Friday, February 28, 2014

TDL Show & Tell!

It's hard to show how this whole TDL/CTJ thing works for me, but I really like how this spread came together. The picture of me is a tip-in, and the week page is a tip-in.

Here is the spread all tipped out - Ian is on the back of me, and the girl in pencil is on the back of the week page, and there's a third pic tipped in but I forget what it is. I just love how everything flips out and then tucks back in. It makes me super happy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


OK, it's really journals but would you have looked if I'd said that?? I can't even tell you how much fun I had making these. Tracy Moore put up a tutorial at The Artsronauts Club and once I got started I couldn't stop!

And this - this is a box that just has the cheese from mac&cheese. I didn't even know you could buy that, did you? My friend Tony (OK, his name is Kevin but I call him Tony) showed me!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Starburst Journal

This might be the most fun I've ever had making a journal! I LOVE it!

This is called "long stitch", I think. I wouldn't bet my live or anything, but I might bet a nickel.

Since I don't really like to see the stitching, I took the part I cut off one side and glued it right over the stitches! I know, genius, right? I have my moments!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25th...

I was going to just schedule a post for today and be done with it, but I can't. I'm just not the person who can gloss over things and pretend like they aren't happening. I don't want to be that person.
It's been eleven months today since my best friend died. It sounds like a long time, but trust me, it FEELS a lot longer. It still feels so strange to not have her in my life anymore. Am I handling it better? Maybe. Some days. Not really. No. Yes. It probably depends on who you ask.

I can tell you that meeting someone new feels so strange. I can't even tell you how strange. Because a new "friend" will text me several times and when I don't reply they ask if I'm OK and how can I say "You know, I'm having a random bad day where I've spent the past two hours crying in my bathtub because my best friend died and I'm really, really missing her today." They don't understand, most of them CAN'T understand.

My family still freezes if I say her name. Tami. Kelly says it to me, and Ian does. Other than that, I never hear her name. Never. I talk about her a lot - I always have. I think about her a lot - I always will. I miss her. Eleven months without her doesn't even seem possible.

I might have mentioned this before but the 25th of the month has always been an important day for me. My birthday is a 25th. Christmas. Those two things alone have me counting things down. Tami left the US on February 25th. She didn't arrive in London until the 26th, but I always wished her a happy anniversary on the 25th and we would laugh about it. I always used to text people "10 months till Christmas! 9 months till Christmas!", etc. . Something else happened (something bad) on February 25th 2013 but it's not mine to share. And then Tami died on March 25th. I always felt like it was an important day, the 25th of the month. Now, I hate it. As if approaches, I start having panic attacks. My chest aches for days before and after. It might be stupid, but that's what it is.

Something I feel like is even worse, is the people who count the time and text me - "I can't believe Tami's been gone for 6 months!". Really? Because somehow counting the time like that makes a difference? I miss her. Today. Tomorrow. Yesterday. Six months ago. Six months from now. I don't miss her MORE because it's been eleven months today. I miss her every single day. A hundred times a day when I think of something I would have asked her or told her or shared with her.

Here is a picture of us from 2006. She is in the blue tank top, I'm in orange. We had the BEST time on this trip. (We're on a cruise.) The most fun I can remember having, actually. In the morning whoever woke up first would run over and knock on the other one's door and then try to run back to their room before they got caught. She was better at it because I was pregnant and seasick the entire time. We laughed so much.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Like Kelly, this is a friend of mine, but I'm not posting the original picture because I don't have permission. I'm just not good at facial expressions yet, huh? I'm going to keep working on it, don't worry!

No mistakes

I hate, absolutely HATE when someone tells me something like "There's no such thing as a mistake in art." That's just not a decision you get to make for me. Just because I can erase something or paint over it or throw it away doesn't mean I didn't make a mistake. I'm the one who has to be satisfied with my art, not anyone else. I hate this:

It's a napkin on the cover of a book (OK, the piano part for a clarinet solo) for a Jane Davenport class (Express Yourself). I absolutely hare it. Jane's napkins sort of melted into the pages with the matte medium. This sucker didn't. It's bumpy - which she says it great texture. I hate it. So to say something like "Oh, there's no such things as mistakes!" is insulting. I feel like this is a mess up and so it is. There is nothing WRONG with a mistake. Nothing at all. I make mistakes ALL THE TIME. I'm a human being. I turn the wrong way, I burn the cookies, I spell things wrong (dyslexia), I MAKE MISTAKES. I am not ashamed of them, and saying something like they don't even exist makes it seem like I should be. Did I mess up this cover? Yep. Can I fix it? Maybe, maybe not. If I DO fix it, does that mean the mistake never happen? NO. Absolutely not. I simple means I repaired what I screwed up. I'm allowed to screw up. I refuse to pretend like I don't.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I have my moments...

Pink glaze pen over cheap pink paint. She feels totally finished to me!

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I painted this page while I was in Ireland and only had a few paint colors with me - that's why she has blue hair! Honestly, I love her and her blue hair. I love her background. But something about her felt incomplete, and there was a lot of empty space around her. People are so weird sometimes about a journal page being "finished" and I'm not like that - I do what I feel like right now and I move on to the next page whenever I feel like it. But this one I kept coming back to and thinking it wasn't quite finished. Three clouds later and it feels SO MUCH BETTER to me. I can't even tell you. How silly is it that three little clouds would make it feel complete like that? I'm a details kind of chick, but not usually with my art. A lot of what I do feels sort of incomplete, but I'm not really sure how to "finish" it. This feels like a breakthrough. Or too much cinnamon whiskey (I know, this blog is going to post in the morning but I'm writing it at night, I swear! Not that I'm above "day drinking", I enjoy a cocktail at any time of day!)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Over Shoulder

Hm...not bad.


Not bad again!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Finished Kelly :)

I'm not sure if she even has a facial expression, but her mouth is crooked! I think I need to exaggerate the frowny part more. Maybe.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Purple, purple, PURPLE!

Gilmore Girls. Anyone? No? It's OK. There was this episode where Lorelai and Sookie were talking about designers and it was super funny. They were all super funny. Anyway, I was journaling in the car - nothing new, my bosses have no idea how to get to work on time and I'm often sitting in the car waiting for them to get there. I really love how she came out!

You know how some people get that GREAT depth with hair? Me, not so much. I used more than one color and everything, but they just merged into a grayish purple color. Aided by the Vanilla that was still on the brush. (I wiped it off on my pajamas first, but clearly I didn't get it all.)

Now, for some reason I'm getting panicky about her. I didn't get where I wanted with the hair, I smudged up her face, I didn't journal under that one part of the hair (had to go somewhere before I was finished journaling), the face needs color but sometimes color messes it all up, blah, blah, blah... So I'm going to ignore her. Turn the page and move on. Boom.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Usually I babble like an idiot when I blog, but I really don't feel like there's much to say today...

Monday, February 17, 2014


No, not me! The face:

This is actually a combination of a Jane lesson and a picture of my friend Kelly. I was going to post Kelly's picture here so you could see - but then I realized I hadn't asked her permission to use it and that wasn't cool! I'm actually kind of excited about how this came out...I really like the idea of being able to draw more expressive faces!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Expression is HARD for me!

I know, I know, I know. Practice! I'm working on it, I swear. She's not terrible, but not exactly what I'd hoped for, either...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Be the Flow

Jane draws in a very flowy way. Flowing lines, very loose. I'm working on it. I LOVE doing it. 

She flows across three pages :)

A little background:

And here she is, painted not Jane's way but my way. And she makes me ridiculously happy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Project Gone Astray

This is an antique book, purchased for a particular purpose:

And I tried, I really did, to use it for its intended purpose:

This is what a completed page could look like. Monotone, white/gray/black, collage with a little paint and a little charcoal...

But I didn't like it. I just didn't like it! I'm not a gray chick. Just not. And so I decided that being happy with this journal was more important than following along with the project. So I painted the cover. Sprayed it. Added some mustache duct tape. LOVED it.

Told a friend of mine this is what I was going to call my next journal:

Now I loved it EVEN MORE, and I couldn't wait to start working in it!

And, of course, the back:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jane Face!

I'm taking Express Yourself with Jane Davenport and it's FUN. I love her as a teacher! This is just sort of a warm up exercise with drawing the face and shading with markers. Isn't she cute? Jane discourages the use of graphite pencil to draw with, but I cheated and did graphite first, then col-erase over it! (Don't tell her!!)

Shading with copics. She's a little blotchy, but it's not the markers, it's the colored pencil making that happen!

And then I tipped her right into my The Documented Life journal, how great is that?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Documented Life

I'm not using it at all like I'm "supposed to" and it's making me super happy! I'm just using it like my Cheap Thoughts Journal and I love it. Really, really love it. It SO looks like the inside of my head would look!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A cool trick

Did you know that if you put a spoon over the pasta it won't boil over? The more you know...

Monday, February 10, 2014


I've actually always hated when teachers tell us to look for "symbols" in our work. I'm not a sign/symbol kind of chick. I don't believe that there are outside forces working for or against me, I believe that I am in control of my own life. But I can't deny it anymore - I have a cloud issue.

A single cloud in my TDL journal:

A whole canvas full:

A stamp I carved:

Journal page:

Journal cover:

A picture I couldn't help taking, even as I was asking myself WHY I was taking a picture of the sky:

According to literature (of course I researched it, you know I couldn't help it!) clouds are considered to be dwelling places of the gods. They are also symbolic of transition and transformation. But my favorite interpretation of what clouds symbolize is confusion and distraction. Not because I enjoy being confused or distracted (though I am very easily), but because when clouds are used in art they can symbolize persevering through the confusion and distraction. I like that concept a lot. I'm feeling VERY confused lately about my life and where it's heading. Those are my clouds. I can see the blue sky, the light at the end of the tunnel, but I can't quite figure out how to get there. Maybe knowing this, admitting this, will help? I don't know.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Practice Supplies

OK, this is something that's going to be hard for some people to hear. DON'T USE PRACTICE SUPPLIES.

Don't draw your faces on copy paper first and then try to draw them in your journal. Don't try to learn how to shade with Crayola colored pencils before trying your nice expensive ones.

Your good paper and your good supplies are NOT going to act like Crayolas on copy paper. I promise. Crack open that good journal, grab a pencil that you paid $2 for, and PRACTICE THAT WAY. Do it. You aren't wasting it if you don't draw a masterpiece. You aren't wasting it if you throw away your first hundred. You are wasting it if it sits on the shelf and gathers dust.

This face is ugly:

It is. It's an ugly face. I draw them all the time. Less than I used to, and lots of times I work at them to make them better. Not this one. She's living right in my journal. One that I paid around $20 for. I mostly used cheap paint, but I also used my Neocolor II's - which are around $2 each. Is whatever this journal spread "cost" me in supplies a waste of money? Of course not. It's what I needed at the moment. It fulfilled whatever need I had right then. I don't think about what I paid for a supply while I'm using it - it's too late. The money is paid. Not using the supply doesn't save the money. It's already gone.

So, please, I'm begging you - grab your Fabriano Artistico paper and your Golden paints and make something ugly. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014


I very rarely share graphics that I make here because even though they are technically mine, they don't feel like mine because they're for someone else to use for their own work, you know? But this is something I designed for my him, and it seems OK to share here! PLUS, I'm super proud of how it came out! It's a CD cover for his demo (he's a DJ) and I really, really liked being able to design this for him.