Guest Designer on the StencilGirl® Blog!

<Stencil Girl post

Hey there!  A couple of months ago, the team at StencilGirl® reached out to me on Instagram telling me they loved my art journaling and asking if I'd like to be a guest designer on their blog. How fun is that!? Well, that day has finally arrived! Hop on over to their blog and see how I created this spread using a StencilGirl® stencil. Thanks again to the StencilGirl® team for reaching out and inviting me!  

#100daysofuseitupkelly - 2021 Day 75


I finally got around to the April book for the Handmade Book Club with Ali Manning and Vintage Page Designs. This is a sewn over tapes binding. Neat story with this one...⁣

A friend of mine who's father recently passed away posted his entire National Geographic magazine collection on Facebook marketplace. I commented that ... "OMG, I'm a total Nat Geo junkie, but I absolutely don't need these." But she sent me a message that said, "Kelly, please take these! I will give them to you free because I know you will do amazing things with them!"


Soon I had 10 bankers boxes full of Nat Geos in my garage. And her dad's collection included part of her great-grandmother's collection, so there are editions back to the 1930s! My hubs and I have been having fun going through them and putting them in order (and he's hoarding the 1960s editions to relive his childhood!).


So as a thank you, I made this book for her. The cover papers are from a 1991 Nat Geo map insert of Germany. It's not perfect (I attached the back cover upside down, but hey! that just means it's like one of those two-sided magazines!) and I love the way it turned out. ⁣Ali's Handmade Book Club is probably my favorite of the groups I'm involved with.  Each month, Ali challenges us with a new book structure, some more challenging that others. I made this one a little differently than the way she taught it, and since I have quite a bit of experience making books now, I'm finding that I'm able to alter want I want to. Next time I make this one, I'll probably do a French link stitch over the tapes instead of a straight long stitch to jazz it up a bit.  See all of my 2021 100 day project posts over on my Instagram feed.

Best Shot Monday: Meet Pluto!


Okay, friends, yes, I often fall in love with the shelter dogs I photograph, but this fella ... this fella is truly something special. Pluto came into the shelter with his best pal Patches as an owner surrender when his human's landlord would no longer allow large dogs at the property. He had spent 10 years with the same owner, and now suddenly here he was at a large, noisy shelter.
When I first met him, he and Patches had just come in, and Pluto was listed as staff only. He needed a photo, so I asked the shelter manager if I could take him out. She looked at me for a minute thinking about it, and then said she thought he might come out with me. She said he was just a grumpy old man ... a big strong, grumpy old man.
Y'all, he was perfect with me! Clearly housetrained, the only time he pulled on his leash was when we were walking out to the play yard. As soon as his paws hit grass, he squatted. Had to go, man! Then he walked over to the other side of the yard for his #2, and once he was finished, he came trotting back over to me with this, "Okay, business done! I'm all yours now!" look on his sweet, severely cropped ears, adorable Pittie grin face, and we played and just hung out for a while and took some glamour shots. He was the perfect gentleman when I walked him back to his kennel.

I spend time with him every week, and he's consistently just the best dog ever. He does love to fetch, but sort of in slow motion ... he is 10 years old and 70 pounds after all. And he thinks he's a lap dog. Some context for that first shot: I was sitting on the ground and gave him space to sit between my legs. But that wasn't good enough. He had to sit ON me, not next to me. Anytime I scooted back to give him a little more room, he just scooted that big ole Pittie butt right back with me and got back in my lap. He was sitting in my lap with me leaning as far back as I could to catch this shot. That photo is not cropped and I shoot at the shelter with a 35mm prime lens, so yes, he was RIGHT THERE in my face.
Pluto has lived with cats and other dogs (Patches). He's probably a little too big for a home with small children. He knows commands like come, sit and stay, and is a happy boy who is eager to please. He's just a super sweet boy who wants to get out of the shelter and go back to being the lap dog he believes he's meant to be. I've included a couple videos here too. Pluto is available for adoption through the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center. Adoptions are still by appointment only so make an appointment to meet him today! Patches is equally lovely and is currently in a foster home. I post most of my shelter shots over on my shelter Instagram, so follow me there if you'd love to see more!

#100daysofuseitupkelly - 2021 Day 65


Definitely being a little more sporadic sharing this year's 100 day project on the blog! I need to build some blocks like I did last year!  This a Day 65 and a good example of how I often work. The first layer of teal and green fingerprints were done with leftover paint from another spread a week or so ago. Then the deep blue flower petals were done with the leftover paint and stencil I used for some of the postcards I created for iHanna's swap this year. Then I just added collage paper, washi tape, and black pen and acrylic marker accents today. I've discovered the Arteza acrylic markers and am really loving them. I imagine they are similar to the coveted Posca paint pens but are much more affordable!  You can see all of my 2021 100 day project over on my Instagram!



When You Know You Need a Break ...

Providence Canyon

I've been in serious need of a mental health day, so the fam and I took a day to drive up to Providence Canyon State Park in Lumpkin, Georgia, to explore yesterday. It's a very cool place! Other than making jokes about being a medically diagnosed dizzy blonde, I don't normally share my health struggles, but I decided to share this in the event it helps someone.

First, menopause is no joke. (Men, please read that again... menopause is no joke.) I've been battling some side effects for a couple years now. I'm currently six weeks to the day into a maddening case of 24/7 tinnitus (the medical term for ringing in the ears.) I've had inner ear issues most of my life (which is what causes my vertigo), and I've just assumed the tinnitus is related to my ear damage, but I've also recently read it can be a side effect of menopause. Whatever the cause, it's hit me really hard.

I'm normally a naturally positive, glass-is-half-full kind of girl, but I have been truly struggling with this, and I hit a pretty low spot last week. Sleep is very hard to come by with a constant ringing in your ears, and lack of sleep compounds so many other things. For me, it's heightened my vertigo issues and caused a shingles flair up. My worst night was this past Tuesday when I got maybe a total of two hours of sleep. At one point, I remember thinking that, wow, I think I understand how my mother made the decision she did to end her life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in the least bit having those types of thoughts about my own life, but just the idea that I understood that thought scared the hell out of me.

After a good pretty breakdown with a very dear friend over lunch and my husband later in the day on Wednesday, I called my doctor and got in to see him on Thursday. We talked a LONG time about a lot of things, and I've got several issues going on. Challenge is in determining the old chicken and the egg. My blood pressure was very high for me ... which could be causing the tinnitus which likely is causing the shingles flare up (for me, normally stress induced) and amping up my usual vertigo issues. Or all those things and having a conversation about things that are difficult to talk about may be increasing my blood pressure. Either way, he's put me on a blood pressure med, a mild anti-depressant and triple my normal valtrex maintenance dose for my shingles to knock the flare up back down. I see an ENT specialist Tuesday to see if we can do anything about the tinnitus, and I'll see Dr. Allen again in a couple weeks, or sooner if needed. If the ENT can't determine any cause for the tinnitus (which is unfortunately often the case with tinnitus), I will see a therapist for some other coping strategies other than the white noise app I'm currently using. Full transparency, I am hesitant to take the anti-depressant given my mother's history, so I'm not sure how I feel about that. Haven't started taking it yet.

Yesterday was a really good break for me, and once we got home, I just settled in on the couch and watched TV for a bit before going to bed early. So like I said, I don't usually share this kind of stuff, but .... men, listen to your wives/girl friends/whatever when they share menopause struggles and understand that they are very real. Whether my tinnitus is menopause related, who knows. And friends, take the time needed to take care of yourselves. As women, we so often take care of everyone else before we take care of ourselves, and I know I can absolutely be guilty of that. When you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. Between all this mess, work stress, menopause, my girls getting ready to head off to college, losing one of my very best friends very unexpectedly in October, and, oh, a global pandemic and all that it's brought us, I've had to accept that I have a whole lot of pretty heavy stuff going on right now and ask for help. I think admitting all that is half the battle!

#100daysofuseitupkelly - 2021 Day 37


I've jumped into Wanderlust 2021 with Kasia Avery this year.  I signed up for it last year as well and never got around to it!  Thankfully, all Kasia's courses are there forever, so I can go back through when I've got time (always in short supply around here!)  This spread is inspired by Kasia's Week 9 in which she used a magazine image. I admit to being a magazine junkie, though most of mine are home and garden, decorating, art, or good old National Geographic. After seeing Kasia's demo, I might need to go back to subscribing to a fashion mag or two! 



#100daysofuseitupkelly - 2021 Day 22

Sharing a few close-ups of my 2021 #the100dayproject.  This year I've stuck with my hashtag from last year of #100daysofuseitupkelly. I figured it still applied since I still have sooo .... much .... stuff .... use .... up.


I made this fun little house shaped book during a virtual retreat through our Handmade Book Club, with the amazing Ali Manning from Vintage Page Designs. The retreat was led by D.J. Gaskin. See more of D.J.'s work on Instagram @djgaskin29 here. (And did you know that you don't have to have an Instagram account to check out someone's Instagram feed!? Just a link like the one I just gave you!)

This book started its life as a CheezIt Box. Yep, a CheezIt box!  I am all about recycling and repurposing around here, and I love to use snack and cereal boxes in my book projects. 


And what makes this one even more fun is that the pages are cut from Publix grocery bags.  I'll share a few peeks of the inside later. I decided that this needed to be my little house of critters, so I'm hoping to complete each spread with a critter theme. Thanks for stopping in today!