Tag: mod podge

Visual Journal Page 53: Full Heart, Heartbroken

A visual journal page with a cut out and background created with Mod Podge transfers.

THE STORY

This visual journal page was created back in 2012 I was at a school I knew was a short term situation. After a single year I felt too exhausted to stick it out, but somehow I pushed through an additional two years. My 35 students per class, nonexistent art budget, low administrative support, and the requirements I had to meet outside of the classroom were becoming a daunting tower of reasons I needed to find a way out.

However, despite all the marks against my school and against my job, there was one thing that kept tugging at me to stay. My kiddos. At a school like this it’s more difficult to be recognized as an employee, but it’s easy to be recognized by those who matter most, the students.

I had student who were incredibly difficult. Those relationships wore on me as much as the other ticks against the job. But, the students I connected with went deeper than any student relationships I have made at my current job. These students needed me. They needed my insight, outlook, experience, art tips, and life tips. They came from a variety of backgrounds from low income to upper class, two parent to no parent homes. I had to balance a huge range of needs, it was challenging, but it fulfilled me.

My current job comes with a big pile of plush. I have a well padded art budget, small class sizes, administrative support, and very well behaved students. But I am not needed here. I could walk out of my classroom at any moment and these kids would have ten other teachers more capable and caring than me to take my place. When I walked out of my last job my students didn’t have that. They were left with teachers in the same situation as me: worn out, worn down. Or they were left with teachers only working for their paycheck, unable to be fired despite poor job performance, watching the clock until retirement. I was heartbroken because I felt like I was failing them.

Leaving that school meant I left a huge unknown. I didn’t know who would take my place, I didn’t know if they would have support. I felt like I was abandoning them, letting them down. I felt so much guilt that I couldn’t fess up to my job change until the last days of school, and I only informed those who I felt closest to.

I snuck out of that job with my tail between my legs, but the sense of relief I felt driving off campus the final day is indescribable. For the first time in three years I had hope, aspirations, and excitement for what would came at the end of summer.

a visual journal page made with collage and mod podge transfers.

“It breaks my heart to walk away… but I can’t wait to see what my future holds.”

This visual journal page was created in my last days at my first job. It was my way to process my emotions, to face the fact that yes I was sad and that was okay but I was also thrilled for what was next, which was also okay.

I have been at my current school, my second job in the adult world, for going on eight years. This job comes with its own set of challenges. I am tapped on the shoulder to take on tasks often, I wear ten different hats other than teacher on any given day, I have very high expectations from my students, parents, peers, and administration. I have never worked harder in my life in the last eight years. But the huge different is how I feel at the end of every day. I do not go home exhausted. I do not go home morally torn apart, emotionally worn down. I wake up every morning ready to go to work and start my day. I don’t dread Mondays, the end of breaks. I look forward to the start of every school year.

Moral of the story is that we have to show up for our students. I wish I was able to show up every day for my kiddos at my last job, but the job didn’t allow me to. Although I am far down the totem pole if you stack up the faculty at my current school, I am a better teacher to my students because I am taking care of me. You have to take care of you.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Mod Podge
  • Printed images
  • Paint brush
  • Book pages
  • Thin Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I primarily used printed images. I wanted the yin/yang of my emotions at the time to be the focus of the page. I looked online and found a range of skies, from dark to light, and printed them out. I also knew I wanted a silhouette representation of me on both sides of the story, preparing to leave and my new beginning. After finding these and printing them out, I began laying out the spread.

I ripped the printed sky into strips and positioned them on the page. After cutting out the silhouettes I played around with placement, but felt like the spread was lacking a focal point. After some brainstorming I decided to include a heart to add a pop of color, focal point, and provide another visual for the way I was feeling.

After finding a heart image and printing it I created a Mod Podge transfer on a separate sheet of paper that I had collaged ripped up book pages on. Mod Podge transfers create a semi-transparent image and they are much more interesting to look at if they have something behind in the image.

MOD PODGE TRANSFER HOW TO

  1. Paint a coat of Mod Podge onto your image and let it dry.
  2. Paint another coat of Mod Podge on your image and let it dry.
  3. Paint a third coat of Mod Podge on your image and while it’s wet place it face down onto the surface you are transferring it to.
  4. Let it dry.
  5. Once the Mod Podge is try, wet the back of the paper. Once the water soaks in, carefully rub the paper until it starts peeling off.
  6. Continue to rub the paper off until you can clearly see the image you transferred.
  7. Let the image dry and check to see if you need to re-wet and rub off paper in any other areas.
  8. REMINDER: You are creating a mirror image, any area with text will show up in reverse. To avoid that flip the image before you print.

I then printed a second heart image, in reverse, to create two sides of the heart. After finishing a Mod Podge transfer of the second heart I glued them to either side of a book page still attached to the binding of my book. I then cut the heart out, added pieces of book pages to create a space to write words, and wrote the words on top.

I loved the look of the Mod Podge transfer of the heart, so I decided to create Mod Podge transfers of the entire background. Once I finished with each strip of sky, I glued it down. I then added a ripped out encyclopedia page to the center of each page in my visual journal and layered another strip of sky on top.

Last but not least I added the silhouettes to each page.

CHALLENGE

Cut a shape out of a page still attached to your book binding to add an extra element to your visual journal spread. Try focusing on a moment when you felt pulled in different directions.

Interested in learning more about visual journaling or introducing them in your classroom? Get everything you need to teach or learn about visual journals, plus a ton of printable resources (including my magazine fade and tape transfer handouts) here.

Want to see more examples of using Mod Podge transfers in visual journals? Check some out here, here, and here.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and visual journal page! Help me spread the word about what I do by sharing this post on your social media outlet of choice! Thanks for stopping by!

DIY Shower Craft Project: Personalized Photo Banners

Hanging Phot Banners

It has been a summer of showers. Really, it has been a few years of showers, but I don’t mind because I love hosting them and having the opportunity to celebrate my nearest and dearest. Most recently, I threw a shower for my newest sister-in-law, a couples shower cook out. It was non-traditional, filled with grilled meats, yard games, and a lot of booze, one of the more fun showers I have hosted. Although it was non-traditional, I still wanted a shower feel with sweet decorations and personal touches. These photo banners are one of the many crafts I completed for the big day, find out how I did it below!

Photo Banner Supplies

In order to create the banner you have to pick up a few supplies:

  1. Either cut out a banner shape from cardboard or thick card stock or purchase a pre-made set from your local arts and crafts store. I opted for option B, it saved me time, and at 50% off, it only cost a few extra dollars.
  2. Scissors to cut out your pictures and trim the string.
  3. A paintbrush to use to apply Mod Podge
  4. Picture print outs. Since the photo banners were going to hang in doorways I printed enough to do them front and back. I highly recommend printing on heavier paper. I had issues with the standard printer paper bubbling and trying to rip when I painted them with Mod Podge.
  5. Mod Podge or some type of adhesive.
  6. String, twine, yarn, hemp, whatever look you likes best to string the banner sections together.

HOW TO:

Step one: First thing you have to do is pick up the supplies. All of these items can be found at your local arts and crafts store.

Step two: Print out your pictures. size them all to the backing size, mine were 5″x8″ and 4″x6.” As I mentioned above, I recommend using a heavier paper and a high quality printer if you have access to one. I used my standard printer and standard printer paper, and had a few issues come up. Despite some bubbled images, once hung, they looked great.
Step 3

Step three: Trace the banner shape onto the picture print out, and trim as needed. Typically, I recommend doing this on the back of the image, to prevent pencil marks showing up on the front, but with this project I needed to see if any part of their faces were caught in the triangle cut out. Erase visible pencil marks when you are finished.

Step 4

Step four: Lay the image on top of the banner section, and make sure everything lines up. Use a pencil, pen, or sharp tool to punch holes through the picture, and the banner piece if holes aren’t already punched. Since mine were pre-made, the holes were pre-punched.

Step 5

Step five: Coat the back of the picture with Mod Podge (or a type of adhesive) and press it to the banner backing. I chose to coat the front with Mod Podge to give it a more polished look. This picture shows first hand the bubbling I experienced with a few images. Be as gentle as you can when applying the Mod Podge. If a section does bubble, lightly press it down. It is better to leave it alone, once it dries, you couldn’t tell unless you were close up.

Step six: Allow all the pieces to dry.

Step seven: Add string to connect all the sections together, leave extra on either side to hang them up.

DSC_2984

Tie your completed banners up, use tape to tack them to walls, or place the ends under heavy objects. I completed four in total, and hung them in the doorways of my front and back door as well as the opening between my kitchen, living room, and dining room. Every banner was double sided, allowing me to include a wide range of pictures of the couple, from formal engagement pictures to Instagram snapshots.

This project didn’t take longer than an hour and it added a personal touch to the shower.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read about my latest DIY craft project. Help me spread the word by following and sharing on your social networking site (or sites) of choice. I would love to hear how your version of this project went, feel free to share pictures and comment below[subscribe2]

Visual Journal Page 7: What I Need to Teach

Visual Journal Page 7-What I Need to Teach

For the first two years of my art education career I struggled to get the supplies I needed to teach my classes.

For two years I begged, traded, sought out donations and grants, I even sold baked goods at lunch to raise money for my art program. Each year I found a way to scrape by. My students were still exposed to drawing, painting, and a bit of clay when the budget allowed. Occasionally, assignments had to be altered in the middle, when supplies began to run low. My sculpture class turned into a drawing/painting class towards the end of the semester, when I could no longer afford the supplies. But, we made do, and my students still created amazing works of art.

While the experience was frustrating at times, I did teach me an important lesson in conservation and waste. Suddenly, every sheet of paper was precious. When students hit the point of crumpling their paper in frustration, they would learn a lesson in perseverance. Instead of being thrown away, their paper was flattened, and they had to continue on.

In addition to learning how to conserve, re-use, and extend supplies, I also learned who the resourceful people in school were. A nice smile, a thoughtful gesture, and going out of your way to ask someone how their day is, is a simple thing to do, and it comes with its own benefits. By the time I left my school I had the janitors on the lookout for items I could use, teachers sending over random assortments of bottle caps and wire hangers, and I had the notoriously difficult to please bookkeeper on my side. While every person who sent over a stack of paper or extra supplies played an important role in keeping my program alive, the bookkeeper was the reason my final year there was a success.

I remember the very first day I started at that school. I was assigned a mentor teacher to show me the ropes, explain the grade book process, attendance, expectations, everything I needed to know to get by. While each of these pieces were essential to surviving my first year, one of the most important things she introduced me to were the school politics. Who you needed to be sweet to from day one, whose toes not to step on, and who really held the power in the school. I learned quickly Mrs. Bookkeeper was not one to mess with. People were moved to her bad list on a whim, and she was definitely the blood supply of the school.

From day one I was sweet to her. I always read her instructions twice, immensely apologized if anything went wrong, and made sure to get to know her, rather than just ask for favors. Over the years I learned she was married, with no kids, but loved her nephews as her own, was a big supporter of all the school sports, and was kind despite her tough exterior.

My third and final year I walked to her office, dreading the budget conversation. Each year my budget was reduced a little more, it went from $750.00 to $300.o0, for supplies to cover 150+ students. Rumors of further budget cuts were already in the air, and I expected them to say I couldn’t spend any money. In the back of my mind I already had pencil and paper only projects on hand.

We sat down, she shuffled some papers, and I couldn’t believe what came next. She explained she knew I had a tough couple of years and I had done a good job staying within my allotted budget. She knew I was extremely low or completely out of basic supplies. She said to make a wish list of everything I want, covering basic supplies and additional supplies I could never get before. She told me to hand over the list, and she would see what she could do. It was scary to think I may get some or none of my requested supplies, but I felt confident she would help me out.

I put together my dream wish list. I added everything I thought was feasible, and had nearly $2500.00 in supplies. More than double any budget given to me in the past. I prioritized the items and submitted it, keeping my fingers crossed that I would maybe get half. A few days later Mrs. Bookkeeper called me into her office yet again. “We are getting you everything on the list,” she said. I almost fell over.

Finally I had the tools I needed to teach my students the way I wanted to teach them. Finally I had the support I needed and the supplies I needed. Mrs. Bookkeeper played a very important role in making my final year at that school a good one. I didn’t go out with a bad taste in my mouth, full of resent for the public school system. Instead, I went out feeling like I saw a glimpse of what the school should be.

Thank you.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Mod podge
  • Paint brush
  • Laser printed images
  • Blue tissue paper
  • Ripped up book page
  • Black sharpie

HOW TO

Although this page may seem simple at first glance, this was a very long process. I decided I wanted to print pictures of all the supplies I ordered, and do a Mod Podge transfer directly on the book page of each item. This meant I had to plan ahead for what image would layer what, if dark colors would cover up lighter ones, and how many to do at once.

I started by printing out all of my pictures on a laser printer, a must for a successful Mod Podge transfer. I had to reverse all images that had text on them, Mod Podge transfers reverse the original image. I then cut each image out using scissors. Next, I began playing with placement. Because Mod Podge transfers create semi-transparent images, I had to be careful if any image overlapped. I had to place light colors together, and space out dark colors. Once I had my placement down, I began the Mod Podge transfer process.

First, you paint a  layer of Mod Podge on the front of each image using a paint brush. Allow the layer to fully dry. Paint a second coat, allow it to dry. Paint a third coat, and while the Mod Podge is still wet, place the image face down, and rub the back until it is completely stuck. After it dries on the page, wet the back of the image with water, and begin peeling off the white paper. The ink from the printer should stick to the Mod Podge, dried onto the book page, and all the white paper should come off. This creates transparent areas where there were light or white colors, and semi-transparent areas where it was dark.

Because I had to complete a transfer before layering another on top, I had to place images away from each other, finish them, allow them to dry, before putting the next image near them. It turned into a multi day visual journal page. When all the Mod Podge transfers were finally complete, I realized a lot of detail was lost, and a lot of the images blended together. To help bring the detail back in, I outlined certain images with black sharpie.

To finish the page I glued a strip of blue tissue paper with a strip of a book page on top of the background. I added the text using sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a person who helped you through a tough situation or a pleasant surprise. Use at least one Mod Podge transfer in your page. Interested in teaching visual journals to your students? Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.

Visual Journal Page 4: To My Husband

Visual Journal Page 4-To My Husband

As I worked through my three books, traditions began falling into place. First, came the quote at the start of the book. A way to set the tone for the pages to come. Next, came the dedication to my book. The final page, a space for me to acknowledge the sacrifice and inevitable change in meaning for the book being used. By the time I settled into my third book, I began using the layout of the book as another source of inspiration for my pages.

As I worked through the first few pages of this book, I found myself on the original dedication page. The author of “Early American Dedication” had a simple, yet powerful dedication: “To my husband.” An entire page with blank space made the single line even more meaningful, “To my husband.” The sense of a strong marriage, support, love, care, and encouragement resonated off the page. I made an immediate connection with the three word sentence, and suddenly felt a sense of comradery with the author.

As I approach my 5 year wedding anniversary, and 10 year dating anniversary, I feel a strong set of emotions. When I turn 29 I will have already spent almost a third of my life with the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with. At a young 19 I unknowingly met my match. A lot of changes take place between the ages of 19 and practically 30. The years of care-free, irresponsible, fun moved towards the first very broke years of being on your own. As you transition to your mid-twenties the inevitable first life crisis approaches, in the newly coined and very real quarter life crisis. Marriage, talks of children, and more responsibilities are added. I’m still a year and a half from thirty, but I am already terrified of what it means to be thirty. Thirty means real adulthood and real responsibility.

Through many major life changes, difficult transitions, and amazing amount of fun, my main constant has been my Nick. Together we have grown up and grown closer as we dealt, and continue to deal, with the realty of adulthood and the inevitable bumps along the way. A lot happens in the course of ten years, and I still feel just as connected to him today as I did when we first started dating.  I can’t wait for him to get home after work each day. He is the first person I tell exciting news, disappointments, frustrations, and ridiculous stories I read on the internet. I can’t imagine life without him.

As I worked through art school, exhausted myself trying to stay afloat my first years teaching, and as I explore new career options as a working educator and wanna be working artist, he has always been right by my side providing the encouragement I need. When I joke about quitting my full time job, and tells me to do it. He tells me we will find a way to make it work, because he wants me to be happy in whatever I am pursuing. When I look back at my income and expenses for my part time, working artist job, and realize despite a ton of hard work and successful shows, only a tiny profit was made, he points out how great it is that I am in the “black” my first year. He is the positive voice whispering in my ear, counteracting the negative voices in my head.

Nick makes me feel like I can accomplish whatever I want. He gives me the confidence I need to take the first step and try something new. After thinking back on all he has done for me, and how we have only grown stronger through the years, I realized this book also needed a simple dedication with endless meaning behind the words… To my husband.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Laser printer
  • Laser printed image
  • Mod podge
  • Water
  • Old book pages

HOW TO

When I decided to keep the original dedication as a part of my visual journal page, the design came together fairly easy. I had a wedding photo I loved, and it was perfectly cropped with us positioned on the left hand side of the frame, leaving space to allow the original text to show through. To start the visual journal page, I printed the picture on a laser printer. I opted to do a mod podge image transfer, and reversed the image before printing it, because mod podge transfers create a mirror image of the original.

Once I had the image printed, I pulled other pages from my visual journal book to use as the base to transfer my image on. While I still planned to incorporate the original text, I decided I still wanted other text to show through the image. By completing the transfer on a separate sheet of paper, then gluing it back into the book, it also keeps the pages flatter, and less wrinkled, after it dries. I painted two layers of mod podge on the image, allowing them to dry between layers, then added a third layer, and while the mod podge was still wet, I laid it face down on the book pages. I allowed the mod podge to dry a third time, then wet the back of the image and rubbed the paper off. The end result is a semi-transparent image. To read more about mod podge transfers check out another post here.

After the mod podge transfer was complete, I laid the page on top of the original dedication page, and marked where the “To my husband” text was. Using an Xacto knife I cut through the page with the mod podge transfer, allowing the text to show through. I used rubber cement to glue the mod podge transferred pages on top of the dedication page.

Through the mod podge transfer process the edges of the image became a little messy. To cover this up, and create a more complete looking page, I ripped up and glued down pieces of paper from an old, discolored book and another print out of the original image. When doing a mod podge transfer details often become fuzzy. I loved the lace at the bottom of my wedding dress, and decided I wanted to re-emphasize it. To do this I printed another copy of out wedding picture, ripped the bottom and top of the picture, and lined it up with the mod podge transfer. I used rubber cement to glue it down. To further emphasize the dedication, I added another section from the picture and old book pages beneath the line of text.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page dedicating your book to someone supportive of your ventures in life.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read today’s post. Help me spread the word about my blog and visual journals in general by sharing with others on your social networking site of choice. Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here. Thanks for stopping by!

Visual Journal Page 3: The Wrong Way Down a One Way Street

Visual Journal Page 3- The Wrond Way

Pre-planning had officially begun. Another summer passed by in the blink of an eye, it was time to go back to the grind. It was the start of my third year teaching high school art. I couldn’t believe two years had already passed. I had survived, so far, with only a few hiccups along the way.

The start of this year felt different than the rest. I suddenly felt like a veteran. For the most part, I knew what to expect. I recognized at least half of the names on my roster, I knew what I needed to accomplish in the week before students arrived, I already knew what my project timeline was for the entire year. However, despite a new feeling of confidence, there was something else brewing underneath.

I already felt exhausted. Not even two days had passed in the school year, and I wasn’t sure I would make it to the end. Two years of begging for supplies, tripping over backpacks and students in my 35+ student classes, dealing with unnecessary meetings, testing, and other complete wastes of time. Despite my attempts to find another job the previous year, I was returning to my school, my classroom, and the same issues.

I wasn’t sure I could deal with it all again. I wasn’t sure I could make it to January, only to find myself scouring job listings, sending in applications, going on interviews, only to be let down once again. This was not what I had planned for this school year.

I envisioned the start of something new. A closet full of supplies, a classroom with a reasonable number of students, everyone is happy, everyone loves art, everyone works hard. Wishful thinking, I know, but I wanted to love my job, and this school would be the end of my art education career, not the driving force behind it.

However, here I was, standing in my classroom once again, and the only thing I could do was get back to planning and make the most of a disappointing situation. It felt like driving the wrong way down a one way street.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Water
  • Old book pages
  • High quality magazine iamge
  • Black paper
  • Silver sharpie

HOW TO

One day, while flipping through a National Geographic, my favorite source for high quality images, I found this interesting image of a car driving towards an obviously flooded road. It appeared as though the water was closing in behind the car, but there was nothing for the car ahead of them, only more water. It made no sense, they seemed stuck in an impossible situation, yet there they were, persevering.

I felt like there had to be more to this picture. An inspirational story, a devastating circumstance. It peaked my interest, and I ripped it out and added it to my visual journal folder.

A few months later, the perfect page came along for this picture. I was starting another school year with a less than positive attitude. While flipping through my visual journal folder, I discovered it once again, and felt it summed up my situation. I was stuck, just like the car, driving to an inevitable end. Whether that end was a new career, a new school, or yet another new year, I had no idea, but I had to continue moving forward to find out.

I wanted to put focus on the image, so I opted to create a neutral background by layering ripped up book pages. I used rubber cement to glue the pieces down. Once I had a solid collaged layer, I created a mod podge transfer of the car picture, which created a semi-transparent image. To create a mod podge transfer read the instructions here.

After the transfer was complete, I glued a strip of black construction paper gong across both pages. This created a space to include text, which I wrote out using a silver sharpie. Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.

CHALLENGE

Create a page about a time in your life when you were stuck in a rut.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word about visual journals by sharing with others. I couldn’t do it without you!

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