inspiration journal

A simple, clean, unembellished journal.  Novel concept.  I read about this dynamite idea on iHanna's blog and, as with so many things, it hit at just the right time.  She wrote about creating a 'restraint journal' - a small notebook where you can create simple, quick collages on a plain white background and use up the scraps on your table.  You had me at restraint.  Like Hanna, restraint is something I don't usually practice, but once I got started on this journal, I couldn't stop!

I have a stack of inspiration pieces that I've printed out or cut from magazines and didn't quite know how to save them.  I wanted them accessible but not just stuffed in an envelope or box.  I'd been mulling it over for a week or two and then saw Hanna's blog post.  Genius!

Some tissue paper and a dab of one of my new washi tapes above.

 Manilla envelope pieces made it in a stack above.

 I love Chico's jewelry and advertising pieces!

I love the idea of grabbing whatever is on hand from my pile of scraps and concocting a quick composition.  Key word: quick.  I can play with color, with shapes, not so much with actual texture, but with visual texture.  The best part - I can play with my glue and paper and still watch TV - the best kind of multi tasking!

Michelle Ward advocates it as well:  Create a journal page that has minimal elements, less clutter, and more breathing room. I’m not saying that less is better than more; I’m simply asking you to try it. As we know, there are no rules when it comes to visual journaling.

Thanks Hanna & Michelle!


paf: path or road

I haven't had the time to play along with Bonnie's Photo Art Friday themes the last couple weeks, but found myself missing the fun of manipulating my photos and stretching my computer wings so to speak.  So I made time to play at least for a few minutes.  This week's theme is path/road so I'm using this photo I took in Vermont last year.


The result using Bonnie's Chinks of Light at soft light 65%.  I takes away some of the richness of color but gives it a sunny, brighter look - the squares in 'chinks' are totally lost in the busy photo.

Added another layer: Bonnie's Backlight (overlay 55%) which brightens it even more and makes it have a sun kissed look.

Copied the original image, changed it to black and white then reduced opacity to leave just a hint of color; added one last layer:  Shadowhouse Older Than Dirt, overlay at 100%.

The path seems a little more sinister to me now.....  This was fun - haven't played with my textures in a while - sure wish there were more hours in a day!


what I've been up to

I haven't been posting or commenting as much as usual the last week or so because I've been busy working on a project that is long overdue and I recommitted myself to its completion.  Dan & I went to China 4 years ago (yes, that's 4 YEARS) with his brother and sister and their spouses.  The six of us had a great time and I promised a memory book to everyone with a blending of all our photos.

Okay, that was obviously a bit ambitious since it's still not done.  But it will be.  I digitally scrapbook each page and then wait for a photo book sale to get it printed.  I just got one back from Winkflash that chronicles my photo-a-day project from last year and I LOVE it!  I just love those photo books as a great way to share photo memories.

I've got about 45 pages done so far (20+ double layouts) and probably another 40+ to go since my pages haven't even left Beijing yet.  Here are just a few of the double layout pages I've managed to get done this week.  They're all for an 8x8 book size.

So, this proves I've not totally abandoned my creative activities the last little while, just more computer focused rather than paint and glue focused.  (plus I'm coming down with something so I'm less inclined to do anything...)


happy mail

Yesterday's mailbox was a delight - in addition to the couple of junk mail pieces (saved those envelopes), I received postcards from Corinne and Karen.  Both so springy and pretty.  Thanks Corinne for sharing one of your washi tape sources from ETSY (see PrettyTape) and thanks Karen for sharing all your techniques.

Then, I was the prize winner at Marilyn's at Rock Art and she sent me this beautiful piece of art (gorgeous layers and collaging in the dress) wrapped in this scrumptious toile tissue paper, AND a set of 12 markers (can't wait to use them) as well as a beautiful card and envelope.  There's a wealth of future collaging materials here and all so pretty, I just have to look at them for awhile.  The art goes on my inspiration wall immediately!  Thanks so much Marilyn (hope your hubby is out of the hospital soon!)

I'm just now putting out feelers and trying my hand at sharing mail art (postcards or envelopes of little goodies) with some of my blogging buddies.  If you'd like mail from me (and you'll return mail to me), just email me your address (or comment to me and I'll return by email) and I'll add you to my Happy Mail list.

All this delicious mail came at a perfect time since I seem to be coming down with something and have a serious case of the blahs!  This definitely lifted my spirits.



Lorinda over at Everyday Endeavors has "tagged" me (thanks!) and it's my turn to play along. Then, as I browsed through the others that she tagged, I see that I  was tagged again by Pauline at Journal Illustrations & Musings....so I'll answer all the questions and then I won't have any secrets left!

The Rules
...you must post the rules
...answer 11 questions the tagger posted for you
...create 11 questions to ask the people you tag
...tag 11 people
...let them know you've tagged them

Lorinda's questions:
1. What's your favourite medium for creating?  Right now, paint and collage.  Oh, and photography.
2. What is your favourite accessory? I'm a jewelry collector, so probably one of several necklaces.
3. Books or movies? Or?  Books - I read like crazy.  But I enjoy a good movie on the weekends.
4. Is creating your day job or your night job?   Night job.
5. Glass half empty or half full?  Always half full.
6. What's your favourite time of day?  Morning, early morning.
7. What's your favourite form of exercise and/or physical expression?  Ummm.  Surely this one doesn't apply to me.  I agree with Tracey - I think I'm allergic.
8. What kind of music inspires you?  A little Jason Mraz, Adam Lambert
9. What's your favourite month of the year?  August - heat, sunshine, being outside
10. What's your favorite quote?   Life is measured not by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.
11. If you could spend a free month anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would you do?  I'd go back to northern Italy.  I'd have the time to soak up the history, the art, the food, drive and drive and explore the countryside and even into the adjoining countries.  Heaven!

taken in my yard last week - spring is slowly moving to Seattle
Pauline's questions:

1. Favorite ice cream flavor?   I rarely eat ice cream, but I guess vanilla.
2. Favorite book (or movie)?   This is impossible, there are so many.  One of the more recent faves is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
3. One thing that you love? (thing, not person) :-)  The murano glass vase bought in Venice.
4. What makes you smile?  I'm kinda serious but my hubby always can get me to laugh. Or at least roll my eyes.
5. Where was your best vacation?  Mediterranean cruise followed by 2 weeks in Italy.
6. What color is your car (if you have one) or your bike?   Red convertible - is there any other?
7. If money was no object, what is the ONE thing you would do?  Take an around the world cruise.
8. Where do you feel most at home or 'connected' to the world?  With Dan (hubby), wherever that is.
9. high heels or flip flops?  definitely flip flops, don't even own any heels
10. If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?  our financial situation so I could stay home and art all day
11.What are you most proud of?  My two boys - all grown up (30 & 27) and doing SO well.

A door that caught my eye on vacation in Vermont - a creative soul must live here.

My questions:

1.  Favorite season - why?
2.  What do you 'need' to have on before venturing out in public?
3.  What do you collect?
4.  Favorite style of art?
5.  Symmetrical or asymmetrical?
6.  What do you find difficult to learn or work with in your chosen medium?
7.  Vacation in cold & snow or hot & sunshine?
8.  How do you relax?
9.  What's one of your guilty pleasures?
10.  What wakes up your muse?  (or, where do you find your creative inspiration?)
11.  What food do you crave most often?

My players (tag, you're it because I want to know more about you) - visit them in a couple days to read their responses.

1.  Elizabeth at Altered Book Lover (or maybe Bleubeard will play)
2.  Marcia at Dabblings
3.  Corinne at Sparkle Days
4.  Donna at The Happy Painter
5.  Karen at I am Rushmore
6.  Jo at Jo Murray Art
7.  Jenn at Just Add Water Silly
8.  Joanne at Lettering Love
9.  Nancy at All Pulped Out
10.  Donna at Simply Me
11.  Margaret at Enthusiastic Artist

There's certainly no obligation to participate, but if you've got the few minutes, it would be fun to learn more about you and meet some of your favorite bloggers.


texture tuesday

I have two images to share for Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.  {ED -oops - I just went to post my link and it's a black and white day!  I got my wires crossed somewhere.  Sorry, but I'd already done these, so my theme is... yellow?}

The ubiquitous flower picture - obviously I chose daffodils for spring and used Kim's texture Phoebe two ways (she offers free ones regularly).  I converted one layer to black and white and the second I changed the hue to a pinkish tone, blended one at hard light, one at soft light and reduced opacity.

I tried again trying for that whitewashed look Kim seems to achieve so effortlessly - me, not so much.  For one thing I tend to gravitate toward saturated colors but sometimes that white look is kinda cool.  I still don't quite know how to achieve it....maybe I need white flowers?  Above I added another texture layer Stamped Softly at linear light 30% and it became somewhat whiter/brighter.  Instead of being romantic and soft it just seems a little blurry and washed out....hmmm.

This second image is a photo I took on a trip to China and I used the rusty vignette texture at vivid light 100% and erased the coverage over the building.

Be sure to check out other texture offerings at Kim's site.

By the way, I've added some new images and collages for purchase in my ETSY shop - hope you'll visit and check it out.


altered book step 3

I've finished all the steps for lesson 3 on my altered book (AB) class with Elizabeth.  It's a free online tutorial that she is so generously sharing - amazingly detailed info and photos to guide you each step of the way and you can start any time; the lessons are in order on her sidebar.

There were 3 main components of lesson 3 - prep the cover, reinforce and decorate the inside cover and create a niche at the back.

My cover was a solid black so not too hard to do - I sanded it a bit and covered it with a couple coats of gesso.  I'm not sure what I'll do to it just yet - it may need more gesso, depending....

Step 2:

I had some of this gorgeous textured handmade paper (no I didn't make it) left over from another project so added it for my inside cover.  Yep, that's the glue showing through.  Again, when I figure out how to embellish this, I'll be covering up most of those glue marks.

 I love the ragged deckle edge.

Step 3 - create niche:

Gluing the back pages together - twice!  These clips were the perfect clamp but that's partly because my niche is so thin - will likely do it deeper next time.

Niche cut and glued and drying.

Niche covered with scrapbook paper (corners a little messy) and you can see how thin this niche is.  I'm using wire wrapped sea glass to fill it.  The left hand page has a cutout corresponding to the size of the nice and there's a blank page on the other side so I'm thinking I'll write some pithy comment there when I get to that.  I had this scrapbook paper that felt like seaside/ocean etc to go with the seaglass detail.  I'm sure I'll add to the seaglass page....just not sure what yet.

The niche pages are glued to the back cover.  Things to do better next time:  choose the niche piece first so I make a space deep enough, take more care in cutting/folding the corners of the cover sheet!

Thanks for the detailed instructions Elizabeth!  I'm looking forward to the next steps.

scavenger hunt

I'm getting this posted a little late so there will probably be 100 links ahead of me....but this week had some fun themes.  As a reminder, Ashley posts 5 theme topics each Sunday and you have all week to take the pictures and post them the following Sunday.


I did a "vintage" collage of my parents before they got married that I submitted for the IA challenge yesterday, so today I just pulled up one of me with them (vintage is anything over 40 years old and this picture is definitely over that!).  No ruffles for me these days, but it was pretty cute then :)

Word or Quote:

A vignette in my house - one of my fave quotes of all time!

Nature's Own:

Mother nature is sure confused the last few days here in the NW (I guess pretty much everywhere - 80 in Chicago in March, really?!) and we had snow on the daffodils!  In the middle of March!


You'll have to forgive me if I've shared this one before, but these are my 3 favorite people and it's hard to get them together for a challenge photo, so had to run to the archives for this one!

Photographer's Choice:

Oh my, what do I put here?

In between snow flurries this week I did manage to get over to my favorite little hidden gem of a garden and see what's starting to sprout.  Not much yet, but I do love the contrast of this red plant growing out of this old stump.

Enjoy the images from others at Ashley Sisk's site.


inspiration avenue: vintage photo

Vintage photography is the theme for this week's Inspiration Avenue challenge.  I don't own any vintage cameras and certainly can't draw/paint one, so I took the path of using a couple of photos I have of my parents before they were married.  I made a simple mini-collage, used some PSE actions, framed it and have something I really like.  I wish they were still alive to see and enjoy it.