Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Red and Green Makes Me Happy

Little Squeak always tangled in some sort of adventure
If you took a walk around my home you would soon realize that red and green are a favorite color combination that I love to use.  My kitchen, dining room and living room have heavy accents of these two colors combined.  So when it comes this time of the year that we turn our attentions to the coming holidays these colors together make me happy.

These past two weeks have been a flurry of busyness in my little studio.  From designing a line of Country Christmas cards, refining the process for my soon to be released Country Coasters to now this fun and colorful Christmas Sticker Sheet. 

Yes, those holidays are coming fast and no amount of denying it on my part will slow it down.  I find great joy in the gift giving, it is just the busyness that robs us of that joy.  I wish we would return to a time where handmade gifts are the most sought after gifts to give at the holidays then artists like myself would stay pretty busy doing just what we love.  The Etsy Shops were swamped and and the shopping malls were like ghost towns.  Not really, but I do think there are some great gifts available there and that would be my shop included.

In the spirit of gift giving, I decided to make this full page sticker sheet available as a free downloadable PDF file.  You simply have to click the link below and then you are able to print out your own lovely Country Christmas Sticker Sheet from me to you.  The only thing I ask is that you leave a comment below on how you used the stickers to brighten your holiday cards and decorations. I would LOVE to hear from you.

Also, if you like my work, you should consider jumping over to my website and check out the 10 original Country Christmas Card designs for 2017 that go with these stickers.  Christmas Cards on

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram @JulieTownsendStudio

FREE GIFT-Country Christmas Sticker Sheet 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Loaded with Christmas Cuteness

Christmas holds great meaning to me as a born-again Christian.  The date is so much more than presents, decorated trees and twinkly lights. Christmas is the day that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the greatest gift of love bestowed on mankind.  A gift that exceeds all human understanding. 

Now that I have shared that with you, I can now talk about the totally cute Country Christmas cards that I designed yesterday.    So far I have 10 designs that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.  Each card design features my original artwork with a little Photoshop embellishments.  Even though I had a blast coming up with each of these cards, I can say that being this creative is EXHAUSTING!  I worked on these designs a good portion of the day yesterday and had my normal struggles of having a computer that doesn’t have enough RAM memory and wants to crash at the worst times.  One particular design I had to completely recreate 3 different times.  Today, those struggles are just a dim memory as I proudly look at the new gallery page I published on my website.  The bright colors and cute images just jump off the page. 

Here are a couple of my favorites ones but I strongly encourage you to go check out the whole collection on my website.  To make it easy on you I will give you the direct link.  I’m just that kind of girl.  Super Cute Christmas Cards

All my cards are 100% handmade by me and each are totally unique.  Here are some specifics that you might want to know.

- 10 cards per set, one of each design or mix and match to your tastes
- White Card or Cream Cardstock
- White or cream envelope included
- Folded measurements approx. 6.5" x 5" (16.5 cm x 12.7 cm)
- Decorative background trims will vary

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Seeing Spots

When I see cows, while traveling down some back country road,  I AM THAT PERSON THAT ANNOUNCES “COWS” TO EVERYONE ELSE IN THE CAR!  I am also rolling down the window and shouting at the top of my lungs, "MOO!"  I can't help myself.  While I was raised out in the country with agriculture all around, I wasn't raised on a farm but cows have always had a special place in my country heart.  I guess that is why I just love to draw and paint them.

I've been including cows as a central theme in my drawings and paintings for several years now and I find them always to be fun subjects.  They have big huge sweet eyes and large curious faces.  While I suppose some can be a little on the ornery side, mostly they are just giant lawnmowers eating the grass from morning to night.

This past month, I have just been having a blast adding cows to items such as stone coaster, stickers,magnets and greeting cards. Here are just a few of the examples I have come up with so far:

Etsy Shop Sticker Listing

Etsy Shop Greeting Card listing

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Art is My Healing Balm

Little did I know that on Sunday when I posted my last blog post called, “Coasting Along Among the chaos” that in just a few short hours my community of Las Vegas, Nevada would the thrust into a life and death struggle that has touched the nation.  I have always felt this city was a prime target for a terrorist attack due to the infamous notoriety and the close proximity of Nellis Air Force Base, but this senseless act defies all reason.  Because right now there just doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation except for a evil man wanting to wreck the lives of as many people as he could as he took his own life.

My own day to day life hasn’t really been affected. I received a number of Facebook inquires regarding my safety, like I would be at a concert with 30,000 other people.  No, I was in bed and almost asleep with my son called to tell me what was going on.   None of my immediate family attended that festival or do I know yet anyone personally that was injured.  The killing zone lies about 10 miles southwest of my home.  As a local resident, I have always avoided the strip at all costs.  We have never earned a living that was based on entertainment, tourist activities or gambling and so my daily routine has not been impacted.

Yet still, emotionally my heart is breaking for all the families of the people who are injured or lost their lives. I watched numerous press conferences in the last few days that were held by our sheriff and his staff.  My heart breaks for these men and women as they tell their stories of the horrors they witnessed. The emotional toll suffered here in Las Vegas is extreme.  The feeling is similar to that of the day that the MGM Grand Hotel caught on fire and some 80 people died.  I remember that day too.  Both events were devastating because of the large loss of human life, but the major difference is that the fire was an accident and this was a very calculated and planned evil.

During this time of heartbreak, I find art for is a like salve or healing balm that soothes a broken heart.  Art is my retreat that I can visit during times of personal upheaval or a refuge from the world's uncertainty and confusion.  I am bless to have faith in my Heavenly Father and this wonderful gift He has given me of ART.

Yellow is a color that makes one feel happy and warm so I found that I just had to fill a page in my journal with buttercups, bees and one of my smiling sun stickers and LOTS OF YELLOW.  I added this quote from Conor Oberst (not sure if he is really the most positive person to be quoting) but at least this one line stuck out to me and seemed to be a perfect fit for this journal page. "I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love."

I think I'm going to add this verse to finish off my page, "The Lord is my LIGHT and my SALVATION, so why should I be afraid" Psalms 27:1

My prayer today...."God pour your peace and comfort out on this city in a way that even those that don't believe in you will sense your presences.  Wrap your giant loving arms around each and every hurting person.  Bring LIGHT to the very darkness of this city and light a fire of revival so that we can see that you take what was meant for evil and that you have turn it into good."  AMEN!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Coasting Along Amid the Chaos

COUNTRY COASTERS ARE HERE!  This week has seen a flurry of activity in my studio.  I have been busy updating my inventory of greeting cards, magnets and stickers for my outdoor art show that I am participating in on Saturday.  The one item I am super excited about are these 4 x 4 stone country coasters.  I have for sometime wanted to try my hand with this acrylic image transfer and I think they turned out beautiful.  I learned a few things in the process and so I thought I would just summarize my experiences for you.

There are two methods that I found and I tried both.  The first method had me putting a layer of Modge Podge on the tile and then laying the printed images face down on to the tile.  After it was completely dry (24 hrs) you were to place the tile in water and after it was saturated you could begin gently rubbing the paper off.  The image was transferred into the Modge Podge and then you were able to seal it after you got all the paper off.  I watched that YouTube video several times and followed her process completely but I found my image came off with the paper leaving just a washed out version of the artwork on the tile.  I had a giant mess and wound up having to complete scrap about 20 tiles off and start over.

I did a little bit of research and found out that a laser printer was really necessary.  The inkjet images just either smudged when I brushed on the Modge Podge or rubbed off.  I sure wish someone had said that before I messed up 5 sets of coasters.  So off to Office Max I ran with my thumb drive in hand.  As you can see by these pictures the images look great and I'm happy with them.  ADVISE # 1- USE A LASER PRINTER FROM THE START.

I actually ended up using a process where I brush about 6 layers of acrylic medium gel right on the the image, letting it dry between layers and then trimming the excess paper away.  After that I took the image an placed it in a small amount of warm distilled water until the paper allowed me to slowly rub it away.  After the majority of paper was removed I put in clean water and rinsed off the film.  There is still paper attached so I placed the image on my forearm where I could get a better look at it and slowly worked my away around the image until I was satisfied that I had removed all the paper I could.  This process is a little tricky because you can rub too hard and tear the film or rub off the image all together.  Patience and slow circular movements with your finger are a must.

My stones had already been washed to remove any dust from them.  I run the stone under the water so that their was a wet surface to lay the film on.  I slowly placed the film down on the stone.  As long as the stone is wet, you can pick up or adjust the image.  The hardest part is getting the edges flat because they naturally want to curl under.
Country Coasters
Once I was satisfied with the placement of the images I checked for air bubbles every little bit.  Having bright light to hold them up to helps you see any spots that need fixed.  Just work out any tiny air bubbles by slowing moving them to the edge with your finger.  Now just let it dry.

Once the image is dry, I used the dishwasher safe formula of Modge Podge and applied at least 3 thick coats of the glue, letting each layer dry before applying the next.  The instructions state that this product takes 28 days to fully cure and so I really wouldn't use your coasters to put wet or hot drinks until after they cure.  I also sealed the back of the tile with the Acrylic gel medium.  Finally, I glued little rubber bumpers on the back four corners so they don't scratch any wood surface they would be placed on to protect.

I'm SO pleased with how they have turned out.  I made a total of 6 sets so far and have 3 Facebook orders already.  I'm taking these out to an outdoors art festival that I'm attending on Saturday and I hope I sell the heck out of them.  I'm also going to be offering them on my Etsy Shop once I can get an inventory of cured coasters made up.  The process is a bit tedious and I sure wish I could just print out the images on my studio inkjet printer but for now I guess I'm going to have to pay $.69 a sheet at Office Max.

I do plan on trying the other process again when I can get a jar of the better acrylic gel medium and not try using regular Modge Podge.  The rubbing off the paper process might be easier when it is actually glued to the stone.  I do have to remember to tell the printer to flip the image so any words appear backwards if I'm going to try that process.

Once I am confident in the process I will be creating a step by step instructions on this blog, so you might want to check back with me in the next few weeks or so.  At this time, I've decided to price this item at $25 for a set of 4 Country Coasters plus shipping of $8 for anywhere in the continental U.S.  Message me if you are interested in having a set of your own.  You can mix and match or have all 4 coasters in one design