Stencil Pillows??…WOW!!

I love simple changes to home decor that make a big difference.  However, when it comes to painting on fabric, my track record has not been the best.  My first attempt was strokework on a lampshade.  Not sure why, but doing a sample before working on the shade did not cross my mind.  When working on fabric, there are no second chances, hence the terror!  Well, all I can say is the front area that everyone saw wasn’t awful, but NOBODY was allowed to look at the backside!


Chalky Paints and Supplies

Earlier this summer I updated my summer deck decor.  I purchased some very inexpensive plain, tan 20″ square pillow covers from IKEA for only $4.00 each.   They matched perfectly and looked very nice, conservative, but nice.  My intentions all summer were to paint or stencil something stylish on them.  I love to try all kinds of different techniques, mediums, paints, surfaces, but for some reason, painting on a pillow top brought back all those unsuccessful attempts at fabric painting.  I had a long talk with myself last night and decided that each pillow had two sides (that means if the first try was awful, I would have a second chance at redemption!) and if worse came to worse, they only cost $4.00!  I had seen that the new Chalky Paint works on fabric and did a little checking on the web.  Not only was it used for stenciling on fabric, but entire chairs (fabric and leather) were painted!


Designer Stencils

Today was the day to tackle the project.  I gathered up my supplies, Chalky Paint, stencils, stencil brush, ruler, painter’s tape, plastic trash bag, water, paper towels and lots of courage.  First, I covered my work space with a clean trash bag and taped it in place.  I know my studio table has remnants of prior projects and wanted to make sure no other product would accidentally end up on my pillow.  I inserted a piece of cardboard inside the pillow slip to keep the paint from soaking through to the other side and also to provide a smooth, sturdy surface to stencil.  I positioned the stencil and measured to make sure it was exactly where I wanted.  Next, I placed painter’s tape along any edge to prevent any over-spills from the stencil brush.  My colors are earthy, so I selected Cameo, Rustic and Heritage.  I wanted the words to be most visible, so I stenciled them darkest.  To stencil, load the stencil brush with paint and wipe onto a paper towel to remove any heavy, excess paint.  I used a very light, swirling motion to apply the paint softly onto the top of the fabric.  I didn’t want the paint to be solid, so I kept the brushstrokes almost delicate.  A second coat can always be added, but too much paint, especially on fabric, can be a disaster!  I let the brown color, Rustic, also coat the scrolls and designs, but much lighter than the letters.  Next, I loaded my stencil brush with Cameo, which is a deeper rusty red.  I wanted to add a shading to the decorative areas that became lighter towards the top, bottom and edges.  Finally, I stenciled the very tips with Heritage, orange.  Cautiously, I lifted the stencil and …WOW…I was so proud of the results!  Chalky paint is everything that they say it is and even more!  I can’t say enough how wonderful it is.Cafe Paris

finished pillow

Finished masterpiece!



I think what I learned from this whole experience is that the worrying about what could go wrong often robs us of venturing into creating without fear.   I am so excited not only about finally tackeling this project but also the fact that it turned out so well.  Was it worth all the worry and stress?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Would I stencil on fabric again?  ABSOLUTELY!  I am going to stencil more pillows, lampshades and even furniture!

Little touches make a huge difference.  My $4.00 pillows would retail for $25.00, how cool is that!  Plus, they are “designer pillows”  LOL!  My advise is to get brave and try some new adventures.   You never know what glorious results await!!


Last night during my evening walk I was surprised at how high the corn was in the fields around the house.  I stood on my tiptoes, reached as high as I could (I am 5’2″) and the corn hoovered another 4′ beyond my reach!  In spite of my daily walks, it seemed as if the corn had secretly grown incredibly tall overnight!  cornfield

Gingerbread 2005

Gingerbread 2014 from I Love Ornaments #3

I started thinking about my painting skills.  I paint just about every day, but I never stopped to think about how much I have grown as a painter.  When I look at what I painted years ago, the growth is quite evident.  However, when painting daily, often we don’t see the progress.  I think it is good to stop to realize how our painting enjoyment continually hones our skills and improves our talents.

Often we get discouraged if a project doesn’t turn out the way we anticipated.  We get frustrated when the strokes don’t behave.  Stop and take a moment to analyze your current level.  Would you have been able to paint as well a year ago?  Are the projects you tackle today more advanced?  As you continually push your limits, you are growing and increasing those talents.

I just finished a design and am so very pleased with the results.  I am very happy with what I do today, however, in the back of my mind, I know that what I do tomorrow will be even better.  I can’t wait to see what will be on my painting table next year!

Remember to never get discouraged, just like the corn, you will allways growing!

Stamping with paint…successfully…

I was never interested in the rubber stamping world.  I was very happy with all the variety my acrylic world offered, however, I was coerced into trying to use stamps with ink, but did so with a really bad attitude.  The ink wasn’t stable, it ran, it bled, it messed up my project…  Then I discovered there are many kinds of ink which respond differently.  Ugh, I was not ready to tackle another medium.  Do you have those moments when a light bulb goes off?  Well, I’m sure if I can not claim ownership, but it dawned on me that because I am so comfortable with paint, I know all the characteristics, I understand the dry time, why not try using paint with the stamps?!  I was told by stamping experts that paint will gum up the stamps and the images will not be crisp and clean.  Well…I figured that did not apply to me!

After much experimenting, I found an almost fail-safe way to stamp with paint.  I will admit that using paint may require more maintenance, but I LOVED the results!  I could stamp an intricate swirl (one that would take hours to perfect) in just seconds.  I almost felt like I was cheating.  The stamps are gorgeous and the possibilities are endless.  I was so excited, that I could hardly sleep.  I have been using stamps now for over two years and am still amazed at what a difference they can make.  A plain background can become a total show stopper, add designs to anything, Santa’s robe, a vase, breath-taking snowflakes, and words…ah yes…words are the best.  If I asked how many people like to paint words, I know the raised hands would be few (me included)!

Specialty Sponges

Specialty Sponges

Let me share my tips for perfect stamping.  First are the tools, I use the Specialty Sponge set of two to apply the paint.  These sponges are dense, sturdy, cover large areas quickly and keep your fingers…well…a little less messy.

Acrylic Handle

A clear acrylic handle is used as a base for the stamps.  The stamps cling to the acrylic, can easily be re-positioned, I like the clear because I can see exactly where I am stamping.



The biggest key is to use common sense.

1.  Surface:  Make sure the surface is smooth.  If using an acrylic handle, make sure the surface is flat.

2.  Handle:  Attach selected stamp to the acrylic handle and lay flat, stamp side facing up.  For curved contours, the handle can be omitted.

3.  Apply Paint:  Dampen appropriate size specialty sponge and squeeze in a paper towel to remove excess moisture.  To load the sponge, squirt a small puddle of paint onto the palette.  Lightly tap the sponge into the paint and keep tapping until the paint is dispersed evenly onto the bottom of the sponge.  The texture of the sponge must be visible or there is too much paint on the sponge.

4. Stamp Image:  Turn stamp over, position and gently press down.  Too much pressure may smash the paint off the stamp.   Lift stamp directly up, any wiggle will smear the image.  Keys to remember, too much paint will result in a blurry image and not enough paint will make the image incomplete.  Reload every time.

5. Cleanup:  The stamps need to be cleaned immediately.  I usually drop them in my water bucket to hang out until I am finished and ready to clean up.  I lay the stamps in the bottom of my sink and use a soft scrubby brush to make them sparkling clean.  I place them on a paper towel to dry.  Clean both sides of the stamp and the acrylic handle.  It makes sense if either has paint build up, they will have difficulty sticking to the handle.

Sapphire Cherish Family Tray

Family, Food and Friends

Carte Postale

Sparkle Tree Santa

Dare to Dabble Fruit
















It won’t take long to understand and grasp the art of stamping with paint.  It can be fun and so very rewarding.  Keep an open mind because once you master it, you will get so excited you will become giddy!!  Oh, I do love my stamps, they really make me look good and I say that with a smile and a wink.

Does it take talent?

Yesterday, I spent most of the day working on a new design only to decide it was a disaster.  At first I felt like a total failure and wondered if I had lost my knack!  After I settled down and accepted the fact that this was not working, I started to focus on what was wrong.  I used my years of painting to analyse and evaluate why it was a flop.  I decided the elements were the wrong size for the piece, the placement was bad, the colors were muddy.    

With new determination and confidence (although a little shakey), I sanded to the base and started all over.  The results were wonderful and I felt so much pride and satisfaction.  If I had not such a rough start, the victory would not have been so sweet!

I wondered about new painters and how they feel when something doesn’t turn out well.  We are so critical of ourselves and so quick to admit defeat.  If we calm down, we can learn much from our “not so great” painting experiences.  It is so hard to step back with a critical eye and not take the shortcomings personally.  Looking at why a project failed is often more educational than sailing through smoothly.  Is it the brushes, the paint, surface not prepped properly, not enough or too much water, wrong color,..??  There are so many factors that effect the end results that talent really has little to do with it! 

Some are certainly born with exceptional talents, however, we can all attest to the fact that the more we practice (anything), the better we become.  It takes time to achieve high goals, but, with patience, they are certainly attainable.  Art, in any form, can be tremendously rewarding and fun.  Don’t cheat yourself because of failure.  I am sure that every artist, no matter how high the caliber has had more than their share of rejects.  Several of my best selling designs are a result of a blunder.  

So, the moral of the story is, toss out preconceived ideas about talent.  Play, have fun and don’t be so hard on yourself.  Art is an exciting adventure and will take you to amazing places that you won’t want to miss!!

Mixed Media…to be or not to be…

Mixed media is suddenly becoming the newest fad in painting and crafting.  I will admit that I was not anxious go down that path.  My roots in fine art were urging me to at least test the waters, however, I was determined to stay in my comfort zone of decorative painting.  When I looked at all the choices, all the mediums, all the options, all the inks, stencils, paints, papers, tools…whew…I was OVERWHELMED!

04-PA1415-1Well, I unwillingly “volunteered” to do a mixed media project.  I can still hear myself saying, “Sure, no problem, I can do that!”  Oh boy, was I worried, to say the least.  I had no idea of what I was going to do & no idea of where to start.08-20020-9S

As with anything, after I calmed myself down, and started looking at it a little more rationally, I decided it might not be so bad!  I looked at what I already had in my vast selection of “stuff” and found out that I already had a pretty good supply of “mixed media” on my shelves.  I mustered up courage and tackled a little project.  I decided to use what I had and what I was familiar with.  Well, much to my surprise, I had a blast & the project turned out pretty good.  It was so much fun and took such a short time to accomplish, I almost felt like I cheated!  LOL!!

I decided all that is needed is to place those rules that we have clung to over the years gingerly placed on the back burner, dust off your knowledge of color, layout and design, relax, pick out your favorite colors, select some odds and ends, such as fibers, metal scraps, buttons, ribbons, scraps of paper, play with them until you get an idea.  Watch as old surfaces come to life and evolve into a work of art.


I am totally hooked and love working with mixed media.  When I sit down to do a project, I am never certain of the results.  It is an adventure that will take you happy places you never thought you would go.   The possibilities are endless and the results are rewarding.  The creative doors that will be opened will fill you with wonder.

 04-PA1321-1 I can say with complete confidence that all it takes is a little courage and gusto to create a Mixed Media Masterpiece!  I encourage you to play, to dabble, to get crazy, and most of all to have fun.  It will take you into a wonderful world of art that you never realized existed.  Mixed Media is a painting vacation that is filled with excitement!  Take the plunge, you won’t be sorry!

Chalky Paint & Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning always ends up being bigger than expected.  After doing the usual room by room cleaning, the last room on my list was the screened in deck.  This is one of my favorite retreats as it is such a treat after long, cold winters to relax in my comfortable, warm weather room.  This year I drug all the furniture outside, scrubbed down the walls and woodwork.  We have a fireplace and, in spite of the fact that the screens are covered, soot and dirt always manage to settle in every nook & cranny.  Cleaning is not easy, but the results are always rewarding.


This is the before photo.  It has been awhile since I updated my decor, so I purchased a beautiful area rug with all the newest colors, rust, teal, and tans.  


After thorough cleaning, everything looked a little frumpy.  Not to be deterred, I looked thru my stash of new DecoArt Chalky paints.  I found several shades of turquoise, however, nothing quite matched.  No matter, I grabbed a plastic container & started mixing turquoises with a little emerald green to achieve that beautiful teal.  I grabbed my brush and painted a shelf and plant stand.  The color seemed a little bright, but thought with some antiquing it would be perfect.  ,

I absolutely love the chalky paint for these reasons:  #1, no prepping, yep, that’s right, just make sure the surface is clean and dry.  #2 the coverage is excellent.  Even though I painted over a dark surface, the chalky paint covered flawlessly.  #3 it dries quickly and evenly.  By the time I cleaned up my brushes, the surfaces were dry!  #4  Great selection of colors.  And even if the color you want isn’t available, it is easy to mix to attain custom colors.  #5 the end results are rich and professional.  

So, as I lay in bed, my mind is mulling over my color selection.  


At 4 am, I decided the color was not working & I needed another choice.  I wanted an earthier color with a deeper base.  I grabbed my robe, rummaged thru my chalky paint colors and decided to mix Treasure and Rustic (turquoise and brown).  It was perfect, now I could sleep peacefully!


Today I re-painted with my new mix and couldn’t be happier.  My cushions, rug and chairs all co-ordinate beautifully.  The moral to this story is don’t stop until pleased with the results.  Because the chalky paints are so “user friendly”, repainting is a snap.  I could have lived with the bright color, but would never been happy.



Some of the tips I learned while painting with mixed colors:

#1 Make sure to mix enough paint to cover the surface and maybe add a second coat if needed.  Mixing colors is a great way to customize, however, if the paint runs short, it can be very difficult to re-mix the exact shade.  Just a small variation can show up like a sore thumb.

#2 Use a plastic container with a snap on lid to mix and store the paint.  This will keep the paint fresh and add extra painting time.  The excess paint can be labeled and stored for future touch-ups or additional projects.  Listing which colors were used can also be helpful.

#3 These particular pieces are in a screened in room so I wanted to make sure the finish would be appropriate.  Because they will need to be washed off more than inside furniture, I selected the satin finish.  The finish was a soft sheen that is fresh and clean. 

#4 The chalky paints are perfect for quick and professional updates.  Whether frames, lamps, furniture or knick-knacks, these paints adhere to metal, wood, glass, terra cotta…the list goes on and on.  Just think of the possibilities!  I turned my country decor into a fresh, updated look with a few simple changes.

It all started with a new rug and some inspiration.  Now I can spend my summer relaxing in my fresh, new retreat. Image 



Are you ready to play?

Art Play Date Seminar

Art Play Date Seminar

Kelly Hoernig is a very talented lady with some really great ideas.  What would you think if you could take full blown art classes for only $4.95 each?!!  Kelly has set up the Art Play Date which offers 24 classes taught by 24 talented ladies.  I was honored when Kelly asked me to each one of the classes.  I didn’t even hesitate to say “YES”.

I thought a long time about the class I would teach.  I wanted to offer a class that would not be the traditional painting class.  I wanted to offer a class that focused on layout, design and composition.  I wanted to offer a class that focused on techniques, tips and tricks.   I wanted to offer a class that focuses on color.  I wanted to offer a class that would incorporate using unusual elements.  I wanted to offer a class that would turn out great, even for the novice.  I wanted to offer a class that would entice the creativeness of the inner soul.  

Sooo…the class I am teaching will stir up those creative juices.  It incorporates all of the above and finds a use for all those left over pieces, odds and ends, what I call “junk”.  Whether it be metal, plastic, wood, fabric, any kind of scraps.  I will teach you to look beyond the surface to visualize the end result, almost like turning an ugly duckling into a swan.  Everytime I do this technique, I am amazed at the transformation.  I promise this will open many doors into the world of creative adventure.

This class is for the daring, those that love to try new and exciting forms of art.  What a great way to use all those bits and pieces in a new and exciting way.  Think about all the different applications this can be used for such as, frames, candle holders, cards, tags, home decor, gifts, the list goes on and on.  This is a sneak peak at a portion of the project.  The surface is a metal plaque that can be used as a photo or note holder.  I love projects that serve a purpose.  This would be a great gift ideas for all genders and ages.  (you can also incorporate sentimental elements to make it even more special!).  

Art Play Date class with Chris Haughey

Art Play Date class with Chris Haughey

Don’t miss out on this amazing artsy adventure.  24 classes taught by 24 talented ladies with 24 different ideas, techniques, tips…all for only $99.00!  Click on the link to sign up:  <a href=”; target=”ejejcsingle”>Click here to visit Kelly Hoernig.</a>