How to Transform a File Folder into Mail Art

I love giving and receiving mail art!  There is nothing quite like opening up the mailbox to find a colorful, artsy piece of mail waiting for me.  File folders are one of my favorite substrates. They are inexpensive, versatile and oh, got to love those tabs!

Here is one of my favorites from the past!  Enjoy!

Have a blessed day!


PS - Want to explore mail art?  I have a workshop for that:  You've Got Mail...Art!


Grab a Free copy of my Little Houses Collage used in this tutorial!


Sketching Limes Process Video

"On my desk, I always have a lemon or a lime drying. I love the fragrance. Also, a Staedtler eraser, a brush for the eraser and a pencil sharpener." -Maira Kalman
Sketching Limes Process Video with @robenmarie

Interested in Learning More?

Interested in sketching?  Take a look at this article: Sketchbook Roundup and Guide. I offer up ideas to get you started, including inspiration and a free download of my Take & Sketch Guide.  

I know, you're thinking, "That is all well and good, but I can't draw a stick figure!" Have you tried?  I mean, not to draw a stick figure, but real sketching? LOL! For many years I envied those who could sketch, wishing I had the talent, too.  

My sketching style is not realistic, but instead one my husband calls "comic book abstract." What does that even mean?  I embrace it and love to see what emerges when I sketch...the quirky, odd and abstract!  

Keep in mind that practice is essential.  There are many times when my sketch ends up in a ball at the bottom of my trash can. Be patient and try not to get discouraged.  I say that for you and a reminder to myself.

Paper or Plastic?

You might be wondering why I use paper as my palette instead of a plastic tray, right?  I know it seems a bit weird, but it works for me. I have tried using the plastic lid on my watercolor case, but I kept gravitating to paper. I don't find it wasteful because I am left with a beautiful watercolor paper to use later.  It ends up being random and I love that!

Do you keep a sketchbook? 

How would you describe your style?

Have a  blessed day!



Easy Sweet Tea Valentine Video Tutorial

Easy Sweet Tea Valentine Video Tutorial with Roben-Marie Smith #diy #valentines #mixedmedia @robenmarie

It was 1977 and I had a crush on a boy named Billy!

Billy had a head full of floppy blonde curls and a smile that melted my 10 year old heart! Like most grade school classes during that time, we exchanged Valentines. With my mom's help, I carefully crafted my Valentine box with white paper, doilies and hand painted hearts.

I was so excited when the day finally arrived and my fellow fifth graders and I happily stuffed Valentines and candies into the decorated boxes. I could hardly sit still waiting for the end of the day so I could tear into my box to see if the boy of my dreams gave me a Valentine as special as the one I gave him.

Sound familiar?  

When was the last time you made Valentines and sent them to your friends?

Let's rekindle that childhood experience of cutting, gluing and coloring our own handmade Valentines.  

Have a  blessed day!


Did Billy give me his "heart" on that day so long ago?  Not exactly, but he did give me silly putty and I thought that was pretty cool!

>>>Want to explore printmaking with the GelliPlate?  My Printmaker Pro Workshop will have you cranking out prints faster than you can redeem a Michaels coupon! 

Easy Sweet Tea Valentine Video Tutorial with Roben-Marie Smith #diy #valentines #mixedmedia @robenmarie


Work with Me: I’m Hiring!

I am so excited to announce that I am hiring a Virtual Assistant or two!  This is a paid, work-at-home (virtual) position assisting my business operations.  Interested?  Read on!

Work with me: I'm hiring!  @robenmarie Roben-Marie Smith job opening for Virtual Assistant.

The kind of work I am looking to delegate

  • Research, data entry, graphic design, writing and editing, project management, social media management, email marketing/automation and product launches.

Position details

  • The part-time position (starting at 5-10 hours a month and increasing gradually over time) opens in March or sooner.
  • There will be a three month trial period to make sure that we are a good fit.

Your work may entail

  • Social Media Management: create graphics, research content, Facebook Group management, manage social media scheduler (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram)
  • Email Marketing: help manage email sequences and assist in writing and formatting (ConvertKit).
  • Marketing/Promotions: create graphics, schedule and manage webinars, create opt-ins (PDFs), help manage challenges, brainstorm ideas and implementation of projects
  • Blogging: research, create graphics, manage editorial calendar and edit blog posts 
  • Workshops: help me with workshop launches (help manage, test and upload content to Teachable)
  • Commerce: assist with maintaining online stores, manage affiliate links
  • Misc.: A variety of data entry and research projects when needed

Technical proficiency requirements

The ideal candidate will have/be

  • Familiarity with my work and willingness to brainstorm ideas with me
  • Ability to meet deadlines, work independently and make decisions on my behalf, when required
  • An eye for design — you don’t need to be a graphic designer, but you’re able to see the format, design and layout of my site and match it, when needed
  • Creative in nature and good with details
  • Must be comfortable with the tech and willing to learn applications that you do not know
  • Good writing skills
  • Ability to communicate clearly and directly
  • Previous experience as a VA, assistant, project manager or the like is a plus
  • Honest, trustworthy with a positive disposition

How to apply

  • Please complete the application below. Only submissions made through the application will be considered. Please do not send emails.
  • I am accepting applications through February 4, 2017. 

If you can't see the application, please click HERE for access.  Thanks!

What happens next? …

  • I’ll contact you after February 15 with more details and a request to interview (via email) if I think we’d be a good match!

Thanks for your interest!


10 Ideas to Organize Your Art Space to Maximize Creativity

Is your art space unorganized and uninspiring?

Looking for some fresh ideas for sprucing up your space?

I have just what you're looking for! 

I've created FREE EMAIL Course called 10 Ideas to Organize Your Art Space to Maximize Creativity, featuring ten of my favorite organizational ideas, a before and after peek of my studio, a printable PDF of all the ideas shared in the email course and a full studio walk through video!

How does it work?

Each day for seven days I will show up in your inbox with ideas, tips and more to help inspire you to get organized! Yep! Right in your inbox!

I hope the ideas I share will inspire you and get you excited about looking at your creative space with new eyes! 

Now that my studio is organized and I can actually find what I am looking for, I am happier, more productive and inspired.

Have a  blessed day!


How I Download Web Pages in Chrome

Just say no to bookmarks!

Have you ever tried printing a web page to access later for reference?  I’ll bet you have taken multiple screenshots and printed those, right?  Ugh! That is so time consuming!

How do you organize links and downloads to quickly access them later? How did I ever think typing them into a text file was productive, and don't get me started on bookmarks.


How I Download Web Pages in Chrome, and organize those files in Airtable for quick and easy access. @robenmarie

I am always on the lookout for ways to improve my organization in both my business and personal life, and sometimes that leads me down the proverbial rabbit hole.  I see a new platform and I just have to take it for a test drive.  I look up and realize that half my day is gone and I am still not sure this “new” software is going to save the day.

If this sounds like you, I am happy to share a viable solution that is stepping up my organizational game! 

My latest discovery is a Chrome extension called Full Page Screen Capture that will allow you to save a web page with one click.

And to sweeten the pot, let me introduce you to Airtable!

I use Trello, reviewed in this article,  but there was still something missing in my search to streamline my processes! 

Airtable is a different kind of spreadsheet organizing solution so don’t let the word “spreadsheet” scare you away.

Let's take a look in this quick video walk through. 

Click HERE to view video in full screen.

One of my goals for the new year is to streamline my business processes and to use my time more efficiently.  Combining Airtable with Trello will be helping me to do it, giving me more time in the art studio, which means more artsy goodness that I will have to share with YOU!

Other ideas for using Airtable:


•Job Hunting
•Wedding Planning
•Study Guides
•Book Lists
•Vacation Planning

•Favorite Movies

Home Remodeling
Apartment Hunting
Frequent Flyer Numbers
Grocery Lists
Gift Ideas Tracker
Pet Medical History


Have a  blessed day!


Make your own unique gift card holders with ease


The other day I bought a four pack of Starbucks gift cards; the perfect stocking stuffer, but they didn’t come with gift card holders.  That set my mind to brainstorm a little and I came up with a quick and easy way to create my own.  

As you may know, I love stitching on just about everything, and these card holders were not exempt. But, if you don’t have a sewing machine, don’t worry because I offer an alternative.

Have fun with these and don’t limit yourself to the gift card size.  This idea can be altered a bit for money, a check or a card.

I just hope the recipients know that the artsy little envelope is not actually the giftor is it!?

Have a  blessed day!


Gift Card Holder Video Tutorial by Roben-Marie Smith.  Make your own unique gift card holders with this simple and easy idea and a FREE collage sheet download!  @robenmarie  #diy #giftwrap #mixedmedia

Want to use the same collage as I used in the tutorial?


Gift Card Holder Video Tutorial by Roben-Marie Smith.  Make your own unique gift card holders with this simple and easy idea and a FREE collage sheet download!  @robenmarie  #diy #giftwrap #mixedmedia

Enter your information below to get your copy of the free collage sheet and be added to my exclusive subscriber list!

Products Used

Approach the blank canvas with confidence and excitement!

I bought an easel, I am quite certain, over five years ago, and have used it a handful of times. And those times were when I was taking a class, being guided by an instructor.

When I got brave and decided to paint on my own...easel out and blank canvas ready... I would freeze up and give up!

It always seemed easier to just work in my journals or on paper, but when it comes right down to it, what is the difference?

I have a shelf that runs along the left side of my studio. It sits a few feet below the ceiling and it holds baskets of supplies and several paintings that I started but never finished.

I see those painting every day and they remind me of how much I want to create art on canvas, but how insecure I feel when I try.  


Then it hit me...I realized I was approaching it all wrong. 

I needed to find a way to go from working on paper, where I feel confident, to canvas, which scares me.  My solution is Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas.  

“I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of this class and where it can take me as an artist. Roben-Marie is so clever. This is not a small workshop because it has the potential to develop into many big things if one should choose to go forward with it.”
-Diane Kirtley

Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas Workshop with Roben-Marie Smith.  Create art you'll love even if the blank canvas scares you!  @robenmarie #painting #mixedmedia #art
Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas Workshop with Roben-Marie Smith.  Create art you'll love even if the blank canvas scares you!  @robenmarie #painting #mixedmedia #art
Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas Workshop with Roben-Marie Smith.  Create art you'll love even if the blank canvas scares you!  @robenmarie #painting #mixedmedia #art

In Paper to Painting, I will guide you through my stress-free approach to creating art you’ll be proud to hang on your wall. 

No room on your walls?  No problem!  My ideas translate to art journaling, mail art and other mixed media projects.

What are some of the workshop benefits?

>>>>> Creative ideas are great, but so many times students are left trying to figure it out on their own. I will take care of you, ensuring you have what you need to learn how to do it and take it and make it your own.

>>>>> I provide instruction that’s thoughtful, step-by-step and will set you up for success. From video quality to attention to the details, I create an experience as if you were sitting with me in an in-person workshop.

>>>>> The takeaway is so much more than making a few pieces of art for your wall. Learn my multi-layering process and explore using beeswax on canvas to leverage your art (my specialty)!  

"I found the class to very liberating working outside an art journal. I really enjoyed the process of working layer after layer and seeing the layers meld together and work into a piece that was unified yet could be deconstructed to make separate pieces of art. I really enjoyed watching Roben-Marie, and listening to her thought process as she moved through each layer. It really helped to take the "fear" away of making a mistake! The class gave me the freedom To take risks, using different supplies and focus on the moment and not be caught up in an end result."
Lorraine George


Downloadable Worksheets and Collage Sheets

Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas Workshop with Roben-Marie Smith.  Create art you'll love even if the blank canvas scares you!  @robenmarie #painting #mixedmedia #art

Paper to Painting will set you up for success even if:

•You don’t know how to create a multi-layer collage.
-I will show you step-by-step!

•You can’t sketch or draw.
-I have a trick for that!

•You don’t feel confident when working on canvas.

•The blank canvas scares you.

•You aren’t interested in working on canvas, but instead want to learn to create amazing layers.

•You don’t have a lot of money to spend on supplies.

•I need lots of time to watch the videos and work at my own pace.
-You have unlimited access to the class with no renewal fees! 

Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas Workshop with Roben-Marie Smith.  Create art you'll love even if the blank canvas scares you!  @robenmarie #painting #mixedmedia #art
Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas Workshop with Roben-Marie Smith.  Create art you'll love even if the blank canvas scares you!  @robenmarie #painting #mixedmedia #art

Start today, and you’ll have the tools you need to approach the blank canvas with confidence and excitement!

Have a  blessed day!


How Trello can organize your life & business

Save time and reduce stress!

Gone are the days when all we really had to remember was our telephone and social security numbers.  We used notebooks and things were relatively simple.  

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and I am convinced I was born 20 years too early.

With the increasing need to remember so many usernames, passwords, links and more it is a challenge to keep it all organized and I consider myself to be very organized but I was struggling to find a viable solution that worked for me.

I tried using Evernote and the basic Notes app on my iPhone to keep track of things I needed to recall when either traveling or away from my computer.

No Bueno!

I even tried keeping a document inside my Dropbox so I could call it up when I needed “that” link or my login information.  I know there are apps that store your usernames and passwords, but my need was on a broader scale.

How Trello can organize your life and time and stress. Article and video tutorial by Roben-Marie Smith. Free Template Trello Board. #trello #organization @robenmarie

Consider These Scenarios

Scenario #1 - I am visiting my sister in Tennessee and we are planning our tailgate meal and it would be so perfect if we made my special artichoke dip.  UGH!  I don’t have it “on” me and I don’t know it by heart.

Scenario #2 - I have bookmarked a zillion articles and I want to find the one about the best times to post on social media.  It takes way too long because even though it is saved in a bookmarked folder called Social Media, I have to search through all the urls and it takes forever to find it.

Scenario #3 - I want to access that workshop I signed up for months ago, but have to sift through my emails to find the link and login information.  And where did I put that supplies list I downloaded?

I think you get the idea!

I know there are lots of solutions out there, but Trello* is the solution that resonates with me and the one I have managed to stick with longer than a couple of weeks.

There are tons of uses for Trello and it is an amazing project management tool that you can use with other members. I am not going into that part of it, but instead I will focus on how it can benefit you, just like it benefits me.

I even created a Template for you that I titled:  Organize ME!  I will show you how to use it and once you copy it you can use it as a starting point to help you get organized.

If you want to jump ahead to the video walk-through now, feel free.  Next I want to highlight the amazing features of this FREE app!!

Visually Appealing and Intuitive
Think of Trello as an interactive bulletin board with digital sticky notes. You mind mappers, list makers and sticky note fanatics will love this! Drag and drop features make organizing a snap!

Access Information Quickly and From Anywhere
Trello is web based but there is also an app for mobile devices (iPhone and Android/Windows). 

A Digital Shoe Box For Your Stuff
With Trello you can upload images, files and videos from your computer, Dropbox or Google Drive.  What? What? Yes! I love this feature because I can quickly locate and download or export items when I need them.

It's FREE!

Yes, this amazing software if free!  With the free plan you can upload files sizes up to 10mb.  If you need more and want custom backgrounds, grab the Trello Gold for $5 a month or $45 per year.

Here are a few more highlights:
Ability to collaborate with others on projects.
Create checklists
Set deadlines and reminders
Calendar power up will allow you to see your deadlines by week or month
Color coding...oh, yeah!!

Want to see it in action?  Let’s get to it!

Note: Yikes! I am learning how to use ScreenFlow and the best compression rates, etc. This video gets clearer around 5 minutes. I promise to do better next time.

>>>Download your free Template Board here

Simply click this LINK to grab your copy of the Organize ME! Template Board.

If you don't already have a Trello* account it will ask you to sign up (it's free). Then you will be able to copy the board into your account.  Click the first card on the far left that reads **START HERE** for directions.

I look forward to hearing if Trello works for you and how you decided to use it.  I hope this has been helpful to you!

Have a blessed day!


*I only recommend products I use. Trello link contains an affiliate.

Paper to Painting Workshop Bundle Giveaway

GIVEAWAY!  Enter to Win my Paper to Painting Workshop Bundle worth $335!


Enter the Giveaway Here!!

I wanted to do this giveaway to compliment the launch of my new workshop Paper to Painting: a Simple Approach to the Blank Canvas where I will guide you through my stress-free approach to creating art you’ll be proud to hang on your wall.  I am celebrating a little early with this awesome giveaway of art supplies and two workshop spots - one for you and one for a friend.  


Here is what I am giving away...

2 Spots in my new Paper to Painting Workshop (when it launches): one for you and one for a friend! ($114)
1 each flat artist panels: 6×6, 8×8, 10×10 ($12.75)
1 each artist panels – 3/8” profile: 5×5, 6×6, 8×8 ($20.98)
1 each cradled panels – 1 1/2” profile: 5×5, 6×6, 10×10 ($39.64)
1 each Golden High Flows: Teal & Quin Nick Azo Gold ($17.18)
1 each Mixed Media Artist Paper Book #2 and #3 ($31.98)
1 each DecoArts Acrylic: Green Gold, Teal & Dark Gray ($13.34)
1 each Golden Fluid: Titanium White & Raw Umber ($12.98)
1 each Simply Simon Round Brushes: #2, #4 and #6 ($12.60)
1 Simply Simon Oval Wash Brush 1/2” ($4.85)
1 Golden Gel Medium 8oz. ($17.79)
1 Liquitex Matte Medium 4oz. ($10.39)
3 Faber-Castel Grip Pencils ($7.25)
1 Stabilo Marks ALL Pencil ($2.99)
1 General Drawing Pencil ($9.46)
2 UHU Glue Sticks ($6)


Here’s how to enter and WIN:

Go here and enter the giveaway (it takes 2 seconds) >>>

When you enter the contest - you will be given a "unique URL” that is unique to you that you can share to get MORE chances of winning!! Awesome, right?!!

Your Unique URL is on the thank you page after you enter, and you’ll want to keep that handy and share as much as possible before the Giveaway ends, giving you more chances to win.  For each friend you refer that signs up -- you score 5 extra entries!  Yeah!

That means sharing on twitter, Facebook, your blog, emails - go crazy!

And if you lose or forget your unique URL, just go back to the giveaway page and you can find it there and you can watch as your entry number grows!

The contest ends on Thursday, October 27 at 1PMEST - so you have eight days to share and get as many entries as you can, increasing your chances to win this inspiring giveaway!

Go here and enter the giveaway now!

As an extra bonus, entrants will be added to my advanced notification list for Paper to Painting! Registration will open early to my list where you can take advantage of limited time special pricing & bonuses when Paper to Painting goes live!

Good luck and thanks for entering and sharing!


Want a little peek at the workshop?  Sure you do!  Here you go...

Q&A with Roben-Marie Smith

The journey from public relations executive to mixed media artist

I have been asked many times about how I got started in mixed media and whether or not I have an art degree.  Join me for my first Q&A where I answer those questions and shed some light on my journey from a computer programming major turned PR executive to how I started Paperbag Studios and more!

How to Create a Pocket Art Card Tri-Fold Book

Plan, Document & Art-it-Up!

Have you heard about The Documented Life Project™?  The project started in 2014 and featured weekly artsy inspired prompts brought to you by the ladies of Art to the 5th™.  The response was overwhelming and in 2015 DLP The Journal was launched, introducing thousands to a year's worth of art journaling ideas and inspiration.  Enter 2016, where the shift moved back to the planner only this time with a whole new twist. 

The focus is on art, list making, goal setting, community, friendships and documenting our lives.
— Art to the 5th

This time of year I begin thinking about getting more organized and thinking about the planner I want to use in the new year. I always start off the year golden and then drop off a bit as the months move forward toward summer.   Sound familiar?  Well, the unPlanner™ is so much more than a planner and It is not too late to JOIN and with all this year's inspiration there is plenty to keep you busy and motivated today and well into the new year!

Don't miss the amazing planner art peeks by your project hosts and planner gurus Sandi KeeneRae Missigman and Lorraine Bell.

How to create a pocket art card tri-fold book with Roben-Marie Smith, featuring a video tutorial  with step-by-step directions.  Part of the Documented Life Project 2016 The unPlanner hosted by Art to the 5th. @robenmarie

My Take on the Pocket Art Card

The PAC prompt is stitching, which is super easy and fun because I LOVE to stitch on just about everything.  I am often asked if I use a special needle when stitching on paper and the answer is, "No, I just use an all purpose needle."

My single card turned into three cards as I fashioned them into a little tri-fold book to document my anniversary day. I went a bit overboard with all the layering, but I had fun with it and hope you will as well.  I've also included something special for you: a FREE set of downloadable collage sheets much like the ones I used in the video.  Sign-up to get your set. (See below the video.)


Grab Your Free Collage Sheets Download!

Sign up with your name and email address, get the download and be added to my exclusive subscriber list!
Created with Love with ConvertKit

How to create a pocket art card tri-fold book with Roben-Marie Smith, featuring a video tutorial  with step-by-step directions.  Part of the Documented Life Project 2016 TheunPlanner hosted by Art to the 5th. @robenmarie

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!  

So what should you do next?

Head on over to The Art to the 5th™ Academy™! It is free to join and it offers a great place to connect with other planner enthusiasts!

Sign up for the unPlanner™ - and start today!

Grab your FREE Collage Sheets and add yourself to my exclusive subscriber list!

Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

Have a  blessed day!


Featured Products & Sources