October 31, 2008

another link that I want to remember...

to a blog and a documentary film about women artists and creativity, found via Kelly Kilmer's blog. Who Does She Think She Is? blog here. Film info here. have a good weekend!

October 30, 2008

must read.

go read this blog post. very profound.

...now excuse me while I go back to the cacophony of my daily life: cell phone in my pocket, all sorts of mechanical noises, people talking about all sorts of topics at the same time, 2 radios blaring at once on different stations, and computers everywhere beeping and clicking away.

But this afternoon, when I get home, I am taking the dogs out for a walk. While the repair man fixes our TV. (... gotta start small, I guess. lol!)

October 28, 2008

more treats!!

My collage pack of paper finally arrived from Kelly Kilmer!! I've been on pins and needles waiting for this package to be delivered. It was really difficult, but I actually managed to wait till we got the groceries put away and made the guacamole before I opened the box. (it sort of prolonged the anticipation, since I knew it was finally here and I could open it whenever I wanted...) Kelly always has a great selection of paper whenever she teaches classes, and picks up paper from the local stores when she travels... occasionally, she goes thru her stash and puts together grab-bag selections of paper for sale. I was really excited to see the sale announcement on her blog again, since I missed out the first time around. a great selection of exotic patterned handmade papers, vintage book pages, collage images, labels, and more... a couple papers even have a flocked pattern. At the top of this picture is a really neat piece; it's very thin, and has a wax design applied to make a batik resist pattern... the wax makes the pattern transparent. wonderful printed tissue paper, colorful Japanese floral patterns, and some really cute Japanese notepaper... do you see the pink tissue with the roses there in the middle, under the vintage road map? I love that pink piece; it's probably a wedding themed paper, but to me, it says "retro-1950s" journal page.
It ended up being a really colorful avalanche across the dining room table, once I got it all spread out. I looked thru it once, but I'm sure I missed seeing a few things, so I will definitely go thru it again before I put it away. Tom asked "so, do you know what you're going to do with it?" which is a question I don't really have an answer to, of course (other than drool over the wonderful colors and patterns, that is), but I have lots of ideas starting to buzz around in my head. There are some great floral patterns, so maybe I'll get started on my altered book, since the theme I have in mind for that project is nature and flowers... then again, I do want to make a couple journal pages... or I could make a couple mail-art postcards... So many choices; so little space on my crafting table to start any of these projects! (I guess that means I'll have to finish something I'm already working on, and maybe even clean a little, huh?!?)

trick or treat??

Treat, for sure!! No tricks here; just a bit of chopping and mixing after a trip to the grocery store on the way home from work...

...and voila! you have fresh guacomole. It's really not hard to make, at all. Avocados were on sale at the store, and we had all the rest of the fixings at home in the fridge.

Definitely patio weather; why stay inside when it's such a beautiful afternoon?? It was a little warm, with no breeze blowing. (can you believe it's the end of October, and we still have the A/C on?? No matter how long we live here, I don't think I'll ever get used to that...)
There's nothing like relaxing after work with a cigar on the patio... here, Tom waits (somewhat patiently) to enjoy the fruits of his labor, since he's the one who made the guacamole. He put up with my "no, move your glass a little to the left" and "oh wait, now you need to move a little" while I composed the photograph. Pandora is hanging out on top of the chair right inside the screen door, wishing she could come outside, but no luck. (The cats can get into stuff out in the yard, or actually get out of the yard! so we need to keep an eye on them when they're outside, and we wanted to relax.)
My plate: chips (with extra salt on the chips, of course!!), fresh guacamole, and a margarita with a splash of Grand Marnier for added flavor. What a wonderful way to end a run-of-the-mill Tuesday!!

October 26, 2008

an eventful weekend!

Most weekends are pretty tame around our house; we usually just hang around the house and relax, recovering from the week's stresses and recharging for the week ahead. (Of course, there's no sleeping in, because the dogs' stomach alarm clocks go off, even if ours don't... usually they get their breakfast then get put back in their crates, so we can sleep for a little while longer, till the cats start jumping on us.)

Yesterday I did have to go in to work (up at 3:15 am, at work by 5 am, out by 11:00 am... not that bad, except for getting up early). On my way home from work, I braved the Saturday crowd at the grocery store- not by choice, believe me, but I hadn't done a major shopping trip in a while. When I got home, we relaxed in front of a movie (the new Hulk movie; it was pretty good). After the movie, I worked for a while on my AU technique pages for the swap... I still have some painting to do, then it will be mostly assembly.

We had set up the telescope for some stargazing last night, but never got around to it, unfortunately. I went to bed around 10:30; shortly after that, Tom said "did you hear something??" because he thought he heard someone throwing a rock at the window. Nope, I didn't hear anything- I was sound asleep. But this morning, I found out what did make that noise: Turns out someone bashed one of our coachlights, probably with a baseball bat!! WTF?!? Turns out this is considered "Criminal Damage" actually, not vandalism... I found that out when I called the police to report it. Two officers came over to take the report, not that it will do much good, but... The day got muuuuch better after that, though- I spent a wonderful few hours of catching up and conversation with my friend Doreen over Champagne brunch at The Buttes resort in Tempe. This pic is a view off the patio at the Top of the Rock restaurant. The Buttes always has wonderful landscaping and flowers; every view is spectacular! I met Doreen over 15 years ago (!! Wow, it doesn't seem that long ago- where does the time go, anyway??) when I first started working at Abbott Laboratories in Chicago... she moved to Atlanta around the time we moved to Phoenix, so we've kept in touch via e-mail or phone calls since then. I was totally surprised when she called me on Friday night and said she was on I-10 about 100 miles west of Phoenix!! Turns out, she's spending a couple weeks in California for work, and decided to drive to Arizona for the weekend. (Next time, make it a longer trip, okay??)

Doreen and me on the patio outside the restaurant... I have issues with having my picture taken -I usually don't smile, or I shut my eyes- so we were lucky this turned out on the first try! (Our server was nice enough to take this for us- just part of the wonderful service you always get at Top of the Rock.) it was wonderful to sit and talk, and catch up on the last few years, althought it wasn't near enought time, since she had to head back to the Los Angeles area right after brunch. This picture is for Doreen: a view of Camelback mountain, with Mummy mountain to the left (although I will always think it looks like the camel's head, stretched out like he's taking a nap) and Papago Park on the right. (Doreen said she never reads blogs, though, so in order for her to see this picture, she will have to start with mine!!) Overall it wasn't one of those usual relaxing weekends, but it was a nice one, nonetheless.

October 23, 2008

links: gardens, books, and blogs- check them out!!

  • One of my very favorite bloggers, Posie Gets Cozy, visited Vancouver, B.C. recently... I have wanted to visit this public garden (fifty-five acres of gardens created out of an exhausted limestone quarry) for years, ever since I saw pictures of it in The Golden Age of American Gardens . This is of my favorite gardening/history books, actually- the historic photographs and hand-colored slides that are included are incredible.
  • Also, I stopped at Barnes & Noble yesterday, just to troll thru the crafting section... I need to get this book!!! I don't often feel that strongly about buying books, but this one looks amazing: check out the contents page; the scrapbook page shown at the top of it is from 1927! We tend to forget that "art journaling" and "scrapbooking" (the way we do it today) are modern trends, but they're not.
  • One more for you: I have heard of this blog, 37 days, many times before, but never really read any of it. I happened to stumble across this post: Voice your hops and drems a couple days ago, and it sort of smacked me right between the eyes. (Read this post to get the history behind the idea of 37 days.) She also has a new book out: Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally (which they did NOT have at Barnes & Noble yesterday when I was there, unfortunately... nor do they have any plans to get it what's up with that, anyway??)
  • Now that I've posted three times in two days, you probably won't hear from me for a week or two, given my past track record... I really need to finish up my Art Unraveled Chunky book pages, so I plan on devoting time this weekend to working on them. Of course, I get sidetracked easily, so I may work on some other things, too.

October 22, 2008

all at once...

my latest journal pages... lots of stuff seems to be happening "all at once" here, so I journaled about it in my composition book. It's a messy-looking layout, but I wanted it that way, and did it on purpose, to visually express my feelings about everything that's been going on. Mandatory overtime at my job, possible Saturday work (ick!), Tom gone most of the week on a business trip, car trouble requiring a tow truck, etc. etc. Basically there was too much to do, not enough time to do it, and it all came about at the same time. I know that's not really true- it's just easier to focus on the "bad" things so it only seems that way, but still, I'll be glad for a boring, non-eventful span of time...

  • This page is made with a lot of layering- the first layer was torn strips of scrapbook paper (light green, tan, and a burgundy stripe, if I recall correctly). I left it that way for a couple weeks, till I decided what to do next with it.
  • The second layer ended up being acrylic paint, applied during the class I took with Kelly Kilmer... I think I was trying to use up my paint before lunchtime, and started painting lots of pages by randomly layering color and scrubbing them with paper towels to expose some of the layers underneath. (Plus, I decided I didn't really like the torn scrapbook paper by itself, anyway, and wanted to cover it up.)
  • The third layer was stamping with StazOn jet black ink around the edges- a few random-looking pattern stamps including an abstract floral pattern, a criss-cross pattern, small black stripes, and a small circle pattern.
  • Fourth layer: magazine image (she's from a Gap ad, I think- I looked thru all three of the magazines in my collaging stash to find an image that fit with my page idea; if I hadn't found her, this page would probably have turned out really different). I glued her down with gel medium, not being careful with the gel at all; after all, this page is about how messy life can get, right?? I also smudged her with some of the black StazOn, and different colors of watercolor crayons. The watercolor crayon also picked up some of the texture from the dried gel medium, which I think is pretty cool. (oh- I made the stop sign from SB paper to cover up some text from the magazine page that I didn't want to show... necessity is the mother of invention, after all.)
  • The last layer(s) were created with pens- writing, and many, many scribbles with paint pens and souffle pens to also emphasize the "messy-ness" aspect. Plus, the scribbling was actually really fun to do!! Whenever I had a couple free minutes, but not enough time to work on anything more involved, I just added some scribbles to these pages- I highly recommend scribbling as a form of art therapy!
These two pictures are closeups, showing all the layering of paint, stamping, and pen scribbling...
Overall, I'm really happy about how this turned out- now, I'm looking forward to creating some tranquil, peaceful journal pages, because that means that things will have calmed down at our house! They already have calmed down, some... the car is repaired, Tom got home from his trip safely, and well, the overtime will help to pay for the car repairs (and some crafting supplies, of course- LOL!)

random snippets and links

I have finally realized that I will never be one of those bloggers who posts once a week, or once a day... I have good intentions, but life seems to get in the way of following thru... so, I post when I have the inspiration, and the time- thank you to the people who read and comment, in spite of my posting erratic-ness!! (is that a word?? not sure...)

Anyway, this post is to tide me over till (hopefully) this evening, when I can write a proper post, show you pictures of my latest art journal pages and also some random pictures I just found on the computer... oh, and I have been organizing my crafting space, too, and want to talk about that, too!

I worked on my computer cropping pictures while the TV repairman visited us yesterday afternoon; I hung out in the master bedroom with the dogs to keep them semi-quiet while he was workinig on the TV in the family room. (fyi, the TV still isn't fixed- the screws for the replacement part wouldn't fit into our TV for some strange reason, so he will have to come back again.)

Back to the reason for this particular post- I find random blogs and quotes when I surf, and want to remember them for later... plus, you might find something interesting, too!!

http://victualling.wordpress.com/ blog about restaurant history

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” William James

“You cannot escape the dust in Arizona. We don't have dirt here. We have dust that is not moving right at the moment.” http://www.mydapperdog.com/blog/

http://a-little-birdie.blogspot.com/ Tricia Scott’s blog: drawing, painting, life… wonderful photography, must visit again soon….interesting blog links!

http://robruhn.blogspot.com/ Ro Bruhn: Australian blogger- beading, painting, etc. also wonderful photography… more interesting blog links!

http://www.teeshascircus.blogspot.com/ Teesha Moore’s blog. (Circus is an appropriate way to describe her journaling style- her pages are chock-full of color and pattern.)

http://myhandboundbooks.blogspot.com/ Interesting-looking blog about handmade books (obviously, right??)

October 13, 2008

check this out- blogs I follow

Blogger has a new feature where you can list blogs you follow, so other people can see the blogs you read. I know that was NOT a grammatically correct sentence, but check out my profile here to see which blogs I keep track of... I do read more than this, but will need to do some additions to this list over time. Right now, I think I'm going to get out my collage papers and paint, and do some work on my AU Technique swap pages (Tom is on a 4-day business trip, so I can make a mess with impunity! as long as I clean it up by Thursday afternoon, that is...). I also did add some more journal page pics to my Flickr page, so check them out!!

October 11, 2008

how did that happen?? (a long post... you've been warned!)

(edited a few minor spelling errors- thanks to my BF, who pointed them out to me! It still surprises me sometimes that he- or anyone else, really- reads my blog... does anyone else feel this way sometimes??)

It went from being summer in Arizona (regular daytime high temps of 105F +) to fall (it's only supposed to be in the high 70s today...) in the blink of an eye! It was nice to finally see the end of the summer oven-like temps, though... waiting for the end of summer here is similar to waiting for spring back in the midwest- you're sick of the "same-ness" of the days, and can't wait for a change. At least here it's sunny most of the time instead of cloudy and gray, but to me, even sun gets boring after a while. Pretty soon, I'll be complaining that it's too cold!

(Anything under 70 F is cold to me; yes, I know I'm now officially a wimp when it comes to cold temperatures.) Hard to believe I used to live where you had to scrape frost off the windshield and let the car warm up for 15-20 minutes before it was even warm enough to sit down on the seat! I'll take hot over cold any day, now... you can always crank up the A/C, but I remember times when it took me two hours to shovel my driveway, and it seemed like I'd never be warm again!

And how did I go from being "afraid" of art journaling, worried about what kind of journal to buy, afraid of the white, blank page, to someone who now has 6 different books for journaling in, and two altered books waiting to be started?? That also happened in the blink of an eye, it seems- last summer was my first time at Art Unraveled, where I took my very first class with Kelly Kilmer... (I was so nervous- all those artsy people, who seemed to know soooo much more than I did!!) Since then, I've purchased and/or made all 6 of those journals, and I will be making another one in November, when Kelly's back in town to teach another class! (reminder to self: call Frenzy Stamper and sign up for that class.)

I work on pages and projects for a while, then realize I haven't taken pictures of any of them along the way... I also tend to get pages half-done, then they sit for a while till I get more inspiration, but I'm finally okay with that. I have finally (mostly, anyway) realized that art journaling, for me anyway, is as much about the art-making process than the words, if not more. And, I'm not so worried (most of the time) about whether the art on the page "goes" with the topic I want to write about. (Some of my pages are like that, but not all of them.)

It's hard to explain art journaling to someone who's never heard of it before; does anyone have a good explanation for non-artsy people that's easy for them to understand?? A couple of people have asked me about my doodling/artwork, and it's not easy to answer. So far, my standard answer is, "art journaling is sort of a cross between a diary and a sketch book" but I don't really like that explanation....

Anyway, on to the pictures... the pics below are from/of all but one of my current books; for more, check out my Flickr page (as soon as I get them posted, that is- hopefully later this evening or tomorrow). Now I know why I put off the photo/posting part of it- it's time consuming to take photos, edit and crop them, and then get them onto Flickr with all the tags, titles, etc. But it will get done!! (eventually)

This is the first "book" I bought to do art journaling in- it's one of those black and white composition books that you can get at any WalMart, etc. around back to school time for less than a dollar. It contains wide-ruled notebook paper, which isn't the greatest for painting on, but I started with it so I wouldn't "ruin" a "real" sketchbook if I didn't know what I was doing. (which seems kinda funny, now, because art journaling is doing whatever you want- there aren't really any rules!) I painted the front with my favorite mix of blues, green, pink, and purple, and the other favorite, stamping with bubble wrap. The arrow is a stencil from a 12x12 stencil sheet (technically for scrapbooking, I think), accented with gold leafing pen. Gold leafing pen also accents the zig-zag strip at the bottom (another of my favorite colors, a barn red.) The ribbon along the left edge was glued on to cover up the crappy painting job I did along the edge of the binding. (I can't take credit for that; I saw it somewhere on Flickr... but it works, doesn't it?)

This is my newest art store purchase, a 9 x 12 sketchbook containing 93 lb heavy weight sketch paper... much better for painting on; it doesn't wrinkle when its painted like the ruled composition book paper does! I remember back when I took that first class at AU with Kelly; I was so intimidated by that 10 x 14 piece of paper she gave us to work on- it seemed soooo enormous to me, I thought I'd never be able to work on anything that big! She said we could use a different size if we wanted; I think I folded and tore that 10 x 14 paper into at least quarter-sheets (remember, I started out rubber-stamping cards and making ATCs, so I was used to working 4.25 x 5.5 inches, or smaller). I recently purchased this sketchbook because the composition book pages were starting to feel too small to me! Decorating the cover is going to wait till I get inspired, but you can see some of the inside pages here (soon).

The above spread is from one of two "graffiti books" I made in a class with Kelly Kilmer last fall... painted, stenciled, monoprinted, and written on paper backgrounds that were cut up to become the book pages. The book pages were folded and stitched into two pamphlet-style books. (pics of both books I made in this class are here.) The class was a lot of fun, but for some reason, I was intimidated to actually use the book for anything. I think it was because there was already so much work on the backgrounds that I couldn't bring myself to cover them up with anything! (it sounds silly, I know, but that's what I thought.) So, this past weekend, I actually started working in it during another Kelly Kilmer class called What's Next??? where we worked in our own books. Now that I've broken the ice with this book, I have a theme in mind for it, and am ready to do the rest of the pages!

This is one spread out of the Avante Garde book I made at this year's Art Unraveled. I don't think I've posted pics of this book here yet, but I will soon... We made covers and a spine for the book from matboard, put together the cover, and filled the book with "found" papers- magazine pages, envelopes, receipts, text pages out of other books, anything you wanted to use. (again, this class was taught by Kelly Kilmer. I know, it sounds like I take a lot of classes with her, but I really haven't- I've only taken 4 so far; one of the other students in last weekend's class has taken 19 classes with Kelly, and I think that was only in the last couple years!!) This page is eventually going to be about the Beijing summer olympics... the dragon was out of an in-flight travel magazine; I found it in February, and it's perfect for this page, I think!

(a sort of related note: I find it really hard to throw anything away now; I always have an internal dialogue in my head when I go thru the mail: "would this be useful for anything art-related somewhere down the line??" You'd probably be amazed at some of the things I save... I'd probably keep more, except for the fact that I have limited space for crafting supplies. Perhaps my "paper and supply addiction" would be a good topic for a blog post??)

This page spread is out of the miniature avante-garde book made during the AU class; it's finished size is 3 x 6 inches, I think. It's a bit harder (for me, at least) to work on pages this small, but I've made a start- I covered a couple of the pages with random scraps of paper- magazine and catalog pages, vintage book text, scrapbooking paper, etc. and it will either be painted, or left as is... who knows??

After next month, I'll have another book to add to my collection, and I really do want to start working on the altered book project I have in my head... it's translating the ideas from my head to a finished project that I have a difficult time with, but perhaps that's a limitation that every creative person has?? (people sometimes say that if they won the lottery they'd get bored if they didn't work, but I don't think I'd have that problem for a loooong time, that's for sure- I have lots of ideas waiting to be worked on!!)

October 08, 2008


yes, I'm impatient for the workday to be over... Mixed Media group meeting tonight (the project is a surprise!), and I also brought my journaling stuff with me, so I can hang out beforehand at Borders and work on some new pages in one of my journals.

I took an all day class last Saturday at Frenzy Stamper with Kelly Kilmer, and learned some great new stuff! I haven't taken pictures of my pages yet, but you can check out her post about it here till I break out the camera. I love taking classes with her; she always has great ideas for working on art journaling pages, and she also has great paper, stamps, and stuff! I ended up with so much paint and gel medium on my hands that I didn't even bother washing it off before heading home, 'cause it would have taken forever... those are the best kind of days!

(pics soon, I promise...)