Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grow Your Blog!!! Party

Welcome dear blog friends to A Focused Journey.  My name is Diane (aka Midteacher) residing in the beautiful (and very chilly) Michigan.  My profile just to the right  will give you a glimpse into my background.  Warning:  this post is rather photo heavy specifically for you.  After all aren't pictures worth a thousand words?
Get comfortable, perhaps sip on your beverage of choice, and enjoy your visit!

 Where I create:

Creative work desk
Baskets full of ephemera and books below are for art journaling
Sewing desk

Both my creative space and work reflect my interest in color psychology. I wanted my space to be an uplifting refuge.  I choose orange as it is optimistic and uplifting, rejuvenating for one’s spirit and green for its ability to renew and restore depleted energy.

A bit about me:

Mixed media art
Altered books
Art journaling

I am a high school science teacher by day and create on my off time.  Because I teach in a district where chaos, instability, repression, and inconsistency reign I needed to find a release from the daily stress and depression.  Mixed media art is that release. 
I am not comfortable with saying, “I am a mixed media artist.”  When people ask me what I "do" I respond automatically with, “I teach high school science”.  Very few people in my life even know I create art on my off time or that this blog exists and I am comfortable with that.  I began this creative journey two years ago when  I took an online art journal course with Kelly Kilmer.  I also spent hours on Pinterest (purely research of course) and watching art journaling videos on YouTube.
I cannot draw nor paint “recognizable” images (my students will attest to this) so I use my ingenuity to find ways around it.  My go-to favorites are coloring books, magazines, old books, catalogs, and my own photographs.
Some of my go-to books for images

My projects for this year:

Still not comfortable with taking selfies

Fabric ATC
Rolodex cards
art journal round robins

Navigating the Dark Night of the Soul

Anatomy of My Thoughts
A Journey Within: A guide to Unlocking Your Creativity
Out of My Head and Onto the Paper


When I create

I am a morning person…a VERY early morning person. Lights in my craft room can be seen clicking on as early as 2:00 (yes a.m.)!  I find stress wakes me up rather than keeping me up at night.  When I get home after a day of teaching (7 classes with 37+ students per class) I am exhausted and my brain is fried.  I may have good intentions on the drive home to retreat and create but somewhere between changing my clothes and grabbing that box of Cheez-its (comfort snack of choice) it vanishes and I find myself plopped down in front of the TV watching Downton Abbey.  

Crafty to do list for 2015:

Learn to add stitching to my art
Purchase a DSLR camera
Learn to edit photos with Adobe Lightroom
Learn to make a header for this blog using my photos
Purchase and learn to make gelli prints
Create a bi-monthly “Stop Pinning and Make Something”  blog party

As with many bloggers, I have creative assistants who help by walking across wet paint, napping on the computer while I'm trying to post to this blog, sitting smack dab in the middle of a wet art journal page, and contributing cat hair to all my projects.  
Contributing "editors"

Thank you for spending time with me for this inspiring blog party.  It is my hope that you found some inspiration and will subscribe to A Focused Journey by email or follow with Google+ both located on the right side bar.  You can contact me here.

If you think you might be interested in joining in on my idea for a bi-monthly “Stop Pinning and Make Something”  blog party take a moment and let me know in the comments.


  1. Popping in through GYB. It sounds like you've found an emotional outlet in your art--lucky you! I'm following you on Pinterest now to keep up on your work.

    Thanks so much,

  2. Very nice blog. I love seeing people's creative spaces as well as their creations. And I see you also have three feline friends to "help" you just as I do! I'll be stopping back in!

  3. Hi Diane! On behalf of Vicki @ 2 Bags Full, welcome to the 2015 Grow Your Blog hop! Your altered books are wonderful, and the think your hop idea is fantastic. Have a lovely day!

  4. Nice to see your work, thank you, via the GYB party. Alas, I can't email you because your link tells me there's no associated program. But I'm commenting here anyway to say thank you and I"m planning to browse your blog right now

  5. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I used to teach and I understand the stress associated with it. Creating is definitely a way to manage the stress - keep at it! I too spend far too much time on Pinterest - and what a great idea to have a blog hop around the idea of making not pinning! Count me in!

  6. I love your altered books too and the fabric art! :-)

  7. First time visitor via GYB. Wow! Love your work. You are a very talented woman.

  8. Hi Diane! Wow what a fantastic post for the Grow Your Blog party!! I already follow you but it is wonderful seeing all sorts of things you do in one post! I totally love the hanging quilt by your sewing desk! And needed to see your neat desk to give me inspiration to clean up mine! Have a great weekend and glad to see you here on the Grow your blog party!

  9. I am new to blogging, entering this new world on the computer this year, taking me out of my sewing room. Your blog is wonderful to see! Your journaling is inspiring! I would be very interested in joining your. " stop pinning and make something " ( group) even though I am a prolific quilter I do need the ( push) to set aside the * browsing* and let some creativity flow. I too live in Michigan and have a fairly high stress job ( I take care of elderly people often through their end of life -- often emotionally draining-- so my creative outlet helps me stay on an even keel. :)
    I am looking forward to watching ( and learning from) your journey as I travel mine.

  10. How fun to find my way here via the GYB party and see all the creative things you're up to. And how great to have that creative outlet to help you balance and re-fuel from all the work teaching requires.

  11. Hi Diane!

    I come visiting by way of Vicki's Grow Your Blog party! You and I have a few things in common. I am also a teacher. I teacher 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade special education. My students will strongly agree that drawing is not one of my strengths. I also look for ways to get around that. I often use cookie cutters. I too am an early bird - not quite at 2:00 a.m, but the lights in my studio are on between 4:00 and 5:00 every morning. I dream of owning a DSLR camera, and learning how to use it, of course. My studio is my cat's favorite room. She shares the room with me. I am most interested in your "Stop Pinning and Make Something" party.

    I look forward to receiving your blog in my in-box.


  12. I was simply mesmerized by your lovely blog. Seems we have much in common, including mixed media and altered books. I love your sewing area, since mine is rather cramped into my small craft room. Your work areas are simply to die for. I love everything you do, including all the swaps you have been in.

    Loved the visit, since this is my first time at your blog as well as GYB.

  13. Hi Diane,
    Nice to meet you!
    You have a beautiful blog. I love your colourful artwork. Well done, indeed!
    Thanks for the visiting my blog.

  14. Lovely work! And you certainly get a lot done. Your workspace is so well organized.

  15. wow! Diane - so many awesome things you do - I art journal as well. love your space! hope you'll stop by and visit me as well! have a great week!

  16. HI Diane! It's so nice to meet you and visit your blog! Your creations are gorgeous!

  17. Hello Diane - visiting from the GYB party and just love your work! Did you make the wall hanging in the photo in your studio? It's lovely! I too, am participating in the Documented Life Project but am only on my first page as I just got my journal in the mail. I will definitely by following you - I love your journal pages!!

  18. Hi Diane, I have the honor of welcoming you to GYB Party. I am a little late in doing so, but my middle grandson was playing in a basketball tournament this weekend. I took time out to go watch him play in two games. I love seeing your what you have been making. Your art journals are awesome. Have fun blog hopping Shirley@shirleystitches

  19. Hi Diane! I've found you through the GYB party. I enjoyed participating in art journals for several years, although I've fallen out of practice with it since having a child. I was introduced to them via the 1000 Journals project (I worked in three of them!). Looking forward to seeing your expression, and possibly getting some inspiration for my own. I've started again this year via the Filofaxy 365/30 lists.

    Happy blogging to you (and I've added you to my Bloglovin' feed).

  20. Your mixed media art is amazing Diane. Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm visiting from the GYB party. Cheers, Tracy.

  21. I loved visiting your blog. I have been fascinated by the idea of creating an art journal for some time. Perhaps this year I will give it a try!

  22. Hi Early Bird, I have crystals as well, wish I could say I am as creative as you :) Your workspace is great and your work lovely, I am following you to get my creative fix! Lovely to meet you Diane through GYB!
    Wren x

  23. Hi Diane,
    Love your mixed media art ! Thank you for sharing.
    Wish you a great GYB Party !
    Wilma. Shabby Royale.

  24. Oh my goodness.....I feel so at home here. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am so glad to share in your pinning party challenge. You are quite creative and talented. I am happy to be a new follower and look forward to getting to know each other more in the new year.

  25. Love your creations! Karen Valentine redesigned my blog for last years GYBParty and it was reasonable and she did a great job. Back to the Party Hope your enjoy it!!

  26. What talent you have! Paint and scrapbooking just haven't found me yet. I do try, but they just don't turn out well. Perhaps someday, in the meantime, I have my yarn and thread talents to sustain me. and the ability to see the wonders in others' talents. Thank you for sharing your talents today.
    Vickie @ Teacups & Toadstools

  27. Thank you for inviting us to come in and see your studio (and meet your wonderful assistant creators)!

  28. You visited my blog and saw my Mardi Gras tree, so I had to come and look at your blog! I absolutely love your "creative space"!!! I feel artistic just by looking at it! What a lovely creative environment! I don't make the same type of creations that you do, but I LOVE your work! Thank you for taking the time to comment on mine, so I could find you! (I also love your precious assistants--I have one myself!!)

  29. First thing I have to do when I get home from work is share a Cheez-It with our cockatiel Kirby. Then I can have some quiet time. Love your blog and the idea of a pinning party has intrigued me. I'll be following you now so I can see more of your fabulous work.

  30. I'm surprised you can achieve so much with your mixed media artwork holding down such a hectic teaching job! Love your art pages!
    Enjoy the party and thanks for sharing some of your life with us here!

  31. Hello there - I am so happy to find your space through GYB - and am now following along. I look forward to seeing more of your makes and hope that you will pop over to my bit of blogland and share in my journey too, J9

  32. This space is so good for you. Such a color explosion, compared to your daily work day life. Keep it up girlfriend.

  33. That looks like a great workplace! GYB

  34. I can so relate to being fried at the end of a day, my job can be stressful too. Sewing has been therapy for me for a lot of years, along with a lot of other creative pursuits. Your collages are just beautiful, something I haven't done in years, but might get that out again soon. Thanks for the inspiration! Your newest follower on Bloglovin.

  35. one more visit here from GYB and am joining up to follow you! A little late , but working down the list. I enjoyed reading about you and can empathize about waking at 2 am and having your "crafting" light on. I am a nurse practitioner and also work with lots of poverty, so can really appreciate the benefits of creative art journaling. Hoping that you will stop by my blog also for a visit at Butterfly Tales. Best to you and looking forward to seeing more of you! Jeanne from texas


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