Month: May 2012

Visual Journal Page 61: House Closing
















After house hunting for months, putting two offers down, just to be disappointed, putting another offer down, inspections, and negotiations, we were FINALLY at closing day! I couldn’t have been more excited, and relieved to finally sign the final documents, the documents that said this was our house. I couldn’t wait.

I was at the end of my first year teaching, and believe or not I made it through the entire year without taking a day off, except for my house closing day. I was excited to fill out my leave of absent document, it was really happening. I went into school on Thursday, which was my Friday, and could hardly maintain my excitement.

A few of my coworkers knew and could sympathize with the house hunting process, and we swapped a few horror stories here and there. They day before the big day, I headed to my box in the morning, as usual, and found a little envelope. Inside was a sweet note from my fellow art teacher, and a blue and black ink pen for all the documents we were going to have to sign. It was the perfect way to round up the process, start my day, and start the document signing process.

My coworkers often did little gestures like that, and it was such a sweet way to let me know that they cared about me, and were always there to support me. Although I didn’t have the largest budget or best class sizes, I did have amazing friends at my job. Often times it’s the people you work with who make the job, not the job itself.

Nick and I got up early, had a good breakfast, and headed to sign off for our house. Again, it was a much longer process than I expected, but when it was done, it was done. We were moving in, in less than a month, and I couldn’t wait! This really felt like the beginning for Nick and me. We were buying our first house, about to get married, we were about to get on with the rest of our lives.

CHALLENGE: Create a page about an important document. It could be your first permit, license, house closing, marriage license, divorce papers, a new job contract, or even a leave of absence for a vacation! If you can spare the document use it (or make a copy of it).

To make this visual journal page I used my actual leave of absence sheet, the actual note my coworker left for me, gesso, and blue and black ink. I first glued down the leave of absence sheet, I used rubber cement, carefully place it and used my old library card to push the paper down into the crease of the book. I then glued the card envelope down, and layered the actual card on top. I used a pencil and drew out two pen shapes, then painted them in with gesso. The gesso helps to make it look more solid, since it covers up the background. I then filled in the shading and details in the pen using the actual pens my coworker gave me. For extra detail I made it look like the pens left lines going across the page.

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Visual Journal Page 60: School Year Wrap Up















I survived my first year as a teacher. It was stop and go for awhile, but I made it to the end. As you go through school, student teaching, talking with veteran teachers, they tell you each year gets easier, the first year is tough, and you wave it off and think to yourself, I’m sure I can handle it. I did handle it, but I definitely struggled. They all were right, I had my moments, I considered other jobs, I loved and hated it, but I survived. Now I am heading into year four, and yes, it does get easier every year.

I wanted to create a visual journal page that represented a wrap up for my year. There was a lot to cram into one page, and I didn’t want it to become overwhelming, and I really had to sit and think about how to set it up. As a visual journaler I keep a folder of scrap paper, magazine cut outs, pictures, etc. that I collect and plan on using later. This was a big part of this page, because I incorporated a lot of leftover scraps from other journal pages, as well as things I never used but always planned to.

The “I Know This Much is True” and book pages are from the page I made for my co-workers journal. The splatters and dyed paper towels are from various pages I had leftovers from. The notes are from our attempt to plan out the budget for the next year, on our ridiculously small budget. The pictures of the women are from a magazine page I ripped out and saved for who knows what, I felt like it fit because it represented the moments when I had to be strict, versus the moments when I goofed off with the students. I always hang onto the notes my students leave for me, a lot of times I will sit down and find something attached to my computer, they make me smile, and I always save them. I cut out things from tardy notes, counseling department passes, things that I saw over and over throughout the school year. It is a hod podge of my daily teaching life, which is a hod podge in itself.

I enjoyed making this page because while I was leafing through the stack of things I collected, I reflected on the year. I was reminded of the good, bad, funny moments, struggles, how my students are always late… It reminded me why I am a teacher, how rewarding it can be, the little things the students do that show you they care, they appreciate you. After completing this page I decided I would do this every year, a school year wrap up, a reminder and reflection of yet another year past.

CHALLENGE: Create a page about your job. Your job is a huge part of your life, after all we spend the majority of the week at work. This will be good practice for trying to strike a balance between a good composition, while incorporating multiple images!

To create this visual journal page I used rubber cement to glue down the various pieces of paper, paper towels, post its, and magazine cut outs. I first laid everything out, and played with the arrangement, and then began gluing down the pieces. Remember it’s easier to plan out 5 times, and glue once, rather than not plan, glue, and get stuck with an arrangement that doesn’t work!

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Visual Journal Page 59: Wedding Gifts!
















Besides actually getting married to the person I love, the best thing about getting married was presents!! Nick and I had a lot of fun registering for all of our gifts (to see the visual journal page made about our registry click here), and I couldn’t wait until they started coming in.

Our very first gift arrived a few weeks before our wedding, and it really made it feel real. Our big day was quickly approaching, and this was another reminder that we were loved and supported in our decision. The first gift came from the Roadens, my parents good friends, a couple I grew up with. It was meaningful that is was our first gift, and it was meaningful it came from them.

I hate to admit it, but I don’t even remember what was in the box. I want to say it was wine glasses, but two years later and a few gifts later, I can’t say with any certainty. However, it wasn’t what was in the box that mattered, it was the gesture, the show of support and celebration in our honor. This gift t was important for feeding my excitement, for being a reminder that we were taking this big step, for a show of love and support, and I knew it needed to be remembered.

CHALLENGE: Create a page about an important gift you received. It could be your favorite childhood toy, a meaningful piece of jewelry, a representation of an important step in your life. If available, use a piece of the packaging in the page.
















To create this visual journal page I used the packaging the gift was wrapped in. It was important for me to make a page to remember this moment, and the way I felt, and I thought there was no better way to create it than with the actual gift. I used the wrapping used to protect the gift for the base, I hot glued the ribbon on top, cut out an image from a Crate and Barrel ad, glued it with rubber cement, and glued the card on top. I made sure I was able to open the card so I could always read it!

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Visual Journal Page 58: Our House


I knew that eventually Nick and I would find our home… and we did. It took a couple of months of constant searching, disappointment, and frustration, but we found it.

By the time we made our way to check this house out, I had mentally prepared myself to be let down. I saw it online, thought it looked nice, and decided we should check it out. In my head the house would be on a terrible street, it would have a hole in the roof, the backyard would be tiny, the layout would be awful, the house would be slanted. I was prepared for the worse.

We pulled up to the house, it was a decent street, off street parking, nice yard, garage… good, good, good, good. We walked inside, nice hardwoods, updated kitchen, dining area, guest bathroom, two bedrooms, good, good, good, good, good. Deck, HUGE backyard, partial fence, good, good, good. We walked upstairs nice size bedroom, huge bathroom, and two big closets, good, good, amazing! After I walked upstairs this house was sealed for me, it was perfect, it was exactly what we needed, excitement started to creep in.

Still we had to go through the process of negotiations, inspections, and closing. There were many steps along the way, many times where I felt like it wasn’t going to happen, but in the end it did. A month later we were moving into our house, our home. To this day I still have moments where I pause, look around, and think to myself, this is mine (at least a portion of it, but I guess we can share with the bank).

CHALLENGE: Create a visual journal page about the end of something. The end of an adventure, the end of house hunting, the end of a year, the end of a project. Celebrate completion!

To create this visual journal page all I used was India ink and watercolor. I challenged myself to not create a pencil sketch, and just go for it with the permanent India ink. However, if you are just starting a pencil drawing is the best way to go. If you mess up, it helps to be able to erase. Despite this, don’t be afraid to go for it, I am always in favor of a good challenge! I used a small paint brush to paint the image of the house, and the words, and watercolor, to add color to the lawn and front door. I kept it in a similar style to the visual journal page about house hunting (to see it click here), that way the two were visually tied together since they are part of the same story.

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Crafty Project: Yarn Wreath

This was a fun project that anyone can do! It took me a couple of hours, and the end result was worth every minute! You can use whatever color yarn best suits your taste and home decor. You can add more flowers, or take them away, a completely customizable project! Read my instructions below, or watch the youtube video (click here or watch below) to find out how I made my wreath!

All you need to get started is a foam wreath form, three colors of yarn (or more, or less depending on the style and pattern you want), hot glue, scissors, and supplies to make paper flowers.

To get started you hot glue the end of the yarn to the back of the foam form. Start wrapping the yarn around the foam form, keeping it as tight and even as possible. Once you wrap all the way around, cut the yarn, and glue it down to the back. Start the next color yarn by also gluing down the end, start wrapping, spread it out a little as you go to create an interesting pattern.

I added three colors total, brown for the base, blue for the next layer, and green on top. I wrapped the brown so it completely covered the foam form, and I started the blue close together, then spread it out. I did not wrap the blue around the entire form, instead I left a little bit of solid brown on one side. I wrapped the green yarn tight on one section, so it would be green in the area where I would attach the paper flowers, then spread it out as I moved around the wreath.

To create the paper flowers you need book pages, mod podge (if you want them to be waterproof), scissors, wire, a pencil, burlap, and hot glue. If you want the flowers to be water proof first coat the book pages front and back with mod podge, I typically paint it on with a paint brush.

Cut a flower form out of any paper, and use it as a template to trace around on the book pages in order to get consistent size and shape flowers. I stack 3-5 layers of flowers, in sizes that go from large to small, to get a 3D flower. To get smaller size flowers I trace around the original template, then cut just inside the line. I then use the smaller cut out to create the next smallest size, etc. Loosely trace around the outer edge of the template on the burlap, and carefully cut it out.











Attach wire to the back of the paper cut outs, using hot glue, so you can bend and move the petals of the flower. Stack the various paper flower sizes, with burlap in between, and put hot glue between each layer. Attach the flowers to the wreath using hot glue.

Either use a wreath hanger, or attach string or a strip of burlap to hang it from. Enjoy your finished project, it’s the perfect way to dress up your front door in less than a day!

I hope you enjoyed my yarn wreath tutorial. If you did, help me spread the word about my blog! Share with others, e-mail, subscribe, and please comment! Thanks for stopping by!