Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


Life Book 2015 Week 2: Awesomeness

Because Week 1 of Life Book was so difficult for many beginners (the all-important Beacon of Light painting plus some other bonus activities), the week 2 prompts were considered bonus activities (to do as you see fit).  I wasn’t planning on doing either of them since I was behind in other art challenges but my need to keep up over-powered my need to do other things.

The first bonus activity was to create gift tags using watercolors or sprays and art that you had previously completed, resized for the project.  These are the two tags I created using my prior art work:



The first tag was created with a painting I had done on a pink index card last summer for Index-Card-A-Day challenge.  I added a journaling card beneath it, some Dylusions sprays, doodling, ribbon sprayed with Lindy’s Stamp Gang starburst, and Tim Holtz rub-ons and chitchat words.  The second tag was done using art from an Artist Trading Card I had done in 2014.  I used watercolors on the tag, then added the ATC art, Tim Holtz chitchat words, and another ribbon.  I am pleased with how both of these turned out.

The next bonus project in Life Book week 2 was to create what Tamara Laporte called an Awesome jar.  The purpose of the jar is to have a pretty repository for pieces of paper that describe awesome things that happen to you throughout the year.  I wasn’t going to do this because I’m not a very crafty person and I didn’t think I had time, but I love the idea (I had seen it floating around Facebook all through 2014).  So I spent some time yesterday and this morning creating what I call my Gratitude jar.

This was my first layer, drying for several hours.  I used dictionary paper, a vintage bingo card, and scrapbook paper in colors I thought I would like.

Then I added bright, flowery paper napkins over the top of the first layer.  You can still see the first layer of paper through the translucent napkins.  I let that dry over night and added a ribbon around the rim of the lid.  I finished up this morning by stamping “Gratitude” on a piece of matching scrapbook paper and adhering it to the front of the jar.  I stapled the two art tags back to back and adhered them to the back of the jar with another ribbon.

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Overall, I’m pleased with the outcome.  I barely had patience to do all the steps for the project so the first piece of good news that went into the jar was a piece of paper saying that I was grateful for having finished this project!

Now I’m off to work on binding and painting my hand-made journal for the Book of Days art journal workshop.  I’m already two weeks behind on that.  I hope you find something creative to do today too!



Documented Life Project Week 2

The Documented Life Project 2nd week prompts were provided yesterday and I got right on it. I was itching to do something a little crazy and experimental and that’s what I did.  Certainly nothing as ‘pretty’ and colorful as what I normally do!

January Theme
The Blank Page and How to Face It!
January 10
Art Challenge:  Gesso
Journal Prompt:  “The beginning is always today.” -Mary Shelley

As soon as I saw the art challenge, I knew I wanted to use my Liquitex black gesso as well as whatever white gesso was close at hand.  In my mind, I was thinking of a black gesso ground with bits of white, green and a rusty gold (which I did use), maybe some molding paste or crackle paint for texture (which I didn’t use).  I had no direction in mind for my spread, no outcome, with the exception of a portion of a quote by Maria Rainer Wilke, the poet, from his early journals (see photo below).


I started off by pouring out a little black gesso onto both pages and spreading it out with an expired airline rewards card.  After looking at the black against the white of the blank pages, I got out my Golden gold-green and quinacridone nickel azo gold fluid acrylics and started rubbing little dabs of each onto the white parts of the page with my finger, overlapping the black gesso in spots.  Then I took my white Dina Wakely gesso (by Ranger Ink) and a cosmetic sponge and sponged it and a little more of the Golden paints through several different stencils (all from StencilGirl).  They were all new stencils that were still sitting on my desk so I merely placed them here and there around the spread for texture, still with no idea or purpose in mind.  After seeing the stenciled gesso/paint areas and thinking about the quote, I realized that I had intuitively painted what my mind is like right before starting a new endeavor or project.  It looked a-jumble — dark thoughts, questions, fears all billowing up out of the blankness of my mind — before settling into something coherent.  I finished the piece by printing out the quote onto a piece of deli paper and adhering it to one page while doodling here and there with black and white gel pens to add dimension to the flat stenciled areas.


This was definitely experimental for me, never being one to start a project without some idea where I was headed.  It turned out to be a grunge piece, a style that I’ve only used a few times and am clearly not a master of.  But I like the messy result, the dark-side-of-my-mind attitude of it.  Will I do this again?  I don’t know.  I wish now that I had used some white crackle paint to give it more texture in spots.  And I wish I had left a little more white space to balance all of that darkness.  But I’m glad I tried this technique.

Now I’m off to do other creative projects.  I hope you find time in what is left of the weekend to be creative too!


Documented Life Project Week 1 Spread

On January 1st, the original Documented Life Project (DLP) was initiated for 2015.  This year they will provide monthly themes, a weekly art challenge (to satisfy the theme), and a weekly journal prompt.  Four of the artists provided examples (videos or photos) on how they faced the first blank page(s) in their new journals using book paper and the weekly journal prompt.

January Theme
The Blank Page and How to Face It!
January 1
Art Challenge: Book Paper
Journal Prompt: Be Your Own Goal Keeper

Here is my version of that prompt/challenge in my brand new large-size Dylusions journal.  I started with the quote that seemed to differentiate between ‘intentions’ (we all have good ones) and the work we need to do to reach our goals (make our garden flourish).  It’s been unseasonably cold and dreary here in Arizona this last week so I made the colors springtime bright and cheery to make up for it.  I listed some of my 2015 goals on the back of the gift tags which are inserted into the painted flower pot (the goal keeper).

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I don’t provide photos of the steps I took to create the spread but I did start with various torn papers as the first layer on both pages.  I covered that with a gesso wash (enough to allow sections of the text to show through) and layered acrylic craft paint and Caran d’Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons on top.  The final layer was created using circles punched from my own painted papers for the flowers, pieces of painted cardboard from a gift (for the top of the pot), more Neocolor II crayons, colored gift tags, a quote printed out onto deli paper, StazOn ink pad, text/foliage stamps, Posca paint pens in various colors, and a black Stabilo All pencil for shading.

I hope you found something creative to do today also!  See you soon!

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Art Every Day Month – Day 18

I decided that for the next seven days I wanted to do an art journal challenge that was started by the artist Jenniebellie on her blog . She has accompanying videos to show you how she completed the challenge each day for herself.  It is a 7-day challenge where you work on any number of art journal pages you choose each day for 7 days (I chose 7 pages each day). You decide in advance of starting the pages which six products/techniques you want to use on your pages.  I selected the following, which I often use:


You fold the six pieces of paper up, put them in a bag or a box and pull one out each day.  You work on that technique/product for that day on all of your journal pages.  The next day, you pull a different paper out and work on that technique only for all of your pages.  You continue until all six techniques have been completed on all of your pages.  The seventh day is used to do whatever you have to do to complete your journal pages.

I put all six of my folded papers into a small box on my desk top and shook it to rearrange them.  This is the technique that I pulled out of the box to use today.


Aaargh!  I would normally do the focal image last (or next to last) after the background has been completed and I have an idea for the overall page.  The focal image usually completes a page, creates a place for the eye to rest, and conveys the message you intended for the page. This is a real challenge for me since I have no idea what I want for these seven pages! A focal image can be drawn or painted or collaged or stenciled or stamped . . . whatever works . . .  so I felt free to use different techniques to create my focal image.

Here are the seven pages I did today with a focal image on each. They are all on white 7″x10″ 90 lb. mixed media paper.  Since the pages are white, it will be hard to see where one page ends and another begins.  But, believe me, there are photos of seven pages of the same dimensions.

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On two of them I used collaged images, four were drawn free-hand with a Micron 05 pen, and one (the seated lady) was outlined using a Donna Downey stencil and embellished with the Micron pen.

Today’s technique took over an hour to complete but the others should take less than that since they will be embellishing the focal images and created a background for them. I am looking forward to the next six days and finding out where this challenge takes my journal pages.

I hope you found some time today to be creative also!

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Poem a Day Challenge – Day 12

“The Kiss of the Muse” by Paul Cezanne

I Hear Your Wings

I hear you there
Behind me
Whispers of air
Ruffling papers on my desk

I wished you here
To help me
My mind is empty, dear
Your kiss will fill my soul

I cannot see you sing
But you are there
I hear your wings
And I welcome your presence




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Poem a Day Challenge – Day 9



Sometimes I just don’t want to do what’s expected of me or what I expect of myself.
All day I procrastinated instead of writing a serious poem about something that has been in the news recently.  That was the prompt.  I’ve been following prompts so far this month for my daily poems but today I just. Didn’t. Want to do it.  What kept running through my head was, “I don’t want to”.   So that’s what I wrote.

I Don’t Want To

I don’t want to read the news
I would rather take a snooze
I don’t want to watch TV
It’s nothing but reality

I don’t want to write a poem
I would rather clean my home
But I don’t want to do that too
So I will sit here in a stew

I don’t want to take a shower
I’m sure I smell just like a flower
I don’t want to feed the cats
They can find their own damn rats

I don’t want to post this blog
I’d rather feed it to the dog
I’m feeling something, maybe dread
I think I will just head to bed


Poem A Day Challenge – Days 7 and 8

The Scream
The Scream (or The Cry) by Edvard Munch

Yikes!  I fell asleep last night, too tired to write or post Day 7’s poem.  To make up for that, here are two poems.

Compulsion in C-Major

I hide it in desk drawers
Behind bins in the pantry
In my bedside table
I conceal it in trail mix
In smoothies
In gluten-free cookies
that I stash in the closet so nobody will eat them
I tell myself it is good for me
And it is, in moderation
But I know when I reach for it for the 8th time that day
Moderation is the farthest thing from my mind
What I am thinking of is relief
The serotonin it produces
The depression it reduces
The moods that may level out
And I thought it was just the rich dark chocolate taste
That compels me to buy it by the ton



She would pace the perimeters of the yard
Over and over
From daybreak to darkness
Nobody there to relieve her boredom

I could see her from my bedroom window
My heart in pace with hers
My loneliness holding her paw in mine

Two restless souls, blinded by life

One day, a puppy arrived
Her pacing stopped
Her blindness forgotten

I remained blind
My envy binding me to the dark
But as I watched her come to life
A fog lifted inside me

I left my yard
Ventured out into the world
To find my own happiness
My eyes wide open