Saturday, December 27, 2014

Artful Journeys Pre-Launch Prompt #5 - January Calendar

This week at ARTFUL JOURNEYS our prompt is to create a January calendar in your journal.  I particularly like having a monthly calendar in my journal, even if I never write a thing on it. Of course, I also like to tart up my planners so that built in calendar of events, appointments and jotted notes isn't quite so boring and clinical.  I find that it helps to document the art I am creating in my journal in an orderly way, even if I forget to date each individual page I create.  I know that everything after that page was made in that particular month, so this is something I have always done in my journals.

This week, I used a credit card scraping method for application of my paint.  Doing this can give you a nice, smooth writing surface, as long as you don't leave big lumps of paint.  I particularly wanted this page to be smooth in the daily squares, so I was careful to make it nice and smooth.

Before I applied any paint, I inserted an over-sized piece of parchment behind this page so as not to get any paint on the back side or adjacent page.  It was a little slippery, but as I got to the edges, I held the page stable with some clothespins on the edges.  I started with some Diva Pink and placed a few small blobs of paint indiscriminately around the page and began scraping the paint, every which direction.   Then I added some Flag Red and scraped it in multiple directions as well.  And finally, a couple of blobs of Bright Magenta, and I let the whole thing dry completely.

After the paint was dry, and after referring to a small January calendar for the day placements, I gridded out the blocks using a ruler and a .07 mechanical pencil, using a very light hand for my pencil marks.  I edged with a fine liner brush using Laguna blue acrylic paint and the edge of my ruler so that I could get the lines perfectly straight.  I had a couple of bleed-throughs under the ruler as I was going along, but I had some cotton swabs handy that I just dipped into some clear water and wiped them right up.  I then used the same Laguna blue to do the hand lettering of the month, days of the weeks & the blue snowflakes using a #6 pointed round sable brush.  I then embellished with white acrylic, and added the "Let it Snow."

So, once all that was dry, I knew it needed something else.  Mid to late January is about the only chance we ever have to get snow in north Texas, and of course we're always dreaming and hoping that we get some.  Any amount of snow, no matter how little, is always cause for celebration here! And while beautiful pines are not indigenous to our area, pines and snow just go together in my mind, so I created a little mini-forest, again using Pine and Burnt Umber acrylic craft paint and added some snow with Bombay White India Ink and my #6 pointed round brush.  A little cold color was added with a light sky blue.

Once dry, I was pretty pleased with the overall effect, and I will be dreaming of a snow covered lawn.  If you're getting more than your fair share of the white stuff, send some to the DFW metroplex area, would you?

Stay warm & stay artful!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Christmas Gift

Our big family Christmas gathering happened yesterday, December 20th  with children and food everywhere!  We have two new babies in the family and toddlers running around all excited.  Since I never had any children, I always enjoy watching the little ones, holding the babies (until they start crying or get the poopy diapers, ha) It is always so great to visit with those I don't get to see very often, and get all the Auntie hugs I can get. Sometimes those hugs and loves have to tie me over for a long time, so they are especially important to me!

Several years ago, we made the decision to stop giving individual gifts to the adults and we just buy gifts for the little ones and those kids under the age of 18.  The adults play a "Chinese" gift exchange where gifts can be stolen up to 3 times from someone and after that they are "frozen".  Each male brings a gift suited for a man, and each woman brings a female oriented gift.  Deciding what to bring is always difficult, given the wide age disparity of the adults in the family.  It is always fun when the stealing starts, and to see who ends up with what. Some years, the stealing is wild...others, more tame and less lively.  We always have fun with it, and sometimes some exchanging or swapping goes on after the exchange is over.

This year, we asked all participants to include something that they made or created, either as their sole gift or part of their gift.  I opted for the "part of" part with mine, and also include two nice bottles of wine and some pretty wine glasses.

My handmade part was this mixed media on a 9" oval canvas that I already had a frame to fit standing by!  My great niece ended up with it and seemed happy to have it, although we swapped out the wine and I gave her the gift I received which her mother had actually made.  My original idea for this canvas was to start with a dark red acrylic and move to a lighter color creating a "flame" effect.  The thing just kind of emerged organically and didn't look "flame like" at all when it was finished. I fussy cut out a vintage woman image that I liked, gave her some bright turquoise and lime Prismacolor pencil work and collaged it to the canvas using Liquitex Matte Gel Medium.  The "She" quote was hand lettered on 90 pound cold press watercolor paper with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen and highlighted with Prismacolor pencil in a bold red.  Adding the crown as an afterthought didn't really achieve the look I wanted, but it wouldn't come off easily, so I just left it. It did match the lady's dress pretty well and did serve to bring the quote  "She Always Wore her Invisible Crown" to life a little more.

We all have to remember to wear our "invisible crowns" more, and know that we are always in control of our own lives, our emotions and feelings.  I put mine on everyday and hope that it gives me the fortitude to push through the roller coaster of life every single day.

What are you creating this holiday season for people in your family?

Pre-Launch Prompt #4 - Holiday Madness

This week, our prompt for Artful Journeys is "Holiday Madness."

The "holidays" in general, are many things to me, and I will wax and wane poetic a little further on in this post.  But for the purposes of my art, I took a humorous and more artful approach to our prompt here publicly, and a little more intimate & theologically appropriate approach privately in my journal. We've all seen the hundreds of images of "Santa" racing across the moon in his sleigh on Christmas Eve...on the weather cast, on the news, on the internet everywhere we look.  And now, Santa is racing across my arty red moon in silhouette form against the backdrop of a screaming lime green "night" sky pierced with twinkling gold and silver stars.  He says, woo-hoo, what a ride and is heading home with an empty sleigh.  Sometimes I scare myself when I see what comes out on paper sometimes.  It is madness, isn't it?

This page is a composite of Derwent Inktense Blocks and acrylic craft paint, highlighted with metallic Sharpie pens and a black Signo Uniball pen.

I started with that big red circle.  I know it doesn't look really red in this photo, but it is...with a touch of burgundy / maroon on the edges smoothed out with my trusty baby wipe method.  And then 'round and 'round with the green Inktense block, again with the baby wipe.  Then, Caterpillar lime green acrylic paint, thinned with water and smoothed with a 1/2" flat brush, and again over the whole lime area with yes, you got it, the baby wipe thing again.

I searched for some kind of silhouette I could actually draw and found this rather simplistic one on and because the lines were rather simple, I actually managed to draw it and make it look reasonably like Santa in a sleigh with a reindeer.  Then, I just filled it all in with craft acrylic in black, and highlighted under the reindeer belly and sleigh runner with a silver Sharpie marker and some gold highlights on Santa's pom-pom on his hat.  Additional metallic embellishments added in the form of gold and silver stars and dots and some "rounding" on that Santa-red mood.  Lettering was done with a Uniball Signo bold pen in black.

The overall effect ended up surprising even me.  It is bold, bright and fun.  And even the hubs liked it.

See what my buds Tamie, Melody, Lynn and Terri did in response to this prompt here

Now for the waxing and waning poetic .......

Christmas in my world, first and foremost, is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

I cannot imagine celebrating Christmas or the holiday season in general without my family and a wide circle of friends, both near and far. I cherish both immensely and the holidays would not be the same without either.   Our families bring the holiday season alive for us as small children, and the depth of our knowledge about the true meaning of the holiday season comes as we are educated theologically and scholastically.   As small children, we are enthralled with the concept of "Santa Claus" and his arrival on Christmas Eve and waking to the excitement of those special Christmas mornings.  As we age, we realize that part of the "Santa" charm is the mystique, but we are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, and give thanks for the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  The commercialization of Christmas saddens me and with each passing year it does seem to get worse and farther away from that true and real meaning of what Christmas means.  All any of us can do is control what goes on in our own homes, believe how and what we are taught, and pray for those who have lost their way.

As we all celebrate "the holidays,"  my wish for each of you is to have good health, prosperity, good friendships, close family relationships, and a true sense of peace in your lives.  Having any or all of these things is empowering, fulfilling and rewarding.  I am blessed to have these things in my life and for this, I am truly grateful.  Thank YOU for being a big part of my life and for sharing life's adventures with me.  I can think of no better time of the year to express this feeling of gratitude and thankfulness.

I wish each an every one of you a joyous holiday season.

And now, I just have to say it..........  and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Experimenting With Chalk Pastels

Admittedly, I cannot draw worth a tinker's dam.  However, I had this little girl in my head tonight and she just came out on the page.  This is in my "Exploration" journal which is a modified sketch book that I do all kinds of weird things and experiments in.  This book has rather thin sketch paper.  Sometimes I work in it directly, as  I did this time, and sometimes I do tip-ins.

I was generously given some pan pastels by my friend, Susan Miller and I had been itching to play with them ever since they arrived a couple of weeks ago.  So just after eating dinner with the hubs and watching one of our "together" TV programs, this little cutie came out of my head and onto the page.

The pastels I used were Decorating Chalks Kit #3 (pan pastels) by  Craf-T Products.  Kit 3 has 9 colors ranging from pale yellow to charcoal, and Susan generously sent me 4 other individual colors -- a reddish orange, pink,  gold and a soft brown.

I applied all the pastels with a #2 flat sable brush, and rubbed some with my finger to blend.  The sketch was completed with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen in black.

Definitely going to play some more and see where all this leads me.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Nothing speaks to me of winter better than snow.  And snow is something we see very little of in North Texas, so I am always dreaming of it when the holiday season rolls around.

This week in Artful Journeys our pre-launch prompt is "Winter Wonderland" and this is my take on it. I prepared the background in my 9x12" Canson mixed media journal with Derwent Inktense blocks in blue and teal using a baby wipe and took pretty wide swaths of color with the blocks. I didn't want to smooth it all out completely, adding a little more dimension. The tree is hand drawn and painted with Prang watercolors as is the hat and snowman details, arms, "coal", and eyes.  I painted on the snow with Bombay White India ink and a #6 pointed round brush and used the dropper for the dots.

The snowman was created with graduating sizes of circle stencils drawn onto Bristol, then fussy cut and glued to the page. I used a light wash of gray (by mixing black & white) on the edges and around the head and belly to create more dimension and shadow.  I just used some orange cardstock to cut out the "carrot" for his nose and affixed with a glue stick.  Snowflakes were punch cut from white Bristol and vellum and glued to the page with a UHU glue stick.  The muffler is fashioned out of some beautiful yarn I received in a happy mail package.  Maybe he needs a few more snowflakes floating around, but I just have to edit myself before I put too much.

I can't wait to see what you come up to represent YOUR winter wonderland.  And send us some snow to north Texas for Christmas, would ya?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Letter to Santa

December Daily #7 - Write a letter to Santa.

Every year in our local, rural paper, they publish letters written to Santa by the children and I get the biggest kick out of all of them.  I remember writing these letters as a little girl and tried to stay up to "catch" Santa leaving presents under the tree, but of course I always got caught by my Mother.

A simple, childlike letter to Santa on sketch paper with Sharpie markers and a blackSakura Gelly Roll pen.

Makes me smile.  How about you?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Documenting Art Supplies

This week at Artful Journeys we are recommending that you give it a "go" at documenting all or some of your art supplies. Maybe, like me, you have documented many of your supplies already in journals, on index cards or as a separate reference.  I have done all of these at one time or another. Perhaps you want to just designate one page for the prompt and choose to document a specific set of inks, pens, markers, or genre of paint for this prompt.  Maybe you love having references and create a whole journal devoted just for this purpose.  However you choose to proceed is great. There is no right or wrong.

Documenting your supplies can serve multiple purposes. Having a specific medium on one page lets you see at a glance the color ranges available to you in that specific medium.  You are able to compare various hues and shades of one color for a specific project you are working on.  I have even documented all one color family from every available medium I have onto one page.  This is fun, and I use these pages the most frequently of all of my documented supply pages.  At a glance I can know instantly which specific shade of a color family I want to use in project.

For our Artful Journeys Pre-Launch Prompt #2

I have documented a set of Prang watercolors that I have never documented before anywhere.  I applied this cool grid stamp (Northwoods Rubber Stamps, Inc.) into my 9x12" mixed media journal and stamped it the appropriate number of times to use as the base and then applied each color from each pan to an individual box.  Since the colors are not named or numbered, I didn't give them either.  The edges of my blocks are filled in with Prang watercolor in black.  I gave the whole thing a light wash in a cerulean blue.

Since I always enjoy this type of documentation, and since I purchased a full set of Gelatos a few weeks ago, I decided to document those as well.  For this page, I made it a little more complicated.  I prepared the background first with  green & teal Derwent Inktense blocks and a baby wipe, then added some dots with Dr. Phil's Bombay Ink in white using just the dropper tip.  I used an oval punch and cut out the appropriate number of ovals out of 90 pound cold press watercolor paper to the number of gelatos in my set.  Using a broad tip Uniball Signo pen in black, I outlined the ovals and drew a center line, then applied the Gelato colors to each oval.  Then, I used my finger to "schmear" one side "dry" and used a #6 pointed round watercolor brush to the other half so that I would know the color intensity both wet and dry.  Each oval was glued to the page in the order my set is laid out in the box.

A close-up view of the bottom few rows of the Gelato documentation.

The paintbrush was sketched with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen in black, then colorized using the Prang watercolors.

Ta-daaaaaaaa.  Another handy reference is complete!

In case you'd like to see some of the other "documentations" I have done, here is a quick little peek.

Color mixing documentation

Koi Field Watercolor Kit            Single color family documentation

Documentation of my set of Portfolio Oil Pastels


This little "flip chart" documents all my colored pens on high grade 100% rag cardstock. I did a water test on each brand to determine whether or not they were waterfast and permanent as stated, or not.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cover Finished!

Last night I finally finished the cover on my new Canson 9x12" mixed media journal that I will be using this year at Artful Journeys.  I had already decided to go bigger this year, because in the past I have used both the Strathmore Mixed Media 5x8" journal and the Visual Journal the same size because of "big white page fright".  My confidence is much better this year, and I am not so intimidated by the "big white page"!  Using a larger journal will allow me to do spreads that would be the size of a double spread in my smaller journals without fighting the wire spiral.  I will also be using Dyan Reaveley's large size Dylusions Journal throughout the year. It still is in its pristine state, so we'll talk about that journal later!

First, I primed the cover with a medium coat of Liquitex Gesso and let it dry.  I used smooth and coarse brushes, just to give the extra smooth surface of the cover a little texture.  Then I applied craft acrylics by Folk Art and Apple Barrel in Turquoise, Violet Pansy, Lavender, Black and Fuchsia. Once the turquoise paint was almost dry, (which I applied first)  I wiped it in assorted spots with a baby wipe, removing some of the paint to let the gesso peek through, giving more dimension to the paint.  I went with Turquoise around the edges to try and blend in with the tiny bit of the cover color that would remain at the spiral. It is just too tedious to get in-between all those loops!

I salvaged the silhouettes from some advertising that came in the mail and fussy cut them out and applied to the painted cover.  I added Stickles in Crystal to the Fuchsia "fireworks" in the center of the page and went around the purple part with a black china marker and smudged with my finger and the eraser end of a pencil dedicated solely to china marker use.  The textile was sent to me from a friend in Australia and applied with Liquitex Gel Medium and dried for a couple of hours.  The chipboard letters are by K&Company and were hiding out in my stash.  They had a sticky backing, but I used some Elmers Glue to make sure they wouldn't come off during repeated handling throughout the year, and then applied more gel medium over the top and let that dry.  The year letters are turquoise and wonderfully glittery and are called "Thickers" by American Crafts and are also chipboard. I used the same method as for the letters for application.

White highlights and doodles were made using my broad tip Uniball Signo pen in white.  Once the whole thing had dried completely (with a little help from my heat gun), I then applied a thin layer of gel medium over the entire cover to effective "seal" everything.  This morning everything is really good and dry and ready to use over and over and over throughout the year.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way it all turned out.  What are you doing to the cover of your journal for 2015?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Preparing for the New Year

Now that Artful Journeys is open and off to a great start, I wanted to share my take on our first pre-launch prompt which was to create a 2015 whole-year calendar.

So to start the AJ year off, I went bigger.  A LOT bigger!  I am presently using a Canson Mixed Media wire bound journal in 9"x12".  I love using mixed media paper as it holds up well to heavy wet work with all my assorted paints and is sturdy enough to support heavy embellishments and all those bits n' bobs we love adding to our journals.  While I frequently work on loose paper, having pages sturdy enough to hold more watercolor paper and embellishments is important to me, and this particular journal is the exact size of the paper I like to use.  If I work on loose paper, all I have to do it glue it into the journal or add as a tip-in with washi or decorative tape.

This page's background was created with Laguna Blue, Diva Pink & White Apple Barrel craft acrylic, applied with a large flat shader in broad sweeping motions.  In addition to these colors, I added in Kiwi to my circles, some of which were painted with my fingers, some with a #6 round brush. Accents in black & white were brushed in and dots applied quite easily with the tip of the brush.  I drew and then fussy cut the year, added some circles  and then just glued them onto the page.  Quite frankly, I'm not very happy with them and may gesso over them later and change their color.  The calendar part I got in the mail from one of my favorite charities. I cut the advertising part off, glued the whole thing down and outlined it with a black china marker, smudging with my fingers and the eraser end of a pencil dedicated solely to "china marker smudging".  Lord knows you couldn't erase anything with it at this point!

We were asked "why" create a calendar page in your journal.  Well, I like having calendar pages in my journals.  They are a great way to start the year off, are handy to refer to later, and as the year progresses, adding in a monthly calendar along the way helps to document when you create pages in your journal.  By the time the year is over, you have a clear, annual progression of all the art you created throughout the year and know exactly when you created it!  I  know no better reason than that.  Often, I forget to actually date my work, so I find a calendar quite helpful.

Each week, I will be far more diligent about sharing the work I've created with you, and give you some insights how I created it.  Certainly I have a lot to learn, so maybe we can all learn together.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A New Adventure Begins!

Today marks a day to be grateful.  Grateful for family. Grateful for blessings beyond measure. Grateful for wonderful friends.  Grateful for oh, so many things.  My family had a wonderful day together, filled, as always,  with lots of love, hugs, laughter, food & football.  What is a Thanksgiving Day without all that, right?  But in addition to all this goodness, today a new adventure also begins.

This evening, four other friends and I have launched a new art group, dedicated to art on paper, art journals and art in our daily planners called ARTFUL JOURNEYS on Facebook.  And to work in conjunction with the group, our beautiful new blog, ARTFUL CHICKS has been launched simultaneously.  The five of us are already managing ARTFUL MAIL GROUPIES together, our fun, close-knit mail art swap group, so this is just a natural progression of what we're already doing..... playing with our art supplies and our online friends from around the world.

So if you're looking for a fun group of arty people where you aren't just a number, this is the art journaling group for you!  We have weekly art prompts to spur on your creativity, mid-week pop-up art challenges, tutorials, guest artists and more art than you can shake a stick at!

Tell your friends, bring your journals, or your daily planner or just some paper and your art supplies and come get creative with us. If you've never journaled before, we'll help you with that too.  It is all about starting and putting the pen to paper.  No pressure, no deadlines. Work at your own pace and we'll encourage you the entire way!  You won't find more supportive friends anywhere.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Art Challenge

A quick little Artful Daily Craft Challenge by our own Lynn Jackson over at Artful Mail Groupies was to create a greeting card using some of your scraps.  Mine came together rather quickly and easily, so I expanded and got some more paper bits off my desktop and made two tags!

The GREETING CARD was made from on-hand white cardstock, cut to 5-1/2" x 8" and folded. I prepared the background with Portfolio water soluble Oil Pastel in green and smoothed it out with a baby wipe.  I had a long strip leftover from another art project that was created by scraping the acrylic paint background then finger painting and brush painting circles and swirls that I cut to size and adhered with plain old Elmer's School Glue.  The stamp is by Stampabilities and I used a Uniball Signo broad tip pen for the highlights and Special Black Copic marker for the edging.

TAGS:  90 lb coldpress watercolor scraps adhered to precut tags that came in happy mail. The sunflower stamps are by Hero Arts and Comotion. The swirl stamp is by A Stamp in the Hand.  On the large sunflower, I used Prismacolor pencils, Sakura gelly pens and Special Black Copic marker.  On the small sunflower tag, the background is made with Dylusions ink sprays on scrap 90 pound cold press watercolor paper scrap leftover from another project.  I added the swirl stamps, and finished off the sunflower with Sakura Gelly pens and Copic markers, and a scrap painted strip across the bottom that was just randomly in my way on my desktop.

This whole quick craft took less than an hour for all 3 pieces.

Spend a few minutes and make yourself something fun with ephemera laying around your art space.  You know there's something fun to use in that pile you've been meaning to sort out, so go have some fun for yourself today!

Friday, November 21, 2014

AMG Pop Up Art Challenge

I challenged our group members at Artful Mail Groupies to a pop-up art challenge today.

The challenge: create art just for yourself using any medium or substrate and using at least one "found" object.  Time limit was 45 minutes from start to finish.

So, in the spirit of fun and needing to make something just for me, this is my 22 minute effort. I used two 3x5" index cards glued together, adhered some scrap background paper I had leftover that was painted with Daffodil Yellow and Lagoon Blue craft acrylic and Tulip Fabric paint in Turquoise.  I have a whole big sack full of interesting "found objects" and used the first 4 things I pulled out:  2 silvertone hoop earrings, an acrylic heart charm and a clear glass marble.  I removed the bale and fish hook wire from the bottom one, and crimped down the little bits that remained so I wouldn't hurt myself later.  The charm and the clear acrylic dangly part on the bottom earring are both loose to give the piece motion.  Lettering done on a piece of scrap watercolor paper with a Signo Uniball Bold black pen and .05 Sakura Micron pen.

This was a fun challenge.  When the whole thing dries thoroughly, I will edge the card with a Special Black Copic marker to finish it off.

Won't you take the challenge too?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shout Out!

Wow, I got a fantastic shout-out Saturday (10/11/14) on Kris Hubick's blog, Retro Cafe' Art Gallery about my trio of Frida Shrines! How exciting is that?  

If you'd like to check it out, I'd be so proud.  You can visit Kris' blog post HERE and you can find my little mention about halfway down the page.

If you missed my post about making these awesome shrines, just pop over to it by clicking here and see the process and fun I had making these darling shrines.

With the holidays coming up, I have picked a few things from their holiday collection to work on and show you, so stay tuned for more artful fun!

It is so awesome to get validation from others. So today I'm all puffed up and proud.

As always, I'm keepin' it artful!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


It is no secret that sunflowers are my favorite.

I draw them all the time,  paint them on every available (or suitable) surface in my home. There are big sunflowers, little sunflowers, purchased sunflowers, latex sunflowers.  I paint and share out sunflowers at every opportunity to spread sunshine into the homes and lives of many.  How can  you not smile when  you see a sunflower?  Such happy flowers!

This week is no exception.  This tag is of course, a sunflower, hand drawn on vintage 1949 school book text with my trusty black Sakura Gelly Pen and colored with Caran d'Ache NeoColors II (a birthday gift from the husband, that I selected, ordered and paid for with his credit card!--he hates shopping) The flower was further embellished with Derwent Inktense blocks, both wet and dry and a touch of water soluble oil pastels.  The background was prepared with acrylic paint and Derwent Inktense blocks.  It measures about 4" x 8" and was hand cut from a manila file folder. The Haiku, which I love to compose, tells a brief little story about the sunflower.

During the hot summer months here in north Texas, there were many fields filled with giant sunflowers. I wanted to wander through all of them, seeing those bright faces and reliving some childhood fun.  But it seemed I was always in a hurry to get somewhere.  Next summer, I'm taking time to stop.

So enjoy my little ray of sunshine today.  I hope it brings you a smile too.  This one will be winging its way on Monday to a new home.

Stay artful!

Friday, October 10, 2014

I won!

Yes, you saw that right!  I was the winner of the Mixing It Up Every Day Blog Hop and the fantastic prize generously donated by Cottonwood Arts!  My prize package arrived this week and my fingers are just itching to play with all these new wonderful goodies, but most especially the journal notebook.  The notebook is constructed inside of illustration board, has a lovely weight and lays perfectly flat when opened, a big plus in my book!

Also included in my prize package was a nice sample pack, a set of Laminated Coldpress sheets, a set of 5x7" rounded corner coldpress sheets and a nice set of rounded corner art boards.  All are designed to use with wet or mixed media, so I am excited to play with every single bit of it.  Stay tuned for the creations!  My good karma aura is really shining right now!    And many thanks again to Sandee Setliff & Tamiko McCurry at Mixing It Up Every Day for a really fun blog hop, and to Cottonwood Arts for providing such a great prize!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Frida Times Three and One for Me!

Frida Kahlo is a life-force for me. Her strength, her sense of self-empowerment, her ability to deal with the life curves she was given inspires me.  I want to grow up and be this strong of a woman.

Back in June, I had this grand idea to honor all that is Frida with a month long hommage to Frida in July, her birthday month, through our swaps at Artful Mail Groupies.  We had a swap a week for 5 weeks.....the "Blue House" swap, the "Hair Adornments" swap, the "Black & White" swap and the generic Frida Art swap.  Due to my own time constraints, I only participated in the Art swap.  Sure, I had an idea what I wanted to do.  But for whatever reason, it wasn't coming together. Not the sketches. Not the paint. Not "nuthin'".  I started and threw away about 10 efforts, not satisfied with any of them.

I received this beautiful piece from  Sharon Denny Parcel and after seeing her gorgeous work, felt even more helpless and hopeless in my grand scheme to create something wonderful to exchange with my partner.

So for several days (or was it longer?) I anguished over my seeming inability to create something exciting and wonderful to share back with her.  In a fit of pique, I went trolling on Pinterest, YouTube and tons of websites looking for some sort of divine inspiration. And then, there is was. Right in front of me.  The lightbulb went on.  I didn't have to draw or paint at all. I could push that big, fat failure to the floor and silence my screaming Inner Critic and make something fun, unique, pretty & different!  Yay!

Set the stage at Retro Cafe Art website and there she was. My possibility.  And the ideas were flashing through my head like an old flip movie. Flash! Flash! Flash!  Flowers, beads, lace, crowns, it!  So I did.

I ordered three Frida Shrine kits from Retro Cafe Art (and there were 3 to choose from, so deciding was difficult) {{see them here}} and awaited anxiously for their arrival. Thankfully, shipment was prompt, as always, and in just a few days, they were at my doorstep.  Oh boy!  I couldn't wait!

The directions for putting them together were easy to follow, although I did have a couple of issues. It was the "comprehension" part that made putting mine together harder. ha!  I gathered up my favorite adhesive glue and got busy assembling the shine. Great. The first one is together.  The second and third assembled much faster, of course.  The material was a good quality, heavy Masonite, with a dark stain. When put together, the center is the size of ATC's, great for storing Frida ATC's, or to decorate like a real shrine (which is what I did on Frida #1).  I thought it looked very nice in its arrival state. So I was very pleased with everything about these shrines. (sadly, I didn't take a picture... I was too excited and ripped right into them).  They came in 5 pieces, that you just pushed out of the framing. Easy peasy.

Now for the fun part!  My thinking was that I would make one for myself first to see how it went, how it looked and what I might want to do differently on the 2nd and third ones.  I knew I would not store ATC's in my shrine.  So I began to "build" the inside of the shrine with some nifty little circle mirrors on the back wall, tarted up with some flat acrylic jewels.   So what to use for the pedestal? I really want to make it like a shrine. Shrines have shrine like things, like pedestals!  Dig, rummage, dig.  Idea!

I have a huge supply of glass beads (used in my fused glass projects), and they are rather flat on the top and bottom. More glue to create a pedestal, another mirror circle on top. And to sit atop my newly formed pedestal is a treasured prayer box charm sent to me quite some time ago by a dear friend.  Voila!  Interior of the shrine is complete! I used these same jewels to build "feet" on the shrine to elevate it.  I had been saving this beautiful green stone star that would make a perfect base for a pedestal.

Next, I direct my attention to the exterior and to Frida.  More digging and rummaging through the supply cache (this took a while) to find the perfect bits.  I selected a dark scrapbooking paper for the sides of my shrine that looked like tree bark, that was cut to fit both sides.  Textile trim added to the front, along with a nifty little oval label.  I'm pretty happy with that. And of course some beaded "feet" to elevate the whole shrine. I didn't like it flat on the surface.

Then, and at last, Frida herself.  

How tarted up should she be?  This definitely required quite a few minutes of thought.  More digging in the stash.  I was pretty sure I wanted her to be wearing blue, symbolic of The Blue House.  So I selected my Peacock Blue Copic marker and colored her top.  I added the very tippy edge of some lace trim I had, fussy cutting it very carefully and affixing to the edge of the top. "Lipstick" was applied with R29 Lipstick Red Copic Marker, and highlights to her cheeks with V01 Health Copic Marker.

A beautiful woman must wear jewelry, right?  More digging. Aha!  Seed beads were the perfect thing and the perfect size. So a "necklace" was created to cover up the printed one, which I didn't care too much for.

Now, I must pay attention to her hair and her head.  Frida seemed to always wear some type of adornments in her hair.  More digging, of course.  Flowers, jewels, and there it was......a crown. That was it!  This cute little crown was sent to me in  Happy Mail. And curiously enough, some of the gals at AMG call me the "Queen Bee" so it seemed just fitting my MY Frida would have a crown.  But it was plain and boring.  Out came the gold Stickles.  I selected several graduating size "jewels" for her crown and got those all applied.  Very happy with that, and then another decision.... straight? angled left? angled right?   I finally settled on the jaunty angle to the right. Gave her some great attitude, didn't it?  I have attitude.  So it worked for me.

And while the Stickles was out, little dots were added to the center of the flower trim around each shrine, giving each a touch more glimmer and shine.  Can't have too much bling, right?

So now, I step back and admire the handiwork.  Loving it!  So I eagerly got busy and finished up the other two so I could ship both off to my assigned partners, albeit with a late mailing date.  Both were similarly prepared with fussy cut lace textiles, Copic markers, seed beads, and since the other two were planned to go to members of my mail art group, I made both just alike, with a flower and jewel hair adornment on each, both with decorative paper on the inside of the box by PapayaArt.  Both oval buttons were alike but different, giving each her own little flair.  And, there can only be one Queen, right?

Don't you think my trio turned out super cute????

Overall, I was very pleased with these little kits. The price on each was reasonable, ordering and shipping was user friendly and blessedly fast. They were very easy to assemble and made my Frida project way more fun to finish and get off to their intended recipients.

So if you love all things Frida Kahlo like I do, this little project would be a great addition to your collection.

My Queen Frida now lives on a bookshelf, adjacent to my art desk where she watches over me, giving me inspiration from the great beyond...ever watchful that I get as much joy working on my new projects as I had working on her.

Keeping it artful~~


Friday, September 19, 2014


Welcome to the Mixing it Up loves Cottonwood Arts Blog Hop!

This is a closed blog hop just for the members of the Mixing it Up Every Day Face Book group so that we can get to know each other better. Having said that, if you are not in our group, please feel free to leave a comment anyway and come join us over on FaceBook. We would love to get to know you better too. Here's are the links to everyone's blogs. Remember in order to have a chance to win the prize package from Cottonwood Arts you must:1. Be a blog hostess 2. Leave a comment on everyone's blog


Sandee Setliff
Tiare Smith Woods
Martice Smith II
Tiffany Goff Smith
Anna Turner Ely
Cat von Hassel-Davies
Terri Sproul
Sharon D. Estes
Betty Guffey Richardson
Tommy Jo Vilello Anderson
Melissa Willard Edwards
Donna Simmons Lueders
Jean Marmo
Tamiko McCurry

                                                   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We were asked to answer the question: Are you a journal hoarder?

THIS IS A TRICKY QUESTION!  I suppose you first have to determine what IS a hoarder. To me, a hoarder is a person who has things, but doesn't necessarily use them. Most hoarders keep useless, random things just for the sake of keeping them. I do have a tendency to purchase new journals to use as I make and give away journals all the time, so I do have a large stash of journals on hand. Would you consider this hoarding? Maybe. Do I? No way!!! Those blank journals are inspiration to create something new and fresh on those clean, pristine pages with "opportunity for healing" on the inside! I also do buy Moleskin and Picadilly notebooks to give away for prizes when we hold contests in my mail art group, Artful Mail Groupies. I did stock up at the back-to-school sales in late August on Composition Notebooks (a whole case!). I make a ton of these, altered, for beginning art journalers like women in crisis and others who could benefit from the experience of journaling and creative art therapy. I host a small journaling class once a month at our local rural library, in addition to working with battered women's shelters, residential rehabilitation facilities, local cancer treatment centers, the local Dept. of Human Services caseworker for our area and I volunteer once a month at two assisted living centers where we make art, be creative and have lots of fun!  Giving back makes me happy. Putting a smile on a woman's face that really needs one is one of my greatest blessings.

Here's a look at the journals I am currently using, most of which have a distinct purpose for each. My current cache of working journals are:

1. "Thoughts & Inspirations" - a little pocket ledger that I use to record quotes and sayings that appeal to me throughout the year, with a few simple sketches, or pen & pencil drawings.  The paper is quite thin.

2. "Art Exploration" Journal - This journal is for play and experimentation with supplies, media, techniques and where I also document all my supplies of pens, markers, paints, etc. It became so fat I had to remove the spiral binding and replace with binder rings to hold it together. It has about reached its maximum capacity so a new "play" journal is on the horizon in my art world. It started its life as a mixed media journal, but now it has every kind of paper in it imaginable.

3. "Create Everyday" Journal - this has been my go-to journal to create pages just for me; it is a place I feel happy, safe and alive and where I use goodies that I have received from around the world in the many wonderful happy mail packages arriving in my mailbox. It too is nearing its end, only 1 more page left, so I will get to start fresh once again.  This journal started its life as mixed media journal from Strathmore.

4. "DLP Planner/Journal" - This is my daily planner/journal that I started in January with The Documented Life Project. Sadly, I am behind in the art prompts, but I do record all my events, appointments, happenings, and life bits. Next year, I definitely will use a different style planner because the tip ins really make this thing fat and chunky. I am fearing by the time I am totally caught up with all the art prompts, it may come apart.

5. "Red Journal 52" Journal - This journal is for the weekly art prompts at Journal 52 where one prompt is given a week to incorporate into the journal. I do a lot of actual journaling in this book, where I am also way behind on the art prompts. Life-interruptus has way-laid my art of late.

6. "The Striped Journal" -- This is an el-cheapo journal I picked up at our local dollar store to record favorite poetry, to write my own poetry and short stories in. About the only "art" i can put in here on the super thin pages are sketches or pen and pencil work. This journal helps keeps my writing skills "up to snuff" and allows me the time and the space to contemplate things on a higher plain.

7. "The Inspiration Journal" - This little journal is the place I make notes about ideas I want to try, where I smash in pictures, articles and all sorts of things that inspire me. Sadly, most the things I have saved that do inspire me need to go IN the journal, not in the box where they currently reside. This little book gives me some mojo when I need it, that little glimmer of sunshine to spark more creativity.

8. "The Coffee Journal" - this journal is dedicated solely to all things "Coffee". Yes, I am a coffee junkie. Hot, cold, luke warm, leftover. I am in love with the dark, robust brew that is truly my comfort beverage. Happy? Make coffee. Sad? Make coffee. Give up my Keurig? NEVER.

9. "The AFTHAS Journal" - a tarted up Picadilly writing journal that I use everyday. Purchased from Art for the Heart and Soul as a contribution for their non-profit projects. Some artwork in here, but not so much. This is where I really get in touch with my days. There is another, in-waiting, of course.

10. "Little Blue" - this is a new pocket journal made by Graphique with fantastic paper inside, to carry in my purse for the endless hours spent waiting at the doctor's office, for oil changes and elsewhere.

On top of these "working" journals, I have several albums that I store incoming postcards, Artist Trading Cards and artwork in. Each is treasured for the love that is contained inside them, because that is what they are to me. Filled with love from friends new and old from around the world and to my little corner of the earth.

I recently purchased 3 "GreenDesign Works" notebooks to try out for journaling. The paper is very nice, are 100% post-consumer recycled materials with soy ink and are a nice size for toting around (A5). The pack of 3 came with a blank, a weekly planner and a lined notebook. They are still in their pristine form at the moment so they anxiously await some fresh creativity. It was my idea to use the "planner" one for monthly "mini art". The pages are divided into boxes for the month, which would be ideal for creating approximate "Twinchies" each day of the month, filling the page with miniature art for 30 days. Here are some of the newbies, awaiting fun inside!

This journal was a recent purchase that just had my name all over it. Made by Recollections and designed by PapayaArt. The imagery is just lovely with a nice chipboard cover, beautiful decorated pages that will surely be full to overflowing in a few months time.

This altered composition notebook is one I am currently working on for a young lady in crisis who wants to start journaling and creative therapy to help her with her own healing process. I will be delivering it to her in a few days time with a cache of supplies and prompts to help get her started on her journey. These projects bring me great joy to be able to give back to women in my area who need a friend, a helping hand, a word of encouragement and some emotional support.

Sooooooo, the end result of this self-examination? I think I might be seeing a pattern here. Maybe I am a journal hoarder in the eyes of the world around me. To me, no. Each individual journal has a purpose, and each is ready for a new beginning. I look around and see them tucked here and there, some hidden away, some readily accessible for when the mood strikes. They do get used and there are times when there are no "new" journals hiding or lurking anywhere in my home. I am in denial? Maybe. Am I going to change it? Definitely not. The feel of a new journal, the paper, and the smell of that fresh clean paper always excites and invigorates me and my brain. Why would I take away that glorious feeling of knowing they are there??!

SEE THAT GORGEOUS PRIZE OVER THERE--->>>>>>> ??? I am anxious and hopeful that I will be the lucky recipient of this great Cottonwood Arts "prize" for our bloghop. I have heard many wonderful things about their products, but have not been able to get any to play with so far, so the fingers are crossed. If someone else is the lucky winner, I will be happy for them, and get busy and get a Cottonwood Arts Cold Pressed journal for my own use and to have "on hand" and ready to go when my journals are full.


Here are a few of the pages from some of my journals. Some different styles and techniques that I have had fun playing with.

I love this image of Audrey Hepburn and just had to use her based on a prompt in Daisy Yellow to use the color "Red". Collage elements on red acrylic background with Sakura Gelly Roll pen, Scarlet Lime pen, Copic marker and Derwent Inktense block.

This page was just for fun, full of out-and-out play and genuine wild abandon! Definitely a departure from my customary style. Background done with Derwent Inktense color blocks. I also used watercolor, acrylic and Copic markers.

We did a Kandinsky-inspired ATC swap over at Artful Mail Groupies a few months ago, and it was so much fun, I made a whole journal page to keep enjoying the experience. Wassilly Kandinsky is one of my favorite artists, so I enjoyed trying to emulate his style. There are some collage elements, all watercolor on cold press with acrylic embellishments.

Oh what fun collage can be. This definitely has a distinct "sewing" theme where I used some favorite goodies I received in happy mail. "Aged" with a Memento stamp pad in cocoa and faux stitching with my trusty Scarlet Lime pen by Christy Tomlinson.

This page was about "mixing it up" on a very down day for me and getting rid of my "black" mood. All done in black, grey and white. the "rain" added with a Sakura Gelly pen. After it was all said and done, I go back and find it to be quite powerful. It surely helps me remember and be grateful for all the blessings in my life.

This page has tons of layers of acrylic paint, stencils, collage and hand embellishments. I see it, I smile. It is a constant reminder to me that the world is truly my oyster. 

A fun page with an asian-inspired theme and an adorable stamped image also sent to me in happy mail by a great friend. The background paper, also written in some asian language (which I do not know what it is).

Of course this ATC is in my Coffee Journal, and made for a coffee-themed swap I did in one of the groups I participate in from time to time. I made little pockets for each card to live in, coordinated with the "cup" 

This is my most recent journal page, in the Create Everyday journal. I love pigs and chickens, and this vintage image just spoke to me. The background is in acrylic with the piggys collaged on, aged with Memento Cocoa stamp pad, and colored with Prismacolor pencils and some Copic markers in cool gray for additional highlights.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit and I hope you enjoyed my little journal tour. I'd appreciate a comment or two! Be sure and visit all the other participants in this blog hop and see what great things they are all doing! If you aren't subscribed to my blog, I invite you to do so, and I will surely be subscribing to yours.

Ciao, bella!
Make it an artful day!