NaNoJouMo – Week 3

Weeks 2 and 3 were challenging on a number of levels, but mostly because I didn’t have as much child care as I normally do in a week. It was difficult to get things completed and I got behind on bills and groceries and all of the house management stuff, not to mention work, but I snuck in little bits of work on this here and there throughout that time. I’m pleased with what I did in the time I had.

NaNoJouMo - Week3
NaNoJouMo – Week3

15 – Disney quote
16 – When in Rome
17 – Things to climb
18 – The city
19 – “simple as this”
20 – trees
21 – lady liberty (musings underneath the flap)


NaNoJouMo – week 2


I approached week 2 in dribs and drabs and completely out of “order,” but I love how this page spread ended up. The prompts are below the image and I thought it would be fun to tag the photo so you can see where I applied the prompts to the page. Click on the image to see more detail.

NaNoJouMo Week 2

Day 8: 5 hot things (I made a list around the edge of the page)
Day 9: start a bucket list (I’ve never been big on bucket lists, but I put down a few things that weigh on me as I approach birthday #49)
Day 10: little houses (I applied the color scheme from the prompt to my background, tied in with the prompt from day 12)
Day 11: just doodle (there is doodling underneath the flaps on the right, you just can’t see it!)
Day 12: spread paint and find an image (that sticker from Rubbermoon just happened to be in the right spot to sketch in a long, tall body wearing a dark dress)
Day 13: dreams (Saturday, I thought a lot about the attacks in Paris (and around the world, and I wrote down my biggest wish for humankind)
Day 14: I am (lyrics from an old R.E.M. song)


NaNoJouMo – week 1

Artist and author Dawn Devries Sokol is running a daily journaling prompt project this month and she called it NaNoJouMo (National Nonstop Journaling Month), in a takeoff on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Every day on her blog, Dawn gives followers a prompt and we are to take whatever we want from that prompt and use it to jumpstart our journaling for the day. Folks are encouraged to take what they want and leave what they want, to journal for 5 minutes, or 5 hours or anything in between, as long as we’re getting something down in our journals daily.

I love this project. I used to journal daily, first throughout the day, then every evening on the living room sofa, and now I find that most of my journaling is hit or miss, with no set times, but I try very hard to fill in the details of each day, even if I’m catching up a week’s worth of days. So what I decided to do this month is, since I work weekly in my journal, to take what speaks to me from each prompt and incorporate it into the page spread for the week. Here’s week 1 (I put the thought bubble over some sensitive writing for privacy):


Day 1: The “Hello my name is” sticker
Day 2: I pulled a similar orange-y color from Dawn’s prompt image and painted it around these two little weird guys.
Day 3: I added a tag to the page and wrote a little on it about “I’m not really…”
Day 4: Added stars and scribbles using a scarlet watercolor crayon and then mushed the color around a tiny bit.
Day 5: Added the little house shape, torn out of a book page.
Day 6: I scribbled around the edges of the little guys’ clothes.
Day 7: I may have forgotten to do the “the way to…” prompt. HAHA!

So, I started this week’s spread last night and I’m super excited about what is starting to happen there. But you’ll have to wait till next week to see it! 🙂

WIP: Journal page 7/25/15

I think I started this in the wee hours of 7/25 in one of the journals I made in last weekend’s Kelly Kilmer workshops. This book is huge, with the pages measuring about 9.5″x13.5″. We worked with large images in our collage exercise in class, but I felt like painting the other night and grabbed this book. I was having fun twisting the delicate papers to enhance what I painted. I think this spread is awaiting a special focal image still.

(acrylic paint, oil pastels, watercolor crayon, pen, marker and collage)


what is visual journaling?

Last week, I led a 90-minute session at the Colorado State Foster Parent Association’s education conference to introduce foster parents to visual journaling. It was a success, I’m happy to say, and when I mentioned this on Facebook, I had a number of my friends, some of whom have known me for years, ask what that is.

I guess I’m doing a bad job of letting people know what I’m up and marketing my own art!

One of my favorite page spreads in my 2014 journal.
One of my favorite page spreads in my 2014 journal.

Visual journaling, also known as art journaling, is a way to keep a diary of sorts, using both words and images to express your thoughts. Visual journals can be used for a variety of reasons, by a variety of people. There is no wrong or right way to do it. My hope is to bring visual journaling to foster parents as a new-to-them tool for processing events and feelings as they help their kids through their time in care.

my shelf of finished for each year
my shelf of finished journals…one for each year

I’ve been journaling for years, beginning back in high school, when I’d carry an extra composition book around and used it to doodle and think when I was bored or needed to comfort myself (it was a rough time as my parents were divorcing and things were pretty bad at home). I still carry my journal around in my purse and work in it whenever I get the chance. These days I enjoy taking workshops to learn new techniques and practice new ideas. For the past 12 years or so, I’ve successfully kept one journal per year, usually a composition book, documenting my life, my thoughts, my happenings.

A page spread in my journal from February. This one is heavy on collecting memories of an event (a trip to Vegas).
A page spread that's more heavy on writing and doodling.
A page spread that’s more heavy on writing and doodling.

So there you have it! Watch this blog for more info over time.

what if she kept a journal?

Today my father-in-law brought to my attention that the oldest person in the United States died yesterday. Gertrude Weaver was 116 years old. I loved this part of an obituary I read:

When you asked for advice on how to live a long life she would say, ‘Use a lot of skin moisturizer, treat everyone nice, love your neighbor and eat your own cooking. Don’t eat at fast food places.”

It made me think about banning fast food from my life, of course, but it really made me think about how extraordinary Gertrude’s life must have been and how much I’d love to look at her journals. What if she had kept a journal? What would it look like? I can’t even imagine. I wonder a lot about my own grandparents and what I would give to have even a year’s worth of their thoughts, dreams, musings. It’s just another reason for me to renew my commitment to recording my own life and encouraging others to do the same.



Journal Pages: Alien, This is Playtime

The night before last, my pal Andie and I spent over four hours in my studio, drinking wine, trying out myriad art supplies, and generally having a good time. We had no plans, we just mucked about. I pulled out some random stamps, stencil-type things, chalk inks, Caran D’Ache crayons, glitter pens, gel watercolor crayons, sharpie poster paint pens, a couple of paper punches, a glue pen and foil. I had started the alien figure last week and have been randomly adding to it/her/him and decided that the pages around it/her/him needed some action. Here’s the result:


Journals, old and new

One of my New Year’s Eve traditions (besides drinking Asti Spumanti without apology) is to wrap up the current year’s daily journal and to pick out a new composition book for the upcoming year. On the left is my 2012 journal, all fat and full of memories and secrets and paint and glue. On the right, the book for 2013, full of promise and mystery.

No resolutions yet, no pretenses that there even will be. Just looking forward to another fresh start. Happy New Year, dear readers!

Journals: 2012 into 2013

pure tape-y genius from 3M

I’m back from Art Unraveled and have lots of cool artwork to share, but that has to wait because I found the coolest product  EVER. 3M makes these enclosed tape dispensers that look like donuts (which doesn’t lessen the appeal, in my mind) and come in fun, candy-like colors. They are filled with Scotch Magic Tape, but I took mine out and put in a roll of double stick tape.

This dispenser is perfect for your on-the-go journaling bag. I use glue stick a lot, but the tape comes in handy for quick add-ins and things that might be slightly heavier than the glue stick can handle. There’s a coupon that you can download and print, too. I bought the green one yesterday to try out, but I’m going to get more of these for my assorted supply bags. I never have to untangle my double stick tape from the other stuff in my bag ever again! This is brilliant!

Kelly Kilmer got me drunk on art this weekend…

…and today I have a wicked art hangover!

This past weekend, I took 5 mixed media workshops from Kelly Kilmer, who was the visiting artist at The Artists’ Nook this month. There are no words to describe how much I love Kelly’s classes and how much I get out of her workshops. Every time I take a Kelly class, I am able to play, experiment and I always get new ideas, either from her, or from expanding on something she or another student said.

This weekend’s highlights, not in any particular order:

  • Seeing Kelly and learning from her. She is so creative, free and amazingly supportive.
  • Getting to know Allyson better, and getting an awesome ego boost from her. *waves and paints Allyson’s hand*
  • Learning more about layering and color mixing and composition.
  • Realizing that some of the crazy stuff I do in my journals isn’t as crazy as I thought!
  • Seeing my old pals, like Susan and Marcy and Karen and Terry, who I haven’t seen in a long time. I really admire the talent of these ladies!
  • Meeting new people! Yes, I’m talking about you, you Ladies From Parker!
  • Three full days of making art and playing. Heaven.

Last night, I was so amped up, I made 14 of the little paper journals while we watched tv. I love them.

I think my favorite book was the Reclaimed book. I love the idea of taking old books, gutting them, and making new pages for them.


Clicking on any of the photos below should take you to my Flickr set of photos from this weekend. I should have taken more of the process, but I was too absorbed to even think of that.

Transcribed Altered Photos Revisited

Triptych Book Swatches: Little Paper Books

Reclaimed: An Altered Artist’s Book