Aug 28, 2014

A peek into my sketchbook


I always enjoy it when other people share their sketchbooks and art journals, so I thought I'd let you peek into one of mine today! I've had a lot of art journals over the years, and I've shared a few posts about them before. This one was especially popular. But I haven't shared a whole lot from this particular one ... until now. :)

Sometimes art journaling can be overwhelming, because I feel like my entries have to be perfect, or I have to remember to record EVERYTHING, and then my journals start feeling tense. And that's just stupid, because I love the way messy, relaxed journals look, and they're way more fun to make too!
Sometimes I have to literally remind myself to have fun and scribble around in my journals. I have found that it helps if I have a completely separate notebook that is my designated Whatever I Feel Like journal. That's what this one is. It just sort of lays around, and I am allowed to forget about it for a while and pick it up when I feel like it. No pressure. No need to record everything. I have given myself permission to mess around in it. If I make a mistake, I just work with it, or I flip the page and start over but leave the messed up page in place instead of ripping it out (usually). 

But of course, I'm pretty much only sharing the highlights today, obviously. It's my blog, why would I share my ugly art?? ;)


My mind has been wandering a LOT lately. So yesterday I let the words wander with my mind, all over the page, and it reminded me of an ant trail for some reason. And there were also a few ugly blobby scribbles that I didn't like, so I turned them into the ants. :)
(Leaving mistakes in your journals sometimes makes you get more creative, and you end up with an even better result! If I had torn the page out the second I accidentally made those blobs, I wouldn't have thought of this.)




Sometimes I get weird ideas. 
Soooo ... yes, I did stamp the page with chunks of the beets I was eating with supper. Sorry not sorry.


This page has a lot more personal stuff on it, hence the convenient blurring. 
Don't be so snoopy, guys. Gosh. 
;)
These pages are a perfect example of what my brain is like right now. All over the place. Overwhelmed. Exploding. Overhinking. Messy. Questioning.
Two solid pages of this madness, without hardly trying. 
I guess some times in life are just like this - beautiful, in their own way, but a gosh darn convoluted mess at the same time. 


Some doodles from today. 
There's no substitute for a pen and a notebook now and then. It's therapeutic for the frantic brain. Really.
Doesn't it even look more peaceful, after getting that mess out earlier? 


These are a few of my old entries from last year. Sometimes I only write one sentence on a page, and those are actually some of my favorites.
They are so quiet and simple.




This was a poem I wrote using those word poetry magnets that people usually have on their fridges. Except I have them on my closet door. :) This particular poem has actually been on my closet since I painted it with metallic paint back in 2011! Good grief - throwback post, much?
The poem doesn't make any sense, and doesn't "mean" anything, but I liked the way the words sounded together.


Another word poetry thing I came up with. I just liked it. :)


Below is a question I texted one of my friends once, and her reply, typed on my grandma's typewriter.  
My friend just started a blog, btw. You should check it out, because she's lovely. :) 


Oh yeah. And just so you know that I'm not lying about messing up, here is one of my incomplete/messed up pages. It was going to be a scribbly golf cart for a Dear Person letter. But no.
I have multiple pages with indecipherable scribbles like this.


And this is the page I doodled all over to design my cartoon character when drawing my first comic strip
See? Not all of my pages are exactly pretty. But I keep them in because 1.) I don't care, this journal is for watever, even - especially - messes, and 2.) messes have a certain charm when you look back on them after enough time has passed.  


Other things I have in this sketchbook include a few successful Dear Person letters, which I can't show here because I'm saving them for a separate post. And in case you were wondering, this is also the sketchbook that I drew these in:


I also pasted in one of the stargazing maps that I had to print out for an astronomy class I took last year. I have a thing for stars and galaxies. <3




See what I mean? :)







Well, there you go. A peek into another one of my art journals. 
Sometimes it's awful fun to splat paint around, be a dork and stamp pages with beets, write easy simple words when you're feeling overwhelmed ... and to just give your brain a chance to breathe and create without any pressure at all. 
Give it a try? 

Aug 25, 2014

Introducing my second blog!


Howdy peeps! 
Well, you know me. Always getting new ideas and trying stuff out... 
I guess it was inevitable that I would start another blog at some point. :)

It is my pleasure (obviously) to introduce ... Chatter Snatcher
The new blog is pretty different than this one because it has a specific theme for the posts, instead of being all over the place. I will definitely still be blogging here though. This isn't to replace Paper Raindrops ... it's more of a supplementary blog. 
Essentially, the blog is about tiny bits of random conversations that I have overheard from strangers. Be sure to read the About page for more details and to understand why I'm kinda in love with this weird, seemingly straightforward new project. :) 
Also, because the posts themselves aren't terribly time-consuming to make, I will be able to post much more frequently than I do on this blog! 
I'm hoping for 3-5 posts a week, actually. 
I think I'm probably crazy...


Do you like how I included a screenshot to entice you over? ;) I so fancy.




Well, here's to new adventures in the blogging world! Feel free to follow, comment, share, tweet, google+, pin, and all that good stuff, blah blah blah.

Ya'll are the best.

Aug 21, 2014

The story of a bizarre good day


     Do you remember that one time when you went to Nichole’s Fine Pastry with Maddie to celebrate your collective birthdays, and together you had a mango blackberry tower and a coconut tower, plus a clementine Izze and an iced latte and two fancy chocolates that tasted weird? 
      



     And then you walked around downtown Fargo looking for a bookstore and ended up walking past this random piano on the sidewalk. It was covered in bright colors and painted cats, and it said “Play this piano. Right meow,” and so you did. Why not. And you and Maddie took turns trying to remember tunes and messing up and playing the wrong chords and stumbling and fumbling while people walked by and glanced at you, and your hands kept shaking like they do when anyone is watching at all, but you were both grinning. 
     And then two highschool guys walked up and sat down on a bench nearby and declared that they were going to listen to you play for a while, and you both sort of got nervous and said you were done and were just leaving, but if they wanted to play anything they could. So then one of them started playing and was pretty good and had a cheeky smile and a big weird ring on his right hand and old friendly sandals on his feet, so you stuck around and watched him instead of him watching you. And somehow none of you wanted to leave, so you just stayed. That’s all.
     And then – remember? – an adorable young couple sat down on the curb a few paces away, inconspicuous, but obviously listening interested, with body language that wanted to sidle up to the fun. And then another couple came up, and you asked if they knew any songs, so the guy, tall and hipster, navy blue short-sleeved shirt buttoned all the way up, sat down and played a quick song, and the couple on the curb stood up and came over, and they apparently knew the first couple because they bantered during the song while the rest of us smiled and then clapped. And then the hipster couple left with playful grins, and you – the core group consisting of you and Maddie, and these two highschool guys – asked if the curb couple played, and the guy was all, “Yeah, sorta, a bit” and then he sat down and started playing and singing a musical number and absolutely blew you away, and you were like “’Yeah, sorta, a bit’ my foot!” And the girl, with blondish red hair that pulled back and up, and a dress with flowered skirt and striped top, she told you they were musical theater majors. And of course they were. The stage presence and the way they came to life when people were enamored with them. Which you certainly were.   
     And then remember how the girl took her turn? And she played and sang a song about cats that she had written herself, while her big tortoiseshell glasses slid further down her cute nose the longer she played, and you and Maddie were just laughing with delight and looking at each other like is this real life
     And how the guy and the girl kept taking turns on the piano and making jokes and laughing with all of you, and everyone was just themselves – you could feel it – and you leaned your arm against the sticky bright purple paint on top of the piano and just listened to the musical numbers rolling out of them, as if it were a Broadway show just for you right there on the small Broadway of Fargo, as if the show and you were in the same personal bubble, not separated. And the guy, with his sideburns and leather cuff on his wrist and genuine smile – that five-year-senior at NDSU who was taking his “victory lap” as he said while chatting between songs – yeah, he was throwing his voice into the street and the people walking by would smile to themselves, or wander closer and then away, and sometimes they would stay.
     There was such openness, remember that feeling? The group of curious friendly people with nothing better to do but stand around a piano all afternoon – a piano in the street that was just odd enough to spark interest, while still being homey and inviting. People who just really liked where they were. No need to leave.
     And you’d smile at strangers welcomingly, hoping they would join this circle of improbable strangers making music and incongruous joy. Why not? 


     Soon another lady came. Remember her? With her bright turquoise blazer and her scarf, her curly top hair and the bright red lipstick that only missed her mouth in a couple places? The one who seemed fine … until she started talking. 
     The way she talked about Maddie looking like Tinkerbell and that Maddie should try out for the new part. Or the orphans, the orphans something at Island Park at 7, and they’ll be teaching us about the thoughts of blue, different shades of blue, like your shirt. I’m going to NDSU for nano technology. 
             - Oh wow, musical guy interrupts. A bit more complicated than musical theater! And we all laugh. - 
     She smiles genuinely, oddly, her eyes crinkling softly like a grandma’s, but she’s young - maybe, can't quite tell - and then she keeps going on about things I don’t understand. To Maddie: You must be part of that one weight loss program downtown. Oh, you’re a dancer? At Gaspers? Oh, Camria. I taught at Camria. I was considering being a flight attendant. I’m too depressed to play piano, I sold some CD’s once though. I play flute, but I can’t play piano now, I’m too depressed. 
     And you felt a sort of concern, like she needed a hug, but then you realized that the music and joy around you was better than that, and maybe just what her confused mind needed. And then she left to go to the gym, except she forgot her membership card so she hoped they’d still let her in. 
     And meanwhile the musical theater couple were still showering you with the best personal show ever, amidst the thrum of passing cars. And one of the high school boys kept jumping up, and going, Oh man, look at that truck. Mmmph. That’s an awesome truck. That one there? Oh, that’s a piece of junk. But look at that one. Wow. 
     And then Maddie looked at you, and, talking about the musical girl: She reminds me of Maddie Gregor. And the girl overheard and said, Maddie Gregor!? I know her! I go to school with her in Wisconsin! What. Maddie Gregor is in Scottland now! Of all the people. Are you for real. 
     But then the musical theater two had to leave, and they did so waving and grinning and it felt like saying See you later! to friends. Almost like you should have been saying, Let’s go to Rhombus Guys for some pizza later! or something, instead of  watching them leave your entire life, full and holding hands. 
     And then it was you and the two highschool boys again. And the one sent the other to his truck – a good truck, presumably – to get his trumpet out. Because he just happened to have his trumpet along, go figure.
     And then he played around on the trumpet for a while. Remember that? And all the while you were becoming better friends, just by sharing that bizarre weird perfect happy day, genuinely comfortable in each other’s company without even knowing their names... 
     And remember how that shirtless guy with the tats walked by, and the trumpet boy said, “Nice tattoos!” and the tat guy turned back around and started telling you how his tat wasn’t worth it, and it had some deep meaning behind it, and sure it was cool but the meaning wasn’t; he had spent years in jail, had seen three hundred people killed, he said, and his tattoo had someone holding a key to his jail – portrayed by bars on his arm – and there was a clock ticking on his arm, to show the wasted  years. And also Minnesota Vikings were intertwined in the tattoo. Didn’t catch why. But it’s not worth it man. I wouldn’t recommend it. And he walked away. 
     Trumpet boy looked at you and shrugged, making a don’t know what that was all about grinning face. 
Meanwhile a scraggly guy on a motorized bicycle had pulled up. Shaggy hair, college aged, perhaps?, with big brown work boots and a guitar slung on his back.
     Somehow you started talking about braces. You hated having braces. Trumpet Boy never had any. But he throws a question out to Guitar Guy, including him in, You ever have braces? he says. Tight-lipped head-nod. Still have them? Asked with a mischievous lilt, because Guitar Guy still hadn’t broken a smile and you really couldn’t tell the answer. Tight-lipped head-shake. Hardly a smirk back. 
     Ok then …
“You a music guy?” you ask, which he is obviously, hence the guitar, so Maddie and Trumpet Boy laugh, but you’re hoping Guitar Guy will join the jamming. He nods. Watches Trumpet Boy playing songs that you don’t recognize but are enjoying. And then he leaves. Too bad. Could have been fun. 
     Remember how that trumpet sounded out across the streets of downtown, blaring between cars? Playing reveille. And some Taps – cut short, but still haunting. The Star Spangled Banner. Random lady shouting out the words as she passed. Trumpet Boy stopping and preparing himself cheerfully, ruefully, for the high notes, neck muscles popping. Then his eyes suddenly getting wide with apprehension, you can’t get arrested for playing in public can you? 
For what? Spreading happiness?? Like, ‘NO! TOO MUCH HAPPINESS!’ 
     He grins and keeps playing, and something about him reminds you of someone else you know. So you think what the heck and ask if he knows them too. His eyes widen. What?? Yes, yes he does! Mutual friends again, like Maddie Gregor and the theater kids. Small big world.  
     So yeah, remember that day? The day when you were having so much fun you only remembered to take out your phone camera once during the entire musical jam session. When you spent hours playing and listening to music, being friends with people you didn’t know? 
     And right before you had to leave, you shook hands with the two boys and finally learned their names.
     Trumpet Boy is Jordan. The other is Zach. 
     Nice to meet you. Sideways grins. Hope we run into you again. 
     And then you and Maddie remember your 90 minute parking with wide eyes and make a run for it, hoping you didn’t get a ticket, running – laughing – away from the strangest most perfect day, maybe never to see those people again, who knows? 
     Such fullness from interacting with those people. 
     Life is weird. But happy.  
     And I guess sometimes it's okay to talk to strangers. 
     
Best birthday party ever.


Update: I found the facebook page for this piano project! Click here to see a picture that one of the art gallery ladies took of us!

Aug 13, 2014

Big things be happening

The last month has been absolutely cray. You know how things always seem to come in streaks? Like, how nothing happens and then it all happens at once?
Yeah.
Everything is happening at once.
So much so that I have been fairly paralyzed by it. So much has happened, I have learned so much about myself, and I am so overloaded with inspiration and brilliant ideas, that I keep trying to blog and then I get overwhelmed and distracted and don't know where to start, so I sit around watching YouTube and being bored.

Bored because of too much excitement?
Yep.
It's possible.

The bursts of excitement are making me both exhausted and invigorated, to the point where normal life seems devastatingly boring and I just can't handle where I'm at anymore. It's the weirdest season of life right now, I can't quite explain the restlessness I'm feeling. It almost feels like these few big things are just God's way of priming me for more. Like the boredom in between the big things is making me so restless that I'd be willing to do just about anything, no matter how crazy. Like there's more than I can imagine right around the corner, and it's coming but I can't see it. And it's driving me bonkers because I don't know what to do.

So I just gotta work on what's directly in front of me until I can see around that corner, I guess. So I am essentially forcing myself to write this blog post at gunpoint - more or less. ;)
Just write about ONE of the recent big things, Inna. Just one. Come on. You can do it. Get 'er done! Be productive!

Okay, okay already!
Jeepers.

Ahem.
Big and massive and mind-boggling and inspiring and magical life-changing thing number one:

I'm an auntie now!!


Aka, my brother? He's a dad. O_O 
Just look at him and his wife! They're parents. What even. 


And the man of the hour himself: baby Jory, born July 28th.

Babies. I tell you what. They are some of the most common and the most mind-blowing things out there. There's nothing quite like holding a newborn to make you wonder weird and beautiful things.
Like all those years that I have known my brother and his wife, with no little Jory. I know years worth of his parents that he will never know. And there was a time when I was that tiny new oblivious sleepy life, and there were aunts and uncles and grandparents who knew my parents before I was born, before they were a couple even! And like, who were they before me? They had entire lives.

So there I am, just holding little Jory. He's so so so tiny. So light. And warm. He's like hugging a heating pad. And those tiny breaths. Quick and shallow, so thin - from those baby lungs - each one brand new, saying I'm alive. And this whole thing just seems so normal, so easy to accept. There wasn't a baby before, and now there is. Simple.
Simple not simple.
So simple as to be supernatural, so miraculous as to be normal - commonplace even.
I just.
Don't understand.


What will his favorite color be? Favorite animal, favorite book? Will he twirl his hair like his daddy? Who will he be, and what will he do, and what will he grow up to see of this world that I will be too old at the time to understand? This kid who we don't even really know but love automatically? This kid who we lived without just fine thank you, but who will now - thankfully overwhelmingly wonderfully - be a part of our lives and our stories ... forever??

So basically an entire new person exists and I'm an auntie and it's good and it's also just flat out weird - that's all it is, really - and everything about life right now is so normal and so magical that I think I'm gonna have a panic attack or die from boredom or excitement ... not sure.

So yeah.
That's a thing.

Jun 24, 2014

Personalizing a tote bag!

My Oma (grandma) gave me this funky tote bag for Christmas last year. Even though it looked cool as it was, I decided it could use a little personalization!

Here's what I came up with:


     The first thing I did was to sew on some patches that I've been saving. I got the Nederland patch on our trip to the Netherlands a few years ago. I bought it at the Keukenhof gift-shop. The second patch is from my ballet studio; my teacher gave them to each of the students one year for Christmas. 


     Another idea was to glue a bottle-cap onto the button. The cap fit exactly over the existing button which was perfect!

      The bottle-cap I used was one my oldest brother gave me. He had a bottle-cap collection when he was little, and he got this one in Indonesia - one of the places my family lived before I was born. 


     Also, I took off the original loop that hooked over the button and replaced it with this friendship bracelet my bestie made for me ages ago.




     Another thing I did was to add this chain and to clip all sorts of mementos onto it. There's a random coin that my brother gave me when I was little (I think it's from Estonia?); my half of a friendship necklace; dog tags from Joy, a dog I had when I was little; a clipping of ribbon from my last pair of Pointe shoes that I wore as Sleeping Beauty; and a chunk of rock covered in layers of spray paint. 


     When my brother went off to college years ago, there was a boulder on campus that people were allowed to spray paint. It was called The Rock. Original, I know. :) The Rock would be repainted quite frequently - decorated for events and who-knows-what. One time when my brother came home for a visit, he brought me this piece that had fallen off of it and showed almost an inch of spray paint layers! Probably the coolest piece of junk I've ever had. ;)



     I also added some pins to the strap of the bag. The alligator pin is from a set of two vintage scatter pins that belonged to my great grandma. I have both, but only attached one to the bag; I like to wear the other one sometimes. They're so quirky! 
     The other pin is one we got at my other brother's first craft show. (He's a wood turner and sells wooden bowls, pens, jewelry, etc.) Plus, I thought "Creative Kid" was a pretty appropriate title for myself. ;) 


     And finally, one of my favorite changes that I made to this bag was the Shakespeare quote I embroidered on the strap.

"And though she be but little, she is fierce." 

 
This is one of my favorite quotes; I like to think it describes me. ;)
 


     I love that my tote is full of stories now. Some history of the lives that led up to mine, stories of people I care about, places I've been, things I've done, memories made. It kinda makes it feel like I'm carrying around a piece of art, or a library, or a mini-museum.

     Do you think you'd ever want to personalize a bag like this?