Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Connect...But Do It Fast

I'm in a bit of a crunch for time this week...I am leaving the beach tomorrow for a long weekend (YAY!) and I still have to pack (and be at work on time)!  But I had to squeeze in a little post before I head out...

For DOCUMENTED LIFE (DLP) this week, the prompt is "Splatters and Drips", and here's what I came up with:

"Learn how to see.  Realize that everything connects to everything else." -Leonardo da Vinci

Can I just tell you that I am in love with this background?  I used Distress Stains for the drips and Dylusions for the splatters.  I love the way the colors reacted with each other...even the parts that turned to mud when the complimentary colors mixed!  I also like the contrast the grid pattern drips made with the wild splatters!  The girls were just some sketchy doodles I had done on leftover watercolor paper.  I think the quote fits the background too...I love it when things like that happen!

I also wanted to show you what I have for Journal 52 so far.  I'm not done with her, but I am so insanely proud of her that I had to share before I sneak off to the watery goodness that awaits!


She's got some rhyming words already picked out for her...I can't wait to finish her off when I get back!

I need to do more with the colorizing, I've only got the initial watercolor wash down, but I'm so thrilled about how the profile face turned out that I couldn't wait to show her off!  *arm breaks from patting self on back*  

I've been drawing faces for a good while now, but my attempts at faces in profile have always been...too bad to be blog-worthy.  Or even journal worthy...I usually gesso over them and do something entirely different.  But this girl...oh lawdy!  She will NOT be gesso covered!

As excited as I am to get away to the beach, I'm almost as excited to come back so that I can finish this girl!  ...almost...  Well, at least it will give me something to think about on the long drive home...

I'm off now, to get work over with...and then to head out on my beachy adventure!  I hope you'll have as awesome a weekend as I plan to!  If you find yourself in need of a break, I'll keep a spot under the umbrella saved for you!

Friday, September 19, 2014

And There She Is..

We can all breathe a little more easily...apparently I have not been body snatched just JOURNAL 52 (J52) page for this week has a face, words, and zero fussy's back to my normal style for this one:

"You speak to me with words and I look at you with feelings."

The prompt for J52 this week was "Newspaper", and my friend Pamikins saved my bacon again this week, as she had sent me the piece of Chinese (I think...) newspaper that's in the background.  That's two goodies from Pamikins in my art in one week!  I must be thinking about her! :)

This prompt/page made me think about how I feel about the news, whether it's a newspaper or a news cast on TV...  which is I don't like it.  Here's my problem with the news in general: They show you a story about how 500 people died in some horrific way and then immediately follow that with a story about cute puppies...  News media is set up in a way that makes you not have to feel too bad that those 500 people died.  They give you information about something sad and frightening and then give you a feel good story to make you forget the terrible thing they told you mere minutes before.  The thing is, or how I think anyway, you should feel sad/angry/scared about things that are sad/enraging/frightening...but they take that away.

People want to point the finger at video games or violence in movies, but, in my opinion, nothing is more desensitizing than the news.  Which is why I never watch the news and the only parts of the newspaper I look at are the comics, the puzzles and Dear Abby...and the only reason I like Dear Abby is because it makes me think of this song by John Prine:

I know that really bad things happen in the world all the time, and I don't want people to constantly walk around scared and depressed and angry...but I do think that these are normal and healthy reactions to have...and I think that news media has taken away a big portion of people's sympathy/empathy and left us with a  FLATTENED AFFECT.  There has to be some kind of middle ground where you can still be empathetic but not be constantly afraid or sad...and if the news media can ever figure out where that middle ground is, then maybe I'll  start picking up the paper or watching it on TV.

In the meantime, I'll just continue doing what's worked for me thus far: recognizing that the world is a scary, depressing, and infuriating place most of the time and doing what little bit I can to make it better in whatever way I can, even if all I'm able to do is listen to a person with empathy in my heart.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What Can I Say?

The prompt for Documented Life this week was "Feathers" and here's what I did:

Thank you to my Pamikins for the awesome crow napkin.  It is SO awesome and I wish I had a million of them, because I LOVE how it looks!

I cut my feathers out by hand...yes, that's fussy cutting two weeks in a row (WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME???) using scrapbook paper and some pages from my beloved Gregg journal.  I feel as though Gregg has been sorely neglected...I need to make things right with him...I love Gregg too much to leave him all alone for so long!

I'm slowly trying to use up my enormous scrapbook paper stash...I mean, I don't guess it's an enormous stash compared to other people's stashes...but it's definitely an enormous stash for me, because I hardly ever use it.  It's been calling my name more and more...I'm going to have to figure out how to incorporate it into some art stuff and appreciate it's magnificence in that way...instead of appreciating it's magnificence on the shelf... 

This was a rare spread for me, because it doesn't really mean anything.  I mean, look at it.  No quotes or anything!  And it's not because I didn't try!  I actually spent last night scrolling through Pinterest for some kind of words to add and I came up with NOTHING!  

Don't get me wrong, I like this spread...I like it pretty darn well actually...but there's just something weird going on here!

No quotes on this spread...fussy cutting two weeks in a face has been's like invasion of the body snatchers in my studio!  (I'M SCARED!!!)

The only thing I really associated with this spread was noticing that the birds here in East Tennessee are starting to flock together, gearing up for the trip South (just like me next week...heading to the beach!!!  I can't wait!)...a sure sign that fall is close at hand!  And I do love me some fall weather...  Maybe that's why I'm cool with this spread as it is and not TOO freaked out (...still a little freaked out...) by the no words/no face/fussy cutting that I've got going on...

Add to the list of weird things happening in this post...I can't think of anything else to add!  Usually I'm so wordy (you know me!), but seriously, I've got NOTHING!  Who am I and what happened to the real Sweets?

Maybe if I go work on my Journal 52 for this week she'll come's worth a shot...  :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Happier Place

I've got a bunch of stuff to share this time.  

First, I'm going to share my Journal 52 (J52) page from last week.  The prompt was to "make a page that's all about time" and here's what I did:

"over time"

I got the inspiration for this page from this song, "Over Time" by Lucinda Williams (you may want to turn down your speakers, btw, because the tremolo on this song is pretty loud):

I had some sad-sackery insights into this page and song and was going to get all philosophical and blah, blah, blah...but then I stopped myself.

I've been on a binge of depressing stuff for WAY too long, and I'm going to try to pull myself out of that habit.  It gets old, you know?  

So I'm sorry for the long term wiener-ness that's been happening on the blog and let's try to have a binge of good stuff for a while, ok? :)

For this week's Documented Life (DLP) the prompt was to "use a white pen prominently on your page" and here's what I did:

The right page is actually a dark purple, but for some reason it's showing up funky...I don't know user error is my best guess...

This spread was a little bit of a battle for me.  I had done something else completely, but the pages sucked up the white pen and it was really faint in the end.  I decided to start over and painted over everything with acrylic paint.  I like it much better now.

I love the way the background shows through the paint on this and that the previous layer picked up too!

On the left page especially, you can see parts of the original stuff I had done (and the SmashBook image, a rotary phone, comes through as well)...I think that's pretty neat.  And I like the way the blue and orange set each other off so well...oh complimentary colors, you are making my day!

"Don't you know yet?  It is your light that lights the world." - Rumi

I saw that quote on Pinterest (where else?) and thought it was a good one to use with the white pen on dark backgrounds.  

Wouldn't that be such a nice thing to have someone say to you?  "Don't you know yet?"  I like that...  Sometimes we don't see our own good things...but someone out there does.  The "yet" gets me right in the feels, because he's saying 'one day you'll see it too'...that's such a nice thought!

And finally, this week's J52 prompt, "Create a page that has a lot of texture":

I was inspired by the fortune cookie fortune I got on Friday: "Now is a good time to explore the nearest coastline."

Can I just tell you how very stinking happy this piece makes me?  Cause OOH BABY!!!  I love looking at it!  Seriously, like running around the house holding it above my head going "TRA-LA-LA" because I love it that much!

Here are the textures I used (I tried to pack as many as I could into this one spread): crackle paint (thick layer for big cracks), coarse texture gel, glitter glue (cheapie kind) and Stickles  for the sand textures, gloss gel medium  (tinted and not tinted) and acrylic paint with micro beads added to it for the water, THIS aluminum foil technique for the palm tree trunk (I used brown paint instead of black), book pages, handmade paper, and crackle paint (thin layer for smaller cracks) for the palm leaves, and Crackle Accents, Enamel Accents (the black holes) and Souffle Pen (white accents on the holes) for the coconuts.

Be impressed because I cut all the shapes out freehand, and if you know me, you know how much I don't care for snipping! :)

I like it so much I have to show you two pictures, because this one shows better just how shiny the water is...ooh  I can't stand how much I like this!

I did this piece on Grungepaper (from Tim Holtz/Ranger).  The dimensions of it is 12x6, and so it's a weird shape compared to the rest of my J52 kind of makes me love it more...

On a side note, I don't know if anybody else is familiar with Grungepaper, but if you know of any technique tutorials using it, would you pass them along my way?  It's got such a strange feel to it that I'm not super sure how to work with's not like paper, it's not like chip board, it's not like's strange stuff!  I'm at a loss as to how to use it in the 'intended' way...

At the end of this month, my mom and I are going to the beach for four days away, and I am so excited and ready to go!  I've been looking forward to this trip since last year!  And now it's just a few short weeks away and I am in kid-going-to-Disneyland mode...aka I wake up at 4 AM going "Is it today? Is it today? How much longer? Are we there yet?"  

It's probably a big part of the reason I like this spread so reminds me of the beachy goodness just around the corner...even though there are no coconut palms where we are going (they have Palmetto palms...which are very short and a little anti-climactic if you are expecting the big tall palms)!  Coconuts or not, I'm ready for the beach to go!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Such a Card - Rubber Dance Stamp Color Challenge

I may have turned over a new leaf...a new autumn leaf...

Bibi over at RUBBER DANCE ART STAMPS is hosting a monthly color challenge!  You know I'm a sucker for a challenge...and, to add even more excitement, she's giving away a grab bag of her beautiful stamps for the winner of the challenge!  So much fun!  The two conditions are to use stamps and the colors of the month.

This month's colors are classic autumn colors (you can read more about it HERE and enter the challenge yourself!).  Fall is my absolute, hands down favorite season, and the colors of fall really got me excited to play.

I am a guilty stamp hoarder, so I was extra happy to have a reason to pull out my stamps and sift through to find some autumnal goodness!

Going one step further from my comfort zone, I even decided to try my hand at making a card!  I have to thank my friend Boo for inspiring me to try.  She's the best!

Here's what I made:

Ooh...I'm so proud!

I used THIS tutorial to make my card.  The instructions were very clear and she gave the sizes for the paper cuts so that I didn't have to guess!

I've tried making cards before (a LONG time ago) and the results could only be called epic failure.  This time I'm really happy with the way my card turned out!  I'm giddy with pride!

Now that I made one card, I have this insane urge to go crazy and make a gazillion more!  Which could be a good thing considering the huge assortment of scrapbook paper I have.  Plus I'd use my stamps more...and I have embossing powder...and flocking...and...OhMyGoodness, I think I've lost whatever is left of my mind to the card-making muse!

Another bonus...I'll have to do something with the my mail art friends will have proof that I have not forgotten them!  

I'm going to go now...and make more cards supper like a responsible adult...and then more cards...

Who am I one's eating supper in this house tonight... :)

Monday, September 1, 2014


This week's DOCUMENTED LIFE (DLP) prompt is "Black and White".  Here's what I did:

Keeping it simple this week, I used my Inktense pencils is black, charcoal grey (which is a greenish grey) and bark (which, in my opinion, is a reddish grey).  I used two coats of gesso, but you can still see the up and down arrows that are on the SmashBook pages I worked was totally unintentional, but I think it looks pretty cool...  

The SmashBook that I use for my DLP journal is getting so full!  You can kind of see in the picture above how rounded/humpish the left pages are!  I keep looking at how many weeks are left and wondering how I'm going to manage to work on them, especially the ones at the very will be interesting!

"How can you say things are black and white?  All I see are shades of gray."

Two random thoughts: First, 'shades of gray' has nothing to do with that book...wouldn't want people thinking I'm a pervert...  (It may be true, I just don't want you to think it... haha).  And second, I didn't realize that you could spell it 'gray' or 'grey'...either one is correct.  I always thought it was one or the other, but apparently both are do you live for 31 years and not know that?

This girl is so wonky!  I think I usually manage to cover the wonk pretty well, because I can use color as a distraction, but this girl doesn't have that luxury!  She's not the best girl I've done, but I do like her eyes.  I think they convey what I was going for, but, of course, I know what I was going for, so that may be a bias opinion...

My mom came over yesterday and we got to hang out for a while.  I don't get to see her as much as I'd like to, even though we don't live that far away.  Some days, I really miss the way my family (my mom and my siblings) interact.  In my family, they know my kind of crazy...they're relatively accepting of it, and they can rein me in when I get too far to one extreme or the other.  I've been married for going on 11 years, and while there are good things about the dynamic my husband and I have, he's not always so accepting of my crazy.

For instance, in the past two years, we've had at least five arguments about the fact that I don't believe the moon landing was real.  Now, when I tell you this, I want to explain that I'm not spouting this off to every person I meet or making a huge stink on the internet about it or even mentioning it to anyone unless I'm specifically asked about it.  I don't think about it all the time or anything, but in a simple, passive way, I've just got doubts.

My husband CAN NOT accept that I think this.  That's why we've had arguments about it multiple times.  The most recent one was just last weekend.  I hate arguing...I really do try to avoid it.  This argument, the same one I've had five times, always begins with my husband 'starting a conversation' about it.  As soon as the words come out of his mouth, I know where it's going to lead.

The bad thing about debating something with me is that my brain works fast.  I will always have an immediate answer to whatever question a person will ask...I will always have a counter argument ready before the other person even finishes their sentence.  I'm not saying in any way, shape or form, that I'm smarter than anyone...just that my brain is always going 90 in a 35 zone and most other people tend to follow the speed limit.  Trust me when I say to you that, minus the rare occasion I'm arguing with someone, this racing brain I've got is way more of a curse than a benefit.

So no matter what my husband throws at me about my moon landing beliefs, I have an answer.  I have logical, plausible theories as to why the government would fake it and how/why they could continue to perpetuate the lie and blah, blah, blah.  I won't bore you with that, because it's not the point.

The thing that is bothering me about these arguments is this:  I don't ask anyone to think the way I think.  I accept that Andy believes what he believes and I don't force what I believe on him.  I will gladly listen to another person's opinion, weigh what they say, and consider, with an objective mind, the possibility that I could be wrong.  All I'm asking is to be shown the same respect.

But in this instance, it is not possible for him to give me the respect I give him.  He needs me to say I agree with him.  When he asks for my opinion, he doesn't want my opinion, he wants his opinion repeated back to him in my voice.  He can't accept that I think differently, because this is something that 'everyone knows'...(at one point, everyone 'knew' the earth was flat too...just saying...).

When my husband said that 'everyone knows' the moon landing happened, it made me realize that me not thinking it happened (or, more correctly, that I can accept that there may be an alternative possibility) is not what he has a problem with.  Despite the five arguments we've had about it, he doesn't care that about the moon landing at all.

What all those arguments were really about is the fact that I deviate from the established norm.  I'm not like other people and that's not ok in his eyes.  He's asking me to be something I'm not so that he can be comfortable.  It agitates him that I can't or won't do it.

The really stupid thing, in my eyes, is this: does it really matter?  I'm not hurting anyone, I'm not out there trying to rally people to my crazy conspiracy cause or anything.  So why does it bother him so much to know that on the inside I question things?

I think it's because people like black and white.  To some extent, we all like things to be one way or the other with certainty...without having to question it.  And some people, like my husband, need this certainty so much so that they can only acknowledge one thing as real and can't even consider another possibility.

And me, I'm at the opposite end of that.  Things are NEVER black and white for me.  Facts are not always facts.  Nothing is ever certain.  My mind doesn't let me have that.  The outcome of something isn't the end, it's a question.  I need the why behind the outcome.  I need to know what led to it and if some minor change had happened, would the outcome have been different.  And there are endless variations.  Life is a million shades of grey, but never, ever is it black and white...not even close.

It makes it difficult to live with me, I'm sure.  Really, I find myself wishing more and more that I could see things in such definite terms.  It's very tiring to never be sure of anything.  It hurts sometimes too.  For instance, I was writing in my journal recently and wrote "I don't want to be loved without question, I want to never question that I am loved."  What I mean by that is I don't want unconditional love...I don't want a love where no matter what horrible thing I do, another person can't help but love me.  If I repeatedly do a horrible thing, then I wouldn't want the other person to be stuck in loving me...I would want them to be free of me.  At the same time, I don't want to have to constantly question whether other people really love me.  If I'm a decent person (which I think I am) then I'd like to be able to believe I'm loved for the person that I am.  I don't like that my brain always wonders if it's true or not. I don't want to NEED to know why I'm loved.  But I do, not necessarily because I can't believe it, but because my mind wants the reasoning.  And this is just one example...everything I ever think is questioned, examined, turned over and's just the way my brain works.

  Like I said, I think to some degree, my family gets it...and my husband to a lesser extent...and mostly, I try to not talk about it because it makes people uncomfortable.  It makes people look at me oddly.

The thing is, I'm not wrong.  In the same way that my husband is not wrong.  We all have the right to feel how we do about things.  We all have the right to accept things or to question them as we see fit.  No one should get to dictate another person's normal.

But, just like my husband, there are times that I don't understand how or why people think differently than I do.  I don't understand why my mind works the way that it does.  At the same time, it's often the only way that makes sense to me.  Why don't other people seem to need to know what's behind the curtain/what's underneath/what the motives are when that's such an important thing to me?  How do other people turn off their minds and stop thinking about things and why can't I do the same?

I wonder if anyone out there wishes their mind works like mine does?  I wish I was better at being decisive.  I wish that I was better at knowing with certainty that the way things are is the way things are.  I wonder if there's anyone out there who wishes they had a more open mind?  Maybe there's someone that can't see all the options and wishes they were more like me.  I wish I could find that person and switch with them for a while...just to know what it was like...maybe then I could appreciate my own crazy mind a little more...