The Story of my Life week 2 and HOLIDAY MADNESS intro


The page I made this week as part of the Story of my Life Journal can’t be shown yet!  HA!  Best laid plans and all that.  Here’s a teaser, though!

There is some other craziness happening, though – both dealing with THE BOOK.

Crazy long post ahead.  Don’t try to read it at a traffic light.  Also, PUT YOUR DAMN PHONE DOWN – YOU’RE DRIVING. 


SO – let me give you a little bit of backstory.  A long time ago in a galaxy far away, there was a girl who wore too much eyeliner.  One of her English teachers gave her a writing assignment, to write an essay detailing what she would do to make the world a happier place (listen up, Millenials – we were trying to figure out how to make everything better way back in the 90s, too).  That girl wrote all about how happy people were on holidays and how the world would be happier if every day were a holiday.  Obviously the girl was well-versed in hyperbole and was completely full of it.

Okay, spoiler alert, that was me.  I have always had that idea in the back of my mind, though, being completely full of it at the time or not.  It has been a part of my art journaling journey – one of the prompts for Chronicles was about illustrating today’s weird holiday, and one of my lessons in Radiant Art Journals was about weird holidays.  I’ve given away freebies on wonderstrange involving weird holidays (the caviar sundae pattern still cracks me up).  It’s been a lifelong obsession.  

Last week I decided we were going to make this a THING.  We were doing it.  We were totally doing it.  We’ve already missed a couple of days, but HEY.  We’re still doing it.

The first day of the adventure, the day I said “YOU ARE ALL GOING ON THIS CRAZY JOURNEY WITH ME” was Blame Someone Else Day (August 13).  We all blamed Jerod, my oldest child.  He’s never home, so he couldn’t keep us from doing it.  TAKE THAT, JEROD!

The next day was WAY MORE FUN.  It was National Creamsicle Day.  We ate creamsicles.

Man that’s a terrible picture.  Hard to believe it took three tries to get one even that good, right?  Ha!  (If you’re interested in a Roll Call, from L to R, Drucilla, Chase ((one of my accessory children, i.e., one of my kid’s friends)), Sebastian, The Manflesh).

I also designed this cute pattern in honor of the holiday that you can find on wonderstrange.

August 15 was National Relaxation Day and National Failure Day.  I spent the morning feeling like a failure and then went to yoga and relaxed.  Celebrating National Failure Day was in no way part of the plan.  The kids relaxed.  They kind of do that every day, though.  WHATEVER.

August 16 was Bratwurst Day, which we failed to celebrate.  August 17 was National Thrift Shop Day!  WOOOOO!!!  We went and popped some tags.  We didn’t do the big drive to go to a good thrift shop, so we didn’t really find much, but the kids had fun looking at weird stuff.  Bastian did find this awesome vintage stamp for me though!

August 18 was Bad Poetry Day.  I told everyone to write a poem, and almost everyone did it.  They were all bad.  

Chicken Chicken
Bok Bok
Chicken Chicken

– The Manflesh

Potato Potato Eats Tomato
Tomato Tomato Eats Potato

– Drucilla

Woke up this morning
And my clothes were mismated.
I is frustrated.

– Jerod

They are all masters, amiright?!

August 19 was Potato day.  Drucilla and I made potato stamps.  It was super entertaining.  She made a lovely watermelon –

And I made a skull.  I’m sure no one is shocked.

We also made the local delivery place bring us fries.  Okay paid more than made.  But delicious all the same.  (I promise there are fries under there.)

We had mashed potatoes too, but I didn’t bother with a picture.  You’ve seen one mashed potato, you’ve seen them all.

August 20 was National Radio Day, which we sort of celebrated by listening to Faction on Sirius.  The next two days are a wash, although yesterday, August 22, it was Be An Angel day.  I assured Druzie that she celebrated it by being herself.  And then rolled my eyes at my cheesiness.  Parenting.  hahah!

So that brings us around to today, which is Spongecake Day.  I’m going to attempt to find a Spongecake at the local grocery store, but I’m not feeling optimistic about my chances, so today might be a wash too!

I have learned, during the last 10 days or so, that celebrating a holiday every day does actually make us all a little happier.  We’ve definitely all been more in the moment, which is always good.  We’ve had a few hiccups – Sebastian stressed himself out on Bad Poetry Day and I totally planned on buying bratwurst for Bratwurst Day and then totally forgot about it until I was cooking dinner – but, since this is supposed to be a fun little thing, we’re not stressing out about it.  Life, to me, is all about the little moments, the small joys, the surprise bits of happy.  This is all about acknowledging them, even if they are just taking 5 minutes out to eat ice cream.

NOW the second part!  Witchery!

When I made the giant dictionary journal, I intended on working through from beginning to end, flipping it over, and then working back the other way.  I have also always wanted to make myself a book of witchery – something other people would call their grimoire or book of shadows – and pondered altering yet another dictionary for the madness.  I also thought maybe, just maybe, I could somehow incorporate it into the Story of my Life book, but I couldn’t decide.  I waffled.  I talked about it with The Manflesh in one of my huge rambling moments of blah blah blah, and he said, “it’s part of your life, totally use the same book.”  Oh.  Yeah.  Right.  Of course!

So I flipped the book over, cut a pentacle out of chipboard and glued it on.  I used gel medium to give it a coat of black tissue paper (I like how it looks like shadows are sort of invading the book) and then dry brushed with metallic copper paint.  Ended up with this lovely bit of lovely!

Close up!

I haven’t done anything of importance in it yet.  One of the things I definitely wanted to incorporate is an in-depth study of tarot – I have wanted to make my own deck for at least 10 years and don’t read enough anymore to have an intuitive understanding of the cards, so that needs to change!  I decided the first 78 pages of the journal will be dedicated to tarot.  I found a printable Rider Waite deck on and cut it apart.  I glued each card on its own page so that I can write about meanings and feelings and notes about my own personal symbols for the cards so that I can, indeed, make my own deck.  Hopefully those paintings will come as I study each card, but I’m not necessarily requiring that to happen.  It’s been waiting 10 years – it can wait a little longer!

So as I keep working on the Story posts, there may be a little Witchery in there.

More on the plans for all of that next week!

In the meantime, I hope your week is full of the acknowledgement of small joys.


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The Story of my Life Week 1

Greetings my lovely lamb chops!

Let me get straight to the point:  I doubt myself.  A lot.  Like, a lot.  I am in a constant state of “am I doing this right?” “Am I growing?” “Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?”  “Am I half-assing it?”

Sort answer, no, no, no, yes.

This has been a hard realization for me this week when it comes to this whole art journaling thing – I’m not doing my best.  I’m keeping up with weekly pages for Journal52, and that’s something to be proud of – sometimes having a deadline is the only thing keeping me from binge-watching Heroes instead of working.

When it comes to the art, though, I’m not FEELING it.  And it’s driving me a little batty.  Now that the studio madness is completely done (got Internet yesterday, woo!), it’s time to get my head back in the game.

As my lovely friend Heidi said this morning, “You feel like your head and heart aren’t aligned with your spirit.”  Yes.  Not exactly how I would have put it, but yes.  I probably would have added some F-bombs at the very least, but, hey, she nailed it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some nice stuff, some stuff that makes me laugh, some stuff that pushed me over a hump technique-wise.  I just haven’t made a lot of stuff that has that spirit connection in it.  And I’ve gotten away from the things that got me to start art journaling in the first place – the Chronicles stuff.  I feel like I’m three spreads away from “Live, Laugh, Love” and that is SO not what I want my practice to be about.  In my mind, that’s like sitting in child’s pose for 30 minutes and calling it yoga.  No Bueno.

So this week I dug out the giant 2600-page dictionary that one of the lovely ladies at the library gifted to me that I’ve wanted to turn into an art journal.  I spent a day ripping out pages.  I spent two days gluing.  I now have THIS.

It’s enormous.  Like seriously enormous.  I will probably be working in this easily for the next decade.


SO, needless to say, I’m not going to be doing double page spreads.  Because of the thickness, I’m going to work through it doing only the right side then, once I get to the end, I’ll flip it over and work back the other way.  Eventually.

In an effort to discover what I was missing, I started trolling through Pinterest.  I looked at journal pages.  A LOT of journal pages.  I saw pages I liked, pages I was completely ambivalent about, pages I really didn’t like, and pages I loved.  Like swoon-worthy, rapid heart beat, palms sweaty loved.  I dissected them, mentally.  I broke them down.  I tried to find the thing that really turned my crank.  I think it boils down to one thing: chaos.

I looked back through my Chronicles journal and decided the pages I really like had a lot of stuff going on.  I’m not talking about multiple layers or 47 different supplies, just a lot of STUFF.  They’re almost overwhelming at first glance.  That’s what my spirit needs.  Layers of meaning.  Not necessarily just layers of stuff.

So I started working.

Since my journal52 page was due, I started there.  The prompt was Limerick.  I found a limerick I liked and typed it.  I started making a page to sort of go with it (but not really even at all.. Hahah).  I ended up with this:

I took a picture, waited for things to dry, and then kept going.  I added things.  I covered some stuff up.  I added seemingly random doodles that only make sense to me.  I added layers of chaos.  I ended up with this:

It’s better – closer to what I want.  Not there yet, but closer.  Some detail shots:

I’ve been wanting to create some new workshops, but I have been feeling so out of touch with my own artistic vision that nothing has come of it.  I’m hoping this project will get me there.  Something needs to get me there.

I also discovered the problem with having an outside studio – when these kind of things come up, I can’t do anything about them.  I need a stash of art supplies in the house, stat.  I can’t imagine lugging this journal back and forth from the studio to the house (it won’t even fit in my bike basket.  Hah!), but I definitely need to have something there so that I can sling paint when it wants to be slung.

It’s a journey.  It’s a practice.  Like yoga.  I’m learning to be both solid and flexible.  Slowly.

Here’s the YouTube video I made of this page, should you want to take a gander:

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Holy crap you guys.  This has been an amazing month.  First I won the Nobel Peace Prize for my work in animal husbandry (lie), got 14 new tattoos (also a lie), and rented my very own Big Girl studio (true!).  

It all started innocently enough.  I was out running around with my friend Heidi on May 3, and I saw this crazy awesome storefront:


We called about it, got the details, and I spent the next 24 hours dithering.  Dither dither dither.  My main issue, aside from the price, was the fact that it was in a different town about 30 minutes from my house, and I’ve been working out of my house for the past 14 years.

Dither dither dither.

The next day, I contacted my friend Howie, who is a real estate mogul (sort of a lie) and owns some buildings in town asking if he had anything to rent.  He sent me on an adventure to look at a space and gave me a super reasonable price. By adventure, I mean I had to leave my house and walk a block and then go up some stairs.  This is what I saw:

Okay I didn’t really see THAT exactly – there was more furniture in here, but CLOSE.  I saw that crazy shag carpet.  I saw peeling paint.  I saw amazing tall ceilings.  I saw SO MUCH POTENTIAL that I almost cried.  I texted him with a resounding I’LL TAKE IT and went and kidnapped my friend Trish to show her our awesome new score.  She sells crocheted goodies on Etsy and needs a place to “go to work” as much as I do.

She peed.  Right on the floor (lie).

In the midst of taking firefighter classes and living our lives, we planned.  We planned and planned.  I made lists.  SO MANY LISTS.  My inner Virgo was singing show tunes and doing the Charleston (lie.. She can’t dance for crap).

Skip forward three days, and we got to work.  Carpet came up.

Revealing MORE CARPET.  Sigh.  That carpet came up revealing…

Hardwood floors!  Along with lots of disintegrating foam, sticky strips of tape, and SO MANY NAILS AND STAPLES.

Two days, hours of sweeping, much cursing, tuberculosis (lie), and so many bags of trash later, we had this:

There were areas where the five layers of wallpaper (truth.. I counted) and three layers of paint (also truth) were peeling like a three-day-old sunburn, so that had to be scraped.  So much scraping.  Then more sweeping, cursing, and trash.

I think it was this point that the plague I was fighting settled into my lungs (and still hasn’t fully left).  We soldiered on with PAINT (I whined the whole time).

Then clouds cause I can’t seem to NOT paint clouds on a wall that isn’t white.

Once that was done, we really had nothing left to do but move in.  That only took about 7159827 days (lie).  Okay it actually took about 10 days to move things in and get them put away.  CRAZY.

I must say, I am shocked at how much CRAP I have.  I mean, really.  It’s bananas.  IT’S SO ORGANIZED NOW, though, and I have these awesome work tables that I made out of solid wood doors and kitchen cabinets:

Once the table was in, everything slid right into place.  Now things are amazing.

On Trish’s side of the room, the ceiling is covered in awesome twinkly lights.

And because Trish is awesome, she painted this amazing Ouija table for our little sitting area.

I’m so excited about this I could just pee.  I may go do that now.  If you made it this far, have a cookie or eight, you deserve it!

Just to show how much this place has meant to me, I made an actual to-do list today and actually checked three things off of it.  Or I will as soon as I’m done with this post and as soon as I figure out cold fusion (lie).

I love you (truth).


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