It's time for a new visual journal! I only have 5 or so pages left in my current visual journal, so it is time for making a brand spanking new one. This is my favorite part: collecting and sorting all of the papers and ephemera to be bound together. My last journal was a monster of a book and has ended up lasting me 3 years. From the beginning, I was committed to completely filling it, but three years is waaaaayyy too long to be working in the same book. Too much baggage to carry around. So, as much as I love a thick, meaty journal, this one will be much thinner and easier to finish. Not much feels better than holding that overflowing book in your little hands knowing every single page is covered with words and images from your own mind and imagination. So rewarding, especially for those of us who sometimes have trouble actually finishing a project. It is a major accomplishment. But this next time around, I plan on making it a little easier on myself.
I didn't intend to be away for quite so long! But after driving 2 days for a more-than-worth-it Thanksgiving with family back home in Texas, we returned to quickly became preoccupied with sick kids, custom journals and, well, life. Plus a broken camera makes blogging a bit tricky, but I still have my phone! ...Oh, wait, yeah, the lens on the camera phone is cracked now, too. Very tricky. But I have been busily working. Even dipping into my journal bit by bit, though still not as at home in its pages as usual. But I will persevere.
Because I am working on new things! Pretty things! Some you will see in my Etsy shop shortly, others just for fun. Like these fabric beads that I just had to spend an afternoon making. Just in case I needed them. Until then, they are lovely in my Andy Warhol commemorative soup can. And making me a little hungry.
Yep, busy, busy. But you will have to be content with a sneak peek for just a little longer. Until I figure out how to get some real pictures. I mean, what's a blog post without pictures?! Blog suicide that's what! Yes, very tricky, indeed.
So, bear with me a little longer, won't you? I've got lots to show you and some fun stuff planned---including a giveaway! You know, a little pre-Christmas gifty. You won't want to miss that! Not to mention sparkly things! And feathers! And beads! You can't get much better than that in my book. Especially feathers.
1. Haiku speaking into journal pages. 2. Brand new journals waiting to be bound. 3. Paper strips to be sewn together, never to be alone again. 4. Spines for hanging on fishing line. 5. Blank papers, folded and stitched. 6. Buttons and dangly things to hang on painted boards and brighten someone else's garden.
Just a few more pictures of the studio, with some of my favorite details.
Crochet star flowers with ends still dangling; painted beads brought back by my bff from Hawaii; sewn together, spray-painted paper scraps; rejected, but still pretty, paint swatches; Prismacolor colored pencils my dad bought me in high school; painted cardboard--no great works of art, but still fun.
Mailart from Mary Ann, Randi and other beautiful artist friends; sparkly yarn from a dear friend, too precious to use on any but the most special projects; exquisite watercolor ATC on an ingenius bent fork stand.
Shelf full of more glorious art journals.
Little treasures; amazing abstracts that, no matter how long I stare at them, continue to boggle my puny little mind; long-neglected Zumi camera case; gifted journal made for me by my bff.
Some of my favorite (and most recently purchased) art books; moleskine journals; can't-create-without brushes in a little hand-painted vase from Garcia's in Matamoros, Mexico; paint swatch for the last unpainted wall in the studio; headphones for listening to podcasts on my phone.
More cardboard cityscapes; calendar for planning my days; tin of treasured ATCs; view of all the projects we need to finish in the backyard.
Canvases in progress; painted wood to be hung in the yard; joyful paint splatters, evidence of good work and fun times.
Older, but still loved, painted fabric wall hanging and pillow-cover turned art quilt.
Linda Naiman said, "When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity." I have no idea who Linda Naiman is, I pulled her quote off the Internet, but she's a wise woman. My studio is - above all - a place to play, and there is for me no greater motivator or creative inspiration than having fun with art.
Just when I was starting to get productive, John, both kids and I get stuck with the flu all at the same time. Ugh. As if that weren't terrible enough, I returned to my studio to find it overtaken with hundreds of miller moths. So all day Saturday was spent gleefully sucking up moths into my vacuum canister, deep cleaning, touching up paint and organizing. Now that (most) everything is clean and clutter-free, I thought I'd give you a little tour inside the studio, to go along with showing off the newly painted outside.
When we found this house the summer before last, it was the central location, the fact that it didn't need any updating and the studio out back that sold me at first sight. Since my studio is also our school room, there are always stacks of books, piles of papers, overflowing boxes of craft supplies and ongoing projects of mine and the kids spilling over and collecting dust. We have fun in this little room. We work and play, create and dream here. So, just know, on any given day it is never as neat and tidy as these pictures suggest. But that's ok, because where there is life, there is bound to be clutter.
My desk, with everything necessary and inspirational within easy reach. The most important objects on this desk: my journal, bag of pens and ipod/docking station. There is no creative spark apart from my music.
Inspiration boards, sewing machine, paints, brushes and journals waiting to be bound.
Shelves of my favorite artist books, journals and mailart. Pretty little things I can't imagine living without. Most frequently used object on this side of the desk: the heat gun. I haven't embossed anything in ages, but it dries my paint in a snap and keeps the creativity flowing without having to wait for paint to dry.
Paintings in progress, blank canvases waiting for their turn to shine, beautiful stacks of beloved fabrics; there are even some burlap coffee bags tucked snuggly in there. This past Christmas I treated myself to a brand new easel; the old one was so rickety I had to hold onto the canvas as I painted to keep it from crashing to the floor. Never again!
Rolls of oilcloth, extra bottles of paint, boxes of patterned papers and abandoned art projects. And on the table, piles of goodies for my newest obsession: lawn art. More on that soon!
And just so you know I wasn't blowing smoke about the messes we make in here on a daily basis: the school bookshelf with the kids's artwork and seedlings waiting patiently til after Mother's Day for their time in the sun.
The studio is by far my favorite part of our home. The color, the imagination, the life in this room rarely fails to pick me up out of whatever slump I find myself in and give me hope again. It is where I belong, where I can be myself; my refuge and my escape. I worked for years on a reclaimed kitchen table in the corner of my living room and then for another couple in a dirty and ventless laundry room I could finally call my own. I am beyond blessed to have a husband who supports me and my work enough to buy me a home that leaves him without so much as a garage or basement for his own things, but thrills me every day with a beautiful space to spread my wings and create to my heart's content. I've said it before and I'll say it again: whether it is a TV tray or a closet, if you are serious about your art, you need your own space. To collect and display beautiful things that inspire you, to feel free to make a mess and not have to clean it all up afterwards, to dream big and live artistically. Why not carve out your own little creative niche right now, today? It could just change everything.
It's that time of year when I start feeling the urge for some spring decorating--the rebellious sister of spring cleaning. About twice a year I find my brain overflowing with crafty DIY ideas: in the fall approaching the holidays and then again when the air begins to warm in the spring. Spring craftiness begins innocently enough with, "I can't wait to get outside and start planting!" and usually spins out of control somewhere around, "I hate my house and everything in it needs to be thrown in the trash!"
Recently, a very generous friend gave me a huge storage container full of house paint, and blues, greens, lavender and yellow have been on my mind ever since. But now I've finally gotten around to putting these wonderful colors to use in my backyard. We live on a busy city street so our narrow, but peaceful, backyard is both our retreat and my canvas. It is also the home of my now more colorful art studio.
It still has a ways to go. I am imagining yard art covering the outside studio walls and lining the old fence. Maybe even a little welcoming studio sign, too. See my blue flowers on the red doors? Last year they were part of an inexpensive garland I picked up at Hobby Lobby, but after braving the elements through the winter, the ribbon was in shreds. So I cut off the flowers, attached magnets to the back and, voila! Interactive decor for my metal doors!
I'm having a hard time keeping my brush off of everything not nailed down and then some things that are. Like this window box my bff thrifted for me quite a while back. But then again, isn't that what spring is all about--a new (colorful) life for old things?
You weren't hoping I had given up my Best Songs Ever quest were you? I hope not because you'd be sadly disappointed. When I think about best and music in the same sentence, Over the Rhine has been one of the first to come to mind since 1996 when we first saw them live at Cornerstone Music Festival and everything changed. (This is no hyperbole, you know, because great music can do that. And if it hasn't done that for you then you need this Best Of, so pay attention.) The hard part, again, is not just selecting my personal favorites but letting the Song, apart from the Album or Band, stand on its own. It has to have that timeless quality and still move me every time I hear it.
I think it would have been impossible for me to make a Best Of list and not include Over the Rhine, but this particular song (among so many others that I love and feel I might have betrayed by not choosing them) qualifies for every Best Of list I could possibly put together in this life and the next. But I'll stop going on and on about it and let you decide if I got it right.
When I first saw your face, it hurt you to smile/Your lips tasted like tears I could kiss them for miles/On a midnight train--may it never arrive/Baby, our love song must survive.
Scenes from a Saturday afternoon. Sun in my eyes, music turned up too loud, swimming in saturated color.
Next up on the Best Songs Ever list (I'm obsessed, I tell you.): A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke (with a video montage--not mine) and, if you can allow a white boy from the south to sing it, a piano version by Seth Avett.
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