Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gentlefolk, start your journals

Step right up ladies and gents and see the marvels of keeping your own journal. You’ll be amazed and astounded at how this one small change in your lifestyle can impact your success. Experience the therapeutic value to mind, body, and soul today for the low admission price of just paper, pen, and a bit of time.

 I channel carnival hawkers and infomercial stars when I get excited about a topic. Journal keeping is one of those exciting topics. In the upcoming weeks I’ll have a series of articles published on journal keeping and may even have a few videos online too.

Journal keeping is the closest thing I’ve ever found to the “cure-all, end-all, be-all, most amazing, life changing practice on the planet.” There’s even a satisfaction guarantee! That’s right folks, if you’re not completely satisfied with the journal keeping process in 90 days, you can get a 100% refund of the price you paid to read this blog post.

Develop a regimen
At its core, journal keeping is an exercise. Like any new exercise program you will need to start from your experience level and work from there. Check my web site for detailed information about starting from your current level of fitness.

Here are a few basic tips to get you going:

There’s no time like the present, keeping a journal does not need to wait until you have the perfect moment—there are rarely any perfect moments. 
  • Find paper and pen or use your computer’s word processing program to begin. You don’t have to get the perfect book or font to begin, that can all develop as you go along.
  • Chose the best time to journal and add it to your schedule as you would a doctor appointment or an exercise routine. Try out a few different time slots to find the one or combination of times that’s best for you.
  • Begin with 15 minutes a day and work up to 30 minutes a day.
  • Date your entries at the top or the bottom of the entry.
  • Create a first line that can get your words moving every time you start to journal. Make it positive and short. Some examples:
 The best thing about this very moment is
Drifting thoughts from my precious mind
Hello superstar—or any other positive nickname

  • Commit to putting down words for your allotted time. Discard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and all the other limitations that prevent you from just going to the page. Lists, questions, key words, quotes, and even doodling shapes among your words are all great starting tools. 
  • End your entry with a point of gratitude—list three things you are grateful for in this moment or write a personal affirmation or just say good bye to your page in a positive way. 

Blessings journal by NAChattin 2007

A wonderful world awaits you as you practice the art of journal keeping. Impress your mind, body, and spirit with the clarity, success, and healing that you deserve.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer means...cookouts, weddings, and travels

We're having a Red(neck), white, and blue cookout for July 4th. Here's out it works:
Bring your own--side dish, meat for the grill, and beer with cousins/spouses and chewing tobacco optional :)

Here's a few cards I made to send after our May cookout with family:

After the Memorial Day visit to Virginia we geared up for hosting our wonderful God-daughter's wedding. We really had a great time sprucing up the yard and hosting a nice dinner for Brittany, John, and their guests. I was honored to perform the ceremony for them too and the videos we took for far away family and friends are on YouTube here
The Arbor you see on the video was built by Sir Henry and decorated with ribbons and florals from the craft store. We're so happy with how it turned out as a setting for their ceremony.
Below are some of the digital designs and photos of decorations created for the nuptials:

We made lots of flower arrangements, decorated bags of customized M&M's and baskets for sparklers used in the send off.  Photos should be forthcoming...

The support, labor, and food contributed by family and friends for this wedding has left us overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Although we could spend the rest of our lives thanking everyone, we're starting with some nice handmade cards:

The wedding and the thank you notes were all able to easily and creatively slide out of the studio with ease thanks to my new clear and simple method of organization.

No regular features this time. I'm still in recovery mode but my schedule will be lighter for the next few months so I hope to share lots more here and on the web site.

In the interim-- enjoy, create, and savor my friends.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Reunited with the pages

Artful Tourist blog posts may be viewed chronologically and in their entirely by visiting .

Legacy Art is such a treat. Not only do I get to enjoy the creative process, but I get to relish all the great moments again. With over 400 photos from our wedding I could be relishing for a long time to come.

Between working on the studio and having fun with photos of our precious grandson—I hadn’t worked with the wedding photos since 2009 and by the time May arrived I hadn’t done any Legacy Art in months.

I started working my way back in with a set of more current photos from Thanksgiving 2009. I was helped along by using a sketch I found online and some double sided papers that make it super easy to coordinate prints. Because I had recently sorted all my embellishments and collage images it was easy and fun to pull out things like the tomato labels which are those wall paper cut outs called Wallies™.

I haven’t posted this layout on my web site yet, but I’m sure I’ll fit it in eventually. They are done with same papers and colors, the difference you see is purely scanner malfunction, or more accurately scanner operator malfunction.

What I have put up on the web site is an album of all the wedding layouts. I am so happy I could get on a roll with these and enjoy the process. The last page I added is shown here. Check the web site gallery page for more information on how to make this easy folded frame from double sided papers and see all the other pages.

Over the years, I’ve developed certain tricks and techniques that work well for me.
1. No matter what kind of photos I’m working with—I try to create at least a couple pieces from more current photos. It gets me back in the swing of things and keeps my current event books up to date.

2. My other posts talk about how I enjoy using sketches—this is particularly true if I haven’t done photo work in a while.

3. Having a color scheme and repetitive design elements really helps when using lots of photos.

4. When it stops being fun, it’s time for me to stop doing it.

Regular Features

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently: is a great place to find discount glasses. You pick your frames, fax or type in your RX and your glasses are mailed to you in nice little case. The anti-glare coating has started to scrape off my favorite pair of spectacles so I hope to be replacing them soon.

Amazon in general has become a mecca retailer for loads of stuff. My most recent purchase was a copy of “Vein of Gold” by my printed mentor, Julia Cameron. How does she know what I need? I’m doing a book study group online with this book right now and, as always, Julia speaks to my creative soul. See Vein of Gold at this link.

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— Purple, pink, and gold with orange accents. I made a set of tags and then cards this week with this combination which surprised me. They aren’t colors I’d normally select but I liked them.

Surrounding Sounds- The theme song to the show “Justified” on FX. The delightful noise of children at play on the rented water slide that came for her birthday.

Good Read: Just finished the Faraday Sisters by Laura McIneriny

Studio progress: Oh, now it’s almost embarrassing that I haven’t posted the new pictures and videos. I have such a joyful creative place in my home. I am taking an hour or two each week to finish up with labels, ribbon zone, and decor. Everything is set so I can use it easily and freely.

In the kitchenSmithfield Ham at Winn Dixie last week was regularly $48.00 on sale for $17.90. We ate it for family night last week and froze the rest for quiche. sandwiches, and soup. Delicious and frugal—that’s my kind of eating.

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): Haven’t spent since my last post and have had multiple creative sessions. Feels good.

My opinion and where it may lead: Remember the adage, “learn something new every day?” As I age, this could actually get easier if you count relearning something new every day…Thank goodness for my list book—I call it my portable memory.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Enclosure Cards

Artful Tourist blog posts may be viewed chronologically and in their entirely by visiting .

There’s been a whirlwind of activity in the Artful Tourist Studio. The last couple weeks have produced a set of cards and article on the web site, fourteen new scrapbook pages (hopefully to be published next week) and the two new enclosure cards featured here.

I spent a few hours Monday working on two very special Mother’s Day cards. They are both in the same format of a layered pocket card, but sized and styled differently.

The basic concept on both cards was to cut a long piece of cardstock, create a fold line to size the card, cut the folded edge on the diagonal, and glue the piece you cut off inside as a second pocket. There are probably several ways to get this look—just get creative. This folding,cutting, and sturdy adhesive creates a card base of the desired size with two pockets.

There are lots of possibilities to use for inserts on pocket cards. Both of these have a chai tea bag wrapped in a small envelope made with my new (this year) Enveloper™ tool. The pink card also includes a ribbon book mark, die cut bird, tiny message and coordinating tag. The gold and green rectangle card includes one of those instant teas you pour into a water bottle along with the tradional tea bag because it’s designed for a busy mom who might want energy on the go and a clam tranquil moment with a hot cup.

Tea bags are a great “tuck in” for any card you design. Check out this previous blog post for more tea bag ideas.

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently:
New Artful Tourist Gallery---I stopped work in the studio in March while my parents were visiting. I left a clear spot on the work table and used my new storage systems to create a set of “stock pile” cards. Check them out with tips and techniques at

Pencil Lines---Great resource for fresh scrapbook sketches and samples.

Vein of Gold Book Study Group--One of my favorite online artists, Asiling,  is hosting a book study on Julia Cameron's marvelous book. It's not to late to join us!

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me—
I’ve been bouncing between combinations on some wedding scrapbook pages:

Maroon, purple, bronze, with a dash of deep gray

Fuschia, citrus orange, sunny yellow with a dash of lime

Pleasing sounds-
The Beach Boys are calling me.

Studio progress:
Oh joy, things are going delightfully well. I’ve organized all the zones except ribbon and fiber which is in progress. After finishing the zones I want to label it all as well as finish the d├ęcor. I’m already creating projects in there with a renewed vigor.

In the kitchen—
I’ve fallen in love with Paula Deen’s Oooey Gooey Butter Cake. I made one for us and then assisted the neighbor girls in making one for their Mom’s Mothers Day.

I have also been experimenting with any recipe that uses vanilla flavoring since I got a new bottle of REAL Vanilla from Watkins.

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools):
In honor of finishing my studio and having a record-breaking low credit card balance, I paid cash to attend a weekend scrapbook event in Vero Beach May 1. It was marvelous! It also blew my budget, but I don’t feel guilty after paying cash.
I got several new items all of which came home to their own little pre-planned space in the new studio. Here’s a list:

-set of 4 Tim Holtz collage stamps
-journaling stamp
-Stampin’ Up bird set and coordinating punch
-papers and coordinating chipboard album
-Cool 8.5” album (I won as a prize)
-Tim Holtz die (the heart with wings)
-some double sided papers in grey and maroon for wedding photos
-3 wood mounted rubber stamps in collage style
-Tombow refills
-cutter blades

(some items actually purchased on sale at Michaels before I left and 90% of them have been used already which is a big emphasis in the austerity plan--don't buy what you won't use right away)

Points of Interest: (random things I’ve paid attention to lately)
  • Honey—local, raw honey for my tea and my throat
  • The scales—according to my recent annual visit to one of my doctors I’ve lost 16 pounds over the last year---yesssssss

 My opinion and where it may lead: 
I married an incredible man. We have a totally rocking new screened, tiled patio.

Admiration and Acceptance 
Consistency eludes me in the world of blogging. I tip my many shiny sequined hats to the blog writers who can post so frequently, maintain lots of followers, and write really incredible entries.

Amateur status is my commitment this year. While I envy the proliferation of exceptional blog posts out there—I’m fine with getting to it when I can and enjoying the process. I love working in my newly improved home studio, creating projects just for me and my loved ones, and posting to the blog or web site whenever it feels right.

So, while I’m not consistent, you can be sure I’m sincere, I’m happy, and I’m proudly doing this purely for the creative joy of it all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time, Energy, and Motivation

Artful Tourist blog posts may be viewed chronologically and in their entirely by visiting

 Activity Spurt

I'm over 75% finished in my new revised studio. While working outside of my studio I created a new set of flash cards. The theme was Valentines so I got to use my happiest colors and I worked my Wizard for the first time in months.

Sample card from set and handmade envelope below.

Simon Says Stamp
The Artful Tourist is pleased to welcome a new sponsor to the web site and the blog. You must check out Simon Says Stamp for great deals on the newest products for paper arts along with a great selection of the “standards” we need every day. Every time you visit them from my links, they help support my web site, so please, use my links whenever possible to keep this show on the road. Thanks!

A few more digital projects

The 2009 digital gallery is complete with the creations from September through December.
I've finished some additional digital projects this year but you'll have to wait for the new gallery.

Regular Features

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently: –There are plenty of markers out there to use when writing on non-porous surfaces, but these cool markers from BIC are by far one of the best values ($2.99 at Wal-Mart) and they are great performers. They are acid free and write directly on photos as well as metal, plastic, glass, and ceramic surfaces. I got a fine point set for Christmas and then purchased an ultra-fine set this week. I hope to do some projects with them to show you very soon. --This just cracks me up. In the spirit of having a web site and phone application for everything you can now check out this site to find out the best time to leave a movie theater to use the restroom.

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— pink, red, glitter

Pleasing sounds-

1. Bruuuuce on the Ipod, mostly the Seeger sessions.

2. The tiny whimper Drexel the dog makes when he wants to leap all 20 pounds of himself into my lap—it’s like he’s asking please first.

Studio progress:

Yes, I’m aware this could be a separate post, but I'd rather do one big one than get bogged down in too much…

What marvelous opportunities for creation arise in each and every moment. I’m listening to an audio series called “Get Organized the Clear & SIMPLE™ Way” by Marla Dee.

I started this audio series to assist me in finally conquering the studio. I began listening in late fall when I really felt I didn’t have time to work on the organizing but I wanted to “set the stage” for delving back into the project in early winter.

In addition to relearning the power of adopting vision statements for my life I am appreciating how close I was to following through on the studio without being able to make an effective impact. Marla Dee explains quickly and often that resisting the urge to just dive in will be an asset in organizing and clearing.

The first step in Clear & SIMPLE™ is to SEE IT. Accepting where you are now and really seeing where you are now. Some of you may recall the scary movie I made last winter of my studio chaos I felt like I had a head start on this step. But I had missed a few important components with my previous process. I had not allowed myself to fully accept where I was or accept the fact that I could let go of the clutter easily and simply.

Last year I was also trying to do the reorganization in a format that was not comfortable for me but more accommodating to what was expected from me by social norms. While it is vital that I honor my loved ones, especially those that share my home, I needed to find a way to approach the project which worked for me.

I worked through the MAP IT phase, which according to Marla only needs to take a short amount of time. I found myself thinking the same way so many clutter-philes think which is that there can’t be any other situation like mine and that the principles can’t apply to me like they do for other people. I was wrong.

I'll let you check out the book for more details but I can't say enough great things about this methodology. I sorted like items together, packed everything up, moved it out, sorted what I wanted back in the room, and have got almost all of it moved back in. Sir Henry made me a new paper shelf (four feet wide and six feet tall!) and a new ink shelf for what I realized was over 100 ink pads....

Last weekend we had a "Creative Minds Yard Sale" and let go of 8 tables crowded with stuff. The leftovers not sold were donated or recycled and that felt so incredible. Some of my vision statements:
"I trust that I will have everything I need when I need it"
"As we release, we make room for the abundance"
"I have a creative-friendly zone"

Oh the joy.

In the kitchen—

Cheap Eats in a Flash! I need to funnel all available funds for a few fairly major projects right now so I’m looking to do cut backs on the grocery budget. I’ve been making a ton of casseroles and soups and freezing which also helps with week night dinner prep.

  In January I happily fed 6 for family night. We had Fiesta Bean soup and frozen taquitas with mexi salad. The price was right and the food was delcious.

Fiesta Bean Soup (10 servings)

Three cans of Progresso Mexican soup ($4.50)

1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed (.75 on sale)

1 cup frozen corn (.45 worth)

1 tblsp. McCormick’s taco seasoning

1 teaspoon Tastefully Simple Onion-Onion

1 teaspoon cumin

1 can chicken (1.30 at Big Lots)

Dump it all in the crock pot for about 2.5-3.5 hours and serve with crushed tortilla chips. Sour Cream dollop and grated cheese optional (I had these left over from other recipes)

The soup was about .70 cents per serving and took less than 15 minutes to assemble.

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools):   I invested $40.00 of my holiday gift card in packing and storage boxes--but really is that art supplies? I purchased adhesive refills and a color applicator at a crop for $12.00. Sir Henry gave me the shelves for Valentines and devoted 3 days of labor plus paint and some materials. I contributed another $75.00 to materials too. These big expenditures weren't exactly art supplies and tools, but they were well worth the investment and I had the money because I'd done well with my austerity plan for months now.

While packing my studio I spend a bit more time on the internet looking at inspiring sites, clips from CHA, and how-to videos. I decided that I really wanted this tool called an Enveloper.  I had money in my Paypal account from some online writing payments and ordered on from So, technically I spent that money, but it's not like I ever saw it--grin. The tool is from a UK company called Crafter's Companion. They have a big multipurpose tool launched this year, but I really wanted just the envelope portion of the package which is sold sperately.

When the Enveloper arrived I used it immediately to make a 3-D enevelope(they call it an EnveloBox)  that held a Valentine card taped onto microwave popcorn. See video here 

Left back of envelobox, lower left front of envelobox, below digital popcorn Valentine. Click to enlarge.
Points of Interest: (random things I’ve paid attention to lately) As Joni Mitchell said, “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone…” The record cold weather here in South Florida reactivated way too many fibromyalgia symptoms and my neck went screaming again. I took a recovery week and changed some medications that have really improved by outlook and my quality of living.

I've lost enough weight for it to show in my appearance! It's taken a year and the Girl Scout Cookies set me back a bit, but it's so movtivating to see the weight drifting away.

My opinion and where it may lead: I’ve been cherished far more than I’ve been played and I’ve received far more than I’ve given. I am thankful.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Chocolate Covered Goodness

Artful Tourist blog posts may be viewed chronologically and in their entirely by visiting .

The Christmas season took over my heart and just about everything else for the past two months. I am so grateful for such a joyful and wonderful time of giving and receiving.

Working Backwards
Just as I teach in my workshops, when you get behind in journaling or scrapbooking, start with the most recent and work backwards as desired. Enjoy the moment you’re in right now. The moment of the last 48 hours has been one of gratitude. I created a new series of cards yesterday that I call “Chocolate Covered Recycling.”

The base for these are card blanks and envelopes given to me at least 4 years ago by my precious friend Bridget as a Christmas gift. They were white and sized 5” by 7”. For some reason, the stark white canvas and/or the size just kept me from opening and using these packs.

Adhering to my commitment to use more of what I have laying around—I pulled out these card blanks to start working on some thank you notes. Also sitting on my table in the studio were some mail catalogs that came in over the holidays.

Tip: I keep these mail catalogs around as a surface for “glue waste” on my projects. You can rub glue off the project and onto the surface of the catalog pages—then just turn the page and get a fresh surface for the next little scrap that needs gluing. Once the catalog pages are all glued together you can still pop it into the recycling bin.

The Godiva™ catalog was just too pretty to use as glue scraps and I started tearing and punching images out of the catalog to play with on the pure white background of the cards. All five cards I completed in about an hour are posted in the recycled project gallery that is new to the web site this week.

Digital Greetings

Finally, in the interest of the environment this year we also prepared a digital Holiday card. I posted it on Facebook and emailed it to many others, but just in case you didn’t get your copy—here’s a reprint just for you. May your 2010 be filled with wonder and abundance,

Regular Features

Surf stops—web sites I’ve visited recently: to play the Chuzzle game which is really the old version of Bejeweled.

Mind Map with Mind Meister--

Touch of color—what color(s) influenced me— Silver sparkles

Pleasing sounds- Children laughing

Studio progress: Creating a mind map of my vision for the studio

In the kitchen— Steam fresh asparagus in the microwave with McCormick’s ™ vegetable seasoning and Promise™ spread

Austerity Plan progress ($15.00 per month for art supplies and tools): It’s all a blur for December, I don’t think I went over budget on my studio, but I did pick up a lot of stuff for gifting.

Points of Interest: (random things I’ve paid attention to lately) Snow fell in south Florida all month. We took the neighbor girls to CityPlace on Christmas Eve, Eve and had a blast.

My opinion and where it may lead: I married the right man for the job.