Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Put It In a Pocket!

Do you have items that you'd like to add to your journal, but would also like to be able to remove them?  Why not put them in a pocket?

I wanted to put my vegetable plant tags in my gardening journal, but I wanted to be able to take them out to read them for future reference.  The tags are cute, and I thought they would make great looking tabs, too.

I decided that I would make pockets for the tags so that I could easily remove them again.  I wanted the tags to fit snuggly inside their pockets, so I traced the pocket size around a tag.

I took a piece of cardstock that I had laying around (an art reception invitation), and traced a basic pocket shape around the tag.  I added about 1/4 inch around the bottom and sides.

I tore a page from my large journal and quickly scribbled and wet-blended, Neocolor II crayons in similar colors to the pre-watercolored page where I would be placing my pockets.  I decided that I wanted a contrasting cuff at the top of my pocket, so I used Neocolor IIs on the backside of the page in a strip as wide I wanted the cuff.  The green color will pick up the color from the adjoining page.

I cut my template out and traced it onto the sheet prepared for the pockets.  I didn't trace the fold lines because it was easy to see where to fold the pocket by the diagonal cuts on the corners.

I cut out all the pockets and folded the sides and bottom in.  I checked the fit with the garden tags and then I used double stick tape to the bottom and sides.

The pockets are on the inside of this flap, and the tops of the tags look like little tabs.  Aren't they cute?

Here's what the flap looks like when it's opened.  My garden tags fit snuggly into the pockets so I don't have to deal with the tags constantly slipping out of place.  I'm glad I decided to add the little cuff to the top of the pocket.  It brings nice color continuity to the pages.

Here's the completed flap.  I hope this inspires you to add pockets to pages in your journal.  Maybe we'll explore this idea again soon, because there are many variables on adding pockets to your pages.  I hope you had a great holiday weekend, and I hope you're having great fun as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


"White Iris" Photo by Keith Thompson

Keith captured this great photo of my white Irises as they began blooming yesterday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I had a spread in my large art journal pre-gessoed and ready to go.  I was in the mood to play with lots of different things, so I started by tearing pages from an old book that I got from my girlfriend, Staci.  Staci always brings me used books and magazines to use in journaling.  The book I tore these pages from was "Karma Babe".

I tore random shapes and stars and applied them to the page with Mod Podge.  I circled various words in the stars and in what I decided would be a body and hat.  The found poetry in the body reads, "In this life, karma will hang you."

I made a yellow and orange glazes and applied them to both pages.

Then, I sketched in the body and hat.

I punched up the color with a glaze of vibrant pink

And then I added swirls of "passionate purple" glaze.

I journaled some additional thoughts on karma using a black Sharpie, and I also added spheres across both pages.

I switched to colored pencils to add color to the lettering, spheres, hat and body.  I added white to the stars.

I completed the spread with my new art supplies that arrived in the mail yesterday - Pitt Pens and Neocolor II  Watersoluble Crayons.  I love them!  How did I live without them?  The Pitt Pens easily wrote over everything on the page, and the Neocolors were bright and cheerful over the previously painted pages.

This is my last post for this week.  I'll see you again on Tuesday with more "Tuesday Tips and Techniques".  I hope you're planning something wonderful for this Memorial Day Weekend.  Stay safe, have fun, and "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Creating With Wild Abandon

I saw this video and I just had to share it with all of you.  Remember how it felt to be a child; to explore and discover the world around you?  Remember the joy of creating without restraint or worrying about "THE RULES"?  Are you creating with wild abandon?  Aelita Andre  certainly is.

Until tomorrow, "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create - with wild abandon!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Make a Themed Journal

Summer is right around the corner, and the days ahead will be filled with all kinds of events.  There are weddings, graduations, picnics, family reunions, extended weekends, and family vacations.  All of these things are perfect for devoting to one specific journal.

I am going to make a journal specifically for my summer gardening adventure that is currently underway.  I have a new vegetable planter re-purposed from a crate used to ship a car differential to my brother, and this morning, I planted my small garden area behind the garage with cucumbers, carrots, spinach and lettuce.  What better way to keep a diary of my gardening than with a journal!

Those of you that have been following my blog from the beginning may remember the Teesha Moore inspired journal that I started.  I still haven't finished it, but I do work in it from time to time.  Here are some of the pages you haven't seen yet.

The Cover

This page is not completed - but close!

This page has just been started

I think this page is near completion

These journals are made from one sheet of watercolor paper with no waste, and they are a cinch to make.  Here is Part 1 of the 2 Part instructional video:

I watercolored all of my pages except the back cover before assembling.  That way, I can lay them all out to dry more quickly.   I arrange them afterwards.

Here are the watercolored pages for my gardening journal.  I actually painted these pages months ago and had a different purpose in mind, but the mostly earth toned shades will be great for journaling about veggies and flowers.

My luscious, yellow cover

I'm looking forward to working in this journal as the season progresses, and I'll be sharing my gardening journey with you as I complete my pages.   

It's great to have a journal ready for an event ahead of time, so I hope that you'll try this simple journal for the special events that you have coming up this summer.  Maybe you're having a big 4th of July event and want to design a red,white and blue themed journal.  Maybe you're going to a wedding and will decide to use the wedding colors as your theme.  Don't forget to include items like tags, receipts, place cards, placemats, maps,  brochures......the list is endless!  And most of all, don't forget to "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


Approaching Storm

Mike and I headed down to Headlands Beach Park yesterday afternoon to watch the storms approach from the west.  We both enjoy weather watching and we were not let down by yesterday's show.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reflecting on the Weekend

I spent most of the weekend just enjoying the weather.  I did a little work, like water proofing my new vegetable planter.  We had a unexpected surprise when Nick popped in to hang out with us for awhile.  He enlisted his help with Keith to put casters on my vegetable planter. 

Keith and Nick add casters to my vegetable planter

 Mike and Heather also came over too, and before you know it, and impromptu "picnic" was born with help from our favorite hot dog and ice cream joint, Scooter's. We all had a great time, and as the sun slowly set, the gang headed home and Keith and I headed inside, exhausted.  After a few minutes, some other friends dropped in so we headed back outside.  What a full and joyful day it turned out to be!

Birthday Cake Flurry - it pays to try something new.  Can you say YUMMY!?

Sunday dawned with clouds and rain that quickly moved out and were quickly replaced by sun and heat.  I headed out to the beach.  It was quiet and misty when I arrived, and I walked the shoreline listening to the gentle waves lapping against the sand.  And of course, I found some wonderful pieces of beach glass.

It was hot by the time I returned home.  I made spaghetti sauce, some lunch, and headed out to the deck to enjoy the day.  I brought the laptop out and did a little work for my journaling class.  Try as I might, I just couldn't get motivated.  I didn't really even feel like journaling, but after a while, I decided that I wanted to play with my sepia and ultramarine colored inks and quill pen.

I came inside, grabbed my moleskin, newspaper (so I could be messy), my inks, and a cup of water.  I went to get my pen and nib.  OK....nib - right where it should be.  Pen for nib - nowhere to be found!  I looked in every stack of art materials; not there.  I looked in every pen cup; not there.  I looked in the bags I used for class; not there.  I looked EVERYWHERE and still could not find my pen.

I took my moleskin, flipped it sideways and began writing about how I should have "a place for everything and everything in it's place".  I wrote about having to go to "plan B" all because I hadn't taken time to put my pen away properly.  I wrote a lot of things that I decided to cover!

I used water soluble wax pastels and rubbed them into the page with gesso.  I wrote on my pages with black India ink and a brush.  I was so annoyed that I couldn't find my pen.  I haven't looked for it today, but I know that I have to organize my supplies.  I don't like wasting time looking for things.  It's out of control.

I try to stay organized, yet despite my efforts I still end up with piles of art materials.  Some organization has become better, but I still have a long way to go.  Maybe that should be the next workshop I attend - "Organizing Your Studio".  

I hope you had a great weekend, and I hope that you aren't spending precious time looking for items that you want to use.  Enjoy the nice weather as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


"Angel" - Maybe she knows where I put that pen!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Visions of Sugar Skulls

I can't get enough of playing in my moleskin, so I turned to a new spread and began sketching with a Sharpie fine point.  As usual, when I began I had no idea what direction I was heading in other than to work with pattern. As I finished drawing in my black patterns, I noticed a shape that reminded me of a sugar skull.  

Not surprisingly, sugar skulls and skeletons are on my mind as I have some paintings to do for an autumn "Skull & Skeleton" gallery show.  I've been looking forward to showing my work for this show, and I'm in the process of creating what I like to call "mental paintings".

Coloring my black & white design became a lesson in playing with different color combinations and color juxtaposition.  As I colored in my design, I thought about possible ideas for paintings and mixed media work for the show.

I've found that working in this landscape format, I generally work left to right across both pages and the same held true for this particular spread.  I thought of some (at least to me) great ideas for paintings and alters, and I can't wait to get started on some of them.

I adore sugar skulls - not just the aesthetics of them, but what they represent.  I think it's "normal" and natural to think of the last months of a departed loved one when in the emotional state of grieving.  But I think as the pain eases we can stop replaying those last days or months in our minds, and move on to celebrating the LIFE of that loved one.  I think that is how it should be.  A person's time on this earth isn't about the way they died, it's about the way they lived, and that's what sugar skulls are all about.

Here's the completed spread.  A symphony of brilliant color and design.  You didn't really think I was going to be able to stick with all that monochromatic stuff for long now, did you?  I hope that you're enjoying the same nice weather that has arrived here in my hometown, and as the weekend approaches, I hope you CELEBRATE the warm weather, cookouts & frolicking in the sun, LOVE everyone (even those not so lovable), and CREATE something fabulous!  Stay safe, and I'll see you again on Monday!


This beauty decided to live again against all odds.  I bought it last season and neglected to find a home for it in the ground before winter arrived.  To my delighted surprise,  it survived the long winter in a little pot on the deck.  I'll be finding a permanent home for it this weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I completed another spread in my moleskin.  This time, I decided I wanted to begin with collage, so I flipped through my picture file and these patterns caught my attention.  I put them on the pages with what else - Mod Podge.

I didn't really know where I wanted to go with it, but I through it would be fun to try my newly learned scribbling techniques.  I wanted to see if I could duplicate the gray background.

I began on the left page using red scribbles.  I also wanted to duplicate one of the "light bulb" shapes from the collaged paper and I wanted to leave a space white for writing something.

I used different colors to build up the gray tone.  After using red, I went to cloud blue

I continued adding layers of colors, all the while thinking about what the light bulb reminded me of.  As I added each layer, I began thinking about the light bulb as a representation of an idea, and I thought about each little scribble as an idea that crosses my mind during any given day.

I added a third layer of a dark, cool gray

And then I added a fourth layer of olive green.

I finished the light bulb shape and I wrote this quote by Anais Nin: "My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living."  How true is that?  I thought about all the different places I'm in when ideas come to me.  Rarely do they come when I'm at the desk in front of my materials.

I completed the right side of the page with a quote from Picasso: "You have to have an idea of what you're going to do, but it should be a vague idea."  That just about sums up the way that I approach my own art endeavors.  I'm happy to discover that I have something in common with one of the artists who influenced me early in my art career!

Here's my finished spread.  I didn't quite capture the gray in the collage paper, but it works for me.  I thought about the light bulb shape on the left and how it represents the way we have millions of ideas everyday and how we come to isolate one and try to bring it to it's full potential.  I hope that in the midst of your day, you isolate one of your great ideas and bring it to life as you "Celebrate, LOVE, and Create!"


"Horsing Around"

If my the horse seems a little stiff, it's because he's in the wax museum at Niagra  Falls in Canada.  Keith took this  photo when were on a holiday in 2007.  I had way more fun than the horse! 

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