Do What Feels Right for YOU

Digital Adventures started today! I thought I'd share the intro video with you just in case you were on the fence, or were still unclear as to what the class is about!

I was talking to Andrea this morning -- check out her Creative Dream Incubator, by the way; it's on my dream list of classes to take & looks like FUN! (in between bouts of panic, as every launch has to have some kind of issue, however small!) about class size vs. value. As in, is it better to have a big class that costs less, or a small class that costs more

As we chatted, I realized I'd rather teach a smaller class of invested students than a large class where I don't have time to get to know everyone. I love small, intimate classes -- they feel much more like parties, and everyone gets to chat and know one another and watch not only their progress during the class, but everyone else's. It's like having a team of cheerleaders. I want to get to know my students, and with Digital Adventures, many of the students are my friends! So I'm super excited to sit down and put together each lesson because it's really just a long-distance Skype call of me sharing what I love. Doesn't that sound like the kind of class you'd want to take?

So I've decided to do a few things:

  • I'm going to limit the size of my live classes so I can give each person individual attention, check in with them, and help tailor the experience to their level.
  • I'll then open up classes as self-study (you get the content, but don't get to join the party!).
  • I'm going to retire some of my old classes and cycle them out as new classes are added.

Is this scary? YES! But Andrea was wise when she said you have to go with what feels right to you. And Wren added that you have to do what you have lasting enthusiasm for

We also touched on changing exchange if the scope of a project changes. When I started Creative Warriors, I intended on it being a low-energy investment each month -- a PDF or blog entries, guided journaling, and support. Now, it includes project videos, a Facebook group (full of chatting, awesome women!), and a monthly 'zine of guidance and inspiration that contributors can get paid for (hopefully!).

It has evolved as the needs of its creator and group became clearer.

I have guest posts lined up, people to interview, and so much joy for the 'zine, I might burst. Check out these messages I've gotten so far:

"The zine is great. I'm delving into it now and wanted to pause for a moment to tell you you've done a great job. I really connected with what you said about living with a Shadow Life. I look forward to the next installment."
"I just finally had a chance to read through the zine [and] it's absolutely WONDERFUL. You can see so much of your heart and soul in this, dear! it's so needed right now too, it gave me such a jump start after two weeks of barely being alive with so much stress and no energy. THANK YOU for putting this out, and i hope beyond hope for you that it works out!  at least the pain means you're alive? yes, THIS. on so many levels."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to squeeze in a little more art before my business trip (I know! I have another one! To SF!) later this week. Have you SEEN my to-do list? What's sleep again? I was up at 6:30 am this morning! I think I deserve a snack from Sonic, yes? With all the energy I'm putting into this, Art Journal Summer School may be the last live class I do online this year. Especially if I keep getting work from magazines & artists! 

Warrior Call - APRIL

Tonight (or last night, depending on when you read this), I learned the new moon of Aries holds a lot of power to manifest change, fuel initives, and help usher you down new paths. 

I created my first vision board tonight, finding the process of looking through random magazines for that I wish to attract into my life amazing -- I didn't create beauty, but I did create a picture of what I want my life to look like. I am beginning to trust in the Universe, open my arms to abundance, and follow my own path, not anyone else's. 

One of the big things is WARRIOR CALL.

It is a monthly e-zine created for those looking to use creative practices to get through life -- while it is written by a woman with health issues using art to process and discover, it is also for those with mental imperfections, overwhelming changes, circumstances out of your control, or who want to just get more out of a creative life

But I wanted to do something different. Starting with the next issue, Warrior Call will be written by the women of the Creative Warriors Circle to help empower, enlighten, and encourage them. They will get paid to raise their voices and help others. A collective project, no, gift, to you. 


{hodgepodge #2 is here!}


Actually, it was here Saturday, but I have been so busy, I haven’t gotten a chance to write anything until now. Well, I could have written something then, but it probably would have consisted of grunts and the occasional headdesk as I waded through 27 pages of a spreadsheet trying to get emails out. Which they’re mostly out, except if your partner forgot to put in their last name, and then you’ll get your email when they email me back and voila! Swap officially out into the hands of the people.

When I sat down to compile the material for Hodgepodge #2, I didn’t have a clear plan other than a collection of journal pages from two journals and a few ideas as to where I could go. But after awhile, a theme and purpose grew between those pages like weeds through cracked concrete — that rigid purpose we seem to give things cracking under the pressure of true creative inspiration.

What came out was an exploration of my adolescent phase, that rough, transitory period between first learning of art and excitedly copying the “masters” and the later phase where your own creative inspiration pours freely onto the page.

From the introduction:

Everyone knows the difficulties we encounter during our teen years, no matter where you’re from or your current age. You’ve gone through life as a child, always depending on your parents for love, protection, and guidance. Think of them as those artists you admired when you started, the ones you copied in order to get your footing, take your first steps. They’re there to teach you the ropes of life, give you advice, teach you how to make a PB&J sandwich and ride a bike and swim at the neighborhood pool.

These pages are raw. Like you’d expect of a teenager’s diary, there’s angst. Happy days. Doodles. To-do lists. Life was mirroring this transitional period in my life. There are essays to help guide you, exercises to boost your creativity, and a hand to hold when you need to laugh or have a good cry.

This isn’t a phase you go through once — you will continuously circle around as you continue to explore, and it is no less painful the second or third or forth time you go through this. It’s a shedding of the old and the birth of the new; a messy, painful, exciting process that plunges you into the dark Unknown of your own soul, and it’s up to YOU to get back out of the labyrinth, emerging as a reborn artist.

Writing for and working on this issue really brought that idea home for me. Lately, I’ve been going through a transitory phase myself and the darkness has really frightened me. Yes, I have faith that I’ll come out the other side (mostly) intact, but the shedding is the hardest, when you circle through again, because I thought I’d found my identity as an artist. Instead of going from replicating the work you admire, this second pass has me shedding my own work I’ve grown to love. I was comfortable and — this is a dangerous place to be in — complacent.

I never really thought of that word much until my brother said, “You can be comfortable with recovery, but when you get complacent, that’s when trouble happens.”

Look at the definition:

complacency - A feeling of contented self-satisfaction, especially when unaware of upcoming trouble; An instance of self-satisfaction

Looking at it, you wouldn’t THINK there’s anything wrong with that, but if you give it a minute, you’ll realize that there’s no progress, no discovery, no exploration or play or fun. You’re just going along in the same old way because it’s comfortable.

But I digress. This is material for Hodgepodge #4! But it’s something I’m living right now, and working on this issue has helped clarify and take away a bit of the Unknown I’ve been walking through.

I created the cover for this one by hand, doing the kind of art I’ve been drawn to, a twist on my usual style, new techniques and materials employed in different ways. I love that I’m constantly experimenting, going to myself to play and discover rather than looking up the answers online.

I've experimented and found what colors work in the background and which don’t...

I posted this shot on Facebook over the weekend. I love seeing what materials are around when my favorite artists create, so I thought I’d take a similar shot! There’s, of course, stuff hidden from view, but most of what I was using was captured.

And huzzah! The darning foot for my machine! This has made all the difference when it comes to freehand stitching, and my fingers are now safe from being poked full of holes. ;) This is quickly becoming one of my favorite techniques. 

I sat down with the intention of creating a cover, and ended up making a piece of art. I just want to sit down and make one of these every day; there’s so much coming out when I work like this, and I can’t figure out why it’s easier for me to express myself on canvas “pages” instead of in my journal. But that’s okay — we create where we’re drawn to and let the Divine take care of the rest.

If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of Hodgepodge #2, head on over to the Shoppe for an instant download. You can also grab #1 as well as the three-parter of Page by Page.

As for me, I’m off on another adventure out in the cooling end-of-the-summer air and talking trees...

{studio vlog tuesday & some nice words!}

I've had some pretty nice things said about my various projects lately!

About Hodgepodge #1, Theresa wrote:

Samantha refers to this as a "gentle hug"...I call it a great, big, comforting mama bear hug! This is a must-have for all new, aspiring art journalists. I have not been able to put it down! I have been so inspired and for this Samantha consider yourself hugged! I can't wait for #2!

And Beth did an entire blog post about the first issue, saying many nice things, including:

I loved the personal side of this zine. All to often we admire other artists work, but never really get much of a glimpse into THEM aside from what they post on their blog or websites. Samantha’s zine is honest, raw and unashamed. It shows us that even those whose work we admire are real people too, with the same hopes, fears and dreams.

The first issue is still available for order as an e-book here. Pre-orders for #2 open on August 26th!

Nolwenn did a great post about the Small Art Mail Swap, saying:

I really miss receiving snail mails. I remember how excited I was to go to my mailbox everyday and check if someone sent me a letter (and I still am, but except bills… we don’t receive lots of personal letters).

It’s free (you just have to pay the shipping), and it’s simple: you create something (6×6 maximum) and you write an handwritten encouraging letter to someone that also signed up. And this person will do the same for you. You’ll make someone’s really happy.

Just a little note about the swap: we're up to 83 participants. It's going to be EPIC. :D

Also, it was brought to my attention that many of the hard links aren't working on the blog. I changed a setting to hopefully make links shorter, and it's only made things more complicated! I'll be fixing these right away, but if you can't wait, simply replace the httpwwwjournalgirlcom with blog in order to get where you're going.

I'd better get set up for tonight's live vlog! Check back here when it's over for the link to the recording.

ETA: I still haven't finished this journal page -- I had no idea what I was making! I'll have to take a pic when it's done for you. Hope you learned something nonetheless!

[studio vlog tuesday, 8/24/10: a journal page of layers....that keeps going!]

I think a lot of this was me playing around with new colors, ideas, and materials. Sometimes, that's how it have an idea and go to your journal to see how/if it works. I've been into experimenting lately, in such a major way that my studio's more a lab than anything else. I've come out of that cocoon, seen the beauty in my wings, and now have to learn how to fly by, well, throwing myself at the ground and missing. 

{mini-e-zine: learning grace: two weeks - a lifetime}

Instead of writing waxing poetics or appologies here, coupled with images, I decided to let it all loose and publish the last week and a half/two weeks of journal pages in a mini-e-zine FOR FREE here on the blog.

My finger is healing nicely, and I'm writing posts again; I'll be back to my regular schedule later this week, starting with Friday's Things I Have Learned, the Soldering Edition. ;)

If I didn't have this outlet of journaling, I don't know what I would have done. Gone more crazy than I did?

Please leave comments on the 'zine here or use the contact form to email me.

<3 kira

PS. YouTube found my background music in 2 videos -- they are still available for download on the Video Downloads page.

Learning Grace (PDF) - 24MB
(right click, 'save as')

{day 50: zine changes, journal #6, & everyday magic}

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="playing with sumi-e ink on layered pages"]on the desk[/caption]

Days have been spent working in my journal. Being bound the Easy-Peasy way, I have 2 clear "section" where the gap stands between signatures: one is for beautiful art, paint, and flowing ink; the other, for words. For ages, I've written that I want to write more, and even made it one of my new year's goals. Lately, the words have begun to flow from me just as easily as paint and ideas. I have new faith in myself and my path. Fatigue and problems and drama had me doubting myself, questioning if art and journaling would simply be a hobby, or if it would grow to something more.

I think it is. Always growing, my seed has become a tiny sapling.

Changes @ Page by Page

I'd like to announce the addition of the wonderful and amazingly-knowlegeable Dawn Sokol as my co-pilot on the adventure of Page by Page. This came after some deep contimplation on my part and a moment of sarendipity when we realized we both wanted to do the same things.

Partnering with her will help keep me on-target and allow us to publish more than one issue a year! The outlines are already in place: please let us know if you have any suggestions or would like to submit something -- this is truely a community effort.

Journal #6

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="381" caption="the new journal's cover page"]title page[/caption]

Odd thing is, there is no journal #5!

I thought this was #6 of the completed journals, but found out later it isn't. Oh, well! I created this one the Easy-Peasy way, not wanting to take the time to do a proper hardcover binding -- I wanted a new journal to work in right away! Call me impatient, but this is a great step for me, as I used to fret if there were any imperfection in my work and journals. Yes, the signatures are a bit loose, and the cover paper is peeling off, and the paper's all different sizes, but I adore it for it's imperfections. Celebrate the things that make you uneasy -- they are blessings in disguise. Rather than write here about the major changes in my life, here are the journal pages dealing with them. Click for larger versions @flickr.

safe on the shorea dayholding back screams

Everyday Magic

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="bare feet, twirling skirt, and my new magic wand"]everyday magic[/caption] I think my father thought me mad when I squeeled in delight and rushed to grab this magic wand. Grinning, I asked him which I should get, and he chose this one -- blue and sparkly. Nothing like a 25 year old woman (as of Tuesday -- I can't wait for cake!) bouncing up and down because of a cheap wand. But I realized I need more magic in my life. So many moments of sarendipity have happened in the last week that I can't help but see magic everywhere.
Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.
I use this word because I don't believe in coincidences, I believe in Fate. And isn't it just a beautiful word? Try saying it to yourself a few times over. Serendipity. Serendipity. Serendipity. I felt more alive, creative, and artful dancing around my studio with my new wand by candlelight than I have in the last few days of repetitive-feeling journal pages. Try doing something completly different, outside your normal experiance, in order to find your hidden creativity.

More to come...

I know I said this before, but I have more up my sleeve. I've begun writing a series of essays, or "chapters," on some new things I've discovered that has reinvigorated my creative life and journaling experiance. And since it's already written, I can say you won't be waiting 16 days for the next post from me!

Until next time, remember, you are loved and perfect exactly how you are. And I give you permission to:

be true to yourself

story of a 'zine queen

Sorry I haven't been around the last, well, couple of weeks! Despite how easily individual pieces come together, combining everything into one document for a 'zine issue takes a lot of tender loving care. There are TONS of little things that come up, from color shades and image sizes and consistency...making sure spreads stay together and things are cohesive...that ALL needs to come together. And once you've got all that, seeing things in order often brings up MORE things!

There were some technical difficulties and such along the way. My original notes for Roben-Marie Smith's interview went missing. Then, the audio recording had problems. So I had to face the reality that I wasn't going to be able to present the interview in the question-answer format I'd done with Suzi Blu, and the fact that I had no idea how to write an exposition-type interview.

This writer's block delayed things past the original August 15th release date. While unable to write, basically afraid of doing such a horrible job... I did the final layouts on the individual articles. This time, I did them all in seperate documents, which made combining things a pain since I needed single-page fillers to keep things together. Yes, I basically made things harder for myself!

I CAN say this issue's the best yet. The experiance of two issues has improved layouts and how information's presented. There are more journal pages in the gallery. It's about 12 pages longer than the last. There are a few new features, such as a book review, reader quotes, and tutorials. The wonderful artists who've contributed have really presented awesome articles and all, it's inspiring. In working on it, I've started to implement some of the techniques and I've been having a BALL. And my art's really prospered!

I am SO EXCITED to publish this issue for all of you. The proof's been printed, and I'm getting some tutilage from an inDesign expert tonight to make sure the layout's perfected. This will also be the first time you'll have the choice between a printed copy and an e-copy.

But the price IS going up. The format had to change, the 'zine's longer, and I'm printing more copies. And we're switching to priority mail for US orders because of lost issues and returned copies; I want to be able to put tracking numbers on all orders so you and I know where your copy is. Since priority's expensive for overseas readers, I decided to put up an e-copy, if they want to save on shipping.

So there you go. Look for a post later this week with information on ordering.

love, kira

tiny green buds where before there were none

This is my Spring.

this is my spring

Last week, I got my Spirit Cards read. A little-known fact: I am 1/8th Siksika (Blackfoot), and find myself drawn to nature and the tales of Native Americans. It feels...right. Anyway, these Spirit Cards are Native American and were read by a friend who's part Native, too, and has been reading these cards for about twenty years. A lot of what she said brought images to mind, one of which was that, "This is your're getting ready to bloom." One thing I've noticed since I began healing myself, other than my heath improving so much that people are really noticing, is that things are aligning for me in the universe. Since this journal is where I am beginning to see the tiny green shoots poking through dark soil, I felt part of my friend's words should be on the cover.

It's made from felt and fabric. I embroidered the words in some unbleached muslin; it took the longest! I'm not very good at embroidery...I'm totally self much so I "invented" my stitches. It still was a blast to made, though! And the eyelets in the corners... *giggles* I'm just tickled pink!

simple embroidery Left: Me, mid-embroidery.


Mad-Dash Journaling.

I haven't been journaling lately....who knows why? Sometimes, you just need to go with the flow and accept that NOT doing an activity is just as valuable as doing it. This might sound odd, but it's true. You see, when I'm NOT journaling, I'm taking photos, reading, walking in the woods, playing with the dogs. All these activities feed my soul and become part of me. We are ever-changing creatures, and every experience we have changes us -- I am not the same person I was 10 minutes ago, and in an hour, I'll be different than I am now. My break allowed me to soak in inspiration, open my mind to changes in who and what I am.

If you've been reading, you know I've been going through some sort of spiritual journey. It's opened the world up to me, allowing me to see things differently. All of this input has been rattling around in my head until yesterday, it just had to get out. 

a soul held back / friendship inside

I didn't do much, and went out only to grab some new paint markers, fabric, and felt. The rest of the day was spent with my nose in my journal. Doodling and drawing and making dots -- I kept working on the yellow page here well past the point I'd usually stop....More and more and more and MORE!!! I colored and added more color and kept going and lines and omg, can you see how I just was charged, just couldn't help myself? *laughs* After I finish this entry, I'm going to go back to work....on my pages!!! Sorry that I'm only showing a bit...but near 'zine time, I like to save my pages for that...that way, the newest stuff's in the 'zine and reflects the most-current me. ;)

One of the things I've noticed is that I'm doing two things:

A. Moving around a lot,

That means, I'll doodle somewhere, and then flip the page and doodle elsewhere. Or draw. Or write. Or glue something down. Or paint. Well, I haven't really painted much as I pre-painted a bunch of pages....which reminds me, I have to do that again so I've got more places to play! But yeah. Unlike life, my journal is not linear.

B. Working piece by piece.

My pages are coming together after several small sittings. The page on the right down there (sorry you can't see all of's still in progress!) started with paint. Then the drawing in pencil. Then the writing. Then the coloring of the girl. And it's FAR from done. On the left, there was the background, then the bird, then the cut out in the middle, then waves. Swirls. And the words ALSO came in seperate sittings. I mean that I don't sit down and work start to finish in one sitting. I'm LIVING in between. I might sit and doodle, but then I'm making lunch or playing fetch or napping or writing. Even going to work! I've found things are more unpredictable and easier to push the envelope, so to speak, than working through it at once.

through the mirror / untitled

Kira Workshop.

I'll be "teaching" a workshop this June through my mailing list, JournalGirl. I'm so excited to be doing this, and might start sooner....I'm creating, lesson by lesson, a journal for you all that will hopefully be useful to you after the class is over. I've wanted to teach for awhile, now, and figure if I can't do it in person, I'll do it online! Sometimes, you've got to just go out there and DO it. And, if I want to teach workshops in person, I'll have something together already -- as SARK says, make it REAL, and the rest will follow.

And Finally....New Amy Butler & K&Co. Stuff!!

new amy butler/k&co. kit

OMG! Look!!! There's a new collection for K&Co. by Amy Butler. I wish I could have bought it all. Not only is it ROCKING AWESOME, but it's eco-friendly; the packaging is recycled and can be recycled! This picture only shows you a bit of the 88 die-cut pieces in this collection. They're all awesome, beautiful, and I'm giddy just thinking of all the stuff I'll get to use. It was only $5 for this whole thing. There's also beautiful fabric tags, alphabets, brads.....awwwwww......Run, don't walk, to your local Michael's and check it out!!