Month: October 2013 Book Journal and Magnet Set Review and Giveaway (closed)

Gonereading book inspired platter

Recently I was approached by Brad Wirz, founder of, about checking out his website, online store, and hosting a giveaway of a few items. As an avid reader I of course was excited to check out the variety of book themed items his store offered, and quickly made my way to the website.

As soon as I hit the home page, I immediately fell in love with the open book shaped plates and platters. I clicked through a few more pages and discovered book stickers, t-shirts, journals, and even author inspired candle scents and diffusers. Based on his products I decided a giveaway would be a good fit for my blog, and then I discovered an even greater reason to spread the word about this website.

In the first e-mail I received, Wirz mentioned had recently helped fund a library in Ethiopia. I thought to myself, what a great cause, a book lover and seller of book themed items donates to spreading the word about reading; but that was just the tip of the iceberg.

It turns out Brad Wirz decided to abandon his 20 year career in marketing in order to develop a website that donates 100% of the profits to spreading knowledge, books, and reading worldwide. After a trip to Honduras in 2010 to help build a library, Wirz couldn’t believe how many people had little to no access to books. The trip set him on the path to his current endeavor, giving money to established non-profits such as READ Global, Ethiopia Reads, and BiblioWorks. He decided rather than depending solely on collecting donations, he wold develop an online store to promote their mission and help fund these programs by selling book themed products.’s Philanthropic Mission…

“If you’re like me, you just can’t imagine living in a world without reading. Unfortunately, for almost a billion people today, that’s exactly where they find themselves. There are countless villages, towns and vast regions of this planet where the power of reading has yet to shine its light.

Gone Reading International, LLC was founded to counter these problems and spread the magic of reading.  We believe that when people have open access to great reading materials, life always changes for the better.  When libraries and reading  materials are made available, people and their communities thrive through increased opportunity and self-empowerment.

That’s why Gone Reading International has pledged 100% of our after-tax profits to provide new funding for reading- related charities.  By purchasing GoneReading brand gifts and merchandise, you’re treating yourself and the world at large to a wonderful gift.  All purchases from GoneReading help contribute to our philanthropic work.”

All of this background information brings me to how I hope to help this admirable company. I agreed to check out their website, order a few products, review one item, giveaway two, and offer a 25% discount to everyone who participates in the giveaway. I hope I can return the favor to for generously offering these items to you, by spreading the word about their mission.

Gonereading Book Small Platter

Because I so quickly fell in love with these plates, I opted to get the small book platter as the item I would use, review, and share with you. As soon as this package arrived on my doorstep I ripped it open, and was in love. I oooohhhed and aahhhhed as I turned the platter in my hands, admiring the soft curves of the open book shape. Any food looks amazing on the clean, white, surface. It’s the perfect size for appetizers, and is a beautiful display with little work. I love the way the platters and plates look when stacked, which is nicely displayed on their homepage. I keep dropping hints to Nick that it would be oh so nice to have a large book platter one day… with Christmas around the corner I think it’s a great gift idea (hint, hint, hint).

IMG_3414For my lovely readers after much consideration I decided to go with an adorable book journal, designed to resemble library check out slips, and a set of Edgar Allen “Poet” magnets. Both of these items would be fun to own or give as small gifts and stocking stuffers. My passion for reading is shared with a number of friends, and this website has given me a slew of holiday gift ideas for them.

I know it’s early, Halloween hasn’t even come yet, Christmas anything before Thanksgiving is a big no-no in my book. But I can’t help thinking about Christmas gifts as I peruse, and I can’t help but mention what great gifts they could make for you. See details below about how to enter to win one of these great items and be eligible to receive the 25% off code!

Gonereading Books to Check Out

This adorable library themed book journal is a great way to track what you are reading, and to take notes about characters, themes, and quotes you want to remember. It’s perfect for a book cluber or big reader!

Gonereading Edgar Allen Poet

This Edgar Allen “Poet” magnet kit is full of dramatic words and Poe-idioms. You can create your own raven and dark themed poems and sentences right on your refrigerator with these magnets.

To enter to win one of these items all you have to do is join’s e-mail list here. Scroll to the bottom of the page, enter your e-mail address, and comment below with the e-mail you used to join the e-mailer list and which item you would like to win. To win additional entries share this giveaway on facebook or twitter and comment a second time with a link to your share!

The winners will be randomly selected Tuesday 11/5/13 using the plugin: “And the Winner Is…” The winners will be contacted and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. Everyone who enters, regardless if you win one of the two prizes, will be e-mailed the 25% off coupon code once the contest is over.

Help out a great company and get started on your holiday shopping by entering this great giveaway! Thanks for checking out my blog and sharing with others, I can’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!


2013 Lickskillet Artist Market: Athens, GA

Lickskillet 2013 poster

If you happen to be in the Athens, GA area this Saturday between the hours of 10am and 4pm, come by and visit me! My wonderful husband, Nick and I will be manning my booth at the 2013 Lickskillet Artist Market! I will have my encaustic silhouette paintings, encaustic letter paintings, glass dish ware, and larger paintings for sale. I will also have some beautiful glass pendants by Anne Ward (my wonderful Mom).

See the above poster for details and the below images for a sneak peak of what I will have! Thanks for supporting local and handmade!

Antique and Vintage Inrpired Typewriter- Encaustic Collage Art

Shabby Chic Encaustic Letter t PaintingShabby Chic Hot Coffee Silhouette Encaustic Collage Art













Visual Journal Page 54: I’m Already Lonely…

The economy was in the tank and the trickle effect had already moved into a full pour, a borderline flood. Jobs were washing away, taking benefits, retirement, and budgets along with it. Although I did see this reflected in my paycheck and low supply cabinet, I could hardly care because I sill had a job. I was one of the lucky ones…

I had a job, but my department wasn’t left untouched. For years my school had been a two teacher art program. For the two years I worked there I always had a fellow art teacher to bounce ideas off of, vent to, and visit during breaks. As my second year began to wind down it was becoming more and more apparent that the two teacher system might not exist once this school year ended.

It turned out 12 positions were being cut. The news was announced and the administrators explained they would be meeting with the teachers being let go in the next week. Although I felt secure in my position, after all I had one year of seniority over Morgan, my wonderful co-worker, I couldn’t help but notice the pit forming in my stomach. What if it was me? What if it was her? What would our program look like? Our classes were already overflowing, they couldn’t take one of us away. It wasn’t possible… But with 12 positions being removed from an already small high school… anything was possible.

One day the following week I made my daily trek to check my mailbox and I saw ominous looking letters sticking out of a handful of teacher boxes. I couldn’t help myself, I studied the names on the boxes, taking note of what department they were in, observing the weight the single piece of paper seemed to have.

One teacher per department and multiple teachers in the non-core departments had these sheets sitting in their mailbox. It was obvious to everyone who saw it what these sheets of paper meant. They were a simple invitation to meet with our principal, seemingly harmless, but between the lines of each letter laid the future of a career, and one was waiting for Morgan.

I saw her the morning of the single-sheet-of-paper meeting. We both knew, we both discussed the possibilities, her options of what to do next. Despite all the prep I know it was still hard to go into that meeting and hear the words “I’m sorry, but despite your hard work, your amazing teaching ability, and how much the students love you, we have to let you go”. No matter how many niceties are crammed into that sentence, at the end you are still left without a job. To make matters worse after this ominous sentence was uttered our principle immediately offered Morgan a box of tissues, expecting her to break down, which of course caused her to do just that.

I was heartbroken. I was selfish at first, wondering what I was supposed to do. How would I run an entire department by myself? There was so much to do between art shows, art club, classes, and needing a shoulder to lean on. Eventually my selfishness subsided as I began thinking of Morgan. She just got her first job, went through the interview, thought she was set, only to find she wasn’t. What now?

Morgan is one of those people that despite unfortunate circumstances is able to plan ahead, persevere, and look on the bright side. Before the infamous meetings began she had already been job searching. Interviews were lined up, her resume was updated, she was ready to move forward.

She ended up landing a job nearby, closer to home, at an elementary school. She was excited and optimistic despite the daunting task of starting over. I was happy for her, but as the end of the school year came it was bittersweet. She packed up her room, her personal items made their way home, her room was left empty and lonely.

I couldn’t help the selfishness creeping back in, what was I going to do next year? It was official, I was all alone. Even before the school year ended I felt it. I was already lonely…


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Printed image
  • Packaging tape
  • Pencil


In order to create this visual journal page I had to find the perfect image, which I think I did. I knew I needed to make a page about this event, it was so important in both of our lives, it signified big change for both of us and a step backward for our department. While flipping through a magazine one day I found this image, a parody of the very famous painting, American Gothic, by Grant Wood. However in place of the original husband and wife is a brunette and a blond, a Whitney and a Morgan.

When I started working at my school my co-art teacher was a tall, beautiful blond. When she left she was replaced by another tall, beautiful blond. I like the yin yang we produce. The shorter, quirky brunette with the model potential blonds. This juxtaposition was unbelievably, perfectly reproduced in this image; and better yet the brunette and blond were set in a famous painting. It couldn’t have been more perfect for two heart broken art teachers.

For this image I knew I wanted to keep the two girls bold agains the background. To achieve this look I cut them out of the original painting and set them aside. I then took the background of the magazine image and did a tape transfer to create the semi transparent look. I then taped the tape directly onto the page (to read more about the process of doing a tape transfer go here). If the tape is no longer sticky enough to stick to the book page use Elmer’s glue or more tape to adhere it to your page. If rubber cement is applied to the tape an odd reaction occurs and causes the ink to smear off of the tape.

Once the background of the painting was set I used rubber cement to glue the girls back in their original position in the painting. I decided it didn’t look finished, it needed a golden, gilded frame around it to complete the look. I did an internet search until I found the perfect one, resized it to fit around the painting, completed another tape transfer, and taped it in.

To finish off the page, and add interest to the left side page, I created a space to write my words by making book page tape transfers. All I did was take strips of tape, stuck it to old, discolored book pages, and quickly ripped them back up. This technique causes the ink from the print and a little bit of the paper coloring to stick to the tape, creating a semi transparent look. I then taped them on the left side page, leaving a space in the center to write the words. I used pencil first, and planned to go back in with sharpie, but after writing the words I decided I liked having a more toned down look, and left it as is.


Use the book page or newspaper tape transfer in your next visual journal page. Use packaging tape and either old books or newspapers to create your semi-transparent word transfers!

Thanks for reading today’s post and visiting my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journaling, art and crafting by sharing with others, I couldn’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!


Visual Journal Page 53: Weddings, Babies, and Folley Beach


I love it when things just fall into place and seem meant to be. In this moment, sitting here, finally updating my blog, I pull up the next visual journal page I need to write about, and realize it is meant to be. It is so appropriate that this page is on this week’s to do list, after all it is all about my wonderful sister-in-law, a beautiful wedding, and an incredible announcement. How appropriate since I just spent a nice long weekend with her, her husband, and my two adorable nieces in Kentucky. I love that I get to reminisce after so recently reminiscing with her last weekend…

This page began November 2010, really it began in the spring of that year, perhaps I should start there.

Randi was about to become my sister-in-law, I couldn’t wait to tag “Panetta” to the end of my name, the wedding date was set, Nick and I were walking down the aisle July 10, 2010. As the spring rolled around, I was up to my eyeballs in wedding planning, when suddenly we got some exciting and surprising news. Randi and her boyfriend David planned to elope in Jamaica before David was deployed on his next air force mission.

Here I was spending every waking minute of my life thinking about, planning, and trying to put together a wedding, and here was Randi running off to Jamaica on a romantic getaway, getting engaged after us, married before us, and without all the typical wedding stresses. There were moments when I envied her.

We were excited when the happy couple finally tied the knot, however a little disappointed we weren’t there to share their big day. However, they later made up for their private wedding by planning a renewal of their vows and reception, once David returned from his deployment in the Fall. The date was set for November in Folley Beach, just outside of Charleston, SC.

We anxiously awaited their second big day and enjoyed a Panetta sibling road trip from Atlanta to Charleston the weekend of the event. We all piled into a beautiful house on the beach, where the ceremony and reception would take place. The morning of, the house had a hushed buzz as everyone scrambled around getting dressed, putting on make up, and doing their hair downstairs, as the already married-bride-to-already-be got ready upstairs. As the afternoon approached guests filed out onto the sandy beach, found a suitable seat, and waited for the beautiful bride to make her appearance.

I remember Cam beautifully singing and strumming her guitar, a hum of whispering voices, an intimate setting with only family and best friends, the sound of the ocean, the sense of anticipation hanging in the air, and the freezing, biting gusts of beach wind blanketing my arms, never allowing my goosebumps a break. Nick and I were practically on top of each other trying to keep warm, and the two bridesmaids, Andi and Stacey were hugging and shivering up front. 

Randi makes a beautiful bride. I wasn’t surprised at how radiant and happy she looked as she walked towards her husband-groom-to-already-be, they were meant to be and you could tell just by the way they were looking at each other. David’s brother-in-law re-wed them, they re-exchanged their vows, and the happy couple kissed and made their way back to the welcoming beach mansion with the well-insulated and heated interior, we were all looking forward to.

The guests quickly jumped from their seats, followed the happy couple to the house, and eagerly made their way to the doors, bodies begging for some warmth. I have to admit I was slightly perturbed when Randi and David stopped at the doors and said before we went inside they wanted to pass out a little gift to everyone as a thank you for sharing their special day. Small boxes were handed to each guest, and my freezing body began taking over my mind, begging the wedding attendants to pass them out quicker, questioning why we couldn’t do this later, mentally urging us to get this over with and go inside.

It was a moment worth waiting for, a moment that made you feel warm and fuzzy despite chilly temperatures, without the aid of a heater.

We were forced to wait until everyone had a little box before we could open them. Finally the time came and I popped open the lid, having no clue what to expect. Inside I found pink and blue jellybeans. Are you kidding me? I waited in the freezing cold for a candy snack? I didn’t understand the need for all of the waiting for this. Gasps began to rise up around me, people began cheering, I didn’t understand why they were so excited about a sugary treat. That is until I looked at the bottom of the lid, where I found the message “boy or girl?”.

I felt a little dense at the time, but it all came together. The first Panetta grand-baby, niece or nephew was on it’s way. Tears were shed, hugs, kisses, and congratulations were exchanged. It was a joyous event at the end of a joyous event, it couldn’t have been better timing.

And at the end of this long story comes the purpose of this page, the Folley Beach house, a re-wedding, and a baby surprise. Around 6-7 months later we celebrated a baby shower in honor of mommy-to-be Randi. As a gift for she and David I decided to paint a picture of that oh-so-important Folley Beach house, after all it stood for so much.

Come baby shower day the painting was complete, ready to give, and will hopefully serve as a reminder to them of that important day of commitment on multiple levels. I hope when the now two girls are older they will ask about the house in the painting and Randi and David can recount the beginnings of their happy life together.

Folley Beach Painting


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Hot glue
  • Picture print out
  • Dried paint on wax paper palate


This page is one of those visual journal pages that places the importance on the story behind it rather than the art marking process to reflect it. This page is a true journal page, meant to remind me of a special day, the day I found out I would be an aunt for the first time. It wasn’t about trying new techniques or creating an overly complicated page. It needed to be simple, straightforward, and reminiscent.

To create the page all I did was take the printed picture I reference to create the painting and glued it down to the bottom right corner of the page using rubber cement. I then tore off the wax paper layer from my reusable palate with the dried oil paint I used to paint the painting. I ripped it up into sections, overlapped them, and glued them down using hot glue.

Later on I began having issues with the paint leaving oil spots, marking up the page, and generally making it look messy. I then decided to glue down a clear transparency sheet between the two pages to prevent the paint blobs from marking up my page. To attach the transparency I put medium hot, hot glue on the four corners and glued them on top of the right side page. If you put your hot glue gun on high and attempt to glue plastic based products it well cause it to melt, so be careful!


Let go a little and rather than focus on the end product of your page focus on the purpose of the page. What are you remembering, what are you trying to memorialize? In the end I believe the message is more important than the success of the art!

Thanks for taking the time to read today’s post and check out my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journaling and the importance of art in everyday life by sharing with others. I can’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!


Visual Journal Page 52: Hummingbirds


Hummingbirds remind me of my grandmother. She loved all things hummingbird, and had various trinkets, jewelry, window hangings, and decor that reflected her love. As a child I remember identifying her with hummingbirds because of these items and because of the feeder, set just outside her screened in porch, that attracted hummingbird after hummingbird. I still think of her, 13 years after her death, when a hummingbird flitters by.

When I moved into my house I couldn’t wait to hang my bird and hummingbird feeders to add some wildlife sightseeing to my backyard. I excitedly filled up my feeders and spent the day walking by my windows, periodically sneaking a peek, looking out for my winged visitors.

I was happy to see my bird feeder was getting a lot of attention, almost too much attention. I have to fill it up almost every other week just to keep up with the apparently starving birds that live in my neighborhood. However, the hummingbird feeder was not the case. I was disappointed after day one passed with no hummingbird sighting. Eventually day two and three came and went, followed by weeks, and even a couple of months.

Tired of continuously emptying, washing, and refilling my feeder for no apparent reason, I decided I would set it out one last time. If no hummingbirds came, I would have to declare it a lost cause. I set my feeder out one last time and forgot about it until one night when scenes of a single hummingbird discovering my feeder drifted into my dreams.

It was a lovely dream with a beautiful little bird and remnants of my grandmother. I woke in the morning in a good mood, ready to start the day. While finishing up some cleaning, out of nowhere Nick yelled at me to look outside, I quickly turned my head and out of the corner of my eye I caught my dream-turned-reality hummingbird flying away from my feeder.

Since that moment I have yet to see another hummingbird visit my feeder and I have slacked on my feeder filling chore. It still hangs outside of my window, empty, slightly dirty, and in need of the bright red liquid to fill it again. Although I am disappointed my hummingbird feeder wasn’t a success, the split second I saw the hummingbird was worth it all in the end. I like to imagine it was my grandmother, seeking me out, answering a dream, and stopping by to say hello.

I am pretty sure I dreamed you into existence…


  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Prisma colored pencils
  • Watercolor
  • Extra thin sharpie


To create this visual journal page I decided to create the hummingbird feeder out of watercolor, to reference the liquidy look of the red sugar water, and the hummingbird out of colored pencils, to contrast the feeder. I started with the feeder by looking up a picture online. Once I found one that looked like the one I had at home I began sketching it onto a white sheet of paper. It is always best to start with pencil first, because you can erase mistakes, and add materials once you are satisfied with the base drawing.

After my sketch was complete I went in with watercolor. I painted the browns of the copper top and stand on the bottom, then moved to the red of the flowers and liquid. As I painted the liquid I added a lot of water to give it more of a light, transparent look. I added a little more red and a hint of purple at the bottom to give it a sense of dimension. Once the painting was complete I let it dry, then cut it out.

Next, I moved onto the hummingbird. Once again I found a picture to reference first and created my pencil drawing. After I was satisfied with the drawing I began coloring it in. I chose a medium green colored and completely filled in the bird. Next I used darker greens to create shadows and pull out details in the wings and tail. Then I added lighter greens, yellows, and blues to pull out highlights. As I built up my colors I kept coloring in small circles and didn’t press down hard. Rather than trying to rush filling something in by adding one solid color try slowly building and layering different shades of one color. It creates a much more realistic and interesting end result.

After the hummingbird was complete I cut him out and glued him and the watercolor feeder down using rubber cement. When I looked at everything put together I decided to feeder wasn’t popping enough. To add detail back in I used a thin sharpie to scribble along the edge of the painting and in recessed areas to emphasize the shadows. To finish off the page I added the words along the crease using a thing sharpie.


Create a page about a lost cause.

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