December 15, 2012

journal page catch-up

just a few random pages in my journal that I don't think I've shown before (sorry in advance for the somewhat blurry pictures; for some reason, I can't seem to get crisp photos of my journal pages):

vintage bird image from the Graphics Fairy website (I think), random paper
and a couple bits of deco tape, along with some coloring (of course).
The page above had background paper on from when I made the book... a pretty floral Japanese paper and a piece of a vintage cookbook leaflet. For some reason, I could not figure out what to do with it from there, though! So, instead of collaging over the entire thing with more paper (I was thinking about it), I decided to do a *whitewash* of sorts and added a thin layer of white acrylic paint to blend the disparate background elements together. ...much better!

Happiness is a Warm Puppy
This page is another that was mostly done back when I made the book; the only things I added to this one were the magazine words and letters, a few pieces of deco tape, and the pen details. I loved this picture of the boy and his dog, and it immediately reminded me of Prescott (and Tom)!

This image was in a magazine article Mom sent me; I liked him, and wanted to save him. This page is a mix of handmade and scrapbook paper, along with patterns made with black marker and Sakura souffle pens.  (I'm using them an awful lot; seems like I just bought them, but I may need to replace a couple of them soon already!)

December 14, 2012

journal page "Into the Crazy"

Turns out this is a bit of a 'before and after' post, considering that this page looks very different now from when I first collaged it back when I made the book in 2010-- lol!

Finished page
This page is one of those 'more is more' pages that I like to do. I started out with the collaged image and background (see below), but when I looked at it, I really didn't like her dress. I started out pretty simply by adding silver dots all over her skirt with a paint pen- I still didn't like it! I thought briefly about covering the entire image with something else, but figured I'd try and salvage it first... I decided it was the huge flower that was bothering me, so I started adding hand-cut paper circles to cover it up. I liked that better, but decided it needed 'more' of something- so, first more circles, and then doodling on top of it all. After all that, I decided the borders looked too plain, so they got doodled, too.

a 'before' shot of the base page:collaged background
with a focal image from a fashion magazine.
The words were also cut out of a fashion magazine, and colored in with souffle and glaze pens. I can't remember what the article title was, but I thought the words I chose fit the image.

close-up of the skirt
Once I got going with the coloring (done mostly with souffle and glaze pens), I almost couldn't stop- whenever I stopped, I noticed a spot that I thought didn't have enough detail! Even some of the colored places have more than one layer of color on, if you look close- lol! This is definitely not one of those 'fall into place in 20 minutes' type of journal pages (it took a good number of hours to do all the coloring), but I do love how it turned out. And, since collaging, coloring, and doodling is my way of 'meditating,' it was quite successful, in my opinion!

December 13, 2012


just a few photos taken last weekend, at my company's Christmas party which was held at the Phoenix zoo... every year the zoo puts on a display containing what had to be millions of lights... neither of us have been to this event before, or even the zoo (why not, right?!? I know... we definitely need to go back during the day, when we can see the animals) so it was pretty neat (and overwhelming!) to see. I do not know how to work my camera well enough to get good pictures of something like this, but here's a few that turned out fairly decent:

I actually attempted to take this so it would be in focus,
but I quite like the blurry effect of all the multicolored lights. 
Our party was really nice (if a bit chilly); it was a whole-family affair, so people brought their significant others, along with their kids and/or their grandkids. We had a (heated) tent reserved right next to the lake, which played a synchronized music and light show periodically; there was a catered buffet dinner, an open bar, a gift exchange and raffle, and Santa (with presents) for the children in attendance.
this row of lighted trees reminded me somewhat of the
bioluminescent plants in the movie Avatar.
Tom and I took a bit of a stroll around some of the grounds, but we didn't go very far because it was crowded, and we didn't want to miss the gift exchange if we got trapped by the crowds on the other side of the lake.

Great Horned owl, close-up (this was done with the zoom
on my camera...we couldn't get up this close to her.) 
They had also arranged for a zookeeper to bring a couple animals to show the kids, which was pretty neat! (The poor zookeeper, though: the first animal she had was a lizard, and apparently all the kids wanted to ask her about was lions, lol!)

a rainbow of lights
All in all, it was a really fun night! The place was packed with people, and now that we've seen (some of) it, we know why. We'll definitely be making plans to go back and see the rest of it!

December 06, 2012

a bit of an explanation...

If you looked at the writing on the journal pages in my last post closely, you may have seen that I wrote a good bit about someone being sick (good eyesight, Mom!). So I thought I'd better explain: Prescott was sick last week, and it was a bit of a rough couple days. (He's better now, thank goodness.)

Last Monday evening, he started favoring one of his hind legs, and that progressed over the next couple days to being so stiff and sore (? we're assuming, anyway) that by Wednesday, he wouldn't really walk at all, which was quite worrying! I carried him down the stairs and to his bed where he rested all day till I could get him to the vet. He just laid there, snuffling with a runny nose, and generally looking pathetic:

here he is, looking pathetic, with a 104.5 fever...
(fyi, a dog's normal temp can go up to 102.5)
I got him to the vet's office where he looked pathetic for Dr. V. and tried to hide behind the exam room chair (not his usual behavior, at all). The vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory steroid and a painkiller to help reduce the pain in his joints, and took some blood for a battery of tests. 

She thought it might be Valley Fever (a fungal infection that's endemic to this area; it lives in the soil and is usually asymptomatic) or tick fever (a bacterial blood infection that can be carried by dog ticks), but those both came back negative (thank goodness!!) and by today, he's almost his old self again...  

almost back to normal!
He doesn't have quite the energy necessary to keep up with Bisbee just yet, but everything else seems normal enough. We don't know what exactly happened to him, but hopefully it was some sort of a weird fluke and once we wean him off the steroid he'll stay his chipper, energetic self! (Like I wrote on one of those journal pages, 'it would be nice if we could all just be healthy for a while!') 

And now, a totally random photo: part of my snowman collection, decorating the niche in the hallway. Ariel keeps trying to jump up here and mess with them, so Tom had to arrange them across the front of the shelf as a barricade to stop her- lol!! (so far it hasn't really worked, either... she's such a stinker!)

December 04, 2012

new-ish journal pages

a few of my latest journal pages-- nothing 'special' in terms of the artwork or the techniques, but at least I've been working in my journal, even if I'm not exactly inspired to make 'great art,' or anything. After all, a journal is a place to experiment, try out new techniques, and basically 'get out' whatever is in your head, whatever form that takes, right? (right!!)

The page above had a collaged background made a while ago; I finally 'finished' the page off with more collage and a focal image. The collage background was painted separately, and added to the book page later- I get into a painting mood sometimes, and paint onto thin newsprint... that way, I can spread out the papers, get as messy and painty as I want with stencils, spattering, and stamps, and then use the papers later on my  journal pages.

Bluejay and Vines page
This page was collaged back when I made the book in 2010; I added more doodling and details to it (the green dots and the deco tape) before writing on it, to make it more 'up to date' with the amount of layering and the types of materials I'm using on the other journal pages. (I just love that pink pompom trim!!)

Flower Garden
This page was also collaged during the class in 2010 when I made the journal, but it looked slightly different then than it does now... I had pasted a vintage magazine focal image onto it, but I never really liked it. The other day I was hemming and hawing about how to make it work, then decided the best way would be to cover it up! easy, right?!? lol! not so easy, really, because somehow I felt like I was 'obligated' to use that image, even though I no longer liked it... but I got over that feeling, and now I like the page tons better than I ever would have before!  

December 03, 2012

a weekend recap: Driving and Dining (courtesy of Triple D)

this weekend, we were 'out and about' both on Saturday and Sunday... here's some photos!

Saturday we started out by driving to Queen Creek, AZ to visit the Queen Creek Olive Mill and restocked our supply of locally pressed olive products: flavored olive oils, dipping oil, and stuffed olives. From there, we headed to the West Valley area to eat lunch at a local restaurant for Tom's birthday. 

photo borrowed from the travelmuse website
Haus Murphy's German Restaurant! We saw this restaurant featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (thus the 'Triple D' in the post title); Guy Fieri visited here a few years ago, and we wanted to check it out! A couple weeks ago, we visited another restaurant featured on that show, La Piazza al Forno (just a block away from Haus Murphy's, actually)... we really enjoyed that experience (authentic Neapolitan wood-fired brick oven pizza), so we wanted to see how this restaurant measured up. 

The interior is very comforting, with dark wood tables and chairs, and
home-y decorations on the wall that evoke its German heritage.

Holiday decorations in the hallway; I had to take a photograph 
of these handcrafted carolers for the nostalgia factor...

a close-up of the girl caroler:
I remember my sister Jackie making figures like this when 
was little! They're made with a wire armature, cut and 
shaped Styrofoam balls for the heads, hands, and feet, 
and stiffened fabric for the clothes.

Tom's celebratory birthday stein of German beer!!
a 32-oz stein of an authentic Spaten lager (very tasty, he said)

(and fyi, I drove home.)
We had a difficult time deciding what to have (there are lots of really interesting things on their menu; we'll definitely have to go back again so we can try out more of the menu), so we decided to delay the decision of what to order... by getting appetizers first!

Haus Cheese Spead platter: house-made Cheddar cheese spread, 
Gherkins, cocktail onions, and assorted rolls. It was yummy!!

Tom ordered an appetizer of potato pancakes, one of his favorites...
they came with sides of applesauce and sour cream. (also yummy!)
 The appetizers were a great way to start out our lunch! The Cheddar cheese spread was wonderfully sharp, and everything else was extremely tasty as well. The potato pancakes were crispy and flavorful, and really didn't need either of those sides to enhance the flavors.

Tom enjoyed veal brats with German potato salad
and red cabbage, along with house-made spicy mustard.

my plate of chicken schnitzel, with a buttery white wine sauce.
Our verdict? Haus Murphy's was a hit! It's definitely 'heavy' food, since it's authentic German cooking, but the flavors were good, and the service was top-notch. We'll be going back there again (the Sauerbraten is next on the menu, I think).

Sunday morning, we hit the road again for a continuation of the birthday festivities! We headed to another Valley Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives destination, Matt's Big Breakfast, a small diner in downtown Phoenix. When Guy Fieri visited here, they were in their previous location (only about a block away from the current location) and the place only held about 15 people. So, patrons would have to wait for an hour or more to get in. The new place is larger, so we only had to wait about 40 minutes. (and yes, it was totally worth the wait!) 

Matt's uses top-notch ingredients: locally-made sausage and chorizo, local organic honey, cage-free eggs, locally sourced bacon, etc. Tom had chorizo and eggs, and I had griddle cakes with thick-cut peppered bacon. Yum!!

Since we've already gone to three of the 11 places Guy Fieri has visited in Arizona, I think we'll have to make it a mission to visit the rest of them eventually. (between now and then, I think I'm eating a salad or two, though-- lol!)

November 27, 2012

how to have fun: see below.

I had to show you the new, cool thing I did just last night for my next art journal page!  (yes, I'm excited; but just wait- it's really cool!! (At least I think so, anyway... lol!)

so, I learned this technique in Kelly's class on lettering, and when I started on it, I said "I do not like the way this looks." She said, "just wait, you'll see" and when I still protested, she said, "okay, how about this: everyone I've taught this too said it was their favorite thing to do in this class." High expectations, right?? But you know what? In the end, she was right, and it did turn out really neat!! (I should have listened... lol!)

So here's what I did... I started with this piece of paper:

my starting point: a journal background, stenciled with some Dylusions spray inks
This pic is actually the reverse side of the paper, but the side I used looked very similar to this. This was a background that I ripped out of one of my other journals; I didn't like it, so I used it as scratch paper and drew a map on it-- anything when you're in a hurry to get out the door to an estate sale, lol!  But I didn't want to just throw it away, so I figured out a way to use it in my current journal.

then, I doodled all over it:
lots and lots of doodling with all sorts of different pens and markers
Now, I like doodling, but I think this looks sort of *ick* the way it is... lots of mixed media artists and art journalers do this sort of layered doodling very well, but not me- some people who I think are very good at it are  Tracie BautistaTammy from Daisy YellowRoxanne Padgett, and iHannna, to name a few.

 close-up of the doodling... I like this section!
After I did all the doodling, I got out the scissors... and voila! the results are below:

this girl knows how to have fun!

The word 'fun' was cut out of the doodled paper, and outlined with white souffle pen. And, like Kelly said during the class, I like it!! I don't do much hand-cutting of lettering like this either... I've seen other people use this technique: Kelly Kilmer of course, Julie Balzer, and Mary Ann Moss, but again, I don't think (didn't think) I was very good at making and using lettering like this, but I'm liking it more and more!! I will definitely do this again, for sure.

so-- cool, right?? I think so!! (and now I have the rest of the doodled / painted piece of paper to cut up and use for other things!)

How to have fun?? paper, paint, pens, and glue, of course! :D


November 25, 2012

a Thanksgiving weekend recap

dang, Thanksgiving weekend went fast! I took Friday off from work so I could have a relaxing 4-day weekend, but it turns out that it wasn't all that 'relaxing' after all...  here's a recap, including photos:

our Thanksgiving spread: roast duck with all the trimmings... and you can't forget
the relish tray!! (vegetables, cheese- NOT limburger- olives, and 2 kinds of pickles)
Thanksgiving dinner was yummy; the duck turned out really nice, and we took advantage of our wonderful weather to grill the asparagus. I wasn't sure whether I was going to go out or not, but decided to do it-- but not to the mall: I went estate sale-ing! (I also saw the last Twilight movie, too, but I digress...) Since I work, I never get to go to sales on Friday, so I decided to take advantage of having the day off to see what Friday sales are like as opposed to Saturday. I went to three different sales, but only bought things at one ($10 total). The sale was the the estate of someone who was a miniature and dollhouse maker... there were over 20 completely furnished dollhouses for sale, and literally thousands of dollhouse 'ingredients' and miniatures, including all sorts of furniture, rugs, pieces for iron fence, 'stone' walls, siding, shingles, and all sorts of crafting supplies. Here's what I got for my money:

I spent at least 2 hours digging through two 10-drawer cabinets that contained
wallpaper samples. (they were all sorted by color, even!) I pulled out
some interesting colored and patterned pieces, and came away with a small
stack. (I could have bought an entire cabinet full, but I chose to use restraint.)
In addition to the wallpaper samples, I also got a  couple bottles of craft paint, an unused stencil (a really neat lattice shape), and a couple other crafty supplies. 

I love this Western wallpaper and border!
(I would never use it in a room, but I still love it.)

some really interesting patterns and colors, here.

again, I would never use this on a wall, but it's really cool!

we all hung out on the patio a lot during the weekend;
the weather was spectacular all weekend long.

this woman also had a very extensive wardrobe of clothing and
accessories- I picked up a couple silk scarves, including this large square
Valentino...  I'm not sure I'll ever wear this one, but I do like the clever way
the "V" is incorporated into the design of the scarf.
The weather was spectacular all weekend, and it's nice that it's finally cooled off enough to enjoy a fire in the fire pit. (we also toasted marshmallows, which of course meant s'mores!)

a 'sneak peek' at how we spent our afternoon.
Sunday afternoon, we started on our Christmas decorating while watching football... overall, it wasn't exactly a relaxing weekend, but it was a fun one for sure! (and after sleeping late all weekend, I am not looking forward to having to get up early again!)

the first pages in my newest 'working journal'

Whenever I take one of these journal-making classes, I always get the itch to work in that book right away- but, I usually have at least one (or more, lol!) journals already in progress, so either I abandon the one I'm working in for the new one, or I have to wait (till I finish the prior journal). I'm not good at waiting, lol! But, in this case, I am going to. The next journal I'm going to work in is one I made at the end of April 2010, but never worked in (not seriously, anyway) till now. {You can see that post here: Kelly Kilmer Weekend Fun (Bliss Journal)}  I collaged a few pages during the class when I made it, and over the course of this summer (while I was recuperating from my surgeries) I painted some of the backgrounds-- but, now I'm ready to actually work in this journal: to fill the pages with fun stuff like collage, paint, stamping, and words. Here's some pics of the newest work in it:

page made during class
I started by using this journal in one of the classes during my 'Kelly Kilmer Weekend.' It was a class on using lettering in unique ways on your journal pages. I thought I would hate (or at least dislike intensely) the way this particular technique turned out, considering how it looked when I started, but it ended up looking really cool (as Kelly said it would; I should always just trust her, lol)!!

here's a closeup:
the word 'rest' was handmade by me: the paper was
decorated by me, and cut out by hand.  I will 

definitely be doing more of this type of lettering!

This next page is one I started in class when I made the journal- collaging the images and background- but that's as far as I got.
Walk this Way-- the first page.
I went to town on this page with my new set of Sakura Souffle pens! So much so that there was really no room for writing (and nothing I really wanted to say, anyway). Souffle pens are fun because they're really opaque and chalky when they dry, which makes them 'pop' when they're used on dark colors.
a close-up of the pen doodling- I used them to color in 
and accent the patterns in the paper. 

The next page, also collaged (partially) when the book was originally made:

Doodled Fox
This page had the background and image on, but that was it. (and part of that background had been torn off along the center because I didn't like the paper). So, I added more paper, decorative tape, doodling, and stenciled a pattern over the entire thing. This page is an example of 'if you don't like it, keep going.' I'm not sure what I think of the page overall; I like it, but I don't love it, if you know what I mean. I really like the techniques I used, so it was definitely a good exercise and I'll use some of these techniques again, which means it was worth it.

This page faces the fox page, and has the same stencil-- I used the chevrons (my newest stencil, a 6x6 stencil design by Julie Balzer- I love these designs!!) on the fox page with a pen, and on this page I used it with my Stabilo watercolor crayons for a totally different look. (the background on this page was watercolored previously). The focal image was cut out of an art and antiques magazine, and I added a bit of patterned paper, along with a bit of vintage dictionary paper. (and more souffle pens!)

next post, I'll show what I found on my Black Friday shopping excursion! (yes, I did go out... madness, right?? not exactly.)

November 21, 2012

more photos from my latest 'Kelly Kilmer Weekend'

Somehow, I can be in a class at Frenzy Stamper, mean to take photos, but end up with only one or two of them when the day is over with- I don't know how it happens! I guess I'm having too much fun to think about taking pictures. Anyway, here's photos of the two journals we made during Kelly's last weekend of classes at Frenzy Stamper. Three classes, and in two of them, we actually made new journals: 

this is a really fun little book; just wait, you'll see why!
This is the book we made on Friday morning; when Jane Eileen saw this book on Saturday, she said, 'it's so unassuming from the outside, isn't it??' The reason she said that is this journal has a secret:

it has fun fold out pages on the inside!

they flip up, and out, and down... 
This book has secrets, sort of like how Clark Kent had the Superman suit hidden underneath his conservative suit and tie! It's going to be fun to work in, and to figure out how to configure the pages... do I use the sections each individually, or should I make the journal page in the photo above go across all four sections for a super-huge-mega-cool-landscape journal page?? oh, the possibilities!
a mostly completed page spread in the flippy book 
another mostly-completed page in the flippy book.

these boots 'looked' like they 'needed' to go onto this page when I was making it; something about the colors and the patterns just makes me smile when I look at it!

Here is the other book we made:
Taped cover journal
This is the journal we made in the Saturday / Sunday class; we made it from scratch using bookboard and canvas, with hotpress watercolor paper for the signatures. The covers were fun to do, because they're completely covered with decorative tape! (Kelly has an awesome deco tape collection; I can never hope to compete with her collection... but I can dream- lol!)
close-up of the tape layers- layering tape
over tape gives a really cool effect.

a view of the spine and the bookbinding stitch
The spine is covered with painted / stamped canvas, which is always fun to do. You could even do this using book covers salvaged off a vintage or cast-off book. (I have a couple I'd like to use for this purpose, but I have a few already-made journals that need to be completed first, as you can see!) The bookbinding stitch is an interesting one that required two needles; it's sort of an 'interlocking chain' that turned out really neat. I always have problems sewing my books together, and this time was no exception- I think I tangled the threads together a few times, had to un-sew once or twice, and even broke a needle! But, it's always worth it in the end.

So, now that I have two new journals, I'm raring to go and finish filling them up! Except that neither of these is my next journal-- they will have to wait! I'll post about which journal I'm going to be working in next... :D