Creative Jumpstart 2021

Creative Jumpstart 2021
Join me for the 10th Anniversary of CJS2021

Friday, June 29

the Whatevers

In case you are a new reader to my blog and not sure what the Linky Tool is above, Here's a quick rundown for you, first this is a fun project that two of my sweetest friends and I are working on called The Whatevers.  This is a creative story telling project by Nat Kalbach, Vicki Chrisman and I. 

What all three of us have in common (besides enjoying each others company, creating art and having a blast) is the love for vintage photos, whether it be family treasures or the found ones -- you know the ones that have no story. They are the most intriguing ones to me!

Have you ever been to a flea market and then had this weird sensation of those faces from long ago times looking at you? Sometimes you find a little trace of the history on those photos, the name and city of the photographer, a scribbled note or year on the back of the photo…but that is it. There is no more ….Really…no more? They are forgotten as long as they have no name and no story…

Here is how it works if you want to play along:

Vicki, Nat and I have made a one-year commitment to each other and picked twelve photos with Whatevers whom we will give a story.
  • Every month – if possible always on the 15th –  each of us will do a post with an individual story that goes along for us with the same photo.
  • If you want you can play along and we will have the photo for you - just right click on it to save it and create something, then show us your version of The Whatevers.
  • There are no rules to the story itself- it can be funny, sad, uplifting, breathtaking- WHATEVER
  • There are no rules on the length or the form of the story- it can be a short sentence, an essay, a poem or a soap opera – WHATEVER
  • There are no rules on the artform you choose – it can be a scrapbook layout, an altered art project, an art journal page – WHATEVER
  • Here is a rule though: if you take the photo you have to link back to us and show us your story.
  • These pictures are from our personal stash and are for personal use for you only! If you want to use them for a publication whether a book or magazine in print or digital form please ask for permission!
  • If you want to participate we’ll have a linky list for each Whatever Post.
  • You can also join our The Whatevers -Facebook Page

I hope you'll take the time to download the image for June and share what you've created with us.
Thanks for stopping by -- have a GREAT weekend! 

Thursday, June 28

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

Now that summer is here and my sweet boy is home everyday from school the issue of what to have for lunch becomes the prominent question of the day. Since he's 12 and 5' 6 1/2" you won't be surprised when I say that the lunch question becomes an issue around 9am.

I'm kind of a -- whatever I can scrounge up will be good to have for lunch, I'd rather work than stop for lunch and often eat my lunch while taking a break in front of the computer, I know that's bad. Sometimes lunch is a couple of hard-boiled eggs and sliced cucumbers or baby carrots, or that tiny scrap of leftover Italian chicken stew -- basically whatever I can find to fill the void works for me.

For him though, he wants a sandwich, or pizza or something substantial and not the same thing everyday. This means I have to put a little thought into lunch. And each summer it takes me a few weeks to get there -- and this also means I'm often scrambling with what to feed a growing boy of 12 at the 11th hour.

Yesterday after a quick look in the pantry realized that we had NOTHING to fill his gullet with but a can of chicken -- since we are off of bread for the summer I had to get creative with the presentation for my little foodie. With that, my "Everything but the Kitchen Sink Chicken Slaw" salad came about. 

Here's how you can make it too:

Everything but the Kitchen 
Sink Chicken Slaw

What you need:
1 12 oz. can of Premium Chicken Breast
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated purple cabbage
1/2 English Cucumber cut into 1/4" slices then quarter each slice
10 - 15 black olives, cut into thirds
1/4 cup mayonnaise -- home made would be best
2 tablespoons Italian Dressing

1 Avocado
6 cherry tomatoes for each serving
Salt and Pepper
What to do:
Mix together gently chicken and chopped vegetables in a mixing bowl. Add mayo and Italian Dressing and mix to coat. Dish out salad onto plates and garnish with 1/2 chopped avocado and tomatoes for each serving. This recipe made 2 servings with a third reserved  for lunch today. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each serving and enjoy! 

To get more servings double the recipe as needed and enjoy. This would be the perfect meal on a hot summer night -- or quick and easy picnic salad. 

I also wanted to show you how you can get a really cool look to your photos. The first photo was taken using the standard camera on my iPhone 4, the second was using the Hipstamatic App. While they both look cool, I think the Hipsta looks the most creative! 

Well, that's all for today -- we're off to do some tie-dieing. Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a great day.

Wednesday, June 27

Peonies in a Vase

I really dislike being so busy with this that and the other thing that I have no time to make art -- or I have to schedule my art making time for late at night -- which is what happened last night. It's important to me, and so worth losing a bit of sleep over that I will MAKE the time even if it is late at night.

 You remember the pretty vase of peonies I shared a few weeks ago?

I decided, at 9:48 last night that I was going to paint them in my art journal.  and paint I did.
I did spend a little time this morning spiffing it up some more -- and while I'm not confident that I like it.....yet....I am happy that I painted. and made art. that is the perfect way to end any day - and I would give up any amount of sleep to do that.

You will chuckle to know that while I was waiting for a spot of paint to dry I fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up it was 1:45am. By the time I got everything closed down, buttoned up and in bed it was after 2. I am exhausted today. But filled to the brim with art. And relaxed and ready to plant my birthday tree. 

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to have time to do something that means a lot to you? Give up sleep or computer time? How about cleaning time, yes I will gladly give that up any day of the week. As much as we have to do; things that we don't enjoy at all --go to work, vacuum, grocery shop and errand run, dust, clean toilets, etc. -- it's also really important to fill moments of your day here and there with things that make you happy and complete you so the daily tasks don't seem so mundane. 

With that thought -- the dishes are done, breakfast has been made -- and art journaling supplies picked up from the coffee table -- now I'm off to do something else I really enjoy -- work in my garden tending to my lovely flowers and vegetables beds.

Hope you have a wonderful day. Thank you so much for stopping by -- see you next time!

Tuesday, June 26

Flower a Day in Review

 I thought I would share a chronological set of photos from my drawings of a Flower a Day the last week.
 One thing jumps out at me.
 The first three drawings are well thought out and look great.
The last three have been completed at the end of the day. Not just any day either -- the end of long and busy days. My drawings aren't as well thought out or even executed as well as the first four.
While I followed the same procedure of taking a photo of a flower in my garden on two of those days when I got down to doing them I was tired and cranky and distracted.
And the one from last night was rushed and started at 11:09 and finished at 11:13 as I was in a hurry to get to bed because I have class today and had mucho work to do this morning before dashing off to my class.
The lesson for me is to plan my day better and get my drawing done early when I'm not tired, am less stressed and can focus on creating something that is executed nicely so it looks good.

That's all for today -- now I need to dash off to the shower and then to my class. Have a great day -- see you tomorrow -- can't believe I'm on the downhill slope to 50 now ;-) I don't feel 46 nor do I think I look 46. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, June 25

True Friends Journal Page or Happy Birthday to Me..

As I reflect on the last year and the many things that have happened I feel like I have somehow gathered the strength within myself to find a path -- or to re-discover -- my path and fully realize what it is that I want out of life, being a wife and mother, artist and just my life in general. Last year on my birthday there were happy things, but also frustrating and sad things that I struggled with.

I started 2012 setting goals and today I feel really good about meeting many those goals (except the exercising ones), actually putting those bullets on my list as actions I've taken instead of just writing on a list.

One of those bullet points was to journal as much as I can and blog more. Two things I have definitely done. I've also enrolled in an art class at a great College of Art, create more art that makes me happy, and have found a direction that I want to take my art in. While there are many more things I've crossed off my list - these are the ones I'm comfortable sharing. ;-)

Anyway, as I reflect internally on the coming year today -- I want to share my latest journal page with you. I have been attracted to birds a lot lately, I think it may be due to the fact that I have several nests on my front and back porch with Mama and Papa Robins and their babies. While these birds aren't robins, I did paint them to resemble the coloring, a little.

Notice how blah they look before I paint the eyes, very lifeless and empty.

But once I add the black with the white light in the center they almost come to life. 

I marveled a couple month ago at how amazing it is to see a painting transform when you add a black outline to the designs, but this transformation is so much more dramatic. The black eyes with the white light in the center really brings them to life. 

Here they are, two friends aloft on a couple of branches in the woods. Having a sweet chat about life, love and everything else in-between.

And here they are with a sweet quote I found about good friends. So fitting for the amazing friends I have as they truly have lifted me and shown me how to fly in the last year or so. 

For those friends -- both new and old -- you know who you are --  thank you for an amazing year and I'm definitely looking forward to a fantastic year ahead! 

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day and I'll catch you up on my flower of the day flowers tomorrow! 

Saturday, June 23

Purple Coneflower

 Flower of the Day: June 22, 2012
Purple Coneflower
Black Gesso'd paper and white Stabilo Pencil. 

Image prettied up in BeFunky Pro on my iPad. 

Friday, June 22

take it in -- for the first time or the 100th time

There's something to be said about observant people. Usually I am, I notice things that many don't and try to catalog them in my mind -- license plate numbers, (i know that's a weird one, LOL), what people are wearing, the color of their eyes and what they have on for jewelry. What they drive, if my son has brushed his teeth or not -- and if my husband needs a hair cut -- just to name a few of the things that catch my eye, ha ha.

What is a surprise to me, almost shockingly; is that I have never taken the time to actually study the plants in my garden. While I love to tend to them, and "see" in the big sense their beauty -- and of course breathe it in -- I have never really taken the time to actually see them.

The other day as I was pulling out of my driveway this little clump of plants; Lamb's Ear which I have all over my garden caught the corner of my eye and I couldn't help but look at it. The way they were positioned and leaning out in front of the others really called for my attention -- so much so that I remember when I pulled in that I wanted to take a photo of them to use for a  piece of art sometime in the winter months when the world is cold and covered in white.

I often sit on the steps of my front porch and gaze at the hundreds of bumble bees that hover around them -- and how much they seem to love the pretty fuschia flowers that grow all around the lambs ear. Every year I love to see this, because the world talks so much about the bee problem, it makes me feel good that I have a safe (chemical free) place for the bees to come and gather their golden honey.
I never noticed that the leaves are paired up -- for one leaf you'll see on the left you will find a matching one on the right --  perfectly mirrored on the other side of the plant.
I also never noticed that the stalk -- while most plants have a round stem -- the Lamb's Ear has a square one.
While I noticed that the plant was light green and fuzzy, I never noticed that the fuzz created a pattern on the back of the leaf that looks like it might be a living, pulsing vein on a little lamb. I noticed all these things as I was creating my Flower sketch of the day last night, and was amazed and even surprised that I had never noticed them before.

What a lesson and great reminder to look at everything in your life, take it in -- study it -- and catalog the beauty to use at another time when the world around you might be cold and dreary and tough to get along with!

thank you for stopping by -- I hope you have a wonderful weekend -- and take a little time to observe the beautiful world around you!

Thursday, June 21

it's ok to be...


oh my gosh, I totally forgot to share my college experience, LoL! First, Maine College of Art has no student parking so I had to park on the street, which was fine -- I found parking about 2 blocks away. But, the class is 3 hours long -- the meter lasts for 2 hours -- so a couple of us had to run out in the middle of class to feed the meter. Next time I'm going to bite the bullet and park in the garage.

I was way early because I had expected to have a hard time finding parking. So I went into the studio on the third floor and checked my mail and looked at a few books that were on the table. As it got closer to 1 my stomach started getting nervous and I started worrying about lots of things. When the class started I was so nervous I thought I was going to puke, LoL! It's been 26 years since I graduated from college. Phew.

Lots of feelings and negative comments started running through my head. you know the ones I'm talking about.
what if everyone is better at this than me.
what if I'm not cut out to do this.
what if I can't REALLY draw.
what if I make a fool of myself.
what if what if what if what if.

It was horrible. really. all those stupid thoughts.

Then, the class started off with writing some things about ourselves down on index cards -- which we had to share. The last thing we had to share was one thing the others wouldn't know about us.

I said. I am extremely nervous, ha ha. then I wasn't.
the funny thing was once I had said that several other ladies said the same thing.

It felt good to feel the feelings, and then it felt AMAZING to feel them go away. In an instant -- they were gone and I was ready to embrace what this person (and others in the class) want to teach me. 

Anyway, we started with a collaborative drawing. Alex called out drawing prompts and we had to draw on paper tacked up on the wall. a bald man in a boat with a floral dress on. a lemon. an opened tin can. a planet. a vacuum cleaner. a hot dog cart. a shark. For each prompt we moved to a new spot on the wall. 

it was fun. and relaxing. and I giggled at the things I drew at each spot. what a great ice breaker. 
For the last 20 minutes we had to draw a part animal/fantasy creature part real animal or human. This is my prehistoric Robin feeding her baby. Sweet boy thinks it's a chicken eating her baby, ha ha. 

For homework I have to draw -- one black and white line drawing -- everyday. She mentioned that a lot of people use that as a prompt to start drawing series of things. I decided to work on flowers. 
this is a small hand book by Global Arts -- 5 x 8 I think. We're not supposed to use pencil -- just pen -- or black -- and white. I'm not ready to give up my pencil just yet. But I love the drawing I did last night. Fox Glove. sweet. I am further convinced, today -- that I am on the right path.
Anyway, I've had a stressful few days working out some issues with a potential co-worker that ended up not working out. It's amazing how people will twist and turn the facts to make themselves look like the good guy and you the bad guy. I didn't realize how much stress I was actually feeling until I started working in my Flower a Day Journal. As I drew I felt the tension leaving my body and I started to relax and breathe. I decided I needed some more me-ART time and -- at 11 last night started to add some color to an art journal page I started a week and a half ago. I really needed the art time.  Needless to say, I'm a little zonked today, lol. but it was totally worth the loss of an hour of sleep.

With that, I need to get in the shower and get my day started. Thank you for stopping by -- have a wonderful Thursday!

Don't forget -- you have a few more weeks for your Whatevers Submissions -- we want to see them.

Wednesday, June 20


Our crazy summer has started, this is all I have for today! I saw this fun canvas at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago and snapped a quick Hipstamatic thinking it would be perfect for one of those days, which happens to be today.

Also, I wanted to give you a quick reminder that if you are interested in our Whatevers - Creative Storytelling project feel free to share your work. We are featuring one new project on our Facebook page as we have them -- this is a good chance to get your beautiful work out there! Read down to the end of this post and click on the link button -- and follow the prompts from there to share your work!

In case you were wondering you can share art -- but it can also be a poem, short story or whatever you want. We want to see what you are doing!

Have a great day -- it's VERY hot and I'm not complaining. It feels good for a change!

Tuesday, June 19

a great Reminder...

With the end of school field trips, planning for the summer work -- and traveling here and there -- plus mentoring a fellow designer PLUS the other work I do I haven't had much time to create in my journal -- or energy for that either! One evening last week I wanted to do something -- and not make a mess so I decided to re-strung a favorite bracelet.

I made the original bracelet -- with a different charm (a faux tintype) a few years ago and the clasp broke. It's been sitting in my jewelry bag since then waiting. patiently. for the perfect thing to come along. When I went to Brimfield with my sweet friend Hannah -- the right thing came along.
I stuck with the same color scheme - but took the old tin type off and made the entire bracelet longer. 
 I really love the button -- a Green Girl Studios button -- it's a mermaid.
 If I wrap it twice I can use it as a necklace, like a choker.
 But if I wrap it 4 times it's a beautiful wrapped bracelet.
 And, each time I look down at my wrist it's a reminder to continue to believe in my path -- to follow my dreams and reach for the stars. If I can believe in Mermaids I can believe in myself, my talents and everything else that's fantastic and wonderful!
With that, I leave you with this thought -- today I start my first class at Maine College of Art -- Drawing for Illustrators. Never stop believing in yourself, even when the going gets tough and it's hard to make your dreams a reality -- keep on -- you can do it -- you just have to take the first step!

Yes, my dream is to illustrate -- draw -- paint -- tell stories with my drawings -- and today is the first step in making that dream happen. I truly believe it will too. Thank you for stopping by, have a wonderful Tuesday!

Sunday, June 17

PSA #8: Summer Classes at My Creative Classroom

Join Catherine at My Creative Classroom in this fast-paced 3 week workshop jam packed with fun techniques and projects as she explores several different types of Mixed Media Collage. The first week you will learn a little art history, watch a video about tools and supplies and how to use them as well as learn some basic surface techniques to add texture, color and images to your collage and create a basic collage utilizing the techniques discussed. 
In following weeks Catherine will introduce different collage techniques as she provides a detailed, step-by-step presentation demonstrating how she created the sample project for the week. Each week will have a discussion forum for specific questions as well as a Student Gallery to share completed projects and gain personal assistance with your project. At the end of the course the student will have had the opportunity to complete three different collages using a variety of tools and supplies.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Get Creative in this Wire, Paint + Paper workshop!

Each week you will change the surface of the canvas by adding paint, paper, wire shapes, text, quotes and other embellishments to make a cohesive canvas. The end result: we’ll make a larger canvas that incorporates several (or all) of the techniques from class in a personal shrine that will be a creative inspiration to you every time you look at it.

Students will create a new canvas each week and learn how to:

·   Combine masks with multiple layers of paint, ink and paper

·   Create image transfers on canvas
·   Work with crackle paints, glazes, gesso and Gel Medium
·   Create layered paint backgrounds
·   Bend and incorporate rusty wire on your canvas
·   Mix vintage papers, paint, ink and stencils to create one of a kind backgrounds
·   Include found objects such as sea glass, shells, dried flowers or whatever your heart desires on 
your art to give it a place to rest and be displayed in your home

This class includes slideshows, handouts, sample projects and technique variations, student art galleries, discussion forums and informational links as well as Extended Enrollment. Please email me at cmscanlon (at) with any questions you may have about this class.

Sign up early and save $5.00!
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the Magic of Christmas: A Primer for Interactive Holiday Cards

You won’t want to miss this boot-camp style fun and furious new course at My Creative Classroom with Catherine Scanlon. If you’ve taken any classes with Catherine before you know they will be jam-packed full of useful information you can use in all your card making and crafting endeavors
In this newest offering at My Creative Classroom, she will walk you through the steps to create 10 beautiful, creative and unique interactive cards to give to those special people in your life. Taylor the papers, embellishments and sentiments to create the same cards for birthday, wedding and other important celebrations you want a special card for.

Each weekday for 2 weeks you will receive access to a new lesson. Each week the lessons will includes videos, step-by-step instructions and downloadable .PDF files – to make an interactive card each day.  With a total of 10 Lessons – you are getting access to 5 weeks of lessons in just 2, a great value and time saving idea!
Week 1 will be a primer – introducing you to interactive cards with instruction on beginner mechanics like easels, pop-ups, folders and tents. Each card will be a masterpiece in folding, sliding or interactivity.
Moving in to Week 2 your cards will become more complicated and intricate works of art with styles like droppers, twirlers, zippers, buttons, and more intricate pop-up cards.
While this class will be a boot-camp-style in presentation, you will have plenty of time to create and share your cards during the course of the class as well as access to the Message Forums to interact with Catherine and your fellow students.
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You can also sign up for two other classes I've got lessons in -- these two collaborative classes, Wrap it Up and All About Christmas. 

I hope to see you in the classroom over at My Creative Classroom, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the way things work, what you might need or substitutions! 
Have a great Sunday!

Friday, June 15

the whatevers #1 or How Could She?

Are you ready for the first Whatevers? If you missed the post of what this is all about- check out yesterday's blogpost.
Click here to see what Nat made out of this photo and details of the story she tells of the Whatevers!

Click here to see what Vicki made out of this photo and details of the story she tells of the Whatevers!

My two sweeties are called Newton and Winston Whatever, named after their father. This is where their story starts:

Winston Nicely Whatever – or Winnie for short – was 8 years old when this photo was taken. Her brother, Newton – also known as Newt – was 5.

Sitting in front of this contraption, the Daguerreotype Camera – or whatever they called it, holding her body completely still for several moments was absolutely horrifying. Under ordinary circumstances Winnie could sit completely frozen for quite some time, but today she was furious.

Newt on the other hand was so happy he could barely contain himself, making it nearly impossible for HIM to sit still too.
One phrase kept running through her head, HOW COULD SHE? How could Mother make plans for the entire month of August without calling a family meeting. She could have consulted with me first. Winnie was horrified at having to spend the entire month of August smiling, curtsying and visiting her cousins at the beach. Those girls were mean and crabby, and maybe even crazy. She just wasn’t going to go. Eldridge and Forget-Me-Knot would have to find someone else to tease this summer. 

I've had so much fun with the cover to my book and this first page that I'm already working on the pages for next month -- and planning out my story -- oh this is so much fun. Since we are having such a great time with this, the three of us thought you might like to play along too. Here is our first photo that you can download and use to play along if you want to:

Here is how it works if you want to play along:

Vicki, Nat and I have made a one-year commitment to each other and picked twelve photos with Whatevers whom we will give a story.
  • Every month – if possible always on the 15th –  each of us will do a post with an individual story that goes along for us with the same photo.
  • If you want you can play along and we will have the photo for you - just right click on it to safe it to download and show us your version of The Whatevers.
  • There is no rules to the story itself- it can be funny, sad, uplifting, breathtaking- WHATEVER
  • There is no rules on the length or the form of the story- it can be a short sentence, an essay, a poem or a soap opera – WHATEVER
  • There is no rules on the artform you choose – it can be a scrapbook layout, an altered art project, an artjournal page – WHATEVER
  • Here is a rule though: if you take the photo you have to link back to us and show us your story.
  • These pictures are from our personal stash and are for personal use for you only! If you want to use them for a publication whether a book or magazine in print or digital form please ask for permission!
  • If you want to participate we’ll have a linky list for each Whatever Post.
  • You can also join our The Whatevers -Facebook Page
  • You can share you work with us by submitting here:

That's all for today -- stay tuned next month for more of the Whatever's!

oh, and here's a Blinkie you can add to your blog if you want!