Life Book 2014 – Week 9

This week we don’t have a lesson. It’s more of a breather week so people can get caught up if they fell behind. I was determined before I even started Life Book to make sure I was keeping up with the classes. To make time for them no matter what else was going on. I have a tendency to let my business (Stephen Edward Graphics) to take over my life. When a message (or convo) comes in, I am determined to answer it right away or at the very most within 24 hours. I take customer service and making the orders very seriously and maybe that’s why our business has thrived. I really do care about my customers. But it can make personal time nonexistent. So when I signed up for this (actually is was a Birthday present from my sweet husband) I decided that I would stay on track, keep up with the classes and write a blog post every week. The blog post thing was kind of a public way of holding myself accountable, giving myself a deadline that I couldn’t push off.

So here I am completely up-to-date, with nothing to catch up on. Tamara still gives us something to inspire us on these weeks with no lesson. This week is an artist interview with Claudine Hellmuth. It was interesting to learn about her background, process and licensing. I enjoyed the interview and what she said about keeping one thing for yourself. That even when you get into a licensing arrangement with a company and they are telling you what changes to make that you can lose yourself a bit. So it’s important to keep something for yourself, like an Etsy shop. So you have at least total control of one thing artistically. I think that is a very important idea!

I don’t foresee myself ever getting into a licensing agreement. That’s the stuff for real artists. But it is nice to hear an inside perspective on the whole thing. You never know what can happen in the future.

Tamara did also post a video from Youtube about the Creative Process. I think it’s something that every artist should hear.

And lastly, we were given a prompt. Just in case some of us would like to create something. It is 50’s or Retro. I have an idea already involving one of my new stamps. So I’ll be working on that later this week. So stay tuned for another blog post about it.

Til next time…



Life Book 2014 – Week 8

This was both a fun and tough lesson for me. Alena Hennessy provided a fun lesson and a beautiful meditation to go along with it. I thoroughly enjoyed the meditation and even did it twice. She has the perfect voice for it. We also wrote a letter to either the universe, ourselves or our higher power. I, of course, wrote to my Heavenly Father and a bit to myself. The letter was about our intentions for the year. We were to use conscience language practices like; I am calling in, This is what I wish, It is so, I long for this, Let it be so.

I really enjoyed this exercise. Just writing, not caring how it sounded. Using positive terms and ways of expressing what I wanted. Writing it only for me and no one else. It was a bit freeing.

Then we got to the lesson… Alena was free and expressive with her piece. It was all about creating art intuitively. I can really appreciate the freedom of this piece.


We were also supposed to paint or represent our soul in some way. That was the part that was tough for me. Without getting too deep into it, I’ve been struggling with some things recently. My soul isn’t this beautiful, free thing at the moment. I really wanted to follow her example, but by painting intuitively my piece went into a completely different direction.

This might get a little deep in a moment, but just let me assure you that I am not one of those artists you see with a single splat of paint on a canvas and their explanation is 9 paragraphs long. They spent more time on the explanation than they did on the painting. That kind of stuff annoys me. Don’t get me wrong. I love modern art (for the most part), but I think the painting deserves more creation time than the explanation.

Anyway… So here’s my explanation.

Bits of my soul are caged. The talk… the noise can be overwhelming. But the light is starting to come in. The darkness is receding. The flowers are beginning to bloom again. I will overcome. I AM STRONG!


Creating art can be very therapeutic. And Life Book really adds to that concept. I love the idea of creating art for myself. That its a visual representation of my journey this year. It doesn’t need to be pretty. Or something that is worthy to be hung on a wall. I love that it’s just for me!


Til next time…


Life Book 2014 – Week 7

This weeks lesson was about our positive qualities (actually that’s the theme for the whole month) and pop ups. It never occurred to me to make my own pop up before. Thanks to Jane Davenport I am now the creator of three.

First things first… I had to create the cover page.


I started with my standard 9×12 watercolor paper for all my Life Book pages. Then I took another watercolor page, folded it in half and trimmed it down a bit to fit nicely on the original page. I glued the folded page down. Then I added tissue paper across both pages and painted til my hearts content. Once dry I used an Exacto knife to release the folded page.

I also added a piece of ribbon (folded) and secured it with an eyelet.

I had to pick three positive qualities of mine and draw them. They would become the pop ups. Trying to come up personal positive qualities can be a tough thing for people to do. But once you figure that out, then you need to be able to translate them into a graphic. That can be even harder!

I came up with Creative, Smart, and Quirky. There are a lot of things I could use to represent Creative. Like a stained glass suncatcher (my former art outlet) or paint brushes (my current art outlet) or a computer (graphic design that I do for our business). I didn’t want to choose just one and all of them together would be just too cluttered. So I opted to do just the word itself. Decorated creatively, of course!


For Smart I came up with a painting of a girl (me) with a lightbulb above her head. I had the idea of attaching it with a piece of wire, so it would look like it was floating above her, but ultimately I nixed the idea because my pop ups were a little big compared to the paper they needed to fit within and I didn’t have room. But I figure she can just be a smart girl all on her own. Plus, she’s prettier than me so I figure that’s pretty smart on my part since she’s supposed to represent me. Lol!


The last pop up was to represent Quirky. When thinking about it my fused glass owls popped into my head. I think he’s pretty quirky looking so that’s what I used as my inspiration.



Here’s the completed pop up page!


I had a bit of trouble with the positioning of the pop ups and how they wanted to fold. I guess that’s just something you get better at the more you do it.

I really struggled trying to get motivated to create something for this lesson. I think it was hard coming up with my own things since I had gotten so used to being instructed in what to paint. But in the end I’m happy with what I’ve done and I learned a new technique that I don’t think I would have ever tried on my own.

Til next time…


Retro Labeler = Cool New Art Journaling Toy

I just have to share about this awesome new toy that I recently bought. An Embossed Label Maker by Dymo (Caption Maker). I couldn’t resist. I had one of these when I was a little girl. I used it to label all of my Babysitter’s Club books. And pretty much everything else I could stick labels to.

I believe this Labeler is actually an older item for Dymo, but I saw a YouTube review about it and I thought it looked great. So I did some searching and found it on EBay for $15.


I also found some embossing tape from a couple of other EBay sellers.


Pastel. Blue, pink and white


I figured I should stock up in case I can’t find labels later on. The label maker comes with three different font wheels. Uppercase, lowercase and italics. There are even some cute graphics on the lowercase wheel, like hearts and stars.


Here’s an example of each font.


I was working on an art journal page for this group that I joined, Journal 52. You receive free art journal prompts once a week for the whole year. I’m pretty busy with our business Stephen Edward Graphics and Life Book 2014, but I thought that this would be nice to do when I have some free time and I need some inspiration.

Here is my art journal page. Up, Up and Away!


I got to do some new things for this page, like use my new script stencil for the background, make a layered dress from scrapbook paper and use some baker’s twine for the balloon string.

And my new favorite thing… embossed labels.


So quick and easy to make them. They add a bit of dimension to the page and I love that the labels come in other colors so I could match them to the page. I foresee using these a lot in the future. How fun!

Til next time…


Life Book 2014 – Week 6 – Part Two

I think I’ve fallen in love with ink sprays! But sometimes I wonder if they are in love with me also. Or maybe they’ve put me into the friend zone…

Watching Tamara’s lesson she made using ink sprays look so easy. And they can be… once you’ve got the technique down and your using the right paper. But no matter what, you’ll still end up with fingers that look like this.


Not a big deal. I’ve suffered for art before. You should have seen my nails when I was working with glass. The grinder was not kind and I usually ended up with nails that looked like squirrels had been gnawing on them.

So here is my girl, with her lovely hair flowing wild and free!


I love the combination of using ink sprays and a stencil. I did have some issues with the ink sprays though. Speckles would go all over the page. Some so small that you didn’t even know that they were there until you try to add some yellow and you end up with every other color but yellow when the speckles mixed in.

So in order to get some yellow on the page I waited for everything to dry and sprayed some yellow on at the end. But on my next piece I figured out a better technique that eliminated most of the speckles.

I really enjoyed drawing a different type of face. It was a little tough to go over some of the speckles, but I eventually got them covered.


We were supposed to fold the paper in half and then put our Positive Qualities on the back. The only paper I had that was a bigger size was some Bristol (96 lbs) paper. So I gesso’d it. I wanted to make it thicker and a bit more substantial to work on. But in the end, I really struggled to get the vibrant color I was looking for. I believe the gesso was the culprit. It didn’t allow the ink to soak into the paper. So when I blotted some of the ink up with a paper towel it left a pastel version of the color. Not what I was looking for.

I struggled some more working on the back of the paper (gesso strikes again!) to make my Positive Qualities page. So I gave up and started it on a new piece of watercolor paper. What a difference! Strong, vibrant colors! On this piece, I figured out a technique so you don’t get speckles of color everywhere. Hold the spray bottle extremely close to the paper. Did you hear me? Hold the spray bottle extremely close! So it’s pretty much touching the paper. That’s the key.


As most of you know I have been loving this art course. I love to learn! But I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy all the love and support from all the members of Life Book and from Tamara herself. It may seem a little self indulgent at first to focus so much on yourself, but that’s not really what it’s about. It’s about encouraging and uplifting you as an artist and as a person. It’s about recognizing that you are good enough and what you create is worthy. I am so very grateful to have found this group and I can’t wait to see how much I’ll have grown by the end of the year. And it will all be there for me to see in my very own Life Book.

Til next time…


Life Book 2014 – Week 6 – Part One

This week we have 2 projects courtesy of Tamara Laporte. Yay! So this is my result for part one. Minimalist and working within the rule of thirds. I learned a lot.


Ink sprays! Ink sprays! Ink sprays! Oh how I love them! I bought them awhile ago and used them on this painting.


But I LOVE the dripping effect! I will be using this technique again for sure. That’s what I love about this art course… learning new techniques with supplies I already have.

I really loved Tamara’s butterfly stamp. The realistic look was perfect for this piece, but the only one that I have is HUGE! Which is great for other projects. Just not this one. I did find a stamp in my stash that used the word “soar” to create a butterfly shape. Luckily, that stamp set also came with an outline of the same butterfly. So I just stamped that on top because I wanted the butterfly to have a definite shape. I’m definitely putting a realistic butterfly stamp on my list of “art supplies to buy”.


Tamara had us use some washi tape in random places around the piece. I don’t have much to pick from, only four rolls. Two of which are black and white. So I used what I had and I think it looks cohesive. But washi tape is definitely going on the list. I recently saw a great washi tape dispenser that comes with a bunch of rolls of washi tape from Costco. It was awesome! It was a great price too, but they don’t sell it online. I’d go to my nearest store, but I don’t know where one is and I also don’t have a membership. And I’m not going to pay over $50 for a membership just to by a $20 washi tape dispenser. Bummer.

Oops! Went off on a tangent again. Back to the project… I used a random lid to create the circle around the butterfly. I’m starting to stockpile little odds and ends that I think could be used in my art journaling. If I don’t watch out I could become a hoarder! Lol!

The last thing I did was add the word Release around the inside of the circle. My word for the year is Joy, but I’d like to add Release as my sub word for the year. I need to release all the negativity that I have in my life. Either from within or from outside sources. And by doing that, I will be able to experience Joy. That about sums it up.

Thanks to everyone that has been reading my blog. I truly enjoy writing it. And I love reading your comments! They make me feel like I’m not just talking to myself. Don’t get me wrong… I totally talk to myself. Probably on a daily basis, but it’s nice to know someone else is out there and they liked my post enough to take the time to comment. So thank you!

Til next time…