Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rules for Art & Life

I was sitting at lunch today, eating my Reuben sandwich from Arby’s (man, those are some yummy sammiches!), thinking about art…and life.

I used to think that I was a rule breaker, a rebel of sorts, and I just didn’t like living with rules of any kind.  Come to find out, I actually like having guidelines for things. Rules, guidelines, parameters, whatever you want to call them, make life easier in many ways…and they make art easier, too. Some of them apply to life AND art; those are the ones I really like.

A couple of years ago I happened across a great list of Rules for Making Art that were written by Sarah Whitmire and so many of them just smacked me across the head with their insanely awesome truth and others were ones that I learned so much from that I have kept her list of rules hung in my studio, glancing at it every so often to learn a little more here and there.

Because these rules/ideas have taught me so much, I wanted to share them here, with all of you, in the hope that you can take something from them and learn from them, the way I have done and continue to do.

I hope you enjoy…

1. Everything looks better framed (or at the very least, sides painted). An ATC or another small piece of art should have chalk, ink…something, along the edges to frame the piece.

2. Pay attention to all the senses. For example, if your piece is a book, how does it feel in your hands? How do the pages sound when they are turned? Does it smell like an old library or a glue factory? Take all of these things into consideration.

3. Anyone can embellish. Think of this as the “jewelry” of your piece. Don’t stress about it.

4. Anyone can choose pleasing colors. Think about the colors you use together in your wardrobe or to decorate your house. Use what you love and what works for you.

5. Seal and coat. Everything looks better with a nice finishing coat of beeswax, matt medium, Gloss medium, or spray coating. Be kind to your art.

6. Don’t stick your focal point right in the middle of a piece. After you know why, then you are allowed to break this rule.

7. Stamps are tools. Don’t be afraid to get these dirty. Repeat, overlap, and don’t get so caught up on one “perfect” image.

8. Stamps are accents not focal points.

9. Don’t ever fall in-love with one part of a piece and “baby” it. A great teacher once told me, if you find yourself falling in love with one corner…paint over it until it is the same as the rest.

10. Don’t be afraid to get messy.

11. Allow yourself to make mistakes.

12. Fibers are your friends.

13. The one who dies with the most techniques… still dies. Don’t get over whelmed with learning a large quantity of techniques. Focus on one or two and PERFECT them. Make them your own, build on them.

14. Don’t try to plan things out.

15. Revisit your work. Hang it up. Keep it close. Learn from it.

16. Don’t rework old pieces. Always start fresh.

17. Piece not working out? Paint over it or tear it up and throw it away. You learned what didn’t work…now move on.

18. Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will for you.

19. Keep a notebook with you at all times to jot down ideas.

20. Go to bed thinking about your art. If you do this with intention you will have new ideas and solutions when you wake up.

21. When you see art you like write down why you like it in your notebook. Was it the colors, subjects, use of materials? Refer to this when making your own pieces.

22. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

23. Think outside the box. Use materials you don’t think will work. Make them work.

24. Ask for help when (not if) you need it. Altered Artists are amazing people. We stand out because of our willingness to share and help each other. You’d be a fool not to take advantage of this.

25. You should see your hand in every piece that you make. By this I mean that there should be brushstrokes, doodling or drawing, something somewhere to show a person has been here.

26. Every piece should have at least one secret. You should never be able to see every detail all at once. There should always be a little something special hidden for your viewer to find. The best secrets take years to reveal themselves.

27. Everything is better with Texture. I can’t stress this enough.

28. Everything is better with layers. I can’t stress this enough.

29. Every piece should tell a story. You may not know what that is right away but if after working a while you still can’t find it see rule #17.

30. You know you have succeeded in a piece when you can’t imagine ever giving it away or selling it. And that’s when you should.

31. Allow others to find their own truths in your art. Only explain yourself when asked. and only if you want to.

32. Don’t be afraid to shock people.

33. Know your audience.

34. Take criticism but don’t live by it.

35. No one ever became famous by following the rules and playing nice.

36. Don’t buy into what everyone else is doing. If everyone is making art about Zebras wearing hats then become obsessed with Lions.

37. Speak your own truths.

38. Have no fear.

39. Find refuge with kindred spirits.

40. Live with intention.

41. Do what you love.

42. Break all the rules.

I bolded a few of the ones that are really speaking to me right now (although, really, they all do in some way or another), especially #36…everywhere I turn I see art with pointy hats and wings on practically every thing. Although I have done the pointy hat/winged thing (and still enjoy seeing some of the pieces created in this genre), I am working hard to move away from that artistic “clique” and find my own thing(s), my own voice, my lion in a pasture full of hat wearing zebras.

As for #39, this blog is my refuge and you all are my kindred spirits…and I am thankful for each and every one of you.

Oh, and for those of you that read my last blog post…I finally found my Zentangle journal! YAY!!! I had accidentally put it on the bookshelf with my ephemera books (old dictionaries and the like) so it didn’t stick out and I just kept overlooking it. DUH! Just glad to have it back so I can play in it here and there.

Take care, be kind to yourselves, and get out there-make some art and break some rules! *smile*

Peace & Love,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lost Journal

I know that many of you know how I keep 2 or 3 (or more) art journals going at one time, right?  I mean, doesn’t everyone do this?  *grin*

Well, I have been rooting around in my studio, searching 100_3341 high and low for my Moleskine that is dedicated to doing Zentangle art….and I can’t find it anywhere! It’s gone *poof* and I have no clue where.


Dang it, I want to take it with me to work today and work in that baby on my lunch hour and it is hiding from me somewhere in that abyss of supplies and art that I call my studio.


Hope your hump-day is a good one.

Peace & Love,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, Monday

Monday Monday, can't trust that day,
Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way

The Mamas & the Papas


It’s yet another Monday, my least favorite day of the week (even though I love my job) and this one really started off so crappy! Guess that would explain why I’m at home and not at work, huh?

Tyson got out of the fence as I was leaving for work so I had to round him up and get him back in…then, after driving 35 miles toward my ultimate work destination, I realized that I hadn’t taken my morning meds. I MUST have my meds or I can not function (my diabetes will go haywire, panic attacks can often set in, etc.) so I had checked my purse for my “extras” that I carry for these exact times….nope, took ‘em a while back and forgot to refill my stash. UGH!

I had to turn around and trek the 35 miles back home to get my meds, meaning I was going to be over an hour late. Sheesh! Talk about a Monday.

Know the funny thing? I realized when I got home to take my meds that I had also forgotten to put on a bra!!! Uh, hello…was I smoking crack this morning or what? It’s like my brain just decided to shut down on me this morning so I called the boss’s voicemail (since he decided not to answer) and let him know I was just going to take today off and told him about the med mix-up (but I didn’t tell him about the whole bra thing. LOL)

I am lucky to have the job I have which gives me the option to work on the days I want most of the time…today was an “opt out” day, I guess.

So, now that I’ve made a short story quite long, that explains why I’m home on a Monday. Now, what am I going to do with my free day? Hmmm….

I hope your Monday started out better than mine.

Peace & Love,


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Art Journal History

I was looking at my flickr account this morning and realized just how many of my art journal pages I’ve posted over there…and just how much art journaling I’ve done in the past couple of years.  I have filled quite a few journals, pouring my heart and soul onto the pages with my thoughts, my fears, my aches and pains…and in that time I’ve found a tremendous amount of healing.

Art journaling has done this for me in a way that ordinary journaling couldn’t have done. The colors, the pictures, the painting and details that go into each page echo sentiments that my words can’t always seem to capture. Sharing my love of art journaling is huge to me, considering all it has done for me….I know that it could work wonders for so many others.

Those thoughts ramble around in my brain all the time and one day I’ll figure out how it is that I want to proceed. For now, I thought I’d share some of my favorites with y’all…mosaic577f9b902b3b368f3885c9e103951eaebb4af084

1. Finding Peace, 2. The Meaning of Love, 3. Superwoman, 4. Chasing the Dream, 5. Home Sweet Home, 6. Live out Loud, 7. Holding On, 8. Sometimes, 9. Freedom, 10. Getting things done, 11. Inspiration, 12. Be Original, 13. Eyes, 14. Dia De Los Muertos, 15. Embrace Your Beauty, 16. Creative Magic, 17. One Dream Realized, 18. Time, 19. When I grow up, 20. No time to Waste, 21. Her Wings, 22. I am Beautiful, 23. Hills & Valleys, 24. My Highest Aspirations, 25. Nurture Your Soul, 26. Visualize, 27. Joyful Life, 28. Dream Goddess, 29. Forgive, 30. Bird song, 31. Possibilities, 32. Inauguration Day Journal Page, 33. Be Brave, 34. Imagine the Unimaginable, 35. Life is Good

In other news, after working a 15 hour day yesterday, I’m off today to recuperate (at my boss’s insistence.) My fibro is kicking in pretty good so, even though I had some great intentions for what I was going to do today, I think a nap is in order right now…then maybe I can get up and get some of my “chores” done around here.

I hope y’all have a great Tuesday…and if you have time today, work a little in your art journal. It can work wonders for your soul.

Peace & Love,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Easing Back into Things

I haven’t been online much at all the past 5 or 6 days…it’s really taking all my energy these past few days to get back into the swing of working.  And, when you work 6:30am to 4:30 or 5pm while still trying to get over surgery…yeah, it can tire a girl out pretty good. I will say that it feels really good to be back at work (no matter how tired it is making me) and to once again have purpose to my days.

C’mon…Who am I kidding…it also feels really good to be bringing in some cash to the household! YAY for earning some money again. LOL

The new car is making my long drives to and from work (I’m going to and from Tuscaloosa which is almost 90 miles each way) a whole lot more fun than usual, too.  *smile*

The weekend has been a good one…relaxing, doing laundry (the bane of my existence!), napping, prepping the last of my  pages in my Moleskine, and the topper was seeing family that I haven’t seen for literally years.  My step-son from my first marriage (my daughters’ half-brother) came to town with his fiancé and spent most of the day Saturday visiting with us and it was so good to see him. I might have divorced his father but I guess I’ll always consider him my son. It really did my daughter, Shelby, good to see her brother, too. It’s been too long.Shel and Chris

Not much else to tell y’all about since working and sleeping seem to be taking up most of my time these past few days but I did want to drop in and say Hi, let y’all know where I’ve been and what’s up with me these days.

Oh, I did get out some orders for my Etsy shop this past week (so Sharon & Gerri, you should have your goodies the first of the week) and I had wanted to list some other new things but just no time or energy to get it done…yet. Maybe in the next few days I can get that done. If there are any supplies for art journaling or mixed media that you are looking for that you’d like to see in the shop, please drop me a note or leave me a comment to let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Speaking of my Etsy, in a effort to clear out the items in my clearance section (jewelry from my jewelry making days), I wanted give you guys, my loyal and wonderful blog readers, a little extra something…so, if you order any item from the clearance section I will give you free shipping on those items.  Just put “Craft Therapy” in the notes when you order. Whee!!!

Everyone have a great week and remember to be kind to yourselves…and each other.

Peace & Love,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Only time for a quickie…and to save time I’m going to do it with bullets. Hope y’all don’t mind.

  • Went to the doc this morning and he released me to go back to work. YAY!!! Says I’m healing great and can resume normal activities with the exception of lifting; I’m limited to less than 20 lbs for another 3 weeks. Other than that, I am good to go. Y’all have no idea how happy that makes me! So tomorrow it’s back to work for me…finally.
  • IMG_0593Went to the bank yesterday and, are ya ready for this?…the financing went through without a hitch! I took delivery this morning of my very first EVER! OMG, I am so excited. It’s cute, runs like a top, and I am loving it! Driving this baby makes going back to work tomorrow even better. How cool is that? So, this baby is all mine (well, mine and the bank’s until I pay it off LOL)
  • The hubby and I are booking our vacation next week. He cashed in some of his shares of stock in our company (O’Reilly Auto Parts) and the check will be here Monday or Tuesday…so we’re headed to Vegas in July. For my birthday! Woot!
  • Lastly, I finally got some pics of recent art journal taken so I could post them and thought I’d share…102_4499102_4498 102_4496102_4495 102_4494102_4493That’s about all I have for today.  I imagine I’ll be exhausted tomorrow when I get home but I’ll be back with y’all in a day or two. Until then, take care of yourselves and each other.

Peace & Love,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Living the Zen Life

It’s funny to me how time changes our perspective on things. I know how vastly different I see things now than I did when I was in my 20’s…even than I did in my 30’s.

I know that when I was younger, I felt in such a rush for things to happen, for days to pass, to get to some particular point in time…but now, even though I know I have much fewer days in front of me than I did back then, I am in so much less of a hurry.  I find that I am savoring my days so much more than ever, enjoying my moments, stopping to smell the roses (literally & figuratively.)

tyson easter

How can you not giggle at the sight of this big, beautiful dog of mine with his silly Easter bunny ears on? LOL  There’s a reason I’m sharing this pic with you (besides the laugh it’ll give ya)…

Have you ever stopped to think about how much better you feel after a few days filled with being outside in nature, spending time laughing like crazy, doing things that center your soul and that you can lose yourself in, being surrounded by those you love and that make you feel good deep down in your soul?  Doing those things that enrich your life heal your spirit and your body? 

That’s how I’ve spent the past few days…laughing like a hyena with my husband, hanging beautiful plants on my big (Southern) front porch and enjoying our big ol’ yaIMG_0589rd, rolling around on the floor and playing with Tyson, losing myself in carving new stamps or art journaling and totally immersing myself in the processes.  I think doing these kinds of things and living like this constantly are what they talk about when they speak of living a Zen life.

Laughter is such a healing thing. Living in the moment is calming to the soul and that is another way we can heal ourselves. Finding those things that make us relax and feel complete and that we can lose ourselves in is but another step in healing…mentally and physically.

Springtime does this to me…it renews my lust for life and my need to heal and feel good.  I DO feel good these days. I’m ready to go back to work and work hard (and earn some money!)

Speaking of working and earning money, the hubby and I have decided that we need a new car…with all the traveling I do for work, we need a car that can handle the miles I have to put on it. We were just looking for something used but new to us but what we found that fit what we need (even budget-wise) was this sweet little ride…and it’s BRAND NEW (I have never had a brand new car in my entire life!!!):IMG_0593

So, tomorrow morning we have to go to our bank and see about getting the financing for it. WOW! I’m so excited, I just  can’t tell you.  Wish us luck!

See…when my attitude changes from the dark thoughts of a severely depressed woman to that of one who sees the light and the beauty in the world, the things around me start changing….things don’t just look brighter, they become brighter.

I’ve even gotten up off my ass and re-opened my Etsy store. YAY!  I’ve listed some jewelry (at sale prices!) that is left from my days of making jewelry AND (drumroll, please…) I’m listing some great art journaling products, too! Some things I’m selling are supplies that can be hard to find, hoping to make it easier for my art journaling friends to get some of those goodies that make art journaling so fun. I hope you’ll check it out and see what I might be offering that you want or need…and I’m listing new art journaling stuff everyday so come back often! If you have any supplies you’re looking for, let me know in a comment or an email and I’ll see what I can do to find ‘em for you.


Life really is good (and not just because of the car but because of all of the beauty and goodness I see around me.) I wonder…what beauty and goodness are you missing out on each day as you zoom past them in the constant rush of life? Share it with me…

Peace & Love,

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I know that I’m probably confusing everyone with the constant changes to my blog layout and I’m sorry. 

There’s a reason for this need to change things up around here and it’s probably based on the fact that my entire adult life I have moved from house to house, at least every 6 months.  But since being with my hubby (4 1/2 years now), we don’t move all the time. We’re stable. So I embrace my need for change in my blog…I change the things around here, my other home, in order to appease my need for “change.”  I hope it doesn’t freak y’all out too much…and, once again, thanks for sticking with me.

In other news, I’m healing from surgery (and from all my other “stuff”) well.  I feel so much better than I did before having my gall bladder out. My spirits continue to lift with the beautiful weather we’re having, too. Spring is just such a great time for my (and many others out there) psyche…everything turning green and blossoming…it’s just so rejuvenating after a long, cold winter.

My addiction to stamp carving continues…and what a fun addiction it is! A Twitter friend turned me on to Geninne’s awesome carved stamps and this one, of a doily, that she did just amazes me so much! She hand drew the doily onto the carving material, carved it (she said it took her about 2 hours), and then her masterpiece was complete and she stamped with it (with white ink, no less)…. It is so gorgeous! Geninne inspires me to really push myself and carve something that is large and intricate and beautiful.  I just love this piece so much.

Geninne is awesome so go check her blog and lots of her other fabulous creations out HERE.

I’ve had so much going on with my healing, trying to keep creating art in some way every single day, and still trying to keep up with my normal every day kind of stuff like laundry, cooking & cleaning. I guess I’m managing everything pretty well, too. I can’t wait to be completely healed because I am so ready to get out and ride the ATV down to the river, play in the water and just be out in nature and have some fun! WOOT!!!

Now, time to watch Sober House and then get into the Studio and get creative for a while…I really gotta figure out some way to mount my stamps. Hmmm…

Happy Thursday, y’all!

Peace & Love,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Stamp Carving, Art Journaling & Healing

I think I’m healing pretty well these days. My sutures on my belly are all looking pretty good, the nausea is still gone (for good, I’m hoping), and my energy level is rising, too. I am feeling more like my old, normal self.  I am even feeling more like creating, which is such a change from before the surgery, and have been in the studio every single day since getting home from the hospital. I can’t imagine what might have been floating around in my brain and blocking me from creating that could have been removed with my gall bladder but something has changed.

Change for the good.

I even started something new (for me)…stamp carving. 

The adorable and wonderful Samantha Kira Harding does a vlog (video blog) on Tuesday evenings and 2 Tuesdays ago she vloged on carving your own stamps. I remembered while watching her that I had bought the Speedball Speedy Carve kit from Dick Blick over a year ago but never used it. WOW!  I actually had the (minimal) tools on hand to try my hand at the very thing she was showing me how to do. How cool is that?!?

So, there began my current obsession. I have been carving my little heart out in the past few days.

IMG_0580These are the first ones I did, trying more simple shapes to get my feet wet with carving.  Nope, they’re not perfect but I really love the little imperfections…it shows they’re not some store bought stamps but that they were carved by hand…my hands!  Then yesterday I tried some that had a little more detail and curves and harder elements….

IMG_0581I think I’m getting a little better with each stamp I carve. I am really loving the lotus and the barren tree…hell, I love all of them…and I’m planning on doing lots more.  Luckily I already have the supplies to do lots of carving since I am on an art supply buying hiatus this month. (Did ya notice the little avatar at the top of the right sidebar?) Yep, no buying of supplies for the entire month of April…but I have tons of supplies in my studio so I shouldn’t have any problems keeping busy with what I already have around.

Anyway, if you’re interested in stamp carving, check out Kira’s vlog post on stamp carving HERE. She’s sure to get ya started and on your way. There are also tons of great videos on stamp carving on, too. Beware though…it really can be addictive. Trust me on that one.  :-)

IMG_0582I even managed to finish an Art Journal spread (really I’ve done 3 spreads but I only managed to take a picture of this one) and thought I’d share it real quick, too.  For some reason, doing this page really put me at peace and calmed my soul. I really love the healing properties I find in my art journaling. I think it has done more for healing my broken soul than any of the umpteen (Southern slang for a whole damn bunch) counselors and psychiatrists I’ve been to in the past.

I’ve also been painting and collaging, too. (See, this whole surgery thing has really done wonders for my creative spirit.) I’ll try and take some pics of my other art journaling and my art pieces over the weekend.

Another creative endeavor I’m rolling around in my head these days is making a quilt. I have these beautiful fabrics that I’ve picked up here and there (flea markets & thrift stores, mainly) and would love to see them in a handmade quilt. Nothing intricate but something simple…just simple squares of these bright, beautiful fabrics would be so cool.  Maybe I will start that quilt this week. Who knows? LOL

It’s been so beautiful and sunny this past week here in the backwoods of Alabama. Sunny skies, warm temperatures (warm, not hot), the flowers beginning to bloom and the grass turning green….ah, it’s just been so heavenly.  Living in this old house, we have door off our bedroom onto the front porch and I love to open it in the mornings and let the cool breeze waft in and listen to the birds sing their morning songs. The son-in-law took this plastic sheeting off the windows of my studio on Thursday so now I have a gorgeous view out those windows, too.

I’m just so happy that spring is here. My mood always lifts once winter is over and maybe that accounts for some of my newfound energy and better moods. Love these beautiful days…and cool nights. Oh, the cool nights are so fabulous, too.

Okay, I’ve rambled on long enough for today. I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend and that the weather is fabulous where you are, too.

Peace & Love,

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