"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One More Page + Thoughts

I wanted to post one more picture of the journal page that unfolds, showing how it opens up. I'm not showing the whole thing, because what is written within is private to me, but just a way to show how I'm playing with this challenge.

My thoughts for this journal, besides taking part in the challenge, were to try experimenting with formats in such a way that it would give the pages some cohesiveness. Other journals of mine look pretty haphazard. I made cardboard templates for the main rectangle, and for the L-shaped border. That way I can quickly trace around them on the pages, or on other, decorative papers I want to use, and then glue or tape those in. I use a lot of double-sided tape! I should buy it by the case.

I'm having to do a lot of the artwork on other, heavier paper, as the paper in the spiral-bound sketchbook I bought is too thin. It doesn't hold up well, especially if I add wet medium, like watercolor Crayon or watercolor pencil. Also, since I do my personal journal writing with Sharpie pens, the ink bleeds through to the other side of the page. So, the collage work and writing are done on a base paper, then glued or taped to the journal page.

Next time I'll be more careful as to the strength of the paper before I dive into creating a new journal. But using this one is another challenge, and that's what this year is all about.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011—A Year of Challenges

After deciding to participate in the Sketchbook Challenge, I got to thinking about the word Challenge, and how I had already set for myself a few challenges in the coming year. I never make New Years Resolutions because I always break them. Challenges, however, are a different story.

So, for the first page of my journal for 2011, I used that as a theme, to give a “heads up” as to how my year will hopefully go. I’m not going to post all the pages in this journal, only the ones directly related to the Sketchbook Challenge, mainly because this isn’t going to be a special book meant only for that on-line participation. It will be my regular journal, where I record all the exciting and not so exciting goings-on in my life. Not a thrill a minute read, I assure you.

What are the other challenges I have set for myself? Well, the first is getting back into riding shape, and working with my horse so that we can become a team. Considering how out of shape we both are, this will probably take us all summer. Winter weather in Oregon doesn’t help things. By January our place has standing water everywhere, and the areas where we work the horses are mostly mud the consistency of cooked oatmeal. Many, many rainy days are a real pain in the butt. So, I get in what work I can, and pray for Spring.

Next on the list is to get more professional with my Etsy jewelry site. I make the jewelry for fun, and to give to friends as gifts. If I happen to sell a few pieces, that’s just gravy and helps pay for supplies. For the last year I’ve mainly toyed around with beads and wire and found elements. And that’s okay, but I’d like to take things up a notch, weed out the pieces that have been on the site for too long, and add new things that will be different. Not sure in which different direction I’ll go, but that’s also part of the challenge.

Writing more. I definitely need to do more writing. I have a novel waiting for the last three or four chapters, and another story idea I want to start on. My writing got put on hold for a variety of reasons, but it’s time to get back to it. The story keeps calling me, and making me feel guilty for ignoring it. I don’t do well with guilt.

To finishing landscaping the bare areas left by the construction that took place over last summer is a big challenge. There is still a path of cardboard laid down from the driveway to the front steps, which doesn’t look too attractive, but keeps mud from being tracked into the house. Hardscaping—brick retaining walls, gravel paths—need to go in before the plants, so some heavy manual labor is in my future.

Also included on the list is a major re-landscaping of my enclosed garden. I’m talking about ripping out overgrown shrubs, digging out roses that have never done well, and wrestling into submission the giant hop vine that ate part of the garden fence. Lots more manual labor.

That’s the short list. I have many more things I want to accomplish in this “Year of Challenges.” So, when I post pictures of the journal pages each month, I’ll also update you with how I’m doing with my other challenges. That is, if the hop vine doesn’t eat me, and if I can still type after all that manual labor.

The Sketchbook Challenge theme for January is “Highly Prized.”