Still Creating

Still Creating

Wow! Has it really been six months since I last posted here? It certainly hasn’t been that long since I’ve created anything, though! I’ve been creative in the kitchen and playing with my camera and busily learning all the graphic design stuff I can but mostly chained to my keyboard as I finish up the writing of my first book.

Just creating

My goal for this year was to be more creative and track my efforts toward that goal — well, I was definitely whole piles of creative. I just neglected that second part of tracking my efforts and showing them here on the blog.

So it’s now January and my mother informed me the other day that I need to come up with an idea for this year’s Gal’s Day Out craft that I’ll be teaching. Gal’s Day Out is an all-day craft day for the ladies in my mom’s church. About 150 ladies and girls get to attend three different craft classes throughout the day and can pick from over 20 different crafts to learn. Try as I might every year, my mother never lets me say “NO” to teaching a class. So after a dozen years of brainstorming, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with something creative.

But I stumbled acoss a cute idea! A Paper Patchwork Notebook over on iHanna’s blog. Check out her tutorial. My challenge is the budget. I’m allowed $3 per student for the craft project and I could easily eat up that whole budget with just a nice notebook. I’m thinking about using a hardcover composition book and relying on my own huge stash of scrap paper in my scrapbooking stash and donations of paper from church members. We’ll see if I can find a good deal on Mod Podge too.

I don’t have a deadline for my prototype yet, but I’m sure Mom will be calling soon to start bugging me for it. I might even remember to take pictures and show you all how they turned out.


Graphic Design is Art

Graphic Design is Art

I am coming to realize more and more each day how much creativity and art is involved in graphic design.  Yes, I always knew it was all rolled into one – but the more I learn and the more I do, the more I realize how important my love of art plays into my digital designs.

For instance, in one of my graphic design classes this past week we were tasked with an assignment to create a ransom note from typography we found in magazines. After seeing some of the other finished projects by fellow students, I realize how much my art background (scrapbooking, paper crafting and crafting in general) play into my final projects for school.  My ransom note looked more like a page from an art journal than any others I saw in class.  Other students went the traditional route (like this picture).  I first covered my entire page with scrapes of a single color paper then sanded the black paper for an aged look… then build my words on top of that background, added a border, some alcohol inks and a coat of mod podge. (Wish I’d scanned it before turning it is!).

Another project involved re-creating a kitty litter bag and the corporate identity of the brand. Paws & Claws is actually a brand of pet food and supplies sold at Tractor Supply Company. We worked in teams to create a new kitty litter bag design. Our team also created a new logo for the brand. I love the ampersand in this design!


The more I work on graphic design projects, the more I realize how important art is in my life.  Even when I’m buried in school work or office work, when I do digital graphic design… I’m still being an artist and I’m still employing my creativity.  It all rolls into one big ball of art.

How to Make Your Own Doodle Book

How to Make Your Own Doodle Book

Let's Doodle!

A few weeks ago I taught the Doodling class I mentioned a while ago. It was a huge success and everyone lived the experience! Because I had such a small budget for my class materials, I had to get creative. My students needed a good doodling pen plus instructions plus templates plus something to actually doodle on. If my budget would have allowed, I would have loved providing each student with a nice hard-bound blank journal and a very nice pen. But alas, I had $3 per students and the pens I picked cost $2. So making a handmade doodle book was my only economical options. But look how cute they are!


I made a total of 35 books. When doing that many projects, assembly line fashion is the easiest method. Here is a list of supplies needed:

1 sheet 12×12 heavy scrapbook paper/cardstock with designs on both sides
6 sheets 9×12 Canson Drawing Paper – I used Canson because it’s thick (70lbs) to limit ink bleed and also it’s cheap
2 large brads / paper fasteners
3 yards craft string
scrap paper as needed

Trim your scrapbook paper to 9.25″ x 12″ and fold in half (save the leftover scraps for later).  Fold your 6 sheets of drawing paper in half, making sure the spine is creased well. Using a heavy duty paper trimmer, cut the jagged edge of the folded drawing paper that’s created in the folding process – this gives you an even outer edge.


Once your inside pages and outside covers are all prepared, stack them together, being careful to line up the fold lines of each. Secure the inside pages into position with paper clips. Once you have all your books pre-assembled, you’re ready to punch holes. I knew I wanted 5 holes along my spine for sewing, so I created a simple template with a center hole and 2 holes on either side spaced equally to the end. Lightly mark the hole marks on the inside spine and punch!

I found this monster gadget on clearance at Walmart for $10 – what a steal! You can find the Crop-O-Dile Big Bite at most craft stores or on Amazon.  This thing is amazing.  Really!  I was able to punch THREE of these doodle books at once — that’s 21 sheets of 70lb paper, folks!


Ok, holes are all punched! Time to sew!

I used “Braiding Cord” — similar to this.  My goal was to find some type of string or cording that was the same material as the string on an interoffice envelope clasp. This comes very close. Found it at Walmart in the kids craft section near the beads.  It comes in every color of the rainbow, it’s very sturdy and doesn’t fray at the ends.


I then added small fasteners to create a closure / clasp at the edge of the book – just to keep it neatly closed.  Simply tie another piece of string to the back fastener permanently then wrap the other end of the string around the front clasp for closing. On the inside cover of the doodle books, the back of the fastener is exposed, but you can conceal the hardware by using a piece of coordinating scrap paper.  I used the scrap piece of cardstock from the cover and used in on the inside cover flap to cover the fastener along with a second smaller piece of cardstock to give an additional decorative element.  Not only do these extra pieces hide the hardware of the clasp, but it also does an excellent job of giving added support to the cover, making it more rigid and sturdy for daily use.


Have fun making your own Doodle Book!

Just Learning

Just Learning

This semester at school as officially kicked my butt!  I took both Photoshop and Illustrator in the same term — talk about confusing. Just when I think I know what I’m doing I find out I’m wrong.  I keep looking for tools in Photoshop that are only in Illustrator – and vice versa.  Ahhh well, that’s all part of learning right?

So I’m heading into Finals Week and still have another few hours of homework to tackle before I can go to bed tonight.  But figured I’d share my final Illustrator project here in the meantime.  It’s a magazine cover design for the school creative magazine that’s published once a year and includes poetry, illustrations and creative writing from students. Obviously the title is “Expressions.” The cover and divider pages are designed by students as well.  Not that I expect to win or anything – but the professor had us create a cover for entry as our final project.

It took me WAY too long.  And this is actually the 4th rendition. The first 3 just didn’t do it for me.  This one isn’t fabulous and there are things I’d definitely change (lots of things) — but I had to call it done and move on. Truthfully, I should have called it done 3 hours ago!




I take pictures of food.  Often.  And it’s not just a snapshot when I do it… it might take 15 or 20 shots using various camera settings and lighting angles to be satisfied with the photo shoot before I can actually begin eating the food I just took pictures of.  I did it this morning.  Twice.

I’ve never really thought about it as a creative outlet though.  But this morning I realized that my silly food photos help me work my creative brain and makes me happy to see the results.  (Which is why I’m writing about it here, of course.)  And I know ya’ll are dying to ask why I take pictures of food, right?  Glad you asked.  LOL!  As you know I have another blog (Journey to a Healthier Me) about weight loss and healthy living.  That blog often includes recipes and recipes are much more fun with pictures, right?  Plus it’s fun to show off food porn on the message boards too.

So here’s a sampling of this morning’s photo shoot.

Low Carb Banana Nut Muffins (from the same recipe, just baked in muffin pan instead)

Banana Nut Mini Muffins

And a couple from the past — turkey sandwich with a side of fresh strawberries and below, an experiment in making fermented cabbage.



Panning Photography

Panning Photography

This past fall the monthly assignment from my photography club was “panning.”  Except I didn’t know how to do that.  It’s where you stand in one place while the subject of the photo is moving and you follow the subject with your camera while smoothly panning to capture the action.  This results in a blurred background and an in-focus subject.  I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say over the course of a few weeks I took over 1,000 shots that were all crap.  Then finally on the day of the club meeting I got this shot after finally figuring out the right settings and technique.  And now I can hit a panning shot every time I try.  It’s fun to learn stuff like that!

Here are some other photos from the same shoot.

Want to learn how to do this too? Check out the tutorial at DPS – Digital Photography School.



In other news… remember the Mini Doodle Book I made and posted about last week…. I finally finished that project.  Even though it was about “zendoodling” the process wasn’t very zen-like.  I was on a deadline to have the project turned in as a class sample.  Now I can get back to real zendoodling in my Moleskine.

I also made a similar mini book… but it was mini-er.  I designed the pages to be a place for me to track my food intake, exercise, calories burned, etc. Then printed the pages doublesided and assembled a little Log Book with cute patterned cardstock covers.  I’ll take pictures and show you (I know you’re dying to see it!).