DIY Parisian Inspired Journal with Americana Home Chalky Finish Paint #diy #craft

I have had a large 8.5"x11" Daler Rowney hardback sketch book in my studio for a while now...going on two years actually, and I haven't really know what to do with it until recently.

I wanted it to be something special, and I knew that the new Americana Home Chalky Finish paint and stencils would make for a really lovely design on my cover of my journal.


Sketchbook {I picked up mine at Walmart for about $12}
Americana Home Chalky Finish paint {I used Everlasting for the base and Relic for the stencil}
Americana Home Chalky Finish Stencils
Americana Traditions flat brush
Americana Accessories stencil sponge

The first step in this project is to remove the front cover from the rest of your sketchbook. Since I used a spiral bound book, it was easy to pop it off and get started painting.

With my flat brush, I applied one layer of Americana Home Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting. When most of the cover was dry, I used the excess paint from the metal part of the paint brush handle to apply more of the paint for a distressed look.

Once dry, position your stencil {I chose Vintage Keys}. Using a stencil sponge, dip it in your accent color, then in your base color. Remove the excess paint, then apply over your stencil, working it evenly onto the surface of your sketchbook. You are essentially creating highlights and contrast, so be sure to mix it up and work with your paints until you are happy with how the stencil turns out.

Allow the paint to dry completely. You can further distress the cover of your sketchbook by rubbing the stenciled image and edges lightly with sandpaper. You can also embellish your journal with ribbons, sculpted elements, or like I have done here with a vintage skeleton key to further bring out the Parisian theme.

This project would make an excellent gift for a mom-to-be to journal her pregnancy and newborn adventures, and would also be stunning as a guest book at a wedding.

Disclaimer: I am a part of the Decoart Core Blogger program and was sent product to use for this tutorial and was compensated for this point. All views and opinion expressed are my own.

A journal for Carey Mulligan

I am so excited to reveal the journal that I have created for Carey Mulligan. It is perfect for daydreaming and doodling....sketching and writing plans.

I love the deep rich tones of the purple and green. The splash of lime going through the top third of the cover is also pretty great, and there is such amazing texture!! I just love it!

And what about the flower? I think it is perfect for her!

What do you think?


Introducing Ms. Mulligan

This month, I am excited to announce that I will be designing a piece for Carey Mulligan. She is such a delicate woman who embodies the word grace.

I am definitely leaning toward something like a hand painted journal for her. While it would be painted similarly to one of my abstract paintings, the embellishment would be of lovely sheer ribbon and likely an antique skeleton key. I think it would be perfect for her, and something that she would really cherish and actually use.

What do you think? Do you think she would like a custom journal?


Wedding Wednesday: Custom Guest Books

Brides everywhere are customizing every aspect of their wedding, and with good cause! It's your day to shine, and to show everyone who you are...right down to your guest book!

Some are going with amazingly fun photo booths for their guests to get a copy and to sign a copy fort he guest book; others are going with traditional photo albums.

I've been asked what I would do for a guest book, and it's so incredibly simple....paint, paint, paint!

custom painted journals with ribbons and skeleton keys
Painting a journal and embellishing it with ribbons and skeleton keys is perfect for a rustic, vintage glam type wedding, whereas....

custom handpainted journal with sculpted pansy embellishment
adding a sculpted flower would be perfect for a spring, garden wedding!

The journals translate so incredibly well as a guest book with approximately 100 unlined pages for guests to write sweet notes on, a sturdy coil binding and a whimsical embellishment to go with the theme and tone for your day. They can be painted in any colour combination in either a painterly or linear style, to become a natural element of your wedding.

A book to cherish for a lifetime that you will love reading, over and over again!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Hanlon Lain Photography

I had this vision way back in December when Lainie and I first shot with Kassidy of a woodland fairy nymph coming to life out in the woods with my sculpted hair pieces tangled in her crazy hair, really frosty looking makeup, a big fluffy tutu and reading one of my painted journals.


6 months ago...

On Thursday evening, my vision came to life and I cannot wait to get the photos from the session. Here is a sneak peek!!
White ruffle peony headband and painted skeleton key journal

Isn't she stunning?? I adore all of the photos that I've seen so far and am so thankful to everyone who helped to pull off this shoot!

Celeb{rate} Tuesday: The Graceful Ballerina

Happy Tuesday everyone!!

A few months ago, I started following Tenley Molzahn on Twitter and Facebook. I had admired her spirit way back when she was on The Bachelor, and was thrilled when she and Kiptyn declared their love for one another {and are happily still going strong}

She just exudes happiness and joy. She's stunning, to say the least, an i am so happy to have created a one of a kind oversized statement ring for her.

A beautiful white pansy with a plum coloured stamen and dark green tendrils. I sketched it out and just knew that it needed to find a home in Tenley's collection.

The creativity flowed into a beautiful reporter style journal with a beachy feel, and an antique skeleton key.

Hopefully she likes them!

What do you think?

Talk-To-Me Tuesday: Celeb{rate}

I've had the amazing opportunity to connect with some incredible people lately...people in high places. shiny, sparkly places...and people who appreciate handmade.

Over the next few weeks, I invite you to Celeb{rate} with me on Tuesday's! I'll show you who I'm sending some work to, and the amazing pieces that they'll can shout it from the rooftops with me...jump on a table and dance...fist-pump...the whole thing!

In March, I had the opportunity to create two gorgeous pieces for one gorgeous women that I really admire and find incredibly inspiring.

First and foremost, isn't she gorgeous?

I am so proud to say that I have painted Lauren a journal, with an antique skeleton key embellishment. The journal itself was inspired by ballet, and her clothing collection. All very flowy, fluid lines and with lots of ribbon detail. Absolutely love it!

Then, I sculpted her a double pansy hair clip on a vintage alligator clip. It's a little heavy, so will have to be worn pointing downwards so it stays put. I just love the white and plum together. So pretty, especially with her California blonde and tan!

Stay tuned on Tuesdays as I reveal more gifts to Celeb{rate}!

Special Shop Announcement!

Since just before Christmas, I've been rethinking my product offering and artistic image.

What genres suit me best as an artist?
What are my strengths as an artist?

So...I've made a decision.

While I positively love creating party supplies, piggy banks and stationery, playing with paper and different ink's just that...playing. They're both items that will be offered on a custom design basis only, under a new category called Custom Designs in my etsy shop.

What I really want to do and focus on are my paintings, journals and some new sculpted elements. Branch more into home decor, focus on who I am as an artist...that sort of thing.

Did you know that I actually had two studio majors while in University? Ya...I actually studied sculpture first, and painting second, but quickly grew to love them both because of the professors that I studied under.

I'm going back to those roots, and will be giving my shop some much needed focus so I can, personally, gain some much needed clarity.

What you can expect to see are amazing journals that are truly a work of art, with sculpted cover embellishment, as well as antique skeleton keys, shimmery ribbons and other such inspired embellishments.

Abstract journals, both in linear and painterly styles, using a variety of acrylics and applications for a three dimensional effect. These can be found under Painted Journals in my shop.

These are sculpted embellishments that will be attached to some journal covers. I absolutely love them, and find it so soothing to work with clay again! The largest flower for journals is approximately 3" in diameter.

Acrylic paintings on both stretched canvas and wood. I am very very excited to offer these in my shop. Nervous, but excited! And of course, found under Acrylic Paintings in my shop.

I'll also be working on a variety of sculpted wall installations long the same concept as the sculpted journal embellishments. The smallest flowers will be 3" in diameter, going up to 8"-10" and sold in sets of three and five (or more by custom order) - all ready for hanging! Stay turned for a Sculpted Wall Art category, coming soon!

I'm really excited about the direction that Sweet Stella's is taking...but wonder...what do you think?

Leave me some love in the comments!

Special Post: New Journal Sizes!

Happy Tuesday!

I went out searching for journals yesterday, and found two new sizes that I'm so excited to introduce to you!

On the top...5.5"x8"
On the bottom...8.5"x11"

Small journal...5.5"x8"

Large journal...8.5"x11"

Journals are painted in an abstract fashion...either painterly or linear...and can be embellished in a variety of ways.

I'm currently waiting on a shipment of twenty brass antique skeleton keys, which have inspired a whole ballet-esqe line of the journals...soft, flowy, pastel colours with wide shimmery satin ribbon and a skeleton key to keep all of your secrets safe.

I'm also working on a variety of sculpted embellishments, including rolled rosettes, five petal flowers...all in different sizes as well! I'm very excited to get back to sculpting sincei t' an area that I majored in for my studio courses in University.

Order your journals now! 2 small and 1 large have already been spoken for! I only have 1 large and 3 small left until I restock!

Special Post: Chinese New Year SALE!

That's right folks! In honour of a very special dragon in my life {my Dad} I've created an Etsy coupon code for you!!

At checkout, enter DRAGON15 for 15% off your entire Sweet Stella's order! This includes all regular prices and sale items...and even custom orders placed before January 28th!!

That means you could get this gorgeous journal for only $8.50 (reg. $26.99!)

Just in time for Valentine's Day!

Don't delay! The Dragon sale will be over January 28th! Happy shopping!

If you need a custom order, please don't hesitate to contact me at

What's Next Wednesday: Craft Show...T-Minus 3 days!

That's right folks...3 days! AHH!! I cannot believe how much stock I've made for this weekend!

  • 36 painted glass ornaments
  • 22 paper styro ornaments
  • 45 notestacks
  • 38 tiny stacks
  • 24 pinwheels
  • 9 basic masks
  • 9 couture masks (4 still in the works)
  • 7 thick journals
  • 1 thin journal
  • 152 favour pouches
  • 7 party packs
Grand total of 217 items! CRAZY!

But it was certainly well worth it, and I absolutely love each and every item!

Now I have to pack up all of this...

and I am OH SO EXCITED to share the new ornaments for this season!!

this one reminds me of chocolate I call it Brown Cow

perfectly papered in various greens and patterns!

I adore this one! Purple, silver and electric lime unexpected!

Want to get a couple ornaments of your own?? Enter in the giveaway happening at Peanut's Tale!

What's Next Wednesday: Craft Show Week 3...or is it 4?

I'm seriously starting to lose track of what week of prep I am in all of this craft show madness! Over the past week I have...

  • stamped and bound 18 Tiny Stacks
  • planned out the rest of the masks
  • embellished 7 journals
  • decided on display materials
  • packaged 6 party packages

Whew! Lots was accomplished and I'd love to share the journals with you!

I just love them so much! Each one is different and unique...their own individual abstract paintings. Then, they're embellished with either feathers and glass beads, or a stamped image and glass beads. Sort of...abstract art meets shabby chic!

So...what do you think??

Emmy Given Wednesday: Extra! Extra!

The Press Stacks are done!!

I went back to the drawing board on the journals and decided to gift the Stacks to the Press, with a bit of a twist.

Pretty purple birds....all tied up with chocolate brown recycled twine! I absolutely LOVE the way the twine twists and turns up off the pages!

If you're wondering what happened to the journals, don't fret! They're still being created and are in the embellishment stage right now...and will be available very soon for you (yes! YOU!) to purchase on Etsy! In fact, today I found the most gorgeous and delicate feathers (feathers! New to the Sweet Stella's tool box!) to enhance and play off of the bold abstract painted covers. I am oh-so-excited to share them with you, but for right now there are some very important custom birthday orders that need my attention!

Join me next week when I reveal my display piece!

Emmy Given Wednesday: Hand Painted Journals

As you all know, I've been running around like a crazy person between custom birthday orders, trying to manage this silly postal strike, and planning my son's 1st Birthday Party.

Well! After all was said and done, the kitchen and yard cleaned up (thanks to my ever supportive husband) I put my headphones on with a little Mumford & Sons (my favourite music to work to in my studio) and started painting.

The set-up...much cleaner than when I was actually painting

The mostly finished journals, all set for the Emmy's!

I've got to say, I love them all. If you were with me on Twitter on Saturday night, you probably saw each and every one of them as they were finished; I began to love each one more than the last!!

Beautiful and striking combinations, amazing brush strokes, and paint that literally sticks up and off the cover! AMAZING!

Now...I'm having a very difficult time choosing my display piece! This is where you come in!

I'm going to post a poll up to the left with the five options. Vote vote vote, and get your friends to vote, because I'm having a really hard time with this!

Here are the five finalists!

Purple, Cadmium Red and Vanilla

Black and Silver

Teal, Neutral Grey and Vanilla

Deep Violet and Yellow Ochre

Deep Violet and Vanilla

Obviously, I need something that will photograph well for when the celebs grab it off the table and are in awe over it!

What do you think? Which should go on display?

Emmy Given Wednesday: Missed Delivery

I have news!!!

I was talking with my buddy Adam at Curry's yesterday, and he let me know that I should be receiving all of my journals...tomorrow (as in, today!)

Well..we had a bit of a late night last night. Owen didn't get to bed until nearly 9:30 (he's usually out for the count by 8pm after some solid playtime in the bath {his favourite}), and when I woke up at 9:30am...there wasn't a sound to be heard from his room! Yay for sleeping in...but then the doorbell rang, and I was not in any shape to go and answer.

So I found this

I am so excited for 4:30 this afternoon when I can do to the Purolator depot around the corner and pick up the journals!!!

Then tonight...painting!

I painted two on the weekend, of a different shape and brand that will not be going to the Emmy's but will be available for One-of-a-kind and custom purchases, and it just felt good to play with the paint! (Sneak Peek tomorrow!)

Once the 10 are completed for the Press Bags, and 1 for the display items can be shipped to the lovely ladies of The Artisan Group.


Thankful Thursday: Curry's Art Store

I don't really even remember when or how I found Curry's. I've been getting all of my paint, canvas, brushes, portfolios, sketch books, watercolour pencils (you get the idea...everything) there for years. Actually, probably more than 10 years at this point.

When I started looking for journals to paint for the press bags at the Emmy's, it hadn't occurred to me to check back at my favourite art supply store and see what they had in stock for small, hardcover sketch books.

Thankfully, one of my artsy mama friends pointed me back to Curry's and it was, again, a match made in Heaven.

I have 13 books on order, which should be in my hands at the end of June, and I cannot wait to get started painting.

I've chosen to go with some heavy body acrylics because they will give a really amazing dimension to the artwork.

Being an abstract artist, I love to play with texture and the density of the paint. Typically, if I'm painting on wood, I'll build it up first with a drywall compound, and then paint on top of it. As great of an idea as that is, it makes the art work incredibly fragile and susceptible to chipping.

Anyhow, today...I am incredibly thankful to Curry's Art Store, and thankful for the amazingly bright and open location in Kitchener. I am thankful for the memories that I have with my Dad, riding the Go Train to Toronto and being able to pick out my canvases at the Queen St. store before heading over to the music store for drumsticks for him. I am thankful for the paint, the journals, and for Adam from customer service for helping me and being there every step of the way throughout this creation process.

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone! Find some time to create today!