{true to you 2 lesson 0 -- available to all for FREE!}

Hey, guys! 

True to You 2's start date is almost here! Have you signed up yet? I'm really excited to start teaching this class -- so much so that I've put together what I consider Lesson 0...a sort of pre-workshop exercise to get you thinking more about your art journal and habits, etc. 

And then I thought, "Why not share the PDF with everyone?" And it just felt so right, I'm posting it here on the blog for everyone to download and fill out. If nothing else, I hope you discover something new about youself and are able to translate that into your journal. 

So here's a nice little video of me talking about the worksheet and what it's aimed to dig up (where I am wearing a strapless dress...I swear!). Enjoy and let me know what you think! 

(please hit 480p for better quality! youtube is being mean to me today...)

True to You 2: Lesson 0 (beginnings)  (4.7MB)

Want to join us? Go here and sign up!

I'll also be honoring the combo deal of getting True to You (the original) for $20 with the purchase of True to You 2 until August 1st. 

{On the Comforts of Tea + True to You 2 INFO}


Up until about three months ago, the only tea I’d touch had to either be a. iced, or b. green. And not the green tea you get in bottles at the gas station, with honey or lemon or any other method of sweetening. I like my green tea bitter, thank you, as intended. After you’ve had ceremonial green tea, that thick, soup-like froth so vibrant, it seems unnatural and magical at the same time, regular green tea is practically tame

I’d drink some in the morning, a boost of caffeine on the harder days when my chronic fatigue decided to swoop in and keep me in bed, or in the afternoon when I needed an extra bit of energy to get work done. And since I’m allergic to the oils in coffee, I can’t drink it (except for decaf, and iced, and cold-brewed, and a very light blend -- a combination I don’t expect to find in a cafe any time soon), which severely limits what I can get a a coffee shop. I frequent them enough to need something, and lately have been adventurous when it comes to what I have the girls at the local shop ice, going mostly off their recommendations.  

Last time I was outside -- doctor’s appointment at 11 or so this morning, a short visit, adjustment, medication adjustment -- it was about 104F (40C for my international readers), and yet I’m sitting here with a hot cup of Darjeeling; milk, sugar, until it’s a warm shade of light brown. 

Realistically, my new need for tea -- and around 4pm, to be proper -- comes from the insane amount of BBC programming I’ve been watching as of late, ever-thankful for Netflix and the internet for providing me with a wide range of accents (I have discovered I adore Welsh accents, unless it’s Janette, who is adorable and wins all the awards). There are only so many times John Watson can ask, “Tea?” before a girl has to go find some herself. 

But there’s something more to tea. 

As a student of Japanese culture, I’ve been to several traditional tea ceremonies, both in Chicago and Takamatsu (Kagawa, Japan). There’s a subtle grace to the moments of the ceremony, each designed to bring you closer to the present moment, to clear your mind. It is meditation enhanced by the senses, and each tiny movement has a bigger purpose. Take, for example, the turning of the bowl. When your tea has been poured, the bowl is turned so the design faces you, a way of showing respect, of connecting, without words, for a moment in time. When you finish, the bowl is then turned back towards the practitioner, your thanks for the wonderful tea. 

And I think, in my modern, insanely-hot-but-I-have-air-conditioning world, that the act of standing and going to make tea is a deliberate decision. After hours on the computer or at the desk creating, I pull back to myself, collect the mug, the tea bag, and let it steep. I pour in the milk and watch it swirl. Spoon in some sugar and stir, the click-click of the spoon hitting the sides of the mug a delicate, breakable sound. 

The mug is warm against my hands, and I close my eyes to savor the taste -- sweet and bitter at the same time, a balance known only by my hands scooping the sugar -- reconnecting with myself and the ground, solid, beneath my feet. 

For a few minutes a day, my time is mine and nothing else matters.  

And that, my friends, is priceless. 

It seems, as I sit here, that Drake likes tea just as much as I do. Perhaps we both need a break, a shift, a subtle change in the day that says, “Hello, world. I am here. I am alive. And I am paying attention.” 


You asked, and I'm answering -- click here to download a PDF with all the details about True to You 2! 

The start date is being pushed back until August 1st to allow for all the time I lost while sick! But keep in mind -- if you sign up before July 15th, you'll get it for $44! 

AND! If you haven't taken the original True to You but want to, you can now get it for $20 with the purchase of True to You 2. I'll send a refund via PayPal for the price difference. 

Drop me a line if you have any questions!

{sneak peek}


(click to make larger)

Created for the beginning journaler and experienced artist alike, True to You 2 follows the same vein of gold we all have access to -- our daily lives. 

In this second part, we'll be exploring the world around us to create a reference book of color, pattern, shape, text, touch, & home to turn to when stuck on a journal page, painting, or any work of art. You'll need a journal you'll learn to construct in class, a camera (even the one on your phone will do), your favorite supplies, and the ability to stream video from the internet (or you can order the entire class on DVD). 

Taking True to You (1) is NOT required to take this course. 

For six weeks, we'll chat, photograph, and journal together as you dig deeper into the familiar around you and find those amazing nuggets waiting to be discovered. Each week will also include a LIVE video chat with yours truly where you can get personal attention and answers to burning questions. 

I want you to see there's no need to go outside yourself for anything -- you already have all you need to not only get started, but continue to discover new things & be thrilled by new discoveries. I'll awaken that curiosity inside you while sharing some of my favorite journaling techniques and tricks. 

Once you have access, you have it for a year, so there's no rush to finish; you can work at your own pace or follow along the weekly format. 

Cost: $50 (before July 5: $44)

Look out this week for more information, photos of projects, & a preview of the introduction vid!

Or sign-up now!

{sometimes, working without a plan is the best plan!}

'in prayer' 24"x18" mixed-media on board

This one took me 2 1/2 weeks to finish, but here she is!

For me, this was a new experience. I'm used to going about things a certain way, of crafting my layers intuitively but having an overall idea in mind. With this, that seemed to float out the window while I was working, and at one point, I had to sit back and let her settle for a bit before getting back to her.

She started at a very different place -- one of dejection and sorrow -- and blossomed into a woman in prayer as the world takes shape around her. The leaves on the left were doodled one night with Copic markers, and the papers in the flowers were made while out creating last week.

I think, with this one, I was exploring color and brushstrokes just as much as I was cheering myself up. I love how paint looks when spread with a small brush, and it was something I hadn't done in awhile. And while I painted, I began to feel better and better about things. In fact, the words I originally wrote with paint are all covered up. Amazing how something like a painting can transform you.

Of course, to stay on track with my 1 painting a week goal, I won't be able to pull off my now-loved larger paintings; my canvas for this week is 9"x12", and I'm excited to get started because I have NO idea what to paint! But I'm back in the swing of things -- working in my journal, getting samples and projects finished, doing design work for others -- and am happy letting things develop as they will. Wu wei, remember?

My other accomplishment today was FINALLY setting up an online classroom site for myself. I didn't want to pay for Ning, so I went through a very frustrating 2 days of trying to get software to work, and at the last minute, found something that's easy to use and perfect for what I'm doing. Easy-peasy is my motto!

With the WISH Journal Workshop now being about a year old, I have reduced the price to $10. Yep! Get full access to all the materials and make your own pretty journal for just $10.

I've also ported over my workshop from 21 Secrets. It's all about getting started journaling on loose canvas, and if you missed 21 Secrets, you can now get this little workshop for just $10, too! 

This is all groundwork for my next art journaling workshop (coming out in March) as well as this little idea I have about starting a kit club of my own. I'm working out the details, but it'll be a mix of digital & mailed items, videos, resources, and fun bits. I think that'd be awesome, don't you? Who doesn't like getting a little extra. And on the theme we're seeing here, it'll be something like $10-$15 a project, and you can sign up for any month whenever you want.

(If you have a Workshop Ticket, you'll be getting log-in information either tonight or tomorrow, for the new site!)

I figure, I have all these ideas in my head, I should start taking them seriously and sharing them with the world!

Tomorrow, I'm totally filming a video, by the way, all about my love affair with Collage Pauge. I was playing around yesterday and actually made a cool effect with it -- after a year of using it, I'm still figuring out new things it can do!

♥, samie kira


{a girl's little guide to a new idea}

Today is brought to you by me wanting to ramble at the camera. I've been toying with the idea of keeping a video diary of sorts for awhile, so decided to test it out. And I ended up talking to the camera about my new workshop as if the camera were a close friend.

I am off to work on projects - bind a journal, paint one, cover one, & work on a painting. More on that last part tomorrow.

More rambles to come. I'm getting outside and carving stamps this week, damnit! XD

{Points of Two week #6: to-do lists! & WISH workshop preview video}

Points of Two is an experiment in journaling with myself and Roben Marie! Check out our archives to see the previous weeks' pages.

This week's assignment: since Roben-Marie and I are so busy and like lists, we incorporated our To-Do lists into our journal page. Which we did fast. And then crossed it off and moved on! It's a busy time for both of us!

week 6: to-do lists!


I've been having fun with a new evolution of my style, more paint and collage. I'm going from complete mess to structured mess. I swear, it's the scrapbookers. They're slowly moving me to their side!

I have one of those Moleskine planners with a page for every day, and on Saturdays, I write in everything I need to get accomplished the next week. The key to me actually getting a lot done is micro-movements; each task is split into bite-sized pieces that I can do without getting overstimulated or tired. Thanks, SARK!

So I put a copy of my to-do list in the center and collaged around it. And colored in my doodles. And admitted I like crossing things off. Look, I'm crossing off posting this blog entry off today's list. See? Smooth line right there. Ahhh...makes me feel so productive!

I used liquid acrylics, found papers, stencils, and watercolor crayons. Oh, and a big Sharpie, cause it's fun!

Here's Roben-Marie's page. Head to her blog to get the story behind it.


I've also read your comments for yesterday's post -- I didn't get them emailed to me for some reason, and had no idea so many people had commented! I'll reply asap. But I thank you for them!

So, as requested, a preview video for the WISH Journal Workshop.


I'm off! Have a wonderful weekend!

{points of two week #5: around the house. i found a dreamcatcher from 5th grade.}


Points of Two is an experiment in journaling with myself and Roben Marie! Check out our archives to see the previous weeks' pages.

This week, our assignment was to find something around the house that had special meaning to us.

My object was a dusty purple dreamcatcher. My best friend Nancy gave it to me, and -- oh, click on the image above to get it big enough for you to read my story. I really should go on Facebook to find her, but I'm sure she's either a. married by now, or b. I'm totally spelling her long last name wrong. Could be either. I'm banking on b.

For this page, I decided to just PLAY. And I put a scrapbooking paper up there under the blue paint, a big chunk of paper, and I hated it. So I painted over the whole thing and wrote with ink just to be sure it was covered to my liking.

The photo came out really white, so I blended it the best I could with white paint. After that, I started putting down random scraps, and used the water in my cup and some leftover glaze from the first layer to tune down the stark white of the little placecard thingy I wrote on. Used my finger and the last of the paint to smush all over the scraps and tie them in to the whole page. Overall? I like it. And the photo totally blends, so extra points for me!

Here's Roben-Marie's page. Head on over to her blog for her story.

Have you signed up for the Wish Journal Workshop yet?


It's a fun & easy technique based class that has you playing with collage, getting paint on your fingers, and binding your very own journal. If you're new to journaling, it's easy to follow and will help you get the jump start you need. And if you're an old hat at journaling, there are edits and additions that will help make the journal purely your own.

Tons of videos, a detailed PDF, and support from yours truly. And all for $20! Get the details at the link above or as away in the comments. Class starts 2/22/10, but you can sign up at any time!

{Mixed-Media Scrap Pages, Six Techniques, & why this made my brain explode}

Hey, Lovelies! 

I come with news of this year's workshop schedule. Rather, the next two months of classes I'll be teaching. There are four in all, going from simple mixed-media techniques to binding your own artist's journal. I can't WAIT to be with students, teaching and helping them blossom and grow into artful beings. 

This is an AMAZING opportunity and has attracted most of my attention. To the point of me drinking diet coke from a mug as I sit down at my desk at 9am. In my pajamas, of course, because that's way too early to get dressed if you don't necessarily have to. Plus, I've pretty much ruined my pajama bottoms with specs of paint, so it makes sense to NOT ruin any more pants. 

Alas! I am organized and ready and totally excited. It's even made the coming of my birth month (February, if you don't know and OH MY GOD I spelled it right on the first try!) a happy occasion. 

Which reminds me; there is birthday cake downstairs. With lots of frosting. 

Developing these classes has really stretched me creatively and has me looking at photography in a new way. AKA I need more photos because I don't have very many. So if you meet up with me in the future, don't be surprised if I'm snapping pictures everywhere. And they won't even be good ones, though I'm sure I'll improve through sheer will. 

Here's the deal for the first class:

Mixed-Media Scrap Pages

Mixed-Media Scrap Pages

In this class, you'll learn the basics of mixed-media: painting, layers, and collage, to create a stunning, original keepsake. Learn the fundamentals of painting backgrounds, collaging both scrapbooking and found papers, and creating layers to produce a page. These techniques can then be used in other projects, from wood items, canvases...pretty much anything. Each student will come out with their own unique page and some new things to try the next time they sit down to work creatively! 

This class is being offered three times. 

Saturday, Feb. 13th from 10am to 1pm
Thursday, Feb. 18th from 6 to 8pm

And finally, Thursday, March 11 from 6 to 8pm

Students will be asked to bring scissors, pens and pencils, along with their favorite scrap papers, photographs, stamps, and anything else you love to use.

The cost of this workshop is $25. Please contact the girls at Hannah's to enroll.  

In the future, I'll be teaching a painting on canvas workshop, a journal-binding workshop, as well as the six techniques in this piece:

Six Techniques

Of course, I haven't worked on this many creative projects at once, and on Friday, my brain decided it didn't want to be at the party anymore and left. Which left ME standing there wondering how I was going to get home and where did I live, anyway? Brains are important. But we've made up and are now buddies again. 

A lot of it had to do with all the opinions I was getting here in Casa de Kira, as well as the added pressure of making sure it was "good;" nothing like the fear of letting people down to give you a massive creative block.

But it's good. Awesome. And tomorrow, I'm cleaning the studio so I can make journals all week. I even got the heavy-duty sewing needles for my machine like you all advised me to do. 

I really hope, if you're in the area, you'll come check out the class. It'll be great fun!