Creative Squad

Sing Your Song – Judi Kauffman

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a project from Judi Kauffman. She’s sharing a fabulous way to personalize notebooks and folders using my Art Deco Summit stencil and my Nightingale, Arts and Craft Motif, and Solid Triangle rubber stamps. This month’s theme is: Sing Your Song – Everybody has their own voice, their own groove, their own one-of-a-kind personality. What is something unique about YOU that you are proud of? Don’t be shy, Sing YOUR Song!

SHE WHO CLIMBS A TREE by Judi Kauffman

I wasn’t sure how to approach this month’s theme because I was taught that ‘kvelling’ (the Yiddish word for publicly celebrating someone’s achievements) was left to others and not the person who had won a prize, graduated from college, or had just purchased their first home. That would have been bragging.

And yet, I was also given a mantra that – in a toned-down form (no hollering!) – served me well during the years that I worked freelance as a graphic artist, copywriter, illustrator, and then in the craft and needlework industry. It goes like this:

She who whispers down a well
About the things she has to sell
Will not make as many dollars
As she who climbs a tree and hollers.

I learned to market myself, to cold-call potential clients and visit with existing ones to drum up more design work, and later to reach editors of publications I wanted to work with and manufacturers whose products I wanted to incorporate into my assignments.

The ‘tear sheets’ with my projects from magazines are proof that I once climbed that tree! (Not literally, of course, I can barely scale a kitchen step ladder…)

My Creative Squad project is a stenciled 3-ring binder with stenciled pocket folders to hold a small number of my favorite tear sheets (what I would like to think my nephew will someday keep as a remembrance).

I up-cycled an old denim-covered notebook and gave some damaged pocket folders a facelift for this project.



1. Paint a denim- or canvas-covered 3-ring binder (inside and out) with white gesso, allowing some of the original color to remain visible.

2. Stencil the Art Deco Summit pattern randomly onto the front, spine and back of the outside of the notebook using acrylic paint a single color as shown. Repeat on the inside. (Alternatively, use two or more colors.)

3. Using permanent ink in a dark contrasting color, stamp the Nightingale bird stamp once on the outside of the front and back cover, and once on the inside of the front and back cover. (The bird is proudly standing alone!) Stamp Solid Triangle stamps along the spine in another dark color to accent that part of the notebook.

4. Use a label maker to spell out SHE WHO CLIMBS A TREE (or whatever words suit you!). Cut the words apart and arrange near the bird on the front cover.


1. Use black gesso and/or a mix of permanent inks to color the edges of the pocket folders. Set aside.

2. Using permanent inks, stencil an 8.5×11 sheet of heavyweight, glossy laser printer paper for each folder using the same Art Deco Summit stencil. Vary the colors as well as the amount of ink (light- or heavy-handed) and placement of the pattern.

3. Using permanent inks, stamp the Nightingale, Arts & Crafts Motif, and Solid Triangle as shown or as you prefer. Vary colors and placement. 

4. Cut stenciled/stamped sheets to fit the curve of the pocket folder. Sponge on a bit of ink to darken the edges of the sheets. Using double-sided tape or adhesive of choice, adhere to folder as shown.


The light color triangles stamped on each bird’s face echo the shape of the beak. I had thought of turning them in the opposite direction so they would look like megaphones, in keeping with the theme of singing my own song, but decided against it. 

This project was created during a time when those who are seniors or have health issues are still quarantined at home due to the coronavirus pandemic and by the time it is published that may still be the case. Therefore, I thought having the bird look like she’s wearing a protective mask made more sense. 

Though you have to listen more closely than usual, you can still hear a person’s voice when she’s wearing a mask; you can see her smile in her eyes. I’d like to think that no mask could ever mute a bird’s song.

Thank you Judi – love the way this turned out but also your thoughts that you share :)

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 Judi 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“.

Comments (3)

  • Jean Marmo


    Oh Judi _ that quote is just amazing! And so is your binder and folders! I love the colors and the wonderful stencils!!


  • Kimberly O.


    WOW! This binder is super cool!! What a great way to keep copies of your articles too!!


  • Sue Clarke


    Theses are terrific Judi!
    The color pallet is neutral and nice to cover a book/notebook.


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Rise & Shine – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have an art journal page from Maura Hibbitts to lift you up a bit. Maura is using my new Mini Motifs, Nightingale, and Wabi Sabi rubber stamps with this month’s theme: Rise & Shine – Sometimes it is inspiring to think of each new day as an opportunity to do something good – to shine. Create something that will encourage others to do the same and let’s all bring a little more light into this world!

“Rise and Shine” bring back strong childhood memories of my mother using these exact words to get me out of bed in the morning and off to school. Some days I can remember grumbling to myself, “what is there to shine about today?” Those were the days I was so cozy and snug, I just did not want to get up. Today, I am thinking about these words a little differently. Right now, we need things to look forward to in our daily lives, things that shine brighter. Perhaps it is a beautiful sunny day, or the flowers starting to bloom (at least here in upstate NY) that bring some joy to us, so we want to rise and start our day. I am also hopeful that there are brighter days ahead for all of us!

I started off in one of my large art journals with fluid acrylics and a brayer. I began at the top with a good squirt of Hansa Yellow Medium, and rolled the brayer in several directions, to create an area for my sun. Next, I added some drops of Ultramarine blue and Cobalt Teal Hue for my sky area, and rolled the brayer vertically to blend a bit. I also went in and added a bit of Translucent White. I repeated the same vertical strokes with the brayer and Yellow Green Light and Green Gold at the bottom of the page for the grass area. Any extra paint, I just rolled onto the page next to this one, no use wasting any of it.

Once the paint was completely dry, I began to stamp the sun. I did this with the Arts and Crafts Motif stamp in a repeating pattern, and used the Moonlight Duo Nebula Rust ink.

I stamped three Nightingale images in the grassy area with black ink. One great tip I have learned over the years, is to use an uneven number of objects. One bird didn’t feel like enough. Remember that saying, the early bird gets the worm? (another rise and shine moment) Well, my trio of birds is out early looking for them!

Next, I stamped a variety of “flower stems” with the Wabi Sabi stamps – Jazzed, Groovy and Gnarly and black ink.

I turned the Arts and Craft Motif stamp into flowers, and stamped them with bright inks, using pinks and oranges, on the end of the stems. I don’t know about you, but colorful flowers always make me smile.

Next, I took several colors of Posca paint pens to add in a bit of detail on the sun and flowers. I also drew in a few leaves for the stems, and added some dots into the grass.

Final step was to hand letter “Brighter days are coming!” with a Posca pen.

I try to live my life in a positive and optimistic way, and even when times are really difficult like now, I have to believe bright days will be here again. Creating a cheerful art journal page helps uplift my mood.

What helps you to Rise and Shine each day? Children, grandchildren, spouse, friend, pet? A sunny day, your garden, art, birds singing outside your window? Look for the special joys in your life to help lift your spirits. I wish you the best! – Maura

Thank you Maura! We are definitely ready for some brighter days ahead :)

Want to give Maura’s project a try? You can find all my Rubber Stamps in my Online Shop. Here are some of the other supplies Maura 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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Rubber Stamp Inspiration from my Creative Squad

Today I have some lovely cards, envelopes and a tag to share with you from Creative Squad member Judi Kauffman. When Judi received her rubber stamps in the mail, her super creative mind went right to work and I just love the results!

What a treat to get Nathalie’s new stamps in the mail – her signature style in a petite and very versatile size! I reached for a stack of envelopes, my go-to with all new stamps, got out some colorful inks, and when I looked at the finished batch I was shocked to see how my worry about covid-19 had taken over. The triangles I’d stamped on and around the Nightingale looked like masks and on most of the envelopes the birds looked like they were practicing social distancing.

I stamped three business cards for the tag, this time using white ink to paint tight-fitting masks on the birds. It really is scary how our subconscious takes over. I set out to make something spring-like and happy! But the cosmos had other ideas.

I love ‘Far Out’! In fact, I love all of them. It’s a new thing to have the petite size and I think that’s a feature worthy of attention.

Thank you Judi! It is funny how what is pressing in our minds can come through in our artwork. Regardless, these are a wonderful abstract use of the stamps and in any other time would just be really awesome compositions!

Here are some of the supplies Judi used:

Comments (3)

  • Marilyn


    Love the designs. I am one of the lucky friends of Judi to receive her “bird” envelop. She always amazes me with her creativity and now more so using her subconscious thoughts. I am a firm believer that our actions are a result of our inner thoughts.
    Kudos to Judi!


  • Kimberly O.


    I love the combination of the stamps you used! The bird stamps are awesome!!


  • Denise M. Krueger


    Love these!! So much vibrant color and the birds are awesome stamps.


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