blog neglect


Hello Everyone!

I am so sorry to have abandoned the blog.  Actually, I am more ashamed. It was never my intention to let so much time go by without a post.  Life just kinda came in and demanded my attention.  Nothing out of the norm, just the usual day-to-day activities, but it left me without much time to blog.  Also, I think I was in a bit of a creative rut.  I was still spending time being creative, I have accepted that I always need to make time for that, but I found myself struggling for ideas. Then again, maybe it was too many ideas that was the problem and I didn’t know what to work on.

I was very fortunate early this fall to take a class with the lovely Dyan Reaveley.  It was a full day hands on art journaling class hosted by Scrappy Chic.  Up until this class I had never had my hands on any of her wonderful paints, sprays and stencils, but minutes into this class I was hooked.  For someone who has always colored within the lines, spent more energy trying NOT to make a mess and has had to teach themselves how to let go of control, this was just the outlet I needed.

Class Photo

lovely lady, lovely class

Art Journal 4

take a peak at my large Dylusions Creative Journal

Of course the class expanded on the want for more products, products that have since been added to wish lists, but it was more than that.  It was a new way of looking at what inspires me and where my interests lie.  We received the Dylusions small creative journal as part of our class tuition and even though we used it throughout the class, I still came home with pages left for experimenting.  I have now added this journal to my creative process.  It sits in my Ikea Raskog utility cart and when I have extra paints or stains left over on stamps, stencils, baby wipes, etc, it is the perfect spot to deposit those colors.  It’s really an ingenious way of multitasking.  By cleaning off your colors onto the journal pages you are creating backgrounds for future journaling pages.  It’s simple really, but something that helped to make Art Journal 3journalling easier and more effortless.  I have also picked up the large Dylusions creative journal and have started to play with paints, sprays, stains and stencils.  One day I may just create backgrounds, another day I doodle.  Dyan stated in class that this is how she works and it just made sense to me.  I had always seen beautiful examples of journaling but really didn’t know where to start.  My mind saw one page from start to finish instead of moments of creativity spread over time.  I really am enjoying this new aspect of my creativity.
Art Journal 1

The other thing I picked up from the class was getting back to drawing.  I have never been one to be able to sit and sketch life-like drawings, but I do enjoy simple line sketches.  I fell in love with Dyan’s Dylusions Stamps.  They evoke a feeling of happiness and make me smile.  With her quirky doodles and funky characters, I was inspired to begin to draw again.  Because I enjoy simple sketches, I was then lead to Manga.  Manga is Japanese for comics and cartooning.  Unfortunately, this also lead to the discovery of Copic Markers.  Can you see how my wish lists exploded after just one class?

Manga Eyes

I haven’t given up on card making, in fact my next project is to begin Christmas cards.  I just have been excited to try some new ideas and push myself to discover new things.  With the holiday season upon us, don’t forget to breathe create relax. mj




discover imagination

I have four nephews who I love to make birthday cards for.  Each one has a different personality and it’s fun to put card ideas together for them.  When I went to the Great Lakes Mega Meet earlier this spring, it was on my mind to find some great stamps that I could use for creating masculine cards.  The Stampers Anonymous, Tim Holtz Robot Blueprints was one of the first in my hand.

discover imagination

discover imagination

For this card I was all about creating colors and textures that were inspired by metallics and robotics.  To start, my ever trusty Strathmore Bristol 300 Paper was cut using my Vagabond by Sizzix with the Lawn Fawn Custom Craft Dies in Large Stitched Square Stackables.  (this was also a Mega Meet purchase and one that I have used many times already) The largest die cut in the collection makes an excellent size for any of the Tim Holtz Blueprint stamps.  One of the techniques I saw demonstrated at the Mega Meet by Tim Holtz was the use of Distress Spray Stains to create an intense background.  Now for this card I didn’t use any spray stain, I have only begun to gather together my supply of spray stains. I actually used Distress Paint and Distress Stain in Brushed Pewter to create my background color. First I applied the paint, dried with my Craft Tool and then applied the Distress Stain.  Once dried, I used Ranger’s Mini Ink Blending Tool to “smudge” Distress Ink in Black Soot.  I was excited by the intensity I created by layering the products over one another, very similar to how I saw Tim work with the Distress Spray Stains.  While this dried, I picked my robot image and stamped it on a clean piece of Bristol.  This image I colored featuring various Distress Markers.

Now back to my dried, Distress Pewter, cut piece of Bristol.  I wanted to create a “worn” look. Using the Distress Sprayer, I spritzed the paper to create water marks, dabbing with a clean rag for extra wear.  To create the effect of grease splatters I used the Distress Spritzer with Black Soot and again with Gathered Twigs.  Once dried, I used Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black to stamp the same robot blueprint onto my distressed background.  This technique allows for the details in the blueprint sketch to be seen on your background.  Remember how I stamped my image on a clean piece of Bristol and used Distress Markers to add color?  I fussy cut my robot image omitting the detailed lines, this cut out image has more intensity because it was colored on clean Bristol and I glued that over top of the same image I stamped in Archival Ink on my worn background.  With this technique you can add dimension to your image by layering the same stamped image over each other. For this card, the only area I wanted to “pop up” was the gear. To do that, I stamped the same robot image again, for the third time, but only cut out the gear in the center of the robot.  I used the same color Distress Marker as I did in my other image but this time added a 3D foam square and a Mini Gear from Tim Holtz Ideology, creating my own custom embellishment.

To finish the card I used silver metallic card stock and embossed it with the Tim Holtz Riveted Metal Texture Fade by Sizzix, added a few eyelets for a more industrial feel and attached to black cardstock.  I hope you make time to breathe create relax. mj

products used

spring has sprung

spring fling

Hello Everyone!

I’m a little bit at a loss for words.  It’s been really hard to find the time to blog lately and that is a real bummer.  I think about you all everyday as I sit at my regular 9-5 job and miss being creative.  But Friday and I have finally found our way to each other and I just want to share what I’ve been up to.

Spring is on it’s way and seeing the sun, hearing the birds and enjoying some warmer temps inspired me with my Easter cards.  In the past I have done individual cards, each one unique.  But this time around I decided on replicating the same shape and idea but changing up the colors and making small changes.  I used a “production line” way of assembling and it made it much easier to do multiple cards in a shorter time frame.  I did start by working one card all the way through from start to finish just so that I had my basic ideas down and then I went in and “mass produced” all my pieces.  Below are some pictures of the process as well as the steps.


Cut card stock and soften corners with corner rounder.

1. Cut card stock and soften corners with corner rounder.

2. Stamp Bristol with desired images.

3. Color images with assorted Distress Inks/Markers.

4. Punch holes in corner of Bristol for brads (optional).


Stamp designs on Bristol





5. Add embossed detail to color card stock.

6. Assemble cards.

7. Create custom embellishments and assemble.

8. Put together cards and add embellishments.

ready to color

It was fun to create in this way.  I love to do individual cards, each unique to the person who is receiving it, but that can sometimes take longer.  My work week can often be hectic and by the time the weekend rolls around my mind is mush. So to keep things simple I opted for easier cards.  It was also a nice way to work in my new space.  I found myself standing and sitting and moving around comfortably.  It can take me some time in a new space to get acquainted with my work area and creating a routine helped me to work efficiently without having to remember where I had put everything.  I think this new space is going to work out perfectly.

I had time on Easter to set up a Christmas present from my husband, my desktop studio.  Now I can have photo shoots with my creations and show them in a more professional manner.  Scroll through to see the final results and the products used.  Thank you for allowing me to take the time to breathe create relax. – mj

desktop studio

hello spring

welcome spring

bunny hop

butterfly blue

easter cards

spring wish

hop into spring

products used 



learning another great technique

Another new technique

Once again I’ve opened up A Compendium of Curiosities, Vol I, by Tim Holtz and found a new skill to learn.  As I browsed through the book I came back to a technique that has caught my eye several times, check out Blended Batik on page 36. My mom and I had played around with rubber stamps a long time ago but it was visiting this idea of Tim’s that made me realize how far rubber stamping has come.  Back then, embossing powders were used for embossing and not something you would think about removing.  This technique will really open up another area of versatility within your stamping skills.  You could easily choose a favorite stamp and use this technique to create a background and then use the same stamp to create a coordinating piece, or create a custom paper design.  Learning is another way to draw the mind away from the everyday stresses and allow it to focus on something new, something positive. A mind will only grow stronger by feeding it knowledge, and it may also help to feed the creative soul.  Ahhh! breathe create relax.  mj

products used

Love this look


shimmer snowman

Sorry everyone for the missed post on Monday.  Like I said, I didn’t have much time to work on cards over the weekend but I did manage to continue with my shimmer snowman.

Since Halloween was my first introduction at doing numerous cards with the same theme, I want to admit that I did go a little overboard on buying embellishments.  But really, can we ever have enough? They will come in handy next year I am sure.  Anyway, starting out with Christmas I decided to slim down on the amount of embellishments I purchase and focus on creating my own.  I also think the stores have yet to get their entire holiday stock in, so the pickings really haven’t caught my eye.

EmbellishmentsUsing Cricut Art Cartridge, Winter Woodland, I first cut my snowflakes out of traditional white scrapbook paper.  Next came adding some bling.  From my past in makeup, I had some left over goodies that will be put to use with card making and these gemstones are just that.  I used Ranger’s Glossy Accents to adhere clear and teal gemstones to the snowflakes.  Another way I created snowflakes was using my Martha Stewarts Crafts, Deep Double Edge Snowflake Punch.  I punched the design into Recollections Cool Water Cardstick Paper (teal color) and then carefully snipped the snowflakes apart from the paper.  To bring more emphasis to the “snow” theme of the card I added a snowflake brad to correspond with the boarder paper that I used.

Now this card is not finished yet.  I’m not loving the embossed “let it snow”.  Don’t get shimmer snowmanme wrong, I love the emboss itself, just not what I did with it.  The one thing that I find really helpful is taking photographs of my work.  By having a photograph handy, I can take a peak at it when I am away from the creative process and view it when I am in a different mind set.  It is at this time that elements will stand out.  Some times those elements are what make you love what you did and at times it makes you stop and say “nope, not finished yet”.  This is where I am now.  All I need is to breathe create relax and it will come to me.  How do you edit your work? Comment bellow.  I’d love to hear
from you.  mj

products used 



final word on Halloween

Well, Halloween is now here and it’s time to tidy my work space and get ready for the next holiday season.  But before I do, I would like to share a couple of tricks and a few final cards.  The first trick I would like to blog about is creating an “old paper” look using Tim Holtz Distress Inks.  I used this technique for the cover of my friend’s Halloween photo album.  When I first started playing around with the Distress Inks and stamps I began with water-color paper.  Earlier this spring, I took a day off from work and went to Novi for a stamping and scrapbook show.  My main reason for going was that Tim Holtz was going to be at the Stampers Anonymous booth doing demonstrations.  Up until this point, I had only been watching tutorials on YouTube.  One of the things that he showed, was the difference between a stamped image on water-color paper and an image stamped on Ranger Distress Specialty Stamping paper.  The image was much clearer on the specialty paper then on the water-color paper.  When he passed it around for us to see, I noticed the texture of the specialty paper.  It was very smooth, dense and thick paper.  Once I got back home, I searched my local craft stores for this paper but without success.  I decided I would take a look in the art department and see if I could find something similar.  I was in luck, I found Strathmore Bristol Paper in the 300 Series. This paper is very close to what I saw at the demonstration.  The term “series” refers to the weight and surface of the paper as well as the media it works best for.

I start by using my graph paper to create a pattern.  My pad of Bristol is 9 x 12 and my friends photo album cover was 6 x 6, I made a pattern that was the same size as her album cover.  There are many tutorials out there regarding how to work with Tim Holtz Distress Inks, I personally like to watch Tim’s videos because they are filmed well, are quick to watch and he gives easy direction. I’ll be honest, when I first started working with Distress Inks I struggled, but after watching a few of Tim’s videos and taking to heart exactly what he explained, it all came together.  I can not stress enough how important it is to work with your Ranger Mini Blending Tool and Ranger Non-Stick Craft Sheet the way I have seen it demonstrated.  You ink your blending tool to the Distress Ink pad, then deposit ink onto your craft sheet, from here, work in a circular motion from your craft sheet to your paper. (in my case Bristol) As long as you move your blending tool in a circular motion you will not end up with circle marks on your paper.  I was accustomed to using stamps directly from the ink pad and that is why I struggled at first.  The way I chose my colors for this technique was as follows.  I work in layers, usually about three.  My first layer is a color that I want to use to “dirty up” the Bristol and create my base.  For this cover I used Distress Ink in Old Paper, Tea Dye and Brushed Corduroy.  The second layer is optional but helps to tie in with a theme.  Because I was working on Halloween, I wanted to pull some orange into the look of the paper.  I added Distress Ink in Rusty Hinge and Spiced Marmalade to brighten and accent the “old paper” look.  At this point I rip all the edges of the paper.  Ripping the paper reduced the size to fit nicely on the album cover and expose the burlap beneath.  Once the edges have been ripped I use Distress Ink in Vintage Photo to finish the edges and add dimension.  Using the script stamp from the Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Apothecary CMS138 set and Distress Ink in Walnut Stain, I added additional interest by stamping the script in various locations and with varying amounts of ink.  Once this was complete, I then used the Ranger Mister filled with water to mist the paper.  This creates a wonderful worn look to the paper.  By having a rag handy and my Ranger Heat it Craft Tool, I quickly dried the paper with the heat tool and used the rag to soak up the larger droplets of water which creates even more texture.  Once dry, I added additional Walnut Stain to the edges.  Remember to always work your blending tool from ink pad, to craft sheet, to paper, in a circular motion.

To create the “blood splatters”, I used the Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Layering Stencil THS009 Splatter and Distress Inks in Barn Door, Festive Berries and Aged Mahogany.  Like creating the “old paper” look above, I used the inks in layers to create life-like splatters.  Barn Door was used as my first layer and to give a “pop” of red.  My second layer was in Festive Berries create depth and add a blue tint to the splatters.  Finally, I added Aged Mahogany for even more depth.  The amounts of inks used progressively got less and less.  By working with several colors it keeps the stencil from being obvious.  When working with a stencil, you can work directly from the ink pad and blending tool to the paper.  The more color you have on your blending tool the more detail the design.

And finally, I used the skull stamp from Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz Apothecary CMS138 set and Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black for my main image.

This may seem tedious, but I assure you it isn’t.  You still will be able to breathe create relax. mj


Love this fun technique!

Love this fun technique!