Thursday, May 31, 2012

June Stamp Give Away: Love is in the Air

Once a month, on the first day of the month, I post a couple of new or gently used stamps to give away. They usually relate to an upcoming holiday. If you want them, leave me a comment and let me know. But you have to be quick! I'll pick the winner in the next 24 hours. As June is a traditional month for weddings, I selected three "love-ly" stamps. "I love you" from Club Scrap  and the Inkadinkado Cats are gently used. The Stampin' Up sentiment has never touched ink. Let me know if you want the set.
Edited to add:  Congratulations Mary B. for being randomly selected as the winner!
For July, the stamp give away will be special - I'll be giving away four sets of stamps, and the give away will run for an entire weekend. Why is it special? Because it's in conjunction with a special event being planned by Jennifer of Jennifer's Jumbles . . . but more on that later!

Completed "Week in the Life" Album (monthly make)

Well, I did it! I buckled down and completed the journaling and embellishments to finish my "Week in the Life" photo journaling project.  You can see the blank book at this link; the cover is above, and the completed book looks like this:
A typical day looks like this:
In the top photo, there's a full 6x6 red page on the left, followed by two dark brown 6x2 inch flaps, to which I added pictures, matted with light brown paper. The second picture shows the page created using the two flaps, and the third picture shows a full 6x6 red page on the right and a flap page on the left (with the photo added).  This gave me plenty of room to add pictures and journaling.  Here's two other pages I liked:
I kept the embellishments very simple.  I mainly used two different Close to My Heart stamp sets.  One had the date journaling stamp that I used on my cover and for each day (you can see the Monday and Tuesday ones above).  The other had a variety of stamps (the "time to" one;  a "life is good" and "good day" ticket; the phrase "follow your dreams"' and a swirl). I used these throughout the album.  I also supplemented with the "memoir" and "write your own story" stamps you can see on the cover.
Overall, I'm really happy with the album. It really chronicles a week in my life and covers my work, family and creative pursuits pretty well. I've noticed that I've taken many fewer pictures this year, so I'm really glad to have this album to really record the nitty gritty of our lives.  Plus, I'm going to count this as my monthly make for May (just in the nick of time)!
Did you do Week in the Life?  Did you complete your album?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Musing on Online Classes and Class review: Collect and Create

I just finished up the Amy Tan class, "Collect and Create," offered at Two Peas.  While trying to compose this review of the class, I found myself contemplating why I take online classes because the answer to that will often determine how satisfied I am with a class.  Sometimes I take classes because I want to learn a new skill or new technique.  This is often the case with photography, Photoshop or art journaling classes.  Sometimes I take classes because I want to complete a project.  Many of Shimelle's classes (like Journal Your Christmas, Learn Something New, or I Confess) fit into this category. Other times I take a class because I am looking for inspiration.  I usually do this when I have a project in mind that I want to complete, and I just need a jump start (Shimelle's Pretty Paper Party or Worth a Thousand Words are examples of this). 
When it comes to "Collect and Create," I was mainly looking for inspiration (I won the class in a give-away from Ali Edwards' blog). When I read the description, I thought it would provide me with some good ideas to scrap my backlog of vacation and family pictures from 2011.  The class had five lessons:  each lesson had a PDF (about 20 pages) and a short to very short video (5-10 minutes). The lessons covered using scraps; using favorites; scrapping memorabilia; inspiration; and putting it all together.  On the whole, the materials were very thin.  As an experienced scrapper, I did not encounter any new techniques (the videos on cutting page protectors for memorabilia and creating a background with mists were the best).  Several minutes of the videos were simply Amy Tan flipping through Japanese image books or her Project Life Album.  Reading through the PDF's, I came up with a list of inspiration ideas which I did use. I discussed many of them in my post yesterday, and I would say that the layout up top today came from the "putting it all together" lesson.  But there wasn't anything really new on the list of challenges, and the ideas weren't presented with any real depth.  Frankly, I think I would have gotten as many ideas by going back through the challenges from Shimelle's last on-line crop. So, on the whole, I did not get much out of the class.
I do think the class may be more helpful to a new scrapper or to someone with a different style.  Many of the page examples fall into the category of creating a page that uses A LOT  of embellishments and patterned paper to create a stunning back drop for a single picture.  Although these pages are beautiful to look at and certainly a valid style of scrapping, it is most definitely NOT my style of scrapbooking.  Perhaps if it were, the class would have been more satisfying. 
Finally, let's talk about cost.  For me, it was free.  But the class is priced at $25, which I think is generally about right for an inspiration class.  I think I'm willing to pay more for a technique/skills class or a project class.  However, given the limited content in the class, I think the $25 price tag is too high.
Overall, I would give the class a C+.  That's just my opinion, and I'd be interested in hearing from anyone else who took the class.
I would also be interested in your thoughts on why you take a class and whether that affects how much you're willing to pay for it.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Been Busy Scrapping!

I haven't been around in blog-land the last few days because I've been busy scrapping! I took advantage of the long weekend here in the U.S. to organize my pictures and supplies and then get to work on finishing my album from last summer's trip to England.  I created 28 pages in the last two days!  I drew a lot of inspiration from the Amy Tan class "Collect and Create," which I won from the Ali Edwards blog. I'll do a proper review of the class soon (and be 'round to visit your blogs), but in the meantime, I thought I'd share a few pages from my weekend and their inspirational starting points. You can click on any of the pages to see them larger and in more detail. For the page up top, I used a punch - my crown punch to be specific, in order to make these tag embellishments:
Next up, I used the paper from which I had punched shapes.  This time, it was my butterfly punch to create journaling embellishments:
The next inspiration was to layer memorabilia:
And then to use your stash. For this next layout, I used lots of my stash - tags I had created with my November "counterfeit kit" which I put together to work on these pages; vellum paper (I have A LOT of this and rarely use it, so I tried really hard to use it in this album project); old sticker letters; and a charm:
used a sketch (from the Club Scrap sketch deck) on this next layout because I knew what paper I wanted to use, but I couldn't figure out how to arrange it:
When I was stuck for embellishments on my next layout, I used a favorite - in this case, brads.  I love brads and metal:
Next up, was an oldie, but a goodie - use stickers. Yes, stickers. I know many people don't use them much anymore (and I don't either), but I did like how I used the sticker strips along the left on this layout:
The final inspirational idea was to scraplift from someone outside your box. For this last layout, I used the idea of cutting paper strips to create a background:
This last technique is definitely not my usual style, but I was definitely out of ideas by the time I started the layout, so I went with it. And I really liked the outcome!
I hope you found some inspiration today! Let me know if you did!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

PPF: Outside my Box

Welcome to Paint Party Friday - a wonderful gathering that encourages bloggers to take out their paints at least once a week and share their results.  You can find the rest of this week's party at this link. As for me, today, I'm sharing a couple of pages that took me outside my box.  The first one is a simple watercolor of a local pier. What makes it different for me is that I started by loosely painting the shapes and then followed later with pen and watercolor pencils to add definition.  I almost always sketch first and then paint.  It was a little scary, but I'm reasonably happy with it. I especially like the water.  Here's a photograph of the pier which I found on the web at this link:
I'm lucky enough to live near this pier, and I often have this view during my morning workout.
The other thing I want to share is an abstract work in progress:
I've been so impressed by the abstracts I've seen during PPF that I decided to try one of my own. This is the first layer, and I'm happy with where it's going. 
Have you tried anything outside your box lately? You should - it's scary fun!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer's Coming . . .an announcement

Summer's on its way, and that means it will soon be time for the Second Annual Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!  Last summer, I hosted a photography scavenger hunt, in which people hunted for this list of items.  It was such a success that I plan to do another one.  On June 20 (the first day of summer), I will post a list of 21 items which you will need to search out and photograph by September 21.  Participants are encouraged to periodically post their finds on their blog, but you don't need a blog to participate.  On September 21, I will survey the participants and choose a winner, based on the number of items found.  If more than one person finds all the items, a random draw will determine the winner.  I will also draw a random winner from all the participants.  Winners will receive a photography-related prize (either a photography book or entrance into an online photography class).  
Last year, 23 people participated.  You can check out some of the photographs from last summer in this post.  Did you participate?  Are you planning to participate this year?  Got any questions?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Amy's Challenge and OLW Check-In

Amy, of Over at Our Place, posted this challenge to blog about the seventh photo in the twenty-first folder in your photo files.  The photograph above, of a man cutting down a very tall tree in our backyard is what I found.  It reminded me of my one little word for 2012 - "Home."  This year I've been working on a variety of projects to clean up and purge our home; to figure out my artistic home; and to nurture the relationships which lie at the heart of my home.  One project was clearing out some big, diseased trees which blocked our view.  It was great to get it done!
In the back yard, we also hauled away a defunct hot tub and outgrown play structure, pruned the fruit trees (long overdue) and cleared out junk from the sides of the house and the storage sheds.  My indoor purging had slowed down, but I did get through some cupboards in the kitchen. And, this weekend, I went after the kids' wardrobes and book shelves.  It felt so good to box up and bag things they had outgrown.
Then, this afternoon, Paul and I took about six boxes of old toys and four bags of clothes to the church for donation (the toys had come out of the attic which I had cleared out during spring break). It was great because there were local families who met us and immediately started taking the stuff which we had brought. I know the families are in need, and I'm so glad these things will be put to good use. The next stop was the used bookstore where we sold three huge bags of books! All-in-all, a successful day.
So, thanks Amy, for reminding me to check in on my one little word for 2012. And for motivating me to do a few more projects around it! How are the rest of you doing with your one little word?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Mail!

I just put a big bunch of things in the mail last week, including my faces for Mel's latest facebook swap.  Here's what mine look like - very much in my style, don't you think? And apologies for being "the long pole in the tent" as my dad would say (you know, the one that's holding everything up!). Had a lot of fun making these.
I also dropped some thank you notes in the mail for these wonderful goodies I received lately. First, a prize package from Beverly of BeGlorious:
And this wonderful assortment of handmade papers from Karen of Random Reflections, just cuz she's such a sweet and thoughtful person who knew I would like them:
Thanks gals! I love it all. What's new in your post these days (in coming or out going)?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Picks and Pans: Books, Classes, TV, Film, Products, etc.

I always love hearing about good books, TV shows, films, classes, etc. from my bloggy friends (or even things I should stay away from). So, I thought I'd open up comments this weekend asking you to share a recommendation or warning.  I'll try to gather them together and post a list next week. Here's a few from me:
Book - I just finished Stephen King's "11/22/63," and it was gripping enough to keep me up late into the night (and inspire today's art journal page). It's about a man who travels back in time to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It's not a scary, horror book, but it's compelling.  It could have used an editor (it really didn't need to be 1,000 pages), but it was still a fast read and raised lots of interesting questions.
Products - I love Dina Wakley's original release of stamps from Stampington (used in today's AJ page), and she just released some new ones! You can check them out here.  I also used Tim Holtz's Distress stains - I thought for sure I would fall in love with these, but I haven't yet . . .
Class - Cheryl Johnson is running her Beautiful People portraiture class again. I took it, and I loved it. You can register at this link.  My class review is here.
Movies - Last weekend Paul and I went to see Dark Shadows. I was pretty disappointed.  All the good, funny bits were in the previews. It never became either a full on comedy (like Austin Powers, for example, which is what I was expecting) or an exciting Sci Fi/ Fantasy movie (like Star Trek, for example) or a scary movie.  It will no doubt come out on video at Halloween time, and it would be an okay rental. But save your money and see something else at the theater!
TV Show - I have totally enjoyed Awake on U.S. television this season. Unfortunately, it was cancelled! It is sort of like Life on Mars, (which has both a U.S. and U.K. version). It's available on netflix or itunes if you want to check it out.  I also like the U.S. show Grimm, and it was actually renewed for next year!
Please share your thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly! It's one of the best things about visiting blogland after all!

PPF: My final Modigliani

Several months ago, I began a Modigliani challenge, sponsored by Ayala.  You can read about the challenge in this post. I chose four different Modigliani paintings to copy and finished the first three in March.  This last one has been sitting in my art journal, half-finished, for quite a while. I chose Paint Party Friday to finish it up, and I'm pretty happy with it! I've been playing with water colors a lot lately, and it was really nice to return to using acrylic paints. Ayala is currently running a 29 faces challenge in May; check it out if you're interested. (I did her 29 faces in February challenge and really liked it.) Thanks for the challenge Ayala, and thanks to Eva and Kristin for sponsoring Paint Party Friday - it really does inspire me to pull out my paints at least once a week and exposes me to new fabulous artists.  You can check out this week's party by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Class Review: Watercolor Sketching

I just completed the class "Watercolor Sketching" presented by Cathy Johnson, free of charge at Strathmore Artists Studio. The class consisted of four lessons, released one per week, starting on March 1 (but all now available until August 1).  Each lesson includes a basic video, a bonus video and a downloadable PDF.  The first two lessons were on basic watercolor techniques and how to incorporate them with drawing.  I found that watercolors are harder to work with than acrylics, in terms of blending. And less forgiving.  But definitely easier to transport.  The second lesson was on mixing watercolors with other media:
For this page, I started with a variegated water color wash, drew some shells in ink. Added highlights with other ink pens and some gesso.  The final lesson was on collage with water color:
I love this page I created about Clara's obsession with her cell phone.
All-in-all, I found it to be a very satisfying class.  The basic lessons provided enough information to try new skills, while the bonus videos showed Cathy Johnson working through larger water color projects.  It started a little slow, but the last two lessons were jam-packed with information and exercises. There was a forum (which I couldn't figure out) and a photo gallery in which I didn't participate. But those are small quibbles.   I give the class a solid A.
Anyone else take this class?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cherries - A Peek Inside my Sketchbook

Cherries may be my favorite fruit. The season is short, but oh so sweet! What's your favorite fruit?  Is it in season yet?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ruminating on Mother's Day

It turns out that I had a very nice Mother's Day. But early on, the day seemed fraught.  As this art journal page says, I felt somewhat mired in "the web of motherhood." It seems that there are so many expectations about being a mother and the perfect Mother's Day. By the time I was up and drinking coffee, many of my friends had already posted on facebook about the wonderful gifts they had received and the plans they had for the day. I knew my day would be different.
 My children are just not the flowers and gifts kind of kids. Do I miss that? Yes, if I'm being honest, I do a little. But I didn't want to go into the day being disappointed from the get-go.  I wanted to be positive and celebrate whatever moments of joy the day brought my way.
And it was a good day.  The kids cleaned my car - washed the outside and detailed the inside (this is what I ask them for each year). And they spent time hanging out with me - enjoying each other's company without running to a  game or having to nag/be nagged about their homework.  It was sooo nice. (Each year I also ask each of the kids to let me take a nice portrait of them. We didn't get to it today, but they each assured me we could do it another day.)  And I got to play at my art desk. And not do laundry (okay, just one load). And eat and drink whatever I wanted. Nachos and Mike's Hard Lemonade for lunch; take out Italian and white wine for dinner served me just as well as getting dressed up and going out to brunch!  Yes, it was a good Mother's Day.  Because it was my Mother's Day.
The United States magazine, Time, recently published a cover story about "attachment parenting" with this controversial cover photo:
The title of the article is "Are you Mom enough?"  The best commentary I have read on the cover is by Lisa Belkin of the Huffington Post and can be found at this link.  It says simply that women should not take the bait of arguing for or against "attachment parenting" but rather we should recognize that "Breastfeeding is not a macho test of motherhood, with the winner being the one who nurses the longest. In fact there ARE no macho tests of motherhood. Motherhood is -- should be -- a village, where we explore each other's choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our own." 
Today, I feel the same way about Mother's Day.  What about you? Do you find yourself getting caught up in trying to create someone else's version of Mother's Day? Or do you simply celebrate your own?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sunday Morning Coffee

Here's a nice cup of coffee for you, from my all-time favorite coffee roasters: Flying Goat Coffee.  The art journal page combines sketching, watercolor painting and collage elements to wish you Happy Sunday and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers in the U.S.A. Do you have a favorite coffee? Or tea (my favorite tea is Whittard of Chelsea)?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

10 on the 10th: Carrie's Guest Post

Hi friends and fans of Rinda! My name is Carrie Rosalind and I blog over at Rosalind Revival about all the stuff that happens in my awesome 23-year-old life. Every year I make a list of things I want to do before my next birthday, and since my 24th birthday is right around the corner, Rinda so kindly offered to let me check one of the items off of my list and do a guest post on her blog. We both like to participate in Shimelle's 10 on the 10th prompt, so today we're pulling a "Freaky Friday" (er, Thursday) and switching ages...she's talking about her life at 23 on my blog, and I'm gazing into my crystal ball and predicting what I will have done by 50.

10 Things I Hope I've Done by the Age of 50:

1. Get married to my Prince Charming. As Snow White said, "Someday my Prince will come." He hasn't ridden up on a white horse for me yet, but I think he's saddling up somewhere right now.

2. Be on TV. It's a not-so-secret recent goal of mine that I want to be on The Bachelor. Yeah, yeah...I know, criticize me all you want. But I've always had an urge to be on either a reality show or a game show. I'll let you know when my episode airs! ;)
(picture taken at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - one of the coolest things I've ever seen!)
3. Ride in a hot air balloon. I seriously have been talking about doing this for years, and if I haven't done this by 50 I'll be mad at myself. 

4. Have a kid. Maybe one, maybe two, no more than three. I'm an only child and plural scares me.

5. Travel to Greece. I fell in love with Greece after reading the book Traveling With Pomegranates, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since.

6. Attend another 20 Jason Mraz concerts. It's no secret I'm a huge Jason Mraz fan, and I've got my tickets in hand for my 6th Mraz show this October. I plan on seeing him every time he comes through Phoenix, and perhaps even making some road trips.

7. Become a published author. Be a New York Times Bestselling author. Shoot for the stars!

8. Be a rockstar. Okay, maybe not really. But I've just started playing guitar and I'm a little obsessed with it. I'd love to write some of my own songs and maybe even perform at an open mic night sometime...or ya know, opening for Jason Mraz would be pretty cool too.

9. Have a bookshelf full of scrapbook albums I've created. I've seen Rinda's bookshelves, and they are phenomenal. SO many scrapbook and art journal pages to be flipped through. One can only dream to rival her someday.

10. Be happy.
Thanks so much for letting me take over your blog for a day Rinda!

Carrie Rosalind

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Shot on Goal

Linking up (for the first time ever) with Wordless Wednesday.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Prom 2012

Henry and his girlfriend looked beautiful as they headed off to their prom. I really enjoyed taking a few photographs. I had taken some notes from this tutorial on posing couples, in order to come up with this pose:
It would have been nicer if they were actually holding hands, but Henry was not really interested in me giving instructions. So, I settled for a few candid shots:
And, a group shot of the boys. Most of the group are soccer players, and they asked me to take their picture (which kindof annoyed Henry), but I didn't mind.  Because even though Prom is often about the girls and their dresses, I have a soft spot in my heart for these boys.
Maybe I'll grow into taking portraits of girls, but, for now, I prefer the boys. What about you?
p.s. Thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday for Storytelling Sunday. I was busy today, watching my boy's soccer team win the Nor Cal State Cup:
So, I haven't had a chance to visit your blogs. But I plan to do that soon!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Tale of Two Tuxes: Storytelling Sunday

Last night I took Henry to try on his tux for his Junior Prom, which is being held tonight. 
It reminded me of the last time he wore a tux - when he was the ring bearer in my brother's wedding.
When I looked at the layout which accompanied this picture, I noticed that the journaling read "Henry enjoyed wearing his tuxedo. He called it his 'good pirate' costume, as opposed to the 'bad pirate' costume he was planning to wear for Halloween."
Little boys grow up. 
And their mothers' hearts ache with both sadness and pride.
This story (in pictures, and just a few words) is presented as part of Sian's Storytelling Sunday, Year 2. To join in and read more stories, go visit this link.