Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Constant Companion

My Dear Blog,
Today is our 5-year anniversary...can you believe that we have been collaborating together for 5 years ??!?


When I wrote my first words of intention, I had no thought of how long you would be in my life, especially since I was so shy about starting to write about my creative adventures at all, but I am so happy I finally chose to jump in and share my creative adventures with you here.

Because of you, I have met many wonderful creative adventurers through so many blogs, and some of them I've even met in person! I have forged some wonderful online friendships through our collaboration together...

A few weeks ago, I found and read this post about online friendships and it made me think of what we have been doing here for the past 5 years, while making me reflect on how some of my 'real-time' relationships have been waning, but you, Dear Friend, have been ever constant, whether I stop to visit and share my creative pursuits or not...
  • You are here when I share about my challenges in creativity and you are here during my struggles in creating a self-sustaining creative career.
  • You are here even when I leave for weeks or months a time, patiently waiting for my return.
  • You allow me as much time and space needed to share my creative pursuits, letting me blather on for as long as needed to get it all out.
  • You allow me the space to vent my frustrations when things are not going as well or as quickly as I would like them to.
  • You allow me the space to continue forging a creative career, free of judgement, free of criticism, free from advice to follow the well-trod path of corporate life.
  • You allow me to be ME, whatever that is, day or night.

And I want to say Thank You, dear friend, for being here as I share my creative life with you and I thank the many others who stop by to take a peek at what is being shared here.

It has been a wonderful 5 years walking the creative path with such a constant companion as YOU...


And I hope this collaboration continues for 5 times 5 more art-FULL years to come!


PS: in case you might have forgotten, I have a 30% discount coupon code for my Etsy shop that is good until September - you can find more details about it in THIS BLOG POST

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Return to Sunday Shorts...

It's been awhile since I posted any 'short films' here on my blog for my little "Sunday Shorts" series but after watching this TED Talk, which was linked in a recent post from an artful blog buddy, I felt this TED Talk needs to make the rounds among women everywhere, since it seems that so many of us are STILL suffering from "Trying to Please Everyone Everyday for Approval" syndrome...

I began my long journey toward ending this syndrome in myself around the time I turned 30 (almost 20 years ago!), but there are days when I realize I am still suffering some form of this syndrome, one way or another, but at least I am now able to catch myself doing it. And while making myself my No. 1 priority isn't always easy (those pleasing and approval 'bugs' can take a LONG time to purge out of the system!), I am always reminded how important it is to my MENTAL HEALTH to continue making myself, and just as importantly, MY CREATIVITY, a priority in my life.

I hope, dear friend, that you enjoy it:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lamenting My Creative Chaos...

Dear Friend,
How do you create a fun, coloful, pretty and ORGANIZED creative space to work in that makes your sing?

I am still struggling with making an organized and functioning studio space to work in...

My 'creative studio' at the time my boyfriend and I first moved into this new place together...

For months now I have been working on my dear boyfriends very nice dining table, which means that we do not get eat our meals on it most of the time...

My sewing machine and a pile of projects taking up table space...

What is supposed to be my studio space is still a room full of unpacked goods that are patiently waiting for a home to stored, instead of taking up the floor space...

How the creative space looks today - I guess unpacking the supplies before having a place to put them in was not the best plan after all...

Trying to squeeze a whole home of a creative studio into one small room is wearing my own patience thin and some days I just want to chuck it all out onto the street and start afresh...

I keep trying to make this closet look organized but it just isn't working!

I keep going through all my supplies and fabrics and ideas for projects not yet started and pass many of them along to others who can use the supplies, and I try to work on the many project ideas I have to clear them out, but it doesn't seem to make a dent in my overabundance of goods...

File folder books in process, piles of paper for book-making and a fabric bag I forgot I started are in this pile waiting to be completed...

Try as I might, I just can't seem to make a fun, pretty, colorful and ORGANIZED creative space happen...

Found this pretty creative space HERE

And this colorful space was found HERE...

A few years back, when I asked a workmate who did set design to help me configure my old space into an organized creative space, she made this statement that has haunted me ever since:

"Maybe you're just not meant to have an organized studio space"

The idea that I might never have a 'picture perfect' creative studio brings tears to my eyes, but maybe it really is true...

Found this pretty and rustic creative space HERE...

Maybe it's just not in my DNA to have a fun, pretty, colorful and organized space but to work in Creative Chaos...


But at least I can take some pride and solace in the fact that my craft books will always be organized!!
 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Snippets

Today is a return to Sunday Snippets, where I share a peek at my week in pictures...

It's been a rather quiet week but I made a discovery yesterday that I want to share for Sunday Snippets. Since I've been sharing a few photos of the garden patio my boyfriend and I are creating, I thought this wonderful discovery would be a fun thing to share here today...and I can't wait to show my dear boyfriend this place...

We don't have room for this whimsical item, but I love it!

I love pretty pink flowers...

...and lots and lots of colorful pots!

So many water pails to choose from and all of them COLORFUL!

I've been wanting a multi-tiered plant rack and there are many to choose from...


Forget Disneyland - THIS is the happiest place on Earth! ;)

What was a highlight of YOUR week, dear friend? I'd love to hear about it!

PS: A dear blog buddy of mine, Eddie at Clouds and Silvery Linings, has a new weekly feature at his blog called "Quotations to Brighten Any Weekend". As a collector of quotes, I love reading his weekly collection of theme-based quotes and I know you will enjoy them too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Project in Process Completed: My 'Shabby Scraps' Journal!

FINALLY...

After 2 years, it's FINALLY finished...

Today, I am happy to share a project that took over 2 years to complete - what I call my 'shabby scraps' journal!

Signatures are finally hand-bound with a lace tie closure using vintage and vintage-style buttons to keep it all together...

I began this journal over 2 years ago, as well as another journal I began not long after which was donated for this years Artful Journey Retreat fundraiser once that other journal was completed. I am happy to say that I FINALLY completed the first journal I began those many moons ago...

 Vintage pre-cut scraps from a jar o' scraps bought at a flea market make up the cover of this journal...

The pages were completed and sorted into signatures and it was these signatures that needed to be bound into the journal but I knew it could prove to be a daunting task because I was going to hand sew these thick and juicy signatures into the spine of my book cover, instead of machine sew them, as the e-course curriculum for "Remains of the Day Journal" suggested...

Hand-sewn signatures using red thread for visual punch...

However, machine sewing these signatures is not an option I am confortable with. My issue with using a sewing machine for sewing signatures into a book is that the stitch length is still quite small, even after setting it to the longest stitch, and you can wind up with perforated papers that will eventually tear and fall out of your book...

A peek at a some pages from my shabby scraps journal which include a few transparent envelopes made using plastic packaging from cereal boxes...

While I do not aim to make 'archival quality' books for longevity, I do want my art-full books to last as long as I am around to use and play with them...

The first page of my book made from tearing up a large watercolor painting from my grandmother - the other side can be seen in the previous photo above...

Yes, I said 'play' with my books! I don't know why, but I do look upon art-full books as a kind of toy, for big kids, if you will...

Another portion of the torn up watercolor painting makes up the last page of my art-full journal

After all, there is much you can do with pages and envelopes and folding pages that make an art-full book more like a toy of surprises, than a book you read and learn from...

Another transparent envelope from a plastic cereal bag - if you look carefully, you can see a tuba player peeking at you! You can click the image for a larger view...

This journal is filled with more visual surprises than 3-dimensional ones, but it is FUN to look through and I will be sure to share more pages from this completed journal soon...

A small bit of hand sewing in my shabby scrap journal - I eventually added a date-stamp to this section for the completion date of this colorful handmade journal...

Thanks for reading and I hope you make something art-FULL today!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Project - 'The Garden Patio' Mini-Accordion Book

Hello Dear Blog!
Though I have some sewing work to complete today, I thought I'd take a quick moment to visit with you and share one of the many book projects I was working on during my absence...

While I was away preparing the supplies to teach my "This & That Journal" workshop, I thought of a way to use up some of the paper scraps left after cutting the book pages. These scraps were long and slim, but not the right measurement to cut into postcard size.

At this time, I was using some card scraps to make notes about items that were needed to make the garden patio look nice and colorful, as my dear boyfriend and I began to focus attention on this part of our new home together:

 There are other photos of our sweet garden patio I've shared in previous Sunday Snippets posts...

That's when it struck me that I could make a pocket-size accordion book to keep the notes of what was needed for our patio garden and have a handy-dandy list I could tuck into my purse or pocket AND it could be fun and colorful with sweet little sketches:

A mini-accordion book is born!

Here is how my 'Garden Patio Note Book' turned out with a few details on the construction and embellishment:


After folding the strips of poster board into a mini-accordion book, I thought I would dip-dye them in some old tea* that I keep for this purpose.

Then I began to use some rubber stamps from my collection to embellish the pages before adding my notes to the pages:

 The leaf stamp you see on the right page is one I made using a pink eraser...

Using the back and front sides is just enough pages to contain all my notes and little sketches which I painted with watercolors:



A layout of the dimensions of the garden patio that includes orientation - the sun rises in our garden patio!

Of course, I had to add some notes about how this little book was made, a 'forward page' if you will, that includes a date-stamp of completion:


Then I added a bit of cotton yarn that was also tea-dyed so the book can be closed when not in use. Now this little book is tucked into my purse when my dear boyfriend and I head out to look for items to add to our sweet garden patio!

Book cover made using a set of small alphabet stamps along with some leaf and flower rubber stamps filled in with watercolor paints

I had so much fun making this little book that I made another one with a different theme, but I will wait to share more about that book for another day...

My "Little Book of Heart Desires", a place to keep track of the little things my heart desires, usually art supplies!

Well, my dear, I hope you like this little accordion-style book. I don't often work in the straight-forward accordion-style book form, but making these sweet little versions was a lot of fun and I'm inspired to make more! It's fun to make a little book to keep notes or secrets in...

In the meantime, I must return to my sewing work but I will be back again to share another book project or maybe to share more photos of the garden patio. There are some exciting things happening in it these days!

Thanks for taking the time to read my scribblings for today and I hope you are making time to create something fun for yourself =-)



* - I have a stash of teas I use for dyeing fabrics or papers. LYONS GOLD BLEND is a favorite because it creates a lovely antique look, like that of parchment paper, but I use it sparingly since it's generally an imported tea and it doesn't come cheap!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Project - A New Gratitude Journal

Hello Blog!
I am so excited to be back sharing my creative projects with you again. I spent more time away than I should have, but I can only say that the summer weather began to work its magic on me and I felt a need to play at an old-fashioned 'summer vacation'!

I am still feeling that pull to play and I have made quite a few book projects during my time away that I know you'll love learning about, such as my new gratitude journal:

My new little gratitude journal of an altered spiral notebook with collage, stitching and washi tape...

You might remember that I made a gratitude journal last year and though I am usually good at keeping up this practice of gratitude, I fell behind after moving to my new home, but I eventually filled up my old handmade gratitude journal. That of course meant I would need a new gratitude journal and of course I wanted to make it...

This time around though, I wanted a quick and simple journal to make so I could quickly resume my nightly gratitude practice. Luckily, I discovered some inspiration through the Somerset Studios website with this fun idea for a bird-themed journal - however, I made up my own version of this project to make a new gratitude journal and here is my process:

I used some of my own bird-theme rubber stamps, along with some flower stamps so I can look at various forms of nature each time I use my journal...


As you can see, I also added words using a set of small alphabet stamps from my rubber stamp arsenal.

Of course, there has to be sheet music to reflect my love of music and hint at the music birds make...and I figured out how my collage layout would be placed on the front and back covers of my new journal:


I used my sewing machine to sew along the edges of the stamped bird images...


I also did some hand sewing for the final piece in the front cover...


...and the collage pages were glued to the covers with the addition of washi tape for some embellishment, which extended to the inner front and back covers...

I did not add much embellishment to the inner back cover since this is where the date-stamp will go...

Unfortunately, I did not date-stamp my new journal, as I often do when I complete a new book form, but I might be able to find the date if I search my to-do lists, then I can add a decorative sate-stamp, which I've been doing to many of my little books lately. I'll be sure to share these date-stamps in an upcoming blog post as I continue to share my many book projects I've been working on these past few weeks...

I am very happy with this new gratitude journal but I do wonder what the next journal will look like since it seems I need a new book form with each new gratitude journal I make! ;)

The Fourth of July holiday is a few days away, so I will be out with my dear boyfriend celebrating independence and, of course, CREATIVE FREEDOM!

I'll see you next time, Dear Blog!