Monday, January 30, 2017

Bringing the Outside In

Happy T day everyone. I can't believe it is already Tuesday again and also the last day of January.
First of all I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who participated over at Art Journal Journey this month.  I read lots of fascinating stories and the art was outstanding. I really enjoyed hosting this month and hope all of you enjoyed participating too.

I also managed to meet one of my own personal goals this month. I wanted to post a new journal page every day, and I did! 31 journal pages! Don't mind me but I am giving myself a little pat on the back.

So my  Art Journal Journey  page today is inspired by a comment Susi left on one of my posts. I was complaining about the outdoor winter weather, and she said ( I am paraphrasing here) the best cure is to bring the outdoors inside. Thanks Susi for not only a great comment but also an idea for another page. So I thought about how one would do that in January, and my first thought was a bouquet of flowers. Put those right on the table with my breakfast tea and a slice of toast. but then I thought even more and decided I might as well bring in a summery butterfly and one of those cute little birds who feed at my bird feeders. Not that my bird really looks anything like the real birds at my feeders.
My background was made from a European travel booklet brochure I received in the mail . I collaged images and words from it and then used some gesso to cover them.

And it is Tuesday, so it is also T day. A big hello to the T Gang ladies. Thank you Elizabeth for hosting every week also.
So besides the tea mug in the journal page above, here's a little late day snack for me.
Sunday morning I made a batch of these date nut squares. I first make a date and orange juice jam to fill the middle of the bars. It doesn't take any time to do that at all-in fact it takes more time to cool the jam than it is to make it.

With out new school semester my prep block is at the end of the day, so I teach all my classes and then during the last class I finally get to sit down. Whew. A little snack and a cup of tea is just what I want at that point. So here's my travel drink mug with some plum/cinnamon tea as well as a date nut bar I brought in with my lunch.

Hope its a great last day of the month.


It might still be January, and spring may be a long way off,  but that doesn't stop me from dreaming about it.
So today that's my story for Art Journal Journey.
Spring flowers, bugs, and even this fat little bunny that looks more like a guinea pig with long ears. I can't wait to  wake up to chirping birds and hearing the spring peepers in the  night.
The woman who runs the doggie day care that our dogs go to a few days a week keeps a sign on her counter counting down the days until spring. Right now the number of days is still way too high for me but at least I do notice the change in daylight. The days are definitively getting longer.
This has been such a cloudy month though. Yesterday I woke up to the sun and had some ambition, but it didn't take long for the sun to disappear. As did my ambition.  I was going to make some art play time and also clean some of the inside of my car, but instead I read and watched some TV.  I guess I needed it, but it does seem in some ways that I wasted some of my weekend. I think that's my inner New England Puritan speaking out.
And now a new week is here. 
There may only be a little time left, but you can still post your journal pages over at Art Journal Journey. This month's theme is Every Journal Page Tells a Story.
Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

These Words from My Story and some Books

Inspired by a similar page I showed you, (Words), I have another journal page for Art Journal Journey.
I don't really know if there's much of a story to this page, and the theme this month at AJJ, is Every Journal Page Tells a Story, but maybe my story is simply that one idea  inspired another similar one.
Oh well, we can't all be brilliant every day, can we?  Ha-ha-ha!
Words can mean a lot though. They can make us happy or sad. They can change our lives completely, like being asked to marry someone or being told someone you love had left this world.
I choosing for my book to hold what I hope are happy words today.
So speaking of books-I decided to cut back on my book listing posts this year, but this month I have been reading soooo much.
 I don't think I've manage to get through so many books in one busy month in a long time. I just can't seem to get enough of it. I've been even staying up late reading-on school nights-knowing It will be hard to get up the next morning. Boy, do I sounds like one of the kids at school now. Here's the latest reads.
 This one (above) is one of those books full of little bits of wisdom and it also has some cool art inspiration.
I loved this book. The author, his wife and step-daughter rode their horses along the trail that followed the Navajo Native American story of creation. He makes note that unlike many creation stories, this one actually names places that really exist in the American Southwest.
 Sounded interesting, so I settled in for Navajo stories along with  arm chair travel.  Douglas Preston is a newly discovered writer for me this month and I am already on a second book by him. I love how he weaves so many layers into his (in this case) non-fiction, but I guess he's also written some fictional mystery stories. More for me to discover later I guess.
A favorite mystery writer of mine-just coincidentally with 2 Navajo detectives. I guess since I decided not to go to New Mexico this next school break, I need to get my southwestern journey in whatever form I can get it. :)
And I found this cake recipe book marked down, and it looked intriguing. I wanted to learn how to make these kind of cakes. I read it in a night,and I decided I am going to make this cover cake for the hubby for Valentine's day. But a plain red heart, not rainbow. Or maybe I should say I am going to try to make a heart inside. It involves cake carving and since I have never done that, it might not look too heart shape, but  I am willing to give it a try.
If its not a disaster I will show you once I make it. :)

Enjoy the rest (however much is left) of your weekend.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year

Its the Chinese New Year today-the year of the rooster.
LOTS of colored fireworks on today's journal page.  I've always wanted to go to a big Chinese New Year celebration where they have one of those parades with the big twisting dragoons. The kind that takes a few people to move. Can you see my dragons on the edge of my page?  Not quite the big one I am thinking of but still just right for the day.
My page is full of stenciled fireworks (actually a flower stencil but it looks like fireworks),  some stamped on tissue paper images, a few die cuts, some stickers and this fun little domino type piece. I don't know what it is called other than a Mah Jongg tile. 
I am linking up to Art Journal Journey. Still a few days left to tell your story, which is this month's theme. 
 If I could give you a fortune cookie, I would hope your fortune would read-have lots of fun today!
Thanks for visiting.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Out in the Country

Happy Friday everyone. 
Another week is winding down and it will be February all too soon. Here in New Hampshire, we're also suppose to get some cooler weather as the weekend goes on. Winter cold is returning. Oh no!
I had to go buy a new clothes dryer this past week as mine was smelling like burning rubber every time I used it. The new one arrives tomorrow! Since I just bought my washer about a month ago it seems like I just did this and now I'm back at it again.
But it will be good to clean up the piles of laundry.
That's what I have planned for my weekend.:)
So I have another piece for "Every Journal Page Tells a Story" at Art Journal Journey today.
Its off to the farm.
On this farm it is summer and the sun is shining and the cows and sheep in the field are very happy. They can munch on the flowers blooming in the grass and bask in the warmth of a beautiful day.
I picked up this farm animal stencil quite awhile ago, but had never used it. I thought I might use it for the sheep in my Iceland journal back last summer, but never did. So I had a new toy to play with. I stenciled with black paint, and then I added some painted grass and flowers, as well as the chicken's nest. I like these animals so I think you will be seeing this stencil again soon.
 I used a watercolor crayon to color the background, and then I finished off the page with several stickers, including the farm girl.
I don't know if farming is really a simple life, but it is a way to connect with nature, which I think is always a good thing.
So off to my new classes for day #2. One of them looks like they might be a handful, even at 9 AM, but hopefully we will work it all out in the next few days.
Have a great day everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Play a Little Tune

A little music for today. I think these 2 adorable girls will have their  piano lesson after school.
Tucked among their schoolbooks is the thinner soft cover music book with this song that their family has had to listen to a million times while they each sat at the old upright piano. Fa-la-la.
I remember doing that myself.
This is my entry today at Art Journal Journey. The theme this month is Every Journal Page Tells a Story.
There's still time to participate in this month's challenge too.
I played with some stamps, paint, a little mica piece, a die cut...everything was laying on my table except the sheet of music and the flowers that I freehand painted-because I thought the page needed them and a little bit of color too. 
Today we start new classes at school. My  pet class begins too-its a senior elective in microbiology. Its always a little bit more work setting up all the labs but so much fun! Hopefully all the kids this half of the year won't be a bunch of slackers! I seemed to have a few last too many last semester, and although I enjoyed all my kids, I am really excited for a fresh new start.
And its the second half of the school year! That means we are that much closer to spring weather.
Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dreaming of Travel

I was inspired by the upcoming Chinese New Year to make this page with an Asian flare. Then that got me thinking about traveling someplace fun or exotic, because the travel bug seems to hit me every January.  Must be the short, cold, (and this year)grey and wet days.
No travel plans right now though. Or I should say, lots of traveling dreams and  ideas but no definite plans right now.  :(
So this background paper on my page is this ancient yellowed construction paper. I am guessing it used to be white. I have a whole stack of it which I think I found while going through some of my parents things when we moved my mom into an assisted living in 2015. I like how it looks so old and a bit stained.
So I created a collage  with stamping, tape, paper scraps, die cuts, paint, metallic rub ons, some plastic gemstones and an old fortune I collected along the way.
I am linking up to Art Journal Journey. This month's theme is Every Journal Page Tells a  Story. And you can make up a lot of stories from this page.
Hopefully yesterday's ice isn't a big problem today. It was just nasty yesterday-strong wind, snow, ice, rain, more ice. We had a delay at school but I didn't want to deal with driving 35 miles with so many icy roads so I called in sick and stayed home. Then I couldn't get out of my way all day and spent more time lounging than doing anything.  And I had a big stack of papers I really needed to grade since the semester is just about done and I have grades to get in. Oh well. There's always today.
Glad you stopped by to visit. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Little Collage Art about T

Glad you stopped by  today for T.  I would like to first to offer all you wonderful T gang ladies a comfy chair. As you can see, there are plenty of mugs and cups to go around once you have gotten comfortable.
Our winter weather is a little rough right now, so I thought a nice hot cup of tea, coco or coffee would be perfect.
But when the weather clears out, you might want to go and take a walk on the beach, and then go have some lunch at the  Union Bluff Hotel.
This is a cool old beach hotel in York, Maine, with a pub open for lunch.
Its right across the street from Short Sands Beach, and if you're lucky you'll get a table with a view.
And there's lots on the menu, but may I recommend the fried haddock reuben sandwich.
I couldn't eat more than a half  so we could split it if you'd like, but I think I'll eat all of the onion rings with the horseradish sauce. And then wash it down with a a local brew-a Stoneface IPA.
Stop by Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to see what the T gang has been up to, or maybe even join us for T too.
And I am linking my journal page up to Art Journal Journey. The theme this month is "Every Journal Page Tells a Story" I made this paper collaged page by using a few sheets of winter/snow printed paper. Then I spread a little white paper and wrote in the title.
Stop by and join in the journaling fun. 
And thanks for visiting my blog too.

Swedish Horses

Family histories makes fascinating stories. Here's a little piece of mine.
These bright colored horses are a symbol of Sweden and are called Dala horses (based on the region where they come from  called Dalarna). They are really big tourist items.  They became very successful after appearing at the 1939 New York World's Fair, and I know many American families with Swedish ancestry or backgrounds have one in their homes.
I have a whole collection of these horses. When one of my uncles was still alive, he would give me a Swedish folk object each year for Christmas. These included the Dala horse and some tomte, which is the Swedish word for these wooden carved people. 
I put them out on my living room bookshelves each year at Christmas. As they aren't just for Christmas, I leave them out for while into the winter. Since they are so cheery.
These 2 little people on the left mean a lot to me too.  Back in my 20's I went and spent a month in Sweden with some of my mother's family-her uncle and her cousins. They made and gifted me with this great little traditional couple   on the left. They also gave me the large red embroidered one on the right.
The 2 tomte on the left are gifts from my uncle and the 2 on the right are similar pieces I bought last summer in Iceland. One is  a sheep and the other is the Icelandic Huldufolk or elves. I think they fit in with my Swedish pieces just fine.  After all, we are a multi-cultural world.
I enjoy this connection to my past, even if I can't say I really know all that much about it.
Any why I cherish my Swedish folk art pieces.

And if you are curious
Here's a newspaper article about these horses:

My page started with my painting part of the Swedish flag, and then I added my painted sketch of the Dala horse. I stamped the Viking image and the word hej (which just means hello).
I am linking this story up to Art Journal Journey. This month's theme is every journal page tells a story.
And thanks to Valerie for inspiring me to make this page. Back at the beginning of the month she showed us some gorgeous glass that she received from relatives, and that put the idea of Dala horse into my head.

Hope everyone has a great start to their week.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ms Dreamer at the Beach

A little autobiography today for Art Journal Journey.
This month I am hosting, and the theme is Every Journal Page Tells a Story.
So if you didn't know, I am a teacher. This is my 32nd year at my current job.
Boy, that's an awful long time.
I thought the lady in this photo looked like a teacher. But not really me.
So what I really like about this page is my background. I tried something different. I had a bunch of pieces of ribbon, so I put matte medium all over my paper and then laid the strips of the ribbon down to make the stripey background. I added this magazine cut out lady who is correcting all that student work at her desk. Then I added in some assorted arty pieces which is a mix of doodles and die cuts. I even wrapped a little thread around the spools, which doesn't really pop on the photo like it actually does if you look at the page.
Yesterday we were talking about going north to one of the ski areas to go visit the Ice Castles exhibit, but then when we went to buy tickets online, we found that they were all sold out for the day. Changing our plans, we went in the opposite direction and walked the beach.  I do love living where I am right in the middle between both the ocean and our mountains.
 We hit the tide just right. It was really low and we had a lot of beach to walk.
It wasn't sunny but the day was fairly warm (45 degrees F or 7 degree Celsius), and it was great to get outside and walk.
 The colors of the shell bits laying on the beach were really cool.

 And Maddie would have gone right in and gotten wet. The col water temperatures didn't bother her one bit. Luckily she was on her leash!
 I love the texture  of this seaweed.
 And this clump of tangled ropes and wire.
 And the hubby's reflection.

Happy Sunday!
And Go Pats! (There's the big semi-final game for the championship this evening!)

Saturday, January 21, 2017


So I found this fun set of stickers for a couple of dollars and I thought they would make a great page for this month's "Ever journal page tells a story" theme over at Art Journal Journey.
This was just one of those fast and fun pages to make on an evening after work.
I had the 2 sheets of background paper, which is torn apart to make collaged background. Then I added the letter stickers for the title, and stenciled on the horoscope constellations.
There seems to be a lot on the TV lately about travel to Mars, and I wonder when the world will be more Star Trek like and people will really travel to and live out on other  planets besides this Earth. Or when people will make such a mess of the earth we can't stay here any more? I think that might actually happen one of these days, as sad and as scary as that would be.  I will admit though, I don't really have any desire to go myself, at least with how space travel is right now.
How about you?
Maybe you'd like to take an artful journey and join in with a page at  Art Journal Journey
Thanks for stopping by to visit and most definitely have a
Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ice Cream and Fancy Dresses

Happy Friday everyone. :)
Today is the last teaching day of this semester at school, and other than exams at the beginning of the week, I am done with this group of kids. I love them all but it is time to move on!
And it is almost the weekend, again. This month is flying by. We might go do something fun this weekend, but no final decisions as to what. If we go on some sort of a little day out adventure, I will surely let you know.
So today I have another page for Art Journal Journey. The theme this month is "Every Journal Page Tells a Story."  If you haven't joined in yet, there's still lots of time to participate. Check out the Art Journal Journey page for the details.
So my Friday page is inspired from the quote that I stamped a few times on the page. It says
I hope we are never too old
for ice cream
and fancy dresses
That quote inspired me to tell the story of these 2 little girls who seem to love glitter. I found them in an old FLOW magazine that I use to cut images from.
And since the quote mentioned ice cream I had to make some little cones for my page. They photographed much better than they look on the page. I colored the cone with markers and then used molding paste and paint to make the ice cream. I also had a 12x12 piece of doily cut paper (if that's what you call it), and I chopped away at it until I got the middle which is this really nice design.
I think these little girls go by the nicknames Curly and Sue. You can figure out who is who I am sure.
Sue is shier than curly, and I think Curly wants to be an actress some day. But I don't know about Sue.
The theme over at Moo Mania is love, and I am squeezing in this entry before the challenge closes.
Hope everyone has a great weekend ahead!

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Wasn't it  Monty Python that  used to say "And now for something completely different?"
This month the theme at Art Journal Journey is every journal page tells a story, and today my page is a little different (for me).
I keep wishing that there was a book that could tell me  what to do in certain life situations. Not a dictator kind of book, but an advice book.
So my page today is the story about having that book of life, being able to open it, give it a little shake, and having advice fall from its pages.
I doodled the book, and cut out random words from some book pages. I glued them down and then hit the TH word stickers and picked out some that seemed to mean something to me right now. I didn't think really hard when I picked them out and it is interesting to see how those words relate to the now.
Oh, I an took some white with light blue Stickles glitter glue and after squeezing a big blob on the page, I ran my finger over it just to give the slightest background texture.
Then I added the title.
That's all for me today. Another day in the classroom awaits.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Play Time

Over the past long weekend I had a lot of arty play time. I mentioned the other day my goal is to post something every day this month as an AJJ hostess, and I'm trying to keep everything fresh and not repeat myself 31 times. That's hard work.:) I give kudos to those of you who do this frequently!
So today for Art Journal Journey  (Every Journal Page Tells a Story), I have a collaged page made with paint and some stamped images. 
I needed some bright cheery colors, not winter colors.
I needed to play with images and just make a story from play.
Oh I needed some kitchen play last weekend too.
If you are trying to eat healthy and have NO willpower, , you better click off right now.
I made this caramel pecan kringle, a kind of Danish dessert. I read that in Denmark they make these pretzel shape and fill them with almond filling, but when they were brought to the town of Racine, Wisconsin here in the US, they morphed into this round rings with all kinds of fillings.
This recipe reminded me a lot of something my mother used to make when I was a kid, and when I discovered the recipe online before the holidays, it got put on my to make list.
 It starts with pie crust like base.
 And then you  layer this choux (puff pastry) like filling. It bakes for an hour, and just when it comes out of the oven you pour melted caramel over it and sprinkle it with toasted pecans.
And then once it cools, you put a little bit of a frosting glaze.
The only bad thing about my kringle is that I have been eating too much of it.:)
And I'm really sorry if I ended up torturing you.
Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, January 16, 2017

I'm Late for T Today

Happy T day to all the ladies at the T Gang. And no, I am not late, am I? 
Its back to work after a really nice long weekend. I had one day out and 2 days just hanging home and that  was just perfect! Lots of time for art, reading and even a bit of experimental baking.
My page for Art Journal Journey stars the  White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and he is running late for tea.  Since the theme this month is "Every Journal Page Tells a Story", I thought I needed to do a T day themed page. 
I had been in Barnes and Nobel Christmas shopping, and they have these wonderful bags with great literary designs on them. One side of my bag was the White Rabbit.  I used that image as well as some of the story quote from the bag as the base design on my page. I drew, painted and cut out the tea cup which I added. I also stamped some images and then added a few final details to finish off my page.
Oh yes, and my right top corner is not as out of whack as the photo looks. Its just my slightly warped corner on my page.
And since my age edges are not square, I am also linking up to Try It on Tuesday. The new challenge there is anything but square.
I also wanted to show you this photo.
The hubby picked up a box of Trader Joe's instant coco packages at Christmas time. I'd never tried it, but boy is it good. It is very rich and chocolaty, and with a squirt of some left over holiday whipped cream, it is a wonder evening treat. Especially on a cold night when I throw one of those fake Duraflame logs into the fireplace to get a little light and atmosphere while I watch TV.
Stop by   Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog    to see what the T gang is up to.
And hope everyone has a great  T day!

A Question You Don't Want to Be Asked

So here's a question you DON'T want your students to ask you.
And this is when you DON'T appear to be very observant either.
So a week ago I went out on Sunday afternoon to return a  Christmas gift, and I got a gift card rather than my money returned. I had decided to buy myself a down vest if they had any that fit me and one that I liked the color.  I took the gift card because I figured if they didn't have one I liked I could just hold onto the gift card until I was back at the store and they did have one I wanted.
Well they had a vest that fit and the color (cream with red stitching) looked very good on me. Plus, it was marked way way down so using my gift card I actually only had to pay $12 out of my pocket for it. A pretty good deal since the original price was $159.
So Monday morning it was quite cold and I figured I would wear my vest over over my sweater . I leave for work very early, just before 6:30 AM, and at that time it is still pretty dark and I am still pretty tired. I clipped off the tags and put on the vest and I was ready to leave the house.
So that morning I was standing in front of my class, chatting a bit, when this boy stood up and walked towards me. "Mrs. Nelson" he started "you have something handing from the armpit of your vest."
I reach under my arm and feel this plastic security tag. The boy looked carefully (as he was now standing next to me) and said "Mrs. Nelson, you didn't shoplift your vest did you?"
Now luckily they are good kids in that class and no one believed that I would actually shop lift, because I wouldn't shoplift, ever.
Instead they all gave me good advice -like don't try to take it off as its full of dye and will get all over everything. Some of them had even had the same similar experience at various stores-where the clerk had forgotten to remove the security tag.
But still, it was a little embarrassing.

So today for Art Journal Journey I have a page I made in my journal about this story, and since the theme this month at AJJ is stories, I thought it would share it with you.
Not a very exciting page, or anything very complicated, just me drawing and painting with paint and watercolor crayons. And I little stamping to complete the page.
I'v got no school today for the Martin Luther King holiday. No plans- but I've got a bunch of journal pages to finish up and a set of tests I should grade. Lets see what the day brings whether I grade those tests or not.
Hope everyone had a good start of the new week.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Reader

I have always been a reader.  Even when I was too little to read, I would love to sit and look at the pictures in books. 

So I made this page for Art Journal Journey as this month's theme is Every Journal Page Tells a Story.
I tired to create a "blackboard" that was reminiscent of those back in the day when I was a kid. But who wants something so typical? I made mine pink. :) I used some wood print paper to make the borders because in the old days blackboards had this wonderful wooden trim. Those white blips on the bottom are the chalk pieces.
And I found some other images in my FLOW magazine. The young woman doesn't really look much like me, but she works. And unfortunately I don't know what the names are on these children's books, because there are in Dutch. But that's OK, the pictures say it all.
I have fond memories of many of my children's books.
Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, A Wrinkle in Time, One Morning in Maine, Half Magic.
I think I could keep going, but I will spare you.
And I want to say I enjoyed all the comments on my football post yesterday. :)  Seems like a lot of country doesn't like out New England team, so if you are one of those, the Pats did win and go on next week. Sorry. New England has never had a really good team up until the last 12-ish years so we are basking in a bit of  good fortune while it lasts. Since it was a late game I dosed off at the end, but it certainly didn't start with the Pats playing their best. But I will take the W.
Today is an art day for me, which I am excited about.  A Sunday at home is always nice.
Hope there is some fun  in your day too.