Sunday, April 27, 2014


I am probably one of the worst bloggers out there, and of my three blogs, this one is probably the least focused of them. Today, I'm posting for the first time in almost six months, I'm going to say something at least six of my seven followers won't particularly expect or necessarily care about here, but I'm hopefully going to get some visitors who do, and I may be wrong about the followers.

Anyway, today I am going back to something I had a bit of when I started this blog, which is to try and be the kind of grandmother my grandmother was for me. (She was still alive then, and I myself had just become a grandmother. Now I'll soon be a grandmother of four!)

This particular post is only loosely connected to that. I am studying a book called Nurture at church. The chapter of Nurture I finished reading today encourages us to leave a strong spiritual legacy to our own children, which will of course be difficult for me, since I did not raise children. I am thankful though that Don has done that for Holly and Josh, and I am going to publicly thank Holly right here for sending him a letter a few weeks ago acknowledging her gratitude for many of the things Don did as a Dad. It wasn't easy for Don, being the non-custodial parent and living so far away from them, so it's good to know what he did was appreciated by Holly. And I think, deep down, it is also appreciated by Josh.

I HOPE, even though we are still far away from both kids, I can impart some kind of legacy, both spiritual and otherwise, on my grandchildren. (Holly and Josh's children.)

But the rest of Nurture talks about connecting with younger women who aren't necessarily our biological or even otherwise daughters. I don't have a deep connection with any such woman, but I hope I have been an encouragement to some, like Holly and my cousins Jodi and Wendy and a few young women at church. I also hope that my writing has been a blessing to women I haven't met. And that's what I'm hoping for the rest of this blog post. You see, in last week's homework for Nurture, we were asked to compare lights in our home to the spiritual aspects of light. The three women (out of seven normally there) who attended last week felt I should share my answer with others. So here it is.

Lights in our home allow us to see when it's dark --- Jesus is the light that enables us to see through the darkness to the truth. 

LED lights (among other things) tell us what time it is --- the Holy Spirit is the light that tells me it's time to serve God. 

Some lights, like the ones on my curling irons, waffle irons and regular irons, tell me when those appliances are ready to be used ---- the Holy Spirit is like a light telling me I'm ready to be in service to God. 

My cell phone lights up when I have a phone call - through God's word and prayer, I am in communication with God. 

My cameras have flashes (a kind of light) on them, which illuminates the photographic images I take with them. Jesus, "The Light" is the image of God, and also we are also made in His image, so we must be light to the world. 

My Cultivate group came up with two more: 

Ultraviolet light cleanses, just as Jesus' death and resurrection (this was the week after Easter we studies this) purifies us, and lasers can cut things, just as Jesus can take the things out of our life that are not good for us. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stepping out in faith

One Year Art Journal isn't a spiritually focused blog, but quite often its prompts put me in touch with my spirituality. The Nov. 15 prompt is "What Do You Want Right Now?" and the second "booker" prompt is to use rubons. Well, it just so happens my most recent rubon purchase is some spiritually focused ones I bought about a year ago, to illustrate my grandson's baptism on a scrapbook page. I also had a few much older rubons that are like fake stitches.

The older rubons came off fairly decently for their age, although since they are white, I am not sure how well they show up in this photo. They are on the left side of the page, which I had already created a striped watercolor background on.

The newer rubons were more of a challenge. Big chunks of all three stayed on the backing, no matter how much I rubbed. So, I decided to fill in the gaps with some gold Stickles.  Not perfect, but better. The top rubon is a dove, the bottom one, which largely stuck to the backing, is a cross. In between is a quote "Let The Faith In Your Heart Be Your Guide."

It is this quote that inspired the rest of my journaling. As One Year Art Journal and several other inspiration sites prompted, I picked a One Little Word for the year, which was "Content." At the beginning of 2013, I thought I'd have plenty of good reasons to focus on the portion of that word that means "being content with what you have." (I also was focusing on some of the other meanings of the word, but that's not part of the point of this entry.) I ran out of unemployment in April, so I was bracing myself for what I thought (correctly) would be a rough year.

But things started looking up in May. I started my business, Pen Porter, that month. Seeing as I invested nothing but the cost of registering my business, it's been profitable. Not quite as much as I'd hoped, but then in August, I got hired to manage the Jurupa Valley Chamber of Commerce part-time. So there's another little bit of income, and it's more than I thought it was going to be. So that's good.

On the somewhat bad side, I've decided I had to split my income off from Don's. I won't go into all the reasons why, but if you know me, you might know why. But the up side of that means I now have some freedom to spend some of my income as I see fit. There's a million things I want, far fewer things I can get.

And then there is a challenge to reach beyond myself. My co-worker, Bob Hernandez, inspires me to this in many ways. He is working at the Chamber strictly as a full-time volunteer, but invests a lot in me both timewise, and financially. He would like to see me "pay it forward," although I can only do so on a limited basis now.

But Sandals has always challenged people to reach beyond themselves. For the past six weeks it specifically has done so through its "Reach" building campaign. This campaign asked us to look beyond ourselves and let God move in our church. Sandals also has a holiday gift giving ministry.

It gave me a lot of pleasure to invest in two gifts for a 13-year-old girl, and to commit a small amount of money over the next two years to the building campaign. I feel like I am a part of something significant, that will reach far beyond myself. I've blessed a young girl, and I've helped my church bless many others through the building campaign.

The journaling at the bottom of this page explains "In the past few months, I have moved from being simply content to feeling blessed and looking beyond myself."

I know this is exactly how God wants me to feel. And therefore, it's what I want for myself right now.

Journaling some of the fall holidays

I know only post sporadically on this blog, mostly my art journal pages. Some of the pages I share on certain Facebook groups instead. But for A Year In the Life of An Art Journal, it often works better to post them on my blog. This day's story also references a page I did inspired only by some Daisy Yellow prompts and the proximity at that time of Veterans' Day.

I more recently finished pages inspired by both the Oct. 30 and Nov. 15 prompts at A Year in the Life of an Art Journal. Here's my story about the Oct. 30-inspired page.

Oct. 30 was in honor of Halloween. The first prompt was "Scary," and the second was to create stripes, like the Wicked Witch of the East's striped socks. Remember her from the Wizard of Oz? She was the one crushed by the house at the beginning of the movie. All you saw were the striped socks peeking out from under the house.

I'd already painted one of my art journal pages orange because of a Daisy Yellow Daily Paper Prompt gone wrong. Then I saw some Zentanglish stripes on Pinterest, and copied them to the best of my ability. But then the page sat there for about two weeks, not anywhere near finished in my mind. I knew that my "scary" orange and black page would somehow focus on Halloween. But Halloween is not my favorite holiday, so I wasn't sure how to finish it. So, I moved on, working on some of my favorite inspiration sites via other pages in my art journal. Quite recently, I came across prompts in Daisy Yellow DPP "Ransom Note," and another prompt in Emily Falconbridge's 52 Questions, which is a series of prompts she published in 2009, but I only discovered at the end of 2012. The prompt in 52 Questions was "What Is Your Favorite Holiday?" My favorite is Easter, which is not a holiday I'm thinking a whole lot about right now. Instead, as I thought about how I might incorporate ANY holiday into an art journal page, my mind roamed from Halloween (this at the time unfinished page) to Veterans' Day (a holiday I had already recently incorporated into another page, below) to Thanksgiving (a holiday I like almost as much as Easter, and will no doubt feature in the journal soon, but not yet.)
Halloween won out when I remembered that I had purchased some really cute Halloween stickers last year to scrapbook my grandson's first Halloween. And Daisy Yellow's DPP "Ransom Note," (create a ransom note with mismatched stickers brought it all together. I decided I'd use the "scary" stickers, the skeletons and the ghosts, on the page. I also wanted to use some of the gazillion "candy" stickers I had left. So, with a little bit of imagination, I came up with the idea to "kidnap" my least favorite holiday, and warn the world that if they want it back, they must give me candy.  I can be pretty diabolical, can't I?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I have no regrets, but I do make mistakes

One of the art journal challenge blogs I read regularly is A Year In the Life of An Art Journal. It's getting a little neglect these days, because unlike the challenges I work on daily at Daisy Yellow Art, this blog is only updated with a new challenge twice a month. Most recently, it was updated with a challenge to journal about regrets, and to use thick paint (it actually recommended texture paste, but I don't have that) on the page. There is a photography challenge you can do with or instead of the art journal challenge. This time, it was to photograph your least favorite beverage mug.

If I still had it, my least favorite mug would have been my once treasured Daily Press 50th anniversary mug. But I smashed that thing into the Daily Press's trash can just before we moved to Riverside. And that made me think of the "cracked" page I had created, just waiting for some prompts that would actually involve journaling. You can learn about the process and other prompts that led to the creation of the background here.

My orange paint is definitely the thickest of the two containers of paper paint that I own. It was created by mixing water with a powdered pigment. Because I had left it open overnight not too long ago, the paint is now thicker than it used to be, which simply means I'll have to add more water before using it for "normal" purposes. No problem. I hqve had to do that with just about all my acrylic paints as well, even though all but one of them eventually got to the point where water or no water, no more paint was coming out. But the orange paint is in a large enough jar it doesn't have to be squeezed out. You can dip a paintbrush right in. I did, and added a liberal dose of the thick orange paint. Since the first coat of the paint on this page 1) Was applied before the jar of paint thickened and 2) Was dabbed onto this page with an index card that was already wet from a freshly applied tea stain, the new coat is quite a contrast to the first coat.

Once my new paint was dry, I tackled the journaling. As a Christian, I've learned not to spend too much time thinking about my regrets. Repentance of sins means to acknowledge you did something wrong, then move on and trust Jesus to help you do the right thing next time. That even has been the focus of a series of sermons I've heard at church recently from First Peter. I merged the thoughts of several verses in Peter and elsewhere to create this reminder to myself of how I should live.

Finishing up the ICADS

I didn't quite make 61 ICADs when I was participating in the Index Card A Day challenge at Daisy Yellow Art. If I had done the challenge "correctly" I would have made one of those little cards every day, and thus would have had 61 at the end of the two months.

ICAD 41 before I added stitching
 This ICAD, shown here in its initial stage, was one of the last, and  takes advantage of prompts from the last list for ICAD and the Daily Paper Prompts that Daisy Yellow Art is now expanding one day at a time. (There will be 61 of those eventually as well, as they started Aug. 1 and will run through Sept. 30)

From the ICAD prompts, I first used "teabag."  I dragged a wet used teabag across the card, a technique I think is partially responsible for the marbled look. That list also had "paint drips," which meant painting orange paint onto the wet card. At that point in time, I had worked my way through the first six Daily Paper Prompts, so I decided that for Prompt 7 "Leftovers," I would begin by adding some leftover paint to my Prompt 5 "Linear" creation. I wasn't sure for several days what I would do after adding the paint, but here is how I finished the page.

DPP 5 Linear, before modifications

Linear, when I had added leftover paint and scraps for DPP 7 Leftovers.

A third item on the last ICAD list was "Ogee pattern," which is not exactly like what I drew in ICAD 41 above. (I just didn't draw it right). My Ogee pattern color scheme was actually inspired by something other than Daisy Yellow. My Kleenex box has a more true Ogee pattern in similar colors.

Since Daily Paper Prompt 8 was "Faded," I decided to use it on this ICAD. To do the "Faded" technique for that days prompt, you must draw a pattern with neocolors (if you have them) or watercolor pencils (if, like me, that's all you have), then spray them with water. (This is one wet ICAD!).

There was one more prompt on the ICAD list, "Looks like fabric" I used paper that looks like fabric. It's a scrap that has been in my scraps stash a long time. I knew that scrap was there, but didn't know it was the perfect size to cover a 4 x 6 index card. When I figured that out, I decided the fabric paper should be a background, so I cut the "ogee pattern" parts out of my ICAD in progress, and glued to them to the fabric paper I had already glued to a new index card. Some of the scraps leftover from that also made it to the combination 5/7 Daily Paper Prompt page.

I wasn't quite done with the ICAD prompts, but that was all of them I used on this card. I had combined one word on that list "celebration" with staple collage on the previous week's list. I used elephant, doodles galore and concentric circles on one last ICAD, and that was the end of the ICADS for me.

 However, Daily Paper Prompt 10 called for "stitching." Again inspired by the Kleenex box, I had wanted to add white stitching to this ICAD. But I couldn't find my stitching needles. I wasn't going to let that slow me down though, so I decided I could just glue the thread onto the page, and work with it to reasonably follow the contours of the Ogee pattern.

I have mixed feelings about that addition to the card. I was just using plain glue from Dollar Tree, so it was kind of hard to work with. The thread (dental floss, yes I am on a tight budget) didn't contour as well as I had hoped, and the glue came out in a thicker line than it should have.  As i was working with this floss, there were a few times where bits of the Ogee pattern tore off, leaving rough white patches in its place. And ultimately, the floss didn't completely follow the curves of the Ogee pattern. But now the last ICAD is done!

I ended up with 42. After I purchased my current art journal, I noticed I already had a similar, but smaller book. It was the perfect place to glue each and everyone of my ICADs. I'll have room for some more of them next year.

All 42 ICADs in their permanent home

But I wasn't quite finished with Ogee patterns. That was the technique for Daily Paper Prompt 11. (Both it and Daily Paper Prompt 3 "Paint Drips," were repeated on the ICAD list. Since DPP was created last year, it's the ICAD list that does the repeating.). I used the same color scheme as on the ICAD detailed above, and also repeated the Faded technique from DPP 8 on this, but left off the tea stain, the paint and the scrap of paper that looks like fabric.  I think I did a slightly better job drawing the Ogee pattern though. It's a tough one!

The Ogee pattern inspired page in my art journal.

Friday, August 2, 2013

On the bright side

It's just the name of an ongoing art journal challenge I participate in called A Year In The Life of An Art Journal. Challenges there are only twice a month, on the 15th and the 30th. The July 30 challenge is to do a journal page inspired by "On the bright side" and to use yellow.

My art journal largely follows prompts from other art journalists' blogs. Even so, Book 2, my current journal, is shaping up to be a book about the many good things in my life. So I could have just added yellow to a number of pages, but this one seemed to benefit from it the most. I'd already done all the journaling but the yellow (the words and the clouds) for a page about my dreams. Since then, I realized one of them, and was able to check that box. The other two are fairly realistic dreams as well, although #3 will take me a while to realize.

Adding yellow ink all over the page made it just look a little sunnier. And really, sometimes when it's super hot here in southern California, the sky almost looks yellow. Thankfully, it hasn't been that hot lately, except on my page.

Back to (almost) daily art journaling

I didn't create a bunch of pages in my art journal during the months of June and July because of the little index cards I was working on for Index-Card-A-Day, a challenge at Daisy Yellow. But now she's moving on to something kind of new, the Daily Paper Prompts.

This is my second summer/fall joining in the DPP Challenge. I finished my "introduction" to Daisy Yellow, Jump Start Your Art Journal sometime during August of 2012, and then basically moved onto some prompts she was in the process of posting, one a day. I finished behind schedule, but there were others on the Daisy Yellow Facebook page who started the prompts even later than I.

This year, except that I started today and already did the first three, I am on schedule. Since it's still only Aug. 2 here, I will respect the concept of Daily Paper Prompts being something you follow daily, one a day, in order, and I will only post my first two. Besides, the third one is more of an excellent background, so I'm waiting to see what gets posted for Sunday. Although the concept of Daily Paper Prompts is one "creation" a day, I think the rules allow for one day's creation to be layered on top of an earlier days. I know I did a bunch of that last year.

But here's my first two.

Prompt 1, Rainbow. I've already slightly goofed on this one. The prompt was to "paint" a rainbow, and I had an overwhelming desire to draw my rainbow crocheted potholder instead. Besides, I did sort of paint a rainbow last year. I already had something less than a "rainbow" of acrylic paints by the time I started the Daily Paper Prompts, so in Book 1 there's a rainbow of black, blue, purple and red. Now, even with having bought one new paint, I am down to two colors of paint. This year, I did want to do something different. Maybe I'll watercolor pencil paint another rainbow, but not right away.

Prompt 2, windows. My windows are cutouts of some random doodles I had in Book 1, which may even have been inspired by a later prompt in 2012. The left side window also has journaling, "From now on I am just going to do what makes me happy." The newspaper clipping is from a road race I was in, but I believe I'm ahead of everyone in this photo.