Month: June 2014

Visual Journal Page 71: This is the First Day of My Life


It was our one year anniversary.

We spent the day together, enjoying donuts for breakfast, a hilarious golf outing, picnic at the park, and a nice dinner out. Nick and I love all the food Atlanta has to offer, and we often try new restaurants. For our one year we wanted to go somewhere more swanky than our average outing, with delicious, interesting food. After reading a handful of rave reviews, we decided on Top FLR.

Top FLR is a trendy place in an equally trendy neighborhood, Old Fourth Ward. It’s a tall, skinny building, with a white facade and simple, thin black letters spelling out the name. The exterior gives no hint at what is hidden behind the front door, I felt like I was walking into a secret place, hidden in plain view on a street corner.

The interior matched the exterior. The furniture was plain, yet modern. Most of the decor was black and white, with only a pop of color on each table; a turquoise vase which cradled a single, white chrysanthemum.  I already enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant the minute we walked through the door. The lights were low, the music right up my alley, and the menu had a sophisticated simplicity to it, which perfectly fit with every other aspect of the restaurant.

I don’t remember what we ate or drank that night. I vaguely remember something with scallops, although that is typical of my fine dining outings. I don’t remember the details of our lives we discussed, I’m sure at some point we reminisced on the perfect day one year ago when we said “I do.” Despite losing details of the night over the last three years, I do remember the moment a familiar song came on.

Suddenly our conversation was interrupted as my ears perked up and I tried to place the first few notes of the new song filling the room. A nostalgic feeling tugged at my heart and brain as my ears absorbed the sound. It hit me before the first word was sung. It was our first dance song. Here we were celebrating our first year, wrapping up the night when our song came on. “First Day of My Life”, by Bright Eyes. It is a song I know well, but you won’t hear it on repeat on the radio, it has more of a niche, although still popular following. I was shocked to hear it was being played in that moment, I believe it was meant just for us.

It was the perfect end to a perfect day and a perfect year. This moment was meant to be, and we both paused and allowed it to sink in and find it’s way into our memories.

“First Day Of My Life”

by Bright Eyes

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They’re spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am 
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

And so I thought I’d let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realize that I need you 
And I wondered if I could come home

Remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange you said everything changed
You felt as if you’d just woke up 
And you said “this is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you 
But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”

So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

Check out my last visual journal post here, which covers the details of our first anniversary day.


  • Visual journal
  • Pencil
  • India ink
  • Gesso
  • Turquoise colored pencil
  • Black Sharpie
  • Silver Sharpie


For this visual journal page I really wanted to capture that moment. I decided to keep a very monochrome color palate, with the exception of the turquoise vase. I wanted it to have the same feel as the restaurant. Once I decided on the colors, I started on the page.

I used pencil to sketch out the table and chairs. I had a good visual memory of what everything looked like, but also looked up Top FLR online and scoped out their pictures before I got started. After the table, chairs, and vase were added I took India ink and painted the background completely black. I carefully painted around the table and chairs. India ink is a great medium to get dark blacks. However, it bleeds through everything. To avoid ruining my other pages I ripped out two pages, create my visual journal page outside of my book, then glued the pages back in.

After the background dried I used white gesso to paint in the table, chairs and flower. After the gesso dried I used a pencil to add shading to the bottom of the table and to the flower. I used black sharpie to outline the chairs and a turquoise colored pencil to fill in the vase.

Once the foreground was complete I added the finishing touches to the background, the lyrics from our first dance song. I wanted the words to completely fill the background, so I sketched them out with pencil until I got the font size just right. I then traced over the pencil with a silver sharpie, which pops really well on dark backgrounds.


Create a visual journal page about a meaningful song. Some how incorporate the lyrics into the design of the page.

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Visual Journal Page 70: Year One



It had been one year. One whole year had flown by, 365 days since our big day, it was our wedding anniversary.

For five years Nick and I dated before tying the knot. Months went into planning the wedding, and I was giddy when the day finally arrived. July 10th, 2010. A perfect day, surprisingly only 80 degrees in Georgia, in the middle of July. We were pronounced husband and wife in the quaint backyard of a quaint historic farmhouse, Kimball Hall, in Roswell, GA.

After vows were exchanged, food, cake and champagne were consumed, we were finally off to our honeymoon in Costa Rica. For a week we explored jungles, volcanos, beaches, zip lined, snorkeled, slept in, and enjoyed each other’s company. A year later I was thinking back on that important day and following week.

Although we went on an international adventure for our honeymoon, we decided to keep it low key for our first anniversary. All I wanted to do was spend time with my husband, it didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing as long as it was together.

Nick took the reigns and planned the day. We started the day by getting our favorite donuts and drinking large cups of coffee on the way to the golf course just a few blocks from our house. While neither of us are golfers by any stretch of the imagination, we were excited to try out the course we pass by so often, and try our luck at even making contact with the ball. We laughed as we swung and missed, yelled fours, and zipped around in the golf cart.

As our golf outing rounded out with very high, and slightly cushioned scores, we grabbed lunch and took it to picnic in the park right around the corner from our house. We snuggled in the grass, watching kids play, skateboards do crazy tricks, and enjoyed our lunch. After lunch we relaxed at home before gearing up for what was guaranteed to be a delicious dinner. We chose a restaurant with rave reviews neither of us had been to before, Top FLR.

We snazzed ourselves up and settled into a cozy dinner. It was an interesting restaurant with a modern feel. The music was loud, and tables close together, forcing us to lean in, and talk into each others’ ears. We reminisced on our wedding, the craziness of planning, the swiftness it came and went, and our unbelievable trip to Costa Rica. The food was amazing, the atmosphere fun, it was the perfect end to a perfect day. Whether we go 5,000 miles away or 5 minutes away I know I will have the best time because I’m with you.

Check out my bridesmaid visual journal page here

Check out my wedding planning visual journal page here

Check out my wedding pages here and here

Check out my honeymoon visual journal page here


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Sharpie
  • Colored pencil
  • India ink
  • Book pages
  • Watercolor
  • Paint brush


To create this visual journal page I knew I wanted to include components of all the activities we did that day. I made a list and decided to include the restaurant, golf clubs, hydrangeas (our wedding flowers), donuts, and a picnic basket. With all of these components I knew I needed to make at least one item larger than the rest, to create a focal point. Since the dinner was the last event of the day, and it was an a very interesting monochromatic building, I decided it would be the perfect part to focus on.

I sketched out the building with pencil, then went in with India ink. For the darkest areas I used India ink right out of the bottle. For more gray and midtone areas I watered down the India ink. Once Top FLR was painted, I set it aside to dry.

Next I sketched out hydrangeas, and used watercolor to fill in the color. For the petals I used blues and purples, for the leaves I used greens and yellows. For the donuts, golf clubs, and picnic basket I used colored pencil to sketch them out and fill them in. After everything was dry I cut out each individual piece.

To create a background I glued ripped out, slightly discolored book pages, and glued them down. I carefully layered the cut out drawing and paintings and glued them down. I liked how the colorful donuts and flowers contrasted agains the black and white building. Last but not least I wrote the words along the edge of the book pages with sharpie, and outlined them with colored pencil.


Create a visual journal page about an important date in your life. Your anniversary, birthday, child’s birthday, graduation date, etc. Have fun!

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Handmade Ceramics: Antique Inspired Stamped Mugs


With my new artistic endeavor at Crafted Westside, for the first time I have had the opportunity to really experiment with ceramics and find my aesthetic niche. I recently began adding stamped words and letters to my ceramics, with my “joe” mugs and teapots, and this technique has crossed over to incorporating stamps of objects into my work.


I have always enjoyed all things antique, vintage and old. This is very apparent when you walk into my house and see the old, peeling furniture and other antique decor. I wanted this love to translate into my artwork, and when I found stamps with antique phones, watches, and cars, I knew it would be perfect.


To create these vintage style mugs I make the base on the pottery wheel. I aim to throw medium height, with a slightly rounded shape. After trimming them and adding a handle, it’s time to add the stamped element. I roll out a thin piece of clay, press the stamp into it, and score and slip it to the side of the mug.


After the mugs are put together I set them out to dry to a bone dry state. I then bisque fire them, then comes the glazing. I love the simplicity of white and dark brown against a pop of color. It is a color scheme that I have carried through all of my products at Crafted. To create this contrast look I use underglaze to emphasize the stamp and a bright color on the interior. I then clear glaze the outside of the stamped mug.


I also add underglaze to my initials stamp on the bottom and my three dot signature pattern. The mugs are put in the kiln, fired again, then they are complete and ready to add to the shelves.

I love the way these new stamped mugs look, I am already working on a small plate set to match. I find I am continuously on the look out for other interesting stamps to add to my collection.

If you live in the Atlanta area and still haven’t checked out Crafted Westside, go take a look! The store is filled with amazing local and handmade products.

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Visual Journal Page 69: I Wish They Knew

Visual-Journal-Page-69-I-Wish-They-Knew Teaching AP Art was both the most difficult and rewarding class I ever taught.

After attending the week long AP certification seminar at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), I felt like I pro. I went into the year with a solid list of assignments and battle plan to encourage my students to produce amazing, college worthy artwork. I felt confident, I knew every one of my students would submit and receive high scores on their portfolios. I knew all of this before day one even began.

What I didn’t know going into the year was how difficult motivating my students would be. 24 complete works of art in a 9 month period is a lot to ask. After doing my own calculations I realized my students had to create a new work of art every week and a half in order to meet the 24 piece requirement in May. Their acceleration began to slow as we moved into Christmas break. By the time we hit the middle of second semester the majority of them were burnt out, feeling a sense of defeat, and were beginning to enter the dangerous zone of “I just don’t care anymore”.

What I didn’t realize going into the year was the cost each of my students had to face. The $80.00 portfolio fee was a deterrent and excuse for many of my AP students to not even submit at the end of the year. Of the 16 students in the class, only 10 submitted that first year.

What I didn’t realize going into the year was the incredible amount of stress I was going to put on myself. Every day when a project remained incomplete, pushed to the side, or even trashed due to frustration, I took it on myself. Slowly each unfinished work of art piled on my shoulders, and began weighing me down. My weighted shoulders followed me home at night, to bed as I tried to sleep, and back to school the next day, resulting in a short temper and an obvious show of frustration with my students.

Before I knew it the submission deadline was a week away and my solid plan at the beginning of the year had long been abandoned. The close relationships I had with me Ap babies suddenly felt strained, as I hounded them day in and day out to bring in finished artwork. I questioned whether or not any of my 10 would have a complete portfolio at the end of the week.

As the big day approached my students kicked it into high gear. Out of nowhere beautiful drawings, paintings, and photographs began appearing. Slowly, but surely, spaces began to fill up on the submission website. I continuously checked their portfolios, to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, 10 complete portfolios were about to be sent off.

I was beat down and exhausted by the end of the year. I nervously hit the submit button for each portfolio, and wondered their fate. I thought back to the beginning of the year, when we were all full of excitement and motivation. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was, but I was incredibly proud of my the few that followed their commitment to the end.

2 months I waited to hear news of their portfolio fate. I already place my own numbers on each one, and assumed I would be in the ballpark. When the big day came, I could barely contain myself, I geared up to pat myself on the back when the high scores came in. I opened the website, logged in, and there they were. Stacked in a nice column, name on the left, score on the right.

I was shocked. Everyone scored at least a full point lower than I anticipated, with two of my students receiving scores of 2s. I felt like a failure. I felt I didn’t work hard enough to help them get the scores they deserved. At the pit of my stomach I felt a little sick, knowing each one of them would be visiting the site soon, to discover what their work meant to the AP board.

Although the year was difficult, although I had my ups and downs with each student, they had all come a long way. The AP board can judge the artwork as subjectively as possible, however they can’t judge each submitters journey. So many of my kiddos came leaps and bounds from where they were in the beginning.

Moments of slacking off and not meeting deadlines occurred, but in the end they all pulled through. In the end they all put in the time needed to complete their portfolios. My students didn’t come from a magnet art school with an endless budget, they came from a school with few art supplies and where an $80.oo submission fee was enough to cut out almost half of my class. I felt my students came a lot further in the course of the year than any AP reader could grade on. If only they knew how hard they worked and how far they came.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • scissors
  • Magazine page
  • Sharpie
  • Book pages


Going into this visual journal page I knew I wanted it to be clean, yet bold. I had recently discovered a magazine spread in a SCAD catalogue, which had numerous pictures of young looking students. I was able to find 10 which reminded me of my own students, and cut them out to represent our AP submission group.

After cutting out the images I glued them down along the bottom edge of the page. After stepping away and taking a look at the in progress page, I decided it didn’t look right. I didn’t like seeing their faces, after all they are anonymous as the portfolios are graded. I took a sharpie and crossed a bold line across their eyes. It seemed to fit.

Next I glued down book pages along the top of the page, to create a space to write words. I used a sharpie to add the words, and my visual journal page was complete.


Create a page about a time when you felt you fell short or failed. Relive the moment as you create the page, then let it go.

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Visual Journal Page 68: Pillow Clothing


One of my favorite sources for interesting and beautiful images are my Anthropologie catalogs. Anthrop0logie is one of my favorite stores, all of their clothing is different, yet stylish. I drool over the unbelievable store front displays as I walk in, setting the tone for the rest of their products.

As I enter an Anthropologie I allow myself, just for a moment, to look around. I pause as I walk through the doors, glance around the store, and identify all of the items I want to take home. After that brief moment, I put my blinders on, and look at nothing else on my way back to the sale section.

As much as I love everything Anthropologie has to offer, their prices keep me from stocking my closet with their items. I am a sale section only shopper, which still limits me to only purchasing an item or two when I go in. Although their prices prevent me from purchasing every article of clothing I fall in love with, it does give me something to look forward to. I look forward to the day I can splurge, and buy a full price item. I look forward to the moment I hit the lottery and can go on a shopping spree.

Their prices also make me cherish every shirt, skirt, and dress I discover buried in the sale section. While other clothing in my closet is donated after a season or two, my Anthropologie pieces stick around year after year. I carefully hand wash, hang dry, and baby my Anthro clothes.

Since flipping through their catalogue, and drooling over every full priced item, is not compatible with my budget, I solely began getting the catalogue for my visual journaling needs. They take their beautiful clothes and pair them with unbelievable photography. Interesting backdrops make their clothing pop. A combination of old and peely, and exotic, yet homey creates a feeling that sucks me into the images, causing spontaneous clothing and vacation daydreams.

As I began flipping though the pages of one of these catalogues I discovered the most beautiful, fluffy dress. It looks like it was made of clouds. It was the perfect blend of comfortable, yet stylish. I wish all of my clothes could be like that, every time I slip into them it feels like I am laying in a pile of pillows.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Magazine cut outs
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie


This particular Anthropologie catalogue provided a unique opportunity. The cover of the magazine displayed this amazing dress, and a larger, identical photograph was included on the inside. I already loved the dress, but I loved the opportunity this duplicate image provided even more.

I carefully cut out both images of the dress, and the dark background behind it. I decided to cut the background out to create just enough space between it and the dress for me to include words. I glued the dark background with rubber cement first, then the larger image of the dress. Next I glued the smaller image of the dress on the right side visual journal page.

With the dress image mostly on the right side of the visual journal, the left looked a little empty. I decided to use an extra piece of the dress and glue it on the left page to create a more complete look. Last but not least I added the words with sharpie… I wish all of my clothes felt like I was laying in a pile of pillows…


Create a visual journal page about your favorite store.

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