Last Day In Sierra Vista

We’re wrapping up our visit to Sierra Vista today.  We’ll be checking out a couple small outlying areas as well.

Tomorrow we’re off to Tuscon.

We’re 4000 ft. higher in elevation here than we are back home.  Some residence mentioned the change really affected them.  One lady said she felt like she was having a heart attack for the first two years she lived here.  Perhaps the change in altitude becomes more significant the longer you’re here, but so far neither Scott nor I have had any problems.  We both occasionally feel the need to take a deeper breath, but I put that down to all the walking we’re doing.  All in all, we both adjusted very well to this area.

We’re keeping a log on my health and the affects the change in climate are having on my headaches.  To be honest, I haven’t noticed a significant change yet.  I’m hovering around a 3 most days, with worsening to a 5 occasionally.  Scott says he can tell a huge difference.  Mostly in my behavior.

Scott says I am often quick to ask to leave somewhere because the headaches worsen when I’m not able to do my usual stuff (like my go-to:  distraction by making something).  He mentioned in both Bisbee and Tombstone, I was okay while we were there.  I was able to walk all day, I was polite and courteous to everyone (sometimes I am abrupt when the pain is bad), I asked questions and retained the answers. (Which is a significant problem.  When the headaches are bad I lose my short-term memory.  When they’re really bad, I lose days.)  Scott says he hasn’t noticed me rubbing my head and face, which I guess I do when the headaches worsen.  I wasn’t aware of that.  He also said my eyes are clear and bright. He noticed my eyes are more focused and I’m able to follow things, rather than turning my whole head to see something.  And I am turning my neck much easier too.  (I have significant arthritis in my neck and spine.)  All in all, he’s very pleased with the signs he’s seeing.

That’s wonderful.  I hope we have a clear indication the symptoms are greatly improved.  They will never go away completely.  That’s not even a goal for me and my doctors.  We’re just hoping to lessen them and improve my quality of life.

My neurologist says he’s only seen one other person like me in all his years in practice.  For people like me, with unremitting headaches (there’s a name for this type of problem, but I forget what it is right now) which are resistant to all forms of treatment, the goal is incremental improvement.  For example, if this medication gives me 3% relief, and this one gives me 4% relief, and this treatment gives me 15% relief, and this other one gives me 10% relief-it adds up to 32% which is a significant amount of pain relief.  We’re not there yet, obviously, but we are hopeful there will be great improvement.  My personal goal is 40% improvement.  My neurologist thinks he can do better than that.  But since I’ve been living with this for 35 years, I won’t hold my breath.

So far, Arizona is a good thing.



Get To Know Your Supplies: Travel Ephemera and a Travel Journal

One of the best parts of traveling is the ability to gather ephemera.  And a lot of it.

Think about this: you eat out-printed napkins, place mats, take out bags, receipts.  You shop anywhere-receipts and tags from clothing or whatever.  Grocery store advertisements, car sale flyers and magazines, realtor booklets, brochures on the area and interesting sites to see, maps and historical information about the area.  Something as simple as the bag sunscreen was put in when you bought it is great ephemera.

We’ve been traveling to towns in order to determine which would work best for us, if we decide to move here.  So we’re gathering information on all of them.  Tombstone had flyers and brochures in every shop we were in.  As did the shops in Bisbee.

We’ve traveled through many states to get here and gathered information about each of them along the way.  My collection of ephemera has grown considerably since we left home Christmas night.  So you may be asking yourself what do you do with it all?

Here’s a few ideas for using ephemera to create a travel journal:

  1.  Put in art journals as background papers.  Especially napkins and place mats which are usually made of thin paper.
  2. Make pockets with your brochures.  The single sheet, heavy weight, advertising or promotional information can be used as pockets, belly bands, tuck spots, borders, etc.
  3. Make mini-books.  Use the folding brochures.  Usually there are three or four pages per brochure.  Gesso them, cut in half (width), make mini-books to tuck into your art journals.  You can go further and make the mini-books about things from your trip.  A specific place or event you want to highlight, perhaps a record of your travel expenses, miles traveled, or gas mileage.  Could be a mini-book you fill with recipes from the local cuisine.  The possibilities are endless.
  4. Use your ephemera as actual art journals.    Combine single brochures into a loose leaf journal, multiple tri-fold brochures added together, use the sales magazines and books as the journals.  I have four or five of these from our trip so far.  They are books listing cars, trucks, farm equipment, R.V’s and campers.  Then I have a couple books explaining the local real estate which is for sale.
  5. Create embellishments.  Just as you would with junk mail.  Make flowers, borders, cut out letters and images, use as book marks, tabs and tags.
  6. Use as mats for photographs. That’s a great way to remember your trip with personal photographs and the informational brochures.
  7. Make paper of your trip.  Use your collected items and make your own paper with them.  Let dry completely and use in any way you want.
  8. Make tip-ins and waterfall inserts.  These are fun add-ins to an art journal or scrapbook.
  9. Use the stuff you’ve gathered to make a complete art journal.  This is a charming way to remember your travels.  Don’t alter your collected ephemera, simply attache them all together in book form.  You can go in order of what you’ve seen or by ephemera types.  Use the bags as pockets, the tri-fold brochures as booklets.  The receipts as a mini-tuck in book.
  10. Make a pocket journal.  Use manila envelopes and put your ephemera in them.  Separate by what you’ve seen and done on your vacation.  Fill the envelopes and bind together into book form.

These are just a few ideas for using travel ephemera.  There are many more options.  Use your imagination and creativity to use these wonderful, and free, items.

Tombstone, We Love Ya!

Spent a delightful day in the town of Tombstone, Arizona.  We talked with several natives, or long-term transplants in some cases, and received a wealth of information.

The woman from the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce lives in the desert.  She hauls water and hauls her waste away.  She runs her home on solar power and uses two trailers holding water tanks to supply the water.  Her septic is a holding tank which is pumped and brought into town for processing every two weeks.  I’m not sure how often she hauls water.

The lady explained you have to be totally committed to living in undeveloped desert.  It’s a tremendous amount of work just to survive on a daily basis.  The roads are not maintained, so she goes through a lot of tires, which is costly.  Then there’s the water and septic situation.  And she has solar power for everything.  The batteries are an issue for her too, as the system needs to be maintained.

Honestly, if we were just starting out, young and healthy-we might consider it.  But with my health issues and the likelihood I would be here by myself for an extended period of time, we decided against it.

The desert is gorgeous but very challenging to live in. So we’ve eliminated several towns as possible places to move.  For no other reason than the brutal realities facing those living in undeveloped desert.

Tomorrow:  Sierra Vista

Daily Art While Traveling

I’ve got to be honest with you here, by the time we’re back in the hotel for the night I’m to tired to do much of anything.  I’ve colored several pages, collected memorabilia and ephemera from the places we’ve been, sketched small things.  That’s about it.

And I brought so much to work on!

Not having considered the length of time we would actually be in the car-even after we arrived at our destination-was where I missed the boat.  We start out early every day and come back after dark.  And once we’re back I don’t feel like messing with gesso and wet media.  Which is why I’ve been coloring so much.  No fuss, no mess.

The pages will be used in art journals later.  So technically I’m making art supplies for my art practice.


Another Wonderful Day In The Grand Canyon State

We spent the day investigating the small towns around Sierra Vista.  We began in Bisbee.  This quaint historic town is 23 miles outside of Sierra Vista.  Very much an arts community.  Quiet and peaceful, the town is a tourist attraction spot.

We wandered around the town, talking to the locals, finding out all sorts of interesting things.  There is a clinic for minor injuries and illnesses, all others are treated in Sierra Vista.  There is a Safeway grocery store, a Dollar Tree and a couple gas stations in the non-historic part of town.  There are parts to Bisbee, the historic part and the new part.  Most of the shop owners live outside of town.  Bisbee is very a high elevation.  One lady told me they were a mile high.  This means it’s fairly steep with lots and lots of steps.  You are either going up hill or down-there is no flat.  The houses in town are built into carved rock with steps leading up to their door. (How on earth do you get a refrigerator up those narrow, steep flights of steps?)  There is also very limited parking.  Not all of the houses have this situation-some are on the streets with a sidewalk in front of their house.

Those places aren’t for sale.

After doing the touristy stuff in Bisbee, we headed to Douglas.

Douglas is 23 or so miles from Bisbee.  This is another small town.  Cochise College is near Douglas.  They have a Food City grocery store.  And a couple of gas stations.  There are a tremendous amount of vintage vehicles in this town.  Because of it’s close proximity to the border, the town is very much a Mexican town.  The beauty of the Mexican culture is very prevalent.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t speak a word of spanish.  And since I don’t have an ear for languages, it’s highly unlikely I’d be able to pick it up.

Next were McNeal and Elfrida.  These were both very remote and pretty rough and rocky.  The houses were either in groups or a great distance from anything.  It was a very rustic environment.  We both felt it was a bit to much “roughing it” for me to cope with right now.  Pirtleville and Palominas were very small, and Double Adobe had a school, two campgrounds and a small store, but that’s about it.  Again, very rugged country with water tanks commonly seen by homes.  We went past Naco.  Since it is in both Arizona and Mexico and we don’t have our passports with us-we  didn’t want to take a chance we’d cross and be unable to get back in.

I thought it was nice of my husband to mention I’m way to used to the modern conveniences to tolerate questionable internet service.  If the power goes out it could take days before they get to these remote locations.   Nor do I care for dirt roads and critters.

Tomorrow we head to Tombstone.

We’re Beginning Our Search

for information.

  1.  What the job situation is in Sierra Vista and the surrounding communities.
  2. Investigate neighborhoods.  You learn so much more about a place when you can actually see it and look around.  We’re looking at both rentals and for sale options.
  3. Locating the medical care in the area.  We already know there is outstanding medical facilities and specialists in both Tuscon and Phoenix.  We just don’t know where they are.
  4. We hope to talk with people to find out local information, the churches in the area don’t seem to be in our denomination-so how are the non-denominational churches, where good neighborhoods are, realtors that are trustworthy, best places to shop for discounts, artistic communities…
  5. Find all secondhand stores in the area, inexpensive shopping is very important to me.
  6. Find out about the water, septic, and electrical solutions when you’re out in the country.  I’m thinking of solar power, wind generated power, water tanks and the main problem is the septic…

We plan to go to Tombstone, Bisbee, Tuscon, Douglas and Benson.  Then if we want we’ll go further to Phoenix and the surrounding area.


Obviously I find the scenery, as we’re  traveling, completely fascinating.   There is nothing like what I’m seeing back home.  From an artist view point, this has tremendous appeal.

Ideas for paintings and projects are bombarding my brain.  I’m trying to write them down at the very least, but I’d really like to sketch them.  Which is something I find impossible in the car.  I suffer from pretty severe motion sickness and any thing like drawing will trigger all kinds of fun results.

i hope my photos turn out well enough to see the beautiful details.  I’m no photographer, so it’s doubtful they’ll be stunning.  I just want to be able to paint some of the gorgeous colors I’m seeing.

On The Road Again

Texas is a huge state and one I’m enjoying.  Lots of unique sights.  I saw a store which was selling wood burning stoves and dinosaurs.

Another sight I could never have imagined seeing.

We’re spending the night in El Passo.  And it’s stinkin’ cold here.  Not nearly like what’s going on back home, but cold.  It’s 26 degrees, wind chill makes it feel like 17 degrees.  I hope it gets warmer to further west we go.


Well On Our Way

We have been traveling across the country to Sierra Vista, Arizona.  We left Christmas night following our last family party.  We drove 7 or 8 hours and stopped for a few hours of sleep in Terryville, Missouri.  Then we set off again and we have stopped for the night in Texarkana Texas. Tomorrow will be a long one- fourteen hours in the car.  Then only 5 or 6 hours on Thursday and we’re there!

A couple observations when taking a trip of any length in a car:

  1.  You will feel slimy when you stop for the night.  I’m not sure why, but every time I’ve traveled in either a big truck with Scott or in a car, this was the case.
  2. We saw a giant cupcake, an elephant and an alien space ship.  Seriously.
  3. I have developed a deep loathing for one state in our country.  That is all I’ll say about that.
  4. People have a really hard time following the laws of the road.  I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t know what those rules are or if they know and simply don’t care.  Either way they are hazards to everyone who shares the road with them.
  5. It is fascinating to see the profound changes in the landscape as we travel through the various states.  And (since I am such a history buff and I’m also working on a historic novel) I keep thinking of the pioneers, most of whom walked the 2000 miles across the country, starting in Independence Missouri.  The tremendous courage and bravery these young families had to make the journey out West by wagon-awes me.
  6. While I wouldn’t say the weather is warm here, it is certainly much warmer than what we left.  Apparently it is going to be a bitterly cold week back home, and that makes it the perfect time for us to leave.
  7. I would recommend stopping every two hours or so to use the rest room and walk around a bit.  You don’t want your blood to stagnate and clot because you sat in the car, in the same position for to long.
  8. The fire alarms in the hotel we’re in keep going off.  They are using the furnace and it seems there is some touchiness with that, being the first time it’s been used this season.  We have firemen in full gear walking around and hanging out in the lobby.

I’ll keep you updated on our trip and the effect it has on my health.

Bible Journaling: Essential Supplies

This is a list of what I consider essentials for bible journaling.  Here is a post I did: bible journaling 101.  Bible journaling essentials are somewhat different than the essentials for art journaling, in that I find the very thin pages need some special consideration.  Let’s begin with the bare bones basicsYou need a bible and something to make marks with.  That could be a regular graphite pencil (which is one of the essential items you should have on hand, along with a pencil sharpener and an eraser) or a black ink pen.  You can bible journal with just those two things.  But we want to do a bit more than just make marks in our bibles don’t we?  Here are my beginner essentials for bible journaling.  Remember every person is different with different preferences.

  1.  Clear Gesso.  I use this to prep most of my pages.  It makes the pages sturdier and better able to handle wet media.  It works like regular gesso, it’s just clear.  I find mod podge works beneath things, but I don’t use it as a top coat sealer in my bible.
  2. Colored Pencils.  I like Prisma colored pencils.  I find they are beautifully rich in color, buttery in texture and blend beautifully, which is important to me.  Inktense pencils are another wonderful option and my personal preference for pencils.  These beauties are very versatile as they are a water-soluble material.  Use as watercolor pencils, scribble on your craft mat and wet, now you have watercolor “paint” or-more accurately-ink.  Stamp an image and fill it in with the pencils and wet or scribble onto your craft mat and make a puddle, paint in the image.  They are just as their name suggests-ink in pencil form.  The colors are very rich, vibrant and intense.  A little goes a long way.  Once dry, they are permanent and will not budge. You can layer more colors on top once they are dry.  I sharpen my Inktense pencils with a craft knife, taking only the wood of the casing not touching the color core.  This saves my pencils from getting ground down and losing the precious color in the shavings.  Both Inktense and Prismacolor pencils are expensive.  If they are to costly-always honor your budget!- you can pick up Staedtler brand colored pencils for a fraction of the cost (also use an in-store coupon for more savings) and they work well too.
  3. Black ink pen.  I use Faber-Castile Pitt Pens or Pigma brand Micron Pens.  They are waterproof and don’t bleed through the thin bible pages.
  4. Parchment paper and plain colored card stock.  I use these for tip-ins all the time.  I create my art work on the parchment paper then add it to the bible with double sided tape and washi tape.  I added a study of Eve to my bible with plain yellow cardstock.  I included a study on Indiscriminate Compassion the same way.  These are two of my most used supplies in bible journaling.
  5. Watercolor pencils.  Also extremely versatileYou can do all the things with watercolor pencils I have listed for the Inktense pencils.  You can find some inexpensive watercolor pencils in most big box stores or national chain craft stores.  Reeve’s, Prange, and Pentalic brands are all lovely and reasonably priced.

Nice to have, but not essential:

    1.  A white pen.  I use a white Sakura Gelly Roll Pen.  Don’t buy several, thinking you’ll stockpile for the future.  These pens really need to be used in the year you purchase them.  Buy ahead and they may not work when you’re ready for them.
    2. Colored Ink Pens.  Wonderful addition to an bible journal kit.   
    3. Spray inks.  I make my own alcohol and shimmer sprays.  I like to make a mask and cover a word or passage I want highlighted.  Then I spritz the page with shimmer inks or alcohol spray inks.  Lift the mask and you have a beautifully highlighted area.
    4. I use washi tape for bible journaling.  Not so much in art journaling, but often in my bible.  It holds my parchment paper tip-ins, my cardstock add-ins, it can be used as an arrow or in the margin and stamp (or write) a word over top.  (I use it with double sided tape if I want it permanently adhered to the page.)  Very useful and fun to play with.
    5. We R Memory Keepers Tab punch.  I use this to make tabs for the books of the bible as well as pages I want to find quickly.  You can certainly cut tabs yourself, but my hands don’t like it.
    6. Stickers and mini-alphabet stamp sets.  I use these for words in the margins, on parchment paper then added to the bible, on tabs and tags, for all sorts of things.  The size of the mini-stamp sets and mini-stickers is perfect for bible journaling.
    7. Stamps and ink pads.  Another nice-to-have but not essential.  I find the small clear plastic stamps you use with an acrylic block are perfect for bible journaling.  Use a permanent ink that won’t run if you plan to use wet media on it.
    8. Many people love gelatos (or a similar water-soluble media) for bible journaling.  I have rarely used these, although I have several brands of this type of material.  I am taking these along with me on our trip and will let you know how I feel about them after I use them for awhile.
    9. Use Dollar Tree plastic cutting mats for beneath your page while working in your bible.  I cut one in half and that makes two pieces the perfect size for my bible.
    10. A heat tool is also pretty important in bible journaling.  I use my hair dryer for the most part, but have recently purchased a crafters heat tool.  This is for embossing as well as drying wet media.  Just like some people don’t want to cover any of the text in the bible, some have a problem with wrinkled, wavy pages.  Neither of those bother me.  In fact, I like the texture and feel of crinkly paper.  But if wrinkles bother you use a heat gun and see if that helps.  I’ve also heard some people iron their pages.
    11. Acrylic paints are something I often use in bible journaling.  The inexpensive craft paints will work perfectly well for most techniques.  Adding acrylic paint to gel medium will make it more translucent, thus letting the text show through.  There are many ways to apply acrylic paint, many techniques using acrylic paint and lots of examples of beautiful pages made with acrylic paints.
    12. Many people like to use highlighters, and I’ve used them too.  Lately I just highlight with whatever media I’m using rather than add the “neon-looking” highlighter to the page.  I found it distracting when I went back to the passage later.
    13. I think it’s a good idea to add the date you made the page.  I didn’t do that and have filled my first journaling bible.  I would have liked to go back to my first pages to compare with later ones.  Just to see if I have changed in style, technique preferences or use of different mediums.  As it is, the bible is pretty full.  Some pages have multiple journal entries.  It’s sort of hard to pick out early pages from later pages.  Although I did notice I have become more daring in the use of techniques and materials than I was in the beginning.  I stuck primarily to colored pencils when I started.

Remember the purpose of bible journaling.   It’s to get you into the Word,  which will lead to a more intimate relationship with the Lord.  It’s not about perfection, the artwork, techniques or supplies.  Just let the passage speak to your heart and go from there.  I fill the cover and front page with “What This Bible Is” and “What This Bible Isn’t“.  This helps me to remember it’s all about getting closer to the Lord in a way that works for me.

Maybe it will work for you as well.  Why not give it a try?