Thursday, November 29, 2012

PPF: Final Cabinet of Curiosities

Last month's theme at the Sketchbook Challenge was "Cabinet of Curiosities." I loved the theme and made several Cabinets (check them out here and here).  This one was laid out on my work desk all month, and I finally got around to finishing it. The background is painted with Golden acrylics, with some old text collaged in below my curiosities. the two items in the middle are copies of swap artwork I made. I took the photographs of the skull on the hand and the mixed face in a natural history museum. The antlered woman is from a fashion magazine (check out the spider on her neck) and the other curiosities are from purchased collage sheets. I'm posting this to Paint Party Friday. You can check out the other entries at this link.  Which is your favorite curiosity? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude {6}

Time for my penultimate posting of pages from my November Attitude of Gratitude journal. To see my earlier pages and to learn more about my journal, click on the "gratitude" label at the bottom of this post. These first two pages, up top, offer very general statements of gratitude - I am grateful for those I love, those who love me, and those people who make me happy.  The quote on the left hand side of the page comes from Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude challenge blog, Day 25. The page on the right hand side was inspired by my friend Deb's blog post from last Friday.  You can see her version here. I fell in love with her quote from Marcel Proust ("Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.") and knew I wanted to use it in my journal. 
The second set of pages for today discuss very specific things for which I am grateful:
The page on the left is from Day 24 of Bernice's Challenge Blog - Photography. I used her quote "When people look at my pictures, I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice." - Robert Frank. The page features two photographs I took, one in Venice and one in Budapest. As my journaling says, photography has brought me so many blessings, and I am grateful for all of them.  The page on the right is a variation of her Day 28 prompt - Seasons. I wrote about how grateful I am for the various sports seasons which my family enjoys! Washi tape and faux stitching were two techniques she featured on her blog this month, and I used them on these two pages.
I've only got one page left in my journal! I know I'll find an inspiring prompt in the next few days to finish it up. Did you do a gratitude project this month? If so, are you almost done?  And for everyone, let me know if anything here catches your eye.  I love comments!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Leave your llama at home

Sign at entrance to Cunha Soccer Complex, Nov. 24, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

2012 Soccer Alumni Game (photo essay)

On Saturday, my son's high school soccer team played the annual alumni game. It was great to see so many alumni there, enjoying the beautiful day.
One of our mid-fielders broke his leg during the football season, so now he's our manager.  I loved his look.
And it was nice to get a good photograph of Henry's coach (didn't notice the cool reflection in his sunglasses until I uploaded these):
But for me, it was all about watching my boy:
The alumni kept the game close during the first half, but the Varsity eventually won 8-3. I can't wait for the rest of the season!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Peek Inside My Life

Outside My Window... my neighbors are starting to put up Christmas lights, and I'm surprised by how much it makes me smile.
Around the house and garden... I'm living with a very goofy dog. She still has a lot of puppy in her, and she thinks she can fit into Gypsy's little bed.
I am thinking... that I will start decorating for Christmas early this year.
I am thankful for... the start of soccer and basketball season; love seeing my kids play.
From the kitchen... the last of the turkey and mashed potatoes. We spent Thanksgiving Day with some good friends, but Paul cooked up some of our holiday favorites so we could have leftovers. I love that man.
I am wearing ...  shorts; we are still having gorgeous weather.
I am hoping ... for good news from Paul's doctors this week.  He's undergoing some new tests. Prayers definitely appreciated.
I am reading... my students' final papers; grading is the only bad part of my job. I also hope to read the material for some online classes.  By the way, in case you haven't heard, Kat Sloma is giving away a free ebook on digital photography basics. you can download it here.
I am busy creating... the final pages of my Gratitude Journal and loving the way it has turned out; also ordered my Christmas cards and created some photo cards to give as gifts.
I am hearing...  a voice in my head repeating this quote from Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude blog“Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”   Rabindranath Tagore
P.S. I put the numbers 1-19 into the random generator, and up popped "2," which means the winner of The Good Neighbor Cookbook is Scrappy Jacky!  I'll be in touch to get whatever information I need.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude {5}

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend - here in the United States it is a four day weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving. In keeping with the spirit of the season, I have been working in a gratitude journal, playing along with Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude Challenge Blog. To see more of my journal pages, simply click on the "gratitude" tag at the bottom of this post.  I have five more pages to complete in my journal and about eight more days left of November, so I think I will complete it by the month's end.
For the page on the left, I used part of Bernice's quote prompt from Day 22 Thanksgiving.  I chose the last sentence, "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie. I also used her technique prompt, to stamp with gesso (which I then painted with Byzantine metallic green paint). I decided to record a few random things for which I am grateful and mounted the journaling on shrine-shaped pieces of text (edged with brown paint). I thought this worked well with the two small pieces of artwork on my background page.  I am grateful for my students who say such nice things to me, caring doctors and therapists and the dogs who make me go outside and walk in nature.
The page on the right draws on the Day 21 Celebration prompt.  I used the quote from Oprah Winfrey, "The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."  I added "I am grateful for good times spent with family and friends." I adapted the technique prompt ("use wrapping paper") to use a piece of handmade paper I had on my desk. More brown paint for edging and stamping, along with Adirondacks acrylics cranberry.
Have you entered my Thanksgiving weekend give-away yet? The deadline to enter is Sunday night (California time). To enter, go to this post and leave the type of comment requested. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

PPF: Safe and Secure

Hi regular readers and PPF Friends! It's been way too long since I played along with Paint Party Friday. This month I've been busy with other things (including a Gratitude Journal - you can check that out, along with my Thanksgiving give-away by clicking on this link), so I'm really happy to have completed something for today. 
I've been tinkering with this art journal page for a while and have finally declared it done. It had its genesis in the Fall Fearless and Fly Prompt #4: Safe and Secure, using warm colors (blues, greens, violets). When I thought about it, I realized that I feel safe and secure late at night, snuggled in my bed, knowing that my family is also safely tucked in all around me. I realized that I had not been sleeping well at all whenever my husband was in the hospital for his chemotherapy treatments.  A few cycles ago, my daughter asked if she could sleep with me while dad was in the hospital. I said yes, and I slept so much better. Now she sleeps with me whenever Paul is gone; it truly does make me feel more safe and secure. The four dragonflies on the journal page represent my family (can you see the little hearts). The two plum damsel flies are the dog and cat (who sleep with me and my husband) and the solo plum damsel represents my daughter's dog, who sleeps with her. The dragonfly stencil is from Club Scrap. The flowers are stamped with gesso. Besides the blues, greens and violets, I also used micaceous iron oxide around the edges. 
Thanks to Artists in Blogland for sponsoring the Fall Fearless and Fly challenge series and Kristin and Eva for sponsoring Paint Party Friday. To see the rest of the PPF entries, check out this link. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude {4} and Thanksgiving Give-Away

Like many other bloggers, I am making a gratitude journal this November. I am following along with and being inspired by Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude Challenge blog.  To read more about my journal and to see previously posted pages, click on the "gratitude" label at the bottom of this post. Today's page is based on Bernice's Day 15 prompt about music. I used her quote, "Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness," which I adore! I also used her technique challenge (use music paper). My added journaling reads "I am grateful for the home-cooked meals provided by friends - which always seem to arrive at the perfect time." 
Today is Thanksgiving the in United States - a time when friends and family gather around food.  In recognition of the holiday and the good friends who are supporting us this fall, I am giving away a wonderful cook book, written by the sister of one of my good friends. It's called "The Good Neighbor Cook Book," and I have eaten many wonderful dishes from it already:
If you would like to win this book, simply leave a comment mentioning a friend or neighbor who has helped you out when you needed it. On Sunday night, I will choose a name at random and have send them a copy of the book. If you don't win the book, but want to learn more about it and see some sample recipes, check out this blog.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude {3}

This month, I'm working on a Gratitude Journal, in conjunction with Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude challenge blog. To read about how I set up my journal and to see previous pages, click on the "gratitude" link at the bottom of this post. I've got three pages to share today and one more to share tomorrow (with a Thanksgiving give-away!)
For this first page, I used a quote from Marilyn Monroe, "What the conscious mind can't recognize, the heart might know." I added, "I am grateful for the secrets of the heart revealed through a practice of mindfulness." The inspiration for this page came from all the way back in Day 2, which was about focusing on today, which made me think about mindfulness or being present in the moment. The technique challenge was to use circles; I adapted the shape from circles to something else. Just followed my muse on these; not sure what they are, but I like them. I'm curious what they suggest to you?
The journaling on this page reads "All the kids' challenges make me grateful for their triumphs." It was inspired by Bernice's Day 13 Prompt on childhood, with the technique challenge to find a creative way to use a tag on your page. I've used this technique before to make ornaments on Christmas pages.
My final page for today uses the scripture prompt from Day 19 on Books.  I like how it suggests being thankful for the small things in life. My journaling reads "I am grateful for those rare mornings when everything goes as planned."
I'm really enjoying working in this journal. I'm not sure I'll finish it before the end of the month (I still have seven pages to do), but, as someone else said recently, it's okay to be grateful in December, too!
Come back tomorrow for one more completed page and a Thanksgiving give-away!  Comments on these pages gratefully welcomes!

Monday, November 19, 2012

November Moment & Pass the Book Winner

Alexa of Trimming the Sails has started a wonderful meme asking people to share a simple moment from their lives each month.  You can read this month's collection at this link.  Here's mine:
Friday, Nov. 16, 2:15 p.m.
I've arrived incredibly early for pick-up. I had no idea how long it would take me to drive from his hospital to her new school. It's rainy, and I hear tires splash through puddles as the parking lot starts to fill. It's warm in the car but the rain drops threaten to soak the car's interior when I open the windows. Reluctantly, I push a button and seal myself back inside. Pensive. Unsettled.  The music on the radio is annoying. I fiddle with the dial until I find a classical station. The rain has let up, and I open the windows, welcoming the fresh air. I wonder how her day went and what sort of a mood she will be in today. Kids start to filter out. I notice the different demographics here - the majority minority is Filipino instead of Mexican. Last week, she came out smiling and laughing with two Muslim girls. I see her; she's smiling, walking with a friend from her basketball team. I wonder at her resilience. She's still struggling, but I know this school has been a good move for her. It makes all the driving worth it. The car door opens, and we're off.
And the winner of the Pass-the-Book, Trading Card Treasures, is:
Margi Borck, aka The Maverick Crafter.  Margi, I have your address, so I will drop the book in the mail to you shortly. Enjoy it!

Hello Monday (Gone to the dogs . . . )

Hello Monday (a meme started by Lisa Leonard). . . 
Hello Aria! Clara got a dog today. Aria is just over a year old. She's a smooth collie with a brindle coat who weighs just over 30 pounds. She is really, really sweet! She's active but not hyper. Still working on the house-training, but it's just her first day. Clara is committed to being a good dog owner, and we're hoping the responsibility will be good for her.  Aria and Gypsy get along just fine:
And her "official" portrait from the Humane Society website (since I only have the iphone photos I've taken so far).

Not to many other hello's to report. Paul sailed through Round 6 of Chemo and is back home (yea!). It's a short week here, with just three days of school for the kids. My last class this semester is on Wednesday. How's your week shaping up?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pass the Book: Last Call

I have been enjoying Trading Card Treasures: Sharing Cherished Photographs by Carol Heppner, which I received as part of Pass the Book: Year Two, hosted by Melissa of Daily Life - Bits & Pieces (read the details of how Pass the Book works here).  The book is all about how to use photographs when making Artist Trading Cards (some times called ATC's or ACEO's). My favorite techniques in the book were about making multi-page cards.  I made a little Marilyn Monroe mini-album based on one of the ideas in the book. The front and back covers are up top. Here are the interior pages:
I was intrigued by the book because I have so many collage sheets, and I'm always looking for new ways to use my images. Plus, I enjoy creating in the ATC format (2.5x3.5 inches).  The book is very good for beginners and has a few ideas for intermediate or advanced ATC artists. The instructions are very clear and could be used for any age group. 
I posted once before to see who was interested, and the names I currently have in the draw are:
Scrappy Jacky
If you are interested in the book but aren't on the list, let me know. I'll pull a name tomorrow night (Monday, Nov. 19) and post the winner on Tuesday. Please remember that, with Pass the Book, once you've had it for a while, you need to offer it up to others and pass it on . . .

Friday, November 16, 2012

Frosty Festivities Blog Hop: Final Album Page

Welcome to the Frosty Festivities Blog Hop! Maybe you came over here from Mel's blog? Or maybe you're a regular visitor? In either case, I encourage you to check out the blogs in today's blog hop. There's sure to be lots of great ideas and inspiration. The hop begins and ends at Jennifer's Jumbles (click here). Plus, check out the announcement at the end of today's post for information on how to win a great prize!
Today I want to share with you some thoughts on making the final page in a scrapbook album. Since I scrap my family pictures chronologically, my final page always follows my Christmas pages.  I used to use an enlargement of a family portrait or an assortment of family photos for my final page, but  last year, I embraced the joy of the holiday by featuring some of my favorite seasonal photos.
I usually use a "special" piece of patterned paper for my final pages. It's an opportunity to really show it off. For the top page, I used Club Scrap ornaments paper and added red jewel bling. The paper had a perfect pattern already on it. For the second page, I started with a fairly basic wintery blue piece of paper and added almost an entire pack of dimensional snowflake stickers to create the pattern I wanted because, try as I might, I could not find a patterned paper which "fit" these photographs. 
Even if you don't make chronological albums, I still think the final page requires some thought. In my travel albums, for instance, I take a different approach (some favorite memories, a favorite enlargement, our itinerary documents, etc.) I'd love to hear what you do for you "final page."      
And now, for the blog hop Prize Announcement!
If you comment on all the blogs in the hop, finishing at, let Jennifer know you've been all the way around, then you'll be in with a chance to win a spectacular seasonal prize of Basic Grey Aspen Frost and Carta Bella Winter Fun items, worth over £25! All entries must be received by Monday the 19th of November at 10.59pm GMT. Your next stop along the hop is Sarah. Click on her name to continue the fun! 
If you get lost along the way, here's a full list of the blog hop participants:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude {2}

This month, I'm working on a Gratitude Journal, in conjunction with Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude challenge blog. To read about how I set up my journal and to see previous pages, click on the "gratitude" link at the bottom of this post.  This page was inspired by Bernice's Day 3 prompt and quote on creativity. I really love the scripture: "He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers - all of them skilled workers and designers." I journaled around the angel with my thoughts on how art and creativity are gifts from a higher power that tend to be unleashed when I open my heart. For the embellishment, I drew on her idea from Day 9 to use fabric on a page.  Instead of fabric, I layered lace on top of ribbon to create a brocade effect and stay within my color palette.
The page on the left draws from several different posts.  The quote "I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw." goes with the Day 11 prompt about learning. But, to me, it resonated with the work that I do as a teacher and an activist. This page was also influenced by the Day 6 prompt on technology, which included a scripture about work/labor, and the Day 7 prompt which suggested using a stencil. My journaling along the branches reads "I am grateful to have a job in which I can pursue justice, for I have seen injustice and it has touched my heart." I used the Byzantine green metallic paint again.
The page on the right draws mainly from the Day 10 prompt on emotions, although for me, the page is really about trust. I used the creative prompt (use stars or hearts) and the scripture "Bring joy to your servants, Lord, for I put my trust in you." My journaling reads "I am grateful for the moments of peace that come from trusting in God's plan." I stamped the starts in antique white acrylic paint.
Hope you found some inspiration today, and a huge thanks to Bernice for providing such a wonderful challenge for November.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude {1}

I am working on a Gratitude Journal in November. You can see my plan for it by clicking at this link. The genesis for this project is Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude challenge blog.  Because I started late, I'm not following her posts exactly - I'm mixing and matching her prompts and really enjoying the process.
The page on the left features her Day 7 quote ("At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person." Albert Schweitzer). I added journaling "I am grateful for Paul, and for my friends who pick me up and rekindle my light. I used Byzantine metallic green paint for the letters and my scarlet lime journaling pen.
The page on the right combines her Day 8 prompt on "Self" and Day 9 prompt on strengths. The journaling reads "I am grateful for my inner strength and recognize its roots in my family tree." The prompt suggested using a picture of yourself. I chose these two heritage pictures instead (one is my cousin; the other is my mom) because I think of them as my artistic alter egos. I use them a lot in my art journaling to represent me. I drew the frame with Adirondack acrylics in cranberry, and I stamped a little heart in antique white paint. When stamping with paint, I brush the paint onto the rubber to get a thin (but thorough) coat. Also, always remember to wash the acrylic paint off your rubber stamps right away to keep them from getting ruined.
Hope you like today's pages. If you do, I encourage you to check out Bernice's blog. It is really packed full of all kinds of inspiration!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hello Monday

Hello Monday (a meme started by Lisa Leonard) . . .
Hello to memories of veterans everywhere  . . . including my father featured in the simple layout above. We have a long weekend to recognize Veteran's Day.
Hello basketball . . . Clara made the basketball team at her school! She's looking forward to a lot of good exercise and the chance to make some good friends.
Hello soccer . . . Henry's high school team is making its final selections this week, but the Coach has already asked him to serve as Captain.
Hello hospital . . . yes, again. Paul starts round 6 of chemotherapy on Wednesday, as long as he feels up to it. Truthfully, he's feeling much more tired these days, which is typical as the chemotherapy takes a greater toll on his body the longer he is in the process.
Hello clean linen closet and kitchen bench drawers . . . finished organizing them, and it feels great to have more and better storage  in these two problem areas.
Hello attitude of gratitude . . . it feels good to finally be getting underway on this project.
What are you saying "hello" to this week?

Gratitude Journal (Monthly Make)

When Bernice of Newly Creative announced her November challenge blog, "An Attitude of Gratitude," I knew right away that I wanted to join in.  It took me forever to figure out what type of journal I wanted to use. I almost made a stitch-bound journal with drawing paper or an old journal I had laying around.  Eventually, I decided I wanted to use water-color paper and simply hold the sheets together with a brass ring. Because Bernice is posting a series of prompts that includes scriptures (as well as general quotes, an art technique and an inspirational idea), I decided to use religious/angel images from my stash.  While diving through my stash, I also decided to pick a color palette of paint from my miscellaneous paint bin (as opposed to the Golden brand acrylic paints which I tend to use).  The colors include metallic copper, metallic green, dark brown, antique white, cranberry and eggplant. Here's what I ended up with as my supplies for the project:
I painted all the pages with a background of byzantine copper paint and then used gel medium to adhere the images. I decided early on that I didn't want to try to make a page each day. I ended up with 16 pages, which feels just right. 
Every day, Bernice offers a prompt filled with so many ideas! Rather than try to reread them each day that I find time to work in my journal, I decided to use an idea that Shimelle featured in the latest version of her class, Learn Something New Everyday. I took a small notebook from my stash (thanks Deb!) and jotted down the quotes, artistic suggestions and scriptures which spoke to me.  That way, when I find time to create, I simply grab my little note book and go. I'm hoping to do a few pages today and start posting this week.  I'm also calling this my "Monthly Make" for November.
Are you doing a gratitude project this month? Did this give you any new ideas?

Friday, November 9, 2012

This & That: Pass the Book; Election Layout; Recommendations and More

Happy Friday! I have a little of this and that to share with you today.
First, there's a wonderful free holiday photography class with limited enrollment. It's run by Cheryl Johnson of Feel Good Photos. I've taken it before and loved it!  You can read the review here (although, in retrospect, I think it should have received a higher grade). You can sign up for it at this link. But hurry, as it fills every year.
Second, thanks for all the wonderful comments lately. 
I love voting (and not just to get the cool sticker). I am an unabashed Obama supporter, but I don't want to get into a long political discussion. Instead, I thought I'd share the layout I made for the 2008 election (which includes my "I voted" sticker). The picture is from the back of a magazine I receive from my alma mater.  The journaling is about how involved the whole family was in the 2008 election, how I took Clara to vote with me and the champagne we drank on election night.
I also loved reading about how everyone organizes their linens. I had to look up Amy's reference to "Manchester," which turns out to be an Australian expression for linen (I love learning stuff like that).  Also fascinating how many people use duvet covers. I've decided to keep three sets of sheets for each of the kid's beds and four sets for our bed (like Karen, we use flannel in the winter and twill or knit in the summer). I'm keeping two long and two short table cloths up here in the kitchen (short for when the table is regular size and long for when we expand it for company). I've also decided that we need to start using the cloth napkins, so I'm going to put them in a basket on the counter and see if I can get the family into the habit of using them (because I have a set of 12). I kept two sets of place mats, although I'm not sure why (as we never use them).  My kids use a massive number of towels; still trying to figure out how to curb that impulse.
Several of you have asked about the college application process here. Every senior in high school does something different, and there's a variety of different approaches taken by colleges and universities. Many private universities use something called the "Common App," which requires one long essay and one short essay.  Many of the public Universities have their own application with essay requirements (or do not require any essay). By planning carefully, Henry was able to write one long essay which fulfilled the requirement for most of his schools, but there are a couple of outliers, and he still needs to do those. He applied to ten schools in total: two California state schools; three private universities; and five out of state public schools. He should start hearing back around the end of the year.
Third, it's time for me to pass the book!  I have Trading Card Treasures up for grabs. 
The book is about making artist trading cards using your photographs. If you want a chance to receive the book, let me know in the comments.  The catch? After you keep it for a while, you need to pass it on to someone else to peruse and pass along. For details, check out this post from Melissa's blog Daily Life - Bits & Pieces. The idea of Pass the Book originated with Sian of From High in the Sky (click here).  I will soon be sending the book, Art Saves by Jenny Doh, back to Sian (although I will shed a little tear when I let it go; I might have to buy my own copy).
Finally, be sure to check out Jennifer's Jumbles Frosty Festivities, coming up Novemer 16-18.  You can read more about it at this link.  It's sure to be a lot of fun, and there's great prizes available as well!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tell Me About Your Linens!

Long time readers of my blog will know that, influenced by Ali Edwards, each year I choose "One Little Word" to help me focus on big picture goals.  My word for 2012 is "home," and one of the ways in which I am focusing on home is to organize my house, room by room. When we pulled the carpet in the downstairs hallway and replaced it with hardwood floors, I had the occasion to empty the linen closet. I used this as the opportunity to organize my household linens (which included cleaning out the kitchen cupboards where I store the kitchen linens).  I put my "heirloom linens" (lace, embroidery, crochet, etc. created by my Grandmothers and aunts) into storage containers, along with baby linens (blankets mainly) that I couldn't bear to part with.   I tossed a large bag of soiled, torn, fully depreciated linens and two big bags of paperwork from the kitchen storage areas.
My ultimate goal in this reorganizing project is to have the "correct" number of towels, sheet sets, table cloths, napkins and place mats in the linen closet and kitchen storage.  So, now I'm trying to figure out that "correct" number.  And I'm looking for your input.  How many sheet sets do you have per bed? How many towels? How many table cloths, napkins and place mats?  Please tell me your linen strategy in comments.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Election 2012

Instagram, "Election 2012", Nov. 6, 2012.

Monday, November 5, 2012

FFF: On Triumphs and Defeats

Artists in Blogland is sponsoring an art journaling challenge called Fall Fearless and Fly, with new prompts every other week through mid-January. The third prompt (click here) suggests using black and white for your color scheme and journaling about your greatest triumphs and defeats. I loved using paper scraps, gesso and white paint to build up layers of texture and then highlighting the page with micaceous iron oxide and carbon black.  As for the journaling, try as I might, I could not bring any triumphs or defeats into focus.  I kept coming back to the idea that my life is currently a work in progress, and I am not ready to claim great triumphs or concede any great defeats. I've got a lot of irons in the fire right now; hopefully these will mature into triumphs come spring. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hello Monday

Hello Monday (a meme started by Lisa Leonard) . . . 
Hello autumn veggies at the farmer's market . . . bought brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, artichokes and broccoli. I'm missing the summer fruit but it was fun to talk with the local bee keeper who makes these terrific candles in her kitchen.
Hello healthy eating . . . This week, I'm planning to make tostadas; tri-tip; beef/tofu and broccoli; teriyaki chicken with dry braised green beans; hamburgers; and pesto ravioli with broccoli and chicken. What's on your menu this week?
Hello furniture moving as we put everything back onto our beautiful floors.
Hello darker evenings and lighter mornings as we turned the clocks back this weekend.
Hello fingers crossed that Clara makes the basketball team and that Paul has a good week (he was pretty tired today after a mid-cycle chemo infusion).
Hello last two college applications  for Henry. He's sent eight out so far (three today). These last two require different essays/writing submissions than the others, so that means a bit more work. But he's pretty committed to wrapping them up in the next week so he can be done with the process.
What are you saying hello to this week?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Storytelling Sunday: On Becoming Me

It was a dark and stormy night. Winter, 1980. Walking home from a party. Alone.
Alone was a new concept for me, just recently having broken up with the guy I had dated since starting at University. But alone felt just fine. 
I had taken a flier and said yes when invited to a party by a girl who had been in a few of my classes but who I didn't know well. I went to the party and found it full of friendly folks, including one old acquaintance. I mingled. I drank. I danced. I sang along to Steely Dan's "My Old School" at the top of my lungs. I felt free and light and full of life.  I realized I felt happy. Happy because I could just be myself. Free of expectations, imposed by others, of who I should be. Happy to be on the path to becoming me.
Happy because I knew that, after every storm comes clear open skies. And happy to know that I would be there to greet the new day.
This story is brought to you as part of Sian's Storytelling Sunday. To read more wonderful words, check out this link.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Giants Halloween

It's been a very busy week here. Our family's favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, won the World Series! On Wednesday, there was a huge parade in down town San Francisco. Unfortunately I had to work, but the kids both went. Clara went with our good friends, Molly and Jack. Henry went with a bunch of friends from school.  Meanwhile, back at home . . . 
The hard wood floor project is coming along nicely. I love it but it really has put a crimp into my creative side because everyone is smooshed together in my bedroom.  Also, I wasn't able to put up a Dias de los Muertos altar because we aren't able to put the furniture back yet.  Wednesday was also Halloween . Henry was the only one who dressed up this year. . . 
Here he is with his super-cute girlfriend, both dressed as cops. He went to a couple of different Halloween parties this year (on two consecutive October weekends). It's been years since he actually dressed up, so that was kind of fun to see. Clara hung out with friends from her old school for a few hours on Wednesday night. Paul and I went to a fun Halloween party. It was great for him to get out of the house - the first time in a while. I just wore some Giants fan gear. 
I hope to get back to some creating soon!  I want to participate in Bernice's Attitude of Gratitude project, as well as the Sketchbook Challenge's Life of Spice topic this month.  On Sunday, I hope to have a story for Sian's Storytelling Sunday. . . not sure if I can manage his prompt ("It was a dark and stormy night . . ."), but I might give it a go.  Finally, there's a new challenge up at the "Fall Fearless and Fly" series hosted by Artists in Blogland.  There's plenty of inspiration out there. I just need the initiative!