Sunday 31 March 2013

DIY Recycled Tortillions

Hi guys, just thought I'd do a quick DIY tut in case you have any of those novelty easter lollies, from which you can make some art supplies, more specifically tortillions (or occasionally known as those 'paper-smudgy-thingie-ma-doo-das'!).

I just have regular lolly-pops, which work fine too, but novelty ones are better as they usually are much bigger & therefore provide nice juicy fat sticks! 

So process is easy-peasy, once the kiddies (or you!) have eaten the lolly, cut the paper stick down to ensure they're clean & free of any yuckiness.

Then use a decent sharpener to create points...
and there you have it, a paper-smudgy-thingie-ma-doo-da ready for smudging your lovely charcoal or graphite creations.
...and remember they can be reused right down the stick, just by cutting and resharpening the point. 

I know paper stumps/tortillions aren't exactly expensive to buy, but they can't be handmade - as to be functional they need to be too tightly rolled for human hands to recreate (I know I've tried it!), so they need to be this kind of machine-rolled paper. Therefore if you have kids in your life (or you're one yourself!) why not get an eco-friendly & free art supply when lollies come your way?

Hope you have an awesome Easter, much love

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Anna Dakin

Hi guys, I'm like ten minutes away (as I type at this moment in time) from this being a Tell All Wednesday so I'm gonna hand right over to a very lovely artist called Anna Dakin, I hope you enjoy meeting her & find her reflections in the interview helpful for you too.
Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Anna and I live with my childhood sweetheart (my hubby) and our two bunnies and two guinea pigs with lots of character. My “day” job or trained profession as it were is as a photographer and graphic designer. My heart lies with anything creative really and as a small child I played more with “junk” and art supplies than I did with dolls and bears and the like. My Mum always said I was happiest with an empty loo roll tube and some paint and glue and that is so true even to this day. Whatever I can get my hands on I tend to use and like Jennibellie, I am also quite thrifty. I don't tend to buy lots of paper crafting stuff, I tend to do more of it myself as it gives me more of a sense of achievement to do that (not that I am dissing people who do, just for me it doesn't give me the same sense or feeling). For a while I ignored the arty feelings I had and I did what was to me a boring HR job which I hated and it made me so ill and stressed and the creative side just kept on calling and calling. One day I gave into it and I have never been happier. I call my self a mixed media artist as I use anything and everything to create, usually canvases and if I am not doing that, then I am working in my art journal.
What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I face is not thinking that I am good enough or indeed an artist. Am I worthy of the label artist or am I just someone who paints and draws? An artist is a label that says you are good at what you do and sells loads of art. At least that is what my inner critic is always telling me! I draw something and then look at it and think “meh” but then my husband says I should stop beating myself up about it and that I am good. I don't think I ever really look at my work and think it is amazing. I look at it and think that is OK for now but I always want to strive to do better and I am always practicing Always trying to push myself. To start with I just created for me and enjoyed that process. Friends and family told me that I should sell some of my work but I didn't believe them as I thought that they were just being nice. Then one day a stranger told me they liked my work and also I recently did a mail art swap with an artist who wrote me a really inspiring letter. I gave in then and thought what have I got to loose so I opened an etsy shop. I still create for me I just happen to then sell it on. I think if you try and create art that you think other people might like then you can't do it as well as your personality and your soul and your energy does not go into the piece. What ever happens I try and stay true to me. I often look at my work and think it is not finished but I have to call it a day somewhere as I could go on and on and I have made that mistake before and then ended up ruining it. Sometimes less is more as they say and that is so true. Knowing when to stop is hard.
What is your greatest personal achievement either in your art, or because of it?
This may not seem that philosophical but my greatest achievement is selling my work because it means that other's believe in me!
What is the best thing / worst thing that art has brought into your life?
Art has definitely bought a sense of calm into my world and also an escapism. Whatever kind of day I am having, art saves me and makes me sane again. I can't think of a bad thing except for wanting to buy more supplies!

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?

Thank you so much for taking the time to share Anna, and firstly I have to say I agree with your hubby about stopping beating yourself up, its definitely something that is unnecessary for any of us to do. It is a defensive mechanism that is in our genetic make-up to keep us safe from harm, to stay in our comfort zone but as my recent favourite quote has it 'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!'...and I believe true art begins there too!

You up for a TATing???
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)
Much love
ps I'm running a little behind with TAT responses (or all TAT stuff really, can't you tell? lol), but keep the emails coming regardless, if you'd sent me your interview then you'll be featured! Hoping to find time to catch up more this week, much love xoxo

Sunday 24 March 2013

About Sketchy Girls

I wanna share a new painting with you...
I just want to share...
just because...
so I am....
I think her name is Elinor, because something wise & tentative about her reminds me of the Sense and Sensibility character.
She's one of my favourite painting for a while ~ I don't know exactly why, she's just a sketchy girl, but I do adore creating them lately, as I mentioned when I did one in the Organic Art Journal Page Tutorial Video
Sketchy Girl in the Organic Art Journal Page
and I like Elinor so much that as I've not wanted to do anything with her yet, though I made her to use on a journal page, or canvas etc. Do you get that sometimes with your favourite items? Usually I'm not a hoarder of my fav things (I think it's my eco-friendly creative inside me screaming 'everything is for USE! Not just to be stroked' lol), but with Elinor I guess I should wait until I find the *correct* project, if it's forced I can tell I'll be disappointed with the results. So for the mo she is on my inspiration board, and she makes me happy every-time I look at her:
with her sister Marianne!
Here's another I just made today and turned into a journal for my Etsy Shop:
I'm having such fun creating these sketchy girls, especially over collage, so I'm guessing you'll probably be seeing more popping up too, 
Ciao for now, hope you've had a happy weekend

Saturday 23 March 2013

The White Pen Off

Hi guys, I've a new video out which I've done to help answer some of my most faqs: finding that incredibly elusive partner, that exceedingly brilliant match, that impossibly impeccable companion that is...the Perfect White Pen!

The Perfect White Pen is a shy creature, it needs cajoling and coaxing out of it's hide-holes to be put on our art journaling or mixed media work, but once it is the page/project is suddenly set to make everything on it come alive! Here is a comparison of the three white pen categories I use in my art journals, with info on my favourite pens:

White Paint Pens:
A good white paint pen is one of my favourite instruments to use in my art journals, my favourite by far is an acrylic paint marker and my ultimate current favourite is by the brand Montana, because the paint is fluid, opaque and has a good controllable felt tip. They come in three tip sizes, .7mm, 2mm and 15mm.

White Gel Pen:
A fine line white gel pen is again, a staple of my art kit. My favourite is Uniball Signo, because it, unlike many other gel pens, doesn’t seem to have an issue with different surfaces, it is constantly fluid, and constantly opaque.

Correction Fluid Pens:
I wouldn’t say these pens are a staple for my art journals, but they sure are fun. They are cheap, easy to use, always fluid, can cover large areas or create precise dots…and while I say they are not a ‘must-have’ of my supplies, if I had a choice I wouldn’t chose to be without them now ;)

I know I often send a lot of people out to buy a lot of products when I post something new (I know because I get told 'I have to get some of those x', or 'I brought such n' such after watching this' all the time) but it's not intentional selling; it's just that it is impossible to create a piece of artwork without using (and therefore demonstrating) supplies! In this video and blogpost I know do promote actual brands, but again as an FYI I am not affiliated to any companies I mention, I'm sharing them objectively and accurately to my experience, with the hopes that you don't have to waste a ton of money trying to find out stuff that I already did find out for myself!

I hope I've answered a few qus if you have ever wondered or asked me about this, if you have your own favs of white pen lemme know in the comments below =D till next time =)

Much love 

Thursday 21 March 2013

Make a Letter Journal

Do you have a penpal, or can think someone you'd enjoy penpaling with? Yes, I know, email is easier, and I too send tons of them every single day, but be honest that feels more like work, doesn't it? Urgent and necessary. Whereas there's nothing like a handwritten letter (and even better when it's a parcel and there's goodies being exchanged!) Well my best friend and I have been writing each other letters for years, since we were 14 to be exact. Sometimes we'd send each other 2 a day (one through the mail, and another we'd sneak into each others bags as a surprise!). Well that's all well and good but 15 years later it kinda leads to this:
Boxes of letters, none in order (and given that I've moved house MANY times during that period I still find long-forgotten letters in unlikely places). 

So I came up with a plan: Make A Letter Journal! 
It solves a whole lotta problems; like the messiness of thousands of envelopes, and the confusion of not having them in chronilogical order!

 It is a simple one signature book. You can make one using any of these tutorials:

The idea is simple: send the journal back and forth, each filling in the next page.

Here's some of our pages:
It means in the future not only is everything in chronological order already for us, but that we will each have our own letters (as well as the other persons) to read back on...and this aspect I LOVE. It makes it much easier to know what on earth we were talking about and what was going on at that time in our lives. The person to fill out the last page in the journal just needs to remember to send a photocopy to the other is all. 

We even use the same jiffy bag to send it backwards and forwards, with whatever other goodies we also decide to send:
meaning all we really have to find room for after a ton of letter writing is one (non-confusing, chronically sound) journal, yippie!!

Go ooooooon, make a letter journal....I know you want to ;)

much love, Jennibellie xoxo

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Sooz Weissberg

Hello everyone, hope y'all having a great week. I've had a tough week with some of those life decision thingamajigies going on, one of them being an area our artist is going to talk about today: finding time in your life for prioritizing art. If I think about it, this moment in time is the best for me in terms of be able to do what I want; no responsibilities of kids/partners/grandkiddies to take care of, but that still doesn't mean that sometimes it doesn't come down to art over life, or life over art. And when you can put in some art time, but have a million and one ideas you desperately want to do, which on earth do you actually pursue? This alone this week has left me wobbling around questioning, and not actually doing! Ugh for this reason I'm glad Sooz is our featured artist on TAT this week:

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Sooz Weissberg. I work with books, and fabric. I alter books with paint and collage and I also create books from recycled and painted paper and cardboard. I quilt, too. I make greeting cards from collage and/or fabric bits. 
What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I face as an artist is setting aside time from my husband, five household pets, maintaining a household, and making time to exercise and stay healthy. I work mornings from home, and afternoons are not only for housework and meal managing, but also exercise. I can only do art or sew on select evenings during the week, parts of the weekend, and holidays! Being a small business juggling a home means that you work pretty much every day, because you juggled your work to fit into the rest of your life. The only days I’m really, truly, off all day, are Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. But I share what I’m doing on Facebook to hopefully encourage other busy women to try a little art, here and there!
What do you love most / least enjoyable about your art?
When I work with book-making, what I love most is getting lost in the moment, pulling pieces and themes from my stash and contemplating what can be added to a page. I love the complex and satisfying textural quality of various kinds of paper, especially when they’ve been painted, or torn. In my quilting, the thing I love most is designing the layout of the colors. I don’t design blocks, but I select my own colors and layout, instead of following someone else’ pattern. Since there is no way to charge enough to compensate for what it costs to make a quilt, I don’t sell them; I continue to make a quilt for each person in my family. I didn’t have children, but I have nieces and nephews. Sometimes, a certain type of design seems to call to me and I work with the colors and fabrics in my stash before I know who the quilt is intended for, but as the work goes along, I begin to see that it suits a particular relative, and then I tend to move into faster gear, because I get excited about giving this gift!
Do you ever lose your mojo, and if so, how do you get it back?
If I ever lose my mojo I use that time to either organize, or to make “original supplies”. I will put away all the bits and pieces from completed projects and tidy up my workspace; fill new or more interesting organizational containers; post inspiration pages up on the walls of my studio; organize my fabric stash and consider donating or trading stash that might have gone un-used for too long. These types of “replenishing” activities never fail to make me feel invigorated to work again!
Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
I am not a professional artist but you can find me on my Google Plus and my YouTube channel

Thank you so much Sooz =) one thing that struck me in your interview (but not because you didn't have a ton of good points, but because I am reeeeeeeally bad at this particular one!) is making time for exercise, to me if I do have time, I'm arting because I put a priority on my mental, but not my physical health. It's really bad, and typing this I'm realising that it's one of those things in the closet I try to ignore, but if I did occasionally choose half hour exercise and half hour art, then I might have more time and energy for art. So okay, pledge on here (eek! that makes it seem so 'must do'-able) I will, from now on, choose to look after myself in ALL aspects of myself, which means both creativity and health! If Sooz can do it with all she has going on, so can I! (So there excuses, don't let the door hit you on the way out!).

You up for a TATing???
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)
Much love

Saturday 16 March 2013

DIY Recycled Stackable Pots Tutorial

Hey guys, I've a quick DIY tutorial for you today, Lord knows why I never thought to do this before, as I have saved pots of all kinds for years for my 'crafters obligatory' bits & pieces. However doing this simple DIY makes them soooooooo much easier to keep track of, especially as you can categorize them nicely. 

How to:
What you will first need is pots to recycle, of the same size and shape & with lids that will fit happily onto/into the base of another. I'm using pots my natural cosmetics come in as it's very strong plastic, however if you do not have pots like this here are some alternatives I quickly found in my bathroom & kitchen:
Condements pot from my local takeaway & facewash/moisturiser pot from Lush (if you can stand not getting you're free facemask that is!)
Take a look at what you or your friends/family members have; they'll definitely be something, somewhere you can use!

First wash & dry your pots:
remember to pull off any stickers

Next apply strong glue (if you have a glue gun I'd recommend using that) to the top of one pot, then the bottom of another:

Join them together, add as much pressure as possible to make sure any excess air is pushed out:
...obviously try to make them as evenly straight as possible.

While you're waiting for it to completely dry take a piece of scrap and cut a label for the top:
Luckily my circle punch is the *exact* fit for these pots, if yours isn't a hand-cut circle/shape just adds more of your own special touch to it =)

I then label what's in there, and I also like add a little inventory of my bits to the top too, so I can see at a glance exactly what I have in there:
and that's it! Super simple, eco-friendly craft storage. 

Happy weekend and ta-ta for now, 
love Jennibellie =)

Thursday 14 March 2013

Pet Project (A Video and What Went Wrong...)

Hey artybug =) I've been more prolific so far in the latter half of this week, yesterday I finished a project:
dat der behind Sweepiebum!

and today I made a video on it YAY =D if you just want the video, here it is...or if you want more info & advice (as it is just a fun video, not a tutorial video) continue the further reading underneath about it:

So A LOT of people tell me, once they've watched my videos 'you make it look so easy! I could not do that at all' - yeah I get that a LOT, but I truly believe it only ever looks that way on a video because (most often) it has been chopped and cropped! I STILL go through the same processes is my head 'is this working?', 'will that look rubbish?', 'what's missing here?' - that's why I did the 15 Minute Real-Time Art Journal Page Video, where I tried to talk through as much of the process as possible. 
So this Pet Project video seems really easy-breasy right? 
Nothing went wrong while doing this right? 
Check out the still from the video below; this is where I painted all Sweepie's black bits, well black: was the WORST thing I could have possibly done for this painting ---
Because I had already put the darkest colour down I spent the rest of the painting completely battling to make his features, shadows and light come forward. I used every kind of acrylic I had (I found glossy to be the best in the end btw, it added a bit more dimension), but this move could have completely ruined the painting. Did I let it? Hell no! Because I do not believe you can ever, EVER, ruin a piece of artwork to the point where it is impossible to make work again. Whatever you do, whatever mistakes you make, they are all tools to help you learn how to improve your work. Will I ever paint bulk black again? No, next time I'll build it up slowly. Am I sorry I did paint it bulk black, and probably got a lesser-version of the painting I could have ended up with? Not at all. I'm happy for every mistake I ever made in my art, this is why I'm sharing this in this post rather than focusing in more on Sweepiebum (sorry pup pup, you really are just the guinea pig today =( ), to try and share what I can in understanding that:
shedding your fear & making mistakes, makes you 100% a better artist!

Much love
Jennibellie (& Sweepie)

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Malinda Kopec

Hey guys, how is you artful week going so far?? Mine has been pretty slow, I *want* to do so much, yet life just doesn't seem to want to play ball...always is the case when I've a million and one ideas whirling around in my head & a frustratingly slow pace at which they are getting done! Ugh! One thing I have done though for my arty life is join pinterest, where I'll be pinning everything artified ~ I know not much but at least it's something lol you can find my boards here! And secondly I'm doing this interview with the lovely Malinda! (yes I am counting it :p) so that's 2 arty points to Jennibellie lol over to Malinda...

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I am a mixed media artist who leans toward acrylics. My interests are all over the place so one day I could be snapping photo's and doing digital work on them and the next I could be painting an abstract or creating a pair of earrings. I have always loved art and liked 'making do' - making something out of nothing ; ) I think mixed media allows for that passion in me. I also love to do semi realistic portraits, a lady with butterfly's for hair, that sort of thing. 
I have been married to a wonderful supportive man for 18 years now and we just moved to my homestate of Michigan from his homestate of New Jersey. He says "It snows EVERY DAY in Michigan" and I have to admit this year it just about has, lol! We have 2 cats and a dog that are our babies, no diapers for us, hehe!
What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it? 
The biggest challenge I face as an artist is the self confidence! Am I really an artist just because I throw paint around and like to glue papers and paint over them? I overcome this by telling myself "Of course you are an artist! You are just an undiscovered artist whose art no one has found yet" hehe! I am lucky to have a great support system and when I get that hopeless feeling my family and friends quickly alleviate that by encouraging me to go on and assuring me that I DO have a modicum of talent. ; )
What other issues to you overcome to accomplish your art?
I have had a lot of issue to overcome to become an artist. Losing a job where I was allowed to work from home due to physical issues was very hard on me. I lost a lot but it did open the door for me to explore my creative side. I have fibromyalgia (I do find that a LOT of artists suffer from this disorder) so often I am working on what I can from my bed, also, I get new art supplies and promptly forget where I put them! It is maddening but i have to keep my sense of humor about it or I'd just probably be crying all day long! But, the shortcomings of my health have forced me to face the fact that I can no longer work in the 'world' so I have created my own world and art has brought so much joy and satisfaction to my life that I wouldn't trade that now.
Do you think you have achieved a uniquely recognisable style as an artist, or do you find it a struggle to find your own style? 
Have I found my style NO!! I LOVE everything! I see what other people are doing and I have to try it on like a set of clothes! I want to create beauty in every way possible! I'm all over the place and I think that is a hinderence to me because people can't readily relate to me or recognize my work. Then there is the always comparing myself to other artists, ack! I'm still a baby in this world of art so I'm hoping that before I hit 60 I have found my own way. A way that will satisfy me every day. I think that's why I'll always love mixed media most, you get to play with more stuff, hehe! 
Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art? 
You can find art that I have put for sale at and also my blog features a lot of stuff I haven't yet listed - I've also just started using Fine Art America and am sooo impressed with their offerings! You can get a fine print framed and matted for less than what you would pay to have just the framing and matting done at a local framing store. They have lots of options as to how you can purchase art, on canvas, fine prints, greeting cards, etc. My work can be found here

Thank you so much Jennibelllie for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings with your readers, I've enjoyed my time here very much!

Thank you for sharing Malinda =) I'm sorry to hear about your health issues but it seems you have created something fabulous out of the fact you have fibromyalgia ~ I can think of many 'trial & tribulation make us who we really are' quotes here lol and I think you are right, there are many artists who have fibromyalgia, or other health issues or disabilities that mean they are confined to their bed (and I'm just thinking here about a great percentage of the ladies that have emailed me directly) but I think this has something to do with the beauty & wonder of what the internet has brought into our lives. Anyone, anywhere, can be an artist. And it has not only brought art in, but also comfort and connection to others, as well as the fact we can be learning new skills or just getting inspired whenever we want, or more importantly need, to. Excellent interview Malinda, would you like to be featured on Tell All Tuesday?? >>>>>>
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)
Much love
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