Thursday, January 30, 2014

ZenDoodling A Documented Life

This week's prompt in The Documented Life Project was to create a border of doodles. You could say I got carried away, as I didn't stop at the border. I've been following Beckah Krahula's "One Zentangle A Day" since the fall. By following, I mean attempting to practice a new zentangle daily. So, I've skipped a few days and then did more than one on some days, and I'm about a third through the book. I am by no means a zentangle purist, but I do like the feeling I get when I'm lost in the process. No kidding, it really is a very calming activity. Since my prompt page contains some "official" tangles as well as my own marks, I'm calling it ZenDoodling.

The fish is a stamp I carved ages ago in a Julie Fei-Fan Balzer class. It's just a plain outline of a fish, so lots of empty space to doodle in. For the coloring, I used a variety of pens and markers and some watercolors as well. After last week's prompt (secret messages), which was very emotional for me, this week was just fun. And fun is good.

Speaking of good, and this has nothing to do with the project, I just wanted to share a VERY good tip I received from my good friend Pat. I think she shared this months ago, but I just had a reason to try it out, and it works. Do you have any paintbrushes you forgot to wash and are now totally stiff and unusable? Of course you do. Want to get them nice and soft again? Of course you do. Just soak them overnight in hair conditioner. It doesn't have to be an expensive brand. In fact, this is a good time to use up those little bottles of the stuff that you save every time you stay in a hotel. And this works even if the brush is full of dried up glue.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Secret Message

Prompt #4 in The Documented Life Project is:  "write a secret message and then paint over all but one word."  Sometimes it feels like the universe is reading my mind.  This was one of those times.  I've been discussing secrets with several family members.  One secret in particular.  Part of which we knew something about, but a lot that has been revealed to my brother and I after our mom's recent death.  Intellectually it is interesting; emotionally, it is heartbreaking.  And although I have mostly negative feelings about family secrets, I have to admit, being a very private person myself, there are few details I'm prepared to make public.  But, it was a good experience for me to take the opportunity afforded me by this week's prompt, to turn it into a journal page.

The larger photo is of my mom and dad, taken around the time they married.  The smaller photo.....well, that pretty much illustrates the secret.

To the right of this page is a tip in that I used to journal on; a page only I will ever see.  Well, you'll see a snippet, just enough to show how I did it.

My mom experienced many challenges and a lot of sadness, but this is what I'm taking from all this:  instead of giving in to grief, she chose life, and went on to live a long and good one.  And had she not made that choice, I wouldn't be here.

BTW, the background (much of which is covered) is a wonderful new technique I learned from Wendy Vecchi.  Click here to see Wendy's video.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Further Adventures of My Documented Life

As I suspected, this has been pretty easy to keep up with.  Every Sunday we get a journaling prompt.  Last week it was to include a selfie.    As I'm determined to simplify my life (have already thrown out countless bags of junk), I did this:

Me, sitting on a mountain of supplies.  To be more accurate I should have shown me buried under that mountain.  I'm trying to keep only what I actually use.  I'm making progress, but although my work space is neater and more organized, I know I still have TOO MUCH STUFF.  I guess there will be a round two of purging in my future.  

This week the prompt is to include an envelope we received in the mail.  I've been in a few mail art exchanges, so that was easy.  In the process of purging, I uncovered a gratitude journal I started in 2000.  I only did it for a couple of months, but I enjoyed reading what I wrote.  

The green pocket was made from part of an envelope I received a couple of years ago from my friend Inge in Belgium.  In it, one of the pages from my gratitude journal that spoke to me in a big way.

Every single thing on this page, except for the paint and the ink, was received in the mail from a friend. 
Under the paint and the stamping are postage stamps, scraps from other envelopes, photos, funny advertisements.....all the things that we artsy folk like to send to one another.  I think you can see some of those layers peeking through here:

Speaking of one of my groups (Blissfully Art Journaling), Teri has started to give a template as a prompt.  Here is the current one:

As you can see, by using it I have killed two prompts with one page.  So to speak.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Documented Life

I welcome 2014 with open arms and a hopeful heart.  Two major events in 2013 challenged me greatly; the illness and eventual death of a loved one, and a signifigant health issue of my own.  I know both are a part of life, but accepting that in no way diminishes their impact.

Honestly, I'm still trying to center myself, and to further that goal I have joined a group called The Documented Life.  It's a diary/art journal/sketchbook/smash book rolled into one.  I found out about it just days before the new year, so was a little late to the party.  While most people were altering a moleskin planner, I was anxious to get started and used what I had... a 5x8 Strathmore journal.

My covers, both inside and out are decorated entirely with prints from a gelli plate.

Not having planning pages I just added a small calendar for each month.  You can also see my monthly tabs.  Many of the group members made beautiful tabs.  All I did was take some stickers, write the months on them and attach them by folding them in half and letting the adhesive to the work.

Washi tape was used to attach tip ins.


Some of the tip ins were plain paper for sketching and watercolor paper for "wet work."  But many were just whatever I had lying around.  A sample of something or other:

An envelope:

A folded tag:

A paint color sample from the hardware store:


My word for 2014 is simplify (with the subgroups declutter and regroup). 
At a visit to a doctor, the technician was having trouble with the EKG machine and had to do mine over.  She tossed the bad one in the trash, and when she left the room I promptly retrieved it.  I knew it would come in handy eventually.  Another unusual tip in.

And I just love the way the washi tape looks on the edges of the paper.
Obviously, we can do what we want with our books, but there will also be prompts from the organizers of the project, and I'm looking forward to the first one, which should be coming within the hour.