Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekend Journal

Completed Book of Wisdom

I finished the Book of Wisdom and it's now en route to it's recipient.  Here are the completed pages.

Speaking of wisdom, it's been in my head for a couple of years to make a book of "Momisms".  My mom said some great stuff that makes me smile and literally laugh out loud when I think about them.  

Do you have a book of wisdom or "Momisms" lurking somewhere in the file cabinet of your brain?  Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Free Downloads

I was looking for free downloads of teacup images and found a couple great sites to share with you.  These blogs and websites are wonderful, and their owners are more than generous with their libraries of free, downloadable images.

The first site to share is Just Something I Made.  She has a staggering amount of free downloads.  I didn't put a dent in her library browsing through all of her wonderful images.

Another fun site is The Graphics Fairy LLC.  She also has a Harley Davidson Motorcycle jacket giveway going on now.

My Fanciful Magpie friend also has a wonderful blog full of gorgeous, free images called On The House.  Magpie is also taking part in the Fairies' Tea Party, so be sure to check out her work.

Do you have a favorite site for free, downloadable images?  If you do, please share them with us in the comments section!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday's Musings

God's Little Creatures

I never cease to be amazed by the array of little creatures that live among us.  Most times, they remain hidden from our sight, but and then, they appear in plain view and I'm fascinated by their beauty and uniqueness.  If I'm lucky, they hang around long enough for a photo shoot!

I spotted this baby praying mantis when I was watering my plants.  Keith captured this fun photo.  You'll see more of him a little later.

This colorful little guy is a webworm moth.  They live in honey locust trees and there are some behind our house.  We've been in this house for almost 30 years and have never seen one before. Keith got a great pic considering this little moth was barely an inch long.

This katydid (or leaf bug) hovered above our back door for an entire afternoon and well into the evening.  I guess he needed a meditation break!  Nick took this photo for me, and as an added bonus, he showed me the benefits of using the manual function on my camera.  I've been playing around with it, so hopefully my photo taking efforts will improve!

Not all of God's little creatures are beautiful, but they are wonderful.  I found this warrior-looking cicada bug spinning around in circles on the cement pad in front of our garage.  Newly emerged, he was trying to dry his wings.  The pad bakes in the hot sun all day and Keith found the cicada later that evening.  He apparently met his demise from the sweltering heat of the pad.

As foretold, here are some more mantis photos created from Keith's original photo using Pixlr.  I didn't spend any time reading about how to use the software - I simply uploaded the photo and began playing.

Keep your eyes open for God's little creatures, and let them spark your creative muse.  You may just see my little mantis friend on a journal page one day!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekend Journal

My journaling was all over the place this week!  I've been puzzling over this first page that I created on Monday, and can't for the life of me remember what my hissy fit was about.  I do remember that "Miss Cranky Pants" woke up on the wrong side of the bed after a night of insomnia.  I guess it's a reminder to myself that energy spend on impatience is indeed energy not well spent.

Apparently I settled down by Tuesday, because this page reflects that "It's all OK in the end".  I'm just wondering if I should be concerned that I can't remember from Monday and Tuesday to Friday.  Hmmm?

I'm not one to hover in Dark Mood for long. (although the old Angelia had a residence there once upon a time)  By Wednesday I was in the mood for lots of bright colors, texture and layering.  I even added some Pearl Ex pigments to her earrings and lace collar.

The skelly face "appeared" plain as day as I was working intuitively.  I'm not surprised as I was just recently invited to participate in a Day of the Dead gallery show this fall and I've been mulling over ideas for this year's skulls.  I've been looking at this fragment of lace for months!  I'm glad it finally found a good home.

The bright colors continued on Thursday, and to my surprise <insert sarcasm here>, a couple of birds appeared.  It looked tropical to me so I added the word "Paradise", and 2  teal colored tickets that were enclosed in my goody envelope from April Cole.  "Two Tickets to Paradise", anyone?

Well, that's about it for this week.  Have a wonderful, creative weekend, and remember - don't let your feathers get ruffled over something you won't even remember a few short days later!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Join a Blog Party!

My favorite social media tip is to join a blog party!  Blog parties can last anywhere from a day to a year, and the themes cover anything you can imagine from A - Z and everything in between.

Why You Should Consider Participating

  • You discover many wonderful blogs that you might not otherwise stumble upon
  • You meet new, like-minded  people and develop new friendships
  • Blog parties often challenge your own creativity and prompt new creative ideas
  • Concentrating on a party theme eliminates any creative block you may be experiencing
  • ALL of the above!

September Blog Party, "The Fairies' Tea"

Inspiration Avenue

I was visiting The Fanciful Magpie this morning when I saw this invitation on her blog post.  It's an invitation  hosted by Inspiration Avenue, and the Blog Hop is scheduled for Sunday, September 23, 2012.  Now, you know I don't do whimsy, fairies, or cuddly and cute.  So why have I decided to join this particular party?  For those very reasons!

Maybe it's the gradual approach of fall or my much anticipated, upcoming vacation, but I feel a strong desire to step away from my element.  It's time to go exploring creatively, physically, mentally.  I feel the need to walk away from my adult world and explore with the eyes and mind of a child.  And, I want to try some new techniques when my Twinkling H2Os arrive in the mail!

Even if this isn't your cup of tea (yes, pun intended), I hope you'll keep your eyes open for parties and challenges posted on your favorite blogs.  If you do find this party appealing, everything you need to know to participate is posted HERE.  

Remember to check back here on September 23rd to see what my fairies are up to (mischievousness, no doubt).  See you at the party!



Have a cup of tea while you're at it!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday's Muse

I think being a creative/artist is both a blessing and a curse.  As I sit and observe people, I watch them mindlessly walk by the very things that bring The Muse to life and immediately inspire imagery in my mind.

This photograph (courtesy of dear hubby) is one such example.  I've yet to see even one person notice these signs posted in half a dozen locations along the beach.

I love the fact that "Have fun on the water!" shows up as florescent green in this photo.  I can't help but think, "surely I'm not the only person who sees the irony in this?"   Let's see here....EIGHT different conditions/images under which one should avoid going in the water.  OK.  maybe the real key here is the preposition, on.

Unless you're Jesus, I don't think you're going to be on the water unless you're in a boat or other flotation device (clearly prohibited at the beach according to other signs).  Does this little word have to do with liability?  Hmmmmm...... I digress.

Anyway, things like this send The Muse off on a tangent of sound and imagery.  The images won't necessarily end up on a journal page, but the thought process  goes something like this:

  • "Oh, my gosh!  People are still dragging their kids into the water.  They don't even see these signs!"
  • I hear the "Jaws" theme music playing in my head
  • I get a visual of those awful, plaid polyester fabrics from the 70s
  • I get another visual - this one of the "Jaws" Amitty billboard
  • I begin thinking about what a blue-green algae monster might look like
  • I think of a title, "Stay OUT of the Water!!!"
  • I do a Google search for more information, and find "High Quality Danger Signs" to download.
  • I bookmark the site for future reference
  • I file it under "Funnies" in my mind and continue mulling over it every time I go to the beach.

And that's the blessing and curse of it all.  It's a blessing that creativity is sparked by the most unlikely things in the most unlikely places.  It's a curse that I'll think this topic to death - or if I'm lucky I'll think it to the page through journaling.




Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekend Journal

Staci's Pages

This is my friend, Staci. Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Painesville Recreation Center, she used to be my boss where I was the art instructor.  She's a gentle soul with a flare for the spiritual and creative.  When the stars align properly, we get to share a couple hours and catch up on life and art.  We also worked with 2 other wonderfully creative women in the center.  When the universe allows, all four of us get together.  It's magic.

Recently, the stars reached their proper alignment, and we had the opportunity to look at each other's journals and catch up on life.  Staci was there in the beginning of my art journaling classes that took place around Ro's kitchen table.  They were wonderful guinea pigs and supported my efforts wholeheartedly.  Staci was there for the next phase as I traded in Ro's kitchen table and spread my wings to a nearby art gallery.  She also attended one of my latest classes when she could.  She's been a huge support to me.  Thanks, Staci!

I love looking through Staci's journal pages.  She works very intuitively, working on her entire journal at once.  She begins by creating backgrounds for all of her pages and adds thoughts and images on the pages day by day on the page that feels appropriate.

Her pages are always filled with beautiful and exotic imagery, and she adds glitter, rhinestones, and lots of texture with stencils that she's made.  I love the orange rhinestones around the car.

Staci recently lost her father, and she had the opportunity to share his final days and hours.  She  found healing by recording some of the things that he said as he was making his transition.  One of the things he said was, "When I close my eyes, I go to different worlds!"  One can only imagine.....

Staci finds the most intriguing images and messages as she examines her backgrounds.  They always feel ancient and mysterious to me.

I really like this method of writing that she incorporated into these pages.  Each layer of writing is a different color written on top of the previous writing.  It makes it almost impossible to read and makes for an interesting background.  The student has indeed become the teacher.

This spread was inspired by one of my classes where we discussed "The Inner Critic", aka "The Committee".  I'm sure you've met them.  You know - the voices that tell you you're not good enough, you're not an artist, you CAN'T do something.  Staci told hers to "Shut the hell up."  I hope you tell yours the same!


I haven't done any new journaling pages this week.  Well, that's not quite true.  I've been completing journaling projects to turn in for an upcoming gallery show.  I'm having a lot of fun completing these projects, but it's difficult feeling the pressure of a deadline.  I'll post photos of the completed projects soon - you might remember a couple of them.

I did complete some pages in my daily journal last week (or was it the week before?)  All of the surprise gift journals are lovingly completed and ready to be shipped, but they really took their toll.  I worked like a madwoman to get them finished before our vacation.  I have to say, I can't look at them too much because I like the finished products and they might want to stay here!  That's a good sign though, because I know it will give me great joy to know that they've brought their recipients a lot of pleasure.

These are the last pages I created.  This page was inspired by goodies I received from April Cole. 

This is an intuitive page where I highlighted the images that I could see in the baackground paint.

These three pages were inspired by the movies I was watching as I created the pages.  Can you guess what movies they were?

Ha!  I didn't think so.  The first page is from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", the second page is from "Pan's Labyrinth", and the last page is also from "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".  I created the pages by first writing down lines from the actors and taking my color cues directly from scenes or the overall mood of the scene.  It was a lot of fun and made for some interesting pages.

So that's about it.  I think I'm officially burned out.  I read someone's blog post the other day (sorry, can't remember who wrote it), but it struck a nerve with me.  It was a real light-bulb moment.  The gist of the post was this - just because we love what we do doesn't mean it's not work.  A simple but profound thought.  I've been working day after day after day without time off!  So you know what I did yesterday?  That's right, I took the day off and enjoyed EVERY second of it!  I said to hell with the deadline, the journal, the creative process.  I cleaned.  I did laundry.  I began gathering things for vacation.  I stepped away from the work environment.  And you know, what?  I feel rejuvenated and creative today.  Know when to step away from your work!  I don't know about you, but I won't wait so long before my next day off!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Instant Journal Prompts

Instant journal prompts are only a magazine or newspaper away.  Every article begins with an enticing title to peak your interest.  Why not use these titles to spark your creative journaling?

Ways To Use These Titles in Your Journaling

  • Use these titles as part of your page background.  Cover with gesso to push them visually into the background.
  • Cut these phrases into single words and use to form different meanings.
  • Find interesting fonts.  Cut the words into separate letters to form that "ransom note" look.
  • Take color cues from these titles and use them as inspiration for a color theme.
  • Use a phrase as a main element on your page.  Illustrate your viewpoint.


Hundreds of words and phrases can easily be stored in a zippered sandwich bag for easy storage and use.  That's my preferred method.  I like to pull a handful out and choose a random phrase to play with.  You can also tack them down on a sheet of copy paper and keep them in a notebook if you prefer to see lots of titles at a glance.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Tips and Techniques: Water Soluble Travel Palette

So my travel journal is almost ready to go.  I realize that I still need a sketch pad or small journal to carry with me.  There is also a matter of supplies, and I know that I don't want to carry a lot of things with me.  What in the world am I going to do for COLOR?

I don't want to haul a bag of acrylic tubes.  I don't want to use watercolor or colored pencils that require constant sharpening.  I'm not fond of the idea of  taking along watercolors either.  What am I to do?  Enter the brilliant mind of my journaling friend, Jennibellie!  If you've not seen her blog, let me take you by the hand and lead you there.  She's a wonderful artist, and if anyone knows about traveling, it's Jen!

I was browsing her YouTube channel when I found the solution to my problem.  Take a look.  She just uploaded this to YouTube on July 6th - (just in time for me to prepare my travel journal!)  How's that for synchronicity?

Isn't that an absolutely brilliant idea!  It's the perfect solution for me, and I started making my travel palette today.

First of all, I have to show you the buy of the century!  I found these 3.5" x 5.5" journals at our local Marc's for $.99!  They are made exactly like a Moleskin journal, right down to the way the first two and back two pages don't open all the way ( as Jen described in her video), the expandable pocket in the back, and the elastic enclosure.  I bought 5 of them, and will be including 1 or 2 of them in my October giveaway! (That's another post!)  The paper is about the same weight as a Moleskin, but it's smooth without any tooth.

I really like Jen's book idea, but I work MESSY, and I prefer to hold my palette while I work.  I began making a book but suddenly realized I thought this would work better for me if I made individual cards.  So I re-purposed a used greeting card envelope to hold the cards, covering the envelope with some scrapbook paper scraps...

and then I began to make my cards.  Here's one card of my cheapo Reeves, and a card of Neo Colors.  I'm still going to make Neo Color II cards and watercolor pencil cards.

They fit nice and snug into their holder and slide easily beneath the journal elastic.  VOILA!  Now I can quickly paint in my little journal with the use of water brushes.  I plan on tearing pages out of the journal leaving 1/4" strip of each page attached to the spine.  I can tip-in more paper when I get home and I won't be doing any damage to the spine.

If fits perfectly into my hand.  I'm excited to know that I'll be prepared for journaling on my vacation.  I just can't believe how organized I am for this - and well ahead of schedule.  Don't ever let anyone tell you that miracles don't happen!

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