Month: March 2012

Visual Journal Page 44: Wandering the Oakland Cemetery

The Oakland Cemetery is an interesting place. I am not one to typically go exploring in a cemetery, but when you walk through the gates you truly feel like you are stepping back in time. In this space sandwiched between the busy Atlanta roads, Memorial, Dekalb Avenue, Boulevard, near the downtown connector, and Interstate 20, there are Civil War soliders, Atlanta founders, historic figures, celebrities, such as Margaret Mitchell, Maynard Jackson, and Bobby Jones. These people walked the same streets I walk, consider the same place home, but in some cases they experienced it hundreds of years earlier. They knew, appreciated, and experienced this city in a completely different way than I do.

In addition to the people who have been laid to rest here, the architecture, sculptures, carvings, and amazingly huge oaks and magnolias are enough to keep you busy for hours, which is just what Katie Passo and I needed for a spontaneous, spring afternoon. We wandered down various paths, explored nooks and crannies, and walked through remnants of buildings. With all of the amazing scenery I was busy snapping picture after picture. I love doorways and this doorway, with the exposed brick, and overgrown flowers was right up my alley. As I was setting up my shot, Katie walked through the doorway, and I jumped on the opportunity to capture it.

After our afternoon adventure I uploaded my pictures and began scanning through them. When I came to this shot, I fell in love with it. I loved the composition, colors, and the fact that Katie just so happened to be carrying a green, feather mask that day. I immediately decided I needed to turn this photograph into a painting, which is now in the care of Katie, since she inspired it. After spending weeks on this painting, knowing it was soon to be gifted, I decided to create a visual journal page as a way for me to keep a piece of the painting for myself.

To create this visual journal page I started with the photograph I used as a reference for the painting. I ripped a strip off of the bottom and side to help incorporate the image on both pages, this makes it look like one cohesive page, despite being a two page spread. I played around with layering book pages, other magazine images, and various materials, but was at a loss at how to arrange everything. As I was going through my stack of images I found a paper towel that was stained yellow and orange from bleeding tissue paper. The texture and colors appealed to me, and I loved the way it incorporated the orange of the flowers. I placed it behind the strips of photograph and began brainstorming again. To complete the image I decided to use hot glue to glue down the leftover, dried acrylic paint I used to paint the painting. The layers and colors completed the page, and created interesting texture. I love this page and I now make a “memorial” visual journal page for every painting I create, always incorporating pieces of the materials I used to create the work of art.

CHALLENGE: Create a work of art from a work of art! Base a page on a drawing, painting, sculpture, photograph you created, or find inspiration from your favorite artist (no matter how well known or not they are). Incorporate materials used in the work of art, that helped create the work of art (even if it’s a paper towel!), images that inspired it, or pictures of the actual work of art.

Inspiration for art is everywhere, and I hope you found some inspiration on my site! Help me spread the word about my blog, share with others, e-mail, subscribe, like, digg, etc., etc.! Thanks for visiting!


Visual Journal Page 43: A Botanical Proposal

This visual journal page is very sentimental because it represents the moment when Nick proposed to me. At this point in time Nick and I had been dating around 5 1/2 years. I knew I wanted to marry him, it was just a matter of time and patience.

It happened in January, and I was very surprised. All of the major holidays and milestones in our relationship had already passed, we were about 6 months out from summer, cutting it close to reasonable planning time for a summer wedding, and I had already decided it probably wouldn’t happen anytime soon. Then, all of the sudden, on January 17th I found myself engaged.

A week before, Nick suggested we visit the Atlanta botanical gardens and grab a bite to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Two Urban Licks. I thought nothing of it, Nick was one of those spur of the moment, always planning something fun type of guy. The day of he slyly suggested I dress a bit nicer, the last time we went to Two Urban Licks we were very under dressed, so again I waved it off as him making a good point. In no time, we were off to wander the paths of the botanical gardens.

We spent an unfortunately dreary afternoon looking at the flowers and going in and out of greenhouses. Luckily, because of the not so great weather we were practically alone in the gardens. After an hour or so we started to wrap up our tour and head to dinner, when we went into the orchid room. It was January, and it was cold, so walking into a nicely 70 something degree room filled with beautiful flowers was a nice change of scenery. As usual I was barely looking where I was walking, because my camera was glued to my face snapping pictures. As we wandered through the room I stopped to snap a picture of a very interesting giant leaf when Nick said “you should take a picture of this”… I turned around and there was Nick on one knee holding a small box with a ring in it.

I was floored… All I could get out was “Are you serious?”, “Are you serious?”, over and over. Nick, thinking I was immediately going to say yes and start jabbering about who knows what, didn’t plan a speech, and wasn’t sure what to do when I didn’t say a whole lot. Eventually he was able to stammer out a “will you marry me?”

I’m not sure if I ever said yes… But he knew what my answer was. I grabbed the ring, put it on my finger, and started jumping up and down. After some hugs and kisses we made our way to the car to go to dinner. I was shocked, so much so it didn’t hit me until halfway to dinner when I started to cry. By the time we pulled up to the restaurant I had pulled myself together and was ready to enjoy the rest of the evening. I was fully composed when all of the sudden I saw my parents, my aunt and uncle, and Nick’s parents, and I lost it again.

Nick had been sneaky again, not only had he planned the proposal, but also an amazing celebratory dinner with our family. We had an wonderful time, and my Mom and I started wedding planning right then and there. After dinner I finally got my phone out to call my friends and siblings to tell them the good news. I tried everyone, and no one picked up. I was slightly disgruntled when we got back to my apartment, but I figured I would talk to them soon enough. We walked upstairs, and as I turned on the light I saw an entire room filled with our closest friends…

Nick had been sneaky again, not only had he planned the proposal, an amazing celebratory dinner, but also an after party with my high school and college friends, and both of our siblings. I couldn’t believe it. We spent the night celebrating, eating cake, and making plans. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more loving and sentimental proposal than that. I’m sure after all that planning Nick was glad I said yes.

To create this visual journal page I used a technique called tape transfer, which gives you a semi transparent affect. To create a tape transfer you have to have an image printed on a laser printer, copied on a photocopier, or a magazine image with a high concentration of ink (National Geographic images work well). Once you have your image carefully place clear packaging tape on top of the image, sticky side down. You then flip the image face down and rub the back with a spoon or scissor handles, which is called burnishing, this ensures the image is stuck to the tape. You then take the image and rinse it under water until the paper starts to peel up. Use your fingers to rub all of the paper off, and the end result should be your original image stuck to the tape without any paper left. Any area that is light or white will be transparent or semi transparent. I layered printed images with tape transfers to create the background, and I used an image of a ring similar to mine from a magazine. To read more about supplies and tape transfers click on the supplies tab at the top of the page.

CHALLENGE: Create a page using tape transfers! To start I recommend using just one transfer in a page until you get the hang of it! If you have any questions please e-mail or comment!

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Crafty Project: Vintage Clothes Pin Frame

This Pinterest inspired craft project only took 30 minutes to put together after I got all of the supplies! I came up with this idea after seeing a similar project on Pinterest, and altered it to fit my taste and my love for sentimental decor!

All you need for this project is an old frame, pictures, lace, ribbon, or string, a stapler or nails, and clothes pins. I have held onto this frame for years, unsure of what to do with it, and was excited when I finally came up with this project! Luckily the wood was soft enough (I picked it up from a trash pile outside of someones house on the brink of rotting) for me to attach the lace with staples, you may need to use short nails or thumbtacks.

I made this to show off some of Nick and my engagement pictures, and I plan to add some wedding pictures. Because of the subject matter I decided to pick up the same lace my Mom used to make my garter belt, and thin blue ribbon to tie in our wedding colors. You could use lace, ribbon, string, or twine. Choose whatever is most appealing to you!


I carefully laid out my pictures to see how I wanted them arranged in the frame. Once I was satisfied with the arrangement, I had to do a little math to make sure everything was evenly spaced. I am terrible at math, hopefully this explanation won’t be too confusing…

I wanted the vertical pictures in the center, which are 7 inches long. The entire length of the inside of the frame is 21 inches long, and to make sure they were centered I subtracted 7 from 21, then divided it in half: 7 inches. I measured 7 inches down from the top and marked it on both sides (this is important because you want to make sure the ribbon is level!). I did the same for the picture at the top, which is 4 inches long, I subtracted that from 7 (which is the length of the section it is in), and divided it in half to center it: 1 1/2 inches. Again, I measured 1 1/2 inches down, and marked it on both sides. The bottom section has the same measurements as the top, but you want to measure down from the bottom of the center pictures, since the lace is placed at the top of the picture.

After I carefully measured and marked I attached the lace and ribbon using a stapler. I wanted the blue to show through the lace, so I centered it on the back of the lace.


After the ribbon was attached, I attached the pictures to the ribbon using clothes pins. You can also play around with the clothes pin color by painting them! I tried the frame on a couple of different walls in my house until I settled on the neutral colored one. I love the brown frame against the blue wall, but the blue ribbon shows up best on the neutral one. I love this project because you can personalize it to your taste and decor and it is so easy to make!

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Visual Journal Page 42: Snow in the South

Growing up in Georgia means you don’t get snow often, but when you do no matter how little snowfall you get, school will always be canceled. Growing up in the south also meant that no matter how much snowfall you got, you always went sledding, even if it meant riding on mud.

As a school teacher I still get those occasional days off, and like all teachers, I get very excited at any prospect of snow (and a day off). I had been closely following the forecast for about a week, it started to flurry the night before, but I didn’t get my hopes up… I convinced myself it wouldn’t stick… Then, early the next morning I woke up to a phone call from my Dad… No school!! It was just like I was back in elementary school, the excitement, the plans for playing in the snow, and waking up with the good new by my Dad (of course he is used to checking the school weather with a teacher for a wife and two teachers for daughters).

Although we only got a couple of inches Nick and I were immediately out, ready to sled with Jake and Kody. We were both still relatively new to the area, and didn’t know the best place to go. We walked around, sled down a few hills at Lake Claire, and continued our journey to Candler Park. Once we arrived, we tested out a few hills, had a few runs, and continued through the park. We hiked through the kiddie park, across the river, and we arrived at the public golf course, and found the most amazing hills.

We spent the afternoon sledding on our fancy Flexible Flyer sled, much to the envy of our fellow sledders who were using a range of items like garbage can lids, laundry baskets, and pieces of cardboard. By the end of the day we were all tuckered out and content after some amazing sled rides. Since our sledding paradise discovery we have gone back every snow day.

CHALLENGE: Create a photo collage. Either print pictures on computer paper or use photo paper (if you want a ripped look to your page use computer paper). Try combining multiple images together, repeat people in the same scene, try to create depth!

To create this visual journal page I used pictures I took during the snow day. I printed out multiple images that had sky showing, ripped it up and glued it down using rubber cement. I did the same for the snowy ground. I wanted to make sure it had a patchwork effect, so I chose pictures with different texture in the ground and sky. I wanted to include a picture of my apartment, because I love it so much, I cut it out and incorporated it. To help bring the house and my car together I added extra stairs that went behind my car. I cut out multiple pictures of Nick and the pups and glued them down. When creating a collage like this it’s important to consider an illusion of depth. For example, the Nick that’s furthest away is also the smallest. This isn’t always required, especially if you are going for a look that is more abstract, but it does help the viewer make sense of the scene.

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Visual Journal Page 41: Friendship Vows

Friendship is incredibly important to a person’s well being. You need people to lean on when you need help, to make you feel loved, to spend time with, to keep you from being lonely, to help make you a happy person. These may seem like selfish reasons, and yes they are selfish, but from that you hopefully can develop a deep connection with someone and give as much as you take.

I feel like my group of friends are straight out of the movies. We have kept in touch since high school, we see each other when we can, and despite moving to various places across the country, we always stay updated on each others lives. I love these ladies and I have no doubt that we will continue to stay in touch, and be those non related aunts to each others children.

Through the years I have had my ups and downs and my Elly, Jessi, Nicci, and Katie have always been there for me. Likewise, they have had their ups and downs and I hope I have done the same for them. Through thick and thin, break ups, fights, living together, two weddings, and all we have loved each other and continue to support each other. Friendship can be similar to marriage and I can’t wait to grow old with them and I promise to love them forever!

To create this visual journal page I printed off pictures of us together, cut them out, and collaged them. To create somewhat of a focal point I used two notes, one from Elly, one from Nicci. After I completed this page I was happy with it, mainly because I felt it really conveyed our friendship. However as a successful page this isn’t one of my best. It would have been better to focus on one image, to prevent it from being busy. Despite this, I am happy with it because it reminds me of my friends, and in the end the purpose of a visual journal is to remind you of important moments and memories.

CHALLENGE: Create a dedication page to a good friend, if you can try to incorporate a photograph.

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