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Finishing Touches: Art Journal Two



While there are still a few unfinished pages in my Mother Goose art journal, I decided to decorate the cover in order to make it feel more complete. My first art journal – the one I handmade – has a couple of pages that I never finished, but I felt that it had reached a balance and I was comfortable with the final product, imperfect as it was.

My first journal was a paperback whose cover I collaged and painted. This book is a hardback and I wanted to try something new: a composition-book-inspired map cover. Read on to make your own!



Materials needed:
  • a map big enough to cover your journal plus 2 inches (~5 cm) on all sides
  • spray adhesive
  • label sticker (optional)
  • clear packing tape
  • wide black tape
First, spray the back of the map with adhesive following the can's instructions. Carefully place it on the journal, gently pressing out air bubbles with a rolling pin (or similar makeshift tool), starting in the center and moving outwards. Fold over the edges and adhere to the inside cover.

If you want to use a label like I did, stick it to the map now. If you wanted to write or doodle or paint or otherwise further decorate the cover, do it now!

Use the packing tape in strips to cover the front and the back of the book cover on top of the map, wrapping around the edges and pressing out air bubbles. (Using pressure to burnish the tape will make it more invisible.) This will protect the paper from dirt, wear, water, et cetera.

Finally, tape the spine using the black tape. Tada! You have a customized, colorful journal cover!

I think I'm going to go back and use packing tape on my first art journal; even though I used a clear protective finish after the collage, it has in the past three years seen some wear and tear.

Sweet Dreams, Little One


My pup found a sweet little bunny with velvet fur, tiny ears, and a pink belly, and I kept it warm in hopes that it would be alright. Sadly, it never revived. So I gave it a small funeral worthy of such a precious creature.

You may think it's morbid, or maybe silly, to spend my time like this and then share it here. But I think nature is a marvelous and magical thing, and a glimpse at this wild rabbit and the chance to honor the life that existed, however briefly, was a beautiful moment. I hope you'll be able to share that with me, too.

I found an old iPhone box (it was just the right size) and filled it with teased cotton balls and dried and fresh grass, making a comfortable nest for the baby to rest in. I laid him in gently, then tucked some downy feathers and tiny flowers around his little body. I wished him well, then buried him under red dirt in the shade of a bush. It's a lovely spot, and he'll be forever serenaded by birds and comforted by dancing sunlight.



It's strange, but I miss him a little bit.
Sweet dreams, little one. You are loved.

PostSecret Picnic 2013



My dearest friend and I had the enormous pleasure of being able to attend the PostSecret Picnic earlier this month. PostSecret, which I have written about before, is an art project begun by Frank Warren in 2005, wherein people are invited to anonymously send never-before-shared secrets, written on decorated postcards. Frank maintains a blog that is updated weekly, and several books filled with hundreds of secrets have been published (check them out here). Frank donates most of the income from these and his speaking engagements to Hopeline, a suicide prevention hotline.

The PostSecret Picnic was established just three or four years ago and has become an annual tradition for the PostSecret community. Strangers, united in their humanity (namely their complex and beautiful inner lives), share a few hours together, talking, eating, and sharing secrets. This year, Frank came and brought a tub full of never-before-seen postcards, some of which I have posted here. It is incredible to think that each and every one of these was written by an individual who lives and breathes and has an entire story of their own. The unknown context of the cards adds to their hilarity, their tragedy, their beauty, and their mystery.




A few random tidbits about this project:
  • Over half a million secrets have been sent over the past eight years.
  • The heart of PostSecret is love, acceptance, and support: we all have secrets. We all have fears and dreams and heartbreak and hope. We all love. We are all human.
  • There are only two rules when it comes to making your postcard: no blood and no glitter.
  • Next time you are in a bookstore, open one of the PostSecret books and flip through the pages. You may find a heart-felt note from a stranger. If you decide to take it with you, leave a secret message of your own.
  • The most shared secret is I pee in the shower.
  • Frank reads and keeps every single secret he ever receives.
  • An online forum, called the PostSecret Community, was created a few years ago, where members can connect, share, and discuss anything and everything.
  • The PostSecret website is updated every Sunday morning.
  • Send your own secret to: 13345 Copper Ridge Road / Germantown, MD 20874 / USA
  • Find PostSecret all over the web: Twitter // Facebook // PostSecret Community
 








Frank, you are one of the most sincere individuals I know, and your love for and faith in humanity are an inspiration. In the few times I have spoken to you, I have sensed your depth of compassion, and I have glimpsed in you the rare quality of earnest listening and genuine interest in a stranger's story. Thank you a thousand times over for all you do.

Sweet readers, I encourage you, if you feel so called, to send a postcard to the address I listed above. The experience of releasing a long-kept secret into a mailbox and facing your fears, your vulnerability, your dreams, and your Self – and knowing that there is a network of strangers to catch and hold you – is an indescribable feeling. And visit the website: the love is palpable there, too.



An Unexpected Turn in the Road


Hello, loves.

Several months ago I agreed to house- and dog-sit for the majority of the summer. My payment was to be free rent in exchange for my services. Unfortunately, the deal fell apart at the last moment, accompanied by some very unprofessional behavior on the other party's part. Through a period of extreme vulnerability, many tears, and support from family and friends, I have learned a valuable lesson in standing up for myself, asking for what I need, knowing when to say no, and pursuing jobs that I truly want and from which I will benefit as much as the employer. Too, from here on, I am determined to distance myself from those who do anything but support and appreciate my talents, skills, and personality.

Unfortunately, this difficult journey of job-hunting (perhaps I only had myself fooled as to how simple it was supposed to be?) has lead to a disappointing realization: I will not be able to move to Germany this fall. There are very few, if any, positions available that I am either interested in or qualified for in the country. The next best solution, though far less than ideal, is to find full-time work, save up, and hope that an opportunity will present itself within the next few years. I am pursuing several jobs that are interesting, in my field, and contain that essential creative component.

But oh, my heart aches. To be so far from my love is hard enough, but that there is, at the moment, no end in sight is pretty crushing. It is going on seven months since we have last seen each other, and will likely be a few more before we are able to reunite. Modern day regulations and country borders and paperwork are so frustrating.

Happier posts are coming soon - I promise!
Sending you love and love and love, sweet souls.

Summer Dreams


Above: another macro shot taken using the reverse lens hack.

Well, my loves, here we are: July is upon us and we are officially halfway through the year. I know I always say that spring is my favorite season (see here and here), but summer is quickly becoming a close second. It's in the lingering light in the evenings; the love-to-hate-it sticky, hot afternoons; the relief of cool swims; rumbles of thunder and sudden downpours; the ever-singing, soaring, squabbling birds; the freckles appearing across my nose and chin; ripe wild raspberries that melt in your mouth; the sweet rhythm of chirping cricket lullabies; and the company of twinkling fireflies – stars dancing on earth, really – that make this season so magical. I'm soaking it all up through my always bare, ever-smudged feet.

I've started making a list of the things I'd like to do before the season ends. It's a bit here and there, but I'd like to make it a habit to be intentional about the little – and big – things I'd like to work towards. Here is what I have thus far:
  • stop taking myself so seriously
  • paint big
  • read 4 books by the end of the month
  • go on a trip by myself
  • write a poem
  • collect freckles
  • practice yoga
  • say what I mean
  • meditate 3 times
  • get a job, save money (more on this soon)
  • research job positions in Europe
  • get a tattoo (?!)
  • complete a third art journal
  • sew another skirt (which reminds me: I still need to post about my first!)
I was first inspired to do this by Hanna when she posted her own summer manifesto last year. What are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

In other news, I took the leap and bought a domain – www.mypeacetree.com – so please update your blog readers and links and whatever else might be affected (update: I'm having problems with RSS; it's probably best if you wait to change your readers until I figure this out). I have been experiencing some bugs and glitches during this transition (including a wonky search bar on the left) and I ask for your patience while I try to get these things sorted. I now have a new email address, too: ingrid(at)mypeacetree(dot)com. Hoorah for new beginnings – and fingers crossed everything smooths itself out soon!

All my love!

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