Too Many Thoughts – Art Journal

“I am too little butter on too much bread. I am too many thoughts in too little head”  – Tyler Knott Gregson

This started actually out as many different approaches to a background and thinks just didn’t work out the way I wanted and once I just started covering it up with the gold I fell in love with the antique- streak look and left it. There -problem solved ;)

The girl is mainly on deli paper with I stamped and painted and layered Neopastels on top. Her eyes are a bit off but I can live with that …Moving on is the motto ;)

Love how the foam stamped pattern shows is slightly visible through the gold layer.

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

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For All I Know – Art Journal

I have been working on a big assignment and some personal tasks lately which have me stressed out a bit …so a little art journaling mantra is keeping me sane ;)

some stamping with my RubberMoon stamp sets and I used Neopastels to paint inside the ink transferred figure. I also traced with a pink Neopastel inside the opening of my Manhattan stencil and while I like the outcome, there was a lot of the Neopastel sticking to the stencil which wasn’t easily to get off or transfer to a different spot – so this was probably a one time adventure LOL.

Here are the supplies I used for this spread.

Comments (4)

  • Lois Moore


    I read somewhere that a soak in water with dishwasher “liquid” soap would remove dried on paint from stencils. Maybe it will work with your neopastels too.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      I will try that Lois. My best experience so far is with Murphy’s Oil- but I usually do not remove paint as long as it is acrylic paint. I will give it a try :)Thank you


  • Sue Clarke


    Do you put something over the neopastels so that they don’t smudge on the opposite page when the journal is closed?


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Sue, if the layer of neopastels is not too thick it is not a problem, but in this case where it is very thick I put half a sheet of delipaper in between the pages to keep it from transferring to the other side.


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My Home is My Castle – Jennifer Gallagher


Hello from the Creative Squad! Today we have a super charming little project from Jennifer Gallagher that will definitely inspire you and warm your heart :) She is using my Stroll Around the Block and My Home is My Castle stamp sets and this month’s theme: My Home is My Castle – Home means many different things depending on who you ask and where you are in the world. This month we’re thankful to have a place to call home, a place where we can rule and be King – or Queen :) – of the castle!

With the beginning of each new year, it is normal to think back over the past and assess where you are and what is important to you. What is most important to me is family. My husband and I often talk about how much we love it at home. Not necessarily the structure itself, but the time spent with each other and the memories we have made here. This month the creative squad will be sharing inspiring projects that reflect on just that. Using Nat’s new Rubbermoon stamp collections, Stroll Around the Block Sets 1 & 2, we hope to inspire you and share with you what home means to each of us.

Back in the Summer, I acquired several of these shadow boxes at a yard sale. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with them but I knew they would come in handy. You can purchase shadow boxes at your local hobby and craft store or create your own with recycled materials. I started by removing the frame and glass from the front and emptying the box of all the decorations. I sanded down the frame to give it a distressed feel. Then with a baby wipe, I smeared some Tim Holtz distress stains on the frame and let it dry.


I knew that I wanted to create a little scene in the shadow box to represent my home. I decided to keep with the artistic and sketch-like feel of Nat’s stamps and I felt watercolors would compliment that. I chose the Cape Cod stamp because it most resembles my ranch style home. I stamped the image onto watercolor paper with archival blank ink and then used my watercolors to match the colors of my house.

I decided on where I wanted the house to sit in the box and then designed the other pieces around it. I decided to add a large tree, a flower garden, bushes, a bird, smaller trees in the background and grass. This is where your creativity can really shine. Is this an exact replica of my home? No. But it does relay the feeling I have about home to my audience. Keep that in mind when designing your piece.

I started by choosing a blue and green gelli print from my stash. The blue to represent sky and the green as grass in my background. I used double sided tape to fix those to the shadow box. I then started painting my trees. I used my gelly roll pen to add sketchy lines to each element.

Starting on the background, I fixed each element with scor-tape. The bird and background trees were added with mounting tape to give it a little lift off the background. As I moved closer to the foreground, I fixed the elements with paper tabs like you would in a pop-up book. Mix up the levels throughout the box, giving your piece lots of dimension and interest.

The finishing touch was to stamp the sentiment, My Home is My Castle, onto watercolor paper with archival ink and add a pop of color to it. Once added, I was able to put the glass and frame back on my shadow box.

To me, this piece expresses how I feel about my home. It’s a happy and peaceful place. It is truly my favorite place on Earth. I hope that this piece inspires you to step out of the box this year in your artful adventures. I am wishing you all a wonderful year filled with art, happiness, and creativity.

Thank you Jennifer for this awesome way to use a shadow box! In addition to gelli printed papers, Jennifer used the following supplies:

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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Sometimes you are the window…sometimes you are the rock

Loved Michelle Ward’s video at Creative JumpStart 2018 and used her technique with my Amsterdam and Versailles Stencil creating a grungy background.

Just love the outcome – Michelle does the technique a bit different when I usually do- so it was fun to do it with a different approach. What Technique you ask ? WElllllll…LOL- yes- I am doing this to you right now…you gotta sign up to and see yourself- it is so much fun and the videos are so awesome. You still have time to join us for Creative JumpStart and play along!

Loved creating the girl with some ink sketching and stamping- ….I kinda want her coat- LOL.

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

Comments (1)

  • Dee Spillane


    Love this so much!


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Burning Bright: Stamped Candles

Kim and I had so much fun again at our monthly Craft Play Date. This time we made some candles and it was so easy and ohhhh I love them !

All you need are some stamps, some ink pads (try different ones as some might bleed) some tissue paper, wax candles and a craft heat tool.

We used my new RubberMoon Stroll Around the Block and My Home is My Castle Stamp Set.

We just stamped along on the tissue paper with different colors and brands

the less juicy the ink pad the less it was bleeding into the tissue but I also liked the bit of a painterly look a little ink bleed would give.

Then we just cut out the stamped images very close to the edges

and smoothed it out on the candle.

With a heat tool place on some deli paper(or non stick paper) we placed the candle and carefully heated it up – once the wax is molten the stamped tissue paper fuses right into the wax.

I used the deli paper while the wax was still warm and smoothed out any wrinkles. Make sure to be careful and not burn yourself !

I love this so much

We just couldn’t stop

but there were only so many candles- LOL

I love them with different houses and different sizes like below

I love Kim’ Number Candle as well

And the Adirondack chair candle on the right makes me want to gather some sand dollars and sea shells and set up a beach themed plate for the candle in the center.

And …I still want the Mid Century House that would host the candle below … I mean…for myself- LOL- One can dream, right?

Hope you liked it and give it a try- guess what everyone is getting for next birthdays- LOL.

Here are some supplies we used  – of course you do not need a huge amount of ink pads

Can’t wait for our next play date- always love getting creative with Kim :)

Comments (2)

  • Karen Bearse


    What a great idea! Love this, thanks for the tutorial.


  • Sue Clarke


    Nice presents and they can even be personalized with the number of the house.


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Art Stroll: Louise Bourgeois at MoMA

A couple of weeks ago Kim and I went to see Max Ernst at MoMA and while we were at it we also went to see the Louise Bourgeois exhibition. Louise Bourgeois was born in 1911 in France and died in 2010 in NYC.

“Spider” (1997), steel, tapestry, wood, glass, fabric, rubber, silver, gold, and bone

Now the reason why I say that in a kind of “well guess we have to”-manner is, that I mostly associated Louise Bourgeois so far with her spider sculptures and well…I am not a particularly big fan of spiders ;)

But I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised and happy I went to the exhibition! I came to like her work a lot.

Soft Ground and Drypoint etching techniques were a big part of the exhibition.  – and I found her studies of lines very interesting

so did Kim ;)

These prints were actually made in her last two decades of her life and the end of the show in the atrium of MoMA but we started there and it pulled us in to go to the exhibition rooms.

Funny enough a day after we saw the exhibition I got an email from my friend Bruno Nadalin offering a Drypoint Etching Class and needless to say- I signed up – I cannot wait :)

I was fascinated by her organic shapes, the color choices and also the repetition of themes. But when I saw the first piece with fabric I was super intrigued.

Her wood sculptures are beautiful

she also incorporated a lot of architectural symbols in her work

this one is called the Happy House 2001-2003 Drypoint with selective wiping – on the bottom with added pencil and crayons

She also did a series of room- like sculptures called cells in 1991 – about sixty of them. Some are filled with a haunting mix of her personal belonging. She often used the color blue for its serene and calming effect.

Side by Side – Etching with watercolor and gouache addition

more drypoint etching

This is so beautiful until you really explore the shapes and then the Lullaby – as this work is called is starting to be scary!

“You can …remember your life by the shape, the weight, the color, the smell of clothes in your closet” Louise Bourgeois

Although Bourgeois was raised in a family of tapestry restorers, she introduced fabric in her art only when she reached her 80s.

She made prints on fabric napkins, hand towels and even shirt cuffs. She enjoyed the tactile qualities of the surfaces and the ways they absorbed ink.

She also created fabric books, filling the pages with abstract designs fashioned from bits of old garments, stains, scorches and cigarette burns testify to their histories.

Hours of the Day, 2006 – Fabric illustrated book with 25 digital prints

Bourgeois took advantage of digital printing for the ease fo printing on fabric. Every spread has it’s own text as the hour on the clock advances. She was already in her mid nineties when she made this book!

The patterns and colors are just so striking and soothing – I love this and thought of all the fabric pieces that I saved from me great aunt -(an apron, a dress, handkerchiefs) and I thought it would be really cool to make a book out of those pieces – I will chew on it – since my fabric- sewing- skills are …ahem….you know ;)

Stamp of Memories- 1993 – drypoint, with metal stamp additions –

Oh man- I love this so so so much- I cannot even begin to tell you – LOL

Arch of Hysteria, 1993

“My early work is the fear of falling. Later on, it became the art of falling. How to fall without hurting yourself. Later on, it is the art of hanging in there.”

Amazing – I am in awe and I am so glad we went in. It was a very inspiring exhibition making me want to learn more about Louise and her life! Have you been surprised lately by an artist you thought first to be not quite your taste and then starting to be inspired by her/him?

Comments (3)

  • Pam


    Thank you for sharing, it is delightful to see the exhibits and experience the artists works being shown. If it were not for your posts, I would miss the opportunity to see them. ❤️


  • Frieda


    Thanks so much for posting this, Nathalie. I don’t often comment on your posts but always read them, specially the ones abour your museum trips. In this case you inspired me so much that I just had to get the book that accompanies this exhibit. Just wish MOMA was on my doorstep!


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Fire – Art Journal

“I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me!”

I started this art journal spread a while ago but Carolyn Dube used in her Creative JumpStart Video junk envelopes which inspired me to add some collage elements from the inside of junk envelopes as well. I stamped with my Central Avenue Foam Stamps and acrylic paint on top of the envelope pattern and then cut out circles in different sizes – the lines of the stamp providing perfect cutting guidance.

I used a black Fude pen for the journaling and to add some dots here and there and then added some white highlights with a white Signo pen. It basically repeats the color scheme and the circles theme of the collaged envelope circles.

The figure was from a demo in a class in Oregon – Ink drawing on deli paper and then pasted into the art journal with gel medium.

The red and green are giving a great contrast and impact – it is a not so simple but kind a simple looking page  – I like it. Here is what I discovered with this page:

  • I always forget that in the US a lot of the bank statements have security envelopes with cool pattern inside – great collage material
  • I mostly use women when using figures in my journal  – it was fun to change that up for this one :)
  • I am still in love with the subtle texture scraped gesso over an acrylic painted background provides – It makes me happy :)

There are so many ways you can get something out of Creative JumpStart – wether you are a beginner, an intermediate or advanced Mixed Media Artist. You can take the videos “literally” and do the same project, you can get inspired by the theme, certain materials, use the same techniques, try to substitute materials to see what happens in comparison …the ways are different…but they all have something in common – YOU HAVE TO WALK!

I hope you walk with us :)

Comments (9)

  • Ben Gill


    Looking great! Some nice textures and patterns going on here. The colors are great also.

    Been reading your blog for a while but first time commenting here :)


  • Sue


    I love your texture and colours! I keep forgetting what a great impact white scraped over colour makes!


  • Gloria J


    This is fabulous, Nathalie! I too have started saving the insides of security envelopes for collage. I never noticed them before Carolyns’ jumpstart project!


  • Florence


    Love your background, Nathalie. Lots of details in there. Your Art Foamies are very cool as well.


  • Cath


    Love what you created and great to see you jumping too :-)


  • Deborah


    Glad to see you playing along with us and enjoying the fun of Creative Jumpstart that you created for all of us!


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My Home is My Castle – Josefine Fouarge


Hello my friends and welcome to a project from the Creative Squad! Today we have some fun tags created by Josefine Fourage using my new RubberMoon stamps from the Stroll Around the Block and My Home is My Castle sets: Craftsman, Queen Anne, and My Home is My Castle. This month’s theme is: My Home is My Castle – Home means many different things depending on who you ask and where you are in the world. This month we’re thankful to have a place to call home, a place where we can rule and be King – or Queen :) – of the castle!

Hi and welcome to 2018. In the new year we get to play with Nathalie’s new stamps. Have you seen them yet?

I was in the mood for some Distress Oxide fun, so I grabbed three tags and started coloring them in. My favorite technique is ink smooshing. For that I used three colors of Distress Oxide from the same color family and smooshed one after another onto my craft mat. Then I spritzed a little water on top and dragged the tag through the ink, one color at the time. Between every color I heat set the ink. This way I always get an interesting and random background.

I colored all three tags in different color combinations, one in shiny yellow and orange, one in different blue shades and the third in a grungy green/ brown.

The next layer is using Distress Oxide again. This time I blended them with the Blending Tool through Nat’s Lily Wallpaper stencil. I used the same colors that I used for the ink smooshing so the flowers stay in the background.

Next up, I stamped some marks with parts of Nat’s Cross Circle stamp, again using the same colors for every tag.

I picked three of the houses, but ended up using just two of them. They are wider than the tags, so I stamped them a little off. The Queen Anne house fit perfectly to the yellow/ orange tag and the Craftsman to the grungy green tag. I decided to use the sentiment stamp “My Home is my Castle” for the blue tag.

At the end, I colored some areas of the houses with Faber Castell Pitt Pens. Mainly some shadows, but also light behind the windows and red for the door of the Craftsman. To add a shadow underneath the house (for a little more dimension), I used a black water color pencil. I also added a few white gel pen outlines here and there and then tied all the tags together.

Here is the finished piece.

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to check out the new stamps, they are so much fun to play with!

Thank you Josefine! I love how you worked into the stamps to really give them dimension. Here are the supplies that Josefine used (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 (1)

  • Maura


    Great tags, Josefine! I love your term ink smooshing – I do that, but now I have a new name for it :). The lily stencil looks awesome with the houses. Maura


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