Stencil Girl, Part Deux

True North

The past few years have been a struggle for me as I try to navigate my life in my new found role of Empty Nester.  I am no longer needed as the nurturer, homework-checker, limo driver, lunch-packer, chicken soup-maker, laundress . . . . and the list goes on.  No pity party here, I just wasn’t prepared for the day when that last one went off to school and my job became “redundant!”  Where were the piles of laundry, the stacks of groceries, the houseful of teenagers that were always on my couch and in my fridge?

I really  miss them. I knew I would adjust, I knew it would be just fine and I also knew the little chicks would fly back home from time to time.  But what do I DO with myself now?  What’s my role?  What’s my job? How do I fill those hours each day that are no longer eaten up with the chores of “mothering?”

Like a ship floating aimlessly around the big wide ocean, I knew I had to find direction.  I had to find my TRUE NORTH.  So I set out on a new journey . . . immersing myself in my art and travel and charting a course to destinations unknown!

Of course, True North is a metaphor for setting myself straight, making my course, finding my direction.  And any time I veer off course, I just listen to my heart and find my way back to my True North!

To celebrate the search for my True North, I created this tag for the Stencil Girl Talk Blog this week.

I started with an old piece of map and a #12 manilla tag.  I use Golden Matte Gel Medium to adhere the map to the tag and trimmed it to fit.  I then placed the Around the World Latitude stencil designed by Mary C. Nasser over top of the tag.  I lightly pounced on Golden White Gesso, allowing the colors and lines of the map to peek through.

Once the gesso was dry, I used the Compass Rose stencil designed by Julie Snidle to add the directional emblem onto the tag with a black Staz-On Ink Pad.  I also stamped my sentiment on the card and hit them both with a heat gun to set them.  I brushed in a little watercolor wash to make the compass and letters stand out.

As a final touch, I tied on some hand-dyed ribbons and string and added a little travel tag.  I love the way it turned out and now when I find myself feeling lost, I just look up at my tag hanging above my desk and am reminded that I am on a journey . . . and I just have to keep heading True North!

Thanks for joining me as I lament my empty nest!  It has been an awesome week working with Stencil Girl! Please head over to their blog HERE and give them some love – they also have some wonderful discounts and giveaways all week!  Thanks to them for their support of The Documented Life Project and Art to the 5th!

Happy Travels!



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  1. Avatar

    Your map art album and tag are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the how-to also!

  2. Andi Schrader

    Hello…. I’m a Lifebook 2014 journeyer and found my way to you on the web, as these things go…. I read this blog post and I could have written it myself! Thanks for your honesty and sharing your Empty Nest Finding My Way thoughts. I tell others that the empty nest is overrated. I’ve dived into art adventures and have given myself permission to pursue my self directed MFA this year and then see what doors God will open up. That’s all. I’d invite you for tea if you lived nearby. (but I travel a lot, so if I am in your sunny locale, I shall look you up). Happy Day. Andi

    1. Lorraine Bell

      Hi Andi! I’m so sorry for my late response – I traveled all last week and am just now catching up. I am thrilled that you found me – don’t you just love Life Book? Tam has gathered an amazing group of artists together in one place! I am happy that you, too are finding ways to fill up your empty nest – I’m learning that I am still "needed" but just in a different way now! And I would so love to join you for tea! Please keep in touch – hugs, Lorraine

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