Creative Squad

Let’s Jump with the Creative Squad – Judi Kauffman

We’re Jumping with the Creative Squad today with a post from Judi Kauffman. You can learn more about Judi from our Nice to Meet You blog post featuring her creative story and artwork. Judi is transforming some home decor items for us today and wow what a miraculous transformation indeed :) She is using my Downtown and Crackle stencils and this month’s theme: Let’s Jump! – The Creative Squad is joining the fun of Creative JumpStart 2019 this month. They’re creating objects for the home, inspired by the CJS19 theme My Home is My Castle.

I loved the shape, so I bought a rather garish paper-covered trash can with teddy bears all over it. I tucked it under my sewing machine where it has served me well.

There it sat in all its pink and orange glory until this week, when it was time to start on my Home Décor project for Nathalie’s Creative Squad January Challenge. Bye bye, bears! Hello, Downtown and Crackle stencils!

I gave myself a challenge within a challenge – to incorporate hearts, a shape usually thought of for Valentines and weddings, to create an offbeat, upscale, graphic design. Using a deep, rich, unexpected palette and stencils that helped take things to a new level made it easy to accomplish.

The hearts aren’t immediately obvious, the overall effect pleases my eye. I’m almost sorry that the trash can is going right back under the sewing machine. Maybe I should use it for a big bouquet of dried flowers instead!

While I was at it, I wiped my brushes onto pieces of cardstock and stenciled on top of the brush marks. That gave me a second project – a mosaic style tray, an extra bonus.

Instructions for Trash Can:

To customize the project, pick a color palette that suits your décor. Alternatively, duplicate the project as shown by using the paints and Shimmer Sheetz that I chose. Either way: You will need two stencils (a graphic pattern plus a crackle pattern), metallic acrylic paint in two colors, black or white gesso, and Shimmer Sheetz that coordinates with the paints and gesso.

Choose a trash can with smooth sides. Base coat with black gesso. Randomly brush with copper metallic acrylic paint, leaving much of the black visible. Randomly stencil with Crackle pattern in teal metallic acrylic paint. Allow to dry. (Choose paints appropriate for the trash can – mine is paper-covered, but yours may be metal.) *Wipe brushes onto quarter sheets of cardstock before washing them. (8.5” x 11” cut into four pieces.)

Freehand or die-cut hearts from Amethyst Gemstone Shimmer Sheetz in assorted sizes. Back the Shimmer Sheetz with double-sided adhesive sheet prior to cutting. Size of hearts is determined by the size and shape of the trash can. Keep the scraps for other projects. Note: I used the AccuCut GrandeMARK machine with standard cutting dies. If you use a Big Shot or other personal-size machine with thin dies, a metal adaptor plate is required– follow Els van de Burgt’s YouTube tutorial for this technique. *While you’re at it, stencil onto the cardstock that was wiped with paint in Step 1. Set aside stenciled cardstock to use for Tray.

Stencil the hearts with various sections of the Downtown Stencil using copper metallic acrylic paint. Randomly stencil with Crackle pattern in teal metallic acrylic paint. Allow to dry.

Arrange and adhere the hearts as shown or as you prefer. Note that many of the hearts have been cut where they move from one side of the trash can to the adjacent side, and some are cropped so they appear to extend at the top and bottom edges. This will not be necessary if using a round or oval trash can.



Instructions for Tray:

Find a tray with a glass insert or make one with a frame, handles, glass and sturdy backing. (Shown: Tea Tray from Sudberry House). Cut a background for the tray from metallic finish cardstock, carefully piecing together strips if the tray is larger than a single piece of cardstock.

Cut each piece of stenciled cardstock into four 1” x 4.25” strips and one 1.5” x 4.25” piece. Using the project photo below as a reference, piece together and adhere the 1.5” strips at the right and left sides of the tray, close to the handles. (This hides the seam where I joined bands of background cardstock.) Angle and trim the 1” strips to cover the remainder of the tray, leaving space between the strips for a mosaic effect.

Assemble the tray.


*Instead of simple strips, cut the cardstock into square mosaic ‘tiles’ or randomly cut mosaic pieces.

*Instead of backing the pieces with glue, adhere them to cardstock that has exposed double-sided adhesive sheet on top. Leave very little space between the pieces; use embossing powder and a heat tool to create the effect of textured grout! (This is time-consuming, but fun.)

Thanks Judi! You really turned that teddy bear trash can into something great to look at! Feel inspired to try dressing up your own home decor items? You can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop. Here are some of the other supplies that Judi used:

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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Endless Summer – Maura Hibbitts


Hello from my Creative Squad this fine Tuesday! Today we have an art journal spread from Maura Hibbits who has expertly layered up a ton of pattern and visual texture to create a spread that is so fun to look at! There is so much to the layers, including my Crackle and Toledo 4×4 stencils, my Maze Hex foam stamp, and my Tread rubber stamp from the Cardboard stamp set. I love her take on this month’s 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.

When I was teaching, summer was the magic time to look forward to when I got to play and travel, and finally relax and rejuvenate for my next year. Now that I am retired, all the seasons are mine, so to speak, but summer still is very special. There are so many festivals, free music, barbecues, gardening and more to look forward to, but one of my favorite summer things is to do some traveling off the highways. I like to find the little roads that go through the towns and villages, even if it is just a crossroads with one building, there is so much more to see!  Do I ever get lost? Of course! But then I find my way again. Happy travels to you this summer!

I started by applying a thin layer of Diarylide Yellow with a key card onto my large Dylusions part journal. I swiped up and down in a random fashion.

Next, I sponged on Pyrrole Red and Cadmium Orange hue with the Crackle stencil. I moved the stencil around, and varied where I added the colors.

Ok, with my background started, now comes the fun! I squirted the Neon Torrid Orange and Sizzling Pink (hot summer colors, right?) onto a small gel plate, and spread it with the brayer. I stamped into the paint with the new ArtFoamie Maze Hex, and transferred this to my page. I repeated this step a number of times.

I wanted more of a contrast between my background and the neon stamped images, so added a bit of translucent color with the Green Gold and Cobalt Teal Hue. I wiped it back a bit with a baby wipe and blended it in.

Time for another stencil. This time it is the small Toledo stencil, and I sponged the heavy body Cobalt Teal hue on, focusing on the center of the stencil.

I stamped the Tread design around the edges with Quinacridone Gold, so it would be visible, but not overpowering.

Now that my pages are almost done, it’s time to add some detail. I went around each hexagon shape with a white Posca paint pen, and toned down the outer section with a layer of Translucent White.

Then I went around my neon hexagons with a graphite pencil and water brush, added my words, “Take the Road less traveled” with a black Pitt pen and Gold Sharpie. I decided to go around the outer section and add gold dots too.

You can see some of the details of the layers here.

Time to head out on the road and take the road less traveled. Happy Summer!

Thank you Maura – we love exploring all those little back streets too because it’s a great place to get all sorts of inspiration :) Here are some of the supplies that Maura used:

Do you feel inspired? I’d love to see what you’re working on with my stamps and stencils. I post projects almost every month in my Inspiration From Around the Globe posts!


Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    I am in love…with this page layout!
    Thanks for the step by step details Maura.
    I may have to “lift” some ideas from you.


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Inspiration from Around the Globe – May 2018

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 from the US we have a gorgeous little book for Earth Day by Tina Walker (who was a member of our Creative Squad and you can check out some of her other projects HERE). On this page she is using my Versailles stencil for the background.

Here she uses my Toledo stencil as a background pattern for another page.

Next is an art journal spread from Mary Thoma in the US also. I love this portrait and the use of my Batik Pattern 4 foam stamp for the bold background and that little chain border is my Chain Link rubber stamp from the Embroidery set. What a beautiful page!

Loving all these patterns from Kate Crane in the UK! She’s using my Marks stamp set for those red and black xxx marks and hash marks.

Here is a beautiful page from Ellen Captijn from the Netherlands, inspired by this year’s Creative JumpStart online workshop. Be sure to visit her Instagram page to see the full art journal spread. I love how she’s incorporated by Buenos Aires Border foam stamp along the bottom in blue and my Valley Road foam stamps along the right side.

And finally we have an “oldie but a goodie” from Louise Nelson in Australia. She reposted this layout from 2013 so we thought we’d give it some love too :)  That awesome texture in the background is none other than my Crackle stencil – one of my first stencil designs and always a fan favorite after all these years! Thank you Louise!

Thank you to all the talented artists!  If you’d like to give some of these ideas a try, here are the stamps and stencils that they used:

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

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    Love love love Ellen’s page and the way she used your supplies for the border!


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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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Inspiration From Around the Globe! January 2017

This Tuesday we’re taking a short break from our Creative Squad (they will be back next week with a new February theme to play with!) to bring you some amazing projects from around the globe. 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!

Mary Beth Shaw had some fun with my NEW Lady Liberty Cling Rubber stamp in her art journal in Missouri, USA.

From Virginia, USA, Dana Tatar created this fun mixed media board using my Bird Foam Stamp set and she cleverly used the trouser stamp from my Fashion Dame Stamp set to create the purple stripes in the background.

Gunvor Andersson Storck in Sweden brings us a really cool Happy New Year card using my Urban Scribble Foam Stamp set.

From the USA, Cindy Gilstrap has created a cute pencil case using my Typewriter stencil.

Mary Thoma from Oklahoma, USA has used my Art Deco Wallpaper stencil to create a background in this beautiful mixed media piece.

From the Netherlands, Jacqueline van Zuiden created this uplifting mixed media piece using my Bird Foam Stamp set and my Urban Scribble Foam Stamp set.

Finally, Kristie Taylor shares this amazing underwater shrine with us and in the video above she shows how she used my Crackle stencil to create such gorgeous texture.

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 February. 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!

Try some of the above techniques for yourself with these n*Studio supplies:

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Dream a New Dream – Tina Walker

Happy first Tuesday of 2017! My Creative Squad is starting the New Year with a new theme and a fresh batch of inspiring projects. Today Tina Walker is sharing 2 uplifting art journal spreads using my Chicago Positive and Negative Foam Stamp set and this month’s theme: Dream a New Dream. Let’s start the New Year with a focus on all the possibilities of a fresh start.  What are your dreams for this year?  Whether it’s art-making, family, travel, or work related, January is a great time to dream about what the future could hold.

Hi! Tina Walker here today with my take on this month’s theme, ‘Dream a New Dream’. There is something about the freshness of each new year that kicks my mind into overdrive. I think of all of the possibilities, dreams, and wishes for the next 365 days and what I can/will accomplish. 2016 left us with uncertainty and sadness, so my dream for 2017 is for everyone to live a healthy, happy, and joyous year. May all your wishes and dreams come true and that you plant the seeds of kindness and hope for many years to come.

I created two art journal spreads that includes words to remember for 2017.

For spread #1, I used ‘Chicago’, positive/negative Art Foamies for a fun and colorful background. This is about as simple as it gets as a starting point. I alternated the color for more interest.

I hand-drew three body silhouettes and painted around the shapes so that they were highlighted on the page. Yes, I painted over the super cool background I stamped, but it’s all about layers. Layers make art journal pages special.

I painted each shape with white paint then added my journaling inside. Done! How’s that for quick?

For my second spread, I randomly painted blocks of color. Over the blocks of color, I painted 2 girls who would be the highlight of my page. I embellished the girls with a quick stamp of the ‘Chicago’ stamp. In addition, I wanted to ‘frame’ the girls and journaling, so I stenciled over the color blocks, using the ‘Crackle’ stencil. It adds the perfect punch of black.

Do you have creative dreams for 2017? If yes, I wish that all your dreams come true!

Thank you for taking time today to visit us today. See you next month.

Thank you Tina! I love the subtlety of the backgrounds she created and the figures! In addition to semigloss Art-C paints in Blue, Bright Red, Yellow, Lime, Orange, and Black, Tina used these supplies – some links are affiliate links:


Play along with us! 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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Today is the Day – Tina Walker


This Tuesday, Tina Walker from my Creative Squad is happy to share with you two super cool projects using Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel and inspired by this month’s theme: “Today is the Day.”  I invite you to join me and my Creative Squad to stop procrastinating and be inspired to make today the day you finally tackle that artsy thing you’ve been meaning to get to for so long.  Start that new project you’ve been planning for months.  Try out that new product you bought ages ago.  Experiment with that new technique you read about last year.  Try it!  Today is the Day!



Hi!  Tina Walker here today to kick off the new month with a new Theme.  This month, our theme is ‘Today is the Day’.  As the old adage by Benjamin Franklin goes, ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

The Creative Squad was challenged to tackle an arsty thing that we’ve been meaning to do.  It could be a new project or a new technique.  I love trying new ideas and techniques so I was super excited to get started.  Let’s get to it!

Have y’all heard about Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE)?  It’s been around f.o.r.e.v.e.r and it’s been sitting on my shelf for YEARS just begging to be used.  I thought this month would be the perfect time to create with it! I’ve watched several videos on how to stamp into UTEE and wanted to try for myself, so the two projects I am sharing today are the result of this technique.

Step One: Melt UTEE per instructions.  You can either add color with embossing powder or metallic powders or use clear.



Step Two: Prep your stamp.  (Only rubber stamps can be used.  Acrylic will not work for this technique).  To create a ‘resist’, apply Versmark ink to your stamp.  You can either stamp without color or add color with Staz On Ink.  I used a colored ink with Nat’s Urban Scribble cling stamp so it would show on the UTEE.


Step Three: Pour melted UTEE on heat resistant craft mat.  Immediately stamp into the melted UTEE and let sit for approx. 15 min.  Once cool, carefully remove your stamp from the UTEE.


Special Note:  UTEE is very fragile and I cracked several in the process.  Using a thicker layer vs. a thin layer adds to the stability.


Step Four: You can use your piece *as-is* or add paint, spray, or other mediums.


Project One – Today Wooden House

I added white embossing powder to the UTEE with Nat’s Kaffee Klatsch cling stamp.  Once cool, I colored the piece with metallic powders.  As I was ‘painting’ the piece it cracked.  L  But, instead of starting over, I continued to use the cracked piece, highlighting the cracks with dictionary paper.





Project Two – Rusty Cityscape

Using the same UTEE mixture, I stamped with another stamp.  Once cool, I rusted the edges of the piece to blend with the other rusty elements in the project.  Funky and unique!






What new technique or product are you dying to try/use?  I’d love to hear about it!  Thank you for taking time today to take a peek at projects.  See you next month.


I love love love both of these projects and can’t wait to play around with the UTEE myself!

In addition to some wood, gauze, various rusty findings, Dusty Attic Rusting Powder, sari ribbon, and a sticker, Tina used the supplies listed below (some are affiliate links):


Maybe you will even play along with us -I would 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“.

See you next Tuesday for another project from the Creative Squad!

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Say Yes to New Adventures – Cheiron Brandon

CS August Say Yes

It’s Tuesday and time for my Creative Squad to share a project with you with this month’s theme: “Say Yes to New Adventures”. Throughout the month of August, the team will use any of my n*Studio Stamps and Stencils they would like to use to interpret the theme. Here in the northern hemisphere, summer is coming to a close and it’s about time to seize the days and go on a little adventure before hibernation! With this in mind, the team will create something that celebrates the spirit of adventure.

This week we bring you Cheiron Brandon and the adventure she went on to create a beautiful art journal page!


Cheiron August Headshot

Hi there, Cheiron here with my August project for the n*Studio Creative Squad. This month, I tried a new adventure in my art journal, and it did not come out as I planned at all, but I will show you how I got it back to something I could use :)  Here is my finished art journal page with a fold out in the center for journaling:

cheiron- august n_studio 1

It did not always look like this, I started with a much brighter page and I did not like how the writing came out at all, so I painted over it with black:

cheiron- august n_studio 5

cheiron- august n_studio 6

I added many layers to the page with lots of different stamps using Distress Paints that I applied to the stamp with a foam blending tool:

cheiron- august n_studio 7

I also had a page from another project that was an adventure gone wrong, so I cut it up and added it to the page so I could use the back for journaling:

cheiron- august n_studio 8

cheiron- august n_studio 4

cheiron- august n*studio 9

The lesson for me this month, is that every adventure whether it be small or big does not always work out, but you should just keep taking new adventures!


Cheiron’s art journal spread turned out beautifully with all those layers, and the adventure it took to get there was definitely worth it.

Cheiron used the supplies listed below (some are affiliate links):


Maybe you will even play along with us -I would 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“.

See you next Tuesday for another project from the Creative Squad!

Comments (1)

  • Miriam Prantner


    Love how it turned out and how you were able to fix what you didn’t like. Loving the contrast between the background and the insert too!


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