OMG!!!! I'm Famous!!!

Well, maybe not but still famous-er than I was. Still! YAY!!!


Love you JetPens!

Scrapbook Sketch- Target Tradition

My youngest loves Target, Costco, and the Craft Store. She loves the craft store because she knows if she says she wants to go there, she almost always can convince me to take her. Costco because she adores the free samples. Target, because they carry stuff like toys, and because they have these giant cement balls outside that she likes to stand upon. 

Every single time she goes, as soon as she get on the sidewalk, she runs full speed to the ball and tries to climb up to stand. She really can't do it herself, so one of us ends up putting her there.  This particular day, her outfit and the red balls were exceptionally cute. I snapped a picture while Daddy stood nearby, as to not endanger her fully.

I used Teresa Collins Fabricatons for this layout, again sticking to one line, mostly because the colors worked so well with the photos. The weight of the paper on this line and the colors are perfect for spring, or fun photos like this. I like the sweet memory this layout captured, since it will be not long before we can walk into Target normally. Until then, it's totally my kid standing on the ball.


The Bic Mark-It is a great marker for general use.  The line is strong, and the black color is quite dark.  I appreciated the low odor of this marker, as it allows for longer use on a project without a headache from the fumes.  The grip is nice squishy, and the tip wears well.  Due to the amount of pressure I put on writing utensils, I tend to get that odd fuzz ball on the tip of my markers.  If you write like me, you know exactly what I am talking about.  If you don't, then I might sound like a nutjob.              
This marker does have quite a bit of bleed through, which I expect with any marker, however if bleed through is a huge issue for you, then pass this bad boy by. I wouldn't use this as a daily marker, but it does give Sharpie, my favorite marker, a good go.  The color is super black, which I like. My Starbucks has retractable versions of these, which is pretty cool, especially if you are writing on stuff all day.
Bleed through
Overall Rating 3/5

Layout- Born This Way

Born This Way by Lady Gaga was one of my youngest daughters first favorite songs. She would sing along in the car with her little voice, and be so happy singing the song. Then, she would wander around the house singing "I'm on the right track baby."

I know the theme of the song and Lady Gaga herself can be polarizing, but I was glad that my daughter found an anthem of self-acceptance for herself.  It is far too early to tell what she will be in the long run, but right now, she is definitely very much herself.

She has very strong opinions, and believes the world should exist in a certain way. Things must be done in a specific order, and when she plays, she is precise. If she is playing restaurant, the only things on the menu are what she says. One time I ordered lobster, and she told me "No. Lobsters are pinchy. You can't have that." Really??? Even in my daughter's imagination I am denied lobster?

I made the layout as a patchwork of things she loves: flowers, butterflies, pink, and polka dots. I adore the way that this has turned out. It is one of my favorite of all time.

I included the sketch. Just for you.


Sketchbook peek...

Shading exercises are the a warm up, a practice that develops skill, strength, and technique.

Much like the athlete running laps, or the ballerina practicing at the bar, the mindful repetition of precision add the the larger skill.

This sketchbook page is not particularly demonstrative of anything but the practice. The shadings I did are standard shapes and light directions, but remembering the effect of shading and light on simple objects can help on a larger piece. Breaking it down, with only shades of grey, the power of suggestion with one medium, pencil, is powerful. As simple as it is, the attention to what is put on the page means something. Critically, the 4th square, the cone from above, needs to be reworked. The power in a sketchbook is the ability to leave it undone, to recognize strengths and errors, and let them be. There is a freedom in having a place to explore, and not have the results matter.

Why I scrapbook

Hobbies are intensely personal. I scrapbook. Early on, when I started, my Mother shared a scrapbook my great-grandfather gave to her that he created. Looking through the album, and reading the three page letter inside was one of the most powerful moments I have experienced.

"This album has been prepared to show you a part of your Dad's life of which he has no remembrance" The hand-typed opening line of the letter is a simple, yet powerful beginning. In the album, he documented the meeting, courtship, and marriage of him and my Great-Grandmother, Bessie. He detailed their meeting, and their five year courtship through letters, the holiday that lead to their engagement and their marriage. There are documents including their marriage license, her report card from college, her librarian's certificate, and a handwritten letter of recommendation from one of her former employers. The pictures are small, and he developed and printed them himself, using the brake light of his car.

From the album, I learn that she was modern 1920's woman, with a short bob, a university degree, and worked as a school and children's librarian. Reading his letter, I learned that he was an incredibly pragmatic man, who loved my great-grandmother dearly. I also read the heart wrenching story of her death in my Grandfather's early childhood. She suffered from diabetes, and in the 1920's insulin treatment was worse than the disease, and eventually, he lost her to the illness.

I hold a piece of my family history that would have been lost to time, an understanding that can only come from a personal narrative, and a story that was intensely honest. The most important part for me is understanding who they were, not in the best moments, but in all moments.

The reality is that the story is the powerful part of the album. The photos, without the captions and the letter, would hold no meaning today. I try to remember that. I try to document the good with the bad, and capture the true essence of who we are as a family.

Before & After- Scrapbook Sketch

My oldest, Cakes, decided she wanted to take her ponytails out one day, much to my horror she cut them out.  So she gave herself some awful version of an eighties mullet on a person who had not bathed in months look. I ended up cutting it myself because I didn't want to reward this sort of behavior.

Of course, when you have a child that makes an "interesting" choice, it makes for a fun scrapbook page. I used a mix of My Mind's Eye for this layout. When I was looking at my past few layouts, I noticed I used a lot of rectangles in my layouts, so I challenged myself to use some circles. (Again, finding inspiration by providing limits).

Above, is your sketch. As always have fun, and don't cut your own hair.


Product Review: Kuretake Zig Letter Pen CocoIro Pen Body

The Kuretake Zig Letter Pen CocoIro Pen is a pen system. The body sells for under $3 and the ink cartridge is sold separately and sells for under $4. The cartridge screws into the body, which comes in many colors, my favorite being the Pink, and the Starry Night Gray with glitter.

Sketchbook- Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler-or Forcing Inspiration

"I do want to express myself, okay. And I don't need 37 pieces of flair to do it. " ~ Office Space

I seem to run hot or cold on inspiration, and as I have said before, forcing contstraints is a great way to get out of "Stuck". I found myself feeling stuck recently, and failed at finding inspiration pieces to help. Even my typical sketchbook "theme" exercises were dead ending. I was frustrated. After days of not drawing went by, I decided to give myself an ultimatium. I had to draw something, sketch something right now. Of course, I found myself at a loss, and half ideas tumbled about. The circular "I could... no, but I could... no." Silence. Repeat. trap began within my mind.

"I believe the ratio of people to cake is too big" ~Office Space

Frustrated. I told myself "Self, you better think of something, or I'm going to make you draw this stapler." Begin debating the pro's and con's of subjects (Use whiny inside your head voice here):
My daughter... people are hard to draw (which is the point, but lazy was winning)
Flowers... I've done those to death, and have spent a lot of time on that lately.
Landscape... its dark, and I would have to find a photo

This continued for a bit, and I finally told myself that I had to draw the stupid stapler. Which began the stream of Office Space quotes in my head. Drawing a stapler turned out to be harder than it seemed, and a great exercise in perspective and shading. So now I have a drawing of a stapler. And that is how a stapler got me unstuck, which I find funny.

"I could put... strychnine in the guacamole. " ~Office Space


Happy-Scrapbook Sketch

Keep reading! The layout sketch is after the jump.
 I don't usually work with all my papers from one collection. I like to mix and match from my stash. This layout is unusual in that I only used Teresa Collins Vintage Finds. I love her designs because they are graphic and clean. For a long time, she used a lot of Pink, Black and White, which was also a big plus for me.

Product Review: Pilot V-Pen

The Pilot V-Pen Disposable Fountain Pen is one that I ordered to fuel my fascination with fountain pens. I associate them with the 1920's. Can't you just picture writing with your fountain pen as you wait for a car to pick you up in your long coat and short hair to socialize at the speakeasy? It's just me? Ok, well then...

Layout- Call Me Maybe?

 My youngest is getting a lot of attention lately on my blog, yes? She and I are bonding more lately, and I have been enjoying it. She is a funny kid, and very rarely messes up words or sentences, until it comes to songs, and then, it's a whole different thing.  One of her latest misheard lyrics is from "Call Me Maybe". You know the song, it was inescapable in 2012. If you don't know the song, you live under a rock, or hate technology, in either case, we can't be friends. For the rest of us, we know the line as "So here's my number, so call me maybe." For Budge, it is:

"So here's my Mama, so call me maybe"

This does two things. It cracks me the heck up, and it irritates her dad, because he seems to think that having a 3 year old helping me get numbers is not appropriate. Fun sucker.

Apparently,  the image of my daughter asking random people to call her because they saw her Mom is not a universally hilarious concept, despite my arguments to the contrary. It's funny because I said it is doesn't hold up in my house as well as it should.

I made this layout to celebrate her, and that funny line she sings. I pulled out a bunch of paper from my stash, and decided I wanted to make it work together. This was the result. I am glad this turned out sort of fun and ecltectic, because it really caught the spirit of what I was trying to capture.

And the sketch- For you!


My Valentine Card

I wanted a simple sentiment this year for my Valentine Card for my husband. I decided that a graphic heart image on a plain Kraft background would be perfect.  I sketched out the heart, and then used a Stadleder marker to darken the lines.  I tried filling the heart with a Prismacolor Artist Marker, but the colors ran, so I ended up using Prismacolor pencils instead.
 I know this isn't the fanciest card. I like the retro feel with the saturated color against the neutral cardstock. I like drawing my cards, it makes it personal, because they are truly a unique creation for the recipient.

Happy Valentine's Day.


Oh Yes! There's a sketch! Keep Reading!
My youngest is a Girly-girl. She adores pink and all things pretty. We call her the pink princess, and she lives up to it. I enjoy this because my oldest is not at all girly, so I know my youngest comes by it naturally, despite, not because of, her mother. Of course when Valentine's comes into play, the pinker the better. I decided to make her a beautiful Valentine for tomorrow.  Budge is so funny when she gets any sort of card or gift because she is always extremely positive and excited.

My experience supporting a future artist

My youngest, Budgie, is three and a half.  She loves to draw and paint. Her preferred medium is marker, because she gets terribly upset when she gets dirty, but she likes the saturated color that you get with a wet medium (marker, paint). It has been interesting to watch her grow as a small artist.  For a while, she was in a literalist phase. I would ask her about her drawings, and her reply would be "I drew pink" or whatever color she used. I found myself contemplating whether she was literal, or gifted, as the concept of pink as a subject is pretty advanced. She has always been precisely verbal, so when she says something, she means it, and pronounces it perfectly. I settled on literal. She has since evolved into drawing symbolic pictures of family. Everyone is round, has two arms and legs, and a bellybutton. In her world, the bellybutton is important.

Bridget loves using my supplies, but is eager to have her own as well.  This three and a half year old got a crayola set with a plastic molded tray for each marker and crayon for Christmas, and the markers and crayons are still precisely in each spot, almost two months later. It is that important to her. She has filled numerous sketchbooks, much to my chagrin, as they are usually intended for mommy, but I am glad she is happy to create her own images.

The other day, she came home from daycare with a grocery bag full of her work. "This is my collection" she proudly announced, and proceeded to pour over every piece with me explaining each one. "This is my name, this is my skeleton, this is a bus." The collection was incredibly important to her, and an unholy mess. Every time she reviewed it, glitter spread further throughout the house, turning it into a sparkly princess paradise. After watching her with her collection, I decided she needed a book.  I had an old Creative Memories album lying about, and we proceeded to put all her work into the album.  When we finished, she proudly kept pouring over each page. Anyone who comes into our home must now view her collection.

The importance to her is real, and by honoring that, I am helping her to become her own artist. So many people have stories of passions in their youth squashed by an adult minimizing the importance of what a child is spending their time on. Let's stop the business of killing dreams, and let them grow, a small gesture of support means the world to a child. Find what they need, take the time to let them know that their ideas matter, because they do.

Doodles, sketching to set the mind free

Sketching and doodling sets the mind free. Here is a photo of me killing time and playing with a pen in my sketchbook. nothing here is amazing, it is pretty much a hot mess. The lettering is awful, the designs squished and unbalanced, and overall it is just a technique dump. As atrocious as this is, the time and unattachment to the work develops skill, and allows me to play with creative ideas. See that rose in the middle? It evolved into the finished work I shared a week or so ago.  At the time I did this, I had no idea it would evolve. There was no expectation for an outcome. Letting go of having to make something allows you to create. 

 Not everything created is a masterpiece.  DaVinci, Picasso, and many great artists (if not all) had notebooks of ideas and sketches that developed into the finished works we are familiar with today.  If the notion of creating is only to complete something perfect, then creativity is lost.  Perfection is the role of machines, and factories.  The human spirit is comfortable with imperfection, and taking time to explore with no risk is an endeavor where the time spent brings volumes in the improvement of your creativity.  Play with techique, media, concepts, feelings, and energy.  Sit down, take 10 minutes, and just play. 

Product Review: Stabilo Bionic



This is my favorite pen, the Stablio Bionic. I adore this pen, despite its flaws. This pen is my go-tothat I miss dearly when I cannot find it at the bottom of my bag or drawer.

Layout- Silly

 Have you missed my layouts?  I haven’t forgotten my paper crafting hobby! I am just sharing everything including my drawing and painting now. This layout is of my sweet baby (I’m a BIG GIRL Mommy!). I caught a happy face on camera as she played out on the deck last summer. She is wearing a dress, which is very much her, as she requires dresses daily. It was just a great little moment captured from the summer, and I was excited to get to do a layout with my girly about some of her favorite summer things.

I used My Mind’s Eye for this layout, and there are Stella and Rose, So Sophie, Lime Twist, and Kaleidoscope, and Life Stories elements! Yes, I know Kaleidoscope is circa 2005ish? I adore the pink paper from that collection. I bought way too many sheets back in the day, and I pull it out for special occasions, like this layout.

I altered (colored in- but doesn't altered sound more sophisticated) the Life stories journaling box to tie it into the layout using Prismacolor pencils. I also inked the edges of the Kalediscope paper to tie it into the darker Stella and Rose floral.
Here is the sketch, in case you like the elements together. Let me know if you use it!

Card- Glamorious

 I made this birthday card for my dear friend Heather. I had been saving this "Glamorious" embellishment since CKC Seattle, when I found it at a vendor.  When I picked up the packets with these little accents, the sales person informed me that they were so cheap because they were misprinted. So I ended up buying two because that's how my humor works.  I like made-up words and slang. I add syllables to words to make them sound fancier.  I AM GLAMORIOUS. And since Heather tolerates me, she gets to be glamorious too.

My humor also delights in the "She puts the "high" in maintenance" writing, because it is just wrong enough to be unclear whether they mean the pretty-princess-buy-me lots-of-things of "high" or maybe the illegal sort of "high". I am a dork because I deeply ponder what a misprinted made in China embellishment means.

Did you notice? The lady is nekkid except a bra- a nekkid lady card is awesome. Yes, I am juvenile. I own it.

A glamorious card deserves a little bling, so I added rhinestones, of course.  I also doodled up the envelope, because it made it much, much more glamorious.

Acrylic- Mt Rainier

I've been working on this northwest image. I used Daniel Smith acrylics on a 8 x 10 canvas. I learned to paint with oil and I am still figuring out acrylic techniques. I prefer oil, but with kids, I don't feel right using the thinners in the house. Since the Pacific Northwest is so rainy, and our house is modest, I don't really have a studio space set up for oil.

I was inspired by the old travel posters from the post war era, and the brighter colors of post-modern art.

Product Review: Ohto Fude Ball Liquid Ink Rollerball Pen

The Ohto Fude Ball Liquid Ink Rollerball pen is a fun pen for sketching, artwork, and crafting. They were designed as a rollerball alternative for decorative envelopes given out in Japan. This, This, and This  are great blog posts explaining traditions with gorgeous examples. Typically, these are decorated with a brush pen, but the Ohto is supposed to give a brush look to a rollerball. This pen is a very thick 1.5mm, and the ink is dark black.

I wouldn't suggest this for anything but an art/craft pen. It gives beautiful lines, but it is so large that you really wouldn't want to use it for an everyday pen, unless you write extra large. To give perspective, I tend to write pretty large, and it was too bold for me for daily use, and I rarely say that about pens.

Pros: The ink flows nicely, and I think the lines are gorgeous. 

Cons: I dislike the grip on the pen, but it is fine for artistic and occasional use.

Rating: 4/5

How to use a sketchbook

I use sketchbooks.  I have found that the work, ideas or messes I leave in sketchbooks eventually grows into something else. Typically I use a plain paper book, and a quadrille (graph paper) book.  I have a hard time using my plain paper books because I decide they are “too nice” to ruin. I don’t mind destroying my composition notebooks, so I use the two in different ways.