Mixed Media

Sent with Love – Mailbox

Since I was a child I have always been obsessed with anything miniature and so I had to have this mailbox and some other stuff you can see here. These adorable model kits are super fun to build and then personalize with some mixed media supplies.

I painted the kit with acrylic paint – it arrives flat and includes glue dots for easy assembly.

I added some lighter blue and brown with a babywipe to make it more weathered looking.

Then I pulled the form together and secured with the glue dots. Looking pretty awesome already – just like the real USPS mailboxes you see on street corners in towns and cities all over the US!

Next I spiffed it up with my Love Tag, Star Tag, Numerals, and some of my other rubber stamps and different inks – more layers to give it that real feel with graffiti and just general grunge. In my hand you can get a feel for the size – I can’t get over how cute this little Mailbox is :)

You could of course go with whatever color or stamp and stencil decoration that suits you.

Do you like this mini version of a mail box? I could build a hole city if you let me ;)  LOL. 

Here are some of the supples I used:

Comments (6)

  • Sue Clarke

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    I just love this mailbox!
    I would also like to see the whole city that you could build Nat.
    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and the creative team.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Happy Valentine’s Day to you too Sue!!!Hehehe- maybe one day I start building- I need more space I guess ;)

      Reply

  • Jeanne Gorton

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    When I was a kid a million years ago there were mailboxes scattered throughout residential neighborhoods. We had one around the block from us & I would get great joy walking my Mom’s cards to be mailed there. She mailed cards to everyone for any occasion & I have to admit I do the same.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      I love that memory Jeanne ! I still to this day feel a lot of joy when I see the cards or letters slide into the mailbox

      Reply

  • Robin

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    Oh my gosh!!!! This is adorable. I love the way you decorated it too! Mindy is obsessed with little things! This is a must have foe me! I’m ordering a few today!

    Reply

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Shrink Plastic Earrings from Riikka Kovasin – Guest Post

Today we have a very special Guest Post from one of our Creative JumpStart 2021 teachers: Riikka Kovasin! She is bringing us 3 different shrink film earring ideas using my Grove Street and Fairview Fan foam stamp sets. Before we get into it though, let’s hear a bit about Riikka:

“Heippa! My name is Riikka Kovasin and I am a mixed media crafter from Finland. I live in Helsinki with my darling husband and our two sweet daughters. Creating is my passion and a way of self-care. Besides family and crafts, my weeks are filled with a full-time job.

I have been doing all sorts of crafts my whole life. I really got into papercrafts after I found scrapbooking when my older daughter was about 6 months old – that’s over 10 years ago. Since then my style has evolved to more and more mixed media direction and nowadays, I tend to go dimensional and do more altered and mixed media pieces than regular layouts.

I absolutely adore getting my hands into paints and mediums! To me the process of creating is equally as important as the finished project.”

We are so excited to share some projects with you from Riikka, and this is the first of a few that will be coming in the next few weeks so check back for more :)


Hi there! It’s Riikka Kovasin here today to share a guest project with you. I actually made a couple projects, so you’ll be seeing me a few times in the course of next weeks.

As my first go I made some jewelry pieces. I really love the patterns of the foam stamps and love how satisfying it is to stamp with them, but on their own they are maybe a touch too big to be used as jewelry. As a pendant, maybe, but as I’m more into earrings the images seemed a bit too big. But no worries, I can always use shrink plastic! That way I’m getting the pattern and the feel of the foam stamp, but the finished piece is half the size! So satisfying!

For these three pairs of earrings, I used both white and black shrink plastic. I used acrylic paint to stamp the images and then colored them using alcohol and paint markers. The first pair is made using both the Grove Street and Fairview Fan foam stamp set. The circular piece has an earring stud at the back. 

The dangly parts are made using both positive and negative version of the fan stamp set. To make the center fan a little bit longer than the other two I added a red glass bead between the circle and the fan.

The second pair has even more glass beads as there’s just the fans that are stamped. Again, there’s a stud piece at the back.

The last, but not least, is maybe my favorite. I made that using the Grove Street stamp, just alternated the color I was using on top of black shrink plastic. The first one is done with inky blue metallic acrylic paint, the second one pale blue metallic acrylic and the one nearest to the ear is then white acrylic paint. 

These dangle all the way as I added a stud earring with a little ring on top.

I’m not a jewelry maker but these were so easy to do even I managed them! Now the only trouble is to decide which pair to use!

Stay safe everyone! Xoxo Riikka


Thank you Riikka! Wow who is excited to try foam stamps with shrink film now? I love all three of these possibilities and I love how they could work for a variety of different fashion styles.

Want to give it a try? You can find all my Foam Stamps here in my Online Shop and here are some of the other supplies Riikka used:

Comments (8)

  • Robin Seiz

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    Great lesson. Thanks so much… Who even knew there was black shrink plastic?!!!! I really love the effect you get with that! I’m going to add it to the very long list of things I must try.

    Reply

    • Riikka Kovasin

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      Thank you Robin! In my craft store they had this selection of four different kinds of shrink plastic sheets in a pack – black, white, glossy transparent and mat transparent :) That was perfect as I didn’t have to choose which color to pick :D

      Reply

  • Kath

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    Awesome post. You read mind. I’ve been wanting to make earrings with shrink plastic for the past few weeks but was struggling with drawing a decent image and coloring so that it wasn’t smudged or looked good. Your stamps and the type of paint solved my roadblocks! Beautiful, beautiful earrings that I think I can actually make. One question, did you sand the plastic first?

    Kath

    Reply

    • Riikka Kovasin

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      Hi Kath! I didn’t sand the plastic first so the earrings are bound to get some wear and tear. Sanding helps the paint to grab the surface better. Or then just add more paint when it seems to wear off :D

      Reply

      • Kath

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        Thanks for that input. I just seem to smudge the colors. However, I noticed when I sanded, you could see the marks, which I do not like. I can’t remember what people use to glaze the plastics.
        I’ll have to check it out. I just love how the paint you used worked with the stamp and it didn’t look like it smudged at all.

        The stamps you used are sold out. I’m gonna wait for restock. That’s how much I liked your earrings!

        Thanks for inspiring me!

        Kath

        Reply

        • Riikka Kovasin

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          I’m so happy to hear that you liked these so much Kath!.

          As you are stamping on top of a sleek surface with a slippery paint, it may slip and smudge. If you look closely to the other of the white stamped circles (with gesso), it’s a bit thicker than the other. A slight slip or turn caused that.

          My tips would be to use a heavy body style paint, more gel-like, use just a little of it, and to use light pressure when you lay down the stamp. Another way is to actually put the stamp to the table, pattern side up with the paint added and carefully place the shrink plastic on top.

          Hopefully this helps when the stamps have been restocked and you get to make your jewelry pieces!

          Reply

  • Anne Lawver

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    Love this idea! Rikka…you are always so clever and original, combined with a dose of practical. Thank you both for this “bonus”! It was a nice surprise.

    Reply

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Lettuce Build a Better Tomorrow – Pass the Brush Collaboration

I hope you had a chance to tune into my Instagram Thursday and Friday for a takeover from the super talented printmaker, book artist, and artfoamies designer Sarah Matthews!

When Sarah and I talked about the process and got to know each other we decided we would want to challenge each other by sending each other a background which then the receiving artist would finish up – A real Collaboration …passing the brush so to speak. Here is what Sarah sent me!

I loved it right away – in one of our conversations I had mentioned that I had a garden and some lettuce and she thought of her carved lettuce stamp.

I love the background and cool layering – It was sooo precious- But then I got to work.

I started layering with some Moonlight Duo Ink and my Weave Art Foamie stamp.

I felt I needed to add just a little bit more and thought the intersections of the lettuces make a fun triangle area …and well …a garden has flowers…sometimes …if you do not forget to water them ;)

so I used the Tulip Triangle from my Triangle Love Set and added this to the print.

And then I felt I would really not want to cover it more as I wanted to keep Sarah’s background alive and so I went for a final addition of adding some text.

I pulled out my woodblocks and some Speedball inks and added this …

I am quite in love with our collaborative piece. And if you want to see her take on my background -she will share it with a video on Monday. I do hope we get to make more art together in the future and as I said Lettuce build a better tomorrow. 

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Back to School: Suminagashi

A couple weeks ago Kim and I went to a lecture about Marbling Paper at Kremer Pigments in NYC. It was a great lecture by Sarah Oppenheimer and I learned a ton.

While I love the Western style of paper marbling I was totally taken by Suminagashi – which is the Japanese paper marbling technique where you basically float sumi ink on top of water.

We couldn’t try the technique ourself since it was a lecture and demo but I knew I had to try this at home.

The pictures you see – starting with the one above are all from my second try. The first try was a total disaster and I didn’t take photos because basically I just used “bad words” and tried to figure out what was going on. My ink would mostly blob to the bottom of the container , the ink would just run off my paper …water everywhere- ink everywhere – you get the picture.

But ..of course I wouldn’t give up – after some digging for information of what possibly could have gone wrong and some research and reading I was ready for the second try and that was wayyyyy better.

For this second trial I used Sumi Ink – which is the black ink you see in the pictures as well as some Shellac Inks by Kremer Pigments. You also need a surfactant (which can be watercolor medium, dishwash soap, a marbling surfactant, soap nut ….and it is a trial and error to see how well they work) and two or more Sumi brushes. The problems of my first trial were a mixture of wrong surfactant and also dipping the brushes way too far into the water.

Basically you start with for example two or three brushes- here in the picture above you see a sample where I worked with three brushes . One will be dipped into the surfactant and the other ones in ink. Then you patiently dip just the very tip of the brush onto the water surface and alternate between the brushes – meaning between the colors and the surfactant.

At some point you will have tons of rings on your water surface and you can then either manipulate the “design” with some “wind” – meaning carefully blowing the surface or using a hair of your scalp to go through it. Then you lay paper -preferably washi paper on top of the surface and slowly pull it off.

Does that sound stressful to you? LOL- not at all- all good. The washi paper as the one above was my favorite result but also the most complicated to handle. Taking it off of the water and not ripping it – not folding it and just handle it in any normal way was sooo tough – little bit of stress here …but I think next time and with more practice that will work well. Having some non-washi paper on hand definitely helped.

Look at the gorgeous pattern and the texture of the washi paper- I cannot wait to use this as collage paper but that will take a bit hahahah- I need to pet it a bit more before i can let go ;)

The one above was after I blew onto the surface before adding the paper on top – I love how the rings just went nuts and zig-zaggy . BTW this was done with red and black ink. The colors will always be very very washed out and muted, which is the charm of this. For me this creates so many opportunities to incorporate the paper into my artwork without being overpowering.

For this one above I used a hair of mine and swirled it through. Apparently the oil on your hair makes sure that the rings won’t get interrupted as it would if you would use something else like a comb – but don’t quote me on this- I haven’t tried a ton yet because I first wanted to get a feel of how things work …without having the ink coming off the paper or just sitting in the bottom of the tray.

It was so much fun and I love the couple papers I made with my first sitting. I could have done way more papers but the problem was basically space – next time I def. have to set myself a bit better up – close to the sink and also with some better space for the paper to dry.

I would also love to try some other colors and actually also different inks- for example also acrylic inks. I am not sure if it will work but hey – that doesn’t stop me ;)

The blue came out quite nice

And then this one – I pulled the blue ones on the top and then instead of cleaning and skimming the water right away I added some black ink with surfactant and then printed again – I love the result.

The one on top is a layered print – first I printed black and white and then blue and white on top . I love it- but have to practice this also a bit more to get some better prints.

And there you go – a pile of paper that I love. I cannot wait to do this again. If you want to try it yourself find different videos about Suminagashi – and start maybe with a small container and dishwasher soap and see if it works – It seems to be quite a trial and error if you do not want to dive right away in the “traditional right way” but I have to say – I enjoy that journey because that gives me the possibility to adjust to my own needs and to what I have.

I cannot wait to show you some art journal spreads I used them for.

Do you like those prints and how could you see yourself using them?

Comments (6)

  • Christine Mack

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    Nat, I loved your papers.. I have done suminigashi before and here are some suggestions: PAPER-Masa and Canson’s Mi Tientes work well. You can get both at Dick Blick. To dry your paper try blotting your print (don’t rub, blot) with paper towels with no pattern on it like Viva or blotter paper. Your print will dry in about 15 minutes if you blot it first. INK-acrylic inks will not work with plain water. You must use a thickened water like for regular marbling and you must put a mordant on the paper to make it stick. You can use printer’s ink or India ink but you will need to thin it with a dispersant. A good source for Sumi ink in colors is a small kit you can get either at Dick Blick or Amazon. Search for Suminagashi and the kit should appear. Blick also has a nice tutorial on their web site. Hope these tips help and have fun with suminagashi.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Christine, thank you so much for your tips! that is super helpful !

      Reply

  • Nancy G.

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    I’ve seen videos on this process, but never tried it. Thanks for sharing your experiments. You make me want to try.

    Reply

  • Jean Goza

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    Nat these are so amazing! I would have to hang them on the wall awhile to enjoy the “flow” of lines before I could cut into them. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Thank you Jean- yeah it is really tough to cut into them LOL- but the good thing is I can always make more – cannot wait for my bigger studio.

      Reply

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Dina Wakley Pouring Medium – Ranger Challenge 2019

It was fun being invited by the peeps at Ranger to participate in the 2019 Ranger Designer Challenge with the focus on Dina Wakley Pouring Medium. The pieces are yearly displayed at Creativation former CHA -a big Craft and Hobby Trade Show happening every January.

I have played with pouring medium before and it was especially fun to play with Dina’s Cell Creator.

Here is my piece for the challenge

 

It was really fun to play with Dina’s products – even though it was a bit out of my box as it is so different from what I usually do and use. But hey- it is called challenge for a reason ;)

It was also fun to spy the piece here and there on social media since I didn’t go to the Show this time

Here are the supplies I used:


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Where You Find Light – Art Journal

Here is a another art journal spread using the hand carved stamp I showed in my Creative JumpStart 2019 class video ( you can still join us if you want – lots of fun tutorials). Here I inked it up with black archival ink

and used it cut apart as shown in the tutorial. I also used it with my RubberMoon Rubberstamps – I love the mix of hand carved and hand sketched next to each other.

I painted the stamped images and the background in with acrylic inks and acrylic gouache and added the journaling with a white sharpie. Love how the colors glow.

Here are some of the supplies I used for this spread:


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Discuss Ideas – Art Journal

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. ” Eleanor Roosevelt

Loved playing with my new ArtFoamies  and creating a pattern using the Far Out, Funky and Gnarly stamps.

I sketched the lady with some acrylic ink on a piece of deli paper and then added it with gel medium to the background.

Here are some of the supplies I used for this spread:


Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    I love the quote and the art work.
    I have your new ArtFoamies on my wish list Nat!

    Reply

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Tagging Along

There is something that makes me happy about a small little gift tag :) Here is one I created using some metallic color and teal with my new Downtown Stencil.

Love the pattern and border you can create with this stencil. I filled in the free space with my Numeral Stamp – another favorite of mine :)

Hope you are having a wonderful fall week :)

Here are the supplies I used for this simple tag:


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Swapped – Painting

A new finished painting which I call Swapped. I was intrigued by the story of the Morton F. Plant House, located on the prestigious Fifth Avenue in NYC.

Apparently Cartier wanted the building, and Plant exchanged it in 1917 for 100 Dollars and a double stranded pearl necklace worth about 1,000,000 Dollars at the time. Then the necklace “only” made 151,000 USD in 1957 at an auction, so I guess that swap didn’t really work out. And so there is a jeweler and watch store up to this day in the building. There are quite some weird real estate exchange stories in NYC …this is certainly one of them. I imagined the building being just an “ordinary” apartment building -it is still so beautiful and one could only guess at how many necklaces would be needed for such a swap today! These are the things that went through my head when I painted Swapped.

The painting is 24″x18″ in size, acrylic paint, spray paint and marker on canvas.

It is available in the store here and meanwhile waits for a new home on my living room wall.

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