Visual Journal Page 6: Blue Chairs

Visual Journal Page 6-Blue Chairs

Almost five years after buying my first house, I am still not finished buying furniture, painting walls, or decorating in general. At this point, it feels like a never ending cycle. As soon as one room is complete, I move onto the next one, until I return to my starting point and realize, I no longer like that pillow pattern, wall color, or need a new throw for the sofa.

This visual journal page was created only 2 and a half years after moving in. It was slow progress saving up the money we needed to complete critical projects, such as adding a table and chairs to the empty space in our kitchen. For two and a half years, a pendant light hung over nothing but air and tile in our kitchen. Not only did the space feel incomplete, the hanging light was also a hazard. With no table blocking the path, people would walk through and bang their head on the light. I had been patient long enough, it was time to finish the space.

When Nick and I got married, one of the places we registered was Crate & Barrel. I love the modern style, clean lines, and bright colors that are carried throughout their products. We registered for the typical pots and pans, place settings, and flatware; but I also added a few items I feel in love with, but knew no one would buy us, such as the beautiful, turquoise, slat-back chairs.

I yearned for the chairs from the first day I saw them, but at practically $200 a piece, they were no where near our budget. For two and a half years I checked the Crate & Barrel website, searching for a coupon, sale, or any option to bring them into my price range. After what seemed like an eternity, a sale popped up, and my chairs were marked down. I immediately went to the store, thrilled to finally complete my kitchen.

When I arrived, only two chairs were left in the state of Georgia, and they were mine. Now all I had to do was find the perfect table…

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • rubber cement
  • Old book pages
  • Pencil
  • colored pencil
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page, I decided to create a cohesive image using just one material, colored pencils. I started by re-drawing the kitchen space on two book pages. I sketched out the windows, walls, and floors, using pencil, then layered colored pencil on top. When drawing with colored pencils I highly recommend using the Prismacolor brand. They are expensive, at nearly $1.00 a pencil, but worth the cost. If you slowly layer a mix of tints and shades of one color, it creates an interesting blend, with a lot of depth.

Once I completed the background, I used rubber cement to glue the book pages to my visual journal. Next, I sketched out the chairs. I used at least 5 different shades of blues to achieve the range of darks and lights. A white colored pencil was used last to add the highlights to the chairs. Remember, when shading in color, shadows are rarely black. Typically the shadows are a darker version of the color they are overlapping.

After my chairs were drawn and filled in, I used scissors and an Xacto knife to cut them out. I glued them on top of the background, and my page was complete!

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about the one thing you want to purchase most. It could be something you are saving up for, will never be able to buy, or are heading out to pick up today. Good luck and have fun!

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

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Ceramics: Watermelon Themed Tea Set

Watermelon Tea Set

It is amazing how time flies. It seemed like just yesterday my sister and I were at home, playing with our American Dolls and Barbies, dreaming of our future weddings and husbands. In the blink of an eye we were both graduated, married, and Christy was pregnant.

The nine months it took for us to meet Payton Grace was incredibly fast and painfully slow, all at the same time. I couldn’t wait to meet my third niece, the first for my side of the family. The day she finally decided to come into this world, she was perfect. I was thrilled to be an aunt once again.

My sister and I live in the same city, which means I get a good amount of Payton contact time. I love making her laugh, chasing her around, and giving her snuggles, when she allows. I was shocked when summer returned once again, July 21st hit, and Payton turned one.

When my first niece, Rylie, turned one, I made her a tea set that matched her first birthday theme, Rylie in One-derland. I loved having the opportunity to make her something special, that she could treasure later in life. After Rylie, came Kyla and Payton. I realized I couldn’t favor one niece, they all deserved their own special teapots.

Payton’s first birthday was watermelon themed, and came and went before I had a chance to get hers complete for her first. However, her watermelon tea set came just six months late, for Christmas.

As soon as Christy shared the theme I knew I wanted to create a teapot with a slice taken out of it, showing the bright red and dark seeds on the inside. When I finally got started, I allowed the body of the teapot to dry out slightly, before cutting the triangle shape out. I added clay slabs into the area, creating the watermelon slice. I added a stem like handle, leaves, vines, and the easy to recognize watermelon striping.

Teapot

After the body of the teapot was complete, I made small teacups, with corresponding colors and patterns to match. I used black glaze to splatter the interior of the cups, to reference the black seeds of a watermelon.

Teacups

After completing the set, I decided it still wasn’t finished. I took the cut out section from the teapot, added slabs to it, and turned the watermelon slice into a creamer pitcher. A small vine was added for the handle, and a section was cut out of the top, to create a lid.

Cream Pitcher

I was excited to finally hand Payton’s teapot over to her. I hope she will cherish it for years to come.

Teapot and Pitcjer

Kyla’s teapot is currently in the works, hers will be Carnivale themed for her second birthday. Check back for an update in the coming months. Check out Rylie’s Alice and Wonderland teapot here.

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


 

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Visual Journal Page 5: Year 25

Visual Journal Page 5-Year 25

My birthday is one of my favorite times of year. While I don’t require week, or month long, celebration, I do require a lot of attention the day of. I begin the countdown around a month before, constantly reminding Nick the first of the month is quickly approaching, August 1st is almost here, and it is a very important day.

I love birthdays in general. I love being the center of attention, pampered, and treated like royalty one day of the year. I also love celebrating birthdays. In college, I made it a point to make sure my roommates always had a full birth-day. My friends and I always tried to go above and beyond for each other to  make our days special while away from home. Waking up Theresa at the crack of dawn to surprise her with pancakes and balloons, Elly and I spontaneously buying a happy birthday blow up lion to use every year to celebrate, making all of their favorite dinner dishes, even if it meant fried ravoli and mashed potatoes in the same meal.

Nick knows my birthday enthusiasm. Every year I make a point to make him “big family breakfast,” a feast of bacon, potatoes, eggs, and toast, even if it means getting up an extra hour before work. After all, it is “birth-day” not “birth-dinner” or “birth-coupleofhours,” and everyone deserves a special day to celebrate.

While in school I hated having a summer birthday. I meant less attention was paid to me. I didn’t get to carry around balloons, get my locker wrapped, or be surprised with gifts from my friends. I didn’t get the time in the spotlight when everyone feels obligated to wish you happy birthday, because you have a giant sign, in the form of a balloon, announcing you made it another year.

However, as an adult, summer birthdays are my favorite. It means no work, regardless of whether or not my birthday falls on a Monday or Saturday. It means I most likely get to spend the day doing one of my favorite summer activities, lounging by the pool with a good book and adult beverage. I cherish my days off and the complete laziness I am allowed to enjoy on August 1st.

Needless to say, when I discovered pre-planning started on my birthday in 2011, I was devastated. I was going to have to get up early, make myself presentable, and do work, for the first time in two months, on my birthday. My birth-day was being reduced to what I never wanted, a quick dinner after work. I hoped, at the very least, I would be able to go out for lunch with my coworkers, without having to announce to the world it was my birthday and I needed special treatment. However, being the first day back, everyone decided to work straight through lunch.

It was a difficult day to stay focused, and I was glad when the clock hit 3:30, and I could head home. Nick and I did enjoy an amazing sushi dinner, and I was surprised with the usual pile of presents Nick insists on creating. I was most excited for my Nook, an easy way for me to consume book after book while being lazy at the pool, something to look forward to next summer. I still enjoyed my day, I still appreciated everything I was given, but perhaps this was the final nail in the coffin of my first teaching job. I needed to get closer to home and in a school that did not start on my birthday.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Watercolor
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Sharpie
  • Pencil
  • White paper
  • Book pages

HOW TO

For this visual journal page I wanted to include a day of activities and gifts into one image. After thinking about ways to simplify the page, I decided to focus on the Nook Nick gave me for my birthday, and include snapshots of the day on the screen.

Once I had a plan in place, I began working on the Nook. I wanted the screen of the Nook to stand out from the background, so I layered lighter colored book pages on a white sheet of paper. After, I began sketching out the Nook. I focused on all the small details, the battery icon, side buttons, home screen icons, etc., to make it look more realistic. I then used acrylic paint to fill in the the Nook.

To reflect my birthday day I divided the screen into three sections. One area to represent my desk at work, one area for the pile of presents, and one area for my delicious sushi birthday meal. Once I had a rough sketch, I added color and details with acrylic paint. Since the images were fairly small and loosely painted, a lot of detail was lost. To emphasize shadows and line I used an extra fine Sharpie to add detail back in.

Once the Nook painting was complete, I set it on the page. It filled up the space nicely, but overall, the image fell a little flat. I decided to create watercolor splatters to outline the Nook to add a little more interest to the page. On a separate sheet of paper I collage a light brown color book page, then painted a line of green watercolor on top. Before the paint dried, I blew the paint to splatter it. I continued this process until I had enough to outline the Nook.

I used rubber cement to glue all of the elements down.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about your last or upcoming birthday.


 

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Visual Journal Page 4: To My Husband

Visual Journal Page 4-To My Husband

As I worked through my three books, traditions began falling into place. First, came the quote at the start of the book. A way to set the tone for the pages to come. Next, came the dedication to my book. The final page, a space for me to acknowledge the sacrifice and inevitable change in meaning for the book being used. By the time I settled into my third book, I began using the layout of the book as another source of inspiration for my pages.

As I worked through the first few pages of this book, I found myself on the original dedication page. The author of “Early American Dedication” had a simple, yet powerful dedication: “To my husband.” An entire page with blank space made the single line even more meaningful, “To my husband.” The sense of a strong marriage, support, love, care, and encouragement resonated off the page. I made an immediate connection with the three word sentence, and suddenly felt a sense of comradery with the author.

As I approach my 5 year wedding anniversary, and 10 year dating anniversary, I feel a strong set of emotions. When I turn 29 I will have already spent almost a third of my life with the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with. At a young 19 I unknowingly met my match. A lot of changes take place between the ages of 19 and practically 30. The years of care-free, irresponsible, fun moved towards the first very broke years of being on your own. As you transition to your mid-twenties the inevitable first life crisis approaches, in the newly coined and very real quarter life crisis. Marriage, talks of children, and more responsibilities are added. I’m still a year and a half from thirty, but I am already terrified of what it means to be thirty. Thirty means real adulthood and real responsibility.

Through many major life changes, difficult transitions, and amazing amount of fun, my main constant has been my Nick. Together we have grown up and grown closer as we dealt, and continue to deal, with the realty of adulthood and the inevitable bumps along the way. A lot happens in the course of ten years, and I still feel just as connected to him today as I did when we first started dating.  I can’t wait for him to get home after work each day. He is the first person I tell exciting news, disappointments, frustrations, and ridiculous stories I read on the internet. I can’t imagine life without him.

As I worked through art school, exhausted myself trying to stay afloat my first years teaching, and as I explore new career options as a working educator and wanna be working artist, he has always been right by my side providing the encouragement I need. When I joke about quitting my full time job, and tells me to do it. He tells me we will find a way to make it work, because he wants me to be happy in whatever I am pursuing. When I look back at my income and expenses for my part time, working artist job, and realize despite a ton of hard work and successful shows, only a tiny profit was made, he points out how great it is that I am in the “black” my first year. He is the positive voice whispering in my ear, counteracting the negative voices in my head.

Nick makes me feel like I can accomplish whatever I want. He gives me the confidence I need to take the first step and try something new. After thinking back on all he has done for me, and how we have only grown stronger through the years, I realized this book also needed a simple dedication with endless meaning behind the words… To my husband.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Laser printer
  • Laser printed image
  • Mod podge
  • Water
  • Old book pages

HOW TO

When I decided to keep the original dedication as a part of my visual journal page, the design came together fairly easy. I had a wedding photo I loved, and it was perfectly cropped with us positioned on the left hand side of the frame, leaving space to allow the original text to show through. To start the visual journal page, I printed the picture on a laser printer. I opted to do a mod podge image transfer, and reversed the image before printing it, because mod podge transfers create a mirror image of the original.

Once I had the image printed, I pulled other pages from my visual journal book to use as the base to transfer my image on. While I still planned to incorporate the original text, I decided I still wanted other text to show through the image. By completing the transfer on a separate sheet of paper, then gluing it back into the book, it also keeps the pages flatter, and less wrinkled, after it dries. I painted two layers of mod podge on the image, allowing them to dry between layers, then added a third layer, and while the mod podge was still wet, I laid it face down on the book pages. I allowed the mod podge to dry a third time, then wet the back of the image and rubbed the paper off. The end result is a semi-transparent image. To read more about mod podge transfers check out another post here.

After the mod podge transfer was complete, I laid the page on top of the original dedication page, and marked where the “To my husband” text was. Using an Xacto knife I cut through the page with the mod podge transfer, allowing the text to show through. I used rubber cement to glue the mod podge transferred pages on top of the dedication page.

Through the mod podge transfer process the edges of the image became a little messy. To cover this up, and create a more complete looking page, I ripped up and glued down pieces of paper from an old, discolored book and another print out of the original image. When doing a mod podge transfer details often become fuzzy. I loved the lace at the bottom of my wedding dress, and decided I wanted to re-emphasize it. To do this I printed another copy of out wedding picture, ripped the bottom and top of the picture, and lined it up with the mod podge transfer. I used rubber cement to glue it down. To further emphasize the dedication, I added another section from the picture and old book pages beneath the line of text.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page dedicating your book to someone supportive of your ventures in life.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read today’s post. Help me spread the word about my blog and visual journals in general by sharing with others on your social networking site of choice. Thanks for stopping by!


 

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Visual Journal Page 3: The Wrong Way Down a One Way Street

Visual Journal Page 3- The Wrond Way

Pre-planning had officially begun. Another summer passed by in the blink of an eye, it was time to go back to the grind. It was the start of my third year teaching high school art. I couldn’t believe two years had already passed. I had survived, so far, with only a few hiccups along the way.

The start of this year felt different than the rest. I suddenly felt like a veteran. For the most part, I knew what to expect. I recognized at least half of the names on my roster, I knew what I needed to accomplish in the week before students arrived, I already knew what my project timeline was for the entire year. However, despite a new feeling of confidence, there was something else brewing underneath.

I already felt exhausted. Not even two days had passed in the school year, and I wasn’t sure I would make it to the end. Two years of begging for supplies, tripping over backpacks and students in my 35+ student classes, dealing with unnecessary meetings, testing, and other complete wastes of time. Despite my attempts to find another job the previous year, I was returning to my school, my classroom, and the same issues.

I wasn’t sure I could deal with it all again. I wasn’t sure I could make it to January, only to find myself scouring job listings, sending in applications, going on interviews, only to be let down once again. This was not what I had planned for this school year.

I envisioned the start of something new. A closet full of supplies, a classroom with a reasonable number of students, everyone is happy, everyone loves art, everyone works hard. Wishful thinking, I know, but I wanted to love my job, and this school would be the end of my art education career, not the driving force behind it.

However, here I was, standing in my classroom once again, and the only thing I could do was get back to planning and make the most of a disappointing situation. It felt like driving the wrong way down a one way street.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Water
  • Old book pages
  • High quality magazine iamge
  • Black paper
  • Silver sharpie

HOW TO

One day, while flipping through a National Geographic, my favorite source for high quality images, I found this interesting image of a car driving towards an obviously flooded road. It appeared as though the water was closing in behind the car, but there was nothing for the car ahead of them, only more water. It made no sense, they seemed stuck in an impossible situation, yet there they were, persevering.

I felt like there had to be more to this picture. An inspirational story, a devastating circumstance. It peaked my interest, and I ripped it out and added it to my visual journal folder.

A few months later, the perfect page came along for this picture. I was starting another school year with a less than positive attitude. While flipping through my visual journal folder, I discovered it once again, and felt it summed up my situation. I was stuck, just like the car, driving to an inevitable end. Whether that end was a new career, a new school, or yet another new year, I had no idea, but I had to continue moving forward to find out.

I wanted to put focus on the image, so I opted to create a neutral background by layering ripped up book pages. I used rubber cement to glue the pieces down. Once I had a solid collaged layer, I created a mod podge transfer of the car picture, which created a semi-transparent image. To create a mod podge transfer read the instructions here.

After the transfer was complete, I glued a strip of black construction paper gong across both pages. This created a space to include text, which I wrote out using a silver sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a page about a time in your life when you were stuck in a rut.

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


 

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