Documented Life Project- Week 41

The art challenge for week 41 in the Documented Life Project was: “Polka Dots”.

If you have not already read it, you need to see {this post} I wrote about the process I used to print the black surrounding the polka dots using my gelli plate. The tiger picture was cut from an advertising mailer from National Geographic and the background surrounding the tiger was a page from a magazine advertising a safari vacation. This was a fun one to do.

Polka Dot Tiger Gelli Print



I’ve been doing a lot of sorting and decluttering in my craft stuff lately. I found these large buttons that I’ve had for a long time and decided I needed to use those for my dots. They made me think of balloons. I used oil pastels for my background because I’ve been wanting to try them out.

Button Polka Dots

Documented Life Project- Week 40

The art challenge for Week 40 in the Documented Life Project was to: “Paint or color with three colors you never use.”

I don’t think that there are three colors I never use, but I tried to think of three colors that I would seldom use in combination with each other– at least as the dominant colors in a project. The three colors I thought of were olive green, brown, and golden tan. I realized that those were the colors used most often for camouflage clothing and other things used by outdoorsmen. Since camouflage is supposed to make a person or object covered in it blend into the surrounding leaves and vegetation, I decided to paint some maple leaves as though they were wearing camouflage. These were done in watercolor.

Camo Leaves



I use all kinds of different colors but these are ones I don’t feel strongly about. I picked the colors then had to decide what to do. My Hubby said to draw something from Batman (we had been watching the new show, Gotham).

Colored Pencils

I think the guy who plays Penguin is awesomely creepy, so I decided to draw him. I used some colors other than the three above obviously, but those were the colors that got me started.DLP-Week-40-M

Using Paper Punches With Gelli Prints

I like to experiment with my creativity tools to find new ways of using what I already have. Sometimes it leads to a mess, and sometimes it leads to a new discovery. I wanted to make a gelli print with very small circles in which the space around the circles was what printed and the space inside the circles did not. I knew I could do it with big paper circles as masks (see this post) by laying down the circles on the gelli plate, rolling paint over them and picking up the circles before pulling my print (like the picture below.)

Paper Circles Gelli Print

So I decided to try putting small circles cut from a regular paper hole punch on the gelli plate, roll paint over it and then quickly try to pick up each tiny circle before the paint dried. On my first attempt, I covered the whole gelli plate with small paper circles. After trying to pick up several circles (unsuccessfully trying to pick them up without leaving a finger smudge), I decided that my plan would not work. There would be completely dried paint on the gelli plate before I got all the circles off. So I just placed a piece of paper over the whole thing to pull off as much paint as possible and was very surprised when the print on the paper was just the look I was going for! I think that the paper circles had absorbed more of the paint and maybe even started to dry a little so the print picked up the paint from around the circles on the gelli print. I tried the process again to see if it was just a fluke– and this time took pictures.

First step was to cut plain paper circles with a regular hole punch. Then I randomly laid them on the gelli plate, gently pushing on the paper to make sure it suctioned to the gellli plate. Otherwise when I rolled the brayer over it with paint, the circle would stick to the brayer.

paper punched circles gelli plate

The next step was to roll paint over the circles using a brayer.

paint on paper circles gelli plate

I let that sit for a few seconds (holding to my theory that the paint needed to soak into the paper and dry a bit).  I placed my paper over the gelli plate, rubbed the back of the paper and then pulled the paper up to see the print and this is what happened. (Disclaimer: This may have been a different print pulled from different dots from the two photos above. I did several and may not have matched them up right!)

pulling gelli print punched paper circles

I also wanted to see how this process would work on some other types of paper. This one was gelli print on a map paper.

gelli printed map paper circles

Then I tried some old book paper. More of the paint on top of the paper circles transferred to the book paper (perhaps because the old book paper had a rougher texture than the map or regular copy paper I was using before.)

gelli printed book paper

I tried a more delicate punch and covered the gelli plate with small paper snowflakes.

Snowflake punches gelli print

This is what the ghost print looked like (ghost prints are subsequent prints pulled after the first one without adding more paint).

Snowflake Ghost Print Gelli Plate

I punched out some small paper butterflies and used slick magazine pages for my print paper.

Gelli Print ButterfliesGelli Print Butterflies Magazine Paper

I’ll show you in another post the project I originally had in mind for a Documented Life Project challenge when I started playing with this technique. Do you have small paper punches and a gelli plate on hand? Give this technique a try and leave a note in the comments about how it worked for you. If you don’t have a gelli plate, you can make your own gelli plate and start creating fun designs of your own.

Sew a New Christmas Tradition

When I was a child, Christmas took forever to arrive. Now as an adult the time flies by so quickly I am once again thinking it can’t be almost the end of another year already. Christmas is 11 weeks away. Now is a perfect time for you to make a beautiful heirloom Advent Calendar for your children or grandchildren that can be passed on to future generations. Advent calendars began in the 19th century in Germany. If you like history you can find out more about the origin of advent calendars here.

My mom made an advent calendar for my children when they were young from burlap and felt. Each pocket of the calendar held a small felt ornament to be snapped onto the tree and a piece of paper with a daily reading relating the ornament to Christmas. The kids were so excited each day from December 1st leading up to Christmas Day to put up the ornaments and take turns reading about the ornament. Since Melinda was the first of my kids to have children of her own, she was given the advent calendar my mom made. When her sister had her first child, Melinda felt a little sad that her niece could not share the advent calendar made by her great grandma. So inspired by grandma’s calendar, Melinda made a new one for her niece’s second Christmas. We loved it and decided to make a pattern available for it so that others could make one for their own families. You may purchase our Christmas Advent Calendar Pattern in our Etsy Store for instant download and start making one today.

Christmas Advent Calendar Pattern-

The pattern includes clear instructions along with pattern pieces, materials needed list, diagrams, and photos for you to make each of the 25 ornaments and the tree wall hanging with pockets. Also included are the Daily Ornament Readings for you to print off for each pocket. The ornaments are all handstitched with simple embroidery stitches. The wall hanging does include sewing machine stitching. Even if you are a just learning to sew, it’s not difficult to make, and we challenge you to create a gift that will be cherished because it was handmade by you!

Christmas Advent Calendar Pattern- InATickle.comChristmas Advent Calendar Pattern- InATickle.comChristmas Advent Calendar Pattern-

Purchase your pattern today and get started creating an heirloom!

Fall Crafter Updates

Now that it is fall, Mom and I decided to take another trip to Silver Dollar City to meet some new and old friends from the crafters that set up booths for the fall festival.

We got to talk to Dennis Conners in the barn. He has some big things possibly coming up next spring that we are excited to hear about. We got to update him on our crafting as well as the new addition to my family, Baby Boy.

Dennis Conner sculptor

Remember this little girl from last year?

Dennis Conner Sculpting

She is officially bronzed now.

Prairie Girl Bronze Sculpture

Dennis had some new sculptures since last year with one in the works (the bears).

Dennis Conner Sculptures

We also stopped by Julie Rice’s booth to see what new things she was working on this year.

Julie Rice

She had several 8×8 pieces of wood that she was working on to make a large scale picture of some cowboys. The finished picture will end up taking up an entire wall!Julie Rice-Finger Paint Artist

We also stopped by to say hi to Mike Sears and his wife.

Mike Spears- Painter

In the next few posts we will be sharing some new crafters from this year. So don’t miss those!


Documented Life Project- Week 39

Week 39’s challenge in the Documented Life Project was to:”Add splatters and drips.”


For my drips and splatters I decided to do a fall watercolor. The tree trunks were created by dropping brown paint at the edge of the paper while I held the paper vertical and letting the paint run down. For the leaves I dipped a fan brush into the paint and scraped my pallet knife across the brush to created splatters.

Watercolor trees



I used a picture from Pinterest as inspiration for my page. Using colored pencils, I drew the rainbow splatters.

splash drip

Documented Life Project- Week 38

The art challenge for week 38 in the Documented Life Project was: “Draw, paint, doodle, sketch a feather onto your page.  Don’t draw, paint, doodle or sketch?  Incorporate a real feather onto your page!  Get creative and have fun!”

When we were at the North Shore of Minnesota I took a picture of a feather on the rocks one morning. I loved the way it looked with the droplets of water on the feather.FeatherSo I painted a picture of this feather with watercolors for this challenge.Watercolor feather


I have enjoyed sketching lately, but I have mostly used graphite pencils. I wanted to try using color this time. When I saw the challenge, I thought about the masquerade masks I have seen. I used pinterest as my inspiration to find one to draw.

Pinned Feather PicDLP Week 38 M Feather

Handmade Buttons to Transform Jacket

First of all, welcome to all of our new readers who are joining us because you read my guest blog post on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blog, Balzer Designs. I shared a technique using polymer clay, alcohol ink, and her stencils to make some pendants and had so much fun experimenting with it. In case you have not seen that post, you can read it here. Thank you Julie for letting me share with your readers! Here’s a sneak peak.Clay Pendants

I picked up this cute jacket at a Yard sale for fifty cents for my granddaughter, My Princess, who is outgrowing all of her clothes.

Yard Sale Jacket

The fabric was in good condition, however, the embellishments were looking a little sad. I decided it needed a creative transformation.Yard Sale Jacket

My first step was removing the ribbon and the sequins that had not fallen off yet. The ones that were already missing had left a mark on the fabric. I also took out the decorative stitching. I machine stitched a new ribbon (from my stash) and hand embroidered my own swirling lines across the ribbon. I used polymer clay to make my own custom buttons for the button holes as well as replacements for the sequins. The process I used for making the button design was to make a cane the width needed to fit the buttonhole and then reduced the cane to a smaller size for the tiny buttons.

Handmade ButtonsThey are not perfectly matching, but then if I wanted buttons that looked perfectly manufactured, I would have bought some at the store! I like the handmade look.Handmade ButtonMy Princess was so excited to put the jacket on. It is still slightly big on her, but that means she can wear it a little longer.

Transformed Jacket

I still needed to shorten the sleeves for her, but that did not stop her from wearing it to pick vegetables from the garden. She loves cherry tomatoes!

Picking tomatoes

With the clay that was left over I made an assortment of beads and put together a necklace and bracelet for My Princess to wear. She was thrilled!

Clay Bead NecklaceClay Bead Bracelet

Custom making buttons was so much fun! I may start pulling buttons off all kinds of clothing and make new ones just to give some old clothes of mine a new look!


Recycled Jeans to Art Smocks

Two special little girls in my life just celebrated their first birthday. I wanted to get them started on their creative journey by giving them their first art supplies and decided they needed art smocks. I cut off the lower part of each leg on a pair of jeans and cut open the seam on one side. Folding the denim in half lengthwise, I cut out a section for the arms. See the photo for dimensions I used. Depending on the height of the child, you could make the length longer or shorter. I wanted to make sure they could use them for a few years.Jean Pantlegs

I turned under 1/4″ of denim twice on each side of the smock (the 10″ section on picture above) and top stitched to finish the sides.

I cut strips of print fabric to use for the ruffles, ties, and neck edge of the smocks in the following dimensions.

For each smock:
Cut one 3″ X 30″ piece for ruffle.
Cut two 3″ X 40″ pieces for ties.
Cut one 3″ X 6″ piece for neck edge.

Art Smocks

I folded the ties and neck edge fabric pieces like double fold bias tape (my strips were not cut on the bias though) by folding in half lengthwise right side out and pressing. Then I opened that strip up and pressed both raw edges to the center and folded the strip again in the center (original pressed fold) and pressed. I tucked the raw edge of the smock neck into the middle of the neck edge double fold tape and pinned in place. Then I top stitched near the inside edge to hold the strip in place front and back.

For the ties, I turned the ends of the strips to the inside a quarter of an inch and refolded the double fold tape and pressed to give a nice finished end. I positioned the tie strip tapes into the raw armhole portion of each side of the denim just like I did on the neck tape leaving about 12″ for the neck ties and the rest for the waist ties. I pinned in place and top stitched close to the inside edge of the tape from one end to the other.

The lower edge of my jeans were quite raveled so I did not leave the original hem of the jeans as the bottom edge. I serged the bottom edge of the smock before sewing on the ruffle. For the ruffle on both the top and bottom edges, I turned under 1/4″ twice for a finished hem and top stitched. I had intended to gather the ruffle and sew it on, but the fabric I used for the ruffle was stiff so I made pleats instead, tucking the ends around to the backside of the smock and top stitching in place.

The smocks were cute and would have worked fine for art smocks at this point, but I decided to take it a step further and add applique and embroidery. As I was working on this, my eyes noticed a spray can I have had for a long time called Quilt Basting Spray. It temporarily bonds fabric and can be repositioned, and I wondered why I had not thought of using it for appliques before now! It worked great and was much faster to use than cutting and ironing fusible webbing to the back of appliques.Ladybug AppliquesAnd here are the finished smocks ready for fun messy creativeness!Ladybug Art Smocks


Documented Life Project- Week 37

The art challenge for week 37 of the Documented Life Project was to: “Use white pen prominently on your page.”

A few weeks ago my husband discovered a new vine with amazing flowers growing on our property. Neither of us had ever seen it before. It looked like something that would be in a Dr. Suess book illustration– quite whimsical. Passion FlowerPassion-Flower-Side-View

Of course, I had to look it up to see what it was.  The official name of the flower is passiflora incarnata, or a couple of the more common names are maypop and purple passion flower. It’s a common wildflower– I just had never seen it before. I decided to use this flower for my inspiration for this challenge. I used watercolor for the leaves and flower base and a couple different white pens on top. The leaf veins seemed too stark so I toned them down with a yellow watercolor wash.




After doing the last weeks page, I wanted to try something like that again for this challenge. I thought the dots on this picture would be cool to try.


However, I did not like how it turned out…White-Pen-1

So I added a bunch more dots…White-Pen-2Then added a quote to sum up this pages unsuccessfulness. I used clear photo corners so I could still see the page if I wanted a reminder about how mistakes are ok to make.White-Pen-3