Category Archives: Creativity

I feel the ghosts return here


I feel the ghosts return here

I feel the ghosts return here, although I have never lived in this place before. The land feels ancient in a way that is different from the history that steeps all of New England. The ghosts return here.

If feel the ghosts return here, although I have never lived in this place before. I feel them walk with me when I am on the dirt path behind the house. They pace beside me, companionable and as undemanding as my dog, but I hear their soft footsteps beside, in front and behind me. I am not sure what they are here to tell me, if anything, or if they are just company. Maybe they are not here for me at all, but for the place, the space, that seems to be home for me.

I feel the ghosts return here, although I have never lived in this place before. The settlers and homesteaders, gold miners and First People are as real and immediate here as my grandfather with his scratchy wool shirts, beard stubble and smoky scent who seems to come down the stairs to check in a couple times a day.

I feel the ghosts return here – I talk to them, sometimes even out loud if I am the only one home, or on a walk by myself. I feel the ghosts return here and they are such good company. I feel the ghosts return here.

Altered Notebooks

As a lifelong journaler (yes, that’s a real word in my mind) and diary keeper I have had a fascination with notebooks, paper, pens, diaries, composition books and just about every other type of bound paper that I could write in for as long as I can remember. There are journals and notebooks that have stuck with me throughout my life, either because they were so wonderfully made or textured, or because of what they represented at a particular time in my life.

There was a composition book purchased in Mexico on a Potter’s Clay trip in high school that became a shared prayer journal, and a blue, raw silk covered large journal I bought at Roku, a wonderful store on State Street in Santa Barbara when I was a teen. It felt so luxurious, both because of the silk and because of the size of the pages. I had a small Chinese journal that fit in any purse or bag that I carried with me and pulled out anywhere and everywhere to capture moments. When I was much younger I received a Norman Rockwell diary with a lock for my birthday which I thought was the coolest thing ever!

I have a leather covered journal that notes my thoughts on naming my girls. Before Cassie was born I was focused on names with hard C’s or K’s and S’s – they sounded so clean and crisp and evoked the fresh wind for me. Before Sammie was born I was all about the soft warmth of names with a “th”; The ubiquitous Heather, and Samantha, Beth, Faith. I had forgotten some of that process until I re-read those old entries.

So it’s not surprising that I have been playing with altering notebooks. I love Moleskine books and have used them for years at work and at home. A few months ago I altered a notebook for a journal and one for my family history notes using great thick scrapbook paper, pockets and washi tape. They are both nearly full and pretty battered now.


Right now I am playing with different types of paper, a bit of Modpodge, paper elements, ribbon, pockets and envelopes.

The first attempt with Modpodge is less than wonderful, but it’s been a good learning experience. I promise no one will get this as a gift J I do like the effect of the paper doilies and the french mail washi tape. I don’t like the warping and buckling much though.

My favorite of this batch used a couple of different styles of paper and a couple of different patterns of washi tape.

Altered NotebookAltered Notebook Altered Notebook

I wanted to make something that my Mom could use for her sewing ideas, but I am a bit neutral on this effort so far.

The last in this set falls back on my stash of scrapbook paper. I always need pockets or I stick things between the pages and lose them.

Do you alter notebooks? What techniques, tools or materials have you found to be best?

Mail and Papercrafts – What Could be Better?

This year I participated in the annual handmade postcard exchange created and coordinated by and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys mail and loves playing with paper.  I received postcards from around the world (see the last two pictures  in the gallery below for some of the postcards I received).  You can check out a couple of the artists who I was lucky enough to receive cards from here.

Monique Houlmann  sent my favorite card from France.

Quinn McDonald is an artist I have long admired and I love her work featured in Stampington magazines.

I find that I work well under a deadline and this experience was no exception.  I made the ten postcards that I sent across the world over two days.  I used collage, my Silhouette Cameo, metal, paper ephemera and fibers, photography and digital techniques including PhotoShop on my computer and PhotoShop Touch on my iPad. I even dropped in a paragraph from my WIP on one of them

And it was fun!

I am very new to digital art.  I have been teaching myself PhotoShop and Adobe Illustrator over the last few months, but I am so very far from expert. I am considering taking an online course.  I would love to take a practical, hands on class, but I travel so much for work that I simply can’t sign up for anything that requires that I am available on a given day or time on a regular basis.

I have one of the postcards propped up on my desk, reminding me every day that I love to create with my hands.  I love words, I love paper and I love mail.

Are you in love with mail; paper mail with stamps and ink and written words, as much as I am?