My birthday is one of my favorite times of year. While I don’t require week, or month long, celebration, I do require a lot of attention the day of. I begin the countdown around a month before, constantly reminding Nick the first of the month is quickly approaching, August 1st is almost here, and it is a very important day.
I love birthdays in general. I love being the center of attention, pampered, and treated like royalty one day of the year. I also love celebrating birthdays. In college, I made it a point to make sure my roommates always had a full birth-day. My friends and I always tried to go above and beyond for each other to make our days special while away from home. Waking up Theresa at the crack of dawn to surprise her with pancakes and balloons, Elly and I spontaneously buying a happy birthday blow up lion to use every year to celebrate, making all of their favorite dinner dishes, even if it meant fried ravoli and mashed potatoes in the same meal.
Nick knows my birthday enthusiasm. Every year I make a point to make him “big family breakfast,” a feast of bacon, potatoes, eggs, and toast, even if it means getting up an extra hour before work. After all, it is “birth-day” not “birth-dinner” or “birth-coupleofhours,” and everyone deserves a special day to celebrate.
While in school I hated having a summer birthday. I meant less attention was paid to me. I didn’t get to carry around balloons, get my locker wrapped, or be surprised with gifts from my friends. I didn’t get the time in the spotlight when everyone feels obligated to wish you happy birthday, because you have a giant sign, in the form of a balloon, announcing you made it another year.
However, as an adult, summer birthdays are my favorite. It means no work, regardless of whether or not my birthday falls on a Monday or Saturday. It means I most likely get to spend the day doing one of my favorite summer activities, lounging by the pool with a good book and adult beverage. I cherish my days off and the complete laziness I am allowed to enjoy on August 1st.
Needless to say, when I discovered pre-planning started on my birthday in 2011, I was devastated. I was going to have to get up early, make myself presentable, and do work, for the first time in two months, on my birthday. My birth-day was being reduced to what I never wanted, a quick dinner after work. I hoped, at the very least, I would be able to go out for lunch with my coworkers, without having to announce to the world it was my birthday and I needed special treatment. However, being the first day back, everyone decided to work straight through lunch.
It was a difficult day to stay focused, and I was glad when the clock hit 3:30, and I could head home. Nick and I did enjoy an amazing sushi dinner, and I was surprised with the usual pile of presents Nick insists on creating. I was most excited for my Nook, an easy way for me to consume book after book while being lazy at the pool, something to look forward to next summer. I still enjoyed my day, I still appreciated everything I was given, but perhaps this was the final nail in the coffin of my first teaching job. I needed to get closer to home and in a school that did not start on my birthday.
- Visual journal
- Rubber cement
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brush
- White paper
- Book pages
For this visual journal page I wanted to include a day of activities and gifts into one image. After thinking about ways to simplify the page, I decided to focus on the Nook Nick gave me for my birthday, and include snapshots of the day on the screen.
Once I had a plan in place, I began working on the Nook. I wanted the screen of the Nook to stand out from the background, so I layered lighter colored book pages on a white sheet of paper. After, I began sketching out the Nook. I focused on all the small details, the battery icon, side buttons, home screen icons, etc., to make it look more realistic. I then used acrylic paint to fill in the the Nook.
To reflect my birthday day I divided the screen into three sections. One area to represent my desk at work, one area for the pile of presents, and one area for my delicious sushi birthday meal. Once I had a rough sketch, I added color and details with acrylic paint. Since the images were fairly small and loosely painted, a lot of detail was lost. To emphasize shadows and line I used an extra fine Sharpie to add detail back in.
Once the Nook painting was complete, I set it on the page. It filled up the space nicely, but overall, the image fell a little flat. I decided to create watercolor splatters to outline the Nook to add a little more interest to the page. On a separate sheet of paper I collage a light brown color book page, then painted a line of green watercolor on top. Before the paint dried, I blew the paint to splatter it. I continued this process until I had enough to outline the Nook.
I used rubber cement to glue all of the elements down.
Create a visual journal page about your last or upcoming birthday.