Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yep, this is THAT blog post

I’ve had my laptop open to this post for two days now and every time I start to type, I hesitate...and then I realize that I have nothing of real substance to say. I seem to feel that I need to be all kinds of philosophical as one year ends and another begins. I just don’t think I have any deep thoughts like that right now.

How do you draw a blank yet have total chaotic thoughts running rampant in your brain? I know, it makes no sense to me either.

It just is what it is.

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It’s hard to resist the urge to get all melancholy as I think back over the past year. I try hard but it never works so I’ve given up trying and I’m just going to go with it.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore y’all with all my memories and lessons learned. I will, however, be spending a little time spilling some of these thoughts into my art journal. It’s the perfect place for these thoughts and memories.

I’m also going to refrain from telling you all about the resolutions I’m making for the New Year, too. Not being polite here, I’m just not making any resolutions. Sure, I’ve got goals and I will be working toward those but resolutions? Nah, not for me.

My word for the year? Nope, not doing that either.

Bucket list? Uh uh, don’t think so.

Plans? Yes, I am doing some serious planning and goal setting but I’m just not going to go the route that is typical for the New Year. I want 2014 to be different...better. I want it to be more full of life than this past year has been. The only way that is going to happen is if I make changes that will make it different, better, and more full of life.

It is up to me. I know this.

I am excited about The Documented Life Project and I’m really going to put a huge effort into following though and sticking with it for the entire year. I have a horrible habit of signing up for things and after a week or a month (if I’m lucky,) I let it fall to the wayside. I don’t want to do that this time. I’m hoping the friends I have doing it with me and the new friends I’m making there will help keep me accountable and into it.

flowers2One thing I am proud of myself for doing in 2013 is getting my butt in gear and doing more blogging and actually doing it regularly. I’m proud of getting AJ Wednesdays started and I’m looking forward to sharing more art journaling ideas with y’all over the upcoming year.

I’ve tried to do other blogs but I love that I’ve come full circle and found myself back where my blogging life began. Craft Therapy encompasses so much more than just crafts...It’s my home online and I like it here.

I’m glad you’re here, too.

Once we get through the New Year and life settles back down from all the holiday hustle and bustle, I will be back blogging on a normal schedule. Art Journaling Wednesdays will be regular again and Supply Saturdays will be back, too.

Thanks for sticking with me this year.

See you in 2014, dear friends....may the coming year be the best ever for each of us!

Much peace & love,
Barb

P.S. If you haven’t entered my little giveaway yet, you still have time. Just go HERE. And shhhhh, don’t tell anyone but everyone who comments on that post will be entered to win. Shhh, it’s our little secret. (But I’d still love ya to sign up for Amazon Prime...I could use the cash. lol)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Art Journaling Kit Giveaway

Happy Friday after Christmas, everyone!

I hope this finds you all doing fabulous and that your holidays have been 01559d81fe6ad666f6ee9433a85e942a0666d640aawonderful. Christmas was good in our house, Noah would tell you it’s been great!, since he got, in his words, “the most awesome bike EVER!”

The only way our Christmas could have been any better would have been if the flu hadn’t blasted me, Noah, and Richie off our feet. Poor kid has barely gotten to ride his bike and you know how tough that is for a kid.

Yeah, being sick doesn’t make for a fun time but it was still a good holiday.

We won’t actually be done with our Christmas until Sunday when we’re celebrating with my youngest daughter and her husband. They spent the actual holiday in Alabama with his family. His father is dying of cancer (Mesothelioma) so being there with him for this holiday, which will obviously his last, was super important. My heart has just ached for them as he has gone downhill at breakneck speed this past week.

Yeah, my flu doesn’t seem so important when judged against that, does it?

Yep, life is all about perspective. So often we are far more blessed than we realize...until we are reminded by the misfortune of others. Sadly.

Anywayyyyy....

I have a couple of things for y’all today.

During the holidays there is never enough time for everything I want to do but there is always time for a GIVEAWAY! YAY!!!

Always want to be 100% honest, this is a “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” kind of giveaway.

First, the prizes! Yes, more than one prize! Woot!~

First prize is an art journaling kit (I will take a pic of the kit in a couple of days) put together by me including some of my most favorite things! It includes:

  • A handmade 5”x8” copic bound journal filled with 140# watercolor paper;
  • a small selection of my favorite pens (including a wonderful Pilot Perma Ball pen);
  • a packet of papers, pictures, clippings, and other ephemera;
  • one of my favorite glue sticks;
  • a few Sharpie Paint Pens;
  • a few small rolls of washi tape;
  • a set of 4 6” stencils of my design;
  • and who knows what else I might decide to throw in this little journaling kit!

Second prize is:

A set of four brand new Dylusions spray inks in Postal Red, Vibrant Turquoise, White linen, and Fresh Lime. (Note: pictured below are different colors than those I am giving away...you will receive the actual colors stated.)
Dylusions Giveaway

How to enter?

Here’s the you scratch my back part...to be entered all you have to do is sign up for a risk-free 100% free trial of Amazon Prime using my link below or any other Amazon Prime Links here on my blog.

When you do, I get a $10 bonus (this bonus is only happening between Dec. 26 and Jan. 10)... and you get a month of free streaming videos & TV shows plus free two day shipping on all your Amazon purchases. If you don’t like it or just don’t need/can’t afford it, cancel before the end of your 30 day trial and you’re done.

Simple as that.

It’s a win-win deal for both of us, all the way around.

It’s a super easy and free-to-you way to help support Craft Therapy and Art Journaling Wednesdays...and, in the end, you might just be winning yourself a nice little art journaling kit, to boot!

Once you have signed up for your Amazon Prime free trial, come back and comment on this post and let me know...that will complete your entry.

Amazon will send me notifications for each person that joins Amazon Prime through my links so send your friends to sign up, too. If they are not looking to win our giveaway here, let me know and I’ll put an extra entry in your name for each person you send over that signs up...just let me know who you send so I can give you credit.

Entries will close on January 1, 2014 at 4pm central and I will announce 2013-2014the winners after 5pm that same day.

As an added bonus, in the event that there are 50 entries or more, there will be a third prize added....a surPRIZE. I promise you that it will be something really great!

So, that’s what I’ve come up with as my special, awesome way to close out the year 2013 and welcome in 2014 in a great way.

Now, I’m heading back to bed...this fever is still kicking my butt.

Back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

Monday, December 23, 2013

Lamp Makeover

Hi y’all.

Barb, the fever girl, here.

Yeah, still running a temperature but I think I’m on the mend. I hope.

I just wanted to stop in and show y’all the progress of my lamp makeover. You might remember these ugly ducklings that look like your great granny might have had them in her parlor...

Yeah, not exactly my style, to say the least.

This is what one of them looks like now:

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I know, not the greatest photo but I took it last night and it was dark and I was just excited. I will share a better photo in the next few days but you get the general idea, right?

Well, I need a little help...the scalloped edging at the bottom of the wire lampshade frame has me a little perplexed. I started doing some simple knots with the same fabrics I used to make the shade (you can see two at the bottom of the shade up there) but I don’t think I like them.

I was also thinking of making some feux (ie fake) crystal dangly things to hang from each of the scallops. I’m just not sure. I do know that it doesn’t feel finished, yet.

Any ideas?

In case I don’t get back around before Wednesday (btw, AJWednesday will be pushed back a few days because of the holiday), I wanted to wish everyone a very happy holiday season, whatever your holiday may be.

peace & love,
Barb

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy 1st Day of Winter & The Documented Life Project

As much as I adore living in Florida, I do miss having real seasons...the 1988007051_1381013017vibrant warm colors of Autumn, a light dusting of snow marking winter, sweet daffodils blooming in the Spring. But now let’s talk about Summer...we’ve got Summer covered here in sunny Florida.

It’s funny because today is the first day of Winter and we have a projected high of 75° F for this afternoon.

Someone please explain to me how 75° is Winter?

Anyway, my daughter has came to town by way of bus to see Noah for a couple of days. She arrived this afternoon at 4pm and leaves Monday morning at 11:30am. Noah has been so excited to see his Mom.

Those are the good points.

She is bringing Noah’s father with her (they are now just friends) and I’m just not big on having people not of my choosing in my house. Especially overnight. Noah and his dad are not close and Noah isn’t excited about seeing him...but I am trying to let him know how important it is to give people who are putting out effort for us a chance.

Like Noah, though, I get tired of seeing this guy hurt my little guy.

Not to mention that I had to drive to Mobile, Alabama (an hour away) to pick them up from the bus station and then drive them back on Monday to catch their bus home. (Long story there but suffice to say that she just doesn’t seem to grasp how much she continually asks of me and how overwhelmed it is making me feel.)

Add to all of that the fact that I am running 101.8° temp, my body hurts like I have been beaten with a baseball bat, and I have been hacking my head off all day. I think it’s the same thing that had Noah down the past few days. Not fun. At all.

So that’s how my Saturday has been shaping up.

OH YEAH! A new art journaling adventure! Through Roben-Marie Smith I came across The Documented Life Project and I am excited beyond belief!

I’m going to be trying out The Documented Life Project starting January 1st. On her blog, Roben-Marie describes it as: “One part planner plus one part art journal and one part weekly challenge equals an amazing year of organization, inspiration and community.”

I don’t know about you but that sounds like so much fun. And you have got to go to Roben-Marie’s website and check out what her planner looks like so far. I believe the idea originated with Lorraine Bell and her planner is beautiful, too.

This is my planner so far. I’ve added 01ec40233f20e62261315ba0e18bc4a1b0bd3a5892tabs for each month and I’m in the process of tipping in extra papers (watercolor paper and double sided scrapbook papers that I scavenged from an old Smash book) and I am having an absolute blast.

It is giving me a chance to use some of my washi tapes that I’ve been collecting. I don’t know how much you can see by this picture but this started out as a plain Moleskine 12 month planner (the extra large 7.5”x10” size) and I’ve just started altering it.

Part of the whole The Documented Life Project is the constructing the planner and making it uniquely yours. No two will ever be the same.

But there is lots more to it, too. You have to just go check out the details to learn all about it.

Can you tell I’m excited? Yeah, I get that way when something really good comes along and this is very much something good. Oh, and it’s absolutely free...no cost (other than the supplies you use or the planner but you can actually find planners here and there that are free.)

I really do hope you’ll join us.

You can read the full details:

  • At Roben-Marie’s Blog HERE; or
  • At Lorraine Bell’s Blog HERE.

I hope to see you around The Documented Life spots around the internet like the Facebook group and/or the Flickr group.

If you have questions, let me know and I’ll see what I can find in the way of answers for you.

Back soon with more of the good stuff!

peace & love,
Barb

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Art Journaling Wednesday-Images

My little Noah (the grandboy) came home from school sick and he’s been requiring my attention all day. You know what that means, right? Yeah, I am running behind on everything right now.

Sorry...

But here I am and here we go...

Although many art journalists don’t necessarily use images in their journals, I do so that’s what’s next in my way of doing things. There are a few different types of images that I use:

  • Border Images;
  • Focal Images; and
  • Supporting Images.

attitude2How to collect and how to use images is such an individual thing that it’s hard for me to just give an easy-does-it, one-size-fits-all explanation to this subject.

As seen at the left and as their names up there implies, border images are used to create a border or frame for your journal pages or spreads, focal images are used as the focal point of your page, and secondary images are there to support the focal image.

I was sorting through the mass of images I have collected over the past few years and realized how hard it was in the beginning for me to get comfortable with what images were good ones for me to use.

I know that if this was a big concern for me, this has to be a concern for most new art journalers.

I have a great suggestion for you...look at the magazines you already have and the ones you read often. You will have to look at these magazines in a different way, now with different eyes. Faces and hands, big eyes and landscapes, everything is fodder for your journaling. As you’re perusing your magazines, be especially aware of the images you are drawn to and what catch your eye. Save them, you never know what kind of burst of creative imagination might hit that will have you making use of some of those images.

Now look at some of the journal pages on my Art Journaling Tumblr and be conscious of which pages you are drawn to and which ones you don’t particularly like. This kind of conscious observation (and it’s okay to take notes to help you remember) is something that will help you to begin your collection of images to use in your art journal.

But what if the pages you like are those done in watercolored, hand-drawn images, or images done in pen or pencil, or maybe in colored pencil? This exercise in observing all different types of art journaling will help you realize just what kind of art you want in your journal. Heck, you might want to mix all of these types together for your own personal style.

In this great page by Michelle Rydell, one simple image was used...just the eyes...but what a great impact they make, huh?

A couple of other things I want to point out in this page...she didn’t see the need to fill every single space with writing. Sometimes what you need to say can be said in just a few words. Also, it is perfectly fine to have pages that are dark and brooding. We often have the need to put these emotions within our art journals...darker colors, and a darker mood are okay. Not everything in life or in art journals is going to be peaches and cream so explore that side of yourself and your life, too.

On the other hand, there are pages like this one from the wonderful Chickadeelove...lots of images, lots of writing/journaling and a bright happy yellow background. It just glows with joy, doesn’t it? That’s great, too. Notice how she cut her images all in the very same shape? It gives a feeling of continuity and makes, even totally differing photos mesh together quite nicely.

It is just endless the things you can do and discover and experiment with in your art journals....colors, shapes, textures, images, collage, drawing, painting, watercoloring, lettering and on and on and on.

What ever you like, whatever style or approach you take to YOUR art journaling, it is the right one.

Most likely, if you’re anything like many of us, you will go through many, many styles before you find your own personal style. It’s been over 5 years and I am continually growing and changing in my own art journaling.

This kind of self-discovery and growth is a huge part of the entire process of the visual journal. If you are dedicated to the process, you will get so much more out of it than you have ever imagined, not to mention the sheer enjoyment of the creative process.

Where are you finding the images for your collection? Have you thought of somewhere I haven’t mentioned? Do share, please!

I’ll be back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Supply Saturday-At a Loss

Hi y’all. I have an admission...I am at a complete loss as to what supply to review today. I’ve thought on this for days and I guess that my brain is aart supplies little overloaded right now because I just can’t think of a thing that you might find useful at the moment.

So, I tell ya what, I’m going to give Supply Saturdays a break until after the first of the year. Once the holidays are over I feel certain my over-taxed brain will be working a little better.

In the meantime, if there is a supply you would like to see reviewed, please leave it in a comment or shoot me an email. Thanks!

Until then, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.

indexI also wanted to answer a question from a reader. I know that we are all from every part of the globe and things don’t always translate as well as I would hope...even with the Google translator over there. I wish there was a better way but until then, I’ll just keep trying to muddle through.

This question came in email form and is from Brittany...

I am very interested in your craft art therapy. Where can I find the questions to how I make entries everyday in my journal? Are there a set of questions and then I explain them through art? Like a 30 day challenge? Please let me know. I feel lost in my life and I think this would help me.

Brittany, I do know how you feel when you say you are feeling very lost in your life, I know those feelings all too well. If you are feeling so lost that you are having thoughts of harming yourself, please seek professional help. If you don’t know where to find any, contact me and I will help you find help. Know that you are not alone.

But back to journaling, I wish there was some easy formula that I could give you and everyone else as to how to make entries every day in your art journal but there isn’t. If you following along with the Art Journaling Wednesday posts, you will be making progress at filling those journal pages before long. If you have specific questions about art journaling that are giving you problems, let me know and I will try to help you out.

Until then, be kind to yourself, do what feels right inside the pages of your journal, and try to spill as much of your emotions onto the pages as feels comfortable...let me know if I can help.

I guess that’s it for today, folks.

I will be back soon with more of the good stuff...maybe even a video this week. *gasp* lol

peace & love,
Barb

Friday, December 13, 2013

Art Journaling Rules (According To Me)

I was thinking about these rules the other day. I actually wrote them a couple of years ago for a little art journaling class I offered online. I thought they were very fitting then and still are now so I thought I would update them a little and share them with you today.

Take from them what you will...

Art Journaling Rules (According to Barb)

1.  Never, and I mean NEVER, compare your art to any one else’s art. Not matter how hard you try, you will never be able to create just like anyone else but remember, in turn, no one else on earth will ever be able to create just like you.

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2.  Allow yourself to make mistakes and no beating yourself up over any of those mistakes, either. No one is perfect or creates anything that is perfect. You can stop trying to be the first.

3.  Don’t be afraid to get messy. Sometimes messes can bring about some of the most interesting results. Let go and have fun like you did when you were a kid. Really.

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4.  Don’t ever create any piece of art for your audience. This is especially true in your art journal. These pages are meant to be your place of learning, experimenting, letting go, and being completely your true self...don’t mess that up by trying to please anyone but yourself.

5.  Don’t think too much. Trust your intuition; it won’t lead you astray.

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6.  Don’t plan your art out. Instead, let it flow from you and through you...and trust me, it will flow if you give it a chance.

7.  Don’t think you have to use every single technique you come across in order to be a good artist. Find the few that really speak to you and make you feel excited and “in the zone” then work on perfecting those few. Your art will benefit from this way of thinking and creating.

8.  Just like playing the piano or shooting basketball, art improves with practice. Like everything else, you have to put in the time if you want to see the results.

From the great beyond

9. Develop a routine, one that encompasses playing (because your journal is play, not work) in your art journal every single day, even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes. As much as everyone else in your life gets your time, you also deserve your own time. (But if you miss a day, a week or a month, don’t fret over it...just pick it back up and play.)

10. Relax. Remember, this isn’t brain surgery so don’t go stressing over it like it is.

I hope that you each get a little something from my “rules.” Print them out and use them as a reminder for yourself the next time you start stressing out over your art/art journal.

IMG_1494I hope that everyone’s holidays are coming together and the pieces of the holiday season puzzle are falling into place. 

(<-Man, I love these two.)

Slowly but surely things around our crazy, chaotic house are starting to twinkle with lights and the grandboy is growing more excited with each passing day.

Life is good.

Yes, it is.

Back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

PS. All the artwork contained here is mine. Just thought I’d let y’all know.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Art Journaling Wednesday-Adding Layers

Hi y’all. I hope your mid-week is going wonderfully and life is treating you with an abundance of kindness.

I’m sure most everyone pictures Florida as the land of sunshine and oranges but it isn’t so warm and sunny here in beautiful Florida this week. It even dropped down to 30° F last night and it’s still quite brisk today.IMG_1275

I am seriously loving it because, unlike my hubby, I love having true seasons. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas time if it’s 70°F outside. Not that I want to battle snow or anything but a nice chill in the air is great to me for this time of year.

I’m proud to say that we are even putting our Christmas tree up this evening. I used to really love the holidays but it’s not been the same since I lost my Mom and Dad. Now, with the grandboy living with us, I need to try and get into the spirit, don’t I?

In other news...

I have been struggling with what to cover this week for our AJ Wednesday get together. You see, I am no expert in the art journaling world; I am just insanely passionate about it. I study and play and think on it all the time...seriously, it is my thoughts and focus every single day.

With that said, I feel the need to remind you that everything I say, offer, explain, suggest or instruct here is just my point of view, not some absolute definition. I am just trying to follow my heart and offer suggestions and maybe some inspiration to get others out there diving into art journaling bravely and with crazy passion. (I guess I’m worried that some of you might not like the steps or direction I go with my posts...but I have to get past that and just keep on doing what I feel is right.)

Anyway, let’s move on...

Now that you’ve layed down a base-coat of color in whatever way feels right to you, it is time to start adding depth with layers. There are many ways to do this, such as:

  • Add a light layer of titanium white (more opaque) or zinc white (more translucent) with a brayer, fingers, sloppy brushed, or scrape it on with an old credit card. This tones down bright colors or papers and can make a page feel more cohesive.
  • If your first layer is acrylic paint, try spritzing a fine mist of water over the page, let it sit for a few seconds then scrape with a credit card. It will remove bits of paint leaving you with a unique look. (This beautiful background by Gretchen Schroeder—>)
  • I love to add splatters, drips, dots, runs of paint or ink in contrasting or coordinating colors.
  • Stamping images or flourishes. I tend to use Staz-On ink pads because, once dry, they don’t run but beware, they do bleed through paints applied over them.
  • Paint smudged through stencils, punchinella, drywall tape, etc. (This great –> background by Kim Hesson.)
  • Watercolors, watercolor crayons, water-soluble oil pastels or watercolor pencils...activate them with water, a baby wipe, or a damp paper towel...or smudge them with a rag or your finger tip. Work that color, baby! lol
  • Bits and strips of washi tape here and there.
  • Doodles and flourishes drawn in black, white or coordinating colored markers or pens (I love my Perma Ball pens and Gelly Roll or Souffle pens for this.)
  • Bits and pieces of magazine images that you like, glued down with a good glue stick or gel medium.
  • More layers of paint in dribbles, dots, flecks, smudges, scrapes, splatters, rings (made with caps/lids dipped in paint then stamped on your page) and brush strokes.
  • Spray mists, inks, your own homemade spray colors, or spray watercolors.
  • Bits of torn tissue paper (solid or prints) glued down with gel medium.(-> This gorgeous background by Kate Crane aka TheKathrynWheel)

These are just a few of my ideas and techniques for adding layers. Doing any of these to your pages will help to add depth and interest.

In doing these layering ideas, please trust your self. Your eyes can be trusted to let you know if something you’re doing is working or not; whether your color choices are working together or not.

So many of us want someone to tell us if we’re doing things right or if our journaling pages are okay. Believe me when I tell you that you can trust yourself. Whatever you are doing is perfectly fine. I just want you to have faith in yourself and your abilities. Have fun, try things you think might work or color combos you might never have thought of before.

Get in there and play your heart out, fellow art journalers...enjoy yourself between the pages.

Back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More on Choosing Your Art Journal

I have received so many wonderful comments and emails in the past few days...y’all really know how to make a girl feel loved and appreciated!

Thank you

Also, I wanted to make sure to answer some of the questions I’ve received.

From a wonderful reader, Shelley:

Hello!

I have just stumbled across your blog and I have to say I LOVE IT!!! You are very talented and also very informative. Thank you!

I read through your blog post on choosing an art journal however I am still a bit confused and wondered if you could help me at all. I am currently using Dyan Revealey's art journal. I use it for acrylics, dylusions sprays, gelatos and a small amount of watercolours. I am finding that the Dylusions sprays are going through the pages and leaking in the centre part of the binding and wrecking completed and also blank pages. I was keen to get a Moleskine watercolour book however it is landscape orientation so I was wondering your opinion on the Moleskine sketchbook. Are you able to tell me if the paper is thick enough for the products I have mentioned? If we only had one choice I wouldn't have anything to worry about would I!! :)

Thanks again for your inspiration!

Cheers

Shelley, Thank you big time for your sweet note. I had the same dang problem with my Dyan Revealey art journal. The pages are nice and thick and stand up to a whole lot of wet media BUT there is that whole leaking through at the spine problem.

0118f83b4ae35781a4b9d51188a357774d86cabd8eWhat I did to solve the problem (and it did completely solve it for me) was to go all the way through the journal and add a single strip of masking tape to the gap where the pages meet (like this->.) I did it on every.single.set.of.pages. Yep, all of ‘em. But, I tell ya what, I haven’t had any further problem with that bleed through since I did...not even with my Dylusions spray inks!

Now, as you can see in the picture, the masking tape is apparent but, since I tend to paint/collage over it, it isn’t very noticeable once the pages are finished. I am not one that gets too bugged by that kind of thing anyway. If you are, less wet media is going to be the only real solution in the long run.

As for my journals of choice? Handmade, all the way, baby.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love Moleskine journals, both the sketchbook (my fav and yes, its pages are thick enough) and the watercolor, too (although I don’t like the orientation of the pages in those.) Dyan Revealey’s journals are nice, too, with good thick pages (they remind me of manila file folders and I think that is what most of the pages in them are made from.) There are a number of good commercially made journals out there that are perfectly fine for art journaling.

But, my first choice is definitely handmade.

I am quite partial to the wonderful 16 page 8”x10” journals  made from a single 22”x30” sheet of artists watercolor paper. I learned about this easy to make journal from Teesha Moore. These are quick and easy to make and they stand up to everything I’ve ever thrown at them. I’m including  her videos here that show how to make them. You can watch if it is something you are interested in learning....or skip on by if it’s not.

Part 1

Part 2


I also like to bind my own hardback journals using watercolor paper and hard covers...sometimes from deconstructed hardback books, other times using what I call scavenged materials like thick cereal boxes, thick pressed cardboard my hubby brings home from his store, etc.

If you’re not into making your own journals but still want to work in a handmade journal, I can’t encourage you enough to patronize some of the wonderful craftsmen and women who do handmake books and journals. Kelly Kilmer, who I love and adore, has some of her beautiful handmade journals (like this gorgeous example) for sale right now on her website (Kelly Kilmer.) If you want to get me one for Christmas, I sure wouldn’t turn it down! LOL Also, don’t forget that there are many, many handmade journals on Etsy and Artfire.

Whatever you decide to go with, for gosh sakes, just have fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff like some dribbles and leaking...just repair it, patch it, tape it or whatever, then move on and play some more. What you are working IN isn’t near as important as the actual working/playing that you’re doing between the covers of whatever journal you use.

Enjoy the journey, my friends...that’s what it’s really all about.

Back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

Monday, December 9, 2013

Yummy Honey Garlic Chicken

I don’t know about y’all but I am a total Pinterest geek. I love finding new and interesting ideas, pictures, inspiration and recipes on the internet and now, with the advent of Pinterest, I actually have somewhere to keep all those bits I find and collect.

I’m all about cooking, too. I may not be the best cook but I definitely get an A for effort in this category. The grandboy swears I am the best cook in the world so, there is that. lol

Anyway, I ran across this recipe in my internet wanderings (you can find the original recipe at Slender Kitchen) and decided to put it to the test for supper tonight. I love anything that I can cook in my crockpot since that makes it easy to make a big meal with less kitchen time for me. Win-win, I say.

I went out to the mailbox earlier and when I came back inside the smell of this delicious chicken dish greeted me. It struck me that it made our house smell like a home...the smells of cooking, like walking into my Momma’s house.

That’s such a good feeling.

I wanted to share this yummy dish with y’all since it is soooo easy and totally delish, too. I have tweaked the recipe to suit our family since we needed more than the original recipe made. If you like chicken (cause I love chicken,) I can’t imagine not loving this, so....

Honey Garlic Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2-2.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cut into chunks
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the garlic, basil, soy sauce, ketchup, and honey.
  2. Add the chicken to the crockpot.
  3. Pour the sauce over and mix everything together.
  4. Cook on high for 2 hours, then turn to low for 2-2.5 hours.
  5. For crispy outside, spread onto a baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes.

I served ours with some white rice, steamed oriental veggie mix (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, etc) and some eggroll crisps.

Yum!

Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Now, time to work in my journal for a while so I can work on my Art Journaling Wednesday post.

peace & love,
Barb

PS. If you’re on Pinterest and want to follow me, you can find me HERE. Be sure to leave your Pinterest addy for me, too, so I can follow you.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Supply Saturday-Portfolio Water-soluble Oil Pastels

Hi y’all. Sorry I fumbled the ball and didn’t manage to get my Supply Saturday post done on time this week. No excuses, just didn’t find the time or plan ahead like I’ve been doing. I hope you’ll all forgive me.

This week I wanted to review a great little inexpensive and widely available supply for you, so let’s get to it...

20049-1009-2ww-m

Portfolio Series Water-soluble Oil Pastels – I am always looking for new and inexpensive ways of adding color to my art journaling pages and my art in general. The Portfolio Oil Pastels definitely fit both, color and cost effectiveness.

The color that these waxy, smooth and beautifully creamy pastels lay down is bright,  vibrant, and vivid, rivaling their much more expensive cousins, Creatacolor.

Once the color is laid down it can be smudged 20049-1009-1-2ww-mand blended into your pages easily with your finger or a soft cloth. You can also blend colors together easily, or they can be activated then blended with a watery brush like true watercolors.

They come in sets of 12 and 24 beautiful colors, costing around $4-5.00 and $7-9.00 respectively. I have bought or seen them for sale everywhere from your local Wal-Mart to Staples and Office Depot to Michaels and Hobby Lobby to Jerry’s Artarama and Dick Blick so they are really are everywhere making them available to everyone.

These great little oil pastels are a true win-win type of supply; you just can’t go wrong by purchasing them. For most art journalers, these will become a must have supply.

For all these reasons, I give the Portfolio Series Water-soluble Oil Pastels a solid 9, their only downfall for use in my art journals being that their waxiness makes them tough to journal over.

I hope this week has been a good one for everyone. Mine has been hectic but good. Now if I can just plow through the mountain of laundry so I can send the hubby and grandboy back to work/school tomorrow, I might be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

If you are finding Supply Saturdays useful, please take a moment to leave a comment and let me know. I could really use some suggestions for new supplies to review, also. I would love and appreciate the input, y’all.

Now, back to your weekend...I’m headed to the laundry room then to put up the Christmas Tree.

Back tomorrow with more of the good stuff.

peace & Love,
Barb

Friday, December 6, 2013

Our December To-Do List

So many of us get caught up in the buy-buy-buy of the holiday season which, in turn, makes our kids cry want-want-want even more than usual. Since my girls are grown, I thought my days of that were over...but a few weeks ago my husband and I began raising another kid, our 9 year old grandson, Noah. My daughter, a single mom, is going through some “stuff” and Noah needed more stability and a better environment than she could provide right now...so he lives with us now.

I’ve never seen a kid so kind at heart and so appreciative of every little thing we do for him. When I told him that he would get an allowance every week for keeping up with chores we gave him, know what he said? Can you just send it to my mom, Nana...she needs it more than I do.

Talk about breaking my heart. (The beautiful heart over there <- is a tiny art quilt made by Erin Partridge.)

But that is all besides the point I was trying to get to here...

I have been out of the kid business for a while so I’m having to try and remember parenting things (instead of grandparenting cause I can’t spoil him when he’s with us every day) but he’s making it easy. (Plus, at my age, I am a whole lot more patient than I was in my 20’s, for sure.) He doesn’t have many toys since coming to live with us, so I’ve been trying hard to decide which ones he would most like for Christmas.

Every boy needs a bicycle, that is just a fact, so I was ecstatic to have caught an Amazon.com hourly deal on Black Friday for this Huffy boys 20” BMX bike at less than half the regular price...with free shipping.

Woot, go me!

I’m also thinking some Legos, a Nerf gun and maybe some Hot Wheels cars and a track. That should be good, right?

But, in addition to the presents and the general material stuff, I want him to see the non-commercial side of the Holidays, too. So, I’ve made a December to-do List:

  • We’re going to have a cookie day this Saturday. I’m going to mix up some sugar cookies the Friday night before and then Saturday we can just slice, bake and decorate them together. He loves being creative like his Nana.
  • The zoo has their Christmas lights up and I think an outing to see them as a family would be so much fun. Living in Florida, we won’t even have to bundle up to do it, either.
  • I also want us to go out driving and looking at holiday lights and decorations one night. I remember those trips from when I was a kid and those are some sweet memories I’d like Noah to have, too.
  • I have vowed to not buy any commercially made wrapping paper, bows or gift tags this year. We’re going to make our own out of brown craft paper and newsprint paper (your local paper will usually sell ends of rolls for a little bit of nothing), potato and carved stamps and paint/ink. We can cut gift tags from file folders or cereal boxes to recycle, too.
  • Definitely must have Christmas movie night...pajamas, blankets, popcorn, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Elf, and Bad(der) Santa (I can’t help it, I love that movie). Lots of family time and loads of holiday fun.
  • I IMG_1273wouldn’t be living up to my blog IMG_1274name if we don’t get crafty and  make at least a few handmade Holiday decorations. I think I’ll show him how to make twig trees and wreaths. (Maybe I can make that into a crafty how-to here on Craft Therapy, too.)

So, those are just a few things I really want to do with the hubby and grandboy during this holiday month.  I think it’s important to show him the importance of being together and enjoying family.

We might not have much but I am always thankful and know that we are so fortunate to have each other. I am also thankful for you...and you....and you, too. Thank you for coming here and giving me an audience to share my passions and ideas with and for providing me with kind comments and feedback. It means more than you know.

I hope your holiday season, whatever or however you celebrate, is looking to be a wonderful one. I

Back soon with, say it with me, more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

AJ Wednesday–Gathering Images

By now I am hoping that you are starting to feel better and less intimidated by the whole art journaling process. Just get a journal, gather up some supplies, tackle those (could be) frightening blank pages, and next...

Now what to do?

In my way 2013-12-04 11.30.17of doing things, this is when I begin adding collage elements and images to my pages. Where do I get most of my images? Let’s see...

  • cut from magazines and periodicals,
  • copies of my own journal pages,
  • old calendars,
  • copies of my own photographs or family photos (sometimes the actual photos themselves find their way into my journals,)
  • occasionally I find images online that I love and will print those out but when I do that, I make sure to fully change up the actual image,
  • there are groups, blogs, web sites and Etsy shops that offer images/collage sheets for free or for a nominal fee (I’ve never paid, just saying).
  • my own drawings
  • cut up scrapbook papers (mostly for borders or focal point add-ons like wings or hats or dresses, those type of things)
  • junk mail and direct mail fliers
  • general found fodder like clothing tags, thrifted old pictures, stamps, restaurant placemats or coasters, old book or dictionary pages, business cards, post cards, greeting cards, etc.

The list could go on and on but I am going to stop there. I think these give you a place to start from as you begin to build your image stockpile, however large or small you want it to be.

Storing images can also be a challenge. You want to be able to find your images quickly and easily so they need to be in a convenient spot. I have a three drawer plastic organizer (like this one –>) that I keep right on my table top within arms reach. I have found the system that works for me but it took a while, certainly not overnight, and it tends to change at times because, well, so do I.

Here’s my way (at the moment):

  1. The top drawer is where I keep focal images such as people or larger faces, larger flowers, Buddha images, photos I want to keep intact, any larger interesting element I might be able to use as the focal point, anchor image, or main basis of a journal page.
  2. The middle drawer is for smaller images that I use in a secondary way. Flowers, birds, skulls, hands, stars, hearts, crosses, or any other images I come across to add interest around a focal image. These are more of the little bits I find here and there...stamps, facial features like eyes or mouths I’ve cut from faces, receipts, movie tickets, product labels, and just anything I find interesting enough to keep.
  3. The bottom drawer is where I keep border images I find/cut from various places as well as background type images (landscape pics are pretty big for me here as well as abstract images, too.)

That is just my way of doing it; just what works for me. How you organize your images is totally up to you, your preferences, your available space, your budget can even be a factor, I know.

At one point I put my images in file folders I taped the sides closed and decorated them and I just added all the images I was saving. Nothing wrong with doing that way. You can always use a box or basket (another way I’ve done it along the way,) Ziplock baggies, or there are tons of ways that you could come up with.

Above all, do what makes it easiest for you to find images as you work,and begin collecting images now. Add to it whenever you come across things that appeal to you.

Next up we will cover adding those newfound images and collage fodder to your pages. I am going to have a video for y’all (no promises cause I am not very video savvy, but I will try) showing how to start adding collage fodder and pictures to your pages so gather some images now.

**Note: If you are not wanting to use collage or images in your art journaling, you might still consider adding borders or frames to your pages.(<-This is one way I use mine.) One of the art lessons that has stuck with me for years is that “everything looks better when framed.” Whether it’s with color, clippings, drawn doodles, or whatever designs you come up with, consider giving your pages a frame or border for a more finished look.

Coming up next, adding collage/images to your pages.

Back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Be a voice

I came across a quote one morning (it’s by Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project website and book) and it really made me stop and think. The quote reads: “Things often get messier before they get tidier.” I realize that this is true for practically everything in life...

When I am making art, things get messy on the page or canvas before they get tidier and complete. When it was time to divorce Dennis, my first husband, things definitely got crazy messy before the divorce tidied things up in the end. When I decided to clean up my art studio a while back, it became a complete disaster with things everywhere as I rearranged, then, as things were put into their new places, it became tidy and neat.

I can’t really think of any aspect of life that it doesn’t apply to, in fact. I think, knowing that little bit of info, that I won’t be so scared of the messy parts of my life anymore because I know it has to get messy before it gets tidied up...things get crazy before they can be all tied up with a pretty bow.

That’s just how life goes.

On another note, as I am vigorously searching for my own authentic voice in my art,  another quote that has really hit home for me lately is:

Be a voice, not an echo.

voiceLet me say that again...

Be a voice, not an echo.

Talk about making me think! Those few words made me step back and view things in a different light. They give me clarity in a way that I have never found before.

Be a voice, an original, not an echo, not a replication of everyone else...do my own thing, however it might come to be or how it turns out instead of trying to copy everyone else.

That realization makes me even more sure in my thoughts that those sweet “girls” I see everyone doing are just not for me...that the crazy made up and spliced together animals aren’t really me, either..no cute and cuddly kitties or unreadable script handwriting, no mermaids or cutesy little houses, either.

Unless one of those speaks to me at some point in the future.

It’s okay to like what I like and use what I use and say what I say.

At this point in time, I might not have a strong, easily recognizable style like Kelly Kilmer or Teesha Moore but it’s okay to trust my own intuition as I create and I feel sure that my true style will continue to take shape. Practice is what makes anything improve...so that is what I will do, practice my heart out.

I’m learning and this life stuff is just getting better and better.

Peace & Love,
Barb

Monday, December 2, 2013

AJ Wednesdays–Background Inspiration

Happy Monday, y’all. I happily did not leave the house all day on Black Friday or Saturday, either. No shopping amidst the HUGE crowds of shoppers fighting to be first in line for this TV or that game system. Nope...kept my butt in bed until 9am both days.

Then I did most of my shopping online.

Funny thing is, I got practically the same deals I would have gotten had I fought the crowds. Gap had everything 50% online and in stores, Levi’s had 40% off everything, Amazon is where I got a couple of really great deals and I only have a few more things to get and my shopping will be done.

Thankfully.

DFUBut anyway, the reason I wanted to touch base with y’all today is that I realized that when I gave you my ways of tackling the blank page, that is all you got...my way. There hundreds or maybe thousands of other ways out there and I really thought you should know more of them...so I thought I would share some background inspiration.

Some of these are videos and others are just photos and/or tutorials but they are all definitely worth checking out:

These are just a few ideas from some places around the ‘net to give you ideas on how YOU can get rid of the blank pages and begin your art journaling journey.

But I don’t feel like I have given you an inclusive look at backgrounds if I fail to mention that you do not have to add paint or ink or papers to your backgrounds...there is nothing wrong with starting from white. I don’t do a whole lot of white pages but for some things that I journal about, white seems more fitting to the subject.

In this short video, Teesha Moore shows and describes a white background art journal she did...

Also, please don’t limit yourself to just the ideas you see here or anywhere else. If you come up with an idea, try it...that’s what creativity is all about, trying new things, coming up with new ideas.

Have you tried something in your art journal that turned out great? Tell us about it! Tried something that didn’t turn out so great? Tell us about those things, too.

But above all else, just keep trying things! Over and over, try things, new things, a new way to do an old thing, crazy things, calm things...any things!

Back soon with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Supply Saturday–Liquitex Spray Paints

Well, Thanksgiving is behind us and so is Black Friday...that can only mean that Christmas is just around the corner. How did it get to be the end of the year already? I don’t know why I am amazed at the speed that life is passing these days but I am.

Lots going on around the Smith house today so I better get down to business, huh?

Since it is Saturday, you know what that means...yep, it’s Supply Saturday time again! YAY!!! A little something different on tap today...

  • Liquitex Professional Spray Paints – I love color. That comes as no liquitexsurprise to anyone that has seen this site, much less any of my art. I am always looking for new ways to incorporate color into my art journal and I have tried spray paints before...but the fumes. Besides, it’s not often that you find beautiful, vivid color in your average spray paint but not anymore.

I don’t know where I first heard of these beautiful spray paints but the price held me back from purchasing them for quite a while. At my local Michael’s store, they are $11.99 a can! But I love using stencils in my journal and they work so well with spray mediums so I broke down, using one of my 40% off coupons and bought a can of neutral gray 3 (not as harsh as black but the same idea.)

Still costing $7.20 a can with a 40% off coupon, that is still a bit steep for just one color but I wanted to try them so...

I am glad I did!

The color variety in these spray paints is phenomenal (100 shades), to say theliquitex colors least (see color chart), but the richness and depth of the colors is truly unique. They are a water-based spray paint so I find them easier to work with than Krylon or any other brand I’ve tried. They are very low odor, unlike your average spray paints and (don’t try this at home) I have used them in my studio with no ill effects or lasting odors (definitely not recommended, though.)

The colors match the Liquitex acrylic paint colors as well as the new line of Liquitex paint markers recently released, making these another great product from a trusted manufacturer.

nozzlesThe only pitfalls I have found (besides the astronomical price) are how quickly and easily the spray nozzles seem to clog. I have had to buy new nozzles for every can I have collected so far (only 7 but I’m buying one at a time with coupons) because they clog that fast and that badly. I do find if I turn the can upside down and spray until no more paint comes out, it clears the nozzle and no more clogging. But seriously, who has time to do that every single time you use the paint?

But I do like the colors so much that I am learning to make clearing the nozzle a habit. If you don’t think you can deal with that, these are probably not the spray paints for you.

Nozzles are available for separate purchase and they offer them in three different stream types: regular or standard line, large or thick line, and super skinny or fine line.

All in all, I give the Liquitex Professional Spray Paints a score of 7...the color and clean-up are fabulous, the constant nozzle clogging and high price are true downfalls to what could be a perfect product.

I hope that everyone is having a great weekend and your holiday has been wonderful and filled with love and family.

See you on Monday with more of the good stuff.

peace & love,
Barb
 

P.S. The winner of the Pilot PermaBall ink pen from last week’s Supply Saturday is: Michelle in Australia (A little bit of me time.) Michelle, drop me an email with your mailing address so I can get this pen out to you.

Thanks again, y’all.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s officially turkey day here in the U.S.

HappyThanksgiving

I know that many of you will be spending your day with family and friends, cooking and eating and I bet some of you will be watching football, too.

I just wanted to take a minute to wish you a wonderful holiday. May the food you eat be delicious, the people at your table be full of love and thankfulness, and, if you’re traveling, may your trip be safe and easy.

peace, love & thankfulness,
Barb

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

AJ Wednesday - Facing the Blank Page

Just to let you all know, I have no end point in sight for our journaling adventure together, I don’t want to be in a rush but I also don’t want to drag my feet, either.
I trust that you guys will let me know if I’m going to slow or too fast, if I'm including too much or not enough. I just want your place here, and this is your place, to be somewhere you come to let go and really immerse yourself in a true learning and growing experience.

The real first steps have mainly been covered when you found your journal and gathered your basic supplies. You will find yourself wanting to expand your supply base as you continue to art journal but begin with some of the simple supplies we discussed earlier.
IMG_1270Now it’s time to find a  place to work.

(←This is where I do most of my art journaling (and yes, it gets even messier than this, lol) but I have been known to take my art journal and a few pens to bed to doodle while watching TV before sleep. I know of quite a few people that do a lot of their art journaling in coffee shops and cafés, too.)

What you need to find is a place where you can spread your supplies out, and, if you’re using paint/inks, you need somewhere you can get messy and not have to worry about staining the table or carpet. Don’t forget about little hands (if you have them around), we don’t want them getting into anything.

It can be the kitchen table, the coffee table, in your craft room or art studio, it can be on a TV tray with your journaling supplies in a box beside you. It just has to be somewhere you feel comfortable.

Once again, don’t get hung up on semantics...use what and where you have available. There is nothing wrong with the kitchen table or on the coffee table.
Okay, now that you’re all settled in, let’s do this…

Everyone has to start somewhere and the blank page is where it all begins. For every single one of us. I remember the feeling of terror that would wash over me in the beginning when I was faced with the blank page. I beg of you…don’t do that to yourself. It is just paper. Nothing but paper.

blank-open-book
The first step for most art journalists is page prep.
Think about these things:

  • are your pages thick enough?
  • Do you need/want to *gesso? (And what the heck is this gesso she keeps mentioning?)
  • Altering a book and need to glue pages together?
  • Using thin lined pages that need some extra umph?
Just be sure to take care of any of these issues before you move on.

Next step is the background and most of the time, the first step to that is adding color. So, let’s begin by putting some color down on that dreaded blank page…get it over with…you can add color in any way you want. If you have tons of scrapbook paper and want to use some of it as your color base, go for it. Glue it down. Collage different colors and make your page exactly what you want it to be. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake.

Image1Maybe you’re a marker person, by all means, use them to make your pages bright and colorful (or dark and mysterious...go with how you feel.) Or pick 1, 2 or even 3 colors of your craft paint, acrylic paint or break out your watercolors and spread beautiful, wonderful, fabulous color onto your page.
There are so many ways to get the paint onto the page. Of course you can use a brush or, if you’re using craft/acrylic paints, spread them around and cover the page using an old credit card or room key card to scrape the paint onto the page. You can use your fingers to spread it around or a sponge or wadded paper towel to dab and smoosh it all over the page.

Use some colorful inks and drip them onto the page so they splatter everywhere. Make your colors calm and evenly painted or grungy, scrubbed in and messy…it is your journal so it is your choice.

Here are two different pages of mine, one calm with a solid colored blue background and the other a little grungy with reds, yellows, and oranges together as the background. I love doing both...and more!




What other ways can you think of to add color or basically get your blank page from white (or tan) to a point that you’re not so afraid of it anymore? To a point that the colors excite you and make you want to experiment? Colorful in a way that speaks to you and makes you want to tell your story or reminds you of a quote or song lyric that means something to you. Maybe the colors make you think of that day at the beach or the mountains or in the rain.

A few words of caution…if you plan on writing in a particular place on the page, I would caution you not to use any wax based colors such as watercolor crayons, water soluble oil pastels and even most colored pencils. These can be hard to write over with most pens and will even clog up sharpie permanent markers and, my favorite, Sharpie or uni-Posca Paint Pens. Just be aware of that fact when adding color to your pages. (There are ways around this and we will get to that down the road a bit.)

I love art journaling and realize that when I found it back in 2008, I really found my passion. In the 6+ years since, I have learned not to take things so seriously between the pages of my journals. There really is no such thing as a mistake…just something else to work into that page.

Please don’t let your art journal be a burden or one more something to add additional stress to your life. Let it be the place that you can go to and unburden your soul, your mind, your emotions, your thoughts.

When choosing your colors notice that the colors you choose can speak as to your mood and your inner feelings. I have often noticed that I use reds when I am angry, blues and greens when I’m calm and peaceful, blacks and browns if I am down and depressed, yellows when I’m cheerful or happy, and I find that I do this subconsciously.

Last note, I hope that you won’t just do one background of color and stop, waiting on our next step…experiment, put a color layer of your choice on a few pages or more. Have fun playing with color combinations or different mediums…acrylic one page then watercolor on the next then go ahead and try gluing some great papers or magazine pages down on the next page.

For goodness sake, have fun playing. Remember what it was like to be a kid. Just relax and have a good time in YOUR journal.

Questions? Please ask…I’m here and I will answer.

Up next…the next layer (adding images and collage.)

For all my friends in the USA, tomorrow is Thanksgiving for us and I hope that each and every one of you have a wonderful day and that we each remember all that we have to be thankful for in our lives.

peace & love,
Barb

*ges·so [jes-oh] noun,
1. gypsum or plaster of Paris prepared with glue for use as a surface for painting.

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