Sunday, June 30, 2013

Decisions Determine Destiny

I just spent the last two hours or so studying Psalm 1. It’s only six verses long, but I have to admit there is quite a lot packed into those verses! I found it to be very interesting and insightful, and I’d like to share a summary of what I took away from this brief study. If you have a Bible, check out the Psalm first.

Before I get to my thoughts on this first chapter, I wanted to share something I found in my research about the Book of Psalms as a whole:  as you may already know, it’s divided into five smaller “books”, each beginning and ending with similar patterns, etc. If you aren’t familiar with this construction, I recommend checking it out, it’s a great base to build on. What I just discovered, however, is how the Book of Psalms in five parts parallels the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible, Genesis thru Deuteronomy).

This first book (Psalms 1-41) deals with humanity, our blessing, fall, and redemption, much like the Book of Genesis. It was mostly written by King David, so it’s very personal and passionate, full of emotion and energy. I love literature and all the amazing things you can find in it! (I’ll share about the other four books and their parallels as I get to them in my study, unless you want to know now, in which case you’ll have to leave a comment and ask me [smile]).

Following is how I summarized my study for today in my quiet time journal. I’m just going to copy it as I wrote it, which means there will be definitions/clarifications/ synonyms, etc. in parentheses. That helps me get a clear image of what I’m reading (I actually looked all this stuff up, it was really fun!)

The righteous (morally right, justifiable) person is blessed (happy, content) and gets extreme satisfaction and joy (delight is the word used in the Psalm, but these are more powerful for me) from the teachings, instruction, and commands (referred to as the law here) of God, and who meditates (ponders, studies, contemplates, reflects on, gives serious and careful thought to) God’s law day and night (all the time, consciously and subconsciously).

This person does not walk with (take advice from, make plans with) the wicked (disobedient), stand with (be submissive and inactive around) sinners (those who have not accepted God’s forgiveness), or sit with (in the company of) mockers (scornful, treat others with contempt, ridicule).

Instead, this person is like a tree (I imagine something tall, strong, weathered; of course if you've been following me or know me at all, you know I love trees!) in a good position (relating to our place in life as well as in our relationship with God, by streams of water, able to grow and thrive), productive (growing fruit in season, in God’s timing, sometimes years later), perpetual (continuing forever, not withering, not losing vitality or force), prosperous (successful, again in God’s time, sometimes as an end result, this doesn’t mean immune to hardship, difficulty, trial, loss), and planted (in a chosen place for optimum growth, on a solid foundation).

In contrast, the unrighteous (not blessed) person does the opposite:  walk with the wicked, stand with the sinners, sit with the mockers; not delighting in the law or meditating on it at all. Therefore, they are like chaff (debris separated from the grain, comparatively worthless) blown away by the wind (difficult times, trials, loss, etc., unable to walk), not able to stand (in the judgment, not justified in the eyes of God), not able to sit (in the assembly of the righteous, in the presence of God).

Our decisions determine our destiny:  God watches over the righteous, destroys the unrighteous. Amen!

One other thing I want to take a closer look at, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this process:  when referring to chaff, wheat, threshing, etc. in the Old Testament, here’s how it works – wheat is beaten on a hard surface to dislodge the grain, and then tossed into the air. The grain (the good part) falls to the ground to be gathered up and used, the chaff is blown away by the wind. I love all the great analogies/metaphors and imagery from nature in this Psalm!

I would like to leave you with one final thought, taken from verse 3:  whatever your circumstances may be, no matter how long your tough times may have lasted, wherever you may be today, remember:  the stronger the winds, the deeper the roots, the longer the storms….the more beautiful the tree.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Collection of Butterflies

Almost everyone collects something. I have several collections myself, including M&M’s, Care Bears, PEZ dispensers, bags, and foreign money, and quotes. Some of these collections are specific – I only want Care Bears stuffed toys, not all the other Care Bear stuff (puzzles, games, etc) and not the newest version of the toys (they’re honestly a bit creepy). Quotes, on the other hand, are only limited by my interest in the message they deliver, which is really quite vast.

Most people, I’ve noticed, tend to collect animals; I also know of some collections of specific objects (lighthouses, Nutcrackers, baseball cards) that are more readily available than some of the things I’ve chosen. And of course, some collections are worth more than others (rare stamps vs. PEZ dispensers for example).

Well, this week’s first prompt kind of goes along with this idea of collecting, except chances are good it’s not the actual object you’ll be using:

week 25 card

I chose this shoe because I happen to have a collection of images already – feet. I also collect other images, broken up into many different categories, but I admit my feet/converse shoe collection is one of my favorite. My little sister is slightly obsessed with them as well, so she’s added quite a few photos for me.

This weeks’ second prompt, in an indirect way, actually involves one of my other collections:  quotes. Except I called it “personal mantra”:

week 25 card

“A personal mantra is a positive phrase or affirmative statement that you say to yourself for the purpose of motivation or encouragement.” I used this image because many of us decide on a mantra, main goal, or verse for the year during our New Year’s celebrations and manic decision making. Although I hadn’t really thought about it in these terms, I’ve had one quote rattling around in my head all year:  “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.” So I think that would be considered my personal mantra for 2013. It goes well with my one little word (explore) and I definitely need to embrace some changes in my life.

So now it’s your turn. Take some time this week to think about a collection of images you have, or one you’d like to start, as well as a personal mantra for the remainder of this year (it’s almost half over already!). Do they go together somehow? Try to make a journal page with both and share it in the comments section! (Just FYI:  I wouldn’t recommend forcing the combination, as in picking an image and then coming up with a phrase to go with it. Not as meaningful.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ghostly Gesso Transfer

For my exploration of a new technique this week, I wanted to try something I’ve heard mentioned in countless videos and was curious about:  image transfer.


There are different ways to achieve a transfer; most use gel medium, which is one I haven’t quite mastered. I also saw a few videos regarding packing tape transfers which I may also attempt in future. The above photo was done using gesso, in my Weekly Wednesday art journal (for this week’s autumn prompt). I tore a photo out of the book about barns that I had purchased to alter (which, by the way,  I have decided against) and cut it down to a smaller size.

Now, I’m not sure how successful I was in this endeavor, although I’m very pleased with the result. What I did was put the gesso onto the art journal page, covering an area roughly the size of the picture (a little bigger just to be sure, you definitely don’t want to miss any). I then laid it down onto the gesso and smoothed it out with a brayer. Here’s an important step:  let it sit there overnight, to make sure it becomes completely dry, before attempting to remove the paper.

The next day I sprayed the image, letting the water soak into the paper before rubbing it off. Just take your finger and gently rub in small circles, allowing the top layer of paper to come off, leaving the ink embedded in the gesso. You can see a bit of white around the edges where I pulled up both layers of the book page accidentally, as well as a few spots within the picture. After a while you get used to what it’s supposed to look like and that doesn’t happen as often.

I realize my explanation was probably a bit lame, but my allergies have taken over my brain today (super high pollen in Pullman this Spring!). If you have any questions or concerns please leave a comment and I’ll try to explain better. Also, if you have any tips or tricks, please share!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Spread Your Wings

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This week for Mixed Media Monday I want to share this canvas I made for my friend Grethe. Come August, she’s moving about six hours away from here, which has been her home her entire life; although she’ll have her husband and puppy, she will be, for the very first time, too far away from her parents to drive over and visit. She has a close relationship with her mom, not quite as fun as Gilmore Girls but one that I find fascinating nonetheless.

It was this new adventure that inspired the design for her canvas. I wanted her to have something fun and cheerful, but also encouraging and meaningful. I wanted it to be something she could look at when she was homesick and remember that all journeys begin with that first (and sometimes most difficult) step.

Somehow I doubt this small token of my appreciation of her and her friendship the past six months said anything quite so profound; but I really like how it turned out! I used a fun stamp I got at Paper Pals (the girl), cutting out each piece on different colors and patterns. Then I put her on a chipboard butterfly so she’d really be able to spread her wings. The background was just a simple patchwork of colors, and of course a few pieces of washi tape for interest.

I already miss Grethe, I miss our lunches together and having someone to throw things at when I was in a playful mood (I never did throw anything, but it was nice to have the option). And I miss how safe I felt with her, although “safe” isn’t exactly the right word….just, more myself than with most people I guess.

I know that God has a great plan for my friend, and I imagine one day we’ll reconnect and our kids can have a play date. At this rate her kids will probably be old enough to babysit mine [smile]. I’m excited for her new adventure and proud of her for being willing to try – to spread her wings and see how far she’ll fly.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Snapshot Saturday: Ellis in Winchester


This week I took my first field trip of the summer, to a small town in Idaho, about an hour or so southeast of here, called Winchester. This is hanging on a wire across one of the streets. Not the main street, although I’m not sure the town actually has a main street. In fact, it doesn’t even have all paved streets.

I went along with a friend of mine who was visiting family, and while they visited I was able to walk around and take pictures. I’ll be sharing more of them soon in a different post; for now, I want to focus on one particular aspect of this tiny little town:  a bird I met (whom I will call Ellis).


Here you see him with ruffled feathers. This was taken after he followed me for three or four blocks up a street, then back down. He was on the telephone wire, I was wearing my black Batman hoodie – perhaps he thought I was a threat, a giant black bird come to take his family away [smile]. Whatever the reason, he flew out from the wire, over my head (but not close to it, he stayed well up in the air), then back onto the wire. He was chattering at me the whole time, too!

Here he is perched atop the street sign (hence the name Ellis), very upset with me for taking his picture again (I took three or four). Or maybe just one final warning before I crossed the street. Either way, I was very pleasant to him, I even told him everything was fine! Obviously he didn’t believe me [smile]

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fun Fact Friday: 12345

Did you know that the U.S. Postal Zip Code 12345 is assigned to General Electric in Schenectady, NY?

It’s true! That means the population of this zip code is 0, as are all other categories researched for the 2010 Census. However, there are 13 businesses that have postal addresses ending in this zip code, including General Electric. I also found out the elevation is 246 feet above sea level (2-4-6? I love this place!)

In further research, I found a great map that shows the zip code zones of the entire United States (the first 2-3 numbers):

I live in Pullman, WA 99163, and grew up in Cheney, WA 99004; according to this map, all Zip Codes in Washington State start between 990 and 994. My mom lives in Ketchikan, AK 99901 and my older brother and his family live in Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Which Zip Code do you live in?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

“Knowing Yourself” Altered Book Page

It’s official, the first page in my altered book is complete! And, in my opinion, it rocks. See for yourself:

knowing yourself finished page 061313

For those of you who follow my Art Challenge posts, you may recognize the cute little owl from Week 22. I still want to use him on a canvas, and now I have a good pattern for cutting him out. I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ve been having too much fun working in my art journals!

If you would like to make a page similar to this one, you can find all of the supplies you need at Paper Pals. Here’s a photo and list of what I used:

knowing yourself 05 supplies
     Paper:  one piece each of Bazzil Basics cardstock in Blue Oasis, Ivy (the wings), and Parakeet (the leaves); brown paper bag, orange patterned
     Inks:  Archival (Jet Black, Coffee),Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Frayed Burlap, Rusty Hinge, Walnut Stain) and inking tool
     Stamps:  Dylusions Around the Edge, Stampers Anonymous Worn Text, Dylusions Dy's Alphabet, Hero Arts Clear Typewriter Letters, and a swirl border set (I don’t have the package anymore so I’m not sure what the name is) and clear blocks to put the stamps on
     Additional supplies:  gesso, paintbrush, scissors, adhesive (I used wet glue, but dry adhesive would work just as well), water spritzer, heat tool (for quicker drying), Pigma Micron Pen (.05 black), and dimensional foam adhesive. And of course your book to alter!

Here’s what to do:
1. Gesso the page. I just opened the book at random and got to work. You can start on the first page if you’d like, or the last, or your favorite number if it wasn’t torn out during the preparation process.

2. Create the background using Rusty Hinge Distress Ink and some water. Spray the page with water first, then apply the ink directly with the ink pad, swirling it around. These inks were specially designed to activate with water and it’s really interesting to watch. Once you get some good color down, you can take a paintbrush and spread it around, then dry it with the heat tool. Mine wasn’t quite dark enough so I spritzed it again and added a second coat. When that was dry I dipped my clean brush in some water and lightly tapped it against my finger, causing drops to spatter randomly. It creates this fun texture:

knowing yourself 01 gesso the page  knowing yourself 03 background wash  knowing yourself 04 background wash up close

The photo on the left shows the whole page covered with gesso. You’ll notice the book text is still visible. The middle photo shows the whole page after I painted the background, and on the right is a close up of the water splatters. If you look again at the finished page you can see it poking thru in a few spots.

3. Take a strip of brown paper bag slightly longer than the width of your page and crumple it up. Stretch it back out but don’t smooth it flat; you’ll want it bunched up to make the branch stick out. Once this is accomplished, take your inking tool and Walnut Stain Distress Ink, and run it all over the top of the “branch”. It will darken it on the raised areas creating a shadow effect and fun texture. This part is optional but I think it really adds to the overall design. Let it dry (it shouldn’t take long) and then adhere it to the page. If you’d like, add a few smaller branches coming off of the main one with the same process and smaller strips of paper bag.

4. Using the four leaves stamp from Dylusions Around the Edge and black ink, stamp the bottom two leaves onto the Parakeet paper as many times as you’d like (I did three because it’s a good design principle number, but gives me six total which is an even number!), then cut around each individual leaf. I grouped them in pairs; for the bottom two sets I adhered one directly to the page and used dimensional foam squares for the other. The top set are both direct to page.

5. Using a circle punch, a lid you have laying around, or just freehand, draw your owl body on Oasis blue. I gave him a flattop for his head. Cut two wings and two ears on the Ivy green and attach to the top of the body. I drew stitch lines using Micron pen around all three pieces first; this can be done after you adhere them or not at all. Cut two circles (I used a 1” punch) for the eyes; draw on eyeballs if you’d like and stitch around the circles. I also drew a small nose on him in the shape of a diamond. Another fun option for his eyes would be adding a small button on top of the circles, or just using buttons and no paper. I adhered him to the page with four dimensional squares so he’d stand out. The options for placement are really up to you; also, you may want to add some feet, I chose not to.

6. Using a border stamp of your choice (swirls are just one of several available options) and Rusty Hinge Distress Ink, create some fun borders to frame your owl. Using brown Archival Ink and the Worn Text alphabet stamps, stamp “Knowing yourself” on the top of the page. With the same ink and Dy’s Alphabet stamps, stamp “wisdom” in the bottom right corner. Using the Hero Arts Typewriter Letters stamps add “is the beginning of” to the left of “wisdom.”

7. As a final touch to help the words stand out, I outlined “Knowing yourself” and “wisdom” with the Micron pen, and added faux stitching to “Knowing yourself.” I also shadowed “is the beginning of”. You can add more stamps to the background if you want more texture, or doodle. It’s all up to you, have fun with it! If you decide to make a similar page in your alter book, art journal, or anywhere else, post a photo in the comments section, I’d love to see it!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Silently Burning Trees

week 24 card                                        week 24 card

This week’s prompts are an interesting combination:  burn paper and autumn. I’ve always thought that trees in Autumn, with their leaves turned to red, orange, yellow, ready to fall to the ground, look as though they’re silently on fire. And paper is made from those trees. I could go a lot of place with this one!

I didn’t plan it this way, I just draw the cards randomly, so it’s even more fun that they go together so well. I already have an image I would like to use for Autumn, and a new technique I’d like to try out with it, but I’m not sure about the burning part. Just burning that small piece for the card was enough for me; I may need to do some research on the subject. I might find a new and interesting way to achieve the same affect. I’ll let you know what I find!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mixed Media Monday: Canvas Crazy

This week for my Mixed Media Monday post, I would like to share a photo and description of one of the eight canvases I made as end-of-year gifts. Amazingly, I made all eight of them in six days! I’m not sure where my Muse has been for the past several months but welcome back!

margi 2

The first one I finished was for my new friend Margi (who happens to be my new friend Grethe’s mom!), a 2nd grade teacher at Jefferson. She collects pigs, and I wanted to make something with a pig as a fun way to say thank you for all the many ways she helped me with my transition to half days at a new school in April. She knew a little about me already, and was very understanding, allowing me to hang out in her classroom during my break time. We had some great chats and not only did she become a friend, her classroom became a “safe” place for me, something that is very important and sometimes hard to find.

The idea for this originally involved owls, and I still intend to make one with them,  but one night a few weeks ago when I couldn’t sleep, I realized it would work just as well with pigs! Aside from pigs, she also told me that she really liked black, white, and gray together, with a little red. So here’s what I did:

The canvas is 12 x 12, so I took a 12 x 12 piece of thin chipboard and cut out a 6 x 6 square on one side to use as a guide. I then placed it on the canvas and painted the black square on the top left, the white square (I painted a white canvas with white paint!) on the top right, and the gray square on the bottom left. The striped square on the bottom right is a piece of black, white, and gray patterned paper I had in my collection (which I obviously cut to 6 x 6).

Each square with a round pig is a special combination of each of the three main colors (black, white, and gray). The first pig I made was the bottom left; the colors are a black pig with white embellishment on a gray square. I used an old CD to make the body, a lid for the head, and cut the “B” for his nose and “S” for his tail out of a piece of patterned paper. The legs, ears, and eyes were also cut from patterned paper. The eyes were a bit of a happy accident – the scraps just happened to be black with a sliver of white so I cut circles freehand. The legs, tail, and eyes became a sort of pattern for the other pigs as well.

I used the same process for the top two pigs, the one on the left being a white pig with gray embellishment on a black square, and the one on the right being a gray pig with black embellishment on a white square. (Did you follow the color combos for those? I was very specific in my design).

Finally, for the fourth pig, I wanted him to be different to fit the quote I used that says, “I am who I am. No approval required.” Making him red and square were the obvious differences. I also gave him a straight tail, wings, a mouth, a tie, and a crown, and the eyes are gears and a button. (The tie was another happy accident with my scraps!) It took me a little longer to finish him but I think he turned out just right, and I was happy with the finished piece.

Of course I was hoping Margi would like it, but I never expected the reaction I got the day I gave it to her – she showed it to several other teachers, telling them all about it. That made me happy, not because she was sharing my art, or because I had made something awesome, but because it made her happy!

I would say that was a mission accomplished in more ways than one! I’ll try to write posts about the other seven canvases in the next few weeks so be watching for them. For now I will leave you with a little teaser. (I’m trying a new format for sharing several photos at once so let me know what you think!)

A Fond Farewell

The end of another school year came and went last Wednesday. Here in Pullman, we attend 180 days between August and June, which means (including weekends) I work for approximately 37 of the 52 weeks each year. That doesn’t seem like much when you say it that way.

Of the remaining 15, two are given to half days devoted to Parent/Teacher Conferences (so I’m actually still working full days those weeks we just let the kids go at noon), two are Winter Break (no longer called “Christmas Break” for those who don’t celebrate that holiday), and one week each is given to Thanksgiving and Spring Break. Mathematically speaking, that leaves nine weeks for Summer Break, but because of the starting and stopping mid-week and taking off a few days for New Year’s it’s actually 11 weeks of Summer. Both are odd numbers, but I can overlook that in this case because that’s a long vacation from kids!

Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, and I love teaching. I can't imagine not working in a school. What I don’t love, and most times can barely tolerate, is the politics involved in working for a Public School District, especially when it seems financial concerns take precedence over what’s best for certain children. Unfortunately, it’s part of the deal when working in Special Education, and if I continue down the path to being certified in this field I will have to learn more tolerance, as well as some creative ways to work around it.

Despite those issues (over which I have absolutely no control) I can honestly say this past year was the best so far here in Pullman. I started the year at Franklin Elementary, a switch from the past two years at Sunnyside, and I got to know some great teachers and amazing, interesting, and often hilarious kids!

I ended the year working mornings at Franklin and afternoons at Jefferson Elementary (due to the withdrawal of my main student during Spring Break) and met even more wonderful teachers and students. By the time Memorial weekend came around I was surprised to find that I still enjoyed my job (for the most part) and felt more relaxed and focused than I ever have at the end of a school year. This was due in part to my medication and the great steps forward I’ve taken on my wellness journey this past year (and continue to take), but it was also in part because of the many awesome people that have come into my life.

As a way to say thank you (and to selfishly practice my art), I made some canvases, and I’d like to share them with you for this week’s Mixed Media Monday post (which I’m going to write as soon as I finish this one). Each one was unique and meant to hold a special message for each of the recipients.

More than saying good-bye to another school year (and soon to a new friend who is moving to Boise), I was faced with the possibility of saying good-bye to this new group of students and Staff at Franklin that I have really come to love. Since my student transferred out of District, my position there has disappeared, and I’m not sure where I will be placed next year (it depends on numbers of students in Special Education and how many Paras the District is willing to pay for). I know I will have a place, and I would be happy to work at Jefferson full-time for a year, but I will greatly miss my Franklin family. For the first time ever, I felt like I belonged, like I was part of a team, that my ideas were being listened to and acted on. It was a great feeling and helped me grow in many ways. I really believe that this year I made a difference.

When I find out more about my job placement I will be sure to update you. I’ve asked the Principal at Franklin to do some research and find out what the process is in this situation – will I be placed somewhere, or have a choice? For now, I’m going to publish this and move on to sharing about my gifts.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” (1996) Backstreet Boys

07 five-0 reasons 2

Even in my heart I see
You're not bein' true to me
Deep within my soul I feel
Nothing's like it used to be
Sometimes I wish I could turn back time
Impossible as it may seem
But I wish I could so bad, baby
Quit playin' games with my heart

Quit playin' games with my heart
Before you tear us apart (my heart)
Quit playin' games with my heart
I should've known from the start
You know you got to stop (from my heart)
You're tearing us apart (my heart)
Quit playin' games with my heart

I live my life the way
To keep you comin' back to me
Everything I do is for you
So what is it that you can't see
Sometimes I wish I could turn back time
Impossible as it may seem
But I wish I could so bad, baby
You better quit playin' games with my heart

Baby, baby the love that we had was so strong
Don't leave me hangin' here forever
Oh baby, baby this is not right, let's stop this tonight
Baby, (oh) quit playin' games

Sometimes I wish I could
Turn back time, impossible as it may seem
But I wish I could so bad, baby
Quit playin' games with my heart
Quit playin' games with my heart
Quit playin' games with my heart (my heart)
Baby (my heart)
With my heart

Oh the memories. I remember when the Backstreet Boys were all the rage. I thought it was silly then, and I think it’s silly now; but the letter Q is not an easy one to find a song for, and let’s be honest – who doesn’t enjoy the occasional boy band broken heart ballad now and again?

I find it interesting that it’s the girl who is doing the playing of games in the song’s relationship. I wonder if it’s ever really just one person. Though my experience in matters of the heart are sadly limited, it seems logical to me that it takes two to tango, and two to mess things up. Am I right?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Snapshot Saturday: Twilight

Before you get too excited anticipating vampires and epic love, this isn’t about that Twilight. This is the first installment of my Snapshot Saturday series, for which I took some photos a few minutes ago; for those of you who aren’t aware of the time it’s just after 9 pm, the sun almost completely set….twilight.

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These flowers are taking over the hillside outside of my apartment building. They smell great, so although the pollen aggravates my allergies I love walking over to smell them early in the morning when it’s still cool outside. I will be taking some photos of them during the day; I’d like to capture them as a whole, a blanket coming out of the tall grass. However, for this post, I wanted you to really see them. And using a flash when the world is going dark makes that possible.

I found it interesting how the camera would only slightly focus until the actual photo was being taken – so each time it was a pleasant surprise when it showed up on the little screen, to see what the lens had seen but wouldn’t show me, to see  flowers so clearly and brightly when they were so dull as I stood right in front of them. There are twelve photos altogether, the flowers with different shades of purple, as well as a few other random things along the side of the hill.

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I especially like this one, and it will officially be my snapshot of the day. I love how the camera focuses on the flowers in the background, as though it sees a secret, something hidden from me deep in the grass. I wish I could say it was intentional but honestly it was just a happy accident!

As summer begins I look forward to many more adventures at all hours of the day and night, not just to chronicle my life but to capture moments. It makes me smile to know I can share them with you, too. After all, “If we stop and stare at a flower long enough, it becomes our entire world for just a moment” (author unknown).

Altered Book Project {Revisited}

Pullman has the greatest little used bookstore, and today (well technically it was yesterday, since we are currently in the wee hours of Saturday morning) I discovered that the whole store is 20% off until June 15th! Definitely a fun surprise, and very profitable for my Thrifty Thursday project!

I was able to pick up six new books for altering for less than $10 (including sales tax). I know what you’re thinking – did I really need more books? I already shared photos of the one I wanted to alter for this project; and there have been a few posts about the absurd number of books I already own that I’ve never read….which reminds me, one of my goals for this year was to read 100 of the 118 books I own and have yet to read – and so far I’ve finished 1. Wow.

But that’s a rabbit trail for another trip. Today, tonight, this morning, whatever time it is for you when you read this, I want to show you my newest purchases:

thrifty thursday 060713

Here they are in a glorious pile, so colorful and full of potential! And each can serve a slightly different purpose. Let’s start with the smallest and work our way up.

board books 060713  First of all, I found three children’s board books on clearance, two for $1 each, and the Christmas one for only 50 cents! (By the way, has anyone else found it frustrating that the “cent” symbol is not available on regular keyboards?) Honest and Courage measure approximately 6” x 7” with a spine about 5/8” thick, and each has a dozen pages including the front and back covers. The Christmas book measures about 6.5” square with a spine of about 1/2” and thirteen pages total. I can overlook the fact that it’s an odd number of pages since it really gives me 26 different work areas.

There are several great things about using board books for altered book projects. They typically have very few pages, the binding is sturdy, and the pages themselves are about as thick as chipboard (maybe even a little thicker). They’d make great mini albums as well! And if you can find them used, the price is just right! You can also find them in different shapes and sizes, and sometimes they have flaps that open or pull out for even more interest.

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The fourth book is called Wakulla by Kirk Munroe. I’m not sure how it’s pronounced exactly, but I did discover it’s the name of a County in Florida. This story was originally published in 1885, and reprinted in 1913. This particular copy was given as a gift in 1943, with the inscription still on the front pages. It measures about 5.5” x 8.25” with a spine of about 1.25”, and has over 250 pages. I haven’t torn any of them out yet, but I’ll let you know how many I end up keeping.

I’m not sure you can tell with that photo being as small as it is, but the pages are sewn together, which as I mentioned last week is essential for a successful project. Another reason I chose it was for the green illustrations on the inside of both covers (the photo on the right). Overall an interesting book!

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The next book I found is called Camille by Alexandre Dumas Fils. It has a copyright of 1955 but looks and feels much older, and has that great old book smell (love it!). The cover has an interesting floral pattern printed on it (for some reason I didn’t get a photo of it earlier when I had the benefit of natural light), and the spine simply has the title and nothing else. It’s larger than any of the old books I’ve worked with in the past, measuring 8” x 11.25” x 1”. It has just over 230 pages, with large print, and a few black and white illustrations here and there (as in the photo on the left). I’m not sure which book will be given to the friend I mentioned in the first post, they both have interesting aspects and hold great potential. I guess I need to think of someone else to make one for, now that I have two!

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And finally, Classic Barns, a more modern book with large pages and beautifully colored illustrations. This one was published in 2001, and yet (as far as I can tell) is sewn together. The cover paper will be removed and incorporated somehow so the torn sticker doesn’t matter. It measures 9.75” x 13” with a 1/2” spine and just over 100 pages. I already have someone in mind for this one as well, and I’m really excited to get started in it!

Over the next several weeks I will be trying out new and interesting techniques, as well as showing you how you can achieve different things with different kinds of books and themes. I hope you too will be able to find an old book to re-create into something uniquely yours! And if you do, please share!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tear It and Mark It

I already know what I want to do for my Art Challenge journal page this week. Now, I said that last week and forgot my idea before it was carried out, so this time I actually wrote it down. It's safely in my idea notebook. But I'm not going to tell you what it is, you'll have to wait until it's done. Then I can show you. For now, here are the two prompts for Week 23:

torn magazine picture

The first is kind of obvious - use a picture torn from a magazine. I have dozens to choose from as magazine pictures and words are something I've been collecting since I was in junior high. I don't know exactly which pictures I will be using for this page, just that I will need more than one, and a few other vague concepts that I won't share just yet.

The other prompt is a bit more subjective. It's nice to have those once in a while. I imagine most of you, when talking about art and hearing the word "markers", would think of those colorful tools we use for drawing, coloring, etc. However, I've decided to use this in a more philosophical sense; I'm going to include markers of life. I can't explain much without disclosing too much of my idea, just that there are many things that come and go in our lives - people, places, events, ideas, etc. - that serve as markers of important moments. Sometimes we don't recognize them as such until much later, but they have always been there.

This reminds me of the Book of Joshua (the sixth Book of the Old Testament, of course), when God helped the Nation of Israel cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. He commanded the representative of each tribe to take a rock from the middle of the River and use it to build an altar once they reached the other side safely. In my years of trial and error I have come to realize that I have altar stones as well, and I try to pick them up whenever I can to serve as a reminder of the countless and unceasing ways God provides for me. I know I've talked about them before. Perhaps some of my altar stones will be part of this page.

Well, there is much to consider this week, even with my idea already recorded. And then there's actually making the page, and catching up on my promised posts that I have once again fallen behind in writing (though I've thought a great deal about them). I am happy to say that today was the first full day of my summer break from teaching, and the wicked migraine that attacked me yesterday is mostly gone. As I slowly recover my strength and focus over the next couple of days, I will be sharing some photos and random ramblings of projects I completed recently and ideas that I've been adding to my many collections (of thoughts, lists, wonderings, and so on). See you soon!