing on Paper and Book Making – Part 1

This is a two part series. Part one will focus on eco dye printing and part two will focus on using the paper to make a book. 

I ran across a video on eco dye printing on paper by Ali Manning, Vintage Page Designs, www.vintagepagedesigns.com and I just had to try it. Eco dyeing is a process where paper is soaked in water and aluminum sulfate, layered with plant materials and then steamed. The results were varied and amazing.

I basically followed Ali’s instructions with a few modifications.

Mordant the paper

Mordant the paper means preparing the paper with an inorganic oxide, aluminum sulfate, so that the surface can absorb the color (dye) from the plant materials.

  • 2 gallon bucket of cool water
  • 4 teaspoons of aluminum sulfate (Ali used 1 teaspoon, but I didn’t get the same results with just 1 teaspoon).  I used aluminum sulfate (AS) found in the garden center. The bag that I found was not the ground AS that I used years before, which had the consistency of ground flour; this AS was course.
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Mix aluminum sulfate with the hot water. Pour mixture into 2 gallon bucket of water and stir.
  • Rives BFK paper (175 gsm weight) – www.dickblick.com. Tear the paper into desired size. Make sure that whatever size you choose will fit into the steamer. I tore mine into 11” x 4” pieces as I wanted to make a book.
  • Soak the paper for at least two hours or over night. Paper will need to be weighted down to remain submerged.

Note – Use cup, bucket, teaspoons and steamer that will not be used in food preparation. Work in a well ventilated area.


Plant Materials

Select plant materials from your yard and neighborhood. You really need to experiment with all types of leaves and flowers. Many of the plant materials that Ali used were not available to me. I tried lots of materials from my yard and even went to the local florist and asked them for flowers that were past their prime. They gave me a wonderful assortment for free!

Cut two pieces of corrugated cardboard to the size of your paper. Remove the paper from the water bath and layer plant materials, stacking wet paper on top of each layer. Tip – begin the stack with a corrugated cardboard base, so that you don’t have to add it at the end and have loose materials coming out. End layers with second piece of corrugated cardboard. Secure with large binder clips or rubber bands. The stack should be firmly pressed together with plant materials and paper in contact.


I used an old electric Nesco roaster to steam the paper, but you could use a large roasting pan on your stove top. Make sure that the area is well ventilated. Fill the pan/roaster with about two inches of water. The bundle will need to be resting above the water. I used a brick for the bottom of the roaster, but a wire rack will work too. Place the stack on top of the brick/rack and then added another weight (brick) to the top of the stack. Cover and steam for two hours. Check periodically to make sure that the water doesn’t evaporate. Add more water as needed.



Use tongs or heat resistant gloves to remove bundle. Let the bundle cool for an hour. This is an important part of the process. I opened one bundle right away and the colors were not as vibrant as the next batch where I waited. If you wait much longer than an hour the leaves will dry to the paper.

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Using Ephemera in Your Art Projects


I stumbled upon some old patterns at a vintage shop and snatched them up for my ephemera stash. I really liked the pattern covers with the stylized figures on the front. The figures reminded me of cut dolls and an idea on using them in Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) came to mind. The idea could easily be used in any mixed media, journaling or card making work.


It was fun using bits and pieces of beads, flowers, feathers, stickers, twine and chipboard words to add additional elements to the outfits. The backgrounds were painted pieces of paper that I had used from another project. I like PaperArtsy acrylic paints, they have great colors with wonderful pigmentation and depth and offer paints in opaque, translucent and semi translucent colors – www.paperartsy.co.uk.  They are available in the USA at, Ephemera Paducahwww.ephemerapaducha.com. Call the store for color selections.


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The Art of Organizing – #2 Inspiration Board


Where do you store your creative ideas? In your head? Journal? Scattered notes? I decided to organize my creative thoughts and ideas in a visual manner by using an inspiration board. I didn’t want a run of the mill cork board, so I created my own. I wanted something that I could attach photos, quotes, articles, cards and other ephemera to, so the board needed some sort of base to pin to or be metal to use magnets on. As I was opening a bottle of champagne, inspiration popped!


I went thrifting and found a very large, frame with glass that had nice detail and was a dull brown wood. I removed the glass and gave it to a friend for the top of her desk. I sprayed the frame black and once dry I rubbed on Viva Decor, Inka-Gold in Pewter and Old Silver – www.viva-decor.com . I have had problem with Viva Decor drying out once opened, so I would now suggest Luster Rub-Ons – www.craft-tproducts.com.  


I had been collecting the metal tops from champagne bottles for awhile, but needed more and the was able to get them from a local restaurant and wine store.  The caps were glued down with E6000 glue – www.amazon.com.


Finished inspiration board!

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Thinking Outside the Box – Literally!



For me art has been a personal journey and one with many twists and turns. It began with a passion for paper and letter writing and continues to evolve through exploration of different types of mixed media work. I recently attended a four day art retreat at, Ephemera Paducah –  www.ephemerapaducah.com, where Seth Apter – www.sethapter.com and Mary Beth Shaw – www.stencilgirlproducts.com presented, discussed and demonstrated mixed media techniques. With design concepts in mind, we started with a bare wood 8” x 8” box and incorporated paints, pastes, stencils, embossing powders, ephemera, fabric, photos, rusty bits and found treasures. Each student created a one of a kind work of art. Seth has photos of all of the work on his Facebook page.


The base color is gold gesso by Daniel Smith – www.dickblick.comGolden Regular Matte Gel, also available at Blick’s, added to stencils. Plastic pieces of stencils adhered with glue. I used the gold gesso, and navy, umber and a burnt red acrylic paints throughout the piece.


First photo – I gel printed on mineral paper – www.yasutomo.com. Using VersaMark – Tsukineko – www.tsukineko.com and Emerald Creek Beeswax Embossing Powder – www.sethapter.com I heat set the powder and found that the paper warped from the heat, but I loved the texture. Happy accident! I later touched it up with gold luster rub-ons – www.craft-tproducts.com.

Second photo is gel print on ephemera and again heat embossed with VersaMark and the beeswax embossing powder.


Paper applied to edges with PVA glue – Books by Hand – www.booksbyhand.com. Early layout with a crow, which later flew the coop. Hunt for rusty treasures and what eventually become the top and bottom of the piece.


David and Lucy join the collage (Someone in class actually looked them up on Ancestry.com and we found lots of info on the lovely couple). Chocolate is always necessary. More layout work on the front and back. “The Old Woman and the Wine Jar” is an Alesop’s Fable story.



Front and back of finished piece.

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I received great feedback on my first article on art supplies that are sparking joy. Here are additional art supplies that make me happy and that I enjoy using. Please leave comments about what are supplies spark joy for you!

Note – I have no affiliations with these products.


Black Pencils – A simple #2 Ticonderoga pencil can get you going, but there are many more to choose from that will perform better. For everyday work and sketching, I suggest the Kimberly #5 H or #6 H graphite pencils by, General Pencil Company – www.generalpencil.com, they are smooth and work well on most paper surfaces.

I am wondering if anyone has tried Blackwing pencils – www.blackwing602.com? I have heard great reviews, but haven’t purchased any yet. The price per piece is only $2, but you have to buy a box of 24. Please comment if you have tried them.

My favorite charcoal pencil is made by General’s and I like the 557-6B, extra soft. The extra soft makes blending and shading very easy to do.

Colored Pencils – I have used Prismacolor pencils – www.dickblick.com or www.amazon.com, for years and find them to be perfect for layering, blending and shading from very light to bold colors in just a few strokes. They do however have a soft core and will break fairly easily.

If you haven’t tried Stabilo Aquarellable pencils, you must. The pencils are great for mark making on almost any surface including paper, glass, plastic and metal. They are my go to for card making, watercolor or mixed media projects where I just want to add a bit more definition and outline. The “Aquarellable” mean that you can also apply a water brush to your pencil work and soften the line or drawing. Available at Blick’s and Amazon.


Stabilo Aquarellable

I just picked up some Koh-I-Noor, Progresso woodless colored pencils from Czechoslovakia and I am in love with them! They are so smooth to draw with and almost float over the paper. The color selection isn’t as broad as the Prismacolor pencils, but I like the color intensity of the lead. The finish on the pencils and the round body makes holding them very comfortable too. 



This week I picked-up my first Caran D’Arche pencils, which are Swiss made. I have read so much about them that I can’t wait to try them and of course, I’ll let you know if they spark joy!

Another fun colored pencil to have in your stash is again by Koh-I-Noor and it is their Hardtmuth Tri-Tones. Each pencil has three different color leads, so as you write or sketch the color will change as you move the pencil over the paper. It is definitely bringing out the inner preteen in me!


Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth Tri-Tones

Vintage Pencils – I love vintage and old pencils really do write and sketch differently than new ones. Not only do they write great, but as an added bonus they usually have very cool graphics on the body of the pencil. I find them at garage sales, vintage shops and flea markets. Be on the alert for vintage Prismacolor pencils; the colors are amazing and seem more pigmented than the newer variety.

Tip – Stop pencils from rolling off your work surface and breaking the lead inside. When not using the pencil, rest it on a chop stick holder. Electric pencil sharpeners are hard on the lead of the pencil; always use a manual sharpener.


Online learning is at your fingertips and there is great content for free or very reasonably priced. I stumbled upon Everything Art – www.everything-art.com run by Kasia and Jamie Avery based in the UK and I really like the format and content of their courses. I just finished their free, Encasutic Collage and Image Transfer, mini course and at over 45 minutes, it’s hardly “mini”. Kasia’s directions are clear, concise and jam packed with great tips. I’m putting their yearlong 2020 Wanderlust on my calendar for next year. The program will include 27 teachers and over 60 video lessons, one for every week in 2020 and at it’s current price of $99 for the entire year it’s a bargain.


Art Clips – I hate when my journal pages flip open and the big file folder clips either stick out too far or cover parts of the page. I found art clips at Michaels and at $1.49 each, they do the trick. I had to make mine pretty, so I added washi tape to each one.


I love these clips. Yes, that is a beaded belly band for my journal!

Brush Cleaner – After falling in love with “The Masters” Artist Soap, I thought I would try “The Masters” Brush Cleaner and Preserver. The product works like a charm and got even caked on paint off my brushes and left them soft and supple. I even bought a mini container of the cleaner for when I travel to workshops.


Shopping Local – I know that many many small art, scrapbook and rubber stamp stores have closed. If you are lucky enough to still have an independent store in your town, stop by. The owners are usually passionate about their store and very knowledgeable about the products.

Breville Tea Maker – While certainly not “technically” an art supply, I love a cuppa tea. I use the Breville Tea Maker – www.amazon.com and it heats the water to the right temperature if I want a cup of green, herbal, oolong, black or white tea. It is a splurge, but I love it and the pot keeps the tea warm for an hour. Now, if I just don’t put my paintbrush in my tea cup….

Luna – My cat Luna, studio cat, extraordinary companion, and art critic.


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Mixed Media Metamorphosis – Butterfly Collage


I had an opportunity recently to attend a mixed media class and create a beautiful collage. While the subject matter was the same for all the participants, it was fun to see how each person interpreted how to use the materials, where to place the various papers, paints, drywall tape, and where to shade and add marks.

The instructor who taught the class is Lisa Thill and her YouTube information and link to her channel is in the, Check Out These Blogs tab. Lisa will be posting a step-by-step video on the project.


First few layers on a 9”x12” Artist’s Canvas Panel – www.phoenix-arts.com, include Golden Fluid Matte Medium – www.dickblick.com, ephemera, Golden Regular Matte Gel – www.dickblick.com , Sizzix – Tim Holtz Gears die – www.timholtz.com, drywall tape – www.lowes.com, white gesso, medium body – ProArt Gesso – www.olearypaint.com or Claudine Hellmuth Studio Gesso – www.rangerink.com and a Wagner Studio Precision heat gun – www.amazon.com.


Changed the orientation of the piece.

Second set of layers – DecoArt Media Crackle Paste – https://decoart.com/mixedmedia/crackles, Basic Acrylic paints – www.michaels.com.


Third set of layers – a piece of wallpaper, StampinUp butterfly stamped on tissue paper – www.stampinup.com, brads, Dylusions paint –https://rangerink.com/collections/dyl-paints, Matte Gel, Ranger’s Archival black ink – www.rangerink.com, Finnabair Alchemy Metalique Waxes- www.mixedmediaplace.com.


Fourth set of layers – General’s charcoal pencil extra soft – www.dickblick.com, Stabilo pencils, – www.dickblick.com,  Ranger’s Archival black ink – www.rangerink.com, stamps, Tim Holtz Distress Crayon – www.timholtz.com, Finnabair rust – www.mixedmediaplace.com, Prismacolor pencils – www.dickblick.com, or www.amazon.com, Tim Holtz Distress Ink – www.timholtz.com, Krylon Spray to seal – www.lowes.com or www.michaels.com.

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