Category Archives: Art Journals

Find Your Voice-Week 2, Part 2


Woo Hoo! Finished with week 2!  I decided to do both the craft prompt and the journal prompt for this one. And might I just add–what a QUINKYDINK that in this journal that I made MONTHS ago, the scrapbook pages and the lined journaling pages are lining up perfectly with this course’s prompts!  It’s fate, I tell ya, fate!


I started out by making a vertical title for this week’s entries on a half page. For some reason my computer doesn’t want to show you this pic vertically…maybe it’s afraid you can’t read sideways? Anyway, you get the idea.

I did the next 2-page spread “art journal style.” I’m not gonna lie, it was touch-and-go there for a while.  I started by collaging over the original 2 pages, then painting over top of the collage, and then collaging AGAIN with the stuff you see here.


Confession: I have been DYING to use that butterfly notecard somewhere, someway. It has no real purpose other than to sit there and be pretty. In my defense, it’s a good indicator of my favorite colors and style, so it goes with the prompt, right?


Flipping back the butterfly, you see the first page. I painted the girl first, but decided I didn’t like her–she was just to “princess-y” for me. I almost painted over her; however, once I got a better vision of where I was going with this page, I was very glad I didn’t.

This page represents me as a child and adolescent.  The insert next to it has my childhood nickname, “Smiley” on it.


On the next page is a representation of me now.  One thing that I find interesting, especially because I did not do it on purpose is that you can see the things that are the same from “then and now”–purple, the fabric tag, the continuation of the quote, and the ribbon trimming on the tag…ok, maybe that’s all, but I still think it’s neat that it worked out like that.

It also worked out just perfectly that my little “Stories” tab serves a dual purpose: to represent me now, as a reader and writer of stories, as well as to indicate the journal page behind it.


Now is that just perfect or what?

The journaling reads:

“In order to be who you are, you must be willing to forget who they told you to be.” This is a struggle I think we all face. We are told from the very beginning who we should and should not be. For me, who I was, who “they” wanted me to be was the good girl–the little princess  that never got in trouble, never spoke out of turn, and always made good grades.  This is who I was, and who, for the most part, I enjoyed being throughout my childhood and adolescence.  I think it was somewhere around my senior year in high school that my dad sat me down, concerned, and said “Look, Val. You’re a good kid, but you’ve got to start getting out there and having some fun. Get in trouble. It’s great to have good grades and all, but you’re gonna grow up soon enough. Be young and stupid while it’s still expected of you. You need to enjoy this time while you can.” How’s THAT for a father-daughter talk??? So, you know what I did? Nothing. I did not take his advice. I continued to be Miss Goodie-Goodie, staying inside and watching everyone else have all the fun. And what did it get me? A college degree and a lot of “shoulda-coulda-woulda’s.”  So, is this an excuse to be “bad”? Rebel?  I don’t think so. But it is a reason to get off the sidelines. Have an adventure (or two!),.Not just to dream, but to go out there and make things happen! DO SOMETHING ALREADY! Live life to the fullest.  I’ve made my bucket list and I’m working on checking things off of it one by one.  I mean, after all, who says good girls can’t have a little fun?

Read more about the Find your Voice Project here.

Join the Find Your Voice facebook page here.

Read week 2, part 1 here.

Read week 1 here.


Find Your Voice: Week 2 (part 1)


As you may know, I am participating in the Find Your Voice summer storytelling workshop. It’s a free workshop which has guided writing, photography, and craft prompts.  And it’s a lot of fun, and you can sign up any time, so if you’re interested, stop by and join in!

I have decided to break week 2 into smaller chunks. It’s pretty intensive, and I can only process so much at a time. That being said, here are my short answers for the About Me section.

NAME: Valerie Ryan

AGE: 31



NICKNAME: Val, Smiley

DOB: 8/18/81


COLOR: turquoise

BOOKS: The Velveteen Rabbit, the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

HOBBIES: “arts and crafts,” horseback riding, running, reading

FOOD: eggs (any), pie (any)

HOLIDAY: Winter Solstice

MUSIC: varies by my mood, but Coldplay, P!nk, and Beats Antique are always some of my favorite choices

BEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: learning to ride a bike at the age of 28

WORST DAY: My first day of 7th grade

LONGEST TRIP: 1 week (various)

FURTHEST FROM HOME: Vegas  for a conference


FUNNIEST QUIRK- I have 2 different thumbs: one from my mom and one from my dad. For real. Look:



You’d think with being named after an actress and a soap opera character, I was destined to be a movie star, or a drama queen at the very least.  My Dad picked Valerie after his favorite actress Valerie Bertinelli.  My mom chose  Ryan as my middle name after the lead character in the soap opera Ryan’s Hope. However, I’m not much of an actress, and I’m only a drama queen on special occasions.  Lucky break for the folks? Or did I just miss my calling?

NICKNAME: “Smiley”
When I was little, I spent most of my time at the home of an elderly couple who I came to call Granny and Pa.  Pa was the one who gave me my childhood nickname.  He was an illiterate farmer and WWII vet; a hard worker and a man a few words. Pa and I would often sit in companionable silence–at the breakfast table over a plate of biscuits and gravy; on the front porch swing while I watched the curlicues tumble out of his whittling stick; on the couch watching the Ralph Emory Show while he cleaned out his ears with a matchstick.  “That’n there,” he’d say, “she’s a good’n. Don’t cause no trouble. Quiet. Jus’ sits there ‘n smiles at ye all the time.”

(to be continued)


Find Your Voice: Week one


Today I finished up my writing prompt and journaling for week one. I’m working in a book that I had made a while back.  Today I made the cover page:


I’ve decided that the theme for my book is going to be the title of this course: Find your voice.  I think this will be important for me because I tend to be a bit of a wall flower. I have volumes and volumes written down, but I rarely share or give an opinion or do or say anything that might rock the boat for those around me.  So for me this project is going to be about speaking up!


I also worked on assignment one. I chose to respond to the questions “What makes a great story? What are your favorite stories? and What is storytelling?” all wrapped up into one:


My response:

Storytelling/Great Stories are

fun, emotional, humorous, imaginative, magical, creative, honest, true, engrossing, entertaining, healing, and informative”

So there you have it, folks. 🙂

Looking forward to week 2!


New Project!!!


So, today I started the Find Your Voice: Summer Storytelling Workshop!  I am super excited about the workshop. Just the other day I was whining in my journal about how I wanted some new a fresh journal prompts and writing inspiration, then WAH-LAH!  I run across the link to this group.(And it’s FREE!! excuses…so go sign up, K?)

Since I just got my hands on some new bookbinding tools, I had been all set to do mine loose leaf and then bind it all together myself. But, while I was digging around in the art room I came upon a little book I had put together months ago and decided to use it instead:


Cute, yes? The front and back covers are repurposed old hardback books from the thrift store that I’ve covered in a hunk of wallpaper (also from the thrift store).  Wrap around a few strands of ribbon and lace, add a leaf charm from a broken piece of jewelry, and it’s all set to go!


The inside is just a mixture of random scraps of paper, lined paper, vellum, envelopes, music, book text, and the like.  Can’t wait to fill it up!