Art and Craft News / creative corner

Going Crazy for Birds and Things

Every time I see the crazy birds, cats and things by Tim Holtz I grin from ear to ear. They're such adorable, groovy and nutty characters that its hard not to smile! I just love them all :)

Remember this groovy picture of a collection of artwork from early last year? It's from the blog of Tim Holtz "Simply Bird Crazy" blog post when the Bird Crazy stamps first arrived on the scene.

Its a great example of what could be made using the nutty adorable birds, one of my favourite stamp sets. They can be used for so many different and varied events and themes, especially when they're used with the Crazy Things stamp set!

Their furry friends are all in stock and awaiting their new homes :)

This is a link to all Tim's Crazy stamps and dies at Art by Jenny

image from the Tim Holtz Simply Bird Crazy blog post

Here are more creations that I find really inspiring...

This first one is by Anna-Karin found at the Sizzix blog. It a great example of using the Distress Micro Glaze, Distress paints and Dina Wakley acrylic paints together with the Bird Crazy dies. Its a fantastic piece of art with lots of fabulous texture and wonderful colours.

another crazy bird creation from Sizzix

Links ... Distress Micro Glaze - Distress Paints - Dina Wakley Paints 

One thing to note about the instructions on the Sizzix blog...
Use whatever you have on hand - scissors (if you don't have the dies), Cuttlebug (instead of a Bigshot) and any old cardboard box for the background. Most boxes still use the corrugated paper inbetween the smooth outer surface, simply peel this back to reveal the wrinkled card.

For the background - You could also use plain cardstock run through the embossing machine to create texture.

I prefer Strathmore watercolour paper as it doesn't pill or fall apart if you use too much water. For the technique they've used for colouring the birds (sealing the white card and dragging the paper through the ink on the craft sheet), you could even use regular cardstock (like Bazzill, the textured side) and let it dry completely before putting the birds together.

This next one is from Richele Christensen aka California Art Girl. Richele has created a variety of greeting cards using the Bird Crazy stamps and die set with some fantastic backgrounds. Her colour combinations are wonderful and the mix of elements is fantastic. So inspirational!

image from the Richele Christensen Bird Crazy blog post

image from the Richele Christensen Bird Crazy blog post
Love the colour combos in this card, well I would - green is my favourite colour! The green spots emphasize the gorgeous greens and blues used for his feathers / body. The layers of cardstock are given additonal attraction by use of string (twine).

image from the Richele Christensen Bird Crazy blog post

This bird is just like me when I'm painting - splatters everywhere and different colours all over the place! Loving this card alot :) 

The third artist, Bobbi Smith of Vintage Muse Designs, has such an incredible way of mixing colours, backgrounds and textures with 3D elements (paper tole). Check out these few samples then hop over to her blog for all the others.

image from the Bobbi Smith blog post

image from the Bobbi Smith blog post

image from the Bobbi Smith blog post

image from the Bobbi Smith blog post

Tim Holtz Crazy Cats stamp set image

Soon we will have the most adorable Crazy Cats taking over the limelight from the birds. They're arriving at Art by Jenny around the 20th to 25th May :) Can't wait!

I hope this post has inspired you to get out your Distress markers, inks and Crazy Bird stamps and have some fun. I'm here if you have questions or need help :)

Next blog post I'll find you some original creations using these fab Cats. See you then!

Happy Creative Day!

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Art Journaling Around Australia - Country

Life does get busy at times, but there is always time for art! I'm a tad behind with my swaps but I've finally finished and posted off this art journal page.

The theme is "country" and so I chose to do something that related to the gorgeous Aussie koala and our amazing day and night skies.

In Australia, we have koalas who love the city life as well as those who love the peaceful life of the countryside. I was inspired by a painting I saw in Pinterest ages ago called 'Night and Day' by an unknown artist.

My painting was created using Winsor & Newton watercolour paints and Albrecht Durer watercolour pencils with highlights using the Chameleon's black detailer pen. You can recreate this painting using any paints and pencils you have. At the end of this blog post I've added a few links of my favourites.

Art Journaling page spread featuring the theme Country

When I first went to write this blog post I was going to just say watercolours, but then I often get asked what brand and type, so there you go :)

The paper in this journal is regular art paper so not the best for water but as long as you don't go overboard with smooshing the paper while its wet, its ok.

I started with lemon yellow and dashes of red, then more yellow... then remembered to get that groovy texture that I love about watercolours, I must let it dry before adding more. So I moved over to the other page and used a sky blue and Prussian blue with splatters of Indigo. Then left it alone while I made a coffee.. that's the hardest part of watercolours - the waiting till it dries! 

With the hot air gun in a cupboard somewhere (that safe place!), I used the hairdryer with the diffuser attachment and blasted the pages until they were dry. Only took a couple of minutes :)

watercolour paints with a splash of water creates amazing background effects

After the backgrounds were dry, I added a bit more blue, indigo, yellow and red with splatters of water to break up the colours.

The next step was sketching out the tree. I used the black watercolour pencil for this and just kept adding branches and leaves until I felt it was finished... then added some more :)

Australian koala exploring the branches of a eucalypt gum tree at night

The night time koala is sketched in grey pencil along with indigo, black and white. His nose and eyes were drawn with the Chameleon Pen. The moon was simply an arc of water from my aquabrush (waterbrush), pressing down with paper towel and repeating this process 3 or 4 times until I had a moon showing in the sky. After it was dry, I added a feint line with an indigo pencil to give it a bit of definition.

at sunrise or sunset you will find a koala snoozing in the gum tree

Sunset, just before the koala wakes for his evening stroll around his territory. The sun I actually left as a white spot. I thought of adding more colour to it afterwards but left it alone. The grass is simply the black and indigo pencils flicked about at various lengths - totally random.

the finish art journal watercolour painting

The final part of this painting are my wording, the birds and adding a dash of water using my aquabrush to the tree trunk and grass, smoothing out the pencil marks.

Ta da! My painting is finished :) I actually really like this one. Its not often I like my own art so its a surprise when I do. Luckily art doesn't have to be realistic or that koala would starve - koalas are very fussy about what type of eucalypt leaves they eat.

If you have a go but get stuck or need help finding supplies, sing out anytime. I'm here to help :)

Thanks so much for visiting and reading my blog. I hope it makes you smile and inspires you to make time for art.

Happy Creative Day!


Products used or are equivalent to what I've used are...
- Watercolour Pencils
- Paints and Paint Brushes
- Pens and Markers
as well as these groovy treasures...

Dylusions Creative Art Journal image of the Distress empty sprayer image of the Chameleon Pen Black Detailer Marker  

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Art Journaling Around Australia - Faces

Balancing work and my creative time has been a juggling act these past 12 months but I finally found, or rather, made time the other day to catch up on a couple of journals that were waiting for me to finish them - then they could continue on their adventure around Australia.

Aussie Art Swap journal page for "Faces" theme, art by Jenny James of Art by Jenny
Above ... My journal page for Jan's "Faces" theme with one of my favourite quotes by Robin Williams.

I started out planning to paint and embellish with texture pastes stencils but ended up using beautiful scrapbook papers and doodling with my Derwent Graphik line makers. I love using the .3 for writing and the .5 for doodling swirls.

In hindsight, the quote "All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul, and they will never notice how broken you really are!" by Robin Williams, should have been done in a thicker pen or stamps, or even text transferred from my bubblejet. Or I could have written on a tracing paper or vellum overlay! Ah well, at least it still looks ok and you can still read it, sort of :)

If only we all saw what others saw when looking in a mirror, quote on art journal detail by Jenny James
Above ... such a peaceful woman with gorgeous blue hair and such a wise tattoo!

This quote "If only we all saw what others saw, when looking in a mirror" is something we all should take notice of as well. A friend posted a meme the other day about this too - it was funny, but we really should like ourselves (inside and out) alot more than we all do. Our family and friends love us just as we are, so we should too!

This journal swap is hosted by the wonderful and talented Louise 'River Art Girl' Kirby who manages the Aussie Art Swap Facebook group. She's gathered together a fantastic bunch of amazing artists who, like me, are passionate about art and how much it helps us in our every day lives. I'm a bit of a record at times, often saying how much art helps us heal and soothe our mind, heart and soul - but I really believe it to be true :) Its so cool to be in such an inspirational and encouraging group! We all learn from each other - its awesome!

As well as the journal circles, we have Artist Trading Card swaps, digital art postcard swap (must get mine finished asap too!) and what they call a DJP or deconstructed journal page... plus other types of swaps and prompts to keep us creative, thinking outside the hexagon (box, square... whatever!).

Louise has even organised us a blog to tell the story of our journal pages. Check it out - The Australian Art Journal Swap - its amazing! And here are my posts - Art by Jenny aka Jenny James at AAJS

Are you in Facebook too? If you'd love to be part of this fabulous arty group, visit the Facebook group and ask to join. We'd all love to see what you create :)

Happy Creative Day!

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Enchanted Art Journal Page

What do you get when you mix serviettes with glue, paint with iridescent medium and butterflies with fairies? An enchanting art journal page!

art journaling with serviettes, Dylusions Paint and Liquitex mediums

I'm happy to say that I'm pleased how this page turned out. What started out as a selection of serviettes, a small Dylusions Creative Journal, pots of Dylusions Paint and Liquitex Matte Gel Medium has turned into such a pretty page.

This particular page was made for a journal swap... my journal is currently travelling around Australia enjoying the creativity of other artists. I'll see it again in around 8-9 months so will show it off when it gets home.

I started with a blank page with the fairy serviette with a bunch of stamps next to my pot of gel medium... then forgot to take more photos! So you've just got the beginning and the end :)

I tore around the fairy so the serviette would blend into the background. Then did the same for the butterfly serviette. By the way, if you only have one serviette to use, rip carefully! It saves having to rejoin certain elements of the design :) At least I didn't rip the poor fairy's wings off!

Using the gel medium, I glued down the borders and fairy then added some purple, white and brown paint with a rolled (screwed, squished, scrunched) up piece of kitchen paper. I love how fast this Dylusions paint dries! Makes layering so much easier. It did help having the heater on as it was freezing that night.

I chose the stencils while it dried, then added more paint, again with the kitchen paper stub. I do use regular brushes, foam blending tools, sponges and stencil brushes for creating my art, but this time I wanted to keep a really rough texture to the background while keeping it flat.

I mixed paint as I painted, just adding a bit at a time. The white I just splotched on anywhere then added the purple and brown to get the paler colours. Then added more white as I made it too dark.

The green you can see is from the Chameleon Pens - why? I don't know, they were there next to me and the green just jumped into my hand while I was messing about with the stamps. The toadstools and flowers were stamped with black StazOn then blended into the background using my olive green, grey and clear Chameleon Pens.

Finally, I used a paint brush to add the Liquitex Iridescent Medium to the crystal ball and wings of the fairy and butterfly. I love this stuff... it reflects whatever colour you have underneath and makes it sparkle.

I was expecting the page to get thicker from the amount of paint and gel medium I was adding, but it didn't. And it didn't leak through to the other side (I do get a bit heavy handed with paint). Yay :)

I can't wait to see my journal when it gets home, but in the meantime, I need to create something magical and enchanting for each of the other journals when they visit.

I hope you enjoyed reading how my art journal page was created. Next time I'll remember to take photos :)

Happy Creative Day!

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Easter Card Kit - Free Cardmaking Tutorial

A simple yet arty greeting card to make for Easter!

This card kit is made using the Thank You For Ordering gift I've been sending out to my wonderful customers each time they order.

I've made it available for sale here if you'd like one or three for yourself. Click here to view and buy.

Each kit includes the prefolded cream card base, one piece of shop bought scrapbook paper, three rectangles of unique prints, a length each of twine and ribbon, and prestamped images on smooth white card.

The stamps are from 'Candyfloss and Marshmallow, Some Bunny Loves You' by Design Objectives, DoCrafts.

sample of a finished Easter Card by Jenny James

To make the kit into a card like the one I created above, all you need to add is Distress ink, scissors and adhesive.

The first thing I did to make the kit was create some unique paper and cardstock to use for the backgrounds. To do this, I used printable canvas (you can also use Sticky Back Canvas), basic white cardstock in gloss and smooth, and plain copy paper. 

There are 2 ways to create unique printed paper. One is using Gelli Plates and the other is simply spritzing, painting and splattering using your favourite paints, ink sprays and stains. I used the Dylusions and Distress range of colours. The first batch of kits I sent out included Gelli prints as well.

Making unique paper and cardstock using Distress Inks, Paints, Stains and Dylusions Sprays

Every rectangle of paper and cardstock is different, giving you unique cards not found anywhere else!

Inked edges on the hand printed paper with the Distress Inks

Cut the shop bought scrapbook paper in half lengthways. Using a Mini Blending Tool and the Distress Ink Pads in Scattered Straw and Mustard Seed, blend ink on all the edges of the printed papers.

Hand cut stamped images from the Easter Card Kit

Cut out all the elements of the design using fine, sharp scissors or a craft knife (scalpel). I didn't use the basket, but cut out most of the tulips as shown in the photo. Trim the words into banners, one with ribbon ends and one with scrolls.

Distress Inks, blending tool and other bits of cardmaking

Shown above are the inks and papers, ready to be put together.

A rough of how the card is put together

I like to put together my card designs without adhesive so I can move them around until I'm happy.

the finished Easter Card from the kit

A closeup of the finished card. I used Ranger's Wondertape for adhering most of the card and the 3D tape for the areas lifted from the design.

That's it! Easy, wasn't it? I hope you enjoy making your own Easter card :) Whoever you give it to is sure to love it!

Have a Happy Creative Day!

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