December 2015 Wrap Up: Parisian Christmas Present and January Calendar

Madeline Christmas Gift set

For my redheaded best friend’s baby (often mentioned or alluded to on this blog), I coupled Madeline’s Christmas with a Parisian style box/dollhouse that I painted. Madeline was a special favorite for both my friend and I when we were little so I know we will be passing that tradition to my little “niece.”

paris building boxPainted Paris dollhouse Storage Box




Box Lid Painted Paris Building Style

I actually was testing out new paints, hand-me-downs from my grandmother, a heat set type of painting called Genesis. The colors she gave me are gorgeous and the finish is nice and the ability to layer handy. However, heat setting takes time and effort that can drive me nuts. I’ll have to use them some more to form a full opinion.

doll house storage box back (The color carries around the box without additional details.)

As stated in my New Years Resolution post, I thought I would try making my monthly wall calendar pages by hand as a way to have a visual calendar without buying one as well as having an opportunity to practice techniques.

2016 calendar Jan

For January, I tried out some resisting methods with a white crayon and used both regular pan watercolors and Aquastick watercolor crayon-like things to paint the night sky and moons. Since my activities don’t start until late January, I didn’t feel the need to leave much room for writing and marking.

Happy 2016!


December 2015 Wrap Up: December Daily Album

December Daily 2015 Round Up

I’ll be using this weekend to post wrap ups from December and posts delayed by the holidays. As you may remember, one of my December Daily goals was to have a more cohesive piece with the pages blending into each other, resulting in a singular art work. I think I got pretty close there now that I observe the pages all at once and in order.

Here are the final pages I need to discuss:

I finally bothered to do Day 10 and went for a silver stencil look, tracing the lines of an Anthropologie punch tree that I used for Day 25’s page.

December Daily 10 11

Throwing back to Day 2, Day 18 uses more Anthropologie winter catalog cut outs. I drew Day 19 based on a photo I took in Paris’ Galleria’s Starbucks display 2014.

December Daily 18 19


Day 19 flips up to reveal Day 20, using the same blue newspaper look from Day 1 and a chalkboard element, same collection as Day 7.

December Daily 20

On the wood backing of Day 19/20, I kept it simple and used up my wooden snowflakes. The day stamp smeared on the smooth surface. Day 22 is made of a fancy Korean paper that my brother got for me while visiting South Korea.

December Daily 21 22

The back of the Korean paper is a more mint-toned green. I then included a paper pocket as Day 24 to hold any little things I might wish it to. So far, it holds my Star Wars movie ticket. December Daily 23 24

Day 25 shows both sides of the Anthropologie punch thing, cute huh? The inside cover is just some layered doilies to throw back to Days 1 and 15.

December Daily 25

December Daily 25 end

I only did Days 1-25, not through 31 but you can see that my album has filled nicely. Here is the book cover full of its complete pages.

December Daily full

Thanks for following along!

December Daily final endDecember Daily final cover

December Daily Update 2

December Daily Days 13 and 15

As much as I love the grayer weather and moments of rain, it does make natural light photography a bit trickier. So consider these just some basic progress photos for my December Album.

December Daily Days 11 and 12

I used some glitter scrap squares that were punched out of windows for the paper village I mentioned in my last update to make a Christmas tree and the photo background.

December Daily Days 13 and 14

December 12th opens up into a  trio folded entry starting with thirteen and a snowy day 14. Day 15 is the inside, featured in the first photo of this post.

December Daily Days 16 and 17

Day 16 and 15 take advantage of some free printables recently posted by Free People’s blog.

December Daily Update: Days 4-9

December Daily Day 9 Winter Collage WithCraftsandLace

I am still very behind in my December Daily posts, and in actual pages oops haha. However, now that finals are over, I am excited to dive more into Christmas and crafts, especially Christmas crafts.

This is silly but somehow during my last December Daily post, I left out my very first page! When the December hand lettering is opened, this is inside, sewn down the middle to the paper behind it.

December Daily Day 1 2015

I try to link my entries to the days when I can. This time, I went cheesier with 5 golden rings for the 5th day of Christmas on vellum with golden beads.

December Daily Days 4 and 5 WithCraftsandLace

December Daily Day 6 WithCraftsandLace

Some gesso from the next entry (you’ll see) splash onto my faux chalkboard Day 8 entry and I might try to clean it off more later but maybe not, pretend it’s whimsical.

December Daily Days 7 and 8 WithCraftsandLace

I’ve been making paper houses with my mother from a silly DIY kit we grabbed on sale. As a reference to that, I used the scraps, and gesso, from the kit to make the collaged winter background – snow-scape hills and sky. I also wanted to draw little houses to attach as an additional reference, this time for when I went with friends and my friend’s baby to our city’s little Christmas display. I still need to stamp the date in the upper corner.

December Daily Day 9 Winter Collaging WithCraftsandLace

More updates coming soon!

December “Daily” Preparation

For the first time ever, I thought I’d try out the “December Daily” mini album idea. Or at least some version of it. I doubt mine will be every day, more like weekly with highlights. My style will probably be more just a homage to winter and the holiday season, i.e. no personal photographs or written journaling, instead just art and layouts. Before December actually arrives and day one of this “daily” book starts, I thought I should probably prepare.

december daily cover

For the cover:

I had a piece of cardboard or stock or something left over from once upon a time and I really liked the clean white coloring of it and the subtly ribbed texture it had. I cut it in half and then trimmed it to more journal-common proportions (around 4.5 x 6.5 range). First I added the blue wash using a watered down crazy mix of: acrylic paints in Cobalt blue, Phylo blue, Lemon Yellow, and Titanium white; Retarder, and Matte Medium. I applied this mix with a sponge and blended it with some brushes and a paper towel.

december daily empty cover

Second, I blended over the blue with a random iridescent clear/white paint that was originally for puffy paint style but has gotten old over the years. Over that, I had snow texture paint we had in the garage and sponged that around until eventually sweeping it into a centered circle. I used the wet paint with some extra matte medium on top to attach a wooden snowflake over a mini tag, leftover from my mother’s wrapping materials some other holiday season. (Obviously, from the empty rings, I have no preset pages and will be adding them fresh as I go.)

december daily back cover

Then, the back cover was done with basically the same materials. I sponged the blue mix over a stencil and once dry, sponged the snow with gesso over the blue. Some final hole punches completed the cover. (I did mess up, even with focus and planning, by punching the holes offset for the back cover and will worry about hiding those wrong spots later).


I threw everything I was likely to consider using in a thrifted sewing box not only for access and “organization” but to help keep the style of my album a bit more cohesive. I thought it would be fun to do this journal like one big piece rather than like my 2015 journal where each page was a separate work. You can see some of what is thrown in there, its quite a bit.

december daily supplies

Since I don’t have a ton of Christmas specific things, I choose a small handful of free printables that I liked. I rarely use these since it involves printing and ink blah blah but I thought it could be fun this round.

december daily tools

You can see a couple of the printables, but only a few. I picked and printed from collections I found around, sources here:

Are you doing a December Daily this year?

Monthly Journal: October

october journal page 2015

October came and went so fast, I didn’t really have a particular event to focus on in my entry. I did, however, finish a really interesting novel for a women literature class that month, White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I chose this novel as my “theme” for October’s entry.

If you have read the book, you’ll know the narrator is an artist. Because of that, I embraced her destructive creativity in my approach to the page. I also incorporated, with ink and watercolors, the suitcase imagery towards the end of the novel. The stamps are vintage snags from my dad’s childhood stamp collection. These were duplicates and extras he had.

october art journal page

I tried out my new tag shape punch on a chunk of thin cardboard to reference luggage tags. The watercolor leaves were done during a practice session at one time. All the white details were done with a random colored pencil-like thing for photos. The letters on the tags were done with my little lower case alphabet stamps.

october 2015 journal entry

The quote sloppily written as an open border on the pages is from Fitch’s novel and relevant to a certain story arch that I was fond of. The quote also inspired the white paper garland strand across the pages.

“The pearls weren’t really white, they were a warm oyster beige, with little knots in between so if they broke, you only lost one. I wished my life could be like that, knotted up so that even if something broke, the whole thing wouldn’t come apart.”  – Janet Fitch, White Oleander

october journal entry

I may still add some more brown packing paper on the page behind the tags and/or ties to the “luggage tags.”

Miniature Warblers on Miniature Canvases

birds in a row

It’s that time of the semester that I start making a lot more junk and doing a lot less productivity. But here you are, three little birds, warblers actually, on three little canvases.

Mini birds 3 set

I had planned to do four (4 pack of canvases) but my TV show was almost over by the time I finished the third bird. Three is a good number for decorating anyways.

Bird 2nd of 3

All done in solely acrylic paint. I lined them up in between the top of my curtains and my ceiling.

Mini bird painting 1 of 3

“Best Friends” Watercolor Drawing

friendship watercolor 2015

My close friend has her birthday only a few days after mine so we always celebrate together. We have a ‘handmade cards only’ rule which evolved naturally. Her card to me was adorable with stuck on pearls and kitty cats all over the envelope. My card was not actually a card. It was meant to be but resizing my sketch became too much trouble so it ended up an odd sized watercolor gift paper thing haha. (Check out my pretty new bedding from my birthday, just showcasing that again)

friendship watercolor pre-sketching

To do the drawing, I consulted a vintage “fashion illustration” workbook series that was either my mother’s or my grandmother’s first. As usual, my original plan was not the look I ended up with at all. I was considering a more abstract, high fashion sketch style but as I was practicing the forms, I had fun and landed on this cutesy figures look.

Though “my” hair color didn’t turn out ashy or dark enough, I was happy with how the red of “my friend’s hair” turned out. She has this phenomenal red-auburn, thick head of hair so I wanted it to be an important part of the piece. As a last detail, I included a lily in “my” hand to represent my friend’s baby, who was too difficult to draw but is an essential member of our friend group now, (the darling’s name is Lily.) The saying is not as sentimental as it comes off but rather an allusion to a joke. But take it as a sweet saying if you’d like!

friendship watercolor withcraftsandlace

Harry Potter-inspired Watercolor Card

harry potter watercolor 4

An old friend of mine that I’ve known from kindergarten through high school married her high school sweetheart. They were wonderful people in a solid relationship back in our teens and they still are today as wonderful adults.

Even more wonderful, they used Harry Potter as their wedding theme. The couple kept it subtle and classy with touches of navy, old books, vintage keys and more in a stone and wood walled winery venue. Since I was lucky enough to have friends with such a cool theme, I was inspired and motivated to embrace it in the wedding congratulations card. You may remember that I like to play with hypothetical book covers when painting. I took that same idea and created a cover for the novel that would be Harry Potter at my friend’s wedding. 

harry potter watercolor

I painted an old fashioned castle tower look for the scenery. I originally went more classic brown but I did not like the direction the painting was going so when I soon started over (for resizing purposes) I switched to a mysterious blue palette.

harry potter watercolor 1

After that had dried, I gesso-ed out the details I was hoping to add, going heavy handed on the bridal train area. I sketched out the lettering and dress shape first and, using my window as a light box, traced the lines with gesso on the painting.

harry potter watercolor 4

I tried using watercolors for the letting as well this time rather than ink or acrylic. The only non-watercolor used on this card was the gesso and then some white acrylic for the bridal dress’s lace details to make them stand out against the white watercolor base.

harry potter watercolor 2

The “Harry Potter” letters mimic the font seen on the most common American version of the series. I took an extra photo of the painting before cutting it to size on my bed to show off the cute new duvet cover I got for my birthday last week. Ikea, what a steal huh? Last step is just to attach the cropped piece to a pre-made blank card.

harry potter watercolor card

Ink and Watercolor Map Card

Recently, one of my French friends, that I had the good fortune of living with back during my semester abroad, turned another year older and wiser. For her birthday card, I folded up some trimmed watercolor paper into tight quarters so that it could be opened up into a larger work. Being the self-centered girl I am, I made the card a map of my home state with, what I hoped were, enticing attractions to convince my delightful friend to come visit me!

watercolor and ink map.jpg

I used a basic, portable watercolor palette set rather than my usual tubes as I knew I would be changing colors often and using them in small doses. The overall look was inspired by all those illustrated wedding invitation maps you see. They are so sweet and fun, I wanted to recreate my own version.

watercolor map

I tried to do a relatively accurate suggestion of the Californian section I was featuring so I drew a loose outline with pen first. I added illustrative doodles to highlight parts of the local California that might be interesting to my friend, to better advertise to her haha.

watercolor map art.jpg

Happy birthday to a beautiful, smart, and wonderful friend!