Gelli Arts Gel Plate Basics! (video)

Ah, finally! Even if you don't see them, I'm working on videos every single week, and am now working with others to make them awesome & amazing videos for their tutorials, too! So here's the gel plate tutorial I filmed a couple weeks ago! 

I've learned so much and converted more than a handful of people with this fun, easy to use product! I'll be making another with 'advanced' techniques pretty soon, for those of you with your own plates who want to know more! I just....I have so much fun with my gel plates! It's so calming and medatative and full of all sorts of layers and possibilities! 

If you want to see more of what I've created so far, check out my Gel Plate art gallery!

My lovely amazing friend Roben-Marie has ALSO posted her take on gel plates -- we scheduled our posts to go up together to give you all a Weekend of Gelli Arts

Thanks to Gelli Arts for giving us the opertunity to play with this amazing product! 


It's Finally Here -- My GIANT E-Book, Going Further


I have been secretly (or not so secretly but dropping hints!) working on something for awhile. A BIG something. 

I decided early on that the lessons from Journaling Deep would turn into something. I didn’t know what — or how to package/present them. I just knew deep down in that soul-place, that wild-space we so often neglect in our busy 20th century lives, that I wanted to share everything I could. I wanted to be excited about new discoveries, create a space where I could experiment comfortably, and encourage others to do the same. 

My energy has gone towards creating the best, interesting, easy-to-follow tutorials since Journaling Deep started in November, and in May, I realized I was sitting on a mountain of awesome stuff that so many more could benefit from! I decided to package the videos up as mini-classes, and the PDF lessons as a giant e-book/e-class! 

If I could take a snapshot of my brain and send it to you, Going Further would look pretty damn close! 


What does this big, giant E-Book hold?

  • 140 pages of tutorials. There aren’t many pages in-between, other than chapter intros. So that’s a LOT of tutorials! 
  • Projects ranging from how to make foam stamps to creating your own embellishments to working with fabric to project pages that are intuitive and soul*full. 
  • An entire chapter of conquering the blank page with guided background tutorials. 
  • Printable worksheets to transform your handwriting, get comfortable writing in your journal, and how to obscure it so others can’t read it. Stuff I’ve picked up, transformed, made my own. 
  • Inspiration galore
  • Have a pile of Instagram photos? Check out the uber-long art gallery. Or maybe you want to learn digital art journaling? Yeah, there’s a chapter for that, too! 

Not only that, but each tutorial gets you thinking about why & how you approach journaling and creativity. Read the tutorial and answer questions designed to pull you out of your comfort zone and those tried-and-true methods we all repeat. 

Finish, and reflect back on your experience. Take notes. Learn more about yourself through the process not the product


I call it an e-book/e-class because it is easily the material I could present in 3 e-courses. But instead of splitting it up and creating a class around it and discussion forums and all the like, I put it all together in an easily-downloadable and easy-to-follow format that doesn’t put pressure on your to ‘keep up,’ or show your work each week

Perfect for those who need to inject some more creativity into their life, who don’t have the time or money for e-courses, who just want to have fun on their own terms. 


What are you waiting for? Click here to buy your copy!  


And just because I am so excited to share this, I’ve decided to give everyone 15% off through Monday! 

(This gives you 15% off your whole order, so look around! There’s some awesome stuff in the digital shoppe!)

Just enter the following coupon code: happyebook


NOT ONLY THAT, but I have some awesome stuff to give-away, perfect for those jumping in! 

 I’d really like to get the word out about the e-book, so I’m giving you extra chances to win! 


  • Comment on this blog post about what you’d love to learn next from me, or next in general, and be entered! 
  • Tweet about the e-book (make sure to mention me, @samanthakira), and get another entry! 
  • The same on Facebook (tag Journal Girl so I can see it!)! 
  • PURCHASE the e-book and get 2 extra entries! 
  • Contest ends Monday, October 15, 2012.


What can you win? Well, take a look at the TWO prize-packs below! 













Good luck! And I hope you enjoy all I have put together to share with you!


Low on funds? Need some help? I have a few 50% off coupons left to share. Let me know and I’ll let you know. The community usually takes care of its own. <3

If you enjoy Going Further, I would love to hear about it



The Pictures Are Part of My Process

I spent my time, last night, after my summer solstice celebration, sketching. 

Even the next day, I can feel the energy from the circle tingling along my palms, leaking into everything I put my mind to. I type with new ease. I sketch easily and happily. I feel excited to create all day long, and instead of feeling stress, as I normally do at the end of the week, when I put together the package that will become Journaling Deep, I’m calm and centered. The video’s already filmed and the raw footage has been loaded onto my laptop. I can spend the afternoon editing in my favorite coffee shop instead of scrambling. 

You’d think after nearly 30 weeks of tutorials, I’d run out of ideas. And I did, for awhile, but am throwing myself at it with renewed vigor, material pouring out of me with the same excitement I remember from the first weeks of the project. 


Last night's sketch! Gotta fix those eyes!

That’s not what I sat down to write about, though! 

Back to my sketch. This morning (or afternoon, as I’ve been sleeping 12 hour nights to recover from my flare-up), I snapped a photo to share it on Instagram, as I usually do. And I thought, perhaps, I’d share with you why I do this with many, if not all of my sketches.

Because it helps make them better. 


An early version of my Sunshine piece. I went back and re-did the neck and shoulders.

I’ve found that, when you take a photo and look at it, you can find all the things you need to fix. For example, in my latest photo, I noticed that, despite my measuring and ruler-using, her eyes seem to be uneven in size and placement, so I should go back in and fix ‘em up before I start applying paint. 

But if I just look at the sketch, on the page, it doesn’t look like anything is wrong! 

I’ve used this practice with paintings, too! I take photos along the way, stepping back to see the whole thing from a distance — something you simply must do when working on a piece of art! Seeing things from a distance helps you switch from focusing on the details, on the close-up as you paint or sculpt or draw, to seeing the BIG PICTURE! 

What I'm currently working on. I haven't transfered her to the piece, yet, so the print-out is a placeholder.

Photos also let me see how I’m progressing, and creates a record for me to look back on when I feel the piece finished. They can also help you figure out where to place certain items — for me, I’m transferring my sketches to larger canvases, and I can place the print-out around the piece, snap a photo, and then look at all of them, side-by-side, feeling better equipped to make a decision on final placement. 

(I should sooo do a video on how I transfer my sketches to my pieces. Tomorrow, or Monday, for sure!)

So the next time you’re working on something, take the time to step back and snap a photo. Share it with us on Instagram, your blog, Facebook, or even the Studio! You might just get some helpful feedback that’ll snap you back into the flow!


I’ll be sending out a newsletter tomorrow, with announcements, a Studio cheat-sheet, & little tutorial just for subscribers! Not on the list? Sign up in the sidebar to the right, where it says, “Sign up for sparkles in your inbox!”  

The Magic of Magic + [how to] covered shipping boxes!

{my birthday present; a fujifilm instax mini 25!}

Today started in a rush. 

Last week, I forgot to go to class, so I wanted to make sure — doubly sure — my alarm went off and I headed off on-time. Leave it to me to be fumbling at ten to eight, cursing my need to change my purse, as I wouldn’t be able to stop for my new favorite drink. 

Oh, yes, I have a new favorite! I gave up Diet Coke a little over a week ago after doing some research on the connection between aspartame and pain levels (thank you, Melissa, for linking me that first article!); I’m still going through a bit of detox, as I’ve drastically cut down on how much pop I drink, but I think it’ll be worth it in the long-run. Anyway, favorite drink! It’s this all-natural pomegranate green tea — a perfect combination of healthy and yummy and all in a mega-can for $1!

As I was running late, I was bummed that I wouldn’t be able to stop for one (another thing I’ve started doing; visiting the grocery shop every day instead of stocking up). Then, yay! The piece I was working on, drawing and shading a sphere with charcoal was going well. Boo! The box looks horrible and frustrated me to the point I wanted to cry. 

Then I went to my car to be greeted by a warning from campus security — apparently, you need a permit to park in the college parking lots! Still fuming from my sad box drawing, I crossed campus to get more information, a permit, and an ID. An ID that looks silly because the woman forgot to mention I had charcoal smudged all over my face! 

Then, magic of magic, I started to smile as I headed home. 

I don’t know when this happened, really. It might be the wind that’s been sweeping through the valley all day that reminds me of those breezy days back in Chicago. Or maybe it was the absence of the pain that’s been plaguing me since Saturday. Whatever it was, I felt calm. Happy. Boppy (this means, to me, that bouncy, happy feeling that gets you bopping up and down in the driver’s seat as you “dance” to the radio!). I chanced upon my Magic Happy Drink at CVS for less than $1 each, grabbed a bright copy of Nylon (one of my favorite magazines to both read and cut up for my journals), and curled my eyelashes for the first time. 

My car got a nice, VIP wash while I doodled in my sketchbook in the warm sunshine. My studio was cleaned and a new lightbulb was found. Most of my alter was set up. 

And as I sat down to get working in my journal, the film for my pretty birthday present arrived (3 days after my birthday!). Looking at the ridiculously-sized box used for such a small item, I found I didn’t want to throw it away. I’ve already tossed a few, and wondered if there was a way I could use them in my studio to organize my daily photo habit and growing collection of found papers and scraps. Want to re-use shipping boxes, too? Here are two ideas for how you can re-cover them for use in your studio! 



Click the image -- it gets bigger!

1. Cut the flaps off your boxes (but save them to use as dividers when you’re done!)

2. I found that Eco Green Matte Artist’s Medium worked the best for this project. It’s the same consistency as Modge Podge, more-or-less. 

3. Spread glue on the vintage wallpaper, then burnish it to each side, wrapping it over the top and bottom. I did with in 4 separate pieces. 

4. For this box, I decoupage dyed paper towels down on the cardboard (these are just the paper towels I use to dry my brushes, etc, that I save, just in case!).

5. I then added a layer of tissue paper I wrote across with Copic markers. 

6. The finished boxes — the wallpaper’s around all four sides, and the decoupage was finished with a final paper towel layer. 

I plan on cutting down the long flaps to use as dividers between months or colors or type! I don’t know, yet, but had tons of fun making these!

As I slipped into bed for a nice, mid-afternoon nap after taking a break to read for a little bit, I couldn’t help but smile and think: 

Today’s been pretty perfect. 

Just goes to show that even the most rushed, frustrating mornings can give way to joyous afternoons. 


All the windows in my apartment are open, the wind whistling through, taking with it all the negativity, doubt, and depression that’s lingered for far too long. I’m cold, just a bit, but bundled, smiling, and writing before heading back in for more creating. 

Working with Layers... (part 2 of last weekend's vid!)

Here's part two for your enjoyment. I spent a lot of time editing this to make it dynamic, informative, and fun! Sorry about the end; the way I had everything set up meant there was a light above the camera, and the camera didn't like that -- but I'm pretty sure there's a LOT for you to learn from this vid that you won't miss me writing words with a black marker. ;) 

I loved making this one! I think for next week, I'll be showing you the basics of stitching on paper or fabric with a darning foot. Doodling with a sewing machine for the win! 

I've gotten a LOT of questions for next week's Q&A vid; I LOVE learning what you are curious about, because that helps me help you! *G* 

I'll see ya tomorrow; I'm a bit tired and sore from last night's casino adventure (and no, I didn't win big, but I did walk out with $10 more than I walked in with!), so I'll be here watching The Dark Crystal and doodling ideas for a new mini-class I'm psyched to write. 

{[video] four awesome things to do with collage pauge}

This week's video is all about fun techniques I discovered you can do with Collage Pauge. If you've been a regular here, you know how much I love this stuff; I decided that it would be fun to share all I've discovered through experimentation with it!

Sorry about some of the shots, btw. I was experimenting with 2 cameras and failed to see the correlation between a shot over my right shoulder + being right handed. But, like with journaling & painting, experimentation is how you learn, grow, and improve.

And since I've spent so much time online this week, I'm signing off to finish cleaning and work on my painting for this week. It's windy and rainy here in Phoenix today, so what's better than curling up with tea in your pajamas and painting?

ETA: I forgot -- I took a screenshot of me working last night, just to give you an idea of how I did this. And how crazy I am...

{raindrops canvas shapes tutorial!}


I have been enjoying a lovely staycation, doing art for myself, reading, taking naps, but when I got the idea for this project, I just had to share this tutorial with you! 
At the beginning of the week, I knocked on my neighbor’s door and asked if I could borrow her sewing machine. She was kind enough to let me - her home is so artful and whimsical! - and I’ve been making shapes ever since! Lately, I’ve been into documenting my process as part of my new written journal, so I can show you all step by step how I made this pretty piece of art. 
This started as a late-night AH-HA I sketched in my journal. I love seeing things jump off the page and into life!

I cut a stencil from an index file folder. Since I’m having fun stitching, I like to have consistent shapes if I decide to make more than one (and I did!). This also helps with the raindrops; they are all pretty equal in size. 

Fold a piece of canvas in half. Try to make it about two inches bigger on all four sides so it’s easy to stitch later on. Trace your stencil on with a pencil. 

Sew along the pencil lines with a sewing machine. I like going around 3 times - it just looks cool, like messy pencil lines (since I’m not trying for perfection here!). Alternate colors, if you’d like! 

The foot on my machine is a darning foot. And you can go from one shape to another without re-starting - just lift the needle, slide the fabric, and insert the needle manually where you want to start on the next shape! Then you’re ready to go!

Gesso one side inside the “lines.” Because these are two piece of canvas sewn together (for durability and awesomeness), your pieces will curl a bit. I like this! If you want it to be flat, gesso BOTH sides. 

Paint with pretty colors! I used the same two colors and dabbed ‘em with water…I love this look, and it’s one that you can’t really get when working on paper. 


Decorate, doodle, and stamp! Punch three holes in the bottom of the cloud and set in some little eyelets. Punch a hole in the tops of the raindrops. Set eyelets. 

String them together with ribbon, wire, trim - whatever you want! Add a pin in the back so you can put it on your purse, glue or stitch shapes down on a painting or journal page - go with it!

If you want to alter some shapes but aren’t brave enough yet for stitching with the sewing machine, I do have quite a few sets up for sale in my Artfire shop, along with a couple wings sets for your altering pleasure! 

And if you really want to learn more about working on loose canvas, won’t you take my class as part of the 21 Secrets workshop series? Click here to view more details