Spring Break Guest Post | Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Home Made Pages from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Hi! My name is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and I've been scrapbooking for almost ten years. When I started scrapbooking back in 2003 it was really difficult to get my hands on scrapbooking supplies. There weren't any stores near me and the internet wasn't what it is today. Because of the lack of available supplies I found myself shopping at my local art shop and office supply store. I made my own patterned paper, embellishments, and so on. Interestingly, as more product became available to me, I discovered that I still loved making pages without almost any commercial products. Today I thought I'd share how one of my home made pages comes together!

I'm starting with 12x12 watercolor paper and a collection of small photos printed onto a single 4x6" canvas.

I don't always sketch, but I think it's a good way to start, especially when working with multiple photos.

Sketching helps me clarify the image in my head.

Once I picked the sketch that I liked, I cut the photos apart and adhered them to plain white cardstock (from the office supply store) and then trimmed around them. Now I have two filmstrip style strips of photos.

Watercolor is one of my most favorite supplies. It's inexpensive, versatile, and easy to clean up. I used the three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) to create some uneven stripes of color.

I'm not always super careful about lining things up, but when I'm using a lot of homemade elements I find that a little bit of neatness goes a long way towards making the layout look artsy instead of messy.

As you can see I stamped my title using a set of alphabet stamps I carved myself.

I added the journaling right under my title. I did draw some lines (back to that neatness thing) with a pencil first. Once I had finished my journaling I simply erased the lines.

As you can see from the photo above I stamped a collection of chevrons in different sizes. All the stamps are hand carved. Carving stamps is something that sounds hard, but is actually quite easy to do. And it's addictive!

Next I adhered my photo strips and cut off the ends so that the left edge of the layout was nice and neat. I also added some stamping at the bottom of the page to bring the eye down through the journaling.

However, I felt that the stamping was too dark. So I took a piece of deli paper (you could also use vellum or tissue paper) and stitched it over the top of the stamping.

I like the way it softens the stamping. I also added stitching to the left side of the photo strips.

I have always said that paint splats are the rhinestones of the paint world. And accordingly, I like to add them to everything!

As you can see, I covered up my photos with some junk that was sitting on my desk in order to protect them from any errant paint.

If you've never created splats with watercolor paint, you simply take a very wet paintbrush, saturate it with paint and then hold it over your layout. Tap the brush and watch the dots fly!

Once the dots had dried I wasn't totally satisfied with the layout.

It just didn't "pop" for me. So I decided to change the photos over to color.

Much better! It's amazing to me what a difference color photos made to this layout. They really helped the whole composition come alive!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my process. If you like what you see, I blog all my artful adventures Monday-Friday at www.balzerdesigns.typepad.com. I'd love to have you stop by!

Thanks for having me, Ali!

FROM ALI | Julie is super inspiring. Be sure to check out her online class Stamp Carving 101 for more information on creating your own hand-carved stamps. So cool!

22 thoughts

  1. Lisa W.

    2012-03-30 08:07:13 -0400

    This is a nice change of pace...your work is very awesome. Gonna go check out your site, and your stamps:)

  2. Dori

    2012-03-30 08:25:28 -0400

    Thank you, Julie! I really enjoyed your post. :)

  3. Krys72599

    2012-03-30 08:35:29 -0400

    Awesome post! It's GREAT seeing/hearing/understanding your thought process as you created that page! I get it: you look at the page and something just isn't right. My problem is I can't always put a finger on it and I wind up overdoing the "tweaking" until it's BAD and I have to start all over! Less with my scrapping pages, they seem easier to fix, more with my art journaling... Thanks for this little peek into how you create.

  4. Colleen Umlah

    2012-03-30 08:53:41 -0400

    Julie, I love the use of watercolours to create your own background page!

  5. Carol Mc

    2012-03-30 09:04:58 -0400

    Beautiful background you made for the page.

  6. laura g.

    2012-03-30 09:16:47 -0400

    thanks for sharing your creative process! looks like fun and what person doesn't like to paint, color with crayons, or get messy like a kid?? will definitely look up your blog!

  7. Camilla Blue

    2012-03-30 09:47:28 -0400

    I just love watching the creative process someone went through. Really love the style of this layout. Beautiful. Just lovely. You are new to me, so I'm going to hop over and look at your other work too.

    To Ali: thanks for lining up such great artists while you are off enjoying your family.

  8. Teri H.

    2012-03-30 10:56:46 -0400

    Gorgeous! Makes me want to play with watercolours...

  9. Kelly Griglione

    2012-03-30 11:13:24 -0400

    Julie, I've followed your work for awhile and was happy to see you guest posting on Ali's blog. You're right, the color photos really make a difference on your layout (although the B&W example is pretty darn cool too). Great to hear you commentary on it all!

  10. mary

    2012-03-30 11:16:59 -0400

    great post. "paint splats are the rhinestones of the paint world" what a perfect line! I love splatters. think I'll be bookmarking your site.

  11. Sara E.

    2012-03-30 11:42:13 -0400

    Really inspiring. Thanks!

  12. Sherri P eh

    2012-03-30 12:01:48 -0400

    Julie you ooze awesomeness! In my opinion, the best was saved for last! Fabulous fabulous post!!

  13. Victoria Sturdevant

    2012-03-30 13:25:11 -0400

    Love it! Thanks for the step-by-step!

  14. Chel Smith

    2012-03-30 13:53:36 -0400

    Very cool! I will definitely be stopping by your blog and am very interested in the Stamp Carving Class!!

  15. soapHOUSEmama

    2012-03-30 15:25:21 -0400

    ok, seriously amazing!!!!!!! You are such an inspiration. I love how no matter what you create, it is uniquely YOU!

  16. Elaine Allen

    2012-03-30 17:40:23 -0400

    This is gorgeous Julie. I love how the watercolor just makes everything so cheerful and bright. I also love watercolors, so much fun to play with. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Elaine Allen

  17. dawn

    2012-03-31 07:19:21 -0400

    I love your blog already Julie and it was so fun to see you on Ali's blog. Thanks so much for sharing the process of your layout, it's what I love best about you.

    What a fun layout, all the color is wonderful!!

  18. Marianne

    2012-03-31 10:53:42 -0400

    Thanks for sharing your creative process! It came out beautiful!

  19. Naomi

    2012-04-01 06:08:17 -0400


  20. Stacy Caddy

    2012-04-02 02:00:21 -0400

    This is so awesome, love your style Julie...

  21. Jen Clark

    2012-04-07 22:30:40 -0400

    I've always loved you, Julie, and still do! I was just thinking about you earlier today as I was using one of your stencils. LOL LOVE this page, and more than anything, I love "hearing" your process...it always helps me to better process my own projects. Thanks for sharing!! And thanks for having her, Ali!!!

  22. Jannette C

    2012-07-24 07:44:02 -0400

    Love love to see the creative process so well described in the words of the creator.... Thanks for a great work, to both of you Julie and Ali.

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