Visual Journal Page 11: Take Responsibility

Visual Journal Page 11-Take Respondsibility

It was the time of year when hot sticky summer nights transition into the cool crisp fall. It’s my favorite time of year, witnessing the changing season through every sense. The air smells crisp, the air moves from warm to cool, the leaves crunch under toe, and goosebumps come and go as the changing atmosphere tickles my skin. It was the perfect fall evening, and I decided the best way to fall asleep was to the sound of the great outdoors, with a cool breeze coming through a slightly cracked window. Or so I thought.

As I finally began to settle and felt the first drifting of dreams coming in, a low howl rose to our second story window and in through the crack. It gradually pulled me from the brink of sleep to full awake, until I could no longer focus on anything but the howl. I tried my best to ignore the sound, to cover my ears, and once again find sleep, but it kept finding a way in.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor dog. While it was a beautiful night, not a bad night to be sleeping outdoors, I knew exactly which dog it was, and this wasn’t the only night they would be spending outside. A sweet pup down the street, on the corner, confined to a backyard wrapped in a chain link fence. Whenever my pups and I walk past the house, we stop for a moment and visit. Tails wagging, huffing and sniffing sounds exchanged, everyone excited to see a new face. I have never walked past that house without seeing her outside. Whether it’s in the dead heat of summer or the frigid chill of winter, there the dog sits. I have never seen another human interacting with her. I have never seen another dog playing with her. She is all alone, most likely kept only to keep others out.

Why spend the money to have a dog? Why spend the money to feed a dog? Why have a dog if you aren’t going to enjoy the amazing company they can provide? If you are concerned about security, make a one time purchase of an extra bolt for your door, a fence for your yard, a sign advertising an alarm system, whether or not that system exists. Why subject a living being to a lonely existence? Even if said dog was well feed and watered (which was questionable in this situation) they are still lacking the basic need of interaction, contact with another living, breathing being.

That howl haunted me all night, until I had no choice but shut the window, and attempt to ignore the situation down the street. I wasn’t able to sleep with the window open again, the howls continued, and continued to break my heart, until one day my pups and I passed the house, paused for a visit, and she was gone, never to return again. I can only hope she was taken to a loving, happy home. We have very active neighbors who rescue stray and abused dogs in the area, and this particular situation had been a recent topic. I choose to believe my neighbor was able to take action, and rescue the sweet girl. I need to believe that in order to maintain some belief in the existence of humanity, and to be able to walk past that house everyday. At the very least, she hasn’t been replaced by another “security system” doomed to the loneliness of an empty backyard.

When you choose to own a pet you choose to be responsible for their physical and mental well being. Your animals rely on you to meet their needs. They need food, water, and play. They need love, snuggles, and kisses. They need to be pet and held as much as they need physical sustenance. There is nothing like the connection between a dog and their owner in a happy home. I would recommend it to anyone, I think my life would be a little emptier without my babies in it. As much as I give to them, they give right back in every wag of the tail and desire to be near me. But, you must take responsibility.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Tissue paper (black, blue, white)
  • Silver sharpie
  • Book page paper
  • Pencil
  • Prisma markers
  • Fine and extra fine sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I decided to use a variety of material. Other than sharpie, I hadn’t experimented with art markers, and decided this could be a good opportunity. Living with a landscape architect husband means I have a whole separate set of art materials to test out, and his Prisma colored markers were just what I was looking for.

I decided to draw the back of my house, focusing on the left side, second story where our bedroom is. I sketched it out in pencil first, then went in with the markers. To maintain an even look, I applied one layer at a time, and always continued my lines off the page, rather than stopping in the middle, and accidentally crossing marker lines, creating a darker color where they cross. Once I filled the drawing in with color, I went back over the detail lines with an extra fine sharpie.

Once I completed my marker house, I cut it out. I decided to cut out the window of our bedroom, to emphasize the fact that it was open. To create the background I decided to layer strips of tissue paper. I love the texture it creates, and by including both blue and black, I hoped to show it was dusk, just after sunset, but before total darkness fell.

Once I glued down the strips of tissue paper and the house cut out, it felt a little empty. To add interest, I drew a tree silhouette on white tissue paper with sharpie. I carefully cut the tree out, leaving a thin white outline around the tree. I glued it to the left side of my visual journal.

To visually represent the howling, I used a silver sharpie to write “howl” all over the page. To complete the visual journal page I wrote “take responsibility” on a ripped out piece of book page, and layered it on a cut out piece of black tissue paper.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about something you want to take action on. It could be as small as helping your elderly  neighbor or solving world hunger.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journals by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!


 

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Teachers Pay Teachers: Math Decoration via an Art Teacher

Basic Math Posters

My dad would be so proud. After nearly 10 years after my last math class, I have returned to arithmetic basics thanks to a Teachers Pay Teachers buyer suggestion.

While math has never been my forte, my poor engineer father spent hours on end trying to help me understand, I have always understood art. I followed in my mom’s footsteps, as opposed to my dad, majored in art in college and started teaching high school art once I graduated. After a few years teaching, building a portfolio of lesson plans, worksheets, and decoration for my classroom, I heard of a website called Teachers Pay Teachers

. It offered an opportunity to not only share my lessons with fellow art teachers, but it also provided a chance for me to make a little extra money on the side. As a teacher, every extra bit of money helps.

A couple of years ago I added a few products, but never really checked in on them, and didn’t take the time to market them. The following summer I decided one of my goals was to really put time into my TPT shop, and see if I could find success like so many other teachers had. I chose my best products, improved them further, made my shop look nice, included detailed descriptions, and shared on social networking sites. My first successful products were my Elements of Art worksheet packet and Principles of Design worksheet packet. Out of nowhere, in August just as school was starting back, I began receiving daily notifications of new sales. Finally, my hard work had literally paid off.

A year after my products have really started to sell, I have added many more, and now have over 170 visual art based offerings. I am constantly putting up new things, testing the waters, seeing what people want. Recently, a buyer commented after purchasing my visual art poster pack that they would love some basic math and grammar posters. I was immediately intrigued. While my focus is neither math or grammar, my focus is to provided well designed, clear, and interesting products. My theory is, if a student’s interest can be sparked through color, texture, or pattern, they will be more engaged in whatever that product is trying to teach them. I had been looking for a good crossover product into general education, and this could be it.

For the past couple of weeks I have been working on math foundations, arithmetic posters. I am mainly gearing the information to elementary students, however, I don’t think there is anything wrong with hanging math basics in middle school and high school classrooms. As a student who constantly battled math, I would have benefited greatly from having foundation reminders I could reference.

So far, I have completed addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fraction, decimal, and percentage posters. I have a positive/negative numbers poster in the works, and am considering a time based poster for the itty bitties in elementary school. Currently, they are up on Teachers Pay Teachers for $2.00 each, but a bundle pack will be added very soon for a discounted price. Once my arithmetic posters are complete, I plan to do a set of geometry, algebra, trigonometry, etc. posters. I will be relying on the help of my math minded husband to complete the information on them, but I look forward to reminiscing on my middle and high school years as I create them. After that, I will visit the world of grammar and see what I can create there.

Here are my finish posters in their preview form. If you are interested in purchasing them without the watermark check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. Each poster comes in two variations, a large size and a 8.5″x11″ size for easy printing.

Addition Poster

The addition poster covers basic keywords, examples of addends and sums, and other information.

Subtraction Poster

My subtraction poster also includes keywords, a number line, and examples of various subtraction situations.

Multiplication Poster

The multiplication poster includes keywords, multiplication tips, and four methods to help you learn to multiply.

Division Poster

The division poster includes keywords, three different ways division equations may look, and four methods to help you learn to divide.

Decimal Poster

The decimal poster includes keywords, an example of place value, expanded fractional form, and examples on how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals. This poster is currently available for FREE download for a limited time! Check it out here.

Fraction Poster

The fraction poster includes keywords, an explanation of numerator and denominator, examples of proper, improper, mixed, and equivalent fractions, as well as a fraction number scale.

Percentage Poster

The percentage poster includes keywords, examples of converting decimals and fractions to percents, finding the percent of a number, increasing and decreasing numbers using percents, and a percentage number line.

Every poster was carefully designed. I used the symbols associated with the math foundation to create the pattern of the poster. I present the information in a visually pleasing way, that will hopefully better engage students as they learn. I am playing with the idea of converting these posters into worksheets with problems to test their knowledge on the back. I hope these find their way into typically mundane math classrooms and brighten up the walls and learning process.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and my Teachers Pay Teachers post! Help me spread the word about my products by sharing with others via your social networking site of choice. Use my share buttons below to make it easy! Have special request? I am happy to create custom order products. E-mail me here. Thanks for stopping by!


 

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Visual Journal Page 10: My Hands

Visual Journal Page 10-My Hands

It was a normal afternoon. I was in my car, on my daily commute home, half listening to NPR, half day dreaming, trying to keep my mind off of the building traffic.

Suddenly, something caught my attention on the radio. A story was being covered about an artist who was punished for drawing a political cartoon. His punishment was beyond my comprehension. They cut off his hands.

A simple drawing, a few lines of text, being bold enough to express your opinion, and losing your livelihood as a result. Stories like this make me appreciate the country I live in. While we have our own political issues, and while the constant rantings of those with views opposed to my own wear me down, it is their right to express their thoughts and opinions. Instead of listening to their right to speak, I will exercise my right to not listen, change the channel, mute the sound, or walk away. He expressed his basic human right to share his thoughts and opinions, yet he was punished.

He lost his hands.

As an artist it is difficult for me to comprehend the position this person was forced into. I can imagine his moment of inspiration and the risk taking I admire so much in others. I bet he felt motivated to try and create change in an environment that desperately needs it. Instead, he became a passing tale, one of thousands, in one ear out the other, a continuation of a horrific true story.

I hope his action and the reaction will not be in vain. Years after the “event” it still seems as though change will never come to certain areas. However, it may take a thousand more stories like his to force equality, freedom of expression, and a new power. His story may not have directly impacted his government at this point, but it directly impacted me. It will continue to impact my world view and appreciation of my gift of art and ability to use my hands.

Perhaps I will never have the courage he had. I don’t know if I could risk my passion for the possibility of change. All I know for sure is without my hands I would be lost.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Sharpie (multiple colors)
  • Pencil
  • Book pages

HOW TO

While planning out this visual journal page, I first decided I wanted it to look like I was bleeding art and I wanted a stark contrast between my hands and the “blood.” I decided the best way to create that contrast was to use a combination of pencil and sharpie, realism and a pop art feel.

I began the visual journal page by sketching out my hands. Once I felt good about the outline, I began shading them in. I used a standard pencil, and a blending stump to create a smooth blended texture. As I blended the pencil lead into the highlights, I continued to go back and punch up the shadows, to prevent the hands from looking like a single shade of gray. Looking back, I could push the highlights and shadows more. If you include pencil drawings, prevent smearing by spraying the page with fixative once you are finished.

Once the hands were complete, I added the sharpie. I started at the wrists, making it look like they were splitting apart, separating my hands from my arms. I bleed the sharpie into the background using exaggerated drop designs and swirls, and filling them in with color. I went straight into the background with the sharpie with a loose plan. I wanted it to look more spontaneous than planned out.

To finish the page I wrote the words on a separate, torn out book page. I cut the words out, and placed one per finger on the page.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page using a combination of pencil and sharpie to create contrast. Try to find a balance between the two materials, you don’t want the sharpie to overpower the pencil.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word by sharing with others. I couldn’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!


 

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Visual Journal Page 9: Yellow Ostrich

Visual Journal Page 9-Yellow Ostrich

There is a something special about band tees. When you find that one that has the perfect logo, perfect fit and you wear it until it has the perfect texture, almost see through from all the wear, you feel like you have found another part of you. Unlike normal t-shirts, band tees have personality. The logos are typical quirky, the font style interesting, and the band tee fabric is soft like nothing else. They also hold memories. They represent an event, a fun night, a song you’ve memorized the words to, music you have bounced along with.

I have had many band tees in and out of my life over the years. It’s always exciting discovering the next one, having a new shirt to break in. I love it when it hits the perfect point in its life where it fits you like a glove. I always hate the moment when I realize the fabric is growing thinner with every wash, knowing the end is around the corner. Many times I retire my most loved shirts before the holes get too big for it to be reasonable to still have in my closet.

At home and on weekends I live in my band tees. Nick knows my love of them, and it has practically become a tradition for Nick to surprise me with new shirts at concerts whether or not I was in attendance. He knows exactly what I like, and has a great eye for the best, quirkiest shirts. Often when he goes without me, he will arrive home after I’m asleep, and I wake up the next morning to find my shirt draped over the chair in the kitchen or sitting on the couch, waiting for me to put it on.

This visual journal page is about my all time favorite band tee surprise. It was a typical Nick concert night, he went with a few friends, and came back after my bedtime. When I walked downstairs in the morning I could barely contain my excitement. There, on the sofa, was a soft gray shirt with the image of a flying elephant, adorned with a crown. Perhaps the best part was the juxtaposition of the band name with the logo, “Yellow Ostrich’ with absolutely no reference to the color yellow or an ostrich on the shirt.

I have yet to find a shirt that tops my love for the Yellow Ostrich t-shirt. In the last few months, I have had to set it aside, it is beginning to wear thin. I still periodically put it on, but have become careful to not wear it out too much. I want it to last forever. I know Nick will one day top this shirt with another find in the future, but until then, I can reminisce on the moment I found this one, I love his surprises.

Although they have since broken up, you can still check out Yellow Ostrich here and their Facebook page here.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Pencil
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

While this visual journal page required few materials, it did require a lot of time and patience to fill in the pages with black sharpie. When I started laying out the page I immediately knew I wanted to recreate the shirt on the page, to memorialize it just in case the day comes when I have to retire the shirt forever. I decided to do a high contrast image, using the color of the background as the white space and black sharpie to create the contrasting dark color. Since I decided to use sharpie early on, I was able to prevent the sharpie from bleeding through the page by ripping out two pages from my book, and gluing them back in when I finished.

I used pencil to sketch out the image and write out the bubble letters. I used a regular size sharpie to fill in the space around the image. To maintain an even look, I colored the background in using a circular motion. By keeping the line quality and size consistent, I was able to make the sharpie look more even and blended. For the smaller details I went in with a fine sharpie, but kept my lines loose to match the line quality of the background.

Once the image was complete I used rubber cement to glue the pages on top of pages still attached to my book.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal about your all time favorite shirt or t-shirt.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and check out my blog! I hope you found some inspiration to get you started on your own visual journal. Help me spread the word about arts, craft, and journaling by sharing my blog with others. Thanks for stopping by!


 

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Back to the Grind: My Summer Off

Trinidad, CA

So far, 2015 has proven to be a busy year. I feel like I’ve been on the go since the beginning, and a lot of changes and new beginnings have presented themselves in the past 7 months. As the school year wrapped up and summer began, I readied my summer to do list, which included posting regularly to my blog. While 2015 has been an eventful year for me personally, my blogging life has fallen a little flat, and summer was no exception. In between the vacations and projects, I kept pulling up my site, starting a post, before being distracted by something else. Eventually I hit a point where I decided it was okay to take a break. What used to be a passion had suddenly turned into a to do burden. I was no longer putting the time or effort into my posts to make it worthwhile for me to write or my readers to read. But now I find myself back from summer and excited to share my new projects and life stories. I look forward to once again fulfilling my weekly goal of sharing my interests with you!

New Orleans

Lets recap. January started off slow and typical. Winter was cold, snow never coated the ground, the weather was dreary, and I was feeling the gray creeping inside my brain. I was tired, run down, and needed a pick me up. I got just what I needed in the coming months, and the work/sleep/eat routine was broken in February when I took my first trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2015.

It was an experience like no other, in a city like no other. I felt the tremors of the city as soon as we hit the bridges leading into town. There is an underlying sense of excitement and life in every tree, building, plate of food, and person you pass by. The city is full of color and culture. I took in the beautiful, huge, stretching trees that I have come to associate with my childhood and the south. My eyes devoured the architecture, flying beads, and costumes, while my stomach ate up some of the best food I have ever had. I ate my first crawfish out of a bag, sitting on the ground in the park. It was a beautiful city and breath of fresh air, just what I needed to get back on track.

Seattle to San Fran

Not long after our trip to New Orleans, I was once again packing my bags, getting ready for Nick and my long awaited west coast adventure. For 10 days wse spent time on foot, in cars, on bicycles, on buses, and hiking trails from Seattle to San Francisco. My recently relocated cousin gave us a good excuse to go out to Seattle and visit. What began as a long weekend trip turned into an all out tour of the Pacific northwest. This trip was a like no other, and is an experience I will never forget.

Each city was as unique and interesting as the last. In Seattle I discovered a city built on hills, with an underground city hiding underneath. In Portland I found amazing natural beauty nestled directly outside of skyscrapers. In northern California I fulfilled my childhood dream of standing in front of a redwood and we feel asleep to the sound of barking of sea lions. In San Francisco I saw an amazing harmony of cultures coexisting in the bay side city. In ten days we experienced mountains, forests, beaches, and cities. I wore sundresses in the sand, galoshes in torrential downpours, and layers of coats in feet of snow.

This trip was not only a testament to our beautiful country, culture, art, and architecture, but it was also a reminder of how much I love my Nick. We packed into our tiny rental and drove hours from location to location. Perhaps we would have made better time if we didn’t stop every mile on the Pacific Coast Highway for me to snap yet another picture, but Nick noticed every time my eyes lit up in need of another snapshot memory. I never tired of his company, I could have spent another 10, 20, 30 days packed into a car with just him, touring the countryside and cityscapes.

Many of the pictures I took on this trip have already made their way into my encaustic art. Be on the lookout for future posts about my new projects!

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 10.52.24 AM

Although it was difficult to leave our vacation bubble and return to the real world, I headed back feeling rejuvenated. I was so inspired by everything I saw, felt, and experienced, and I couldn’t wait to infuse that into my teaching, artwork, and home. With the passing of March came the warming of the air, spring showers, and the coming and going of my busiest time of year at school. Before I knew it, summer was on the cusp, and so was our first dinner club.

As an effort to keep in touch with our dear friends in our growing, busy lives, Nick and I decided to get a group together once a month to eat good food, share recipes, and enjoy each other’s company. The first one was hosted at our house, a crawfish boil in the backyard. It was a taste of New Orleans brought home, the perfect start to the spring and coming of summer.

CharlestonBefore I could even start my summer countdown, school was over. I began my first weekend of summer in one of my favorite southern cities, Charleston. It marked the beginning of my much needed extended vacation, a very busy wedding season for Nick and I, and the addition of a sister-in-law to my seemingly ever growing family. We celebrated Nick’s brother marrying his perfect match, and spent the weekend piled into a house on the beach with his parents, 5 siblings, significant others, and extended family.

Teapot

We were reunited with Nick’s sister, brother-in-law, and our two nieces in the house on Folley beach. After a year in Italy, it was wonderful to see their faces again, hear about their traveling adventures, and witness the hyperactivity of toddlers. It also gave me the chance to give Kyla her birthday teapot, designed to fit her two year birthday theme, Carnivale, a traditional celebration in Italy. Be on the look out for a more extensive post about this tea set in the future.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 10.52.59 AM

I was very spoiled to be able to enjoy three weeks of my summer in Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head has been a part of me since I can remember. Every summer our family of five braved the five plus hour drive to the small, tennis shoe shaped island off the coast of South Carolina. We learned to crawl, walk, and ride bikes on the sandy beach. I realized my first nugget of independence as my parents allowed the kids to ride the bike trails unsupervised.

This summer was spent between two houses, which felt like a living metaphor. The old and the new, the coming and the going. My parents closed on a new property in Hilton Head in the spring. A beautiful house, only one street away from the original house, but many steps closer to the beach. Although my parents are keeping the partnerships of both houses intact, there was something monumental about heading to the new property. All the kids are grown up, my sister already has one of her own learning to run on the beach just like we did. The old house will always hold the memories of my siblings and I growing up, but I know this new house will soon hold the memories of our kids growing up.

Sarah Showers

After Hilton Head, another wedding was celebrated in another amazing southern location, Asheville, North Carolina. As I headed home I began planning a bridal shower for another future sister-in-law, Sarah, and getting information about her bachelorette party, to be held at the end of summer. A couples shower cook out was hosted at my house, full of crafty projects and decor I can’t wait to share. Be on the lookout for these how tos coming soon. Since January I have gained two more sisters. I am incredibly lucky my brother-in-laws know how to pick girls I click with, I couldn’t ask for better family.

Aruba Scenes

The next wedding location of the season required an international voyage to Aruba. Nick was honored as Jared’s best man as he married his other half, Ashley. Not only did we get to see some of our best friends commit their lives to each other, but we got to do it in an unbelievable location. For five days we sat next to turquoise waters, tanned alongside iguanas, and ate fresh-caught-daily seafood.

5 Year Wedding Anniversary

A few days after Jared and Ashley tied the knot, Nick and I celebrated five years married. Aruba was the perfect location for our anniversary celebration, and our last full day on the island, we spent together, crammed on a 1980’s dirt bike touring the island. I can’t believe we have been a couple for 10 years, with 5 years of marriage under our belts. I’ve never regretted picking him, I’m not sure I had a choice in the matter, it felt right from day one. As I’ve said before, and as I will say again, I think we have at least another 75 years together in us.

Starlight Six Drive In

The end of summer is bittersweet. I begin to realize I am losing a portion of my freedom for another nine months, but I am also ready to see my kiddos, and ready for my birthday, which always seems to mark my last weekend of summer. Year 28 of my life was closed out with a drive in movie, lots of junk food, and lots of attention and love from my family and hub. School was about to start again, and it was time to wrap my head around the coming work, and get ready for another great year.

Cooper James

In addition to all of our trips and busy schedules, we also found out we were pregnant with our first baby in March. Now I find myself back to school, almost 7 months pregnant, planning a nursery, and prepping for our baby boy. I can’t wait to see his sweet face in flesh and color, and discover which features he decided to model after his dad and which ones he modeled after me. With the coming of baby also brings a lot of home projects, which will also be coming soon to my how tos.

Aruba 2

I hope you enjoyed the recap of the last 7 months, and I promise to stay on top of my postings as things continue to get busier. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help spread the word about easy craft projects, art making techniques, and visual journaling by sharing it with others! Thanks for stopping by.


 

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