Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reasons to Stamp in January

A new year, in fact a new decade, is upon us and one of my resolutions is to give away more of the cards I make. If you would like to join me on my quest to spread paper crafting happiness during 2010, then here are some reasons to make and send a card during January. From the serious to the strange, you're sure to find an occasion to inspire you.

1. New Year's Day

Late on those holiday cards? Why not send out a lovely card celebrating the New Year instead? Better yet, get in the party mood with your ink and show off your 2010 style!

Artwork by Sharon Briss

2. Happy Mew Years for Cats

Everyone has at least one friend or relative that is crazy about cats. Why not make their day and share a fabulous feline card on this fun holiday?

Artwork by Sharon Briss

3. New Year's Resolutions Week (3rd-9th)

Time to make those resolutions again! Why not make a creation to inspire you throughout the year to follow your own dream for 2010!

Artwork by Jo Capper-Sandon

4. Trivia Day

Have a ton of great facts to share but no reason to relay them? Look no further, Trivia Day is here! Now, you can astound your friends with lovely cards with fun facts!

5. Bird Day

Let your imagination fly free on Bird Day! Make a lovely creation celebrating our feathered friends!

Artwork by Joanne Wardle

Artwork by Erika Taylor

Artwork by Ali Manning

6. 12th Night / 3 Kings Day

The twelve days of Christmas actually starts on Christmas Day and extends to January 6th and, in the Christian faith, commemorates the journey that the magi took to reach the Holy Child.

So, if you have put away all those 12 Days and magi sets, get them back out again! You can get an extreme headstart on your Christmas cards for next year!

Artwork by Sharon Briss

7. I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore Day

We've all felt this way once in awhile. Why not take out your angst in your art and create a lasting tribute to you taking a stand!

8. Learn to Ski Day

With the winter weather comes wonderful, frosty winter sports! Send your favorite ski buff an alpine-themed card or enclose a gift certificate for a ski lesson in a handmade creation and send it to that friend who dreams of hitting the slopes this year!

9. Positively Penguins Day

Perpetually dressed up in black tie attire for the New Year, penguins make great images to decorate those thank you and thinking of you cards you've been meaning to make! Put a little antarctic art in someone's mailbox this week!

10. Universal Letter Writing Week (8th-14th)

Here's a great excuse to get in touch with all those long-lost buddies of yours who you kept meaning to write last year! Get inspired with thoughts of ink wells, quills and typewriters and get in touch!

Artwork by Jean Franks Beck

Artwork by Lynn Stevens

11. National Clean Off Your Desk Day

January and organization go hand in hand. Why not make some desk art to inspire you to keep that desk clean and neat this year!

12. International Creativity Month

This one needs no further comment! Just go create to your heart's content!

Artwork by Erika Taylor

13. Rubber Duckie Day

Rubber Duckies have a habit of making people smile! Why not create a handmade smile using these cute little guys and send it to someone and quack them up!

Artwork by Sharon Briss

14. National Hot Tea Month

Nothing beats a lovely cuppa in the depth of the winter! Know a tea-tottler? Why not brew up something fun to send them?

Artwork by Lynn Stevens

15. National Skating Month

Lace up those pretty skates and glide toward some fun winter art! Icy ponds, delicate skaters, frosty air - what more inspiration do you need?

Artwork by Jean Franks Beck

Artwork by Lynn Stevens

16. Appreciate a Dragon Day

Fire up your creativity for this mythic day and make a creation of legend!

Artwork by Laura Liddell

Artwork by Erika Taylor

17. Hunt for Happiness Week (17th to 23rd)

Send a little happiness in the form of a handmade creation to a friend who needs a paper hug!

Artwork by Ali Manning

18. Martin Luther King Day

Celebrate the life of this extraordinary civil rights leader with an papercrafted tribute to his legacy!

Artwork by Jo Capper-Sandon

19. Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day

Hip Hip Hooray to this one! Why not create a positive goal journal for whatever your weight resolutions are this year and toss out all those fad diet books! Inspire yourself with good nutrition and exercise! Don't forget, crafting burns calories!

20. No Name Calling Week (20th to 24th)

Why not lose the nickname this week and make some personalized or monogrammed notecards just for yourself with your name or initials?

21. National Hugging Day

Send out some paper hugs to your favorite friends!

22. Celebration of Life Day

Have some fun with this wonderful theme and make a creation showing how you celebrate life!

Artwork by Ali Manning

23. National Pie Day

Homemade goodness! Nothing beats a wonderful warm pie, but a pretty pie-themed card is almost as good! Why not cook up some great cards today!

Artwork by Lynn Stevens

24. National Compliment Day

Why not enclose a much deserved compliment in a fabulous handcrafted card?

25. National Take Back Your Time Week (25th to 29th)

Over-worked? Over-stressed? Over-loaded? Take back your time and use it for some fun crafting this week!

26. National Speak Up and Succeed Day

Here's a day to send that note of encouragement to that special someone!

27. National Mentoring Month

Why not send a note to that one person who helped you find your path? It's never too late to say thank you.

28. Current Design of Canadian Flag is Chosen by Parliment - 1965

Why not make something Canadian today, eh? Really, it does not have to include a moose, an RCMP officier or a hockey player! Shar is Canadian and she chose an image reminscient of the Group of Seven style, Canadian landscape artists of the 1920s. She added some maple leaves and a line from the Canadian National Anthem for her sentiment. So, get creative, eh?

Artwork by Sharon Briss

29. Freethinkers Day

Open up your mind and use the first idea you have to create something amazing today!

30. Rising Star Month

Know a rising star? Why not send them a celestial-themed note to tell them how much they shine?

31. Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Take a break from thinking about your art and just make something straight from the heart! You may be happily surprised by the results!

Artwork by Erika Taylor

Artwork by Laura Liddell

Happy 2010 from the Gingersnaps Team!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Challenge Wrap Up Changes

With the start of a new year, we're mixing things up at Gingersnaps! Each month we have so many awesome entries that we're decided to select a top 5 for each challenge. These 5 Ginger Gems will be announced on the blog and will appear in a slideshow in the blog sidebar for a week following the challenge. Come back next Tuesday to see the first crop of Ginger Gems!

For the yummy blog candy we give away, we will continue to draw a random winner from all qualifying entries. This random winner will also have the honor of having their work displayed as the weekly homepage art on the Gingersnap Creations Yahoo Group.

We hope you enjoy these changes and we look forward to seeing more of your fabulous artwork!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Talking to Kelly Kilmer, Mixed Media Artist

I first met Kelly a couple of years ago when I signed up for one of her collage classes at my local stamp store. I instantly loved her style of teaching and I thought her approach to collage really made it accessible to any artist, including me.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly. I want to thank her for taking the time to speak with me.

Q: What attracted you to mixed media and how long have you been creating collage pieces?

A: I've been making art since I was very little. It's funny to look back and see so many pictures of me with pens or pencils in my hand drawing. I've kept a journal in some form off and on since I was in 4th grade.

When I moved to Los Angeles, it was only my husband and I. I had no friends or family here. I was bored and a little lonely. I was drawing and writing in journals. When my son was born I started making scrapbook albums for him. I remember walking into a Judikins stamp store in Glendale and seeing Acey Deucy rubber stamps and thinking, "THIS is what I want to do." That was 1997.

I started making cards and things to sell through a local shop. It wasn't much and it was a ton of work, but I would stay up very late at night working on cards to sell. A local employee asked me if I would be interested in teaching. I said that I had never done it before but that I would love to try it. I started with basic card classes that really didn't fly, nor was my heart really into it.

I taught myself how to make and bind books. I taught myself collage learning design and composition techniques. I jumped head first into working with acrylics. I had found true love when I combined all three mediums. I started teaching classes, which were VERY hard to sell in 1998 because nobody in Southern California was really doing this kind of thing in the stores. It was even harder on the East Coast (I would often go back to Massachusetts to visit family). It took a few years before people caught on.

I love the freedom of mixed media. I love the "play" aspect of it. I tell my students that it's important to learn the rules and then learn how to break them.

Q: What was your first mixed media project and what was the most valuable thing you learned from that first piece?

A: I honestly don't remember. I've made so many pieces over the years. I love looking back at my journals and watching the progress and the changes that have occured not only in my artwork but also in me. It's amazing to be able to document my life-and my family's life in the pages of books. To be able to go back and see the good and the bad and to see how I worked things through. I really and truly believe that journal keeping has kept me sane and happy all these years.

Q: From taking a few of your classes, I know that you use a lot of different supplies in your art. Are there any supplies or tools you just cannot live without?

A: My must-have supplies are my journal (I make all of my journals by hand), a favorite glue stick (I like anything labeled permanent. One of my favorites is Coccoina, an Italian glue stick that smells Heavenly), some favorite pens (I have a whole list of pens on my blog. A few favorites are Sakura Gelly Roll Glaze and Souffle, Latte and Sweet pens, Sharpie waterbased poster paint pens, to name a few), collage ephemera (anything paper that I can glue down). I also love my Caran d'ache Neo Art Watersoluble Wax Pastels for adding color to the pages.

I also love alphabet and number rubber stamps, a good black ink pad (like Versafine), decorative and masking tape (I also have a list on my blog of some of my favorite companies), and acrylic paint (Nova Color in Los Angeles is where I buy my paints).

Q: You have been teaching mixed media classes for over 12 years. What is your philosophy when it comes to art and creating in general and how does that influence your teaching?

A: I strongly and firmly believe that everyone is an artist. We all have different talents and outlets that are creative. We all have things that we can do that are unique to us. If I can do this, anyone can do it. Some people are painters, some are great on computers, some are cooks, some love to build things, etc... You just have to find what that passion is and develop it, nurture it and let is blossom.

I don't believe in critiquing art. I have never ever told a student that what he or she is doing was wrong. Who the hell am I to tell another human being that? There's no wrong way to do something, there's only different. I love commenting on what I love about a student's artwork. If a student isn't happy, I will ask them what they don't like about their work. I will offer suggestions and ideas. I offer what I think might work and then I love it when the student figures out what they need to do. After all, they're the artists and I'm only the teacher.

Q: Now to turn the last question around a bit, how does teaching influence your personal art?

A: My students push me. I have a core group of students who take my classes again and again. They are the ones who are pushing me to come up with new ideas, new techniques and new things that I can offer in a class. My students are the ones who keep me grounded.

Q: You travel all over North America doing classes. Do you create art on the road?

A: YES! I have a constantly changing bag filled with a stash of mixed media stuff-glue sticks, pens, journal and papers. I can't not leave home without my journal. I'd go nuts. In the plane. In a car. On a train. In the courthouse (hubby had jury duty). At the racetrack (yup, I made art while hubby and son watched the races). I've made art in many a places!

Q: You have an online monthly class called Prompt-a-Day. Can you tell our readers more about that?

A: For 2009, I had an online monthly class called A Prompt A Day. I set up a website where students can access the prompts, a ton of information, share their work, see other students' work and more.

For every day in a month, they would receive (posted on the board) 3 prompts: painting, collage and journal. Together those prompts would make a journal page. Separately and combined in different ways, the information is endless.

I also worked along with the prompts. I created 365 journal pages for 2009. I developed over 1, 095 prompts for the whole year. It has been extraordinary to see what people have done with these ideas. My jaw drops every time I go to the site to see what students have done with the ideas.

I have put the class on hold for 2010. I may bring it back in the future. I am keeping the board up-so if anyone signs up for December's class, they will receive full access to December's board and information. I also have pdf and word files available for each month from January through December 2009 that I can send via email. The class is $25 a month. 8.

Q: A new year is just around the corner. What amazing things do you have planned for 2010?

A: I have lots of in-person classes scheduled for 2010. I'm still working on my calendar for the new year. I usually teach every single weekend be it locally or nationally. You can see my workshop blog here -

I also am debuting a new class in January called A Life Made By Hand. I have been trying to keep my in-person and my online classes very separate entities.

My new class is a very special deal. It runs January 1st through June 30th, 2010. It is a journal class, yet it's similar to all of my classes. They're not just techniques that you can use in journaling, but in every mixed media art. I'm not focusing on painting in this class as I've noticed that there are a lot of mixed media painting classes available right now.

I'm taking this class in a different direction. It's a hodge podge of a class - a mix of this and that. I've set up a group for it. My students will receive a prompt every single day-something that they can take that idea and create a page (or even an atc or canvas or any kind of mixed media project) in 15 minutes or less. The site will be loaded with information, ideas, tips, tricks and techniques. I will be having occasional videos and demos on the site. I will have tutorials on the site. I am also going to post a free monthly collage sheet for students. I will also have pdf files for students to download. I also encourage students to post their pages and what not on the board. It's going to be a wealth of information.

It's journaling but also will have collage techniques, demos and instructions on it. The collage ideas that I like to offer are design and composition tips, tricks and ideas disguised as FUN collage pages. The journal prompts aren't your average run of the mill writing prompts. They are designed to make you think and to dive deep. I want them to relate to everyone and not just a handful. It's meant to be a fun class that anyone can do and that everyone should have time to do a page a day, or to even take the ideas and have a fun play for all on a day when they do have time to make art. It's not meant to be hard or to have any pressure. It's meant to inspire, nurture and encourage. It's $50 for a six month class.

You can sign up or find out more here:

Wow, your new class really sounds amazing, Kelly! Thank you so much for stopping by Gingersnap Creations and letting us all get to know you and your art better!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Debby Boltman: Gilded Paper

"Gilding is the decorative technique of applying fine metallic-leaf or powder to solid surfaces such as wood, stone, or metal."

Gilded Paper is one of my most favorite techniques. Very easy to do with very elegant and fun results. Results will vary based on thickness of inks used and drying time before applying your "metallic-leaf" (embossing powders).

First, I cut a few pieces of kraft cardstock.

Crumple the cardstock and unfold it but don’t flatten out the wrinkles.

Rub your black ink using direct to paper across the cardstock. Thick inks work best for this.

Cover or dip into black embossing powder and completely melt the powder.

Allow to cool and apply your gold ink across the wrinkles using a slightly lighter hand than with the black ink. Don’t completely cover the black embossing.

Dip or cover cardstock with gold embossing powder and heat until melted. You want to over melt the gold powder so it melts into the black embossing powder. I recommend wearing a mask if you are senstitive to embossing powders.

This makes a great background for a card or a great embellishment for cards and scrapbook pages.

Playing with paints and inks for my image. I first dabbed gold paint on the image, rubbed off a bit with a paper towel and then added black ink on top. This added a great subtle gold highlight to different parts of the image. If you do this, be sure to clean your stamp and brushes immediately.

My final piece, using some gilded paper as a background. Have fun playing and do share your creations!

Supplies used:
Paper Temptress Brown Bag Cardstock
Paper Temptress Nero Incandescent
Embossing Powders
Stampin’ Up – gold and black embossing powders
Brilliance Graphite Black
Brilliance Galaxy Gold
India Ink Black
Adirondack Gold Acrylic Paint Dabber
Hearts In Touch #135 Love

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wrap Up: GC32 - Frames

Your beautiful frame artwork took our breath away this month - it was awesome! Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the challenge. Before we share this beautiful work, let's find out who the lucky winner of the PaperTemptress paper package. It's....

Congratulations, Gerrie! Please email your contact information to before January 22 to claim your prize.

On with the show.....

If you would like to visit an individual artist's blog, click on the slide show and you will be taken to the photo album, which contains their links.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Collage Corner: Paste and Paper

To get over my initial angst over doing some actual collage work, I took a wonderful course a couple of years ago with the fabulous Kelly Kilmer.

Not only did Kelly get me over my anxiety, she made it all so much fun that my creative spirit overcame my analytical mind and shouted out some collage fun right onto the pages of my then brand new workbook.

Here are a few pieces I made in Kelly's class with just a few gentle prompts and easy exercises.

This piece started with a goal of just getting lots of paper down on the page and seeing how different combinations changed the final product. After the page was covered, we added touches to make it our own.

This exercise was a great way for me to just get into the fun of ripping, gluing and placement. I had a ton of fun figuring out how different visual textures worked together.

The purpose of the next exercise was to show us how elements work together.

I loved this picture because she looked, to me, like she is in deep thought about something. I love her focus into the distance.

For the next piece, we were given the idea of making stripes and then ran with it. I wanted to get the feeling of play into this piece so the playing cards were a natural addition.

Once, I had finished the class, I was completely jazzed about doing lots more spreads. I took Kelly at her word that collage was completely portable and packed up my papers, magazine clippings, embellishments, brushes and glue and brought them to my mom's house for a vacation over the New Year's weekend.

Here's the two pages I created:

Over the summer, I took another course with Kelly where we made a fabulous handmade book. It was great fun and really pushed my comfort zone which is always a good thing!

Next week, I will have the pleasure of interviewing my personal collage hero, the fabulous mixed media artist and instructor, Kelly Kilmer! Please visit us on the 28th when I have a chat with the woman who opened up the joy of collage art for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chanukkah tag a la Tim by Hetty

So for the last day of Chanukkah, I went back to the blog of Tim Holtz for some more inspiration and I found tag #9, just the right one. Even though I do not have all the right tools, I came up with this variation for Chanukkah.

The filmstrip was made with a piece of black paper and a border punch. It looks just like the real thing. For the pictures I used my picasa photo program (it is free to download HERE) and printed the pictures contact size. I took a small square punch and punched out the pictures and glued them to the filmstrip.

The dreidl stamp is by Club Scrap. And the money coins you need when you play the dreidl game.

The 8 stands for the 8 days of Chanukkah and is made of wood. I added a silver crackle finish on top.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chanukkah Gift Card Box by Hetty

This box is a different way for giving money. Inside this box is a little envelope where you can put either money or a gift card. I did not come up with the idea myself, but I got the idea from Club Scrap. Today I made a box for Chanukkah. It is a costum to give money - or gelt as we say.

The lid of the box is done with the now so popular herringbone technique. In the Club Scrap Cinema, you can see a video tutorial about it.

On the outside, I have four dreidles with the four different hebrew letters you see on the dreidl game that children play on Chanukkah.

All papers and stamps you see here are by Club Scrap. The stamps are still available, but the papers have been sold out for this was a special release in 2006. I am glad I still have some left.

On the lid, I made a handle with a Star of David eyelet and some beads to lift it. I added some beads on metal wire, made it into a circle and put it through the middle hole of the star, then made the ends split like a brad.

Would you like to see a variation? I have another one on my BLOG. And I am sure some of you would love trying this box to, so I have a template for you HERE.

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