Category Archives: art making

Magic Journal Box tutorial

Magic is in the air in my studio lately. I have been inspired to try new and different things, as in making this type of journal box where you can write down and hide all your secrets. 🙂

I have gone into silicone mold casting adventures and making imprints with my polymer clay or air dry clay. I found small frames and other baroque metal borders and do-dads to use in my mold making. So much fun, and there is never a boring moment as you wait to see how everything turns out.

Anyway, try this journal box

I found a wooden box at Michael’s shaped as a book. It’s pretty big, approx. 7×8″ and it would be too big for polymer clay mosaics. I decided to experiment with mixed media paper, paint, glue, and found objects. I made the tutorial for this box.

Magic mixed media journal box tutorial
Magic mixed media box

I did not take pictures of every single step, but here goes. I painted the entire outside box a dark blue. The inside is painted green, but that does not show in the following picture. I’m giving you an idea of the size.

Magic box mixed media tutorial
Inside view of the box

I glued white tissue paper all over the front of the box with Mod Podge, making sure it was good and creased, squeezing it into a ball before I spread it out.

Magic box tutorial
Glued down white tissue paper on the front and spine of the box

On top of the white paper, I glued some yellow tissue paper for contrast and a pale layer of lavender.

Magic box with tissue paper
I glued down some yellow paper on the front
Magic box with glue
Magic box with glue

When I was finished with the tissue paper, I made liberal blobs with white craft glue for added texture. I had to let that dry overnight. You can also use blobs made with a hot glue gun and glue the hardened texture down–it’s faster.

Then I rubbed several layers of paint over the dry and creased tissue paper and glue. I began with a dark brown, rubbing it into the deeper texture. I also used dark purple and some turquoise. To tone everything down, I finally spread some white paint over the whole front.

Magic box with layers of paint
Layers of paint
Magic box tutorial
More layers of paint
More layers of paint
Magic texture!

When everything was dry, I started digging through my stash of do-dads. Placement can sometimes be tricky. I painted the inside green.

Magic box tutorial
Magic making mixed media

What I used

The metal frame is from a Tim Holtz kit. I stamped the word Journal on a piece of paper, glued it to the back of the frame, and filled in the opening with Judikin’s Diamond Glaze. The flower is a polymer clay imprint from a hair ornament. The key used to be part of an old wind chime, and the hummingbird and the dragonfly are die cut paper, which I sealed carefully front and back and edges with Mod Podge since paper can easily deteriorate. I painted those with Perfect Pearl powder and sealed them again.

Magic box tutorial
Magic box details
Magic box tutorial
Words stamped with permanent ink
Magic felt on the bottom of the box
Some felt to make the box softer inside
Magic box tutorial
The back of the box

I cut some green felt that had a sticky side and put that on the bottom of the box for a softer interior. I placed a bought paper border on the outside bottom of the box for more interest. Below is another box I made in the same style. Both of these are available in my Etsy shop Earth and Faery.

If you missed my previous post, Mixed Media Greeting Card Tutorial, you can still find it HERE.

It’s vital to try new creative things, even if it’s a struggle. You master something by doing it. Resistance and self-doubt be gone!

Have a great weekend, and may you always be inspired! 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

Allowing yourself a Great Day

Allowing yourself a great day is for most people not a choice.

Happiness is a choice, but we are never taught how to be happy. It’s not about the things you do in a day, but how you feel inside.

Here in the States, one of the most polite expressions to another person is: “have a great day.” How many people really mean it? It’s one of those automatic sayings that rolls off the tongue, like “thank you.”

How many people know how to be happy? Not many; it’s not something we’re taught in school.

I like to meditate in the morning every day. There is a source of happiness in my heart, riding on the life-giving stream of breath. This is a knowledge I was fortunate to acquire in my youth, but how many people have that know-how?

Allowing yourself happiness is to seek what truly makes you happy. There is only ONE thing in the long run, and it lies within you.

However, to make a day complete, you have to do things that uplift you. I encounter so many people who are miserable at their jobs and see no way out of the constant grind.

I decided a long time ago that I did not want a “career” and to be miserable. I found my joy in writing and art. My working life has been a roller-coaster ride so far, but I made my own choices, and I don’t regret anything.

It takes two things

Number one, you have to WANT to find happiness.

Number two, you have to make a DECISION to be happier and stick with it through thick and thin.

The thing is, there are answers to all of your questions, and it takes courage to stick with anything worthwhile. So I guess courage is the third requisite, but as you move forward, you create great momentum.

I talk to so many people who want to make art, but they never do. When I hear the excuses, I will not try to convince anyone to do what they love.

It is a personal choice. Today I allow myself to create a day to my liking, which includes art-making or crafts of some sort, eating well, breathing some fresh air, hugging a tree, and having a good night’s sleep. I do work a job, but only on my terms, which does NOT allow for burn-out.

How can you change your life today?

What could you do? Change, once and for all, one habit that drives you nuts. Investigate how you can incorporate a spiritual practice in your life. Honor your body with good food and a walk. Make some art. Your choice, but choose one little thing and stick with it.

The people who like to make art are doing it. People who love to write are doing it. People who want to exercise are doing it. They chose to incorporate it into their lives because it uplifts them.

Women usually think about others’ well-being first, and that is something we learned by watching other women. For goodness sake, allow yourself some self-love! You will not reach sainthood by being everything to everyone. You’re gaining no brownie points with the Divine, au contraire.

Make a decision to set aside one hour each day for self love.

A few examples of allowing yourself self-love

Get up earlier in the morning and spend time writing in a journal about YOUR needs and how you can satisfy them.

Make some art

Meditate or do yoga. Awareness of self is everything.

Connect with nature and breathe in the healing qualities.

Get in touch with your body and HOW YOU REALLY FEEL. Most people live outside their bodies to cope with the pressures of daily life.

Put your own well-being FIRST!

I hope you do something because I’m tired of listening to excuses. Have a love story with your art making, starting today.

It can be rough at times, but if you are the creator of your own life, you know how to get back to the “good vibes.”

Lots of love,

Maria

Allowing yourself a great day
Allow yourself happiness

P.S. You can check out more info about spiritual practice HERE. Art practice inspiration is available on YouTube in any form you like. If you want to check out my art journaling videos, go HERE.

Allowing yourself more inspiration, read this blog post: Creativity, spirituality, and passion.

Busy time in my studio

Busy time in my studio. This time of year it’s always good to stay busy so that I have lots of inventory for the Christmas season.

It’s not all about selling and producing though.

I’m still doing my art journaling almost every day because I can’t stop! Part of me is critical of the process–always, but another part is really addicted to the evolution of my art.

Whereas my crafts give me great satisfaction, they don’t always delve deeply into the process of creation like art journaling does. I try to keep a balance. They all move me forward on my creative journey.

All of it makes for a happy day. 🙂 No matter how challenging art can be, it makes me happy to create. What more can I ask for?

Busy is good too. The juices are flowing; inspiration is like an overflowing river, and ideas pop up constantly. It’s been a long while since I felt this inspired.

I finished the spirit doll that I started a couple of months ago. (Check out my previous post.) Here are some pictures of recent creations.

busy in my studio

busy time in my studio

I painted the wooden box in various colors, attached paper to the interior back of the box, and then added my doll. She inspires Courage, something we need every day.

Here are some other samples of new things. They are all available in my etsy shop.

busy time in my studio

I had fun with this watch casing. The portrait is a miniature painting, and I tell you, it was fiddly and tricky to paint.

busy time in my studio

I started making these four-inch plaques with stamped affirmations at the bottom. So much fun! I like the idea of reminding folks that we are all perfect just the way we are.

busy time in my studio

You are worthy!

busy time in my studio

I also made some more clay faces for doll making or to use as an ornament.  I wasn’t sure if there would be any interest but I sold some. Now I’m working on creating a cat face mold.

Sculpting in clay is not easy…

New ideas keep me fresh and eager to move forward.  I may have to sculpt many cat faces before I’m satisfied, but the main point is to plunge into action.  The rest takes care of itself.

If you’re feeling blocked or full of resistance, plunge in anyway.  It’s the only way forward. 🙂

What are you working on now?

Please check out my  etsy shop, Earth and Faery.  It’s full of new items.

Lots of love,

Maria

Resistance–we all feel it

Resistance is more than the brave people who worked during WWII to defeat the Nazis.  I’m talking about resistance, the Nazi within.  We all have it, and I think creative people have many close encounters with the beast, probably once a day or so.

As an artist, I walk into the studio every day with the hope of being productive and inspired.  Many times I walk in there with the need of coffee or some other stimulant to keep myself alert.

Truth is, energy is available in vast abundance.

Resistance shows up in many ways:

Don’t try these new paints, they won’t work well.

Don’t repaint that old picture.

Cleaning your fridge would be a more effective use of time…

The studio is too dirty to work in, clean it!

Painting is an iffy proposition–at all times.

Don’t waste the paint on that old painting.

You;re too tired to paint…

It goes on and on. Why is it that so many excuses pop up when we’re about to do something that we actually enjoy.  It’s like starting over every day.

Maybe creativity is that way.  What will show up on the canvas is uncertain, so why even try?  Every new day is a challenge.

Should I use my time better, do something that needs to be done (chore) or do I stick with the plan?

Since I made the agreement to stick with my art years ago, it has become simple to stay in the studio, but Resistance will show up in sneaky ways, holding hand with its cousin Excuses.

It’s never easy.

But what worthy endeavor is?

It’s also hard to be self motivated. We learn early on to follow orders, never questioning their importance.

Taking charge of your life and actually DOING something you love on a greater scale can be scary.

Flying without a safety net.

For many, that is a nightmare.

It is the trickster within that builds things out of proportion and say you can’t have a life that is outside the norm.

Let’s say the trickster is the ultimate expert, the father of resistance and excuses.

When you recognize these guys, just laugh.

You have enough confidence in yourself to know you’re being tricked.

A solid commitment to the art, or craft, is a must. If we haven’t made the DECISION to make art no matter what, we don’t have a strong foundation.

A strong commitment and habits to produce will strong-arm those negative voices aside.  It’s really important to nurture the commitment. With time it becomes very strong.

Every painting is a risk of failure, but what isn’t?

It’s worth a try.  When inspiration seems to be absent, spread some paint on a canvas anyway. It could become a good foundation for a masterpiece.

Practice allows the door to open up and magic step in.

It’s a special joy to see the process through, and the rewards can be great. You never know on any given day.

Another post that might inspire you when the negative voices are loud: My inner critic on rampage.

Another post: Who is in charge?

I’m working on this goddess painting. It will need some tweaking, but it was a great process of seeing her emerge from the chaotic background.

resistance

I don’t know what will appear today on the next canvas. Time to find out!

Have a great creative weekend!

xo

Maria

P.S.  I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Check it out. 🙂