January Art Journal Recap

In The Studio

With the stormy weather that one weekend setting me back, I managed to fit two pages into the following week and kept to my goal of 1 art journal page a week for the month of January. It’s a start, and I’m really enjoying the self-imposed deadline each week that helps me get my butt in gear (and in the seat) and do something in that journal I made!

So far I’ve been painting more than anything and, while there’s nothing wrong with that, I think I’ll challenge myself to collage more in February. Amusingly enough, collage used to be my go-to start to any project, so having to tell myself to collage more strikes me as quite the turnaround.

For the sake of completeness, I’m going to include the first page/video here, even though I posted it before.


Just Floating Along (youtube link)


The Time of Our Lives (youtube link)’


Swirl of Confusion (youtube link)


What Do I Stand For (youtube link)

So far I have to say I like the graphic look of the last one best of all, but I think the way the second came together is a close second. It’s one thing to have a particular idea in mind and get pretty close (like pages 3 and 4), but to have only the vaguest notion and then end up with a pretty stellar image, that’s a cool thing. Sure, had I been planning and plotting I might have arranged some of the elements in Time a bit differently, but you surrender editing control and the like when you work in an art journal.

I’m still working out the kinks in the filming department, but i’m sure I’ll have it mastered by the end of February (so she says…)

One other thing I’ve been remiss in mentioning over here is the other project that was keeping me more than a bit busy at the end of the year and beginning of the new one. That would be the first issue of my Activity Book for Grown-Ups!


Click the image above or this handy link right here <Click Me for Fun!> to read through or download your own copy so you can print out the coloring pages, the other printables, and the puzzles for your own amusement. The next issue is set to come out towards the end of March and I’d love any feedback you have on the magazine itself (what you liked, what you didn’t, what you want more or less of, that sort of thing).

Excuse Me While I Make a Scene

In The Studio

Over at the Imagine Crafts blog, that is!

My latest project involved stamping on the pages of a Clear Scraps album that I’ve been holding onto for absolutely ages, just waiting for the right project to come along. Inspired by my renewed interest in stamping and the memory of seeing the multipane camera in the One Man’s Dream exhibit at Disney World (it’s a shame that’s closing at Disney Studios), I combined different styles of stamps to create this scene in a book.


The display at One Man’s Dream, Disney Studios (2013)

My much-smaller interpretation!

My much-smaller interpretation!

You can find the step-by-step play-by-play right here: Making a Scene on Imagine Crafts

And don’t forget to check out my other Imagine Crafts project where I turned some papier mache boxes into faux stone lidded beauties.

Black and white marble treatments and a little lapis lazuli for good measure!

Black and white marble treatments and a little lapis lazuli for good measure!

For the how to, see this post: Faux Stone Finished at Imagine Crafts

That lapis lid is, by far, my favorite one of the three. The little flecks of gold Creative Medium peeking through the dark blue paint… swoon!

* * *

This weekend is the annual Rose Festival in Thomasville with the parade tonight and Art in the Park tomorrow. Of course, it’s currently wet and rainy in these parts, and I’m not sure if there is a rain plan as the Tallahassee news shows were boasting about how it’s never rained on the Rose Parade in it’s 94 previous years… And the street dance afterwards might be a bit sparse if it’s still actively raining.

Guess we’ll just have to wait an see.

The good news is that the rest of the weekend is supposed to be dry so, hopefully, we’ll be able to see the artists at Art in the Park–last year it rained that morning so no one set up (or the couple that did tore down right after. We went by mid-afternoon and there was only the zip-line set up and that’s not really our cup of tea.

If the parade and all goes as scheduled I plan to have some video to show you next week of it. You can see how much like Stars Hollow our little town really is on days like this! And if not, well, it’s not like I don’t have projects to work on, complete, and otherwise dream about.

Hope you have a great weekend!


When All Else Fails: Art

In The Studio

I had an amazing art week last week! That’s important to note because the rest of the week? Well… it could have been better.

The job search continues. I had two interviews last week, one by phone and one in person. The phone interview went as well as could be expected considering I haven’t interviewed for anything in 16 years (and even that was only for an internship set up by a business acquaintance to finish my culinary degree–very informal). I’d brushed up on standard questions and practiced quite a bit, but I was still a bit rusty. Not surprisingly, I didn’t make it to the round two interviews but it’s okay, it’s not like it was my dream job or anything. And I have time. (She says in an effort not to stress out.)

The other interview was much more informal, it was in person, and the company owner had reached out to me after seeing my resume on Indeed. Very different experience. And even though I think it went very well and would enjoy the work (still in printing, but on the design side) and the office environment, he’s still interviewing candidates and there’s not a set need-by date for the position yet, either. Which could be great since my schedule is flexible for the next couple of months anyway. We shall see, but I am crossing my fingers for this one.

Aside from that, there was the upset of taxes. Ugh. Every year we say we’re going to get them done sooner but, well, just like the cobbler’s son has no shoes and the mechanic’s yard has cars up on blocks, the bookkeeper and accountant file their taxes at the last minute. What made it worse was fining out how much we owed and how misinformed I was about state income taxes.

See, Florida doesn’t have personal income taxes, Georgia does. Now, I’d called before we moved to find out whether and where my Florida wages counted as far as all that went, and I was told that out of state wages (completely earned out of state from an employer with no locations in Georgia) did not count for Georgia income tax. So I (thought I) knew that my self-employment income would be taxed but not the day job.

Not so.

Bother and damnation!

(And, no, I guess we didn’t notice the second half of 2014 wages that would have been taxed after we moved. Most likely they were offset by my convention income and business expenses, but it hardly matters now!)

Add to that (literally) the fact that Todd was uninsured for the first five months and, yep, the penalties are definitely in effect!

It was an expensive lesson.

And speaking of insurance, that was another of last week’s hurdles. Mine ends this month (what with the company officially closing and all) so the options were adding me to Todd’s company policy (~$800/mo) or buying a separate plan. As I suspected, the independent plans directly through BCBS were half the cost or thereabouts, so I’ll be signing up for one of those. Of course, the way the non-employer-sponsored plans work is you sign up by the 10th of the month (usually) for coverage that starts following month. So I’m going to be very careful in May.

Especially after we remembered Todd’s accident happened last May, one month before he was insured.

There’s been talk of bubble-wrap and other Jennifer-proofing measures.

Only half in jest.

But even with all of this going on, there was still art. Every night. Something creative, something fulfilling. Even if I could barely look at this blog (which was down for a couple of days due to a server issue, so, yeah, not helping the utter paralysis I felt when it came to posting) or anywhere else on social media, I could spend a little time with canvases and paint and go to bed a little lighter. Even cleaning up the Abyss on Saturday felt good, and I found some works in progress (a mini canvas and some cross stitch) that I made time for, too.

So when I say “better living through creativity,” here’s living proof that it’s not just a tagline. I really do think that the time spent at my worktable helped me survive this trying week. That I would have been far more miserable had I ignored the projects and gone to bed early or vegged out in front of the tv, wallowing in the fear of the unknown.

And there will likely be more trying weeks ahead. This one, for instance, didn’t exactly start out great (but I think I’m over the hump, now, having had a good cry over it all on Monday). But I have projects on my desk and my birthday to look forward to at the end of the month, so I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other and applying brush to paper.

Creative Team Project Round-Up

In The Studio

How was your weekend?

It was supposed to be absolutely miserable down here but the weather was gorgeous after Friday night’s showers. As a friend called it on Facebook: there’s nothing so blue as a rain-scrubbed sky. Really, it was amazing.

Of course, I spent the vast majority of it at my computer, staring at InDesign. Why? Because I’ve signed on as the Art Director for Millin’Air Magazine as of the spring issue (which will be released later this week). And while I can’t show you the full magazine (yet!) I can at least let you see the cover!

The cover was finished a couple weeks back, it was the other 53 pages I was finishing up this weekend!

The cover was finished a couple weeks back, it was the other 53 pages I was finishing up this weekend! Complementary subscriptions available at www.katherinecarey.com

And that reminds me… I’ve been remiss in sharing some of the projects I’ve been doing for the teams I’m on. Let’s do a full quarter-1 recap, shall we? (Links are under each project if you want to see the play-by-play.)

Helmar Creative Team

March wrapped up my 3rd (6-month) term with Helmar and I’m happy to be staying on for the next 6 months, as well.

Backing up to the beginning of the year, though, I started with a mixed media tag:

Reading Road Map Bookmark

Something about book pages at the beginning of the year.

Reading Road Map Tag

And followed that up with some decoupaged tile coasters.

Tile and Map Coaster Project

And maps. No clue why I was hung up on maps.

Where You Are, Where You’ve Been

In February I pulled out one my adorable (if I do say so myself) digital stamps for a Valentine’s card. Valentine’s was the earliest we said we might get a dog, and I was hoping real hard!

Not that stuffed pup, but another one I gave Todd on our first Valentine's together says "I wuf you" and blushes when you squeeze it.

Not that stuffed pup, but another one I gave Todd on our first Valentine’s together says “I wuf you” and blushes when you squeeze it.

Puppy Love Valentine’s Card

Of course, with the bathroom renovations still in full swing, I think we’d have been the ones in the doghouse had we gotten a pup in the middle of all that!

It’d been so long since I’d had time for any doll-related projects, I was afraid they were going to stage a tiny, plastic mutiny. That, and the slow pace of the real-life renovation, had me jonesing for some instant gratification, miniature-style.

My Cricut made this miniature project even easier!

My Cricut made this miniature project even easier!

Tiny (Cardboard) Taxidermy with Helmar Zap Dots

In March I returned to a favorite theme of mine: the phases of the moon. Now, you might recognize the images from an old Gauche Alchemy project. I photographed them and printed out the sizes I needed for my cross between a sun-catcher and a dream-catcher.

I still love these moon phase paintings.

I still love these moon phase paintings.

Moon Phases Mobile

And just before Easter I tried my hand at the classic “Exploding Box” card.

I've been holding onto those carrot-colored Easter eggs for *years* wondering what I was going to make with them!

I’ve been holding onto those carrot-colored Easter eggs for *years* wondering what I was going to make with them!

Exploding with Easter Fun!

Now, that technically wraps up the first three months, but I have one more Helmar project to show you.

I mentioned on Friday that I’d participated in an April Fool’s post over there, despite my dislike of the “holiday” and, well, I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. Not only did it backfire, but it did so in an entirely unpredicted way.

I mean, not in the way that Cake Wrecks did (where they apparently lost readers over the faux-sponsored post), but still. It did not go over well.

Here’s the project:

It's tougher than you'd think coming up with adhesive alternatives...

It’s tougher than you’d think coming up with adhesive alternatives…

A New Direction

If you read that post and project, you might pick up on the fact that there’s something missing from the project. Namely any Helmar adhesives. See, I thought that a project for a glue company that used absolutely no glue was appropriately inappropriate. Drop a few broad hints about a change in direction and, well, it sounded good in theory. There were some crossed wires between Georgia and Australia, however, and a lot of conversation at 6am (my time) on the 1st, before we got them untangled.

All’s well that ends well, and all that, but I think it’s safe to say I won’t be doing another prank post in the future.

Imagine Crafts

So far I’ve really been enjoying my time with the Imagine Crafts Artist In Residence team. There are just so many fabulous products to work with (and more coming, from what I hear) as well as some neat collaborations/team swaps coming up that I’m really looking forward to!

I started the year with a planner dashboard project that I’m pretty sure I’ve already shared on the blog, but let’s post it again just for completion’s sake.

Still loving my word for the year!

Still loving my word for the year!

One Word Planner Dashboard

The interesting thing about the AIRs team (at least in the beginning) is that we submit multiple projects but not all of them go up on the blog, as was the case with the other two projects that I submitted for January.


February fared much better and all three of my projects made it onto the blog. There were some technical issues, though, so these links go to pdf files instead of web pages.

My first project incorporated one of my new favorite tools, the gelli plate. I’d ordered them for The Crafty Branch and they are just so fun to play with. Usually you use paint, but I wanted to try them out with inks and I think I like that even better! This print was for the Anything But Red Valentine’s theme.

The versatility of the gelli plate is an awesome thing!

The versatility of the gelli plate is an awesome thing!

Love in Bloom Embellished Monoprint (pdf)

This decorated onesie (for the White T-Shirt theme) might be one of my favorite IC projects so far–I love the way the flowers turned out!


Had to sneak a monkey in there somewhere!

Growth Potential Onesie (pdf)

And then, inspired by Leap Day, I created a canvas using their Tear It! Tape and embossing powders for accents.

That background is all ink pads and Creative Medium and reminds me of a sunset or sunrise.

That background is all ink pads and Creative Medium and reminds me of a sunset or sunrise.

Seize the Day Mixed Media Canvas (pdf)

In March we switched to two projects a month, and I started to feel like I was getting into the groove of creating for Imagine Crafts.

For Easter I tried out an old technique favorite of mine with some new players. Using white embossing powder as a resist for watercolors is the way I’m used to doing it, but I got to play with their Ink Potion No.9 and it gave me a similar effect using ink pads, instead!

The embossed resist is a great technique in general, but perfect for Easter!

The embossed resist is a great technique in general, but perfect for Easter!

Easter Mosaic Card

And if you noticed that there was no mention of invitations on Todd’s Luau post, it’s because I was waiting for IC to share how I’d embellished them with their Radiant Neon Amplify! products.


I designed the invitations to look like the classic Hawaii Five-0 dvd covers. (And, yes, I drew the image of Todd.)

Amplify!’d Party Papers

That’s not bad for three months!

On top of that, I managed two art journal spreads…

I saw the background technique on a YouTube video and had to give it a try.

I saw the background technique on a YouTube video and had to give it a try.

And this one is actually a mini journal in one of the books made from the Bound & Determined kit.

And this one is actually a mini journal in one of the books made from the Bound & Determined kit.

And some mixed media canvases for The Crafty Branch giveaway winners:

This one went to the grand prize winner.

This one went to the grand prize winner.

And this one went to one of the runners up.

And this one went to one of the runners up.

Another runner-up prize. I really love writing with that flat brush!

Another runner-up prize. I really love writing with that flat brush!

Finally, how about a peek at a project I started Friday night during First Friday at Studio 209?

Work-in-Progress 16x20 canvas

Work-in-Progress 16×20 canvas

This, and three more like it, will be decorating my birthday party at the end of the month. I’d brought the canvas and supplies with my to First Friday because the forecast was rain, rain, and more rain, and that usually means low crowds. So I thought it’d be nice to have something to work on and when folks did stop by my table it was a good conversation starter. I think I’m going to keep doing that!

Between the bathroom renovation, the party, and all of these projects, I think my time was pretty well spent these last three months!

So… what have you been up to? I wanna hear!

The Abyss Has Been All Topsy-Turvy This Month!

In The Studio

And it’ll probably stay that way for a little while longer–there’s just so much going on!

At the beginning of the month, the first of my two Helmar projects went up: a trio of fabric-covered tombstones.


And then today, book-ending the month, my second Halloween project is live on Helmar, this time a quick pedestal project.


Also at the beginning of the month, the FACES exhibit for the local Artist Collective opened at Grassroots Coffee here in Thomasville. We attended the opening night reception on First Friday and then went out to supper with friends who came up from Tallahassee. It may seem like a little thing, but it felt pretty big as it was the first Collective show I’ve had a piece in.


The Clock Has Many Faces by Jennifer “Scraps” Vanderbeek | mixed media on canvas 10″x10″

The exhibit runs through the beginning of January. The next theme is still life… not sure how I’ll approach that one, but it’ll be a fun challenge.

Of course there was the whole process of getting the house ready for Halloween, but I’ve also been a bit preoccupied getting the new Creative Mischief Kits ready to go. We had a slight delay from one of the paper manufacturers, but everything’s in and the two card kits are now ready to ship!

CPR Holidays Winter Whimsy Kit

CPR Holidays Winter Whimsy Kit

CPR Holidays Classic Christmas Kit

CPR Holidays Classic Christmas Kit

The CPR in the titles stands for “Cards Prepared & Ready,” an idea I had many years ago about simplifying the process of sending handmade cards by batching them up together. These are holiday kits, of course, with enough supplies to make 20 cards in each. You can find more about them and place your order at TheCraftyBranch.com

Finally, I’ve been working on my Halloween costume for this year. I can’t remember if I mentioned it before or not, but we decided to go as Wreck It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz this year.

Finding a pullover with both pocket and hood (when I would otherwise want neither) in the right color and size was a bit like searching for a teal unicorn. But I think my semi-DIY will do nicely!

I had to convert a long-sleeved hooded t-shirt into Vanellope’s hoodie by trimming off the bottom 6″ or so, adding elastic along the new hem to get it into shape, and then using the cut-off area to create the kangaroo pocket in the front. I finished it off with some hot-pink paracord to match the details on her hoodie.

Just needs the small "double stripe" on the one leg and I can call these done.

Just needs the small “double stripe” on the one leg and I can call these done.

I’ve almost finished painting the white tights I purchased to match the character design–I took a tip from a costume Instructable about cutting out leg-ish shapes from cardboard to act as forms for the tights while they’re being painted. So far it seems to be working just fine.

The one thing I haven’t started on, yet, is the candy scatter for my hair. I have everything I need for it, I just haven’t had a chance to put them together. I’ll definitely have it done by Halloween, but the scatter might be a bit sparse for the party tomorrow night–depends on how much I get done on my lunch break today!

Those slippers are super creepy to me. Anyone else?

Those slippers are super creepy to me. Anyone else?

For Todd’s part he’s been letting his hair get shaggy and even extending his sideburns to look more like Ralph. He bought a pair of brown overalls, a red v-neck tee, and a pair of really creepy barefoot “slippers” since Ralph doesn’t wear shoes. For the larger-than-life hands, he found a pair of Hulk hands on eBay for a good price and painted them a flesh tone. He’s planning to wrap his forearms with ace bandages over some sort of padding to bulk up a bit. We also have a heart-shaped cookie medal in the works for him.

I’ll be sure to have someone take our picture tomorrow night to show you how it all turned out!