Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Return of Zombie Bunny

I know, you're tired of the stupid zombie bunnies, but I can't help it! He isn't finished because you know I love to show you half-done stuff! I wish I could say this journal page was fun, but I'm not sure that it was. I'm trying to work through Mindy Lacefield's "Frolic" class, but I'm not enjoying it a whole lot so far. Her work is cool and most of the student work is great, and it's only my first attempt, so maybe I'll get better and it will be more fun. Anyway, here is my first bunny a few layers in:
More layers:
LOTS of layers:
Drew bunny:
Painted around bunny:
I added a layerof white to him, but he doesn't look very much better.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Claim Your Name

I mostly go by Goog, especially online. Not to hide, actually the total opposite! That's what people call me in "real" life. It's been my nickname for a long time. But Suzi is working with women who have been in the commercial sex trade and we've been talking about names in the Soul Garden class. Names that we choose for ourselves, names that are chosen for us. In "the life", the women have names that are not their own. So we're doing an exercise where we're reclaiming our names. Mine is Ariana, and here is my newest journal:

I used a black glaze pen for the doodles (I sketched my name in pencil first, but the rest I free handed).

And I colored it in with my Copics. I think it came out pretty good. The colors are so much better in person!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Faber-Castel, who are you trying to fool?

OK, the "new" product is Gelatos. People are confused because Faber-Castell already has a product called "gel sticks". I was at CHA in 2011 and "gelatos" were their new thing. FC sent Suzi some gelatos, and she gave them to me to play with, then Suzi gave me some gel sticks for Kelly's birthday (yes, for Kelly's birthday I got a present). And so I took a gel stick and a gelato in the same color and scribbled them in a sketchbook and added water and here is the result:

That's right people, there's NO DIFFERENCE. At all. They felt the same going on and the reacted exactly the same when I added the water. WTF is up with that? The gel sticks are in the kids' art section and they're fun, like watercolor crayons but they feel more like pastels when they go on. They look like chapstick, each one in its own plastic tube so they don't rub off on each other, that's pretty nice. The gelatos are WAY more expensive that the gel sticks, and I think they're just f-ing with us because they seem the same to me. Jerks.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I know you're SHOCKED that I made a new journal, aren't you? I LOVE it! The paper is SUPER SMOOTH and I'm so freaking excited. It's Smooth Bristol and coptic-bound and the tape on the spine is Duck Tape (that's a brand of duct tape, believe it or not) and is white with black mustaches on it!! 

Here's the front:

And the back:

Don't you love it?? (Lie to me if you have to, OK?)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Art Journaling, Digi-Style

I don't really DO this, my journal pages are usually sprays and paint and drawings. But Liz, of Sweet Digi Scraps, came out with this bundle called Art Styling and it's available at The Digi Chick right here. I freaking LOVE it! It's SO fun. I know so many people who don't scrapbook because it's "too clean" or too neat or too matchy. This kit throws all of those thoughts out the window! It's grungy papers and paint splatters and amazingly awesome stuff. I had SO much fun working with it. 

Here is my page, it's about how Liam told me and his dad he doesn't need us to wait at the bus stop with him on the second day of school. Second day of school, EVER, mind you. Of course, he doesn't get a choice in the matter, but still. To be dismissed by your five-year-old who rides a middle school bus (he's the only kindergartener on the bus). It was pretty funny. My mom couldn't stop laughing when I told her!

And I also wanted to show you what I did with it. People ask me all the time "What do you DO with your digital scrapbooking pages?" Now, I will admit this is a legitimate question. But first let me ask you: What do you do with your digital photos? Most people don't do ANYTHING with them. They move from camera to computer and then they sit there. I print mine, journal with mine, and scrapbook with mine. And for the record, I PRINT my digital scrapbooking pages. Every one of them. They go into scrapbook albums, just like a "regular" page, and a digi kit for $5 or $10 is a ridiculous amount LESS than you'd pay for something comparable in a paper kit.

But specifically for Liam's school years, I'm going to try to make albums for HIM for each year. For this year I'm using a board book. His teacher tags me in pictures that she posts on her Facebook page and the school's page has had pictures of him up several times already. I don't want to forget these things and only have the first day of school and last day of school and stuff like that. So I'm Scrapping the ordinary days (like I always do) and making a book out of a book! This is the book I started with:

And since this is the second page, here it is IN the book:

I'm pretty excited about it! I hope it comes out as great as I think it will.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One More Ride!

Cheeky had an amazingly fun time with his cousin (my cousin, technically) Jon Micheal at the firefighters' fair! This kit was freaking perfect for scrapping these pictures, bright and fun. It's called One More Ride and is available here.

I have tons of older pictures that I'm just starting to scrap, but instead of going all the way back to when Liam was a baby, I'm just kind of finding a kit I like, trying to decide if I have pictures to go with it, then going for it. It's FUN!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Lookie what I made!! C'mon, you HAVE to think that's fun!! I'm totally in love with it!

The front is canvas, the back and bottom and pockets are just cotton fabric. The top of the pockets is double fold bias tape, and the yellow edging is single fold. I seriously love this thing. It was SO fun to make!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm a persistent kind of person. I will work and work and work at something until it's what I want it to be or I'm so frustrated I want to chuck it through the window. Sometimes both. But when someone ELSE is pushing and poking at me? I dig my heels in. That's just how I am. This is a Kellyism, because she's the same way!

Remember Angry Caterpillar? He's resisting the urge to become a butterfly! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Where women create

I think the titles of stuff can be SO SILLY sometimes. I'm not a "solidarity, sister!" type of chick. I think division because of sex is stupid. This magazine could be called something like "Artist's Spaces" or something less sexist (oh, wait - it's only sexist if it says MEN, right?). Anyway, this is where this woman creates sometimes. 

That's my living room floor and I was sitting in the empty space! I had to get up and go somewhere with Mini Me, but I just left the stuff right there and came back to it. You don't need a fancy space to make art!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pam Garrison Style

Something about this simple style appeals to me. The black lines and flat colors. It's simple. I like simple.

This is a brown paper lunch bag that I tore open:

This one is a piece of muslin that I'm thinking of making into a placemat:

Saturday, September 15, 2012


These are Cheeky's favorite - who knew they'd be so easy to make??

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grey Skies

This kit is called Monday Blues by Sweet Digi Scraps and is available as part of September's Diners Club at Scrap Takeout. I LOVE this layout. Like, ridiculously love it. That's my little pumpkin's first smile and I love the blues and grays of the kit and how it all goes together!! I want all of my layouts to make me this happy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How to open (?) an avocado

I was with my friend Suzi a week or so ago and we were making raw chocolate mousse. The base is avocado. Suzi dig her fingernails into the avocado skin and RIPPED it open with her hands. I laughed almost too hard to take the second avocado away and cut it properly. Then it occurred to me that other people might do this ripping open thing. I wish I had a picture to show you the mangled green mush when she was done. So, just in case you need it, here is an avocado tutorial. Oh, and I didn't make this up. I saw it on the Food Network. And some of the pics are taken by a five-year-old so they're horrible.

Here is the knife I use. It's called a santuko knife. A sharp knife is ALWAYS better than a dull one.

Pick a place and cut all the way through to the pit (stone). TURN the avocado so you cut ALL around the entire thing. 

TWIST and it will come apart.

Take the half with the pit and hold it firmly.

Slam the knife into the pit - DO NOT wind up like you're pitching a fastball first. Just raise the knife several inches and smack it into the pit. Hard.

Twist again and the pit will come out.

I use the same knife and lightly score the avocado - here I diced it, but you can just slice it if you want. 

Then scoop!

I like to eat it with cheesy scrambled eggs and tomatoes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"September Eleventh"

Just hearing someone says those words chills my blood. I'll look at them and know I have the "deer in headlights" look on my face, but they look perfectly happy to be uttering those words and so I look away. I'm from New York. I was born in the Bronx, and have a number of family member still there. I have cousins and uncles who are (or were) firefighters and police officers. On that day it didn't matter if they were normally assigned to the city or not, everyone went.

My cousin Paul said it felt like an earthquake when the first plane hit. The ground shook. My cousin Michael slept at his precinct for three days. Cousin Tommy went in and didn't come out. He's technically not my cousin. He's my cousins' cousin. When I was a child, this concept was beyond me - if this person was my cousin, and that was their cousin, how is it possible that it wasn't my cousin? Same went for aunts, uncles, grandparents. Family was family, and that's what we call each other. "Cousin Joe" isn't my cousin, but it's what I call him and he calls me "Cousin Ariana".

One evening in 1999 I was at my aunt and uncle's house (I lived with them), and there was a story on the news - a firefighter rescuing someone from a burning building, not really anything new or exciting. Except it was Tommy! My cousin Jeanine immediately picked up the phone and called his parents' house and they turned on the news and Tommy got on the phone and we all laughed and laughed about it. Two minutes of a news story, but it's what I remember every time I think of Tommy. I reminded my cousins of this, and they don't even remember this particular evening because it was just Tommy. It's who he was.

I was on my way to class that morning in 2001 on the bus that shuttled me from my apartment to campus. I was 21, a music student at the University of South Florida. They were talking about it on the radio, but it was either being downplayed or they didn't really know what was going on. When I got off the shuttle, that's when I understood something was WRONG. The school of music was silent. If you've ever been to a school of music, you KNOW that's unusual. Dead silence. My friend Derek was on his cell phone, pacing and crying while his girlfriend, Becky watched helplessly. I don't remember how I got back to my apartment. I didn't put on the news. My roommate sat with me while I tried to call my parents, my aunt, my cousins. The lines were jammed or being blocked, I couldn't get through to anyone.

The day blurs together, I don't "remember it vividly" like so many people claim to. Eventually my roommate had to go to work, and a couple of the guys I was in marching band with came to get me. We went to Hooters to eat bad food and watch the president address the nation on a giant television. I know the whole world watched, shocked beyond words, as the second plane slammed into the second tower. I didn't watch that until years later. I find it insulting when movies are made about the tragedy. And last year, when they kept showing the news clips over and over because it was the tenth anniversary, I felt like it was happening all over again.

I saw this today:

There's a veterans memorial on the path that I walk. It made me think. We simply weren't vigilant enough to prevent what happened. Tommy wasn't a veteran - he didn't serve his country as a member of the military. But he certainly died for this country. I was glad to see the flags at half-mast. It seemed respectful. 

People say "I'll never forget" but it's a lie. They forget all the time. They'll have forgotten tomorrow. It's only the families torn apart on that day and on the days since we've gone to war over it that remember every day. I don't have anything inspirational or anything like that to say, so I'm sorry if you've been reading along hoping for that. Life goes on, I know it does and it has to. If you're one of those people who says you'll "never forget", I want you to keep this in mind: The next time you're at the airport and you're pissing and moaning about taking off your shoes, remember WHY you're taking off your shoes and taking your laptop out of its case. Take thirty seconds and remember. Be grateful.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Running Rainbow!

Look at this crazy, cool, colorful kit! I freaking LOVE it. It's by Piccolina Designs, one of my all-time favorite designers and is available at Ahhh Scrap. 

These are my crazy friends before and during their Color Run:

And after, looking beautiful and slightly crazy:

I absolutely adore this kit and am SO GLAD I had an excuse to get it! :) 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to my first love: Moleskine!

I haven't been journaling lately, I have no excuse for why. Just haven't really felt like it. But getting back to Moley felt REALLY good! The color is Faber Castell gel sticks (NOT the gelatos). Suzi got them for me and I really like the way they feel when they're dry! They're matte, which I really like, and the color doesn't rub off, like watercolors can tend to do. So I'm happy! 

Here she is with the detail added back in after painting:

And some journaling on top (bad picture!):

Friday, September 7, 2012

September Soul Garden

For June, July, and August I used patterned scrapbook papers as the "base" for my planners. I might have already told you I'm using a sketchbook this month and so far, I LOVE it. Here is my September page:

 I wanted to experiment with backgrounds, so this one was lightly sprayed with alcohol ink:

This one completely blank:

And this one covered with papers:

So far, my favorite is the sprayed background underneath the notecards. I'm having LOTS of fun this month!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Watercolor Pages, again

OK, so I got some artist's tape in 1/4 inch (Suzi bought it for me) and tried again. They came out MUCH better! These ones are watercolor:

 These are alcohol inks:

 The only problem now is I don't really like trying to FORCE myself to use them. It feels like what I was doing with cartooning. I know a lot of artists say that they had to force themselves to sketch every day before it became fun. (OK, most of them say "a joy", which is something I will NEVER say.) But I already have to force myself to do things. Study. Cook. Clean. How many things in a day should I hate and make myself do anyway? And should art be one of them? I guess it should if it's something I want to get better at, but for now I'm just going to hang on to these pages and maybe use them when I go to Florida as a travel journal.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

An Album for Kelly :)

I have hundreds of pictures of me and Kelly and our boys (none of her daughter, she was always at work whenever we were hanging out and now she lives in Manhattan). I've scrapped some of them before, but I thought it would be fun to make her a birthday album, so I did! I have an awesome printer, and old HP, so I print my scrapbook pages myself at home on cheap but wonderful paper I get from Sam's Club.

Here we are drinking margaritas:

Kelly's teaching me how to stamp:

Shoes :)

The first time I hung out at her place. I'd convinced her she needed a Moleskine journal and she loved it!

Look at how she's always looking at me, so suspicious:

 Here she's giving me copic marker lessons:

 And here she is just being Kelly:

The pages are ALL made with a kit called Life's Lemonade by Sweet Digi Scraps, and using templates from Life's Lemonade and Finding Yourself - both by Sweet Digi Scraps.