Handwriting Practice

I know that I have a fairly decent handwriting for people nowadays, but I always want to be better. Now, anyone that knows me personally, or knows my mom, knows that my mom was always very strict on my handwriting. She knew that I could do better and she pushed me to do just that. Even though at the time, I felt like she was being harsh, I know now that she only wanted me to want to be better and prove to myself that I am better. In kindergarten, she was my teacher. If that wasn’t hard enough, she ripped up every assignment that had less than my best penmanship. Today, I still have a hard time thinking that my handwriting shouldn’t be rewritten over and over.

So, I started with the sentence that covers every letter of the alphabet. I wrote it in print, cursive, and all caps. These are my typical, everyday handwriting. Then, I tried to do something, different. I must say, that I didn’t like either of these sentences that I practiced. They seemed sloppy and not uniform. Being the perfectionist that I am, I decided that maybe I should try to practice my handwriting a little, especially cursive.

While looking up ways to improve my handwriting, I came across these six basic practice strokes. What I found, going through these strokes is that, some of the basic strokes were actually quite difficult for me. As you can see in the picture below, the 3rd and 6th strokes are where I had the most difficulty. Now why is this, I wonder? If you look at the first stroke, it is straight lines down. I am used to this stroke when I write in all caps, so it was fairly easy. The second stroke required that I draw towards me. As a right-handed writer, I find this stroke to be not only familiar but when I write in cursive, this is typically the angle at which I draw my letters. Now moving onto stroke three, I found this was completely opposite from the angle at which I draw my letters. So I couldn’t keep it consistent, as you can see. The fourth stroke seemed simple because I typically draw straight lines all the time so it flowed still with how I usually write. The fifth stroke was the same as the fourth. It flowed in the direction and angle that I draw on a daily basis. Finally, we move to the sixth shape which was so weird that I couldn’t find a comfortable position to hold the pen that it made it flow.

Moving on from those practice strokes, I decided to look at some basic cursive letter. I am going to start with the lower case then move to upper case letters later.  Looking at the side by side comparison, I can clearly see that just by writing these three pages how well my writing improved. If I continue to practice this technique, I hope to see a larger improvement by the end of the month. After the strokes become more familiar, I will start to write out quotes and sentences that allow me to practice even more.

Have you ever tried to improve your handwriting? Did you use any special techniques that helped you achieve your desired skill level? I would love to know your experiences in the comments below!

August Zen Art Challenge – Days 6 – 10

The second mandala for the month of August covers days 6-10.  This mandala was pretty difficult when I got into it. I had to really think about how each pattern would fit into the mandala so that it flowed and looked decent enough.  Here are the links for the next five patterns of this challenge created by Mindful Creativity.

Day 6 – Clamz – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206539/

Day 7 – Stap voor Stap – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206545/

Day 8 – HollyHock – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206546/

Day 9 – Banana Braid – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206547/

Day 10 -“Unknown” (Feather) – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206548/

And here is what I came up with. Just like with the first five days, I started from the inside and moved outward. Day one was easy as it just filled the center beautifully. I would have to say that the most difficult pattern of this mandala was definitely HollyHock being right next to Banana Braid, but using stippling for the white space made it flow just fine.

I would love to know your favorite part of this mandala and if you participate in the challenge as well in the comments below. I also always welcome comments, suggestions and constructive criticism.

August Zen Art Challenge – Days 1 – 5

As you may be aware, this is my second month doing the Zen Art Challenge created by Mindful Creativity.  I wanted to push myself to think outside the box and do something a little different with this month. I have decided to make a mandala out of each five day span. Below is a link to the first five days of this challenge. It takes you to her Pinterest board, where she keeps track of these.

Day 1 – WELL – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206499/

Day 2 – Ausheklis – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206511/

Day 3 – Patience – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206538/

Day 4 – Dragontail – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206536/

Day 5 – CurlyCrown – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45247171239206544/

Starting with day one I began in the center. I don’t like four petal flowers as I have stated before, but I know that part of the challenge, at least for me, is to use every pattern in a different way. So here is what I came up with. Can you see the progression of each day?

Please let me know if you like to see this type of challenge and which pattern you like most on this mandala in the comments below!

Showcase Sunday #18 – Herminia Chow

For this week’s Showcase Sunday, I would like to introduce Herminia Chow and her blog, aspiringwriter22. She offers her supreme services to assist other writers edit or write content for their blog. She also completes thorough book reviews that are pretty impressive. Her passion for writers is astounding. She offers a lot of free advice for those of you that want to get into blogging or writing. Please check her out and dive into the wealth of information she has put together on her blog for you. Before you do though, learn a little more about who she is by reading the interview below.


What made you get into blogging?

I created a blog because I was bored one evening after school. I’m so glad I did. At the time, it also seemed like the next logical step for me because I loved to write, and I wanted a platform to share my work with others. This might sound overdramatic, but I don’t know what I would have done with my life if I never took that first step four years ago.

Have you ever had any formal training or education in your blog subject?

I write about writing and blog about blogging, so most of my posts come from personal experience or a quick search of the Web. I never had any formal education when I started. Currently, I’m doing a minor in Writing and Rhetoric at my university.

What is your favorite genre to write?

I mainly dabble in the contemporary young adult. Growing up, I read a lot of realistic fiction, so I generally base my stories on real life. I also feel like I don’t have what it takes to write a high fantasy or a complex mystery.

What was your greatest failure and how did you learn from it?

For a while, I wasn’t being myself while blogging. From that, I’ve learned to stay true to who I am. I can’t please everyone, so I shouldn’t try to. What’s more, I’ve come to accept I’m not perfect. My posts won’t be either.

Who has influenced you the most with your blog?

The person who influenced me the most with my blog is Rachel at rachelpoli.com. She inspires me to create better content. Go check her out if you haven’t done so already.

How much time do you spend blogging in any given week?

It varies but probably upwards of 7 hours. I try to publish a post every day, so I’m constantly writing or editing.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

As of right now, blogging is still a hobby. That being said, I want it to be my profession one day. I started my blog for fun in 2013. I never thought I’d still be blogging in 2017.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I enjoy watching baseball and playing video games by myself because who needs friends.

What is your passion?

I love reading, writing, and blogging. Stories keep me sane. When I’m not working with words, I like to dance.

How supportive are the people close to you of your blogging?

The people close to me are supportive of my blogging endeavors, even though they aren’t bloggers, and don’t know much about it. It goes without saying that the blogging community is amazing.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

To make a living doing what I love. That would likely entail becoming a professional writer or blogger, maybe even both. I wouldn’t complain.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

During my lifetime, I hope I can inspire others to read and write. Perhaps after I pass away, people will still read my work.

What piece of advice would you give someone wanting to start a blog?

Just start. You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.

Is there anything you want the readers to know about your blog we haven’t covered?

I publish book reviews, poems, and stories on a regular basis. Every so often, I’ll share writing or blogging advice.

I’m working to make my blog better every day. I’d love for all of you to be a part of my journey.


Don’t just take my word for it, please visit her blog and let her know that you saw her here on “Sunday Showcase.”

As always, If you would like your blog to be featured on here, please do not hesitate to email me at craftyartistkc@gmail.com and I would love to feature you next Sunday.

Makeup Organizer for Renters

Have you ever gotten to the point in your life where you are just ready to settle down and create a home where your kids can actually grow up in the same home? Well that is where I am. I want my kids to be able to create life-long friends that move to different schools with them. I want them to remember the first time we bought a home and how we made it our own. This dream is very important for me.

My kids are my life, and I want to give them their own space and not have to worry about landlords not letting us paint or put holes in the wall or whatever the case may be. I want to be able to rip up carpet or change things. I love that I am a diy’er, but I love even more that my fiance’ is extremely handy. He can do electrical, plumbing and carpentry. He amazes me all the time.

Speaking of which, the picture is something that he created for all my makeup supplies for our bathroom. I told him what I needed and he supplied it. How amazing is that! He knew that I was struggling with a makeup bag and my brushes kept falling on the floor. So I asked him for an open top shelf so that I could put all my brushes in there and keep them sorted. He placed some Plexiglas on the front so that I could put decorative beads depending on the colors of the bathroom decor. He’s so smart!

Everything that we have done for our house we rent is removable. I can’t wait until I actually get to choose whats the best way to store things myself. I know that our true DIY skills will come out finally!

Let me know what you think about this Makeup Storage Unit. How do you store your makeup and beauty supplies? Let me know in the comments below!

Zen Art Challenge – Day 23-31

This is the fourth and final post on July’s Zen Art Challenge. There are a few things that I have taken away from this challenge. The first thing is that drawing every day is important, even if it is just a simple tangle on a scrap paper. Practice makes perfect and your skills will just get better the more you practice.  The second thing this challenge taught me is that it is ok not to be perfect. WHAT?!?! you say? Yes, it is okay NOT to be perfect. Learning tangles is so fun for me, but some of the tangles are not thrilling to draw. This challenge allows me to be introduced to new patterns while challenging me to learn new ways to draw them.  Without further ado, here are the final days in July’s Zen Art Challenge.


Day 23 – Belltemps

This tangle actually took me two sittings to complete. In my head, it was not this detailed, but once I started it, I couldn’t stop.  I wanted to add so much more complications to this, but honestly, I think the stripes achieved the look of complexity, without the work of complexity.

Day 24- Tami

Take a look at this tangle. A heart with an upside down fleur-de-lis in the center. I tried making this a border tangle like the examples given, but it didn’t appeal to me. So, the best thing I could do was create something more intense. Using this shape as the outline, I filled in the shape with tiny flowers and leaves to bring the whole thing to life. I felt like I was peering through a fence into a beautiful secret garden.

Day 25 – Ovolution

This pattern did not appeal to me at all. I am not sure if it is because of the shape itself, or the fact that each of the main lines is not equally apart from each other. There is almost no way to make these perfect as I walked around the oval many times before settling on this one.  My eye twitched as I tried to make the best of this despite my perfectionism trying to break through. Letting go of this is one of the hardest parts of this whole challenge.

Day 26 – Tore Up

This tangle was fun and I had done this sorta thing previously, you can find that post here. But making a hole in the center of the page was a little more difficult than I originally thought. I thought exposing a woven pattern underneath worked out great for this as well.  I did a little shading with the pen but didn’t look at the outermost line, which looking back now I think I should have.

Day 27 – Deebops

This tangle was too cute. From fireworks to flowers to hair, I could have gone so many different directions. I chose to use this tangle to create dandelions blowing in the wind. I love the way it turned out.

Day 28 – Spearl

This one was too adorable. I just knew that I wanted to create a abstract like piece with this. I added circles to the strings themselves and I think it just made the individual colors pop. I could see something like this hanging in my art room.

Day 29 – 4-Bol

I have to admit. I do not like 4 petal flowers. Its too boxy for me. I love when there are at least six petals, but in my personal opinion, the more the merrier. So this pattern was really difficult for me to even get in the mood for. But, Its done and I learned a new element to use in the future.

Day 30 – Chities & Day 31 – Mike the Mouse

Of course I had to give Mike the Mouse a home, and where better to do that then a beautiful mushroom garden. I would like to color this just because it is so cute, but I have to practice my techniques before I dive into a finished piece. I would love to know what you think about the elements in this picture. Definitely let me know  in the comments below.

Ok, That was it for the month of July 2017. I finished the challenge. I know there is one for August and I am planning something special for that one so stay tuned! Let me know which pattern was your favorite and if you participated in the challenge.

Showcase Sunday #17 – Joshua Schueler

For this week’s Showcase Sunday, I would like to introduce Joshua Schueler from Rollingblogger. There are several unique items to cover regarding his blog, but I will choose just a few. First of all, his blog title names are very witty. When I see each post pop up, it pulls me in to read just what each blog is about. Another thing to mention is his strong faith is evident in his posts. Both inspirational and uplifting, his messages to others are full of compassion and real life experiences. Be sure to check him out, but before you do, learn a little more about him from his interview below!


What made you get into blogging?

I have always had a passion for writing. I have wanted to write a book for a number of years, but it just never seems to come together. With a blog, I can satisfy my writing and get instant gratification.

What genre do you want to write your book about and what is holding you back?

I want to write an inspirational novel about overcoming obstacles. I had a working title for it once, but after much criticism, I took it off the stove. My book is not even on a burner or in the kitchen anymore.

Have you ever had any formal training or education in your blog subject?

My blog subject is people and inspiration. I don’t think there really can be formal training in either of those. I just live life and write about it.

What was your greatest failure and how did you learn from it?

I would say I have many great failures. The two I would actually mention is my divorce and failing out of school. Both involve relationships. My divorce was because I was young and we were just incompatible as anything more than friends.

With being a failure at school, I learned the hard way not everyone has your best interests at heart. They may seem like nice people, but eventually, they can lead you down the wrong path if you are not careful.

Who has influenced you the most with your blog?

I don’t think there is one specific person who has influenced my blog. Maybe, from a human standpoint, my editor. She always has good advice on what to leave, what to take away, what to change and what to stay.

Otherwise, if you read through my blog you will see God influences me a lot.

How much time do you spend blogging in any given week? On any given week, I will spend between 20 and 30 hours either writing or following other bloggers and getting involved in their lives. That’s why we are here is to relate to one another.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

I wish it was a profession. I haven’t figured out how to monetize my blogging yet. I hope to one day, but for now, it’s a hobby.

What is your passion?

People are my passion.

What is the best way you have found to obtain a deeper connection with people?

One word. Listen.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

The ultimate goal for me is to have all people know Jesus Christ as lord and savior.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

I want to leave a legacy of love and dedication to my crafts. Writing and Djaying are my crafts.

What piece of advice do you have for new bloggers?

The advice I would have is to play around and have fun. Try new styles. Make your entire blog a smorgasbord of tales. It can be funny, whimsical, inspirational, serious, comical, sad, thought provoking. Anything you want. Write for the day. Write EVERY DAY!!

Is there anything you want the readers to know about your blog we haven’t covered?

It is full of so many rabbit holes and inspiration, humor and humility, laughter and love. The only way to experience my blog is to dive in and read as much of it as you can. I have been a blogger for over 3 years now so there is a lot in there.


Don’t just take my word for it, please visit his blog and let him know that you saw him here on “Sunday Showcase.”

As always, if you would like your blog to be featured on here, please do not hesitate to email me at craftyartistkc@gmail.com and I would love to feature you next Sunday.

Bullet Journaling – Refresher

If you haven’t heard of bullet journaling, it is a minimalists way to schedule your life. This is a system that combines several of your journals, schedulers, and calendars into one easy to keep track of book. Or so they say. Now before you get offended, hear me out. I tried this system back in November of last year, you can read that post here, and I failed.  My failure had nothing to do with the system and more to do with my perfectionism. I wanted beautiful spreads and amazing visuals on each page. Eventually, it became too much with the holidays and I never made it to December. To be honest, I don’t even know where that notebook is currently.

Now, lets discuss why this system failed for me. There are several reasons, some of them mental and some of them physical. These range from not having the right notebook, to not making the time, and not putting forth the effort. “Oh, I don’t need to write that down, surely I will remember it!” Famous last words. I never did remember it and I never did write it down.

Excuse #1: Not having the right tools.

Now, don’t think that you have to have the most famous bullet journal or the most expensive pens and products to do a bullet journal. You just have to be happy with what you do have. You can just use a composition notebook and a bic ballpoint. You don’t need the fancy supplies to get started, and honestly, I wouldn’t go out and buy them until you have created the habit.

However, in my mind, I didn’t have the right supplies. I didn’t want to use the inexpensive supplies I had on hand because I have to get excited about a new habit, or it won’t form. If I don’t have crisp, clean notebook and a pen just for it, I won’t be happy long enough to continue.  So, I bought the Leuchitturm 1917, which is like the official bullet journal. I did not buy pens for this, because I already have my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners that I love and work perfectly.

Excuse #2: I can’t make my spreads look like those on Pinterest

This is a very very common misconception. The spreads are beautiful, and one day, I will get there. But it is better for me to form the habit with the minimalist attitude. So, here is a picture of my year at a glance spread below. You will see that I just made it simple. I also added a thin piece of washi tape across the top, not even perfectly lined up *gasp*, so that i had a quick reference to jump back to. *personal information is blacked out*

I decided to only do 6 months because that would carry me to the end of the year. When the next 6 months arrive, if I am still doing bullet journaling, I will add it to it then another 6 month spread. Besides, who wants to get bogged down on trying to keep up with a full year at once. Guess what else? I only used black and white on this page. I want to get into the habit before I learn new ways to create the same spread. I highly recommend this way of thinking.

Excuse #3 – I don’t even know what I should track or that I want to track.

If you look online, especially Pinterest, you will find a huge list of trackers. But I say NAY! Don’t get bogged down with all the trackers available. Add trackers as you want to, and how you want to. Throughout the process you will find that you will come across things that are important to you specifically that you want to track. For me, I want to track my 100 mandala challenge! This challenge is important to me and something that I want to complete before the end of the year. Here is a look at how I am tracking this, in my 2-page tracker spread.

As you can tell, I drew  a simple mandala and also included the website where I got the challenge from. I then write a date on the number and color it in. This is my favorite spread so far. It appeals to my artistic side, as well as my need to track this challenge.

Excuse #4 – I’m too depressed/anxious about keeping up with something else.

Yes, depression and anxiety is something that we all have to deal with at one time or another. Some of us even struggle enough to be medicated. But that is what is so great about the bullet journal process, if you miss a day or a week, you can jump back in and there are no predetermined pages that you use up. You determine how and how much you use your bullet journal. I decided to try to list all the things that make me happy and put it at the beginning of my journal. This ensures that even on the days that are considered my lows, I have something to keep me from going under. Take a look at this below.

Excuse #5 – I’m too busy

Honestly, we are all too busy if we believe it, but the truth of the matter is, we can make time for anything! After planning out my first two weeks, I saw just how busy I wasn’t. I was too busy to add work, but not too busy to add fun. So I knew by looking at these two almost blank weeks, that I would see just how much time I really had to play with. Of course, I didn’t mark down all the ER visits and power outages and mom life with many many kids, but outside the home, I didn’t have much obligations. My next step is to track my hours, find out where everything goes. Check out these two weeks below. As you can tell, they are all really really simple.

So as you can tell, I didn’t want to do anything too crazy and I wanted to keep my trackers simple. At the beginning of each week, I also track my social medias. This shows me if I am doing a good job or if I need to work harder. Because I am just starting out, I feel like my numbers are embarrassing, BUT everyone has to start from the bottom.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through my bullet journal. Remember, you don’t have to wait until January 1st, to start. You can start in the middle of the month like I did. The objective is to start somewhere. Do you bullet journal? How successful are you with keeping it up. I would love to know your bullet journal experiences in the comments below!

Showcase Sunday #16 – Gaby Garcia

In this week’s Showcase Sunday, I would like to introduce you to Gaby Garcia and her blog Iamcraftygirl. I was so blessed to come across her blog when I was going through one of my go-to websites for zentangle challenges. As soon as I saw her blog, I just knew I wanted her to be a part of this series. One of the amazing things about her is that she is very thorough and organized. But she isn’t just good at zentangle patterns, she will astound you with her other crafty skills. I know I can learn so much from her and plan to be back for sure. Be sure to check out her patterns for yourself to understand the true beauty behind her relaxation techniques. But before you jump over there, learn a little more about her from the interview below.

What made you get into blogging?

I guess there were two reasons. First, I wanted to keep track of all my work with some kind of Art Journal instead of drawings spread all over drawers and shelves in my house. Secondly and most important, I wanted to share my work with the world, I felt that creating something just for myself didn’t really hold much meaning, but by releasing it to the world might inspire someone on their own work, or touch them in some way; that is what gives it a meaning.

Have you ever had any formal training or education in your blog subject?

Not really, most of what I do I have learn from watching YouTube videos and tutorials, reading all sort of blogs in the subjects I like, and simply by looking at other artists work in Pinterest.

What was your greatest failure and how did you learn from it?

My biggest regret would be that years ago I went to study Graphic Design, but after a few weeks into it I realized that most of the other students were already far more advanced than me, which made me doubt myself and quite honestly scared me, so I dropped out and went to study and graduated as a Psychologist. However Art kept coming back to me, until I understood that Art makes me happy and will always be a big part of me.  So I have learn to follow my heart and not compare it or myself to other Artists; I recognized that we are all simply at different levels of learning.

In other words I learn (and still working on it) to not let fear get in the way and stop me from doing what I love.  I keep reminding myself that all the masters started from the very basics just like you and me, they simply have had more time practicing and working on their craft.

Who has influenced you the most with your blog?

Adele Bruno with her blog and challenge “It’s a String Thing” (www.tickledtotangle.blogspot.ca), Lily Moon with her amazing Art in her blog “Lily’s Tangles” (www.zenlilymoon.blogstpot.com), and my husband with all his support and encouragement.

How much time do you spend blogging in any given week?

I spend about an hour or two writing my Blog, plus around an hour or two creating each drawing, so it really depends on how many drawings I was able to do in that week. Most weeks I do a post with about two drawings.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

At the moment it is just a hobby; my family needs and work always come first.

What is your passion?

Besides my Family, Yoga and everything Art related.

What relaxation techniques do you use?

Drawing Zentangles always relaxes me, especially when I am repeating and repeating some of the easy tangles where I don’t really have to think anymore, like “Tipple”, Flux”, and “Printemps”. Coloring is another activity that helps me unwind since I was a little girl; and last but not least, I make an effort to  practice Yoga at least four days a week.

You mention your family a lot, Do you introduce them to the readers as well?

Not really. I am kind of a reserved person, so I try to keep my personal life private.

Have you ever designed or wanted to design a tangle?

Yes, I have a couple tangles I have designed. I have only published one so far  in my blog, it is called “Deco Scrolls”  you can find the post here (http://iamcraftygirl.weebly.com/blog/deco-scrolls-my-new-tangle-pattern)  I haven’t  had the time to add the other ones yet… but it is definitely in my to do list.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

To enjoy life at the fullest, to be a great Mom and Wife; to become more spiritual and compassionate, to see every day the beauty around me even in the most simple things; to be healthy and happy and to be able to touch other lives thru my work.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

I would love to be able to touch others thru my Art, to bring them a moment of joy, peace or love with it. If it inspire them even if for a moment it would be amazing.

Is there anything you would like the readers to know about your blog we haven’t covered?

I would like to say that I am not an expert in the subject, in fact I think of myself as beginner; but I make an effort explaining which supplies I used and techniques so it can help anyone who is just starting.

Don’t just take my word for it, please visit her blog and let her know that you saw her here on “Sunday Showcase.”

As always, If you would like your blog to be featured on here, please do not hesitate to email me at craftyartistkc@gmail.com and I would love to feature you next sunday.

Zen Art Challenge with Mindful Creativity – Days 15-22

Yay! We have reached week 3 in this months challenge. I know I am late posting this but life is crazy right now and I left this post in my drafts section. Normally I schedule the post and it works out great, however, this time I failed miserably at it. I had been trying my best to do only mono tangles, but as you can tell towards the end, I had to start combining them. Also, You might notice that I have eight days included instead of just seven. This is due to how I combined them. The fourth and final post will include all the tangles up into the end of the month. You won’t want to miss it!


Day 15 – ‘Unknown’

This border tangle looked way too snake-like for me, so I just went with it. I penciled in a log because I am just not sure if I am going to keep it or not. I felt like this tangle needed a background. Until I figure out what the background should be, I am just going to leave it penciled like this. What are your thoughts on a possible background? Let me know in the comments below, as I am always open for suggestions.

Day 16 – Breach

This is hands-down one of my favorites so far. Instead of doing each petal the same, I thought it would be wonderful to do a variation sampler of sorts. I love the way it turned out and how different each pattern came out. I embellished the ends with another tangle called beadlines. I think it finished it up nicely and complimented the main focus tangle.

Day 17 – Lacy, Day 18 – Jasmine, Day 19 – Deelish

I decided to mix all of these up into one mandala. How awesome did it turn out? You be the judge. I will say that I really enjoyed forcing myself out of my comfort zone with this one. Started the center out with Lacy. I decided to use stippling as the shading for the center of each square, I think that it gave it another dimension. The next layer is Jasmine. Now I will say that I did not like the examples of this tangle at all. it didn’t make sense to me as a grid pattern. It made more sense to me as a full circle or a border pattern, so I used it here. I did a little embellishing adding a single petal between each, but it worked out fantastically. Finishing it off with Deelish. This pattern is so versatile. I decided to bring the stippling out to the border to give the whole piece a finishing touch.

Day 20 – Strimonds, Day 21 – Zixts, Day 22 – Balloya

So as you can tell, I decided to do another combination piece. Combining tangles is always something that requires a little thought in how you want the finished product to look like.  In the very center, I decided to add the Strimonds as the centerpiece. This pattern is a great filler for most but it didn’t appeal to me, so I didn’t want much space to be covered with this tangle. I surrounded it with my rendition of Balloya. All of the examples have this pattern with three sides, however, I knew that I needed this to be the bulk of the piece. Finally, I decided to embellish the outer area with Zixts. Its such a fun tangle and worked well with Strimonds, as they looked very similar. All in all, I really can appreciate the color shading which brought a little, fun, into the piece as well.

I would love to know what your favorite tangle mentioned in this post was. Please let me know in the comments below.

All About Paper!

There are so many different types of paper out there. How are we to know what is the best type of paper to buy for the project we want to do. Well, I am here to give a little insight into the different types of paper. Although there is not enough time in the day to go through every type of paper, I will go through some features of paper that you should be looking for, according to which project you want to complete.

FIBERS

What you may not realize is that paper is not just made from trees. A sheet of paper is basically mingled fibers from various resources to include, but not limited to cotton, linen, jute, hemp, rice straw, cellulose, and bamboo. Of all the things paper can be made from, cotton and cellulose are the main types that are available. Cotton paper is considered high quality and can withstand multiple erasings.  If the paper is made of 100% cotton, it can last 100 years or more. There are papers of less cotton percentage that will not last as long and can become fuzzy if manipulated heavily. Cellulose paper is paper made from wood pulp. This type of paper has an acidic compound that destroys or breaks down the paper over time. This type of paper does not usually last long and is biodegradable. There are additives that can extend the life, but these types of paper are usually the least quality.

WEIGHT

One thing to remember is that usually thicker paper can handle the wetter medium. Traditional papers are measured by weight using pounds or grams per square meter (GSM). Inconsistencies of the measurements using pounds have led to using the GSM more often.  When the paper is measured using gsm, the weight of the paper will not change when the size of the paper.  changes.

SIZE

Sizing makes the paper more water-resistant and keeps inks and watercolors bright. Sizing also affects the paper’s archival quality.  There are two ways to size paper, Internal and External. Internal sizing is done while the paper is still in liquid pulp form, while external sizing is applied to the surface after the sheet has dried. These sizing methods can be combined or done independently depending on the needs of the paper being made.

FINISHES

Rough paper is designed by not pressing the paper as it is drying. This paper is good for transparent watercolors or pastels.

Cold Press paper, which is the most popular, is a handmade paper created by repressing a wet sheet.  Machines can also make cold press paper by passing it between rollers. Cold press papers soak up the water quickly and have some texture to it which means it dries pretty quickly.

Hot Press paper is created by running a freshly formed sheet through heated rollers. This creates a very smooth surface that gives you more time to play and manipulate the color on the paper.

Drawing paper has different characteristics that depend solely on the type of media being used. This can include ink, pencils, crayon, charcoal, and markers.

FORMAT

Single sheets may require tape or weights to keep the edges down depending on which media is being used.

Sketchbooks are a great way to take your art on the go. Although this format is typically used for dry medias, there has been a rise in mixed medias being used as well. It all depends on what you want to keep in your travel case.

Blocks are stacks of paper that are glued together on two or more sides are adhered to a backing board. While only one sheet can be used at a time, this format keeps the paper stretched out.

Rolls are usually in economical sizes and can take a more rectangle shape depending on the needs of the piece.

COMMON TYPES

Copy Paper is best used for handwriting and printing. It has a medium weight and has a very smooth texture. I use copy paper for my sketching. It is thin enough that when I’m ready for a final draft or inking, the light from my light box will shine through perfectly.

Cardstock is a mixture between paper and cardboard. It is best used for card-making, paper crafts or other free standing projects. I have noticed that with cardstock, wet medium tends to bleed or feather out further from the original line drawn.

Construction paper is best used for kids crafts. It is lightweight and has a rough texture. It is perfect for a quick project like a paper chain or bulletin board, where the individual creations are not saved long term.

Tissue Paper is very thin, almost translucent and can be used to make a stained glass effect. Tissue paper is used is so many crafts as well as gift bags. The possibilities are pretty ingenious if you take the time to research projects it involves.

Art Papers are usually very high quality with special attention to archival techniques.  These papers are usually more expensive than any other type of paper and are for final drafts, photographs, and cover a wide variety of mediums.


Final Note: As I said in the beginning, creating a post that went over every type of paper would be too exhaustive. There are literally hundreds of paper types I didn’t mention but I hope to add different types of paper to my art review supplies in the future.  If you have a specific request for a type of paper, let me know in the comments below. I look forward to creating with you!

July 2017 Sketchbox Grab Box

So, here is a special treat for you. I received the Grab Box. Now because I am new to Sketchbox, I am not sure how often they release Grab Boxes, but according to the website, it sold out in a matter of days last time, so I pre-ordered mine. Boy was I surprised when it showed up. It was heavy and you could tell it was packed with a lot of great products!

Usually, I do my unboxing straight on the camera, but because this was a special box, I wanted to make sure I did my research on the products. I’m happy that I did open it because there was no product description card. So, let’s go through everything that came inside. The box cost $49.00 and I didn’t pay to ship.

Cretacolor Oil Pencil Pocket Set-6pk – $16.55

Zig lean Color Real Brush Pens, Deep Color Set, 4pk – $11.22

KUM Wedge Sharpener – $4.13

Spectra AD Twin Marker – Tan (087) – $9.67

Generals Charcoal – 2pk – $4.83

Derwent Blender & Burnisher – $9.73

2 Zig Art & Graphic Twin Markers – $13.26 ea

Ironlak – Permanent Marker 0.4mm – $4.00

Fabriano Ecoqua Notebook – $7.76

Tombow Color Pencil Set Recycle Tin – 12pc – $14.99

Prismacolor Scholar Kneaded Eraser – $5.12

Faber-Castell Eraser Pencils 2pk – $6.00 (Blick)

TOTAL = $120.52

Now, something I should mention is that I priced all of these items according to Amazon.  The only thing I couldn’t find on the Amazon Website was the Faber-Castell Eraser Pencil pack at the bottom of the list. With these prices, I saved $71.52 on art supply products of high quality. This is a great deal for anyone who wants to try something new and challenge themselves to use new products. You never know if you are good at the different mediums if you never try them. Ok, let’s go through each product now.


Cretacolor Oil Pencil Pocket Set – 6pk – $11.55

I have never used Oil Pencils so I will have to research how they work before I can give you a review. But according to the information, they will not smear and are effective on multiple surfaces. The six colors that came in this pack are classic white, sanguine, sepia light, sepia dark, nero-soft, nero-extra soft.

Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens, Deep Color Set, 4pk – $11.22

The colors that came with this set are Dark Pink, Deep Blue, Olive Green and LIght Brown. I have tried these only to show the colors. I did notice that they did not bleed through the Fabriano Sketchbook that also came with this box. These brush pens claim to be blendable, but I have yet to blend them.

KUM Wedge Sharpener – $4.13

This sharpener is not like the average sharpener you get for everyday pencils. The feel of this is so nice, as well as the fact that it comes with an additional blade screwed into the side for when the initial one gets dull. This sharpener is made of magnesium alloy and made in Germany.

Spectra AD Twin Marker – Tan (087) – $9.67

This product looks like a Copic marker in that the barrel is shaped with flat edges to prevent it from rolling off the table. It claims that the cap matches the ink closely. When I tested this ink out on the Fabriano Sketchbook included in this box, the ink bled horribly onto the back side, I am not sure if this pen requires a different type of paper or if it just drops a lot of ink. Until I have a full set and can experiment with different types of paper, I can’t be for certain.

Generals Charcoal – 2pk – $4.83

Let me put out a disclaimer to let you know that I have never used charcoal before, however, when I used them to test them in the sketchbook, I found that they act just like I would think charcoal would. It smeared and smudged and ended up all over the side of my hand, but the color was smooth, rich and intense. The two I got were 2B and 6B, but it comes in HB, 2B, 4B and 6B.

Derwent Blender & Burnisher – $9.73

I tested the blender out with the color pencils that we will mention below and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with how rich the color pencil was after using it. I haven’t used the Burnisher and if you know exactly how I would love to know in the comments below.

2 Zig Art & Graphic Twin Markers – $13.26 ea

I got two beautiful colors. Sky Blue and  English Lavender. These look like they are going to be fun to use. I thought about using them in my bullet journal because I thought that maybe with the muted colors, it would be pretty, but when I tried them out, they showed a little darker than I thought they would. These will require more testing before I can really let you know what I think.

Ironlak – Permanent Marker 0.4mm – $4.00

I used this in the sketchbook and it bled through. This reminded me a lot of a Sharpie, the way it bled through the paper, and yet it was very rich in color. I did not really see anything that sets this permanent marker from any of the others on the market.

Fabriano Ecoqua Notebook – $7.76

Let me tell you, I was so skeptical of this sketchbook. I thought for sure that everything would bleed through the pages because they seemed thin and very smooth. I received the Rasberry Color, 40 pages, 5.8″x8.25″, 85gsm/60lb plain sketchbook. It was made in Italy. After using all the different products, which I will show you in my art supply review, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the pages stood up against the testing. The pages are extremely smooth and I used mixed media to create a full art piece.

Tombow Color Pencil Set Recycle Tin – 12pc – $14.99

Beautifully crafted with recycled cedar wood and finger joint technology which reduces waste and conserves our environment and forests. Lead is hard and dense for precise details and sharp lines, strong pigment for deep color saturation, blending and layers. Set is packaged in a reusable metal tin. Even though Tombow is a Japan-based company, these were made in Vietnam.

Prismacolor Scholar Kneaded Eraser – $5.12

I have seen a lot of artists using kneaded erasers, so I was excited when I saw this in the box. Kneaded erasers can be molded and shaped in any way so that you can erase fine lines or wider lines. It can be used with chalk, charcoal, pastels and color pencils. Once you have used the eraser, all you have to do is knead it like clay for it to clean itself. Therefore, these erasers tend to last a while. Eventually, you will have to replace it, but really the price is so low, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a few.

Faber-Castell Eraser Pencils 2pk – $6.00 (Blick)

So I get the concept of this and I have always wondered why there wasn’t an eraser that was just as fine as the line you were drawing. Well, now there is. I watched a video where the artist claimed that these erasers were amazing for him because he worked with very fine details. He claimed that although he had several kneaded erasers, they just didn’t get as fine as these did. These erasers are ideal for erasing graphite, ink, India ink and ballpoint pen. It is soft for smear-free erasing. I could not find these on the Amazon website, but Blick does have them for the price mentioned above.


So, there you have it! A detailed description of all the items that came in July 2017 Grab Box. Be on the lookout for the next one as they sell out quickly. I know I will be purchasing the next one when it comes available.  All in all, I feel like this box was very much so worth the price. Everything in this box is something that I will use in the future.  If you would like to get your hands on this sketchbox, or any in the future, please use this link so that I can get a credit to use towards next month’s box.

Showcase Sunday #15 – Kathryn Costa

In this week’s Showcase Sunday, I would like to introduce you to Kathryn Costa, and her website 100mandalas.com.   She is the author of “The Mandala Guidebook: How to Draw, Paint, and Color Expressive Mandala Art” and the host of the “100 Mandalas Challenge.” I was blessed to meet Kathryn for the first time during one of her annual events called Mandalafest! It was a blast not only learning new things, but also participating in some of the most beautiful live videos she presented! I highly recommend attending her events, you won’t be disappointed! Before you jump over there, I would like for you to read her story and be as blessed as I am to know about her 100 mandala challenge.


Her Story!

I started blogging nine years ago and my blogging style has changed a lot over the years. My first blog was named Collage Diva named after my love for cutting and gluing paper to create collages. Those early posts were pretty simple with photos of my current projects and a few little details. Eventually, I connected up with other bloggers who shared my interest in art journaling. With each blog post, I began to develop more confidence as a writer. I found my voice as I shared the challenges of being a single mother. I became and still am so hooked on creating and connecting with people all over the world. The encouragement that I received from my new online friends kept the blog posts coming.

Ever since I started blogging, my hope was to make a living using my creativity and teaching skills. I had so many ideas for books and workshops, but it always seemed like someone else was already doing what I had in mind. My inner critic would speak up asking, “What do you have to offer that is unique?”


Finally, after six years of blogging, I found my focus! I decided to give myself the challenge to create 100 mandalas in 100 days and invite my online friends to join me. At the time of starting the challenge, I had an idea for a book that would become my first publication called, “The Mandala Guidebook: How to Draw, Paint, and Color Expressive Mandala Art.” I launched a new website dedicated to mandalas.


Today, my online presence is focused on creating workshops to teach others how to draw mandalas and on how to interpret the meaning of their mandalas. I also host community mandala projects where members of my online community contribute to a group mandala.


Working a full-time job to pay the bills has been the biggest challenge as it takes a lot of time and dedication to build a creative business. A day doesn’t go by when I’m not creating a new lesson, working up a video, or promoting my website. It is a ton of work, but I love every minute of it.

Her Interview:

What inspired you to get into blogging?

A friend of mine was blogging and encouraged me to give it a try.

Have you ever had any formal training or education in your blog subject?

My current blog/website is all about mandalas. I completed the Mandala Certificate Program with Susanne Fincher which is focused on creating mandalas for insight and meaning.

What was your greatest challenge and how did you learn from it?

The greatest challenge is balancing the day job, that pays the bills and keeping up with all of the aspects of running my business. In the last three years, I’ve had a really clear focus, but it has taken the time to build the workshops and promote what I have to offer. I’m learning to be more patient and to trust that I’m on track.

Who has influenced you the most with your blog?

When I first started blogging nine years ago, I was following artist Michelle Ward. I love her teaching and artistic style as well as how she engages her audience.

How much time do you spend blogging in any given week?

My time has really shifted to supporting members of my online community with weekly features, workshop lessons, webinars, etc. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time for creating blog posts these days.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

Blogging started as a hobby but has turned into a marketing tool to help me promote my creative business.

What is your passion?

I’m crazy about creating and connecting with people all over the world. I think of myself as an instigator of creativity. The focus of my work has been teaching others the joys of creating mandalas. I love teaching and seeing students make discoveries and have fun with learning.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

Ultimate goal? That’s a tough one. I would say to live a creative and happy life and inspire others to do the same.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

My hope is that I will be remembered for my creativity, teachings, and positive outlook on life.


Don’t just take my word for it, please visit her blog and let her know that you saw her here on “Sunday Showcase.”

As always, If you would like your blog to be featured on here, please do not hesitate to email me at craftyartistkc@gmail.com and I would love to feature you next Sunday.

 

What did my first mandala look like?

I remember my first mandala. I wasn’t even trying to make a mandala, I just thought it was pleasing to look at. I toyed around with the different colors and just tried to make it fun. Then someone told me to try for more detail. I just tried different designs until I saw something I liked. As you can see in the first few, They are VERY similar.

As I progressed, I started making more details, trying new things. I fell in love with mandalas. It was here that I was introduced to Zentangle. What is zentangle you ask? Well, It is a progression of 3 or fewer strokes that create a pattern. They are very easy strokes that I would venture to say that anyone could follow. The beauty of zentangle is that there are no mistakes. You just have to keep building, and you would be amazed at what comes out.

All of the sudden, I decided to make them permanent.  I used a pen, Staedtler pens to be exact. I will say that the one tip or suggestion I would give is that if you think you made a mistake, just continue to make it all the way around. You’d be surprised how many mistakes I made in the following Mandala.

And just like that, I was born. I found such relaxation in the patterns and the strokes of my art. I became addicted. I watched YouTube videos galore. and I just went with it. Being the OCD person that I am, I found that it was easy to “fix” my mistakes by following them through.

What do you think about these? The patterns are mesmerizing. I have decided any mandala I do, I want to be bigger and more detailed than the last. I want to add new patterns or design my own.  I would love any suggestions that you might have on how to make these even better!!

Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Zen Art Challenge with Mindful Creativity – Days 8-14

Here we are, week two of the Zen Art Challenge and I am very pleased with the way the first week went. This week seemed to push me a little future out of my comfort zone and forcing me to create pieces that I otherwise wouldn’t have attempted. This is great for me because I need that push sometimes.

Now I don’t participate in a lot of challenges, frankly because I’m crazy busy, but I love the relaxed challenges like this one that has allowed me to express myself daily and educate myself on new patterns.  Learning something new every day is a goal that I’ve had for quite some time. Whether it is a weird factoid, a crazy pattern, or some hidden gem about a family member; learning something every day has helped me stay focused on always bettering myself as a person. You should try it! One day I will have the time to keep track of all these nuggets I learn, but for now, I make mental notes on these.

Okay! Without further hesitation, I present to you week two of the Zen Art Challenge for the month of July!


Day Eight – Snow White Flower

The wonderful thing about this pattern is its simplicity. I have never been drawn to a flower such as this, but it would make a beautiful art piece just in of itself. I toyed around with different ways to integrate this pattern, and truly the best way is to group it. Although you can face this either direction I thought they were beautiful all facing one way. I also added some fescue at the bottom just to fill in some lines and then a swirl frame just to add an interesting element.

 

Day Nine – Turned Over

This pattern was… how do you say? Complicated? Let me explain. The pattern itself is great as a string, It flows wonderfully. I thought of using it as a string separating some other designs, but in the end, I felt like they looked better as a single unit.  They looked like flies, and what eats flies? Well, I’m sure a lot of things, but I decided on the Frog. Now, something you should understand is, I do not draw people or animals. I can not ever get the proportions correct and it ends up frustrating me to no end. But, I thought I would try a little Frog. The environment I put the pattern in looked better than the frog itself, but it was the best I could do today. Maybe later in life, I will focus more on animals, but for now, I’d like to just enjoy abstract patterns and mandala.

Day 10 – Urban Spinner

What can I say about this pattern? At first, I was very skeptical that I could even do the pattern, but I at least knew I didn’t want to draw a whole page of this tangle. I have been trying my best not to join the tangles together through this challenge and instead challenge myself to complete only mono tangles per day. This is where I was torn with what exactly to do with this one. Wait, torn? YES! That’s it! And that is how this one was born!

Day 11 – Triaxal

This tangle was very very boring to me. I decided to spruce it up with a lot more tangles and designs without using any of the tangles from the other days of the challenge. Overall, It seems like the ones that I am the most unsure about are the ones that I get the most responses on. Most of my followers loved the colors that I chose on this. Since I am still learning colors, I just tried to make it look pretty.

Day 12 – Tulips

Okay, I went way overboard on this tangle but just look at the results. I couldn’t believe that so much has been added to the original tangle. I felt like this looked like lace or a Christmas tree. Either way, because the tangle name was Tulips, I knew that I needed to make sure it looked like a garden! I love the way this one turned out and it looks way more difficult than it was to draw. If you want to add some things to a tangle to make it look more intense, just remember that whatever you change, change it the same way each time.

Day 13 – Liefie

When I first saw this tangle, I was a little hesitant. I wasn’t sure how I could turn this tangle into something that I could actually be proud of. In my opinion, this tangle was complete. There was no way to build on it until I figured out a way to introduce it in the shape of a mandala. When I was done with this, I was proud of this dainty work of art.

Day 14 – Feather

There is no way I could NOT like this tangle. I use it so often in one form or another. I couldn’t help but turn this into a beautiful crown fit for a beautiful island princess. Of course, it didn’t start out that way. I wouldn’t lie to you like that. All I know is that I love grouping tangles like this together. By the time it was over, it looked like this. Sometimes I don’t plan out the piece and it turns out sorta Meh, however, this one made me brush the eraser shavings off my shoulder in an “I meant to do that the whole time” sorta way.

So, here we are at the end of week 2 and I am just loving this challenge a little more every day. What was your favorite tangle mentioned in this post? Let me know in the comments below!

Look Beyond Yourself

I saved your child on the playground

While watching mine have a blast,

I smile and nod when your child told you,

When you come around at last.

I picked up what you dropped before me,

You didn’t give it a second thought,

You just kept walking away clueless,

With your mind on what you haven’t bought.

I actively listened to you on your time,

When you’ve experienced injustice,

When your day is the worst you’ve had,

And today more than before you’re pissed.

I add-on more tasks than I can handle,

Because only I can do them right,

You pile the work on top of my stack,

Because you know I don’t put up a fight.

But who is watching my kids,

When I need adult interaction.

Who picks up after me,

If I space out in action,

Who is there to listen to my thoughts,

When I feel so close to breaking down,

Who can I delegate tasks to,

Without making a inconvenienced sound.

You see someone put together,

You think everything is just fine.

But if you took the time to look closer,

You would see me slowly dying

So when you have someone on your life,

That constantly gives all they’ve got,

Make sure you help refill their tank,

Before one day you find their not.

I wrote this poem this morning. I look around me at people who try their best to be everything to everyone. They want to make sure that everyone is taken care of. They wouldn’t allow someone to feel bad because of them. They have such a high amount of Empathy, that they are often forgotten, swept under a rug or take advantage of.

So I wrote this to ask you to just look beyond your own circle. Find these people in your life and make sure you tell them how important they are. Make it your priority to build up the people around you and actively listen when someone is in need.

Have you ever felt like this?

My Creative Gene Giver

Let me first start off by letting you know that my mother is one of the most talented painters I’ve ever had the opportunity to hang out with. She can draw pretty much anything and her hand-lettering is to die for, seriously! You will hear me talk about my mom a lot and that is because she and I are an amazing team when it comes to party planning, painting, home decorating, and teaching. She has skills that are unmatched for sure. So let me get to the project!

For this project you will need:

  • A wooden stool or bench of your choice.
  • Sandpaper
  • Washcloth
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paintbrush

I got my bench from Hollar.com . If you sign up through this link, not only do you earn a $2 bonus, but so do I! I spent $4 on each stool. They came perfectly packaged in their own boxes and seem quite sturdy. Believe me when I tell you that my 2 and 3 year old will put these through rigorous testing. I sent them home with my mom, and they came back better than I could even imagine!

First you want to sand the area you are going to paint. This insures that you have a smooth surface to work on. After you have sanded the paint area, you want to use a washcloth to clean up the wood. I would just dampen the washcloth to make sure you get all the dust before you begin. After you have created your design with pencil, it is time to start painting. Be sure to let each layer dry before adding another so that you do not gunk up the paint. After you are happy with your design, I would suggest a clear coat sprayed over the top to keep the pattern from chipping or wearing off prematurely.

As you can tell, my Madi loves animals and Miles loves trucks, so it only seemed fitting to design theirs accordingly. Once my kids saw these, they immediately wanted to sit them down as snack benches. They have done really well with only messing with their own bench because each of their names are are them.

Let me know in the comments what your favorite part of this project is. I look forward to creating with you!

 

Showcase Sunday #14 – Katie Logue

In this week’s Showcase Sunday, I would love to introduce you to Katie Logue and her blog, Perfectlyimperfect32wordpress. The first thing I noticed about her blog is her witty post titles such as Gone with the Rain and Into the Abyss. If her blog titles don’t draw you in close enough for a deeper look, than the fact that she is just an ordinary mom, like the rest of us should. Her posts are real, informative and just honest. All of those characteristics I respect deeply in a fellow bloggist. Before you run to go check her out, and believe me, you are missing out if you don’t, learn a little more about here in the interview below.


What made you get into blogging?

I never actually intended on blogging. In March of 2015, I submitted a piece for publication to Scarymommy.com. Much to my surprise and delight, they picked it up. Here is the link to the piece.Part of their publication process called for a link to my blog (that was non-existent), so I jumped online and created my blog,perfectlyimperfect32wordpress, on WordPress. The rest is history!

Have you ever been published anywhere else?

Yes, I have been published elsewhere. In addition to Scarymommy.com, my work has been featured on HerViewFromHome.com, EnigmaLife.com, and BlastingNews.com.

Have you ever had any formal training or education in your blog subject?

I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a minor in Art History. My education has greatly helped me develop my skills as a writer and blogger.

Which is your favorite piece that you have written so far?

Wow, this is a hard question. I love each of my pieces for different reasons. If I had to pick one I would say, When Gastric Bypass Surgery Goes Horribly Wrong (http://herviewfromhome.com/when-gastric-bypass-surgery-goes-horribly-wrong/) is my favorite. I chose this piece as my favorite because of the information it contains and the potential it has to hopefully spare someone from the horrific experience I had.

What is your favorite genre to write?

My favorite genre to write is non-fiction. Poetry is a very close second.

What was your greatest failure and how did you learn from it?

Honestly, I can’t identify my greatest failure. Of course, I’ve experienced failures in my life, but I am a firm believer that every life experience, good or bad, teaches us valuable lessons.

Who has influenced you the most with your blog?

My son, Jack, is my greatest source of inspiration for my blog. My life and life experiences are also great sources of inspiration to me.

How much time do you spend blogging in any given week?

On average I spend between 3 and 5 hours blogging weekly

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

Blogging started as a hobby but is slowly developing into my profession

What is your passion?

Without a doubt, writing is and always has been my life’s passion.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

My ultimate goal in life is to write my memoir. I have started drafting my memoir. I do believe  I am ways away from completing it though. At only 33 years old, I have much more life to live before telling my story.

Have you ever started a piece for it to be finished by another author?

I have never created a piece of writing that has been finished by another writer

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

I would like to leave a collection of my writings as my legacy, so that my work may live on infinitely

Is there anything you want the readers to know about your blog we haven’t covered?

I would like readers to know that my blog is the truest, most honest, and raw expression of myself. I give my whole self; mind, body, and soul to the pieces I create for my blog.


Don’t just take my word for it, please visit her blog and let her know that you saw her here on “Sunday Showcase.”

As always, If you would like your blog to be featured on here, please do not hesitate to email me at craftyartistkc@gmail.com and I would love to feature you next sunday.

Zen Art Challenge with Mindful Creativity – Days 1 – 7

I was in the middle of my day to day operations with my creative business when I received a message from my friend Shri informing me of this zen art challenge. I was a little hesitant because this is my birth month and typically is one of my busiest.  But, with the relaxed rules, it seemed like the challenge for me.  This challenge is a different zentangle pattern per day, drawn anyway you would like, and on any day you would like. Her challenge is to learn a new pattern and use it in a new way each day. Essentially, practicing every day will make you better at it.

Although this has always been my mindset, sometimes I sit down and wonder what will come out of the pen or pencil in my hand. This gives me a vacation from thinking something up, instead it pushes me out of my comfort zone and forces me to think outside the box to create something new. I have enjoyed the challenge so far. I am hoping to post weekly to show you the ones I have completed so far. So let’s get started!


Day One – LaFlor

This pattern is one that I learned previously but haven’t really experimented with it since I learned it. I decided that the best thing for me to do here is to fill my sketchbook as well as experiment with some color. Let me tell you that I really feel like I should have penciled this out first because the bottom one looks a little off to me. But here it is:

Day Two – C-Yeah

This pattern is completely new to me. I thought that I would continue with the color theme and try to do something different. However, I feel like now that I have experimented with it a little, I could see it as a part of my floral designs I love to do.

Day Three – Spinrose

Okay, This one I actually really love. When I first looked up the pattern I was not amused by its simplicity. But I knew that I could make something amazing out of it. So I drew it out like the instructions say, and I drew it again, and I even drew it a third time.  Then all at once in clicked! I knew I was making a mandala from this. I am so happy with how it turned out and I hope that you are too!


Day Four – Pystyl
This pattern is new to me. Its not a crazy cool pattern, but I had to make use of it anyways. Other than making it a flower, I really didn’t see the pattern going beyond a stand alone piece. Which is okay by me because I like to add little elements in my drawings that I have seen and use them in a way that is a little non-traditional. With that said, I am pretty sure that I will be using this one in the future.


Day Five – Boundary
This pattern was  very fun. The possibilities were endless. I love everything that I have seen with these, but of course, I am always drawn to the mandala and therefore, I worked on integrating this in my current piece. it worked out perfectly, in my opinion. Once I was done with the mandala, I wanted to add some design elements at the bottom that would elongate the mandala. Almost to the point of it moving towards a dream catcher.

Day Six – Kurllz

This pattern was so weird and it has gotten several reactions from those that have seen it. Either it looks like beads on ribbon, which was the objective, or it looks like tape worms. There is no in between. Regardless of what anyone else says, I love this pattern and will definitely be using it in the future. It just works wonderfully as a divider for multiple patterns on one page.


Day Seven – OOF
I need to confess something about this pattern. I hate it, well, hated it. I felt like it was beautiful in the right setting but by itself, it just wasn’t very appealing to me. So, in the way that I do, I had to figure out the best way to display all the elements of this pattern without taking away from the pattern’s simplicity. I only did it by creating an overlay of  rings to make it visually interesting enough for me to be able to share it with others.

Okay so there is the first week of zentangle patterns. Check back again next week as I share patterns 8-14. Let me know in the comments, which of these patterns are your favorite and which are you least favorite. I look forward to hearing from you all! And remember, if you want to join in this challenge, it is never too late.

July 2017 Premium Sketchbox

Every month, I receive a Sketchbox. This month, I have the premium box for $35 plus $5 shipping. The basic box is $25 plus $5 shipping. When you look at all the products inside, they all retail for around this. Now there are things that come every month, this includes; Sketchbox Sticker, Artist of the month box, Artist of the month tile, and a product description card. I will go through each of these items in detail below so that you can see what you get for the price. This is my second month getting it. If you don’t want to read this post, you can watch the video below of the un-boxing here.

In every box you get a special inspiration piece from the featured artist of the month. The artist creates something from everything that is offered in the box each month. You can read more about the Artists of the month by clicking here. This month we received this gem:

Ok, let’s get started on everything you get in the box and I will have pictures to give you a good look at each product. First off, let’s take a look at everything you get.

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 10 set – $18.00

Custom Alumicolor Pocket Scale – $6.75

First Look – Derwent Precision .7mm Pencil – $9.99

2x Derwent Procolour Pencils – $2.89/ea

Sakura Microperm .45 mm – $2.79

Total Retail: $43.31

Staedtler Triplus fineliner 10 set – $18.00

“These fineliners offer a super fine 0.3mm porous point. which are protected from damage by a metal-clad tip which make them perfect for using with your new alumicolor pocket scale!” – Product Description Card

First off, Staedtler is like my go-to brand when I look for pens to create art with. Last year for my birthday, my now fiance’, purchased a set of 36 colors. Immediate I fell in love with all the colors and use these pens for anytime I want to add color. I also love to use them when coloring fine details because the time is the perfect size for that. In my opinion, you can never have too many of these pens and I am always excited when I see them in my hands.

CUSTOM Alumicolor Pocket scale – $6.75

“We partnered with Alumicolor to bring you this custom Sketchbox edition pocket scale! Alumicolor rulers are more than just functional pieces — they’re durable and beautifully designed professional tools. The scale itself is anodized into the ruler’s surface rather than being printed or etched, so that it never wears off.” – Product description card

This is a product that I haven’t ever used before, but I have an idea about what I want to do with it. Because it is so durable and comes with its own case, I thought this would be the perfect tool to add to my on-the-go art supplies that I like to keep with me in my purse. I pull out these supplies when I complete my Lunchtime Challenges and when I have a few minutes to create.  This is the perfect addition to that collection because of its size and the measurements at a glance.

Derwent Precision .7mm – $9.99

“We partnered with Derwent to give you the exclusive first look at their new mechanical pencil. The Precision Mechanical Pencil features a premium metal barrel and a high quality comfortable hold. This pencil is designed for detailed line drawing or technical work” – Product description card

I am always on the lookout for a good mechanical pencil.  I doodle a lot and typically I just use anything I can get my hands on, but that usually consists of a pencil that I need to sharpen, with the eraser worn down. This is going to be great for me because it is a very nice pencil. Holding in my hand, it has weight to it that tells me that the product is well built.  The weight is balanced and isn’t heavy on either side. I decided that I was going to tape the extra erasers to the extra lead that came with the pencil so that I always have them together.

Derwent Procolour Pencils – $2.89/ea

“The brand new Procolour range of colored pencils feature a strong pencil core with a smooth formulation and highly pigmented color laydown. These pencils offer increased blendability while maintaining a very strong core.” – Product description card

Being in America, the first thing I noticed is the spelling of color. I know that these color pencils are made in Britain so being spelled colour makes sense. That is just my ocd about spelling that comes out. Moving on, for these pencils to not come in a package, the tips were still fairly sharp, which makes me feel like they are fairly durable. I used them on some bright white cardstock so that I could see the colors and how they came out on paper and I’m pretty impressed with how the color on paper is extremely similar to the color on the pencil is what actually comes out on paper. As far as blending is concerned, these two colors aren’t the best and I wouldn’t typically blend them. So I wasn’t very impressed with the blending of these pencils.

Sakura Microperm .45 mm – $2.79

“Permanent micro-point ink pens that draw ultra fine lines. They will write on most surfaces, are quick drying and waterproof.” – Product description card

Sakura is a well known brand in the art world, especially if you know of zentangle practices. The various tips are so useful when trying to design different details. I tried writing with this on card stock and it didn’t skip wrote beautifully, however it did bleed. If I were to leave the tip in any place for any amount of time, it will create a circle that is bigger than the line.  I also wrote on the skin with this pen and it wrote perfectly. It didn’t smear or bleed out, the lines were really perfect.

All in all, I feel like this box was very much so worth the price of the premium subscription. Everything in this box is something that I will use in the future.  If you would like to get your hands on this sketchbook, or any in the future, please use this link so that I can get a credit to use towards next month’s box.

Showcase Sunday #13 – Rachel Poli

In this week’s Showcase Sunday, I would like to introduce you to Rachel Poli who is the author of her blog found here. There are several key elements to her blog that I would love to point out. First off, she offers guest posts on her blog. This is crucial to helping out other bloggers who have a lot to say, but people just don’t know where to find them. I love that she is passionate about everything she does, from being a teacher’s aid to giving a loving home to all her pets, which she explains in her About Me page! You should definitely go check her out and see how talented she is in so many different ways. But before you rush over there, take a moment to learn a little more about her from our interview below!


What made you get into blogging?

I first started blogging in 2012. I hope to be a published author in the near future and I had heard that having a blog was a great way to get your name out there, show off your writing, and to also be a good author platform.

Have you ever had any formal training or education in your blog subject?

Nope. My blog has grown and evolved a lot since I started five years ago. I’ve made mistakes, I haven’t blogged consistently the entire time, and the content hasn’t always been great. However, I’ve done research along the way and I’ve learned a lot from other bloggers.

What was your greatest failure and how did you learn from it?

This is a hard one… And I’m not saying I don’t make mistakes, because I do, but when it comes to the blog it’s hard to think of something. I guess I’d have to say not taking blogging seriously from the get-go. When I started in 2012 I wrote about anything and everything. I didn’t have a posting schedule. I would go months without publishing anything. It wasn’t until 2015 I decided to blog seriously. I’ve seen a huge difference in my views and followers and overall interaction on my blog these last three years than the first two years combined. And it’s still growing.

Who has influenced you the most with your blog?

Other bloggers and YouTubers. I see cool things that they do on their blogs such as giveaways and interactive things with their readers. They’re good ideas and they work so I think to myself, “I can do that!” Honestly, I don’t think my blog would have made it this far otherwise.

How much time do you spend blogging in any given week?

So much time! I spend two days a week working on my blogs (I have two and am working on a third). On those days I usually spend the majority of the day, like six to eight hours. The other days I end up working on my blogs for one to three hours. Now that I’m almost done with my day job, I’m sure I’ll be working on my blogs a lot more.

You mentioned ideas for 5 different blogs, why so many?

Simply because I love blogging and I have a lot of interests that I want to explore and share with everyone. I don’t know if half of these blogs will ever come to be, but it’s fun to think about them.

What is your favorite feature of your blog?

I currently have a lot of features on my blog and I’ve had a lot in the past that were retired… I’m going to choose two, because one is annual and one is all year round. I love my Short Story Sundays, every Sunday I post a short story or flash fiction. It gets my original writing out in the world and it challenges me to better my writing all the time. I also love Mystery Month, which happens every year during the month of June. Mystery is my favorite genre, so I write mystery flash fiction, post mystery book reviews, and write articles based on the genre.

Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

It started out as a hobby hoping to turn into much more. I do hope to make it a profession in the near future. My blog has already started down that path. It’s just a slow process and a lot of work.

What is your passion?

Anything creative. I have ideas for five different blogs, I’m working on a few novels I hope to get published soon, and I’ve most recently got into photography and filmmaking. Then, of course, video games.

What video game platform do you use (console or PC) and what are your favorite games?

I play any games on any platform, but my favorite are the consoles by Nintendo. I love the 3DS and I’m currently exploring the Switch. My all-time favorite games are anything Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda.

What is your ultimate goal in life?

My ultimate goal is to become a full-time writer. I want to be an author and blog all day long.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

I want to inspire the world with words and my journey. Like most people, I’ve had plenty of ups and downs in my life and I think they’re all learning and teachable moments. I think there are hidden messages and life lessons in everything we put our hearts into and I would love my books and blogs to be an inspiration. I want people to see what I do and say, “I can do that!”

What piece of advice would you offer new blogs that may also apply to veteran bloggers?

Have a schedule and work on your blog a little bit each day. When I first started, I didn’t realize how important a schedule was – not only to be consistent for your readers but also to get yourself into a routine. And I say to work on your blog each and every day because it’s a lot of work, more than you would think. Working on it every day keeps the blog fresh in your mind and you’re constantly thinking of new ideas and brainstorming posts so that you’ll never run out.

Is there anything you want the readers to know about your blog we haven’t covered?

Just that I put my heart and soul into my blog each and every day. I love connecting with other bloggers and talking to everyone through the comments and such. I’m amazed my blog has come so far in five years and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for it.


Don’t just take my word for it, please visit her blog and let her know that you saw her here on “Sunday Showcase.”

As always, If you would like your blog to be featured on here, please do not hesitate to email me at craftyartistkc@gmail.com and I would love to feature you next Sunday.

Zentangle Pattern Organizer

I created this pdf page so that you would be able to keep your patterns organized. I’ve looked all over and I have seen a bunch of how-to’s and such, but all of them require expensive notebooks and creating your own squares. Let me just say the one thing I agree with is creating the pattern yourself in each square, as opposed to just printing off the guide. This allows you to practice the pattern as well as putting your own creative touch on each.

So, I took the work out of it. You can print these off on any printer, using whatever paper you choose, and then you can put them together in different way.

Binder – You can create a 3 ring binder specifically designed for your zentangle patterns and step outs.  You can create tabs for each letter of the alphabet, or types of pattern (organic, mechanic, borders) or you can simply put the papers in the binder for your own reference.

Expandable File – This is a great way to keep things organized as well. Although the amount of zentangle patterns out there are so vast, you can start small and build up your inventory.

File Folders – If you have the space to make a folder for each letter of the alphabet and have it at your fingertips, I highly suggest this way. You don’t have to punch holes in the paper, You can  just pull them out when you want to and put them back easily. Also, once you build up your patterns, you will discover more ways to create storage that fits your space.

Download your Zentangle Pattern Sampler here!

I would love to know how you are going to organize your zentangle patterns. Please comment below!

 

2017 Sketchbook – Page 15

I am using this page as a sampler of sorts. These are a few zentangle patterns that I have not used very much if at all. The outermost pattern is called Doozaly. The curtain pattern I have seen drawn so many times but this is the only time I have ever attempted it myself. I can’t find where I saw it before, but once I do find it I will update this post. Finally the one in the center is called Spoon Flowers. These are all my own ways of creating and modifying the patterns that I see. I wanted to create something that was just interesting.

Have you ever used these patterns before? If so, link your modifications below.

Under The Sea Themed Birthday Party!

So, I want to start out by saying that I take a lot of pride in my family. I always go out of my way and make every birthday party big because I didn’t get that growing up. My sister’s birthday is 8 days before mine so we always shared a party and it was never anything grand in today’s terms.  I love my humble beginnings because it taught me how to appreciate more today. I am now at the point in my life where I have birthdays in pairs all over. 2 in February (currently 8 F, and 17 M), 2 in June (currently 2M and 3 F) 2 in July (currently 20M Twins) and 1 in November (currently 17). I even throw a party in there for myself in July (19th) and it’s usually a bunch of friends and family (kid-friendly party), and we bbq, play games and just have a great time hanging out with each other.

Since I started having kids, I always promised myself that I would give them the memorable themed parties I had dreamt about. The wonderful thing about these parties is that I do as much as I possibly can, by myself. I don’t hire in an event coordinator, or a cook, or whatever. I start planning out the party MONTHS in advance. I know that life happens sometimes and I don’t want there ever to be an excuse why I couldn’t give more to my children. So let’s run through this process together. I will link up some of the items that I did to those blogs posts for the details.

First off, I bought a lot of my decorations from a website called Hollar.com. You will see me mention this website throughout my blog posts. It is an amazing online store where you can find everyday items for less.  This is a staple in my party planning and I sprinkle the purchases throughout the months leading up to the party. However, I would give every order at least 2 weeks to deliver, so watch that date when you are ordering close to party time!

Ok, let’s get started! When I decided on the birthday theme, I knew that I needed to start collecting blues, greens and white! Those are universal colors so I knew I wouldn’t have a hard time finding them. So I started out with the basics to include table cloths, balloons, and swirls. I tend to purchase solid color decorations that can be used over and over again, to build up my party inventory!

After I gathered all the supplies up, I started putting on my creative hat to design theme specific items. I started with the outdoor water sponges. These sea sponges were fairly easy to make and they are still holding up long after the party. You can see the step-by-step process here.

After I got the outdoor games setup, to include water sponges (pictured above), sandbox (birthday gift) and kiddie pool, I decided to turn my attention to indoors. I started with the gift table. I wanted to create a guard of some sort for the gift table. That is always a big focal point in the party and I wanted it to be noticeable. You can see the tutorial here.

After the guard was done, I moved to the mood lighting in the kitchen to go over the food table. What a better way to create mood lighting than a blue light coming from a jellyfish. I took the light over the table and hung ribbon, swirls and streamers to act as the many tentacles. You can see that tutorial here.

Next, I wanted to work on the birthday banner. I knew that my wall was going to be underwater so the logical banner would be a school of fish.  I really like the way the banner turned out and it was personalized not only to my kids, but to the party theme. You can see that tutorial here.

After I got the focal point, banner, done on the wall, I wanted to create more of a scene behind it so it didn’t look out of place at all. So, I had my kids help put googly eyes on some paper fish, I twisted streamers for seaweed, and my mom drew some under the sea characters to sprinkle around the house. I couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome. It was better than I could have imagined. I don’t have tutorials for those things because they were just simple little touches that brought the whole room to life.

Next, I turned my attention to the living room. I knew that most people would hang out in there, so I wanted to extend the theme in there. I sprinkled some of the school of fish my kids made throughout the room in little groups. I also made bubble balloons out of white balloons and blue ribbon. I also enlisted the help of my kids to create a faux fish tank and then I created fish out of paper lanterns. I didn’t have the time to create the tutorial for the fish but it is pretty much patterned paper cut out to the shapes of the fins and large googly eyes attached as well. These lanterns actually had the ability to light up which would have been awesome if it was a little darker in the room, but I didn’t turn the lights on for this event.

A silly play on words poster was created to greet all the guests as they came in the door. My mom happens to be extremely talented and we work well together on creative projects. She surprised me with this adorable poster board after I made a mention about how adorable it would be to have a seahorse for each child represented.

Now to move on to one of my favorite things about birthday parties, the food! Anyone who knows me knows that I love to make an abundance of food. If you look at the feature picture of this post you will see the food table once the food was added to it! At the party I had so many themed foods to include the following:

  • Black Olives – Caviar
  • Potato Chips and Goldfish – Fish and Chips
  • Sugar Cookies – Sand dollars
  • Cheetos – Coral
  • Grapes – Seaweed
  • Strawberries and Watermelon – Mermaid Munch
  • Gummy Worms – Bait
  • Sandwiches – Submarine Sandwiches
  • Pretzels – Driftwood
  • Punch – Ocean Water
  • Tootsie Pops – Octopus (Tutorial here)
  • Green Pepper, Cucumber, Carrots – Octopus Guarded Veggie Tray

This brings us to the #1 themed party treat, the cupcakes. Now, for the first time since as long as I can remember, I had a bakery make the cupcakes. All I needed was 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 vanilla with whipped icing sprayed blue to look like water. I was going to take care of the actual decorations on them. I didn’t make a tutorial for the cupcakes because I was completing them last minute. This is the last time I will rely on a store to complete them. Not only did I not get the amount that I asked for, but the white cake was really dry. Its way easier just to do it myself.

So onto my decorations. I bought candy eyes, gummy worms, fruit slices and chocolate melts. My intentions were to make the chocolate cupcakes shark fins, and the vanilla cupcakes octopus. So, I melted the chocolate and cut crescent moon shapes out so that I could push them in the tops of the cupcakes. I mixed the chocolate melts with white chocolate chips to get that beautiful grey color. I then used the gummy worms as tentacles for the octopus, attached candy eyes to the fruit slices with a little tube of icing I had, and had little octopus staring at you.

Overall, my kids had a blast, which is all I can possibly hope for. I love that I am able to do all of this for them to remember for years to come. Next year’s theme?! Stay tuned to find out. I typically decide just after the February birthdays.

I would love to know what your favorite part of this diy part was. Let me know in the comments below!

Octopus Lollipops

The materials you will need for this project are:

  • Tootsie Roll Lollipops
  • Tissue Paper
  • Assorted Colored Pipe Cleaners
  • Googly eyes, or eye stickers
  • Stickers

(Optional) Items you need for the display stand:

  • Styrofoam Cone
  • Craft Spray Paint – Be sure to get the type that states that it is safe for crafty foams.

 

The first step for this is to cut out the tissue paper into little squares. You want the square to be big enough to cover the lollipop and be able to twist beneath it on the stick. The second thing I would suggest is to cut each of the pipe cleaners in half. You should be able to do this with regular scissors.

Put the lollipop in the middle of the square and fold the ends down around  and down to the stick. Then take the pipe cleaners and wrap 4 pipe cleaners around the stick so that the two ends are roughly the same size. Then twist each pipe cleaner end to imitate tentacles.  The final step is to attach the eyes to the top of the lollipop.

Now I had a dilemma where I need to display them somehow. I saw a pinterest photo but it wasn’t linked to any tutorial or blog, so I decided to try it. I purchased a styrofoam cone and spray painted it blue. After it dried I stuck each of the sticks into the foam in no particular order or arrangement. I just placed it high enough on the cone that the stick wouldn’t break through the bottom.

I would love to know your thoughts on this project in the comments below. I would also love to know if you have ever tried this project yourself and I would invite you to link the results as well.