Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Some Favorites

I'm totally loving all the Top 10 Blog posts, so I decided to add my Top 10 Blog favorites from 2010:
1.  Four People Twelve Times.  I started this project back in May.  Once a month, I make the family pose for a family snapshot.  I got the idea from Tara Whitney. I missed November, but I've been pretty steady otherwise.
2.  Telling Stories.  I have used my blog as a vehicle this year to tell a lot of stories, and I've loved each one.  Several things have pushed me in this direction - Shimelle's True Stories class, Sian's Christmas Club, and a continuing feature I call "Pictures to Scrapbook," which started as an idea in Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers Class. 
3.  House Party Blog Hop. I loved organizing this blog hop, I loved writing the tutorial that went along with it, I loved sending out packages all over the world, but most of all, I loved seeing everyone's completed Altered Houses.
4.  Debbie Hodge's Building Pages Scrapbooking Class. I didn't do that much scrapbooking this year, but the best scrapbooking class I took for motivation and content was this one. 
5.  Art Journaling. I probably did more art journaling than any other papercraft in 2010.  I mainly have the amazing Dina Wakley to thank for that.  Of all her classes that I took this year,  AJ 101 was my favorite.  I also started teaching Art Journaling classes this year, and I have loved each and every one of them.
6.  Challenge Blogs. I enjoy finding artistic challenges to get my creative juices flowing.  My favorite this year have been Linda Ledbetter's Studio L3 Compendium of Curiosities Challenge, the Gingersnap Creations Challenge Blog and the Something Completely Different challenge blog, which sadly just closed.  I'll miss that one
7. Plaster. I think of this as my signature media. There's not that many other people out there working in it.  My work in plaster got a huge boost from this summer's Creativity Boot Camp which I thoroughly enjoyed.
8.  Photography. Second only to art journaling, 2010 was a huge year for me and my photography. I learned a lot through some self teaching, but also from a short-lived series called Develop on Friday (now gone); the BPS class "Get out of Auto"; the Shimelle class "Love Your Pictures, Love Your Pages"; the inspiring blogs of Tammy Bradley; and the content-rich blog Digital Photography Studio.
9. Mixed media and assemblage.  Love this art form and was lucky to take many classes this year with Connie Andrews and one with Michael De Meng.
10. Blogging.  I love having the opportunity to share my work with you each and every day, and I love getting to know you all through your comments and your blogs.  Looking forward to another great blogging year in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Journaling Your Resolutions, Intentions or Word of the Year

This is the second post in an online sharing project I'm running this year called "Art Journal Your Resolutions and Intentions."  Yesterday's post (here) discussed three common approaches to setting goals for a new year. Whether you decide to create a list of resolutions or intentions or choose one little word, the real challenge can be figuring out a way to record them so they can be revisited throughout the year.   In today's post, I'm going to discuss two different year-long approaches to journaling your resolutions, intentions or word of the year. Athough both of the approaches discussed here assume a twelve page journal, you could change the number of pages or use a different format entirely (such as a twelve page mini-album with photos and journaling or twelve blog posts). This weekend, I'll show you the art journals I'm creating using these two approaches.
Approach 1:  Monthly Pages
One way to keep track of your little word is to check in with it once a month.  If you have a twelve page art journal, you can pull it out once a month and create a page about your word.  I made the art journal page above about my word "horizon" when I felt like I needed to focus on my intentions a bit more.   Although not as intuitive, this approach can also be used for intentions and resolutions.  For example, you could create a journal page each month about all of your resolutions or choose to highlight your progress toward a specific intention. You can even label each page with a month if you choose, but you don't need to do that.

Approach 2: Topical Pages
An easy way to keep track of a list of resolutions or intentions is to create a journal with one page dedicated to each resolution or intention. Last year, I created the page above about a very meaningful and revealing talk I had with my brother that matched up with my intention about becoming a better sister. You can pull out your journal once a month and create a page about what you have done to accomplish your resolution or keep on track with your intention. You can add the resolutions/intentions to the pages at the beginning of the year OR choose one intention to work on each month when you pull out your journal. If you like the topical approach but also like the one little word approach, it will be useful to come up with twelve sub-topics for your one little word.  For instance, for my one little word, "health," I could create topical pages about finding a doctor, doing yoga, finding a gym or exercise class, creating a food log, getting on the scale, getting tests done, going to the dentist, etc.

So, what do you think?  Does one of these approaches call out to you more than the other?  Are you having trouble visualizing the actual journal?  If so, don't worry! Come back this weekend and check out the art journals I'm creating.  Tomorrow's post will even have a description of how to assemble a simple 12 page art journal! And Sunday's post will talk a bit more about art journaling and how I plan to work our online sharing.  Let me know in the comments if you plan to take this journey with me and also what your current thoughts and questions are about these journaling options.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Resolutions, Intentions and One Little Word

The week between Christmas and New Year's Day provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on the year just completed and to look forward and plan for the one just about to arrive.  Today, I am starting a year long, on line sharing project called "Art Journaling Intentions and Resolutions."  This post will cover three popular options for making these plans:  resolutions; one little word; and intentions.  Tomorrow, I'll present some ideas for recording these ideas, and over the weekend, I'll show you the art journals I'm making to do just that.  My hope is that you will join me and that, once a month, we can share our progress on line.  I'll post more details about the sharing part this weekend.

 Many people have a tradition of making New Year's Resolutions or a list of specific things to accomplish during the year.  This is probably the most traditional approach and one which I have done before.  In fact, in December of 2004, I made the layout above with by 2005 Resolutions.  Resolutions can work because they are like a year long to-do list. If I were to make twelve resolutions for 2011, they would be:
1. Travel outside the U.S.                                     2. Record the books I read.
3.  Create an email list for classes.                       4. Learn Photoshop Elements
5. Figure out white balance on my camera.                6.  Try portraits
7. Complete estate plan                                            8. Transfer house
9. Submit book proposal.                                          10. Figure out ipad for research
11. Figure out car computer.                                     12. Finish Espinoza project.
In 2007, Ali Edwards started a phenomena she called "one little word," in which she encourages readers to select a word upon which to focus during the upcoming year.  I've been doing this every year and have really enjoyed it.  In 2007, my word was "Open," and I used it to remain open to new experiences and not be too fearful. I created a series of Artist Trading Cards to illustrate my word and to keep it in the forefront of my mind.  In 2008, I chose "Flow," but I never did too much with it. In 2009, I chose "Accomplish," and in 2010, my word illustrated above, was "horizon."  You can read more about Ali's approach in her blog post here. If I were to choose a word for 2011, it would be "health."
Last year, as I was working with my word, I changed paths a bit.  I began to think about all the different horizons I wanted to travel towards during 2010, and I began what I called my list of intentions.  These were action words for various areas in my life, and they included parent, travel, write, network, pray, artconnect, thrive, sister, create and love. I really loved how my one little word morphed into something different that worked for me.  If I were to choose the intentions route for 2011, my overriding theme would be "Fabulous at 50" and there could be a myriad of ways for me to be fabulous. 
What do you think?  Have you tried any of these approaches before?  What has worked for you?  Which of these approaches appeals to you for 2011? What would you put on your list of resolutions or intentions? Is there a word (or words) you are considering? Please share your thoughts in the comments section (to the extent you are comfortable). And come back tomorrow when I'll discuss a couple of ways to record your thoughts and how to keep them part of your creative life throughout the year.

Art Journaling Intentions and Resolutions

I'm working on a new project called called Art Journaling Intentions and Resolutions. . . it will incorporate a little of this:
And a little of this:
Or maybe a little of this:
Or maybe just a bit of this:
It will begin Thursday, Dec. 30 with a post about three approaches to "New Year's Resolutions." On Friday, Dec. 31, I'll discuss ways in which any of these approaches can be recorded (art journaled, blogged, photographed, etc.) throughout the year.  Then, over the weekend, I'll share the art journal(s) I'm making to continue this project throughout the year.  Speaking of which, throughout the year, around the 15th of each month, I'll encourage everyone who's participating to share how they're doing on their project.  I'm hoping some of you will join me.  If it sounds intriguing, all you need to do for now is to begin to think about New Years Resolutions in general and, if art journaling is for you, to find or assemble a journal with twelve pages.
Please consider joining in and help spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

JYC Final Entries (2/2 today)

On our last day in Southern California, we went to Pasadena and helped decorate a float for the the Tournament of Roses Parade.  Here's the picture I'll use for my JYC:
My brother, sister-in-law and sister all went to Cal Poly State University and work there now.  The University enters a float in the Rose Parade every year, and we went to go work on it with my niece's girl scourt troop. The Cal Poly float has a Galactic theme. After working a bit "fluffing" flowers, we spent time washing buckets and assembling vials.  Not as glamorous as I had imagined it was going to be, but it gave me a big appreciation for all the work that goes into the floats. Here are some other pictures of the day:
Afterwards, we went to lunch at a Chinese Restaurant called Panda Inn.  Henry loves a fast-food franchise for Chinese food called Panda Express.  When he learned that it began as a regular sit-down restaurant in Pasadena (Southern California), he became quite intent on going there.  He was very pleased to hear we made reservations to go after working on the float.
We will definitely carry special memories of this day!
Tomorrow we head home to Northern California.  I'll be glad to take down Christmas decorations and finish up my JYC.  I'm ready to start looking forward to new projects.
I thought I'd use a photo of myself for the last page of my JYC.  This was taken on BART on the day we went into the City to look at the store windows. 
I will also use this photo for a post about winding up the holidays and looking forward to the New Year:
Are you feeling "done" with Christmas and ready to move on to 2011, too?
ETA: We arrived home safe and sound today, and I'm actually quite happy that the Christmas decorations are still up.  We'll probably leave them up for a few more days.  I ordered all my hipstamatic pictures yesterday through Scrapbook Pictures (in the U.S.).  It was very easy to do.  We'll see how they turn out.

JYC Holiday Edition (1/2 posts for today)

I hope you're not too bored of my JYC.  I've been taking pictures along the way and want to get them organized and journaled here on my blog so I can move them to my journal soon. I promise some real art next week.  In the meantime, Christmas morning arrived:
Santa brought the kids nice electronics - an ipod touch for the girl and an xbox 360 for the boy. We also got them clothes and a stocking full of the practical (hair accessories for the girl; car accessories for the boy; a toothbrush; etc.) and the fun (a DVD for each, Uno for the boy and a stuffed horse for the girl). Santa brought two board games for the adults. Blokus, which was a great find, and Funglish, which we haven't played yet.  The rest of the family arrived around 11:00, and we spent the day playing Dance, Dance Revolution on the Wii and cooking a huge meal.
Boxing day will have two pages.  The first:
A new tradition for us is to go as a group to play lazer tag.  It feels a little odd to celebrate the holiday by running around and shooting at each other, but we all have a great time doing it! Henry seems to dominate the proceedings, but it doesn't matter that much, as we all feel like winners after having so much fun together as a group.
And then we were off to see Paul's family again:
Paul's dad's birthday is December 27, and we'll often get together with his family to celebrate it.  He turned 81 this year, and he's doing great.  Helen makes him a homemade chocolate cake, as he has quite a sweet tooth and loves chocolate in particular.  I love this shot of Helen lighting the candles.
On our last day in Southern California, we're going on one more very special outing.  Look for a post about it tomorrow as well as some final pictures and thoughts on JYC to finish up the project! Are you done with your December album/JYC yet?
ETA: Okay, I've gotten so bored with my posts about this project that I'm going to go ahead and do a rare double-post, so that I get all my JYC posts up on my blog where I can grab the journaling and transfer to my album.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Journaling My Christmas (pre-Holiday Edition)

This post is mainly a reminder for me of the pages I plan to put in my JYC album, so the journaling is not complete.
For a post on traveling/visiting during the holidays:
Interstate Highway 5 is a long, boring straight road that cuts through the middle of California, but it's the most direct route from our home to Southern California where both of our families live.  This year we got up at 4:00 a.m. and trundled sleepy kids into the car, which Paul had already packed for the trip.  The kids and I work up around 9:00 a.m., and we were already on the outskirts of the Los Angeles basin, going over the Grapevine.  The ride is so much more pleasant when we sleep through most of it!
For a post about Dec. 23 and the family baking party:
Our first stop in Southern California was at my sister Cordelia's house, where everyone gathered for our annual baking party.  The tradition started the year we needed an excuse to meet secretly (away from our mother) to put together a surprise tribute scrapbook for mom, so we told her we were going to get together to bake.  We enjoyed the baking so much, that a new tradition was born. We had a wonderful time. Henry in particular had a great time playing with his two year old cousin, Cristina, who referred to him simply as "the boy," since all the other cousins are girls.
I'll probably have two posts from Christmas Eve.  The first will be about our visit to the cemetery to visit the gravesite of my parents:
I brought some roses to place on my parents' grave.  The cemetery had already put out the flags which had been placed there on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day (and which they saved). Henry and Clara were intrigued by the visit, and Clara said that next year she wanted to bring a lot of Christmas decorations to put around the gravesite, like many of the other ones she saw there.
The other Christmas Eve post will be about spending time with Paul's side of the family, and I'll use this picture:
Paul's parents have had this salt and pepper/ sugar set for as long as I can remember, and it comes out every Christmas.  We spend our Christmas Eve with the Fassinger side of the family at his sister Anne's house.  Highlights this year included a fun white elephant gift exchange, singing Christmas carols, and watching Henry and Clara play with their second cousin Chase, a delightful three year old who thought the big kids were incredibly fun!
Paul's parents wanted a family picture with everyone.  The one taken with my camera cut off folks at both ends, but it's still fun to have most of the family members in it:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Journaling My Christmas Catch-up

For the prompt on finishing up the last of the to-do list:
"I got almost all my shopping done by early December but didn't start wrapping until after the tree was up and decorated.  Clara enjoys wrapping, so volunteered to help.  Imagine my surprise when I read the tags on the presents.  Although the 'to:' part of the tag was all quite ordinary, the 'from:' part of each tag was filled out 'from: Clara and her family.'"
For the prompt on music, I'm subsituting a post about holiday movies, with this picture of my brother's Christmas tree:
"We enjoy watching Christmas movies around the holidays.  My favorite is White Christmas, and Paul's favorite is Miracle on 34th Street.  Of the more recent movies, we do all enjoy The Santa Clause. We'll sometimes sit and watch The Christmas Story as well. but we've never been big fans of It's a Wonderful Life.  This year, on Christmas Eve, we watched The Nativity Story, which was really beautiful."
For a day in the third week of December, I'm also documenting the following:

"The last week before the kids got off of school involved a lot of school work.  Henry was studying for finals, and Clara was finishing up all her sch0ol work for the quarter.  They were also very busy with basketball games and soccer games.  All that work made me look forward to the holiday break even more!"
And for a post that combines Shimelle's prompt on a suprising event/gratitude, here's this story (illustrated with a picture from a San Francisco window):
"During the last week of school before the holiday break, I was having a tough time of things. . . feeling pulled in too many directions with Clara having been sick, my exam being mis-administered, misplacing the altered book I was working on, and a host of other responsibilities.  Things went from bad to worse when my car got stuck in the mud outside an Athletic Boosters meeting! I felt like crying, but Cameron Palmer and a couple of his employees cheerfully helped me free the car and sent me on my way.   Cameron often plays 'King Candy' in the community production of Candy Land, and he definitely reminded me of Father Christmas on that cold, drizzly night.  An unexpected blessing just when I needed it most." 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Our Christmas Letter

I want to wish all my friends out in blogland a wonderful and happy Christmas Day! For those of you who did not receive our annual Christmas letter (or have not received it yet), here it is.  You can click on it to enlarge it for easier reading.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Heritage Christmas Photograph

I have always loved this heritage photograph of my father's side of the family, taken in about 1959 or 1960.  You can tell it's Christmas by the tree behind my Uncle Tom.  My father is standing on the far right, and my mom is seated in front of him, holding my sister Cordelia on her lap.  My Tia Lupe is in front of Uncle Tom, and my Grandparents are to her right.  The man is uniform is my Uncle Johnny, and my Uncle Jesse is on the far left.  This last year I have been lucky to reconnect with my cousin Irene through facebook and our blogs.  She's a talented stained glass artist in Houston, Texas and also happens to be that very cute little girl in the front row, far left.  In this photo, I also love the television and my father's graduation picture hanging on the wall.
At this time of year, I really miss my mom and dad who have been gone for over five years now. My grandparents and aunts and uncles are all gone, too.  A big goal I have for 2011 is to work on my heritage and geneology scrapbook, as a way of keeping their memory alive. 

This post is scheduled for Christmas Eve, and I plan to go out to the cemetery to visit mom and dad today. I want to take a few minutes to remember and honor them. I hope you will be able to do the same for your loved ones who are no long with us.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snow, Pine and Mahogany, Take 2

The color challenge over at Gingersnap Creations this month is snow, pine and mahogany.  You can see the challenge and design team entries, including one from me, at this link.  Unfortunately, I didn't love my entry.  And I have so enjoyed being a guest artist there, and I have so much respect for all the talent on that blog, that I felt compelled to take another crack at the challenge.  And I like this take much better!  I'll be out of town for a few days, so I may not be visiting blogs or getting too much new posted, so let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope you holiday is filled with family, friends, love, happiness and all the other good stuff.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Downtown for the Holidays

Today I dragged the kids out of bed at 9:30 am so that we could go downtown for the holidays.  I love seeing all the hustle & bustle at this time of year, and last year I decided to start a family tradition of going up to the City (San Francisco) to meet Paul for lunch, to do some shopping, and to look at the windows.  I captured a variety of City moments, like a wonderful Salvation Army bellringer with a beautiful voice singing Christmas carols, a flock of pigeons, a Solstice-inspired picture of the statue in Union Square:
I also captured a few more traditional images of Christmas trees and a Gingerbread castle:
I even snapped a couple of the kids and they captured me:
For my JYC today, I'll use one of these two hipstamatic pictures of our favorite holiday windows - the ones at Macy's.  We love them becauce they always have a Christmas Story (this year, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause") and animals up for adoption from the SPCA:

Do you get a chance to visit a real city during the holidays? 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Solstice (Tim Style)

Today is December 20th, the Winter Solstice.  If we had clear skies, I could even look outside and see a lunar eclipse.  How cool is that! To celebrate, I decided to create a Happy Solstice tag using the technique being covered this week in the Studio L3 Tim Holtz Compendium of Curiosities Challenge:  scribble stain distress.  I sometimes have trouble with this technique, but I love how it turned out for what I wanted to do tonight.  I used faded jean and mustard seed inks, along with vintage photo ink on this tag. Will you be joining the CCC this week?Were you able to see the eclipse where you are?
If you love Tim Holtz, you should definitely check out the give-away at the Yours Artfully blog.  Click on this link to check it out.
Here's to longer days and happy creating!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Championship Cookies!

So, several days ago I blogged about the cookie party I attend each year and my desire to actually win a prize for my cookies.  Thank you to everyone who replied with suggestions.  I decided to go with an easy recipe for chocolate mint chip cookies, which you can find here.  Except that when I went to buy mint chips, there were none.  I swore a little bit and decided to get a mix of butterscotch, dark chocolate and white chocolate chips.  I made the recipe and baked the first batch.  They turned out flat and runny and not at all appetizing looking:
I began to realize that perhaps the reason I never win at the cookie party is because I'm not really a very good cookie maker.  I decided to make the cookies smaller and watch the time & temperature more closely.  This batch looked better:

Still reeling from my realization that I'm not a good cookie baker and admitting that my cookies were not very Christmas-y, I decided to consider another tactic.  Maybe I could be clever about my presentation.  I thought my cookies had a black & orange color theme and given how crazy people are in my area about the San Francisco Giants baseball team (who have a black and orange color scheme), I thought I could call them Giants cookies, and I made some signs to display with them:
Still a little worried that this was just going to be a dumb idea, my kids assured me it would be okay because many of our friends are Giants fans.  When I arrived at the party, the hostess said to go to the party room and place your cookie in whatever category you wanted for judging.  I went out to the party room and found it decorated in Giants regalia.  Each category had something to do with the team and its championship season!!!  I laughed and placed my cookies into the category titled "Cody Ross Happiest Cookie."
 And I won!  How silly is that? My prize?  A candy cane shaped Christmas tree ornament, in a San Francisco Giants motif.  
I'm not really sure what lesson to draw from this experience, other than the fact that even if I'm not a good cookie baker, at least I seemed to have found the right circle of friends.