Art Therapy for Stampers

I was so excited when I took a workshop with an Art therapist that I have enjoyed learning about Art Therapy!

Why Art therapy helps with anxiety and other mindfulness activities? The idea is to useArt Therapy to get to the other side of things, to help keep your emotions intact so that you can talk about your feelings through color, shapes, and lines (design elements.)

 I think Art Therapy is the best for working through your emotions. 

So here are some of my thoughts and how I am making it work with my stamp collection.

1. I wanted to use exercises from 250 brief Creative Practical Therapy Techniques 
~ I focused on the self-esteem and anxiety chapters to start with. (I did the exercises from that book that I thought would help me the most first.)

2. I found stamps and other ideas to make art journal pages, I picked the stamp because I had an emotional attachment to it, so I utilized that to help me!

3. I had absolutely no rules, just to paint, and to be mindful of what and how I was feeling when I was painting it.

4. Art Journal, I wasn't in the mindset to play with new techniques, just to play with the medium to see what happens on the paper. I wanted my stamp- art therapy session to be uplifting, and a place that would make me happier and a bit more at peace with my soul. Art Therapy with my stamping and paper supplies helps me with that!

If I liked what I painted, I did cut the paper to size and then I made them into a card.

Rainbow burst Techinique

The vibrancy and translucent properties to watercolor have makes my heart sing for sure

These cards are so easy to make!

a bit more tips on Liquid watercolor:

use lots of water and play with the water to pigment ratio!

Use a clean wet brush when changing up colors.

Learn to control liquid watercolor by learning to not control it, let the pigment blend on paper!

Keep it simple! what you are really doing is creating a wash, and playing with colors. Have fun painting and you find lots of beautiful things about watercolor!

I like to keep a stock of watercolor card panels cut to the size that I like to use, so when I want to play with color I have paper ready to go!

Use mater to create gradients with the pigment!

These paintings look like a lot of work, but I let the three pigments do all the work, I chose a Cyan, Magenta, and a Cool/Lemon Yellow. from Taylored Expressions, the colors were called Lollipop, Lemon Meringue, and Cookie Monster. So for less than $15 I can get a whole bunch of colors and play out of those tubes of liquid watercolor! So fun right?!!!

So do you use liquid watercolor? if so I would love to learn more about how you use it. If you are afraid of liquid watercolor, what is stopping you from playing with it?

Happy Painting! 

Two fold Joy: 5 Minute color meditaion

Got 5 minutes to play with color? Of course, you do!

I love color and pattern play, This is a simple 5-minute card, and yet it's so fun and artsy to make. I consider this a two-fold joy card: I get to play with color and that gets me in a happy mood, and I get to give this to my son's Speach pathologist and Occupational therapist! Win-win!

I got this Rainbow Idea from Lisa Solomon's class over at Creativebug, you guys she is amazing and so talented!

The liquid watercolor and stamps came from Taylored Expressions. I love their stamps for sentiments!

For the water media mat, I used the Waffle flower Media mat - that I love!!!
This color play is fun for art journaling as well!


some links have affiliated links when you click on a link you are supporting my blog by purchasing a class or buying from WaffleFlower.

creativity and time managment- Case Study allert!

In this blog post I am going to answer these questions:
How do we create more opportunities to use our creativity?
Why we need creativity in our life right now?

these cards are all ones I have colored from stamping
ahead of time and coloring them during jury duty! 
Do you stamp things on card panels and then stuff them in an envelope so that when you have a chance to paint or color you can whip a card panel out and color it? Yep, that is what I did with this card.

I actually got called to Jury Duty, and while preparing for the long day I brought my envelope with card panels and off I went. The jury selection took 3 days! I was not chosen and can home with some panels that Ic ould embellish and make into cards.

So often I hear: I want to create, but don't know how? or I go into my craft room or studio with plans to create and I just end up "watching TV or killing an hour on Facebook or Pinterest. I get it. totally get it! Been there, done that a lot!

I love vintage garage sale stamps!
this is one of my favorite garage sale finds!
When I hear of other card makers that are more doer's than thinkers, I started studying what they do to be more like the doers than the Thinkers. I believe it's in time management.

I looked back at my Jury selection days (very long 3 days) and when I first busted out my watercolor markers I was sitting by an older lady that is a retired school teacher. she didn't want to color but wanted to watch me, ok I said and that was that. I was a bit fearful of getting out my colors like a little girl and started coloring. I was fearful of what others may have thought. (so silly right?) and yet I had started more conversations, It started to turn into talking about creativity and it broke the ice in so many levels I was convinced that if we all carried around colors and a sketchbook the world would be a better place!

The second day, I ended up sitting next to business gentlemen. In my mind I was thinking, well, he isn't going to be much of a conversation starter, I might as well color. He starts talking to me about creativity and asks me questions and we had a lovely conversation.

I really believe that creativity breaks down walls.  Creativity is so much part of humanity that when we are in the act of creating it connects each other just by drawing, or sketching or coloring. Creativity is a wonderful way to break the ice. It's as if you are breaking the ice for other's to see that life is really sweet even if you are waiting for days for the jury selection to be selected! hah!

Why we need creativity in our life right now?

How can we create more opportunities to use our creativity?

Loads of studies have shown that we need to be using our creativity for mental and brain growth and function.
Basically, the more creativity that we use the better our mental state will be.

Or heaven forbid creativity is an outlet for so many people.
Creativity plays a huge part in being mindful.

Take my simple example of busting out my well-loved envelope of card panels with my watercolor markers, I opened doors to communication faster than trying to make small talk with strangers. I was very mindful at the time of coloring, that mindfulness helped pass the time not just for me but for the people that were watching me. It helped make light of a situation that no one wanted to be in.

We need that well-loved manila envelope that has card panels to color because it brings joy into our lives and others. Creativity is meant to be shared.

Day 3- I sat by two nice ladies and offered to let them color along with me. Creativity is meant to be shared! Share Joy- right?

How do we create more opportunities to use our creativity?

1. Go to a family gathering- have a reason to make a card or a painting for a family member You might be surprised that the next time you see them they say- I framed that small card or painting you gave me, I love it so much, thanks for thinking of me. That will give you more momentum to paint more, and share more. I love what Julie Cameron
 says in Walking in this world:
Contemplating a piece of work, we do better to think who is this work for? Whom will it serve? rather than How will it serve me? Once we find a path for our work to be of service—even if that path is merely to create a wonderful role for a friend—then our work goes smoothly forward. It is not about “us” anymore. We have retired as self-conscious creator and aligned ourselves again with all of creation, a worker among workers, a friend among friends. When we do so, our work is less buffered by our own harsh fears. Our fears are set aside every time we simply ask again, “How can I make this work more serviceable?”
Cameron, Julia. Walking in This World (Artist's Way). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is one of the many reasons I love to make cards to give to others!

2. Having the end in mind. When creating more Opportunites to be creative and to use our creativity what we are really saying is that I have something to say that needs to be put into an art form. So be strategic about it. You bought a stamp, or a tube of paint for a reason- use it! I love the quote that says, the only Paint wasted is when it's left inside the tube. So paint, draw, art journal it! You will be glad you did. Don't let your materials go unused! 

3. Plan.  I knew that I was going to have a whole day of waiting around for the jury selection. So I brought my stamped panels in my well-loved manila envelope to pull out and color. I planed on having some time to create even when it wasn't the perfect place. (I doubt there is ever a perfect place to create at.)

Other ideas to help facilitate creativity: 
cut paper to the size you need, before you want to make a project. I can't tell you how helpful, liberating, and freeing it has been to cut up a whole package of 12x12 paper for cards! or how helpful it has been to paint 5x7's when the paper is already cut for you!
  Doing a little bit of prep work goes a long way.
Another best practice to create more Opportunites to be creative is to have your creative space always clean and ready to go!

I hope this blog post has given you back some mojo and you are feeling excited to get back into stamping and coloring! I know I sure am!

Happy Creating!

Share more than just Kindness

When sharing your cards with others do you get a sense of what you are really doing? it's 2 fold joy! 

Here are my insights: when we share kindness through a card it's so much more than just a card:

Kindness matters so much in our world. I am so happy to have this stamp from Taylored Expressions. Sentiments are so much more than just the words, The typography is perfect for this card.

Crafting a simple and sweet card to give to someone that has helped you is the essence of card making, the thought that came back to me often when making these card and other cards like it is, it is a wonderful world where I can show my gratitude for someone by using my talents to brighten up someone's day just by sending a card to them, It's as if  the universe is yelling at you- use your creativity to brighten up someone else's day! I love it! 

I used Taylored Expressions' Plant KIndness stamp- I fell in love with it as soon as it was released and had to buy it!

I used my Silhouette PixScan to cut the kindness and banner out- crazy easy how that works look into it if you haven't. I make cards so much faster now that I have PixScan!

Let's talk about paper for a sec.

I used paper that I got in 2012. Yep, it was time to use it up. I am done hoarding paper. It seems like I want tons of paper but only uses a little bit, Does that sound like you too?

 Now if the paper "speaks" to me and I can find a simple way to use it up, it's cut before I can have doubts about cutting it up.  Easier said than done!

Prep work is worth its weight in gold

Here is a great tutorial for you on how this lady cuts her paper up before she starts to use it. I love it. I got this idea from a Stamping up demonstrator- a dear friend that says every time she gets a new package of designer paper she cuts it up into usable pieces. Since I have started cutting up my paper into more usable pieces I am so surprised at how much faster the process of making cards have been for me! Prep work is worth its weight in gold!

For me, it's two-fold when using up a pack of designer paper- I am able to use it for what I really want to use it for- (Cards) and... I get to see the paper as it is for designing purposes, all the while I am saving myself lots of time by not second-guessing which piece of precious paper I might use up. if it's cut, it's done, right? hah! No more thinking about if I should or shouldn't cut it up!

I took a stack of paper that I recently cut up from My Minds Eye I had 6 years ago. and started to play with pattern paper and backgrounds. I came up with a simple way of making banners and adding my stamped embellishment to the paper panel that will become my card.

If you want to learn how to use pattern paper like a pro I totally recommend this class from MyBluPrint.

Asking What if? Is really like saying to yourself  I am ready to push my limits just a bit further.

I was hesitant to cut all my beautiful paper up to start with. I really want to create with it... What if... Asking What if is really like saying to yourself  I am ready to push my limits just a bit further. So what if my paper gets cut? It's not like your paper owes you anything right? It's meant to be used even if you don't love what came from it.

I am so happy I cut it up and used it! These cards are going to be perfect to send to friends that brighten up my day!

What have you done that changed the way you have been making cards? I would love to know! this is just one of many ways I have learned to use prep work to make my workflow easier!

I am sharing these cards over at Fusion Card Challenge- it's all about Kindness cards!

Watercolor vs Copic- a Friendly Discussion

I am a watercolor lover. I love how the pigment wooshes with the water on the paper, I love seeing the pigments mix and blend on the paper, its a surprise and I love when it works out beautiful without too much caressing. Every time I play with watercolor I feel like I am bringing into my life peace, the kind that makes me giddy, so I have to share it!

I love stamps that will share all the beautiful properties that watercolor can do. This stamped image for a card was perfect for watercolor!
one of my favorite ways to play with watercolor! 
I used Qor Watercolor, and love the simplicity that watercolor brings, I love how the watercolor gives an atmospheric look to it, and that you don't have to fuss too much to make this watercolor card panel look beautiful!

I have a good friend that loves to color with Copic Markers, Chris over at Purple Lake Stamps and I got together and thought we would share our completely different styles with you! She is coloring this stamp with Copics and will explain why she loves Copic Markers, on the flip side, I am sharing why I love watercolor!

Go to Chris's blog to see why she loves Copic Markers and a video tutorial that will show you how she colored the Stamp with Copics. One Stamp, two different styles.

So I would love to know, do you color with both? I have used both, I am drawn to watercolor for all the amazing effects you can achieve with it.

Do you love watercolor for the same reason?
Why do you like Copics? (I am sure I am missing something about why Copics are so amazing. I am just not buying it.)

I love this class, Highly recommended!
I would love to know your insights, leave a comment below, and if you are new to Watercolor, follow me on Facebook, or follow me on my blog, I post lots of great resources for beginners!

On another thought, I love using Mixed Media paper and Archival ink to stamp images for card panels. So if you are new to watercolor cards, get a good pad of Mixed Media paper and some Archival ink and you will be set!

Looking to learn more about watercolor? I have lots of great tutorials and resources:

CreativeBug has some wonderful watercolor artists that offer classes

I love Craftsy or Bluprint, they have wonderful watercolor classes that fit your interest!

Angela Fehr has a wonderful class that I have mentioned above, click here for the class. This is my favorite class for watercolor cards.

BlickArts has a great deal on watercolor and free shipping when you spend $35 (just in time for back too school)

Free shipping on orders of $35 or more.  Exclusions apply.

Paint a Background while learning color theory

This is one of my favorite ways to paint a background, especially when I am learning color theory (learning how other colors work together) This is a fun way to learn what colors blend well with other colors and it makes for a wonderful background for a card!

I would love to know if you have played with watercolors just to see how color reacts to each other, it's really a transforming and magical experience. I have found so many fun color combos that make me happy when I get to mix them on paper.

I love Taylored Expressions Background stamps. I can't get enough of them! Here is the link to this stamp

Happy creating!

Summer Fun

Blogging is a very intuitive practice. I seem to have left out that I am a Stay at Home Mom. So during the summer, I sketch, and "play" I work on my technique in watercolor and then paint outside often.

The flip side to summer is that I have 3 kids that I love. We are at the zoo, Science Center, and our local small amusement park. Summer is full of happy and fun memories.

My outlook on this blog is that I am sharing with the world my journey into watercolor and paper crafting as a Mother, and hope that it helps others become creative and that the creativity empowers others to create a bit more Joy in their life!

So because I do feel like this creative process is all about living in the moment and creating beautiful memories, I wanted to share some of my pictures I have taken over the summer. I hope that once school starts I can post once or twice a week. Because my youngest is going into kindergarten. It's bittersweet for me, I have been home with a child all day for 10 years! So it's going to feel so different in less than 5 weeks.  I don't want this summer to get away without my children knowing  My husband and I gave them one of the best summers. I do think creatives are a special- special, only because I can be excentric most days.

So My question to you, is What are you doing this summer to stay creative? Sometimes I think just playing around and giving your children your world is filling our hearts with pure imagination.

Adventureland fun

I am growing a mermaid. #FinFun

How doesn't like selfies with Giraffes? Love Blank Park Zoo!

Riding the new Phenix ride at Adventureland! 

Workshop I was at with the DSM Public Library

Painting at the library is a thing right?

Teaching my children how messy making Truffles can be!

We were able to visit HalMark's Visitor Center! Worth it for sure!

My daughter's favorite Sirius XM channel: The Beatles.

Best Summer movie! We cried at the end, it was so Sappy!

American Gothic is just a small day trip away...

5 minute summer floral cards

I don't know about you, but for us, it's all summer here, we are sleeping in later and later because we are going to bed later and later! So Summer Cards are bright and fast! This one has been really fun to watercolor!

Hibiscus pretty in pink, yes Please, I am smitten with this stamp! love the ease of flipping the stamp to get a mirror effect! All I need is like two maybe three colors to paint with and it looks like I spent forever making this card! (less than 20 min. for the whole creation of it! (my kind of card!)

anyways I know I have spent lots of blog posts floral stamps, but I just can't get enough of it! Here are some other cards I have made with this Hibiscus stamp

I am also entering this card into the Case Watercolor challenge

Let me know if you want a tutorial on how I did any of these, I would love to share!

a Parable of a young Piano student and why it helped me to keep painting

As I was reading this morning and taking in the long to-do list that as a Stay at home mom I have when really I just want to paint.   this story tugged on my heart strings:

This is to all the teachers, and mentors out there! Thank you!

the story of a young piano student

 His mother, wishing to encourage him, “bought tickets for a performance of the great Polish pianist, Paderewski. The night of the concert arrived and the mother and son found their seats near the front of the concert hall. While the mother visited with friends, the boy slipped quietly away.
“Suddenly, it was time for the performance to begin and a single spotlight cut through the darkness of the concert hall to illuminate the grand piano on stage. Only then did the audience notice the little boy on the bench, innocently picking out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.’
“His mother gasped, but before she could move, Paderewski appeared on stage and quickly moved to the keyboard. He whispered to the boy, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And then, leaning over, the master reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side, encircling the child, to add a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized.
“In our lives, unpolished though we may be, it is the Master who surrounds us and whispers in our ear, time and time again, ‘Don’t quit. Keep playing.’ And as we do, He augments and supplements until a work of amazing beauty is created. He is right there with all of us, telling us over and over, ‘Keep playing.’”

Reference 1, 2

I thought this story was worth sharing. I am feeling as if sometimes my simple paintings are no better than a simple twinkle twinkle litter star played on a piano. Sometimes we need that gentle reminder that we have the ability to keep playing, keep painting, keep making beautiful art, even if you as the artist may not think it's that's great! 

This story also came at a great time in my painting journey, as I am learning about all the ways to play and develop my style of art, I am grateful for the constant encouragement when there are days I just want to say enough, this isn't for me, I keep going and feel better once I put some paint onto paper! 

seeking my joy in watercolor

Mother Daughter 9x12

 I told myself two days ago, how I am not ever going to get good enough to get into a juried show, the last two summers I have tried, (recommended by friends and family)


I just found out that my artwork didn't get accepted into a Juried Show, and I felt like as a stay at home mom/artist, that the only thing I am truly good at is only doing dishes and laundry! funny now, but as the tears of a broken heart came flooding onto my morning pages, I felt so sad!

So I took a morning to make truffles, and play with paper, but it still didn't fill me up with the joy I was seeking. It did help me process the heartbreak, but it didn't fill me up with joy like I was hoping it would. Does that mean Watercolor is my passion? Yes! without a doubt Yes!

Shine Bright, 8x10.
I may not ever be in a juried show, and I am all right with that. I don't think Van Gough or Grant Wood was like, I am painting this masterpiece because I want to be in a juried show. That is not how Creativity works.

No, I Believe that creativity, pure-raw- god given creativity comes when you feel it. You feel like I just have to show the world how I would play, paint, dance, sing because it's so beautiful, inspiring and perfect that someone has to share it.

That is watercolor for me. I see colors, and shapes, and I think this needs to be preserved, It' so beautiful I want to paint it, and only I can make it work.

So I have two pieces I was hoping that would make it into a show, I guess I will frame it and look at it every day and remind myself that I had fun painting these and that is what really mattered.

It does feel good to get this out into a blog post.

Blue Bird, (working on my style with help from Kateri Ewing)
Going forward I will paint the way I want to paint, and if that means no juried shows, then I am all right with that, at least I am painting for my joy, and for the process that creativity brings with it!

Watch out because Here I come, dancing on to the beat of my drum!

So there you go, I am learning what creativity is all about!

I would love to know how you process creative heartbreaks, do you do artist's dates? do you have to cut up paper because it makes you feel better playing with color and pattern?

Have you had your epiphany of how you do things and don't care about what others may say because you have your own way of doing things?

No? just me? I hope not, let's see where all this leads! I feel like every time I dip my brush into my curated pallet that Only I have made, makes me feel like I own my creativity, and that creative high is always there for me! (I know I am a tad bit crazy!)

Simple Masking: Christmas cards

Stencils are essential tools for masking in my toolbox of tricks and tricks. I love being able to make a quick background with them for cards and other art journaling fun!  This blog post is part of a challenge that I am in called the ABC's of Christmas

 I used a Taylored Expression's stencil and Sentiment to make this simple card, the Die I used is an oval and it worked well for this card. I needed something extra so I added some twine.

For the background I used the stencil and added spun sugar distress ink to it, then went in with picked raspberry to give it a softer look, I also used antique linen for the bottom of it. (tutorial to come!)
 This card was the same process like the one at the very top, I use a Christmas stencil with snowflakes, and added clear embossing powder and heat set it. Then went in with Blue Jean blue distress ink and wilted violet and black soot to give it that winter's night look! (beautiful!)

Designer tip: I use Bristol paper, it blends the ink oh so well, (too well, sometimes) it's my favorite substrate (paper) to blend ink on. I love it and can't get enough of it, It's the best bang for the price, especially when it's on sale!

Masculine Card- Little Blue Truck

Do you have boys in your home? If so, it's not hard to come up with some easy Father's day cards. Now, I know most mothers my age are doing monster father's day cards, which I may do as a tag for the presents, there is still time right?

Anyways Inspiration for this card came from the Little Blue Truck book, I have read this every night for two years straight. it's near and dear to my heart, has a lovely moral to it, and is just fun to read to my little guy.

The stamps set is perfect for this card, it has three sizes of the same truck. Perfect for making a stamped background and then having a focal point to color, and to have a cohesive look. An easy way to not have to think about a layout! (perfect for me, since my brain energy is taken up by a million and one questions from my very inquisitive son.)

While I had my inks out for the other card I just posted, I thought let's do this card with inks too. So I used Blue Jeans and walnut stain (re-inker) to watercolor the truck, and then used black soot to make the page look worn, and old.

For the background, I used the medium size truck stamp and stamped it multiple times in the blue jeans blue ink then waited for the ink to dry, then lightly blended the same blue on the panel, then I went in with brown and black to give it some darkness (I wanted the Blue Truck to be the focal point here.)

If you want a tutorial for this I would be happy to make one, just comment below and tell me what your favorite little boy book is, I am always needing a new book to read to my boys!

Masculine card~Wild Ride!

When it comes to masculine cards, I know for my self, (can't speak for anyone else) that less is more. I had about three ideas for this card, and this simple one is the one I chose. the other's lost its point of the card. (which in my mind, it says Want to ride this fast bike?)

We are a Harley family. and so it was a simple color scheme and a simple card layout. I don't think masculine cards need any sentiments on the outside- personal preference.

I used Wild Ride that my dear friend gave me, the payback is some beautiful cards that I have made and will send to her today!

I used distress inks to make the background for the bike I used the ink to watercolor the background.  (carved pumpkin and Mustard seed)

Then stamped the black panel with tire markings from the stamp set. and inked the edges so it looked "polished"

This is going to be a Father's day card for my Husband. I have another one that I made that I love, (that will be from my kiddo's) I will post that tomorrow.
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