Friday, January 25, 2019

Never Stop.

Love what you do; do what you love.
~Wayne W. Dyer

To my dearest friends and followers,

If there is one thing I hope you take away from this post, it is this: never stop doing what you love.

As most of you are probably aware, and as I said in last week's post, I hadn't been doing much last year in the way of being creative. I hadn't blogged, read, drawn anything, written much, or made anything. Since I started blogging again a few weeks ago, I feel so much better. It's like saying hello to an old friend. Missing something I love and finding it again feels really good. I feel like I've been able to be more creative, to share my art with you. I feel like I have the time to do that now - now that I'm married, now that I'm here.

In 2018 I was working a lot. I was working on my long-distance relationship. I was sleeping little. I wasn't eating well. I was tired. 2018 truly was the best of times and the worst of times. I was so blessed to live near the ocean, to live in a small community, to be surrounded by people I considered my family. I got engaged on the beach, I got married at the beach. I found a lot of hurt and a lot of hard times, but also so many wonderful memories. Here's the thing: in 2018 I also never really stopped being creative. I just didn't realize it until now.

I was writing letters all year to my love. XD
Of course we talked on the phone and Skype, but I'm a romantic. There's something special about an old-fashioned hand written letter. It holds more meaning than the words spoken through technology. I don't save every typed message or cherish the words spoken, but those written words on paper hold so much meaning (he wrote me too). That's the thing I'm never going to forget. I put so much of myself into those letters. I spoke my thoughts I couldn't find the words to say when we sat in front of our computers. And they were beautiful.

Were you ever that kid to doodle in a textbook or in a notebook when you were probably supposed to be studying? I was. I doodled everywhere. And I didn't stop last year either. I just did it in the letters I sent him. And on the box I mailed to him. I doodled in my journal too. They're easy to forget though. It didn't feel like I was really drawing or doing anything creative. I was though. Even when my brain was like, "I want to draw, I don't have time to do anything," I was subconsciously filling up the page with lines and swirls and making something.

A typical page in my journal looks a lot like my blog page today. Designs and patterns everywhere. People. Fairies. Animals. Dogs. Birds. Quotes from people I like, or quotes I like. Writing what's on my mind, what I like to share with others and what I hope they never see.
If you love doing something, if you are passionate about something, if you glorify God through it, and bring a bit of happiness to yourself and others by doing so, why should you ever stop? Why would you ever stop? You shouldn't. And you should be conscious of it. Even if you aren't doing what you want to the extent that you expected to, do it anyway and be content in that. It doesn't have to be a big project, it can be something so small. It doesn't have to be something that everyone else sees or knows about. You don't have to do it for them anyways. Do it for you. And do it as often as you can. Make the time.
As for me, I never want to stop. I want to always create. I want to always do what I love. To write. To draw. To be me. And to let that part of me be free. Free to create. Free to feel alive. 

"To be alive is the strange and wonderful miracle we forget."

What makes you feel alive?
If there is one thing I hope you take away from this post, it is this: never stop doing what you love. Never stop.

Yours truly,

Friday, January 18, 2019

A Change of Art.

It's good as an artist to always remember to see things in a new weird way.
~Tim Burton

To my dearest friends and followers,

Tim Burton's words are so true concerning art. That's what brings me here today. To share with you several drawings of mine (as you're probably already aware by the photos you've seen). Not all art is meant to be shared though and that's ok. I think every artist creates for themselves, or should create for themselves. It has to come from YOU. It has to be real. It has to mean something. It is then up to the person to decide whether that piece was meant to be shared or not. Was it purely something personal? Maybe it's not meant for you to keep all to yourself. I create for myself, but I believe I have a little talent, and I believe it's ok for me to share that with others.
Just as I hadn't blogged in about a year until recently, I hadn't drawn much either. I truly hope that my drawings are enjoyed by you, or that I inspire you to get back to it - to not give up on what you love doing.
I hope you are all familiar with my drawings of fairies that I've posted on my blog in the past (you can view them here). I even have a collection of drawings on my personal Facebook account, which I shared over a year ago.  All of the drawings are very detailed though, drawn with pencil, and filled in with colored pencils. I love them!! I love creating the worlds and fairies I imagine exist.

That's mainly the style of art I create, but it's not the only style I like. Sometimes, I'm in need of a change. You know that feeling when you just want to draw a bird? Yeah, that's where I was at. So I started to draw birds, amongst other things on regular copy paper, sketch paper, and journals (like the one I just made).

I'm not sure how I started changing my art style.
I think maybe the shift in my art style traces back to a couple years ago when I drew a few quick sketches in my notebook for Beyond The Veil of a few different fairy types as I imagined them. I even drew a bird to understand the bird I was writing about in the story. They were almost scribble-like drawings with my pencil. But I liked the way they looked. Even with my elaborate fairy drawings, I like the "before I colored it" version almost better than the colored version. Almost. There's something satisfying about sloppy lines that don't quite connect - it leaves more to the imagination. It doesn't have to be realistic, the imperfect aspect seems to capture the reality in it.

I consider all of the drawings shown here to be just quick sketches, mostly done with my pen, some with pencil. I think it's fun to try different styles of art. I haven't necessarily changed I guess, just added something new (trust me, I'm not done with my fairy art). As an artist, I don't have to show my creative talent in just one facet, I don't have to write in just one genre, or draw in just one style. I think part of the beauty of being an artist is being versatile, trying something new, something different. That's what creativity is, right?
Art is the process of creating something. Why do we as humans desire to create? I believe it's because it is in our being, for we were created in HIS image, the Creator of all things. We cannot help but to strive to create beautiful things, and this I do.

"...Whatsoever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my drawings and "listening" to me ramble on about art. To those crazy enough to continue reading, thank you.

Yours truly,

Friday, January 11, 2019

My Year Book.

Making a journal for every year.

To my dearest friends and followers,

I hope each and every one of you has had a great week. Mine was pretty decent. I can't remember much, so I'm taking that as a good thing. Look at it like this: if anything too bad or super duper awesome had happened, I would remember, right..?

Today I thought I'd share with you something that I've been doing nearly every year since about 2009: making a journal. Some people journal a lot. Some people don't journal at all. I don't do an entry day by day, but I like to doodle, make notes of interesting things, write down the books I've read, or ideas I have, etc. I need a new one for every year. Maybe I didn't fill every page in the previous year's book, but a new year calls for new ideas, and thus, a new book. Ooh! It just came to me. That's what I did this week; I made a journal. Nearly forgot why I was here writing about this...

So I made a journal for 2019 and I made notes of everything in case someone would like to follow what I did and make a journal too. Here's what I did:

First, I needed my personal necessities: 

Water bottle
Large comfy hoodie

Next, I needed my essential tools and supplies as shown in this photo:

Paper Cutter a.k.a. Paper Guillotine
Cover Paper
Needle & Thread
Glue Stick
Spray Varnish
Folding Bone (mine is plastic) XD

Step 1. Measure, cut, & glue the pages.
So the paper I used for the pages are white cardstock paper, 80lb, measuring 8.5" x 11". I chose to use 14 pieces of paper, but if you're making this, you can use as many or as few as you would like. I cut each paper in half using the paper cutter, and then cut them down to measure 4.75" x 8". In total, this now gives me 28 pieces of paper, 56 pages. I want to note that I measured everything with the ruler and marked it with the pencil before I used the paper cutter, as it's not always accurate.
I don't know how to make a binding signature, but I'm learning. For now, I have my own way to bind the pages together. Keeping the paper standing on its side, I clamped it together near the top on the 4.75" side. I used binder clips. With the pages secure, I put a thin layer of glue along the edge of the paper. I smoothed it with my finger, putting an even layer across all the pages. When it's nearly dry, I put on a second coat of glue. I let this coat dry completely before applying a third and final coat. If I had made a thicker book with more pages, 4-5 coats may be necessary.

Step 2. Measure and cut the cardboard.
Next I took cardboard, about the width of a visa card, and cut 2 pieces 1/2" longer than the paper, and 1/4" wider, making the total measurements 5" x 8.5" for each piece of cardboard. These are going to be used for the cover. I then measured out the thickness of the stack of pages used and cut out cardboard according to that measurement, giving me a piece 1/4" x 8.5".

Step 3. Design the cover.
So the paper needed for the cover is larger than average copy paper. I took the paper from a sketch pad I have, made of ivory cardstock paper, weighing 110lb. It needs to measure 9.5" x 11.25" (I accidentally cut mine to 9" x 11". Oops... We learn as we go.). 
Now time to get creative: designing the cover. I drew a fairy on mine, using only the pen. Make sure the drawing is on the right half of the paper. Be sure to keep a 1/2" margin on all sides. Once the drawing is done, spray varnish over it. This is to protect the art on the page from smudges over time. I did 2-3 coats. Let dry completely in between each coat.

Step 4. Attach cover to cardboard.
I placed the cover down, back side facing out. Using the glue stick, I glued the cardboard to the paper, applying the glue to the cardboard, NOT the paper, leave 1/2" margins on all sides. 
(This is where I messed up on my measurements. It should have a 1/2" margin on the outer edge, with 1/4" on each side of the cardboard in the spine.This picture shows a general idea of what it should look like, but I had to discard the spine cardboard completely because it prevented my book from opening and closing properly.)
Once all of the cardboard was in place, I put heavy books on top to ensure it holds. Wait until completely dry.

Step 5. Making the corners and edges.
Next, I cut off each of the 4 corners on the cover, as shown in the photo. Using the  folding bone, I folded over what was meant to be the 1/2" margins on all sides. Boom! I made mitered corners. I put a thin layer of tacky glue on the paper, gluing it to the cardboard. I had to hold it for a few minutes until it was dry enough to hold on its own.

Step 6. Stitches.
Here's where the needle and thread come in. I made decorative stitches along the edges of the cover. Keep in mind, it serves no purpose. It's not holding anything, it's just for looks. I started near the spine, worked outward around the book, and finished at the spine again. I only added the stitch on the front side of the book, but I think it should be noted that if you were to stitch the front and back, make sure you do one side and then the other separately, so the stitch is not going over the spine.
I used the thimble to push the needle through the cardboard. Don't use your fingers, it'll hurt. Also, my needle got pretty bent out of shape during the process.

Step 7. Finishing up.

It's finally time for the final step: gluing the pages to the cover. I applied a thin layer of glue to the entire first page of the book (book here meaning the stack of pages not attached to the cover). Next, I applied this to the cardboard side of the cover, leaving 1/4" margins on 3 sides, not the side near the spine. I closed the book and weighed it down with heavy books. I let it dry completely before I did the same for the inside back cover, closing the book once the glue was applied. Let dry. Done!

I hope this makes sense and maybe inspires some of you. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments or the contact form.
I've been making books and journals for a while and I am always learning better ways to make them. If you make a journal how I explained, let me know!! I'd love to see it. Or maybe you've already made something like this. Please share, I like to learn new ways to be creative! Thank you so much for reading!

Yours truly,

Friday, January 4, 2019

To Say I Do.

I got married!!

To my dearest friends and followers,

First of all, if you're reading this, THANK YOU so much for not giving up on me!! I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything on my blog or any social media, but what can I say, I've been a busy lady.

I finished school. I was working a job in a dining room in Oregon. I got promoted to an assistant supervisor position. I was in a long distance relationship. I was talking with a friend about the possibility of moving out of our current living conditions after the bustle of summer. That all changed though. David, the man with whom I had been in a relationship, came to visit me over the summer. It was the 4th of July to be exact. On July 5th, one year to the day since we had started dating, he got down on one knee and asked a question. I said yes!!

We knew we wanted to get married, so we didn't want to wait longer than we had to. We gave ourselves four months to plan the wedding. It wasn't easy. We were hard pressed for time. SO many things to get done, seemingly not enough time to do it all. Things seemed to be a mess, but in the end, it worked out. We researched a lot. We messed up. We made mistakes. We learned. We learned a lot. And we worked hard. 

I got the almost dream wedding I'd wanted. I had a wedding on the beach in southern California. I had the dress I wanted. I looked beautiful, if I may say so. XD He looked quite fine... We had our maid of honor and best man without whose help we could not have finished everything in time. We had AMAZING friends and family there to help us out with so many things, from our officiant, to our caterers, photographers, coordinator, etc. A huge thank you to everyone who helped us and supported us. I know we are both extremely grateful to each and every one of you for all of your effort and hard work.

And to my faithful followers, thank you for supporting me and reading. I know it's been a long time, but I'm back now. It's still me, with a new last name. I haven't written much lately, or done much of anything creative, but I want to change that now that the wedding is over and I've settled into my new home. 
I plan on posting maybe once a week, updating you on art projects I've been working on, the latest book I've read, something I've learned, a random thought I had, what's going on with my novel, and if I can't think of anything to write, I'll just update you on what my week was like. I want this to be my creative outlet. My creative space. 
Again, thank you so much for reading. Until next time...

Yours truly,

†photo credit: Michael and Tamera Wahl.