Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blog Give Away

I am nearing my 50th blog post and I am going to celebrate it with a give away!

The rules:

Put a link back to this blog on your blog/facebook/website/etc. and talk about the contest- I'd like to get lots of people on this so there is more than 3 or 4 people.

Once you have linked back to here, post your name and a link to your blog/facebook/website. (We all get a bit of networking out of this). Finally, post one topic/thing you'd like to see a video or post of in the future or one suggestion to improve the blog.

The prize:

A flat rate envelope crammed with papers, stickers, rub ons, charms, and doodads for your mixed media/art journal/crafting mayhem, along with one craft book from my collection.

The winner will be chosen using the random.org true random number generator.

The contest ends on New Year's Eve, at 12:01am I will announce the winner.

Good luck!

Feel the love =)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The videos are finally here!

So I have finally mastered the confusing world of videos and youtube, on top of that I dug out 2 and a half cars out of over a foot and a half of snow. I have been quite productive today, I believe! The video is in two parts because youtube hates videos over 10 minutes long and mine was 11. Anyway, here's the goods I've been promising for ages now. I am so excited- please give me some ideas for more videos =)

Part #1:

Part #2:

Please ignore how often I smack/tap/fondle the pages- I just love my journals that much! =P

Movie update and PADP

Update on this damn movie thing: I have recorded an 11 minute bit and it seems to be stubborn. My camera is being very slow with uploading the clip but it is getting there. Once that is accomplished I will struggle diligently to figure out how to get it from my computer onto here. We are in the final stretch! I am excited!

Prompt A Day Page number 8- I love how the colors and layering turned out here.

"Missing You" fairy page

Another Prompt a Day page, this one is about missing my mom. Her personal symbol was fairies so everything associated with her is sprinkled with them and glitter. I plan to one day make an altered journal dedicated to her. I am on the look out for a hard cover of one of the "Fairy Books," like The Red Fairy Book, The Blue Fairy Book, and such by Andrew Lang. I plan to scan a bunch of the photos of mom and us and then do the book in a garden/woodland theme with tons of ribbons, beads, glitter, and fairy stuff.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flying Turtles

I seem to have an affinity for flying turtles, I think it's going to become a permanent symbol. I am very happy with how this turned out. I didn't plan the page out, it just happened. The white paint looked like clouds and the camera lens in the background paper was a perfect sun. I love it!

New Journal Cover

Here is my winter '09 journal:

I'm not pleased with the way the paint came out, I first painted it this lovely purple and added the gel medium transfer of my great-aunt Joan. It looked plain so I decided to use some bright yellow paint and bubble wrap but it looked to Easter/gaudy so I painted over it again with the purple and got this mottled mess. But oh well, I love how the transfer turned out.

It is snowing outside and we're expecting around 2 feet, so I've been cozy in bed stitching up some Christmas gifts. I can't post them yet because sneaky people may be watching the blog for spoilers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Spin Spin

Do you guys prefer the photo or the text first?

Anyway, this spread started with a swirly stamp I made, applied with paint, dried, and then painted over with watered down acrylic. I laid down some tape and rubbed some more paint on it and then journaled on and on top of it. I glued thr fringe to the top left page with tacky glue. The fringe didn't pose much of a problem for future journaling because it's long enough to flip over the top and stay out of the way, but it is something to consider before just slapping it on. The picture is of a whirling dervish from National Geographic: I blocked out the background with a few layers of black acrylic to keep it simple.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More experiments

Here are the remaining pages in my experiment book so far- I've been slacking in this department.

This page was "painted" with rubbing alcohol and then watercolor was applied to the page with a brush, both strokes and drips.

More watercolor with alcohol applied with a brush. This technique is tricky because the paper can't be too wet or too dry.
Once I was frustrated enough with simply making dots and swirls in alcohol I wondered if you could use it as an ink or a stamp. And it turns out it works once in a million-gillion times (or some scientific number like that.) It worked on the first try with a simple paw print stamp (circled) but it didn't like the fine detailed script stamp below in the gray-blue. It hasn't worked for me since either. =)

These two different pages were my attempts at perfecting the stamping with rubbing alcohol technique to no avail. It didn't work well with either pouring alcohol onto a napkin and using it as a stamp pad (left) and or when I tried making a stamp pad by soaking a foam brush and using it as a stamp pad (right).

I was pleasantly surprised with this technique- I brushed matte gel medium onto the page and then stamped a sheet of bubble wrap into it for the top portion. The bottom part was a happy accident, I didn't want to waste the gel so I stamped it on the page. It dried and then I painted over it- how cool! I want to use this again with different layers of paint.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mad Crafter Experiments

I decided to try out a bunch of stuff I've been wondering about and so I thought you like to see the results I've collected so far:

Since up until recently I've only worked in altered books, I chose a cast off hard back to try all of my techniques in. I realize my handwriting is terrible, so I will translate.

I placed a stencil to the paper and used the spatula (picture above) to spread an even layer of matte gel medium. The top bird was left smooth while the bottom bird's gel medium was disturbed by using the width of the spatula to press into and the pull up the gel for texture. Both were painted over with acrylics afterwards. The smudge of paint on the side shows the true color unaffected by the gel.

Same spatula, different technique. At the top, a thick layer of matte gel medium was spread onto the page and the I used the pointed tip to draw into the gel. The bottom corner was the same texturizing technique I used on the bird in the last photo to create a spackled look. These were my first experiences with any gel medium and I think it would look better to mix the paint with it first rather than painting it afterwards, it looks muddy here.

Here I experimented with a rubbing alcohol resist, the page was painted with watercolor and then splattered with the alcohol. The watercolor recedes and creates a speckled look.

Here I tried applying the same technique but using a spray bottle instead. The mist was too fine and resulted in a general lightening of the color rather than creating speckles. I need a different mister.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Prompts number 3 and 5

I've found myself having a hard time working in my normal art journal with this class going on. Hopefully that will change after this coming week and exams are over. I took one of Millande's ideas and have started taking paint left on my palette and started randomly splattering/brushing/slapping paint onto pages of a blank book. That way when I need my spring altered journal the backgrounds will already be done and ready for collage and words.

More pages from the Prompt a Day class:

I kind of cheated with this page and didn't just add the blue as another layer with a brush but instead used crumbled plastic wrap to apply it.

I absolutely love the way the 5th page turned out, I think it's one of my favorites out of all the pages I've done. I like how the different fonts separate ideas and how the black and white really stand out. The photo is Sage, the boy who would have been my stepson, I love him and his sister Ceilidh as if they were my own. (Bonus point for the fact he's wearing a hat I knit him in the picture.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shrine Art Display

As I sit here in the library I am avoiding an essay that due before an exam Monday. Bad for my education, good for you. I was on craftster and saw this amazing shrine/art display made by OriginalYouth.

She took one of those old wooden calendars that have the separate numbers and months that you change out and made this amazing piece:

Here's the link to the original post on craftster: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=330126.0

And this is the link to her flickr account to see more photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/originalyouth/sets/72157622820366633/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Learning to deal with it

In the past I've struggled with judging my journal pages but I've grown to understand how silly it is. Yes, I share my pages with people and post them online for the world to see but that isn't my motivation. I journal to record my life and decompress and those should be my main goals.

Above there are two spreads. I love the top pink one: I doodled in watercolor crayons (with no water added) and then covered the spread with hot pink tissue paper. It's simple but I love the texture and color.

The second blue spread I struggled with. I had journaled on it before doing anything to the page and went back later to decorate the page. The background is a failed attempt of a salt-watercolor resist. The more I added the more I hated it; but it tells a story about the funny things the kids at my daycare say to me. A part of me wants to rip it out and redo the whole thing but I now realize that it is just a journal page. I learned that my page was too wet to take the salt resist and that is a reason worth keeping it in there. Journals are records and experiments for ourselves and we should be our first priorities.

APAD #4 prompt

Only a week to go until freedom is attained!

Here's my fourth spread from the APAD class. Number three hasn't been posted because I couldn't get a good photo of it yet. I am not fully content with how this spread turned out; the page size was a challenge for the part of the assignment that required five strips to fan out from the top horizontal strip. I do like the colors and the stamps though, it's like the turtle is swimming through the clouds. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but the stars were outlined with a Sakura gelly roll silver glitter pen. I love those things!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My "A Prompt a Day Journal"

As I've mentioned, I've been taking Kelly Kilmer's "A Prompt a Day Class" and I finally got to sit down and work on some pages last night. School's been keeping me busy and I spent Saturday making my journal.

I decided this entire experience was going to be a series of experiments and playing around with stuff without worrying about the outcome. I've never made or worked in a brown paper bag book so I went for it.

How I did it:

1) I took brown paper lunch bags and folded them in half.

2) I took black/white/neutral colored paper I wasn't planning on using for anything else and adhered the pieces to each page with regular gel medium. I am interested to see how the different background techniques affect the papers.

3) The thing that took the longest was punching the holes. I made a guide out of an extra bag so all my holes would line up, but between the 8 layers of paper of each "signature" of 1 bag and the gel medium, it took a lot of energy and cursing to punch out the holes, one-by-one.

4) I'll eventually get some 1" binder rings to connect the pages and I'll tie some ribbon and extra goodies to the rings for extra decoration.

I chose the lunch bag size because I want to challenge myself to work within a smaller area and concentrate on the details. I am really feeling it so far.

Onto the photos!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

On a roll... a blog roll that is

I'm in a cheesy mood today I suppose =)

As the fall semester is ending I find myself spending a lot more time online when I should really be studying for exams and finishing up term papers. I realize posting a single journal spread at a time can get really boring (but it's the only craft I've been doing except knitting hats on my knifty knitter, and really- how many hats of the same pattern can you look at?)

So here are some absolutely delicious craft blogs that I waste away the hours plotting my next projects:

(In not particular order)

Hanna's blog is extremely eclectic and is very user friendly, you can navigate it by subject and/or date.

Kelly's art journal blog posts every day and always has tons of great links to explore. She gets me in trouble a lot at school when I should be writing!

If you've been living under a rock or swamped with work you may not know Teesha has posted a ton of video tutorials on her journaling style recently.

For stunning photographs sure to make you jealous and inspired:

Kathy is such a hero of mine- her glitter fabulosity is awe-inspiring. She does just about every craft you can think of! She has posted many of her projects from her craft books (which are amazing) and has tons of tutorials:

Tammy runs yet another crazy eclectic blog full of inspiration:

Andrea Zuill's sewing blog posts one free embroidery pattern a month and is constantly updating all of the different projects she has going on:

LollyChops is also very eclectic ranging from recipes to craft tutorials and free patterns and designs, I love her stuff!

I think that should keep you guys busy for a while! Back to cleaning this messy house!

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I never received the photos of Chrissy and me at the Dalai Lama's lecture at American College in D.C., but this is the spread that came as the result. I didn't realize I put a Christian priest on there until after the spread was done- I chose him for his robes (I love the color and texture). I can fully enjoy the irony now. Red is the color for good luck in the Tibetan culture so I chose to apply it here. The background is red and gold paint applied with a dry large horsehair brush, the resulting pattern looking like the weave of a piece of fabric.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Angel Milliande

For those of you who have yet to be introduced to Milliande, she is one of my ultimate crafting heroes. She has created a ning community for women that hosts art swaps, tutorials, blogs, and a message forum where everyone can learn from one another. You can lose track of the days watching all of her amazingly information and creative youtube videos. She is a beautiful free spirit who loves to share her passion with others.

For the holidays she is hosting a sort of pay-it-forward giveaway! You can go to her website here:

(Doesn't she just exude artsy spunkiness? I love her!)


where you post 10 craft items/supplies for your wish list and one art destination. The more people who participate, the more winners there are. If your wish list is chosen she will grant one wish off of your list.

Here my wish list for those of you at home keeping score:

1) The ARTChixStudio Dream Box with Doors kit:

2) Fortune Teller Hand charms from ARTChixStudio:

3) Some of this awesome Day of the Dead fabric:

4) Some of this lovely Egg fabric:

5) This amazing Rosie the Riveter Stamp:

6) Beautiful Day of the Dead art journal:

7) (Book) How to Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book By Esther K. Smith

8) (Book) Acrylic Revolution: New Tricks and Techniques for Working with the World's Most Versatile Medium (Spiral-bound)~ Nancy Reyner

9) Bold Brights Watercolor Crayons from Stampin' Up!

10) My *HUGE* wish is for the Sircle WB-110 book binding machine (So I can make my own art journals with my own paper):

My artsy destination would be: JOURNALFEST! Its an art journal festival with different classes and activities in Washington, USA. My only problem is that I am terrified of flying =)

Come play and hang out with us at the Ning Community! It's a cozy little community- it's not as big as craftster.org but it is a more intimate atmosphere.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Betty Page

Glitter seems to be my latest addiction, it's finding it's way into all of my spreads recently. The Prompt a Day class begins tomorrow and I don't know if I'll be able to wait till the weekend to start! I retried the video and found out it is actually my webcam that makes the sound mess up so I'll have to try for a fifth time with my digital camera. We will get this right!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kelly Kilmer's A Prompt a Day

I've been promising myself that I would join altered book artist Kelly Kilmer's online class, A Prompt a Day for some time. I just learned last night that she isn't going to be teaching this specific course next year so I got my treat early! We start December 1st and I can't wait!

You should go check out her blog, she posts daily and always has fun links to explore:


She's very sweet, I made a mistake on my application form and had to email the correction. She responded within an hour or so saying everything was fixed and sent me the approval to the class. Talk about customer service!

New Background Ideas

It's been difficult coming up with new background ideas so when I saw a forgotten coloring page at my work after closing and loved the colors the child used, I decided to take it home with me. I gessoed the spread and then glued down the picture. Once it dried I glued down this patterned tissue paper and went over the circles with different media such as gel pens and watercolor crayons.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Webcam woes

I tried recording today and I think I've worked out most of the kinks. The first time I tried to make the video I actually did the whole thing without pressing the right button so nothing got recorded. The second go around my father interrupted; I thought I would be able to splice it together but then I learned that the tractors outside rattle the glass in the windows, which then messes up my sound. So we'll try again soon, I really want to get a more personal media involved in the blog and I think a youtube channel where everyone can sort of talk "face to face" would be a great way to do that.

In the mean time, this spread is from the Buddhist ceremony performance I attended. Don't laugh at my childish "sketches," drawing isn't my strong point.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Halloween Spread

Senoritis has set in. I've been skipping classes and reading craft books when I should be writing term papers. Here's what I've been reading lately

Mostly sewing books, I am trying to get inspired to start needlework again. I haven't done any fabric/embroidery projects in at least 6 months and there's a whole role of cross stitch fabric waiting to be used.

Lastly, a Halloween spread that honestly looks better in person. I had mixed a deep purple with gold so it is dark but shimmers. The trees were a stencil that was sprayed with walnut ink. The playing card is from a much abused, to-be-thrown-away deck at my day care center that I colored with dye inks and then rubbed away to highlight the wrinkles and tears.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ode to Shrink Plastic

When I visited the Visionary Art Museum, one of my favorite pieces was the free standing journal pages made of shrink plastic shrunk down. I've been dying to try this myself and I have been playing around with some ideas. I think I've finally settled on the concept of home and homelessness, inspired by a homeless acquaintance of mine. I'm thinking the pages will get cut into house shapes and I'll use a variety of stamps, markers and maybe acrylics.

Lesson to be learned: Heat guns are not ideal for shrinking entire pages of shrink plastic/shrinky dink paper- it's hard to get it to shrink evenly without folding in on itself, which is what I had been aiming to avoid by using the gun in the first place. No amount of reheating and pressing could fix this puppy. It also appears the heat partially melted the piece as well, there was some discoloration as a result.

Heat Gun + Full Shrink Plastic Sheet = Disaster

The heat gun purchase wasn't a total loss however, I use it all the time to get my pages to dry quicker so I can keep working.

My birthday spread:

I am only partially happy with these results- I wanted to do a crayon resist with watercolors and I like how the letters came out but I feel like I didn't do enough with the background. I ended up using those sticker reinforcements that you put on notebook paper but I regret it now. They look like an afterthought (which they were). The birthday flap and cake are both from the multiple Barnes and Noble gift card envelopes I received.

I am really excited about the idea incorporating plastic bags into my spreads because it allows me to add 3D items and other stuff I want to be able to handle and not commit to the page. I am buying some more of these next shopping trip, you can find them in your craft store's jewelry section.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Venturing into the Unknown

I get a lot of my ideas while driving. I thought about the last spread I posted and a conversation I had recently with some members of the craftster Altered Journal-Along- I am going to try making a youtube video (my very first!) about the idea of sad/personal/"ugly" journal entries. It'll probably get made sometime around this weekend after I go gush over Taylor in New Moon and go to bingo. =)

Who knows if I'll be able to get it posted, but we're sure going to try! If it flops I'll just write it up as another written blog entry.

Here is the inside cover my Autumn art journal (I seem to fill one up with each season.) I included my contact info (tactfully blocked out) and I have since added label maker tape to include my email address. The stars are a cute little series of stamps my sister made for me, I love the spunk they have. They aren't uniform- I just love their quirkiness. The raven stamp is from one of those $1 Halloween stamp sets from JoAnn's impulse purchase section by the registers.

The spread on the right is one of my favorite collages I've done, all the images are from National Geographic magazines. Yes, the woman was actually carrying the birdcage on her head- the texture of her clothing is great and I love the color.

Where/how do you get most of your craft/art ideas?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Hard Stuff

Sometimes you have to write about the hard stuff. My mom passed away last year on Halloween from emphysema complications due to smoking for over 30 years. This is a spread from 2 months ago on her birthday.

I like how the circle insert turned out. I white washed the page along with the postcard we got in the mail and one of the memorial cards from her viewing to give it a consistent, dreamy/sad tone. The "mom" was torn from one of the notes mom would leave me on the island (this one asking me to wake her whenever I got up on some random weekend). I miss her so much.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Undead Prom Queens, Slutty School Girls, and more!

I've been a bad blogger, I know. This past week was all around the week from hell- over time at work and multiple assignments due each day at school. The very delayed photos from the Visionary Art Museum:

The other side of the museum

This year's exhibit was based on the individual's pursuit of happiness.

I have fallen in love with the museum logo

It seemed like I had more but I guess that's it... Moving on: Halloween was spent at Krystal's for a Halloween/birthday party for yours truly. I was a zombie prom queen, of course!

My sister is the terrified slutty school girl but I think I make a pretty convincing undead person. The fake blood in the tube was pretty neat- I put too much on and it was getting in my eye; sadly, once it dried it peeled off very easily from talking/eating/smiling/existing. I used white grease paint for my face and light blue eyeshadow on my lips to make me more undead. And in case you were wondering, fake blood does not taste good.
I've got pages drying right now in both my normal altered journal and my new "experiment" journal. Soon there will be new photos, I promise.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rage against this machine

I am experiencing some rage at blogger right now because it continues to tell me my html is incomplete but the damn thing is supposed to do the html! And I just redid my post twice to find I deleted it.

It's been one of those evenings.

We'll try again tomorrow so I don't get all She-rah on this stupid thing.

See you then!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The American Visionary Art Museum

I went to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore yesterday as my Dad's birthday present to me and it was fantastic! The museum's collection is comprised mostly of art work done by individuals who are not considered professional artists. Some creators of the pieces include, prisoners, the mentally challenged, housewives, the homeless, refugees, etc. Some of my favorite pieces included the altered book and art journals by prisoners and average women, the stained glass and porcelian Icarus statue, shrinky dink pages, the miniature museum, Afghanistan war rugs, art quilts, and the multi-media doors.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take photos inside the museum buildings, they were only permitted for the outdoor exhibit. (Believe me, I tried and got yelled at.) =/ However, I am happy with the photos I was able get.

A glass "tree" outside the front of the museum- I am kicking myself for not capturing the reflection of the wall below in a mirror on the tree with it's own reflection on the wall, it would have been a stunning photo.

Just a tiny portion of the mosaic front wall.

A giant mosaic egg
Self portrait number 1

Number 2, my personal favorite

Another self portrait but I wish I could have elminiated the background and gotten a wider shot but I was blocked in by another set of doors.

A giant metal guitar-bird and nest

We discovered a balcony on the third level of the other building that is actual inside the wire nest.

From the nest we noticed this giant mosaic piece we wouldn't have seen otherwise since it was above our heads when we were in the courtyard.

A view of down town Baltimore.

There are more photos to post but blogger is again, refusing to cooperate.