Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking forward to the NEW year!


Wow!  Here we are again.....celebrating the end of one year and anticipating bigger and better things in the new year!  So, as this year ends, I will tell you how grateful I am to be alive, to be extremely healthy, to have a great family, a loving husband and the time, and good fortune, to make as much art as I want and/or can!

Let me assure you that I think getting older truly is a state of mind!

There are some  great things that come with the passage of time and is confidence, another is acceptance! 

Where that applies to art is: you eventually learn that rejection is a fleeting feeling that soon will be replaced with acceptance.  Sometimes, it doesn't seem soon enough, but if you keep trying and practicing your get better!  It takes time and determination and you may never think it is "good enough" but someone will!  You will still have doubts and wonder "what the heck am I doing".  You just have to keep doing!

I so appreciate those who make their living making is hard work but it can be done and being self employed is never as easy as it sounds.  I was fortunate enough to work for newspapers when we still designed and built all the ads for our accounts.  I learned a lot about graphic design and I loved it, still do!

About six years ago, I started keeping a garden journal that has evolved into my "everything" journal.  I still use it to keep track of garden activities but I, also, use it for an art journal and a daily diary.  I have been sharing that experience with others on Kate's The Kathryn Wheel blog.  Maybe, the best part of doing these journal/calendars is you have made a "hard copy" of your life's comings and goings,  something to look back on and being reminded of "life happenings" big and small.

Here's a look at my almost finished pages for December.......

IMG_3596When I say this is my everything journal, I mean everything.....I keep tickets for special events, special cards or notes from friends and family, along with receipts of major purchases and the Christmas cards we receive each year.....all inside this journal.  Those white pieces of paper are the ticket stubs for The Singing Christmas Tree performance we attended a couple weeks ago.


You notice, I still don't use boxes for my days like most of Kate's other "calendar girls".  I did, however, use circles on this page to contain my thoughts!  I seriously toyed with the idea of conforming more in 2013 but, no, it is not to be.  I love journaling everyday, even if it is only a word or two, I would rather be more random (I guess that's what it is) and so I made a conscious decision to continue with my "random" method.

I spent some time debating which journal to use and how to lay it out, then decided I like what I've been doing the past two years.....why change now.

So, I have only begun my pages for January......

IMG_3598 so I think I'll wrap it up this afternoon.

So, back to enjoying life and continuing to learn.....NO MATTER your age!  I appreciate the feedback from my blogger buddies and the inspiration that so many are willing to share.  Doing art is a solitary endeavor and we are so lucky to have this world-wide platform where we can learn and share.

This past year has been full of learning and rewards.....I can hardly wait to see what the new year will bring.  I hope it brings you and yours the happiest, healthiest New Year ever!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ready for the New Year!


I hope your Christmas was wonderful and that Santa brought you lots of art supplies!

Ours was crazy and fun, as usual, with 25 adults and 10 children at our house to share Christmas Eve.  Only the children under 14 receive gifts, after that, you become part of the White Elephant exchange.  My kids, and their families, never cease to amaze me with their creative and amusing gift ideas! 

I have not been doing much in the way of journaling this past month, but I did do these two...........this one before Christmas.

IMG_3587 On the left side are drawings I shared earlier and have since added watercolor and a border before I taped them into my journal.  The right side is play with a capital "P", doodling dogs and trees!


More sketching and watercolor and a watercolor heart framing a quote from A. A. Milne were done yesterday.

Probably, one of the best gifts I received this season was from Cloth Paper Scissors, where my collage was published in the Silhouette Reader's Challenge!

CPS art

I cut this stencil of a tree trunk from an old file folder and sprayed it with old-fashioned spray paint over a collage of paint, tissue paper and stamps.  Check out the latest CPS Jan/Feb issue to see the other entries and get inspired by all the great ideas in this magazine.

Here's wishing you a healthy, happy and art-full New Year!  Join me, if you have time, at Julie Balzer's Art Journal Everyday'll see some inspiring art, if you do!

Thursday, December 20, 2012



Like most of you, I've been getting ready for the holidays and I have been sorely neglecting my today I thought I would briefly share a little of what I've been up to.





Our tree is small but it represents the love and laughter that we will soon be sharing with our family, all thirty of them, from six months old to 80 years young!



Here are a few of the things I've made this year to put under that tree..............






















All of the shopping is done, most of the presents are wrapped, most of the baking is done....time to relax and enjoy the festivities with friends and family.

Bless you all this Holiday Season!  May the New Year bring you health, happiness and peace.




Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's beginning to look......


a bit like Christmas around here!  Today, I finished making the Christmas cards.

With this message inside......





and chairs on the cover.  You'll have to wait a while to see the finished product, sorry.  Don't want to spoil the surprise.




Saturday, Joanne Sharpe the handwriting guru, shared with all, an inspiring series of FREE class.  We are up to class four today, I don't know about anyone else, but the classes have  inspired me to get busy and to make some things I don't think I would have made without the classes.  Joanne encourages her students to take advantage of their own handwriting, with the addition of some loops and flourishes, and use it for a design element.




I picked this bags up at the Dollar Store, two for a dollar, added some gold paint stripes and words and words written with a black pen!  Voila, great gift bags for fifty cents and a few minutes of time.








Also, Joanne's idea was to just write Christmas inspired words with a gold pen on gift wrap paper....adds some class for little money and time.






So, here I am.....Christmas cards made, not address of course, but made and a good start on wrapping paper. 

Soon, I guess, I'll have to give up playing and get serious about some shopping!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Drawing practice..........


An art friend, recently, gifted me with this really cool book........


It was one of those things I didn't know I wanted, until I had is a great book and, now I know, I wanted and needed it!!!  The author, Carla Sonheim, gives you some super exercises to stretch those drawing muscles. 

So, this morning I sketched our Al Cat while he was taking his morning nap in the sun!



















Then I tried Carla's exercise, trying to draw a more whimsical, less realistic cat!  I know for those who "say" they can't draw that would sound like it is isn't!


She suggest drawing about 30 of them.....I'm a tenth of the way there!  She, also, suggest putting the drawing pad on a pillow for a less stable surface.  I have to try that, too.  But, it got me drawing and any practice is good practice and I would love to be able to draw whimsical animals!

This is a fun book.....Thanks, Shelia, I love it. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Last day of the month and the end of a good week......


Today is Friday, and the day I can participate in my two favorite Linky parties, Kate at The Kathryn Wheel Monthly Calendar and Julie Balzer's Art Journal Every Day.

So, here goes...............IMG_3513

This is my introduction to my December calendar and a much better picture than the one below, showing the facing pages.  You get the idea....the blank side will be filled in with my daily "comings and goings"!

IMG_3511 I kinda' stretch the monthly calendar rules by making my calendar much more journal like, but still my monthly calendar.....the last half of December 2012 will be recorded on these pages, below, I will journal in and around the circles!IMG_3514

Finally, last June I did a 6 month recap of classes I had taken, special family happenings and general good, in keeping with my new tradition, I am doing the same thing again by highlighting special memories from July thru December 2012.






These could be considered my "gratitude" pages!  It's fun to glance back and be reminded of all the good things that happen in our lives.

Join me by visiting Julie and Kate's blog and I know you will be inspired.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lucy's book is done....finally!


You may remember, last spring, I shared with you some pages of a book I was making for my great granddaughter, Lucy's second birthday.  I missed her birthday but, it is finally done....just in time for Christmas.


I wanted this book to be educational for Lucy, turns out I learned a thing or two just by making it. 


One thing I learned is I like "instant gratification"......this was not instant!  It was a big project and took a lot of time.  I had to design the book as I went along plus figure out how to make sturdy enough for a child to actually play with it and interesting enough to hold a child's interest.

IMG_3497 It would have gone a lot faster, had I not kept thinking "oh, I could do this" or "oh, I could add that".  It has been a challenge.....a good one.  I'm, already, thinking of one more fun thing I could do to the book binding!  I need to call it "finished"!  

There is a total of twelve pages but I'll wait until after Christmas to show those....I want to save the surprise for Lucy's parents.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stamp carving.....


I really enjoy stamp carving and these are my latest........


One stamp is more stained than the other because of the type of ink I've used.  I'm not sure if you can tell but the black one is a chair facing you and the other is the back side of the same chair.

Here's how I've used them in my journal....





Before lettering!









After lettering and a few other details.





IMG_3470 With the addition of a hanging bouquet of mistletoe and the word "waiting", this page has a rather ethereal, lonely look....with the chair facing the wall or is it looking out into open space.....just waiting.


Meanwhile, on this side everything is set to party!






While I had the ink and brayer out, I decided to print a few Christmas cards.  I'm going to make a some more in other colors and add a few embellishments.



Woo Hoo! Love those stamps.  I invite you to join me at Mary Walker's blog party "Show me what you've got" and Julie Balzer's Art Journal Every Day!

Friday, November 16, 2012

WIP - Work in Progress........


It's been a busy week, but I'm working on journal pages.....with no single theme!  It seems pretty random to me, we'll see where it takes me.  Right now, we are between fresh lettuce and please be seated with some of my thoughts on creativity thrown in, hum!  Sometimes it is better NOT to over analyze and this may be one of those times.

IMG_3462 A friend gifted me with some walnut ink that she made!  The background is wet gesso spread over the page and sprayed with walnut ink and blended with a credit card.  In real life, the color is closer to the brown on the left side than the gray on the right.



I had some fun gluing on cardboard and pieces of paper and tissue paper. 

I used India ink and correction pen on the lettering, with touches of Pitt pen and pencil. 

I think this side looks close to finished!









The fun is in the details!  I've, also, sprayed it several times with diluted walnut ink that created the speckles and splotches you can see here.





This page really has some blank spots....I like my chair drawing just not sure what to do next.  I started out by asking myself that question at the top of the page, above the tape measure.........."where do we go from here".






It's fun to look at these pages close up, the small details show up so much better.

I drew this chair for the purpose of carving a stamp with this design.  So, I'll be carving a stamp and finishing this page this weekend. 

Hope you have a good weekend and are able to include some time to create!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Latest class project.....


Finished making another longstitch book in the on-line class I am taking from Diana Trout......actually, the class is called Longstitch, 2 ways.  The "two ways" refers to the two techniques used to finish the spine, exposed spine and hidden spine.

This one is the hidden spine.....I like it!


IMG_3437  This is the front covered with the fabric/paper I made for this class with a yellow ribbon closure.





The fun, little stitches that give it it's name, Longstitch!  This is called hidden spine because the pages of the book do not show, only the spine of the book.








For the pages on the inside, I used a combination of watercolor paper and brown kraft wrapping paper.   Should make the book fun and interesting for sketching and/or journaling.





I used hand painted paper for the end pages of the book, or the inside cover pages.









So...when you open the book this is what you see.








This has been a fun class.  I hope to get a few more journal/books together for Christmas gifts.

Hope you are enjoying your Veteran's Day and a long weekend. 

Friday, November 9, 2012



It has been busy around here, so I thought I would just play a little catch up today!

IMG_3358 I spent several days cleaning, clearing and de-stashing my studio.  Actually, these shelves still look tidy......I've already messed up the rest of the room....that's a good thing, right!  I need to paint the walls in this room!  Let me think about that, a bit.

I mentioned the bookmaking class I'm taking from Diana Trout....well, here is my first finished book. 


The cover is called "woven" and the binding stitch is longstitch and made with paper/cloth that I made.


This photo was taken before I was finished with the cover but it shows the binding better.  I made a few mistakes but I, also, learned a lot.

Tuesday was the class I'm helping to teach based on Julia Cameron's book "Vein of Gold".  The class is a part of the local community colleges program called Continued Learning in Retirement, so all the students are retired and mostly female.  This young at heart group make up in enthusiasm whatever they might lack in skill.  For our art project we started making an accordion books today. 




This is class sample #1, where I used only magazine photos.







Class sample #2, this one I used stamps, dried flowers, collage and ink.  On the other side I included some family photos.



So here we go......spreading acrylic paint on to watercolor paper.




On the left, is the other "teacher Jan", she is illustrating one of Julia's theories  about "cups".  On the right, a group of students deeply engrossed in pre-class conversation.

One of our students, Jane, was born and raised in Holland, surviving World War II and has begun writing her life journal, shown below.

PicMonkey Collage

This is such a wonderful gift to her family.  This is Jane's life.....her joys and her her words and from her point of view. 

IMG_3405 I really like the way she has divided some of her pages leaving a column open for her hand drawn sketches and notes pertaining to the main story!

Now, I've started the second book for the class and getting ready to help the class decorate their accordion books. 

Have a good weekend.