Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with Marsha Valk


Hello again from the Creative Squad! Today we have a gorgeous gift wrapping project from Marsha Valk that is sure to send you running to your kitchen for some coffee filters :) Marsha used a whole slew of my stencils on this one (so be sure to check the materials list at the bottom) to rock the theme: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Let’s do Mother Earth a favor this month and use what we already have.  Maybe we’ll dip into our stash of leftovers from other creative projects or maybe we’ll repurpose something unexpected.  This month we’re thinking about how artmaking can impact the environment and we’re trying to make our footprint just a little bit smaller.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – that’s a topic that has been on my mind a lot lately. I have a lot of different craft supplies. I like to donate any excess supplies I have, but I still have plenty left that I’m reluctant to get rid of because I don’t want to waste it and it may come in handy someday…

The upside to this is that I’m never short on stuff when it comes to gift wrapping!

Paper flowers make fun and easy gift toppers, so I for this month’s prompt I decided to make coffee filter flowers.

I’ve shared how to create similar flowers on the Gelli Arts® blog before:

Using brand new (bleached) coffee filters for a craft project probably isn’t the greenest choice you can make. If you are looking for an environmentally friendlier option, you can recycle used coffee filters.

Unfortunately I don’t have access to a coffee maker that uses filters like these, so I haven’t tested it for you, but I believe you can rinse and dry them. They will be stained, but that will actually add interest to the paper (and the flowers).

Step 1: Monoprint a couple of coffee filters with your Gelli Arts® printing plate using stencils and (white) acrylic paint. Here I’m using Nat’s Buenos Aires stencil.

Step 2: Stain the monoprinted coffee filters with spray inks.

Wet the coffee filter with a spray bottle of water before you spray on the spray ink. The water will help the spray ink spread across the coffee filter, this one has Nat’s Toledo stencil pattern on it.

You can stack the coffee filters you want to have the same colour while spraying. Each new filter will absorb the excess ink from the already sprayed ones!

Leave the coffee filters to dry completely.

Step 3: Cut two smaller circles out of each coffee filter. I folded each coffee filter in half and used a jar to trace a circle shape onto them to get a uniform size.

Step 4: Fold the circles into eighths (or more) and cut leaf shapes. Make sure to cut some larger and some smaller.

Step 5: Unfold the coffee filter flowers and stack two or three on top of each other. Secure them by sewing one or two buttons in the middle of each stacked flower.

Fluff the petals until you are happy with the result.

Step 6: Use a glue dot or double-sided tape to adhere the flowers to your gifts!

I love this Marsha – such a great way to dress up a gift! In addition to buttons and ribbon, Marsha used the following supplies (some are affiliate links):

Play along with us too: I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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NEW ArtFoamies Stamps – City Streets


They’re here! My latest foam stamp designs with ArtFoamies are in stock and ready to ship.

Get the City Streets stamps here.  These stamps are all based on manhole covers and grates that I’ve photographed over the years on my Stroll Through the Hood excursions. Many of them are sets of positive and negative designs so you can layer them up in cool ways. All of them are really nifty versatile patterns that could be focal points, backgrounds, you name it. The Midtown Mini Set is 4 stamps that you can arrange any way you like to create a cityscape of your design. Most of the names come from places and streets right around my own Hood.

And… I’ll be introducing the stamps and showing them on my Kaffeeklatsch Facebook Live event this Wednesday, September 20th at 4pm EST. Join me for a chat – it’s been a while!

I’ll also be talking about my inspiring road trip that I took recently in the American Southwest, my upcoming Workshop at Nat’s (Yes, I’m hosting a workshop at my place!), and a couple other things. Drop in, say hello, I’d love to see you there :)

Wednesday, September 20th at 4pm EST.

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Photos of my Mixed Media Workshops in California

Last weekend I taught three mixed media classes at Scrapbooking Forever in Westvillage, California.

It was a wonderful time there with the students- I taught my Artvergnugen, as well as my Master Art Express and my Walk With Me Class.

Here are some wonderful patterned pages from the Artvergnugen Class.

It truly was a lot of Artvergnugen :)

I also taught my Master Art Express Art Journaling class which is taking Art Journaling a bit further and takes inspiration from different Artists imaginary traveling through Europe.

I loved all the different ideas and approaches the students tried out!

My altered book class Walk With Me was super fun as well and the ink drawings some of my students added to their books.

I did not take many photos as some of my students wanted to remain private – a request I happily follow- but here is one of Winkie and me. If you ever happen to be in a class room with Winkie prepare yourself for a life story ride that blows your mind. My favorite thing about teaching is, that besides that it makes me happy to see people being creative, what wonderful and interesting people I meet along my way. Everyone’s story is worth telling and I am truly grateful that I am meeting so many amazing people.

Hope to see you in one of my classes in the future. Check out my in-person-class schedule. I will be in Florida next weekend at Everything Scrapbook and Stamps and then fly in October to the U.K. to teach at a retreat with my friend Birgit Koopsen in Coventry – there are still a couple spots left.


Comments (2)

  • Karen Bearse


    Looks like a lot of fun! Love all the colors & textures!


  • Sue Clarke


    Love all the colors on that art and taking a class with you is on my Bucket List Nat.
    Enjoy your weekend.


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Deli Paper ReDo! Stamped Paper Leaf Mobiles

A couple weeks ago Kim and I had yet another play date and we decided to use up some of left over painted deli paper and make stamped paper leaf mobiles.

Often when creating I clean off left over paint or inked stamps on top of deli paper and those were the perfect pieces to enhance further by stamping with my foam stamps.

we grabbed all my Art Foamies Mini Foam Stamps and the border Foam Stamps.


and stamped with them with acrylic paint on top of the deli paper.

Kim had found some really beautiful drift wood branches at the beach and also gathered some thread, matte gel, scissors and tape.

We freehand cut out leaves

We sorted them a bit by color and pattern to see which ones would look best together

And then arranged them loosely to see how they would best look like when hanged.

We added string to the branches making loose knots and then added the leaves with tape to the strings.

Once we were happy with the result we secured the strings with gel medium to be held in place and hung up the mobiles.

Love the little colorful home decor as a transition piece from summer to fall decor

It was a fun and super easy project.

A great way to use some left over deli paper and also to do with kids.

Hope you enjoyed our little play date as much as we did. Here are some of the supplies we used.

Comments (2)

  • stephanie


    What a great idea! Thanks


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Art Stroll: Creating a Modern Guggenheim, Guggenheim NYC

A couple weeks ago when my godson visited we went to the Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition Creating a Modern Guggenheim showed a collection of Modern Artwork by six major art patrons. I thought it was a great way to have a walk through Modern Art and major Modern Artists and see if my young visitor would enjoy it.

He totally enjoyed the building – which I love myself very much.

And what a wonderful environment for this beautiful Calder Mobile!

It was fun to see more Calder Mobiles after just having been to the Whitney Exhibition on Calder.

What I loved about the collection was that there was a lot of early works by famous modern artists displayed and it was wonderful to see how from those early works they developed their distinctive styles later or dabbled in different areas – for some it felt as if you saw a study of their later work.

Two Kandinsky’s – the top one from 1913 and the one below from 1936. I loved seeing those two and see how his artwork was still the same and yet changed.

Which one of the two do you like better?

Beautiful van Gogh – It makes me want to try this swirly impasto style with some of the landscapes I saw during my recent travels through the Southwest.

An early Gaugin

An early Henri Rousseau – so tamed and restricted- I love his later paintings so much more. check him out!

Picasso -my godson did not like this at all – I could tell he wasn’t that much into cubism in the first place but all the earth tone colors totally put him off.

an early Robert Delaunay – gosh I love this one – and wow so different from his circular colorful forms later

Fernand Leger – above and below also dabbling in the style of cubism of the time and then later finding his own cubism style.

Here is a later one below

A Chagall below- …the colors are so obviously him

but the subject and painting itself …interesting …

This one by him I love love love! I cannot stop looking at all the details!

An early Piet Mondrian – uniquely his style but not yet at the primary color grid.

It was a massive collection of paintings and while I enjoyed it I would have loved staying longer or listening to the audio explanations of some but …there is only that much time a 17 year old wants to spent at a museum ;)  He wanted to go and I wanted to make sure he would not regret that by being held hostage there for longer than he wanted – hahahah ;) Hope you enjoyed the little Art Stroll.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with Cheiron Brandon


Hello from the Creative Squad! Today we have a spooky card from Cheiron Brandon to get you thinking about Halloween :)  She uses my Buenos Aires stencil to help her pull together this month’s theme: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Let’s do Mother Earth a favor this month and use what we already have.  Maybe we’ll dip into our stash of leftovers from other creative projects or maybe we’ll repurpose something unexpected.  This month we’re thinking about how artmaking can impact the environment and we’re trying to make our footprint just a little bit smaller.

Hi there, it’s Cheiron here with my September post. This month we are using the theme Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and I thought it would be fun to challenge myself just to use all the leftover paper bits that were on my desk. The easiest way for me to do this was to make a card. 

I took a scrap of book paper and applied some Tangerine paint through the Buenos Aries stencil. I used some black slick paint to fill in the dots. I thought this color combo would be perfect for Halloween, as I have a ton of Halloween bits and pieces on my table right now.

Once the paper was dry, I collaged it to a blank note card. I love using painted and stenciled papers as backgrounds on my cards. I had some parts of paper dolls that I had cut out, so I used this fun witch and added a simple sentiment. I love the handmade, whimsical look of cards like this and its so easy to incorporate all those scraps that we tend to save!

Hope you enjoyed this fun and simple way to recycle your scraps into new creations :)

Thank you Cheiron for showing us a great way to incorporate some leftovers into seasonal cards! In addition to some leftover papers, Cheiron used the following supplies (some are affiliate links):

Play along with us too: I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Comments (2)

  • Karen Bearse


    Spooky!! Love the art journal look.


  • Stephanie


    So cool!


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La Boca – Painting

This painting which is also part of my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media was inspired by the neighborhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The instant I saw all those colorful houses, I knew I had to paint them some day.

This painting is 9″x12″ and I used acrylic paint, acrylic ink, marker, charcoal, and  collage elements on canvas.

I loved Argentina, it was such an inspiring trip – I would love to go back some day and discover a bit more of this huge country.

Wishing you a wonderful and colorful day!

Comments (2)

  • Karen Bearse


    Ok so I really love this piece! Love how bright the colors look creatin contrast and movement. Love the charcoal. Especially love the bench! I dont know why but it is perfect!! Great job!!!


  • Denise Spillane


    Oh Natalie I live this. Your work is so wonderful. Love your style


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