December 01, 2012

Positive Light

A few weeks ago Julie did a blog post about redacted book page poems.  It reminded me of an art journal spread I'd finished up that employed a similar concept.

Sometimes in my art journal I write about the mundane happenings of the day-to-day. Sometimes I pour more feeling into it.  There are days when I use it to jot down notes:  a shopping list, a website to visit, a crafty idea, a quote I heard.  And sometimes, I may even rant.  ;)  Or at least put some things on paper to get them out of my head.

Most of the time I like to preserve these words so I can revisit them later, and treat them as "historical documents."  But sometimes there is just some yuck I want to get out and be done with.  I found it somewhat therapeutic to redact the crap and pick out positive words and phrases, some silver lining out of the self-loathing storm scrawled on the page.

Then, it appears that some virtual retail therapy was in order.  Lol!  I also use my art journal as a pin board for things I find in catalogs and magazines.  A bowl designed to guide the salsa onto my chip?  Yes, please!  And I'd love to build a magnetic folding chair out of pallets, too.  And embroider more.

Now, off to find a thick, black marker and see if I can make some redacted poetry from the morning paper!  Have a wonderful day, and thanks for visiting!

November 20, 2012


This month's One Little Word is "Dare."

It's not that I am afraid of heights, but I tell you, that poem on Ronda's blog is still resonating deep inside me, like a constant hum that I must give attention to.  The word "dare," another strike on the gong, sending a new wave of sound rippling through me, adding amplitude to the wake up call.

I immediately thought of a cliff, of a diver, of someone choosing to make the leap, their faith strong and freeing, such that they descend from great height in grace and joy.

Well, this little honey doesn't quite embody that trust and confidence, perched uncertainly on the edge of her diving board, but I like to think she is mustering courage and summoning the inner-strength needed to move forward and take the dare!

I love that these One Little Word challenges truly make me stop and ponder.  My consciousness is awakened to the word and finding the power and meaning I need in them at this moment.  The word rolls around in my mind and soul as I create the art, as I think about creating the art, and as I step into living each day.  I feel a bit electrified as I consider being more daring, of finding composure in taking action, even if the results are unknown and the worst is scary.  I want to be enveloped in a graceful descent, not fall in a sprawling mess of flailing limbs, fruitlessly clawing the air and waking all of mankind with a deafening scream. 

I choose to dare.

October 24, 2012


The latest challenge over at One Little Word is "Celebrate!"  

Here's what I came up with:

I mostly used my October Cocoa Daisy Kit, "Aspen Grove" and the patterned paper add-on "Hidden Lakes" to create this layout.  The sun is from an older kit.  But, that dark green paper is from a worn out hanging file folder.  I rescued it from the trash at work, and it just screamed for me to doodle on it with white pen!  The wide striped ribbon came in the kit, and I threaded it through the edge of the file where you would normally put in a plastic tab with the file label in the slots.

"As terrifying as terror is, let us put aside our panic for this one day and...CELEBRATE!"

While it didn't directly relate to my creative process, this song has been stuck in my head for TEN DAYS!!!  Ever since the OLW "word up" came down!  Just thought I'd share.  Lol! If the next word up inspires a song, I hope it is something equally as dear to me as "Wicked"!  :)

(I chose this YouTube video because I think the sketch art is pretty cool, and I couldn't bring myself to promote one of the bootlegged tapings from one of the Broadway performances.)

So, what little things are you celebrating today?  I'd love to hear!

October 17, 2012

One Little Word: "Unlock"

I like to believe that "there are no coincidences," that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes those reasons are BIG and other times they are so small they can be overlooked.  But, if you can stop for a quiet moment you may be able to pick up on a message in the seemingly serendipitous.

That said, I'm not sure what this chain of events really means, but I was touched, inspired, and am OPEN to the message.  Here's what went down:

I have recently discovered the beauty of podcasts as a way to stay in touch with my creative side while I am busy doing mundane tasks around the house.  So, you can imagine my joy when Julie Fei Fan Balzer announced that she and her mom would be broadcasting "Adventures in Arting" last month.

Julie's first guest was another inspiring artist I love, Ronda Palazzari, who I met through Cocoa Daisy.  Two faves in one place?  What fun!  I was able to listen to that first episode, "What is Failure?" on Ronda's blog before I was able to find it available on iTunes, and at the end of the post she had a poem which I'd never heard before.

"Come to the edge."
"We can't.  We're afraid."
"Come to the edge."
"We can't.  We will fall!"
"Come to the edge."
And they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.

-Guillaume Apollinaire*

I was stunned and overcome with emotion!  I felt my chest tighten with Their fear, and caught my breath when They were pushed.  And when They flew, I broke down in tears of relief!  Whoa!  What a ride!  What power in those few words!   And, to be honest, then I said to myself in a condescending manner, "What the Hell, Lisa??"

* There is some controversy that this poem is often misattributed to Guillaume Apollinaire because it was written on a poster advertising an exhibition of Apollinaire's art on the 50th anniversary of his death.  Logue had written it as a tribute at the request of the the show's curator, with the title "Apollinaire Said--", hence the confusion.    

As I regained composure I continued to browse through Ronda's blog, reading her previous posts, and came across the relaunch of One Little Word, "Celebrating the Power of Words" art challenge.  The inspiration word was "unlock" and I connected that something in that poem had unlocked something in me.  Yes, I needed to pour this emotion into a creative piece.  It took me a while, but yesterday it finally fell together.

"Unlock Your Fears"

The very first thing I did was to cut a stencil for the lock out of cardboard and built up modeling paste through it to get the shape.  I cut a keyhole shape, colored it black and pressed it into the wet goop.  I also spread modeling paste over two pieces of a Starbucks coffee cozy for the doors.  It all dried overnight, and then I finger painted both of the pieces.

"You can't shine if you don't step out into the sun."
I wanted to portray the butterflies as being plain as they came out from the doors, and then having gained more and more color and brilliance as they flew out into the light.

 I love that the Glimmer Glaze I used to paint the lacy ones created a thin, transparent film over the holes.  Cool! 

Lastly, I want to share a poem that my 15 year old, Jillian wrote, with her permission. It is one of the "coincidental" happenings I alluded to at the beginning of this post.  I finished this layout, was cleaning up the table, and picked up this random piece of paper.

The Self-Fulfilling Bubble
 From inside her bubble she looks out in fear,
"Are they all out there while I'm in here?"
They casually do such impossible deeds
She's comfortable here, but still she needs
To wander around if just on a quest
But when she breaks the bubble, she often regrets
For each time she wanders about she will find
That something she's done makes her think in her mind,
"I shouldn't have done that, oh golly, oh my,
Is anyone any more stupid than I?"
And back in her bubble she dwells on that thought
And the memory starts to decay and rot
And it causes the bubble to grow in its strength
'Cause the list of her fears has grown in its length
She says "Oh, I can't leave! It's impossible to do."
And because of that mindset the statement comes true.

She is brilliant, I tell you! She says that nothing in particular happened to spark this poem, she just at some point felt inspired.  Gosh, how I do love this girl!

The latest challenge is up at OLW, and the Word Up is "Celebrate."  What are you celebrating?  Wanna play along?

Thanks for visiting!

September 26, 2012

A Chance of Rain

"When I was a kid, I said to myself
I'll be rich, I'll be great, be happy, shoot straight
When I was a kid, I said to myself
I want it all or nothing

For me it would rain red roses"

This song is the current creativity prompt over on the blog Scrapping the Music.  

"Rain Red Roses" was written by actress, singer, and writer Hildegard Knef, and originally recorded in 1968, my birth year.   The video above features clips from a 1946 film she starred in, though the music is a recent translation and re-recording by Rene Caron, a Canadian embodiment of Louis Armstrong.

As I listened to the lyrics, looking for inspiration from this song, I was kind of surprised at the realizations it brought up about my childhood. Rather than conjuring up nostalgic feelings like "the world is my oyster," or that kind of enduring expectation of promise or possibility, of bright-eyed self-assuredness or invincible confidence, I just felt...kind of...blank.  Like, I didn't identify with those feelings, they were not part of my childhood experience. 

Papers from Echo Park, Webster's Pages; stickers from Crate Paper; tiny alphas from Prima, and foam Thickers by American Crafts;  StazOn and Distress inks; Glimmer Glam; This-to-That foam tabs

I wasn't an angry kid--really, I wasn't!  But I was quite shy, apprehensive about participating in life except under the "safest" of circumstances, meaning my confidence only came in the company of close friends who would be there no matter what.  I felt it must be easier for them, and I let them lead while I stayed close behind in the safe void of their wake.  It wasn't until I was in college that I felt genuinely comfortable in pursuing my own path, stepping out from under the umbrella and letting the red roses that had been falling along finally rain down on me.

Ok, enough with the tears for poor wittle me.  That was a long time ago.  Dry your eyes knowing that as an adult I have been dancing in that rain, doing the work and carving the trenches that allow an abundance of goodness to run off and pool at my feet.  Let's get on to some fun!

Don't you love that rose stamp???  Well, you can have your very own, plus lunch!  It's the core of a romaine lettuce heart!  Observe:

My original thought was to print the image, then carve it into a stamp to have for all time.  But the intricate details were daunting, I really wanted to get started on this layout, and it seemed simple enough to just cut up the real deal any time the need for such a stamp should arise.

One of my lovely childhood friends just happened to post a quote on Facebook yesterday.  I think it sums up the life lessons I've learned and am ever having to practice--the ones that taught me to close up my umbrella and live:
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear"
     ~George Addair

Wishing you a downpour of red roses!
Thank you for visiting!

September 20, 2012

Loving, Kind & Fearless

Loving, kind, and fearless:  that's my sister.  She and my niece and nephew were here visiting from France in August, and when I saw this phrase on one of the papers from the My Mind's Eye "The Sweetest Thing" line, I immediately thought of Jennifer.  We had such a great visit, and it was so hard to give those last tearful hugs as we bid farewell, not knowing when the next time we'd be able to get together, and just having her so far away.

Ah, but there is a glimmer of (selfish) light in my future!  Happy Dance!

I adore that floral pattern on the journaling card.  It reminds me of a beloved sheet set from my childhood.  I think there were curtains, too.  My friend, Mrs. Do-er's daughter happens to have those same patterned sheets, and I waxed nostalgia while grilling her on the details of where she'd found them!  Maybe that childhood connection is why I HAD to use that pattern on a layout about my little sis.

Well, since our last au revoir,  we DO know when we shall meet again!  Christmas in Paris???  Mom and Dad--you are THE BEST!!!  Thank you!!!  Kiss, kiss!!  

August 10, 2012

50 Things - The Covers And The Binding

My 50 Things is my first "from scratch" mini book, meaning it wasn't a kit with a set number of pages, a package of embellishments to use, etc.  As far as those kinds of kits go, I've only put together one.  It was a Teresa Collins memory album kit, and I put it together as a design team project for Remember When.  I admit it was a bit daunting - scary, even - being assigned this mini book, and I turned it into a colossal, very personal endeavor.  And, I fell in love with the mini book concept.  (I haven't been able to share that Teresa Collins album with you yet, but when I get the okay from Remember When, I certainly will!)

So, I thought I knew what I was doing when I cut fifty 4x6 inch sheets of patterned paper and got to work on creating my 50 little pages.  "According to my research" (a quote from "The Magic School Bus") the norm in the world of minis seems to be using these binder rings to secure all of the pages together.  I designed each page keeping in mind that I would be punching 2 holes on the one side, and stitching 2 back-to-back pages together to form a pocket for inserting a tag with notes on my accomplishments as each was completed.

The stack, once layered with papers and embellishments was HUGE!  I would need 4 inch diameter binder rings (do they even make them that big?), which meant I could likely wear the book as a bracelet even with all the pages in it!  NOT the look I was going for...

One of the blogs I like to follow is Jenny Petricek's Starting Over Studio.  I remembered her talking about a class she took learning to bind her own journals, and poked around the web looking for alternative ways to put my book together.  That led me to a great tutorial by Jamie Butler, and a solution!

Since my double pagers were separate from each other, I cut some strips of leftover patterned paper to join each pair into a folded spread, then measured and pierced hold down the center, pre-drilling, so to speak, so I could sew through each to create a binding.

I still wanted those pockets, though.  I stitched across the bottom of each set (each "signature"), hoping I'd still be able to feed a needle through the pierced fold.  And, of course when I get an inspired idea I want to DO IT NOW, so I had to improvise with supplies as my local hunt for book binding supplies was unfruitful.  I used 6-ply embroidery thread and a beading needle.  The needle was a bit flex-y, but it held the floss securely and was long enough for me to wrangle it into the tight corner of my stitched closed signature.  I used some scraps of old blue jeans for the binding tape, and also for a decorative touch, and followed Jamie's instructions for stitching through each signature, across each tape, and knotting through the previous signature to secure before moving on to the next.

After all the pages were bound, I stitched up the outside edges to seal each pocket.  That was a bit challenging, but I just didn't see another way to get what I wanted the way I wanted it.  Perhaps some further engineering for next time, but the stitching gives a finished look to the edges.  I felt that sealing with tape or glue would lead to the pages getting peeled apart down the road.

Finally, the covers.  I cut pieces from a cardboard box that were just a bit bigger than my pages, gessoed, and decorated the front and back outsides.  I used Fabri-Tac to glue the binding tape to the covers, and also a ribbon on front and back so that I could tie the book shut.

I covered up that mess with patterned paper and then decorated the inside covers.  I made one last pocket in the back that will hold a Master List of my 50 things that I can check off as I go!

Binding this album was really fun, I love the results, and I will definitely be doing it again-perhaps with a little better pre-planning on the construction side of things.  It feels like such an accomplishment, and I can't even tell you how awesome it feels to flip the sewn-bound pages back and forth!

So, what do you think?  Will you give book-binding a try?

Thanks for visiting!

August 01, 2012

50 Things...Or, What I've Been Up to Lately

All craft, all the time.  Wouldn't that be nice?  There are so, so many lovely things to make, ideas to try, techniques to learn.  *Sigh*  It would be nice, but I fear, also impractical.  And yet, when I am not crafting in my free time, I find myself reading blogs about what other people have been doing craftwise, or chatting craft with them in the scrapbooking forum at Cocoa

It is there that I was inspired by Anja Wade to craft up a list of 50 things to do before I turn 50.  Her list is 40 by 40, and as 40 is...well....past, I decided to come up with 50.  Fifty things, compiled with an underlying panic, or at least a slap of reality.  "OMG!  I'm almost 50!  There are  so many things I need to do, so much life I've not yet lived!  I'd better get my butt out there and DO them!!"  I have a good five and a half years to complete the list.  Of course, I probably could have knocked off a few in the time it has taken me to make this mini album to document my intentions...

Binding this baby proved to be a challenge. My original intention was to use 2 binder clips, but as the stack was about 3 inches thick, I decided they would have to be too dang big!I will share what I ended up doing in a separate post.

It was challenging to come up with 50 things.  I wanted a mix of things that would be easy and challenging, silly and serious.  Many of the items were no-brainers; they've been on the back burner for years, if not decades!  Others required some reflection to identify. Going through the list once more as I write this post, however, I'm pleased that all but one are experiences that I've genuinely entertained the idea of over and over again.  (The newfound one came from learning that something I thought I knew was completely wrong, and now I am in profound need of reeducation!  I'll share more later! ).  Some things may require some monetary expense, and others may take some creativity to come by.  Some will call upon my courage and others will test my patience.  But all of them are doable, and I'm excited to get out and DO!

So, this is what I've been up to lately (craftwise), and here is my list!

#1:  Travel in Europe

#2:  Take an art class in person with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
#3:  Bake bread from scratch

#4:  Plant a Meyer lemon tree
#5:  Submit book for publication

#6:  Nap in a hammock
#7:  Go to Thursday evening Farmer's Market (here in town)

#8:  Make Oma's cheesecake
#9:  Swim/snorkel with sea turtles

#10:  Juggle 3 balls for 15 swaps
#11:  Donate an animal through
#12:  Walk a labyrinth
#13:  Hold a koala bear for at least 20 minutes

#14:  Get a spa facial
#15:  Have a duck for a pet (or a donkey)

#16:  Sew or crochet something I'd wear in public
#17:  Camp in an Airstream trailer

#18:  Learn to identify 5 constellations besides Orion and Big Dipper
#19:  Grow tomatoes successfully (must achieve at least 12 from one plant)

#20:  Surf, surf, & surf (that's three different occasions)
#21:  Read Faulkner's "The Sound and The Fury"

#22:  Find a Bad Hair Day hat
#23:  Learn how to play "House of the Rising Sun" on guitar

#24:  Go to Catalina Island
#25:  Fly a kite

#26: Have an interactive dolphin experience
#27: Get veneer fixed and teeth whitened

#28:  Adopt a desert tortoise for a pet
#29:  Find my Sleep Number

#30:  Make a gingerbread luminaria
#31:  Sell something on Etsy to a stranger

#32:  Go zip lining
#33:  Go to a live taping of a favorite sit-com.

#34:  Take the train to the Grand Canyon
#35:  Mountain bike down a trail (no jumps!)

#36:  Run a 5K
#37:  Get tap shoes and dance

#38:  Create a Will
#39:  Splurge on the perfect boots (don't let them get away again!)

#40:  Check out local Center for Spiritual Living
#41:  Watch all of the Best Picture Oscar winners

#42:  Go to Griffith Observatory
#43:  Try needle felting

#44:  Hike Vasques Rocks
#45:  Own a VW Thing

#46:  Go to a sporting event at each kid's high school
#47:  Do camel pose in yoga

#48:  Visit Watts Towers
#49:  Become a better Bridge player

#50:  Put together a wedding album/scrapbook.

So there you have it!  Fifty things!  I will report back on each with a little bit about why they are on my list and about the experience leading up to checking them off!

Thank you for visiting!