a couple of my fave bloggers are doing something special...

Tell Your Story is a six week online art journal class taught by Elsie and Rachel of Red Velvet Art. They've designed this class to help you artistically document your daily life as well as your hopes and dreams through daily prompts and challenges. They'll be sharing book making projects as well as tips and tricks for finding and storing your supplies.
Along with daily prompts you can participate in live chats to get friendly with your classmates and enjoy Q&A time with your teachers. Click here for registration information and more details or e-mail racheldenbow(at)gmail(dot)com. xoxo, Rachel and Elsie

Nostalgia: documented for my family

nostalgia (for my blog)

Sometimes I'm hit with such huge waves of nostalgia for my childhood that it makes me want to cry. I know I'm quite lucky to look back on growing up so fondly, and I continually count my blessings that my parents provided me with such a glorious upbringing. I grew up in New Jersey, in a wonderful house right in the woods of Jackson. Jackson is in central Jersey, in a gorgeous wooded area, and is a small town with friendly people. If I close my eyes I can almost take myself right back to all the beautiful memories I have of the thirteen years I spent growing up on the East Coast. The smell of tomato vines still transports me to our backyard garden, butter popcorn is the smell of our Friday TGIF nights, and anytime pizza is heated up on tinfoil in a toaster oven, all I can think about is eating our leftovers during Saturday morning cartoons. Growing up to me is a mix of library books and bike rides, grassy afternoons and swimming in our backyard until our skin turned into prunes. My sister Lauren and I grew up as each others' main playmates and closest friends. We would spend hours and hours playing dress up, make believe, dancing, laughing, twirling, telling secrets, and speaking in our own language. We didn't have toys with bells and whistles, we had toys that made us think, treasure chests of vintage clothing that inspired us to create, shelves and shelves of books that begged us to read, and art supplies that motivated us to make something, anything. Growing up so many of my days were spent listening to my parents' old 45s on my Fisher Price record player, tapes in my tape deck, and 8-tracks on the downstairs stereo. Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson. Music was everywhere. I recall so many bright summer days: running through the sprinkler in our green, green grass in the dog days of July, riding our bikes up and down the driveway, and begging our parents to take us exploring in the acres and acres of woods in our backyard. I remember celebrating Jackson Day every year, eating funnel cake, making splatter art, creating bottles of colored sand, and oohing and ahhing over the fireworks. We'd spend many fun afternoons at Great Adventure, and I can still think back to excitedly waiting in line each year for our season pass. Beach days were almost everyday in the summer. My parents would treat us to many concerts in the huge amphitheater, laughing with their friends as Lauren and I would dance dance dance to whoever we were seeing on that starry night. Food brings back some of the strongest memories: "frankfurters" and cheeseburgers on the barbecue, Heinz ketchup and spicy mustard, red skinned potato salad, homemade ice pops, tri-color pasta salad, hard rolls and butter from Glory's, sun tea in the big pitcher, egg and bacon sandwiches at the Mug Rack, followed by hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream, my Dad's Oodles of Noodles in a steaming mug, tomato soup and saltines, turkey subs from Wawa, cherry Icees, huge slices of pizza on the boardwalk, waffles and ice cream, peanut butter and jelly from our cooler on the beach, gouda cheese and crackers, fresh popped popcorn in the metal bowl, artichokes and asparagus. It's my Dad's old red Malboros and bottles of Rolling Rock beer whenever he was building something around the house. The smell of Bartells and James wine coolers whenever they had a get together. It's the same appetizers we still eat every Christmas Eve, the traditions we had growing up that still continue. It's the night visits to Carvel, my strawberry with rainbow sprinkles, Italian ice runs, and black and white milkshakes at Steve's while playing The Everly Brothers on the jukebox. It's Daisy and Brownie Girl Scout meetings, dance class after school, cold Saturday mornings at the soccer fields, Big League Chew packs at t-ball games. It's camping in Wildwood with the Glowackis, swimming and tuna fish sandwiches at the Ostroskis. Marco Polo, TV tag, impromptu soccer games, and softball tournaments always followed by Slurpees at 7-11. My childhood house in itself is magical in my mind- the attic was always such a place of wonder, boxes and boxes of treasures just waiting to be unearthed. The "white shed" in the backyard, where I always thought I could talk to the ghosts of horses past. I remember the woods across the street, being pulled in a wagon to go collect wild blueberries. Hearing the clink of a spoon in a mug, or the gurgle of a coffee maker early in the morning always reminds me of my father, the same way soft singing and happy movements around a home are my mothers. I feel so fortunate that I can't think of anything negative when I think of growing up and during my childhood years. I know this is rare, and I cherish this so much, and my sister (still my best friend) often talk about how wonderful it was. We are fortunate enough to be able to visit Jackson every so often, and the excitement still lingers to this day. We both can't wait to have kids of our own so we can try to give them the same beautiful, amazing childhood we had. I can't express to my parents enough thank yous to ever encompass what they have done for us in giving us such a chunk of our lives as so safe, inspiring, and peaceful. I'll try again and I'll keep trying- thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The Tattooed Poets Project: Theresa Senato Edwards

We are launching this second volume of the Tattooed Poets Project with Theresa Senato Edwards.

Theresa seemed like the ideal candidate to kick off the month, as she is the devoted editor of Holly Rose Review, a poetry and tattoo literary arts journal.

Theresa has four tattoos, and picked two to share with us here on Tattoosday.

Her first tattoo was this Celtic symbol on the left part of her upper back:
A closer look:

Theresa tells us that this is the:
"Celtic symbol for motherhood, two dots representing my two sons. The goldish dot for Richard, his birthday in November (November birthstone); the red dot for Troy, his birthday in July (July birthstone). I had asked my younger son, Troy, if he thought it would be cool to have his artwork on my skin forever. He did, so he drew it for me, looking at a pic I got off the internet. Tattoo by Mike Calamita, Lasting Impression Tattooing in Hopewell Junction, NY."

My favorite of Theresa's four tattoos was the third one she received, this holly rose:

Theresa explains that this holly rose is
"a holly branch wrapped around a bloomed red/purplish rose with thorned stem.... [and] symbolizes my parents: my dad's birthday was in December; the holly is one of the plants that represents December. My mom's birthday was in June; the rose represents June. They have both been dead for more than 15 years. I had this done in their memory. That's also where the title of Holly Rose Review comes from, although I didn't know that at the time I got the tattoo. Also done by Mike Calamita."

Check out Theresa's poem "Holly Rose," about this tattoo, over at BillyBlog. You can read more of Theresa's work over on her blog here.

Thanks again to Theresa for helping kick off our second annual Tattooed Poets Project!

The Tattooed Poets Project, Volume II

April is National Poetry Month!

Last April, I launched, with the cooperation of poets across the country (and one across the Pond), the "Tattooed Poets Project".

In addition to the "regular" Tattoosday features, every day in April we featured the tattoos of poets. Each post featured poet-contributed photos, with a link back to BillyBlog, where one of their poems was posted on the corresponding day.

Not all the poems were tattoo-related, but many were.

This year, we are resuming the project again, featuring more poets, and a few returning ones.

I enjoyed this adventure last year and am looking forward to another successful April!

Happy birthday, Mama!

mama and me, originally uploaded by daniellehampton.

Here we are in a barn in Vermont last summer! I have no idea what my left hand is doing, but I remember how fun this day was. I love you Mom. You are the most inspiring, wonderful, beautiful woman I know and I am so blessed to be your daughter.

Happy, happy birthday!

Tom's Sleeve is Based on Faith

I don't know what it was about March, but this final post of the month is the third featuring ink from a member of our Armed Forces.

Tom is eventually going to have a full sleeve that accentuates his faith. The top of the arm is done, with the main focus on the guardian angel on his bicep:

His grandfather passed before he was born and he has always thought of him as the guardian angel that watched over him.

This piece was inked at Aces & Eights Tattoo in Augusta, Georgia.

He also has a couple of tattoos featuring angels on the inside of his bicep and on the outer section of his upper arm as well:

These were done at Third Dimension Tattoos in Marshalls Creek, Pennsylvania

Tom is a member of HHC 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division.

Thanks to Tom for sharing his tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Tattoo Tuesday V.12

This week's pretty little lady is none other than Jen Joyce! I love this girl. Not only is she totally gorgeous, she is THE nicest, sweetest, cupcake of a gal you'll ever meet. I seriously want to scoop her up from Seattle and make her move back to AZ and come live in Prescott. If you don't follow her on Twitter already, you should! She's just all-around rad. So here she is, Ms. Jen Joyce!

Name and blog name: Jen/@knitpurl on twitter

Calla lillies, inner arm

Jesse Roberts/Lucky Devil Tattoo/ Capitol Hill, Seattle WA

1) Tell us about the tattoo you are sharing with us- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?

First of all, I love calla lilies. They are almost hauntingly beautiful and so very graceful. Also, one of my most dearest friends, Joey got calla lilies on her arm a while ago and as lame as it might sound...I just knew that would be our "friend tattoo." It also kind of represents my growth into the woman I am today, yadda yadda *insert corny stuff here*.

2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?

I also have swallows & a sacred heart on the outer upper arm and cherry blossoms on my shoulder area (my ode to Seattle), thus completing my half sleeve.

3) Do you plan on getting more?

Oh, of course! I have plans for my right arm and right thigh. I wont go into too much detail but 2 words: knitting & anchor.

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them?

My mom was devastated (love you mom!) when I got my first but she has slowly grown an acceptance. Well, for the one 1/2 sleeve. She doesn't know about my other plans yet so I may be speaking too soon, haha! A lot of my friends have tattoos so we are all good there. I still have to cover up at work but seeing as I work at a pretty progressive hotel in Seattle my fingers are crossed that one day I will not have to invest in so many cardigans.

5) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

First of all, love you all who ask but yes it hurts. A needle is being drug across your skin for god's sake! Please stop asking people if it really hurts. Now, I know EVERYONE says this but REALLY do your research! Make sure you KNOW your tattoo artist. And finally, don't just go with someone because they are giving you a deal. BAD IDEA. This will be on you for the rest of your life! Pay accordingly.

Oh, and eat before.

Two Tattoos from Taylor

I met Taylor where she works at Kaleidoscope, a toy store in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

I gave her a flier after admiring her really cool feather tattoo that was inked behind her right ear.

A week later, I was zipping by on my bike and saw her on a break outside the store. That was when I had a chance to speak to her about her tattoos and take the photos for this post.

This is one of her nine tattoos, and was done by an artist named Chris who works out of Puncture Tattoo in neighboring Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

Taylor says the tattoo is inspired by the fact that she feels free-spirited, like a bird, and that her aunt, who died in a plane crash, used to call her a "little Indian girl". The dangling feathers behind her ear seem to capture both sentiments nicely.

Unlike the first time I met Taylor, on this occasion she was wearing a shirt that showed off this cool tattoo at the top of her back:

Taylor explained that she loves cats and her sister's gray cat Dusty passed away from breast cancer, which has also been a disease that has run in her family, as well. She had the tattoo artist, Peter Cavorsi, of Body Art Studios, model this piece based on Dusty's eyes.

As always, Peter did a superb job. He is no stranger to Tattoosday, having inked one of my tattoos (seen at the bottom of the page) and several of my wife, Melanie's. This link will show you all of Peter Cavorsi's work that has appeared on the site over the last two-and-a-half years.

Thanks again to Taylor for sharing her two beautiful tattoos on Tattoosday!

Spring music

I love this video so much, and it's really the perfect springtime song. It makes me want to spend a day with Hank, riding bikes and sipping lemonade into the late afternoon...barefoot in the grass, twirling around under the sun, laying on a blanket and watching the clouds go by.

Do you have any songs in mind that really just epitomize spring? I'd love to hear your choices, and I'll collaborate the mother of all spring playlists based on your input!

Coeur de Pirate || Comme des enfants from Dare To Care Records on Vimeo.

Mike's Incredible Aquatic Sleeve (and More!)

I had the good fortune of meeting Mike outside of Penn Station last week and, despite first noticing him because of his leg tattoos, he was extremely generous and unveiled an incredible sleeve that covered his right arm:

Mike is a fisherman and a loves the brightness, color and variety of oceanic life. Such things translate well to the body's canvas and make for some amazing tattoo work...

The giant octopus actually curls up over his shoulder and onto his chest, with one tentacle moving down his arm....

The deep sea diver punctuates the middle of his arm...

At the bottom of the arm are tropical motifs including a huge tiki god and a hibiscus....

On the inside of his inner bicep is this fish which is a cross between an anglerfish and a razorfish:

And we ended with this piece that was so fresh at the time, that Mike had to peel back the protective plastic covering this amazing blowfish:

The artist behind this amazing work is Steve Woison formerly of Electric Tiki Tattoo in Patchogue, and now at Studio 520 in Oakdale, on Long Island.

Thanks again to Mike for taking the time to share his amazing aquatic sleeve with us here on Tattoosday!

Lovely Sunday

Today has been a really relaxing day, which has been a nice way to end a really relaxing weekend! I haven't been feeling 100%, so rather than go down to Flagstaff and Phoenix for the Broadway Calls shows as originally planned, I elected to stay home and get some rest. And rest I did! I feel like I may have even slept too much, if that's even possible. Last night was fun though- Hank and I went out for Thai food after he got off work and we had the best time. We contemplated seeing a movie afterward but since Hank's been in dispatch recently, he has to get enough sleep every night. The best part about Tara Thai II though, is that the portions are really big and then today we got to enjoy the delicious leftovers. There isn't much tastier than Thai leftovers, in my opinion.

So yes, Prescott's been beautiful lately, and this evening we took Madeline on a long stroll downtown and really enjoyed the weather. I love living here. I write that all the time, but it's true! I miss my friends and family every day of my life, but two hours isn't too bad, and we make it work. It's worth it to enjoy so much beautiful-ness everyday. Oh, and this weekend is the last weekend that Hank has to work and I cannot even express how happy I am to have my hubby back. We always do so many fun things on our weekends, and it's truly been a bummer having him working so much. I'm ecstatic to be back to our "normal."

Oh, and here's an outfit photo from today! I haven't done one of these in a couple of weeks. Please excuse my wrinkly skirt- linen is such a difficult fabric to wear for an extended period of time.

top: Marc by Marc Jacobs
skirt: Forever21
shoes: Blowfish

daily outfit, 3/28

So tomorrow is the start of a new week, but it's extra great because it's a short week! Amber arrives Tuesday, and Hank leaves for a little tour on Wednesday. Oh, and speaking of Hour of the Wolf, look how cute this girl is. She's playing one of their songs. Addison found it and Hank and I are loving it. :)

I hope all of you have an amazing week! Like I said, I am going to be having fun with friends and spending the weekend in Phoenix. I'm really excited to go over Autumn's and visit the babies too. Lots to look forward to!

I'm going to go spend time with Hank, but before I go I thought I would share a playlist I just made. This one may not be as popular as some of the others I've posted, but this one is probably the most special. It includes many of the songs I grew up listening to via my parents. My childhood was amazing, and these songs take me way back. Which one is your favorite? What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

Until next time, xoxo. :)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Earl's Tattoo Honors the Fallen

It was the ring of bullets that first grabbed my attention when I spotted him in Penn Station:

As a soldier in New York City's 69th Infantry Regiment in the New York Army National Guard, Earl has had the honor and privilege of serving in our armed forces overseas.

But, like any one of these brave men and women can tell you, they have seen their share of sorrow when they have lost fellow soldiers in the war in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Earl's way to honor them has been to inscribe on his flesh "For the Fallen," and the initials of those that have died for their country, each bullet representing someone he knew.

On his right arm, he has this tribal piece with a military inscription:

The phrase "Mess with the Best, Die like the Rest" is one of those military slogans that is designed to inspire the soldier and intimidate the enemy.

All work was by Mark Madden at Madd Grafix Tattoo Shop in Buffalo, New York.

Thanks to Earl for his duty to this country and for sharing his memorial ink with us here on Tattoosday!

Amy's Sugar Skull from New Orleans

Amy shared this sugar skull with me a week or so ago:

Clicking this link will display the vast range of sugar skulls that have appeared here on Tattoosday over the years.

They are one of my favorite types of tattoos to post, because they tend to vary from one to another and can be uniquely personalized.

Amy got this one on All Saints' Day, in honor of her grandfather.

She was at the New Orleans Voodoo Tattoo Convention and an artist named Joey just free-handed the drawing on her arm.

Thanks to Amy for sharing her sugar skull with us here on Tattoosday!

Spring has sprung (maybe)!

I am loving this weather so much, and Prescott is truly beautiful this time of the year. I spent the early evening on a nice walk with some of my lady friends, and it was so lovely to feel the warm sun and to be outdoors. One of my friends warned me that she thinks it will snow before we truly get our spring, but I am really hoping she is wrong! I was originally going to be spending the weekend in both Flagstaff and Phoenix, but I have just been way too tired lately, so I chose to instead lay low and relax. Amber Joy is going to be here in just a few days and I am SO excited. We always have the best time, and I can't wait for our trip down to Phoenix next weekend to hang out with Erin and get her first tattoo via Cory. Maybe she'll even let me feature her on Tattoo Tuesday!

Today was such a good day at work! I started the day off with the sweetest email and some amazing news, and then it got even better when I got a surprise delivery of stargazer lilies. They are beautiful and the bouquet is HUGE! I feel very loved. My seniors and I (and Robyn's ESL kiddos) finished watching "The Cove" and it was amazing. So sad, but it impacted me in such a way, and every single one of my students agreed. I recommend that all of you check it out asap!

surprise lilies at work! <33

Hank also leaves for a quick mini-tour (I wouldn't even call it a tour!) with Terror and Ignite next week, so be sure to stop by and say hi if they're in your neck of the woods! If you mention you're a blog follower maaybe Hank will hook you up with a sweet deal on merch too! He will be playing drums on this little jaunt, which he loves, and it's neat he gets to mix it up. Their normal drummer Dustin, won't be playing this time, so Hank is moving to drums and our friend JP is filling in on guitar. They're crazy. haha.


Here are the dates:

Thursday, April 1: San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
Friday, April 2: San Diego, CA @ The Epicentre
Saturday, April 3: Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
Sunday, April 4: Mesa, AZ @ The Nile Basement

And in the spirit, I thought I would post a few of my million photos from last spring, to get in the mood! I love the springtime so much, and this spring is especially wonderful because Hank and I have so many fun things coming up.

at Disneyland!
castle photo

one of Sar's many visits
at sweettart for brunch

sister time:)

Viva Las Vegas with my best friends!
my best friends

in Mesa
before dinner

birthday parties!
the table

Slices at 2am!
at slices

shirl and emily

Hanky and Autumn

beautiful day today

zoe, elisa, me

SO excited for THIS spring! Traveling, fun, family and friends. Can't wait!

Renee's Papal Insignia Challenges Her Beliefs

I met Renee in the Clark Street subway station in Brooklyn Heights recently, and we had a fascinating conversation.

We talked for a good bit, and actually spent more time time talking about her plans for new tattoos, as opposed to what she already had on her body. She has five tattoos, two of which she did herself. We ended up talking most about this one, on the middle finger of her right hand:

This is one of her self-inked tattoos which, she says, she did using "the prison method". This generally involves using a needle or a sharpened guitar string and dipping it in ink. Sometimes with, sometimes without, a jerry-rigged motor.

The design is based on the insignia of the Pope.

At the time that she did this, she felt a connection to the Catholic Church that was very strong. Religion was a "huge part of her childhood"

However, as anyone paying attention to the news recently is well aware, the Catholic Church has been under fire for quite some time due to its handling of internal matters regarding abuse among the clergy.

Renee finds that who she is now is "irreconcilable with the Catholic Church" and, as a result, she plans on having this finger tattoo covered up "as a statement" about her feelings and her conviction that this symbol is, in her words, "something I can't have anymore".

So today's post features a tattoo whose time is running out, which is not all that common here on the site. I have always maintained that the tattoos seen here aren't always the "best" in art, but rather, interesting encounters in New York with interesting people.

Thanks to Renee for being so forthcoming about her personal connection to tattooing, and for sharing this small, seemingly harmless tattoo, that carries with it such a weight, laden with meaning.

Richard's Cybernetic Tattoos

I met Richard in the Amtrak section of Penn Station, which I have found to be a wonderful place to find tattoos from all over the world.

He was in the New York area on business, having traveled from Oregon where he lives and runs his company, Out of the Box Mods, LLC.

His tattoos are directly related to his vocation of computer modding, which "involves making physical changes to a computer for aesthetic reasons or to improve the performance".

Here is the piece on his upper left arm:

Often, I will be sent, a better photo that was taken right after completion, or in better circumstances than my quick little snapshots in public. By comparing the photo I took with the one Richard sent, you get a better idea of how the tattoo artist envisioned the piece, down to the bruising of the skin around the torn flesh.

I also took a photo of a work-in-progress on his forearm:

The outline for the second piece is completed, for the most part, and it is soon to be colored.

This style of tattoo is often referred to as "torn flesh" and is marked by an added dimension of perspective. When done properly, the effect of the tattoo is unsettling, as if the skin of the tattooed person has been ripped away, exposing the workings within. The variance comes in what lies beneath the skin, which allows individuals to express more about their selves through their tattoo art. See some other examples of the torn flesh motif as seen on the site can be viewed here and here.

The machinery below Richard's outer layer of skin personifies that which drives him: mods.

The work shown is the creation of tattoo artist "Lil Kev" at Ink-Daddy's Tattoo in Salem, Oregon.

Richard tells me he's getting the forearm piece finished in a couple of days, so check back to see the link to the updated piece, once it's done.

Thanks again to Richard for his participation and cooperation in sharing his cool mod tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!