2023 Year of the Rabbit

What a coincidence that it’s the Lunar Year of the Rabbit! It matches my logo perfectly, which surely must be an auspicious sign, right?

So what have I been up to lately? I did take a mini break over Christmas (or did I?) as far as creating artworks is concerned. I have some secret projects I’ve been working on that will take some time to come to fruition, so I’m not able to share about them publicly yet. Stay tuned for more to come later this year.

To help celebrate Lunar New Year, I was invited to be the vendor at the Topeka Chinese American society’s New Year Celebrations. I created some delightful hand painted watercolor Rabbit bookmarks to help create a wonderful memory for my purchasers. I also donated an art work to their silent auction to help with their fund raising efforts.

January has been a busy artwork submission month for me. This month I have entered four artworks into upcoming Gallery shows at the NOTO Arts Center, Morris Gallery in Topeka Kansas.

February features a delicious exhibit named “Chocolate it is” in honor of Valentine’s Day and all things chocolate. It’s a beautiful show that opens to the public on Friday, February 3rd. I have entered two pieces into this show, Dreamer of Dreams, a Willy Wonka inspired acrylic painting complete with a gold leaf winning ticket of course! My second work is a mixed media assemblage piece featuring shades of chocolate in mixed media and 3D embellishments including vintage buttons, beads, fabrics, papers and gold leaf accents. Both artworks are available for sale at the show, along with most of the other artworks on display. To see images of these works, please go to my Social Media tab and click on my Instagram account (that’s where I post all my art photos and adventures).

At the beginning of January, I entered two artworks into the Juried Art Exhibit named Seasons, which is sponsored by Bernina. I was delighted to receive notice last week that both my works have been accepted into the show. I’ll be posting more about this show in the future, with photos over on my Instagram account, so be sure to follow my account and see more about the show in March.

I’m keeping a daily art journal this year, based on the prompts from the Artist’s Almanac collage fodder booklet, kindly given to me by a dear friend for Christmas. It’s been a challenge to keep up with it daily, especially considering working full time and working on four show entries all at once, but I made it happen and successfully completed every day in January. I did give myself permission to skip a couple of days, and come back later to finish them. But isn’t that what life is all about? Giving ourselves grace and forgiveness to do our best and baby step forward daily? I’m also working on giving myself permission to rest as I need it, because I have a tendency to push myself too hard on occasions. Easy does it!

Let’s see how I do in February with this daily art practice. I have some fairly assertive goals for myself this year. As you’ll see on my home page, I have another two shows I’m working on with entries due at the end of this month (so literally everything else is on hold while I work on these two show entries). Come March, I will likely need a bit of a break before launching into some other big projects for later in the year.

As for blog posts, I plan not to bombard your in box with newsy updates. That’s what I use my Instagram account for, to show my progress photos, completed artworks and other life adventures. I use my Pinterest account to record inspirations for current and future projects, and my poor YouTube account is feeling quite bereft because I haven’t touched it since last year. If I have the energy and bandwidth, I’ll attempt to create and upload some progress videos of my projects throughout the year to give it some love and attention.

By the way, have you seen my latest designs uploaded over on my Society 6 store? My dear friend Kathleen asked me to create a mid-century modern, geometric fish pattern in blues for her bathroom. I created a hand printed, hand cut Fishies themed pattern also with bubbles. It’s now available on a wide range of products in my Society 6 store and would be super cute for kid’s bathroom and bedroom decor too! Hop on over to my Society 6 store to view the new Fishies and Birds designs that are appearing over there.

Well, that’s all from this neck of the frozen tundra for now. Stay tuned for more fun projects and artworks this year (especially if you like watercolor, hint hint). If there’s anything you’d like to know or hear about from me, just drop me a comment and I’ll see what I can do. As always, future blog post suggestions are welcomed and much appreciated. Have a great first quarter and best wishes!

Michaela xxx


Birdtober 2022


Well, it’s been an exciting time since I returned from MA this past summer dog and house sitting. I hit the ground running on my return and jumped straight into joining the NOTO Arts Center team as their Administrative Assistant. And I love it! I’m also working to assist a local professional chef with his meal based business a few days a week, so to say I’m busy is a bit of an understatement.

As far as art is concerned, I’m currently participating in Birdtober 2022. I’m posting these works as they are completed on my Instagram account (click the Social Media tab above) so you can see them over there. It’s definitely been an education for me despite working at the Omaha Zoo for several years, I’ve had to research some of the birds to figure them out. Campo Flicker anyone?

I’m working on the last of my private commissions for the year, and then I will be taking quite a long break from commissions for a while (about 6 months) to work on some other goals, priorities and education I would like to complete. I will begin working on my wait list for commissions again in May/June 2023 (I’m already booked through summer of next year!).

I’m excited to tell you that I have thrown my hat in the ring again to participate in Roar and Pour 2023. So stay tuned to find out if I’m selected to be paired up with an animal to create art!

I’ve just submitted two artworks to the Morris Gallery in the NOTO Arts Center for their Holiday Traditions show in November 2022. Both artworks will be available for sale.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season! Best wishes, stay safe, and joyful celebrations to you all. Shine on!



My last TCW Post

It’s hard to believe, but the end of my two year term as a member of the International Design Team for The Crafter’s Workshop has come to end. Today is my last post over on their blog. Want to read it? Hop on over to their page and check out my last post!

Hero image of the completed Felicia Daisies decorative edged, stenciled journal page.
Felicia Daisy stencil TCW929 was used to create a decorative edged page.

Heat embossing with a stencil

Hi there! Want to learn how to heat emboss using a stencil, embossing liquid, and embossing powder? Then hop on over to my latest blog post over on The Crafter’s Workshop Blog for a step-by-step tutorial with photos!

Don’t have time to read my blog post? No worries, I’ve got you covered as always. Click this video link to watch my fly-by process video on my YouTube channel.


Be Happy

Check out my latest blog post over on The Crafter’s Workshop Blog today. This written tutorial gives you simple step-by-step instructions to create either a St Patrick’s Day 4 leaf clover card, or you can use the same process to create a floral card.

No time to read at the moment? No worries, as always, I’ve got you covered! Hop on over to my YouTube channel to watch this quick fly-by process video tutorial (1:22 min).

Be Happy Card – Fly by process video tutorial (1:22 mins)

Thanks for watching and wishing you a safe and fun St Patrick’s Day!


Frisket & stencils background

Check out my new blog post today over on The Crafters Workshop Blog! What is frisket, and how do I use it? How did I use it with stencils to create this amazing multi-layered background? Click the link to read step-by-step instructions. Let me know if you have any questions or comments via my Contact Me page on this website (Instagram messaging). Happy creating!

Frisket and Stencils Background
Watch my fly-by process video! (51 seconds)
Tutorial Uncategorized

Stencil Butters

Close up image of the background that this post is going to teach you how to make.
Close up image showing the completed stenciled butters background.

Hello! Recently, I created this fabulous background using our stencil butters. For fun, I made up a bunch of postcards and mailed them to art friends to see if any of them could guess how I’d created the background. While there were a few elements guessed correctly and some pretty close guesses, no-one actually guessed the correct combination of products or techniques. Today, this post reveals the process and products I used that kept them guessing!

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

I decided to use some dark blue textured drawing paper, TCW926 Bubble Rebound stencil, and delicate surface tape (which is less sticky than painter’s tape and less likely to tear the paper when removing). Now, the real trick with this background technique is to choose an analogous color scheme (colors next to one another on the color wheel) that matches the color of the paper that you are using. Since I chose royal blue paper, I decided to choose three cool colors to match, and white to provide contrast against the darker blue paper. I chose shades that were lighter than the paper in order to have the paper texture show up and be more visible in the end design.

Image showing Fabriano Color Drawing Paper 160 gsm, 98 lbs
Textured Paper
Image show TCW926 Bubble Rebound Stencil
TCW926 Bubble Rebound Stencil
Image showing the paper taped down over the stencil using 3M Delicate Surface tape.
3M Delicate Surface Tape
Image showing the NeoColour II water soluble wax pastely crayons (aquarelles).
Caran D’Ache NeoColor II Aquarelles (Water soluble wax pastel crayons)

For this technique, you’re going to work with the stencil under the paper. Tape the paper in place over the stencil. For the first step, I chose to work with NeoColor II water soluble, wax pastel crayons. I wanted a water soluble product so that it would react later in the process, as you’ll see. Laying the crayon almost horizontally on the paper, color random patches of each color over the entire paper. Don’t press too hard, or you’ll lose the paper texture, yet press gently enough so that you can see the edges of the stencil’s outlines on the paper, as shown in the image, below. (You might want to try a couple of practice pieces first to get the amount of pressure just right).

Close up image showing the stencil beneath the paper. A white NeoColour II crayon is laying on top of the textured paper which has had the crayons applied to it.
Close up image showing the stencil taped under the paper, and the NeoColor II crayons applied to the top of the paper.

Next it was time to apply the stencil butters. Again, I stuck within the same analogous color palette, so I chose to use the TCW9064 Turquoise stencil butter and the TCW9066 Orchid stencil butter. Using a fairly wide palette knife, I applied the orchid stencil butter randomly over the page first, immediately followed with the turquoise stencil butter randomly in other places (yet overlapping here and there so they blend a little). The trick with this technique is not to load the palette knife with too much stencil butter, don’t press hard with the palette knife, and just lightly scrape the palette knife at a 45 degree angle across the top of the paper. The stencil butter will get caught by the stencil cut out areas, showing the shapes and outlines of the stencil. It’s important that you don’t cover the paper completely, you still want to be able to see some of the Neocolor areas through and under the stencil butters in places. This is what gives the background depth and dimension. Do not wait for the stencil butters to dry!

Use a wide palette knife to apply the stencil butterrs
Use a wide palette knife to apply the stencil butters
Turquoise and Orchid stencil butters
Stencil butters – metallic, pretty, creaminess. Goes on just like buttah!
Orchid stencil butter on palette knife
Orchid Stencil butter – just look at that sheen!
The paper showing the applied stencil butters
Stencil butters applied to the paper

The next step is to use a spritz bottle to add water drops to the top of the entire paper. You want random drops in different sizes scattered across the page, not a shower or a soaking. Think of the drops as adding a new layer of design to the background. Let the water drops sit on top of the butters and paper for 2 minutes. Note: The water will activate the NeoColor II crayons, blending them where the drops have landed.

Lay a dry piece of kitchen paper towel, with the embossed design down, over the stencil butters, and the entire paper. Using your hands horizontally across the paper, very gently pat the paper towel to remove the water drops and impress the paper towel texture into the stencil butters. This creates two levels of texture, one from the water drops (where the stencil butter will lift off the paper when you remove the paper towel), and one from the paper towel embossing impression pressed into the stencil butter.

spritz bottle waiting to be applied to the page
Love this adjustable spritz bottle!
Water droplets sitting on page
Close up image showing water droplets on the page
Water droplets rested for 2 mins, about to be removed from page using paper kitchen towel
Page resting for 2 mins with water drops. Paper towel at the ready!

Your background is now complete. It is also able to be reactivated by any moisture or wet product, so keep that in mind if you want to be able to work over the top of it. You will want to apply a coat of matte or gloss gel medium to seal it. I would use either an old credit card or a silicon catalyst blade/mini scraper to apply the medium, but you’ll have to work fast and light so as not to smear or reactivate the background design! Pro Tip: Get your medium set up on the tool first, and start it on a scrap piece of paper to adjust it before applying it to the actual piece.

The finished background
Close up image showing the completed background.

If you’d like to watch a super quick fly-by video (56 seconds) of this process with captions, please hop on over to my YouTube Channel @TealHareCreations.


Ocean Series Commission


Did you see the ocean series I created for a dear friend and her husband recently?

To learn more, you can read my blog post all about it over on the
TCW Blog.

And if a brief video is more your speed, check out this quick fly-by in a
1:25 min video over on my YouTube Channel!

Lastly, here’s some photo highlights of the entire series of the five completed artworks. Thanks for reading!


Stenciling over alcohol inks

Multiple mixed media artworks featuring alcohol inks and stenciling with a variety of mediums and stencils.


Can you believe we are almost halfway through November already? Where does the time go sometimes?

A couple of weeks ago, I took a fabulous class in our Wanderlust 2020 course with Jennifer Pipe from Self Esteem Through Art. It was my first time trying alcohol inks and I had an absolute blast. If you are fascinated by watching things take on a life of their own, then I definitely recommend giving alcohol inks a try. It’s such fascinating fun to watch the inks flow and morph together, sometimes producing colours that you didn’t even use! It’s so cool! All my examples shown used a medium weight yupo paper.

To begin, I played with Ranger alcohol inks on the yupo paper. Then I let them dry fully for a day before I began my stenciling experiments. I took lots of photos as I went, and have included quite a few here for you to see the outcomes. If you have any questions, please feel free to pop them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to reply to you.

For this page, I used stencil TCW899 Striped Mandala with TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness which dries iridescent. It gave this piece a translucent effect to the point that my friends were asking me how I got the alcohol inks into the mandala design (I didn’t, I just stenciled it over the top of the alcohol inks with a palette knife!). Doesn’t it look fantastic? This is definitely one of my favourite combinations.

Yupo paper with blue, turquoise, and purple alcohol inks that has been stencilied over using shimmery goodness applied with a palette knife through the striped mandala stencil.
TCW899 Striped Mandala stencil with TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness applied with a palette knife.

My next experiment had me using the TCW924 Lush Petals stencil with the TCW9033 Marcasite Silver Modeling Paste applied with a palette knife. Once the modeling paste was dry (the next day), I applied some mica sprays and finishing wax in silver to really make the design pop! I love the richness, dimension, and depth of the finished piece.

I also decided to try the TCW9033 Marcasite Silver Modeling Paste through the TCW500 Nautilus stencil over some ocean coloured alcohol inks.

Marcasite silver modeling paste applied with a palette knife through the TCW500 Nautilus stencil on top of blue and green alcohol inks on yupo paper.
TCW9033 Marcasite Silver Modeling Paste applied with a palette knife through the TCW500 Nautilus stencil.

I’ve wanted to try the TCW865 Asian floral stencil for ages, but I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity. This was it! I applied TCW9009 Black Modeling Paste with a palette knife.

Black modeling paste applied with a palette knife through the Asian Floral stencil on top of yellow, gold, orange, and red alcohol inks on medium weight yupo paper.
TCW865 Asian floral stencil stenciled with TCW9009 Black Modeling Paste using a palette knife.

Next, I decided to use the TCW912 Wheat Stalks stencil with the TCW9037 Grecian Gold Modeling paste applied using a palette knife. To add a tiny bit of dimension, but not darkness to the wheat grains, I lightly applied some black stabilo all pencil to the edges of the stenciling. This helped the wheat stalks stand out from the background a little more. This is the perfect Thanksgiving combination and will make a beautiful greeting card.

For the last several pieces, rather than using a three dimensional modeling paste, I wanted to try tracing through stencils using Signo uni-ball pens. The names of the stencils are included in the captions below each photo.

Yupo paper with bleu, purple, and turquoise alcohol inks beneath the Celestial sun and Star shower stencils traced with black, white, and gold Signo uni-ball pens.
TCW923 Celestial Sun stencil and TCW5004 Star Shower stencil with white, black, and gold Signo uni-ball pens, and white paint.
Yupo paper with purple, green, and yellow alcohol inks beneath stenciled fern fronds with black and white Signo uni-ball pens.
TCW243 Ferns stencil with yellow acrylic paint over alcohol ink on yupo paper. Outlined in black and white Signo uni-ball pens.
Red, orange, and yellow alcohol inks on yupo paper with the striped mandala stencil outlined in black, gold, white, and silver Signo uni-ball pens. Black stabilio all pencil has been shaded around the outside of the stencil to give a shadow effect.
TCW899 Striped Mandala outlined in white, black, gold, and silver Signo uni-ball pens. Black Stabilo all pencil shadow.
TCW912 Wheat Stalks stencil with Raw Umber acrylic paint dabbed through with a cosmetic sponge.

ColorSparx At Play


ColorSparx and stenciling art journal backgrounds.

Well hello there!

Here in Kansas, fall is really beginning. Lots of leaves are falling from the trees, most of which haven’t had cold enough temperatures yet to start to change to pretty colors. However, I noticed this morning, the tips of some of the trees are beginning to turn to beautiful fall shades, which I adore and which inspire me greatly.

This week, I was trying some new techniques, experimenting with stencils and the wonderful ColorSparx powders. Before I joined the TCW Design Team, I had never used the ColorSparx powders, so I hadn’t experienced their beauty or their versatility first hand.

Since receiving my first ColorSparx powders about two months ago, I have been playing with them constantly, trying new techniques, learning what to do, and just as importantly, what not to do with them.

I thought this week I would show you some of what I tried, what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned during the process, all in the hopes that it will encourage you to experiment and try something new, too!

When you purchase ColorSparx, they come with a card of great suggestions to try. I definitely recommend giving those techniques a start. That’s how I got started. From there, I have progressed to trying the ColorSparx powders mixed into different mediums, such as modeling pastes, gessoes, and gel mediums. There are so many possibilities!

This week, I wanted to try some water techniques with the Colorsparx powders and stencils. Here’s some photos and narrative of what I tried, and how it turned out…

Recently, I learned a technique which intrigued me. After adding water to the watercolor paper page with a brush, sprinkle on the ColorSparx powders, lay the stencil on top and walk away. Yep, walk away. Let the page dry overnight.

Using this technique, the color pools under the plastic stencil, and clings to the edges of the stencil cut lines, leaving darker outlines of the cut out shapes. Once dried, I took a black Micron pigma pen and outlined the stencil shapes, and voila! One hot, and happening page! (if you turn the page upside down, it looks like flames! Good to know, right?).

For this page, I used stencil TCW568 Moving Vines with TCW ColorSparx Powders in Gamboge, Crimson, Scarlet, and Orange. For the sentiment, I used TCW9039 Copper Penny Modeling Paste which has a dreamy, creamy, spreadable texture, that is so easy to use with a palette knife. The next morning I was swooning over these gorgeous, vibrant, fall colors and shimmery copper sentiment!

ColorSparx Journal page with stenciling and copper modeling paste.

My next experiment had me using the TCW192 Gingko Stencil with the Gamboge, Fuschia, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Orange, and Scarlet ColorSparx Powders. I used exactly the same water technique as the Moving Vines experiment, above. The Yellow Ochre and Gamboge powders have a touch of green sparks in them, and I really love how that green soaked into the ginko leaf shapes. For this page, I used the same black Micron pigma pen to outline the leaves. Then, I decided I wanted the leaves to ‘pop’ out of the page more, so I outlined the leaves with a white signo pen. In places, you can see where the white ink absorbs some of the color sparks pigment, adding unexpected tints! To make the tints more noticeable, I outlined the leaves one more time with the pigma pen. I really love the way the leaves look three-dimensional, and as though they are about to pop off the page!

ColorSparx art journal page background with stenciled Gingko Leaves.

Last, I decided to use the TCW658 Mini Jungle Vines stencil with the TCW9043 Marcasite Silver Modeling paste applied using a palette knife. I used another combination of the Colorsparx powders, in Olive Green, Crimson, Gamboge, Orange, and Scarlet, and I used the same water technique that I used for the previous two pages, shown above.

This page was a good learning experience for me. I added too much water, when the modeling paste was not fully dry. I should have dried the modeling paste completely with my heat gun, then added the water and powders. Lesson learned.

The water soaked into the edges of some of the leaves, making the modeling paste dissolve overnight. When adding the water for the powder, I added too much water to the page, which caused some of the colors to blend together, turning an icky mud brown. Ooops, please, learn from my mistakes!

As a result, it took this page far longer to dry than the previous two pages, and the colors turned out much murkier and darker than I would have liked. Once dried, I used the same outlining technique for the stenciled shapes, that I did for the gingko leaves. In the end, it really didn’t turn out too badly, as you can see in the image below, on the right side.

On the right side, TCW658 Mini Jungle Vines stencil with TCW9043 Marcasite Silver Modeling paste and ColorSparx powders. On the left side, a fall mini collage named “Fall Beauty”. 6″ x 8″ mini collage.

I’m sure you’re probably wondering what the image on the left side of the above photo is. While I had the powders out, I played with just sprinkling powders on some other pages I had practiced on earlier with modeling paste. I left these pages to dry with the other pages shown above.
When I came to look at the pages the next morning, they were all simply too gorgeous to not be used.

What I decided to do was take the off cuts from the pages above, combined with these other pages cut into what I like to call “moments of joy and beauty”. I then created a series of seven mini collages, each collage measuring approx.. 6″ x 8″, featuring a fall theme, using these ‘left over bits’ die and hand cut into pieces. I hand poured some resin leaves, painted them with TCW9002 Black gesso and finished them with waxes. One leaf was added to each collage as a three-dimensional element. I’ve included photos of the six additional mini collages, below, for you to see.

“Fall’s Desire” and “Fall, Olive you”. 6″ x 8″ mini collages.
“Falling for you” and “Leaves Aflame”. 6″ x 8″ mini collages.
“Free Falling” and “Fall Suspension”. 6″ x 8″ mini collages.