Thursday, February 18, 2016

Inspired by Calendar Art and Design

 {Celebrate calendar by Wendy Bentley }

I love the art and artists featured on calendars. And lately I've been going calendar crazy! I started with two early on in the year, and now with all the sales going on, I've bought four more! What am I going to do with all these calendars? Well, I get to keep the art! Art calendars are a great way to get a wide variety of art to frame at a great price. You can get a 12x12 frame for the typical square calendars and swap out the art regularly. I also love to see the art up close and see the techniques used, and get inspired by great art.

{ Curly Girl Design }
This is my second Curly Girl calendar and I want to frame many of this year's pages.

{ Kelly Rae Roberts }
There are some amazing pages from Kelly Rae this year, perfect for framing.

{ Today is Going to be a Great Day mini calendar }
The title says it all, "Words to Inspire, Art to Keep." These calendars feature great quotes by different artists. This also comes in a Page-A-Day version and large vertical format like below.
{ Today is Going to be a Great Day 2015 vertical }
I found last year's calendar, which I like better than 2016, on Ebay for a great price.

{ Simple Life calendar by Karen Good }
I'm so inspired by her brush work and texture, plus cute, creative layouts.
***Find these & more great calendars at the sites below. ***
Sign up for their newsletters to find out about great sales. ,,,..I want the Good Karma calendar by Stephanie Ryan
Lang Calendars .....I want the Lisa Kaus calendars
Page-A-Day ....I want the Zoe Ingram calendar
Day Spring the one by Amylee Weeks
All Posters ......want the Matisse calendar
Legacy Calendars .....I love the Do Good calendar by Jessica Flick
Ebay ....Find great deals on tons of calendars past and present

Featured Artists:
Kelly Rae Roberts
Curly Girl Design
Karen Good
Wendy Bentley

{ Calendar Project Idea }

{2014 Curly Girl mini calendar }
Here's a great calendar project idea to make. Instead of framing the calendar print, you can mount it on a plaque with decoupage or gel medium. Add wire or a ribbon to the top or back and you have some super cute wall art. For this one I cut a piece of MDF, painted it yellow with a black distressed border. Then I used Super Tacky Glue to adhere the aqua ribbon to the back.

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Thanks for stopping by today!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday: My Favorite Fall Place

It's starting to get pretty with the Fall colors around here! So for today's Throwback Thursday post, where I share older projects and photos, I thought I would share my favorite Fall Place. These photos were taken a few years ago at the state park in my hometown of Bemidji, MN. When colors are at their peak, this is the perfect place to go for a drive and walk on the trails at Bemidji State Park. The entrance driving into it is one of my favorite places to take pictures. Then the trails are so pretty too, like in the featured photo above. Even though I love Summer, Fall is always so beautiful in Minnesota and it makes me so I'm thinking it must be my favorite time of year!

{ The pretty entrance to Bemidji State Park. }

{ I love how the tree trunk and branches stand out against the colorful leaves. }

{ Love the colorful shots you get when looking up at the sky through the leaves! }

Hope I get some pretty shots this year! Stop by my Instagram page to see. Where are your favorite Fall places to take photos? I'd love to find out for possible future trips!

Happy Fall & Thursday to you!


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Monday, September 14, 2015

Live Your Dream Mixed Media Art

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Are you living your dream? I know I'm not yet, but I'm working on it. I think it's a good question to ask yourself regularly. And if you're not, do you know what your dream is? If you're not sure, some questions you may want to ask yourself are: What brings you the most joy? What is your purpose? How can you best serve the world? What are you most interested in and what comes easily to you? If you've got it figured out, then what steps you can take everyday to move you closer to your dream? Having an inspiring quote around your home may help you to remember to work on it, or if you are living your dream, to keep pushing yourself to be able to continue doing it.
I found an interesting article on Huffington Post about why you may not be living your dream life: The Real Reason You're Not Living Your Dream Life (And It's Not Time or Money). In it the author Alexis Sclamberg includes 7 excuses people make to justify why they're not living their dream:

Excuse #1: I don't have the money.
Excuse #2: I don't have time.
Excuse #3: I've already started down one path; I can't change direction.
Excuse #4: I'm too scared.
Excuse #5: People will judge me if I fail.
Excuse #6: I'm not _____ enough.
Excuse #7: I'm not ready yet.
I can relate to a few of those right now. My dream goal is to start selling art prints of my canvases and of my digital designs, on my own and also in shops. And then hopefully to license some of my work to be put on products. I've been selling mostly one of a kind and made to order signs and some wall art so far, and it's been a hard transition. Now I'm trying to focus on my long term goals and to not just continue with what I've been doing so far, what has worked for me in the past. Also, making the switch to focusing on Art and Design and extending my work, rather than on selling individual crafts and getting only that one time sale. The biggest hurdle and excuse for me is believing that people will want to buy my prints (excuse #6 and #7), and not just my original signs or canvases, which has led to me procrastinating quite a bit. I think referring to that article when I'm stuck will help.
Now onto my canvas quote art. I wanted to go for a really doodly, textured look in warm colors. This mixed media canvas features a honeycomb pattern, flowers, spirals and hand lettering. The materials used include: acrylic paint, paint marker, stencil, stamps, chalk pencils, charcoal pencils, colored pencils, texture tool, acrylic ink and archival stamping ink. I really wanted to give it a complex textured look, so there's lots of layers, doodles, speckles and texture sponging using my favorite texture tool.
{ I added some doodles and colors to the black letters }

{ I made some spirals with white and black charcoal pencils }

{Here you  really see the doodles, texture and stamping }
I want to leave you with a few of my favorite inspiring quotes about dreams:
"Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow." - Doug Firebaugh
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." - C. S. Lewis
"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." - David Frost
"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls." - Joseph Campbell
"If you can dream it, you can do it." - Walt Disney
P.S. Follow my #DareToDream board on Pinterest for quotes and inspiration!
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Monday, August 31, 2015

My Favorite Little Quote Books

I just got the second book in a series of quote books I love. They are the perfect little books of quotes, measuring only about four inches square. I like to keep mine on the table next to my chair in the living room. That way I can flip through them regularly for inspiration. There are so many creative artists and quotes featured; there are 400 pages with tons of quotes by a variety of artists. Not only are there quotes, but also happy little tidbits such as lists, recipes and inspiring people listed throughout. I found mine in a great local gift shop, but I have spotted the "Think Happy" book at the chain store Francesca's. I have provided the Amazon links below, check them out! They would also make a great gift for quote or design lovers.

You Are Doing a Freaking Great Job 2015

My favorite artists in this edition:

Becca Cahan  (in both books)
Veronica Chen  (in both books)
Aimee Myers Dolich of Artsyville
Unraveled Design (also in other book)
Lindsay Hopkins of Pen and Paint (in both), who made this quote below:

Think Happy, Be Happy: Art, Inspiration, Joy 2013

My favorite artists in this edition:

Alyssa Nassner
Steph Baxter (in both books)
Jessie Schneider of Yellow Button Studio (in both books)
Emily McDowell, also the cover designer (also in both)
Katie Daisy, who created this quote below:


Hope you have a happy day :)


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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dare To Be Different Glittery Sign

Sometimes it's fun to just add a lot of glitter to your project! This sign started out cute with my hand lettering and stamped leaves, but it got so much better with some sparkle. I went over my title with a plum purple glitter glue, but it wasn't standing out enough from the brown, so I added a layer of pink on top. Then I went over the leaves in a lime glitter glue and added multi-colored glitter centers to make it pop. I used two to three layers on each glittery area to fill it in more. The bottom lettering was in white, but I went over it with a gold paint marker, which made the letters stand out more, rather than just putting the gold directly on the dark background. I finished it with gold dots accenting the leaves.

A close-up of the sign, which is still available as of this posting date in my Etsy shop. 
Post links to your glitter projects, I'd love to take a look!
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Diamond Rio Concert Layout

For today's Throwback Thursday post, I have a favorite old concert scrapbook layout. It's of a Diamond Rio concert from all the way back in 1998. This was when their song Unbelievable was out, which is such a fun song that I still love! It was an especially great concert, because we had front row center stage seats! And so some of the photos are of a weird angle, because they were right above us.

I really like the way this turned out, because of the fun techniques I used, and also the diamond patterns to mimic the band name. First, I created the title and journal block and printed it out on a transparency. I attached them with brads, adding blue strips and yellow paint behind the title. Then on the second page I painted the back in a swatch of red, which made the lettering stand out. I printed my favorite songs on colored paper and cut into them into paper strips, attaching with brads also. For the red background, I stamped a diamond foam stamp into a pattern using clear Versamark Ink and then I darkened it slightly with a cotton ball and black chalk. The black background was stamped with another foam stamp and royal blue paint. Then I distressed it with a stipple brush and black ink, adding specks of yellow paint using an old toothbrush. A yellow mat and blue paper borders finish off the layout.

This is what the pages look like together. I love making concert scrapbook pages and listing my favorite songs of theirs at the time. It brings back such good memories. I have seen them one more time since in concert, but I would still love to see them again.
Have a great day :-)

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Digitizing Hand Lettering in Illustrator

Lately I've been using my hand lettering on my projects more and more. One reason I like using it is it makes my art and crafts more unique and personal, and with a lot of practice it's been getting better. Another reason is that it can be quicker than using fonts, because of the time spent picking out fonts, designing the quote and cutting out vinyl. Well, for the shorter quotes and smaller signs anyway. But it can be taxing on your hands, and the paint markers I use aren't readily available, I have to order them online and I'm always running out. So, the idea came to me about digitizing them, which means turning them into vector images, so I could use them over and over again!

It seemed like a daunting task to attempt, but I was kinda excited about it. I would have to create it using Adobe Illustrator, and wasn't very experienced with it. I had originally taken a class in it in college, but I never really mastered it, I was only comfortable with some of the basics. And even though I was already using it to make most of my quote signs, I wasn't very good at manipulating vectors. Then, I happened upon a site called Skillshare and I signed up for a trial to take a class by Bonnie Christine about making patterns in Illustrator, another interest I had and wanted to learn. To my surprise, she went over the Illustrator basics, plus how to use the shortcuts and was a great teacher! I was excited to be learning so much and it didn't seem so hard anymore. Plus, I was happy to find Skillshare, which is a really great site. There are so many skills you can learn on there with their video tutorials, including skills by hand such as calligraphy, to Photography lessons, to software lessons like Photoshop.

I started drawing my lettering in a sketchbook (see above) with Microns (08, 1 & 2), which ended up taking quite a bit of time. I would do so many letters a day, and I wanted to make more than one of each letter, so I ended up drawing a LOT of letters! But it was worth it, I wanted the variety! Then, I took another class on Skillshare, which was also about making repeat patterns, it's called Reign Repeats by Majo Bautista V. (links below). She also had many tutorials that were helpful, so I was gaining more confidence in Illustrator.

The last class I took to help me with Illustrator was a new one that showed up on Skillshare. It's a font class called Create Your Own Hand Drawn Font by Jenn Coyle. It sounded so exciting to me, because I love fonts and I always hoped to create my own font. She makes digitizing your lettering seem pretty easy, utilizing scanning, Photoshop tricks and Illustrator live trace and shortcuts. Well, it helps if you already know the software some. The last part of the class is on using an app called Glyphs to turn your lettering into a font, which seems to be the trickiest part of the process. And then I found out it was only for Macs, so I went ahead and created my lettering without converting it into an actual font. Hopefully someday I will though! I checked out her website Hello Brio and found her blog tutorial about making a font, so I included the links to both below:

This is her font tutorial on her blog.

Otherwise, you can take her Skillshare Class.

This is a preview of some of my lettering I digitized in Illustrator. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out! I am going to use this lettering on a coffee cup quote print. I also made the coffee cup to go along with it, just quickly adding some random colors and patterns to it for fun. I originally drew the cup on an iPad with the Inkpad app and then cleaned it up in Illustrator.

I hope to finish some of my quote prints soon, and then I'll share them here. Please check out the links to view some Skillshare classes. If you would like to give it a try, my link for a free month is below :)

Have a fantastic day!


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Classes for learning Adobe Illustrator basics:

These are the classes I took, there are even more Illustrator classes on Skillshare.

~Intro To Surface Pattern Design: Learn Adobe Illustrator | Create Patterns by Bonnie Christine.

~Reign Repeats: Create Perfect Repeat Patterns in Illustrator by Majo Bautista V.