Saturday, April 12, 2014

Into the City for a long day with the girls

Had to go to Billings to take the girls to the Dr. but we were able to get a few supplies for our art projects! Yeah!!!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Madness -well, Mad for Art, not basketball

As the title suggests, I don't enjoy the March basketball tournament. It did give me extra time to do some art, but I found myself being really "stuck" several times, as I tried to complete certain art journal pages. I don't know if I was stuck, because I was preoccupied with "life" events, and maybe I was suffering from some worry, or if it was just a busy month for me, and I couldn't fully wrap my head around the art I was trying to create, or if it was something totally different that I don't fully understand, but all I know, was that I struggled this past month to create.
Here are the next four weeks of pages in my Journal 52 art journal year long project. I hope you enjoy seeing them, and my thoughts behind creating them.
Week 9- Color Swatch
This week I had taken the Abstract class from Claudia Rossi, on Udemy. It was so fun! I loved her technique, and by just tweaking a few things, you can achieve some really different results. Because the prompt for this week was color swatch, I really wanted to stick with the same color family, so I used 3 different purple paints, and then blended with white, and outlined in black. The photos I took of my finished page, don't show all the movement and streaks that are in each segment. I tried rephotographing, and I still could not get a good picture of the details, so you just have to trust me that it is way more fabulous in person!
I apologize for the clips on the upper corners- I was trying to get a good picture and the breeze was blowing my pages shut.

Week 10 - Art For A Cause
Oh, I struggled with this prompt!!!!! I really wanted to create something that people who don't know anyone, or have never experienced mental illness, would be able to "feel" what it is like for someone with these illnesses, who deals with this on a regular basis. 
PLEASE NOTE: I do suffer from these illnesses, but I am doing well right now, so please don't call the authorities and tell them to watch me, because I am OK! 
I started this page with a collage paper background, then I added several kinds of washi tape, and created a bit of a grunge look to the page, then heavily distressed the page with inks. The girl is quickly sketched on a piece of old dictionary text, and I very faintly added a bit of color to her features, but I tried really hard to keep everything translucent, because I wanted her to have the feeling of invisibility. lastly I cut the words from dictionary pages, and pasted the phrase onto the page. I used a charcoal pencil to add shadowing around each word, and then the page was sealed with Mod Podge.
The words read: Please God, It's easier on everybody if I stay invisible. 
My causes: Anxiety, BiPolar, Depression
Again, please know that I am well regulated, and am sharing this as a way to bring awareness to those that may not fully understand.

Week 11 - Stars
I wanted to do this with a bit of a two-meaning page. I wanted to use actual stars in my page, but also wanted to include a "star" or celebrity, who I quoted with a saying that had some meaning to me. When I started my research on quotes, I had no idea who I would be featuring on my page, but found this great quote by Marilyn Monroe- "We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle".
It was a great quote, because we all have worth, and we all deserve to shine in our own way!
I started my page by heat embossing 3 different size star stamps that I have from Art Impressions, I have had them for years, and really enjoy that sketchy look. I used an antique gold glitter embossing powder. I then did a wash with my Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pens, in these colors: primary yellow, new gamboge, orange, vermilion and cadmium red hue. I used a bit of paper towel to take some of the wet and stark colors off, and achieve that blended look from one color to another. The image is an altered photo I found on Google images, and printed out on presentation paper, then I cut her out, outlined in black poster paint- adhered down with gel medium, then when dry, I added the hazy shadow with charcoal pencil, Added the quote with poster paint marker and then sealed with a final layer of gel medium.

Week 12 - A Day in the Life
Can I hate this page any more than I already do? I am letting go- that is the nature of art journaling- sometimes you get good ones and sometimes you don't! I started out with a tissue paper collage background- it was bright and fun and cheerful- so I doodled a bit with a black pen, to give it another layer of interest. I didn't hate it at this point, but then I got the grand idea to add a bunch of paper flowers. I was kind of going with the Donna Downey inspiration Wednesday where she added flowers all over the background, and then painted over them, creating a very chunky "mess". Well, it worked for her, but no- not for me. I didn't want to paint over my fun bright background, but adding all those bright flowers on top, just makes it look a little crazy- psychedelic even, and that is not what I had in mind. I then just took some tags and adhered them between the smaller flowers, and wrote down some of the things I do during the day. 
Here is the page. I don't like it at all anymore, but I am leaving it alone, because it was an experience, and that is OK with me.
Thanks for coming along with me on my recap of March journal pages. I am giving myself a pat on the back for sticking with this so long already. I am 12 weeks into this project, and it is only the beginning of April! I feel I have gotten to a milestone, because I have done year long projects before, but only a once a month requirement, and as of this week, I will have done a typical whole year project already and we are just starting on the month of April. Yeah! Hope to see you back here next month with my April offerings.
I welcome comments and suggestions, so if you can think of any great ideas to do something with this week 12 page, I am open to ideas!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Journal 52 - February Wrap Up

Well, we are 8 plus weeks in and I am still going strong on my Journal 52 art journal project. One page a week is working great at this point- it is still winter, and boy a winter it has been here in the Mountains of Wyoming. We have had snow, snow and more SNOW, and several bouts of below zero F temps. I have not been overly ready for Spring til about this week, when I realized it is only 2 weeks til my birthday, and we still have well over a foot of snow on the ground- not just in spots, but EVERYWHERE. That is very uncommon for our area, but I am hoping with the amount of snow pack we have, that maybe our summer wild fire scares will be diminished greatly.
Well- onto the project, and my last 4 weeks of pages:
Week 5 Prompt : Abstract Art
I haven't worked much with abstract art, but I started the page with just some random line squiggles, then zentangled inside the sections of the random doodling. I then added some color with markers, then put down a floral stencil and covered it with black gesso. I used the gesso, because it gives great coverage, and I did not want anything but what was under the stencil to show. When I removed the stencil, you could almost make out the floral shape. I decided it was kind of one dimensional, so I added an outline with a white paint marker. It made it really busy, but gave it lots of motion. 

Week 6 : The Lost Art of Love Letters
I did not want to dig out all the little messages my sweetie has given me over the years, but still wanted to incorporate the fact that we are together 20 years and going strong. He asked me to marry him on Valentine's Day, so this prompt being the week of Valentine's, seemed very fitting. The photos were taken by my mom, in City Park in Cody, Wyoming where we still live. We have moved around a few times, but have come back to Cody. It is home, and where we want to stay. I look forward to the next 20 years with my sweetheart. 

Week 7 : When I Grow Up
I loved the way this page turned out. It was just a random stick of stuff on the paper. I started playing with the new washi tapes I picked up on sale, and then it just kind of evolved into hair, so I added the face shape, and the shirt, and then I thought she needed to have a face that looked as if she were pondering the question: "When I grow up, I want to be..." 
I took a class from Claudia Rossi, which really changed the way I do a face structure. It is so important to get those proportions right, and it is amazing how much better my faces are turning out. I will definitely be able to come into my own style with this newly gained knowledge. Best class I have taken to date! 
This page is mostly washi tape, a little acrylic paint and a few alphabet stickers. 

Week 8 : Found Poetry
This was so hard for me-- I stewed over it all week. I am not great with taking a page of text, and circling a few words in succession, and making it read anything understandable. It just isn't something I can do well, or at all for that matter. I envy those that can, because it really is cool when people do that. So I started flipping through junk magazines, for cool "key words" that caught my attention. The first awesome word I found was "cosmic". I knew I had to use it somehow, because it is such a great word, and to find that in a magazine snip-it is pretty rare. Then a few pages later I saw the word "attract", well, I had to use it too. So the phrase I came up with is: "Your Love sends me into a state of Cosmic attraction." Yeah, I don't know that it means anything, but it was funny, and fun all at the same time, so I made a galactic background using my Inktense pencils that my sweet hubby bought me for Valentine's Day, and then  after I activated them with water, and then let them dry completely, I covered them with a very watery layer of black gesso- it is hard to see in the photos, but you can see the different haze of color shine through the black. Then I sprayed the page with some ink sprays, in both metallic shades and just white and black. That gave it the forward and backward layers of "stars" shining in the night sky. When that was all dry, I then used a wet paint brush and tapped on it with some white paint to make splatters- these are the closest stars you see. I then put the photo of my husband down, and then used water soluble oil pastels to smudge a halo effect around all the words and the photo. I feel like there is still an element missing, but I can't put my finger on it yet, so i am going to leave this page as it is for now, and move forward- I may come back to it at a later date. 

Well I am rambling quite a bit tonight, but there are my 4 pages for the weeks of February. Yay, I have completed two full months of the project, and I even remembered to share them with you here on my blog! Great big high five! Toodles :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hot Glue Stencils- A How-to Tutorial

I was quite fascinated by the videos and posts I have seen lately on homemade Hot Glue Stencils, and after doing a little research have discovered the original idea was from Traci Bautista, and she has a walk through on her blog, if you want to check it out, just click on her name. :)
So, I shared my discovery with my sister and art friend, Beckie and she asked if I would try out the technique and write up a little tutorial on how I was able to make this technique work.
Well, it was a piece of cake!!! I really thought there would be a pretty big margin of error, and I would likely fall into that error section, but NOPE! Even I was able to do this and make it work. :)
Below is the YouTube video I created on how to make the actual stencils, and then below that I will post the pictures and info on how I used the stencils, in a couple of ways.
Ok- and here is how I used my homemade Hot Glue Stencils:

First I put some newsprint down on my table, and then put two 8 1/2 X 11 inch pieces of white cardstock on top of the newsprint, and then arranged my stencils.
Then I gathered a few spray inks- the brand I have are Color Mists by, I have had these for several years- I mean like at least 6 years, and they are still good, and have only had a minor clog, that took very little to fix. I have been quite happy with them. :)
Then I sprayed the paper with the stencils sitting on top, I wanted to use several colors, so just as a helpful hint - If you don't want brown or muddy colors, use colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, and not opposite on the color wheel - So on one side I used, green, blue and purple, and the other side I used yellow and bright pink, as seen below.
After I sprayed the ink, I removed the stencils and dropped the stencils up-side-down onto another sheet of newsprint to allow the excess spray ink to drip off.
While I waited to let my sprays dry, I cleaned up the stencils with a baby wipe:
Next, I wanted to add some more texture and layers, so I dug out some acrylic paint- I have many brands and kinds, it doesn't matter if it is fancy paint, or cheap paint- anything will work.
When you apply paint, you want to put it on the bottom part of the stencil. The FLAT side. Especially when using letter or word stencils, because if you don't the image will not transfer well, or your letters will be backwards. 
When you have the paint on the stencil, then press it to the paper, and make sure you get the stencil to make full contact with your paper. You may want to use a rubber brayer or a cover sheet to press down on the stencil.
Then carefully peel the stencil off your paper to reveal the painty texture.
Take your stencils to the sink, and wash them with mild soap and water to remove the paint from your stencil..
Here is a close-up of how the paper looks:

Thanks for taking the time to watch my video and read my tutorial, and give it a try for yourself! It is super easy, and the patterns are endless, just use your imagination!!! :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Journal 52 (January in the bag)

I started this art journal "class" at the start of the new year. I am not sure it is a real class, as I am not really "learning" much, but more of something to look forward to accomplishing each week. It is basically a group of individuals who come together to bounce off one another, and we are able to then share our pages by posting a photo on the Facebook group page. The gal in charge posts a "prompt" at the beginning of the week, and then we can use that as a jumping off point, to creating our journal page. We will have one page for each week of the year, so if I am able to follow through for the whole year, I will have a very full art journal.  I have done year long projects before, but they usually consisted of one page a month, and then I pass the book on to the next person, and so forth, or one page a day in my art journal for a period of 30 days. I have not been "committed" weekly for a whole year before, so we will see how this goes- I am doing this along side my college daughter, so maybe she will keep me on top of it.
I started by folding watercolor paper and making signatures, and sewing them together with the Coptic stitch. Then I dug out my real leather pieces, and cut a cover for my stitched signatures. I glued the chipboard "covers" to the leather, and then wrapped it around and made a flap for the front. I used an elastic headband for a stretchy closure- I set a grommet in the leather, and then stuck the headband through the hole, and tied a tight knot in the head band, so it wouldn't pull through the hole in the grommet. Then I just stretch the loop around the journal, and it holds the flap shut. I made the flap rather big, because as I work in the book, it is going to get quite fat, and I still want the flap to overlap the front cover some.

As part of the prepping of the book, most people decorated their front covers, but because I chose to use real leather, I did not want to alter it in any way, so I did a title page instead, which worked out great, because I had figured it out to have enough double page spreads for each week in the book, so I didn't want to have just a blank first page.

Week one prompt: Up Up and Away
There were so many different takes on this prompt, and seeing them all pop up on the Facebook page was really cool. Mine turned out a little subtle, but I wanted to draw a full body figure, which I have never done before, and to make it look like she had movement was really hard. I suppose the more I draw the better I will get, but for now this is where I am at. 
She was done with only colored pencil.

Week 2 prompt: Somewhere, Some Place Simple
I was so impressed with all the fun places people used as their place to feel inspired. The first thing that came to my mind when I read the prompt was my bed. I know that sounds silly, but I am a severe insomniac, and I usually just lay in my bed while my mind races until I finally get to sleep. Those hours of trying to wind down, usually bring lots of creative ideas. This looks nothing like my actual bed, but oh, well. :)

Week 3 prompt: What Makes Me Smile
This prompt was really very self explanatory- Journal the thing that make you happy or smile. My original idea for this page never materialized- I tried 4 or 5 times to make it work, and it was really a flop... I ended up Gesso-ing over it all and starting from scratch with a totally different idea. It is not what I envisioned, but it is on paper, and I am OK with just letting go of this one.

Week 4 prompt: Building Character
This was fun- self portraits! OK- Not even close to a self portrait, but I am free to journal how ever I want. I was really trying to work with watercolors for this face, but I learned that it is nearly impossible to "build" on watercolors- I am not sure how to shade a face without building colors on top of each other. I would get a good base, let it dry, and then go to add more layers, and when I would try to blend, it would just release the color underneath-- so frustrating. So, I tried mixing with Gesso, to give it more of an opaque nature, but when I would add the wet medium on top, it would reactivate the watercolor below, and I would have a mess again. I set it aside for a day or so, thinking a solution would come to me, but the only solution I could come up with was to Gesso the face again, and start with another medium. When I added the Gesso, it made for a really muddy mess, but I just went with it.  I then used lots of layers of colored pencil, and blender pencils, to achieve some kind of shadowing. It is not the best, but I think I am going to have to walk away from this one too. I am trying to remember that this art journal is for trying new things, for practice- not for masterpieces, but for lots of creative play and lots of failures.

I will try to post monthly with the pages I have done for the previous month- we will see how that all pans out in time. 

Derwent Art Academy

Well, I am back posting on my blog, and it hasn't been 6 months yet- LOL!
I am just checking in to document the last two classes of my online art/drawing course.
This is my submission for the fifth class which was watercolors. I have dabbled in a lot of different mediums, but watercolor always stumps me- many people comment that it is so easy, but I find that I rework it too much- it is kind of one of those that you have to just put it down on paper, and then walk away from it. 

The sixth class was oil pastels- I have used these even less than watercolors! It was fun, to have an assignment, that forced me to work with these mediums, and not be scared of them- I think that has been the biggest thing I have learned from these courses.
I could have done this in the reverse, where I scratched the black off of the negative space, but I thought I would give this look a go to start- I think it is pretty cool looking.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back at it again

I think I took a bit of hiatus from art over the holidays, but really I didn't- I just didn't produce anything spectacular. I made some paper ornaments, and did some sketching, I made a few handmade journals, and started on a new art Journal for the 2014 year, which I started working in a few weeks ago. I seem to find it easier to post to Facebook than I do here on my blog, so if you want to check out what I am up to on a regular basis, that would be the place to visit me.
So what has happened since my last post here on the blog?

In September, my washing machine blew a gasket- well, not really a gasket, but the pump sprung a leak, and I am WAY too cheap to pay a repairman $75 an hour, so I got on the internet, and learned how to fix it myself. Ordered the part, and $28 and a few hours later- it wouldn't have taken most people that long, but whatever- I got it fixed, and we were back in service. Well, for a few days, then we discovered that we had a major backup in our waste water pipes, and that the City's main drain had a major blockage from roots at the joint to the main drain where our waste water is supposed to exit our pipes.  It took the repair man 2 full days to grind through the build-up of roots, but then he was able to get us back in service. Luckily, he was good and cleaned up after himself, and we didn't have any damage from the back-up. Just a puddle of water on the bathroom and laundry room floors, but they have linoleum, so so worries- easily cleaned. :)

We actually had a quite rainy fall, which is a nice change from our usual desert in the mountains. We even were graced with some beautiful lightening storms, and our grass was greener than it has been in all the years we have lived in this house! (4+) My flowers even bloomed later than usual, which is awesome!

At the end of September, my mom, daughter Quincy, friend Amanda and I all went for a girls' day, and had pedicures! It is the first professional pedicure I have had. I was practiced on a few times in Beauty school, but that doesn't count- it was also Quincy's first, and my mom's first pedicure- can you believe my mom had never had a professional pedicure in all her years? She loved it, and it was so fun to see her enjoy having someone take care of her for a change. She is always making sure everyone else is taken care of, and this time it was her turn, I hope she will be able to take that time for herself more often.

In October we got our first big storm of the season- I had to go over to Powell to take Quincy the car so she could get to and from her CNA Clinicals, and on the way home, it was a major blizzard. We took it slow, and braved it, but it was a long trip home at the speed we were going. I noticed that we were the lead car too, and wondered if we might get passed because we were going so slow, but I think the drivers behind me were just grateful to not be the one trying to make a path for everyone else. I am grateful that the Highway crews put those cuts in the road on the right side, so if you "fall asleep at the wheel" it will wake you up. It made it quite easy to know right where I was on the road, when I couldn't see a car length in front of me.
I also did quite a bit of baking- not a big variety, but several loaves of both banana bread and zucchini bread. We filled the freezer, and have had homemade treats all winter.  :)

November brought some challenges for our family. Quincy seemed to have some trouble emotionally, and so I spent almost the whole month driving back and forth from Powell to get her to and from her classes. She just needed that break from the "real world" and have her family wrap their arms around her and know that she can always count on us to help when things get hard. She is doing great now- she did awesome in her classes first semester at college, and is very excited to get going in her new classes this semester. She loves college, and I know she will continue to succeed.

The end of November and all of December has brought us lots of snow- I love to see it fall, but really don't enjoy driving in it. We have had several big snows, where we normally get little snows. I am hoping we will not have a dry summer next year, as I just don't like worrying about wild fires. It looks to me like the mountains have quite a bit of snow pack, so maybe we will be in good shape for the summer months. We had a big stretch of frigid temps. Several days in a row of way below zero. We are not used to getting -14 degrees F for days on end. (When we lived in Glasgow, Montana, it was the norm, but not here)
We survived it, and are no worse for the wear. We just stay in and bundle up :)

So onto the new year--- January has been good so far... I am back into the swing of getting artsy more often, which is so good for my psyche. I really usually get extreme holiday blues, and have trouble getting out of the funk, but I feel refreshed this year, and have actually spent the last 2 weeks organizing- DEEP ORGANIZING, all, I mean ALL of my scrapbooking/art/craft supplies, and purging the things I know I will never use, and finding a proper place for the things I want to keep and use. It is a slow process. I have spent the last more than 20 years making a huge unorganized mess, it is not going to get fixed over night, but I am diligently working on it, and am actually starting to get past the point where is gets way worse before you start to see progress, so there is hope!  You can already start to see the progress :) YEAH!!!

I am still trying to have a good balance, several good strong hours of work, then a reward of me time for art. I am attempting to do the Journal 52 art journal prompts and also taking a Derwent Art Academy class... I thought it would be pretty quick, but there is more to learn than I had initially thought, so I am enjoying the slower pace, and am really trying to learn something from the course. Here are the sketches so far:
Class 1: 3D objects
Sorry the picture is so grainy and dark- it was taken at night with my webcam- not ideal for picking up the details of artwork.

Class 2: Perspective
I had a little trouble thinking ahead with where the perspective was going to land, and ended up squeezing it in at the top, but at least I understood the instructions. Perspective is not my strong spot.

Class 3: Basic Sketching
This sketch was supposed to be done using only dots. That is so not easy- I found myself trying to make little lines, but I think I understand the point, in that the closer together they are the darker the area, the farther apart, the lighter the area.

Class 4: Color and Tone
I started with the rooster sketch, and it turned out nothing like the instructors example, but then she said we could try the bluebird, and that was much more successful.

So now I wait for the instructor to evaluate my drawing before I get access to class 5. Hopefully I will remember to post here on the blog before July! LOL
Whew- got through that update of my life... see you soon, hopefully :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Work in Progress

I have been spending the last few weeks on a canvas for a special someone, I hope it turns out as I plan, because if it doesn't- I won't be giving it to her. I know- I shouldn't be so critical of my art, but I am, and that is just part of the perfectionist in me. Not that my art is perfect, by any means, but if I can't find peace with a piece of my art, then I don't feel it is finished.
Anywho- enough rambling- I will post some photos, and would love to have a little feedback on where to take this next. My ideas may not be materializing as I hoped, so could use some honest critique, on what is pleasing and what might look out of place. I "tampered" with the face some, and have come to a "happy place" with it, no- it is not intended to look like a real person, it is a character painting of an angel, so yes, it does take on some whimsical features. I tried to make her look like a more mature being, instead of a younger girl, which is where most of my girl faces end up, which was rather challenging to me, but I hope I have achieved that more mature look with her. Your thoughts?

These are the first two photos I took of her. Her chin/cheeks were a bit lopsided, so I rounded that out, her hair was a bit flat, so I added some shadowing for dimension. Her eyes were way too dark- so I lightened them up a bit, her nose- well, it looks like it was broken at some point- I think I have that fixed. LOL 
Here are the new photos:

Full view of the canvas, I think I fixed all the wonky features, and her orange neck- LOL 
Close-up of the face and neck- I know her neck looks long and lanky, but I kind of like that look.
Just a necklace? I will pierce the canvas, and run the chain in to the back, and secure it there. Just not sure if it is too much, or not?
Just earrings? Not sure if they look right or not. I don't want them to look like two pearls just stuck to the side of her head. 
Extreme closeup of the dimension of the earrings. This is where I worry they may be too much, but I do love texture, so maybe they are ok?
Necklace and earrings? Overkill, or OK? Again, I love the added texture to go with the texture of the wings, but I don't want to over do it. Would love to hear your thought! 
Thanks for checking out my blog :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Bit of Art (being swapped)

I have been dabbling in a bit of art lately, and just finished a project for a swap I am participating in for the group Paper Traders that I am a member of.
It was a one for one swap, and we were to contact our partner and get a general idea of style/type of the kind of journal they would like to receive. My partner is Shelly, and she was drawn to the Nick Bantock style. I have not ever made anything with his art as inspiration, but did a little research, and found most of his art is rather quirky, with few specific topic based projects, and found many of the elements he uses in his art are vintage travel elements, so I ran with that as I created this journal for Shelly.
I actually tried doing a process video for my YouTube channel, but it was not meant to be, as I started the video, my memory was full, so I stopped and tried adding another memory card, but discovered it was not compatible with my video cam, so brought out the other one, and got another 1/2 hour in, and the battery died- tried recording while charging, and that was not going to work. It had to charge by itself, so thought I would just switch to taking still shots as I went along, but learned as I was finishing up on the project, that I forgot to stop in between stages to snap photos, so it was a dismal failure.
The journal was to be made using a manilla envelope for the covers- folded in half, and using the closure flap as a front cover flap to close the journal with. I did play with the technique a bit before hand, so that I could be comfortable with sending out a quality product to my recipient, but wanted to add my own design to it a bit, so i made an inside pocket for both the covers.
I had used white envelopes for my trial journals, and so when I went to use the manilla colored one, I coated it with Gesso. It was not the look I was going for, so was kind of a waist of time, and ended up covering almost all of it with decorative papers, which made the covers way more sturdy anyway. I trimmed a 1/16 of an inch off the bottom of the envelope, and then lined the envelope with some scrapbook cardstock in a vintage map pattern, and then adhered it to the inside of the envelope to sturdy it up a bit. then folded in half, and added paper to both sides of the closure flap, and then cut two pieces of card to insert into the front and back covers once the journal was completely decorated.  Here are a few photos of how it turned out.
This is a photo showing the inside covers, you can see here on the right side, one of the pockets I created.

Here is a photo after the book was completed showing both the front cover pocket and the back cover pocket, where I made a 1/2 circle opening so that the card insert would be easily pulled out or put back in.
This is a photo of the finished journal all tied up and ready to go, I attached several glass beads to the binding to spice things up a bit.

This is the finished journal flattened out, so the back cover is on the left and the front cover on the right, with the beads hanging on the binding. I used Gafer tape, to reinforce the folded edges, so the binding wouldn't tear out, or so the front flat would not tear off with use. I am thinking it is pretty strong and secure. :)
I hope Shelly likes it!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

OH BOY! Blogging without obligation

Well, I guess I will play the "blogging without obligation" card, LOL I have not blogged for almost 8 full months. That is awful. Not that I feel I owe anyone an explanation, but I have been so busy since the first of the year, I have neglected to update on my blog here, but have been keeping up to date on Facebook, so feel free to check that out, there is a link on the left sidebar. So here is a long wrap-up on what has been going on since January when I posted last.
In January, I had a health set-back, and really didn't know what was going on, but I had this extreme pain in my right foot. It started on the top of my foot, and then moved into my right ankle, and it got so bad that I was not even able to put weight on it. I babied it for a week or so, and it went away. Then, in March it came back with a vengeance. This time it was so bad that I couldn't even get from my bed to the bathroom without help. I was in excruciating pain, and my foot swelled so badly that I couldn't even bend my ankle. My foot was so swollen, that it looked like a big puffy balloon, and it took almost 2 1/2 weeks before I could get out of the house to get to the clinic and even then, I had to use a walker, and still need assistance walking. When I went to the clinic the Dr. told me I had Gout. I was shocked, because I had only heard of elderly people getting gout, and thought it was a circulation issue from age. WRONG! Gout is actually a form of arthritis, and is from an increase of Uric Acid in your blood, and most people who develop gout actually have it when they are younger, but many don't get symptoms, til they are older because it takes awhile for the uric acid crystals to build up in the blood and joints. Most people complain of pain and other symptoms in their big toe, but for those of us who have old injuries, can find that the crystals form there. I had an ankle reconstruction when I was younger, and so the Dr. feels that was the reason it was showing in my ankle, and not my big toe, and again, it is a form of arthritis, which usually is present in old injuries. So I have been medicated for Gout now for the past several months, but am still having symptoms pretty regularly, but they are not near as severe as it was back in the Spring, so we may be on the right track with the medication, but just not the right one, or the right dose- I will have that discussion with the Dr. next month when I go back in for a review.
As for other things that have been occurring in our family. Many of you know that my oldest daughter was a Senior in High School this past year, and if you have ever had a High School graduate, you will know that the amount of "things" that pop up and get put into your daily routine, is ridiculous. I don't remember being this chaotic when I was graduating, but maybe my mom would feel differently, as she was probably just as stressed out as I am now. Except for I was her fourth and last child to go through it, and Quincy is my first.
Also, Quincy has been suffering some very bizarre symptoms in the past year that didn't seem to be related in anyway, so we have been to and from the Dr. office for her so often, that I think she was getting sick and tired of being poked and prodded. In March, the Dr. sent her for an MRI, as a precaution and to rule out any possibility that she could have a Pituitary Adenoma. (Brain Tumor in the central part of her brain)
Come to find out, shock of all shocks, that she did in fact have a Brain Tumor, which was causing all the havoc we were trying to get an explanation for. So we were very scared, and totally unsure of what was going on, what was going to be for the future, and how this would be treated- would it be cancer? would she need brain surgery? would she still be able to graduate from High School? would she still be able to plan for College?
With a few more Dr. appointments, we were told, not to change any plans, and not to change any medications, food choices, no environment changes, and to try to keep her stress down. Really? How on Earth are you supposed to keep a 17 year old Senior in High School in all Honors and AP classes from stress, as she is 2 1/2 months from Graduation? We had to wait to see the specialist (Endocrinologist) til the end of June. That is a long time to wait when you have ZERO info and your mind is racing and you worry constantly about what is to come. Although, it was plenty of time for me to do a lot of research on the subject. The internet is an amazing thing, I tell ya! Come to find out there is only a 5% chance of it being cancerous, most of these types of tumors are treated with medication, and only 10% need to have surgery to remove the tumor, it shouldn't affect her knowledge capacity, except for symptoms, like migraines, fatigue, and distraction, and if she is not part of the 10% that needs surgery, unless it is Cushings Disease, she will still be able to attend college. So we just continued on as if nothing would be different.
At the End of May she graduated with HONORS and  we are so proud of her! It was a really long ceremony, and my back was screaming by the end of it, but we made it through. My sister, Beckie was even able to schedule her vacation during that week, so she was able to make it to see Q graduate. :)
When we went to the Dr. In June, we of course had a million test run, and many blood tests repeated to see where things had gone from when we had them done in March. Unfortunately, the test results were not positive. So, medications were adjusted, and more tests run, and, and, and....
When we returned to the Endocrinologist at the beginning of August, the test results showed her levels were all in the NORMAL range! We were so excited, and relieved, and ecstatic, and overwhelmed with positive feelings. We figured it would take many months to years for her to see some progress, but we noticed these changes so quickly, and believe it was God's blessing to her that she will be able to carry on as normal. Now, it doesn't mean the tumor is gone, but it means that with the proper medications, it will not be causing her adverse symptoms, and she should be able to still have children someday when she is older.
We just have to keep an eye on it, and she needs to have regular check-ups and possibly an MRI every year or so to make sure it is still in a manageable state. WHEW!!!
As for this past week or so, Quincy has been getting ready to leave for College- she will be moving into the dorm on Thursday the 22nd! We are down to less than a week. Our house is full of boxes and bins and things for her to take with her. She is anxious and excited. We are anxious and excited too, but mostly for her. She doesn't know if she will have a roommate or not. She applied for a single room, but when they sent her housing paperwork, she had a To Be Announced as her roommate, so she may, or may not have one, we will see on Thursday.
So- I will try to be more vigilant in posting on my blog here, but who knows- we will just have to see what life brings me in the future. I will try to post some pictures of Q, on her first day at the College, and hopefully she will keep posting on her blog as she has time when she is there, and you can follow her on her blog- link in the right sidebar.
Off for now, and hoping you all have a lovely day, and that your lives are full of blessings and priceless memories, I know I am truly blessed, and I love my family more than life itself!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A little wrap up of the goings on

Well can you believe I haven' t posted on my blog in 7 months!  That has to be an all time record for me. If you have been visiting and looking for new content, I apologize.  This past year was wrought with struggles for me personally, and obviously I didn't make the time to update my blog. As you can tell, I have been doing some digital scrapbooking in the last few years, and have not been concentrating on my art journaling. Not to say that I won't be sharing my journals with you again in the future, but for now I am concentrating on my health. One year ago this month, (January 2012) I was diagnosed with type2 diabetes. This was a big shock for me, I am not sure why I was so surprised, because I have been overweight my entire life, and have not been eating healthy or taking care of myself. I guess I figured because my cholesterol and blood pressure have never been in a watchful range that I had nothing to worry about. WRONG! I am lucky that it was caught fairly early and that there was a great chance that I could get it under control quite quickly if I worked really hard doing so.  I guess that is all the motivation I needed, because I immediately changed my diet and started taking better care of myself. The nurse that was helping me with education and support said to take it slow and just change a few things at a time, so not to totally fail, when I would have a setback. Well for me it was all or nothing, so I went great guns, and though my progress seems slow, I have managed to lose 42 pounds and have lowered my A1C from 7.9 down to 6.4. Which is in the acceptable range. I am by no means finished with my journey, but feel that I have made great progress, and have given myself that boost I needed to keep going.  2013 Is going to be an even better year, with more progress. I hope that I can continue to keep things in control as well as continue to lose all these extra pounds that I don't need to be carrying around, as well as hopefully finding a way to strengthen my back and improve my physical fitness. Hopefully I will be better about posting on my blog. I am not sure if it will be art related, health related, or posts about my kids, especially because Quincy is a senior this year and graduates in May, and then goes off to college this fall, but hopefully I will remember to post something :)  I might even post some photos of me. No promises, since I dispize photos of myself, but maybe some before, and during progress pictures? Definitely some pictures of my awesome family, and maybe some art if I feel like it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A few pages to share

Just a quick post to show some of the pages I have been working on.
 Page done of this Valentine's Day.
 Page of Quincy and her friends at sledding for friends birthday.
 Valentine's Day 1998- catching up on some old photos.
May 1997- some more old photos of my girls.