AECP Level 3 Final Workshop by Linda Fields

It Will Happen…

“No, this can’t be happening. It’s too good to be true.” I’ll never forget the moment when Altenew changed my life forever. Hello! My name is Linda Fields. I’m the owner, artist and designer for Linda’s Studio. Warning, this will be my longest post since starting this blog a year ago.

I’ll never forget November 21st, 2022. I got a very special email. I’m not sure how many times I read it, combing for clues, proof it was spam, and when I couldn’t? I cheered. 

“Oh my gosh… this is real!” You’d think I won the lottery. “I got accepted!”

Altenew has been on my ‘Love It’ radar since they first opened in 2014, but my game changer happened when the Altenew Educational Certification Program (AECP) started. I couldn’t wait to apply… and I never stopped trying. “I know it will happen, I just don’t know when.” I live by this motto because life isn’t just about having dreams, it’s about going after them until they come true.

Despite seizures setting me back to square one, losing both my mom and my sister, saying goodbye to our son to an overseas assignment, and moving yet again, I’m honestly amazed I got to this point. Erum Tasneem, my mentor and guide these past 12 months, was so patient. I’m stronger, more confident than ever before. Thanks to her and loving support from some amazing friends I met along the way, I was able to reach my goals.

Leveling Up!

Entering Altenew’s Educational Certification Program was my first of many stepping stones. Don’t laugh but I truly didn’t know, just how much I didn’t know, until I was in Altenew’s Program. Ok, yea, that does sound funny but it’s true! Starting at Level 1, I worked my way up and through really fun classes, finishing levels with project blogs, progressing to my final, Level 3 workshop! I could choose whatever I wanted to teach? Whew! An overwhelming creative freedom! Now what? I narrowed it down to something I hadn’t seen before coupled with new ways to use Altenew’s alcohol ink pens. After researching and experimenting a lot, the Art New Faux Class was born.

Design to Go Virtual

I really enjoyed the marketing aspects of this challenge. Graphic design is something I’m very familiar with. Originally, I was going to invite friends over for an in-person class, but I realized I was avoiding a challenge and opportunity. I love teaching in person but these are different times where online classes are a great way to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world. I needed to do this. My final project proved to be the most challenging and rewarding part of my AECP journey.

The Entire Package

I’m dating myself a bit but give me a desktop computer, even a laptop, and I can do wonders. Give me a smart phone and I’m done. Brace yourself because I don’t do App’s either. Seriously, where have all the good programs gone? Different times indeed! Don’t get me started on my phone… I was convinced it was smarter than me. Time for an upgrade!

AECP pushes you beyond your comfort zone. This is important and one of the many things that impressed me about the program. You couldn’t slide by on participation points – anyone can get that on YouTube.

I never thought the very paper you use could be such a dramatic game changer. I applied new crafting techniques, tricks, and styles using Altenew products. I learned how to use my phone to get professional, layout shots. I experimented with lighting, color, and perspective. I started a blog, figured out hashtags, WordPress and Zoom. AECP was the entire package.

Making Connections

Ten people registered, two dropped out soon after and two others couldn’t make it so I was left with a class of six, very talented makers (alphabetical order): Aditi, Leslie, Ruby, Saskia, Traci and Walter

We’re all at varying levels so it’s a matter of attitude over application to determine where you land. I’ve been incorporating a “can do” philosophy in every class I teach. Every person is born with that creative spirit but too many have forgotten it ever existed. Trying to make that same connection virtually doesn’t translate as well as doing so in-person. I felt blind, unable to “feel” my way for what each student might need in the two hours I had to teach them. I was frustrated but it only fueled my desire to keep trying. I was both student and teacher that day!

Despite my hiccups and happy accidents, I was confident everyone would create amazing pieces and they did not disappoint!


My Card Framing Basics

I default to using a 1/8th inch card framing technique. It gives me the most card front space while giving a beautifully framed, matted finish. The mat should be 1/8” smaller than the card base and the card front should be 1/8” smaller than the mat. I glue and stack, lining up the bottom corners, making sure all three side are equally spaced. Visually, this ensures perfect centering for the entire piece. I highly recommend you stand to get that overhead shot when doing this.

Faux Stained Glass Technique

Create stained glass ornaments using pens and dies? That’s right! But the right die makes all the difference. It needs to cut a frame from black paper to help create the illusion of stained glass. Inking Yupo paper with just a couple, complimentary colors sprayed with a generous amount of rubbing alcohol is the other key.

Tip & Drip Method: Create a dreamy, smooth glass look using movement. After spraying a pool of rubbing alcohol over the alcohol ink, lift the substrate up (Yupo Paper) to tilt, rock, rotate, bend and run those colors. Don’t stop until you’re happy with that layer. Lay it down and use a low, or cool setting craft dryer over the surface. Repeat! Grab your pens, lay down your color(s), and create however many layers you want until you get that smooth look. Be patient. You may want many layers to get the look you’re going for. Die cut your backdrop.

Note: It’s important to note the smaller your die cut pieces are, the harder, more tedious it will be to transfer the pieces into your frame. Yes, you could just glue the black frame over the die cut backdrop but it will take away the illusion of stained glass if you do. I used double stick foam tape on the back to secure my pieces and give additional depth to my ornament once I placed it on my card front.

I loved how creative everyone got from die choices to the colors they used!

Stained Glass Cards – Participants

The Faux Marble Technique

Spray & Stay Method: Turn paper into marble? Yes indeed! This method is all about the backdrop. Put down your color like before but movement is no longer key. Spray small amounts of rubbing alcohol on your ink, allowing the dots to slowly grow and speckle your surface. If you get staining you don’t like, you can use a felt or sponge applicator to “pounce” it out. Or drag, twirl and swirl your applicator to blend and give additional texture. It’s time to play and experiment. Remember to dry each layer before building more layers. You’re going for a mottled look. You can even create fine lines as you might see in some marble! Be as creative as you want!

Faux Marble Cards – Participants

Bonus Card – Faux Ice Technique

Slide & Glide Method: Come on now – paper into ice? This might be my favorite! This method blends all the previous backdrop techniques plus one – it all needs to move but in one direction. Think of water, slowing freezing its way down the page. It will be streaked and going wherever gravity takes it and that’s the bottom of your page. I used blues and greens to create this effect but I wonder what other colors might be used to create other illusions?

Homemade Stamp: Every wish you had a stamp to match your die? Make your wish come true by die cutting a sheet of fun foam through your die cutting machine! Use double-sided sticky tape to adhere it to your stamping platform door and watch the magic happen! Keep this foam for whenever you need or want to stamp that die!

Bonus Card – Participants


I planned, I prepared, but life showed me what I didn’t account for running a live, virtual workshop. Yes, I have since purchased a wall clock so I won’t fret about the time ever again! Ever follow a recipe? Remember those “salt to taste” moments? This course was like that. Everyone needed to play to find their happy place. Maybe I bit off more than I was ready to chew, but in the end the results from everyone were amazing and proved it was all worth the effort.

So with a humbled heart, congratulations are in order for (alphabetical order) Aditi, Leslie, Ruby, Saskia, Traci and Walter. You are amazing! I love your cards! Thank you for attending, for the great questions, suggestions, and your patience during my workshop. You’re all so talented! It was an honor having you there and share in your creative spirit!

To all the talented people of Altenew, thank you for this opportunity! I don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t received that email a year ago. I’ve grown, learned so much more than I could ever post here, and I can’t wait to learn what else I don’t know!

Last, but not least, here’s to you, my creative fans, friends and family. You made it to the end of this long post! Thank you for showing support and following along as I aspire to leave a beautiful mark.

Love & Hugs



Painted by Linda Fields

Imagine – you’re exploring a frozen wilderness on a great adventure! Look deep into the layers of color. See it? The Aurora Borealis shimmers across the night sky. Can you feel it? The gentle snowfall softly kisses your cheek. Can you hear it? Winter is calling! Do you dare enter its cave? Well, of course you do!

Be careful to walk between the shards of ice, cutting through the slick earth like broken glass. Watch for beautiful icicle chandeliers hanging high and long, splintering the light to splash color across the walls in sparkling splendor.

Do you want to create this? Do you want to learn how to make your own Glacier Paper? Of course you do! I’m working on this Winter Workshop so keep watch! You don’t want to miss this adventure!

Winter Workshop Coming!


Handmade by Linda Fields

Take your card making to the next level! Welcome to Part 1 of this two part blog series where you’ll learn the tips and tricks I used to create Asian Inspired Cards.

From Inspiration to Creation – Slide Between Photos


Last year November I was honored when my application to participate in Altenew’s Education Certification Program (AECP) was accepted. This blog is my Level 1 Project. The assignment was to create two card sets; one masculine, one feminine, with matching envelopes complete with packaging. There are so many great Altenew classes to learn from but Clean & Simple Boutique Cards, Let It Shine, and the Celebration Stencil Techniques courses were my favorites. I highly recommend these great courses you can take whether you’re in AECP or not!

Finding Inspiration

Have you ever been so excited you can’t focus on one idea? Or get so nervous your mind goes blank? Finding your inspiration can help turn your creative energy into something beautifully unique. Pinterest is a great platform I use to find inspiration. Check out my “Inspiring Cards” board to spark your next amazing idea!

Developing Ideas

Getting inspired, while important, is only half the battle. Do you own a journal to sketch your layouts and fine tune your ideas? Take notes and draw your answers to questions like: 1) What card size? 2) What measurements? 3) What colors? 4) Simple or dimensional? 5) What theme? 6) Who is this for? 7) What occasion if any? Your answers are only as limited as your imagination so sketch your layouts, write the details down, and start a great reference book for all your future makes!

Getting It Together

Feel that? You’re focused and ready but hold on… you must pull your materials together first. Remember those questions? I took the same steps when creating my Asian Inspired project. I wanted clean, simple styling reminiscent of ancient Japan but with a slightly modernized look. The Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine) theme was the perfect choice. Black and white became my baseline colors with green, gold, pink and silvers completing my palette. I used rice paper for delicate, earthy texture and metallic watercolors for beautiful, watery movement. Shimmering embossing powders and thread helped tie everything together.

Penny Pinching

Think you can’t afford the materials you need? Time for great substitution tricks! Need a heat gun? Use a blow dryer! Want a stamp shammy? Use a lint free, cloth paper towel! Only have white paper? Perfect! Use any color ink(s) to create the paper you need! Don’t buy more ribbon. That’s right, use your ink pad to color the ribbon you already have! Don’t forget about up-cycling. I ordered Altenew’s “Tall Foliage” stencil and used the included cardboard packaging to add strength and stability to handmade boxes! (see packaging, part 2)

Creating Backgrounds

I absolutely love creating my own papers. It’s downright addicting! I used both black and white watercolor papers. Spray a pan of watercolor paints 2 or 3 times and let it sit a few seconds to get the colors started. I used the wet-on-wet watercolor painting method. I used a fat round brush with a fine tip similar to what the Japanese used for their beautiful calligraphy. Using clean water, I got the paper wet before adding color, letting gravity paint for me, and drying each layer with a heat gun before repeating the process. Metallic watercolors have a magical ability to change color depending on your perspective and lighting!

Stencil Painting

Let me be clear, using watercolors on a stencil is risky! Water allows your paint to be transparent but use too much, it leaks beneath your stencil until you have a mish-mash mess. So I encourage you to experiment on scratch paper before applying new techniques to your project. I’ve learned since but I had to turn my boo-boo’s into happy mistakes. I used black micron pens and white gel pens to ink fine details over the stenciled leaves.

Conclusion – Part 1

Excited to see more? Check out Asian Inspired Card Sets – Part 2, for more tips, tricks and all the steps I took to create this project. I can’t wait to see you there!