Ain't No Ninny

Where Creativity and Everyday Life Collide


An Artful Adieu to A Year of Art

The last two weeks just flew by.  In fact, the whole year passed in the wink of an eye!  Now, on the last day of this year, I wish to post an artful farewell to 2014.

On January 1st of this year I wrote and posted a bucket list, things I wanted to do, to see, to accomplish.  One of the items on the list was to take an online acrylic painting or mixed media workshop.  I had always wanted to paint but had not picked up a paintbrush and put any kind of paint to paper or canvas since I was ten years old.  I wanted to get past my fear of trying painting.  So, on someone’s recommendation, in February I took a mixed media e-course by Kelly Rae Roberts.  I watched her videos, I collaged, I painted, I came up with mantras, I tried some more.

Around April, I decided I wasn’t very good at painting on canvas. I became embarrassed to post my paintings alongside the ‘true’ artists in Kelly Rae’s e-course Facebook group.  Even though the people in the group were supportive of me, I was not supportive of myself.  It appears I thought I should go from knowing nothing to being skilled over night.  In any case, I switched gears and decided to focus my efforts on art journaling instead.  That seemed less precious, less threatening, and more experimental.  The groups and workshops I joined for art journaling had artists of all levels and I felt comfortable.  I then did two months of index card art:  quick and easy and not threatening at all.  Then I took a watercolor class.  And a workshop on creative funky journals.

But on December 12th I decided I wanted to create a mixed media piece as a gift for my daughter for Christmas.   She had told me earlier this year that she wanted me to paint a ‘Day of the Dead’ painting for her because her tattoo-artist boyfriend liked a few early paintings I had done.  So out came my better-quality paints and a 16″x20″ canvas art-board and my Muse.  This is what I created for her:


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The background is colorful, with a design reminiscent of Mexican art.  The way I painted the face  reflects the closing out of a year which has been extremely challenging for my daughter (the skull half of the face) and the beginning of a new year of possibilities (the celebratory-woman half of the face).  Endings and deaths always make room for beginnings and births, which is why we celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

I am grateful that my daughter loved her gift and that I left my fear of painting behind me.  I am grateful to have fulfilled a wish on my bucket list for 2014 and to have learned art from some very talented artists.  2014 has been a wonderfully creative year for me and I hope 2015 will be even better!  Tomorrow I will post what I would like to focus on in the coming year.

Happy New Year and new beginnings to you all!



31 Days Has December…

It’s been about a week since I blogged last. I got sick with either whopping allergies or a cold two days before Thanksgiving.  Cleaning the house, preparing the feast, and then cleaning everything up afterward took a toll on my energy and I am finally beginning to feel myself again.  And just in time too!

December is here and it has 31 days in which to create.  The late fall is full of fun and a flurry of family activities. One of the activities I decided to do this year is to keep a holiday art journal.  I feel no pressure to work in it every day or to finish a page each day, but I do want to get in the holiday mood and sustain some form of creativity for the next 4 weeks.  I plan to loosely follow prompts given in a free “12.31” holiday journal workshop sponsored by Dawn DeVries Sokol, the same person who does NaNoJouMo during November.  If you’re interested you can find it here: .

I decided to create my own journal out of cereal and cracker boxes using a technique that Dawn teaches in a workshop on .  I used two cereal boxes, two cracker boxes, a greeting card and four pieces of heavy scrapbook paper/cardstock.  I will gesso and paint or otherwise decorate each page as I use it.  Yesterday (December 1st) I started putting the journal together and today I finished the journal and decorated the cover for it.


You can see that the boxes, cards, and papers I used are different sizes.  That’s A-okay for what I will be doing.  I’m happy to re-cycle items I would otherwise throw out.


Along the right edge I deckle-cut each of the boxes to give them a little more interest.

Holiday Journal 1231

After binding all of the pages together with a needle and twine, I covered the outside spine in decorative duct tape.  I decorated the cover page with gesso, Dylusions sprays, Posca paint pens and a white gel pen.  The two snow-people are made from circles that I had painted as an exercise in a watercolor workshop a few months ago.  I kept those exercise papers just in case I wanted to use bits and pieces as collage in my art journal.  Again, re-use & recycle.

I have no idea what this journal will look like at the end of December, but I’m pretty sure I will have fun working in it.  I hope you also find something fun and creative to do during this last month of 2014!


Art Every Day Month – Day 22

Okay, it’s Day 5 of Jenniebellie’s  (7 art journal pages in 7 days)  challenge.  I’m officially getting tired of working on the same seven pages every day.  But the end is in sight.

Today I selected one of the two remaining techniques/methods from my box:


Ephemera, it is!  That’s usually a fun technique and is very intuitive.  My partner just gave me some ephemera from his trip to Phoenix this week (light rail passes, movie tickets, etc.) and I have plastic shoe boxes full of other small items so off I went to affix ephemera to my pages.  Here’s what I ended up with.

I added a coupon, a small map of Russia and some ‘holey’ ephemera across the top.

I added part of a menu from a retirement complex, a movie theater stub, and some ribbon across the top of both.

I added words from Tim Holtz cardstock; printed words; and the tops of two note pads from the dollar store.


I added cacti from Phoenix light rail ticket stubs; a piece of scrapbook paper with circles on it; the Holiday Inn logo from their notepaper; a punched watercolor circle for the sun/moon; and printed text.

I added the words ‘Stay Organized’ from some Holiday Inn hotel stationery; a small heart cut out from a gelli print scrap, a piece from some hand painted & stamped paper (near her left hand).

On this one I added square-punched scrap from spiral-bound mixed media paper and circles punched from gelli printed tissue paper.

All I added here was a label from my Sakura souffle pens and small scrapbook journaling square.

Well, that was fun.  Tomorrow I will be using a pen to shade and doodle on the pages (the last technique) and Monday I will do whatever I need to finish up them up.  That might include more paint or collage or journaling or shading or fixing up boo-boos.  Can’t wait.

I hope you find something creative to do today too!


Art Every Day Month – Day 15

I am exactly half of the way through this creative month.  I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.  It will get busy near the end of the month because Thanksgiving is at my house this year (lots of cleaning and cooking and entertaining) so I want to do quick and easy art projects from here on out.

I decided to try to catch up with my art journaling group  This week’s prompt was to use a napkin (or tissue paper or paper towel) in our art journal.  I already had a background that I had created several months ago on which to start.  I had glued down inky paper towels (with a diamond motif) onto a piece of watercolor paper that had been used to mop up paint from a painting I had been working on.  That background sat for several months because I wasn’t sure what to do with it.


I stared at the background a while and saw a ‘figure’ at the center of the page.  I created an angel since there was already a green pattern I could use as her dress and the inky paper towels had the rough shape of wings.  I used a Stabilo All pencil to outline the angel and her wings then painted the face/hair/wings with acrylic paints.  That was difficult over the texture of the paper towels (especially the face) but I worked with it anyway.  I then partially painted in the black circles with orange acrylic paint.  As a final step, I did some stamping (the word “Grace” under the angel, the triangle pattern at the bottom of the page, and the crown on the angel’s head).

Week 46 Napkins!

Voila!  It seems perfect for the holiday season.

I hope you find inspiration to create something today too!



Grungy Word Bubbles in Watercolor

I love watercolor paintings (done by someone else, of course).  I always make a muddy mess of watercolors when I paint.  But I want to learn, get better, maybe even paint something recognizable someday.

To start down that path, I am taking a couple of online watercolor workshops taught by Tammy Garcia of  The workshops (Watercolor Playground and Painted Paradise)  are not free but they are very reasonable for the amount of material Tammy provides.  And the course material will remain open until January 2015 so there is plenty of time to watch, practice, watch, practice some more, and watch again before the videos are closed.  The workshops start with the real basics, such as which types of watercolors, brushes, paper should be purchased, and end with you knowing how to mix, blend, design, and execute real paintings.

I am halfway through the first course (having learned how to mix and blend and separate paint.  The video I watched this week teaches us how to create grungy watercolor word bubbles using watercolors, a fineline pen, and Neocolor II crayons.

This was my first attempt:


The colors I selected for the bubbles and the Neocolor II crayons surrounding the bubbles caused some muddiness.  I forgot that red + green = muddy brown.  I also used a black Gel pen for the flower names inside the bubbles and the ink was just a little too harsh for the watercolors, I think.  Further, the painting looks a little clunky.  More practice needed!

This was my second attempt:

In this one I used only yellow, blue and green Neocolors for the grunge look between the bubbles (and more water to tone them down).  And I used a Staedtler Fineliner marker for the words inside the bubbles.  Overall, I like this second attempt better.  It is softer and more consistent.  Yes, it is colorful and, yes, it is grungy.  Mission accomplished!

The good thing about watercolors is that you are never completely in control.  That leads to all sorts of surprises (both good and bad).  But if you are not satisfied with a painting project, you can always cut the paper up and use it as colored collage paper for a mixed media project . . . which I am likely to do with these.  And I plan to practice this exercise again, and the next, and the next.

Until tomorrow, I hope there is a rainbow in your skies and loveliness in your eyes!

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Week 1: Creating with Index Cards

Week one of the Daisy Yellow Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) challenge is done and I rocked it, even if I do say so myself.  I tried out different techniques for each card but I did follow the suggested prompts/themes.  There are still about 7 weeks to go in the challenge (61 cards in all), so I hope I keep up the momentum.

ICAD #1 (Prism) watercolor, collage, ink

ICAD #2 (Circus Tent) Colored pencil, collage, ink

ICAD #3  (Hello, my name is ____) Gelli prints, collage, sharpie, white gel pen

ICAD #4 (Puzzle) Sharpie, pink marker, collaged text

ICAD #5 (Yellow) Inktense watercolor, stencil with gold ink, collaged text


ICAD #6 (Galaxy) Acrylics over black gesso, text stickers


ICAD #7 (Nail Polish) Washi tape, nail polish, white Pitt pen, text paper & buckle, orange twine





Art Journaling

I never make resolutions but I often do a kind of bucket list at the beginning of the year.  This year I decided to focus a lot on my creative pursuits (poetry, art, creative writing).  It seems that my Muse has decided to focus more on art this year than on writing but that’s okay.  It is feeding my soul. To help guide me with my art journey, I have taken one mixed media course and watched several videos to show me mixed media ideas and techniques. I have also joined several online art-focused groups, two of which provide prompts for creating art journal pages.  One gives monthly prompts (Journal Workshops by Jennibellie at and one gives weekly prompts (Journal52 at 

I have been doing the Journal 52 weekly prompts since January 1st but only joined the Jennibellie group in April of this year.  One thing I’ve noticed is that, as the weeks go by, I am much more experimental in my approach to my art journal pages.  I try out new techniques, new colors, new ideas and my pages are more complex, as a result.  There is something to be said for regular practice of any craft.

I wish to start posting my work as I create it but need a baseline for doing so since I have been horrible about posting in my blog on a regular basis.  So I will start with the two art journal pieces I created most recently:

Journal 52 week 18 (Prompt: Creative Hands) 9×12 Mixed Media on Canson mixed media paper. Acrylic gelli print background, stencils by The Crafters Workshop and Stencil Girl, 4 colors of acrylic craft paint (black, white, purple, turquoise), word collage and stabilo pencil for outlining.


Jennibellie Art Journal Page for April (Prompt: Messy Monochrome – Black, white, and one other color)  9×12 mixed media on Watercolor Paper. Black, white, and yellow oxide Golden fluid acrylic paints, multiple marking tools, collage using copy paper and paper napkins, black sharpie for art journaling, embellished heart rubber stamp.


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Blitsy Crafts, Artistic Challenges, and Some Welcome Creativity

So, it is May 3rd, National Scrapbooking Day.  Blitsy Crafts, a online crafts supplier that provides art and craft supplies for up to a 70% discount, is doing the day up big with a lot of giveaways and some crafty challenges to boot.  Blitsy is great!  They have daily and weekly sales and discounts on all your favorite art and crafts supplies….for scrapbooking, paper crafts, mixed media, sewing, needlework, fine arts.  You name it, they will feature supplies at amazing values to help you create.  I check in with them every day to see what’s new.

One thing they have going today is a humongous giveaway of crafting supplies in honor of National Scrapbooking Day #NSD. Oh my gosh!  So many great supplies are being given away along with a crafter’s rolling bag to carry them. Go here to see what all is included and enter for a chance to win! .

After you’ve entered the giveaway, click on the “Shop All” tab and see all the terrific discounts they have on sale today and click on the “Blog” tab to see what other giveaways and challenges are happening in support of National Scrapbooking Day.

I entered one mixed media piece for the Blitsy Mixed Media Color Challenge.  It was a nice opportunity to get creative today.  Happy National Scrapbooking Day!




A Month of Journal Art

Since the beginning of January I have been participating in two different weekly art journal workshops, one focused on the art ( and the other focused on learning to love your imperfect self (Brene’ Brown’s ‘Gifts of Imperfection’).  I have been busy journaling and crafting art and loving every moment of it. 

What I haven’t been doing is posting my products here.  Tomorrow I start a mixed media painting course which will lead to even more ‘art stuff’ so I want to catch up now and post a representative sample of what I have been up to during the last month (in no particular order).