When the Moon Was Ours

Well… When the Moon Was Ours is beautifully written. I appreciated the transgender characters and the Latinx influences.

The mystical realism genre just isn’t my thing, sometimes — particularly when there’s not a lot of plot to keep the story moving.

Beautifully written mystical realism needs a good plot — this one didn’t have the plot.

Two Non-Fiction Books

I enjoyed Thug Kitchen so much that I reserved Thug Kitchen Party Grub. This is a good cookbook, though I didn’t find it quite as good as their first book. Not quite as many, “Oh I want to try that” moments but still a very good book.

I enjoyed Bound: Over 20 Artful Handmade Books though it wasn’t quite what I’d been looking for when I picked it up. Still, I have some old books that I might just use to create a new book, someday.

Creative Lettering

I loved Creative Lettering so much that I read it twice and didn’t want to take it back to the library. Now if I only had time to play with lettering, myself.

Maybe in my next life. Sigh.

Two More Art Journaling Books

Yep, still all art journaling all the time around here. Or at least reading about art journaling and watching videos about art journaling. Not a lot of actual journaling going on, though. Not none, just not a lot.

The Art Journal Workshop was excellent. So excellent that I’m going to take a peek at the dvd that’s attached to the book. (I never do that.)

I’m also not much of a “prompt” kind of person but I really liked all of the exercises and prompts in this book. Of all the art journaling and mixed media books I’ve read recently, this is my favorite.

Painted Pages is not my favorite. It’s probably my least favorite. Not because it’s not a technique book but because the pages here just don’t work for me. Not a bad book, just not the book for me at all.

All Art Journals, All the Time

I ran into Raw Art Journaling while looking at another art journaling book and figured what the hell, I’m on an art journaling kick – might as well go with that for awhile.

This one was slightly different from the others I’ve read. More life coach-like. I liked it. It was nice to read a book that didn’t forget that words are a part of art journaling. Sometimes we get hung up on the color and the collage and the texture that we leave out the word portion of the journal.

Acrylic Techniques in Mixed Media is all technique, all the time. Most are techniques I know or have seen but there were some new ideas. And, in a couple of cases techniques I might not have tried were made more appealing. I am going to hold onto this book for awhile and try some of these.

Art Journaling, Altered Book, Tag Book, The Pocket Scavenger — Gah!

I’m seriously into the art journaling thing right now. Big change from the how many years I’ve had this unaltered altered book and the one year that I’ve had two tags of a JMP tag journal and … yea. Totally into it. I think it was the Doodle a Day in April that helped spur me into it.

I did the daily doodle in my altered book, which means I moved away from the idea of turning the book I hated into a book on the topic that I loved. Instead, it turned into art journal, junk journal, inspiration journal — just journal journal.

Giving myself “permission” to play with that book, that way — and keeping it on my desk every day so I’d remember to doodle, well, that did it. I’ve done some type of art journaling or doodling every day since April 1.

And it’s awesome.

I blogged about a review copy of The Pocket Scavenger over at BlogHer and I’ve watched about a zillion youtube videos of art journal techniques and flip throughs. I’m totally into this. My only problem is… my stuff is everywhere. I don’t have one good place to art journal (particularly if I want to keep my stuff safe from the darn dog.)

I’m almost tempted to let TW re-arrange the furniture in hopes of finding a space that allows me to paint a bunch of pages or gesso a bunch of pages or glue a bunch of pages all in one place — and be able to leave them alone to dry. Or be able to leave them out, open, with art materials out so I can walk past or get up and add something/change something whenever the mood strikes.

Blah. It’s such a production to do anything more than doodle with gel pens or markers (the only two mediums that are on my desk all of the time.)

OK enough griping, I’m off to gesso some tags or something.

Journal It!: Perspectives in Creative Journaling

The problem with reading a book about art journaling is dreaming about art journaling and waking up in the middle of the night disappointed that the spread you created was only a dream. (This might also be the sign of a good art journaling book.)

That’s what happened to me last night after reading Journal It right before bed.

All night long, dreams about my altered book and all of the pages I could create. I wish I could remember the designs (and the process and the materials) I used in my dreams because those were awesome pages…

Visual Chronicles:

Jenn sent me Visual Chronicles several years ago – for Christmas? Or my birthday? Or something like that. I’ve picked it up a few times and just flipped through it but I’ve never read it all of the way through. I decided to bring it with me to Hawaii since it would be an easy book to read while having a grandbaby – well there’s no grandbaby, yet, but it was easy to read. And fun. And inspiring. So inspiring that I decided to start another new art journal – this one a tag journal, for Johnny Mac Pippin.

I made Jenn take me shopping for supplies. We stopped at a scrapbooking shop in Kailua but didn’t find what I needed. Then we went to Ben Franklin and hit pay dirt. I’ve got tags, I’ve got some embellishments. I’ve started a couple of tags and am pondering some others. Fun stuff.

This might be the best art journal book I’ve read. Lots of interesting ideas and good how-tos.

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Altered Book Project – Step 3: Back Up

I knew I needed to rip some extra pages out of the book, in order to help take the stress off of the binding, and normally would have done that before any other step. But… ripping out pages was not something I could just sit down and do. Not even with this book that I’ve spent so many years hating.

I decided to started slowly. First strip the title. Then get some color on the pages. Make it less THAT book and more MY book. I think that was a smart idea because ripping out the pages was easy. Mindless. And, every now and then – I’ll admit it – fun.

As I ripped, I’d see words and phrases that ticked me off all over again. Altering book is exactly the right thing for me to do. I’m enjoying it. Every second of it. (And isn’t it funny that I’ve started this project during Banned Book Week?)


So here’s where I am now. The book has a new title. A little less than half of the pages have been ripped out, (I’ll be using some of these pages within the project), I’ve played with chalk, oil, acrylic, water color pencils and with gluing pages together. I’ve glued about ten pages together because I’m planning a cut out section (thus the mermaid in the shot above.) I think ten pages isn’t enough and I’ll probably have to glue another ten to get the look I want. For now, I’ve got it rubber banded to help keep the pages together as the glue dries. Tomorrow, I’ll see how it looks and glue some more… then it will be time for gesso – that will be awesome.

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Altered Book Project — Step 2: Get Some Color on Some Pages

I bought a bunch of new art supplies a year ago because I wanted to try and push myself into starting this project once and for all… and the supplies sat in a plastic bin on one of the Billy bookshelves right behind me all year long. Every now and then a kid would reach for the bin and I would use the Denise voice to get her to back off of my stuff.

When I opened the bin yesterday, I was surprised to see that I had not bought any watercolors. I had watercolor pencils (which are fabulous, of course) but no tube or cake watercolors. Disappointing. I poked around in Elly’s room to see if I could find a couple of tubes to borrow for a couple of days – no luck.

So, I started with what I have right now. Watercolor pencils and acrylics first. (Chalk and oils next, maybe.)

It’s been a very long time since I played with any craft supplies so all I did was splash and spread and get the feel of the paper with the brushes (and my fingers) and the products.


I did glue a couple of pages together to see if that’s going to be necessary more often than not.  I used some weird scrapbooking glue stick – so far, it looks like the adhesive is going to hold up but we’ll see since I did use watercolor pencils on those pages and when you use watercolors… you use… water. (I know that shocks some of you.)


Notice the you can still see the original text underneath the watercolor pencil pages. That’s ok. The page isn’t done and I’ll want some text to be just barely visible so the message I’m hiding is obviously being hidden. That’s really part of  the point of this particular altered book project – to get a glimpse of the “original message”.  On some pages I’ll be manipulating the original message to tell the story I want to tell… but I’m getting ahead of myself, way ahead of myself.

At least I’ve started and it didn’t hurt a bit.

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