“Artsy Handmade Valentine Gifts and a Bit of History”

Happy Valentine’s Day, Single’s Awareness Day or Anti-Valentine’s Day, everyone. However, you all choose to celebrate or not either on the day itself or later, kudos to all and do your own thing.

Aside from making Valentine gifts and goodies, I’ve been looking up a wee bit of Valentine history. We all know of February 14th as being a day of love filled with hearts, candies, flowers, and cards. But did you know that the actual backstory is very morbid? There were martyrs both named or called St. Valentines who were persecuted in Rome in the years 169-270 A. D.

It was originally a feast to celebrate two martyrs decapitation. Talk about grim I say. There were many more martyrs that were referred to as “Valentini” that were persecuted years prior to these two, but not much is known about them.

Well anyway, you get the picture. This is just a bit that I read. Here’s a link to an article that I found if you want to read up on it for yourself. If you’re like me that has random sparks of curiosity from one time or another, have at it and enjoy:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gory-origins-valentines-day-180968156/https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gory-origins-valentines-day-180968156/

Now on to the happy, bubbly stuff I wanted to show you. It’s a bit late I know, but better late than never as I always say. Also in the light of recent events, we all need faith and positive vibes in our lives as difficult as it may be at times.

The main reason I’ve been holding back on posting this is that I was making these gifts for my fiancé. Plus, I wanted to keep them a surprise until we saw each other.

Yes, it’s just a variant of the sugar cubes variation that I made back during the Christmas season. The only difference obviously is the heart shape. There was a bit more experimenting done this time because of the new shapes. For some of you that are probably reading my post for the first time, I have the directions to make them in my previous handmade gift post.

The second part of my gift is a bit artsier. It involves a collage book so it’s more of a mixed media touch than an ordinary Valentine card or a step above handmade Valentines that we are used to seeing with cutout hearts and such.

It started pretty much like this in the beginning of the project.

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Ok, I know what you’re probably thinking. “What is with all the cutouts? It just looks like a jumbled up mess.” I can assure you that there is a method to my madness. But my method is not your method. You have to use what works for you.

It is pretty easy to get started and you can use what you already have laying around the house. For just a basic collage, you will need these things:

  • Magazines of your choice
  • Rubber cement (Glue sticks will work just as well.

Mod Podge (This you don’t have to have, but if you want your pieces to stay in place more securely or if you want to add clear texture, this is what you can use.)

  • Cardstock or construction paper of any size to use as a firm background to paste your pictures Note: Regular computer paper or notebook paper will not work very well because rubber cement will cause the paper to warp and it won’t dry flat.
  • Scrapbook Scissors (They have a thinner and sharper point so they’re easier to
  • handle than regular scissors.)

Begin with a subject that you want. It can be as simple as dogs or cats. Cut up pictures or images that relate to it or words that you feel can add descriptions to the subject. You can do a collage based on emotions, politics, and family. Anything really.

You can cut out any pictures or images that you want to include. Cut out as many as you want and randomly. The best pieces come from the most unlikely of pictures and subjects. The choice is yours.

If really you want to add dimension because you can and you want brownie points, you can make it into a flipbook.

This is the cover of my flipbook.

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This is the cover page of sorts and title. The rest of the pictures on here are meant to tell a story through images and words. It is up to the person to interpret it however he or she wishes.

I hope you have enjoyed the steps and images of my latest piece. If you would like me to post more ideas of the step by step process and how I go about it or if you have any questions, leave me a comment. Also, I would love to know what your interpretations are for this piece.

Until next time. Take care and God bless you.

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“First Bullet Journaling Adventure: How to Get Started”  

I am not the most organized person in the world, yet I am extremely punctual with appointments and outings. When it comes to my art supplies, I’m a stickler for how they’re stored and where. It’s as contradictory as a starburst I know but it is what it is.

If you know exactly what I’m talking about, you have maybe tried writing down memos while having them within easy reach to read daily or instead keep a planner. Some people enjoy planners for the sheer repetitiveness and can keep up with them and that’s ok kudos to them.

I’ve used planners for a while and can never keep up with them from day to day. I usually see it as something to fill out if I have things to do or scheduled that day. If there isn’t anything, it’s left blank.

Don’t get me wrong. Many of them have beautiful designs and weekly quotes to keep me motivated, but I feel there’s not much room for anything else. Even trying to be tech savvy and leaving reminders on my Google calendar on my phone doesn’t really help. By this point, you know it’s really bad.

As a sort of New Year’s resolution, I’m trying something a little different with my art and blog organization, well with everyday life mixed in it of course. We can’t forget that now can We? If you keep up with YouTube and Instagram, then you’ve seen a bunch of beautiful spreads and notebooks just gleaming with different colored calligraphies and ink.

Bullet Journaling is apparently now “a thing”. Well, it has been for awhile, but silly me just recently stumbled upon it looking for organization tips. Check out Boho Berry and several others on YouTube whenever you get the chance. Boho Berry’s journals, in particular, are absolutely stunning!

In this random makeshift journey, I’m going to give bullet journaling a try. After several videos and articles trying to figure the format of it later, I have come up with my own. Granted it’s not that fancy or detailed, but I feel it’s getting the job done at this point.

Join me on a bullet journal journey. Get yourself a notebook of your choice: lined, dotted or blank. Your next item is a good fine point pen and a few colored gel pens for variety. Some people add stickers to their pages, but again that’s up to you.

The second thing you need to do is set up your Index and Key. The index helps you stay on track with pages which will be a lot of and the key is a basic sign system to keep track of appointments, chores etc.

This is what I have done so far. So let’s get organized together and learn along with me.

Until next time.

 

“True Art: What is it?”

Everyone is familiar with Jackson Pollock. If the name does not ring a bell, you may have seen one of his more famous works briefly in movies or shows. Pollock’s work was extremely abstract. Still nothing? Here’s a picture to jog your memory.

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This is one of his more famous works which is titled “Convergence.” I do not intend to give a full analysis on his piece (I will probably save that for later.) What I am really driving at is what we all perceive as appealing and beautiful when it comes to art. Someone may see this piece in person and say that it speaks volumes to them while another may see it as just a bunch of paint splatters. I will have to admit I thought so at first until I saw one of Pollock’s pieces in person at the Dallas Museum of Art a few years ago. There is a lot more precision that went into his paintings that meets the eye.

What I personally find appealing and awe-inspiring may not be another person’s cup of tea. I adore Steampunk, Victorian and Renaissance art. The emphasis of the human form was very apparent for its time. Steampunk is a mixture of science fiction and Victorian genres all rolled into one. Art is a fabrication deep from within our imaginations that is brought to life in many mediums and others are just purely miraculous.

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Some may find Gothic or gory art consisting of undead creatures and zombies as beautiful and others may not have the stomach for it. Science fiction art and anime may be inspring for future animators while others that are not interested in these genres may not understand them. Although, have you ever seen a Studio Ghibli or Hayao Miyazaki film? The artwork is breathtaking! Then again, that’s just me though. If you do decide to check out anything by these animators, I recommend “Howl’s Moving Castle.” You will not be disappointed.

These same tastes can apply to the realm of artists as well aside from people that appreciate art. Many of us artists create for the sole purpose to unleash our emotions and pour it into our pieces reflecting each of our individual styles. So then, what is true art really? It stems from anything you want it to be and everywhere. Junk in scrap yards is another person’s treasure or artwork in this case that involves building sculptures. Numerous materials, threads and buttons are a textile artist’s dream. 

Cut outs from old magazines can become beautiful collages in the hands of a mixed media artist. Film makers with their detailed visions direct documentaries giving in depth incite into the lives of many all over the world to raise awareness. Photographers capture emotions through camera and lighting. Art therapists who are also artists heal..heal an individual’s inner turmoils through the passion they love so much.

Art is a root that connects each one of us towards each other and beyond. It is just a matter of how far we are willing to reach the depths of our imaginations to see and look for art through different lenses. 
 

“My 1st T-shirt Designs”

First off, I will have to apologize for my ghost town of a blog as of late. Wedding plans have really been keeping me on my toes and draining me from scheduling appointments, shopping for supplies, to setting up the wedding registry. You get the picture.

With all of the plans, I lost track of time, what day it was, and what date of the year it was. Then, I finally realized that my 10 year high school reunion is this year. Boy do I feel old already.

I never really thought that I would be involved in the planning of it but here I am designing the T-shirts. I’ve never designed t-shirts so I’m ecstatic about it. I enjoy a good challenge.

Ok, you’re probably thinking, why is there a rattlesnake and why the cacti in the background? These items are supposed to symbolize the area we live in since you may have guessed it, a desert brushcountry area. It’s not quite so much like a Clint Eastwood western movie, but it’s close. There are tumbleweeds that roll through every now and again.

I had lived out of town and had barely moved back not too long ago so much to my surprise, there hadn’t been any brushcountry related festivities for some time, several years as a matter of fact. It pretty much shows how long I had been absent, out of the loop, and away from the area.

Anyway because the lack of brushcountry themed events, no one was crazy about the first concept.

There was a positive reaction to the second. I tried to go with a more fierce attitude for this one. The wildcat is ripping through metal giving a “We’re Back” type of reaction.

Both are watercolor pieces and took a bit of time to complete. Let me know what you think in the comment section.

Until next time or if I’m lost in action again, I will post my next post as soon as I can. Take care and God bless you.

“My Favorite Book Illustrations and Why”

I asked readers awhile back what topic or topics that they would like to see brought up in a future blog post.

Here it is.

It was hard to choose though what to include so I will be including a few.

Everyone is familiar with Alice in Wonderland or by its title “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Lewis Carrol definitely had an imagination when he created this story.

With its mixture of fantasy, surrealism and mathematics (Yes, there is math hidden in the story) the storyline has the ability to leave anyone’s head spinning or scratching, but enough of that. Now on to the fun part..

Technically there are two styles of illustrations for this that are both beautiful in their own right. The original illustrations by John Tenniel had an air of whimsy with a realistic touch in the body proportions of each character.

These are the most familiar to me having grown up reading snippits of the story.

A second rendition of the book illustrations by Ralph Steadman, I found out about several years ago from a classmate who is a fan of the artist. Ralph Steadman’s pieces I felt had a bit of a Tim Burton flair to them which is kind of funny considering that Tim Burton actually directed the Alice in Wonderland movies a year or so later.

The gangly long limbs of the characters definitely give a dark and eerie feel, but awesome eye catching appeal nonetheless.

This next book I was introduced to by one of my college friends in our undergrad years. Since she’s in animation school, she has a bunch of illustration books laying around her house to scour through.

“The Last Unicorn” is a bit different from the first two since it is a comic series with very beautiful colorful illustrations and exerts. The artwork from the 1982 animated movie under the same name is just as detailed as the books.

The illustrators Renae de Liz and Ray Dillon brought the unicorn to life in their details and color composition. The fantasy portrayed in this is very inspiring.

When I first saw this, I immediately wanted to pick up a pen, paintbrush, anything and get my ideas down on paper before it flitted away like a butterfly.

Now the best for last.

The last book is a graphic novel called “The Action Bible” and an animated take on Biblical accounts from the Old and New Testament. The fact that it was illustrated by Sergio Carielo who happened to do illustrative work for both Marvel and DC comics makes it even cooler in my book.

I grew up reading the Bible and listening to Bible stories in school and from my parents. If I had come across this as a kid, I most likely would not have put this novel down. The fact that everything is illustrated in a super hero format makes the message that more powerful and relatable to a younger audience.

These are just a few books that inspire me to live a more fulfilled and creative life.

Feel free to leave comments below and discuss which illustrated books you feel most drawn to.

God bless you and until next time.

“Bullet Journaling in February 2018”

I started my first bullet journal in January as a bit of a New Year’s resolution to get more organized.

So far I have kept to it and it has helped much to my surprise. I usually don’t make New Years resolutions because I figure if I can’t keep it, I see no point.

I’ll have to admit, after looking at other fancy spreads, it was a bit overwhelming to say the least. But after a late light bulb moment, it finally hit me that alot of it is actually if you want to go above and beyond to make it uniquely you. It is actually not necessary.

You can be as minimalist as you want if that’s what makes you comfortable.

This is an entirely different level of creativity that I have no experience in despite my background in art. It’s a bit contradictory, I know. So I did what I thought I would never do.

Go for a more minimalist approach.

I figured, I’ll figure out the fancy smancy stuff when I get the hang of the steps and basic layouts down. After the first few pages, I got the hang of it.

Sort of…

Here is my weekly layout. There’s not much to it. The only thing that I’ve been practicing consistently is the calligraphy aspect of it.

This one is one of my more personal spreads. So far it lists Bible Scriptures that I hold dear to my heart and others that I have been reviewing to keep memorized. There’s alot more. I just haven’t added them yet.

Don’t judge my lack of doodling skills. My exercise log is pretty much a list of exercises to add to my workout regimen and others that I do daily.

So there you go.

I finally figured out what spreads are. They are whatever you want it to be whether it is your hobbies, lifestyle, responsibilities etc. Duh, now I know. Don’t look at me like that. That’s why I said it was a late light bulb moment.

Anyway this spread is self explanatory. I’m tracking my book worm list.

There you have it. My second month update on my bullet journaling journey for 2018.

Let me know what you think in the comments section and what ideas you have for your own bullet journaling journey. Also, I am thinking of doing an art YouTube channel to complement my blog sometime in the future so let me know what you think of the idea as well and what you would like to see.

Until next time. God bless you and yours.

“Restoring a Bible and Other Challenges”

Bookbinding is kind of therapeutic.

Ok, you’re probably wondering, “how can you think it is? You’re insane.”

So far, my bookbinding projects haven’t been too bad. I learned how to sew and tinker books together a while back, but book repair is an entirely different animal. Don’t worry. It’s a good animal!

There’s a rhythm and a process just like everything else. Cleaning the house can be a rhythm for those Mr. Cleans out there. (OK maybe not a such a fun example but you get where I’m going with it.) There’s a reason for the cheesy house pun. I’ll explain in another post. I promise and cross my heart.

Stitch, stitch, switch the page. Add some glue, stitch, stitch. Then add background music and you’re good to go. That’s just me though. Everyone who book binds probably goes about it differently. I just happen to add music and dance in the process of my projects when I work. It’s not that weird, I promise.

Aside from rhythms and possible oddity musicals you’re probably envisioning going on in my workspace, this past couple of weeks have been really busy with bookbinding repairs.

My first major one of the new year was putting together my fiancé’ s Bible, which happened to be his Abuela’s/grandma’s Bible originally before she passed. So of course, there’s a lot of sentimental value behind it.

Some of the pages were falling out and I had to somehow figure out a way to cut out the rest of the pages without damaging the ones still stuck to the inside of the cover.

I kept praying and thinking over to myself, “Lord, forgive me. I’m not trying to desecrate your sacred Word. I’m just trying to fix it.”

Being that the cover was leather, it was a bit tricky but I managed to put it back together again.

It was pretty much back to its original condition. Dealing with the delicate pages was a bit worrisome.

Just recently, the next project I had was to repair a thousand or more page construction book.

This was a bit more difficult than I anticipated because of the book’s size. I’ve always been used to making itty bitty books so seeing this one in person made me recalculate the measurements for the supplies that I needed to cover it.

Measuring is the difficult part. Putting everything together, not so much.

It may not be much, but it was a bit time consuming and a good experience. In other words, this animal was tamed! (The repair itself not the book in case you’re wondering. Books are not animals, inspiring and empowering yes, but animals? No.)

Now onward to the next challenge that may await. God bless you and until next time.

“Book Review of ‘The 5 Love Languages’: How to Use Various Non-Art Media to Draw out Inspiration for Art Pieces” 

I am a glorified bookworm.

There, I said it. I have more books than I will ever read in one sitting and I got even more for Christmas courtesy of my loving fiancé. The first one I chose to read was “The 5 Love Languages” which has a pretty self-explanatory title. Plus, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I figured why not?

I give it about four and a half out of five stars for its informative nature and easy to understand approach. It talks about five loves that we all have and long for naturally while incorporating Bible verses and other Biblical examples.

The main reason for so many failed relationships is due to us not speaking our loved one’s love language. In a way, it makes sense if you think about it. I’ll let you read it and find out the rest for yourself so I won’t be giving out any spoilers.

As I read through the book, it painted itself in a magical way. There are ways to use non-art media to get inspiration.

  • Pray or meditate.
  • Read anything and everything. The written word is powerful.
  • Listen to music.
  • Observe other artwork different from your own.
  • Now pick your poison ahem I mean art supplies.
  • Eat some good food. Ok, maybe it’s just me because I’m always hungry.

In the next post, I’ll explain some nifty, handmade, and artsy gift ideas with “The 5 Love Languages” in mind.

God bless you on your artistic journey and until next time.

Art Therapy? What’s That? 

You have probably seen the word thrown around here and there lately in grocery stores, bookstores or people may have brought it up casually in conversation.

What is art therapy really? People think of it as simply coloring away mandalas in adult coloring books. Others see it as a simple certification that you can get after taking a simple test.

It has been around in the U.S. since the 40’s but started to be used in hospitals and mental health settings in the mid-twentieth century.

Art therapy degrees actually take at least three to four years of study that hits the subjects of mental illnesses and life’s difficulties to better help others along with honing aka polishing up their craft. They just happen to be artists too sharing their passion in the process. Every art therapist goes about it differently.

It’s not just all coloring books, but more than that. I repeat..it’s NOT just about coloring books. Nothing makes me twitch more than when someone thinks or says that it seems really easy or that you just give a patient a coloring book and that’s it.

It is about using various art mediums as a way of healing for all age groups and walks of life meaning it can help anyone and everyone.

It ranges from learning disabilities, mental disorders, to medical illnesses in hospitals, criminals in prison, and elderly concerns such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What drawing and painting will help with one group may not help another. Soft mediums that are fluid may speak to and help a patient that has suffered abuse express his or her self in the piece. An angry patient will easily be able to work with crumpling up a paper and drawing images from the shapes he or she creates with charcoal or pastels of his or her choosing.

What can’t be expressed through words can be said through art pieces. Sometimes it is through the finished product and other times it is meditative through just the making process.

What do you know about art therapy? Do you have any experiences with how art has helped you heal? Do you know of any art therapists or are you one yourself? What are ways that you’ve explained art therapy to others?

Let’s have a discussion and leave your comments below.

God bless you and until next time.

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 Christmas Giving: Handmade Gifts have been Brought Part 2

Merry Late Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone. I hope it continues to be filled with plenty of love, tasty goodies, and giving. Also, if you happened to be at the 300th year anniversary of the founding of San Antonio, I hope you all had an amazing time aside from the cold weather! There was definitely goodies a plenty on my end, buñuelos and plenty of caldo.

I mentioned in my last post sometime before Christmas that handmade gifts should make a come back while leaving a bit of a cliffhanger. Plenty was given out and others happily devoured.

Baked goods are always a must and we all have recipes tucked away in our kitchens. If not or you’re not much of a baker or cook and possibly set things on fire, it’s ok. You’re not alone. (I’ve caught water on fire and have split atoms in the process, but that’s a story for another time.)

If you are brave enough to do some homemade baking and just don’t know where to start, well find a grandma or aunt. Seriously, we all have one and if you don’t, borrow one (No, I don’t mean kidnapping, just ask your friend.)

My traditional family recipes were passed down from my great grandma. Pumpkin bread, repostarias also know as Mexican Christmas cookies, and tamales fill the air in my house every year.

Sadly, I won’t be sharing my family recipes with you because they are..well, secret. Not to worry, though. There are two easy and not so structured recipes that I can and will share with you.

This year we added something new..buñuelos and Sugar Cubes and not just any sugar cubes, but gourmet sugar cubes.

Now on to the fun part; buñuelos are as easy as deep frying tortilla dough and dipping it in cinnamon in sugar. Think of it as a flatter version of a churro but crispier.

  • Flour Tortilla Mix
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Anise
  • Canola Oil
  1. Heat up a skillet filled a half inch deep with canola oil and heat until small bubbles start to form.
  2. While the oil is heating, pour out half a cup of tortilla mix and pour in water to desired consistency. (It’s a bit of trial and error to get it right.) Form several balls and roll them out to the size you want.
  3. In a flat dish, pour in and mix cinnamon and sugar together. This will be the coating.
  4. After the dough is shaped, put one buñuelo at a time in the oil and fry both sides until crispy. Dip it in the coating and repeat. There you go, you have buñuelo. Just don’t eat a whole bunch in one sitting. They’re not exactly the healthiest desserts on the planet.

    The sugar cubes are a bit more simple. Thanks to Shirley on the “Home and Family Show”, there is a more in-depth recipe.

    1. All you need is some herbs of your choice and of course some regular white sugar. It can be Mint, Peppermint, Rose petals, Oranges etc. Just put in a cup of sugar with the herbs of your choice in a chopper and mix them together.
    2. Empty out the sugar into a bowl and add a tablespoon of water and mix until thick. Now, this is where it gets fun. Get silicone molds of whatever shape strikes your fancy and spoon in the sugar mixture into them, packing them down tightly.
    3. Let them set for twenty-four hours and take them out after the time is up. Boom! You have cute little sugar cubes to use for coffee or tea! You can give them out or horde them all for yourself. The choice is yours.