Star-Inspired Art Journal Spread

I knew when the Art Elements monthly challenge reveal was, I posted about it. But, somehow I completely forgot to let the administrator of this month's prompt know that I was interested in participating. Drat!! However, I did make something to share. And, even if I'm not part of the hop, does that mean I can't share my creation with you? I sure hope not, because here I go. The inspiration this month was stars. Since I've been trying to get back into art journaling again, I let that be my medium this month.

Let me share my process with you.
I started with a journal and a stack of ephemera (miscellaneous old papers.)

To glue down the ephemera, I used gel medium and a paintbrush.

I don't always cover the entire page(s), but that's the direction I was lead in this time. 

To push the papers into the background, I used a brayer (roller) to paint on a little gesso.

From there, I used a pencil and a pen to doodle on star shapes. 

Then I stamped on stars using black Staz-On and Distress Oxide in fosselized amber. 

Stencils and paint came out next. I used a variety of acrylic paints in shades of yellow and gold.

I then turned to a small piece of paper sitting on the side of my desk (see, there's another one on the far right.) I've been using these papers as palettes for paint during art journaling sessions.

I flipped the paper over and used a stencil to trace star shapes. You may recognize those star shapes from my Fourth of July Necklace tutorial. 

The stars were cut out and set to the side.

I used a basic pen to handwrite one of my favorite quotes.

The stars were glued down with a glue stick and traced with a black Stabilo all pencil.

I used a wet paintbrush to blur the pencil lines around the stars.

And, that was it! My starry art journal spread was done. 

While I'm not a part of the blog hop for Art Elements, I encourage you to head over there and check out what the other artists did with the star inspiration. I'm looking forward to it.

Art Nouveau Cuff Bracelet

Each month Sarajo shares the inspiration her husband, Eric, gives to her as a jewelry-making prompt. She called it the Honey Do List.  Usually, these inspirations are photos that he's taken on their travels. This month, the inspiration was a photo of an art nouveau mural around a set of windows in the Czech Republic. I love that they pass on this inspiration to the rest of us to spark our own creativity. 

As soon as I saw the mural, I knew that I had a blue tin in my stash that had something of a similar pattern on it. 
See! And, I have no idea what the words on the tin say so I suppose it could be Czech too!

Anyway, I cut out one of the main floral bunches from the lid of the tin and then had to decide what I wanted to actually do with it. I toyed with the idea of a necklace or cutting the section into two and making earrings, but none of that seemed right.
The length of the piece made both of those ideas fairly awkward. However, I thought that it might be perfect as a bracelet.

As I sanded the edges and created raised dimples for interest on the tin, I thought more about the direction for the design.
It finally hit me that I have a few thrifted leather belts in my stash that were waiting to be transformed into something wonderful.

After picking out a belt that had a similar reddish-brown color as the window frames in the inspiration picture, I made sure it was wide enough to fit the tin. It was - just barely!
It took some force to cut through the belt, then I rounded the corners, and punched the holes.

A snap was added to close the cuff. And, to attach the tin to the leather, I used rivets.
These were all fairly new skills to me, so there were a few mistakes, but I chalk it up to learning. In the end, I'm elated with the result.

I did have a good giggle at the inspiration photo though. As I stared at it looking for a spark of an idea, the decorative supports at the top of the picture caught my attention.
They look like screaming robots. Please tell me you see it too.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing what Sarajo and other designers created with this amazing image in mind. Thank you to Sarajo and Eric for another inspiring prompt! Make sure to head over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what she made!

Peek at My Week: Nov. 18-24

I like to wrap up each week with a little peek at what I had going on. It's a great way for me to both journal and share. Since it's been a holiday (Thanksgiving) week, I stayed busy so picture-taking was at a minimum. Shucks.

Sunday was spent with a little art and a little outside time.
I broke out the resin and experimented with molds and alcohol inks.

We went for a late lunch and a walk, as has become our Sunday ritual lately.

Through the whole week, I made sure to spend a little time each morning making art in my art journal. This was my favorite spread this week. 

On Wednesday, I helped my mom with Thanksgiving dinner prep. My major contributions were the two sweet potato pies.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, and I managed to get a shot of the turkey before we carved into it.

And, of course, we enjoyed the pie!

I spent all of Friday with my mom helping her sort and organize.

Saturday was the Iron Bowl, the annual Alabama vs. Auburn Football game. And, Bama won! 
Roll Tide!

Staying busy also meant that I didn't find as many inspiring links through the week as usual, but there were a few.

I hope this week has me back in the swing of things and that you have a fantastic week as well. 

Aging Wire for Jewelry-Making

Instead of engaging in all the Black Friday shopping madness, I thought I'd share a little tutorial on how I darken wire for jewelry-making.
Get it? I blacken the wire, it's Black Friday...aaaaanyway...

For some jewelry projects, a bright, shiny wire is perfect. However, since a lot of what I make incorporates old jewelry, found objects, and upcycled bits; I've found that I really like the feel of an aged wire, especially brass and copper. I created a video detailing the whole process I use on how to Age Wire for Jewelry.

However, if you're in a rush to get out and hit the sales, he's a quick summary.
First, note that I tend to use wire from the hardware store. I cut the wire down into a stack of manageable lengths (probably around 12 inches) of wire.

To darken the wire with the Novacan Black Patina, I simply push as much of one end of the wire into the bottle as I can then pull it out through a piece of paper towel (to remove the substance). Then, I turn the wire and repeat the process on the other side.

I go through the whole process until the stack of wire is antiqued.

From there, I seal in the color with a paste wax. Above I used Johnson Paste Wax, but I have also used Renaissance Wax. The wax is applied with a soft cloth and then buffed with a different area of the cloth.

And, that's it. Once those steps are complete, I have wonderful, lovely, darkened wire for my jewelry-making. 

If you have any questions about these steps, my materials, or anything else; please don't hesitate to ask! 

12 Ways to Show Gratitude and What I'm Thankful For

Since American Thanksgiving is upon us, it's the perfect time to stop for a moment and reflect on giving thanks. There are dozens upon dozens of ways to express gratitude, but I've compiled a handful of my personal favorites to share with you. 

1. Say "Thank you" and tell someone why you appreciate them. This is the most simple of gestures, but it can really make someone's day. 

2. Perform a Random Act of Kindness/ Pay It Forward. It doesn't have to be a large display, something small and anonymous works. While you can find loads of examples elsewhere online, here are a few ideas: give out $5 gift cards to strangers, pay for the person in line behind you, hold the door open for someone, let another car out into traffic, leave a dollar bill on someone's windshield, and/or smile at everyone you come across. See, simple things.

3. Donate to a worthy cause or give to someone in need. There are countless charities out there looking for a little help. And, you don't have to give them money. You can donate clothes or household items, blood, or even your time. Or, if you personally know someone who needs a little help this holiday season, offer to cook them a meal or help out with chores around their house. 

4. Reach out to a friend you haven't heard from in a while. It's always nice to know that someone's thinking about you. And, it doesn't have to be much, a simple text or e-mail would work.

5. Give out compliments like they're candy. How long does it really take to tell someone that you like something about them? It can be their new haircut, their organizational skills, their ability to play the piano, whatever. I'm sure that hearing that you admire something about them will add a spring to their step.

6. Journal your blessings. Make a list of all the things you're thankful for. Seeing them listed on paper right in front of you makes them more concrete somehow. 

7. Don't complain. This is actually a gratitude practice I've only recently learned about, but I really love the idea. Why complain about little annoyances when there are so many people out there who have so little in general? I'm personally going to try to make this more of a habit.

8. Write and send thank you cards. In this age of electronic communication, getting a handwritten note in the mail is always such a thrill. You could absolutely make someone's day with a little note of appreciation.

9. Take nothing for granted. Think about all the conveniences you have in your life: the store down the street, an oven, clothes to stay warm, shoes on your feet, electricity! There are plenty throughout the world living without these basics that we commonly take for granted. 

10.  Recycle. Show a little love for the planet on which we live. It gives so very much to us, it's only right to give back. 

11. Forgive someone. Stop carrying that grudge. In fact, it probably weighs more on you than the person or company you're angry with. Let bygones be bygones.

12. Go outside, soak in some sun, take a deep breath, and be thankful for another day!

Now that you've got a few ideas on how to appreciate and pass on your blessings, let me share with you the top 12 things I'm thankful for (in no particular order).

1. My husband

2. My family

3. The means to pursue my passion for being creative

4. My health

5. Technology (most days)

6. Quiet moments that allow me to think

7. Snuggles from my pets 

8. Having food in my fridge/pantry

9. The beauty of nature

10. Living in a free nation

11. Living in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen

12. Friends, both IRL and bloggy ones like you!

Since having more ways to spread and appreciate joy cannot be a bad thing, I'd love to know how you share your gratitude and count your blessings. Please share in the comments below!

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Peek at My Week: Nov 11-15

These weekly peeks are the perfect way for me to share a little glimpse into my life without overloading you with a lot of details.
Since the temperature has been coming down the last few weeks, we've made an effort to go for a walk along the Bay on Sunday afternoons. Sunday was Veterans Day so the sight of the flag stopped me in my tracks for a moment of recognition. 

Admittedly, I was also stopped by a patch of circular roots with moss in the center of each of them.

It was hard to get going on Monday, especially with this pile of cuteness taking over my lap and computer. 

And, then there was the rain...that lasted three days.

In fact, everyone in the house found the rain to be exhausting. The above pictures were taken on Tuesday within minutes of one another.

To cheer and comfort us, I made a mac-n-cheese for dinner.

Of course, I spilled flour on myself while cooking. Thankfully Pat was nearby to capture a picture. 

On Wednesday, I had lunch with a friend and then one of my nieces had a doctor's appointment. When I went to pick her up, the patina on the fountain in the atrium of her school caught my eye. Isn't that blue on the metal beautiful! You should have seen her rolling those eyes at me. Ha!

Thursday started with a little art journaling. Actually, I had been making an effort to create in my journal each morning of the week. But, this was the only picture I caught that day as I took my grandmother to an appointment in the middle of the day and was thrown off for the rest of it. 

It took me a while to get motivated on Friday, but once I got started, I was able to get something made. You'll see it later. Somehow I forgot to put on my gloves though and was quickly reminded why I should wear them when working with tin. Ouch!

Before heading out to dinner with some friends who were in town, I found out that it was National Button Day (not sure which nation). So, I shared a little of my button collection.

Saturday was another day in which I only got a single picture taken - the rest of the day was spent watching football, shopping, and dinner and a movie at friends' house. 

And now, here are some links that I found inspiring and thought you might as well!

That was my week in short. It was full ups and downs, but I'm so glad I was able to cram in a little art each day. That's important. Here's hoping your week holds some of what you love doing too. 

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...