Blog: Mini Motifs

Connection – Art Journal

Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

I used black acrylic paint with a brayer to ink up my Love Story and Mini Motifs foam stamps. Then I colored them in with watersoluble wax crayons.

I like the stained glass effect when you use black for the stamps and then fill in with colors. I added some highlights with a Pitt pen in white. 

I used a fude pen for my journaling.

 What kinds of connections are you making these days? It’s definitely more challenging but so rewarding.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Inspiration from my Creative Squad

Our friend and Creative Squad member Judi Kauffman shared some inspiring extras with us this month: an upcycled calendar collage and some beautiful envelopes.

Last year Judi created a calendar for the year ahead that we shared with you here in this post.

She used my Grove Street, Groovy and Gnarly foam stamps to create this page.

And then Judi totally surprised us this month with a reimagining of the calendar. She saved her stenciled calendar pages from 2020 and for most of the months she turned them into bookmarks and card fronts. But for this one she decided to cut the whole piece into 1” squares and reassemble it into a mosaic. She said it’s her way of giving visual form to this horrible year when everything felt like it had crumbled into tiny pieces by making it into something interesting and cohesive. It’s going to become the first calendar page for 2021! Turning over a new page, as it were.

Judi also created a fantastic wall hanging from another calendar page redo.

She writes, “I made mosaics out of another of the stenciled calendar pages, adding some dimensional bird, tree, and mini buttons for embellishments.”

What a fantastic idea for those old calendars.

Judi also shared with us some envelopes she created using my Mini Motifs rubber stamp set. She writes, “The method: My go-to “Stamp & Drag” where there’s the look of motion.” Love the look and the softer lines.

Envelopes definitely deserve just as much love as the cards that go inside them and we think these are beautiful! 

Are you sending snail mail these days? Follow Judi’s lead and try stamping some of your envelopes too.

Here are some of the supplies Judi used:

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Is It Over Yet – Art Journal

Is it over yet? Hanging on a thread…  I created this art journal page at the end of December.

I began with a background that was from cleaning off different colors. I used black spray paint over my Chicago stencil first, then layered up my Santiago stencil and sprayed with white. My Mini Motifs rubber stamps fit perfectly in the stencil design (smile!).

And I added one last detail to my pattern with one of my Fan-Fare rubber stamps.

I added a bit of coordinating collage paper and my journaling with a white Signo pen. Hang in there everyone!

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Told You So – Art Journal

“Told you so” Sincerely, Your Intuition

Sometimes you gotta listen to your gut :)

Grabbed this art journal which I hadn’t used in a while and found this page which had a transfer which wasn’t that great (the initial photo didn’t have enough contrast). It seemed like i had given up on that one, so I figured it was time to take care of it again.

I used acrylic paint in teal and lime green as well as gold gesso by Daniel Smith to color in the background, then layered my Art Nouveau stencil on top and used a baby wipe to take away some areas.

I used Honsell soft pastels into the still wet acrylic paint for some scratching and color, and also used a soft pencil to add some obscured writing. I let it dry and then painted it with clear gesso to add tooth but also to seal the pastels that did not dry into the wet acrylic paints.

I then used Derwent art bars and Neo Colors II to paint over the face – using a water brush to blend the wax bars but also leave some dry wax marks for texture.

Lastly I added some stamping with my new Mini Motifs foam stamps and acrylic paint and journaled with a posca marker and white signo pen.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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New ArtFoamies Stamps – Mini Motifs Set

I’m happy to announce this nice new set of Artfoamies that I designed: Mini Motifs Foam Stamp Set. It is now available HERE in my shop. 

Each of the 4 Mini Motifs stamps in the set is inspired by some of the designs on an old fireplace in my home. I love the idea of drawing inspiration from this bit of history and thinking about the craftsman who carved the designs so long ago.

The triangle shaped ones are fantastic for layering up. I also discovered that they work great with the Mini Motifs Rubber Stamp Set!

You can find my new Mini Motifs Foam Stamp Set HERE in my shop. Enjoy!!!

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In My Dreams – Emilie Murphy

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we are with Emilie Murphy and a page from her art journal, in hopes of ensuring sweet dreams. She is using my Mini Motifs and my Wabi Sabi stamp sets along with our theme: In My Dreams – A lot of folks are having crazy dreams these days. What visions do you see at night? Are you sleeping at all? Let us get a peek into your nocturnal adventures through your art.


Hi there! Hope you are doing well.

I was wondering how l could talk to you about what’s in my dreams. The first idea I had was to let you enter in to my dreams through a Dreamcatcher. In Native American culture, Dreamcatchers symbolize the entry point of dreams. It’s believed that they trap nightmares in their web. I just love this idea. I have few at my home where one is hanging on my bedroom door nob.

In this tumultuous time where we are currently living in, I think, that symbols and other culture referrals can ease our fear if we simply dare to get interested in them.

Let me guide you through my process about how I made this art journal page and let you in to my dreams. For this project, I decided to work on a piece of 8.5 x 11 inches cardboard (Kraft color). I like to reuse some material I get when I order art supplies. Since it’s a journal page, you can work on whatever surface you like.

I first applied a coat of  “mineral” acrylic paint in order to get a non-porous surface. I chose an off-white color because I didn’t want something too bright. I also wanted more of a vintage look.  I let it dry completely.

Then, I used some infusion pigment powders to color my background. I sprinkled a little powder on the top of my cardboard and brushed the powder from top to bottom with gel medium to make some strips. I started with “Lemoncello” infusion powder.

I did the same thing with “Magenta” infusion powder.

The reason why I used gel medium is because it avoids smearing the color or moving it again and makes this layer permanent.

I started to build my Dreamcatcher by stamping the center with the Arts & Craft Mini Motif stamp with “cobalt blue”archival ink.

Tip: I used a gridded acrylic block to be able to stamp the motif and make an even circle. I first practiced on simple printer paper. If you are not satisfied with your stamping, you can wipe it off with some alcohol as I used gel medium that makes the surface non-porous and protects your layer background.

The next two pictures are showing you the step-by-step instructions on how I built my Dreamcatcher.

Step 1: I drew a circle and stamped it with Nat’s Neato stamp from the Wabi Sabi set around my circle.

Step 2: I drew another circle to join the Neato stamping and made an inner ring.

Step 3: I doodled a zigzag inside the inner ring and drew an outer ring joining the opposite side of the Neato stamping.

Step 4: I drew some loops to look like “thread or string.”

Step 5: I finished the web of the Dreamcatcher

Step 6: I had some outside embellishment stamping with the Craftsman Mini Motif stamp and drew some loops to attach them to the outer ring.

Step 7: I painted the inner and outer rings with some “minerals” acrylic paint (same I used for the background). I colored my dreamcatcher with some posca pens.

Step 8: I traced again the lines that faded away with my micron pen over the paint.

The structure of Dreamcatcher is now done.

At that point, the background needed some texture. I stamped the Funky stamp from the Wabi Sabi set with “Sunshine Yellow” and “Milky Way Magenta” inks to match the colors of the infusions powders. As you can see, the stamping is not bright and crisp because I wanted a subtle effect. To achieve this, I first stamped on some scrap paper and then I stamped on the background with the rest of the ink remaining on my stamp.

The next steps show you how I made the feathers.

Step 9: I used some pieces of scrap paper I had made for my cards project in June to cut some kind of “feather” shapes.

Step 10: I stitched the center of each feather with my sewing machine. This step is optional. You can also just draw a line with a marker. Then I stamped with the white portion ink of my Moonlight duo inkpad, the Gnarly stamp from the Wabi Sabi set, to add a design to my feathers.

Step 11: I used a Paper Distresser tool to give texture to the edges of the feathers.

Step 12: I drew some lines and dots between the feathers with a posca pen to represent strings and beads.

My Dreamcatcher is finally done!

Next, I wrote down my quote.

To finish up my page, I first stamped the corners with the Jugendstil Mini Motif stamp.  I then created a border by stamping all around the edges with the Neato stamp with “Deep Space Blue” Moonlight Duo Ink pad.

Below are some close up pictures.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and got inspired to create your own Dreamcatcher.

Personally, I had a lot of fun playing with Nat’s Mini Motif and Wabi Sabi stamps sets. It shows you how versatile these stamps sets can be. Just let your imagination and creativity go!

Have a great rest of the week! See you next month! – Emilie


Thank you Emilie! I love the idea of dreamcatchers and what a great art journal page with so many subtle details in there. Beautiful!!!

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the other supplies Emilie used:

Play along with our monthly themes and weekly projects! Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  Email or tag me #natkalbach how you used my stencils and stamps – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

    |

    LOVE love LOVE this Emilie!!!
    The colors you choose and the dreamcatcher design.
    I have several myself and they work (or at least look very pretty).

    Reply

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In My Dreams – Nicole Watson

Hello from my Creative Squad and one final post from the super talented Nicole Watson! Nicole has been with us for a year now, sharing her gorgeous painterly style of art journaling with us each month and usually including a beautiful video too. We’ve loved seeing her step by step artistry in action and we can’t wait to continue following her online now too in all her creative adventures. For her final post, Nicole is recreating a dream using my Wabi Sabi and Mini Motifs rubber stamps and this month’s theme: In My Dreams – A lot of folks are having crazy dreams these days. What visions do you see at night? Are you sleeping at all? Let us get a peek into your nocturnal adventures through your art.


Shortly after receiving our September assignment, I had a pretty crazy dream. I don’t often remember a lot of details of my dreams as they are layered with complications, but you’ll understand in a few sentences why I remembered this one!

I’m going on almost two years of being unsettled. From packing to move, moving into a new house, unpacking, and wanting nothing more than to finish unpacking so we can finally feel settled again! What stands in my way is waiting on warranty fixes on our new construction home. Then, I can finally hire painters to turn my walls from plain white to a lovely shade of gray with some crazy, fun accent walls. My husband and I painted 90% of our last home. We had to hire someone to paint the tall stairs area, but the accent walls and main walls were all painted by us. This allowed us to realize that picking “mushroom mist” for our bedroom was a huge mistake. For this reason, it’s making me super nervous to pick the right colors and release total painting control to someone else. (Not to mention being an artist and a bit picky about quality cut-ins and straight lines!)

These painters showed up in my dream recently. I can’t tell you all the events and play by play, but I can tell you that when the painting was completed, I was furious! They were so proud of their work as they opened the doors to show us their designs. Room upon room were full of crazy, painted designs. The only one I vividly remember was fish in the guest bath and lots of sparkly gold. I couldn’t understand where they had gotten all the colors until I saw my empty Golden paint bottles in my studio room.

Nightmare, right?

Since the only specifics I could remember were the fish, and I didn’t really want to paint fish, I chose to create a page reflecting the crazy nature of my dreams.

Here is a video I made:

I grabbed my Dina Wakley Media journal and ripped part of a canvas page for a small cover flap. After gessoing the main page and wiping some on the canvas flap, I adhered a ripped ledger page. I was also going to add some dictionary pages, but was side tracked finding “dream” and “nightmare” in the dictionary (which I later adhere to the canvas flap).

Next, I picked up Nat’s Wabi Sabi stamp set for another layer of my dreams. I liked the meaning of these symbols from funky to neato and far out… those sure describe dreams! I stamped these word symbols on the canvas flap and the journal page to create texture.

I added a layer of color with teal and gesso on the page and the canvas flap. To tie in the stamped images and the piece of ledger paper, I sketched three circles with stabilo all and then activated them with water.

My next idea was to hide the symbols and color with a layer of dark, foggy color to obscure the dreams. I started this layer with super heavy gesso. After it dried, I added darkness to it with Paynes gray. I couldn’t figure out how to get the effect I wanted so I used a paint brush, foam applicator, baby wipes, and my fingers. It was a process!

Because dreams don’t always make sense and to add contrast, I grabbed fluorescent orange to make some dots on the page. The Paynes gray wasn’t moody enough, so I made a stabilo all puddle (scribble stabilo on palette paper and activate with water) to shade the Paynes gray. I like the shadowy, grungy effect the stabilo puddle has. I also added some watered-down florescent orange to different areas. I especially concentrated the orange on the textured spots from that super heavy gesso. Then, I added some small white dots on the orange ones with my fineliner bottle.

Five-hundred ideas were floating in my head of where to go next. I searched my pile of old photos for some interesting ones, and in the end decided on three old school pictures. I decorated these photos with crowns from Nat’s Mission Motif stamped in bronze paint on a gel plate, words, embroidery floss, a small stamp from the Wabi Sabi stamps, and some splatters of paint. I topped the canvas flap with the word “dream” and called it done after splattering some bronze paint on the page (to represent that gold, glittery paint).

A fun page to remember the crazy dream I had. Speaking of fun…it’s been an incredibly fun year as a member of Nathalie’s Creative Squad. The challenges each month caused me to think about how to apply them to the stamps and stencils she designed. Most importantly, they pushed me into my studio to create and inspire you. Thank you so much Nat!


Thank you Nicole for all of your contributions this year and for sharing this final peek into your dreams!

Give it a try: you can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and in addition to ephemera, here are some of the other supplies Nicole 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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In My Dreams – Jennifer Gallagher

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have one last project and post from the amazing Jennifer Gallagher. We have loved having Jennifer on the Squad now for 2 years and have always enjoyed her colorful and fresh style. This month Jennifer says goodbye with an art journal page that is both personal and powerful. She is using my Hamburg stencil, my Mini Motifs rubber stamps, and my Wabi Sabi rubber stamps along with our new theme for this month: In My Dreams – A lot of folks are having crazy dreams these days. What visions do you see at night? Are you sleeping at all? Let us get a peek into your nocturnal adventures through your art.


This month the Creative Squad is talking about dreams. With all the stress of the last several months, my dreams aren’t memorable so much for their content, but the way I wake up feeling – and that is tense. So, I’ve created this art journal spread to express that tension and chaos.

I decided I would attach a piece of A5 cardstock to my kraft page in a Dina Wakley Media journal. I will create my design on the cardstock and then attach it once it is complete.

I have cut a face and an eye (larger than the eyes originally on the face) out of a magazine and picked a spot where it will go. I’m not attaching it yet so I can stencil the background.

I laid Nat’s Hamburg stencil over the A5 piece of cardstock and starting at the bottom applied three colors of Distress Ink. First, I placed Black Soot, then Raspberry Preserves, and finally Wild Honey. Notice that at the top I blended a little wild honey over the white space to give a different look.

Next, I stamped Nat’s Jugendstil Motif stamp onto the top two corners using Versafine Clair in Nocturne.

I stamped Nat’s Jazzed and Funky stamps above the figure to represent tension and chaotic thoughts. These were also stamped in Versafine Clair in Nocturne.

I used a generic glue stick to attach the face and eye to the cardstock. Then I applied scor-tape to the back of the A5 sheet and attached it to a kraft page in my Dina Wakley Media journal.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. I really loved creating this page. Also, this is my last tutorial as a member of Nat’s Creative Squad. I have loved sharing my art and creative projects with you these last two years. Happy Creating! xoxo – Jennifer


Thank you Jennifer! We will definitely be sad to see you go!!! But we of course will continue to follow you online to see what other creative magic you are up to :)

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils and Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop and here are some of the other supplies Jennifer 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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Just an Opinion – Art Journal

“Impossible is just an opinion.” Love this quote :)

For my background I used acrylic paints, my Mini Motifs stamps, and versafine ink. I layered two of the motifs in some areas – the Craftsman Motif and Jugendstil Motif, and then used acrylic markers and a signo pen to add some color and detail.

The figure is an image transfer, again given details and color with posca and liquitex markers and a white signo pen.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Comments (2)

  • Vivian

    |

    Love this page!! I purchased these stamps from you and have worked with them many times but never stacked them.

    Your page is very effective. The quote is a GREAT thinker!

    Thanks for your MANY inspirations!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

      |

      Awe-thank you so much Vivian!!! I would love to see what you did with the stamps – hope you share some time :)

      Reply

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