Try a New Technique: Masking Tape Painting

This is a fun technique I discovered on Pinterest. First, I covered the cardstock with slightly wrinkled masking tape.


Then I painted over the masking tape with plum acrylic paint.


I embellished the piece with this elephant I made separately using a stencil for the pattern. I love the interest created by the texture. Fun and easy technique.



Try a New Technique Tuesday: Paper Quilting

Still sick as dog, but thought I’d share something from last week.

No fabric. No thread. No sewing. This is my kind of quilting. I cut out these shapes using a Fiskar’s hexagonal paper punch. I made a brilliant (insert eyeroll) decision to sell most of my paper punches at a purging garage sale a few years ago, but luckily I kept a few.


Materials: Paper punch, acrylic paint, stencils, cardstock


Materials: Paper punch, acrylic paint, stamps, stencils, cardstock


Piece by Piece: Behind the Scenes of “Guardian of Dreams”

I’m miserably ill with a chest cold that keeps me coughinh all night, so I though I’d share some behind the scenes views of a piece I created a few days ago.

First, I created the background by using the scraping method. I dotted the top edge of the paper with various colors of acrylic paint and dragged it down using a piece of corrugated cardboard (which created the striated effect).

piece by piece.jpg

Then I used a stencil to create some birch tree trunks with white acrylic paint.


I cut out the trees and colored on top with oil pastels.

piece-by-piece-2I used baby oil and my fingertip to blend the oil pastel over the trunks.


I used another stencil to  trace out a fox and cut it out of cardstock.

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I used the same oil pastel and baby oil method to color the fox.

piece by piece 5.jpg

Finally, I glued all of the elements to the background and stamped the leaves on the trees using a round sponge brush and acrylic paint. Voila!


“All Love Can Be” and Dreamscapes

Meh. Blah. Blah. Blah.  It has just been one of those days where nothing I tried to create turned out the way I wanted it to. I started feeling ho-hum about my attempts at “art” and this blog and wallowed in self pity for a bit. But then I put my big girl panties on again and reminded myself that even if no one reads my posts or appreciates my creations, that was not the point when I started this journey. I started to bring more creativity back into my life as a form of therapy, a path out of (or perhaps through) the darkness of the mind. And baby, I’ve come a long way from where I started over a month ago. I have created something every day, no matter how I have felt. I’ve found that creativity only brings out more creative energy. It isn’t something you run out of. It is something that keeps growing.

These works are dreamlike in nature and I though “All Love Can Be” would be an appropriate song to accompany these creations. So listen and view, if you feel inclined to do so.


“Dream Forest” Materials: cardstock, stencil, acrylic paint


“Dream Birds” Materials: stencils, cardstock, acrylic paint


“Dreamscape” Materials: stencil, cardstock, acrylic paint


“Dream Guardian” Materials: cardstock, stencil, oil pastels, baby oil, acylic paint

All Love Can Be Lyrics

I will watch you in the darkness
Show you love will see you through
When the bad dreams wake you crying
I’ll show you all love can do
All love can do

I will watch through the night
Hold you in my arms
Give you dreams where no one will be
I will watch through the dark
Till the morning comes

For the lights will take you
Through the night to see
All love, showing us all love can be

I will guard you with my bright wings
Stay till your heart learns to see
All love can be

Written by Will Jennings, James Horner • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Capturing Sorrow in Words and Images




“Sisters of Sadness” Materials: paper flowers, acrylic paint, glitter, patterned paper, ribbon, rhinestones

How do you capture sadness, sorrow, melancholy, loneliness, depression, and other abstractions in concrete ways in words or images without being melodramatic? This is a question I find myself asking when I’m trying to write or create visual art. Some have mastered the art — those who compose songs that hurt in just the right ways — so I decided to borrow some song lyrics and experiment with excerpts and erasures. (But what happens when you divorce lyrics from melody? Is something essential lost?) I tried to strip down the words to the part where I felt the essence of the emotions. Here is what I came up with.


“The Lonely” by Christina Perri Materials: printed lyrics on cardstock, chipboard hearts, acrylic paint, soft pastels


“The Sound of silence” by Simon and Garfunkel Materials: lyrics printed on cardstock, acrylic paint, chalk pastels


“Hallelujah” bu Leonard Cohen Materials: printed lyrics on cardstock and Washi tape






Toy Photography

I suppose you could call my style of photography colorful, bold, quirky and sometimes whimsical. I mainly focus on still life photography. Other than that, my photography comes down to three simple things — a woman, a camera, a colorful world.

If it wasn’t for the invention of the digital camera, I probably would not have picked up this hobby ten years ago. My vision is rather poor due to having had hereditary congenital cataracts, which required multiple surgeries. Looking through the traditional viewfinder is tricky. It is only with the aid of the digital screen that I am able to get a better idea of the image I want to capture. Honestly, it isn’t until I can view the photographs on a larger computer screen that I can determine if a shot is worth editing.

Here are two new additions to my toy photography collection.


Ms. Panda (c) Sofia Smith 2017


Mr. Bunny (c) Sofia Smith 2017

And here are some older favorites.

PicMonkey Collage toys 1.jpg

PicMonkey Collage toys 4.jpgPicMonkey Collage toys 2.jpg

Try a New Technique Tuesday

During the past month of my “art therapy” journey, I’ve discovered a passion for making background papers for future collage projects. I’m actually thinking about doing a blog giveaway of some of my background papers for one lucky winner to use on their craft projects. Would you be interested? Let me know.

Pinterest has enabled me to try a variety of new techniques. This is probably my favorite one so far.

One of the easiest and fastest ways to create a background is to simply squirt some paint onto your page then move it around with an old credit card or key card. With this technique your paint will dry super quick, you waste little to no paint, and it creates a neat printmaking effect! Scrape the paint up and down, then scrape side to side, letting the colors mix slightly.

©Kristal Norton – Read more at:


Here is one example of a background I made using this technique. I added circles by stamping with a soda bottle cap,


Here is another one with bubble wrap stamping on top.


This one probably shows how you can blend color the best. The circles are bottle cap stamped.


I embellished the circles with some buttons for this one. The lighter areas are actually silver, but the color doesn’t photograph very well. 

The verdict on this technique? Awesome and satisfying! Dare I say it? Craftgasmic! I had almost as much fun as this lady. Hahaha!!



Valentine’s Day Eye Candy

I could have ranted on the ridiculousness of Valentine’s Day, or about how I hate the unnecessary pressure it puts on relationships, or about how lonely it can be. But I drank myself into  a nice little buzz and decided to make some Valentines instead. Win-win for both of us, dear reader.


Materials: Bubble wrap, acrylic paint, tissue paper, cardstock



Materials: toilet paper roll (yep haha), acrylic paint, cardstock, tissue paper


Materials: cardstock, tissue paper, hand embellishments, acrylic paint

My Early Days of Drawing and Some Party Animals

I wish I had some of my drawings from the early days pictured here. Judging from the expressions on my face, I was deep in concentration and did not want to be disturbed. Some things never change.


And now for some more recent work…



Materials: pencil, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, acrylic paint, Washi tape, paint marker


Materials: watercolor pencil, cardstock, ribbon bow, paint marker


Materials: watercolor pencil, Washi tape, foam embellishment, acrylic paint, cardstock


Cartoons of My Mom’s Recovery from Eye Surgery

Just over two weeks ago, my mom went to the optometrist for a checkup due to the fact that her vision in her left eye was getting worse. Turns out that she had a partially detached retina which caused the blind spots in her field of vision. The retina is like the wallpaper lining the back of the eye, which was starting to peel away while fluid leaked out of the back of the eye. In order to fix this, they had to remove the vitreous (the gelatinous stuffing of the eye) and insert a gas bubble  in its place to hold the retina in place.

Scoliosis curves my mother’s spine in directions it shouldn’t bend. During recovery, she has to hang her head so the gas bubble (with the help of gravity) holds the retina where it is supposed to be while her eye grows new vitreous. She is only allowed to lie on her stomach or right side and has to avoid watching TV or being on electronic devices. This recovery stage is supposed to last about a month. Due to the scoliosis, this lying around is especially difficult for my mom and she suffers from all sorts of back and neck pain.

My mom hasn’t lost her sense of humor during this ordeal. She draws cartoons of “the struggle.”


The medical alert bracelet my mom has to wear,




She has to wear a shield to protect her eye at night. Her skin is sensitive to the tape adhesive, so we bandage her up instead.