Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Letter X

I regard the letter X as a universal symbol.  It's understood by everyone, whatever language you speak or write.  Here’s some examples:

X marks the spot!
Xs are kisses, not to be mistaken with Os (hugs)
X is a chromosome, entrusted with the task of determining sex.

And there’s many, many more.  Can you think of any?

Here's a glance at some new journal pages I'm preparing.  First I drew Xs in a repetitive pattern around the edges of my mixed media paper.
Step 1 - frame the page
Then I painted the edges with watercolors, on top of the Xs.  This is an example of what one page looks like:
Step 2 - add color
The waterproof black ink shows through but is less pronounced.  Some of the other pages will have Os and \s around the edges.  Next week when I have time, I’ll bind all the sheets together using the coptic stitch.  Then more photos, and off it goes to my Etsy shop.  

But I’m wondering, what words did my fellow classmates choose to write about for the letter X?  Hop over to Ms. Jenny’s class with me and see what everyone else is up to!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Review - The Help

I decided to buy a copy of The Help from Amazon because I was in between book club books and felt this was an opportune time to catch up on light summer reading.  What was I thinking?  I should have known better, when reading a book whose major theme is segregation.

The story follows three women in 1962 who get together to interview black maids working in white households.  Two of the women, Alileen and Minny are African Americans, and they work for women from two completely different worlds.  As the book progresses, they take turn telling about their past and present lives, along with Skeeter, a young educated white women recently back from college who's living with her parents on their "plantation".  She's the instigator of the interviews and is more interested in telling this story than looking for a husband, like her mother expects.

At the end of the book, Skeeter talks to one of the white women who constantly gets pushed around by the Junior League.  And she realizes that both white and black women "are just two people.  Not much that separates us.  Not nearly as much as I thought.'"

Kathryn Stockett, the author of The Help, tells us that the quotation above is a “prized” phrase from the book.  And I've read she was unsure of taking on the voice of  African American women.  I think she did a wonderful job, though I didn't like the southern dialect she used for them.  It was something I overlooked...    

The story is both funny and sad at the same time.  Stockett touched on other themes than just discrimination in the South, where she grew up.  She writes about sexual tensions in America in the early 60s and social climbing among women.  I would recommend The Help to both women or men, and look forward to seeing the movie in the near future.     

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary to the Museum of the Great Plains

Museum of the Great Plains 50th Anniversary cake
The Museum had its reception / anniversary party from 2-4 today, celebrating 50 years of being open to the public.  Our 50th anniversary exhibition is available for viewing through November 6th.  Here's the cake at 3:00.  Halfway gone.  I was serving and wanted to keep the center logo piece.  Does it remind you of Halloween?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Etsybloggers Carnival - time management

large scrapbook photo album by Memories for Life

Edi from memoriesforlife has two great topics for the current Etsyblogger Carnival:
1. How do you prioritize your time? How do you get more hours out of the day?
2. Are you a multi-tasker? Or do you prefer to finish one project before starting another?

How do I get more hours out of the day?  I stay consistently busy!

storybeader coffee cup at zazzle

I wake up extra early, make coffee and visit with my Etsybloggers friends before work.  I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now.

I start reading before I go to bed (since I’ll fall asleep reading a book in bed!)  I just instigated this practice.  Since sports don't distract me when I read, I'll sit with DH when he's watching sports on TV (here’s one of my multi-tasking activities).

autumn paper beads
I'll also roll paper beads while watching television (another great multi-tasking project).  This is when I catch up on the national news and watch favorite shows.

My evenings are for art journaling and the different courses I take online.   It doesn’t always work out this way but surfing the net in the evening can eat a lot of hours, as most of you know!

I save the weekends for writing blog posts and working in my art journal.  And making coptic journals.  And doing chores.

Thankfully, DH is a great help with the housework and he’s my cook.

If I go and visit family on the weekend, I'll take an extra day off from work - I still need two full days around the house.

Buster and MJ (in back)
Since I do live close to work, I usually come home at lunchtime, visit my DH and pups, and take my photos in natural light  (I also take photos on the weekend).

Now that the weather is getting a little cooler, I like to walk at the end of the day.  My  boss initiated an exercise plan for staff, where we can leave the building during work hours and exercise in the park if we want.  Since I usually need to be "presentable" to the public, I'll wait till the end of the day for my walks.  When I get home, I want to unwind!
My Junque Journal

Even though the Storybeader is a business, it’s not as demanding as my day job and I proceed at my own pace.  My new love, art journaling, is taking up more and more of my time.  It's for me, which is something new.  All you artists out there, don't forget to do some artwork just for you.  An art journal is a good way to enjoy this.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

art journaling page - W is for Water

Water is so special to me and so is this class. 
This Water Page is brought to you by AlphabeThursday.  I wasn't going to come to class today, since I didn't finish my homework.  But couldn't help myself.

Come and visit other W pages in Ms. Jenny's classroom.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

art journaling page - apple of my eye

Do you know where the phrase "the apple of my eye" comes from?  This was a question posed in my "Falling For You" class; we were challenged to complete an art journal page using apples and giving an explanation for this expression.

Using the Hebrew phrase "Little Man of the Eye", I found a pretty lady and drew some little men in her eyes.  I sketched a table on the right and placed a plate of apples on it.  They came from Mussle Man's Natural Applesauce - I love using kitchen labels!  As usual, the right side of my page was getting a little heavy, so I outlined my spread to tie everything together and stenciled a nice (apple and heart) tree for my lady to lean against.  Also added some stencil flowers.  And fallen apples, which I love.

Yes, I'm getting metaphorical...


I found this spread to be lighter than my previous pages, a deliberate effort on my part.

And who's the apple of your eye?  {:-D

Sunday, September 18, 2011

art journaling page - flavors of autumn

I am definitely too impulsive when it comes to my art journaling.

I began my first prompt for the “Falling For You” art journaling course with one idea.  Then switched gears and cut the page out because I wasn't happy with it.  After looking at some earlier photographs I took of the page, I decided I liked it after all and taped it back in.  Please tell me, someone else has done this!

Our prompt was "What flavors say autumn to you?"  I started out sprinkling a bit of cinnamon on the left page and glued down the container’s label.  The more I worked on the page, the more I thought about fall and spices.  Cool weather and drinking cider came to mind.

And that's what flavor autumn is to me - Spiced Cider!

So I went back into the kitchen and got a package of spiced cider out of the cupboard.  And preceded to pour it all over the right side of the page.  Love that smell!  As I was working on the pages, they seemed to be lopsided to me.  That's when I got my scissors.  

This is what it looked like at first:

And here's how I finished it at the end of the day, when I taped the page back in.  That’s why it’s a bit shorter, on the left hand side.  
This spread also has a lot of gesso on it.  I worked on the spread all day and covered up things I didn’t like.  Guess it was an uncertain day, all in all.  We brought our 10 year old golden lab (a real sweetheart) to the vet this morning, because she was limping badly.  The doc is taking x-rays on Tuesday, but thinks it’s just arthritis.

And I have to tell you all what DH said to me Friday, when I came home for lunch:  “It was raining harder than a cow pissing on a rock,” after I left for work.  Now that’s a new one!  I was sure to write that little saying down in my journal, maybe use it some day.  I think DH gets these sayings from his grandpa - he sure keeps ME laughing!  Oh, and I didn't see it raining hard, but I was in the bowels of the museum, at my desk all morning.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Giveaway of the month - glass beads

Can't believe it's already halfway through the month!  I said I was going to have a Bead Giveaway every month, so here's the next one.  One of my blogging buddies mentioned glass beads, so I thought I'd get some together.  There are a total of 3.8 oz of clear and white beads, perfect for Christmas.

I was going to do some beadweaving with the 50 grams of white bugle beads here, but never got around to it.  Found some small white and clear beads to toss into the mix, that were left over from other projects.   They weigh 1.8 oz.   

Because of the shipping costs, I'm sorry to close this Giveaway to anyone outside the U.S.

One question:  if you have an online shop, do you sell destash items?  I'm wondering if it turns off people, to see destash items alongside handmade arts and crafts.  

Please include your email and comment only once.  I will be using again to pick the winner, and recommend it to others.

Spread the word to all your beading friends.  The giveaway will last through Friday, Sept. 30.  I will contact you on Saturday, October 1st.  If you don't contact me by Wed, October 4th, I will draw a second number.  

Good luck!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

V is for Video

DH  and I never bought a camcorder.  But I found that videos are so useful.  And so convenient on the internet.  I just love YouTube.  Anytime I want to learn a new artistic technique, I'll go and do a search on YouTube.  

It's been almost three years now since I first made the video below.  If you're not familiar with the storybeader, I use haiku poems to elaborate my artwork.  Previously they accompanied my jewelry; currently the poems compliment my journals and books.  I invite you to relax and Stroll Through Storyland, look at my jewelry, and read the haiku.

For more letter V posts,
visit the AlphabeThursday classroom!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

New art journal I'm working on.  Now which color thread should I use... hmm...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Etsybloggers Carnival - New Designs

Rose's September Etsy BeadWeavers Street Team Challenge piece,
a cuff called Yellow Brick Road.  You can read more about it here.

Our host this week for the Etsybloggers Carnival is Rose at randomcreative.
The two topics she proposes have a fall flavor:
1) Do you have a favorite fall recipe? Share it here.
2) Have you been working on any new fall designs? Post some pictures and talk about these new designs and/or post a tutorial.

Most of you know I'm no cook, so I decided to write about what's happening in the storybeader’s studio.  To carry out one of my short term goals for September, I'm rolling a WHOLE BUNCH of paper beads.  Here's some I'm offering on Etsy.  I love these colors - perfect to wear with fall outfits.   Earlier, they were drying in between their sprays of acrylic sealer.   

I recently sold an art journal on Etsy and want to make at least one more to take its place before the end of the month.  The first thing I do when making an art journal is to choose a color scheme.  I decided to see what Design Options is forecasting for the fall color trends  - an old habit from my jewelry making days.  Here are four combinations I like; my favorite being the Urban Romance.  
Fall 2011 clothing color treads
I use three colors in my art journals and decided on turquoise, purple and gold.  Most of these colors are too dark for journal backgrounds, but with my watercolors, I can lighten up the shades.  Here's what happened:

Pale Urban Romance colors
These pages are 90lb. watercolor paper.  If you had your choice, what kind of paper would you prefer for your journal: watercolor, posterboard, or a all-purpose medium weight?  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tangle of the week - Unyons

All About Unyons

I like onions sautéed, not raw on a sandwich or piled into a salad.  DH likes them every which way.  I mention this because we made sandwiches yesterday for lunch.  AND the tangle of the week is called Unyon.

At first, I didn't know if I could draw this pattern or not.  But I succeeded with the help of Carole Ohl, Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT).  She has a step by step tutorial on her blog, openseedarts.  Thanks Carole!

I messed up the pattern at first, but luckily it was drawn in pencil so I was able to change it.  I'll forewarn you if you want to try this zentangle: make sure you use an even number of curved lines in between the onions.  This way you can fill in the background at the very top and bottom, which makes it look much better.

And I learned something else: don't pick your pen up from the paper when filling in blocks.  This will cut down on streaks.  Of course, practice is the best instructor.
Speaking of teachers, what did Ms. Jenny and the rest of the AlphabeThursday class write about, when asked what begins with the Letter U?  Come visit our classroom and see for yourself!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Art Journaling Workshop in Lawton

Deb's Junque Journal

I'll be giving a visual art journaling workshop at the museum next month, and my mind is spinning with what to say to my "students" as I relax with my own pages.  First of all, we'll each make our own junque journal, which is a hybrid of a sketchbook and a journal or diary.  These books are similar, but not the same, as a journal made of junk, which I call a junk journal.

After putting together our journals, I'll give a few pointers and show everyone how to take advantage of their new creations.  They can be used as:

1)  an art journal 
A Common Sense Breakfast
2) a diary or datebook
August 6-8, 2011
3) a scrapbook/photo album
P is for Partay
or a combination of all the above!

Supplies will be furnished.  We'll also make our own watercolor sprays and learn easy ways of  "tilting- in" extra pages.  There will be hand-outs with a buyer's directory and a reading list that includes both books and internet sites.  The workshop is opened to adults and will be located at the Museum of the Great Plains, Saturday afternoon, October 8th.  Discount for MGP members.  Call 580-581-3460 for more information and to save your spot.  I'm sure we'll have loads of fun!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Destashing with the storybeader

Remember one of my goals was to destash?

I'm not using my beads anymore and I'd like to make more room in my studio.  So here's a great price for some dogbones.  Turquoise beads, that is.  Lime green turquoise!

That's 16" long - they're brand new!  I also have another strand if anyone is interested.  Come on by my Etsy shop - I'm willing to sell the second strand for half off with the code word MORE!  Just contact me and I'll add more beads to the order.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Short Term Goals for September

Another month just flew by.  And did I accomplish my goals from August?  Yes, I did something with all of them, and that pleases me.  I kept my Craft Cleanse pledge and didn't buy supplies, though I did pick up two magazines.  I didn't start my bead inventory, but had my first monthly bead giveaway.  Used for picking the winner - congrats. Michelle!  And then I lost a few pounds.  Baby steps {:-D

So what's up for September?
new destash on Etsy

1)  Start to destash online  
I decided to add a Destash Beads section to my Etsy shop, and began with two items...two strands of copper "crystal" pearl Swarovski beads.  As I destash online, I'll be creating an inventory automatically!  Later this month I will put up another bead giveaway.  Any suggestions?    

Note to self: take more pictures and count beads!

paper scrap tray
2)  Roll more paper beads
I need to roll some more paper beads, especially with holiday themes in mind.  Halloween and Thanksgiving will be upon us before you know it.  I'm planning to share a booth with a friend at some of the local Christmas fairs, so I need to stock up!    
Note to self: Get out old wrapping paper and buy more enamel spray.

from Junque Journal
3)  Take time for art journaling
Work on more intuitive journal pages.  Is that an oxymoron?   I just joined another art journaling course for the fall - real excited to get started.  Hopefully I can learn some new techniques and go wild with color.  Most of my drawings tell a story, and I like that.  Maybe it's something only I can see, but that's why each junque journal is so unique.    
Note to self: add haiku to pages, buy two orange pens, take some Fridays off work and set aside a few hours on the weekend for art journaling!

If you're interested in the art journal course, you can read about it here.  You do have to be a member of the Art Journaling Ning; why don't you come by my page, and look the place over?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tangles and Washi Tape

Since I started my art journaling about a year ago, I've become captivated with two "techniques" that I use all the time: Tangles and Washi Tape.

Tangles are meditation drawings with a repetitive pattern, just right for the student in me, and all of Ms. Jenny's students, no doubt! I started drawing tangles (short for zentangle) to practice my doodling skills. (Almost) each week, I pick a different tangle and write about it for AlphabeThursday.

Here are a few of the tangles I've drawn:
clockwise: DeKore, XYP, Cross Stitch/Corner Box/Corn Rows/Grass Border, Sugarcane and Eyelet/Ribbon
If you feel like doodling and want some cool patterns to follow, go visit for free instructions.

One of my new favorite mediums to use in art journaling is Washi Tape. I also use it for attaching shipping "labels" - they really brighten up my little packages. Washi tape is a decorative tape, made from rice paper in Japan. It was created first by Kakoshi & Co in 2006, and is now a staple in the art and craft movement worldwide.

Here's a page in my junque journal, when I was inventorying the Washi tape that I have.

And I JUST received nine more rolls.  I'm in heaven!

You can try making your own decorative tape with this neat tutorial. I tried it with some masking tape I had in the house, but should have painted the tape first. If you try it yourself, you might want to use fabric adhesive tape, like it says. Have fun!

Want to see what the other students in Ms. Jenny's class wrote about? Come visit our classroom here

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