My Favorite DIY Art Journal

My bags are packed and I'm all ready to go jetting off half way around the world.
I leave tomorrow morning with a team of friends on a mission trip to Cambodia.

I wanted to share with you real quick the art journal I made to take on the trip.
Then when I get back I'll share some of the things I created inside the wonderful pages.

I started by gathering tons of differnt papers: scrap book pages for dividing sections, parchment paper for separating painted pages, vellum/tracing paper to separate other messy pages, recycled newsprint pages, watercolor papers (rough and smooth textures), black papers, brown papers, mixed media or all media papers, and actual canvas right off the roll cut to page size on my large paper cutter.

*All pages were cut to 8.5"x11"
Once I got them all sorted out in sections and an order I liked I used paint stir sticks to brace the pages and binder clips to hold them tightly together.
I painted several layers (5-6) of WeldBond glue on the edge letting it dry between coats. This forms a flexible binding and the pages can later be easily torn out with minimal or no damage.

I measured and created my own pattern to sew the soft book cover out of some very nice expensive fabric scraps left over from a job I did earlier this summer. I included a couple of pockets for my basic drawing supplies. The colors are gorgeous deep turquoise and chartreuse (the pictures don't do it justice). The inside is silky and the outside has a soft textured feel. The buttons are vintage (from my grandmother) and just happened to coordinate perfectly!
I used the same WeldBond glue to adhere the binding of the pages to the cover I sewed.
Sorry there's not more detailed info on the sewing as I just made it up as I went along, but I hope that this will inspire you to grab your supplies and create a special journal of your own.

I can't wait to sketch, journal, watercolor, paint, collage and more on these wonderful pages!

It was a DIY project I spent extra time on, but it is extra special so I'm very happy.

Achieving the Perfect Gray Wood Stain

Choosing the right shade of gray for your wood stain can be a tricky process but I do have a few tips to share with you that will help along the way.

The name of a stain color can be deceiving and the sample you see printed on a brochure or listed online can be very deceiving. Many "gray" or "charcoal" stains actually have a slight blue tint to them. I did not want mine to look blue so I had to do a bit of searching to find the right color.
It is best to look for your stain in store where you can see sample colors on actual pieces of wood. Please note that the wood you are starting with will affect the final color as well. For example, since I was working with un-treated un-painted white pine, which is a very porous wood, I needed to make sure to first apply a "pre-stain" to help prevent my actual stain from soaking in unevenly or blotchy.

Here I will share with you my list of supplies and how the process went.
I prepared my wood by lightly sanding with very fine sandpaper (depending on the condition of your wood you may need to do additional sanding). Wipe clean with damp cloth.

Using an old brush I applied the pre-stain following manufacturers directions. It went on clear and dried very quickly.

Almost immediately, I began brushing on the Cinder Stain (which was actually a stain and sealer in one) with a high quality stain brush.
Note: brush in the direction of your wood grain and keep a clean cloth (rag made from old white t-shirt is great) to wipe any runs or drips if necessary.

Multiple layers of stain will darken the final color. If you put your stain on too thickly it may be sticky, uneven and take longer to dry.    (patience & thin layers = better results)

*If your stain is not a stain and sealer in one you will likely want to finish with a clear protective top coat of polyeurothane, polycrylic, or finishing wax to protect your piece.

Clean your brushes right away and properly to make them last longer (with mineral spirits or paint thinner following manufacturers directions).

P.S. I love the GoJo soap for cleaning my hands  (helps to wear rubber gloves while staining too!)

Here are a few pics during & after the staining process.

Here again is the final piece! A gorgeous hand-crafted bed with the perfect gray stain.
I think I have found my new favorite stain color!

And the little boy this bed belongs to thought it was pretty cool so that made my day! His grandfather did an excellent job building it and I feel privileged that they asked me to do the stain work.

More Ways to Use Soda Can Roses.....for Teacher Gifts!

A friend of mine asked if I could make some pens with soda can roses on them and a couple of sets of soda can rose magnets that she could give as Teacher Gifts. I thought that was a great idea so I got a bunch of my supplies out to see what I could come up with for her.

Tip: this time on the roses I cut my circles out and lightly sanded them with sandpaper on both sides and spray painted them before cutting and quilling them into roses.

Pens: I used basic Bic pens with the roses hot glued to the top.
Tip: I also used the very end of the quilled rose to bend down slightly and wrap around the pen. I secured it with masking tape.
The entire pen is wrapped in coordinating  washi tape. Love this stuff! You can find all different colors and designs online or at local craft stores.

Magnet Sets: The roses are glued to strong round magnets with Weldbond glue. I thought it would be cute to use soup can lids as the holder for the magnet sets. I also drilled two small holes in the lid so that I could bend a small hanger out of craft wire to hang from jump rings for display. I love how it came out! I tied coordinating ribbon and jute rope around each hanger to finish.

Soda Can Roses


I'm so excited about this post! I have had this project in the works for such a long time and have procrastinated on getting the tutorial together and posted, but here it finally is in time to inspire your Spring and Summer Creativity!

I've been recycling and using soda cans and parts of soda cans since I was a kid. Back then I was makeing t-shirt clips (remember these from the 80's my friends, lol)

Guess I'm dating myself a bit but oh well....I am a product of one of the coolest music and movie eras ever and proud of it, by golly!

Well, I've updated my DIY projects since then and found that cutting out and rolling these simple roses from my saved stash of soda cans was the beginning of some unique and beautiful accessories.

So let's start by washing and saving some soda cans.

Now, maybe it's just me but isn't there something fabulous about having things in multiples!
(*Especially art supplies and crafty things!!!)
I LOVE having a ton of these roses laying on my art table to create with!!

From this point I used my roses to make refrigerator magnets, rings, necklaces, earrings, decorate picture frames, accessorize candles, make photo holders, and create an awesome ornament/decorative ball.
And this was only the beginning! There are so many more possibilities!

Here is my Supply List:
  • soda cans
  • box cutter
  • scissors
  • quilling tool
  • Glue: WeldBond, Gorilla Glue, Hot Glue
  • hot glue gun
  • magnets
  • Krylon spray paint
  • bottle caps (for necklace)
  • ring blanks
  • flat upholstery tacks (for the candle pick)
  • small wood blocks
  • drill & small drill bit, or hammer and small nail
  • craft wire & round nose plyers (for photo holder)
  • jewelry chain and findings
  • wooden picture frame decorated with scrapbook and acrylic paint
  • small soft toy ball (for ornament)

Want a closer look at some projects:

These are the types of glue I used:
WeldBond - strong, dries clear, long drying time
Gorilla Glue - strong, dries kindof brown color, long drying time
Hot Glue - not as strong, dries semi-clear, quick drying time

A couple more "process" images to help inspire your designs:

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it useful and inspirational.
I would love to hear from you and see pictures of all the things you create with "Soda Can Roses"
Happy Crafting!

Wax Resist Watercolor Collage

Every few weeks, our children's director at church allows me to come in and teach an art lesson for the kids during Wednesday night Kids Church. Brave lady, I know, I know! lol. Anyhoo....the lesson this week had to do with children obeying their parents so I used the scripture reference Colossians 3:20 "Children always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord."

Each time I get to create art with these enthusiastic kids I feel so blessed.
I want to show them new techniques and work with different artistic mediums and see their creativity flourish. This week we worked with waxy oil pastels, watercolors, recycled papers, and collage. I taught them about creating a "resist" and layering.

You will see in the examples below just how vastly creative their young minds are!

My precious daughters were my "test-run" participants while preparing the lesson.
So basically I cut up old dictionary pages (6.5"x9"). I designed my scripture square using some cool Typography and printed several out on watercolor paper. I played around with coloring different pictures and abstract designs on the dictionary page before painting over it with watercolors. Places that have oil pastel will not be covered or changed by the watercolor (can look especially cool in areas where white oil pastels are used). This method of coloring and painting can be done in multiple stages if time allows for drying between each.
Just look at that concentration.
The scripture squares can be colored or left plain.
*Recycling Note: You know those little wood pieces that always come in a little bag attached to the back of a canvas. Well, I had a TON of them that I saved (because I just knew I could use them someday). So I glued them on the back of the scriptures to create a spacer, adding texture and a little 3-D pop to the project!

 Thank you my lovely students!
And thank you lovely teachers and moms who helped, and participated! ;-)

Craft Day

My friend Jen came over a few days ago and we had a little Craft Day. Yay!

She shared some of her tips for making all kinds of homemade cleaners and detergents.

We even experimented with making our own homemade lip balm with some of the beeswax I had purchased to do more encaustic paintings.

These homemade goodies are truly fantastic! And fun to make. We raided my art supplies and Jen made some adorable labels for all of her containers.

Check out her wonderful blog and all kinds of recipes at SimpleHomeManaging

Other projects that happened on Craft Day:

I also got some crafty work done on a leather cuff for one of the band members at church.
Since I was stamping into black leather I had to rub white pigment into the impressions to make the letters visible. This created a nice grunge effect. I really like how it turned out.

The verse is Romans 8:31 "If God is for us, who can be against us."