Art Journal

12 Photos of my Art Room Makeover


Chances are you've never been in my art room, but I will tell you it has been a mess. Like a big crazy ugly mess.

It never got set up right in the first place. It was a mess, so I added storage drawers and storage things, but it still seemed impossible to organize. I knew there was enough space for everything to have it's own home, but I needed blank space somewhere to put things as they were being sorted. It was like one of those puzzles where there's a square missing and then  you have to slide it around to make the picture or whatever -- except there wasn't a missing piece so it just stayed where it was.

It bugged me. I would sit in my chair and daydream about how good it could be. And that was the start really. It starts with the desire and intention. And then the baby steps. And then boom.

I wish I had a photo that would adequately capture the chaos that was going on in here, but of course I do not. This is a slight idea (yes that is General Hospital on the tv):



That's one side of the room, but there's another. It was full of clutter piles and cupboards shoved full of things with not much rhyme or reason.

I started getting rid of stuff months ago. I was trying to make the empty square, so to speak.

I was unhappy with the empty collage spaces on that wall so I started clearing things out to get to them and add more stuff. These are the shelves to the right and left of the art table in the midst of being collaged up.




I fell in love with the emptiness of these spaces. 2 totally empty shelves and all that floor space! Having everything empty so much made me not want to put anything back on/in place, so I started getting rid of even.

That's kinda where I was when I was woken up really early one weekend. I hadn't slept well and was counting on the fact that I could sleep in. And then the phone rang way before I was ready to wake up. I tried to go back to sleep but it was pointless - and I got cranky.

Lucky for me, negative emotions motivate me to clean like crazy. I'm not sure why, but it is always true. I'm upset? What needs to be scrubbed?

Now this may sound funny, but I had a new mop sitting in my garage. It had been there for weeks, and that morning I kept thinking about it. I was trying to get back to sleep but I keep thinking about the mop and the dirty, dirty floors in my art room. I gave in, got up, and found the mop.

I got rid of a lot of piles. I pushed furniture around, I swept and I mopped. Twice.




 It got really messy at some in between points.





That was so nice I started emptying all the drawers (and there are many), organizing  and only putting back the things I really wanted to (or already did) use. I labeled them with descriptions like "distress ink" and "pokey things."

I've mentioned before I never remember to snap before pictures, but I hadn't gotten too far into the process when I realized I was going to clean out and organize all these cupboards too and took this picture. Imagine all the spaces full of messy.



Later that day it looked like this. It's almost full now but still looks tidy. One cupboard is for adheisves, one for water color based media, one for punches and scissors, etc. I also added some labels to the inside of the doors.





The Girls Kick Ass drawer? Brilliant idea, if I do say so myself, to velcro the remotes to it. They're for the big speaker that I listen to music/audio books on, the tv and the Roku. I love having a place they always go that's up off any surface.

Lots of the drawers under the desk are still empty as well. It feels really good. There are a few piles in my room waiting to be sorted but I have more than enough space to fit everything I want to use back in here and stay orderly.

Here's how that side of the room looks now:




And the art table side? I think it's lovely.







To Paint Is To Love Again (Henry Miller) : 12 pictures of working in my art journal



My 50th year was not my favorite, so I've been working on ways to change things and get back to having a life that makes me happy. One essential part of that was to straighten up my art room and make some daily movement in that area every day. Art is good therapy. Art is good for your soul. All of that art stuff, it's true.

The first step was to get the art space in some kind of working order. I started getting rid of junk and supplies I don't use, while moving my favorite things into places easy to access. I got my desk cleaned off and covered part of it with this endless roll of pink butcher paper my dad gave me decades ago.



I didn't take a photo of my art table when it was all fresh and starting out because I am the worst at before photos. This is pretty close to how it looked though, just minus all the junk.



I found an old mostly empty art notebook. This was one of the few things already in it. It's pretty much representative of what stuff I was doing when I stopped doing anything. I'm interested in doing something totally different now. Much more messy.




I opened it to a pair of blank pages and started making it not blank a little teeny tiny bit at a time. I found a lot of good supplies in my redo, but I had also discovered most of my beloved ink sprays were not spraying. I had to think of an alternative for adding color in the background and I started thinking about stencils. I had a few so I tried them out with ink pads that still worked. I may have also bought a few more stencils on Amazon because they are fun, and look cool.



I went a little crazy trying stuff out, but that's kind of the idea.


Elephant spread




I love to stamp words on stuff. I found my best alphabet step set ever. It was part of a kid's set of stamps that probably cost ninety nine cents. They are perfect. In retrospect, I wish I would have stamped 'element' because that's what I called those giant animals when I was a kid. Next time.



Then I found the gesso. It was in a vapor lock tub from 1998 and there was still perfectly good gesso in it. I'm not even kidding you. I know when it was from because there's a sticker on the bottom. I felt like it was a sign from the art gods. The gesso miracle. I started gessoing up all the pages. It made some cool effects on the ones I had already spayed with ink ages ago.




I kept trying supplies out as I found them and really messed that page up. By that I mean I don't like it right now. But it happens. Maybe it'll end up turning out anyway.




After a few days of playing with stuff, I started to make some pages I like.




I like what this one became.

I love a white pen. I love white on top of the intense colors. This is an example of what Hannah diagnosed as Compulsive Outlining Disorder. She's not wrong.






And then this part of a blue page? Oh, I love it. For real. I have to never forget that doing this, even a tiny bit at a time, is necessary for a happy life. I mean for me. Although you would probably enjoy it too.



A lot of days I post various bits of my daily art making on my Instagram stories. Follow me there.
It's fun (and there's no drama). 



"Art feeds my soul" or How I'm Staying Sane Right Now.



If you're my friend on Facebook, you may have noticed I am struggling with the tragedy of my country right now. If you follow me on Twitter you probably think I've lost my mind. But the world is a harsh place right now, and I am a sensitive girl.

There is a part of my mind that is constantly shouting out me to freak out. Constantly. To do nothing but shout and scream about these things. And to ignore everything but this. I am often convinced that this is the only answer and I should ignore everything else in my life to scream at the world.

DonnashoutingatitThis is Donna Noble, my Doctor Who hero, and her grandfather. 

And then every once in while a more sane voice reminds me screaming at the world will not make things better.

Luckily I have a good therapist and about 20 years of cognitive behavioral therapy practice. I called said therapist for an extra session last week and she suggested a total media black out. No news, no twitter, none of that. I said I could make promises, but there was no way I'd be able to follow that advice.

Earlier in our meeting we had been talking about art and that I've let myself forget how important that part of life was to my mental health. It was this brilliant book by Fred Babb in her waiting room that had reminded me:


So Jane suggested "Well, what if you spent equal time making art for any media time?"

Perfect. I thought I could do that.


Except I didn't Sunday, or Monday. And I could tell yesterday. So last night after all my chores were done I made some art time.

At first after I met with Jane I had some big ideas about making and binding my own amazing Mary Ann Moss style journal. I do really love that process. Then I realized that was a bit too ambitious when I haven't been making anything for a while. I grabbed a barely started journal from long ago and just started gluing or taping random things in. Last night I pulled out some markers and colored pencils and started making marks with them. The point is the process. It's the time spent in that creative and quiet part of my brain that's important. Being in the moment and in the flow is what I find healing.



It helps. It helps a lot, at least for me.
I just have to remember to keep doing it.



My Favorite New Way to Journal








It’s monday, but it feels like a great new start monday to me.

I spent pretty much the last four days in my bed. I had one of those multi-day migraines that you have to go get a shot for. Until now I had only heard about those from other people. Wow. I have always been a huge fan of modern medicine but this reminded me how grateful I am to not have been born in one of my favorite olden days chunks of history.

The migraine was boring. I hurt, but I couldn’t sleep. I could just think about how badly I felt and I needed to be distracted. So I listened to a lot of podcasts and watched a lot of YouTube. When I felt better I spent a lot of time trying to find something different to do with my iPad.I discovered that since I have Adobe Creative Cloud, I also have those apps on my iPad. That is amazing and might be life changing, to be overly dramatic about it (like I do). I have Photoshop Sketch, and I spent a lot time playing in that app.


One thing I played with was a new favorite way to journal when I just need to empty my mind and clear things up in there a bit. I just wrote until a screen was full. Then I changed colors, changed pens, added a layer and kept going. It doesn’t take physical space and it looks kind of cool. When I write like that, what I'm saying really doesn't matter at all, it's just the act of thinking it, and for whatever weird reason I think better when I'm writing out the words.

I will definitely be doing it again.


I finally got these pages together for your viewing pleasure.



In 2010 Hannah and I went to Disney World with my brother, I made a mini book about it. I took photos and wrote posts about half of them, and those pages are some of the most popular searches on this blog. I decided to show them a little love. I fixed them up a little and finished the last pages and made an index so you can look at them all.


I had a lot of fun making that book. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, you might like to look at it. It’s collaged together from book pages, scrapbook supplies, photos and junk I picked up in the parks.


I had a lot of fun making it. It’s kinda making me want to try one again on our next trip (122 days).


Follow these links to check it out:

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Intro
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 1

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 2
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 3
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 4
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 5
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 6
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 7
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 8

Keep up with my other Disney posts here.



My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 8

Day 7, Our last (and most sad) day.


The pages for this day are especially unfinished. I hadn't realized that until I took these pictures. 


I think that's a page from Bambi on the left, but I've added stickers of princesses to it and covered the writing with a green strip of cardstock.
On the right, yellow vellum. Behind it a blank page made from scrapbook paper.


On the left I've added a photo of Main Street and the castle to a scrapbook paper page.
On the right it's our Guest Check from the Contempo Cafe


Sadly, our Guest Check for dinner was all food from back home.
Oh the right I've combined photos of Hannah with Alice as a child and with Alice now.


We hung out at the pool for a while waiting for our Magical Express back to the airport.
One of Hannah's strongest memories from her childhood trips is this walkway. There she is at 4 on the right.


And there she is at 18.
On the right, a page from a Pooh book.


Both my high and low points were added to this page of mermaids looking shocked we left.
On the right, I added in our Magical Express envelope.


I got fancy on the right page, using a punch on the edges. I also added a 3d Ariel sticker.


On the left I've added a photo and small sticker to the back of the Ariel and Max book page.
Return boarding passes are on the right.


A napkin from our flight, and the back inside cover.


And that's the end! 



My Disney 2010 Memory Book links:

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Intro
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 1

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 2
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 3
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 4
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 5
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 6
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 7
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 8

Keep up with my other Disney posts here.





My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 7

Time for day 6. If you'd like to see these pages when they were blank for comparison, you can find them in the intro here



On the right I've pasted a photo of that sculpture outside Yak & Yeti that I fell instantly in love with onto the back of a book page.
On the right, blank red velum.


The red velum, and another park map.


Looks like I've skipped a page here. I think there was a photo on the front of that picture of Mt Everest.
On the right there are 3 small photos of the safari glued in a line onto scrapbook paper.


A page from the Snow White book  on the right. I added my 3 favorite gorilla pictures.
On the right, I'm pretty sure I meant to write or add something to the lovely picture of Bambi and his mom, but I never did.


King Louie sighting on the left.
I added a photo of our lunch to the Guest Check from Yak & Yeti quick serve.


Here, near the end of the book, I was tired and there are more and more things left unfinished. Sad but true. We ate at Sanaa but I don't know what.
On the right there's a postcard I bought on that trip.


On the back of the postcard it's a photo of me and Tiggr.
On the right, I've punched holes into a folded up wax paper that Hannah's almonds came in.


On the right, I added a photo of Hannah hoarding her almonds to a page made from scrapbook paper.


More scrapbook paper on left side, with a photo and a basic label.
On the right, another Beauty and the Beast postcard.


I added a photo to the back of the postcard.
Our lowpoints are so low Ariel is diving in the water to rescue them. Not really, I didn't even have one, but this was the page for them.


On the left are our daily high points.
On the right a photo of everyone at Sanaa, stuck to a page from Wall-E.


On the left, it's a background page from Aladdin, with a picture of Poison Ivy and a sticker to write on.
Oh no, on the right it's the start of our last day!



My Disney 2010 Memory Book links:

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Intro
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 1

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 2
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 3
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 4
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 5
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 6
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 7
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 8

Keep up with my other Disney posts here.


My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 6

We're ready for day 5!



Some of the book pages I used had type on them. I tried to hide those parts with solid cardstock for writing, but in retrospect I didn't really like it. This page also has a journaling block sticker, and a 3d sticker of Flower.
On the right a blank piece of velum. On retrospect those were a boring idea. Behind that is a times guide for Epcot. There's nothing on the front of that page with the dwarf.


On back of the book page I've added scrapbook paper. I didn't have any photos of Soarin', but wanted to include it because it was my favorite ride. I cut a couple out of some brochure in our room and used those with some labels to talk about it.
I folded up a piece of tissue our snack came in. Don't worry, it was clean. I stuck a label on it so I'd know what it was from.


The back of the bag and a Belle postcard.


On the back of the postcard Hannah holds our buzzer for lunch at Hurricane Hanna's.
Here's our Guest Check from that lunch.


The back of the Guest Check lists details from our dinner at Tutto Italia.
On the right is the photo claim ticket from our ride on Tower of Terror.


I glued our ride photo onto the back of the claim slip.
A photo of Hannah in Tatooine pasted on a Snow White book. 


Me, outside Tower of Terror, which was instantaly my favorite ride.
On the right I've cut two squares out of scrapbook paper and made a page. I used a photo of us tired and a journal square to label our empty bus ride home.


On the back of that page I cut out a picture I had taken of a coffee we ordered. I wrote directly on the page.
On the right is a photo of Snow White's wishing well and a blank sticker labeling it as Germany.


On the back is a photo of Italy.
I used a book page to list our high points.


On the back I added a ride photo to help explain our low points.
Next, it's day 6 already!



My Disney 2010 Memory Book links:

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Intro
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 1

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 2
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 3
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 4
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 5
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 6
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 7
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 8

Keep up with my other Disney posts here.



Keep up with my other Disney posts here.

My 2010 Disney Memory Book : Part 3

Day 2 included my first ever trip to the Animal Kingdom. I was in love, so this days gets extra pages!



Eric and Max and Ariel looking charming on the left, with journal spot to comment on my first DAK day.
On the right, I cut the sign outside the park out of a photo and gluestuck it to the velum page.


I added a couple simple elephant stickers to these two pages.


I used the cranky Scar page and some blank mailing labels to make a list of all the characters I met that day.
On the right it's another park map. That lion is gorgeous.


On the left is the plain back of the map.
On the right, it's kind of hard to make on what's on the right page. It's a photo of the Animal Kingdom entrance, with a couple post card style stickers.


On the back of the photo is King Triton cut out of a book page. I added a Mickey sticker and a plain label.
On the right, a photo of the stunningly gorgeous Tree of Life.


The left is a photo pasted onto the back of the Tree of Life photo.
On the right is another lovely coaster from Bay Lake.


I made a list of my favorite animals from the day on the back.
And then I added photos of them. There's a gorilla.


An elephant and a tiger.


A meerkat on the watch, and a tree full of vultures.


On the left there's a sleeping lion, which is kinda hard to make out with the meerkat photo behind it.
Two waiting coasters are on the right.


Another list on the back of one coaster.
I glued a photo of me with King Louis and Baloo to a coaster, and outlined it with a white pen.


A list of the rides we rode and a Dinosaur fastpass we didn't get to use.


On the back of the fastpass is our ride photo. We're on the front row.
I used a page from the Bambi book for the photo of me with the bunnies. I added a 3d photo of Thumper. That was my favorite part of the trip.


Did I mean to leave that Lion King page blank?
Our guest check from Flame Tree BBQ.


Dinner was at San Angel Inn.
We headed to Epcot after DAK.


I added an Epcot map to the back of our photo.
On the right is a shot of the soda dispensers at Club Cool.


I did not add anything to the back of the photo, but I did add some scrapbook paper.
On the right is a cup from soda sampling, and a strip of paper they sprayed with fragrance in FakeFrance.


The backs of those things.
We stopped to meet Donald in Mexico.


On the back of the Donald photo, it's scrapbook paper with a couple labels and a Donald sticker.
I added a throwback photo of Hannah with the Mexican dancers from 1996.


Plain scrapbook paper on the back of the photo, and a bit about the Kim Possible game. Very fun!
We were walking through France when we saw Marie heading to her meeting spot. I used a page from an Aristocats book for that page, with a clear sticker on top of the photo, and fuzzy 3d stickers of the kitties.


Our high and low points on the back of The Aristocats, and we're ready for day 3!



My Disney 2010 Memory Book links:

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Intro
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 1

My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 2
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 3
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 4
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 5
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 6
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 7
My Disney 2010 Memory Book : Part 8

Keep up with my other Disney posts here.



Today's Fun Project

Today is mostly about doing chores and copying files and running my kid around, but in between all that, I needed to have something fun to do. It is necessary part of every day.

Today's thing is decorating this laptop bag



click on the photos if you'd like to see them larger


Sometime in the past when I was getting ready for a trip, I realized I needed a protectivev case for my sweet little MacBook. I couldn't find anything that looked like something I wanted to carry around all the time, so I decided to buy this mostly plain case and cover it with stickers. has the best stickers ever. They're vinyl and never get wrinkly or worn out like the GoPro sticker in the corner of the first photo. They have stickers for almost all my silly fandoms and everything I like. I bought the first set right after I got the case, but as I've been planning for my upcoming cruise (what?), I decided my case was in need of some sprucing up. I bought a few stickers then. And then after I put those all on, I decided I needed just few more.

Today I laid out the stickers out around the case and as I walk by, I take a minute to gaze at it, and try things out, and sometimes then stick them. As you can see, I only have a few stickers left. There will still be more space; I feel like I should leave some room for future amazing stickers I might feel like I need.

I think it's looking good.