Month: August 2012

Visual Journal Page 4: A Week at SCAD

It was summer. I was supposed to be enjoying my vacation, relaxing, and mentally preparing myself for my second year teaching… but instead I decided to sign up for a week long class at the Savannah College of Art and Design, at the Atlanta campus, in order to get certified to teach Advanced Placement (AP) Art.

Dread is not a negative enough word to describe how I felt about this course. I wanted to teach AP Art, I wanted to work with the advanced students, but going to a class from 8 AM to 5 PM everyday for a week was not part of my summer vacation plan. However, if I wanted to teach the advanced students, this was a step I had to take. The thought of sitting through 40 hours of classes focused on someone droning on about teaching made my skin crawl.

My alarm went off way too early on Monday the first day of class. I opened my eyes, and slowly adjusted to the 6:30 dim, morning light. I hit snooze more times than was necessary until I finally checked the clock, bolted out of bed, and hurried to my car. On the first day of anything the mad dash to the car doesn’t describe me. I am the type to wake up before my alarm, lay in bed until it goes off, and get ready earlier than necessary, a result of first day angst. Not this summer morning, I dragged myself from bed, all the way to the north side of Atlanta, with a fog of dread clouding my view.

However, as soon as I walked into the SCAD Atlanta building the fog cleared. Student artwork covered every classroom and amazing, inspiring works of art covered every hall. I began to feel better. I was suddenly in my element, and as I walked into class I was shaking off a few crumbs of my dread.

I found a seat, opened my “welcome to SCAD” notebook, pretended to read, as focused on willing my coffee to wake me up. Our instructor, Kevin Cole, made his way to the front of class and began his first day spiel. As soon as he began talking the remainder of my dread was gone.

Kevin Cole is everything I want to be.  He is everything I can’t understand how someone can be in a lifetime. He is a very successful high school art teacher, part of the AP grading process, trainer of future AP teachers, husband, parent, and a famous artist. That is the big one, he is one of the most commissioned artists in the state of Georgia. I can barely make a painting during the school year, and I’m lucky to get even a quarter of what I want to get done over summers.

By the time I left Monday afternoon I was looking forward to the rest of the week. I was learning a lot about the AP process, making connections to other teachers, getting a head start on planning my school year, and I was getting inspired about my work. By the end of the week I was excited about AP Art and I had more than a little motivation to work on my own projects. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a week of my summer.


  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Documents from my SCAD course


This page didn’t require a lot of supplies, all it needed was creativity in laying it out. After the class I went through the stack of materials I got over the course of the week and pulled out a few that I didn’t need anymore. I decided to start with a base of overlapped documents about the course, and move forward. I ended up stumbling on an interesting geometric pattern on one of the folders, and thought it was a great way to make the page more interesting. I cut out the pattern and made a new one using the shapes and placing them on the page. To contrast with the round shapes I cut out strips of paper from another section of the folder and glued them down. To finish off the page I added the floor plan from the floor our classroom was on.

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Visual Journal Page Three: Rupert’s Second Check Up

Rupert, my baby, second only to my puppy babies. I love my car, and if you follow my blog you have probably realized that by now. I often wonder what type of car I would have if I won the lottery… money doesn’t make a difference, I would still have my little Mini Cooper.

Because I love my Rupert so much I decided to make a page for him when he had his first post-purchase check up. As another year rolled by and another check up approached, I decided I needed to once again save my reservation card and make a page for him. Sometimes the best inspiration for pages come from the most mundane daily activities.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor
  • White paper
  • Magazine images
  • Thin sharpie
  • Reservation card


From what I understand from my little car he loves to drive around outside. Nothing makes a car more sad than to be stuck inside a garage all day. Because I feel this way I knew I wanted to place him in an outdoor setting. I ripped green from a magazine and layered it with book pages and dyed paper to create the ground. I splattered watercolor drops and cut them out to create the sky. I kept the layout very loose, and played around with scattering the color cut outs around the page. I like the way the page turned out because it doesn’t feel tight and over thought.

Once I had the background complete I cut out a Mini Cooper from an advertisement and glued it down. Unfortunately, I have yet to run across an image of a Mini in Rupert’s color, oxygen blue. I still keep my eyes peeled, and I still save every Mini ad I find. I also wanted to reference my Rupert page in my last book by drawing a string from the car to the card, as if it was attached to the car. In my last journal I used an actual string to connect the two, which was much more creative.


Create an interesting page about a mundane, everyday thing that you did today.

Crafty Project: Jewelry Holder

I recently got fed up with the wad of jewelry I store in my closet. I kept losing things, necklaces got tangled, and my earring pairs separated. Finally I decided it was time to make a jewelry holder. After some brainstorming I decided to take two pre-made frames, one homemade frame, and convert them into jewelry holders.

To make the larger frame I used bead board bought from Home Depot. I had my lovely husband cut the ends to 45 degree angles so I could glue and staple them into a frame. I put wood glue between the joints and clamped them until they were dry. I then took a staple gun and stapled the joints. For additional support I used the small pieces Nick cut off of the bead board and glued and stapled them on top of the joints. Once the frame was prepped I spray painted and sanded it to give it a shabby chic look.

After I had all of my frames ready I glued lace to the back of the frame, so it would show through the opening. The lace made it more interesting and gave a place for clip back earring to hang. After the lace I stapled wire mesh, also purchased at Home Depot, to the back. I then hot glued burlap behind the mesh. I hot glued ribbon around the edge to finish it off. To create the hooks to hang the necklaces on I took wire and bent it with pliers. After was all said and done I added wire to the back of the frame so I can hang it on my wall! This was a relatively simple project to fix a very annoying problem!


Visual Journal Page 2: Yay For Jobs!

2009 was a great year. It was the year I finished my graduate degree, I was finally leaving college and completing school forever… at least for now. However, 2009 was not a great year for the US economy. Houses were being foreclosed on, businesses were going bankrupt, and people were losing their jobs left and right. It was not a good year for new graduates. Few places were hiring, and when the rare job positions opened up new graduates were competing with those with years of experience.

Despite the downcast economy, I did find a job. Not only did I find a job as an art teacher, but I found one at the level I wanted, high school, and at a school close enough to commute to from Atlanta. I was counting my lucky stars. However, as my first year of teaching came to close I began to feel the familiar nervous knot in the pit of my stomach. Would I still have a job next year? Our county was in debt by millions, they were evaluating and re-evaluating our budget. They were cutting dollars here, thousands there. No one was sure if they were safe, and the fine arts department was a nervous wreck.

Unfortunately when it comes to saving money elective courses are the first to go, and I was one of two art teachers. Yes there were two of us, but even with two our classes were bursting at the seams. But both of us knew they could cut one of us and still maintain the guise that the school offered art, to the few that would be able to get into few classes we offered.

I began browsing job posting and updating my resume. I began preparing myself for whatever news may come, and I was surprised at what did come. My co-art teacher was leaving. She decided to take a job elsewhere. I was sad to see her go. She was my mentor and she was responsible for a large part of our department’s growth. I hated for her to leave, but I was excited for her future prospects.

Rebecca leaving only carried one benefit, job security for me. I knew they wouldn’t cut art out completely, I definitely had a job for the upcoming year, I was safe once again. I was afraid to take on the responsibilities she was leaving behind, taking charge of the art department, but I was thrilled my paychecks would continue. I was even more thrilled to find out despite the many budget cuts an additional art teacher would be hired. I wouldn’t be alone after all.

As the years go by the county, state, and country continue to lose money. The hole gets bigger, deeper, and it is hard to image an end to the depression. I know I am lucky to have a job when so many are out of work. I can only hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and as more time passes, I believe it does get a little brighter.


  • Visual journal
  • School documents
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie


To create this visual journal page I simply collaged my school documents. I used paper that had my job renewal announcement, late passes, book pages, and my future school calender. I wanted to make sure it reflected my upcoming school year, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than with the actual documents. I cut up and collaged the paper and glued it down with rubber cement. To finish it off I added words with sharpie. Remember when you collage multiple pages make sure you lay it out before gluing everything down.


Create a page using sentimental paper. Use job related documents, wrapping paper, cards, a sentimental patterned paper, etc.

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