February Doodle Challenge

Hi all –

Big things afoot this week, of course, but in addition to that whole book thing there’s a month coming to an end. Didn’t it just start?  

This month I happened upon a Planner Doodle Challenge set forth by YesPleasePlanning on Instagram.  I’d been feeling like my monthly calendar pages were being dreadfully underutilized, and after a few days of playing along with the challenge I realized I didn’t want to use them as a calendar at all, but a tiny doodle journal.

I had so much fun!  Usually every month I tear out the last month’s pages to help make carrying around my big-ass coiled planner less of a Herculean effort, but I decided to start leaving in those doodled pages so I can go back to them for a smile whenever I like.

I used the prompts most days, but some I skipped either because I wasn’t inspired or because there was something else that needed to go in that space.

So here are some pics, first the whole month at a glance and then close-ups along with what the prompts were for those days.  I tried to write in the prompt in the square somewhere, but some are hard to see.

I’m really looking forward to March’s challenge.  Even if I don’t decide to keep going with her ideas, I’m so going to keep using the calendar for tiny bits of art – they’re so small they don’t have the intimidation factor of “real” art and the little square space presents a unique challenge.  I’ve always loved tiny things.

mo2p february wide 1

Month as a whole.  I couldn’t decide what to do with the empty spaces for the first week of March, so I just left them blank this time around.  The very bottom row was another week of blanks, but I had already covered them with washi at the beginning of the month.

There’s also a column of lines off to the far left, which right now I’m using as my blog and Patreon post planner/tracker; that was the only thing I was doing with the monthly calendar, and it wasn’t really working anyway, so trying something fun and creative seemed a good alternative.

mo2p feb left 1

So, on this side we have,

1 – (skipped) – free
2 – shadow
7 – bowl
8 – monkey (He’s a fire monkey.)
9 – beads
14 – love
15 – envelope (I was going to draw a Howler, but it just wouldn’t come out right.)
16 – bouquet (You only need so many coffee mugs made from the skulls of your enemies.)
21 – vine
22 – (skipped) balloon
23 – (skipped) planner   (My dad’s birthday.)
28 – movie
29 – leap

I love how because I started the drawing too far up in the square the “leap” woman looks more like she’s swinging from the ceiling of her box.

mo2p feb right 1

3 – sign
4 – hero
5 – XOXO
6 – date night (Yes, that’s Mr. Shaky, best date a girl could ask for.)
10 – candy heart
11 – lovebirds
12 – right
13 – music
17 – kisses (It’s supposed to be a Kiss of Death, but I couldn’t get the foil to look anything like foil – have you ever noticed that things that fold, whether paper or fabric, are the hardest things to draw?  Grrrrr.)
18 – jewelry (My wedding ring.)
19 – teddy bear
20 – tickets (In case you can’t read it, it’s a Karma Violation ticket, and the options are: Parked like a dick, left seat up, smacking gum, Donald Trump.)
24 – (skipped) heals
25 – aroma
26 – clip
27 – flourish

I thought it was funny how, without meaning to, I had a three-time theme of extended fingers – the Fire Monkey, BB-8, and Grumpy Bear…though different fingers for different reasons.

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A New Month, a New Form of Insanity

A couple, actually.

First, if you signed up for my email newsletter, you may or may not get one for April. I’ve made the decision to discontinue it in favor of a Patreon site – the simple reality is that if I’m not going to be traditionally published for a while, I need to find other ways to keep the wifi on and the coffee flowing (and the cat food, Owen would like me to mention), and a Patreon seems like a good way to do that where you guys will get stuff frequently if you sign up.

The site is not set up yet, but you may be familiar with artists like Amanda Palmer doing the same thing.  I’m not quite that ambitious, but subscribers will receive chapters each month, the final book itself for free, and access to all my extras, printables, new projects, and such before anyone else (and sometimes exclusively).  My books will still come out in hardcopy and digital just like normal, but you’ll have the opportunity to read them as they’re written, the way I used to write back in the day. (Hell of a day, right?)

I’ll have more details and hopefully the whole thing ready to launch by April 15.  

Secondly, I’ve signed up for a new e-course this April called Daily Musings: Agenda Journaling by Hope Wallace, the lovely talent behind besottment.com.  I really like her way of using a daily agenda as a diary – I had intended to do that in my planner, but it turns out I actually need my planner to plan things, so if I want to keep a journal or diary of what goes on in my life I need another format.  I’m really excited about it.

I don’t plan on posting my pages every day – maybe once a week, or just once in a while.  It depends on how well it goes.  But I wanted to show you where I’m starting off.

For my agenda I found a cheap-ass Moleskine 2015 Daily Diary, which was cheap for two reasons: one, 2015 is already a quarter gone, and two, it was this heinous shade of pink:

If you've seen the BBC Sherlock's first episode you can imagine the true horror of this pink. It's actually way uglier in person.  Sort of Pepto Bismol meets Barbie on acid.
If you’ve seen the BBC Sherlock’s first episode you can imagine the true horror of this pink. It’s actually way uglier in person. Sort of Pepto Bismol meets Barbie on acid.

I mean, damn.

I had no intention of leaving it like that, however.  A couple of hours and a lot of glue later, I have a sort-of-vintage looking agenda that I actually love looking at:

2015-04-01 09.13.02

Much better!

Moleskines have a pocket inside the back cover, and I added a library pocket I found while rummaging through my endless paper stores.  I crumpled and then inked up the “spine” of the book before gluing it down to give it a more old-book-feel.

Most of the materials were pulled from my scrap bin and stash so I have no idea where they came from, but I’ll list the ones I know:

The Paper Studio Tattered & Worn paper stack –

I’m not going to link to the product page as it’s an exclusive Hobby Lobby line and I refuse to shop there.  I bought this about 7 years ago before they had pissed me off.  But there are other cheap paper collections with the same sort of thing going: fakey vintage and worn out old paper.  The background patterned sheet, the green, and the brown papers all came from this same stack, which I’ve used extensively over the years:

You can get it on Ebay, though,
You can get it on Ebay, though, if that’s better.
Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Ornate Plates and Long Fastener Brads

1_35743_FS 1_45025_FS


Tim Holtz Distress Ink (by Ranger)


Colors used:

  • Vintage Photo
  • Black Soot
  • Old Paper
  • Pumice Stone

The dragonfly embellishment is by K&Company but for the life of me I couldn’t find it online.

Elmer’s Craft Bond Extra-Strength Glue Stick

1/4″ Scor-Tape (double-sided hella strong tape)





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Stuff and Things

Taking a moment from the ongoing circus that is my psyche to show off some new things I made.  Technically my writing hiatus ends on the 31, but as much as I love the idea of a drumroll followed immediately by my leaping to the keyboard where I stay, engaged in joyful detente with my muse…well, it ain’t happening.  I didn’t really expect taking a break to jump start my creativity, and lo and behold, something turned out exactly like I expected it to.

In the meantime, I’ve been altering more composition books and also remaking my recipe binder (again, but this time I mean it) which I’ll show you once it’s closer to finished and I can get some pics.  Today, I’d like to share two projects for myself, one practical and one profound.

First is this mini art kit made from, you guessed it, an Altoids tin.  It’s sparsely decorated because I expect it to take a beating in my bag.  I needed something to hold tiny items that would otherwise get lost in my pencil pouch.

The artwork on top was a card that came free in a washi tape order from the lovely Aimee at Artsyville.com.  Go see her bright, happy drawings and tapes – a definite mood lifter.

Mini Art TinInside the tin are a few wee essentials:  a broken Prismacolor wrapped in washi tape, some Post-it page flags, a few stickers held inside the lid with a sort of belly-band, and a mini ink cube from Hero Arts in Cornflower blue. There’s also some red double-sided tape, and several tiny stamps (I use them in my planner) that I wood mounted by gluing them to Scrabble tiles.

edart tin int 1

I’m sure there will be more items in it once I reorganize my art bag.

Next up is a journal I made for the month of August, when I intend to do a bit of slightly structured everything-searching.  I’m not 100% sure what all that will encompass, but for now, I’ve got a journal ready to go – each day will have a checklist for things like meditation, glasses of water, fruit and veg, gratitude practice, and then room for me to just write or draw or whatever this turns into.

edsj front cover

The journal, who I am calling Sana (long story), started life as a composition book, and like with the Nefarious Plans book I made I used the Beautiful You paper collection from Creative Imaginations.  The metallic charms and such were all in my stash so I’m not sure where most of them came from, but the sparkly things are Recollections from Michael’s.  It’s overenthusiastically distressed with Black Soot and Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

Inside, there’s an acetate window over a pocket to house affirmation cards I’m making, and a pocket down below to store the extras not on display.

edsj int window open

The back cover has a three-pocket situation for god knows what.  I just had fun making it and thought it looked pretty.

edsj back int full

And last is the back cover, not terribly interesting.

Not pictured, the divider/bookmark I made out of a purloined file folder from my office (it was about 20 years old, and that’s not an exaggeration, so I felt justified offering it new life) sprayed down liberally with Dylusions and Glimmer Mists ink sprays and stencils.  I’ll try to get a pic and post it next time.

As always, if you want to see more about these projects, you can have a look at my Flickr photostream.

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Bees, Beavers, Butt-Kicking Contests

small isisI’m not ready for Spring yet – at least, my body isn’t ready.  I want at least one more good hard freeze, a week where I can wear my favorite sweater; then if it wants to ramp up to the 70s that’s fine.  Unfortunately Texas doesn’t really give a crap what women want, so it is currently pushing 80 before March even begins.

Mentally, though, it would seem Spring has sprung in my fevered little brain.  I suddenly find myself in the middle of, or beginning, a ton of projects.


1.  Writing book 6 of the Shadow World series.

SHADOWBOUND will be out in one month – don’t worry, I’ll have the usual giveaways and excerpts in the weeks to come.  Now that I’m wholly responsible for the rest of the series I’m working out my publication schedule; if everything goes as planned (that’s a decent-sized if right now, and not a firm date) book 6 (still untitled) will be available in September.  Obviously once I have an official date I’ll let you know.

2. Working on more inventory and custom orders for Tiny Relics.

I’ve got quite a few custom pieces in the hopper, and I also recently bought a lot of miscellaneous tins on Ebay – all different sizes and depths, so I can do all sorts of fun things.  Expect to see more tiny shrines like the mini Buddha I posted last week (sold that day, yay!) and some that are way bigger.  I’ve also got plans for a few non-shrine items like a house blessing box just to keep things interesting.

I’m also working on more art to go inside the shrines.  I would prefer to eventually use nothing but my own work; I try to avoid anything that would cause a copyright kerfuffle, but I’d really like it if these little works were 100% my creation.  (I’ll put anything you want in a custom order; I’m just talking the store inventory.)  The image above is one of the bits of art I’ve made for Tiny Relics, and I hope to have an Isis shrine ready to go very soon.

3.  30 Days of Lists – March edition

I’ve done #30lists once before and had a grand time, so I thought I’d play along again this year.  It’s a very simple journal challenge (or scrapbook, however you want to do it) where a different list is posted each day, and you answer it and illustrate/decorate it however you want.  Most people who do it use a journal or album they specifically set aside, and use it as an opportunity to pretty something up using leftover supplies or scraps.  I plan to use one of the Moleskines I bought for some purpose I don’t remember.  The challenge starts March 1, so hurry and sign up if you want to play!

4.  The 2014 Sketchbook Project

I tried to do this one before and failed miserably – I just ran out of inspiration.  This time, though, I’m not going to start working on it until I’ve got a theme in mind and have decorated my cover.  The Sketchbook Project is an art library of over 26,000 artists’ books; they send you one, you fill it up and send it back, and it goes on display and also in their traveling exhibit.  You can also have yours scanned and added to the digital gallery.  You don’t even have to use the same paper they send; a lot of people take theirs apart and remake it out of thicker paper, and use the same cover.  (The finished piece has to be the same size as the original book.)

I think I’ll do better this time around. It doesn’t hurt that the deadline isn’t until January 2015.

Oh, and here’s my most recent art journal pages, in case you didn’t see them on Facebook, Flickr, or Tumblr:

photo 4

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