We are ready to safely view the eclipse here.

Have my homemade viewing box.

Now if the cloud cover would just roll out of here we might actually get to see some of it. Where we live about 83% will be covered. I hope we at least get a glimpse of it.

I had plans for today’s posts. It was going to be spectacular…tons of photos…a walk through of my latest project in process.

But then….my phone died. As in, it was no more.

I use my phone to take quick in process pictures instead of my DSLR.

Off to the store I went to have them look at it and buy a new one if need be. It wouldn’t turn on for them either so…I picked out a new one to replace my over 2.5 yr old phone which seems to be a senior citizen in the phone world. I switched from Apple to Android. This will take a little adjustment period.in progress

Here’s a little snippet of my project. More to come…

Today after my morning coffee (reused photo) and a bite to eat, its off to volleyball tryouts for the girl. Me… I’ll be measuring all the hard surface areas of our property to determine if we can extend the edge of our driveway a bit to make room for more parking.  Did I mention that I’ll be signing Mini-me up for the classroom portion of drivers ed very soon? AGH! They are growing up too fast!

T stands for Tuesday
What are you doing today?

That’s what I decided to call my near inability to follow a pattern. I’ve decided that I’m ok with that. I crochet mainly for myself making dishcloths. My stemware really doesn’t care if I have too many or too few stitches. Why should I?interpretive crochet

Honestly, I can and have followed a pattern…once for sure.  The green hexagonal dishcloth proves it. I’m pretty sure the purple one is correct as well. The rest of them..not so much.

interpretive crochet

I tend to crochet when I’m waiting or watching TV. I think its the TV that screws me up with the whole pattern thing. OH well. They are pretty and will certainly clean dishes so that’s all that matters.

Incidentally…the purple yarn is the last of my cabbage dyed yarn.

Mini-me and I took a little excursion to the MN Landscape Arboretum. We had several things in mind. Photography, exercise and scouting locations for senior pictures. As we walked the 3 mile drive we saw a few of the art installations for this year.

Amazing Spaces: tree houses is the overall theme. We did not see all of them nor did I get photos of each. Each was unique. Some better than others or perhaps more detailed and understandable in concept.

This is the one I fell in love with.  A human sized birdhouse as you can see by Mini-me peering through the glass.

I was amazed and thrilled by the level of detail that went into the interior.

As I stood on the step to take it all in, I saw that someone had set things up for tea. Oh how I wished that we could sit and have tea for real inside.

All-in-all it was a great morning spent with my girl. Incidentally we did go back with J to take senior pictures. They turned out great. There is a little part of me that really wants to share a couple of my favorites but I made the decision long ago to never show their faces or use real names for them as they are minors.

We still plan to take more senior pictures in a more urban setting as well…just to make the choice even more difficult. LOL

Today Mini-me and I might go to the zoo…or else that will be tomorrow. Today we’d be on the clock to get home in time for a meeting. I don’t like to rush fun outings especially when they are quite pricey like the MN Zoo!!

This is our last “free week” or I should say mostly free week so we are trying to get in some stay-cation activities before that school bell rings.

What are you doing today?

This month for Second on the 2nd I wanted to reshare or perhaps rehash the debate over art journals vs altered books. Let me know your thoughts.

Take a look….

altered book vs art journal | Halle's Hobbies

Over the years there seems to have been a shift in the verbiage used to describe the process of taking a book of little or no use and making it into a piece of art. Or perhaps it could even be a book with great meaning to you and you want to express yourself within it. Either way…you are altering it from it’s original purpose. Hence the name altered book, right?!  But the line has been blurred as mixed media and collage entered the scrapbook and paper arts world. I’m not saying this is a bad thing…more products, techniques, blogs and tutorials out there. Mixed media entered the main stream. Along with that is where the shift happened from altered books to art journals.

I’ve always felt (and still do) that explaining to outsiders what an altered book was bordered on exhausting at times. I’d, all too often, get a blank stare from the person I was talking to about my new passion. Somehow changing the way I described what I was doing as art journaling made more sense to my audience. Oh, it’s just art in journal form. Sure, if that makes it easier for you to understand…I’m cool with that.

For me, I feel as if the difference between an altered book and an art journal has a couple different facets. An altered book must first of all have been a written and published book. Secondly, for it to be an altered book, it has a theme.  Such as this Vintage Fashion altered book….which happens to be the first round robin altered book swap I ever participated in.  Too bad postage costs have skyrocketed since then.

vintage fashion altered book | Halle's Hobbies

 After completing a few themed altered books, I began creating pages randomly with no theme. Just a place to play and be creative. Somewhere along the line I started calling my “no theme” altered books, art journals. It seemed easier or perhaps more logical way to describe them once I heard more about art journals.

For me, I feel an art journal can be comprised of any substrate. Plain or scrapbook paper, card stock, bound journal, moleskin, cardboard. You name it…it’s likely been tried…as well as, you guessed it….published books. This causes the dreaded crossover…well, is it an art journal or an altered book? I feel as if I’m talking in circles.

I think what it comes down to is personal preference. It is art after all. You can call it whatever you want. We all define what we think is art in very different ways. You aren’t going to please everyone and you shouldn’t try. Art is an expression of yourself. There are no hard and fast rules…which is why I got interested in altered art 11 years ago.

So there you have it…my opinion on the difference between an altered book and an art journal. What is your take on this subject? Do you agree or have another ideas? I’d love to hear your opinions.

I missed T stands for Tuesday last week while Mini-me and I were up north enjoying time with family at a resort. There were 16 of us which is a lot smaller group than it has been over the last few years.

resortIt’s been a long standing tradition for the maternal side of Mr. G’s family to gather at a resort for a week each summer. The first few years we were married the yearly gathering was at a small resort in Wisconsin. We went for a few days when we could but after the resort changed ownership the tradition faded. That is until about 4 years ago when the group gathered in Alexandria, MN.

We tried out a new resort this year and don’t regret it at all. It’s in a beautiful yet fairly remote area…as in there are no decent sized towns within an hours drive.  We were a very short distance from the southern edge of the Chippewa National Forest.


The resort sat on a small bay of a much larger lake. It was very quiet with little boat traffic.


Just the occasional Loon.


There was a great beach volleyball court for Mini-me to practice her skills. She gave me and my BIL quiet the workout playing with her. Neither of us are sporty in the least.

Each year we have a themed potluck gathering. This years theme was kind of vague…Greece/Olympus. Honestly, I didn’t really “get it” other than the food.  I brought a Mediterranean salad.


Typically everyone goes all out dressing up, menu planning and decorating according to the theme. There was Gyros, hummus, kabobs, salads, crockpots of goodies, homemade wine and cider plus so much more.


So much food!!!!


The kids enjoyed games.


And of course S’mores around the fire.

We aren’t sure what the plan is for next year yet but I’m sure at least Mini-me and I will go if time allows.

Tuesday has an appt. and back to school shopping for sure…who knows what else we’ll end up doing. The summer is quickly fading away.

What are you doing today?

Ever heard of acrylic pours? I hadn’t until a couple months ago. I watched endless streams of YouTube videos on the process. It looked like something I could totally get into given time, space and willingness to get messy. Two out of three aren’t bad.

I did manage to eek out some space to at the very least make due so I could try this out.

My very first attempt I used red, orange, yellow and white with Golden polymer gloss medium. Some videos use silcone or WD-40 in the mix as well but I am not a fan of using any sort of aerosol in the house especially in my minimally ventilated basement. acrylic pour

I’m pouring onto a previously used canvas board that I coated with gesso. I put a bit of white paint around the edges to hopefully assist with the paint moving all the way out to the edges.

acrylic pour

I did what is called a dirty pour. You dump each of the premixed paints into the pour cup in alternating fashion. I really had no idea what I was doing so I just poured them as I felt like at the moment. I then turned the canvas board upside down over the cup and flipped the whole works over. Flip cup technique OR dirty flip cup technique as some have coined.

acrylic pour

I was amazed at what happened. The colors mixed and migrated. Color bubbled up from underneath.

acrylic pour

It was mesmerizing. Even the paint that flowed off the edge was beautiful.

acrylic pour

These colors made me think of agates…especially Lake Superior agates.

acrylic pour

When I moved the canvas to allow it to dry I ended up losing some of the magic. I fear the secondary location wasn’t completely level so more paint rolled over the edge than I had wanted.

acrylic pour

Here is the end result. A little more pink than I’d hoped but interesting none the less.

I’ve created several more and even took a video of part of the process on one attempt. I’m pretty sure its my favorite end result. It’s so darn fun. I’m experimenting with cheaper pouring medium. I’ve only had one big failure and guess what!?  I just did another pour straight over the top of it.

More to come…I promise.


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