Sunday, 5 December 2021

2021 Topic 15: Journaling Gratitude with EGL {by Ellie Knol}

2021 Topic 15: Journaling Gratitude

Ellie takes us through her spring inspired journal page about being thankful. She explores her design process with us, and I always think it's fascinating seeing how other creative minds work through design decisions. Enjoy her lovely blooms and spring colours.
~ Keren

Hi everyone, it's Ellie Knol with you today, and I'm here to share with you a journal page of course. Gratitude is a way of living life. It can be about what you have, or experienced; acknowledging gratitude in your life can be so freeing. Giving thanks with a grateful heart is a way of joyful living. 
I found this online: 'Gratitude is a warm feeling of thankfulness towards the world, or towards specific individuals. The person who feels gratitude is thankful for what they have, and does not constantly seek more'.
It can also be about the joy of crafting. Playing in my art journal certainly makes for joyful moments... it makes me happy, and thankful for the small things in life.

For this post today, I started out with a bit of exploration.
Initially I was going to use some waste paper from die cut leaves. I've made photographs of the possibilities and in the end the composition I chose to go by. I share a short video with all the ideas I tried and how I came to choose the composition of the page below.  

As I said in the intro.. some possibilities or ideas of the direction I could go with in today's  project. A collage of the pictures: 

The options...

You might want to view this short presentation of the pictures, as I also added some detail to it. Enjoy: you might recognize your own process in getting a pleasing composition. 
This was the layout of the page I had in my mind originally, but I kept moving all the elements around on the page, and ended up with the images not being grounded, and in a row... so I decided 'no'... I do like the color scheme and the soft colors though; a lot of white too.
I might regret my choice to not go with this idea. No worries... there's always more pages in my journal to use!

As shown above in the presentation I chose for this composition and took a picture of it before taking the elements off the page.
I do that often, so when adhering it in a later stage, I don't have to think about where to glue them down.


The start of the page is quite easy: applying grunge paste through stencil PS015, and of course I left it to dry thoroughly.

A coat of white gesso, and a spray with some glimmer mist followed.  I did some background stamping as well, and toned it down with gesso as shown.

The flowers from EGL13 were stamped, heat embossed in clear, colored and fussy-cut ... all ready to use on the journal page.
From here on I added one element at a time. A white die cut leaf, as a backdrop for the flower; it makes it pop more. 

Next a ticket, colored with the same green as the leaves on the flower cut outs. Dropping in droplets of the same color while still wet creates interest to it. 

Now for the second flower, peeking out from behind the white leaf.... 

...  a second die cut leaf partially covered by the ticket to break the line vertically to a reverse
L-shape ... 

... more tickets and more flowers... 

.. and finally all the elements right where I'd like to adhere them, including the title of the page created with the alphabet from Ink and the Dog Words plate 2 (W2). 

I am thankful it worked out .. I am pleased with the composition! 


Enjoy the pictures of the journal page: " be thankful ! "

The tickets from EGL17 are great to addition to any project that just needs a little something extra. 


There you are..  a page full of sunny color for the crafters in the southern hemisphere; it being spring there.
I learnt through the years that coating a page first with gesso can be such a good thing. Why? If you add too much color it won't soak into the paper, it's quite easy to dab it off while still wet. 
Also, for fussy cutting intricate images, you will need a good pair of scissors, otherwise it can be a frustrating thing to do. I use embroidery scissors.  

I will have to part with you for now. I hope I've given you some inspiration, and new ideas to go explore. Let us know .. Enjoy, and be grateful. 

Ellie Knol

Saturday, 4 December 2021

2021 Topic 15: Journaling Gratitude with ESN {by Keren Baker}

2021 Topic 15: Journaling Gratitude

Hi everyone, it's Keren Baker with you today, and I'm here to share with you a marble experiment.
It wasn't something that I chose to do- I was looking at my Sara Naumann sets and couldn't get the twig image out of my head and for some reason it just looked like a vein in a piece of marble. I'm not the greatest experimenter in the world, but my curiosity was piqued and I wondered how hard it was to create a faux marble finish with Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics. Turns out it was a reasonable challenge...which I loved. This is what I ended up with, trying hard not to cover up all the marble completely!

So to begin with I pulled several supplies, which turned out NOT be all the correct supplies, so here is my adjusted supply picture (with the exception of Drying Retarder (which turned out to be very important).

Please excuse the lack of colour on the following step by step photos. Honestly I struggled with it so much as I love colour, but rainbow marble really isn't a thing so I persevered. I was really helped by a video by Amy Howard. I didn't have the same supplies but learned a tonne from her and just fiddled with what I had until I ended up with something resembling marble.

So you need to paint some Heavyweight Smoothy with two layers of Snowflake (and with the amount of paint you're going to throw at this, you really want the Heavyweight!). You have to create a 'scumble' with paint, water and a glaze. It's an equal parts combo for all three of them. So I dabbed the paint on and tried to drag it with my fake 'natural sponge' and despite having 2 layers of Snowflake on the Smoothy it literally drank it up instantly. You can see that in the centre with the blue gray paint; the paint just didn't stay wet long enough to be moved around.

I needed more open time. The glaze is to make the paint more transparent without losing colour but it was drying too quickly, so I got out my bottle of Drying Retarder. I did one part water, one part Matt Glaze, one part paint and a drop of Drying Retarder. Oh, and if you like Hotel Chocolat Super Thin Mint Truffles, their leftover layers make awesome paint palettes!!

You're literally dabbing the paint mix with a sponge (but directionally diagonally) and then supposed to soften the edges with a lint free cloth. I just used baby wipes as I needed something that would help the paint to move and it seemed to work.

The idea is to create layers. I added in some White Fire and a little Elephant to make a different toned scumble and continued the sponging and blending.

Now you need to add a layer of Snowflake scumble- exactly the same proportions. You're making a softer, more homogenous layer of paint effect.

Literally dabble, dab and sponge. Until you're happy and now it's time for veining. Forget the recommended turkey feathers- I had my secret Sara Naumann stamp from ESN18

I presumed that you'd use a more neat paint mix as the veining is more obvious- but no, you just use a scumble of a darker colour, and blend it with a dry brush. I'd say move reasonably quickly when you've stamped your image onto some scumble mix on your craft mat, but the Drying Retarder does an awesome job of buying you time!

Don't like what you've done? No worries, add another layer of Snowflake and then more veining. A few videos I saw recommended that veining is kept to one direction and not to have lots of branching off it. But I reckon it's your project, so who cares?! You can see below I've added some more neat Snowflake if I really wanted to erase a dodgy area.

Here came the surprising part of the experiment. I had really given my piece of Smoothy a battering and it was pretty warped. I couldn't be bothered to wait overnight placing it under some weights, so I just stuck it between cutting plates and rolled it through my die cutting machine twice. I opened it up, and it suddenly had the loveliest sheen (which I struggled to capture in this photo). If your plates are marked, don't worry, it just gives more texture to the piece. I ran it through a few more times and the piece transformed into having a soft sheeny effect which really astonished me.

Here was the challenging part..creating something to fit in with the topic!! A few years back I made gratitude journals for friends and family so I thought something similar might be useful. I had chosen Sara's ESN49 set as it fitted perfectly with journalling gratitude.

I needed another alphabet to spell out gratitude - keeping the 'gr' a lighter colour I wanted to spell attitude out correctly (even though grattitude is obviously not spelled like that) as isn't it all about our attitude to our circumstances that results in our gratitude and thankfulness? I used Words 2 from Ink & The Dog which I normally use as a complete stamp but I had to chop it up to make it spell the sentiment (I'm now going to have to buy the stamp again so I can keep one as a background stamp!).
I cut out an aperture, stamped some of the brackets from the set above and set about creating a front cover for my journal.

You can see several of the details; the sewn edging (which if I'd realised, I'd have sewn after I punched the holes for the ring binding, and notice the Grunge Paste I added through stencil PS247.

It still looked a little bare, so I added a spray of leaves from ESN17 by colouring with Copic Markers, trimming out, adding highlights, beads and wire spirals!

To encourage people to write down what they were thankful for, I wanted to add lines and numbers. The more things we feel thankful for, the better. This page would be seen through the front aperture so after stamping on Duralar Matt, I added a turquoise page to give a hint of colour that you can just see through the front cover.

The pages were simple to construct, just using stamps from Sara's different set and using the original I&D Words 2 Alphabet to spell 'thankful'. All of the images are from ESN01, ESN17 and ESN18.

I just had to remember to stamp the right way when turning over the pages so the book 'read' the right's a shame I didn't take more care when stamping the musical notes image at the bottom!! Absolutely love the post card stamp from ESN17; sooo useful!

Gratitude is a practice, it's a way of life, it's a discipline and it makes everything else seem more in focus and balanced. I find it easy to slump into criticism or negativity if I'm not careful and something like this book really helps me to count my blessings. Commit to 28 days of gratitude and see how your mindset changes by the end of it- that's my challenge to you! I am also glad of chance to experiment and play with paint as I feel that it's an area I really to need to improve and work on, so this project gave me a chance to try something new. Paint effects are not needing to be stuck in the 1980's - I reckon this one is fine being dragged into today (although maybe not on my lounge walls!!)

Lovely to be with you again, have a thankful day.
Keren x

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