Caribbean Themed Art Journal

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I haven’t had much time to do any art journaling lately, but I can show you some themed books I’ve done in the past. This one was inspired by a few trips my husband and I have taken to the Caribbean. Now that the weather has turned chilly I’m once again dreaming of sunny beaches to warm my cold toes!

I used a paper sample book and decorated the pages and the covers. I took an old paint sample strip and glued it down to use as a pocket for my three little bird tags.

Hubby and I posing on a rock with the cruise ship behind us.

A scrap of batik fabric and a polymer clay tile I made.

A tribute to some of the people I’ve had the honor of calling friend
who have since gone on

It was nice to relive moments spent in the Caribbean on this nippy autumn day. Unfortunately my feet are still cold. Time to get out the heating pad!

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Some Time to Myself

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It’s hard when you’re a mom to get some quiet time to yourself. Don’t get me wrong–I love every minute of being a mom. It goes by so quickly, if you blink you miss it. But I think it’s important to have a little time to oneself, just to recharge and have a fresh appreciation for your kids.

Early morning fog over the lake–so peaceful!

My little guy loves to hang out with me in the studio which is great, except when I’m trying to measure and calculate. I can’t tell you how many book covers I’ve cut too short because I was being yakked to death.

Another difficult thing to do is get in “the zone” while making art when you are bombarded with questions and random thoughts. “Guess what Momma? John Lennon is taller than Paul McCartney. I can’t tell about Ringo because he’s always sitting down. What happens if the school bus forgets to drop a kid off? Why is it nighttime in Australia?” and so on.

Looking up at the sky at the park, pretending I am out for a tranquil walk!

I used to get a little time to myself while my son napped during the afternoon. When he got older and stopped napping I made a desperate attempt to encourage him to have quiet time. I set the timer for 30 minutes and told him when the timer dings quiet time will be over.

After about 15 minutes I heard a ding. I looked at the clock, wondering how 30 minutes went by so fast.

“MOMMA! Quiet time is over! Timer went ding!” The little bugger forced the timer to zero! Tricky tricky!

Sadly, that was the end of quiet time.

For those of you that are parents, how do you get a little quiet time for yourself?

Art Journal Spooks

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So I’m a few weeks late getting this Halloween book posted, but better late than never, eh? 😉

Here is a Halloween-Gothic-Spooky art journal I made from a paper sample book.

I love working in these books because of the different textures, sizes, and weights of the papers inside.

Unfortunately, these little sample books are hard to come by if you don’t know someone in the printing business. I’m working on making some myself and will put them in my shop as soon as I get around to it (and you know how THAT goes!!).

I burned the edges of the “bewitching picture” with a lighter to get a ragged, darkened look. Take care when doing this technique that you don’t burn the house down! I keep a fire extinguisher in my studio just in case.

I used a lot of hand carved stamps to decorate this book. The flies, bats, and thorny briers in the photos above are all stamps I carved myself.

I’m not sure what happened to the black cat paper…it bunched up there. It looked fine when I glued it down but it must have shifted when I closed the book. The glue must have still been slightly damp.

Another reason I like these little books is that they’re great for themed journals because they’re just the right size. If they had too many pages I’d run out of ideas for the theme before I got to the end of the book!

I hope you enjoyed viewing my Spooky Art Journal! It was a lot of fun to make and I can hardly wait to get started on another themed book! I’ll let you know when I get some blank paper sample books of my own design listed in my shop.

A Happy Mistake

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I’m putting a positive spin on the fact that I screwed up one of my books! At least it was one I was making for myself and not a customer’s order.

I’m not sure how this happened, but the punching holes were off on one of my templates. I didn’t discover this until I got ready to sew the book and the holes didn’t line up.

I was able to fudge the center holes but the two outermost holes were significantly off and had to be re-punched, leaving me with an extra set of holes.

I sewed the book anyhow, trying to ignore the extra holes but when I was all finished they were screaming at me for attention. I decided to run a thread through them to make it look like I meant to do that! It adds a unique look to the book and you’d never know I screwed up except for the fact that I just told you!

One Unfinished Project Now Finished!

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I have been cleaning out my “art attic” this weekend. It is astounding to see the amount of junk one can accumulate! After filling two trash bags I am down to just two storage tubs and am quite thrilled with myself!

I had four storage tubs of miscellaneous junk such as tins, gift boxes, plastic containers, a valentine chocolate box (empty, of course), cardboard spools, bottles, and so on. I had plans for all of these items but my original intentions are long lost. If I really was going to use it, I would have by now.

There is fifth tub which is full of projects I’ve been meaning to finish. Here is an example:

This odd little box was a clearance item at Hobby Lobby. I loved the box, but not the “design” on the front. What the heck is it anyhow?? A worm? A skull?? Any ideas?

To cover up the worm-skull-thingy, I pasted this card I made at my monthly stamp club over it and voila! A useful box, which is pretty to look at also.

Yay, I can check this unfinished project off my list! Now…what to put in the box…more junk??

Art Journal Page

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“Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead.”
–Frederick Buechner

You’ve been warned…this one’s a tearjerker, but it does have a happy ending!

I don’t usually post many personal stories, but I’m long overdue for an art journal page and this is on my mind.

My little niece would have been nine years old this month. This is the only picture we have of her looking at the camera with her eyes open. Within a few hours she was unconscious, never to open her eyes again.

She was a perfectly healthy baby, full term, but due to a tragedy during delivery (and a good dose of medical negligence) we lost her. The placenta ruptured and the baby lost 75% of her blood volume during the birth.

It’s been a long hard road since then, trying to understand why, then trying to understand that I’ll never know why, and learning to accept it. Just this year, after nine years, I am finally making peace with it.

Which makes my newest little niece’s birth so sweet! I would not have the deep joy of seeing her healthy and strong had I not experienced the bitter contrast of her sister’s tragedy. Now I never take life for granted and realize what a miracle life is.

Silly Cat

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I saw this cat displayed in a corner in a boutique clothing store. It was so outrageous I had to photograph it to show you! Perhaps I should use this cat as a launching point to do an art journal page.

Speaking of…ahem…art journaling…I have been remiss in keeping up with mine. I find little scraps of paper or see things almost everyday and I think, “Oh, that would be a great idea for a page.” And that’s as far as it goes. I wish I could commit to doing a page a day, or at the very least working in my art journal every day. I thought about making it a New Year’s resolution, but I don’t like making promises I can’t keep, so I didn’t.

My life is too busy and I’ve been giving some serious thought as to what to do about that. The wedding season seems to have started earlier than I expected this year, so making guest books is taking up a lot of my time. I’ve also been sharing my time with a friend who just had a baby, helping her out so she can get some much needed rest.

And there’s my own baby…not such a baby any more…I’m trying to homeschool him in the afternoons after preschool. I say trying because I’m not very good at devoting enough time to planning activities to keep him inspired. I’m going to be homeschooling him full time next year and I’m scared to death! Scared he’ll be bored, that I don’t know what I’m doing and will screw up his education, and that I won’t have enough time to fill orders. I may have to limit the guest book orders. Okay, just thinking out loud here. I’m done now. Thanks for listening (reading).

Wow, this post took on a life of it’s own, going off in a direction I hadn’t planned, all started by a silly cat!

How do you make time for play? I find I put it off until my work is done and then I’m either too tired or out of time. What do you do to prioritize your time?

The View From My Window

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This was my view from my window last week. I spent a bit of time admiring the snow as it fell. Everything was so peaceful and quiet out there. It’s kind of sad to see the street get marred with tire tracks and the pristine white yard littered with footprints.

But the tracks in the snow were well worth it, seeing how much fun the kids had. The furry kid (who is really our resident senior citizen) became a pup again at heart, bounding through the snow like a deer! He was outfitted for the snow, wearing his sweater…we just need some booties for him and he’ll be set. (Yeah right, like he’d wear them!!)

Loving the snow (and getting pats, of course!)

Autumn Leaves

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the storm blowing in

The leaves have been slow to change this autumn in Eastern NC. Finally the maples and dogwoods, the first to turn, are a bright red. The oaks are still green, but a few other variety of trees are showing hints of yellow.

My son and I went out yesterday before a big storm rolled in to collect leaves to draw in our journals. We found some lovely reds from the crape myrtles and the neighbor’s maple tree. Our little magnolia tree dropped a nice green leaf, and we collected two more from my rose of sharon and redbud trees.

This is my journal page. I used colored pencil to sketch the leaves and a rubber stamp of a splatter pattern to make the mottled brown on the maple and yellow rose of sharon leaves. I’ll probably paint around them and embellish the page later.

Here is my five-year old’s journal page. I think he did pretty good! Last year he was capable only of doing leaf rubbings. My how quickly they progress in just a year!

And finally, I leave you with this…

Our post-storm view! It was actually a double rainbow but the second one didn’t show up very well in this shot.