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!

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!

Creative JumpStart 2017 | Let’s Jump!

Creative Jumpstart 2017

Happy New Year! And… We’re off! Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2017 has officially begun and I’m super excited that my video is up today!!!

I can’t wait to see all the other videos and I’m excited to see what the Jumpers are going to make inspired by those videos. Creative JumpStart really is the best way to start a new creative year!

Haven’t signed up yet? No worries! It’s not too late to join in! Go to Nathalie’s site to find out more and sign up!

Here’s a little sneak of what I’ve got in store for you:

Marsha Valk | Creative JumpStart 2017 Sneak Peek

Note that all links in this blog post are affiliate links, so if you decide to sign up through these links it is possible that I will get a percentage of the sale.