Pixel Scrapper April Blog Train ~ The Birds & the Bees


Pinterest inspiration board for the blog train

I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make anything for this round of the Pixel Scrapper blog train. I started working on February’s offering way back in the beginning of December, and it took me the full two months to get everything made. I’ve been incredibly busy lately because of school & the fire & being ill & general life busyness. I also don’t love the color palette for this round, and while the theme is fun – “The birds and the bees” – it felt much more abstract than “retro kitchen” in terms of generating ideas. I’m also really not into “cute” stuff, just a personal preference, and I wasn’t sure how to pull together this palette and theme into something I would personally want to scrap with.

Palette for the blog train

Palette for the blog train

But then the gals over at Pixel Scrapper did a little preview of coming attractions a week or so ago, with people posting previews of what they’d made. Everything was so fun and interesting, with so much variety, and I started to get excited about the possibility of making something. I sat down that weekend and the creativity started flowing, and I ended up having a great time!

I made my first art journal page a couple of weeks ago. So for this blog train I decided to try making my first art journal materials. I drew inspiration from a couple of my art journal design heroes – Christine Smith, who designed the mini I used for my first art journal page, and Sissy Sparrows, two sisters who have an aesthetic that just knocks my socks off when it comes to art journal design. Take a look at Christine’s Brighter Days Ahead minikit (which is free on her blog!) and Sissy Sparrows’ Glitter & Glue Overlays and it will be quite obvious how much inspiration I drew from studying the work of these talented designers. Christine’s Spray Mist Brushes and spray mist stencil tutorial were also invaluable. A final source of art journal inspiration was the talented Andrea Boyer of Lifescapes, which I think may have gone out of business.  (Her “Botanica” kit directly inspired one of my art journal papers.)

I did all kinds of stuff I’ve never done before, both in terms of the kinds of materials I made and the techniques I used to make them. I was gratified at how quickly it still came together, though. Last time was a 2-month slog, this time I was basically finished in 2 days. Most of that I attribute to how much I’ve learned. My Photoshop skills are leaps and bounds above where they were at the end of 2012.


But there was another factor that helped me move faster this time. Last time I made sure all my final products were okay for commercial use. That meant all the commercial use products I used (brushes, textures, overlays, graphics, etc.) had to be “CU4CU” – not only okay to use commercially in making these freebies for you, but also okay for you to then go on to use the freebies however you wanted to. This is actually fairly uncommon, especially among free CU products. So I spent a lot of those two months tracking down resources that would fit the bill, or arduously making things myself to use. This time I wanted to focus on being creative and having a wonderful time. So I didn’t even worry about whether things were plain old CU or CU4CU, and I think this helped me go a lot faster.

So the way it worked out is that some of the things I made for you – the glitter styles, which I made from scratch, the glitter overlays, and the collage bird elements – I can offer to you under a CU license, and you can go off and make whatever you want with them. The rest – the papers, the borders, and the art overlays – incorporate some resources that limit the license I can offer to personal use only. I’ve put them in separate downloads because I know some of the blog train “shoppers” from Pixel Scrapper only download stuff with a CU license. I feel okay about how this worked out, because the things that would be most useful to reuse in your own designs, like the styles and overlays, are CU.

Up first are the PERSONAL USE ONLY materials. This zip file includes 5 art journaling papers/backgrounds, 3 page borders (including a fun one made of feathers!) and 1 small border, and 5 glittery, doodled art overlays to fancy up your art journal pages. Where do you stand on having words included in your art-journal collage-y designs? I think it looks cool, but that it also makes the designs much less versatile. So for those of you who feel the same way, I’ve put versions of the art overlays without the typed words on them in a separate zip file.

Blog train freebie links only stay up for a limited time (though you can still find older blog train goodies if you explore the blog). My The Birds & the Bees kit is no longer available here on the blog – however it may soon be available at Pixel Scrapper.


Next up are the COMMERCIAL USE items. I’m totally in love with the collage birds, this is just exactly the kind of thing that grabs my attention when I’m browsing designs. I don’t even want to admit how long I spent looking for the perfect book page scan to use in the swallow collage, finally finding a great scan from a book about birds at The Vintage Moth. The vintage map was a great find, too – I didn’t need to recolor it at all, and it complements the blog train palette perfectly. The glitter styles come in two varieties for each color. There is one that’s more chunky, and one that’s more fine. The fine glitter style doesn’t look very glittery in the preview, but it really shines (ha!) when applied to very small/fine items (like the smaller honeycomb pattern of the glitter overlays). I feel like I still have a ways to go on learning to make glitter (I made these following tutorials at Pixel Scrapper and Pugly Pixel) but hopefully these will still be useful to you as you make your fabulous art journal pages! (Glitter styles come in .asl form only, apologies to everyone who can’t use .asl styles, I just didn’t have it in me to make other versions.) As for the glitter overlays (which are not black, they are just the glittery parts and the rest is see-through), you can place them over a paper, of course – they’re 12×12 – but I think they also look really cool clipped to a messy mask that fades out at the edges, like the gold honeycomb in the art overlay above. Very art-journal-y! (Direct download links below the previews.)


Preview_glitter copy


As always, if you use any of these for any purpose, I would be thrilled to get an email or a comment with a link to where I can check out your work. Thanks!

You can find the rest of the blog train here, back at the PixelScrappers forums. Have fun!


84 thoughts on “Pixel Scrapper April Blog Train ~ The Birds & the Bees

    • You’re so welcome, Dana. Glad the CU stuff will be helpful for you! It’s good feedback to get & lets me know the extra effort to make at least some of the stuff available CU is worth it.

  1. As promised, you were first on my download-list. I’ll have a great time using YOUR first art-journaling kit to create MY first art-journaling layout! Thanks for deciding to join in and share your talent – in my eyes, your kit is in the same league as Christine Smith and the Sissy Sparrow sisters (who I both love as well). Well done, Violet!

    • High, high praise, Melouise! That means so much to me, especially coming from you, since I think you are super talented and a true artist. I can’t wait to see what you make with it!

  2. This is great! I’m so glad you decided to participate after all 🙂 I LOVE the birds and the art journaling decor. So fun. Thanks a bunch.

  3. Violet, WOW, great designs. I actually don’t know much about art journaling. But now you’ve got me curious. 🙂

    • Thanks, Brooke! That means so much coming from you. If you want to check out more, the designers I linked to have great examples, and my art journal post links to a blog that has a bunch of lessons/tutorials. It’s a style I have really come to love and lean towards more and more.

  4. Looks like great stuff, but I can’t download it 😦
    Error (509)
    This account’s public links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!

  5. Wow…I seriously love this art journaling thing…very nice contribution to the Blogtrain and additionally inspiration for me :). Thank You. (BTW…I also love these collage birds…did some within my blog train part as well)

  6. gorgeous kit, thank you for sharing, and just my opinion, but mediafire isn’t so horrible, I’ve never had a problem with it.

    • You’re so welcome, Julie, I’m glad you like it. I don’t mind Mediafire, but I know a lot of people find it confusing and hard to figure out which of the many “Download” buttons to push.

  7. Violet… your last PS blog train kit back in Dec. amazed me & this one does as well. It’s fabulous, girl! I like your stuff so much – probably because (from reading your post) we have similar tastes… Anyhow, great job & tyvm in advance! (haven’t downloaded yet)

  8. Thank you so very much for sharing your creative side with this blog train. I was at first not sure if I would work with this combination of template designs. I came down towards yours with an oh la la.. alright….I love this! Thank you for going out side of the lines with your design ideas and hard work. I find you inspiring with sharing as well with the how to do aspects here on your blog. I will also say being “wordy”, is not bad at all.( I too, am guilty as charged)
    A big “Bravo”!!! to you.
    Many thanks,

  9. Now, this is truly scrumptious in everyway. I was browsing the various contributions to this PS blogtrain. When I got to your info, I came directly over to download everything. Thank you for this fabulous artsy gift along with your excellent explanations and further discussions. I love wordy, as you can tell from my comments. I missed the previous BT and your contribution, but you can believe that I won’t miss the next one. I am a novice in artsy layouts and appreciate all the help I can receive. Continue in the direction that you are going because you can depend upon my following. Love the concept, professionalism, beauty, and ingenuity to carry through this art journaling genre design. You are exceptional. Blessings. 😉

    • Wow! Your comment is so meaningful to me! I got so excited I just read it aloud to the friend I’m with right now. Thank you so much for taking the time to write these kind words of praise. I’m really glad you like the designs I made and will find them useful as you explore the world of artsy layouts! (And my previous blog train contribution is still up on the blog here and available for download, if you like. Different style, though.)

  10. You are amazing! You have a wonderful talent. I enjoy seeing what you create with each blog train! Thanks you so very much for your contribution.

  11. Pingback: Project Life ~ Week 12 ~ March 18-24 | Scrumptiously

  12. Thank you so very much. Your work is beautiful and I just have to give you a double thanks for the direct DLs.
    They are sooooooooooooooooooooooo nice!!!!!! Do you have a newsletter? I have not been to your site before.
    Thanks again.

    • Thank you, Stacy! I know what you mean about direct downloads. As long as I don’t get too popular I can keep doing them for free from Dropbox 🙂 I’m really glad you like what I made. I don’t have a newsletter; I’m not a professional, just someone who likes making stuff to give away. Check back in June for the next blog train!

  13. Thank you so much!!! I really love this!! Thank you also for the wonderful direct download! I can’t get anything from 4Shared without signing up and MediaFile tries its best to get you to click on the “wrong” link! Thank you again – your work is beautiful!!

  14. Your designs are most inspiring! Thank you, thank you! I also thoroughly enjoyed reading about your inspiration and looking forward to seeing more of your designs.

  15. Pingback: Project Life ~ Week 15 ~ April 8-14 | Scrumptiously

  16. oh my goodness, I totally came to your blog as an ambassador of CUDigitals.com just to congratulate the blog train designers on a job well done and then I see you linking up my stuff and I am so humbled — MANY THANKS. You did a truly wonderful job on this. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    • Yay! Yay! Celebrity commenter! I’m so glad you came by and got to see the work you inspired. I am so appreciative of all your tutorials and your excellent designs. I don’t even use ribbons but I had to buy your ribbon templates after that great tutorial series you posted and because they are so well designed!

  17. Hi Violet. As always, I loved your portion. I never made anything with art journal style digitally yet, but I will try it out soon 🙂 I also have to say thank you for your comments about works that inspired you. I checked out all the links while the files were downloading (I could use the direct download, thanks! Mediafire is uglier each day) and they are great. I want Christine Smith´s brushes now 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing, and I guess the way you separated things in cu and pu are great and will please everyone – I´m happy that you made those great things that I can use for my personal scraps ❤

  18. Pingback: Trying something new | Scrumptiously

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