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Challenging the Inner Critic

Video tutorial showing the steps to make a mixed media envelope using StencilGirl stencils and lots of layers with Carolyn DubeGetting started is the toughest part for me many days. Where do I start?  What do I make?  What colors do I use?  These are just questions from a cranky inner critic designed to keep me from getting to my creative side.   So, I decided I was going to shut that critic up by answering those questions.  How? By using challenges.

So my colors, soft pink and gray come from the Summer of Color challenge.  The envelope comes from the Lessology recycling challenge of using packaging.  The paint comes from Paint Party Friday.  The postal theme comes from Fashionable Stamping.  The art journal feel to this comes from Art Journal Every Day.

By combining these challenges I now had a plan and that cranky inner critic was suddenly much quieter. Once that critic was quiet I could see where my muse would take me.  I ended up with an envelope that will hold a stack of letters I have that my mother wrote to her aunts, my great aunts when she was a kid.

You can watch the video on YouTube here.


Video tutorial showing the steps to make a mixed media envelope using StencilGirl stencils and lots of layers with Carolyn Dube

The wonderfully heavy mailer that my StencilGirl stencils were shipped in was the base for  paint and stencils: Greek Key, Blades 6, and Circle Play.




Video tutorial showing the steps to make a mixed media envelope using StencilGirl stencils and lots of layers with Carolyn Dube

The tissue paper just melts into the background without cutting it carefully!  I used the Catalyst Mini Blade #4 (which looks and works like a great spatula for gel medium).




Video tutorial showing the steps to make a mixed media envelope using StencilGirl stencils and lots of layers with Carolyn Dube

The scribble writing is using Pam Carriker’s Sketching Ink from Derivan.





Video tutorial showing the steps to make a mixed media envelope using StencilGirl stencils and lots of layers with Carolyn DubeAlso linking up with Simon Says Stamp and Show, Show and Tell Saturday, and Pink Saturday.

Step-by-step art journal page using Lesley Riley'sTAP by Carolyn Dube


There is still time to leave a comment and be entered in the giveaway for a free class!  Hop on over here for all the details!






Video tutorial showing how to make your own patterned paper and then using it on a tag by Carolyn Dube


Want more?  Here’s a peek at the tag I made and there is a full video over on the StencilGirl blog!




Thank you for every comment, every share on Facebook & Twitter & Google+, every  subscriber to my YouTube channel, and every newsletter subscriber. It fuels me on to make more art!

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  • Maria McGuire July 5, 2013, 11:03 am

    This piece has got to be my favorite EVER. There is so much meaning in it from the stamps to the place to keep the special letter from your mom. Just BEAUTIFUL!

  • Corrine July 5, 2013, 11:13 am

    Hot, hot pink play here, love how you combined all the elements to make a fantastic envelope spread. Nice stencil choices……they highlight it all perfecto! xox

  • giggles July 5, 2013, 11:38 am

    I loved the original paper your stencils where painted on…wonderful outcome piece! Full of lovely fun details and texture!!

    Hugs Giggles

  • Yvonne Garner July 5, 2013, 11:46 am

    I just love this Carolyn. By the way, I have introduced my 8 & 9 year old grandchildren to Gelli Printing through your videos! They are anxious to try printing on sneakers! Thanks for sharing with us at FSC!

    • Carolyn July 5, 2013, 11:47 am

      How cool that you are going to be sneakering with them! I hope you’ll share their printed sneakers!

  • Ayala Art July 5, 2013, 12:08 pm

    OOoohhhh fun! Looks fantastic!

  • Marjie Kemper July 5, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Oh what a wonderful keepsake envelope, Carolyn! Really enjoyed the video (and I thought for sure I was already subscribed to your youTube channel — so glad you mentioned it as I sadly was not!) and especially the handwriting ‘letters from mom’ and the whole process. Oh, would that we COULD fussy cut so quickly!

  • Judy Shea July 5, 2013, 2:17 pm

    I never would think of going mostly pink, but you made it work.. and the pears… nice touch.

  • Deborah Weber July 5, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Love this! And it makes me smile to see those postal workers trucking on inspired by your art. 😉

  • Betsi Goutal July 5, 2013, 4:01 pm

    Funny you should mention the inner critic, I was just posting about mine the other day. Pesky little varmints, aren’t they? I love this idea for short-circuiting that getting-started paralysis. I’ll have to try this. I just wish it was easier to find good challenge blogs!

  • valerie-Jael July 5, 2013, 4:20 pm

    Lovely piece! This is really multi-tasking! Valerie

  • Anita Houston July 5, 2013, 4:22 pm

    Glad you kicked that inner critic to the curb! Love your layers and the pink! So cool how you had letters from your mom saved…love that! Beautiful project! Great images and fab design!

  • Molly Freibott July 5, 2013, 4:39 pm

    I just loved this video so much. I loved your energy and all the tips you gave as you went along. This pieces was beautiful and it is so precious that it will hold your Mom’s Letters! I hope it’s ok to link you on my Blog for Share the Link Friday:) http://mollylollyloo.blogspot.com

  • Silvia July 5, 2013, 4:40 pm

    So cool, such a fabulous creation, great details.

  • Kirsty Vittetoe July 5, 2013, 4:47 pm

    Such an awesome project. Thanks for playing along with us at LESSology!

  • Dara Lynn July 5, 2013, 4:59 pm

    What a very very special envelope! I have letters and cards from my grandma and grandpa…gave me a great idea of where to store them:)_

  • Kay Wallace July 5, 2013, 5:40 pm

    You have certainly created a keepsake in this envelope, Carolyn, which will be “housing” some VIP (very important papers)! Pink is not easy for me to use, but, since “acquiring” a granddaughter, I am started to love it! Great use of those marvy stencils to create a wonderful background! Well done!

  • bj July 5, 2013, 7:06 pm

    O, what a great project…it looks sooo good. You did an awesome job…
    Over from Pink Sat.

  • soapHOUSEmama July 5, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Such beautiful work!!! Thanks so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show this week! – Ashli 🙂

  • Pamm July 5, 2013, 8:17 pm

    Thank you , Carolyn, for this post/tutorial. HIP HIP HOORAY for Creative Carolyn!!BOOO to the infamous inner critic! Thanks for showing us how to silence/banish it. You are so extremely creative yet so approachable with your art. I appreciate your transparency. I appreciate YOU!

    • Pamm July 5, 2013, 8:18 pm

      My hubby is a mailman so I will be ordering this stamp!!

      • Carolyn July 5, 2013, 9:11 pm

        The stamp is from Coffee Break Designs- and it is from many years ago…don’t know if it is still available.

  • Terri Morse July 5, 2013, 8:27 pm

    Hi Carolyn! I think you should tell your inner critic to go pound sand 🙂 I love the way your page turned out – sort of Shabby Chic! The pearls and the stamped flower are a nice touch! It is perfect for Pink Saturday. -Terri

  • Nicole/Beadwright July 5, 2013, 8:30 pm

    The pink/charcoal challenge has sparked some pretty nice art. Yours is fantastic!
    Have a nice weekend

  • Tracey Fletcher King July 5, 2013, 8:54 pm

    I am amazed at how much variety you create in every page but still manage to pull it all together… that is quite skill

  • Susan Tidwell July 5, 2013, 9:36 pm

    What a wonderful page and so much better that you recycled an envelope. Pam’s sketching ink looks like a must to try.

  • Kristin Van Valkenburgh July 5, 2013, 10:17 pm


  • Kooky July 6, 2013, 1:52 am

    What a wonderful place to save memories. It’s so lovely to decorate something useful and artful.

  • Bellalullo July 6, 2013, 3:37 am

    Un risultato bellissimo ed espressivo!!

  • Mary C. Nasser July 6, 2013, 7:39 am

    Just love how everything you do is so original and fresh, Carolyn!

  • denthe July 6, 2013, 9:33 am

    I love seeing your process! So much to learn from you ….

  • Shahrul Niza July 6, 2013, 11:25 am

    WOWWW!! Carolyn, this parcel is the most gorgeous I’ve seen!!!. Wonderful layers!. Delicious colors!. Happy day to see it :).

  • Sharon Fritchman July 6, 2013, 12:17 pm

    WOW! This is such a beautiful work of art! I absolutely love everything about it! You used this week’s SOC colors with such creativity!!!! And thank you for sharing the video, too!

  • Lori Saul July 6, 2013, 12:44 pm

    An amazingly creative piece- love all of the elements !

  • Kim July 6, 2013, 1:45 pm

    LOVE your pink and gray piece and the pop of bright pink really makes it all pop! HPPF and SOC!

  • Rhissanna July 6, 2013, 3:49 pm

    I love pink and grey, like doves and sunsets. This is a lovely image, with the frosted effect of the tissue paper like a veil.

  • Patricia July 6, 2013, 10:42 pm

    Wow! This is fabulous! So many things going on and you pull them altogether so beautifully! Inspiring!

  • Rinda July 7, 2013, 2:41 am

    I love this page. The pink/grey combination has been my favorite so far. I’m interested to see what we’re getting next. The graphics are also really cool.

  • Esther July 7, 2013, 2:51 pm

    Hi Carolyn – this is a fab piece, loving the pink and what a beautiful way to treasure those letters, I have those critic blocks too and find challenges a great help, thanks so much for sharing with us at FSC…Esther xx

  • sandra sherman July 7, 2013, 9:05 pm

    Wow! Combining all those challenges will certainly keep your inner critic quite! Lovely tag Carolyn and the colours look fab:)

  • Gina Sismilich July 7, 2013, 9:09 pm

    I know what you mean about starting – sometimes I got “nothing”. Challenges are a great help. What a lovely place for all your mom’s letters.

  • Pooja July 8, 2013, 1:55 am

    This is fab project ..I loved watching the video …I got to learn some very cool techniques her..Thanks for sharing it. All the best for challenges

  • Natasha July 8, 2013, 2:41 am

    I adore this. Was so lovely stepping through your process. I love that challenges give you a place to start. It helps on those days that all good ideas seem to go on holiday. I love all the layers and textures and there is so much goodness here. Beautiful use of the SOC colours.

    I really like the peek of the bright pink through the tissue paper.

  • M Carolyn Willisford July 8, 2013, 6:37 pm

    I’m new to art journaling…what a wonderful teacher you are! Your use of stencils, patterns and color is terrific. I’ve watched a lot of your videos and I think this one is my favorite…love everything about it, especially the mailman rubber stamp! Looks like Pamm, above, and I will both be looking for it.
    I do subscribe to your newsletter and love to watch your art process through your videos. Thanks so much for your talent!

    m Carolyn w

  • JKW July 11, 2013, 9:27 pm

    I love the way you use stencils. They blend so well. Blessings, Janet PPF

  • Vicki Romaine July 15, 2013, 1:12 am

    I really enjoyed this. In fact I have looked at it three times! Wonder what the mailman would think if I sent a card to someone with my envelope painted? I think I’ll try it!

  • Yvonne Yam July 15, 2013, 3:29 am

    Really cool. Love the colours and the textures.
    Thanks for joining us at LESSology.

    P/s: Please note that you can only link up to a total of 5 challenges to be in the running for the prize.

  • Julie Tucker-Wolek August 9, 2013, 10:36 pm

    Gorgeous! LOVING all the pink!! Thanks so much for playing along with LESSology!!