Sunday, December 20, 2015

Studio Sunday and Beautiful Messes

Time in the studio is so limited these days and I can't wait to get back to a normal schedule with lots of time to play.  Five days til Christmas and my studio looks like Santa's workshop!  I played fast and messy last night with my watercolor paints and stencils again and created some beautiful messes.  I love the colors and the soft subtle blending when layering the applications and I really want to create some fabrics with this look, in the future.

Have a fantastic weekend and carve out a little studio time for yourself!!!!


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Studio Sunday - Watercolor Pages and News

Happy Sunday!  The sun is not shining today and the remnants of dead oak leaves on the tree outside my window lends to a dreary scene but there is plenty of color and light in my studio!  I sat down with my coffee and watercolor journal and messed around a little which is always a good way to start the day.

A while back I had made a bunch of little decorative envelopes (for some reason that sounded good at the time).  I've got all those little pieces to use and I kind of like how they are their own little framed pieces.  

Add a little screen-printed deli paper which is so beautifully transparent so that my watercolor stenciling with one of my Jess collection stencils is still revealed in the background.  I added the words with watercolor and a flat head brush then outlined in with a Pitt Pen.

The color on the envelope was made with Dylusions Sprays and pops out nicely on top of the watercolor.  Just enough...

I'm super excited about some news I got this week that I have been approved to develop an article in a fairly new magazine by the Interweave/FW Media group using my Medallion Master Template stencils!!  I can't let the cat out of the bag just yet but will share details in the future!

I hope everyone is ready for the holidays and don't forget to squeeze in that studio time for yourself!!


All my stencil products are sold exclusively at

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Studio Sunday and Watercolor Wings

This time of year is extra busy and stressful right now with projects at work and shopping!  Whew!  The days are flying by and I haven't been able to sneak in creative time but I woke up early this morning wanting to do something in my watercolor journal.

I had a great phone call catching up with a close friend of mine Saturday night and all I could think about after that were spiritual thoughts and open questions about why certain things happen in our lives and if we have the ability to change the course of our lives to prevent certain outcomes.  Yep, sometimes I go deep :) LOL  So this morning I searched for my drawing of an angel wing that I had done a couple of years ago.  A little manipulation in Illustrator and I cut my stencil on my Sizzix eclips2.

This is the perfect image to use the watercolors with.  I controlled the application so it wasn't too diluted because I wanted enough detail, slightly more than suggestive.  I used my XS Pitt Pen to go in and create sketchy outlines.  I may try another version with more detail on top of the watercolor and experiment with the amount of water on my brush.

I am loving using larger brushes with the watercolor.  They cover a larger area more quickly and you can still control the amount of water your apply.  Click here to see the types of brushes I am using for applying watercolor through my stencils.

Back to shopping on-line and hopefully more watercolor play!  Have a super creative weekend and keep on creating!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Studio Sunday and Watercolor Journaling

It feels like snow here today.  With temps in the 30's, the weather has started to feel more like winter is coming.  Time to tidy up the garage so I can pull my car in at night and think about Black Friday and shopping since Thanksgiving is coming up quick!  I found this awesome recipe on Pinterest for "One-Pot Autumn Herb Roasted Chicken with Butter Toasted Wild Rice" that might just be the replacement for turkey!  Check out the link if you are interested.  You have to scroll way down to get the actual recipe.

This week I've just been playing in my watercolor journals.  I cut a stencil on my Sizzix eclips2 that had over 1,700 tiny circles on it the size of the registration marks on my Medallion Master Templates and I have been "dotting" everything!  I love this instant texture stencil!

The other thing I've been playing with is painting ghost words.  Using a flat head brush, it's easy to get lettering onto the page.  Some words are brighter than others but I love using the lightest grey to sort of camouflage the writing so it doesn't stand out as much.  On the page below, you can see the grey words at the very bottom. 
The next step will be to pull out my Modern Calligraphy & Hand Lettering book, by Lisa Engelbrecht, and see if I can have a little more fun with the lettering. (We miss you Lisa!)
I'm just having fun exploring the layering of the watercolors and, of course, adding dots!  This is inspiring me to create some other fun stencil designs that I'm thinking I might offer as downloadable files on Etsy for people to use with their cutting machines or to hand-cut.  More on that coming soon.

Dots Dots Dots

I haven't decided what I want to make as a focal point on this page yet but I am loving the colors and the autumn/winter feel.

I hope you are all spending Thanksgiving with friends and family and good luck with the food preparations! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Studio Sunday and Watercolor Stenciling

In following-up to my watercolor play that was inspired by Danielle Donaldson, I've gone crazy stenciling with watercolors!  I've created 2 journals so far and I'm having a blast experimenting with different brushes, new color palettes and layering. 

I started using Dylusions Ink Sprays and applying them through my stencils.  The colors were super vibrant as you can see on the covers above, but I got totally aggravated when I was rewetting the page and the ink would reactivate.  I wanted the color to stay and not change as I built layers so I switched to straight watercolors.  I layered the top of the Dylusion pages with Mod Podge to seal them and they made great covers.

I let loose with the watercolors and blended almost everything with Paynes Grey which I LOVE!  I used all my stencils including those that I haven't put up for sale commercially and I've got lots of ideas for new ones for this process.  You can find all of my stencils at under both the Joggles brand line and my own brand.  I have used a few from my StencilGirlProduct stencils as well.  Let me know if you have questions.

What I thought was a great technique was being able to lay the stencil over the dry watercolors afterwards to be able to pencil in some of the lines instead of drawing freehand (because I'm lazy).  You've probably seen me use this stencil below a million times (first as a thermofax screen and now as a stencil).  I was able to achieve the watercolor effect where the colors run together and create that essence of an image and then used my Pitt Pen to work the lines in.

One of my all time favorite stencil designs is my Sunflower stencil from the Joggles line.  The look I achieved here is exactly what I had hoped to.  By controlling the amount of water and type of brush used you can easily enhance or restrain the results you get from this technique.  I'll share more soon!

Below, you can see how much clearer the results are from the print above.  I absolutely love the natural tones as well as the purples and pinks and they grey brings all the colors together.

I want to create another journal using a limited palette like this.

Of course the Shooting Stars stencil made its way into the mix and it carried with it previously sprayed Dylusions Inks which added a nice little extra pop!

The cover was really what got me started because I loved the mess!

Dylusions on the left and watercolor on the right.

There is something so beautiful about watercolor stripes, not to mention the ability to create a coordinated page spread.  I'm sure I will be making more of these!

Tiny dots like the ones that are cut on my Medallion Master Templates are cool little details and I definitely want to build a full stencil design like that!

I am in love with the watercolor technique with stencils!  Whether you are going for a clear image or a nice wet and messy one, you can have it all!

Have a fantastic weekend and keep on creating!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Studio Sunday This and That and 20% Off Craft Daily

Happy November!  Wow it doesn't seem possible!  I didn't get a chance to post last weekend as I was traveling around the State of Maine, Down East, visiting family with my parents.  It was a great long weekend trip and way overdue.  We spent time with my Aunt and Uncle near Bangor and then over to Blue Hill to visit with my sister and her family.  Foliage was past peak on Rt. 95 but there were still great clusters of colors and beautiful "remnants" of the change of seasons.  I shared some of those photos on my Facebook page.

This weekend was all about getting my hands back in it and exploring and playing.  I finally got to do some collage work on the stenciled folders that I made back a couple of months ago.  I used everything from stencils to screen-printed deli papers and sheets of my digital artwork printed to paper.  It felt great!


Another thing I've been into is Danielle Donaldson's new book Creative Girl.  I love her watercolor techniques and her style, soooo cute.  So between the book and other on-line workshops I downloaded from the Northlight Shop, I've been playing with watercolor.  All three of these were produced well with clear instructions and up-close views.  Definitely check them out if your like Danielle's work.  The three workshops from Northlight are:

Creative Girl Workshop: Watercolor Story Blocks
Creative Girl Workshop: Watercolor Illustrations
Creative Girl Workshop: Watercolor Words.

These are a couple of watercolors I experimented with.  The bottom one with the luna moth stencil isn't quite finished.

One of the things that makes Danielle's colors so beautiful is that she carries one color into the next which ties them all together.  I haven't got the hang of that yet but I'm working on it.

Speaking of on-line workshops, I was notified this week that my own DVD workshops, Digital Design for Screen Printing and Paint, Print, Layer, Collage are both available on Craft Daily.  This website offers additional instructional videos for all types of crafting so check it out if you haven't been there before.  Use this code to receive 20% off any new subscription or download!


So check out Craft Daily and don't forget to use the code for savings!!!  Have a super creative weekend!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Free Giveaway Winners!!!

Wow!  I'm a day late posting the winners of the free giveaway!  Corporate world reality has kept my head spinning this week and the 21st flew right by me.  The great news is that there was a very low level of interest for this giveaway LOL so BOTH
Holly and Angie
are winners!!!!!  Congratulations girls!!!
Please e-mail me at Margaret Applin if you are excited about creating some personalized holiday designs for gift wrap!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Studio Sunday - Permission to Play!

Today, I'm thinking about small long-term goals.  This is odd for me as I most often fly by the seat of my pants!  I act, express myself, and go down that road that doesn't necessarily have an end in sight nor a pot of gold.  I have been lucky enough to achieve some meaningful success this way and I'm hugely grateful for that.  But, there are plenty of days where I just sit and think about what should I do next. Where do I want this journey to take me? 


Those days, I get caught up in everyone else's journey and soaking up inspiration on Etsy and Pinterest and get lost in thoughts of, "what if I did something like that?" and "I wonder if I could create something that might do this?"  I know that there is constant back-end processing happening in my brain and that sooner or later, something will pop into my head and I will fly with it.  In the meantime, I have to play.


 I know I have talked about this in the past, but I want to reiterate how important it is to not just dream but to play; with materials and your hands and explore techniques and just let the process happen.  All those great ideas that are simmering in the pot that is your imagination need to get out.  That's when the magic finally happens.  That's when the results of your play create the goal that then drives you down that path.

I know, I know it sounds silly, but I bet you there are a million creative people right now with new ideas simmering who haven't given themselves permission to play who's ideas will remain thoughts and dreams because they haven't pushed themselves to further explore their ideas on fabric or on paper or whatever type of media they have been dreaming about working with.  Just play.  The process will evolve and the ideas will bloom and all you have to do is play. 

Today is a day of play for me.  Letting those ideas move from my brain down to the tips of my fingers and just let the process happen.  You need to let that collaboration happen between brain and hands.  You need to feel the materials, see the colors, and test the waters for those ideas to come to fruition.  Just play.

Of course, you can't expect miracles the first time around but you can be sure the seeds are being sown and when they start growing, there is no stopping them.  Just play and your ideas will bloom.

Don't give up tomorrow because nothing happened today or what you created is not what you were shooting for.  It's not a one-time thing.  It should be an everyday thing and that's something I'm working towards.  Go easy on yourself and give yourself permission to play.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Studio Sunday - Medallion Ornaments and Free Giveaway!

Finally!  Studio Sunday with a video! LOL  It's long overdue but I hope you will be inspired. These past couple of weeks I've been focusing on creating ornamental designs using the Medallion Master Template stencils.  I've created a couple of handfuls of designs but the options are limitless when it comes to configuring all kinds of ornament designs using these stencils.  These stencils can be purchased at

In my video, I cover my basic techniques for building ornament designs.  As you can see from these examples, the designs have more of a vintage feel and almost a tree topper look with more of a Victorian style.  My designs followed more of an elongated vertical line with shorter horizontal lines
and there is still lots of room for building detail and doodling or tangling!
Check out the video here!
In last week's post, I provided more detail on the FREE GIVEAWAY associated with this video.  Below I have provided examples of basic repeat patterns created using ornaments that I made using  the Medallion Master Template stencils.  I created 6 design elements all painted in the same colors so that they would easily coordinate.  Obviously my holiday theme is a little pastel but your color choices are limitless as well! 

To be entered into the FREE GIVEAWAY, simply leave a comment on this posting.  
I will select the winner on Wednesday, October 21st
who I will work with personally to create their very own repeat design that can be uploaded to Spoonflower to order your own holiday wrapping paper!  You will own the design and can use it however you desire.  You are not required to use the Medallion Master Templates to create your artwork, however, you should stay within a holiday theme.  There are no restrictions on color choices.
All design work needs to be completed prior to November 20th.
Have a fantastic day and keep on creating!