I must admit that as a crafter of over 3 decades it is challenging to find new products that blow me away. My 2019 list of My Favorite Things are not all new things to the craft industry. The items I have listed are currently my “go to” things this year. Most are new, but not all and there is one that might surprise you! Here is the direct links to each item. To see them up close, in action and more information please check out the video I created for you!
Rinse Well The most go to thing on my desk to clean my brushes!
Ultra Mod Podge This is a multi-purpose medium! It is a glue, sealer and can be used to paint pour. I like it because I can use it as traditional Mod Podge and get no brush stroke marks.
Dina Wakley Media Journal The paper in this little journal is amazing! It is super absorbent with wonderful texture and thickness.
Make Art Station I think it is the magnets that set this apart for me. They don’t pinch!
Simon Hurley Stamps Not only are these super cute, but they also can work with other sets in his line.
Archival Mini Ink Pads The best waterproof ink pads around and in the perfect size for my over crowded craft room (my real estate in my studio is super valuable!)
Dome Ink Blenders Not only do they leave no harsh lines I like them better than blender brushes. They are cheap and can be used with a multitude of handles.
Catherine Pooler Mini Ink Pads Once again the size is what gets me! Take the best colored ink around and put them in an easy to store container. You will want the refills for these!
Etchall Stencil Spray I like this better than the trending Pixi spray because I can actually find it and it’s not sold out. I have been using this for years!
Tri-Blend Markers I appreciate that this solves all my shading questions in one marker! No longer trying to match and buy three markers. Tri Blends take the guess work out of it.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s list! Now, I want to know…what are your favorites for 2019? Tell me in the comments!
This is a post I have wanted to do for a long time. It’s not exactly arts and crafts, but it is creative and will help anyone who wants to showcase their projects online in the most eye pleasing way. Please use the information I am about to share with you as you see fit and evolve it into what works for you. I am a bright colorful crafter and I like my photos to reflect that. If you prefer muted tones you may need to modify these suggestions with a clean and crisp approach.
In conjunction with this post, I am participating in a collaboration between Plaid and Rita Barakat. Plaid is used in preparing my frames for my photos. Rita Barakat is used as the product feature in the examples.
Playing it Safe — A White Background
A white background is always the safest route to go and I rarely veer from it. It reflects light beautifully and makes your project pop. I use two pieces of white cardboard that I found at the dollar tree. This two dollar shadow box works better than the one I spent over $100 on years ago.
Three Rules to Photo By
Always take your photo in natural light. I use a window with the curtain drawn on the back of my house out of direct sunlight. Artificial light and/or direct sunlight can wash your project out.
Use a white background facing your light source to bounce the light off of and land on your staged photo set. Whatever your light is bouncing off of is the tint your picture is going to have. This is why I set up a poster board not only under my project, but behind it too. What your light is bouncing off of, is more important that what is under your project and seen in your picture. If you want to use a different substrate other than white go for it — just make sure your light is bouncing on something white in the back drop.
Turn your flash off. If you take the picture and it comes out a little dark, it is better to add a back light in your camera app than putting the flash on.
Take It To The Next Level -Frame It!
Now it is time to add more visual appeal to your project photos by utilizing frames. There is no need to drop a lot of money on this. You can find frames perfect for this at the goodwill. Use them as is, or sand them down and paint them. The frame should reflect your style. Not only do frames add interest to your project they also draw the eye to the focal point — your project.
I decided to use the following as frames for my photos and customize them with paint.
I like these pieces because I can showcase both my project and the products I use in one picture. I also painted them according to my style. I use a lot of blue in my art. Yellow is my favorite color. Gold is great for the holidays and Fall and Winter. Black is a great way to ground a picture. I chose to paint the four nesting squares those colors. The shutter is also a wonderful back drop in a picture that can frame a project. I went with a shabby chic vibe on it and will share more on that later.
How To Use Frames
Now is the fun part — using the frames in your photos. Here are a few examples of how I used the nesting square set to showcase Rita Barakat dies.
In the above examples I am focusing on just the die cuts. I start off with one frame and get more creative as each picture progressed. Do you see how the focus always stayed on the die cuts?
The black solid backdrop is a wonderful element to make the die cut stand out.
To feature both project and products used to create the piece (these are the colors and brush colors I used on my frames) is easy to achieve in one photo when using frames.
You can showcase several pieces of art and the products in one picture by using different sized frames.
Don’t be afraid to stack the frames for visual interest. Have fun with it and let your creativity soar!
Using A Shutter As A Frame
Basically all a frame is for is to draw the eye to the focal point of the picture. You can create frames without using them. I love this shutter I found through Plaid. I wanted it shabby chic in a beautiful sea foam color. To create this style first paint the shutter white. Let it dry and paint it seafoam. Sand the edges to distress it and the white pop through.
You can place your project on top of the shutters for a flat lay photo.
However, I much prefer taking the picture at an angle.
This is a great example of how to take a picture on something other than a white background. The reason this works is because I have a white poster board propped up behind it reflecting the light from my not so direct sunlight window.
There are three examples on how to stage a photo with the same materials.
How To Edit a Photo
This is tricky because it really all depends on what you like and your style. I usually amp up the backlight, add a touch of saturation and a tad of sharpness. Though recently I have discovered “presets” that you can purchase for a few dollars from professional photographers on Etsy. Basically you need to down load the Adobe Light Room App on your phone for free and add the purchased preset. Each purchase I have made came with clear instructions that were easy to follow. I suggest searching “presets” on Etsy and buy one that catches your eye.
Always always ALWAYS watermark your photos! The bottom right corner is where I like to put mine because they are usually square. I do it in a way that if someone actually has the audacity to steal my photo and chop it off it looks different, thus making it easy to legally prove it is mine.
Also, a lot of people will browse your posts and only pay attention to the picture. It is nice to let them know your name. They can enter your name into a search engine to find more by you and possibly follow you on your creative journey. Companies also like to re share photos and if your watermark is not on the picture when it gets to their platforms no one is going to know who created it. You worked hard on your project, you should get the credit for it — especially if the company is not paying you.
In addition, never give a company a photo without a watermark — even if they ask for it. You will be asked! A lot of times in the past I have happily sent it to them. Now I am seeing my art work pop up on company sites, helping them sell product and I have nothing in return for it. Now, if they want to buy a picture from you, you should consider that for the right price. Think about how long it took you to take the picture (your time). How much did you have to spend to stage it? Did you hire anyone to help? Add that all up and double it. That is a good starting point.
Lastly, I never sell a photo if I can’t use it with my Watermark on my sites. It really does them no good to limit this because by me sharing it is free advertising for them.
Take everything I just stated and morph it into your style. Use this as food for thought. We all are different and have different view points. What makes art so incredible is that nothing is wrong. You just want to make sure you are showcasing it in a way that does your piece justice and stays true to you!
I certainly hope you found this post useful. I must confess that I worked super hard on it for several months and had a blast. Will you consider subscribing to my blog and sharing this with anyone you think would find it helpful? Thank you so much for doing so!
I am a big advocate for making life happen and not just letting it happen to you. My childhood and especially my adolescence was rough. I would think about other places I wanted to be. Things I wanted my future to look like I would ponder. I also had a learning disability and school was tough. Between the drama at home and having to start working at the age of 12 my GPA was a 1.5. In my junior year of high school I came to the conclusion that if I did not get out of the area I would end up at rock bottom.
I started prioritizing school and quickly jumped to a 3.5 GPA. Sadly, I had screwed up so bad the first two years of high school that no college or university would admit me. Plus, I could not afford the application fee to apply to multiple colleges. In my senior year of high school my German teacher encouraged me to be an exchange student. She said she could work it out so I could go over on the high school program. The cost was $5K and I worked really hard to earn every dime of it! I boarded the plane barely 18 with less than $200 to my name and 1 suitcase to live in a foreign country for a year.
I have been asked over the years if I was scared. Not really. I had no where else to go. Anything was better than where I was and if I did happen to get worse off, it was just on me and would affect no one else. I knew sitting on my hands waiting for something to happen was just a pipe dream. I had to work my dream!
It took me a little longer to get through college, but I did get through it. First I went to a university and earned my BS and later pursued my M Ed. Though my background was tough I used it to make a better life. I worked my dream to make it a reality.
You can too! No matter where you are or what you are doing YOU have the power to change your life. Now, I can’t take all the credit. The one thing my parents did do right is made sure I was in church every week and though the church slapped a scarlet letter on me because of where I came from God did use it to draw me to Him. He protected and helped me in this time. He gave me opportunities to pursue, but I had to do some work too!
I created this piece as a reminder to always pursue the life I want. Here is a video of how I created the background with the new Mod Podge Ultra as a pouring medium:
Candy Rosenburg has created a new line that has been a decade in the making — A Vintage Girl. Today, I am participating in a wonderful blog hop featuring this line with the DCC! I got to play with three of the awesome chipboard sets to create this mixed media canvas:
Instead of going to with the traditional steampunk vibe gears and pipes lend themselves well to, I went with a whimsical approach. I used Plaid’s new Color Shift and Dragon Glaze, Rita Barakat die cut and embossing powders and Lisa Kettell pieces.
Take a stretched canvas, turn it over to create a shadow box. White gesso it and use a stencil and modeling paste to create texture.
Once the piece dries, paint with Color Shift and top it off with Dragon Glaze.
Using several different thick embossing powders, emboss and heat set the chipboard pieces. Use a clear embossing ink on each piece and cover with powder. Set it with a heat gun.
Adhere the chipboard pieces to the frame. Next, fill in the blanks with metal and button gears and clocks. Add a drop of alcohol ink to each addition and dab with a blender.
Add a few few Lisa Kettell pieces on some of the gears.
Use a little of the Color Shift and Dragon Glaze to make them blend in to the piece.
Finally, add the Rita Barakat Alice in Wonderland die cut to the center on pop dots. Highlight her with some glitter glue.
The piece ended up taking on a life of it’s own. Sometimes (almost all the time on things I create) I have one thing in mind for a project and it ends up somewhere else. That is okay and part of the creative process! This went from whimsical to dark fantasy.
Now it is time to hop through the other designers blog for even more inspiration with A Vintage Girl. Please leave a comment at each stop!
In 1987 I was in a musical at my Grandma’s church. The name was something like “Friends 4 Ever” and the music was by Micheal W Smith. This is where I built a friendship with a person who would turn out to be a “Lifer” — a life long friend. I did not know it at the time. We were in 7th grade and were more concerned with blue eye shadow, leggings with mini skirts, scrunchies and making sure we had the perfect winged hair than anything else.
Years later I would go through hard times and practically lose my faith. She would end up going through far worse times and grow in faith. Through it all we remained friends. Sure we lost contact from time to time, but we always managed to reconnect. She has been my spiritual example and I strive to have the faith she has. This card is for her — my best friend forever.
It took me several days to create this card and I have two videos that show the process. The first is on how to create the background through paint pouring using the new Mod Podge Ultra as the pour medium.
The second is how I made the card with lots of tips!
Have you tried Art Foamies? When I first got my hands on them I was a little scared of them. Stamping with foam? Are you serious? Rubber is for stamps — not foam! Boy was I wrong! They are the most versatile easy to use stamps ever. Not only can Art Foamies be stamped on paper, but on Canvas and pretty much anything else your creative heart desires.
I have about a dozen canvas bags and thought one would make a perfect bag for a little dancer to carry her shoes. I used Rita Barakat’s Ballet Art Foamie, Plaid Fabric Paint and Expo trim to make this bag:
Using the Cloud Art Foamie and Grapefruit Fabric Paint, stamp the bottom half of the doodle cloud along the top of the canvas bag.
Cover the Ballet Shoes with a coat of Fruit Punch Fabric Creation Paint. Center the Art Foamie on the bag and press.
Allow the bag to dry for several hours. Once dry to the touch press an iron on the images with a piece of parchament paper between the bag and the iron. Don’t actually iron the image — just press it. I pressed each section for about 45 seconds, lifted the iron and pressed another session and repeated the process.
Using a fabric glue (I like Beacon’s Fabric Tac), adhere the trim. Set aside to dry.
I do have this one of a kind bag listed in my shop. If you are interested in purchasing it please check it out there.
I have a pretty good relationship with my mailman. He drops packages off about three times a week. Since I work from home I am usually at home and answer the door. He often will wait for me to answer and we will strike up a conversation. It was during one of these chats that he told me postal workers love to see envelopes decked out in art! Ever since I have been stamping, painting, and drawing on my envelopes.
One of my favorite techniques is using the gel press with paint and a Rita Barakat art foamie stamp. To keep a nice clean area for the address I use washi tape to mask off the spot to write. I use three strips of the standard size tape.
I created this particular envelope for a card I made that I will be sharing at the end of the month. So make sure you subscribe and don’t miss out! I am going to mail this to one of you with the card 😉
Here is how to create mail art . Make sure you check it out because it is a great tutorial!
The leprechaun from the Lucky Clover Joy Clair set looks adorable, but naughty. I knew that I wanted to create something of a surprise with it.
From the outside it looks like a pretty little box, but on the inside…
This little guy pops out! Isn’t it fun? Here is now I created this pop up box.
The box is just an old jewelry box I have hung on to for years. The pattern paper is from a Christmas line as well as the gold ribbon. I ended up painting the box over with an artichoke color. The green pictured was a bit to bright. I never used the stickles, but had them out just in case.
First layer on some Gesso as to prime the box and paint it.
Using a gold paint dry brush a flower just enough to add highlights.
As the paint dries, color in the stamped images and cut them out.
Once the box is dry add the rainbow and sentiment in the lid.
To create the springs cut two strips of card stock and according fold every 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Adhere to box and leprechaun with glue dots.
Now your box is ready to be given away!
Make sure to hop through to other awesome projects created by the fabulous design team!
Christmas Countdown projects are so much fun! My Mom teaches Preschool and the children are extremely excited for Christmas. Rita Barakat’s whimsical stamps and sweet little fairies are the perfect combination for a countdown calendar for her class.
Take a napkin and remove the white layer. Using Clear Gesso adhere napkin to the board. I used Prima, but I like this one
Top it off with Color Shift in Green and a few fun confetti pieces.
Using a slow drying pigmented ink stamp images and emboss with Fairy Wings. Both can be found here
Find the rest of your supplies and finish canvas. The sweet little fairy is by Rita Barakat. Canvas Corp Brands has great chalkboard sheets and Christmas pattern Paper. Tonic Studios has a wonderful selection of glitter and clear drops.
Using craft foam sheets to adhere all the elements to the canvas, set aside to dry.
Here is a wonderful and informative video showcasing how to create this project as well as a ton of tips for creating mixed media masterpieces.