Adorable Mini Board Book

Adorable Mini Board Book

I was surfing around the net late last night looking for some craft tutorials for my mother.  She organizes a craft day for ladies at her church and it’s grown so big that she needs about 25 different craft projects – so I was helping out. Around 11:00 p.m. I came across the Memory Makers Magazine tutorial for a Mini Board Book. I instantly fell in love.  I bookmarked it and figured I’d come back to it another day to try myself.  But I could only hold out for about an hour.  So yes, at midnight last night I hit my scrapbook studio and started cutting chipboard and paper. An hour later I had this.


Of course I already had all the supplies.  Ya’ll have seen my scrapbook studio… I’ve got more paper and scrapping supplies than I could use in three lifetimes.  So gathering the stuff was easy.  I’d decorated a board book in the past – it was bigger and started out already assembled – but I remembered how much of a PITA dealing with the pages were.  So I knew I wanted to cover the chipboard pages before they got assembled into the mini book.  This would make decorating much easier when it was done.


I used my Xyron sticker making machine to feed all the pre-cut papers through along with the cover paper and the small 2×3 cardstock pieces that held the panels together inside the book.  That sped up the process tremendously.  I simply don’t have the patience to do this with glue.  LOL!

You can see more details of the assembly process in my Mini Board Book Photostream on Flickr.


Seriously, this little book is so adorable I can hardly stand it.  I want to make another… and another… and another.  I have SO many amazing scrapbook papers that I can just imagine this book in different color combinations and themes.  Who knows… maybe my scrapbooking mojo is coming back?  Maybe just a little bit?

I got to bed last night (or this morning) around 3:00 a.m.  It only took an hour to make the mini board book… but I was so jazzed after it was done I couldn’t sleep.  I should have just made another one last night.


The Art Journal Progress

The Art Journal Progress

The Art Journal Experiment is going much better than it was last time I posted.  I’ve been trying different mediums besides watercolors and the pages don’t curl quite as much.  Plus if I use a heat gun to dry the pages between coats of paint (ink or whatever) it seems to allow the pages to lay more flat because I can coax them along with my hand and spread them out.  Whew!  So glad it’s working better now … I’m actually getting excited about this project.

Did I mention that I altered the covers of the original book?  I took the covers off the spiral binding and covered them in a favorite scrapbook paper – repunched the holes and put it back on the spiral. I’ll probably doodle on the cover along the way – that paper just screams for doodling, doesn’t it?

So in my mind art journaling is designed to be a combination of art and journaling — which means pages telling the story of my creativity with art supplies, but also a place for me to write my thoughts like a normal journal.  And eventually that’s where I want to go.  But for now I think I need to experiment with backgrounds a bit more.  I did one full page with journaling and all… but I feel like the journaling was a bit “forced” and I didn’t truly give myself the time to sit and think with just my journal and a pen.

I guess these first pages that I don’t like so much actually look pretty good in pictures.  

So for now I’m going to do what I’ve heard Kira does — she lays down a bunch of backgrounds on several pages, then carries her art journal and few writing/drawing utensils with her to do the journaling wherever she happens to be.  Speaking of Kira — one day I hope to be able to master the watercolor thing like she’s done. By the way… in that video (which I just watched for the 3rd time now) I realized that she mentions she gesso’s all her pages first before working. I’ve only done one in my book, gonna need to try to do more to see if I can see a difference.  I wonder if she puts the gesso on all the pages in the book before she starts creating or if she does it as she goes along.  Mmm…

So this is what I’ve tried so far:

Ranger Distress Inks — just cover the whole page in a couple different shades of ink.  (I love Ranger Inks by Tim Holtz and have nearly every color that’s made and a bunch of his alcohol inks too.)  Then I added a few stamped images from my huge collection of acrylic stamps.  This one was super easy and gave me immediate gratification. It gave me a bit of confidence to try some other pages.

Acrylic Paint and Tissue Paper — tried a page with a thick layer of copper colored paint and dried it. Then added some scraps of scrapbook paper and tissue paper on top using Mod Podge.  Isn’t that tissue paper adorable?  It’s got bumble bees all over it.  When everything was dry again, I added some swipes of more Ranger Ink – Walnut Stain.   I couldn’t seem to get the pictures to show the beautiful copper color of the pages – it really shines!  

Acrylic Paint and Paper Weaving — the green acrylic paint was the base then I added swatches of silver metallic paint on top and dried it.  Then added strips of scrapbook paper in each corner to create a woven technique.  Then Mod Podge’d over the top of the weaving to keep it in place real good. 

There’s more to experiment with.  But for now, I’m having fun with this. (And don’t laugh at my novice pages, I’m still learning here people! LOL!)  By the way, taking pictures of the pages counts toward my creativity stuff too.  I do love my camera and playing around with ways to capture the art journal pages – its a challenge to get the lighting right.


A Schedule for Creating?

A Schedule for Creating?

Nie Auction Calendar Detail

Isn’t this calendar adorable?!  I’m totally in love with those buttons and all the beautiful fabric. It’s made by Rashida at I Heart Linen.  I could spend hours at her Flickr Photostream.  And she’s got a shop – the pincushions are awesome!

Can you really schedule creativity?  I dunno… but I’m certainly going to try.

The whole purpose of this {Create} blog and committment to create more is because in the past I have not taken the time to let my creativity flow and feed my soul with the things that creativity nourishes me with.  So I am making a conscious effort to infuse my life with real, hands-on art and craft activities.  But my calendar is packed, just like everyone else’s.

For the next 10 weeks, here’s the rundown of my schedule:

Monday – work (leave at 7am) then school… home by 11pm
Tuesday – work then school… home by 11pm
Wednesday – work then school… home by 11pm
Thursday – work then meeting … home by 9pm
Friday – work then home … home by 7pm
Saturday & Sunday – homework, cooking meals for the week, family stuff, whatever else comes up

So it looks like my creativity time will come sometime between Friday night after work and Sunday when I got to bed.  I know that if I don’t plan specific times on the weekends to spend in my art room that I won’t do it.  But I don’t think that’s enough.  I need to find little ways to sneak creativity into my daily life.  Here are a couple ideas…

My Moleskine is traveling with me these days.  I can pull it out at lunchtime, before class or at breaktime during class to do some sketching, journaling or doodling.

My Monday and Tuesday classes are graphic design-based (working on my Graphics Communications degree), so even though it’s a lot of book learning, I’m working on the computer in Photoshop and Illustrator with some level of creativity. So some of my classtime can “count” toward being creative and a bunch of my homework time on weekends will be spent learning the programs and pumping my creative juices into projects. (Yes you’ll get to see my progress as I learn new things – be gentle, I’m a total PS novice!)  Wednesday class is Art and Architecture… I imagine there will be some small level of creativity in learning this topic, but it’s definitely not going to be hands-on.

One other option I’m contemplating is writing again.  I have some published article here on Associated Content and I do love to write.  But I haven’t taken the time in recent months – in fact, I haven’t published anything in almost a year.  So writing would be another creative outlet for me as well.

So even though my schedule is manic at times, I’m determined to find ways to add creativity to my life. It makes me happy.  It feeds my soul.  It gives me peace and balance.  It is important to me so I will find the time to make it a part of my everyday life.


Zendoodling – Zentangle – Mandalas

Zendoodling – Zentangle – Mandalas

What is Zendoodling?  What is Zentangling?
Ok, we’ll start with my understanding of what these terms mean. Essentially it is drawing in such a way that is repetative and meditative so that the simple act of drawing gives you a sense of peace and relaxation.  For a more official definition and the benefits of Zentangling, check out the About page on the Zentangle website.

As I mentioned in a previous post I found the Zendoodling tutorial videos by Millande to be fascinating.  So I tried my hand at it and now I’m hooked. When they say this type of doodling is mediative and relaxing, they aren’t kidding!  You lose track of time and get caught up in the act of drawing.

There’s already a grid drawn on the left side of the page so I can do another one!


What is a Mandala?  What is Zendala?
The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle.”  In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be used as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation.

In the past few weeks I’ve been surfing art and drawing blogs and website. I first saw a Mandala drawing when I stumbled across Biffy Bean’s blog where she has some amazing drawings of Mandalas that I just love. (I drool over!)  And Millande combined the concept of a round meditative drawing project with a Zentangle to create her version of a Zendala.

I haven’t tried a Zendala yet, but I’ve got several Mandalas in the works.  I even taught my 6 year old niece how to make the “pretty flowers” and she was thrilled.

The green one in the top left corner is my favorite so far. Still have a ways to go to add more detail.


My Attempt at Art Journaling

My Attempt at Art Journaling

So far it’s not very pretty.  In fact, at this point it’s pretty much a disaster.  But everything I have read so far about getting started in art journaling says that the first stuff I do is going to be horrible.  Guess that theory is holding true for sure!

Here’s a picture to prove my point.

Nice curling pages. Failed watercolor and alcohol inks.

Ok, so let’s start out with a few things:

  • I bought a journal that was specifically designed for mixed media and the paperweight is the heaviest I could find.  I bought the Canson XL Mix Media 9×12 pad.  It’s 98lb weight paper that’s billed as “excellent for watercolor, acrylic, or dry media.”
  • Although I’ve painted stuff before, it’s mostly been wood-based craft projects. I’ve never attempted fine art painting on canvas or watercolor paper or whatever.  So this is my first go at painting on paper. So it’s a whole new experience in experimentation.
  • I’ve never used watercolors before.  I started with the crayons because everyone made it look so easy. (They are easy, but I didn’t get the same results I’ve seen on videos.)  I also had a kid’s set of watercolors that worked a bit better, but not great. I just bought a new set of real watercolor paint tubes, so we’ll see how that goes.  But my point is that I’ve never used this media before and I didn’t realize how much water was really involved in watercoloring.  (I added some ink on top of the watercolor to try and save things, ha!) So all that water and extra stuff added … of course it would make my paper go crazy with wrinkles and curls.
  • So I flipped to a new page and tried to lay down some gesso to create a solid base for the watercolor. Ummm… is gesso suppose to make the paper curl like this?

The blue on the right is ink that bled through from the other page and it’s still showing through the gesso.

You can see more pictures of these pages on my Flickr Photostream – Art Journal Set.

So this is just the beginning, right?  I haven’t even done any real art journaling yet – just trying to create a background to start building upon.  Maybe once I get started on adding layers of paper and decoupage and writing and collage and stuff… maybe the pages will un-curl a bit?  I don’t know.  But I’m not giving up yet – this is going to work for me even if it kills me!  This is suppose to be fun, right?  LOL!


Photography Club

Photography Club

About a year ago I found a really great photography club at Meetup – it’s a social calendar type website where you can find people in your town who share the same interests you do and get together in person.  We meet once a month and always have an “assignment.”  We all take pictures for the assignment then share it at our monthly meet-up.  It’s great to see how different people interpret the same thing.  This month’s assignment was “100 feet from your door.”

If anyone hadn’t noticed, it’s winter outside!  And I hate winter!  So going out into the cold to compose shots and play with my camera was not something I looked forward to.  But I got a few shots of the Christmas lights I have in my yard. Thought I’d share them with you here.

Even though they are dark, I love that the texture in the bark of the tree is so interesting.