Saturday, June 27, 2015

Make Way for a Writing Life!

My library of writing inspiration continues to grow.
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I have been able to write.

I suppose, by definition, as long as I have been writing, I HAVE been a writer!

At my youngest, "playing school" involved writing stories in response to my sister's assignments.
One of my earliest diary entries.  I was an art journaler from the!
In elementary school, my favorite tasks were sentence starters, when my teachers would begin a story, such as, "You are walking down the sidewalk, when you see a strange pair of glasses.  When you pick them up...." and then our job was to finish the story.
The journals I've been keeping on-and-off since I was seven years old.
In middle and high school, I wrote for the school newspaper and our literary magazines.  I even joined literary magazines publishing works of students from school districts across the city.

In college, I never stopped writing, with classes in English, American, and Spanish literature, plus a multitude of history courses.

In my twenties and thirties, I dreamed of becoming a published author, and my journals hold constant chastisements that I never make it past writing diary entries.  I have always been conscious that my desire to dedicate myself to writing never goes away, and yet I haven't contributed the time or ambition to make it happen in any intentional way.
Stories and quotations from published writers contain a wealth of inspiration.
Now I am in my forties, and while I don't think I'm running out of time, exactly, I'm certainly not getting any younger.  I am back to my commonplace books, collecting inspiration from the lives of famous writers.  (A discouraging number of them, by the way, seem to have died in their 40s!)
More spreads from my current commonplace book
I am back to my daily writing in the style of Julia Cameron's morning pages (though my writing seldom takes place in the morning).  And I am planning to do some focused writing for my Living Stones blog, since I am most interested in focusing on matters of faith and Christianity.

Because of my renewed focus and intention, I am going to put this Drawing Near blog on a bit of a hiatus.  It has become clear that I cannot keep too many balls in the air at the same time, and if I am going to sustain my writing practice, then my art and crafting is going to take a backseat for awhile.  I hope to maintain my blogging and mail art friendships, and am still interested in swaps with those who might be interested.  I continue to be reachable at  But for awhile, at least, I won't be making updates on this blog.

It is likely I will pop back in from time to time when I can't bear to be away any longer, but for now, it won't be on any kind of a regular basis.

So be well, my friends.  I continue to wish you lives of creativity, hope, and happiness!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wrecking My Journal

Have you discovered the "Wreck This Journal" trend, begun by guerrilla artist Keri Smith somewhere around 2007?

Some people go through whole stacks of her books.  There are challenges and clubs where people wreck their journals together and share their result, and loads of personal blogs and Pinterest boards where people post their approaches to all of the different pages.
I'm still making my way slowly through my first Wreck This Journal, purchased on a beach trip a couple of years ago.

Some of the prompts don't lend themselves much to sharing (for example, "Slide the journal (this page face-down), down a long hallway" and "Scrub this page"), but I thought I'd show some of the more colorful pages.
As I was doing this page, one of my daughters thought maybe I wasn't really trying to wreck the journal; she told me the page was much too pretty!  Even the back looks pretty cool:
From circle doodling to line doodling:

A real favorite was collecting fruit stickers; my girls got in on that one right away, and we had quite a rush on the fruit as soon as I brought it in from the grocery store:
I, of course, love all the prompts that have me cutting and pasting, my favorite pastime, like this one for collecting postage off of my mail:
And a page of good thoughts:

And four-letter words:
There are plenty of pages that are not particularly aesthetically pleasing, but they're in there!
Sometimes I like to be completely literal:
And for my most colorful and fun page to date:
My girls were absolutely obsessed with my Wreck This Journal, so their grandma got them their own copies for Christmas:
They sit around and pour over the possibilities, even more than they actually complete the pages.  They giggle endlessly over such prompts as "Chew on this" (with an arrow pointing down at the page), "Sleep with the journal. (Describe the experience here.)," "Collect your pocket lint.  Glue it here.", and "Tongue painting" (which always makes their Mommy squeal "Ewwww!").
The prompts are crazy and the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Collaged Coin Envelope Mini-Books

Of all my 80 boards on Pinterest (Yikes!  How did that happen?), I think my very favorite is my Book and Journal Making Board.  Pretty much any pin on it makes me want to head directly to my studio and pull out my supplies.  Recently I was looking for a super-simple book-making design to try, so I clicked on my pin for Julie Fei-Fen Balzer's coin envelope books.

She has two designs:  One has the envelopes opening to the outside edge so that tags and such can be tucked inside the pages:
The other design has the envelopes opening up toward the inside spine:
I made each type of book in two different sizes, and then chose one of the tag-ready books to collage for a final project.
I had a lot of fun just playing around with the pages, using my rubber stamps, which don't always get a whole lot of use around here anymore, as well as some paper and sticker goodies from my awesome blog friend Pamela at Cappuccino and Art Journal.  Here is the little book's cover:
And a peek at the spreads inside:
 And the back cover of the mini-book:
I made tag inserts from a BINGO card, scrapbook paper, and business envelope liners, and added baker's twine pull strings. Each pocket of the mini-book has its own tag.
So here is the final result of the collaged coin envelope mini-book, complete with tags:
For very clear instructions on putting these coin envelope books together, visit Julie's blog here!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy Mail!

I have been heading to the mailbox eagerly each day since signing up for iHanna's International Postcard Swap for this spring.  I have not been disappointed, either, and am happy to share with you the artwork that I've received over the past week.

The very first postcard I received from the swap came from Jan;
I think the postmark says Iowa:
Next came this card from Patty in Washington:
 And the backside of Patty's postcard, which is just as fun as the front:
Along with Patty's I received this postcard from Rachel in Texas:
And today I opened my mailbox to four postcards at once!
From Charlotte M in Sweden:
From Julie in Pennsylvania
(clear across the state, but practically neighbors, relatively speaking!):
From Robin in New Zealand:
(I added the label to cover up my street address.)
And on the backside of Robin's card:
From Lynn in Florida:
This means that I have received seven cards of ten for the official swap.  But I got an extra surprise!  When I visited Sarah's blog, I commented on her amazing results with foam stamps, as well as her awesome use of a transfer technique to let the colors show through.  So what did awesome Sarah do?  She sent me an extra postcard that she had made!  My lucky day!
It has been awhile since I've sent and received much mail art, and it has been such a delight going to the mailbox each day to see what might be there for me!  We've had some torrential rains over the past few days, so I've been lucky to rescue these none the worse for wear.  We'll see what the next few days hold!