Inspired by my Creative Squad

We have some very yummy creations from Creative Squad member Judi Kauffman to share with you today: cards, ATCs, and bookmarks! You know I love the brown and teal color combination – makes me happy. And there are so many other touches in these that catch my eye too: the handmade paper for texture and visual interest underneath the stenciling (so cool), the mesh she put in there (again- soo cool!), and the white mark making. 

So here we go from Judi: 2 bookmarks, 3 ATCs, and 4 cards for you today.

Bookmarks with stitching and some of my artfoamies stamps.

ATCs with postal stamps, my batik design, and lots of excellent markmaking.

More Batik pattern, mesh fabric, and postage stamps on a card…

Batik pattern, stitched elements, and handmade paper on this card…

A square card with lots of wonderful stitching…

And a card with some embellishments that makes me think of sunshine :)

Thank you so much for sharing Judi!!! 

Here are some of the supplies that Judi used:

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In Need of Zen – Art Journal

“In these crazy times I need to create my own zen!” I was listening to the news and needed to create a calming art journal spread.

I cut out some shapes from tyvek and then stenciled with acrylic paint.

I added in my Kyoto stencil with pink gouache. All happy colors, trying to find some zen :)

I embraced the calm of open white space and then used a Dewent watersoluable pencil for the journaling.

How do you find zen in your art journal?

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    Simply wonderful Nat.
    I find zen when I play with texture and layers in my art journal or on canvas.


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Whole Lotta Love – Linda Edkins Wyatt

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a unique project from Linda Edkins Wyatt – a triptych that holds 3 cards on display. Check out the video below to watch it come together. Linda uses my Floral Tile Large rubber stamps and this month’s theme: Whole Lotta Love – Who or what sets your heart aflutter this time of year? Let’s pay tribute this month to those warm fuzzy feelings of love and create something that celebrates that universal emotion.

In November 2019, I participated in Nat’s “Deck of Cards” challenge. By the end of the month, I had 30 pretty cool pieces of artwork that were just the right size for greeting cards. I felt a little too attached to some of them to actually use as cards and send off in the mail to friends and family, so I bundled them up and propped them up on my display shelf. Here’s a few of them:

But…I wanted a prettier way to display the cards, so I hit on the idea of creating a free-standing triptych to showcase them. I had too many to display all at once, so I decided to attach little pieces of Velcro to my favorites so the display could easily be changed.

Here’s my video of the process:

I started by mixing up my favorite shades of pink and yellow and painting some 140 lb. watercolor paper. In addition to the painted paper, I also used a piece of recycled brown paper bag. Next, I spread white acrylic onto my geli plate and picked up paint with Nat’s positive/negative Hamilton rubber stamps, then stamped all over the three surfaces. (Once the geli plate was full of marks, I also pulled prints off it with deli paper.)

Once I had plenty of printed paper, I auditioned different cards and lace to see what would work best for my triptych. I folded and cut a fresh piece of watercolor paper to the triptych shape.

Next, I glued the printed papers on and cut them to size. With a glue stick, I added some gorgeous thick lace.

The final step was attaching the Velcro dots to both the triptych and the cards.

The hardest part was finding a space in my small apartment to display my new creation!

Thank you Linda! This is such a cool way to display any number of small works on paper! Great idea :)

Want to give Linda’s project a try? You can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and in addition to her cards and a brown paper bag, here are some of the other supplies Linda used:

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  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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Whistling – Art Journal

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush!” It hasn’t been much of a winter yet here but I am always more excited for warm Spring weather than the cold :)

For my background I used gouache paint and a cosmetic sponge with my Art Deco Summit stencil. 

I went back and forth with the two colors. I like this stencil because it combines some fine detail with larger areas of color.

My Fan-tastic rubber stamps fit in there quite nicely. Here I used one of the small Fairview stamps.

For my quote I used a Derwent watersoluable pencil and then went in with a wet brush to oomph up the lettering.

I added some dots with the back of my pencil.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Comparison is the Thief of Joy – Newsletter Thoughts

I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve been writing some thoughts in my monthly newsletters – thoughts on creativity, making art, and being an artist – along with some other info about what is going on around here. In January I shared the following – a topic that I feel really passionate about as both an artist and teacher. I hope you enjoy and you can sign up for my newsletter HERE for more of these :)

“Comparison is the thief of joy”
I truly believe in this. Trust me- I know. Been there, done that… many times. While I am checking out the amazing work of our students in Creative JumpStart and reading hundreds of comments, I stumble once in a while over something that goes like this: “I tried it for the first time but it doesn’t look perfect!” and all I can think is, “how amazing you actually did this and hey, this looks pretty awesome – I cannot believe you did this the first time”. And trust me the latter is not just some Nat-Kindness-Program – because oh boy you should see some of my first takes on something. There is a lot of Schtuff that goes down the drain. I also admit I curse a lot in my studio… you don’t want to hear me some days.

The problem with a sample or tutorial we art teachers show, is that we usually do not show the many, many in between steps, the failures, the ugly stuff. I make a lot of ugly stuff …my trash bin is littered with ugly stuff right now from a “brilliant idea” I am working on for a technique for an online class. Trust me… I am getting there. I am making notes on what worked and what didn’t. I am still thinking about how I can tweak it and make it work so that I like it and that it comes closer to what I envision, and then I will teach it. This part makes me actually excited and if it doesn’t get to that point that I want to teach it, oh well! I learned something new. EVERY TIME. None of this is wasted.

But to get back to the initial point: I usually don’t show in my classes the many hours that it took to get to that point, and the really bad failures along the way, because that is not what the class is about. Maybe it should be… I have thought about a book called Art Failures… but I guess now that I put it out here someone else might write it – LOL.  

So in the end, as a student, I hope that you might have it easier because I can give you some tips on the way: which materials to use, what worked for me, and what you should or maybe should not do. (Hey, ask me how I know what not to do ;) But at the end of the day you still have to put the work in if you want to have it look as you envision . “You haven’t even tried as many times as the Master has failed”  is one of my other quotes I have been saying for years in my classes, as probably some of my longtime students eyerollingly will notice ;) . But the reason I want to stress this is that you shouldn’t compare yourself to your teacher or your co-students because you will be taking the fun away from trying something new and exciting. You don’t know how experienced the other students are, how many times they tried, how often they work with the material, yadayadayada. Look at their work as something that could spark an idea in you or as another take on the same theme. And if that still doesn’t keep you from comparing yourself to others… then take a hiatus in looking. That is absolutely ok – I do that ALL the time. 

Don’t take the fun away from discovering something that you might explore further, and from the experience of getting better, and maybe even taking it to a whole new level than you initially started out with. Don’t let perfectionism and comparison creep into your hobby and something you love doing – there is enough of that pressure out there in all sorts of other areas of our lives. Kick it to the bin… along with the fun ugly stuff you do and embrace it like I do. A full trash bin or drawer of “new collage paper” is a sign of lots of great hours in the studio. Have fun – fill your waste bin!

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts. If you’d like to read more, please sign up or my newsletter HERE for more of these :)

Comments (3)

  • Cate D


    Excellent thoughts and a great reminder. I know I am sometimes guilty of this and it totally steals the joy.


  • tracie


    Great reminder!! Thanks Nathalie


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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 13

A Look Back – This time I’m looking at Collage Papers – a fun and easy way to build layers and to bring more visual interest to your mixed media pieces. If you are like me and you don’t like anything to go to waste, read on! I have some ideas from the archive on how to use all those beautiful collage papers from your stash.

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it will be fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

First up is a post from way back in 2014 – some canvases I made using my Elephant stencil and collage papers. Look at all the yummy patterns and textures I’ve brought together here, everything unified by the shape of the elephant.

Next up is a post from 2015 where I use some different collage papers for an abstract background element. I used acrylic paint to unify the collage with the ground.

In this 2017 post I combined my Beacon stencil with collage paper I made from cleaning the stencil (the red reverse of the image). I like this play with the pattern and its opposite.

For this Play Date in 2018 I used foam stamped collage papers to decorate Easter Eggs – a festive alternative to egg dyeing and perfect for using the bold patterns of my foam stamps.

Finally from this 2019 art journal page, I used collage papers to create the dress for my sketch. Collage papers give the dress a random pattern which always looks cool.

I hope you enjoyed A Look Back through my archive and maybe you are inspired to try some different things now too.

Here are some of the supplies I used in these posts:

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Good Vibes Only Mini Painting

Here is the mini version of my Good Vibes Only painting I showed you a couple days earlier.

I was inspired by my Strolls through the Hood in Jersey City for this little mixed media painting. The classic brick apartment facade is given energy and life with a series of colorful murals – something that is common in my hood where a renaissance of development and hope is happening. That energy is also reflected in the sky and ground – with layers of buzzing pattern.

Good Vibes Only Mini” is an original painting made with spray paint, markers, acrylic paint, gouache, and stencils on canvas board and measures 8″x8″ and available now :)

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