Wednesday, August 9, 2017

If it's August...

I should be finishing up the laundry... but instead I am playing in my planner...

 I should be packing, but instead I'm setting up a little travel journal.  I wonder if the Field Notes notebook will be too small.  I'll give it a try!

Happy 25th Year, Stampaway USA!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

One of These Days

One of these days, I'll get around to finishing up my recap of my trip to Western Kentucky and Tennessee.  I'll probably show the little travel booklet I made.  I'll show the stamps and stencils I got.  And I'll talk about the Dina Wakley journal I bought, the one with pages made of watercolor paper, burlap, canvas and kraft paper.  Yep... I will, one of these days...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mini Getaway - Part 2

It only took me--- how long?  over a month to write part 2.  I blame it on working night shift.  I don't think I'll ever get used to these hours.

But I vaguely remember going to Paducah recently.  :)
On day 2, I was so sleepy when my alarm went off in the hotel (see comment about night shift).  I knew there were a lot of places I still wanted to visit before I hit the road again.  I got up.  I made coffee.  I fell asleep again.  My alarm went off again.  I got up.  I made coffee.  I took a shower and made friends with the housekeeper who was knocking on my door.  I'm sure she was checking to make sure I was okay.  Or maybe she just wanted to clean the room.  Due to the language barrier, I couldn't be sure.  Through hand gestures I finagled more coffee from her.

After finally feeling human, packing and re-loading the car, I was off again, very much later than I had planned.  But since part of the plan was catching up on sleep, I guess I was still on track!

First stop was Ephemera Paducah.  This is a little shop that sells mixed media art supplies as well as vintage goodies, and regularly hosts some very talented nationally known artists.  I would love to attend some of the workshops there. .
My pictures really don't do it justice, but I was on a shopping mission.  There were lots of cool things all around the store.
 This old ledger was huge!  I probably could not even have lifted it to look at it!
On the right below is what I refer to as the Tower of Stencils.  You can't tell just how many stencils there are, mostly on the back side of the tower.  The only reason I didn't buy more stencils than I did is that I already had most of them!  There were all the latest art supplies from Tim Holtz, Dina Wakley, and Dyan Reavley.  The owner, Kristin, could not have been nicer.
When I left there, I noticed all the wonderful Victorian homes along the street.  This big yellow house was right next door and undergoing some renovations.

I headed toward the river, but I was also looking left and right at the homes.  I wanted to take pictures of everything, but at the same time didn't want to linger too long.  I should have spent more time looking straight ahead, as a lot of the streets were one-way and I was so busy looking at houses, I almost turned the wrong way down a one-way street.  That made me stop looking at houses and pay attention to my driving!

I made my way down to the center of town which was along the riverfront.  One of the places I had planned to visit was the National Quilt Museum.  But that has to wait for another visit as there wouldn't be time.  It has become a big claim to fame for this little town, and they have an annual Quilt Festival.  It has spurred a growth of new hotels in the area.  The one I stayed in was new, and my room had a full size kitchen and 2 queen size beds, for only $72 per night.  That is unheard of.  I'm sure it's more during Quilt Week, but I'd stay there again in a heartbeat.
And there is the river, where the Tennessee  River meets the Ohio River.   If it looks cold, it was.  It was below average temperature for late March/early April.  Wind was blowing off the river and I was quite cold!
There is a very long flood wall along the river, and each concrete panel is painted with a mural.  it is quite impressive.  Another time (on a warmer day), I will take the time to study each one and read each plaque in front of it.

There is a steam train down at the far end of the mural wall.  There is a large parking lot across from the wall, which is very convenient to the riverbank and also downtown.  This was painted on the street, but is no longer legible.  Something about being careful what you put in there as it drains to the river.
As I drove out of town, other things caught my eye, like this large painted butterfly on the side of a building...
 ... and this painted honey advertisement.
One of the things I had envisioned myself doing before my trip was sitting at a coffee shop and sketching some of the old buildings in Paducah.  I didn't have time to sit outside at a coffee shop plus it was too cold anyway.  I had scouted buildings on google earth before I left home.  I had practiced sketching a couple of them, so I cheated.  When driving around, I found a church I had sketched at home, and held up my sketch.  I'll pretend I had a lazy coffee on a sunny day while sketching it.
There were lots of interesting buildings that require further exploration.  And I was surprised at the number of antique malls.  One could spend at least 2 days just going through those!  But I was off on the road again before it got too late in the day.  Headed south, to see my family!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mini Getaway - Part 1

I am seriously behind in my blogging, my play, and my sleep.  I'll tackle the first one today!

I have had a series of unplanned job changes over the last 3 years.  I work in what used to be a very stable industry, which has become the most unstable place to be (healthcare).  I only mention it because that's the reason I have not been to see my family out of state in almost three years, not even at Christmas (It's that healthcare thing - hospitals don't close on holidays.)

I finally accrued a few vacation days with my new company and started planning a long weekend trip.  In the past, when I drive from Kentucky to Tennessee, I always passed the Paducah exit on the interstate and think, I should stop there sometime.  So, as I was making my plans, I decided to make an overnight stop there.
Paducah is a small town on the Ohio River.  I did some exploring on google earth and felt like I didn't even need a map or GPS after just a few minutes of getting the lay of the land.  I made my hotel reservation and in a couple of weeks, I was on my way.

Along the way, I made a stop for gas and visited the Cracker Barrel restaurant and store nearby.  They are famous for their rocking chairs on the "front porch" and I discovered chairs in several different colors.  It was a pleasantly warm March day, and I sat in one of the chairs enjoying a soft breeze, and caught up on text messages and missed calls. I'd forgotten what it was like to be away from all the demands of work, to just sit and relax for a few minutes. That's what the whole weekend was about for me.
It's not that far to Paducah for me.  When I got there it was too early to check into my hotel, so I drove around, checking out the area near my hotel.  The weather took a turn for the worse about that time, with torrential downpours, and I had no choice but to go inside a Tuesday Morning and check out the deals.  (Did that sound convincing?)  I found several things under a dollar, and probably could have spent more but I tried to restrain myself.
My biggest decision when packing for the trip was what supplies to take for journaling.  In the end, I packed next to nothing.  I had a small journal in my fake Midori planner.  I took a few water color pencils, a water brush, some washi tape, and some sticker paper with dates stamped on them.  I did play a little in the hotel that night.  I discovered the stamps I bought at Tuesday morning  (self-inking, set of three that stack, in the picture) were on sale for a reason.  The word Observation was missing the T.  It also leaks, which I didn't realize until later when I wondered why everything I touched left black marks!
I caught up on sleep that night.. and the next morning.  My plans for getting an early start both days didn't pan out.  But I really needed the rest and did not feel guilty one little bit.  The maid eventually came around and I asked her to come back later.  That was when I noticed the magnet on the door.  I guess they no longer have the hanger that goes on the doorknob that says Do Not Disturb!

After plenty of coffee and packing everything up, I went out to explore some of Paducah.  That will be in Part 2.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

February Planner Pages

Playing catch up today and took pictures of my planner pages for February.  Just the normal--a little stenciling, a little stamping and painting, using anything lying around within reach!
 (Above right background art is by Lorraine Belle and is a free download as part of her online class which I took to make this journal/planner. For Info, click here.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Making Stuff

Once again, I've fallen behind in posting anything here.  Rest assured, if I'm not posting something, I'm involved in creating wonderful things.  Or maybe I'm working on a top secret government research project.  Or maybe I'm napping...

One thing I've been pretty much obsessed with lately is making journal/notebook/datebook things.

I had looked from time to time at Midori Traveler's Notebooks.  They fascinate me, with all the inserts available and different versions and sizes.  It's a whole culture out there, and I had no idea just how big the TN culture was.

Meantime, I kept seeing Teesha Moore making her own version of these books, using her journal art on the covers, and selling them in her etsy shop.  Since they usually sell out before I can get one, when she made a new batch, I jumped on it.  I bought one in a medium size, similar to the passport size.  When it came, I carried it around from room to room.  I kept it on my desk while I worked so I could look at it and pick it up to feel the leather.  I ordered another.  Actually, I ordered two more, in the micro size, and gave one as a gift.

If you are a subscriber to Teesha and Tracey Moore's Artstronauts Club, you know how generous she is in sharing her art process, her journals and how she goes about filling pages with her art. I wasn't sure how she was putting art on these leather covers.  I researched online trying to find a company that printed on leather.  Then, when I was catching up on watching some of her videos, there it was.  She mentioned she had posted a video a while back showing how she did this.  What? It was right there under my nose the whole time.

This called for a play day at my friend Gaye's.  We played with transferring Gaye's background art onto leather.  There's a learning curve, but we were very happy with the result.
Over the next few days after I got home, I made another one, using pages from a 2015 art journal for my cover art.  Since I had copied the pages from a journal, they were second generation, so when I made my collage, I used colored pencil and markers to add more depth and color to the page.  I used a thinner leather, mainly because I had more of it, plus I'm not close enough to Gaye to go over and use her heavy duty sewing machine to sew through the thicker leather.
Once again, I was very happy with it.  I have ordered a few inserts from Amazon to go in the books, but mostly I have made my own inserts.  One I made is an address book.
I cut a piece of ledger paper the size of the pages I needed.  I typed and drew on the page and made a copy.  I put both copies on a piece of copy paper, with the center of the page marked.  Since I put it dead center, I could copy on the back side and get front and back.  Then cut to size and put in the book.
I'm finding all kinds of uses for these books.  It's still a learning curve, but it's been a fun journey!

Monday, February 13, 2017

January Planner Pages

Hello again.  I know it looks like I'm doing nothing these days, but I do work on my planner pages each week.  Thought I would post the pages from January.  Nothing fancy, just feeling my way around this format and getting used to it.

Stamped on the first page.
How to fix a mistake when you realize you put 2016 in your 2017 planner.  I'm pretending I meant to do it that way!

January week 1.  Word of the year is Transform.  I didn't want a word of the year, but it keeps popping up everywhere I look!
January week 2.  I used the days of the week words I carved last year.
January week 3.
 January week 4.
Life is unsettled in my world right now, and playing in this planner is really good for me.  It's not too demanding, and I can play a little here, a little there, as I get time.  I'm enjoying it!

Thursday, February 2, 2017


February already?  Where have the days gone?

Oh, there they are!  :)

Found these stamps on eBay.  I'm always on the lookout for stamps of days of the week and names of the month!

Monday, January 23, 2017


Yes, there's a day for that..
Happy National Handwriting Day 2017

I was moved to do my writing with brown and purple pens.
P.S.  I did not write the sign at the bottom left.  That was printed off the internet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Plans Change

Some notes on how I prepared my planner/journal for this year.

Once I decided on my journal with the grid pages, I wanted to make the pages a little stronger to take whatever media I put on them.  I made sure I had enough pages available, then I used glue stick to glue every 2 pages together.  I ended up with pages that are double thickness and which should stand up well.

Another thing I did was to play around with calendar layouts in the back of the book on spare pages.  I worked on layouts for a full month calendar spread, and also the weekly calendar page.  I was pretty proud of myself, putting so much thought into my journal!

 After I had my full month sized out, I went to the front and drew out January and was getting ready to ink it in.  Then I realized that when I glued my pages together by 2's, I totally forgot to factor in the 12 monthly spreads I would need.

I have no problem changing plans before they even get started!  I decided I didn't really need separate calendars for each month.  So I went to Mr. Internet and searched for free printables and found a calendar that was bright and colorful.  I put that on the page that had originally been intended for a January double page spread.  I added some fun washi tape at the bottom.
I like the way it turned out.  Works just fine!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Making a Plan(ner)

Once upon a time in the land of planners....

....I started this year (actually back in December) thinking about what I wanted for a planner or journal or art journal.  Several years ago, I picked up a 5 x  8 journal with grid paper inside.  It was on a sale table and worked really well for just writing, which is all I wanted it for at the time.  I was lucky enough to find a few more pretty cheap over the years, and as time went on, I was adding more to the pages than just writing.  Not a lot, but strips of washi tape I had purchased, tags from gifts, stamped images from stamps I got, etc.

So I started looking for a grid journal for 2017, but struck out at the office supply stores.  I looked at alternatives.  I looked at the Midori Traveler's Notebooks.  I looked at the Hobonichi Techno planner. These were appealing to me, but I was on the fence, since I couldn't hold one first and look at it.  I was only seeing them online.

I finally decided to order a Moleskine grid journal.  I wasn't able to hold one of those either, but I was pretty sure I knew what I was getting.  When it arrived, I was surprised that it was pretty much exactly the same as the cheap grid journals I had used for years, except that it wasn't $5. In fact, it was so similar, I think the cheap ones I've been using are knock-offs of the Moleskine and maybe that's why I can't find them anymore.

I put it aside for the time being, but as 2017 got closer, I started thinking about how I wanted this one to have more, to work better for me and all the things I wanted to put in it.  That reminded me of the Art to the 5th artists and the journal/planner they did back in 2014.  I wasn't in on that year's journal, but remember how fascinated I was with what they were doing. And it led me to sign up for their Documented Life Journal in 2015 and their Documented Life UnPlanner in 2016.
See their 2014 planner (here).

Around that same time, I saw a post on Instagram by Lorraine Bell, who originally came up with the planner they were doing.  I immediately signed up for her $12 class, Plan-Journal-Play, where she shows exactly how they set up their planner.  See her planner (here).

They used a Moleskine planner, but I figured my Moleskine grid journal would work the same.  The only thing I would like to do differently is get the soft cover rather than the hard cover.  This journal is already so thick, I'm not sure it will survive the year-long journey without the spine cracking.  But there's a fix for that if it comes to that, and I could end up with an interesting cover!

So I punched out some tabs for the months, and I added lots of extra fold out pages, attached with lots of colorful washi tape, and I'm excited to see if this works for me this year.

I'm not affiliated with the websites I provided, nor do I get anything in return for referring anyone there.  But I have taken lots of free classes from these ladies (and some paid ones too), and since they have been so generous, I try to throw business their way when I can.

Stay tuned to see where this planner/journal takes me this year!