Blog: A Look Back

A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 14

A Look Back – This time I’m looking at Upcycled or Recycled Stuff – giving old things or maybe something you aren’t that keen on, a new life! I am a big fan or making use of things and not sending them to the landfill, and sometimes it can be a great creative exercise to give something a new look or purpose. Here are some projects that do just that :)

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 this recycled embroidery loop that I dressed up in this 2015 blog post. I used some stencils and stamps and created something that was a bit more my style as a wall piece.

Next is a series of coasters that I upcycled in this 2016 blog post. They were originally a set of not so great looking coasters with a floral motif on them. Using some acrylic paint and my Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Toledo stencils I gave them new life and even gifted them to a family member who loves them.

Here is a fun and whimsical project that Kim and I did back in 2017 that made use of a bunch of collage papers that I had on hand, as well as some scrap embroidery thread and driftwood sticks that were lying around: leaf mobiles! These were relaxing to put together and would definitely be a good kid-friendly activity too.

Here is a sweet upcycled birdhouse from Creative Squad alum Tania Ahmed. She gussied up the wood piece that was languishing in her stash with my Clam Hex and Exchange Place foam stamps. 

Finally here is a memory game created using my foam stamps and just a cheap memory set bought on amazon. Pretty easy to transform a really cheesy set into something unique and personalized.


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:

Join me tomorrow, Friday March 20th on Facebook for a new little thing I’m calling Kaffeeklatsch Get Together! I’ll be doing a live broadcast at 2pm EST, sharing what I’ve been working on, saying hi to all of you, and just taking some time to have a little get together. Let’s chat about what artsy stuff we are working on and have some fun hanging out.

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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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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 12

A Look Back – This time I’m looking at Watercolors – a fun and versatile medium to work with that can be intimidating at first, but I know you will get some good mixed media ideas for using watercolors in this post that you will want to try.

Enjoy this Look Back – 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 is an art journal page from 2017 where I played with creating a whole cityscape using my Stroll Through the Hood 1 and 2 stamps and then I used watercolor to bring them to life. I love using watercolors to color rubber stamped images – you can get really wild with the colors too.

Next up is a page from 2019 where I used my Mid Century Squared foam stamp with watercolor paint (on the left in this closeup pic) – yes, foam stamps can be inked up with watercolor… and it looks awesome!

In the above post from 2018 I played with watercoloring through a stencil – here my Valley Road stencil to make a card. I think it almost looks like a stained glass rose window.

Once you get comfortable using watercolors with your stamps and stencils, I also recommend you try coloring in your own pen and ink drawings with it. Here is an art journal page I did in 2018 where just a little watercolor makes the figure so much more interesting.

And finally, how about collage? For this page from 2018 I had some practice watercolor paintings I did of flowers that I wasn’t crazy about on their own… but wow do they work great as collage papers! I used it as the dress pattern under a deli paper sketch, added some rubber stamps, and there you go: instant dress :)


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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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 11

A Look Back – 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 :)

This time I’m looking at Distress Inks and Distress Oxide Inks – a fun ink to play with that is very blendable and soft, and also comes in so many wonderful colors. Enjoy this Look Back!


Wow ok first is a card I made and posted about back in 2009!!! So just about 10 years ago. In it I used Distress Inks for the background, and you can see how I was able to make some beautiful transitions between those warm colors. The original blog post is here.

Now we are jumping forward to 2017 and my Artful Adventures Stroll Challenge. Here is an art journal spread I created using Distress Inks in the background and then removed ink with a baby wipe through my Manhattan and Kassel stencils. Then I went in and created a subway scene using my E-Train rubber stamp.

In 2018 I released some new stencils and in playing with them, I created this art journal page. I filled the background with Distress Oxide ink and then used a clean wet ink blending tool through my Broadway stencil to remove some of the ink.

In 2019 my Creative Squad member Tania Ahmed created this card using Distress Oxide inks for both the blended background and to color my Maiko stamp.

Finally, in May of this year as I was playing along with the Stencilfied Journal challenge, I created this art journal spread. I used Distress inks along with my Chicago stencil.


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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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 10

A Look Back – 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 :)

This time I’m looking at Pan Pastels – a medium I have been playing with for years and always find myself returning to on occasion. Here’s a look back at some of the ways I’ve used them over the years. Enjoy!


First up is a resist technique I show in a video from 2013. I use rubber stamps, embossing powder, and pan pastels. Check it out here.

Also from 2013 is this art journal page where I experimented with some metallic pan pastels for a little sparkle here and there. 

Jumping forward to 2018, I also used metallic pan pastels – this time with my Versailles stencil on a black background for some real drama :) You can check out the full post here.

Later that year I had a playdate with Kim and we used pan pastels with stencils (here my Downtown stencil) on paper clay for some napkin rings – that was a pretty cool and simple project. See how we did it and check out our gorgeous tablescapes in the original post.

Finally just this past August for my Stencilbop Challenge, I show the simple joy of using pan pastels with your stencils – they make it easy to blend colors and patterns for such gorgeous results. Here I was using my Manhattan stencil and my Kassel stencil.


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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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 09

A Look Back – 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 :)

This time I’m looking at Gesso – yes that mixed media essential in my opinion. It has so many fun qualities and uses that it’s time to celebrate the powers of Gesso!!! Here’s a look back at some of the ways I’ve used it over the years. Enjoy!


 

Let’s start with the basics – why I call Gesso a Must-Have. I wrote this post back in 2015 but my feelings haven’t changed. Check out the original post for a really nice overview of the medium and some examples of it in action, as well as why I sometimes affectionately call it Dumbledore!

In 2015 I also shot a fun video showing Gesso and Acrylic Inks working together for background bliss. Check out the original post here to watch me create a textured background that gets layered up with luscious colored inks.

Let’s talk Black Gesso. Wow this is definitely the stuff I go to for BOLD backgrounds. If you want a patterned stencil (like my Exchange Place stencil here) to POP, Black Gesso is your BFF. Check out this post from 2018 for the full art journal spread to see why Black Gesso is just as essential as white.

And then there is Gold Gesso! Who isn’t a sucker for a bit of shiny metallic gold? I love to use it like I have here with my Amsterdam stencil – just a bit of high impact Gold Gesso pattern to adorn this art journal spread from 2018.

Looking waaaay back to 2012 for this one folks :)  I had a LOT of the same kind of black felt letters and decided to spruce them up in this vintage post with… you guessed it: Gesso! Gesso is fantastic for covering stuff up and giving you a nice surface for almost any kind of media on top. In this case, some markers. So thank you Gesso for helping me give these letters new life.

Speaking of covering things up – how about this art journal spread from 2017 where I use Gesso to tone down that extra hot background just a tad to give me a spot for journaling. Gesso is perfect for covering and giving a visual break from a wild background.


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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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 08

A Look Back – 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 :)

This time I’m looking at some beautiful stenciled background from my Creative Squad alumni archives. These are some gorgeous and inspiring ideas using my stencils. Here’s a look back. Enjoy!


First up we have an art journal page from Creative Squad alum Josefine Fouarge. She blended my Toledo stencil down into my Art Deco Wallpaper stencil for a dramatic sky. I love the idea of an ombre effect that uses both color AND pattern! And that cityscape? That’s my Midtown foam stamp set :)

Next we have an exotic touch from Creative Squad alum Gwen Lafleur. She used my What’s the Point stencil and my Lily Wallpaper stencil for this art journal page devoted to adventures. The black, red, and gold color palette definitely transports us somewhere far off and interesting :)

From Creative Squad alum Tina Walker we have this fun background using my Beacon stencil that has me thinking about fireworks. You can reinterpret stencils in so many ways and see different things in the designs.

I absolutely love this colorblocked pattern using my Toledo stencil by Creative Squad alum Cheiron Brandon. Using blocks of color like this across a pattern is a cool way to mix things up with a stencil.

And finally we have this beautiful sunset from Creative Squad alum Michelle Rydell. She used my Toledo stencil with a bunch of spray inks for a gorgeous wash of color that we can’t get enough of!


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

Here are some of the supplies that were used in these pieces:

And hurry into the shop because my Exchange Place ArtFoamie is now just $4!!! Super cool pattern and super great price!

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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 07

A Look Back – 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 :)

This time I’m looking at some stenciling ideas from my blog archives – projects and techniques that make the most of your beloved stencils. Here’s a look back. Enjoy!


This was a cool page I did back in 2013 with my Circuit stencil. I sprayed my stencil with black spraypaint and while it was still wet I flipped it over and rolled it with a brayer. Voila! Reverse printed stencil magic :)

This was a stencil project I did on my staircase when we moved into our apartment in 2013 – and funny enough, now we need to paint over white again as we are moving to our new home soon :) It was a neat idea to personalize the risers of the stairs with a message, but it could be also nice to do a pattern stencil like my Amsterdam or maybe Van Vorst…. Hmmm thinking about decorating ideas lol

Back in this 2014 post a friend surprised me with a piece of handmade pottery, glazed with my Elephant March stencil on it! I am still thrilled with this and love how many different types of artists can use my stencils for amazingly creative things.

In this 2016 art journal page I used a stencil and a baby wipe to remove paint and create a pattern. This is so easy to do and it lets you use your stencils in yet another way.

And finally when you have a really crazy colorful background that needs some toning down and unification, I go for a stencil. Here I used my Art Deco Wallpaper stencil and some gray and white paint to bring this 2014 art journal page together.


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

Here are some of the supplies that were used in these pieces:


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A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 06

A Look Back – 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 :)

This time I’m looking at foam stamps and some ideas for using them in ways you maybe didn’t think about, even with the help of my March Foam Stamplifier Challenge. Here is A Look Back. Enjoy!


You can use foam stamps in the canvas staining technique – just prepare your canvas staining solution (I used Flow Aid by Liquitex in this 2016 blog post) and use with acrylic inks. The canvas readily absorbs the color in a soft, washy way.

You can also paint directly onto a foam stamp with high flow paints as Cheiron Brandon did in 2016 for my Creative Squad. She spritzed the stamp with water and then got multiple colorful impressions from it on watercolor paper. Each was unique and super fun!

I made a little video here that may inspire you to try some different methods of “inking” your foam stamps. It’s nice to find the way that you are comfortable using foam stamps and in the video I show 3 easy methods.

In another helpful video I made back in 2016 I show how to reverse a foam stamp image using a gelli plate. This is an easy technique that you can use to create mirror images or patterns with a reverse.

If you are looking for a summer project with your foam stamps, here is a flower pot decorating tutorial I made. I used standard clay pots and acrylic paint to give my herb pots that summer a bit more personality.


I hope you enjoyed A Look Back through my archive and maybe you are inspired to try some new things with foam stamps.

Here are some of the supplies that were used in these pieces:


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