I've been fascinated by junk journals lately. I actually created my first very simple one last August in a class with Kiala Givehand and Tiffany Goff Smith, and I used that one for Kasia Avery's art journaling advent calendar last December. So while I was at home in Jacksonville earlier this summer, I decided to create my first more in-depth one with whatever I had on hand there at home!
I started with an Daily Q&A book that I never used and cut the book block out. I collaged painted and stenciled on the cover and then went from there! I added in a variety of "junk" papers, i.e. old sheet music, old book pages, maps, scrapbook paper scraps, etc, but the one thing I did not like about working in that first simple junk journal I created was that all the papers were a bit thin.
To remedy that, I added good quality mixed media paper to the signatures. Before sewing it all together, I created some tuck spots and sewed in a few bits and bobs here and there. It was a fun process! I can see how they can become a bit addicting!
We had to say goodbye to our beautiful boy Spartacus Pete this past Thursday. So what can I possibly be grateful for about that? Stick with me for a few minutes. My sweet Pete had a cancerous mass removed in December. Doc told us that if it didn't come back within a year, we were likely good. I think Sarah and I were in a little bit of denial as it started coming back, always asking each other, "Is this his mass coming back or is this his bone? I can't tell. Can you?" We kept telling ourselves it was his bone. Long story short, we were denial, and his cancer had come back, but we didn't have that confirmed until another issue arose.
We were home in Jacksonville the week of July 13 taking care of some routine doctor and dentist appointments when I started noticing him acting strangely, his breathing labored. By the next day, I just felt in my bones that something was wrong, so we rushed back to Tallahassee to get him to his vet there. Turns out that not only had his mass on his side come back, but he also had a large mass in his chest which was creating fluid and flooding his lungs. Doc drained his lungs so he didn't have to struggle to breathe, and we decided to put him on some prednisolone, bring him home and love him for long as we could keep him comfortable. I couldn't bear to put him through surgery again, knowing the cancer would continue to come back.
Pete's always slept with me most nights, and he actually woke me up about 4am Wednesday morning - my girls' birthday - struggling to breathe again. I tried to comfort him and prayed hard for God to give him just one more good day so that he didn't die on the girls' birthday. I'm grateful God granted my prayer, as Pete soon was able to settle down, his breathing steadied, and he went back to sleep. He had a pretty good day Wednesday but started struggling to breathe again Wednesday night. Thursday morning he continued to have labored breathing and didn't want to eat even the best stinky wet food - and Pete loved to eat - so we knew it was time.
This boy brought us so much love and joy in his six short years. He was our first foster failure. We fostered him and his brother Repeat (yes, Pete and Repeat, and even we messed up the names), and hadn't planned on foster failing (of course, you never PLAN to foster fail). I took them both back to the shelter when they were ready for adoption, but three days later when Repeat had gotten adopted and Pete had not, we took that as a sign that he was meant to be ours.
He loved his toys and had them all over the house, but his favorites were the pillows out of the girls' doll house and his taco fish. The girls finally gave up and let him have all the doll house pillows, and he often left his taco fish for me on my pillow. He was a champion baseboard surfer, he loved to lay on my desk under the lamp whenever I was working on my computer or across Sarah's bed in a sunny spot with her, and one of his all time favorite places was on my left shoulder. He'd stand up on a counter or the bed and crawl right on up and hang out there, purring, as long as I'd let him. Sometimes I'd pass him from my shoulder to Sarah's, and he'd just keep on purring. He often held down the refrigerator for us so it couldn't get away, and he sometimes was that creeper who lain in wait on the top of the kitchen cabinets, just his eyes and ears peeking over the top.
Here's what I'm grateful for. First, the power of prayer. So incredibly grateful that the good Lord gave us that one extra day so he could be there, comfortably, for the girls' birthday. Second, in these days of COVID when we've all spent so much time at home, I'm grateful I had that extra time with him and grateful for those last 12 days we were given to help prepare us to ease his suffering. I'm grateful that we chose to foster kittens, and we chose to foster fail with this fella. And I'm grateful for every day and every cheek rub and every purr in the ear he gave us. I've cried a lot of tears over the past two weeks, but my boy is not struggling any more, and for that, yes, I'm grateful. See you at the Rainbow Bridge, my sweet Spartacus Pete, for I know we will meet again. Find Savannah; she'll show you the way. We were so blessed to share our lives with you. You were most certainly one of a kind, and I loved you with all my heart.
Here's Week 7 for my #100daysofuseitupkelly 100 Day Project, days 43-49. I'll be featuring two of these projects in a little more detail later in the week. I finished creating my first official "junk journal" and I participated in a virtual retreat with Ali Manning and our Handmade Book Club. Such a fun day cranking out the sweet little book I created for Day 46! You can see all my 100 Day Project posts for this year on my Instagram account here, and you can learn more about the 100 Day Project here!
I think it goes without saying that my girls and Red here really took to each other! They tried to convince me that we needed to adopt him because he matched their hair. :-) It's truly amazing what a little time at the shelter does. My girls are usually grumpy about having to go each week (let's face it, they are teenagers, during the summer, and we have a 10am shift so we can beat the heat...), but as soon as we get there and do our thing, their tune changes dramatically. Volunteering is good for the soul, and for us, volunteering with these pups is extra good for the soul! Sweet Red was adopted last week, but he has lots of friends still waiting at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center!
Here's a closer look at Day 39 from my #100daysofuseitupkelly 100 Day Project. This spread started out as a hot mess. It just wasn't working for me. But that's the beauty in art journaling. Don't like it? Cover it up! In this case, I spread some white gesso around to cover up some of what I did but left some little bits peeking through and started over. I'm pretty happy with the final result, and then that quote jumped out at me from my stash, which is exactly what I needed to hear (read? see? ... you know what I mean!) Couple close ups below.
We've been working through these challenging times the best we can, taking it one day at a time. Being able to play in my studio more has definitely been a benefit of working from home. Though I find that my "working hours" are all over the place. I seem to be the most productive work wise at home in the mornings and late in the evenings. I'll usually take a break and head into my studio in the afternoon if I don't have any Zoom calls scheduled. Interestingly enough, I learned this week that I had the virus and was asymptomatic. A colleague I work closely with when I do go into the office tested posted and became ill, so I went in for the rapid antibody test since I had not had any symptoms and had not seen my colleague in two weeks. Sure enough, I had just a trace of the virus still active in my system and was chock full of the antibodies. I got my girls tested yesterday as well to ensure they were okay, and they were completely negative - no virus, no antibodies. Hoping the same for my husband; he's not experienced any symptoms yet either. I'm so thankful I didn't experience any negative consequences of the virus, and I hope you are staying safe and healthy!
Here's Week 6 for my #100daysofuseitupkelly 100 Day Project, which was days 36-42! A little bit of jewelry design, a couple books and some art journaling... You can see all my 100 Day Project posts for this year on my Instagram account here, and you can learn more about the 100 Day Project here!
Week 5 for my #100daysofuseitupkelly 100 Day Project! This week, I've started rotating between my jewelry bench and my book work table and art journaling spot. I've often heard that the more you work at your creative practice, the more your ideas start to flow, and I'm definitely feeling that flow! You can see all my 100 Day Project posts for this year on my Instagram account here, and you can learn more about the 100 Day Project here!