Blog: Chicago

The Stencilfied Journal – Prompt 14

My wonderful friend Tina Walker is at it again – she invited several people to join her Stencilfied Prompts. The prompts are music related and each week she is posting a song. You can be inspired by the lyrics, the video, the album cover or anything related and the only restriction is that you have to use StencilGirl Product Stencils. Here is my take on Prompt 14

This week’s prompt was Landslide by Fleetwood Mac – a song I definitely like, especially if I’m ever in a melancholy mood.

I thought it would be interesting to represent the lyrics with a bit of layered pattern, that comes and goes. I used my Hamburg stencil for the main background, along with my Chicago stencil and also stamped my Space Oddity rubber stamp from the Small Hex set.

I went a bit introspective with this one, thinking about people coming and going at different points in your life, and the impact they leave on you.

Here are the supplies I used:

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Endless Summer – Josefine Fouarge


Hello my friends and hope you are enjoying your summer (if you are in our hemisphere I guess lol, otherwise Happy Winter!). Today we have a post from Josefine Fouarge from the Creative Squad, sharing with us some absolutely gorgeous cards using my stencils and the happiest summer colors. This month the squad is using the theme:  Endless Summer – The days are long, the sun is shining, the air is soft… it must be summer! Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and save a summertime memory forever.

Summer has started, it’s official. We are having the first days with over 100 degrees in California, so I spend a lot of time in my pool. When we bought our house, we fell in love with the pool. It is plastered with a variety of blue tiles which shine amazingly when the sun hits them. The colors of the pool were my inspiration for this month’s theme – Endless Summer. But as always, I started with those colors and then couldn’t stop.

But let’s start at the beginning. I decided to create a few greeting cards. I haven’t done a lot of ink blending lately, so that’s the technique I went for. It all started with picking 4 stencil designs and then heat embossing the patterns with clear embossing powder. For that, I placed the stencil onto a 4 ¼ x 5 ½ piece of card stock, dapped the Versamark ink pad through the stencil, added the powder and heat set it. I did that with the Manhattan, Chicago, Toledo and Art Deco stencils.

My original plan was to use the same blue shades of Distress Inks and Oxides for the cards (which were inspired by our pool), but after the first card I changed my mind and went all over the rainbow.

I always started with the lightest color, inked the background up and then switched to the second color. I went over the same areas a couple of times to get a bright color.

When I added the second color, I always went back to the first color and blended over it.

At last, I added the darkest color. Usually, I didn’t ink up the darkest color too much to not overpower the cards with it.

At the end, I cut two of the panels into 4 x 4 squares and adhered them onto a 4 ¼ x 8 ½ card base. The other two are cut to 4 x 5 ¼ and adhered to a 4 ¼ x 8 ½ card base. I also added one sentiment sticker to all of the cards.

Here are all 4 cards with the colors I used:

Manhattan stencil with Distress Ink in Squeezed Lemonade, Carved Pumpkin, Abandoned Coral

Chicago with Distress Oxide in Squeezed Lemonade and Distress Ink in Twisted Citron and Mowed Lawn

Toledo with Distress Ink in Peacock Feathers, Evergreen Bough, Mermaid Lagoon

Art Deco with Distress Oxide in Worn Lipstick, Picked Raspberry, Wilted Violet

I hope that these colors got you into a summer mood, at least a little ;)

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to come back every Tuesday for more inspiration from the Creative Squad.

Thank you Josefine! I love how that embossing sets off those lovely colors. Here are some of the supplies that Josefine used:

Did we inspire you? 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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Inspiration from Around the Globe

Ready for some inspiration? Today we have some projects from around the globe. It’s always fun to see how you’re using my stamps and stencils and I am so happy to share some examples today. So let me know if you’re doing something cool with my products, and you might see yours on the next Inspiration from Around the Globe!

First is Ellen Captijn from the Netherlands and a stunning art journal spread using my Chicago stencil for that patterned background. Definitely follow the link to see the entire thing!

Debi Adams from the US found a great way to add texture with my Crackle stencil in this gorgeous mixed media piece.

Here is a bright piece from Kate Crane in the UK that uses my Marks stamps for those red and black hash marks. So fun!

Here is Barbaree King from the US with my Central Ave ArtFoamies for those circular patterns in the background – such a beautiful art journal spread!

And finally here is Linda Edkins Wyatt from the US using my Broadway and my Versailles foam stamps for an active background in this art journal page. Love all the patterns mixing together :)

I feel pretty inspired after that lineup! If you’d like to give some of these ideas a try, here are the stamps and stencils that these talented artists used:

Don’t forget to tag my when you post your projects! I’d love to include your work in my next Inspiration FromAround the Globe post!


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Vacation Mode – Josefine Fouarge


It’s time for a project from my Creative Squad! Today we have a sweet little art journal page that is filled with pattern and color, from Josefine Fouarge. She is using my Manhattan and Mini Chicago ArtFoamies, my Cape Cod stamp from the Stroll Around the Block set, and my Hamburg stencil. This month’s theme is: Vacation Mode – Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are slogging through winter with only one thing on our minds – vacation! Whether it’s Spring Break, a weekend getaway, or an hour with a good book, everyone needs an escape to Vacation Mode now and again.

This month’s topic got me thinking. It’s been a while since I have been on a vacation and there is none in sight either. So, I decided for myself that if you can’t go on vacation, shopping is the next best thing. And trust me, I am good at that ;)

I was at one of the big box stores the other day and couldn’t pass the paint and paper aisles without grabbing a few items. To make sure that they don’t end up in a drawer unused, I incorporated them in my new art journal page.

I covered my art journal page in the new Liquitex paint. Then I picked a few ArtFoamies (Mini Chicago and Manhattan) to stamp them with other shades on top. I used two different paints and alternated the colors between each stamping. Aren’t these colors just pretty? Do you understand why I couldn’t walk by them? :)

Next up, I used the new recycle paper and stamped the negative ArtFoamie in the same patterns, but with a contrasting color. Again, I alternated between two colors.

Now I ripped up the brown paper and adhered some of the scraps onto my art journal page. It was important for me that the patterns match and create the illusion all the shapes merging together.

I needed a border, so I used the Gel Press petites and white acrylic paint to add one. Because the border was rather boring, I added a very light pattern to it. I did that by tracing the pattern from the Hamburg stencil with a pencil.

While I was coloring in some of the stenciled shapes with the same pencil, I thought that the colorful background needs some white as well. So I added a few white shapes.

The page still was missing a focal point, but I didn’t want to stamp anything directly onto the page. Usually that doesn’t end well for me. Instead, I prefer to stamp the image (in that case the Cape Cod house from the Stroll Around the Block set) onto a piece of tissue paper. I adhered that with gel medium and colored the house with Liquitex and Montana paint pens.

To finish the page up, I added a few scribbles and some shadows. I love that the paint pens made the house look like a cartoon.

On a side note, I totally enjoyed working with the brown recycle paper. It has such a neat texture to it and added the perfect contrast for the negative/ positive foam stamps.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Don’t forget to check out all the other Creative Squad creations every Tuesday!

Thank you Josefine! I absolutely love those colors and patterns together! Here are some of the supplies that Josefine 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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Vacation Mode – Marsha Valk


Hello from the Creative Squad and a big farewell hug to stellar squad member Marsha Valk! This will be her last post with us and we thank her so much for all the inspiring, creative, and amazing projects that she has made for us. She has been on the Creative Squad since the very beginning and has always gone above and beyond with her posts and her unique way of using my stamps and stencils. We wish her all the best as her Artful Adventure continues :) So for her last post, Marsha brings us a suite of prints celebrating patterns with my Downtown foam stamp set and my Mini Chicago foam stamp set and inspired by our theme: Vacation Mode – Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are slogging through winter with only one thing on our minds – vacation! Whether it’s Spring Break, a weekend getaway, or an hour with a good book, everyone needs an escape to Vacation Mode now and again.

Vacation Mode to me means: Slowing down. Reading a lot. Perhaps doing some sketching (but only if I feel like it). Eating yummy food. Seeing the sights and visiting at least one museum. Enjoying the sun! It has been a while since my last vacation abroad.

Much like Nat does on her travels, when I’m on vacation I observe and photograph lots. And because many of Nat’s ArtFoamies are inspired by her travels, I thought about my last vacation and had a look at the photos I took.

Among them I found three of my feet. I always take ‘fromwhereIstand’ / ‘Ihavethisthingwithfloors’ type photos wherever I go. In fact, I remember taking pictures of my feet in foreign places well before hashtags and even before digital photography!

Nat’s positive/negative ArtFoamies always remind me of pavement and flooring, so that’s how I came up with the idea of recreating my #fwis pictures with collage.

I started creating the pavement with the Downtown Positive and Negative Foam Stamp and the Mini Chicago Positive and Negative Foam Stamp Set.

Because I’m not very fond of cleaning, I only used one Stamp Buddy and mixed my paint colours directly on there using an old plastic card.

For a lighter shade I added more white, and when I switched stamps, I added more grey. I stamped on regular printer paper because it’s nice and thin for collage.

I cleaned the ArtFoamies with a baby wipe in between stamping, and I rinsed them with water once I was done stamping altogether.

Once the prints were dry, I cut them into the shapes of the pavement in the photos, using the pictures as my guide. I adhered the shapes to heavyweight cardstock cut to 4.1” x 5.8” (A6) sized pieces.

I traced my feet and any relevant details in the photographs onto tissue paper to transfer them onto the collaged pieces.

I placed the tissue paper pencil side down on top of the collage and then burnished the pencil lines with a bone folder.

Then I used acrylic paint and paint markers to colour inside of the pencil lines and pastel pencils, Stabilo All pencil and a brush pen to add some shadows and depth.

Thank you Marsha!!! These are just so cool – almost like the drawings from a comic book :) Here are some of the supplies that Marsha 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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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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Artful Adventures – Marsha Valk


Hello my friends! Today we have a post from Marsha Valk from the Creative Squad. She is sharing an art journal page from a journal that she created just for taking Artful Adventures :)  She uses my Amsterdam, Chicago, and Mesa Verde stencils, and this month’s theme: Artful Adventures. Are you planning an Artful Adventure this summer? Whether it’s a day at the beach or a full blown International Vacation, don’t forget to take the time to soak up the uniqueness of your new surroundings and gather some inspiration for future artmaking. This month we’re turning to Nat’s new book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media, to help us find inspiration as we travel. We’ll be noticing color, shape, texture and more and then we’ll be taking that to the studio to help inspire some mixed media projects. Join us in the adventure!

I’m not going away on vacation this Summer. We were planning to, but it just didn’t happen. And that’s OK because when you read Nat’s new book ‘Artful Adventures in Mixed Media’, you quickly realize that you don’t have to go far to experience an artful adventure!

I was set on taking inspiration from the city I live in, and the photos I had taken during the Artful Adventures Stroll Through The Hood Challenge leading up to the release of the book. You can see the photos I took during the challenge here.

But when it came down to creating I took one look at my Wanderlust stencils and changed my mind!

The Chicago stencil reminded me of the floor of the place in Amsterdam we had lunch recently. And the Amsterdam stencil reminded me of the logo of the ice cream place we went to after that. And the Mesa Verde stencil…

All these stencils combined told another story: the story of a beautiful day in Amsterdam. Not Amersfoort. Amsterdam!

So I took my art-on-the-go kit into the yard and explored what this day in Amsterdam would have looked like in a travel journal (a regular Midori sketchbook), had I been on vacation.

I even did the Observation exercise from the book to remind myself of what I saw and felt that day. I also went online to collect images of things I hadn’t photographed or wasn’t allowed to take photos of at the time (museum).

My art-on-the-go kit doesn’t include Inktense watercolour pencils, but I decided to use these with the stencils instead of my regular watercolours.

Watercolour pencils are a great addition to an art-on-the-go kit though, because you can use them as a regular coloured pencil as well as activate them with a waterbrush: I used a warm red Inktense pencil without water to colour in the openings of the Mesa Verde stencil.

The Chicago and Amsterdam stencil designs were first traced with the pencils before I used a waterbrush to pick up the pigment from the same pencil and coloured inside the lines.

The red watercolour background is created with regular watercolours, and I used Posca markers to draw and colour the black tree.

It was super relaxing to create like this, with limited supplies, having to pause to wait until the watercolour was dry. And I especially love that I have this particular day recorded in a journal now!

Thank you Marsha for sharing your vision of an Artful Adventure in Amsterdam! In addition to her sketchbook, 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 “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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Inspiration from Around the Globe


This Tuesday we’re taking a break from our Creative Squad (they will be back next week with a new theme to play with!) to bring you some super fun projects from around the world. As you may know, my stamps and stencil designs are available for purchase online and maybe even in your local craft store, so crafters and mixed media artists and art journalers from around the world are using them. I am always excited to see how YOU use my products in your own projects. I am even more excited to share some of the beautiful and creative examples of these projects with you today. Enjoy this inspiration from around the globe!

First we have a super fun idea from one of our Creative Squad members, Marsha Valk from the Netherlands, for an Easter-themed table runner. Although Easter was last month, this is still a fantastic way to use my stencils on a project that can dress up your table for any occasion. Marsha uses a whole slew of my stencils, including Buenos Aires, Santiago, Mesa Verde, Manhattan, Amsterdam, Toledo, and Chicago for a variety of cool patterns.

In honor of Spring, we have a gorgeous stenciled flower pot from Jean Dunning of Connecticut using my Santa Fe stencil. If you like this idea, stay tuned – we coincidentally have a similar project planned here at nStudio later this month ;)

Here’s an art journal page from Angie Winkler in Oklahoma using my Urban Scribble stamp set and my Chicago Positive Negative foam stamp set to create a beautiful urban sunset. I love the contrast and colors on this one, and the creative use of the Chicago stamps for the sky!

From the Netherlands, Jacqueline van Zuiden brings us a really cute gift for her new great nephew that all started with my Elephant foam stamp. It’s super happy and I love the message :)

Join us again next Tuesday for another great project from one of our Creative Squad members!  They will be working with a new theme for May.  And in the meantime, share with me what you’ve been working on with my stamps and stencils.  I would love to feature your project in an upcoming post!

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Go ahead, underestimate me! – sassy Art Journal Spread ;)

I thought it was funny :) And I love Lupita Nyong’o and I wanted to use her image from a magazine.

I used my new Chicago Stencil and sprayed over it with acrylic spray paint.

I used different markers to paint over the magazine image. When I applied the magazine image, it crinkled up a bit, which I add to “oops, oh – good now it has some wrinkles and texture- good”

I added the journaling with a red and pink marker and traced the outside of the letters in black. I like the page- even though it is a pretty simple one in terms of layering

Here are the supplies I used – some links are affiliate links:

Wishing you a gorgeous day!!!!

Comments (6)

  • Julie B


    Love this (and even better in person)……can’t wait for the stencil; love how clean the image from this stencil is with spray paint and the quote cracks me up. Thank you!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Thank you Julie! HA and now that you played with spray paint in my class…maybe you are on it yourself ;)


  • LauraB


    yaaaassss, Queen, yaaaaasssss!


  • Barb Charlotte, NC


    Very creative. Thanks for sharing.


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