Category: My Diary

Aug 10

Beer as Green as my Hair

I was profiled (along with my journals!) for the Summer issue of MiBrew magazine! The digital version of the magazine just became available today, & you can find it at the link below. My profile starts on page 24.


Jan 01

New Year, New Journal

First of all, Happy New Year! I think lots of us were ready for a fresh start, or at least something that feels like one. Here’s my little family this morning celebrating 2017:


I’m starting a brand new journal for the new year. I usually just keep on trucking through whatever book I’m using but it just so happens that my current book only has a handful of pages left anyway. Since it’s a spiral bound book, I’ll just yank the blank pages out and move to another book. But what book?? I had a couple of things in mind to use that I thought I might get as gifts but I didn’t, and I didn’t really have a back up plan. So now it’s January 1st and I’m in a full on panic! More on that later. For now, here’s my current (well as of yesterday?) journal – #17 in this never ending series. I started this book on August 1st, 2016, so it’s been with me for a solid 6 months.


NOW WHAT??? I’m starting to hyperventilate because I don’t have a plan! I have some options. First, I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a loose leaf journal for literally YEARS. Basically, I’d have my choice of paper every day – I could use any size, color, weight, etc, and then use a 3 hole punch to bind the pages into a regular old binder. I have everything I need right this second to make this happen. This feels exciting because I can use whatever suits me – a take out menu from the place I had lunch could be the day’s canvas. On a particularly boring day I could use a small piece of paper so I don’t have the pressure of filling a large page with literally nothing. I’d probably only do single sided pages for this which would also give me more flexibility in the materials and techniques I use – I’d never have to worry about markers or paints bleeding through to the back side and I could use staples or brads whenever I like. The downside here is that as exciting as this feels, it’s TERRIFYING for some reason. It seems crazy and scary to go along willy nilly with no idea what paper I’ll use and to not have an actual “book” with pre-determined pages. Part of me thinks that being scared is all the more reason to DO IT. I’ll never grow as an artist if I just keep doing what feels easy and comfortable, right?? So much easier said than done, though. I may still do this, and if I do, I’ll commit to at least 3 months so I can say that I’ve properly tried it. I think that’s enough time to experiment and either get comfortable or realize that it just isn’t for me.

I also have a spiral bound book I got at a thrift store. It’s brand new, and exactly the same size as the book I’m using now. It’s got a creamy, very toothy paper that’s pretty heavy – almost card stock. I did some media tests on the very last page and it’s nice. Very little bleeding and nice texture. But fairly boring and safe.

So as of writing this, I’m undecided and super stressed. What do you think?? Any suggestions or advice?


Oct 30

Another One Bites the Dust

I finished my 14th daily journal this week! I did the last drawings in it on Sunday or Monday, but I got all the pages scanned and archived in the last couple of days. It’s officially joined my bookshelf with the other 13 volumes:

Daily Journals

I usually do a lot more with the covers, but my summer was so busy I never really had much of a chance with this book – just a couple of stickers. Spiral and coil bound books are always fun because it gives me a chance to attach things – some tulle, a ribbon from a wedding favor, and a few other odds and ends.

Journal 14 - Cover

Here’s one of the very last pages in the book – a sticker and ephemera collage from last weekend’s fall beer fest in Detroit. I like how this turned out. It’s random and overlapping and feels fun and chaotic which is a perfect representation of the day. 🙂

Fall Beer Fest Collage

I’ve already started my next book (Volume 15!!) and all of the blank pages are very inspiring. I’m looking forward to filling them up with my memories and my stories. I love to change things up, so this book is larger than I’ve used in a while, which will be fun.

Have a fab weekend and a super spooky and fun Halloween!


Feb 21


I finished my 12th journal today! This one lasted quite a long time – I’ve had it since late September. Here’s what the cover looks like:

Book 12

I’m so happy with this cover because it reminds me of some really great times I had. I also chose my next book today – it’s a Canson Mix Media spiral bound XL journal and it’s a new size for me – 7 x 10. I’m so excited to try it out – it’s exactly what I wanted – smaller than the 8.5 x 11 I just finished, but not all the way down to A5. It has really nice, heavy paper too, with just a bit of tooth.

Anyway, #12 is officially done & dusted! Here it is on the shelf with the rest of my books. There are so many! I’m going to run out of shelf space and then what the heck will I do? 😉

All my Journals


Jan 28

A Walk in the Park

I read an article today, and it really stuck with me. So much that I wanted to share it AND write about it. The article is here:

As I’m sure everyone who reads this blog knows, I’m an avid journal keeper. I’m a visual journaler, so I add drawings and doodles to my writing, but I write every day. This article discusses how interesting it can be to remember the moments that seem mundane, and I can’t agree enough. I think sometimes we spend so much time trying to get from place to place and accomplish goals and attend events and finish tasks and so on and so on, that we forgot the simple things that bring us joy in the moment. As you work hard and endure stress to become the person you want to be, it can be so rewarding to remember how you got there when you do. In 30 years you’ll remember the pride you felt at finally finishing grad school, but will you remember that beautiful spring day that you took a walk in the park with a friend?

I was really struck by the author saying that he kept a small token to remember each day – a movie ticket or a scrap of wrapping paper from a gift. This made me chuckle a bit because I am such a hoarder of small objects like this. I’ve been journaling for several years, but I’ve been keeping small “scraps” for much longer. I have tickets from almost every single movie, concert and show my husband and I have ever seen together since the day we met, and that’s been almost 19 years now. And yes, I kept bits of wrapping paper from Christmas this year and stuck them into my journal. I keep an envelope in the back of every book and I stuff all of the little bits of things in there. The other day we finally took the caution tape off of our dining room light – it’s pretty low and the constant stream of workers who’ve been here drying and repairing our house needed to avoid hitting their heads. My husband pulled it down and came and asked me if I wanted it – he knows me all to well.

Anyway, I feel really strongly about journaling and memory keeping in general. If you’re interested and think it’s something that you want to do, I’d love to help. I’m not an expert but I can certainly help you get started and figure out what works for you. I think lots of people find it intimidating, but if I can do it, anyone can. I think there’s also an expectation that it’s very time consuming. I spend about 20 minutes per day working on my pages – sometimes more sometimes less, but 20 minutes is probably average. That includes the artwork. I show my artwork much more than I do my actual journal writing, but it’s not because it’s super private. It’s actually because I’m embarrassed by how boring it is. I don’t write anything revolutionary, trust me. But one of my favorite things to do is to go back and read through my old books. It’s so much fun to remember these seemingly insignificant moments and also to see how far I’ve come. Journal keeping has literally changed my life.

Here’s part of my wrapping paper collage from this past Christmas. 🙂

Wrapping Paper 2014


Dec 29

Merry Chrichmas, Darling

I had a fantastic holiday, and I hope that you did, too. I gave an received some incredible gifts, but more importantly, I spent time with my family and had a blast. I want to tell you about one gift I received that happened to be my favorite. My little nephew, Manny, was so excited to present me with this beautiful glittery red box with a bow. The tag said “To Chrich”. Seriously, so adorbs.

To Chrich

I opened the box and inside were photocopied pages from a How to Draw Animals book. There were step by step instructions for a kitty cat, a polar bear, and many others. I thanked him profusely, and he told me he just knew I would like them. What a sweet little boy. He made me get all teary!

The real point of this post though is just to share some art that I’ve been working on. Here are a couple of things from my daily journal. First, my 11 year old nephew got an XBOX for Christmas – he was pretty excited to say the least. 🙂 This is ink & water soluble crayon.

Noah's Gift

I got a new purple furry jacket, as well as a Hello Kitty hat, so I drew myself wearing both. Watercolor.


I also got this new paint that I’ve been wanting. It’s a brand called Pebeo out of France, and it’s cool because once you paint with it, a chemical reaction makes these really incredible patterns and swirls. The set I got is the Prisme Fantasy, and it makes a sort of honeycomb pattern. It’s quite beautiful and very fun to use.

New Paint!

I’ve also been having a blast playing around in my 2nd Yearbook Journal for the last couple of months. This is where I typically go to splash paint around, try new techniques, and just to create for the sake of creating. Sometimes the pages turn out beautiful, sometimes not so much! Either way, it’s a place for me to play as well as stretch myself and test out new media. So here are a couple of recent pages that I’ve done there.

Happy Holiday


So that’s about it for now. We’re getting close to 2015, and one of my favorite things to do at the close of a year is drink a good beer and read through all of my journals for the year. It’s the best way I know of to reflect on a year and to make plans and dreams for a new one. I sincerely hope that 2014 has been everything that you wanted it to be. If it wasn’t, take those shortcomings into 2015 with a positive attitude and a renewed intensity. I hope that all of your dreams come true and that you laugh every single day. XOXO


Oct 11

The Joke is on Me

Just some quick artwork. A couple of drawings from my daily journal:


14 month old Lia. This turned out ok, but she looks older in my drawing. Still trying to figure out kid features. This is water soluble pencil and just a tiny bit of ink for the eyes.



I was working on my perspective game here, and I’m pretty happy with the result. This is chalk pastel and ink.



I’ve been working in my Yearbook Journal today. This was done with acrylic paints, collage, tape, drawing inks, and a bunch of other stuff.



May 04

About Face

I love to draw people, especially people I know. It’s such a challenge for me. It’s really difficult for me to draw realistic portraits of people, especially people that I know well. I love to draw these cartoony versions, though. These quick sketches allow me to show off a person’s personality and are so much fun. I sometimes get hung up that these aren’t “real” artwork because the style isn’t realistic. But drawing like this is what I love to so I think I want to make this my focus. Here are some cartoon style portraits I’ve done recently. All of these are ink & watercolor.



My friend Andre. This isn’t a great likeness, but I drew him from memory so I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.




My good friend Cuss. I drew this from a couple of photos and I think it looks a lot like him. I didn’t sketch this in pencil first, only pen. This was my first time drawing someone in a baseball cap, so you can see I had a few issues at the top. 🙂


Ice MF T

A quick sketch of Ice T. Decent likeness. I posted this on Twitter and he favorited it, so I guess he liked it, too. 🙂


Bad Day

A quickie I did of myself the other day. It’s been a tough week for me. I don’t typically dwell on negative stuff in my journal (or in my everyday life) but on this particular day, there really wasn’t much else to write/draw about. No glasses because I take them off when I cry. 🙁



Mar 10


Just a quickie to show you this little drawing I did of Mikey & I over the weekend. 🙂



Mar 01

Learning & Improving

I’m pretty excited to say that I signed up for the first semester of Sketchbook Skool! If you aren’t familiar with it, watch this video.

Sketchbook Skool – the film from DannyGregory on Vimeo.

I truly could not be more geeked for this class to start. I’ve seen online art classes before and I’m always skeptical. I’ve admired Danny Gregory’s work for a long time, and this class really intrigued me. I heard about it several weeks ago, and I must have watched this video 100 times, but today I finally pulled the trigger and enrolled. 🙂 If you are planning on taking the class as well, let me know! I’d love to connect with people outside of class.

In other news, January and February are gone and I’m proud to say that my 365 project is going strong and I haven’t missed a single day! To follow the project, click this link. I don’t want to post every photo here, but this one stands out as a favorite!

Super Beer Friends

My besties and I went to the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival last weekend in Grand Rapids. It was AMAZING, as always. We had a blast! There were 2 standout beers for me – both from Our Brewing in Holland, MI – the Careless Whisper IPA, and the Tobacconist Porter. OUTSTANDING. These guys also made my favorite beer at last year’s fest, the Andes Mint Chocolate Stout. I definitely need to get my butt to Holland to check them out!! Usually at the festival my friend Dawn & I sort of stick together and do our own thing, but this year it was a real social event. ALL of the Super Beer Friends were there, a couple of them for the first time ever! It was a long day and we nearly missed our bus home, but I loved every second of it. I’m already counting the days until next year!!

Lastly, I want to say that today is actually the 3 year anniversary of my officially keeping a daily illustrated journal. I was sort of doing it before that, but not in any organized way. March 1st is the day I decided to start with a new book and draw and write about every single day of my life. This is the very first page from that book, dated March 1, 2011. I look at this drawing, and it literally amazes me how far I’ve come since then! This drawing is so awful in so many ways! To anyone who thinks that you have to have some sort of natural talent to be an artist – here’s the proof that you don’t! I’ve just practiced every single day, even if only for a few minutes. I enjoyed it so I just kept doing it, and still do. This drawing not only makes me realize how much I’ve improved, but it also makes me feel so excited for how much better I can still get. What will my drawings look like in another 3 years?? I can’t wait to find out! (This is for sure one of those cringe moments I talked about in my last post – and I can’t figure out how to make it NOT HUGE.)