Friday, April 29, 2011

Art Journal Every Day: Friday Update

April is almost over, and I am continuing to challenge myself to work a little bit in my art journal every day.  Julie, who encourages us art journalers in this challenge, calls it "ten minutes of nourishing your creative self every day...Just play!"  And that's exactly what I am learning to do.  I didn't push myself to do as much over the Easter holiday because there was so much else going on.  And not worrying too much about that was an important step too!

Inspired by the Good Friday and Easter services at my church, Media Presbyterian, I created this spread in my journal:
This is the first time that my faith has really played a role in the content of my art journal, and it is something I have wanted to do for awhile now. 
I used the mesh from a bag of clementines as the stencil behind one of the smaller crosses, and wrote lyrics from the songs we sang at Good Friday services around all three of the crosses. 

I used pan watercolors (also a first for me, as I've only used tube colors previously) directly on sketchbook pages not meant for wet media to paint the crosses and the butterfly.  By keeping the paint fairly dry, I didn't wrinkle up the pages too badly, and I really like how the butterly came out.  I used a yellow ultra-fine Sharpie to write the Biblical account of the women at the empty tomb in the background of the butterfly.

The current washi-tape craze has really captured my attention, and I've bookmarked various sites for ordering some rolls of it for myself.  But I've been dragging my feet, not SURE how I would use it.  At JoAnn's the other day, I found some "fabric tape" sold among the stickers, and I think it might be very similar to the washi tape I've been seeing. 
On this page, I just cut pieces of the fabric tape and taped it down kind of randomly down the page, then journaled around and between the pieces.

Finally, I collaged a few pages in preparation for future journaling.  I used some more of the tape here, along with discarded book pages, catalog/ brochure pictures, and a scrap from an old calendar.  I think the spread looks SO much better in person than how it came out in these photos, and I already have some plans for continuing with the pages.

And one final page in the early stages of preparation:

I want to share with you two blog addresses for women who sent me postcards in Hanna's swap, since I did not include them in my earlier posts.  You can find Adrianne's blog at, and Stephanie's blog at

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's On Your Work Desk? Wednesday!

{The beautiful mess that is my desk}

I’m back to making bookmarks! Last month, I discovered Aimee’s collaged bookmarks over at Artsyville, and made a few batches looking for the perfect size bookmark. Since I love making small collages so much, I find myself coming back to this bookmark project again and again. Last week, I made these, using my stash of blue papers:

Now I have a new batch in the making, using my stash of green papers. That’s the project I have on my desk, pictured above.  I'll post them when they're finished!

I am also starting to think about yet another bookmark project, inspired by the April/May/June issue of Somerset Life. Diane Rose Geer uses vintage recipe cards, both handwritten and typed, along with lace, trim, papers, and other embellishments to create “cook bookmarks”. I am toying around with a version that uses recipes from old, discarded cookbooks. I’ll post my results when I get further along in the project, as well.

Also, I used an article by Susan Pickering Rothamel and Frankie Fioretti in the March/April 2011 Cloth Paper Scissors to learn how to make restructured paper. It is yet another way to make use of the bits and pieces of papers that we end up with from other projects. Making the paper involves coating scraps with Perfect Paper Adhesive and layering them onto a wet silicone surface. (I used an inexpensive cutting board from Bed Bath & Beyond.) It’s a nice, wet, messy process—definitely saved for moments when my kids are taking naps or have gone to bed at night. No stepping away to find a toy or settle a toddler dispute with glue coating both of my hands!

Here is the result of my first effort:

I'm not particularly pleased with how it looks, but I like the fact that I tried it!  There are a lot of other features to the project for me to explore:  I didn’t leave too much open space among the papers, which would have added more interest to the final piece. I also did not incorporate cut, punched, or die cut shapes to create recognizable focal points. Nor did I use acrylic glaze to add color to the piece.

The authors suggest that the paper can be mounted on a background paper (which will show through the open spaces), or that it can be used for other collages or cards. Since the process of creating the paper was fun and there is so much room for future “play,” I know that I will be revisiting this project again in the future!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to…what's on YOUR work desk today??

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend Recap

At ages 2 and 3, the girls were very aware and very excited about Easter this year.  Katy is learning the days of the week, and quizzed me all week long about when Easter Sunday would finally be here!  On Thursday, the girls decorated colorful paper eggs with ribbon and stickers to send to their grandparents:
{Katy reserved one of her eggs for Mickey Mouse,
so one set of grandparents is out of luck this Easter holiday!}

Our planned Easter egg hunt up in Bryn Athyn got washed out by the rain, so we did an impromptu egg hunt around the house.  It was all the same to the girls, who had a great time finding the plastic eggs their daddy hid all around the family room and kitchen.
{Looking for eggs is serious business among the 3-year-old set!}

My mother-in-law visited for the weekend, which gave me a little break, while the girls got their Marmar to read at least a hundred books and play a little "Row, row, row your boat":

Even though the meteorologists called for raging thunderstorms on Easter Sunday, it ended up being a warm, sunny day...the most perfect springtime weather!  We all got dressed up in our new Easter dresses.
We went to church to celebrate the true reason for Easter--Jesus Christ's glorious resurrection.  It's a little too easy to lose sight of this in the midst of bunnies and Easter eggs!  It's a lot easier to talk to kids about Christmas; they can understand babies and birthdays.  Easter is a little more of a challenge:  finding ways to talk about death and resurrection and eternal life.  But as with so many other things, I know they'll grow in their understanding a little bit more each year.

Back home again, we enjoyed more Easter treats:  Easter baskets filled with chocolate and presents.  The girls don't get too many sweets, so their chocolate Easter bunnies were quite a treat!

And, of course, I use any occasion I can for new crafty fun for the girls, so they got little rubber stamps and paper pads in their baskets to enjoy:

I hope that you, too, enjoyed a joyous Easter Weekend.
Happy Easter from my family to yours!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Art Journal Every Day: Friday Update!

I didn’t do nearly as much work in my art journal this week as in previous weeks. Last night, I started to worry about what I would be posting this morning, but then I reminded myself that this challenge is not meant to stress me out. Rather, I am just using it to help me develop a daily “creative habit,” and it has certainly served that purpose!

At the beginning of the week, I came across a post on Pam Garrison’s web site that inspired me to work on this page for a couple of days:
I love the colors, and their contrast with the black lines. I went back later and added journaling in the middle.

I did a little more bird doodling:
Awhile ago, I checked out Kevin Henkes’ Birds from the library for the girls, and just loved the bold and colorful bird illustrations. I traced the outline of several of the birds, and I’ve been using those outlines to fill in with tangles.

I love finding doodling inspiration in unexpected places. When I got my February 2011 issue of Middle Ground, an educational journal published by the National Middle School Association (NMSA), I found this great drawing around the title of one of the articles:
I recreated the drawing in my art journal, with some personal thoughts journaled inside:
I added some new Zentangle patterns at the bottom of the page. I kind of like the Seaweed Border.

I finally finished my April calendar page. I used the same shadow stamp and ink colors as I used for the first half, and am continuing to record my “creative endeavors” each day.

Thank you for sharing in my art journal playtime activities!

Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter weekend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's on Your Work Desk? Wednesday!

What have I been making today? Bubbles!

We are finally enjoying some warm spring weather, so the girls and I have been taking full advantage with lots of outside time.

{Bayla, collecting rocks}

I was THRILLED to get my next postcard from iHanna’s swap. Look at this beauty, which came to me all the way from Singapore:

Many thanks to Steph for sending me this beautiful butterfly card. It’s got collaging and stamping and drawing and painting—love it!

I thought I would share a couple of other little projects that have come up over the past month or so. First, my cousin turned 30 back in March, and her husband had the greatest birthday idea: He sent a letter to a bunch of her friends asking them to send a letter of some sort to her, basically giving her birthday wishes, telling her what she means to us, that sort of thing. He collected them in a notebook to give to her. Isn’t that an amazing idea? Here is the collage I contributed to her birthday notebook:
And a detail:
I found that saying, "You are beauty full" in a catalog (Pottery Barn, maybe?), and it's a perfect fit for my cousin!  I created this just before I made my postcards for Hanna’s swap, and you can definitely see that I followed the same design here as I eventually used for my postcards.

Back in February, I posted about my love for inchies, and shared some that my three-year-old, Katy, created on pre-drawn 1x1 squares using pencil and pen. iHanna commented on that post that I should cut them out and frame them. Just after that, I was reading Shona Cole’s The Artistic Mother, and one of her projects inspired me to make this for Katy:

I put in our Christmas card photo, both because she loves that picture of the whole family (including the cat!), and because I didn’t have any other photos developed to use! She is thrilled with her picture frame, and specifically told me that she didn’t want to display it upstairs in her bedroom because she wants to carry it around.

I am so grateful to iHanna for her suggestion; otherwise, Katy's artwork would still be stuffed in a file folder in the dining room!

I didn’t want my two-year-old Bayla to feel left out in all the gift-giving, so I gave her a little felt ornament I had made awhile back but had just stashed in the basement. She loves the book I’m a Little Teapot by Iza Trapani, so she was pretty happy with her little present:
Unfortunately, she picked off one of the googly eyes within two minutes of getting the ornament, but no matter…I’ll glue it back on eventually!

Here’s hoping that you, too, are enjoying some lovely spring weather, and can get some fresh air today. It does a world of good after winter, clouds, and rain!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Postcard Update!

I thought the postcards would flood in every day last week, but they have come at more of a trickle! I have three more fun additions from iHanna’s swap. First, I received a beautiful butterfly postcard from Suzanne in California.
My photo doesn’t show off the colors or the complexity of her background paper, along with its crackle finish. Great details! Her postcard appeals to my love of orderliness and patterned paper, and she has made me look at my paper punches in a whole new way. Don’t be surprised if you see Suzanne’s influence in my art journal and future cards and ATCs!

Next, I got a fun, interactive postcard from Kim in New York. The address side (masking-taped by me for privacy!) has all kinds of fun stickers and stamps.
The back side features beautifully colored papers, a sweet hand-drawn bird, and a place for me to count my blessings, reminding me that I’m “a lucky woman”. (The word “blessings” was lost en route, but ‘tis the nature of a postcard!) What a happy postcard!

Finally, on Saturday, I received a card from Adrianne, in Oregon.
Hanging from her watercolored postcard is a crocheted heart-shaped ornament. Her message “Deer have right of way” written on washi tape made me smile! Her message on the back told me that these are her impressions from vacation. I thought she captured that part of the country nicely (though I’ve never visited myself!).

Thanks to Suzanne, Kim, and Adrianne for adding to my fun new handmade postcard collection!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Art Journal Every Day Friday

Friday rolled around pretty quickly! I have managed to work in my art journal a little bit every day during the month of April, which was my goal when I joined Julie’s Art Journal Every Day group. Friday is my day to show off, so here’s what I’ve done this past week.

Under the influence of Traci Bunker’s The Art Journal Workshop, I created this background spread using watercolor paints, baby wipes, and bubble wrap:

Under the influence of wine, I created a little cork stamp, which I added to the spread, along with some collaged pictures and journaling:
This spread, as you can tell, is far from finished.  (I have a really hard time using letter stamps without those edge lines showing on my page.  If you have any tips, I'd appreciate hearing them!)

This page shows the three cork stamps I’ve made this week. My little swirl was beginner’s luck; the other two aren’t that great!

This page has lots of tangling, thanks to the inspiration of McNeill’s Zentangle 2:

And check out how the mail can bring inspiration. I got my latest Boden catalog, with this awesome cover:
And that inspired this page:

Here’s the spread altogether:

More mail inspiration: I used a one inch square punch and a Ballard home decorating catalog and created these mosaics. Talk about meditative! It was an extremely restful exercise.

A little Zentangle bird doodle:

And, finally, when I thought I was going to blow it and not work in my journal last night, I posed this question, from Anastasiya Goers:
Then I spent 20 minutes responding on the page all around the question, but decided the answers were a little too personal to post!

Thank you for checking out my art journal progress!