AJED Blogiversary Archive Pick: Looking Back + More!
Blogiversary Tutorial Redo: Double Masked Gelatin Prints

Blog Testimonials: Part Two

Happy Weekend!  It's time for another peek into the Balzer Designs "guest book" so to speak.  Thank you for all your kind words and well wishes!  I love hearing your stories!

Jane T. Owel:

Hi Julie,

I'm a long time reader/lurker/subscriber to your blog. Watching you and reading your blog has inspired me to make art. I'm a veterinarian by trade, but I always loved crafting. I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist (understatement) and felt that if I wasn't good enough to do art professionally, I shouldn't do it at all. But I love color, and I love creating.

Seeing how colorful your art is, and how you don't sweat every detail, it gave me the confidence to start making art of my own. Watching your videos demystified some of the processes and gave me permission to just play with the supplies. I've learned a lot of cool techniques from your blog, but the main thing I've learned is to have fun and just do it.

So thanks for that, for sharing all your beautiful art and how-to videos and even sharing when things didn't turn out exactly right (especially for that!). I wish you the best of success in everything you do.

Kimberly Thrower:

One evening 3 years ago,  I am surfing the web and at the time I subscribed to some craft magazine e-letter that would write reviews on various craft products (author Nancy Nally)  She was rating the top 10 scrapbookers, 10 stampers and something I had never heard of … top 10 mixed media artists.  Julie’s blog was #2 and she wrote “I dare you to watch just one of her videos, they are addictive”.   The link was to “A Good Day” (which is still a favorite!) and boy, was she right because 40 mins later, I was in total awe, hooked and completely obsessed with all things ink, paint, stamps, etc.  I started my first art journal the very next day in a Canson mixed media book my boss was going to toss out and I grabbed thinking it would be fun to doodle in, wow little did I know.  That was my first art journal.  

At that same time, my personal life was in a complete downward spiral, my family and I were going thru some very difficult times financially and art journaling was my solace, it was my heart, my fears, my prayers, my rants, my hopes and my private outlet.  Three years (almost to the day!) later, we are fine, life is good and I am still art journaling if for no other reason than it takes whatever I am feeling out of my mind and puts onto paper that is for my eyes only.  I joked with my daughter that if the house were on fire and it was a choice between our tiny beloved dog, Molly and my art journal …. I would be hard pressed and Molly just may have to fend for herself!!  Seriously, my journal is my heart/soul … you have turned me on to world that has been nothing short of transforming.  Even my therapist loves the whole concept of my art journal because it is an expression that allows us to purge our hearts and fill them back up at the same time.  
I had the honor of meeting you in Austin this past summer at Craft which I know wasn’t the best setup for you, but oh I hope you come back and have a class on art journaling :) … a girl can dream!!!  The depth of gratitude I feel for you and the goodness you spread into the world, seriously I cannot be the only one!  Thank you, Miss Julie … for sharing your art, you life and your heart.  HUGE congrats on 10 years!!
Kathy Paglia:
Hi Julie
I first saw you ages ago on PBS on a scrapbooking show.  I loved your designs and your "of course you can do this" attitude.  That led me to look for you on the web and I found your blog and YouTube channel.  I felt for you as you went through your divorce, cheered you on during your weight loss journey and totally understood your move to the Boston area.  When I first fell in love with stencils, yours were the ones I sought.  I love your product reviews, your daily blogging, the peeks you give us into your artist's life, the support you give to the art world, your relationships with your family - especially your mom and your innovative use of everything - not just art supplies.  I love that you try things on camera for the first time and take us on your journey of discovery.  
I have always crafted, it's something I was raised doing.  As an adult, I learned to quilt and made home dec items.  I was very resistant to try scrapbooking and papercrafting  because I knew I'd love it.  I went to a Creative Memories party and was Hooked.  I haven't looked back and now have several art journals going, have made mixed media canvases and have filled several scrapbooks. Thanks to you, I have learned and continue to learn new techniques, try new products and now own several Gelli plates.
I know I'm babbling, but what I hope I've told you is that your daily blog posts, videos and product reviews, have all pushed me along on my journey.  Your life glimpses have kept it real and though I don't have your talent, have made me feel like there isn't anything I can't do.  I'm truly grateful for you and your presence in the world.  I've met you several times at CHA and will seek you out again this year as I work for an ink and paint manufacturer in NJ.  
Keep on doing what you're doing. I may not comment a lot, but I'm out here reading, absorbing and trying new things.  Thank you for being you and taking us along on your journey.  Hugs to you!
Kathy P
Barb Hauenstein:
Dearest Julie,

I always loved art and in high school actually created and sold leather purses upon which I'd used a wood burner to draw whimsical items - especially suns!  After many decades of other meaningful activities, like raising a fabulous family and having a blessed, wonderful career in Military Logistics, I was able to come back to art in 2014 when I retired.

Sometime before that, I discovered mixed media and your wonderful world of bright, snazzy colors and creative designs. Your positive, inspiring blog and videos spurred me on to become an artist again after 40 years of very little creating! I still count on your emails to alert me to wonderful creations and instructional videos that have a huge impact on my art!

I belong to the Daisy Yellow Art, Year of the Doodle, Colorful Place to Play, and several other Facebook Pages where I enjoy displaying my work. I've viewed all your videos and hunger for more! I've taken several classes online, including one involving how to create digital art (which I first saw on your blog) but always come back to your inspiring, sensationally colorful blog for fantastic, wonderfully creative ideas and positive words!

Thank you so much for all you've done Julie! You're the best!

Take care,
;) Barb
Gale Evans (etsy):
OMG I have been reading your blog for YEARS! You always have wonderful content and you do a fantastic job of motivation. I bought my ScanNCut specifically because I knew you would be awesome with supporting tutorials for it and you are. I can't thank you enough for help and dedication.
Jeanette Clawson:
I love your blog. I first encountered your work in an art journaling DVD and it really resonated with me and inspired me. I have bought a ScanNCut because of your enthusiasm and what seems possible with it. (I haven't really explored it fully yet.) I also got a membership to MoMA instead of just buying a ticket. I love the museum and am excited to explore it further. You once featured one of my art journal pages on your blog and it really made my day! I have attached a jpg of that page layout.
I have checked out your podcasts and vlog and enjoy both, but your blog is my main way of finding inspiration from you. Thank you for all the fun ideas and techniques and for sharing your art exploration. Congratulations of your blogiversary! If you want to check out my blog that would be fabulous. It is https://lunanista.wordpress.com/
Happy New Year!
Laura Mooney:
I am so glad that I discovered the Balzer Designs blog. I found my art self in the posts and tutorials of Julie. I refined my artistic style and began my journey in the mixed media world and found that mixed media and "messy" are truly my jam. Thank you for all the wonderful techniques, discoveries, and products to help me on my art journey. 
Judi Kauffman:
Happy Blogiversary, Julie. We know each other well, but I doubt that you'd guess how you've managed to cause a seismic change in me: I no longer clean my stencils till they look brand new after each use! It hasn't been easy. I am still a true Virgo when it comes to brushes, rubber stamps and pretty much everything else in my studio, but my stencils now look just like yours: Crusty, well used and well loved. Just think of all the things I can do with the time I would have spent scrubbing...Thank you!
Note from Julie: Judi is a real life friend of mine, so it was fun to hear her chime in!
You help me be not so afraid to try new things, and to show them off when I do! I think I have a fear of success which holds me back. But you just leap into everything,beautifully. I hope one day to travel as you have done just to check out art/artists everywhere. Please keep doing your thing for another 10 years!!!
Hi Julie...I'm a New Zealander and discovered your amazing inspiring work on Pinterest about 2 months ago...I have been desperately pining to start making art as I have always felt creative inwardly and sketched occasionally  and dabbled in scrapbooking etc over the years but finding time was always an issue as I am a Mum to 3 active kids, am self employed in a trucking business with my husband, live on a 2 acre lifestyle Block and sing in my Churches praise and worship group when I can...BUT the past 2 months I have stared filling several art journals late at night into the wee hours and inspired by your recent BIG FACE canvas I completed my own BIG FACE canvas of Christ...
I poured myself into it and I have felt so in touch with the creative part of my soul and feel so completely happy during this process I feel renewed. I just LOVE your inspirational tips and treats that you share.  You are just gorgeous and are spurring me on to build my own creative lifestyle...Some thing I have been aching to do for soooooo long.   Thank you so much for your generous and open sharing nature. Xx 
Robin Alcorn:

Julie’s Fei-Fan Balzer’s blog is, hands-down, my favorite. I don’t think I’ve missed a day since I discovered it several years ago.  It’s more than just loving her work. It’s her unabashed passion for  life and for art.

I was just beginning to break into using paint and collage when I “found” her. I really needed  her product knowledge and I really needed her attitude. Soon I was painting and printing my own papers like mad! And ripping them into pieces with abandon! I learned to add layers and not be too precious about things. And to keep going! Following Julie’s artistic journey through the blog gave me new ways of seeing. One thing I saw was that my art didn’t look much like Julie’s art, and I love her art! But Julie is so clear about her artistic choices reflecting who she is that I’ve been able to embrace the choices that make my art quite different. When she shares journal pages from different years I can see the evolution over time, which allows me to see my art as being part of my own continuum. Obviously this makes her the best kind of teacher! She’s been a major influence on my artistic journey and every day her blog continues to inspire me.

Here’s my little “blog review:”

Julie rarely misses a day of blogging. Each entry is clearly focused on making art and drinking in the art all around us. She is generous in sharing her mixed media processes, often including a video of just how she works. I’ve learned so much from her! Although she is a product designer and the blog is part of her career, she never puts the focus on selling. Her products are presented as a part of the process of making art, as are any other products she discusses. (I confess to owning a fair number of her products, but only one purchase was inspired by the blog—her stamp carving book. The rest just appealed to me on the shelf.)

Her artful life is often on center stage. She shares her home and her travels and her family, but keeps the emphasis on the things that inspire her along the way. When she goes to a museum, (and she loves museums) she generously shares her photos of the art she’s seen. I view editing and uploading all those photos as an amazing act of generosity! Ditto for the photos of street art in the cities she visits. A pure gift.

In a nutshell: a regularly occurring blog with a clear focus and a highly personal voice, an opportunity to witness Julie’s development as an artist, scrupulous integrity, a great sense of humor, loads of ideas to incorporate in my own work, and art of all kinds from all over the world. Other bloggers come and go, start and stop, waste my time with endless blog hops and giveaways. Not Julie. She makes every entry a little gift to her readers, and we love her for it.

Thanks for this opportunity to speak up about one of my life’s best daily pleasures.


Ayn Yezzi:

Several years ago Julie shared an embroidered face she was stitching. I was intrigued and set out to try one myself.  It was a great experience and Julie's example was a real inspiration. From that I made several faces and now have expanded my efforts to thread painting with figures, landscapes and still life's!

Julie has a way of presenting new ideas to awaken your creative spirit with creative challenge!!  The variety she explores ever keeps our enthusiasm and interest in high gear!

Ayn Yezzi  stitchologist


New readers and old readers.  Painters and stitchers and scrapbookers and creators of all kinds!  I love that art is such an easy way create community.  There is something about making things that is primal and necessary.  I love reading your personal stories of feeling free and making art that is fun.  Thank you for sharing your stories.  I will continue to share mine!

Talk to you soon!