Friday, December 30, 2011

A Letter

Dear U.S. Postal Service,
Recently I placed an order from Dick Blick for my very own set of these.
In case you are unaware, these are Caran D'Ache Neocolor II Watersoluble Artist Crayons and just looking at this picture of them is making my heart rate increase to what quite possibly could be an unhealthy pace.  They have been out of stock and I have been patiently (or not) waiting for them to become mine.  I received an e-mail today from Dick Blick and they are on their way.
I know that money is tight for you right now and special requests are likely not in the budget, but could you please be kind to my crayons until you can place them safely in my hands?  I would appreciate it.  Also, when it comes time to deliver the box to my house, I might suggest sending a mailman who is slightly hard of hearing.  There might (probably) be excited screaming and happy dancing going on.  Thank you.

While I have been "patiently" waiting, I have done some work in my journal.
Don't you just love the image of the orange?  It makes me happy, even when I have a headache.  LOVE it!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Under the Christmas Tree

Recently my friend Kate, posted THIS video on painting faces.  I rarely paint faces but I watched the video and decided to give it a try.  I spread out a plastic tablecloth on my living room floor and painted under the Christmas tree.  (Well, not exactly under the tree but next to know what I mean.)  It reminded me of rocking my babies, in the quiet of night, next to the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree.  Now my babies are getting too big to rock and so I had to settle in with paint instead.
While there is much I could criticize about this face, I think it turned out OK and I certainly enjoyed painting it and isn't that what it's all about?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Do You Do With Notebook Edges?

Recently while playing around in my art journal, that was the question I asked myself.  I had used a piece of notebook paper and was left with the torn out strip.  "Self," I said, "there has to be something I can use this edge for."  (I often talk to myself while journaling.  Ask my husband.)  And then...lightbulb.  "I wonder what it would look like if I made flowers out of it."  So I watercolored it and this is what I came up with...
Now I know what flowers made from notebook edges look like.  It's why I love art journaling.  I love the experimentation.  I always journal with "you win some, you lose some" running through my head.  Then there is no pressure when an "I wonder what will happen if...?" pops up.  I can just go ahead and find out.  If I hate it, I can just close the book or break out the gesso.  Sometimes I just might like how things turn out.
And speaking of experiments, my awesome friend KATE came over to bring me an ornament for my tree and her collection of Caran D'Ache Neocolor II's to test out.  I have read it all about the Neocolor II's.  I know that so many artists love them.  I know that I am just about the last artist in the world to own them.  I know that everybody raves about them.  So why don't I have them?  Because I have used every available watercolor crayon that I can find around here and NOT been too crazy about them.  They all leave a weird build-up and are really difficult to write on with my pens.  So I thought that I wouldn't like the Neocolor II's and they would become a very expensive paperweight on my desk.  Well, after testing out Kate's, I am here to publicly admit that I was WRONG!  I am crazy in LOVE with those things!  Kate had an duplicate of her Malachite Green and SHE GAVE IT TO ME.  Everything that can be colored on around here is now Malachite Green.  Good thing it's a beautiful color.  I am having dreams about the rainbow of color that awaits in my very own set of Neocolor II's.  I MUST find my lonely Malachite Green some friends.  Fortunately, my parents gave me some art supply money for my birthday (aren't my parents awesome?) so I can place my order ASAP on a beautiful box of Neocolor II's.  Until it arrives, I will just continue to color everything Malachite Green.  Thanks Kate.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A few weeks ago, I was on Pinterest and saw a pin of an art journal page that I absolutely, positively, fell in totaly L.O.V.E. with.
Isn't it AMAZING?  I HAD to know who painted this page.  I followed the original pin back as far as I could but could not find the actual artist's name anywhere.  I became obsessed.  I REALLY HAD to know who painted this page.  I spent over an hour googling and searching far and wide for the artist of THIS.  I knew whoever painted this would have to be on my favorites list.  They would have to be inspiring.  They would have to love color!  And guess what?  I finally found her!  Her name is An'Angelia Thompson and I was right...she is all of those things and more.  Of course, I promptly put her BLOG in my favorites and started quietly checking in on it for a week or so, soaking up inspiration.  Then one day she announced it was her "birthday week" (how can you not love someone who has a "birthday WEEK"?) and that she was having a giveaway.  I decided to remain quiet no more and left a comment every. single. day. of her birthday week and guess what???  I won!!!  WAHOO!!!
I won her Sugar Skull!  How cool is that?  (Angelia said I could use her pictures by the way.)  But not only that, she sent along the sweetest card, stuffed full of cool papers from her stash for my daughter and I to use on our "arting endeavors".  (She read about the Brave Girls class that my daugher and I are taking together.)  We are in art heaven over here.  Thank you Angelia.  You are awesome!

If you haven't checked out Angelia's blog...DO IT!  I am betting that you will love her just as much as I do!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Just wanted to send out a little Happy Birthday to one of the kindest, most loyal, strongest, talented, beautiful people I know, who also just happens to be my best pal.  I'm so lucky!  Happy Birthday Jenny!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Just a little journal page about my LOVE for pink.  It can't just be any pink though.  It must be a deep, dark, lovely "Panther Pink".  I don't remember when I fell in love with pink but I know it was before I was 14.  I know that because when I was 14, my dad and I started building this... car.  My 1968 VW Bug.  It's name is "Panther Pink".  It took 2 years to finish it and it was my baby.  It is the means by which my dad taught me the difference between fuel lines and air hoses, tachometers and temperature gauges.  It was also under his tutelage that I learned the art of "detail oriented" (or OCD, whatever you want to call it).  Whenever we entered it in a large car show like this, I would stop driving it a month before and we would go through every millimeter of the car.  I spent hours laying underneath the front end polishing chrome with steel wool and wax.  My dad practically pulled the entire engine apart and cleaned each and every part.  And we had that car beyond spotless (and perfectly centered on the car show carpet, I might add, I know because a measuring tape was involved).  We worked hard and it always did well with the almost equally "detail oriented" judges.  It was pretty amazing for a car that I drove to the high school everyday.  I had to put it in storage when I just plain wore it out AND when my daughter was born.  It's not very car seat friendly (no back seat belts).  But my car and I had 12 good years together and on a nice summer day I still think about nice drives on curvy roads and going under the Yellowstone railroad bridge while revving up my engine to hear the awesome sound it makes.  I loved sharing that time with my dad.  He really is the most awesome dad. 
Well, needless to say, I love pink, besides my car I have lots of other pink items.  My I-Pod is pink, my purse is pink, my pillowcase is pink (my husband is opposed to the rest of the bed being pink), the bag I carry my scriptures in is pink, my flip-flops are pink, etc...basically if I need to buy something and pink is an option, that's the way I go.
And hey, while we're talking about spending quality time with parents, my daughter and I are signed up and ready to start THIS tomorrow.  I wasn't sure I wanted to work on a class during the holidays but my daughter was so excited about signing up for a class with me.  How can I say "no" to that?  I can't.  So we are going to be BRAVE GIRLS!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Truth Hurts

Well, I don't know if anyone actually still checks on this neglected blog anymore but if there is someone reading this right now, it's time for me to come be share some things that I really haven't wanted to put "out there". It's nothing shocking or horrific or worthy of a article in the National Enquirer or anything. It's just that I seem to save my blog for what my idea of a "perfect" blog post should be. I want to share positive, happy thoughts and I have FEAR that if I talk about what's really going on with me, I will be perceived as a "whiner" or "crazy" or some other unsavory descriptive (all of which I have probably already placed upon myself).
Basically, October was NOT a good time for me. You see, I have been dealing with fibromyalgia for the last little while. I began taking medication for it a few months ago and it's been pretty helpful but when the weather turned colder and other stresses started piling up, I found myself almost unable to move. I have just felt miserable. My body seemed to be in a full revolt. Many tears have been shed as I have tried to come to terms with this new way of life. I am trying to find a way to describe what is happening, how I feel, why it's a big deal to just get my dishwasher unloaded and I haven't found a way to put it into words. I don't understand it myself, so finding the words to explain the absolute exhaustion that follows all the simple little things I used to do easily, seems impossible. I am just trying to find my way. I feel lost sometimes and like dead weight other times. I'm grateful for my husband who goes the absolute extra mile to help me and treats me with such compassion and concern. I have had to learn to let him help me (still not great at that, though). My kids have been amazing as well. In all of this, the thing I have felt the worst about is that they had to have the "sick mom". My parents have been willing to move heaven and earth to help me feel better, and I am so grateful for them. I really do have the best family! I don't know where I'd be without them. I actually don't want to think about it.
So, I am starting to feel a little better now and I'm hoping to be on a bit of an upswing. My kids wanted to paint the other day and I even felt well enough to drag out the paints AND join them. I did a little work in my altered book journal. That's progress.
I made a page about this quirky little Yellow Page habit I have. The journaling explains my silliness. It reads, " I'm not sure exactly when it started, but I know it's something I've done since I was young. I don't even know why I do it, but whenever I stay in a hotel, one of the very first things I do is open up the phone book . I open the phonebook before I unpack even. I turn to the letter "A" in the Yellow pages and look up "Art". I find the art stores and try to figure where they are in relations to where I am staying. The funny part about it is I never actually go to any of these stores unless I happen to run across one. I just need to know what's possible and where to find it. When I think about my quirky Yellow page habit and how it's something I've always done, it amazes me that it has taken me this long to realize that I'm an artist." Does anyone else do that???
Well, while I realize that my feeling crappy really isn't that big of a secret. I mean, everyone does from time to time. I just have to be genuine about it. It isn't always rainbows and butterflies around here and I don't expect that is happening in anyone else's life either. I am just living a real life with real joy, real gratitude, real disappointments, and real pain just like everybody else, so if I disappear from blogland from time to time, just know that I'm just finding my way through fibromyalgia and I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blessings of Heaven

My blog still is making me CRAZY, so I'll keep this short and sweet. This is a page I finally finished in my altered book I am using for Christy Tomlinson's "She Had 3 Hearts" class. I've been busy working on other things and would work on this when I had a minute here and there. The blue background and some of the heart papers, I made using the technique taught on I'd love to give you a link to that but, alas, the whole crazy blog thing. But check her blog out, it's worth the extra effort of copying and pasting. The papers she makes boggle my mind. Simply amazing!

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's Finished!

It's done! My painting for Hunter's Wish is done! Still have major issues with my blog, so, still no links, sorry! If you don't know what I've been working on this for PLEASE read my last few posts.
"Take A Big, Deep Breath"
9x12 mixed media on cradled hardboard
This painting, although it is meant to help raise money for Hunter, for me, is all about Perrin. I used roses to represent Perrin's disease, cystic fibrosis.The message is intended to inspire, uplift, and remind whomever looks at it to just breathe. But for me it will always have a deeper meaning, as Perrin never really just took a big, deep breath without effort. I also used the closest thing to "Laker yellow" as I could stand. I'm sure Perrin would be seriously bugged about that but it's not like it's the easiest color to just slap on a painting.
Well, there it is. The raffle will be at the Blue Hashi on Monday night from 5-7. Please come out and help Hunter go to Disney World with his twin brother (who also has the same disease, by the way) and his parents. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still Working

Still working on my painting for Hunter's Wish. I'd love to give you a link but my blog hates me lately and I cannot figure out the problem. AND since I could spend the rest of my day banging my head on my keyboard, while trying to figure it out OR actually finish the painting, I decided that I would just have to tell you to look at my two previous posts if you need caught up and get this painting done. Sorry. I wish I was more technologically saavy. I've never had to try to figure out a problem on my blog before. I just typed my stuff and pushed "publish" and it all magically appeared on my blog. Now that it doesn't, I'm not real sure what to do about it.
The raffle for this painting is coming up quick, so I better get back to work. I'll be back with another update.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Still working on my little painting from my last post. So far it has been painted, rubbed with alcohol (hated the color), painted again, rubbed with more alcohol, painted one more time, sanded, transferred on, and bubble wrapped! It's always an adventure, but I want LOVE it when I'm done. I hope whoever gets to take it home from the fundraiser loves it too. Don't forget: If you are anywhere near the Blue Hashi on October 3rd, to come out and help support Hunter's wish. By the way, if you are wondering what his wish is, it is to go to Disney World with his twin brother (who has the same disease) and his parents.
I'll be back with more progress. Have a great day and do a little something to make your own wish come true for you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Honored to Honor

The other day I received a call from my pal Jen. Let me just say right now that Jen is awesome. She is a crazy, amazing runner and athlete. She runs 50 and 100 mile marathons FOR FUN!!! She also started "Butt In Gear" and sponsors a couple of local runs. She set up the runs to raise money for Make A Wish and specifically works towards filling the wish of a local child and right now she is working on Hunter's Wish. Isn't he the cutest little guy? That smile could keep me going for days. Well, Jen asked me if I would be willing to donate a little art to the raffle on October 3rd. She said she just had a feeling that she should call me and I told her I know why.
You see, it has always been a secret dream of mine to walk into the Make A Wish office, checkbook in hand, and write a check that would cover all the wishes they had that day...anonymously. I LOVE Make A Wish and I have since the day they granted my friend Perrin's wish so many years ago.
Perrin was born with Cystic Fibrosis and I don't think he ever took a clear breath of air in his life. Perrin was also a sports fanatic. He loved them all but wasn't able to play them much because he couldn't breathe if he ran. He did get to play baseball (with a designated runner) and it made him so happy. But the thing he loved more than anything was the Los Angeles Lakers and Magic Johnson was HIS guy. Make A Wish sent he and his family to Los Angeles, took him to the Lakers locker room, and introduced him to Magic Johnson. Then after the game, Magic Johnson sent him the shoes he wore. By the way, I am still in awe at how BIG those shoes are. Needless to say, it was one of the happiest days of Perrin's life.
So, the piece I am donating is in honor of Perrin and his wish. Here's the beginning.
This is the first layer of collage. I am using a primed cradle board for the first time and I LOVE it!
I have used a map of California (specifically L.A.), an old encyclopedia entry on cystic fibrosis, a vintage book page about roses (the symbol for cystic fibrosis), and "wish" from an old dictionary. I thought it so fitting that "wisecrack" was just above "wish" so I made sure not to tear that off. That made me smile. There is also a page from a book on how to draw a baseball player, a chapter from the Bobbsey Twins titled "The Fresh Air Camp" (since all he really wanted was to be able to breathe), an early stat page that listed the NBA champions up until 1988 (it didn't list the year that MY Bulls beat HIS Lakers though...closest I've ever seen him to tears), and a corner of a book page with the date June 13 (since that is the day that Perrin left us 10 years ago).
I miss that guy. He was really my brother's friend but he just became part of the family and we were all happy when he was happy...and Make A Wish made him happy.
I'm not 100% sure where this painting will go when it is finished but I am sure it will have 100% of my heart put into it. And if you are in the area please help us fill Hunter's wish. Come out to the Blue Hashi on October 3rd and don't forget to check out to sign up for the Wish Walk Run on October 15th. Let's make this little guy happy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's On My Kitchen Table?

I live in a small house that is the perfect size for our little family but not exactly the perfect size for all my projects and the collection of supplies that goes with them. My desk has usually got at least one work (let's be honest's more like many) of art spread all over it. Therefore, my kitchen table, which is also quite small, frequently ends up being project central when I have something big in the works. So, in what might become a regular (definition of regular for me: whenever I take a moment to snap a picture, download it, post it, write about it, and still have time to actually finish the project) feature here at my little neglected blog, I ask, "What's On My Kitchen Table?"

Drum roll please....

It's juice box robots!!!!

My kids and I are making these for my son to take to preschool for his birthday treats. I saw the idea posted on Pinterest (oh, how I love Pinterest!) HERE from THIS clever blog and knew they were the perfect treat for my little guy. He is a very picky eater and even doesn't like most treats, but he LOVES apple juice, Laffy Taffy, and chocolate. My daughter read all of the Laffy Taffy jokes as we went along and both my kids collaborated on their own joke. "What do you call a Laffy Taffy with no jokes?"


That's right they are hilarious. So stay tuned for future installments of "What's On My Kitchen Table?" Odds are that it's not dinner! (Ha! My kids aren't the only funny ones around here!)

Monday, August 15, 2011


My awesome friend, Kate and I have been planning to get together for an art date forever. One thing after another would come along and we would have to cancel. Before we knew it, it had been over a year since our last one. Kinda crazy considering that we live in the same city. Well, we finally got together last week and swapped books, worked in our art journals, looked at each others latest work and taught each other our new tricks. For instance, Kate taught me how to make a stamp out of sticky back fun foam. Here's my finished stamp. Since I am taking Christy Tomlinson's "She Had 3 Hearts " class, everything is hearts around here right now, so of course, I made a heart stamp.
I also finished working on this page for that class. It's called "My Art Heart". Art seems to be in everything I do, whether it's for myself, my family, or the world. It all comes back to art for me.
I think I used every supply I have in this, plus a few of Kate's. There are layers and layers on here. In fact, I have had to keep a small piece of waxed paper between these because there are so many layers. They stick together when I close the book. I especially love the bits of color samples from an old Dick Blick catalog. Going to have to remember to use more of those.
Kate completely finished her altered book journal while I was there. We had to have a little celebration. I have so many journals that I bounce back and forth in, but I don't think I could call any one of them finished. So I think that finishing a journal is a BIG DEAL.
Kate and I had a great time and I can't wait to get together again. Hopefully it doesn't take us a year this time. Thank you Kate!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Smarty Pants

Another page in my "3 Hearts" journal for Christy Tomlinson's class HERE. I went back to my old standby (acrylics) and used about a gazillion image transfers. Plus side: My finger tips have never been so smooth. Minus side: They are also slightly numb from all of the paper I have rubbed off during transfer, but I am looking past that because I LOVE the look of transfers. I also stamped, bubble wrapped, collaged, charcoaled (made that word up, I think), doodled, and gessoed the heck out of this page. Then I added Gelatos and splatter. All in all, this page is a mess...and I LOVE it.

One of the things that people say about my personality is that I am funny and quick witted (that's just what they are saying). I just say that "I come from a long line of smarty pants." It's true. I do. And I'm proud. There's some pretty funny people in that line and I love them all!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Water media. I have the hardest time using water media in my art journal and I just don't know why. I paint with watercolors all the time but not often in my art journal. In Christy Tomlinson's "She Had 3 Hearts" workshop, she demos lots of water media, so I decided to make myself use them in my journal. This page was done with watercolor crayons and Gelatos and it was a struggle! It is just a different mindset for me. In the end, I did enjoy myself and the experiment, but I will definitely have to work with these things more. While I'm not crazy about the page, I had a learning experience and isn't that what it's all about? At least that's what I keep reminding myself.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

3 Hearts

Monday I started Christy Tomlinson's "She Had 3 Hearts" art journaling workshop HERE. This is the very first art journaling class I have taken and even though I have been around awhile (when it comes to art journaling), it has been nice to learn a few new things and be reminded of some things that I already knew but forgot about. It's easy to get into a rut in art journaling sometimes and just reach for the paints and supplies that you "know". Know how they will behave, know how they will turn out, etc., which is nice but art journaling is about the experiments too. I always have to remind myself while working in an art journal of my "art journal motto", which is "you win some, you lose some". Sometimes you end up with something you really love and sometimes you end up with a complete disaster but it's all about the process. At least that's what I have to tell myself. I once saw a blog by someone (I wish I could remember who) that she called "mostly nothing, but sometimes something". I loved that and it is exactly how my art journal could be described.
I wouldn't call this first page an absolute disaster but I also can't call it a stunning success. But the process was fun, which is all that matters. It is almost entirely done in acrylics (fluid and heavy body) with some Pitt pens, gel pen, charcoal, stamps, and a teeny bit of collage thrown in.
Christy's class is based on an old Chinese Proverb that says: "a woman has three hearts, one she shares with the world, one she shares with her family, and one she shares only with herself." Isn't that a great thought?
Well, since I was starting a new class, I decided that I needed to start a journal just for this class (because the 6 others I already have going is just not enough). I bought a book at my local thrift store to alter. I chose one with good paper and a good spine and, since Christy told me to, I gessoed my pages which has helped with the stability of the paper, which I already knew (Isn't that was gesso is for anyway?) but being impatient, I usually skip. So that's been my biggest reminder...DON'T SKIP THE GESSO, especially when working with book paper.
And so I'm off to work on my "3 Hearts" journal some more. There is an enormous amount of videos to watch in week one (like 28). If you, too, would like to join the "3 Hearts" workshop, it is still open to sign ups. I'd love to see you there!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where Have I Been?

As I mentioned before I left for my big adventure, I finished a new Remains of the Day journal just in time to go. I LOVE (I know I use the word "love" a lot, but I really do mean it!) to use vintage bits and pieces in my journals but I have a hard time running across them and when I do, they are usually more money than I want to spend. I mean, after all, I am just going to cut them up, tear them, paint over them, etc. I don't want to spend a wad of cash. Plus, my kids usually don't appreciate "the hunt" as much as I do. SO here's my major discovery: Just Something I Made HERE by Cathe Holden and Graphics Fairy HERE by Karen (I'm sure she has a last name, but I don't know it). Oh my goodness, these two blogs are FREE VINTAGE HEAVEN!!! Did you catch that? FREE!!! Both these blogs have like a bazillion followers and so, as usual, I am one of the last to know, but I love them so much! It's like I've been living under a rock and someone just turned it over. I really don't know where I have been but I'm happy to be educated in Just Something I Made and Graphics Fairy. My printer has been working nonstop since I discovered them. Awesome. I'm so grateful they both share their treasures. So grateful.
Here's a few pages from my journal. The blue "Seal of Approval" is from Just Something I Made. So is the vintage tag. The eyes are from an old journal page.
And so are both of these tags. There are so many little bits that I printed for this journal and they make me so happy! You can see more pages with my little vintage treasures HERE.
And speaking of happy, I know that I have been going on and on about watching my brother's solo but I just have to post ONE MORE picture (well, maybe one more). It might be the best picture of the entire trip and it doesn't even have a plane in it...
...Isn't that the best. Makes me start to tear up.
How's that for the cutest thing?

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Most Amazing Experience

Watching my brother's solo U-2 flight this week was such an amazing experience. Our family had the opportunity to ride in the chase car that helps the pilots land the U-2. This video shows what it looked like from a chase car. The video was filmed at the same AFB with the same make, model, color, and heck, might even be the same car that we rode in while following my brother. There were 8 of us so we split up and each rode along for 5 of my brother's 10 "touch and go" landings. We hit at least 100 mph every ride and my dad saw the speedometer hit 130 mph. Although we didn't really watch the speedometer because we were so focused on the plane right above us. It looked close enough to touch. The kids were obviously impressed. Oh, who am I kidding, I was equally as excited as my 4 year old. Maybe more (since I'm being honest here).

It was a once in a lifetime experience for me and I am so grateful that I was able to go. Being able to solo in a U-2 is a pretty remarkable accomplishment. They give you a number when you complete your solo and my brother's number is 898. That means that he is the 898th person to solo a U-2 since the plane was put into service in 1955. I kept telling my kids what an amazing experience they just had and I hope that when they grow up, they will realize that they were able to do something that most people just don't get the opportunity to do, but most of all, I hope they learn, from my brother's example, that you can accomplish anything, even the "impossible", if you are willing to do the work. Congratulations Brent!

Monday, July 18, 2011

So Excited!

I'm so excited to be going here:

To watch him:

Fly this:

I have never seen my brother fly in real life and this flight will be his U-2 solo. It's a BIG deal! I can't wait to spend all night driving with my parents, kids, and nephews (we rented a Suburban) to get there. 3 adults and 5 kids, 13 hours one way...what could possibly go wrong? Wait don't tell me. I want to be an optimist! But really I don't care how I get there, I just can't wait to see my brother. He is awesome. No matter what, it will all be worth it. I even made another Remains of the Day journal to take with me. I ran out of time posting pictures of it, but I will when I get back home. I kinda LOVE it.

I'm so glad my husband supports me in all my craziness. He really helps me try to accomplish all the "brilliant" ideas that pop into my head. Maybe he just likes all the quiet when I am off on another adventure with the kids but I so appreciate him. I am blessed.

And we are off! This is truly going to be our California Adventure!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sketching, Journaling and Catching Up

I know that you all probably think that I have been in some sort of artistic rut or something, based on the number of posts here lately, but no. I am alive and well. I have just been too "busy" (read "lazy") to take some pictures and get them posted. So here's what I have been up to the last little while. 1. I have been journaling. I have been working in my 9x12 Canson Mixed Media journal lately. Love the paper in that thing! As much as I enjoy altering old books for my journals, it's almost like heaven when you work with decent paper.2. I have been sketching in "Molly" the Moleskine. I love the feeling of a Moleskine sketchbook in your hands but I am not crazy about the paper for watercolors. I think I am turning into a paper snob. Wish I was able to bind a book as well as the people at Moleskine. Then I could have the best of both worlds.
3. I've been working on finishing up my travel journal from our vacation.
Look how fat and juicy it is getting, and we were only gone a week! I saved a colossal amount of stuff along our journey and I LOVE this thing. I made one for my daughter and one entirely full of pockets for my son too. We had a great time relaxing at night and working in our journals while we were gone but I still have a bit more to work on before I can say that it's finished.
Well, that's it! That's what I've been doing, well, besides weddings, laundry, barbecues, parades, sparklers, vacuuming, and attending my 20th class reunion. That's right 20th! I guess I no longer qualify as a spring chicken but I did have a great time. Our class really is an amazing group of the best people on the planet. Just GOOD people. I really do love them. Probably couldn't have said that WHILE I was in high school but now that I am older and wiser, I can say that for sure! I guess it's good that I am no longer a spring chicken...well, at least in that regard. I'm just hoping that my mid-life crisis involves a black Dodge Charger with a Panther Pink stripe. If I have to get old, that's the way I want to get there!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Came Home to This

I just came home from our family vacation to the Oregon Coast to find THIS in the mail my neighbor picked up for me.
Now there are very few things in this world that can make me feel better about leaving the ocean. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the ocean. How I am landlocked in Idaho is a bit of a mystery, but coming home was a bit easier knowing that my copy of Artist's Journal Workshop was waiting for me. I was a little concerned when I found out that it arrived on the only rainy day they had while we were away and had gotten pretty wet, but when I opened it, it was the only thing in the box that was not wet. Yay! Talk about a miracle. I had been reading the Artist's Journal Workshop BLOG while I waited for the book to be released and I LOVE it. It is not a book about smearing around paint, collaging, and making a big, fun, juicy mess with every art supply I can think of, like my usual art journal. This is more like a sketchbook to me, at least how I keep a sketchbook. Sketches, notes, observations, etc. done in pencils, inks, and watercolors mostly. I love looking at other artists' sketchbooks and learning their processes and Artist's Journal Workshop has already helped me arrive at a few decisions regarding my current sketchbooks. I am always growing into them. Letting go of rules, changing the rules, accepting the rules, mostly learning that my sketchbook is just that, MY sketchbook and it needs to feel like my safe place. Does your sketchbook feel that way to you? How do you make your sketchbook your own? I'd just love to know.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ready To Go!

Yahoo! My Remains of the Day journal is ready to go on vacation. Of course, I'm not ready yet. We still have a few more weeks until our family hits the Oregon Coast, but I can't wait to travel with my spiffy travel journal. Is it too much to stop the next town over from my house to pick up a postcard? I just can't wait to start filling this thing up.
I used up an amazing amount of paper treasure that I have had stashed away for just such a project.
Here's one of my favorite treasures in my book. It is a receipt from 1964 from my grandpa's service station. It is written in my dad's handwriting. He worked for my grandpa in high school. I especially love that 18.8 gallons of Dino Supreme gasoline came to the total of $7.30! How cool is that? I posted some other pages HERE. Thank you Mary Ann Moss. I loved it so much, I think I'll go make another for my daughter to take too.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Truth in Advertising?

Just so you know...
...happiness is total electric living!
This ad I found in an old Relief Society magazine just makes me smile. I LOVE it! I just had to put it into my altered book journal. Every time I think about happiness now, I just remember that all I have to do is call the people at the power company and my problems are solved! How awesome is that? It's so simple and what kind of human being would I be if I didn't pass on the solution to finding happiness?
And speaking of happiness, just look at this pile of pages I have been working on for my Remains of the Day class. I am loving this big stack of paper and I can't wait to attach it to my cover. Doesn't paper just make you so HAPPY? Oh, wait, that's total electric living!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fully Immersed!

I am fully immersed in THIS and LOVING it. It is MARY Ann Moss' Remains of the Day class and I couldn't be having more fun. We are swimming in scraps of fabric, paper, junk, trim here at our house and I am in heaven! My family might (probably would) disagree as they like eating at the kitchen table and having clean laundry but sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.
I have been racking my brain lately, trying to decide what kind of sketchbook/journal I wanted to take on our family's trip to the Oregon Coast this summer. I wanted one specific to our vacation, but wasn't sure, with 2 kids, if I would have the time to fill up a whole book. In my own happy thoughts, I envision sitting on the beach, waterbrush in hand, and painting amazing watercolor sketches of the ocean. That's my dream, but the reality is, this is a family vacation, my kids' first sight of the ocean, and I don't want to miss seeing it all with them. My time will be spent with my family, with the occasional waterbrush. Enter Remains of the Day. It will be the perfect travel journal, with lots of places to tuck pictures and odds and ends from our travels. AND it is beyond fun to make. Above is the cover for my journal. It is made from fabric and trim scraps and piece of a vintage handkerchief that I have been saving.
This is the back. It just screams Jolene and vacation to me. Now I must go back to work (if I must) on the inside pages. I have lots of long saved treasures just waiting to become part of this journal.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Thought

Today's Sunday thought, brought to you by President Thomas S. Monson HERE. It reads: "We can lift ourselves and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can't Resist

Hallelujah! We have finally had some sunshine around here. It was such a welcome treat that I couldn't resist quitting my housework (like that took much convincing) and took my son to the park. While I waited for him to wear himself out playing, I sat in the sun and worked in my sketchbook on a sketch for the long neglected Sketchbook Challenge. The theme for may is "Can't Resist It" so I sketched the park that we couldn't resist going to.
Just quick sketches here. This is a very inexpensive sketchbook from the Target, so not exactly ideal for watercolors but it works. I like it because I spent like $2 on it and so I don't feel like I have too much to lose if I do a horrible sketch (of which there are a few). I have one rule about this book, I can only use permanent ink (Sharpie). No pencil or eraser. The goal here is to practice loose sketches instead of my tendency to over think, overwork, and be to concerned about "perfect". Oh, and it is also a practice in courage.
Later, my super sweet, amazing husband watched the kids while I went on an "Artist's Date". My artist dates usually consist of heading to the tables at Barnes & Noble or Hastings, getting myself something to drink and sketching or working on an art journal. This time I noticed a shelf of juice bottles lined up. The colors were striking and the light from the window made them sparkle. I couldn't resist a quick sketch of them. Then as I started with the paint, I remembered that there is no such thing as a quick sketch of bottles (see tendencies above). Bottles are beautiful and they take just the right highlights, shadows, reflections, make them look like bottles. I had to remind myself many times to not get too perfect. Perfect just causes frustration, frustration causes anger, and anger causes me to have a strong desire to launch my sketchbook across the Barnes & Noble. Not wanting to cause a scene or be liable for damage, I opted for decidedly NOT perfect but I still love the color of these bottles all lined up. The colors still make me just as happy as when I first saw them. Amazing colors and sunny weather...what more could a girl want?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Best $8...

...I ever spent. Well, maybe not EVER. Especially since it wasn't on art supplies but still a very worthwhile purchase. Saturday, my family and I were heading to the grocery store when I saw a stand selling flats of strawberries for 8 bucks. I made my husband pull over and I bought a flat of beautiful, red strawberries (don't you just love spring?). I brought them home and began the task of cutting them up and getting them ready to make strawberry sauce to store in the freezer. I had my trusty sidekick (my son) next to me helping when a sort of miracle happened. You see, my son, is quite possibly the pickiest eater I have ever had the "opportunity" to deal with. He refuses to try anything (even a cookie if he hasn't eaten one that looks like it before) and dinner generally involves tears. I, being certain that I could fix him with all the parenting tricks, threats, and my fierce talent of standing my ground, have discovered that I know NOTHING! Turns out that my son has (of all things) inherited my fierce talent for standing my ground! ARGH! Well, for some reason, he decided he wanted to try a piece of strawberry. I was shocked and cut him the tiniest of slivers, certain that he would barely touch it to his tongue and declare it "gross". He nibbled that tiny piece for at least a minute and liked it. I tried to remain stone faced and not let him see me do the "happy dance" as he asked for another piece. I gave him one and then another, and another. Pretty soon I was starting to worry about overwhelming his stomach with the sudden introduction of fruit that didn't come in a box with a straw, but I just let him eat as many strawberries as he wanted. I was seriously dumbstruck. I don't know what got into him but I am sure glad I kicked down the $8 for strawberries. I had to journal about it (it was that big of a deal).

In fact, it totally made my other purchase that day pale in comparison. Inspired by Sabrina Ward Harrison and Pam Garrison, I have always wanted to try a dip pen. So I bought one and used it to journal my strawberry page in my altered book. I was trying to go for "sloppy sophisticated", but mostly it's neither. It's something that I still need to work on. That's what I love about an art journal. It can be whatever it ends up being and that's OK.