Friday, April 29, 2011

2011 Intentions: April Edition

Welcome to the April check in for your 2011 Intentions, Resolutions and One Little Word Projects.  Once a month, I offer a gentle reminder to revisit the goals you set at the beginning of the year and post a project about them.  To learn more about the project, check out this post or click on the label "2011 intentions" below.  I have three art journals going:  my intentions journal (to be "50 and Fabulous"), my one little word journal (focusing on health), and my resolutions journal (focusing on 12 specific things I want to accomplish this year).  This month's page is in my intentions journal, and it was inspired by the fact that I got to meet one of my personal heroines at an amazing event we held at the law school where I teach.  
That's me on the far left, and in the middle stands Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers.  My journaling reads "In April, I was fabulous because I met and shared the stage with Dolores Huerta."  She has been a huge inspiration to me because of the work she has done to help empower female farmworkers and to improve their lives, as well as the lives of their families.  Her presentation was fantastic - in turns, funny, inspiring and informative.  I can't  believe the amount of energy she still has, especially after the very hard life she has led. You can learn more about her by checking out her foundation's website here or the United Farm Workers site here. Meeting her made me realize that I am fabulous at fifty because I am passionate about seeking social justice and have been able to find a career which lets me work toward that goal.  I don't blog much about my work life, but I did write one post with a video link that you can find here.  One of the things I love about this picture is the way it captures three distinct generations of fabulous women -we're surrounded by some of my 20-something law students (aren't they all beautiful - you can see how star struck we all are, I think). There's me, and there's Dolores.  We're all together, all working to make the world a better place.  Dolores Huerta is "80 and Fabulous." Now that's definitely a goal to aspire to, don't you think!!!
How are you coming on your 2011 intentions, resolutions and one little word projects?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Battling and Celebrating with Team Teal

Marti, the mother of my good friend, Deb, is celebrating her birthday today, so I created this art journal page to say. . . Happy Birthday Marti!!!  Please join me in wishing her a good one!
Marti is battling cancer right now, so a few prayers to go along with those birthday wishes would definitely be appreciated.  Fortunately, Marti is surrounded by a loving family and "Team Teal" (a group of supporters who wear a teal cancer awareness bracelet in her honor), and we are helping her celebrate today.  The bracelet looks like this:
It speaks of hope, strength, courage and love.  And I wanted to share a story today of others who battled cancer and a celebration they enjoyed:
This very old layout documents the day in May of 2003 when we celebrated my dad's 70th birthday.  That's him on the far left.  He's surrounded by his compadres, a group of men who he met 45 years earlier when he and my mom moved to California, and who became life long friends.  Brilliant dancers and hard-drinkers, this group of men was rumored to have serenaded my mother with Mexican corridos while she was pregnant with me - as a way to apologize after they kept my dad out too late.  We spent many afternoons with their families, enjoying bar-b-que's and soaking in that warmth  of extended family which my parents no doubt missed, having moved away from all their brothers and sisters in Texas.
My father has his arm around Henry Jauregui, my son's namesake.  On this day, Henry was in the last stages of battling stomach cancer.  He had been bed-ridden for weeks and no one expected him to make it to the party.  But he did.  He pulled himself out of bed and came and sang and danced with his compadres one last time.  He made it to the celebration. Because that is the power of love.  And of hope, and strength, and courage, and faith.
Happy Birthday Marti.  May the powers of hope, strength, courage and faith take you to many, many more celebrations.
To find the linky for Team Teal's posts, check out Deb's blog by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blogging with Culture and Weekend Events

I received this wonderful little necklace from Maria of the blog Bubblegum and Duct Tape.  It has a little book with Frida Kahlo on the cover.  Isn't it great? (ETA: it just so happens that she's running a tutorial today on these necklaces - how cool is that?)
One of the reasons I love her blog is because it has such a strong Latina feel to it.  A few other blogs with a similar vibe are "Mexico in My Kitchen" and Gloria's Blog Viva la Vida, as well as my cousin's blog, When the Sun Comes Out.  I find myself drawn to these blogs because they reconnect me with a part of my core identity, which you sometimes see come out in my art.
Two other blogs with strong cultural feelings are Athena's Creative Journey, an art journal blog from Italy, and Shutter Happy Moments, a photography blog from the Phillipines. Visiting these blogs feels like a mini-trip abroad.
So, I'm curious . . .  do you find yourself drawn to any blogs with a strong sense of culture? I'd love to know which ones they are, so I can check them out.  And, do you think my blog has a particular cultural flavor to it?
Do check back in this weekend.  Tomorrow will be a colorful link-up, which I previewed here.  Saturday will be the end-of-the-month check in on your 2011 resolutions, intentions and one little word projects. And on Sunday, I hope to participate in Sian's Storytelling Sunday.  See you then!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fast and Simple Scrapbook Pages

Recently, I mentioned that I scrapped 15 pages at an all-day crop and shared a bit about my scrapbooking process.  Today, I thought I'd share some of those pages.  The page up top is a fairly typical page . . . quality paper from Club Scrap, 4 pictures arranged in a very linear way, a journaling block and a few embellishments.  Most of the time, I scrap in double page spreads.  Here are the two I did with fall pumpkin patch pictures:
My Fourth of July pictures:
And layouts from DD Clara in Junior Lifeguards:
You can see they are all very simple, but they are done!  You can click on any of them to enlarge them and see more details. 
I also mentioned that sometimes I start with blank layouts and then find pictures that work.  Here's an example of that type of layout:
The layout started with the background papers (beige an blue), plus the dark green paper strips and blue and green photo mats.  These six pictures I had from our summer vacation matched the color and feel of the blank layout.  I found a stamped dragon fly border and embellies in my stash from some sort of page element swap, which I thought completed the page well.
So, there you have it!  I think my favorite page is the fireworks page, although I am also quite partial to the last layout as well.  What about you? Do you have a favorite?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter at Our House

We had a very nice, but low-key Easter.  I wasn't planning to do Easter baskets for the kids, but DH Paul bought them chocolate bunnies and some candy, so I made each of them an Easter bowl with their bunny, a hard boiled egg, a plastic egg filled with cash and a bit of candy.  It was just about perfect for them. 
Paul and I enjoyed mimosas and cracked a few eggs playing egg wars to make egg salad sandwiches for brunch.  Then we played Peeps Wars for a while (to play, you put a toothpick in the front of your Peep, square it up in front of your opponent's Peep, place them both in the microwave, and run the microwave until one skewers the other) :
For dinner, I made fideo, which is a Mexican chicken noodle soup and totally yummy.  You can find the recipe here.

And we had blueberry bars and Amy's very intriguing balsamic strawberries for dessert:
All in all, a very pleasant day!  How was your Easter?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Good Mail Day!

I had so much fun yesterday taping and gluing bits of paper together to make some mail art.  And then, today, when I went to the post office, I found the fantastic envelope above filled with this beautiful card:
They came from Denise of Chocolate Mousie as part of the mail art exchange organized by Ginger at Ginger's Life of Spice.  Aren't they fabulous!!!
So, what am I sending out?  I taped two of my post cards from ATC's together and then filled the interior with paper and embellies from my stash.  Here's a sample (outside on the top and inside on the bottom):
And here's what my envelopes look like:
They were so much to make! Have you received any "good mail" lately?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Greetings from Gallo Organico

I am rerunning this canvas from last year because I still think it's the Easter artwork which best reflects my sensibilities and style.  It's a tiny 3x3 inch canvas with gel medium for texture, tinted with acrylic paints.  The image is from a photograph I took of some graffiti in Paris.  I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Turning Art into Cards

Sorry to have been away for a bit - real life has been very busy! I've received some nice things in the mail recently and when hunting around for a thank-you card in my stash, I came across a package of postcards I had made from some ATC's.  These got me thinking about the various services that will turn your art into cards or postcards.
I made these at several years ago, when I was considering the same thing. Moo offers a variety of sizes, and the quality was fine, especially given the relatively low price.  I think they took a long time to receive because of the company's location.
Recently, as part of a Japan fund raiser, I ordered some post cards featuring photography from Tammy Lee Bradley from Red Bubble. I was very impressed with the quality, cost and turn around time.  Then, I saw this article on the Digital Photography School blog about them. 
I'm thinking about putting some of my art up on their site. Before I do, I was wondering if any of you have experience with any other sites that turn your photography or artwork into cards. I'd love feedback or advice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let's Talk the Process of Scrapbooking

On Saturday, I went to an all day crop with some of the friends I have met through the West Coast Club Scrap group.  It was so much fun, I made this art journal page about it!
It was also very productive.  I got 15 pages done. I'll try and share some over the next few days.  As I was packing for the crop on Friday, I began thinking about my process for scrapbooking and how it has changed over time.  These days I only scrap once a month or so, and it's usually at a crop of some kind (a group of friends getting together to craft/scrapbook).  I rarely pull out my scrapbooking stuff on my own; I'm much more inclined to do art journaling when I have a time at home.  I also tend to prepare what I call "page kits."  I'll select the pictures I want to scrap and put them in a bag with the paper and embellishments I plan to use.  That way when I get to a crop, I have (most of ) what I need.  Often, I will also put the sketch in the bag which I plan to use.  My favorite sketch tool are the idea decks of cars from Club Scrap which tell you how many of each size paper you need and where to make the cuts to create the sketch.   Of course, I feel free to improvise once I get started!  Club Scrap also has a wonderful tool/process they call "Assembly Line Scrapbooking," where you create blank layouts with their coordinated paper.  Then, when it comes time to crop, you simply match up pictures with existing blank layouts.  I know it sounds like it wouldn't work, but, trust me, it does.  So, that's where I'm at these days with my process.  It's quick and efficient. I like the pages I complete and really like the fact that they're completed.  They're not as creative as my pages used to be, but I channel my creativity into my other interests.
I'm curious to hear about the process that you use to scrapbook. . . please share!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Enchanted Forest (AJ page) and Blog Hop Winner

ETA:  I took down the previously displayed art journal page because I received the following email from the artist:
"Hi Maria,
I came across your blog and the collage containing an image of one of my paintings.
While I am flattered you like my work and promote my website through your blog, I am displeased the image was used to make another piece of artwork and broadcast without my permission.
My images are protected by copyright laws and are my intellectual property.
I am requesting the image be removed from the internet until express written permission is granted from my attorney.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Brian McGuffey"
Who knew any artists read my blog?  And, as I said in my email reply to him, I certainly did not mean to cause him displeasure or to do anything wrong. I treated his postcard the same way I treat other found objects in my mixed media work. I do not make any money off his image, and I gave it proper attribution.  I thought that was sufficient, especially since the image is visible on his website and promotional material.  Oh well, live and learn . . .
********************************************************************************Thanks to everyone for stopping by my blog as part of Mel's smashing Alpha-Numeric Blog Hop! I especially appreciate all the insights people shared about the artists in their family.  I used the random number generator to select the winner for the assortment of Clara cards, and its: Mariana! Congratulations! Since I already have your mailing address, I'll get them out to you soon.
On Sunday, I taught an art journal class on "finishing those pages."  It was about taking the wonderful backgrounds or half-finished pages of students and moving them to completion.  I made the page above, titled Enchanted Forest, with journaling that reads "She wandered in the Enchanted Forest and encountered the magical beings within her soul." The focal image is from a postcard by an artist named Brian McGuffey that I picked up at an art festival last year.  I love his work, which you can check out on his website here. Have you discovered any new artists lately?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alphanumeric Blog Hop: Grandpa's Wishing Well

Welcome to my post today, which is part of an Alphanumeric Blog Hop put together by the wonderful Mel. My post is brought to you by the letter "W."  
My post was inspired by an email I got from one of my cousins, on my mom's side of the family, who reads my blog.  When she saw the collage I posted here, she felt compelled to let me know how much she liked it.  She also said, "With such an interest and talent for art and photography,was there anyone in your family that you know of with a talent for the arts?  Did you know that our grandfather Manuel Luna was known to be a very excellent blacksmith along with popsicle art, I guess now known as folk art." And that got me thinking about the artists in my family . . . 
I did know my Grandfather was quite a craftsman.  I love this picture of him working for the railroad.  And I also treasure this one of him working in his garage on Cochran Street (Houston, Texas) on a set of doll furniture for my older sister, Cordelia:
One of my all-time favorite family heirlooms is this Wishing Well, which my Grandfather made out of Popsicle sticks:
I kept it in my room as a child and recovered it sometime after my  mother passed away.
I love all the little details:
I know I've seen a popsicle stick purse which he also made, but that never called to me the way the Wishing Well did. There's just something special about the magical possibilities inherent in a Wishing Well, don't you think?  I'm so glad my mom kept it and that I was able to inherit it.
My mom's artistic talents ran more to sewing (a family trait I did not inherit, as I described in this post) and ceramics.  She made this adorable angel which lives in the laundry room, along side the Wishing Well, keeping me company as I go through my day.
If you've read this far, I think you deserve the opportunity to win something.  How about an assortment of cards featuring artwork made by my very talented daughter?
To enter, simply leave a comment noting whether an artistic nature runs in your family.  Although my daughter dabbles in painting, printing and mixed media, I think her passion really lies in sculpture, like the pumpkins and nest she created.  I think my Grandfather would have particularly liked the flower she sculpted out of toothpicks, featured on the card in the upper right hand corner.  It makes it seem like his art has come full circle.
Edited to add:  Congratulations to Mariana on winning the prize.
Speaking of coming full circle, if you're ready for the next blog on the hop, just click on this link to go visit Ginger at Ginger's Life of Spice.  If you ever get lost along the way, here's a list of all the blogs participating today. 
I Speak Melsh:
BE Glorious:
Captured On Film:
Chatty Crafty Arty Pig:
Creating Room:
Curiouser and Curiouser:
Daily Life - Bits and Pieces:
Deb's World:
Den's Crafty Diary:
From High In The Sky:
Gallo Organico:
Ginger's Life Of Spice:
Handmade By Kirsty:
Havoc and Mayhem:
Heather's Scraps:
Helena's Creative Maven:
Holaday's Happy Hearts:
Just Jimjams:
K's Crafty Corner:
Life...As I See It:
{Life Behind The Purple Door}:
Lisa E Design Blog:
Living Life One Blessing At A Time:
Mary's Musings:
Michelle Loves...:
Obstinate Pursuit:
Over At Our Place:
Paper Turtle:
Peonies and Pennies:
Random Reflections:
Rosalind Revival:
Scrap Dreams:
Scrapworthy Lives:
Staring At The Sea:
Surefiredaisy Says:
This Kalil Life:
This Little Life Of Mine:
Xnomads' Blog:
 Note: If any of the posts aren't up yet, please bear with us - the different time zones and the peculiarity of blogging platforms when it comes to autoposts may mean that one or two posts don't appear on time! If that's the case, come back to this list to pick up from the next blog, but do please pop back and try the other link later, when the post should be there for your enjoyment.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Showers, but NOT May Flowers

The photography blog Mortal Muses is challenging folks to think outside the box and is looking for Spring pictures without flowers.  It's an interesting challenge, don't you think?  A few things I came up with were:
pictures of the salmon fishing fleet heading out, as the new season opened;
my new straw hat to wear to baseball games; and
plane tickets or reservations for spring break. 
And then, after an unexpected April shower, I took Gypsy outside.  And realized that, in my case, April showers led to puppy dog paw prints!
What out-of-the-box Spring photos can you think of?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things in Progress . . .

I don't really have any finished art to share today, but I've been busy none-the-less.  Here's a picture of "mail-in, mail-out." The three decorate envelopes on the left are prizes (finally) going out for my Tsunami Relief blog-give away.  On the right is a tag I received from my friend "Young Nancy."  She posted it on her blog as part of a Grungy Monday Challenge, and I commented how much I loved it.  Then, voila, it showed up in my mail box today. Thanks Nancy!  I love it!  The green piece of "mail art" arrived from the folks who wrote the "Good Mail Day" book to acknowledge that they received this oddly shaped piece of mail.
I also spent some time dusting these off:
for the post I'm going to run on Sunday as part of Mel's alpha-numeric blog hop.
I cut up some teal hearts for an art journal page I have in progress, and I gathered a bunch of photographs and ephemera to make some new collage sheets:
So, what do you have in progress?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grungy Monday 3: Adirondack Color Wash

This week's Grungy Monday Challenge at the Studio L3 blog features Tim Holtz's Adirondack Color Wash.  I love these sprays and use them often with stencils.  Since I needed to make some birthday cards, I pulled out a Club Scrap flower stencil an got started. For the card on the right, I used the stencil with butterscotch, cranberry and plum color wash.   For the card on the left, I took the ink-covered stencil and pressed it onto the paper to capture the "negative image."  For both cards, I then used a Dina Wakley technique, using a paint brush dipped in water to pull out the over-spray to create a subtle water colored background.
I love how these sprays can quickly create beautiful, unique images.  While I was at it, I made a simple, but (I think) striking friendship page.  The stencil is from Ed Roth.
 Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Venice Collage #3

I started this collage a long time ago in a crackle paste class.  Last week, I pulled it out of my unfinished projects bag, took it to my studio and painted it.  I added a few embellishments, and I now declare it done!  It's the third in a series of texture collages that feature photographs I took in Venice.  You can see the other two in this post.  I might do one more in the Series, but we'll see.  I definitely want to do one more in my Paris series, so I'll probably turn to that one first. 
I'm also submitting it to the Gingersnap Creations Challenge Blog for the Once in a Blue Moon Challenge, which is accepting entries based on any of their previous challenges!  If you're looking for a wonderful list of challenges, check out this link.  I'm submitting for the GC67 "Go 3D" challenge.
 It felt good to finish up another project! Have you completed anything recently?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday (4/10)

I'm participating in the Sunday Scavenger Hunt again this week. I really like how this challenge forces encourages me to take my camera out, while giving me enough time to ponder what to shoot during the week.  Five also feels like the right number of photographs to take and feature.  Finally, I like the versatility of this challenge.  Last week, I featured pictures that I felt captured a bit of my life right now.  This week, I tried to work on my photography skills a bit more. Remember, you can click on any of them to enlarge and get a better sense of the photograph.  This week, I particularly recommend it for the "many" and perspective pictures.  This week's topics are:  Motion; Waiting to Click; In Fashion; Animal's Perspective; and Many.  Next week's topics will be Time, Poem/Poetry, Outside, Zoom! and Isolation.
For Motion:
My tendency is to avoid blur, and focus instead on stopping action when I take pictures of motion (especially related to sports).  For this one, I decided to capture Gypsy with a bit of blur. She's about to grab one of her toys.  I still think I prefer stop-action but it's good to experiment.  I also think I need a second person to get better action photos of the dog.

For Waiting to Click - This is Tom, my friend Katie's son, diving back into first base so he won't get picked-off trying to steal. There's a definite waiting to click story behind these three photos, besides the obvious one of having to wait for this particular moment.  Tom is the catcher on my son's baseball team. He does not get to run the bases often because a pinch runner will often be put in his place so he can return to the dug out and get his catcher's gear back on.  Katie is one of those friends who really appreciates it when I give her pictures of her son playing baseball.  So, I wanted to get some of him on the basepath.  It took a little bit of patience, but it was worth it.
For In Fashion:
I have a dear friend whose mom is battling cancer right now.  I wear this teal bracelet in support of her and her family.  I was thinking about the "high key" prompt from last week when I was taking this.  It's not a high key photograph, but I do like how it turned out nonetheless.  If you're the praying type, I know they'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers.
For Animal's Perpective - I toyed with a few possibilities. Starting with what the cat sees when she stares out the window (I was hoping to catch a couple of birds sitting on the eave of the roof, which is what she is always hoping to catch, too, but alas no birds):
I also took this one, which is Gypsy's perspective (she follows me around all the time and I just realized this is what she must see - LOL!):
I finally settled on this photography, which I think captures an animal's perspective by hopefully letting you imagine what's going on inside her head as she stares out at the world:
For Many (we have too many weeds in our lawn!):
There you have it!  I enjoyed focusing on these each week. The funny thing is that some photographs could easily be switched - Tom could be motion; the weeds could be animal's perspective; and, given how much time I waited for the damn non-appearing birds, that could definitely have been "waiting to click."
Thanks for stopping by.  Let me know if you have a favorite and whether you're playing along.