Happy I Love You Day! Get in the Swing of Things!

Baby, I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song,

You right me when I’m wrong,

Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.

~ Paul McCartney

Cuppie Cakes 5


Happy I Love You Day is here!  My little kidlets made it all the way till after breakfast before swapping their sweet little Valentine cards with us and each other…and we already had to get into the cupcakes, as soon as breakfast was over 🙂

Cuppie Cakes 2



And before the giant, teen-aged boy left for school this morning, I slipped a little booklet of Valentine jokes in his lunch.  Oh, and marshmallows (we’re not sure who’s kid he really is, he doesn’t like chocolate!).


And I made cute Happy I Love You Day cards, stuffed into an envelope with some Valentine joke bookmarks and mazes and coloring pages, and actually mailed them out ahead of time for the kids!  We’re gonna sneak out to the mailbox and put ’em in there so the kids get mail today.  How fun is that!  I almost never get things done ahead of time like that, lol.

If you haven’t gotten in the spirit of things before now, it’s not too late.  Plenty of Valentine lovey-dovey fodder around.  These cuppie cakes were super easy, just used the FunFetti cake mix and baked them in the flat, cake cones.  Don’t over-fill them, though, or they will overflow all over the place (yes, I did get one whole tray of them like that).

Or make a Valentine card…plenty of cute things around on the interwebs.  We’ve posted ideas the past two weeks, and you can still check out some of the lovies we posted last year.  Write a love letter to your loved one, to yourself, to the world…make a journal page with hearts…write a love poem or haiku…recite some Shakespeare…watch a romance…listen to a love song or two…Just feel the love!

I hope you feel the love today.  That’s what it’s all about.  And know that here, someone is thinking of you, as I think of you to whom I am writing, all of the time!

Valentine Logo

Valentine Card with Caulk and Paint Chips, a Technique Video

Prompt: Have you tried using caulk for texture?  Try caulk in your art journal…These techniques work well on paper, as well as canvas.  And anything can be used as stencils and texturing tools in the caulk.  Try something new!

Another Mash Note Journal Page, and Playing with Old Jeans

I’ve been digging around in the bags of old clothes and jeans that I save for projects.  Kids outgrow them, a knee gets torn up, a tee shirt gets worn out.  It all ends up in my bags of Art Fodder™, thrown out in the stacks in my garage…

So I found some cute sparkly jeans, and a denim drawstring from some unknown pair of jeans, long ago separated from its counterpart.

denimin hearts right closeupAs I played in my art journal today, thinking about Valentine’s Day and all that my hubby means to me, I ended up writing more than I intended to write before I photographed the pages, lol.  So I’m sharing with you one side of the spread, and just a closeup of the drawstring on the other side of the spread.

The cute tiny marriage certificate from an antique bridal book and the love letters are scanned, re-sized, and printed from my stacks of ephemera.

I needed some play time in my journal today.  And writing another mash note keeps my hubby walking around smiling.

Denim Hearts Journal Page

Prompt:  Focus on what your significant other means to you.  Paint or color your journal page while you’re thinking.  Let the colors and/or words come to you as you’re pondering.  And how could you use some old jeans to make something fun in your art journal??

Hallmark Card, or Mixed Media Canvas for Valentine’s Day?

This is the third mixed media work in my Valentine canvas series.

I built up the texture-y background with tissue paper as the very first step.  All the other paint, marker, NeoColor, stamp ink and paper all went on top of the tissue paper layer.  I did not gesso in between the tissue and the other stuff.

I welcome any questions, this was a time-consuming and tedious work, as I painted the stripes and all of the shading.

But for now, I am off to play on this beautiful Saturday with the hubs…he’s fixin’ to start cookin’, and we’re keeping our Another Perfect Saturday roll going 🙂

Have a great rest of your weekend…and go make something for your honey for Happy I Love You Day!!

True Love

True Love Canvas Closeup 3True Love Canvas Closeup 2

Always Be Courting, a Caulk Canvas and Technique Video

Oh, my gosh!  I missed a Valentine post yesterday!  The shame…but I may have an okay excuse, I was helping the teenager with finishing up his science fair project.  Which of course was due today.

I don’t think I ever got a science fair project completed earlier than the night before, either.  And I’m pretty sure my parents would say they were always up late the night before with me, griping that I waited till the last minute to get it done.  Ha!  I did turn into my parents!

I must say, though, that I had no idea that you could measure the speed of light at home using a microwave and a bag of chocolate chips.

So here we are on Friday, the Friday before Valentine’s Day.  You still have the weekend to ponder prepping your love notes and making lovey-dovey projects for your heart-throb.

I am using the heart-theme to its full advantage 🙂

Always Be Courting

This canvas and video is one of my very favorite techniques.  It started a while back when Christopher saw that I was fighting the whole texture problem.  I would spend so much time adding layers, 2-D layers, of visual interest…which resulted in the look of texture, but not so much in actual tactile texture.  While a lot of art journaling techniques are all about adding the visual kind of texture, I was looking for tactile texture.  Something you can reach out and touch.  Something different, something that added serious dimension to my works.

Along came Christopher with a pile of tubes of caulk.  Ahhh, my texturing life got really exciting from there!  You can see one of my very first works using the caulk here (which is still one of my favorites, probably because of the emotional tie I have to it as my first caulk canvas, lol).

This video does NOT go into detail on painting the caulk texture.  It is a look into working the caulk, both on the background and on the foreground.  Color will come later.

And…this is my first appearance on video, for the intro.  You will see, I was extremely nervous, feeling super bashful, and clearly aware of the camera.  I am hoping with practice and time it will feel more natural.  So be nice.

Without further ado, here ya go.

Valentine Party Favors, Perfect for Little Valentines

Here in the St John household, we love to party, er, celebrate.  We have themed dinner parties (which are a total blast), we have Saturday night cookouts (no matter the actual day of the week), and we totally we make our own cakes for all of the birthdays.

Valentine’s Day is no different.  We decorate and make cookies or cuppie cakes or some such thing.  Sometimes I even make them from scratch…and we have some kind of wonderful dinner together, with red and white tablecloths and the works.

Valentine treats 3This year I made some cute treat holders for yummy little chocolates for the kidlets (I am one of those mommies that saves everything) using toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes.

You just decorate ’em up, use tissue paper to wrap the goodies and pull through the tubes, and tie off the paper, just like a candy.  Voila!

Valentine treats 2

On a side note, I did make a bunch of these for the elder daughter’s birthday in the fall…they were a HUGE success!  I filled them with candies, little plastic Pokemon figurines (the theme of the party), and plastic rings and bracelets.  For those I used paper towel tubes…the kids loved them, and they were not just plain ole plastic bags from the party store.

Kiss Me, a Canvas for My Valentine

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight

Lead me out on the moonlit floor

Lift your open hand

Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance

Silver moon’s sparkling

So kiss me

~ Sixpence None the Richer, Kiss Me

Kiss Me closeupI sometimes get so caught up in thinkin’ about the subjects for my canvases.  Like so many of us, I fret over the empty canvas.  I look at it and worry that I’m going to “ruin” a canvas.  My art journals give me way less grief, because the paper seems so much less permanent and less expensive and less important somehow.

I can spend tons of time and loving arting energy on the paper, and then when I get to a canvas, I get all choked up, thinking that I have to make something perfect just because it’s a canvas.

I have been working on breaking through that barrier (always, always, keep on swimming, keep breaking the next barrier, keep Stretching the Boundaries).  One thing that has helped is to look at my canvas as a great big art journal page.  If I make something that ultimately I don’t like, I can always gesso and paint and glue stuff over it!  I forget that too often.

So I’m learning to work faster than my fear.  Just get the canvas out, and get started.  Make something.  And stop thinking so much (which is super difficult for me!).

Kiss Me heart closeupThe other thing that has been helping is to think less about the actual subject.  I’m going with what’s in my heart, using the images and ideas and subjects that I use on a daily basis in my art journals…that is, expressing the same ideas that I express in my journals, just in a bigger way on the canvas.  Those subjects for me are love, friendship, flowers, the beauty in the world around me, my joy in my kidlets, and my relationship with God.

Silly, I know.  Why are those subjects good enough for the journal pages and not so much for the canvas?  Why would I fight that??

Well, I’ll fight it no longer.  While I have used my journaling often as a place to work out what will later go on a canvas, as a practice spot so to speak, I realized that I need to take to the canvas the same joy that I have while working in my journals.

And I do have Happy I Love You Day on the brain (really, you ask??).  Yep, I do.

That brings us to the first in a small series of heart canvases.

Kiss Me 3

Prompt: Make something larger, something more out there, get out of the journal and onto a canvas, or a piece of wood, or a wall even…but get brave, treat the canvas like you treat your art journal.  Make something fabulous and playful, just like you’ll do in your journal.

Home, Sweet Love Song

Home is wherever I’m with you.

~ Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, “Home”

Music, ahhhhh, how it sets the ambiance.

Do you and your honey have a song?  One of those little ditties that always makes you smile and think of each of other?

How ’bout one of those songs that gets you both to looking all dopey at each other across the room, making your kidlets all groan and roll their eyes at you both?  Oh, wait, that’s my house and my kidlets, lol.

We have a bunch of faves around here, you can see a list of some of the greatest love songs of all time, or at least the ones I love over here.

And here’s one that still always gets us all goofy.  On a side note, it’s such an upbeat song, with such a great beat, that the kids love to play this one on AudioSurf…even the teen-aged boy!!

Enjoy.  And pretty please, let me know any super-cool love songs I should check out and add to my list 🙂

Time to Make Some Valentine Cards!

Now a soft kiss – Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.

~ John Keats

What’s a Happy I Love You Day without cards??

I do love to make my own Valentine cards.  I love to play with glitter and hearts and doilies. It’s all girl-like and sweet and lovey-dovey expressive.

It’s early enough in this whole holiday of love to still get your own cards made for your loved ones…your spouse or your secret crush or your bff or your kidlets.  So I’ll share with you where some of my own Valentine card makings have taken me this year (to see what I was doing last year check out this post).

This year, instead of using stationary-type cards for my Valentines, I used paint chips, oh, how I love the paint sample cards!  I know that some of my friends across the sea don’t have available the same cards I have around here, but for those of you here state-side, my personal favorite are the Behr brand paint sample cards.  The size is super-yummy, the edges are already rounded, and the card stock they use is perfect for all of my mixed media abuse.

If you pay attention (sometimes I totally forget to pay any attention, I get so totally distracted the whole time I’m in Home Depot, lol) you can get sample cards with the most awesome paint color names…they actually have some in the pink color family with names like “Pink Bliss” and “Sugar Sweet” and “Be Mine” and “Scented Valentine” and “Dreamy Cloud”.  How do those color names work for Valentine’s??

And you can go with using either side, or both sides, of the cards.  If you use the side with the colors, you can be careful and not cover up the color names so that they peek through in your card.  I tend to use the other side, with the printing, and gesso over it before I do much else.  But I have used both sides on various projects, and both work out great…

I won’t bore you with my play-by-play on what paint or what stamping inks I used, I’ll just share some pics with you and let you go from there.  If you do have any specific questions on anything you see, feel free to leave a comment with your question or drop me a note and I’m happy to fill in the blanks.

I will tell you this: it’s totally addictive, haha!  Christopher wouldn’t let me post the pics of all the Valentine’s I made, he says I didn’t need to put pictures of all my craziness out on the interwebs 🙂  But I had a blast, I had to actually stop myself at some point and get back to other art projects!

And Mom, if you stop by and see the pics, you still have to act surprised when you get your Valentine in the mail!!  (And I love you!!)

Valentine A Valentine B Valentine C Valentine D

Your Valentine Prompt: Get out there and grab some paint chips and make some Valentine cards!  You still have time!  You can even mail them to your own peeps, even if they live with you, the little ones will love to receive mail 🙂


Time for Happy I Love You Day! Or Valentine’s Day Project Time

When I am with you, we stay up all night.

When you’re not here, I can’t go to sleep.

Praise God for those two insomnias!

And the difference between them.

~ Rumi

Happy I Love You Day, or better known as Valentine’s Day.  One of my most favorite days of the year…

Not that I don’t spend the entire year long telling my honey how much I love him.  Not that I don’t do mash notes to him all year long.  Not that we don’t celebrate our love and the love we have for our babies all year long.

But I am a girl.  Happy I Love You Day is all filled with hearts and pink and red and purple and white, and glitter.  And flowers.  And chocolate.  And Valentine cards, and love songs, I can go on and on and on…oh, I just did.

I can wax rhapsodic about my lovies like nobody’s business.  In fact, I do that more than anything, other than blab about arting here on my blog.  Wax rhapsodic?  “Rhapsodic” means an ecstatic outpouring of feeling or emotion, and “to wax” means to grow or become.  You know, growing or becoming increasingly incredibly ecstatic about whatever it is that you’re yammering.

February, and Valentine’s Day, is a time made for doing just that.  It’s all about your loved one, your other, your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.  Your honey.  My hubby is all of those things.  He’s my best friend and my confidante and my partner in crime…oops, I mean, my partner in all that we do, lol.

We do include our kidlets in all of this.  We live a romantic life all around, and our kids are a part of that.  They are the physical expression of our synergy.  They share in the romantic dinner parties and lovely dates and music fests filled with dancing.  We all get into it.

Last year, I devoted quite a bit of blog space to this super duper holiday…and this year will be no different.  Hopefully, a lot of it will be unique in that I have new projects for you, and we now have the added joy of filming and making videos to share.

But it will still be filled with hearts, glitter, pink and red and white and purple, I Love You Day cards, and gooey, lovey stuff.

(If you missed the fun last year, you can start by clicking here to see the first post, or you can simply find the category on our blog for Valentine’s Day…Yep, it has its own category here)…

So tomorrow starts the couple of weeks of heart-filled fun.  I am not striving for a whole month of hearts, like I started out last year (although I only made it till the 14th), I am keeping the finish line in sight.  We will go through the actual day, and I hope by then you’ll find something here to make your Hallmark Day of Love brighter.