Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

How true! And if you love cherries, like I do, you find that life is great.

finished piece

I love our wood pieces with the silhouette cut-outs. They are fun to use with photos, embellishments or any added features. And this particular project was so simple and quick – again adding to the delight for the finished piece.


So, let’s get started. I misted the entire wood piece with Tattered Angels® Glimmer Mist Marmalade: . No need to seal the wood first, just mist and wait for it to quickly dry.


Next I choose the letters from the Color Magic chipboard sticker letters by Heidi Swapp to spell the quote. Rather than misting the letters with Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist, Trunk Bay, I gently shook the bottle from side to side to distribute the “glimmer” and brushed with letters with a medium flat brush.


Once the letters were dry, I peeled them off the sheet and placed them on the dry Silhouette wood piece. I added the name of the author of the quote – Bob Fosse – with  Tim Holtz® plastic sticker letters.


I found a fun embellishment from Jennifer Heynen and used a screw eye to hang it in the square opening.

cherries and ribbon

Secure the screw eye in the square opening and tie the hanging cherries with a scrap of white ribbon.


So easy and so fun to make.

Creative Coach University Spring 2013

For several years, Walnut Hollow has provided a variety of products for Laurie Speltz to use at her gatherings held twice a year near Des Moines, Iowa.  This year, Laurie shared photos with us so we could share them with you. Laurie calls her gatherings “Creative Coach University”.

Creative Coach University (CCU) is the brain child of Laurie who is “The Creative Coach”.  It was created to share new product, ideas and techniques with participants who normally didn’t get the opportunity to attend trade shows and conventions.  The goal was to allow these students to not only learn about new products but also get the chance to take them out for a test drive and see what can be done with them.  Attendees are pushed outside of their box and comfort zones.  They learn not only from their own work but from the work of all the other participants.  They are allowed the chance to brainstorm and play with products and techniques.  Play is the one thing that most people don’t take the time to do.  Laurie doesn’t put an emphasis on finishing the piece during a session, she concentrates more on gathering valuable lessons and alternatives to projects.  Sharing is what everyone looks forward to.  They are invited to use their cameras and gather as many ideas off of other participant’s projects as they would like.  They learn to gather ideas for the future and to repeat the projects when they get home in the comfort of their own studios.

class sharing

classroom 1  classroom 2

Where most seminars have a sample project and everyone tries to match it, participants at CCU try to and are encouraged to come up with something unique and new to share.  They do have the option of following the example if they aren’t ready to step out of their boxes.  People enjoy the freedom to “play” with products and adapt the project to meet their needs.  They have professional crafters, designers, teachers, shop owners and general crafters/painters participating in each session.   They also cover topics such as:  how to get published, trends, color, how to hunt for the ideas, how to spark creativity, legal issues related to the industry, ethics, business practices, how to buy wholesale, how to attend trade shows, how to find new products and more. The topics explored are geared towards the participant’s needs and questions.

This is what Walnut Hollow sent:

Savannah Thin Plaque

Savannah Thin Plaque:   Laurie said, “The Savannah Thin Plaque was a lesson in recreating the look of tin on a board with a layered design using stencils and stamps on top of it.  The sample they were working from was done on a tin pocket.  They learned a lot about blending and layering of color to create the illusion of tin in their backgrounds.  The rest of the project was achieved with stamps and stencils.” Stampendous, a rubber stamp company and more, provided lots of stamp options to work with. The participants used Laurie’s line of Basecoat Stencils to add fun borders and elements.  You can see variations in stamps used, theme, borders and colors in some of the samples shown here.



scalloped board 12

scalloped board 11

scalloped board 10

scalloped board 9

scalloped board 8

scalloped board 7

scalloped board 6

scalloped board 5

scalloped board 4

scalloped board 3

Margy's piece

Silhouette Plaques:  Walnut Hollow provided these 3 styles of Silhouette Plaques to CCU.

Silhouette Square    Silhouette Circle

Silhouette Bird

This board was done at the end of the day after working with all kinds of background ideas.

silhouette board in process1

silhouette board in progress 2

silhouette board in process4

silhouette board in process3

The students worked with multiple tools to create textures and design in their backgrounds.  They received their Silhouette Plaque in a drawing and had the chance to choose their shape. They used tools to create an interesting background and then stamped or stenciled to add elements on the Plaque.  They had been given all kinds of household items and other products to create texture and design.  Most were planning on using the opening as a photo holder.  Some ventured out and tried other solutions for it.  Other ideas included hanging a cutout in the opening and creating a design around the opening.  You can see by the ideas that they really took the opportunity to try different seasons and styles.  They also looked at a lot of journaling ideas being used by paper crafters and mixed media artists.

Participants were very pleased with both surfaces and enjoyed the opportunity to use them.





silhouette board 18

silhouette board 17

silhouette board 16

silhouette board 15

silhouette board 12

silhouette board 11

silhouette board 10

silhouette board 9

silhouette board 8

silhouette board 7

silhouette board 6

silhouette board 5

peg benda board

happy miller photo

If you would like to learn more about Laurie Speltz and Creative Coach University, check this out

Thanks so much to Laurie and her group of creative students for sharing so much with us. It’s our favorite thing to see what others do with Walnut Hollow products.

Take Flight Wall Art by Marie Browning

Once again our friend, Marie, has done an outstanding job designing on one of Walnut Hollow’s new basswood surfaces. The Silhouette Plaques include a circle and square as well as the bird featured in Marie’s mixed media creation.


This mixed media plaque mixes decoupage, beadwork, and color washing to create a decorative bird themed art plaque. The bird silhouette plaque is ready-made, smooth and a perfect surface for all these techniques.


  • Walnut Hollow #39745 9” x 12” Silhouette Bird Plaque
  •  Book pages
  •  Bleeding tissue paper – blue hues
  •  Decorative cardstock – black and white patterned
  •  Black dye inkpad, clean, dry stencil brush
  •  Acrylic paint – Sample used Americana Colors Honey Brown, Burnt Orange and Medium Flesh
  •  Acrylic Extender medium
  •  Sandpaper – 150 grit
  •  Decoupage medium – matte finish
  •  Twigs
  •  1/2” finishing nails
  •  Plastic Egg
  •  Natural colored excelsior or Spanish moss
  •  White glue
  •  Beads – various sizes, matching colors
  • Wing charms

Create the Background

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 Add any hanging hardware to the back of the plaque before decorating.

Tear the book pages into large pieces and decoupage them to the plaque. Try to find a book that reflects your theme, for example, the sample used a book on birds that adds a few illustrations to the background. Don’t worry about creating wrinkles in the pages, they will add an interesting texture. Apply a coat of decoupage medium to the top and let dry.

When dry, sand the edges smooth around the edge and the inside of the cut bird.

Pour out the acrylic colors onto your palette. Add the extender to the colors in a 50/50 mix. Mix well to create a translucent glaze.  Apply the colored glaze to the background, slapping the colors on randomly. You should still be able to see the print under the glaze. Let the surface dry.

With the sandpaper, sand the surface to reveal the wrinkled texture and create an interesting background.

Prepare the Tissue Paper Pieces

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Tear the bleeding tissue paper into 3 to 4” pieces. Layer the different colors on a piece of white paper and spritz with water. Let dry completely. When dry, the tissue paper colors have run together and created very interesting muted colors with a subtle design.

Cut the flying bird from the tissue paper  (you can cut through many layers at once) and decoupage onto your surface using the decoupage medium. You can also cut and decoupage the larger birds on with the tissue paper to create a shadow in the final piece.

I also generated some text on the computer, printed it out and decoupaged it to the surface. You can alternately use stamped or stickers to add a saying or journaling.

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Decoupage on Bird Silhouettes

Use the bird patterns and cut out the birds from the decorative paper. Distress all the edges on the bird using the black ink pad and a stencil brush. Decoupage the birds in place using the decoupage medium. Paint the edges around the surface and the inside of the cut bird using the Burnt Orange acrylic paint. When dry, apply a finishing coat of the decoupage medium over the entire surface and edges. Let dry completely.

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Finishing Touches

Hammer the twigs in place using the finishing nails. Pour a little white glue over the excelsior and mix in with your fingers. Place the excelsior inside the bird cutout and nestle the plastic egg in the excelsior. Let dry. If needed, add more white glue to make the nest and egg secure.

Thread the beads onto jewelry wire and add the charms to the ends. Drape the beads over the twigs and secure where needed with finishing nails.

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