Thursday, August 21, 2014

2 sisters, 1 art journal | How to create an awesome page using trash

 

This is the first Art Journal page I ever created.
If you haven't yet read the intro post to this little series, you might want to just so you are more in the know of the back story. For those of you who have read that post, remember how I was living in Texas, far away from the ones I loved? Well, to expand on that a bit, I was in a dorm, sharing a room with four, yes 4, other girls. It wasn't a teensy tiny room, but it was tight with five girls. As you can imagine, space was a hot commodity so unnecessary things like scrap-booking materials were just not something I had around. Therefore, this and many other pages I created for this book, were composed using trash. Seriously.

The smiley face was cut out of a Design by Humans package. The foil squares are gum wrappers. I didn't have any pretty, patterned paper so I created my own by writing quotes on a sheet of notebook paper.
While at the time I felt a bit lame for not having fancy embellishments but it was actually a good thing. It forced me to see things in new ways and push my creativity, instead of letting premade stickers do all the work.
I guess that would be my Tip to all you [new] art journalers -  
Try using materials you originally dismissed.
The results will surprise you.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Brick Landscape Edging

If you recall, one of my seasonal goals was to gather bricks. For landscaping purposes. While I have been picking up vintage bricks here and there, I had no plans to use them until NEXT year. Keith and I decided back in the Spring that there were too many other projects to focus on when the landscaping that is already in place is, ummm, passable.
It never crossed my mind that people like to give gifts of Plant in the warmer months.


Me: "Let's weed this bed and stick the Hostas in the ground."
Keith: "I think we should put the brick edging in to make sure we like it and it will work."

See how simple my idea was and how landscape-y Keith's was? But hey, if he wants to conquer a project on the to-do list, then so do I.
Thus at 7 p.m., Saturday night, we started our first landscaping project. And you know what? It went much quicker than anticipated. From start (weedy mess) to finish (brick lined) it only took us 1.5 hours. Maybe to you that is not good time, but we were happy to be done before dark :)


1) First we weeded. Weeding ALWAYS takes longer than it should.
2) Then we raked the mulch onto a tarp to save for later.
3) Digging the trench. This sounds awful but I promise, it is not. We only needed it deep enough for the bricks to be flush with the ground so not much digging involved. The square shovel was perfect for getting a crisps edge and an even trench bottom. We put the dirt from the trench in the flower bed and now we have a slightly raised bed. We had not considered that this would happen but are very happy that did. Love a good happy-accident!

4) Brick laying! We put our bricks directly on the dirt. *Gasp!* I know that all the pinterest tutorials for this style of edging have a bed of sand or pea gravel under the bricks but we just didn't do that. I guess we will see how this looks next Spring and revisit it if need be.
For the back wall of the edging we flipped over the tombstone edgers that you see in the Before picture. This was not the original plan - we thought we would use bricks - but it ended up working really, really well. They were super easy to keep level and since they are a uniform width, unlike the bricks, it keeps things looking crisp. Not to mention, we already had them. Use what you got, yo!

To even out the any little bumps in the bottom of the trench we used... an ice scraper. This worked perfectly and Use What You Got. (Truth be told, we have no idea where we put our hand trowel.)


5) Once all the edging was in place Keith dug holes for the plants, we leveled the dirt, and filled in any gaps in front of the brick. We also put down landscaping fiber. Then we spread the mulch out.
I realize part of the "wow" of the Before and After can be credited to the fact that the bed is weed-free BUT we are super happy with how much crisper the brick edging looks and how much easier it will be to just roll the mower on top of the brick. No weed whacking!

The After one more time...


P.S. - If you have a brick or two you aren't using, we are still collecting.
 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday

It makes me happy when our big house is full of our family and friends. 
If I was smart, I would have gotten a picture of all 16 of us. Fail.

These pics were snatched from friend's instagram account:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2 sisters, 1 art journal | The Beginning

Have I ever mentioned that I lived in Texas for a year? It's true. Once upon a time, I left the Midwest and moved to the Land of Red Dirt and Devilish Heat for an internship. While it was a very formative year for me and I have a lot of great memories, I was, to put it succinctly, horribly homesick. Oh, how I missed Keith.

I moved down there in August. Christmas rolled around and I flew home. While home I seriously considered abandoning all my belongings and never going back. The only reason I didn't follow through with that plan was because my beloved Jeep was still in the South. I love my Jeep (and was too broke to get another one) so I figured I could at least fly back to Texas to rescue it. You know, since my ticket had already been purchased.

Do you have any idea how much will power it takes to get to the airport and navigating the ginormous pain that is Check-in when you are willing to abandon all you own just so you don't have too? Let me tell you, it's a lot. (Call me Amazing.)

Anyways, I share that so you understand the distressed frame of mind I was in when my sister wished me well and handed me a package with the words "do not open till in the air" on it.  I actually did wait to open the package (I'm telling you, I have self-discipline) and I cried when I pulled out a cover-less art journal. At this point the memory is tear-stained but I think I happy-cried my way through every blank page of the journal. The guy sitting next to me fidgeted uncomfortably with my emotional display but I was too busy petting the painted pages to care much. Plus, really, I think he was worried that the airline napkin had reached its absorbancy limit and a snot rocket would land on his leg with the next blow.



Art journaling is pretty common now but back in 2008 I'd never heard of it and was completely in awe of this awesome, messy creation THAT SHE HAND BOUND! It was amazing. It was also a bit intimidating. Kali had done the first page, the one in this post, but my assignment was to make the cover.
Uhhh... ok.

To make the cover I hacked apart a few cereal boxes. I glued two layers of cereal box cardboard together and then covered that with black fabric. The front and the back had separate fabric covered cardboard pieces which I then glued to the endsheet. To create the illusion of a spine, so that it looked a bit more finished, I wrapped my luggage tag, and a few other bits and bobs, around the journal. The blue tie was added because I think there is something magical about books that need to be unbound to open. The fork was added for whimsy's sake. And then it was done. I had added a cover to an art journal.


At this point, because the journal was luckier than me, I stuffed it in an envelope and sent it back to the Midwest.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

I made a whale! and it needs a little pizzazz

Obviously, this sweet little whale isn't the quilt I was debating the other day, but it is scratching my need-to-sew itch. Added bonus - I now have an underwater theme going on with my fiber art - what with the the jellyfish and all.

Anyways, I made this pale whale on a whim, out of one of Keith's old shirts and am pleasantly surprised at how the pattern compliments the whale in a quirky way. I did add some paint to the whale's back for added dimension. I'm thinking about adding more silver paint. What do you think? Also, any ideas for adding more texture? I had stitched a few seed beads on the throat (do whales have throats? maybe it's the chin-belly. The chelly.) but pulled them off.
The tail is another area that some added bedazzlement could be fun. Maybe not, though. So many decisions. 

Warning: if you hadn't noticed already, this post is a photo dump.