Blog: Fantastic

Buried Hopes – Art Journal

Sometimes when I paint on canvas and have leftover paint on the palette, I get real stingy and add it into my art journal. And that may or may not be good, but it always kind of pushes me to think of the next thing to do and acts as a starting point :)

Here I added some marks with a brush and black paint, as well as some gesso texture with pressed cloth.

Then I stamped the Fan-tastic Small rubber stamps using a grey Versafine ink pad. The Journaling is done with a black Signo ball pen. Fun!

Here are some of the supplies that I used:

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Creative Squad: The Great Outdoors – Riikka Kovasin

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post and video from Riikka Kovasin who is sharing a batch of ATCs using a unique found tool to create them, as well as my Fan-tastic Small stamp set and our theme: Great Outdoors – The experts agree that getting outside for activity each day is a super healthy thing you can do for your mind and body. Let’s get outside and seek artistic inspiration out there. Find something that catches your eye and then when it’s time to come back in, use that inspo to create.

Hello there! It’s Riikka here today with my take on the monthly theme of “The Great Outdoors”. 

While I did go outside to get some inspiration for my project, I stuck with my first idea when I started to think about outdoors in Finland. While we have over 150,000 lakes (if the small ones are calculated as well) and mainland has over 6,300 km of shoreline, I started immediately to think about the forests! And I’ve lived in coastal cities my whole life! But I recall Finland being called “the land of green gold” as well, meaning the vast area of forests that cover over 75% of the land. While the old Finnish films usually always depict birch trees, to me the old coniferous forests are the type that scream Finland. Those murky fir tree forests with lush green moss and thin lines of sunlight seeping through from the gaps in the thick canopy. 

In such a forest you can find a delicate flower during the height of summer. In the dim lit forest floor, you see these little dots of the palest pink that seem to radiate in the dark like tiny stars. The flower was also Carl von Linné’s favourite, that’s why the plant carries his name – Linnaea Borealis. Linnaea is after his original last name, Linnaeus and ‘borealis’ meaning ‘northern’. The plant is found in the Northern parts of America, Asia, and Europe.

When I was roaming about in an old forest, looking for further inspiration, I came across some fir tree branches that had fallen to the ground as there had been strong winds the previous day. I packed some with me and ended up using them as a brush and as a patterning tool. They bring that forest aspect to my ATCs depicting the delicate flower. 

Now I had my topic and some of the means to create it, but I was still pondering about HOW to create the flower. I ended up deciding to use one of the FAN-tastic stamps to make the flower but didn’t look them thoroughly through before I was making the cards. My original thought was to stamp the fan shape and twist it into a dimensional little cone, but I found something even better. When I then was choosing the stamp to be used for the delicate bell-shaped bloom, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw one in the stamps! I couldn’t have drawn or found a better way to depict the flower! The “Park Ave” stamp had a linnaea borealis in it! I’m happy that you can only see my hands in the video so you can’t see my stunned face!

As you could see from the video, I used the FAN-tastic stamps also for another purpose. I added some highly stylized fir trees to the background before adding the plants in place. I picked the “Van Vorst” stamp as it’s thin line patterning reminded me of fir tree needles.

Now you may ask if the flower is called linnaea borealis why my project is named Linnea. There are two reasons for that – first that I misspelled it and second, probably why I misspelled it in the first place, that one my other daughter’s names is Linnea, after her great grandmother. If you want to read more about the flower, here’s a link to Wikipedia

Thank you for stopping by! Have a great time exploring the outdoors for inspiration! You never know what you may find!

Xoxo Riikka

Thank you Riikka – I love the story behind your project and that serendipitous moment of finding the flower in the Fan-tastic stamp – how cool is that?!

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and in addition to her fir tree “brush”, here are some of the supplies Riikka used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram

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Pressing Questions – Art Journal

This is another art journal page with some inspiration from an old letter from the 1860s. This sentence said “I want to know if you have seen much of the sun lately?” It struck me as funny.

BTW reading all those letters and creating with them made me think about how much I loved to receive and send letters. I have a lot of letters that I kept from dear friends and family members and it is a funny thought that maybe in 100 years someone will make art with them hahaha.

I used my Art Deco Summit and Art Deco Empire stencils with Ranger distress oxide inks and a blending tool through the stencils.

On top I adhered a piece of Grafix acetate on which I had stamped with my Fan-tastic rubber stamps and Versafine ink. It was a leftover from a project and I thought it would be fun to use. I just added some double sided adhesive tape to the back and pressed it down.

For the letter I used my fav Coccoina glue stick.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke


    Wouldn’t it be wonderful for someone to use one of your letters for art…absolutely a delightful thought!


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Creative Squad: The Great Outdoors – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a gorgeous post from Maura Hibbitts using my Large Circle Jumble, Fan-tastic Large, and Hex Set Large rubber stamp sets and our new June theme: The Great Outdoors – The experts agree that getting outside for activity each day is a super healthy thing you can do for your mind and body. Let’s get outside and seek artistic inspiration out there. Find something that catches your eye and then when it’s time to come back in, use that inspo to create.

What a perfect time to celebrate the great outdoors! It’s a time of year when people love to get out in nature and play. Camping, hiking, boating, gardening…and the list goes on. I have always been drawn to the woods. As a child, you could find me playing out there almost every day. This year, I closely observed the leafing out of the trees, and celebrated their return to glory.

I began in my Media Journal with a watercolor background. I decided to use non-traditional colors on my spread. I used a #12 brush to swipe color across the pages.

While the background dried, I stamped onto gel prints (any collage paper would work) I had in my stash using a black dye ink. I used Park Boulevard, Broadway and Valley Road stamps from the Circle Jumble large set…

…and the Lily and Fairview stamps from the large Fan-Tastic set by Nathalie.

Next step is to cut out the stamped shapes to use as the trees.

Run adhesive over the area of the tree trunk and layer ribbon down. I used some hand-dyed ribbon I had in my stash, but any ribbon will work.  Pleat it a bit to get some texture. Add foam tape to the stamped image and use as the tree canopy. Note – split the center image and space far enough apart so the book will close.

Use the Beacon Positive stamp from the large Hex set, and black dye ink to create grass and flower stems along the bottom of the page.

To finish the pages, I hand lettered “ A walk in the woods” and added dots to make flowers, using Posca markers.

Popping up the tree tops with foam tape, and scrunching the ribbon adds some lovely texture that you can see in the sunlight. Many days, I just observe the trees  from my deck and that brings me peace. It is a special day when I can get out to the woods for a walk or picnic. I wish you many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors this summer! – Maura

Thank you Maura for this colorful and fun celebration of the outdoors! Love the idea of using all the stamps to create different trees :)

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and in addition to gelli printed papers from her stash, here are some of the supplies Maura used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

Comments (2)

  • Rebeccab


    A great way to interpret trees!


  • Robin


    Maura, beautiful bright piece of work! I love the texture you created too!


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Things Change – Art Journal

In this page I was just reminiscing that sometimes friendships change throughout the years and that is ok, it doesn’t lessen the good times, it is just a different path.

I started out the background with layering some of the architectural stamps I had carved a long time ago, using versa fine ink to stamp with them. Then I added a bit of yellow and light blue acrylic paint in some of the gaps to brighten it up. Next I stamped a pattern with my Fan-tastic Small rubber stamps and archival ink in black and added a sketch in ink done on deli paper. As you can see, I had a bit of a nose job struggle …but I am cool with it LOL. You just have to let go sometimes.

I adhered the deli paper with Liquitex matte fluid medium. I love when the background fades a little bit behind the deli paper but still comes through.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Longing – Art Journal

While packing up some stuff I found this photo from our old apartment in Hamburg, Germany and I got a little melancholic. I had a great time in Hamburg and miss it a lot – I cannot wait to hop on a plane once things ease up more (I am not ready yet for a long haul flight and the uncertainties that go with international travel and a pandemic and regulations).

I used a piece of wallpaper I had designed for my studio bathroom a while ago as well as some collage paper I had created with distress ink pads and my Funky and Far Out ArtFoamies. I also used the small Broadway Fan stamp – the leaves of our Maple tree on the roof terrace reminded me of the shapes in the Broadway stamp …shapes are a funny thing :)

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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A Look Back – Inspired by Songs – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 31

A Look Back – Today I’m looking at art journal spreads, projects, and even an old layout from 2009 where specific songs inspired me to create. I have always been a big fan of alternative and punk music but lots of times a song from an entirely different genre will inspire me. Poetic lyrics definitely catch my… ear lol

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 :)

I created this art journal spread in 2019 after watching a doc on John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I think this song (“Imagine”) in particular always resonates when we are going through a period of strife. I felt the need to copy down a lot of the lyrics (maybe all of them), filling in the empty space I created using my Hex Set Small and Hex Set Large stamps.

Also in 2019 I joined a challenge by my friend Tina Walker called The Stencilfied Journal and it was a series of about 25 song prompts to get inspired by. The above one was U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – and as a U2 fan I had no trouble finding inspo in that. I created a background with my Lily Wallpaper stencil and my Fan-tastic Large and Fan-tastic Small stamp sets and then put in my contemplative figure who is wondering, “maybe I should quit looking?”

As you know, I always have my eyes open for architecture and one time in San Francisco I saw this great house, snapped a pic of it, and later put it in this art journal spread as a transfer. The Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song “Our House” often comes to mind when I see a lovely home so it all came together in this spread in 2017. I added my Manhattan stencil, Love Knots rubber stamp, and my Tread rubber stamp too. Now where are those two cats…?

Time to go back in time to 2012 and this collage I created on an old record, inspired by the German song “Ein Freund, ein guter Freund” – a song that came to my mind when I was going through old photos of my Aunt Margo and her friends on a camping trip in 1949. She had shared some of the funny stories of that trip with me and I loved thinking about her and her good friends going on a rather madcap adventure when they were young :)

And now I take you alllll the way back to 2009 and this layout inspired by “Stand By Your Man” (as performed by the incomparable Blues Brothers) and featuring some ridiculous slippers that my husband had back then. I don’t know about those slippers but I still dig some of the collage elements I brought into this.

I hope you enjoyed this look back on some artwork inspired by songs. Here are some of the supplies I used:

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American History – Art Journal

“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” – James Baldwin

I used a credit card to spread some acrylic paint and gouache onto the ledger page over my Fan-tastic stamp. Next I inked up wooden number blocks and pressed them onto the page – as they were wood the image is not very prominent without a press, so I enhanced and outlined a little bit by tracing and coloring on with aquarelle pencils. I left that partly as is, and partly spread it around with water.

I stamped some stars using my Star Fish rubber stamp as a complementary color in red to the green background. I also stamped my Lady Liberty foam stamp with Versafine ink onto a piece of paper, added some marks with Aquarelle Pencils and a journaling pen, then adhered it to the background as well. I finished it up with my journaling.

In addition to my large letterpress wood numbers, here are some of the supplies I used:

Comments (1)

  • Robin


    I love the combination of colors, stamps and lady liberty! This page is so beautiful!


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Pattern Monday 12 – Video from my Ledger

Happy Monday and welcome to another pattern in my big vintage ledger! Today I’m using a couple rubber stamps that just work great together for making fun patterns. The stamps from my Circle Jumble Large and Fantastic Large sets all fit nicely together and offer a bunch of options for different combinations. Here is one:

Take a look at the finished pattern and the stamps I used:

Your turn! Here are the supplies I used:

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