Sketchbook Peek- Budgie

This little guy is going to end up in my art journal, but for now, I wanted to give you a sneak peek of what is to come.  What are you working on at the moment?

List fun- 5 Things Spring

Spring has so many possibilities, and I want to share my top 5 things for spring.

1. Plant a cutting garden. My youngest is all about picking flowers, and I need to get some annuals in so that she has plenty of fun this summer. She loves pink, so I think a nice grouping of Cosmos will be a good start. Time to drag out my Sunset Gardening book to pick some more.

2. Visit the farmer's market and local produce stand. I need to get back in the habit of visiting weekly and picking up some fresh, local vegetables. I really have gotten into an odd space with cooking. I need to fix it.

3. Drink coffee outdoors and watch the people go by. Since we adore coffee in our house, this is a good family event. We have a nice Starbucks near our house that is perfect for people watching on a sunny afternoon, and it is within walking distance for some extra exercise. There are always people walking by, and my girls love riding their bikes to coffee

4. Do something with my hair. For some reason,  haircut schedule got all messed up, and it has been 3 or so months since I have had a cut, and as you know, that is a long time for short hair, especially mine which grows fairly quickly. Suddenly, I have a cut that I can do a little with, and it is starting to wave and straighten nicely. What I really want is to try this Aveda cream that my friend Heather told me about. I also want to dye my hair candy apple red. I'm waiting for the end of spring for that one.

5. Clean my freaking house. I mean, spring clean it. Wash walls, and scrub blinds, and clean baseboards. I don't actually want to do this, but it needs to happen. Since I have to do it, I might pick up some new scents in my favorite cleaning supplies. Dr. Bronner's and Mrs. Meyers. I love both of these because they are earth friendly, which to me means kid friendly. I also like that they are concentrated and last a long time. Right now I have Basil in Mrs. Meyers, and Peppermint in Dr. Bronners. For fun, read the Dr. Bronners label. That is some crazy stuff on there. What's on your spring list? ~Venetia

Art Journal- fun

Art Journal Page- Joy, Venetia Holbrook 2013

I created this using Derwent Inktense Watercolor Ink Pencils. Right now, they are my new favorite fun tool. I love the vibrant color they create. I was having so much fun that I stepped outside of a self-imposed boundary.

I have disliked rainbows and rainbow colors for quite a while. Living in the Pacific Northwest, rainbows have long held a deep connection to LGBT (Gay Rights) issues. The rainbow here is a political statement, and I keep my politics close to my chest. I've avoided them for this reason. Don't confuse my avoidance with disdain for the issue, I just don't like advertisement for anything in general.

One thing I have learned, art is partially owned by the artist, but largely owned by the viewer. I see an exploration of color, but if you see a political statement, or joy, or something else, great! I put these things into the world so that others may enjoy them, and whatever you see is your activity in the process.

Much love on a Friday.


Atomic Project: My creative journey "Do the work"

Seriously, get something done. Make something awesome, or not awesome, so you know what not to do next time you try. Put the time in even if you don’t feel like it if you want a creative life. Let me share my first piece of advice on my creative realization, "Do the work" All of the pictures in this post are a result of at least one of the techniques listed in this post.


Magnolia, Drawing 2013.
Flowers are one of my favorite subjects to draw. Magnolias remind me of being very young in Mississippi. They are truly a southern flower, and something them makes me think of proper Southern culture and manners.
My grandmother had a huge fireplace with a Magnolia painting above the mantle. I always wanted my own to hang, but never got around to getting or making one. Of course now, the TV is above my mantle, so I would have to rethink my whole living room in order to continue to aspire to one over the mantle.
Sometimes, I really miss the south. The food, the manners, the culture. When I visit I love it, until I see fire ants, mosquitoes, and the other critters they worry about that I do not. I die of heat and sun exposure when I visit.  I also realize how liberal the northwest is compared to the south when I visit. It's funny, because I have evolved into an acclimated Pacific Northwesterner.

Finished Sketch- Just Me

Journaling... "One of the very hardest things to learn in life is to love yourself without letting it go to your head." I wanted to document where I am in life for my girls, but get down to the real essence of where I am at. Focusing on what brings me joy has made me rethink of how I perceive myself. Self-confidence is a fine line. Not enough, and you dwell in self-hatred, too much, and you become self-involved, self-righteous, and self-centered. Learning to accept my flaws, and try to improve, as well as embracing my strengths has been a good process for me.

With this layout, I finished the sketch I started yesterday. As I figured, the way I chose to embellish changed the sketch quite a bit. I am happy that I picked a picture of myself, because I so rarely do that. The photo is from a hot day last summer when I was playing around with the phone. The color is off, but not filtered. I truly captured a moment of my life in July of last summer. I tried to incorporate things that represent me, hence the hand drawn title, flowers, bold title, and use of blacks and greys.

Here is the sketch in case you missed it yesterday.

Try documenting your own found truth. Have fun with it.


Scrapbook Sketch- trying a new approach

I have mentioned that I usually start with my pictures or paper, and not a sketch, unless I am doing a challenge. This week, I am trying to start from my own sketch. I was inspired by a packaging design for this sketch, so I adapted it a little, and will see what happens.
So far, this has been a fun process, especially because the sketch is pretty plain, so it is wide open to interpretation. I hope to share the finished layout with you soon!
What is your usual process? Do you ever switch it up?

Atomic Project: Introduction to a creative journey

This is me.

I’m goofy, artistic, and for a long time, insecure about sharing any work, or the stories behind it. I found that I got stuck behind my own self-judgment, and never put things out into the world, despite a desire to share with others. Doing this was contradictory at best, and an ineffective plan for reaching a goal to share my art with others.


I read a lot written by other artists who blog. What I’ve noticed is that the question:  “How do you do that?” seems common. This question comes in many forms (some statements):

“I could never do that.”

“Where do you get your ideas?”

“But I’m not creative”

“I just don’t see stuff like you”


Those questions and statements are mostly excuses. I know. I do it. When I look people inspiring me, I have those same doubts. Honestly, I found myself sitting in the self-pity section and wondering why nothing happens. I decided to focus more on my creative life this year, and through the process, I have come to a few realizations:


1. Do the work

2. Find a group of critical friends

3. Ask the right questions

4. Reach out to others

5. Find you


Over the next five Wednesdays, I am going to address each one of these.  Facing these truths made a huge impact on the creative direction in my life. They’ve become a part of my plan for a year focused on joy. As I’ve shared, my word of the year is joy, and one of the things that I came to realize was I found great joy in intentionally pursing my artistic endeavors. It’s become my “Atomic Plan”, which sounds kind of evil, but really, it is a plan to break through self-imposed barriers.


I’m sharing my story because it is real. This has been my personal focus, and as I read about other’s journeys, I realize that humility in the process fosters true creativity. I don’t want this to be a blog that just shouts “Look at what I did!” I want this to be a place to find inspiration, to discuss challenges, and to understand that no matter what, someone has or is facing the same frustrations as you.


Please join me the next few Wednesdays. Next Wednesday: Do the work

How To's Day- Scrapbook Steals!

Check it out!! I have a tutorial featured on
Hi everyone! I am excited to share a fun tutorial for some great gifts you can make with your scrapbook paper.

Image wearing pendant

Like my necklace? I do, and I made it. This is one of those crafts that makes a great final product and is easy to do! Those are my favorite kind because they seem fancier than they really are. Pendants of this style are becoming poplar and some of them are quite spendy.

Since Mother’s Day is approaching quickly, I knew having a stash of pendants would be a good idea. I hope you like this tutorial and try it for yourself!

Supplies Needed:

  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic Glaze
  • Glass
  • Pendant Trays
  • Super Adhesive
  • Brush or Cotton Swab

For mine, I used a 6×6 pad of from Crate Paper, Random collection. I also used 1-inch square glass and trays.

Image 1

First, arrange your tiles on the paper to get the fit that you like best. I wanted to use the floral images from this patterned paper so I placed and re-placed the tiles until I liked how the images looked.

How Tosday Make a Pendant  2

Next, place 5 drops of acrylic glaze on the glass. You need very little of the glaze. Place your tile on the paper and press firmly to remove any air from between the glass and the paper.

How Tosday Make a Pendant  3

Here you can see the cherry blossom has air pockets and the rose does not. Press until your tray has adhesive slightly oozing around the edges.

How Tosday Make a Pendant  4

Clean the oozing glaze with a brush or cotton swab. tip: if using a brush, clean it immediately unless you want to throw it away.

How Tosday Make a Pendant 6

tip: glue multiple pieces of glass at a time to save time. I placed several pieces on one sheet and some off kilter because of the design. It may look haphazard, but you will be getting rid of the excess paper.

How Tosday Make a Pendant  5

Now walk away. Go do something else. Make a cup of tea, check the Steals page, send me an email about how awesome this tutorial is, but go away. Fight the urge to touch or you will have a hot mess. You will be hearing me in our head, “She said have tea! Why did I rush?

When the glaze is dry, cut the paper off the glass as close as possible to the edge. tip: it will take at least two trims to get the edge nice and tight.

How Tosday Make a Pendant  7

Use your heavy duty adhesive to glue the glass to the tray. I use a glue dot made for jewelry.

How Tosday Make a Pendant Finished

That’s it! I hope you liked this how to. Happiness and cute jewelry to you

Sneak peeks!!

I have got few projects coming up soon that I am so excited to share. Alas, I must wait. However, I wanted to give you just a peek at what to look for, like an eye spy game!
 First, there may be a relook at these with a tutorial. They are a great Mother's day gift, and something you can do with the little ones.

Then, there's this. Maps and words and flowers and pearls. So very fun.

Here is the one I am literally dying over. I adore this. There is so much fun about this I can't wait to share.

Scrapbook Sketch- Face

 It is always fun to see what a layout looks like in a sketch. Usually, when I do mine, I do the layout first, and draw the sketch after. Soon, I am going to try the opposite, and see what happens, because I always have to mix it up.

Here is the sketch from the layout I shared earlier in the week. I thought you might like to have something to play with over the weekend, especially those of you looking for winter to finally pack it's bags and leave!


Scrapbook layout... Face

This layout is celebrating my youngest daughter's stinkface. I always ask her to "Make Mommy's favorite face", and she squishes up her nose and grins.  So stinking cute.

I wanted a fun layout to capture this fun moment between her and I. It is something we do together, which is just our thing. I also was inspired by my friend Jen McDermott. She is a super-talented designer and stamper, so I borrowed some of my favorite of her techniques here.

I incorporated these techniques:
Resist Misting
Hidden Journaling
Vibrant Color

4 things making me happy...

 Fires. I love spring and fall backyard fires. We call ours a bonfire, but it is teeny tiny, since we live in the city. The girls love to roast marshmallows and my husband and I like to poke it and watch it as dusk falls. I am not a huge sleep outside person, but I love campfires. This is a great compromise, and yes, we are careful, there is always water nearby, and the hose on.
 My oldest, wearing her Dr. Seuss bow from school. She's not a girly-girl, so this cracks me up. This one is rocking second grade, she's 50th best reader in the state, and a March student of the month. She tempers her awesome-ness by pulling stupid stunts in between, which makes it anybody's guess whether I am thrilled or furious with her at any given moment.
 Snuggly hoodies. It is getting to the time of year that an oversized hoodie is good enough for a coat, and that is one of my favorite things. I love hoodies. My husband never understood the allure until he got a hold of one, and now I have to watch out or he steals ones he likes from my stash.
This guy. Seriously. He rebuilt an engine on our car, he does laundry and dishes, and he is so funny. I adore him. He shaved off the goatie for summer, and I am not sure I am a fan again of the clean face yet. In any case, it is wonderful to have a great partner in this journey. I lucked out.

What's making you happy today?

Art Journal- with Hope

This is one of those pages that happened, not that I planned. I am not usually a huge hot air balloon fan, but for some reason, the print on this paper spoke to me for this page. I don't know if it is my hope that things are looking up, or the Richard Branson documentary I watched over the weekend. Apparently, Richard Branson took a hot air balloon across the ocean or the world or something. I suppose I wasn't paying that much attention.  There was a balloon, I am sure of that. Where inspiration started is hard to tell, but apparently, balloons stuck. They sure look pretty and light don't they? The thing with sketching, or journaling is that sometimes the flow can reveal what the mind is processing.

I've been pretty open in sharing the last little bit of time has been a little challenging for my family. I think that darkness shows through on the background. However, the lightness of the foreground pieces reflects where I am at today. I was a little surprised by the outcome, because I let my whim guide the page.


Product Review: Staedtler Watercolor Crayons

I have been really interested in picking up some watercolor crayons since I have looked at other art journals, and saw the amazing work done with watercolor crayons.

I was thrilled when my local craft store, Artco, had the Staedtler Karat Aquarell Premium Watercolor Crayons. I grabbed the pack and happily made my way home to play with my new treasure. I am a huge fan of Staedtler products, so I figured this was a sure bet.

The Staedtler Crayons are very firm, and do not melt in water, so they are quite durable for wet applications. They may be used plain, or colored and then washed with water, or on a wet surface.

I was hoping for buildable, bright, vibrant colors. The Staedtler did not deliver. The dry application was difficult due to the firmness of the crayon. Blending with a water brush took a lot of water, and put more fragile applications at risk of warping, such as coloring in stamps. At best, the application seemed scratchy, and the water dilution was mediocre.
The red and the white on this swatch are the Staedtler crayons. It took a lot of pressure and some reworking to get the color as it is.

The red on the picture to the right shows the diluted application, and a watercolor pan or acrylics would have given a more vibrant outcome.

Overall, buy something else. I'm sorry. I will play with them some more, and if I figure out the right technique, I will re-share. For now, save your money.

Rating 1/5


Scrapbook Steals Mid Week Mojo- Melodee's first back!!

I used to play along with the Mid-Week Mojos at Scrapbook religiously. Then, I decided to start doing my own thing. Well, Melodee is a dear friend, and I can't help but play along, because I adore her, and she is extremely talented. Here is my interpretation of this week's sketch:

My anniversary was last week, 4 whole years. Greg and I have had a rough go of stuff lately, and it just reminds me how much I adore him. Despite everything, we've kept our humor, our love, and the fun in our relationship. That is precious to me. I wanted to scrap a happy memory of ours, and commemorate this anniversary. And they said it wouldn't last... well they probably said way worse than that. In any case, happy anniversary love.

Here is the sketch from

What I am up to..

This week is spring break, and I had many notions of doing a ton of crafty things, however life had other things in mind.  Some good, some not, but I thought I'd share.

First, there was this:
Rebuilding the engine on the Honda. Super fun stuff. Hard work, let me tell you. As you can see, I have been an instrumental part of the rebuild. My technical skills are nothing less than astounding. I am great with wrenches or whatever that is that I am holding.

Well, maybe not. However, I am awesome comic relief, although my husband gets kind of scared when I dance around the car waving wrenches, posing, and poking stuff.  He'd disown me but I found the piston set he needed. I may be non-technical, but I can talk the game to the parts department. I can also find the right place to buy them, in the event a part is incorrect, like one piece in the set we bought. The place got it all squared away right away. *THANKS* Lincoln Auto Parts. Seriously, great guys there. Buy your bulbs, washer fluid, and whatever else there. They'll treat you right, especially if you tell them you know the crazy redhead chick with the Honda pistons.
Then, there was this. The easter bunny came, and I had to instruct my daughters in the ways of eating robins eggs. The correct way, if you are unschooled, is to lick the blue until it is a little wet, and then use it as lipstick. Robins egg blue is a very flattering color. Seriously, MAC should make some lipstick in this color. I'd wear the heck out of it.

Then, I made some more lovely pendants, which I am modeling here. Seriously, I love me some lomo filter. It smooths out my rosacea somethign awesome. I will specifiy that those are my real eyes. No color boost. Yes, my babies got those beauties from me, but they wear them better. Everything looks better on a youngster, except trashy clothes. Those don't look good on anyone. Seriously, be classy, it always looks better. Watch fashion police. It will teach you how to hover the line of trashy/classy.
Then, there was a little of this. It was nice and sunny this week, so there was a good excuse to remember the Colorado Rockies. Also, look at my manicure. So very pretty. I'll spare you the foot pics, because a lot of people get icked out by that. But hey, mani-pedi is always the right choice. Especially with a best friend and a coffee. Seriously, can I do that again?
There was some of this. A chef's tasting at a locally owned restaurant I love. The food was to die for. If you are by Tacoma Mall, eat at the Adriatic Grill. Ask Chef Bill what to order. If it is nice, sit on the western exposure patio. You won't know you aren't by the water.
Coming up soon, a layout, new supplies (inks, seriously cool!!)