She Left Beauty Wherever She Went…….


I have to say, the internet is a wonderful place for art journal inspiration.  Then being able to “pin” your finds to your Pinterest boards is the icing on the cake.

There’s a quote that I found that says:

Now, I’m not sure about the artist part.  My darling sister calls me artsy fartsy.  I tell her that I can figure out how things go together and that I can follow a pattern or tutorial.  I think that’s more creative that artisty. But collector, yeah that’s definitely me. You should see my yarn and fabric collection.  Not on the level of hoarding, but still impressive.

Then I found another quote that says:

And if this is so, then I guess I am an artist.  Goodness knows, I’m not the wildly self-confident type!!!

So anyway, I have a collection of ideas that I found and pinned.   I have been trying and tossing a lot of different ideas on this little creative journey, and these are just a few that appeal to me right now. If you look closely at my Art Journal Ideas board on Pinterest, you can find examples of a lot of what I’ve done on this spread.

According to Austen Kleon, author of  Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, it’s not stealing if you take ideas from a variety of artists.  That’s been a fear of mine, being accused of copying.  But I don’t think adopting elements from several different artists rather than plagiarizing a complete art journal image is quite the same thing.  I would hate to think that anything put out there is to be seen and not “shared”.

So this is a representation of different elements and techniques that make me happy at this moment.


Yup, happy happy happy!!!


Hiking in Acadia National Park – Part II


The second day of our vacation, we had a wicked thunderstorm in the early morning and the day did not improve weather-wise, so we decided to just roll with it and spent the day in Bar Harbor, touristing.  We hit Shermans Book Store and Cool as a Moose, had lunch at one of our favorite little restaurants West St. Cafe Seaside Grille.  We sat outside on their little patio, watching the locals go by on their way to work.  Great food and great service, which is usually the case no matter where you go in Bar Harbor.

Finally on the third day, the sun came out, reminding us of why we like coming to Maine!!!  After our usual morning routine, we headed toward the Sieur de Monts entrance to the park so that we could do the Great Meadow Loop.  The Great Meadow Loop was a walk that I had wanted to do because you could walk the Jesup path starting at Sieur de Monts and step off the path at the athletic fields in Bar Harbor, walk around town, have lunch and then get back on the path and walk to back to Sieur de Monts.  The Great Meadow Loop was originally made so that “rusticators” (late 19th and early 20th century name for vacationers from big cities that went to Maine to get back to nature) would be able to walk from town into the park and back again. We were having such a good time on the path that I forgot to take pictures of a few things, so I added some photos that we had taken last year to the mix.  The pics aren’t in any particular order.

We parked at the nature center and after looking around a bit we crossed a wooden bridge just to the left of the Wild Gardens of Acadia started up the Jesup Path. You walk from forest to wetlands to meadow to forest….. you get the idea.

I love this picture of the boardwalk.  We had walked it last year and I wanted to try to estimate just how long it is, because it does seem to go on forever.  It’s in a boggy area of white birch trees and as you can see, it’s fairly new.  There are 2 or three turnouts like the one in this picture,  and a couple have seats so that you can just sit quietly and watch for wildlife.  We only saw a frog.  It must have been lunchtime for the animals. 😉

Yup, we’re going the right way….. I love all of the hand carved signs. At least I think they’re hand carved!!

Ed pretending that he’s going to climb Dorr Mountain. =)

The walk was great and and the weather was fabulous — we were able to follow the signs past a cemetery and the golf course, alongside Cromwell Harbor Road, then another cemetery, then past another golf course…… or was it the same one? Then we found ourselves back at Hemlock Trail and knew that we had missed the athletic fields in Bar Harbor!  We were back where we started! Oh well, we’ll just drive into town!!

Photos of Stewman's Downtown Lobster Pound, Bar Harbor
This photo of Stewman’s Downtown Lobster Pound is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We ate at Stewman’s Lobster Pound, a restaurant that is right on the pier with a gorgeous view of the harbor.  It’s the kind of place that you just know from the look of it, it’s going to have really great food!!  We sat on the upper deck where it was sunny and very breezy.  Umbrellas weren’t an option unfortunately, because it was so windy. Our waiter was friendly but not overly so, and very knowledgeable about all of the specials.  Oh and BTW —  Stewman’s is where the Obamas ate when they were in town a couple years ago!!

A view from Stewmans upper deck

Of course, Ed enjoyed his lobster and beer immensely.  I had fish and chips, my staple when we go to a seafood restaurant.  I’m just a landlubber at heart — I’ve tried shrimp and lobster and clams and scallops, but I think I started eating seafood too late in life to acquire a taste for it!!

Hiking in Acadia National Park — Part 1


Having camped together for some time, Sweet Baboo and I have fallen into a very comfortable routine.  I get up first and put the coffee on our little stove (after several mentions from him about how wonderful my coffee is and how his just can never compare, yada yada yada!) He gets up a little bit  later while I’m drinking my coffee and planning our itinerary for the day.  After a leisurely breakfast that he prepares, (his breakfasts are so wonderful and mine just can never compare, yada yada yada!! ) we wait a bit longer until everybody in the park has risen, eaten, and piled into their cars or onto their bikes and have left the campground.   We can then mosey on up to the bathrooms to get ready for the day in relative peace.

Hiking is our preferred activity in Acadia, having tried biking the carriage roads our first year and finding that riding up hills and down dales is not a safe for us at our ages. We decided to hike/walk Tarn Trail, also known as the Kane path.

We parked our car just off Rt 3 in a parking lot just south of the Sieur de Monts springs entrance.  Out of the parking lot, and a short walk to the south and we were at the north end of  The Tarn (which is a mountain pond or lake, carved out by a glacier thousands of years ago).  This  not a difficult hike and enjoyable — you start out skirting the tarn, then move into the forest, then there is some scrambling to be done over large boulders that have cleaved off Dorr Mountain.

We continued past the Ladder Trail and part way up the Gorge Trail, then returned to the parking lot after a hike of about 2 miles or so. By that time, the pretty blue sky had clouded over and rain was threatening.

Pretty purple bog flowers in the Tarn

Back to Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor, Maine


Sweet Baboo and I just returned last week from a one week vacation in Acadia National Park. This was our third trip to Acadia and even though the weather wasn’t as nice as it had been the previous two years, it was still a wonderful place to visit yet again. A nice thing about going back to the same place a few times, is the sense of familiarity that you get. You know where you want to go, what you want to do, how to get there easily. For instance…..

We stopped at the visitor’s center on Rt 3 a few miles before  Bar Harbor. We picked up a few brochures that would tell us what was happening in the park, then got back into our car, looked at each other and said “let’s take the Loop Road“, which is a private road within the park that skirts Bar Harbor and winds around the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. Now, Bar Harbor is a nice little town but the traffic can be brutal, plus there are a lot of very distracted people crossing the roads without looking in any direction, let alone left or right. Because we’d been there before, we knew a  shortcut and we could stay away from all of that.   Bar Harbor is extremely easy to navigate, but you can’t drive fast and you have to be extra vigilant.

We have stayed all three times at Blackwoods Campground, which is one of two campgrounds in Acadia National Park, the other one being Seawall Campground.  Blackwoods is right on Rt 3 five miles south of Bar Harbor, while Seawall is on the other side of the island near Bass Harbor. Blackwoods is just a tad primitive, in that you aren’t able to take showers in the campgrounds.  There are privately run coin operated showers in a building just outside  the campground that is easy enough to get to and cost $2.00 for four minutes.  With a little forethought and planning however, four minutes can be more than enough time.

There are two loops of campsites within Blackwoods, Loop A and Loop B. We have only camped on Loop B and although we haven’t had any problems being to close to other sites, we  have found that there are parts of the campground where you are rather close to your neighbors.  However, the staff is very accommodating and if you don’t like the site that they assign to you, they will usually work with you to give you one more to your liking.  While I’m blathering here, I’d like to encourage anybody that is planning to camp at Blackwoods that you can make your reservations six months in advance. If you want to camp in July, be sure to make your reservations in January because they fill up fast.

There is an amphitheater in the park (but very uncomfortable seating, do yourself a favor and be sure to bring your lawn or beach chair) where the park rangers present different programs just about every night at 8:30 or 8:45.  There is a white board sign near the office that will list any programs for that day, plus the weather report and high and low tides.  The Junior Ranger program is very popular with the kids — there are park ranger run programs that the kids have to attend and a  workbook that has activities for the kiddos to do. When the workbook is complete and reviewed by a ranger, they will get a patch.

As stewards of the park, there is a carry in carry out rule that you will need to follow — whatever you bring in, take it back out with you and dispose of it properly.  Because of this rule, the park is extremely clean and neat.  Additionally, they request that you not remove anything from the park as souvenirs– no leaves, rocks, shells, plants, wood — if it’s in the park, it needs to stay in the park.  However, a ranger did tell me that it’s okay to eat any blueberries that you might find on a trail.

More later, but this is a start!! I have lots of pictures and more to say about this magical piece of Maine!!

And for my next trick…..


So, needless to say, I was pretty excited about this new idea of sewing strips of paper into an art journal!!  The task at hand now was to figure out the best and most efficient way to do it. (Click on the pics to enlarge them)

Since trying to sew it directly into the book was so clunky, I decided that I would try sewing it on a blank piece of paper that was trimmed to a similar size as the pages in my journal, which is a Canson XL mixed media notebook.  I love this book because the pages are a 60 lb paper and there’s no need to glue 2 or more together to get a strong page.

This is the next page that I put together. Kinda funky, eh?  I couldn’t decide if I like the randomness or not.

I tried gluing each piece down with ModPodge, but when I started sewing, it was gumming up my needle. I found that if I placed the paper pieces on the sheet of paper, then carefully flipped each piece over, glued it with glue dots, and then turned it carefully back and glued it down, the paper was a lot easier to sew together.   I also figured out that changing your stitch length to just about as long as possible would preclude the needle shredding the paper underneath or the papers on the top of your backing sheet.

Once the page is complete, all that’s left to do is glue it into the journal.  I used a thin layer of Yes! Paste to glue it in.  Not everybody likes this paste, It is extremely sticky and takes some getting used to when you are applying it.  It claims to never wrinkle paper and I haven’t had a wrinkle since I started using it.  All that said, it’s kind of on the pricey side.


Fourth page — and still trying to decide if the randomness appealed to me. I guess it’s not horrible. (Jeopardy theme playing in the background)

More later!

Yup, new obsession…..


The last few months, I haven’t been terribly interested in the crafties that I always enjoyed doing — sewing, crocheting, knitting.  Possibly I’m burned out on the textile arts. At any rate, I stumbled across a couple of websites and found something that really caught my eye — art journaling or more accurately in my case, junk journaling.  I started playing with this back in March, bought a composition notebook, glued sheets together to make strong substrates, gessoed the daylights out the sheets, bought paint and paper and glue and tape and stencils……..  Have I ever said that when I make up my mind to do something, I’m in it up to my neck?

I’ve played with different techniques, studied other journals on the web (note to self and anybody else that’s just starting, don’t beat yourself up because your pages don’t look like theirs, they’ve had more practice) tried and tossed different things looking for the one thing that really got me burning.  Point of fact, I am not a painter by any stretch.  I also don’t really have any interest in perfecting my hand writing to write beautiful sentiments on my pages.  I hear/read a lot about “going outside the box” and “stretching your creativity”.  Both are wonderful ideas, but first I think that you have to find what it is that you really love doing IN the box, THEN go outside the box.

I was actually going to toss the whole thing onto eBay and sell all of my supplies except for my collage stuff, because I really enjoy ripping and cutting paper and then glueing it down.  It’s difficult to teach yourself something like this from scratch and I have nobody in my area that has art journaling workshops or such.  It was a bit disheartening, and I don’t give up easily.  Then, I looked at my sewing machine — looked at the strips of scrapbook and found papers that I had been playing with and BINGO!!!  I started ripping and gluing and sewing, having finally found my burn!!!

And I have to say, there aren’t a whole lot of websites out there where the artists are sewing paper strips into their journals.I thought I’d toss this out and hopefully, if somebody else is wondering about the same kind of thing, they will find this.

This was the first one that I did.  Not knowing any better, I tried sewing the strips of paper right onto the notebook page.  Extremely hard to get every edge down, because of pressure foot constraints.  Also, the paper tends to slide and buckle.    The papers that I used on this page were bits and pieces that I had on hand, and the likeness of Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” was from a pamphlet that I found at work for a new line of eyeglass frames called Hemingway. The map papers appealed to me and  I played with zig zag and straight stitches, just turning it every which way.

And this was my second page.  Still trying to sew directly to the page in the book, pages still buckling and sliding.  I used another page from the Hemingway pamphlet, more found papers, a bit of fabric and a slice of paper towel that had I had wiped my paintbrush on.  Still trying to find my way on this one, but OMG it was feeling so GOOD!!!!

I have more pages that I can’t wait to post, but I do go on and on, so I’ll stop now and get more on soon. Also, please excuse the photos, new camera and still not used to it!!!