Saturday, January 31, 2009

Visual Journalism

Here is one of my pages from my Visual Journalism 101 class with Pam Carriker. This is after 3 lessons - background, collage, and doodling. We've still got 2 more lessons to go, so this page will change some more, but it's a lot of fun.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Diamond Jubilee

I've been intending to play along with the GPP Street Team's Challenges for quite some time now, but this is the first time I've actually done it. GPP stands for Green Pepper Press, and the challenges are "monthly creativity crusades hosted by Michelle Ward." Now, I'll admit to being just a bit put off by the term crusade, but I know that that is a personal thing, so I'm trying to get over it. It certainly isn't the reason I haven't gotten the challenges done before now. This month's challenge (Crusade No. 27) is called Shape Up, but it isn't about getting in better physical shape; it's about choosing a shape and studying it in your journal.

I chose the diamond, which is one of my favorite shapes. I have a diamond punch, so I punched some diamonds out of decorative scrapbook papers and glued them to the right page. I also used the punch to make both a stencil and a mask. I used the stencil with white paint on the left page. I used the mask with black ink on the left page as well (that one doesn't show up very well, since the background is so dark, but I doodled dots inside the diamond). I took some fun foam and cut a diamond out of it. (I know, it looks just like the punches, but I didn't punch it. The foam was too thick to fit in my punch. I used my mask to draw on the foam and then cut it with an exacto knife.) I stamped my new stamp on the right page. I glued harlequin scrapbook papers to each page. I used a commercial harlequin stamp when I created the background. I doodled some diamond shapes on both pages, and I doodled around the other shapes. I found a quilt pattern that uses diamonds and glued that to the left page. This was an interesting exercise, and I think I'll probably play around with other shapes in the future.

Below is a scan of the fancy tools I made. On the left is the stencil. I took a piece of a magazine page and punched the diamond in it. The white you see around the diamond is the paint. In the middle is the mask, also using a magazine page (it's very thin, which is good for both stencils and masks). I used repositionable glue on the backs of both the stencil and the mask so that they would stay in place while using them. On the right is the hand carved stamp. I took a piece of a transparency and laminated it to make it stiff then taped the stamp (fun foam) to it with permanent tape. This could then be mounted to an acrylic block with repositionable tape if desired; I just used it as is.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inspiration Journal

The idea behind this class is to create what Paulette Insall calls an inspiration journal. This is basically a journal with pictures of the things that inspire us. Then if we're feeling uninspired, we can just look through our journal to get inspiration.

I have 4 backgrounds painted (earlier posts), and now I've added some pictures (lesson 2) and journaling (lesson 3) about a few of the things that inspire me - flowers, tropical fish, butterflies, trees, and colored pencils. I think that many of my pages will have quilts and/or fabrics on them, but not this page. I'll be adding some more embellishing to this page for lesson 4.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

This book follows a young Bengali (Indian) couple who come to the United States right after they marry. When their son is born, the letter from Ashima's grandmother naming him is lost in the mail and never arrives. They end up naming him Gogol, after the Russian writer. We see the effect that this unusual name has on Gogol as he grows up. The writing style was a bit distant at times, but it was well written. I had read the book a few years ago, but since my book club was discussing it in January, I reread it. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Visual Journaling

I'm taking a couple of online journaling classes right now. I mentioned the one I'm taking from Paulette Insall a couple of posts down. I signed up for another one taught by Pam Carriker at Creative Workshops - this one is called Visual Journalism 101. I made another journal for that class. Here is the front cover:

And inside the cover (I painted one sheet, cut it in half, and glued it to both sides of chipboard for the covers):

And here is the first page spread inside:

I'll be adding more to the pages over the next few weeks, but this is a good start. I actually used baby wipes to apply some of the paint - pretty cool technique.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blog Awards and Some Thoughts

Elizabeth of The Last Door . . . Down the Hall was kind enough to award me this Kreativ Blogger award a few days ago. I am supposed to list 7 things I love:

1. My family - husband, son, and daughter-in-law.
2. My friends.
3. My cat.
4. My home.
5. Creating (sewing, art, etc.).
6. Reading.
7. Learning.

And then Fannie of Imagine, Create, Inspire passed these two awards on to me.

I'm supposed to pass these awards on to others. I love the blogs I read, or I wouldn't read them. But I don't read a lot of blogs anymore - I have tried to reduce the amount of time I spend on the computer (not very successfully, I might add). So two of my favorite blogs are Elizabeth's and Fannie's, and several of my other favorite blogs I've sent awards to recently. It's not that I don't appreciate these awards - but after awhile it begins to feel like the same people send awards to the same blogs. I really hope that doesn't sound ungrateful. So I will just say thank you very much to Elizabeth and Fannie, add that any and all of the blogs I read deserve these awards as much or more than I do, and hope no one gets mad at me. (If you want to see what blogs I read, you can see a list of them in the right hand column - under the heading Blogs in my Reader.)

Inspiration Journal - two more pages

I finished 2 more backgrounds in my inspiration journal yesterday - I'm really happy with the red one. The green one is ok too, but my favorite so far is the first one I did in blues and teal. I really need to start looking for images to glue onto these pages now - but it's so much fun doing the backgrounds!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Inspiration Journal, page 2

I finished another page spread today for my inspiration journal. I say finished, but actually I mean step 1 is finished. I'm going to be adding to it with collage and embellishing, but I'm through with the background painting. It's a lot of fun, because if you don't like the way it looks, you just keep adding to it until you do.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Inspiration Journal

I'm taking another online class - this one is from Paulette Insall, and it's called Enjoy the Journey. It's about creating a mixed media inspiration journal. You can read about it here. It's a different type of journal than I'm used to, but I'm having fun with it so far. This is the start of my first page spread - I'll be adding to it over the next few weeks, but I like how it looks so far.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Paper Collaboration

I just read about a fun paper collaboration on Marci Glenn's blog, Simply Artistic Pleasures. People send 50 - 70 papers to Sweet Jessie, she binds them into journals, and sends them back to you, all for $8.00. Sounds like a fun way to get a new journal full of interesting papers.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Dewey - The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

Dewey was stuffed into the book return slot of the Spencer, Iowa, library on the coldest night of the year and found the next morning (Jan. 18, 1988) by the library director. It was love at first sight for both. Dewey spent the next 19 years charming the people of Spencer. It's a heartwarming story of a special cat. I read it for the January selection of Bookworms Reading Group. I'm not sure that there will be all that much to discuss. I rated it 3 out of 5.