Sam’s Birthday Crown

Today’s project is very special indeed–a birthday crown for my 1-year-old!

You can google “birthday crown” and get a ton of different results, and I sort of cobbled together what I thought I could do with my materials & skill level. I first made a birthday crown about two years ago, for a friend’s daughter. Here are the plans for that:


But I didn’t completely remember the instructions, and I sometimes feel the need to reinvent the wheel, so I sketched this out, complete with new color palette:


The hardest part, honestly, was the turning the elastic tube inside-out. I want to sew more than I actually do, so when it comes to things like this, I’m often flummoxed. I kind of just pulled & pulled til it happened…


This was the fun part–crown construction! I embroidered some stitches on the jewels…


And then I painted on his name.  Ta-da!


And THEN I put it on my not-such-a-baby!



Happy birthday, Sam!



Journal 52: Week 21 & Other Art Journaling This Week

Thanks to everyone who stopped by & said hello! It’s so good to know I’m not just posting into the void!

It feels weird to be on the current week on my Journal 52! I think this is the earliest I’ve ever finished. Week 21 was a Top Ten List, and this is what I came up with:



Back in my “regular” art journal, I was inspired by Mary Ann Moss at Dispatch from L.A. to buy & draw my very own pineapple. And then I forgot I used a water-soluble pen, and tried to watercolor over it. Amateur!

IMG_7959 (2)
It ripened before I could try again.


I taped in another signature of patchwork paper to make this doodle:


And made this simple little collage, with some of my painted paper stash that I’ve been half-heartedly been trying to sort through before moving day:


I’ll leave you with a work in progress. I started it in a wild mood, and got down to using my fingers for part of it. I have to admit, it felt raw & it felt good. Maybe that’s the best kind of art journaling.


Art Journaling This Week

Hi, all! If you’re here visiting from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s AJED, howdy! That’s where I get most of my views, honestly, but I’m really hoping to make friends & become part of the art journaling community, so please, won’t you say hi in the comments?  I promise to write back.

Now, for art journaling goodness!

I’ve been working on lettering, inspired in part by Alisa Burke’s blog series by Megan Wells of Makewells. You can tell that I tried to use that style of art journaling background here, also using the techniques I learned in one of Alisa Burke’s classes. I’m still not happy with my lettering, but…I guess that means I know what work is ahead of me!


What I do like about this spread is that I made a “mistake”, and found a work-around: the first part of the quote is much too large for the page, so I made a black block and wrote the rest smaller, in white. I think that balances it out a little, although… like I said, more work ahead.


I also practiced my lettering on this spread, part of which I showed you last week:


I did a little bit of collage, too. Scraps, but it was fun. The background is scribbles, done by….Sam, my almost-1-year-old! On Mother’s Day we went to the village green, and I put a crayon in his hand for the second time, and he had a much higher scribbling-to-eating ratio this time 😉 So cool. And there’s a hammered flower in there too, which actually came out better than it did on the cardstock of my Journal 52 Week 19 spread.


And I made this spread on Mother’s Day, with a quote that expresses what motherhood is to me.


Thanks for reading. I hope some of you say hello!

Journal52: Week 20

All caught up on my Journal52, so this week there’s only one spread, and it’s the current prompt–Good Advice. I’m pretty sure I got this from Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist, but I’m also pretty sure other people have said it before, too. Probably because it’s such good advice.


This art thing, I feel compelled to make art, and I don’t even know why. Honestly, I don’t like a lot of my stuff. I’m still in that phase Ira Glass talks about in his now-famous good advice on creativity & good taste,  that I know what I like but I don’t quite yet have the skills to produce it. It’s why everything I do looks so different, why I keep trying new techniques, throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. There’s a lot of work to be done to get there, and it’s important to me, so I keep showing up and doing the work.  Someday I’ll find my footing, and this blog will be around to document the journey. Or thoroughly embarrass me. Or both. We’ll see!

Patchwork Paper


Some of my favorite art journal artists sew paper on their sewing machines. Tammy Garcia at Daisy Yellow often uses this technique, and iHanna took it to an interesting place, sewing paper almost as if it were a quilt block, in pretty strips. Hanna also has a ton of resources for paper-sewing inspiration on her post.  And of course, there’s Mary Ann Moss’ Sewn & Remains of the Day classes, which someday when I do not have a toddler, I *WILL* find the time to take!

I’ve sewn paper a few times, and found it enjoyable. It’s a nice way to extend the use of needles, past when they’re good for fabric. And it’s also a nice way to use paper that you’re not that fond of, like this scrapbooking paper:



I also had some dye charts from an art supply catalog, and that made a nice addition:


But mostly, I just wanted to use some papers that weren’t getting a lot of love, and I ended up liking them combined a lot more than individually.


Now I have to figure out where to use them! I’ve already inserted one into my latest art journal as a “lower-risk” doodle paper. What else can you think of for them?




iHanna’s Postcard Swap Time!


Hello, indeed! Happy Spring, everyone! It’s official. And you know how I know? Because iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap is up!

I started with a piece of posterboard that I’d previously used as a sign. I knew I was saving that for something! It’s a good weight for postcards, I thought.

Then I started playing with paint. I challenged myself to start with a color I didn’t really like that I wanted to work its way out of my stash–a coral pink. But with black, and a deeper red, and some tan, it’s a lot better!


Made it a little more interesting, with some stamped circles, and some green accent mark-making, scribbled some writing in white colored pencil on the black, added a couple pieces of collage…


Now that’s a good place to start!

So I cut that into 4×6 postcards, each one its own unique backdrop. Then I worked in series. I had a set of photographs of a ship being built, and came up with this series from those photos:


It’s all really a process, isn’t it? And for the rest (I ended up with way more than 10, so I’ll be sending some bonus postcards to friends), I practiced my lettering with a simple message:





Ahhh, a fresh stack of happy mail almost ready to go…


And still more scraps to play with later!


Wanna sign up too? Visit iHanna’s DIY Postcard Swap before May 20th (that’s Wednesday!) and get ready to see some mailbox action! It’s a $7 fee, and totally worth it, because since people are paying, and Hanna is working so hard on the swap, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get your postcards. I’ve had a 100% return rate. And Hanna also offers freebies, like printable backs, techniques, and tons of other resources & inspirations.  So go celebrate spring!

Art Journaling Lately

Hello to anyone who found this through Julie Balzer’s Art Journal Every Day linky list! Here are some things I’ve been working on in my art journal:


Half-finished watercolor building…Not sure that I really enjoy working on buildings. I want to, but I don’t. Hrmmm…




I also tried to draw some flowers, both from life and then just doodling. In the still life, I eventually gave up drawing with the pencil and just used the brush to paint directly. I liked that better.


Pattern! Now patterns I love! I used the tape on the right to inspire the doodle on the left.


I really like looking for pattern inspiration in things that are not necessarily already purposely patterns. Like this picture of fish in National Geographic:



Which inspired this pattern:


Again, “just” doodling.

I’ve been doing a more conscious study of tree structure, since my clumsy, hand-like attempt for Journal 52 Week 4. Also, trying to figure out a good blue using the cheaper watercolors I currently have.



And I tried to get to the point where I could draw a tree from memory, but still, not quite there. But this one is going to be covered with wrapping paper leaves, so it doesn’t matter quite so much:


What are you working on?

Journal52: Weeks 18 & 19

Hi, all! I’m so proud of myself—I’m finally “caught up” in my Journal52! Yay!  I enjoyed these past couple weeks.


Week 18’s prompt was Observations.  Here’s how I interpreted that: I tried to make patterns from my surroundings.  I used objects I could see (observe) in my living room. From the outside row in are some cabinet doors, a drawer pull, a candleholder, the circles are the bottom of a basket we put toys in, the arrow-things are a part of our coffee table, and the centerpieces are the motifs & blades of our ceiling fan (although I colored them green, and they are most certainly not green!)



Week  19’s prompt was Go Outside, which I loved because I love going outside, and I carry my art journal & a small bag of supplies with me most of the time anyway. I decided to bring some of the outside into my Journal52 by hammering some flowers. It bled through a little to week 18’s spread, and mangled the pages, and I can’t say I was that pleased with the result. But, I enjoyed the experience—hunting for good flowers, hammering away in the village green on Mother’s Day, with my baby scribbling with my watercolor crayons nearby. And I really tried hard with the lettering, after being inspired by the latest post in Megan Wells’ lettering series on Alisa Burke’s blog. I think that part came out the best.


Trying to learn new things about my journaling as I go, to try new experiments but to also work harder on refining what I like about my pages, and recreating that in a more cohesive style. How do you balance trying new things and practicing your “thing”?


Journal 52: Weeks 15-17

More Journal 52! I feel like I’m finally getting caught up over here!

Week 15’s prompt: Cards. I decided to make greeting cards, specifically, all the cards I never sent to a friend I lost. It was a little therapeutic, and it also adds another puffy page of texture to my fat little Journal 52.


Gettin’ puffy!
Week 16, Collage Crazy, ended up being my favorite so far, by a long shot. I keep trying to identify what it is I liked so much better about it–the bold graphic elements? The colors? More white space? All of those things? I’d love to hear what you think!



Week 17’s prompt was Treasure, so I pushed myself to use some of the stuff in my stash I’d been saving for something “special enough”, which really meant that it has been sitting in my stash for a long time, being sadly unused. I just love the braided embroidery thread on the right; it has an adhesive backing that I’d saved for so long that it was losing it’s stick.  Can’t have that. Also, I used some papers I really liked and painted a symbol of the heart chakra.



Almost caught up!