n*Studio | Vacation Mode

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Vacation Mode

It’s my 25th turn on the n*Studio blog today! Which is super cool but also bittersweet as it’s actually my goodbye post…

I’m leaving the n*Studio Creative Squad!

I’ve just had a look at all of the projects I created in the past two years. Wow, did I make a lot of different things! And I remember all of the projects well, not in the least because Nat and Kim always make sure that there is an excellent theme for each month.

I can honestly say that there is a story behind every single n*Studio project I did and to me that makes my time with the Squad really special. The combination of the themes and Nat’s stamps and stencils challenged me in the very best way possible.

I experimented, even made some videos and always tried to come up with something fun. I’m incredibly thankful that Nat invited me to be part of her awesome team and it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of it!

There’s an overview of all of my projects (and that of my fellow Squad members) on the Creative Squad page on Nat’s website, if you’d like to have a look too!

This month’s theme is Vacation Mode, and there’s a step-by-step of how I created the cards above here: Vacation Mode – Marsha Valk

Enjoy your day!

Inspired by | Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood

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

Hi there! It’s the 10th today, and I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by for you!

The theme this time is… Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras

Het stenen matras

I read the Dutch translation, which I found in my local library. As the English title suggests, there are nine stories in the book. The first three stories are connected, and that confused me, as I was expecting stories, and then it seemed like I was reading chapters instead.

I’m not a massive fan of bundled stories. I prefer a longer, more in-depth story that I can’t wait to get back to when I have more time to read. With stories, you have to start over again and again and again.

I didn’t like all of the stories in this book, but I did enjoy most of them. The characters are dark, strange, evil, revengeful and a bit crazy.

Whilst I was reading, I kept seeing scenes that made me wish I was an illustrator: the indigo and emerald bees of Alphinland in the first story, the twins in the third story or the contents of a storage facility in the fifth one.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras // art journal page

The project

The bees kept popping back into my head, so I decided to try and draw those. Which was even harder than I imagined, but it was nevertheless a fun exercise.

I used Derwent Inktense pencils to sketch and colour with. They are water-soluble, but permanent once dry, so I could work in several layers.

I also used red watercolour for the background, a black permanent fineliner for the outlines and a white Stabilo All to write.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras // art journal page

I finish the page with gold and bronze ink splatters. They represent the tears of the lady that is connected to the long black hair.

Conclusion

It took a long time before I felt like this page was presentable. Watercolour skills have been on my wishlist for far too long. Drawing skills too ;-). Maybe that’s something I can work on in the new year.

Of course, I’m also bothered by the colours of the bees in the middle panel. The blue one should have been green and vice versa. But I realised too late, and because I sketched with coloured pencils, there was no turning back. Which is fine. Life is too short to fret over sketchbook pages!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras // art journal page

Be sure to check out what Riikka has made this month on her blog Paperiliitin. I’ve already seen a glimpse, and I love it!

Take care and have a wonderful week!

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

n*Studio | Each Day is a New Adventure + Colours Are My Friends

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Each Day is a New Adventure // art journal page

It’s my turn on the n*Studio blog today! Which means that it’s time to share last month’s project with you here! In fact, I have two to share this time, because I seem to have missed one…

Each Day is a New Adventure

Last month the n*Studio Creative Squad was asked to try something new in our art-making.

I had just bought a brand new set of Ecoline Brush Pens, and I decided to break them in on this little journal page, using some of Nathalie’s stamps.

Read the how-to in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Each Day is a New Adventure – Marsha Valk

Colours Are My Friends

Aren’t you wondering what I was wearing whilst creating this journal page? Well… my new apron of course!

Marsha Valk | n* Studio: Colours Are My Friends // apron stamped with ArtFoamies

Read the how-to for this one in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Colors Are My Friends – Marsha Valk

Marsha Valk | n*Studio : My Fire Burns Bright // detail of art journal page

My Fire Burns Bright

Curious about my project for December? Head on over here: My Fire Burns Bright – Marsha Valk

Don’t miss it, because I talk about Creative JumpStart and how it always inspires me!

Not signed up for CJS 2018 yet? I would love it if you would join us! Go to Creative JumpStart 2018 (affiliate link) to find out more!

n*Studio | Artful Adventures

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Artful Adventures // BeautifulDay

It’s my turn on the n*Studio blog today! Which means that it’s time to share last month’s project with you here!

Artful Adventures

Last month the n*Studio Creative Squad worked with Nathalie Kalbach’s new book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media (aff. link), to help find inspiration as we travel (or roam around the neighbourhood).

I didn’t leave the country this summer, but I did have a couple of artful adventures in Amsterdam. I documented one of them in my Traveler’s Notebook.

Read the how-to in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Artful Adventures – Marsha Valk

Curious about my project for September? Head on over here: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Marsha Valk

Materials used
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Amsterdam Stencil
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Chicago Stencil
n*Studio for Stencil Girl Products Mesa Verde Stencil

Other supplies:
Derwent Inktense Pencils (I have a set of 36 of which I used: Cherry, Fuchsia, Ink Black, Peacock Blue, Poppy Red, Sun Yellow, Teal Green)
Pentel Aquash Waterbrush
uniPosca markers (black PC-5m and PC-1m)
Sakura Pigma Micron 05

Please note that though some of the supplies were given to me, I will not benefit from any sales generated by the links!

n*Studio | Free For All

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Free For All

It’s my turn on the n*Studio blog today! Which means that it’s time to share last month’s project with you here!

Free For All

Last month the n*Studio Creative Squad didn’t have a theme, we could just do whatever we liked!

I have piles and piles of printed paper sitting under the desk in my workspace, waiting for a fun project to use them on.

Whilst sorting through the prints, I also came across an illustration I did a couple of years ago.

And that’s how one + one became this:

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Free For All

Read the how-to in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Free For All – Marsha Valk.

Curious about my project for August? Head on over here: Artful Adventures – Marsha Valk.

Materials used
n*Studio Buenos Aires Tile Foam Stamp
n*Studio Santa Fe Positive and Negative Foam Stamp Set
n*Studio Stroll Through the Hood 1 Cling Rubber Stamp Set (Brownstone, Lady Liberty, Star Tag)
n*Studio Stroll Through the Hood 2 Cling Rubber Stamp Set (E-Train, Mailbox, Warehouse)
n*Studio Cardboard Cling Rubber Stamp Set (Pie Top)
n*Studio Embroidery Cling Rubber Stamp Set (Cross Circle, Star Fish, Grannies, Love Knots)

White cardstock (I used A4 size)
Acrylic paint
StazOn Jet Black
Silhouette electronic cutting machine (mine is an antique, but it’s similar to the current Silhouette Portrait)
Adhesive
Scanner
Black pen

Please note that though almost all stamps were given to me, I will not benefit from any sales generated by the links!

Inspired by | Surprise Surprise

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!

n*Studio | Retrospective

Time flies when you’re having fun! Next month marks my one year anniversary with the n*Studio Creative Squad!

There’s a brand new project up on Nathalie Kalbach’s blog today. This time the theme is Let’s Go Somewhere and I even created a video tutorial to go along with it, so be sure to check that out here!

I haven’t shared any of the completed projects I made for the Creative Squad so far, so if you haven’t been visiting my friend Nathalie’s blog, you’re in for a treat!

Looking back on everything I created in the past year, I see some of my absolute favourites among the n*Studio projects. Nat (and her awesome assistant Kim)’s monthly prompts always seem to bring out the best in me.

Nat’s designs are of course also right up my alley, so I truly enjoy working with her stamps and stencils and I think that shows!

But you don’t have to believe my word for it… Take a look for yourself!

Click on the photo if you want to know more about the project, the materials I used and what prompted me to create it. The link will take you to the original blog post on Nathalie’s blog.

Opposites Attract
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Opposites Attract \\ Gelli Prints

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Opposites Attract \\ Gelli Prints

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Opposites Attract \\ Gelli Prints

My City Speaks to Me
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: My City Speaks to Me \\ art journal page

Elephants Never Forget
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Elephants Never Forget \\ Mixed media woodpanel

My Own Drum
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: My Own Drum \\ Mixed media cards

Letter to My Future Self
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Letter to My Future Self \\ Mixed media art journal page A4

Say Yes to New Adventures
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Say Yes to New Adventures \\ Gelli printed accordion booklet

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Say Yes to New Adventures \\ Gelli printed and doodled accordion booklet

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Say Yes to New Adventures \\ Gelli printed and doodled accordion booklet

From Small Beginnings
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: From Small Beginnings \\ Mixed media scrapbook page A4

Today is the Day
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Today is the Day \\ DIY Mixed Media Planner Dividers

Good Things Just Keep Happening
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Good Things Just Keep Happening \\ Mixed Media Gelli Prints

Return to the Light
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Return to the Light \\ DIY stenciled votive candle holders

Dream a New Dream
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Dream a New Dream \\ Mixed Media Art Journaling Page

Let’s Go Somewhere
Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Let's Go Somewhere \\ sneak peakCheck out my latest n*Studio Creative Squad project on Nat’s blog.

Enjoy your day!

Inspired by | Abeltje

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha ValkIt’s cold! But it’s also the 10th…  So 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.

This time the theme is a book. But not just any book, it’s a classic Dutch children’s book:

Abeltje

The book is written by Annie M.G. Schmidt and published in 1953. It was her first complete novel.

I grew up reading Annie M.G. Schmidt and I think I’ve read most of her children’s books and stories. My absolute favourites are the ones that are illustrated by Fiep Westendorp, but those weren’t available in Riikka’s local Finnish library, so we went with Abeltje instead.

According to Wikipedia the book about the lift boy who flies around the world in a department store lift is translated into Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish. Not in English, but there’s a plot summary on the Abeltje Wikipedia page in English.

Abeltje is one of the few Schmidt books that I do not own. I have memories of it being read to me in first grade and I always thought I had read it myself later on, but… now that I’ve re-read it, I’m not so sure anymore. Most of the story surprisingly didn’t ring a bell at all!

I’ve also never watched more than a few snippets of the film that was made in the nineties.

To me it was like reading a new book. A book that was already ‘old’ when I first learned to read… And it’s mind blowing to find out that this 64 year old book isn’t dated.

I’m curious to read what Riikka has to say about this, as I think she has read to book to her kids. There is of course mention of phones and typewriters, instead of cellphones and computers, but I’m pretty sure kids still know what they are and it didn’t seem like the story took place more than half a century ago. Not to me, anyway!

The book

A sure sign that the book is still popular among kids, after all these years, is that all copies were checked out each time I went to the library. I even tried reserving it, without any luck. So I went to the thrift store to find one. And… I did!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

It was an oooooold yellowed paperback, but the cover looks pretty cool and there are black and white illustrations inside by Wim Bijmoer.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

And just in case I wasn’t aware, the former owner wrote on the first page that Abeltje is the first of two books. The second one is ‘De A van Abeltje’, but there are also editions where the two books were published in one volume. I’m not sure if Riikka read either one or both, but I haven’t read the second book.

A paragraph

This book is another mammoth… Which means that you can easily have a years worth of inspiration from just one page of this book: there are the characters, the clothes with shiny buttons, sequins and ostrich feathers, the department store with all kinds of merchandise, the adventures in different countries, the singing, the rabbit…

I just didn’t know where to start!

So I decided to start with one sentence or paragraph.

I opened the book to a random page. This is where it landed:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

And luckily for me, there, between the words ‘Toen werden…’ and ‘… wat een grote!’ were all the words I needed to create this:

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

It isn’t the best illustration ever… But I had fun creating it and in the end that’s all that matters!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Abeltje

Now hop on over to Riikka’s blog Paperiliitin to find out what she thought of Abeltje and of course to see what she created!

Have a wonderful day!

Inspired by | Tea

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

Hi! It’s the 10th again… Time for another 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’s theme is a beverage we both love and drink everyday:

Tea

I don’t remember how I came up with this month’s theme exactly, but if I have to take a guess, I think I had either tea packaging, a tea story or tea dyeing in mind and as Riikka and I are both tea drinkers, it just made sense!

Riikka sent me tea, called Lumi-kellot, which Google Translate tells me are snowdrops. At first glance I thought it would be a winter tea, flavoured with cinnamon or apple or berries, but it isn’t. It’s banana tea!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

Anyway: I really wanted to try tea dyeing, because I had never done it before. Well, I have… I’ve used tea splatter in workshops by the fabulous Finnabair, but that’s about it.

I grabbed some watercolour paper and I chose four teas from my stash that I thought would make different tints of colour: the black banana tea, a Christmas tea that I hoped would make the paper turn pink, nettle tea and remnant of rose green tea. Then I put the kettle on and the experimenting began!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

I flooded, submerged, steeped and double steeped the paper and I dripped tea onto it. I even attempted ‘watercolouring’!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

The black banana tea worked the best and it turned the paper a lovely tea colour. The Christmas tea didn’t turn the paper pink, but a nice lighter tea colour and the flowers and other stuff in there made nice marks on the paper.

The nettle tea turned the paper a beautiful soft green and the rose green tea just gave the paper a faint yellow colour. I think that I could have gotten more colour out of that one if I would’ve had more tea leaves.

marshavalk_inspiredby_tea-1-2

ATC’s

So… my take on the theme was mostly tea dyeing and then I thought: oh, but I also have to make something!

I’ve drawn as a pastime over the holidays, because it was something I could do in the company of others and I could easily stick a couple of pens, a pencil and some paper in my purse.

I also already made some tea inspired prints in November, so kind off inspired by that I created a couple of fun ATC’s with the tea dyed watercolour paper.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

Conclusion

Tea dyeing is as fun as I guessed it would be. I’m inspired to try other dye methods too, but maybe I should wait for Spring or Summer to experiment more.

marshavalk_inspiredby_tea-5

I used up some watercolour paper that was collecting dust in my craft space. It’s too textured for my taste and it was hard to draw the tea cups on, because of the bumps. But… I went with it. I also used coloured pencils, which I hardly ever do and I even broke out my sewing machine, which I don’t use that often any more!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Tea

This was a good experiment and a good exercise in looking what I have on hand and using stuff I usually don’t give a second glance. I call it a win-win!

Now, let’s take a look at what my awesome friend has created. Visit Riikka here: Paperiliitin!

Edit: I’ve created an Inspired by | Tea board on Pinterest, if you would like to see more tea inspiration!