Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


Good Intentions, Poor Execution

On the last day of 2014 I stated that I would be back the next day to provide my ‘bucket list’ for 2015.  Well, here it is January 5th and I am late.  Why?  Uh . . . because I was tired from the holidays?  Actually, I still haven’t created a bucket list for the year although I did decide which ongoing art e-courses or challenges I wished to participate in this year (the short list, since new ones come along all the time).  Most of these are focused on art journaling and most are new to me even though I was aware of many of them last year.  If you are interested in any of them, I have provided a link to the website or blog where you can find out more:

* Life Book 2015 (LB2015) created by Tamara Laporte at  This is a year-long mixed media course with weekly in-depth and bonus videos and PDFs taught by 25 well-known artists.  It is a paid class but is well worth the price of about $120 USD since so much quality material is provided and you can download and keep all videos and materials. I have taken her free on-line introductory course but LB2015 is new to me.

* The Original Documented Life Project (DLP).  This is a FREE challenge/workshop created by five artists at Art to the 5th Academy.  Last year the challenge was created as an art journal/weekly planner using a Moleskine planner.  This year it is set up to create an art journal only with an option to add in planning information.  There are monthly themes, weekly promps, and weekly videos from one or more of the artists.  Find out more here:

* Painted Paper Paradise (PPP) is a paid abstract watercolor/gouache workshop created by Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow Art.  It is a follow-on to her Watercolor Playground workshop which I took late last year. I really hope to get more comfortable with watercolors this year and Tammy has a knack of making learning fun and easy.  Find out more here: .  She has other workshops on that same page that are free of charge and are a lot of fun to do. Last summer I participated in her Index Card a Day (ICAD) challenge and had a blast. Check her out!

* Book of Days 2015 (BOD), Volume I, Everyday Beauty is a 12-week art journaling workshop (paid) created by Effy Wild, one of the artist instructors for Life Book 2015. This workshop will be focused on finding beauty in your daily life and environment. There are weekly videos and PDFs that can be downloaded and kept forever.  She also has a free ‘boot camp’ workshop on how to create your own canvas journal from scratch.  It’s worth watching and her blog is worth reading. She is a very honest and generous person who started out in art journaling like many of us (no fine art training) several years ago. Find out more here on her blog:

* 21 Secrets (Spring 2015) which is an online, downloadable e-course taught in eBook form by 21 talented artists who provide their own secrets and techniques for art journaling. I almost took 21 Secrets last Fall but got busy with other things.  This e-course is the ‘baby’ of Connie (Hosvika) Solera of Dirty Footprint Studios who started this twice-yearly workshop five years ago.  You can find out more about this workshop that starts April 1st here:

Since my dance card is booked this year I decided NOT to participate in Journal52 this time around. However, if you are looking for a free weekly art journaling workshop you should really check it out.  Chelle Stein is the creator and she provides her experience and art journal techniques to a very large group on FB (more than 1300 people) each week.  For more information go here:

I’ll be back later this evening with my first art journal spread for the year, created over the last two days for the Documented Life Project.  In the meantime, I hope you have set some creative goals for yourself and work to keep creativity in YOUR life every day!



Autumn as a mosaic of color

At we are in week 41 (out of 52).  That means it is Autumn and there are only 11 weeks left in the year.  Sigh.

The prompt this week is “Mosiac Inspired”.  I love mosaics.  I’ve played with and designed mosaics since I was 9 years old and got a mosaic tile kit for Christmas.  I spent hours that year rearranging those tiles into all sorts of designs, never gluing them down to the pre-fab poster board ‘painting’ they were intended for.

I decided to mix Autumn, my favorite time of year, and ‘mosaic-inspired’ into a two-page art journal spread.  “Inspired” is definitive, since not everything was done as mosaic.


This landscape was created with gelatin monoprints, coffee filters that I had cleaned off my brush on, and a bit of printed and textured papers from my stash. The background on both pages was done using Dervan Matisse background paints which are very matte, like colored primers,  so as to let the papers glued to it ‘shine’.


The sun was created mosaic-style, in a spiral, using gelatin monoprints in warm and cool Autumn colors.


The outline of a tree was stenciled over the caramel/beige background paint in a matte burgundy. I wiped away the burgundy paint around the edges with a baby wipe to allow the goldish colors to show through.  The papers added as branches and leaves were cut from my own gelatin monoprints or text/texture papers I had in my stash.  The ‘grass’ is white coffee filters that I had used to clean off my paint brushes from other projects. The day before I started this spread I received, free, some gold leaf embellishments with a rubber stamp order.  I glued the leaves down over the papers to add a little metallic ‘bling’.


The text seemed perfect for the spread.


I’m really proud of the final spread. I love the colorful autumnal look of the pages. It took me a few hours every day for three days to design, paint, dry, cut, and collage everything to create the spread.  I was so excited to finish that some of the photos still show the gel medium I used as glue. My fingers may never be free of gel medium, coated as they are!

It’s a beautiful Autumn day today and I’m proud to say I’ve used part of it to create.  I hope you are inspired to create today too!

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Three-Fourths of the Way to the End of the Rainbow

Rainbow, you ask?  Of course, I reply.  Look at the virtual rainbow of index card art I’ve posted in my blog over the last six weeks or so!  Lots of colors, lots of pattern, a variety of techniques and products used!  The Daisy Yellow Index-Card-a-Day (ICAD) challenge lasts for 61 days and is now in its 7th week.  Therefore, it is three-fourths complete.

How am I doing, you might ask.  June was terrific.  Never missed a day creating my index card art.  Some days I created two.  July?  Not quite as good.  The first part of July we were on the road travelling, then I had a birthday, then my grand-kidlets were visiting which kept us all busy.  I was tired, road-weary, kid weary.  I got behind by several days.  The good news, the emerging rainbow is intact.  I spent last week creating like crazy and I’m all caught up.  A-MAZE-ing!

Since I’ve created 19 pieces of index card art since my last blog post, I won’t overwhelm you with individual peeks at each one.  Instead, here is the fragment of the ICAD rainbow for July 1st through July 19th. If you want to see the cards better, click the photo open and it will enlarge, then click on individual cards to zoom in.

ICAD July 1-19

Only twelve days to go in the challenge and I will find the gold at the end of the rainbow: increased self-esteem and better art skills.   Keep creative and I’ll see you soon!


Twenty-One Down, Forty to Go (Index Card Art)

Yes, it has been three weeks already and I have kept up with the Index-Card-A-Day #ICAD2014 challenge. But I have a confession to make. Doing something creative every day makes me want to do other creative things also:  art journaling, painting, poetry, photography.  It’s hard to keep up the pace and I am one who starts something new then burns out quickly. For now I am on track and I hope to finish with at least 61 cards by the end of July.  Here are this last week’s index cards:


ICAD 15, Off prompt, one-staple collage.  Made by layering scraps I had in my scrap drawer. I stapled the stack horizontally to an index card with a single staple.  This is my favorite card to date.


ICAD 16a, Prompt = Stickers, Theme = maps:  Vintage letter stickers, stamps and other ephemera on an old map glued to an orange index card and antiqued with sepia watercolors and distress ink.


ICAD 16b, Theme = maps.  Cut flower shapes out of a map and colored with Inktense blocks.  Glued those to an orange index card which I cut out to the same flower shape.  Glued flower blooms to pink index card and painted/shaded stems and leaves with Pitt artist brush pens and white gel pen.


ICAD 17, Prompt = Polka Dots.  Circles and lines on a gridded index card colored with Pitt big brush artist pens.


ICAD 18, Prompt = Orange.  Oil pastels in four shades of orange blended with water brush and mechanical pencil for drawing. Stapled the colored index card to an orange index card and wrote text with brown fineliner marker;


ICAD 19, Prompt = Harry Potter.  Took a cue from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Acrylic gelli print collaged to tabbed index card. Hand-formed paper spider.  Collaged text.


ICAD 20, Prompt = Candy Wrapper, Theme = Maps.  Used the foil from a extra-dark chocolate bar to form something like the Americas and collaged that onto a tabbed index card with watercolor background.  Text done with Micron pen.


ICAD 21, Prompt = Repeating Pattern.  Placed rectangular name labels and hole protector labels onto hot pink index card.  Doodled on the card with black Micron pen.