A Gelli Print day!


yes, it was a gelli day! 

I had a lot of fun playing with my new Gelli Plate. I got out some old and new stencils, a variety of sequin waste, a few masks, some lace and a combing tool. I used a variety of acrylic paints and I watched the videos from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's getting started with the Gelli plate class first, so I would be armed with ideas when I started! It worked out well. A very good first foray into monoprinting with the Gelli plate : ) 

I made many prints and took many photos, so I decided the best way to share it all was to make a short animoto video from my pictures. Follow this Link to view, or click on the video below if you are reading on the blog! 




The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.

 ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh



stamp carving 101

I am taking a stamp carving class with Julie Balzer that I highly recommend, Stamp Carving 101. It is an online workshop taught on a private class blog with videos. I finally made time to do Lesson 6 and even though it was challenging, it was successful! we learned how to transfer and carve a Damask design that Julie provided us with.... this is my finished test sheet!
It started like this . . . 

After testing, I made two tags, one for me and one for my friend Linda Kunsman who encouraged me to take this workshop with her. That was a fabulous idea because doing this with her has spurred me on! When we finish all 10 lessons, we will send each other a tag book with one tag from each lesson! 
 click for more details/larger photo -this tag below I made for me! 
 Then as Julie suggested, I used the scrap pieces from trimming this stamp and made some bonus stamps. Mine were all patterning stamps -love it!

Thanks for checking in - I enjoy your visits!


Wake up with a smile and go after life . . . . Live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it.
   ~ Joe Knapp




art journal progress

Slow but steady, every week, I make sure I get something added to my personal art journal -mostly because I can play along with Art Journal Every Day.  I would probably work in my journal on my own, but Julie Balzer's posts and a chance to share definitely keep me on track. 

This week I tried painting my pages with white gesso and then spraying the page with various inks on top of the gesso while it was still wet.

I did not plan this idea out in advance, but instead started my work in my art journal by deciding it might be fun to work with gesso as a base this time. After painting it on both pages I thought, what if I did not let the gesso drybefore doing something else? To let it dry was my original thought. Grabbing a new Ranger dylusions ink spray (pure sunshine) and also a Adirondack Color Wash (Denim) I started spraying on top of the wet gesso. 

Then, I sprayed more plain water on top of the ink to see what would happen.

I liked the effect! Next I sprayed with the Denim ink . . . 

I sprayed on both sides of the spread with more plain water sprayed on top.

I also used the brush I had applied the gesso with to blend the ink and gesso in places.

There was a bit of Lumiere (Halo blue green) on the edge of the left page, which was carried over from the

previous spread

. I liked it though! This prompted me to add more of that paint to the edge of the page and a bit diagonally across the middle. 

 I used my heat gun to dry the gesso and ink, but not too close.

I love some of the patterns that were made through my experimenting!

This looked almost like a beach scene to me - I see sunshine, sand, waves. 

I had chosen my affirmation from my list before I started and thought this time I would hand write this on the page with a thin tipped Micron marker. I have been including a positive affirmation on every page spread in this art journal using a variety of ways to do it: Rubber stamped, computer generated and printed on paper or a transparency sheet, handwritten, magazine letters, painted . . . it is fun to choose them and gives me a bit of a theme.

The collage image I chose is one of many beautiful ones on a sheet called Art Time Pieces from my favorite, ARTchix Studio. I purchased mine as a downloadable image sheet, which worked great and was very fast to receive after ordering.

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.

It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.

  ~ Anne Lamott

carving a bracket stamp

I am taking an online course with Julie Balzer called Stamp Carving 101. I am really enjoying being her student and especially enjoying that I am taking the class at the same time as my friend Linda Kunsman. We are making tags for each other with all the stamps we carve and we'll send a nice fat package to one another when we finish the lessons -whoop!

Lesson 5 was carving a bracket stamp:
Using a pencil to transfer a ink jet printed design -
Adding more details with a permanent marker

Starting to carve away the excess . . 

more carving
cutting off some of the extra

test printing

more carving needed!

looking better! 

one tag for Linda, one for me!

this has been great fun and I still have a few lessons left!
You can join in anytime - Stamp Carving 101.
Here is Linda's bracket frame -check it out, it is wonderful. She is very talented.

If you are reading on the blog and want to leave or view a comment, 
click on "Add a comment" or "View Comments" below
then SCROLL DOWN using the grey bar on the right side of the page. ; 0) 


It's not the men in my life that count, it's the life in my men.
  ~ Mae West

(ha! these quotes are picked randomly, really!)




More lesson 4 - then some more on me!


I am taking a stamp carving class with Julie Balzer and originally wrote about what I did in lesson 4 here, in case you missed it. This particular lesson is about creating a series or set of stamps to use together. At the beginning of the video Julie showed us a banner shaped set she made with a cute little flat top, but then she went on to make a chevron set with a pointed top for the actual lesson. I really liked the banner shape and decided to make my first set that way. While I love this cute set of stamps I made . . .
. . . I just could not get that chevron shaped set out of my head! In fact, I found I couldn't move forward to lesson 5 until I made a set with a pointed top that could link together nicely. My "test" sheet is at the top of this post and you can see how I took my "flower" stamp and kind of linked it all together on the left. I am going through the lessons and carving my stamps pretty quickly (impatient to see my carved stamps!) so I figured more practice would be good for me. Below is my process of my second try with lesson 4:

Getting the shapes cut evenly is hard for me
All carved! My stamps are messy but okay.
Practice makes perfect!
A tag for me on the left and one for my friend, Linda K on the right.
Gosh, you must go visit her blog (link above!). Her chevron stamps are so, so cool!
plus she writes about how we talked with each other on the phone : )

For these tags I spritzed them all with water first to see what would happen when I stamped them with wet, dye ink. Just a little experiment for part 2 of lesson 4. I promise now to go on to lesson 5! Below are my banner stamps (L) in comparison with my chevron set (R):

And here are ALL the stamps I have carved so far in Julie's class:
Stamp carving 101 (click to leaarn more!)

This class has been totally enjoyable for me so far and I love having something to work on and learn/practice. I also find that doing the class at the same time as my friend Linda has really helped keep me on track. I love making tags for both of us after each lesson. What fun that will be to send & receive when the class is completed for us. And we got to speak on the phone together! I believe I have 5 more lessons to do. 

Besides carving stamps I played a little bit with watercolor blocks (like crayons) and soft pastels the other day and made a colorful piece on watercolor paper. I don't know what I will do with it yet but it was great to play in the spirit of the class I took with Bill Buchman. Here's a look:

I continue to take many photographs, most every day and try to upload one per day to my blipfoto journal
I have been able to return to dancing at Nia and Conscious movement . . . I am still going to physical therapy twice a week for my frozen shoulder but have improved by leaps and bounds! There are just a few rotating kind of movements that are not there for me yet, but I a happy to be able to dance again and do most things. My mom is doing well and Steven and I will visit with her tonight. Steven has made over 20 paddles now and he has been selling some. ; ) I am working on a 3-part video of his paddle painting process (editing now) and will share it soon. 
Our wedding anniversary is Monday and we are going to drive to the other coast of Florida, watch the sun rise over the beach on the east coast of FL, drive back home and watch the sun set over the beach on the west coast of FL, all on the same day - June 11, our 7th wedding anniversary! I do not think there are too many places you can do that . . . this is Steve's idea and since it is only a 3 and a half hour drive - so I said, why not? I am sure it will be memorable. 

Hope you are well, take care till next time. Any questions or problems with the new blog layout - template I am using, please contact me. If you are on the blog & click on comments, you may have to scroll down to see the comment box!

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.
  ~ Coco Chanel



Lesson 4: stamp carving

If you are just coming across my blog, I have recently changed the template.
For more info on this new look and how to navigate, please go here!
I am taking Stamp Carving 101 with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. This is an online course where you work at your own pace. I love it! Check it out. My friend Linda Kunsman and I signed up for this course at the same time, on purpose! We decided it would be a great way to inspire each other and that we would also make a tag for each other based on our lessons. What a great idea, Linda!! 

Lesson 4 is about making a series or set of stamps. Julie showed the small banner shape above at the beginning of her lesson, but then went on to make a set of stamps that were more in a chevron shape with a pointed top. I fell in love with this banner shape and went on to make my set this way. Julie said it was okay!!!

Here is my test paper. Julie suggested test printing as you carved, to see if any changes were needed. This was a great idea as I often changed or added cuts, depending on my test print.
My tools and my final hand carved stamp set.
The two tags I made - one for me and one for Linda K! 
The plain pink banner above is the 1st layer for some of my stamping.
The instruction is great and I am really enjoying the exercises.
Even though I have carved stamps before and taught carving before, I am learning a lot! 
Julie has just announced she will write a BOOK about stamp carving due out in the Fall of 2013!
Hope you are well and squeezing in some creative time . . . 

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.
  ~ Grandma Moses




Art Journal Every Day (only when you can!)

"I have some awesomely good news for you: you don't actually have to art journal every day to be a part of Art Journal Every Day. So if you're up for a little bit of "you" time every day (or every other day, or simply when you can) I hope you'll join us for Art Journal Every Day this year." Julie Balzer . . . 

Read More

stamp carving 101 . . . is fun!

Well, I am loving this class I'm taking on stamp carving with Julie Balzer. Most of the teaching is done by videos that are not too lengthy, through a private class blog. I have not watched them all yet but for what I've seen so far, they each run about 20-25 minutes. That's just about right for someone antsy like me! There's also an outline of skills to practice for each lesson and a flickr group to share your creations on. It is working out well and I have completed lessons 2 and 3 since I last wrote about it.

Carving stamps is not entirely new for me. I found out the other day when I located a small notebook that I carved my first stamp in 1995. Wow, do the math and you'll discover that was 17 years ago! (see the bottom of this post for more on that). But I was correct in thinking that a "refresher course" with someone I admire, whose carved stamps I have seen and loved, was a great idea, and a great deal at only $30!

Lesson 2 was about creating two simple interlocking stamps; stamps that you can overlap or rather, overstamp so they compliment each other. I have never done this type of carving before. We started with simple stripes, but I would like to try a more complicated design in the near future.

It may be hard to tell, but these blocks of speedy carve are the same striped design, filled in with black on opposing stripes. I used my linoleum cutting tool to remove all the black on both stamps, creating 2 opposite printing blocks.  




Trying out the printing . . . I need to practice interlocking carving again, 
but it was still fun even if it did not turn out "perfect".



The tags I made are below -I used different colors on a black tag. I am taking this class with my friend Linda Kunsman and we are doing an exchange. We'll make 2 tags for each lesson, keep one and then send one to each other when the class is done! This will make a neat little tag book.


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Lesson 3 was about carving a larger size stamp. The first few we made were only about an inch or so in size. This time I cut out about a 3" square piece of speedy carve and tried following Julie's chevron design. 







I am definitely enjoying this and look forward to lesson 4!

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I could not help but scan some of the pages in the tiny notebook where my boys and I stamped our early carved stamps. They were around 11-to-12 and 14-to-15 years old at the time (now 27 and 30!!). You can click on any scan for a larger, more detailed look.

my first carved stamp, 8-11-95

dallas and decklin's first carved stamps


Remember, I told you they were carving Calvin & Hobbes! 



This is just FUN!! Stamp carving material is so much better these days. 
Speedy carve is like butter to carve in comparison to what we used 17 years ago. 
Maybe you'll join us? The class I'm taking is Stamp Carving 101 with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer! 

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Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.  ~ Ella Fitzgerald

stamp carving 101

I am taking an online course with Julie Balzer, Stamp Carving 101. I have hand carved my own stamps before, but not for a really long time. So this class really interested me because I especially wanted Julie's 'take' on the how-to's and any hints and tips. The first lesson was basic as it should be and a very needed refresher for me on how to hold the tools, etc. the best part? I carved my first stamp with Julie, a heart!

we used speedy carve, which I think is great! 

Her lessons include very good videos 
and details online in a blog format.

There is my little heart, stamped plain on the card (right)
and embossed in the journal. 

I started my new art journal which I have been
majorly procrastinating about!

I also did some tags . . . 
one for me and one for Linda Kunsman, whom I am taking the course with!

I added black paint just to see, what it would look like.



and here is my journal entry with my carved heart . . . 

I am looking forward to doing lesson 2!


The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.  ~ Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

(This is pretty funny that the Bill Watterson quote came up randomly . . . my 2 sons used to carve stamps with me and what would they carve? Calvin & Hobbes!)


guest post on Art Journal Every Day with Julie Balzer!

I am so thrilled that Julie Balzer asked me to write about the Sketchbook Project for Art Journal Every Day! My guest post was published today (May 18) and you can read it here. This has been quite the week for me, that's for sure. I am also a guest artist on the ARTchix Studio blog, whoo hoo! The Sketchbook Project, Art Journal Every Day and ARTchix studio are all favorites of mine, so I feel quite blessed. If you are new to my blog because of these posts, welcome! I'll be back soon. enjoy your day, lenna

Nothing happens unless first a dream.  - Carl Sandburg


Second Floor Challenge: Circles!

Here is my first response to the fairly new "second floor" challenge. Please read more about it HERE on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's scrumptious blog. You can also find a link in the sidebar of my blog. I am pledging to continue doing these challenges when they are offered every few weeks. The idea is to use the prompt given as a starting point and then take it to "the second floor". Huh?? Meaning to challenge yourself to do something more, something scary, perhaps something where you might even fail. Experimenting and pushing yourself. I found the abstract art class I recently took with Bill Buchman offered me the same sort of thing, to try doing things a bit out of my comfort zone with my art. Even though sometimes it was hard for me to do, and sometimes I created things I did not like at all, I saw my art change for the better as I went along. It is easier to do again and again what you know works, right? Time to change-it-up and grow. The prompt this time was CIRCLES. Here's my story in photos . . . .

I started by drawing circles with both water soluble crayons and oil pastels that would resist water.

I sprayed my water color paper with water and let it run  . . . I love this look.



So the first thing I did to take it to the second floor was . . . 
even though I loved all the water color running everywhere I made myself 
 cover some of it, with paint! 

eeep! 2 colors, green and off-white.


This is how it looked when I went to bed last night.
I decided to let it sit and not do anything more with it.

In the morning after my dentist appointment I decided to keep going.
That is something Julie was talking about in her post for this challenge:
"Keep going. I get scared when I have an idea and I'm not sure if it's going to work and I don't want to ruin what I have. Keep going."

Good advice I think. I mean, sometimes you do have to know when to stop, but to stop because you are scared of ruining your work is not a great idea. You can always make more! So I turned the paper 90 degrees and grabbed a large rubber stamp.


I inked it with wet midnight blue VersaCraft ink and firmly pressed it all over my painting.


Then, I sprinkled Hologram embossing powder randomly over the piece.


I tapped the excess off and heated it with my heat gun till it was hard and shiny where I had stamped and told myself to "keep going". So, I watered down Hi Lite Violet Lumiere . . . 


Brushed this paint over most of my painting and stamping; it has a sheeen.


Something told me to keep going!! I got out my new Sennelier Soft pastels.
These are new tools for me that Bill Buchman turned me onto.


I really like how they work! They are in-between chalk and any other pastels or crayons I have had before. I used my finger to spread my marks around. The color is soft yet rich.


Then I decided to experiment more, pouring bright gold Lumiere on in places.


wiping the excess away . . .


Then, I added more marks and circles with mostly the soft pastels.
My piece ended up looking like this below.


I took it outside to spay it with a sealer because of the pastels.
A close up of one section. I like what the sealer did to the painting!


A full look of it outside, before I . . . . 


CUT it into 4 postcards!! 


I really felt that this was what I needed to do with my painting.
Here is what *I* am taking away from this challenge:

  • I need challenges, prompts or assignments to motivate me to create.
  • I think I need to try to push myself to try different things than I usually do, more often.
  • Not sure how beautiful this painting was, but I sure love the little sections of colour as "postcards" and I also loved doing this exercise.
  • creating makes me feel good, it both calms me and energizes me.
  • Simply playing with my supplies without a lot of expectations is good for me and sparks my creativity. 
  • I need to go back and watch Bill Buchman's DVD's again, while IN my studio this time so I can work along with him. He has a lot of great ideas and exercises. I need to put this on my calendar so I will do it! 

Are you ready for the second floor challenge? 
Hop over to the Balzer Designs blog
I will be guest posting on Friday, May 18th! 
My post is about the Sketchbook project
Please stop by that day and say hi! 


Life is 10 percent what you make it, and 90 percent how you take it. 
  ~ Irving Berlin



where I've been . . .

I have been busy! First, I was away with my husband for a 'small boat meet' last weekend, then this week, I have been writing a guest blog post for Julie Balzer. I believe it will be published next Friday - 5/18. On Tuesday, I took a video of my friend Kathy's Nia class on the beach and edited/published it -use the link above the view it on YouTube. I am quite proud of it!
I'm ready now for Helga Strauss to share the backgrounds I made for her wood shapes -she'll do that on 5/16, also giving a blog post tour of my studio at the same time. So, as far as press, when it rains it pours! : ) Plus, I've been going to physical therapy twice a week to heal my frozen shoulder, geeze. But, I just could not stay away any longer. Last Friday we traveled 3 hours north to beautiful Cedar Key and I took lots of photos, starting with some of the Sunshine Skyway bridge, which spans Tampa Bay and is over 21,000 feet long . . . click on any photo for details!




It really is quite amazing. We got to Cedar Key in good time even though we were towing a boat. Cedar Key is a beautiful little fishing village surrounded by other keys on the gulf side and the home of the Small Boat Meet the first weekend in May. This is the second year Steven and I have gone. This year, we towed our launch Chelsea and Steven tied the single-man canoe my dad made onto the roof of the car. My favorite part of the weekend I'd say, besides taking photos of the boat meet was staying in the beautiful Cedar Key bed and breakfast! This B and B is so lovely -- highly recommended.



See the 2nd floor balcony? That was our room - the Tree House! 
It was outstanding and Alice's breakfasts delicious. 

Here are a few favorite photos I took from the Small Boat Meet!
The Lucas Boatworks "gang" -My husband Steve on the far right

click for more details 


Stan in his puddleduck racer - the blue saill

Steven in Chelsea giving Howard and Phil a tow back to the island (currents)

Doug and Kristan christened their new boat, Ransom II with champagne! 

Doug carved this horse in honor of Kristan's horse, which the boat is named after. 

I love the look of this photo I took. It is like something out of a movie! 
The small canoe in the front is Steven's wee lassie, made by my dad, for him.

boats, boats and more boats, all different kinds from all over!

Steven heading back to Atsena Otie Key (island)
after dropping me back at the B and B!

I took about 300 photos and the majority of them are up on my flickr account if you are wanting to see more. I have had about 675 visits to my set of photos from Saturday because Dave Lucas of Lucas Boatworks included the link in his "boatnuts" email. (That is a lot of visits!) I was also featured on the DoryMan blog which is so cool! So my photos must be okay!! I will leave you with a very very short video I took of Rex Payne, Dave Lucas and my husband having a conversatioon at the boat meet that made me feel like they were speaking another language - Yes, it is a "boat" language I think!




When an artist explains what he is doing, he usually has to do one of two things: either scrap what he has explained, or make his work fit in with the explanation.
   ~ Alexander Calder

Art Journal every day with Julie Balzer


 - Last year, when I was really just starting out with Art Journaling, I found Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. She gave me lots of inspiration, ideas, and she really got me committed to working in a journal just for myself, which I did almost every day for four months! Wow. I love those 2 journals -see them here - that I packed full of art techniques, exploration, discoveries, and photographs I took. I put my raw feelings and emotions into those journals through words or art . . . it became a diary of sorts. My only trouble was after 4 months, I had a hard time trying to continue on a daily basis -even if it was just to prepare a background on a page - and felt guilty when I didn't! So I decided to continue art journaling, but not on a daily basis, along with all the other creative things i like to do.

But you know what? I missed it! And I did not journal as regularly without that commitment.

Today I came across Julie's first Friday post for Art Journal Everyday (on her blog) called: Why I Art Journal. I highly recommend you go read it!! Besides being a great article in itself, I discovered that Julie has decided to tweak the Art Journal every day project a bit and I think it's a fantastic idea! She writes:

I'm doing the "sign-ups" a little bit differently in 2012.  Instead of committing ahead of time (and then feeling guilty if you don't do it), every week I'll ask you to link us up to an art journal page you made that week.  You can post it on your blog, on flickr, in a scrapbooking gallery, wherever you want.  This is a no guilt game.  If you get a little art journaling done, great!  If you don't, c'est la vie.

I love it! I'm in, Julie. Below are some of my favorite pages I made via ART Journal every day in 2011 -













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