Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Month in Photographs - February

It's hard to believe another month has come and gone.  I've been busy with my art journaling class and my blog, and haven't taken photos of much else.  Moira sent everyone in class a postcard (2) - I'll be participating in a postcard swap next month with other students.  I cleaned up my blog's sidebar and made a new page (1) for my tab bar: inspiration.  Things that I've learned in my art journaling class, like making stamps (3) and different ways of using lettering, I've applied to my AlphabeThursday posts (4 and 5).  My February calendar (7) has been a great way of getting me to open my journal every day and draw.  I just finished setting up my March calendar (6) - I'll be talking about it here soon.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review - Crossing the Creek

February was the first month that our book club met and agreed unanimously about disliking what we read, a book called Crossing the Creek: the literary friendship of Zora Neale Hurston and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.  It wasn’t that the subject wasn't interesting; just the book itself was poorly written.  We assume that the author, Anna Lillios, took her lecture notes and threw the book together.  For one thing, the text and quotations are repeated in multiple places throughout the manuscript.  And there are footnotes (just page numbers of printed volumes) throughout our books without a proper appendix.  Where is the editor?  I thought every published work had an editor!

Hurston at a Federal Writer's Project exhibit in 1938.

Both women write about the Florida "Cracker" society, people who lived off the water for centuries.  Personally, I have never heard of Zora Hurston before.  The rest of the ladies in my book club had; they are better read than I...  She was an African-American raised in the Florida Everglades, in an all-black town called Eatonville.  Some of her most famous books are Their Eyes were Watching God and Dust Tracks on the Road.   

I think most readers are familiar with Marjorie Rawlings for her Pulitzer prize-winning novel, The Yearling.  She was born in Washington, D.C. and lived for 10 years with her first husband in New York.  Then in 1928, the couple purchased a 72-acre orange grove near Hawthorne, Florida, in a hamlet called Cross Creek.  The farmhouse is now designated a National Historic Landmark - it might be an interesting place to visit!    

Lillios tells us she is going to write about the women’s friendship, but only mentions the two together in a sentence once or twice.  After reading Crossing the Creek, I think it would be interesting to read Hurston’s and Rawlings' later works, when their writing styles and subjects had evolved.  Both women had the same editors from Scribner, first Maxwell Perkins and then Burroughs Mitchell, who were unwilling to accept any style changes.  (BTW:  Hurston became obsessed with the life of King Herod and Rawlings started writing dark short stories, what she called "queer" stories).  Our book club thought that the women's correspondence, archived at the University of Florida, would be an interesting dialog to read and discuss.

(sidenote)  I was looking around for some illustrations when I ran into this book, and was struck by the cover art.  I know this illustration was drawn by Don Blanding, a native son of my city.  I spent about a year researching Blanding (poet and artist), before we exhibited his life's work at our museum.  He graduated from Lawton High School in 1912 and married a woman in Ft. Pierce, Florida in 1940 (but divorced a few years later).  And he was a friend of Rawlings.  Took me by surprise! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Link List - the end of February

It's close to the end of the month, and most challenges are wrapping up.  Over at the BBArtisans team blog, Edi (of Memories for Life) brought us a challenge called Month of Love.  Come to the Monthly Challenge Link Party and see what everyone created.

One challenge I always enjoy seeing is the Etsy Beadweavers (EBW).  My  friend Rose (of RandomCreative) is on the team, so she always has the link available.  This month's challenge was all about nests - click here to get a better view of all the beautiful jewelry and other beaded items.

This year we have a Leap Day on the 29th.  Next Wednesday.  Want to do something special?  What about watching a movie, called “Leap Year“?  It’s a romantic comedy about an Irish tradition that "allow" women to propose to men on Leap Day.  A little sexist, if you ask me, but it looks like a fun story.  Here's the trailer:

It's on sale (new) at Amazon, for as low as $4.10.  Or you can always rent it through Netflix or see it on HBO.

But what's leap year all about?  The simplest explanation I can give is that it's a year containing one or more extra days.  It's supposed to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical (and seasonal) year.  
Thirty days hath September, 
April, June, and November; 
All the rest have thirty-one, 
Excepting February alone 
Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.
I've always said this little quote to myself, when I'm trying to figure out how many days are in the month, but I don't remember those last three lines.  Guess I took my chances if it was February... For more February quotes, visit BrainyQuote.

Friday, February 24, 2012

BBArtisans Team Challenge

For February, Edi (of Memories for Life) was our host for the team Challenge, called Month of Love.

"My challenge to you:  Create a love-themed item.  You can write a creative love letter, make a valentine, make a love-themed home decor item, etc.  Be Creative and Have Fun!"    

In my art journal, I splattered little bits of love throughout.  Earlier in the month, I wanted to express affection to a friend for a card and brithday gifts, so I wrote down some thoughts and made a cute little "heart" tree, full of color.

This is for you!  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

AlphabeThursday - The Storybeader Daily News

The Storybeader Daily News

When I first went to college, I wanted to be a journalist.  Become a reporter and write for a newspaper.  I was taught about the 4 Ws (who, what, where, why... and how) that every reporter needed to know.  It was in my first semester that my professors started to say things like, "You're being too flowery." and "The first sentence has to tell us everything."

What!  All in one sentence?  That wasn't for me.

I went completely in the opposite direction and graduated with a degree in Humanities.  But what can you do with that?

Go on to graduate school!

So I shouldn't be surprised, all these years later, when I started Stroll Through Storyland and remembered I love to write.  No wonder I ended up with my very own blog, where I can be as flowery as a want.

Are all the other students at AlphabeThursday covert reporters?  We all love letters, that's for sure.  Come and see what other words were chosen for the letter N at Ms. Jenny's blog, .... off on a tangent...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Etsy Treasuries - thinking of spring

The three treasuries I was featured in this week all reminded me of being outside in nice weather.  It's only February, but I'm ready to take a walk with the doggies.

The first treasury was curated by Sarah from sarahsuiltsncrafts, a friend from my AWEteam (Art Walk Etsy team), established to promote the First Friday Art Walk.  Her Lavender and Sage Morning Walk looks like the perfect place to begin your stroll.  There's a great mix of textiles and beads, watercolors and photographs.  Before you visit the treasury, you might want to go over to Sarah's shop and grab a tote bag to bring on your stroll.  There's two that I like: one with a southwestern print; the other has a green botanical print.

Randomcreative has a beautiful treasury, with handmade items using the colors of turquoise and/or red.  I know Rose uses both colors in her bracelets.  Here are two examples of different styles from her shop: a button bracelet and a beadwoven cuff.   

This last treasury has a fun and unusual title:  Rustic Farm Life. It's curated by Nancy from NFallonDesignStudio, who dreams of  living on a farm.  When I saw this pretty butterfly on her set of notecards, I thought it might be fluttering around in the fields near her farmhouse!  Let's go for that walk!

(Sunday update: we ALL went for a walk - Buster's first with the family!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturday Link List - in search of artistic blogs

I decided to look through some of my favorite Etsy shops, and see if they have blogs or websites.  These four artists are not teammates of mine, but they are on my list of favorite shops.  This usually happens because I can't choose just one item I like!  I've enjoyed their blogs and/or websites so much, I'd like to introduce them to you:

L. Gruger Art
Lindy's acrylic paintings are so fun to look at.  So I wondered what her website was like.  She's got some of her paintings across a fantastic banner and lot of tabs underneath.  I went to her SHOP tab, and saw her Etsy layout, GreetingCardUniverse and Zazzle.  I haven't looked at my Zazzle shop for quite awhile, so I went to Lindy's to see what she has.  Did you know you can buy your own customized postage stamps?  Lindy sells them!  Her RESOURCES tab includes art galleries, art career information and art supplies.  Great site!

Joan Tayler Design

I was attracted to a shop called Joan Tayler Design because of the beautiful polymer clay barrettes she makes.  And her BUTTONS tab immediately caught my attention when I went to her blog.  She tells about being inspired by a friend last year who made a skein of handspun yarn for every day of the year, the 355 project.  Instead of yarn, Joan made buttons.  Come and look at her final result!

I forget how I came upon tortagialla; it was probably her beautiful leather journals, something I've been thinking about making for some time now.  Linda also has little magazines called Persieri, which means "thoughts" in Italian.  Inside each magazine is a discussion about different materials and how to use it.  It reminds me of my teammates'  PDF files with patterns.  Good idea for a two dimensional artist.   What I especially liked about Linda's blog was her Creative Business 101 series.  Since I belong to the Blogging Business Artisans, I thought this would be a good series to follow, seeing I need all the business help I can get. Thanks Linda. 

Nancy Lefki, better known as collageartgirl on Etsy has an shop she calls my collage art.  I've read many of Nancy's articles in Art Journaling magazine, but never visited to her blog or website.  She is also a well-known contributor to Somerset Studio and Cloth, Paper, Scissors.  So this is a new website I'll be following.  If you're into paper or cloth, she's an artist to check out.  Her website is called Mixed Media Collage Art by Nancy Lefki.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

AlphabeThursday - the legend of the coyote and the moon

This is the first time I did any kind of white on black artwork.  My moon didn’t come out exactly how I wanted, so stark and cold, like winter.

Which is fitting for some storytelling.  There is a Zuni legend, about when the Coyote (and the Eagle) steal the sun and the moon from some Kachinas, who kept them in a box.  Before this time, there was no sun or moon.

The Eagle was the one who carried the box for a very long distance, because the Coyote never did anything right!  After the Coyote pestered the Eagle four times, ("if someone asks four times, you better give him what he wants") the Eagle finally lets the Coyote carry the box.  But then the Coyote falls behind.  And he becomes curious and wonders what the sun and the moon look like.  He also thinks the Eagle might be deceitful and have something else hidden in the box.  He opens up the lid, and the moon escapes and brings on winter (the sun escapes too, and it rises in the sky).

So if it wasn’t for of the Coyote, we wouldn’t have winter.

Want to know what other words bloggers chose to write about?  Come and visit on a tangent... and Ms. Jenny’s AlphabeThursday link list.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Art Journaling - covers and calendars

One of my February short-term goals was to work on my new art journal.  I wanted to do something to the cover, but wasn't sure what.  First of all, I took some ribbons and tied them around the spine of the journal - it helps to keep the book together.  Then I tied one fancy ribbon around the book to help keep it closed.

One of my Etsy friends also bought a composition book but wasn't sure how to embellish it.  I told her to take some markers and color in the lines, or get some decorative tape, and put it all over the cover.

Then I sat down, and did exactly what I told her to do!  I took out some of my washi tape and followed the stripes on the cover.  Next I stuck on the year, using self-adhesive numbers and my STORYBEADER name.

I just didn't like how my name turned out, after I marked all over the letters.  So I took them off.  And now you can see their outline.  Surprise!  I wasn't planning on that, but am pleased with the outcome!  That's one of my favorite things about an art journal - things don't have to be planned.  

I also started my calendar.  It's hard to believe it's almost the middle of the month already! I like the calendar idea because I'm always sure to write and/or draw something in my journal, every day!  Thanks Moira!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eye Candy - Etsy Treauries

This past week was full of love and beautiful colors - two wonderful treasuries from the BBArtisans team.  Let me show them off while I pick a favorite from the curator's shop.

Valentine's Gifts for Me
 Back on Monday, Janet (HoneyFromTheBee) had Valentine's gifts on her mind.  The gift I'd love to receive from her shop would be her copper beaded lariat with lampwork and turquoise.

Amazing Amethyst
Did you know that amethyst was the gemstone for February?  Edi (Memories for Life) is here to remind us.  I love these treasuries featured around one color.  I went to her shop, looking for amethyst and "other beautiful purples".  This Mother's Day photo album is a perfect choice for me!

 There are two more treasuries that I suddenly appeared today with one of my items in it, but since my week spans from Sunday to Saturday, you'll have to wait until next week!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Link List - hearts

Do you see people using a heart symbol (♥) when they are sending messages or comments, and wonder how they did that?  If you're using Windows, just press the alt key plus the number 3.

There's a site called fsymbols, that has a list of alt keys you can use.

*.. lovelovelovelovelove…*….*…lovelovelo.*

Want to send some text art in your email?  Here's a pretty piece called Loving Heart, that you can type out (or cut and paste).  There are more complicated heart text art available on fsymbols, under the Text Art tab.

When I was looking around on Pinterest, I saw a bunch of cute garlands that looked so easy.  Having a large heart paper punch makes it a lot easier, but you can always use your scissors.  Isn't this one by ohsocrafty adorable.  You'll need a sewing machine for this, but it won't take long to dress up your window. 

I said I was going to get some Valentine's Day cards ready for my Etsy site, but I never got around to it.  If you're like me and haven't sent your cards, try sending one by email.    

Most of the sites I looked at say they're free, but once you get to their homepage, they ask you to sign up or purchase the cards.  The best ecard site I found is called 123greetings.  Most of the cards are animated and you can add sound if you want.  You can also pick the delivery date for the card.  If you decide to sign up there, you can list your friends and family's birthdays and will never forget to send another card!

But that's emailing cards.  If you'd rather make your own Valentine's Day card, there's lots of sites for that too. I thought Martha Stewart had a great idea using doilies and pink paper!  

You just have a little while til the big day.  Surprise someone dear to your.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

AlphabeThursday - L is for Leaf

My favorite LEAF is the maple.  Where I grew up in NJ, there were always large maple trees around.  I thought their leaves were the best; so big and colorful.  A favorite subject to draw.  But these leaves aren't drawn; they came from one stamp I carved from my Speedy Cut rubber blocks.  There are lots of leaf stamps that you can buy in the store, but I wanted to make my own.  

The colors of the leaves are from Distress Ink stamp pads.  I think the manufacturer was reflecting on fall leaves when they picked what colors to offer.  Or maybe it was just me,  picking natural colors from the pads available.

But not everyone was thinking of leaves when faced with the letter L.  I wonder what the rest of Ms. Jenny's class chose to write about?  Come with me over to on a tangent... and see what other words bloggers picked for their AlphabeThursday Letter L.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

almost wordless wednesday - sequin

I think I've talked a bit about my sketching faces.   
Sequin is another one from a clothes catalog.
She a little prettier than my other faces, but hey, she's a model!

Monday, February 6, 2012

February Giveaway at the BBArtisans team blog

Are you ready for a giveaway with NINE handcrafted items?  
It's true!
For February, the BBArtisans are giving away NINE different gifts, all handmade by different teammates.  They include:

First row: 
Hematite heart earrings from Beaded Tail
Repurposed heart ring by A Bird in the Hand
Button thumb tacks from Random Creative

Second row:
Princess crown earrings from Honey from the Bee
Knit heart pin from N. Fallon Design Studio
Paper and onyx earrings from the Storybeader

Third row:
Crocheted yarn hearts from Magnolia Surprise
Velvet zipper pouch from Splendid Little Stars
Custom clay heart from Artful Rising

To enter you must visit one of the participating shop and leave a comment on the BBArtisans team blog.  You can also leave a comment for each and every shop!  Then there are four additional chances to win.  The giveaway is open worldwide and will be closing at 11am (C.T.) on February 21, 2012.  Go and visit!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday Link List - Take a Class

I'm always looking for classes on the internet to take.  If they don't cost anything, all the better.  Many of my favorite topics include art, but I know there are other classes available, so I've included a whole array of topics.

Right now, I'm enrolled in an art journaling class called Weekly Art Date, taught by Moira Richardson.  She's always coming up with interesting topics and techniques, and she loves to teach using videos.  Moira's new blog has some of the things that we cover, but if you want to get the full benefit of the class, sign up at the Art Journaling Ning - her class is available on their site. The Ning's motto is "It's all good."  Various art journaling classes are available there, many for free.

I'm also interested in cleaning up the photographs I take.  After using Photoshop at work, I started telling my family how much I loved it.  Last year, I received Photoshop Elements as a birthday gift.  I had taken a night class in Photoshop a few years ago, but had forgotten much of what I learned.  So I  thought I might just take Suzie's "31 Days to Learning Photoshop Basics", over at The Accent Piece.  Great website, BTW.

For all those (would-bes, or) cooks out there, there is a real neat looking website called "The Kitchn" that has tutorials, information on kitchen tools, budgeting advices  and recipes for meals throughout the day.  Very professional looking!  

If you have sewing on your mind and would like to learn some fun quilting techniques, Amy Gibson has a website ( with a class called Block of the Month.  It's for both beginners and experiences quilters, and everyone is invited to share their finished products online.  I know a few people who would get a kick out of this site!  

Let me end with another website I found that I'm personally interested in.  It's called and has both guided courses and free downloadable lessons.  There are many topics and the classes are for  beginners, intermediate and advanced levels.  You can even keep track of your progress.  Their motto: "Now everyone can draw."  Neat!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Short Term Goals for February

I was extremely busy in January, so I'm very pleased that I completed all three goals for the month.  I got my finances in order and took all our tax info to the CPA (just yesterday I got a call - they're done!)  My new journaling class started in January and I'm having a blast.  Always nice to challenge myself with new techniques.  And I'm exercising with my XBOX.    

To keep my health and sanity for this month, I'm looking to:

1) set up new fitness goals with the XBOX. 
I just realized I can ask the "Your Shape" software to set up a personal fitness program for myself.  I chose weight loss and trimming.     

What To Do: Follow the trainer and complete the fitness program it gives me. This might be pushing myself a little more than usual!

2) work on my new art journal.  
I started a new journal in January, but haven't reinforce the spine or added a ribbon for tying it closed (always have to put something on top of it to keep it closed!)

What To Do:  set aside an afternoon to complete the physical aspects of the  journal.  Also, continue writing in my February grid calendar, and show what I'm doing online.  

3) practice drawing and collaging faces.  
I spent only one week last month, drawing faces.  Then I moved on to other things I needed to complete.  So this month, I'm promising myself to spend more time and work with faces and shadowing.  Also work on altering some magazine images.  
What To Do:  Get a bunch of magazines to cut up.  Buy some watercolor  pencils that I can use for skin coloring.  Set aside a time in the day when I can draw my faces.  

That should keep me busy, right?  {:-D

Thursday, February 2, 2012

AlphabeThursday - K is for Key

It's Wednesday night and I don't want to be late for Ms. Jenny's AlphabeThursday class.
So I took a little piece of an extra Speedy-Cut block and made a new stamp.  
Something small that begins with a K....  Key of course!  

Perfect for Valentine's Day and the key to someone's heart.   

Come and visit Ms. Jenny's blog and see
what other words people chose.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...