When to Spend and When to Save

One thing I do not have a problem with is buying supplies. Mainly paint supplies. I’m a total addict when it comes to buying paint. I cannot go into an art store without some creeping into my basket.

So for the greater good I thought it would offer up some advice about what paints I use and when I do decide to spend a few extra pennies on the more pricey ones.

Paint Supplies 02

Here are my super cheap paints. These guys were from Tiger and they were €1 each. How could I not buy these right? OK so the coverage is not 100% opaque but I love the colours and for me, that’s my number one decision on buying paint.

Paint Supplies 01

These guys are my workhorse paint. I think I have every colour they make. These are just craft acrylic paint and I use them in 99% of the backgrounds of my journal pages and projects.

I think the brand names will vary from country to country and even store to store. But if you’re looking to get started with your paint supplies these guys are a really good place to start.

Paint Supplies 04

OK so now we’re getting slightly more expensive. These are some of my most favourite Winsor and Newton colours. If I have another child and it happens to be a girl, Opera Rose will be her name. Either that or I’m keeping it for my burlesque show girl name.

These guys offer wonderful coverage and the colours are just to die for. They are much more opaque than the cheaper craft acrylic as you would expect. It’s totally worth investing in a few of these.

Paint Supplies 05

OK so one thing I recently invested in is a good quality black and white paint. If you only spend big on two paints, make sure it’s these.

When you’re working with a black and a white you want both to offer you a very opaque colour when you’re laying them down.

I’ve found that my cheaper black and white paint just don’t give me the coverage I want, especially when I’m stencilling or adding mark making details.

Paint Supplies 06

These are two of my most expensive paints. The purple is to die for and the coverage is just amazing. It’s like painting with butter.

The Golden High Flow is quite a new one. I’ve used it on several projects now and I’m totally in love. It’s wonderful for making great splashes and drips on your pages and projects.

So you can see, I’m not a snob about my paints. If I like the colour, I buy it. But having invested in a few key items I’ve found it makes all the difference to my work.

If you have any recommendations on paint you’ve bought and loved I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

newsletter Sign Up Blog post

Embellished Pencil Case Tutorial Title.1 


Hi Everyone! I don’t know about you but whenever I make something inside my journal I love it. I show my adoring public (ok, I show my husband) and then maybe I snap a picture and post it to Instagram.

Then it gets shut inside my journal and hardly ever sees the light of day again.

Well no more my friends. I now solemnly swear to get my art out of my journal and onto objects that do see the light of day and are both pretty and functional.

I’m using my Stencil Girl stencils on this project from the March Stencil club. I really love using their products in all of my pages and projects. They’ve a wonderful selection of stencils and you can view their site here. I take no responsibility for the state of your bank balance afterwards!

Embellished Pencil Case Tutorial Supples

I gathered my supplies together of a canvas pencil case, some acrylic paint and of course my amazing Stencil Girl stencil.

I’m just using normal acrylic here, not fabric paint. No particular reason other than I don’t have a great selection of colours in fabric paint.

As this project is highly unlikely to be going through the washing machine regular acrylic will do just fine.

Embellished pencil case tutorial step one

I inserted a paper towel into the pencil case to prevent any paint leaking though to the other side. I sponged on the paint to the case using a cosmetic sponge. (and a very dirty paint palette!)


Here I’ve stencilled on the circle stencil here. Again I used my trusty cosmetic sponge to apply the paint. Much the same as I would do if I was applying it onto a page in my journal.

Embellished Pencil Case Embroidery Supplies

I’ve let the paint dry thoroughly now and I’ve picked out some complimentary and contrasting colours of embroidery floss. I’m going to use two strands together to pick out some of the shapes within the stencil.

Embellished Pencil Case Tutorial Inside view

Sometimes I think the inside is much more interesting than the front don’t you? Please note the extreme attention to detail on keeping my inside super neat yes? Yeah, right.


Here we are, all done. I just used a simple running stitch on it and I am not too concerned about keeping it really straight. I like the rough look of it. I added in some detail using a gold marker and my posca paint pen. The paint has given the pencil case a nice rough texture so the pen goes on great.

Embellished Pencil Case Final Photo

All done ready to hold all of my go to pens. And now I’ve got something pretty to sit on my desk and my art work is out in the open! I hope you’re inspired to try something similar. I’d love to hear from you and see what you make!


newsletter Sign Up Blog post

Grow Free Grow Tall Title

OK so you may or may not know that I am now the proud owner of my own you tube channel (you can see it and subscribe here. I’ve really enjoyed making the videos and its certainly something that I really want to make more of.  Teaching has always been my jam and you tube allows me to test out different ideas and formats.

Without further ado, here is my video. I’m talking in this one which was weird to listen back to again and again when editing let me tell you!

Every video is teaching me something different. Like how to speed up sections of the video and how to stop the music in certain sections. Each video is a lesson in patience because there is certainly a lot more work to put into them than I ever thought!

Grow Free Detail 002

Here is the finished page. I’m really happy with it. I honestly did not sit down with a “plan” I just knew I wanted to use the flowers and that I wanted to have some background papers there to break up the white before I sat down.

Grow Free Detail 003

That Golden High flow just makes my heart sign and the vintage flower book is a very special find for sure.

So I’ve created a little survey, there are only five questions on it. I would be so grateful if you could fill it out for me so that I can do a little market research on what you’d all like to see in a video and what you prefer in terms of length, music, talking and details. Please also leave me a note in the comments if you have something specific you’d like to say I’d really love to hear from you.

You can click here to access the survey, I really appreciate your time and input!

KaznShaz 002

My friend Sharon swapped our Art Journals for our “Shore to Shore” project so these pages that I have made are inside her journal. I can’t wait to get mine back to see what she’s been up to it!

I should warn anyone who’s reading who may be a little offended that I have a photograph at the end which includes an offensive gesture so if you don’t want to see this maybe skip over this post. For those who don’t mind I will explain more when it comes up.

I’m kind of obbessed with putting paint on using either my catalyst tool or an old gift card right now. I love the texture it creates and the way it drags the paint across the page in a perfectly imperfect way.

KaznShaz 006

This page was a variation on a print I did for last months Artists of Instagram. I love the print I made so much I wanted to do another larger version. Cannot get this David Gray song out of my head lately. I used the gelli plate to create the interesting textures on the waves. I love this page so much I think I will need to make another bigger one and maybe put it on my wall.

KaznShaz 001

There are a lot of things in this page that make me happy. The colour, my handmade stamps, the colour! And look at that gorgeous stencil from Stencil Girl. It’s from my total art crush Rae Missigman.

KaznShaz 007

My daughter did not want to miss out on the Art Journal fun and has included several drawings in the book for Sharon. I should add that she’s never actually met Sharon but she thought it was just so cool to draw some pictures in a book for someone else and then send it all the way off to America!

Here’s some more she made, I had to remind her that we would be swapping again soon so not to draw on ALL the pages!

KaznShaz 005 KaznShaz 003 KaznShaz 004

I guess we’re both a little obsessed with stencils!

KaznShaz 008

I adore this page. I was secretly hoarding this photo for the pefect project and I can’t think of a better one. I love this quote from Frida Kahlo. She’s such an inspirational woman from her artwork to her lifestyle and philosophy. For me this page is about being unapologetic for who you are and for sticking my your principles. Don’t make excuses for yourself and don’t be so hung up on what everyone else thinks of you.

You can check out the first part of our travelling art journal here and I can’t wait to get my journal back and get working on it!

Colour Chaos Red 001

It’s the turn of the Red Art Journal this time around and I have to say it is amazing in it’s wonderful red-ness. This journal belongs to Sharon. I’d been keeping this red bloom especially for her and this journal for quite some time now.

Colour Chaos Red 002

I literally cannot get this Ed Sheran song out of my head. It’s on a constant loop. Not that I mind it’s a beautiful song so I thought this was a great springboard for my inspiration for this page.

Colour Chaos Red 004

Well now I couldn’t let the Red Journal pass through my hands without some signature poppies going into now could I? Funny story – I was sitting down thinking what the hell can I put in this red journal – what’s red?? Duh!

Colour Chaos Red 003

This page has quite a story. I actually heard a snippet of this song as I was walking down the street. As so often happens, it was stuck in my head, filed away for future inspiration. Then I was browsing Pintrest for some ideas for an “Art Quilt” and BAM! I love it when an idea comes together. I did actually film the making of this page but for some reason when editing it, the video got lost. Never fear I will record again but with a little more detail.

I hope you enjoyed the red journal, be sure to check out my previous posts on the blue and black journal.

Make sure you go around the other wonderful ladies in this project and see what they’ve been up to as well.

Get Messy Season of Happy W6 001

I can’t quite believe that we’re at the end of another season with Get Messy Art Journal , I really don’t know where the six weeks has gone, they’ve flown by.

This was my first season as a creative team member and I even got to put my first tutorial on the Get Messy Blog! But you have to be a member to be able to see it! So what are you waiting for?

Get Messy Season of Happy W6 002

Well if you only have one colour to use you’d better make sure it’s Opera Rose right? If I ever have another girl I am totally going to call her Opera Rose, it’s an amazing name.

Get Messy Season of Happy W6 003

I deviated slightly this week and made one page in my altered book art journal. You can look here for some peeks inside my altered book to see more pages I’ve made in it.

Get Messy Season of Happy W6 004

I love the texture you can create from scrapping into wet paint and I love my smudgy stencil on the page too.

Get Messy Season of Happy W6 005

This picture is brilliant. There is nothing more happy than sitting on a swing and you can totally enjoy it at any age!

You can see my other Season of Happy posts here for week one , week two , week three and four , week five.



A Peek Inside My Altered Book Journal

I wanted to share a little look inside my Altered Book Art Journal today with you. I have several journals on the go at the moment but this little book is one of my favourites. It smells so good as it’s a nicely aged book which you just don’t get from a brand new one.

Journal Peeks Altered Book 004

I’m using this book for play mostly. No big theme or plans running through it. I haven’t prepped the book by taking pages out first I’m just trying to spread out the pages and keep the embellishments to a minimum to avoid any undue stress on the spine.

Journal Peeks Altered Book 001

I’m trying out new styles and colours and keeping the layering of the page to paints and stencils and stamps. I’m in the middle of a neon obsession right now which shows no sign of ending. I cannot stay that this bothers me in the slightest. I’m excited to see this new progression of my style.

Journal Peeks Altered Book 003

The book has some funky old photos in it two and I could not resist making is guy a feature. Those eyebrows are out of this world. You’d have thought SOMEONE would have told him to trim them??

Journal Peeks Altered Book 002

I’m not prepping the pages with gesso on this book. I really love the texture of the book paper and I’ve found in previous altered books this gets lost when the gesso goes over the top. I love not starting with a blank page and I am loving seeing some of the text show through under the paint.

Journal Peeks Altered Book 005

I’m mostly using an old gift card to apply the paint to the book so I’m avoiding too much paint going into the book. This seems to be working well for me. I may start sticking pages together as I add more pages but it’s not needed so far.

Working in an old book is a great alternative to a blank journal and you can easily find them and pick them up for next to nothing. So next time you’re out and about keep a look out for one and get stuck into it. It’s easier than you think!

A Peek Inside My Altered Book Journal - Pin

Get Messy Season of Happy Week Five on www.karen-gaunt.com

Get Messy Season Of Happy W5 01

I can’t believe we’re already onto week five of the Season of Happy and last week will be our last week!

I was delighted to receive some new stencils in the post this week from Stencil Girl, it’s the best company and Mary Beth Shaw is my new personal hero.

This week was all about our childhood and for as long as I can remember I’ve always loved making. Sewing, knitting, drawing, painting. You name it, I’ve done it and from a very young age. I’m a maker through and through.

Get Messy Season Of Happy W5 03

Now I realised that Alanis Morsette might not be the happiest of music but man I love listening to Jagged Little Pill. The  memories that come from this album of teenage angst and unrequited love.

This page was the middle of the album I’ve made up and I’m on the happy footing of a double page spread which is my favourite.

Get Messy Season Of Happy W5 02


Season of Happy Title Week34


So I’m doing a two for one this week to get “caught up” on the Get Messy Prompts and be on the correct week for this week.

GM Season Of Happy Week 3 001

For week three we were working on a “graffiti” theme and it was really fun to try some new lettering styles out for this one. You should definitely check out the #getmessyartjournal on instagram to see everyone’s amazing take on this prompt. There are so many cool interpretations.

GM Season Of Happy Week 34 003

Some thoughts on what is happiness and how do we make ourselves happy? What is happiness?

GM Season of Happy Week 34 002

Inside Out is one of Maya’s favourite movies at the moment and I love Joy but I have a special soft spot for Sadness.

GM season of happy Week34 004

Monochromatic for this part and I even snuck in some triangulation for this one. This quote is from “Sunscreen” which I have to admit I had not heard of before this week but it has lots of cool lyrics in it.

So I’m all caught up now and we’re onto the last couple of weeks of Get Messy Season of Happy. You check out week one and week two and you should also head over the the Get Messy  Blog and see what it’s all about.


Colour Chaos Black 002


The second round of the Colour Chaos Travelling Art Journal has been going on and I was working in the Black Journal from Julia which was a whole pile of fun let me tell you.

The first page here was made using modelling paste and a skull stencil I had. I dripped black ink all over it and I love how it turned out. I though the ink would run around the paste more but it soaked into it in a lot of pages. I still love it though.

Colour Chaos Black 001

Can’t beat a bit of “Paint it Black” for the black journal now can you?

Colour Chaos Black 003

Sticking with the musical theme for this simple page. I don’t know what but I just cannot feel comfortable working on just one side of the page, I need a double spread! But Julia gave us each nine pages for the journal so one had to be the odd one out!

Colour Chaos Black 004

I wanted to keep this page simple and in the “Julia” style, she has a very graphic and clean style in many of her pages and she does amazing things with just markers so that’s what I went with here.

Colour Chaos Black 005

And the final page I of course went with a magazine image because Julia is the queen of magazines and I felt this image went so well with the quote.

So that’s the black journal done and on it’s way to Lauren now.

Please check out everyone else’s blog that is taking part in this Colour Chaos Project,

Vanessa, Katie, Sharon, Julia, Lauren and Patricia

You can read about the first part of our Colour Chaos Art Journal here for the Blue Journal,