New (smartphone) Photography Discoveries & More!


I was going to post the Q&A video today and this post tomorrow, but I’m a bit tired and wanting to curl up with my Smash book, so the Q&A is going up tomorrow and this tonight. Which means things may be confusing for one line or two in the vid, but if that’s the only odd thing, we’ll all be lucky. When I’m not bouncy excited, I’m weird-humor even-keel, and living a life on camera, well…welcome to me!

Ever since Becca got an iPhone, I’ve been a green-eyed monster, especially when she whips the thing out to show me her most-recent Instagram pics. In fact, while we were hanging out last night, we spent half the time with our noses in our phones, playing around with pictures! It’s quite addicting, and even though I have Mad Skills on teh Photoshop, I love the different filters and textures available in all these camera apps. And before you ask, no, I don’t have an iPhone (to my eternal sadness. Actually, the phone I have is marvelous, especially since I bought it for $200 on eBay. What I don’t like is that I have a 4G phone, pay for 4G service, yet live in a city without 4G service. Oh, Sprint. You piss me off for the tune of $120 a year…). 


All of these photos were taken with Vignette, which is very, very worth the cost for the paid version. I love it to pieces! 

I processed them in either Magic Hour — another paid program that I just purchased this morning and adore — or GO Photo, which is free and goes with GO Launcher, which is a ton of fun, if you have the time/inclination to personalize your Android. 


But that’s it. Lots of playing around and clicking and adjusting. The knowledge I have from Photoshop actually helped make things easier (for example, Magic Hour allows you to adjust the Curves, which I only know how to do because of playing in Photoshop since I was 13), but it’s so user-friendly, you can get started with no experience at all!

But let’s not make this whole post techny! I carved those stamps from craft foam with my new wood burning tool (thank you, 50% off Michael’s coupon!) and it really is like cutting through butter! I messed up on one, but then got the hang of it really fast and it was like drawing, except then I could make block prints with ‘em! The foam was $1 and I still have over half a sheet left, and can’t wait to make more. Oh, why was I intimidated in the first place?


Except for the fumes. OH, the fumes. Really. I was sitting in front of a window under a fan at high speed and have learned that I need to dig a mask out of my garage or else I’ll get sinus headaches very easily. Or I could go outside and work on ‘em. Either one — trust me, darlings, the warnings are in the books for reasons. And this is one of them. Even when I was working with wood, I needed to take a step back for a bit and relax. Then again, I have a tendency to lean over my work when I get into the details (which isn’t good when your back dislikes you most days!), but still. Better safe than sorry!

We also wrote on tissue paper with Copics to layer, but didn’t know that the markers would leak through the tissue and stain the table, so that’s a reason to have a black craft table (I honestly had no idea as I bought my desk in black for this very reason). 

And I found out that GAC 100 is so super awesome, I’ve got to play with it some more to see what else it can do.

Most of these are close-up shots of backgrounds I have yet to work over. I have a few awesome pages in the works -- why can't I post everything all at once by visiting you all and gushing over art?

[how to] Doodle Your Own Bias Tape


A few shots I snapped while working on tonight’s issue of Journaling Deep. 

Sometimes, I catch a shot on the digital display while setting one up for something else, and can’t help but snap a picture. I may not be the best photographer, but I’ve learned to enjoy taking pictures around my studio. Maybe it’s because I’m hoping to catch Process in action, much like trying to catch a ghost on film. 

I haven’t found it yet.



Here’s a freebee lesson from tonight’s Journaling Deep:

Making an art quilt? Instead of searching for the perfect color binding or fabric to turn into bias tape, why not grab a few packages of white and create your own?


I took Copic markers in colors that matched the fabrics in my art quilt and scribbled along the binding. All the feelings and emotions that were in the quilt were written out in big, loopy letters I overlapped. Doodles were added in here and there.  


And you don’t have to use this only for art quilts; cut off a bit to edge a journal page, or glue it down in a college. Edge a canvas you’ve painted on. There are so many uses, and it’s definitely one of a kind!


This week’s issue of Journaling Deep is all about dying and scribbling on fabric to create fun, colorful embellishments for your journal pages & more! 



Yes, I did it. 

I bought a Smash book. 

It happened a little like this: 


“I really can’t stop thinking about those Smash books,” I said. 


“They look really cool,” Becca replied. 


“But I can’t really justify getting one, even with my coupon.” 


“I was thinking of using them with my photos.”


“Yes! We can have an easy journal devoted to our Project 365 photos! And can keep each other in line!” 


*Zooms to Michaels*

Paraphrased, of course. I think my fever’s finally broken, but it’s done this before, so I’m still under blankets, warm, and taking medicine. I’m quite loopy, too. And may be making poor decisions like designing a tattoo in Gallifreyan for my right wrist (I feel lopsided, with only one inside my left wrist). 

Right. The Smash book. 

I decided that, with the coupon, it was worth it to grab something easy to put my photos in. Right now, I’m posting nearly daily on my Tumblr (not really for the past two days, as there is surprisingly little to photograph when you’ve spent three days in a recliner watching TV and doodling in a Moleskine journal) and printing them every four days or so to Smash ‘em in the journal. The fact that my phone takes amazing pictures and I can post directly to Tumblr ensures that I'll never lose any of the pics, and will always have a place to find them all from any computer.

And it’s nice. I don’t intend to make it as artistic or painted as my art journal, or to do a ton of work in it. That’s not what it’s for. Instead, this journal is simply photographs. Taped down, with a little bit about what happened that day, where the photo was taken, etc. I already have several creative journals going, so working in the Smash book is relaxing. No backgrounds to make, or paint to get out. And that’s the magic of it, I think. I was chatting about this with Christen and realized the easy, slightly-less-spontanious nature where the photographs speak for themselves is perfect. Don’t want ‘em overshadowed by everything else.

(Here's a tip: You can connect your smartphone via Bluetooth to a CVS photo kiosk and print 'em instantly from there; I did this in Oklahoma City when I visited Deina and the photos come out perfectly!) 

Think how cool it’ll be to look through it come December 2012.

{the rhythm of the mountain}


A few weeks ago, my father and brother piled me in the car for a trip to South Mountain. It stands at the southern border of Phoenix proper, a long mountain in the valley that boast cell phone and broadcast towers. I'd wanted to visit since first arriving out here, but never found anyone to go with. 

We climbed high, huffing and puffing, as my brother - 20 years old and full of energy - disappeared from view over the summit of the smaller mound we were climbing. At the top, I could see across all of Phoenix, over to the mountains on the other side, the crescent shape they create, almost cradling the city. 

A bet was made - my brother headed to climb even higher as my father and I camped out on a rock jutting over the edge, the flat, even surface making for a perfect seat. While we waited, munching on trail mix, I wandered off to create a rock tower. 

I don't know why I did it. Actually, I do. I've seen these on blogs over the years, the posts all spiritual and amazing, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. What does piling rocks have to do with anything? Why do it at all? I felt like a child building a sand castle while a bully watched -- would someone knock it down? Why make it if it wouldn't even be noticed? 

Here's the thing they don't tell you -- finding the rocks is the best part. Scattered across the top of the smaller mountain were rocks of all sizes and colors, some more precariously placed that others. I went along trying to find the right size and shape to build the next level -- would this be flat enough to hold another above it? Or would it cause the whole thing to fall over? 

And up there, atop a mountain, there's no sound but the rush of a gentle breeze. It's absolute peace. The longer I searched for rocks, the clearer my mind became. I was focused on my task. And when I finished, I sat on the ground and looked at it, thinking will someone else see this? 

That's the point, I think. That someone else will walk up this mountain and see, among the nature-scattered shapes and plants and flowers, a little bit of connection to someone else. Manmade, yes, but not in the sense we usually think of -- this wasn't a human structure, an architectural monument to all we can create. It was simply rocks, built to honor a Higher Power, to show someone they are not alone in the world, that there are others out there even when the terrain is bleak and bleaching your very bones. 

I found myself swaying to the rhythm of the mountain, reconnecting with nature, with myself, with the Divine. I sat and let myself not think before watching my brother become a dot atop a higher peak. I may not be able to make it up that high, but I can sit lower and appreciate the beauty around me and reassure those passing me on the path that imperfection is not only okay, it's the point. 

{it's time to start investing in yourself just as you invest in the outside world}

It is sunny and warm here, today.

I have projects to work on, but my body has decided it'd like to continue its vacation, and has lorded a wave of exhaustion over me.

And I want to fight the flow.

"I have videos to film and finish!" I say.

"But you haven't worked on your painting. Or blogged much. Or made a tangled mess in your journal!" my body responds. "Sit down and rest and do these things instead."

"But deadlines!" I sputter.

"You will reach them. You need to relax, darling. Take it easy. Stop pushing so hard."

I understand the wisdom in those words -- how can I not, if I was the one to speak them? -- yet want to push further, do more. Stay up late painting and spend hours on end creating. I want to be normal. Healthy and able to sleep only four hours a night so I have more time to create. I want to bring all my ideas into the world and do it now

How can we do it, though? All of us, collectively. How do we carve out this time so we don't have to live in our heads anymore? Surround ourselves with the very things our minds have dreamed up? 

We get up.

Stand, right now, and find your journal, canvas, beads, or threads. Hold them in your hands, slide your fingers over them. Close your eyes. Let the texture transport you. Imagine all you can create with them, all that's inside, bursting to get out. Take five minutes and show your supplies a little love! You can do that, can't you? Even in your cube at work, or just before dinner is finished, or between children running -- you can take five minutes and do something, anything.

The goal is not to finish, but to get started.

Because once you start something, the universe comes to help. It's like contributing to your retirement account -- you put in 5 minutes, and the universe will match that. And it just keeps growing and growing.

I recently decided I'm going to put $10 a month into a retirement account. Invest it. Let it go and grow. Why can't we, as grown-ups, see that our souls need the same type of care? All the money in the world won't satisfy you in the same way as a happy soul.

Invest 5 minutes today. And tomorrow. And soon, you'll notice you can do 10 minutes without the world falling on your head. Then 20. Then, who knows? The universe loves you and may add more -- you give it 5, it'll give 10. Give it 10, you'll get 20.

Small steps. You can do it.

I believe in you. Remember that, when you're creating. I believe in you and your talent and your creative soul. I give you the gift of validation -- what you're doing is not a waste of time, or silly, or ugly. It is a beautiful singing song that floats into the sky and makes birds smile.


{come with me on a walk in the desert...}

Take today, while I walked in the warm sunshine...

I have never considered myself good at taking photos! But sometimes, you just have to do things for the hell of it and who cares if you do it perfect or right? Capture the beauty around you however you can!













And here's my new hair color, for those who were curious!