Painting a Botanical Card with Watercolors

Botanical watercolors - withcraftsandlace

Although many of us take extra time to get through a University degree, some do some responsible planning and graduate on time. One of those successes is my friend. To congratulate her on her graduation, I whipped her up a vibrant, watercolor card.

Botanical watercolors - withcraftsandlace

Before putting paint to card, I did some concept testing in my watercolor practice journal – focusing on greens. I finally got a succulent to work, something I’ve been having trouble with.

Botanical watercolors - withcraftsandlace

I also tested out a variety of purple and blue flower ideas. I don’t believe I used a single one on the card haha.

Botanical watercolors - withcraftsandlace

Lastly, I streaked some gloss gel over the botany, focusing on the flower petals to give a bit more dimension and finish.

Botanical watercolors - withcraftsandlace

I streaked the main green color I was using over the envelope for an ombre effect and to bring the palette together.

Botanical watercolors - withcraftsandlace

To anyone else graduating, any school, Congratulations and Good Luck!

Botanical watercolors - withcraftsandlace


Monthly Entry: April

april lilies withcraftsandlace 2015

I realize this is a bit late but May is always quite busy, being the end of the semester and all. Still, I found a good moment to reflect back on April and it’s highlights to create my monthly art journal entry. In April, the most important things were filled with love. My friend’s baby girl was born and named Lily. She was my obviously my main inspiration. Just days after her birth, I attended a family friend’s wedding and it was a gorgeous outdoor ceremony and sweet reception. She deserved such a happy day.

april lilies withcraftsandlace 2015

For the entry, I mixed gesso with a bit of blue and then green acrylics to make a lightly washed background. The lilies were loosely sketched out with pen and let to dry before I messily watercolored the blooms. It is a simple entry but a reminder of special moments.

april lilies - with crafts and lace

Monthly Journal Entry: March

Spring Art Journal Entry by WithCraftsAndLace for March 2015

Looking back on March and its toasty warm weather, I felt this month’s entry was all about Spring. I kept it simple in illustration, instead adding many layers for dimension. In a way, it was meant to reflect the style of a “mood board” or similar.

March Spring Themed Monthly Art Journal Entry - Withcraftsandlace The background is made of handmade paper ripped from a notebook, given to me long ago. On the textured paper, I choose to simply drop watercolor inks randomly on the paper.

March Spring Themed Monthly Art Journal Entry - WithcraftsandlaceI then alternated paper layers between packing papers and scrapbook papers for a textured, simple entry. With that, more ink was dripped or painted as needed. The final, small, focus points are the month’s label and a ripped side of a Windsor and Newton Ink packaging box, stains and all. Though I like Spring, I am glad to have this early April cooling-off period right now.

Happy April everyone!

March Spring Themed Monthly Art Journal Entry - Withcraftsandlace

Mood Board Update: Blues in Spring


Quite a change from the previous pink, I went for blues and clean lines with this board. All the blues and water references make me think it is my subconscious begging for rain this April. We Californians can’t help it, water is exciting. After England, I feel a bit dry in my natural habitat.


This navy tag of threads was one of those from given to me by a Frenchie for Christmas while the boat illustration came in my vintage paper pack bought at an English Vintage Fair.


I really love this playing card, it’s simple but a bit ‘boho’ in nature. I also love that it’s feminine without being girly.

Stay inspired and I hope you create something you love this Spring!

Two Entries, One Post: Acrylics Journal Edition


As a way to practice with my acrylics, I have been painting versions of birds and plants in some old illustrated birding books we have. I love chubby birds and I love yellow birds, so here we are. I had also bought a book a while before these entries that features a little yellow bird, see the right corner. I actually got two hooks, one in the sweet yellow and one in a soft turquoise. Obviously I have yet to actually hang them…


This was actually a bit of a stretch for me. I rarely paint living items beyond simple plants. But I actually like how this warbler turned out, I was quite surprised!

The first week of official Spring is always exciting. I love early Spring with comfy mornings and heart-warming sunshine in the afternoons. I only wish we would get Spring a while longer before the horrors of Summer kicked in (I’m a winter-y kind of gal.)


What are your Springtime plans?

Watercolor practice 1

I turned one of my hoarded notebooks into a journal for practicing watercolor. (more on that later) Here is the page (in-process pic shown here) following this tutorial to help practice blending skills.

But I still have three journals to use, what are your ideas? 

Monthly Art Journal Entry: February

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed a board about altering day planners. I bought a planner I liked the size and format of last year thinking it would cover fall semester of 14 and then 2015. But when I ripped that goodie open, turned out it was really only useful for 2015.

So I found a simple agenda on sale to use until I could switch to my preferred one. I chose a pretty hardcover one to re-purpose in the new year, a process I will discuss more at another time. I have decided to do a spread for each month, focusing on some theme or event that stuck out during those weeks. 

Since I spent most of January preparing to leave the UK and then settling back down in the US,the pages focus on transitions/changes, as highlighted by the leaves falling – my first time playing with my acrylic paints since September. 

Travel Journal: A Day in Cambridge

A photo-heavy page, mostly focused on my Cambridge day trip but includes the Stonehenge ticket and what not. A watercolor pencil peony-type of flower is on the pocket where hidden journaling goes.


6 ways I make my crafting more green

I realize that my paper hobby is not particularly environmentally friendly. It’s something that constantly bothers me and so I have adapted some methods to lessening my guilt while continuing to act on my compulsions.

  1. Altered projects – Almost everything you will see on  my blog, outside of cards, is an altered item I had on hand or found. Most of the time these are boxes I no longer liked the look of but needed for storage and therefore redecorated to my preferences. In fact, that’s probably how I really started all this, though I’ve always been involved with crafts and junk due to my family background. Occasionally I will buy something from a second hand store or flea market to alter for the fun of it such as my yellow floral suitcase. I am also fortunate enough to receive random crates and little boxes from relatives, though they probably don’t realize I will be modifying them. woops. Jars given to me are also reused like crazy, though not always decorated. Ugly journals are always used for quick notes, ripped into useable sheets, or altered.
  2. Recycling – An obvious one. I try to throw any unusable paper and fabric scraps into the recycle. Since I don’t keep a recycling bin in my room (I haven’t found a pretty enough or size appropriate option ha) this can get real messy but it is much better than trashing the pieces.
  3. Hoarding – A lot of times leftover scraps don’t reach the recycling bin and go back into my stash. I always think I can use them for some random project someday. Sometimes I am right. I’d probably be right more often if I organized my paper better.
  4. Collecting – I have a really bad habit of holding onto little things I pick up on outings. I somehow think scraps of tickets, coffee sleeves, receipts, and the like are “souvenirs” and should be saved for memory’s sake. These don’t as often reach the projects you see on this blog but are fun for my personal art journal.
  5. Handmade paper – This is my more extreme attempt at lessening my guilt. A lot of those scraps, deemed too good for the recycling bin but too inconvenient for the stash, go into a separate bag. Eventually, when the bag is too full, I’ll shred them up and try and blend them and press them into new sheets of paper. Some of these turn out more useful than others but my insane mind seems to think this method is worth it. Something about being told  “reusing is better than recycling” in environmental class really stuck in my brain.
  6. Not buying craft supplies – This is the hardest one, especially recently as I have discovered more and more stores and better and better craft brands. In fact, I could use a reminder for this step. I try to remember that making my own embellishments, dying my own paper, and using my own found scraps can look just as good and often more authentic than store bought decorations while saving some cash. I’ve been considering buying more of my scraps and embellishments from vintage stores but they tend to run at higher prices than hobby stores with continuous sales and coupons. Not buying supplies is a tricky step, but I think it would be worth it and something I want to start practicing more heavily again.

Do you have any alternate methods for greening your crafting?