Inspired by | Surprise Surprise

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Surprise Surprise // art journal spread

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha ValkIt’s the 10th, and I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by to share!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material), and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th when we show you and each other our creations.

Christmasworld

In January, Riikka and I both attended Creativeworld at the Messe Frankfurt. Christmasworld is being held at the same time, and it’s the fair where new products and innovative trends for seasonal decorations are presented by manufacturers and wholesalers from all over the world.

I’ve never been to that part of the Messe, but Riikka found time to go this year and got bedazzled by the glim glam and madness of it all. She described it along the lines of Easter meets Christmas with rainbows, fairies, lollipops and fluffy cupcakes in pastel colours.

But don’t take my word for it: go to Riikka’s blog post to read about it first hand!

She gave me this brochure when she got back and said it would be awesome for Inspired by.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Surprise Surprise // art journal spread

Surprise Surprise

The inside of the brochure isn’t super special. I think the cover says it all, so I decided to use it as a mood board.

I toyed with the idea of creating something 3D but decided to go with my art journal instead for practical reasons.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Surprise Surprise // art journal spread

The idea for the elephant came from a photo of one of the Christmasworld displays I found on Instagram.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Surprise Surprise // art journal spread

And this is what I ended up with:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Surprise Surprise // art journal spread

Conclusion

This was interesting!

I thought the colours of the mood board were out of my comfort zone, but in the end, I think that only the peachy pink colour isn’t one I use very often.

I really enjoyed drawing and painting the girl. I’m not that comfortable drawing ‘human’ figures, but maybe I should just explore it a bit more.

I loved mixing older and newer (to me) supplies: DecoArt Media fluid acrylics, Nathalie Kalbach’s Elephant stencil, WOW! Sparkles (Pumpkin Spice), the cute washi tape with baby animals that was kindly sent to me by Tapegarden and of course my favourite uniPosca pens!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Surprise Surprise // art journal spread

Now head over to Riikka. I can’t wait to see what she has come up with!

Enjoy your week!

Inspired by | Throwback

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

It’s the 10th and I’m back with an instalment of Inspired by!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th when we show you and each other our creations.

And… this month we chose a throwback. But not any throwback: a throwback to our very first blog post.

Hello!

Ten years ago today I posted this post. I wrote in Dutch and it was a brief one:

Welcome to my blog! I have no clue what I’m doing at the moment, but the idea is that you can see my activities here. And this is what I created today: a photo display after the example of the British Mandy Anderson. I attended her workshop ‘Dubious Doily’ at Scrap-A-Ganza last week.


It really is a blast from the past… Seems a lifetime ago! Definitely longer than 10 years. But the stats don’t lie, so I have to believe it.

Scrap-A-Ganza was one of those huge scrapbook events with lots of workshops and a market where you could get the latest and greatest scrapbooking supplies. This was probably the first one I visited.

I remember Mandy Anderson as a blonde, but I don’t recall anything else about her… I haven’t found her online, so I wonder what she’s doing now.

I still have the photo display. I keep it in a little cupboard with the rest of my mini books. I hadn’t looked into that cupboard for a while and I was surprised at what I found. I have forgotten about a lot of the scrapbooking projects I’ve made over the years.

To keep

As my first post was about a specific project, I decided that I wanted to re-create that project, but in a way I would do it now.

Now, this project was the result of a workshop and knowing me, I probably followed the teacher’s instructions to a T. So I can’t say that this project is something that I would have made on my own. But I do know that I would not make anything like it today!

So what would I make today?

Instead of a photo display, I would most probably make a little book. I really like accordion folded books and I pulled out one of the ready made ones that are in my stash.

The me of today also wouldn’t scrapbook photos from a holiday in Spain. But the one thing I really like about the photo display are… the photos. So they had to stay! And as I could not print them directly onto the pre-made accordion fold, I decided I would have to transfer them.

Lazertran

Gel medium transfers didn’t seem like a good idea because I wasn’t sure how the paper of the accordion fold would hold up. But I remembered that I had a couple of sheets of Lazertran waterslide decal paper for inkjet printers, that I’ve had for years, but never used.

This is how it works:
1 | Print photos (with your inkjet printer) onto the chalky side of the Lazertran waterslide decal paper for inkjet printers
2 | Leave them to dry for about 30 minutes.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback 3 | Cut (or tear) your images to size.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold 4 | Drop the image into a dish of water and wait until the decal releases.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold

And then this is what I did:
5 | Put the decal on a paper towel to get rid of the excess water.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold 6 | Apply a thin coat of gel medium to the back of the decal and glue it onto the accordion fold.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold

Once I had all the photos adhered to the booklet, I trimmed the edges and started to paint to make it all flow together.

I didn’t want to make it too serious, so I added little clouds and drew some lines around the images. I also added Ecoline in some areas and I added the titles with india ink and a brush.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold

Conclusion

Lazertran is fun stuff! There is so much more you can do with the decals, like putting them on a wooden or metal surface or over a gelli print, patterned paper or a drawing.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold

It is kind of delicate though and it was hard to paint or write over. On the other hand: it took the Ecoline really well. So maybe it’s just a question of more experimenting. Or… maybe I should have applied a coat of clear gesso before I worked on top of it…

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Throwback // Mixed Media Accordion Fold

Maybe next time! That is if I can still find it somewhere, because I only had four sheets and I used them all up!

Now, don’t let me keep you any longer! I’m super curious to see Riikka‘s first blog post and what she was inspired to create!

Inspired by | Eino Leino: Nocturne

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Nocturne

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

It’s the 10th and I’m back with a regular instalment of Inspired by!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

This month the theme is (again) something we’ve never tried before. I think the first idea was to find something that would evoke a feeling. And Riikka immediately thought of a poem.

The poem she chose for us to work with is:

Nocturne by Eino Leino (translated by Keith Bosley)

The corncrake’s song rings in my ears,
above the rye a full moon sails;
this summer night all sorrow clears
and woodsmoke drifts along the dales,
I do not laugh or grieve, or sigh;
the forest’s darkness breathes nearby,
the red of clouds where day sinks deep,
the blue of windy hills asleep,
the twinflower’s scent, the water’s shade
of these my heart’s own song is made.

You, girl as sweet as summer hay,
my heart’s great peace, I sing to you,
O my devotion, tune and play
a wreath of oak twigs, green and new.
I have stopped chasing Jack-o’-Lantern,
I hold gold from the Demon’s mountain;
around me life tightens its ring,
time stops, the vane has ceased to swing;
the road before me through the gloom
is leading to the unknown room.

According to Wikipedia, this is the most famous Finnish poem and it describes the natural mystique related to Finnish summertime. Leino wrote it in July 1903 and it was first published in 1905.

I’m sure Riikka has a lot to say about Eino Leino and this poem in particular. I, on the other hand, don’t think I can even begin to grasp the entire meaning of the poem. I’m guessing most of it has gotten lost in translation and I suspect hidden meanings or cultural references, but I have no clue what they are.

The feeling

I do know that Leino was a neo-romantic, so it makes sense that this poem is about feelings/emotions, love, nature and death/ending.

To me, it describes that feeling you can have at the end of summer. You just don’t want it to end, but there’s the inevitable change in the air and a yearning for new adventures.

Anyway, that’s what it evokes in me. That feeling of the last day before school would start again after six weeks of summer holidays. You don’t want the holidays to end, but you also look forward to seeing your friends (or colleagues) again, going back to a normal routine and the return of crisper air.

The words (in this translation) also seem to describe a meditative state: standing still, aware of all the sights, sounds and smells around, feeling feelings, listening to the heart.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Nocturne

The project

It’s weird to think about the end of summer, when spring has barely begun!

I thought about the end of summers long ago, I thought about the last BBQ of the season in recent years, I thought about the end of vacations, of other things I never wanted to end… And I decided that I didn’t want to go there. Not literally.

I also really liked the images that formed in my head through the words of the poem. So I asked myself what I felt like doing (Gelli printing… what else!) and then I went to work.

First I sketched a landscape, then I cut out each element so I could use them as masks and then I started printing.

Once I had everything printed, I went back in with more acrylic paint, water-soluble crayons and a fine-tip paint pen.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Nocturne

I worked on two prints at the same time, thinking that if I messed up, I would have a duplicate. They both ended up pretty decent!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Nocturne

Conclusion

Despite that I didn’t want this to be about my own memories, they’re still there. A real sunset (without clouds moving into view at the last moment) is still on my bucket list, but pine trees, a lake, smoke, the stars and a full moon are all things I associate with summer and (one or more) vacations.

It’s funny how that works!

Now… I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to learn more about this famous Finnish poem and what it means to Riikka. You can visit her blog here: Paperiliitin!

Enjoy your day!

Inspired by | Lollipop Box Club

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Soooo… April is (almost) over and I still owe you the second part of this month’s Inspired by!

Riikka and I teamed up with Lollipop Box Club this month!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Lollipop Box Club

Lollipop Box Club is a monthly subscription kit club for those who like all things crafty, papercrafts, fun stationery, pretty planners or you just simply love receiving happy mail.

And oh, do I love receiving happy mail!!!

I’m not a subscriber though. Riikka is, but for this Inspired by Lisa from Lollipop Box Club kindly sent us each a free kit to play with.

Here’s a quick look at the super cute contents of the April 2017 kit:

I received my box just before Easter and I had travel plans later in the week. This meant that I didn’t really have time to play with it until after my trip.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Lollipop Box Club

I did some faffing around with it though, filmed the unboxing and published a couple of Boomerangs in my Instagram Stories. I also took a couple of photos, but decided to think about a project later.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Lollipop Box Club

At least that’s what I thought I would do… But instead I kept thinking about how much fun I had just pushing the contents of the box around, creating little square flatlays! I also got obsessed with the little word strips in the ‘Treats’ package.

So in the end I decided to just give in and create more ‘vignettes’ (not sure if that’s the proper word for it…)!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Lollipop Box Club

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Lollipop Box Club

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Lollipop Box Club

I loved receiving the Lollipop Box Club April kit. It really is übercute and I can see myself using up all the little bits and bobs in my planner, on gifts and mail etc.

And as you can see, I’ve also discovered that the contents can be very useful and fun to use as photo props!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Lollipop Box Club

Riikka has already posted the gorgeous clustered cards she made with the kit on her blog Paperiliitin.

PS. Last time I checked there still were a few April kits available at the Lollipop Box Club website and Lisa is already taking orders for the May kit!

Inspired by | …

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s the 10th! Which today for the first time in almost 5 years (!) unfortunately means that there is no Inspired by post…

The reason is that my friend Riikka and I have teamed up with someone special to create with something in particular. But the ‘something’ isn’t here just yet… So stay tuned for that post later this month!

In the meantime we’ve decided to share what’s going on/what we’re working on…

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

WIDN
What I’m doing now is obvious… I’m writing to you!

It’s part of my admin day. On Mondays I’m usually tackling boring computer stuff, e-mail, invoices, receipts and such.

So it’s not the most creative workday of the week to share with you, but it is reality!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

I taught two super fun Gelli printing workshops yesterday at the Handlettering Academy organised by Creative Xperience.

I still had to unpack all of the workshop stuff this morning and clean the used Gelli plates, brayers and painty stencils.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

These brayers (now all clean!) were kindly lent out to me by the fab Esther of Artchicks Studio!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

I was hoping to have some time left to play… But I haven’t gotten around to that yet. So I’m going to leave you with some of the examples I had prepared for yesterday’s workshops instead:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: WIDN

You can read about Riikka’s current goings-on at Paperiliitin. And remember that we’ll be back later this month with a real Inspired by project!

Enjoy your day!

Inspired by | La La Land

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha ValkIt’s the 10th and I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by to share!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

As we were preparing this in the month of the Academy Awards, the theme almost had to be another film… And what better film than:

La La Land

I’m going to keep it short this time… I was so excited to see this film and luckily for me, it did not disappoint! It was total bliss from start to finish. And I seriously wanted to (tap) dance all the way to the car when it was done.

City of Stars

I’ve listened to the soundtrack on and off ever since. The songs are real ear worms: I could not get rid of them, even if I wanted to. So when it came to my project, I knew I wanted to do something with the lyrics and preferably a mono print.

I got the idea to look into the galaxy painting trend from the stars and the planetarium in the movie. I’ve wanted to try this for a while now and I found a great step-by-step watercolour tutorial by Gaby Friedman, that I just followed.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

I had two test runs: one in a journal to test the watercolour technique and then another one to test the Gelli printing.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Then I made the mistake of changing my paper. I used a mixed media paper for my test print but it buckled heavily. I decided to use a watercolour paper for my second ‘real’ print instead.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

The result was stunning, but… the paper ripped badly when I removed the masking tape that was supposed to keep the border around the print nice and crisp.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

So I went back to mixed media paper and did a third print. Which didn’t turn out bad, but I kind off liked the second print better. Oh well…

Handlettering

I left the handlettering for the next day. And because I had let it percolate for a bit, I decided not to use the lyrics, but to go with the ‘ear worm’. I used all three prints and my test page to play around a bit.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: La La Land

Conclusion

This was a fun exercise! I loved playing with watercolour again!! I also knew this already, but sometimes it’s good to take breaks and think about things for a while instead of getting it over and done with. I’m happy with my results!

Now head over to Riikka. I can’t wait to see what she has come up with!!