Monday, December 30, 2013


If you are lucky enough to be a neighbor and a friend of mine, chances are you received a bottle of my homemade limoncello this year.  A perfect after dinner liqueur, best served ice cold.  Perhaps a great way to ring in the New Year?

I made Giada's recipe but tweaked it a bit to suit my taste.  I cut the sugar in half because I don't like it super sweet and I let it "brew" for two weeks instead of 4 days like she said.

For the packaging, I got these cute bottles from World Market.  They have a great selection and even some made especially for Limoncello, but I liked these.  I made labels with sticky back canvas and painted using the Random Circle stencil from StencilGirl and lemon yellow paint with white paint through the stencil.  I then stamped them for labels, cut out a tag with directions and wrapped some jute around the neck. Voila!  A fun holiday gift!

Cheers to all of you!  See you in 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

My first attempt at abstract… I mean REALLY abstract

When I asked my sweet 20-year-old niece what she wanted for Christmas she told me she wanted a painting.  One of MY paintings.  I was so flattered that she thought my work was worthy of hanging in her apartment and showing off to her friends.  So of course, I said yes!

I asked her for some input on what kind of piece she was looking for.  She told me something abstract, she gave me a color palette and suggested a cityscape among other things.

I have to say, I was a little…well, actual A LOT nervous to paint this for her gift.  She is very particular. What if I didn't paint something she loved?? Could I master an abstract painting worthy of hanging above her couch?

Once I got started, I must say, I really enjoyed the process!  I found painting in a VERY abstract style, freeing!

Here is what I did.  The first is my background prep.  The second is the finished piece.
Here are some close ups.

I even added a "batman" building to mimic our Nashville skyline … I think she loved it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tis the Season...

Been busy in my studio, sewing, painting and gearing up for Christmas!

Here are a few photos of the things being created…

What are you creating for Christmas this year?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dancing with Sue Pelletier & StencilGirl!

Today we are going to borrow the words of author Frank McCourt who wrote, "Sing your song. Dance your dance.  Tell your Tale" and make a fun piece with Sue Pelletier's Loose Dress #2 stencil from StencilGirl Products.

After you prep your canvas or wood ~ I used wood with tissue paper to give instant texture ~ then you sketch out your design with stencil and a marks all stabilo pencil.

Once the design is sketched, I did a light wash of titan buff in all the areas on the piece except where the dresses were.  I then did a wash of red for the middle dress, keeping it loose and not painting solid.

I did the same with the pink dresses on each side.

I then took Carolyn Dube's super fun Words to Live By stencil and some gray paint to make a fun, textured background for the piece. The words are affirming, positive and perfect for a background in this piece. I used a cosmetic sponge and with MINIMAL paint, I lightly dabbed "up and down, up and down" (quoting Carolyn), to make a background.

Then I sketched in legs.

I used Mary Beth Shaw's Random Circles stencil and the cosmetic sponge with pink paint to make a pattern on the red dress.

I added in arms and details with white paint and black pen.  I wanted to make the girl in the center to "stand out" and illustrate the fact that she is dancing her own dance…and I want to be her!  Look at those cowboy boots ~ swag!

 I wrote on the bottom right ~ dance your dance!

The girl on the left here has some kankle going on, but hey, so do I !

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please visit my website for more free art tutorials at   and "like" me on Facebook at Kirsten Reed Designs.

Be sure to keep hopping to the other artists and get more ideas for celebrating with Sue Pelletier's stencils!  Leave me a comment telling me something you plan to do this holiday to celebrate!

Every comment on ALL the blogs will be entered to win free stencils ~ so good luck!

Here is the blog hop order:

Kirsten Reed You are HERE

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Join the Artists on the Block….a fun StencilGirl & Sizzix Bloghop!

Today we are going to be hopping in to a whole new territory with Artist Trading Blocks! Come join me to learn more.

Unlike tags and artist trading cards, Artist trading blocks allow you to create in 3-D!  They allow you to expand your creative style with multidimensional style.  Way fun, right?   

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive when I received my blocks.  All I could think is if I make a mistake it will be so obvious on such a small little space.  But I put my big girl pants on and grabbed my paintbrushes.   I looked at the Artist on the Block Facebook page and was blown away by all the AMAZING blocks Amy Bowerman and Eileen Hull had created.  Seriously talented!  But sometimes, in art and in life, we need to be pushed out of our comfort zone in order to grow.  So I am glad I was pushed!

I originally had the idea to make my block and old time TV set - you know the kind with the rabbit ears and knobs?  We had an old Sony TV growing up and my brother would pull the knob off so I couldn't change the channel and I was forced to watch Hogan's Heroes instead of Brady Brunch.  Hahaha! He had four years on me so it really was never much of a contest and so I am now well versed in Hogan's Heroes trivia.

Anyway…although I think the TV would have worked great, I wanted the block to be more personal to me. So I based mine on the game of Monopoly ~ with a twist ~ making it ARTopoly….all things artsy!  It was quite fun!

Then I really wanted to create another one to show my 'art journey' and some feelings about me individually as a person.  So the second block was created to represent my dreams, my journey, my flight as an artist.  (This is the butterfly one)

Quick photo recap on each (since the process was very simple and self-explanatory)

ARTopoly Blocks

I painted all the squares a light gray to look more like the Monopoly game than the stark white.

What is the name of the game? ARTopoly
Instead of GO… I made my square CREATE.

I used Carolyn Dube's Cross Word stencil to create the border on this square. I then highlighted with blue Faber Castell marker.


I used the Pam Carriker's Journal Prompt Pointer stencil for this square. (In lieu of Go to Jail space).


Here is my jail ~ clean up time! UGH!! :(

I used Mary Beth Shaw's Hunab Ku stencil on this square to represent art retreat (in lieu of Monopoly's Railroad space).


I used two stencil on the "property" square.  I used Mary Beth Shaw's Rafters stencil to help me create the top part where I wrote Smithsonian and Metropolitan.  I used Andrew Borloz's Crossed Rounds and Squares stencil to create the dice.



The following squares, I didn't use stencils…I just free-handed to mimic spaces on the original board, some with my own 'artsy angle".





ART Journey Block

My second block was just for me, to journal in a way my thoughts about my art journey the past couple years.  I started with the medium size box and painted it a brown.  I then used the Chain Mail stencil by Mary Beth Shaw and dabbed white paint through to create a background. 

After that I just added meaningful symbols, phrases and words I had in my stamp collection and embossed them.  I used butterflies to represent me taking flight with my dreams, changing and the unique beauty art brings life.

I hope you have enjoyed hopping along and creating some three dimensional art! Be sure to visit the new Artist on the Block website here for more block ideas. If you like this tutorial, please visit my website Kirsten Reed Designs for more like it.  Also, be sure to "like" my Kirsten Reed Designs Facebook page.

Keep hopping along and make sure you leave a comment on every blog ~ each time you comment you are entered a chance to win free stencils! Each comment counts, so the more you comment, the more chances you get!  Giveaway will close December 13th at 11:59 pm. (central standard time).

Here is your blog hop order:

Kirsten Reed - YOU ARE HERE