Monday, February 29, 2016

Mail Art and Scrapping Fun

Happy Monday! Here's some creative fun to start the week. I'm in a One Card a Month club, and I received this fantastic hand painted card from my friend Tracy.  I also love the envelope she sent it in! Speaking of decorated envelopes, mine is featured this week on Kat's  blog. I sent it  in with my post cards for the Liberate Your Art swap. It's about half way down this post.
On Sunday, I got together with a group of friends to scrapbook, and I made huge progress towards finishing Henry's Sports Scrapbook. The pages are all pretty simple and still need journaling, but here's a sample. {Sorry the lighting is so awful. The photos looked fine on my phone, and I'm in too big a hurry to retake them}
A few baseball layouts:
And a few soccer layouts. The first one will tell the story of when his coach was hospitalized for several months with an awful, degenerative disease. He miraculously turned the corner and, through several more months of courage and hard work, has recovered. Shortly before all the boys were scheduled to leave for college, they organized a trip to visit him in the hospital. I was proud and impressed by  the turnout. It said a lot about the type of coach that Franklin is and also about the great group of young men on the team. The second one is notable for using a Creative Memories die cut from about 20 years ago!
I was surprised by the number of teams that my boy has played on: one club soccer team; one adult city team; one high school team and now his college team. On the baseball side, he's played on little league, all starts, two different travel teams and high school. I'm going to a crop next week, so I might do a few more layouts.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Six Word Sunday: Break

The Egg's Lesson: Crack, don't Break.
Every week, Miriam posts a word and asks contributors to create a short story with one photo and six words. This week's word is "break." See other short stories here. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Snap! Artists at Work

Last Thursday, I posted some photos from a recent trip to tour the murals in San Francisco's Mission District. For today's Snap!, I'm posting four photos that form a photo essay about the artists working on the murals. We noticed some artists at work in one of the alleys, and my friend Lane suggested we go talk to them. I asked one of them if I could take his picture. He said sure. Then turned around and said, "Professor Ontiveros, is that you?" It turns out he's one of my former students! Lane snapped this photo of us:
Needless to say, I was totally surprised! It took me a while to recognize him because he was out of place, know what I mean? Anyway, it was interesting to talk with him about his art. He's been painting street murals since he was a kid and on this beautiful sunny day, he just decided that he couldn't stay in the library anymore and decided to head to the alleys to paint. He met the alley owner several years ago when they did a mural painting benefit fundraiser to fight cancer. The alley owner invited him to return anytime he wanted.  My favorite photo in my collage is the paint kit (which includes, uh, liquid refreshment!). My friend Lane who toured the murals with me is also quite a photographer. He took this great portrait of another one of the artists:
Lane had the advantage of carrying his big camera, while I was shooting with my iphone. But I am still happy with my Snap! (a group of four photos that tell a story). For other Snap! groupings, check out Helena's blog.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Six Word Sunday: Interview Time

Henry had a work interview Wednesday!
Linking up with Miriam's Short Stories (told in six words and a photo)
p.s. Good Luck Henry!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Street Art (Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt)

One of the prompts in this year's Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt is "Street Art." Last weekend, I took some friends to San Francisco's Mission District to tour the murals. You may recall that I took a similar trip with Scrappy Jacky and her family. I thought I'd share a few images of the fantastic murals. I almost saved the four up top for Helena's "Snap!" meme, but I have a few other things lined up for that. 
Here's a few others that I really like:
One of the things that surprised me was how quickly the art changes in the murals. Some were the same as when I visited over the summer, but many were completely new.
Have you seen any interesting street art lately?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Snap! Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday was Valentine's Day in the United States (is this the same all over the world?), and I made a little collage of three photos to share. Two from our wedding day in 1984 and one of the beautiful roses my husband gave to me this year. I thought they made a lovely Snap! to share at Helena's this week.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Memorandum Monday: A Return to Creativity

Welcome to Memorandum Monday! A chance to share your weekend adventures and reflect on new experiences, hosted by Sian of From High in the Sky. 
Last week I went to a crop and put all my Christmas card photos from 2015 into the proper album. It was great to complete a project and got me in the mood for scrapbooking. So, I organized my photos from 2013 (the only year I have printed and undone) and then sat down to order photos from 2015 and 2016 (somewhere along the line, I had already completed 2014). I discovered that most of my 2015 photos were on my iphone and decided to just print them at shutterfly. Well, this weekend was the first time I used the shutterfly app to download pictures off my iphone, and it worked like a dream! 
After downloading them, I got on my computer and made the first photobook ever for Henry (of their soccer national championship tournament) and ordered all my photos for 2015 and 2016. I was so pleased with myself!
I'm very excited to return scrapbooking and have a few dates planned with friends over the next month. Next step, organizing a few page kits so it will be easy to complete them.
What else was I up to this weekend? Gardening - I've been trying to spend about half hour every few days outside pulling weeds and cleaning up. Getting ready for spring! 
I also did a little doodling of hearts that might make their way into my art journals. For these, I totally owe my inspiration to Laurie over at Lone Black Bird. She has printable heart coloring pages that I copy and use as a jumping off point. Here's a page I made last week:
They're in my sketchbook. I plan to use them as a reference for art journal pages.
What were you up to this weekend? Anything new to share?
Have a great week, and thank you all so much for your comments on my brave post from Friday. Your support means more than you know. I love having a safe place to share.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Six Word Sunday: Come on Spring!

Brave the Winter garden.
Welcome Spring!
Linking up with Miriam who is hosting a meme where people tell stories in one photo and six words. Check it out here.

Friday, February 12, 2016

What's Been Going On in My Life

That's a silhouette of my daughter pointing off to the horizon. 
Pointing in a direction away from me. Which is where she wants to be. 
As a senior in high school, she has been straining at the reins. Hard. 
So, we decided to let her go. 
She has moved to Southern California to live with my sister and finish high school down there. She comes back frequently, and I have gone to visit. But our relationship right now is definitely fraught. It's hard to let go. It's hard to breathe.
But I am blessed with a wonderful family that is looking after her. I am a faith filled person who knows believes that everything will work out.
But still.
It is a difficult time
It is one of the main reasons that I chose Brave as my word for 2016.
I have a lot to brave this year.

I need to be a warrior (a brave).
I need to be brave.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Snap! Brave four ways

My one little word for 2016 is "Brave," and I've been playing around in my art journal with its various meanings. So, this week for Helena's Snap meme, I'm sharing photos of four of my pages. They're all slightly different styles, but I like them all. Do you have a favorite?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Memorandum Monday: First Time Travels

Sian from over at From High in the Sky hosts a meme asking people to share something new they've done over the weekend. This week I'm sharing some musings from a week ago, along with some fresh thoughts thrown in. 
I took this photograph a week ago at the Palm Springs airport. There's a very faint rainbow (can you see it?). It got me thinking that the Palm Springs airport is the first outdoor airport I've been to. It's so hot in Palm Springs that, after you go through security, you go outside to the various gates which are indoor/outdoor. I've been to a lot of memorable airports, from the miles in Heathrow to the underground walkways in Chicago. I remember the first time I flew on an airplane, and we walked down a ladder off the plane because it was the days before jet ways.
Palm Springs reminded me a bit of the airport in San Salvador, El Salvador where I walked outside to the softest air I ever felt and was overwhelmed by floral smells that were totally foreign to me. These sensory memories flooded back to me when I went to the outside portions of Palm Springs airport. 
Have you ever been to an outdoor airport? Any other memorable airports?
Now on to the new thoughts. This spring, I'll be going to two new airports! I'm going to teach in Shanghai, China in May. I've been to Beijing but never Shanghai. Paul is coming with me, and we are going to spend a few days in Japan on the way! Very excited for my first trip there. Do you have any upcoming travel plans?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Six Word Sunday: The dog with grass green paws

"I wish I could garden everyday!"
Miriam is hosting a weekly meme of a story told in one photo and six words. Here's my entry for this week with the prompt "wish." You can check out others here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Books I read in 2015

A few of my blog friends have done a year-in-reading review, and they inspired me to do one of my own. Karen of Random Reflections listed her top 10 in this post, and Carola's list can be found here.
I'm not a big reader. I love books, love reading book reviews and love purchasing books. But somehow reading itself is something that tends to get pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. The one saving grace in this regard is my book group. We meet about once a month, and I do try to read our monthly book. They also have great recommendations for other books.
In 2015, I read in order of preference:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Very good book telling the story of two very different people during the rise of Nazi Germany. Loved it.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. A very good book set in the 1920's New York City. Interesting characters, themes and plot. I liked it a lot.
The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson. An excellent courtroom drama set in the 1940's south. Deals with civil rights issues prior to the emergence of the 1950's civil rights era. Interesting and funny characters. While not a "greatest book of all time," I definitely recommend it.
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A memoir about growing up in the New York City suburbs in the 1950's. It says a lot about baseball, neighborhoods, and childhood. I really liked it.
Still Life and A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. Enjoyed both of these Inspector Gamache mysteries set in a small village in Quebec, Canada. I have already purchased number three in the series (The Cruelest Month) and am looking forward to reading it.
The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I'm not sure how or why I found this book, which might be better categorized as Young Adult fiction, but I really liked it and it has stuck with me. It's a zombie apocalypse book told from the perspective of a zombie-mutant that is evolving into a different species. A quick read.
In the Woods by Tana French Set in Ireland and volume 1 of the Dublin Murder Squad series; very atmospheric; well-written; story fell apart a bit at the end, but I liked it well enough to buy another in the series (Broken Harbor), which I haven't gotten around to reading yet.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. An okay book. Set in the San Francisco bay area, tells the story of a girl making her way out of foster care into independence, with the help of her love of flowers. Others in the book group liked it more than I did.
Mary Coin by Marisa Silver. Tells the fictionalized story of the famous Dorothea Lange photograph Migrant Mother. I liked it a lot less than everyone else in my book group. Too many undeveloped stories and the end came together like a "ten second tidy." 
So, that's ten books for me for the year. Not too many, I know. But it's better than nothing!
What's up this year? I read a very short, fast-read but not great courtroom drama called The Neon Lawyer by Victor Methos (perfect for sitting around in waiting rooms or commuting, but nothing memorable). I didn't finish the January book group book, My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. Our February book is Fates and Furies by Lauren Goff. I'm committed to reading and/or listening to it! Also, I liked this list from the Washington Post of great books coming out in 2016.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snap: Goodbye Dear Friend. . . .

We recently had to say good-bye to Clara's dog Aria. Those two had such a close bond, it was incredible. I created an art journal page to say good-bye and a photo collage for Clara. It's a bittersweet Snap to share at Helena's blog this week.