Paint and Paper

This is the last in a series of "catching up" posts to bring my blog up to date with my crafty projects from the past several years. (See my recent Blogoversary 2020 post for an explanation.)

Included in this very long post are some of the painting and paper projects I've worked on recently. They are organized somewhat chronologically, first the paintings, then the paper crafts. Because this is such a long post, I've tried to limit the photos shared to my favorites.


Westie Ornaments for Wyndi & Keli
February: When Keli was still a puppy, I bought two unfinished wood terrier-shaped ornaments at JoAnn Fabrics. They were always intended to be in honor of Wyndi (our first Westie) and Keli, and I always planned to paint them someday. They were hung on our Westie tree every year as plain wood ornaments and I never found the time to paint them until I was putting away the decorations after our first Christmas without Keli. 

At first I was unsure how to paint the stars and the terriers without getting paint on the wire that connects them. It should have been obvious, but eventually it occurred to me that I could remove the wires while painting, then re-assemble the pieces when finished. I also removed the eyelet screw with the jute hanger at the top of each.

Once that mental obstacle was removed, painting was easy to do. The bodies took several coats of white acrylic paint, the noses are black paint. Their eyes are stick-on black crystals. The stars are two different shades of pink. I used my ScanNCut to cut out their initials, then glued them to hearts punched out of cardstock.

For the back of each, I printed out their names and dates. In this photo, you can see how the wires attach the pieces together.

The Backstory:  Over the years I've painted walls with faux finishes and objects like furniture, picture frames, ornaments and other decorative pieces. But I had never painted on a canvas until I attended a "paint your pet" party in 2013 and tried to paint Keli and Penny. Ever since then I've wanted to try again because I didn't really have enough time to finish the original and was never happy with it. 

In Fall 2017 I happened to see a promotion from Plaid Crafts on Facebook for Let's Paint Live, a one-hour, livestreamed paint along for a design called Moonlight Harvest. It didn't look terribly difficult, so I shopped for the supplies and when it came time to watch the livestream, I was interrupted by dog stuff -- so I had to watch the video on my own and paint later. As it turns out, this is the best way to approach each painting, because you can stop the video after each step and catch up (which isn't possible with the livestream).

The Let's Paint Live events are held once a month on Facebook. About a year after Moonlight Harvest, in September 2018, I spied another promotion for Let's Paint Live, with Donna Dewberry's Pick of the Patch. This time I watched the livestream before shopping for supplies and then painted on my own a few days later. I like how this project turned out, but it was my first time trying Donna's One Stroke technique, loading 2 colors on the brush at one time and using pressure to achieve shading and highlights at the same time, and I'd say the results were fair.

Let's Paint Flowers of the Month
March 2019:  Keli's birthday was in March and I was having a really hard time after losing her a few months earlier. About mid-March, I happened to see a Plaid promotion for the kickoff of the Let's Paint One Stroke Flower of the Month series with Donna Dewberry. 

After watching the video for the first month, January Carnations, I thought it might be something I could do for fun and as art therapy, so I ordered the kit. It contained all the Folk Art Multi Surface acrylic paints needed to paint all 12 flowers of the month, brushes and other supplies as well as the instruction sheets for each flower. I also ordered her double loading palette (used for loading the brush with 2 colors of paint at the same time) and a water basin.

The kit had been backordered for a couple of weeks before I finally was able to place my order, and I later learned that Donna was personally painting roses and a greeting on each kit folder.

Let's Paint Studio Lessons
April 2019: A few weeks into the Let's Paint Flowers of the Month, I discovered Plaid's Let's Paint Studio Lessons and ordered that kit, too. This series of lessons is very different from the One Stroke and several of the projects appealed to me.

Let's Paint Flower of the Month - January Carnations
April 2019: Plaid didn't start posting the videos for this series until March, and since I didn't receive my kit until the end of the month, I worked on the first flower during April. 

Donna's videos show her using 12x12 inch canvases, but I used a 10x10 canvas because that's what I had at the time. I practiced the strokes on a sheet of watercolor paper before painting on the canvas and was pleasantly surprised at how well this first attempt turned out. The hardest parts for me were the leaves.

Let's Paint Flower of the Month - February Violets
April 2019: This was also painted on a 10x10 canvas. Again, I felt that the leaves were the most difficult part, trying to get them in the right direction, shape and color mix. Flower petals and placement were a little bit of a challenge too.

Let's Paint Live - Hello Spring
April 2019: This project was featured in the monthly Let's Paint Live event in April. The project photo appealed to me because of the blue vase and neutral background, the colors reminded me of the window treatment in my powder room. 

For this painting, the background color was applied with a brush, but the rest of the design was applied using a plastic palette knife. And the petals were finger painted a bit. At times, the paint strokes using the palette knife were not what I intended, so my version didn't turn out exactly as I expected. Regardless, the class was an interesting experience. We used regular Folk Art acrylic paint on a 12x12 canvas.

Let's Paint Flower of the Month - April Sweat Peas
June 2019: I spent days practicing the strokes for this flower before painting on the canvas. I still struggle with the placement of the flowers and leaves, but this was an improvement over the others. I'm still not very confident with the loopy tendrils. This painting uses Folk Art Multi-surface paints on 10x10 canvas.

Let's Paint Flower of the Month - June Peace Rose
June 2019: I worked on the Peace Rose painting in June. In July I had lunch with the Material Girls and decided to paint the roses on cards for them. I used Folk Art Multi-surface paints on card stock and canvas paper, applied to 5x7 greeting cards

Let's Paint with Plaid - Lunch N Learn - Purple Coneflowers
August 2019: Around mid-June Plaid started posting weekly live lessons called Lunch N Learn in their Let's Paint with Plaid Facebook group. Each lesson runs about an hour (or longer) and provides detailed, interactive instruction. They publish a pattern sheet for each project in advance.

In August, one of the projects featured purple coneflowers, and since I've grown them in my garden for years, I was looking forward to trying this one. One of the objectives of the project was to be a bit free and fanciful with the background. Folk Art Acrylic Paints on 10x10 canvas

Let's Paint Flower of the Month - September Morning Glories
September 2019: I was sick with a throat infection in late July thru August, so skipped those months while I recovered. When I was well enough, I picked up with the series in September with these blue morning glories. I like the finished piece, the blue flowers were interesting, but I still find the leaves are a challenge.  Folk Art Multi-surface paints on 12x12 canvas

Let's Paint with Plaid - Lunch N Learn - Boo Pumpkin
October 2019: The Lunch N Learn lessons are so interesting because they are always using some new technique, tool or texture to paint on! This time it was a pumpkin on a burlap canvas. This lesson also focused on shading and highlighting the sections of the pumpkin for dimension. Folk Art Acrylic Paints on 8x8 burlap canvas

Let's Paint with Plaid - Lunch N Learn - Hydrangea
May 2020: In April, my vision was impaired, which led me to the ophthalmologist and ultimately my oncologist. I was treated with radiation to my brain, and by May my vision was starting to improve a little. 

The lesson for this Hydrangea painting emphasized a free form, loose style of painting, which I thought would be perfect for me with my limited vision. And I love blue hydrangeas, so I had to try it. The lesson used a linen canvas but I used what I had on hand and tinted the canvas backgrounds to imitate the look of linen. The first time I painted this design I used an 8x8 inch canvas board. It turned out nicely so I decided to paint it again on a 12x12 canvas.

Let's Paint with Plaid - Lunch N Learn - Funky Nest
May 2020: The lesson on this painting was another that was supposed to be free form and loose, using a palette knife to apply the paint. I didn't have any canvas small enough for the project so I painted on a 5x7 piece of canvas paper, then applied it to a piece of mat board for display. I didn't have all of the colors listed on the project sheet, so mixed and matched from my collection. This project reminded me of the robins that nested in our holly bush, so I changed the color of the eggs to a pretty robin's egg blue.

Here's my robin's nest photo from 2017:

Let's Paint Studio Lessons - Apple
July 2020: I started this lesson in 2019, but didn't get to finish it until recently. This lesson calls for painting on a piece of copper sheeting that has been treated with a patina medium. Although I found some copper sheeting, I was reluctant to use it until I had practiced painting the design. 

Instead of the copper, I painted a 6x6 inch canvas board with several coats of metallic copper acrylic paint. Then it waited patiently for me to find time to finish it. When I picked it up again in July, I decided the copper paint was too shiny, so I aged it a bit with some dark brown colors. Then I created a faux patina using a synthetic sea sponge and finished by flyspecking a slightly darker color. 

The lesson sheet includes the line drawing, which I traced onto the canvas after it was dry. The video lesson provides very specific instructions for painting each section of the apple, adding shading and highlighting for contour and dimension. Considering my vision is still a little blurry, I'm very pleased with this finished piece.

Painted Button Wall Decor
May 2020: I don't really remember when I first conceived of this project... it was several years ago, shortly after Hobby Lobby opened in Totowa, because I remember seeing buttons made in China for sale and decided I'd rather make my own from USA supplies. 

Originally I bought just the three 3-inch wood rounds, but as time passed I picked up a 4-inch and 6-inch round for variety. Since my MBC diagnosis, I'm determined to either finish or pitch whatever unfinished projects I have, so the buttons finally got painted. 

I chose colors that go with the window treatment in my sewing room. Folk Art Acrylic painted on wood plaques, varnished, buttons glued on for holes. Mounted on the wall of my sewing room with picture hanging Command strips.

Here is a collage of some of the other paintings I've attempted so far:

This is a small selection of the painting projects I've completed. You can see more of them in my Paint Google photo album.


The Backstory: I bought a Fiskars Fuse cutting machine at a Black Friday sale at JoAnn Fabrics in November 2012. I chose this brand because it came with an adapter kit for using various other brands of dies, including AccuQuilt Go. I used it sporadically for cutting out tags and cards, but I never was very successful with any other dies. I ended up using it mostly for embossing cardstock that I used for packaging some of my SewAmazin products.

A few years later, I was considering getting an electronic cutting machine to help with my SewAmazin packaging. I researched the Silhouette, Cricut and Brother ScanNCut and for various reasons chose the Brother machine. In January 2017, I happened to turn on HSN on a Brother craft day and after watching the demos, ordered the machine and some accessories. Keli and Penny helped me open the package when it arrived.

I opened the box right away to make sure everything was there, then repacked it until I had time to read the manual and instructions on how to set it up with wifi, etc. I watched lots of videos before actually attempting my first cutting project in December, a full 11 months later.

Material Girl Kris held one final destash before moving in 2019, and I claimed her blue Sizzix BIGKick machine plus some dies and embossing folders and other stamps and supplies. I had to buy new cutting pads, a multipurpose platform and other accessories to use the Sizzix, but I have found it easier to use than the Fiskars machine.

Westie Cut-outs
July: For my birthday I took some time to play with stamping, shading and cutting. MG Kris gave me this Westie stamp a couple years ago and I had used it to make thank you tags for my SewAmazin customers. 

For this exercise, I stamped the image multiple times on white cardstock, then used watercolor pencils to color and shade the ears, face, body, collar and tag of the Westie in various colors. I experimented with blending colors a little bit, too.

When I was done coloring, I decided to experiment with my ScanNCut. I scanned each image and used the machine's features to vary the border size around the image to be cut. I have saved these for future reference.

Terrier Birthday Card
September 2019:  I found a line drawing of a terrier die that was discontinued and was able to use the image to create a cutting file for my ScanNCut. On this card, I cut the terrier out of the front, embossed it with dots, then put a fun paper behind the cutout. The balloons were cut from cardstock with a Sizzix die and attached with foam adhesive squares for dimension.

For the inside of the card I used a free template PDF from Crafts Beautiful, scanned and cut with the ScanNCut machine, layered over the same fun printed paper.

Thanksgiving Cards
November 2019: Made for Material Girls Denise, Kris and Judy, I cut the leaves with the ScanNCut, then shaded with distress inks and used a pen to draw the veins. The banner for the sentiment was also cut using the ScanNCut. Maple leaves on the last card were made with a leaf punch and cardstock scraps.


Keli & Wyndi Wreath Decorations
December 2019: Keli and Wyndi are buried at a pet memorial park called Abbey Glen. For Christmas, I had purchased 2 small wreaths at our local nursery and decorated them with berry and pine cone sprays from my craft stash. After adding a ribbon to each, I decided they needed something extra.

I found an image of this Westie shape online and used it to create a cutting file for the ScanNCut. I cut 6 pieces of regular white card stock, then glued them all together for an embellishment for each wreath. The ribbon around each neck was made using my other newish machine, the Brother P-Touch Label Maker, using red satin ribbon with gold print cartridge.


Christmas Cards
December 2019: I only managed to make a few cards this year. I wasn't feeling well and Penny's care, especially making her special low copper diet food was taking a lot of my time and energy.

These Christmas card designs were all purchased as SVG cutting files from Craft Genesis. I used Brother's CanvasWorkspace software to convert them to FCM format for my ScanNCut, and to re-size them as needed.

Holy Family Papercut Ornament: I cut the main design in white cardstock, layered on a dark red backing and then attached that to the front of a card cut of medium red cardstock. The inside was stamped with a Christmas sentiment (sorry, I neglected to take any photos of the insides).

Reindeer Silhouette Christmas Card:  This design was irresistible and I couldn't wait to try it. It proved to be a challenge to get the blade depth and pressure to the correct settings, as some of the smaller shapes didn't cut cleanly. Eventually I decided I needed a new blade and had to order one before finishing several versions of this card. The inside of each card was stamped with Christmas sentiment stamps I picked up at Michaels.

Nativity Scene Card: This was another card design that I could not resist! It also proved to be a challenge to get all the small shapes to cut cleanly until I replaced my cutting blade. This one also used the drawing feature of the ScanNCut, a gold ink pen was used to add the sentiment on the right, "For Unto Us a Child is Born". I felt it needed something extra on the front, so stamped "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him" in gold ink.

I still consider myself  a beginner with the cutting machine and card making. You can see some of my other paper projects in my Cards & Paper Crafts Google photo album.

Please Note: I have shared links to some of the resources for the projects included in this post for information purposes only. I have no affiliation with any of them, I'm just a satisfied customer/user.


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