Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Got a surprise in the mail yesterday from Desi--also known as cheerbear7 on youtube. When I was talking about pen pals, writing letters, and missing snail mail she had commented that maybe she needed a pen pal. Since she had sent me a bookmark a little while back and I had her address, I sent her off a short note to surprise her--LOL!
Well, yesterday I get this big, colorful envelope in the mail (upper left) that Desi had made from an old calendar. [I know! Clever, right?] She made the two colorful little envelopes below the big one and included all these other assorted papers, envelopes, a sticker, and...
...one of the bookcards she makes! Well, Desi calls them journals and they most certainly could be used as a small journal. Isn't it pretty?!
When I saw this on Desi's etsy shop, I thought it was such a clever idea, but wondered how would it go through the mail with the beads on it? So I asked her about it (commented on her blog) and Desi assured me that you can mail these with their dangly beads.
Anyways, she actually sent me one!!
She makes hers a little differently than I do. She sews in the pages so that the end threads are centered on the spine and then attaches beads to the ends of the threads. Cool! The cover folds into itself to form the envelope. Pretty cool! Thanks, Desi! I think you have a new pen pal if you really want one! ;)
Well, as usual, my struggle to stay on days ended with me being up all night last night. As long as I couldn't sleep and it was November first...I did it! I started on the art journal. :)
That first page is always the hardest for me. Oh, I found out butcher paper doesn't work well because the water just pools up on it. Paper towels or newspaper works better to protect the pages you're not slopping all over with paint--LOL!
I started by wetting the page and just blobbing watercolors (Daniel Smith) on it--yellow, a couple blues, and a bit of turquoise. Then I laid a piece of mesh-like "paper" (I found in the 12 X 12 scrapbook papers at a craft store years ago) and pressed it on top, sprayed the whole page lightly with gold mist, and let it dry. I have a few odd things like this mesh that will come in really handy now!
You might have to click on the picture to see the small mesh lines, but I really liked the effect. And leaving things to dry on their own like this (instead of drying them with a heat gun) works well for me because it gives me breaks. ;)
Here's how I set up my designated misting box next to the art table
Of course, I was dying to try out one of the new stencils. I grabbed the bigger one so I could try and put just the branches & leaves over on the left side with a copper mist.
So this is as far as I have gotten. I do't know if you can tell but there's a bit of a shimmer over the whole page from the gold and copper mists.
And I have to admit...this is really fun!!! :):)
I have no clue what I will do to it next. And, yes, I might mess with it till I completely wreck it--but_it_doesn't_matter--tada! That's what is so freeing about no rules, just play! And I will show you whatever I am doing--whether I destroy something that was going well or have total flops. This is all new for me and I plan to enjoy the process no matter what. :):)
With my crazy hours again I have no clue what time of day or night it will be when I post. But, November, here we come, eh? ;)
Caroline switched over to Wednesdays, so she will be here tomorrow afternoon. Dagan and Leah switched to Thursday this week because it's Dagan's birthday on the 2nd and they're going out to eat...plus Leah is still coughing and tired. They could stop by after dinner, she said--but I told her to go home and rest and get to bed early. I'll see them on Thursday...unless Leah's worse or I am or something else pops up, of course. Always tentative arrangements around here, as you know. :)
Anyways, Leah and I plan to plan--LOL! We need to come up with something for Christmas cards. It will depend on supplies--what colors of paper we have enough of--what we haven't used yet--etc. We're hoping to make them this year without having to spend anything additional or make trips to the local craft stores. We should be able to come up with something simple to make around 100 cards with what we have on hand. And, of course, something we both really like. Easy peasy, right? ;) Wish us luck!!
The prompt for the day:
What is your favorite thing about writing?
I'd have to say I have two favorite things--one inward and one outward.
I first started writing when I was about nine--pencil and narrow lined loose binder paper. Do you remember narrow-lined? Used to be narrow, college, and wide--but they dropped narrow for some absolutely insane reason.
Anyways, I first started writing just to vent to myself because I didn't really have anybody to talk to. As I vented on paper, those scribbled words on paper forced me have to see and face who I was--my nasty thoughts and selfish thinking--that dark side of me--always took me aback. After the rush of emotion, I could go back and read. It didn't matter that I tore them up and threw them in the burn barrel. I owned my words.
I quickly found out that if I started out venting but kept on writing and writing after I calmed down...well, I would ponder round and round in tighter circles until I traveled down to the core of whatever it was that was really bothering me. Something about putting it down into words made me stop and think about all the hows and whys...allowed me a more objective perspective.
Without writing I might never have dug so deeply, had to face my naked ugliness, learned to unearth the true reasons behind what I do and how I think--even if I want to dig in my heels, don't want to look, and hate what I see. Writing has made me who I am. Writing has made me a better person. And since I always felt GA over my shoulder, it was a place I couldn't lie. Writing is where I learned about love and truth.
In sixth grade we got an assignment to write a two-page Christmas story. Most of the kids were dismayed--my secret heart soared! Permission to write--whoohoo! I've never been good at making things up, so mine was a blatant Bambi/Rudolph ripoff called The White Reindeer. A shunned albino reindeer hardly knew his father but his mother loved and protected him--hunting season (I don't think they have a hunting season on reindeer--LOL!), father killed, mother and young reindeer flee, mother wounded, eventually she dies on a frozen riverbank telling him he will be okay, and the young reindeer is suddenly alone. He's never fit in, always been alone, and knows he will survive...as he walks away along the frozen river from his dead mother's body and the snow begins to fall.
The story ended up being 11 (narrow-lined) pages long! I was afraid I'd get in trouble, but I had gotten lost in time and just kept writing until it was done. Little did I know, the teacher expected us to read our stories aloud to the class!! (My worst nightmare to this day!!)
I tried to get out of it by telling her mine was too long, but she made me go stand in front of the class and read it just like everybody else. With trembling hands and voice, head bent to the pages...I started. And as I read...I fell into the story...and poof...I was done. I looked up, the kids clapped, and I saw that two girls and one boy were wiping away tears!!
I was shocked. I had made a boy cry!!
Being able to touch another soul, another heart, by putting yours on paper--priceless!
Those are the two very best best things about writing for me.
See you tomorrow!! :):)


  1. What wonderful feedback you received so early. I never showed my writing to anyone until much later.

    Love those journals. They're beautiful. I used to do collage greeting cards and use calendar pages to create envelopes for them. I hope to get back to some of that this winter.

    I enjoyed reading this and seeing all those goodies.

  2. I'm glad you're having such fun with the art challenge! :)

    Happy birthday Dagan!

    I love your reply to the prompt; do you have a copy of that story?

  3. Nice little collection from your friend, Desi. That journal is a cute creation.

    I like what you made with the misting and stencil. Looks really nice to me.

    Your fellow classmates really must have gotten into your story as much as you did. Good job.

    Have a good night. Hope you get your sleep soon.

  4. The art journal is coming along beautifully for you. I used to love art and painting. I haven't done any for many years now.


  5. Ohmygosh - where to start??

    I have no doubt that you've always been an amazing writer!! What a wonderful story you just shared with us - thank you!!!

    Your art journal is fabulous!!! For me a journal like that is so....intimidating and ominous, lol! All those blank pages.....eeks!!!! But I know you are going to fill up those pages with creative and fun art!! Loving your spritzing and stencils too. Keep going!

    I'm going to email you a Christmas card idea I saw on pinterest. It's mostly using paper, but great for using up scraps! And they don't necessarily have to be "Christmassy" papers!!

    Sorry about your days/nights situation. I didn't sleep well at all last night, no matter how hard I tried. Ugh!

    Yay for good mail!! I haven't had any in a while either and it's always a nice surprise! Especially in pretty envelopes to boot!! Enjoy!

  6. Teresa--I thought only the teacher was going to read it, you know! She tricked us! LOL!
    OH, if you do get back to collage and making envelopes or whatever--please take some pictures to share!! I love to see what other people create. :):)

    Tori--Yup! Dagan's birthday tomorrow. 37 years old! Wow! I might just have to write a little about him. ;)
    Nope, no copy. For a while there were some xeroxed copies of it (was my first A++ grade so my mom made some copies) but they disappeared somewhere along the way. My mom maybe did things like that, but she didn't necessarily keep track of mementos. ;)

    AliceKay--I really thought the way the cover folds up into an envelope was a clever idea.
    I was surprised it looked pretty good since I have never done anything like this before. Feels like I am back in grade school art class--LOL!
    I hope we both get good sleep! :)

    Beth--I forgot how much fun it is to just play with paints and art supplies. Seems like I was always trying to do things in a much more controlled type of art when I did do anything. It is very relaxing, actually! Once I got over that scary blank white page, of course--LOL! ;)
    I sure hope you are feeling much better here soon!! *hugs*

    Jeannie--Thanks so very much!
    Hey, I was so intimidated that it must be at least two years ago I made the watercolor journals...and they all sat untouched. Sold a couple. But never knew what to do with my own--LOL! I feel like I broke down a wall!! :)
    I got your email! I will show it to Leah and see what she thinks. (We make ours together.) I think it's a great idea that we might tweak, you know? Thanks!!
    I hate when I lie there and cannot sleep no matter how long I lie there. I hope you sleep well. I don't have to be up for too many things, so I am able to sleep whenever I can, so I am the lucky one. Karma doesn't need to be made ready for school or helped with homework or fixed dinner...LOL! ;) So I slept really well once I was able to go to sleep--it was just goofy hours and I got up in the afternoon, but I'll take it where I can get it. :)

  7. Your journal page is looking fabulous, Rita...love those blues and greens!


    OMG, Rita....how amazing that your story back in sixth grade touched the hearts of those kids. It's in your blood, girl. I know I enjoy reading your blog and letters because you do have a lovely way with words.

    Great stories!

    Yep, see you tomorrow,

    Serena xo

  8. I think writing brings many aspects of myself together. I need to organize my thoughts and communicate them on the page, which makes me think about the subject in terms of the reader. And then when I write, it often brings up little bits of memory that would otherwise have lain uncovered.

    I love the story of the white reindeer and your reading it aloud to the class. You are indeed a gifted writer and now I know you have always been! :-)

    And Happy Birthday to Dagan!

  9. Dear Rita, first I want to thank you for commenting on my Tuesday posting on moderation. Your comments always seem to fill in the chinks that I've left in my posting--things I didn't explore of think about. Thank you for that.

    Second, I want to say thank you for this posting in which you display your art--which is lovely and evocative--and in which you share with us what writing means to you.

    Like you, I find that writing takes me inward. But when I was young I didn't write about my feelings--I wish now I'd thought to do so then--but instead I created other worlds in which I could live and feel loved.

    I'm so happy that early on you had the experience of knowing that your writing touched the hearts of others. Just as it continues to do so now.


  10. Congrats on starting your art journal! Really like the texture and the colors!

  11. Anonymous4:16 PM

    OMGOSH, I just cried reading your story about you reading your story! Not because of the sad story you wrote but because of how the kids reacted to the story. I loved to write when I was younger too but all the kids were mean and no one listened to anything I wrote.

    What a beautiful collection of goodies you got from your friend! I'm jealous! You know, it is so hard to find people to write to. I used to write to my grandmother all the time and when she died I no longer had anyone who cared about written coorespondence. I write letters but no one ever writes me back. They just call and they actually seem annoyed that I would write instead of call. Writing letters is a beautiful thing that has almost been killed by technology :O(

    Your art journal page is BEAUTIFUL! I know it is hard to get metallic paints to really show in a picture but I can imagine it. The leaves look so nice too. What a great idea!

  12. Serena--Ha! I knew you'd love the blues and greens! I should have thrown in some purple, too. ;)
    It was shocking to me to see kids that age react to my story like that. Affirming. :):)

    Djan--Yes, you have to think things through when you put words to page. It does make you sort and organize your thoughts.
    Thanks so much, Djan! You are always so uplifting and supportive! :):)

    Dee--We have been thinking about the same problem--as well as many others have, too. Have you ever noticed that there are some people who don't have a blog at all but just follow blogs and comment? It is something to sort out--how much time to spend. It could consume your days if you're not careful. ;)
    Thanks so much! You always have such interesting posts and comments. Like I said--if you just wanted to post once a month, I'd be there to read it. ;)

    Carolyn--Well, hello! I am going to go check out your blog! Thanks! So happy you stopped by. :)

    Donna--I am touched! Thank you so much!
    If you would like a pen pal...email me...let's exchange addresses!! I may not be the fastest pen pal, but I'm honest, loyal, and love a hand-written letter!! soulcomfort (at) gmail (dot) com
    I have several people I write to who never actually send letters back--they email or call. But they haven't told me not to write, in fact they apologize for hating to write letters and ask me to keep writing--LOL! People love getting mail, but often hate writing letters.
    Not that I haven't lost some pen pals over the years, of course. Sometimes you just don't have enough in common, I guess. A few have fallen away over time. But I would be just heartsick if there were never letters sent in the mail anymore!! I feel like part of a dying breed.
    Thanks on the journal, too. :)

  13. Shame!

    I have the same problem; I won a medal for a story when I was 7. It's in Welsh so I'd have to translate it, only I can't... Nobody knows what happened to the copy!

  14. Tori--It would have been fun to be able to read our stories all these years later. Oh well. ;)

  15. I am thrilled to see you art journaling, I have been working on the same two page spread for like forever now haha but at least I am sorta working on it! :D

    Happy Bday, Dagan!

    And yay to goodies, I knew you would like them. I love flamingos so was thrilled to find those cute little note cards!

  16. Desi--Yes! I loved everything! Thanks so much!! :) I immediately thought of my folks who have retired to Florida and my dad who loves flamingos!
    This art journaling stuff is new to me. I would love to see your pages...please. :):)

  17. I like the water color's colors.. that soft yellow-greeny... so like nature...

    ...and yes, you have the ability to make a boy cry - and the talent to "move" someone with your writing.

  18. Iggy--After I started I was kind of imagining having to enter into my world of play through a thicket of greenery on a sunny day. What in my head never comes out on paper when it comes to art. I am better with words, I think. ;)
    Thanks so much, dear friend!! To me, there's truly nothing more important in life than to connect on that heart and soul level with another human being...even if it is only for a brief moment. :) :)


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Have a really great day! :) :)