Saturday, April 20, 2013

I want to remember... List

Saturday April 20, 2013: 
  • James "got" a cultural reference on The Fairly Odd Parents and gave what I can only describe as a "guffaw" in response to it.  It was partly a celebratory "Hey, I understand that!" and partly an honest laugh to the show. 
  • James and the little girl he was playing with at the Local Arts and Craft show running out of the welcome center house and down the stairs as if they were being chased by some ghost.  And then the fire truck rolling by and the deep fear I suddenly had that they had pulled the fire alarm for fun. {they didn't!}
  • I'm proud of myself for not tying my self-esteem to my crafts, and for taking the risk of putting myself "out there."  I'm reading Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead and I feel like I totally showed up for the challenge and survived.  I allowed myself to be vulnerable without sacrificing my values.

Friday April 26, 2013:
  •  The joy and pride I felt for my niece who graduated college tonight.
  • That in spite of wheezing, I was able to walk the whole thing, including steps with no handrails.  "Before" I would've assumed I just couldn't do it and stayed home, missing out on life.
  • Listening to MrRonald make jokes--I love his sense of humor.
Saturday April 27, 2013:
  • Doing a great grocery shop with James.
  • Helping my mom clean out her garage.  I helped, and that's not something I can say very often.  And it was fun watching Mom and MrRonald argue over the keep/toss piles ;P
  • Playing card games like Skip-Bo Jr and "War" with James. 
 Sunday April 28, 2013:
  • Setting all of James's toy men up, army-style in rows of good guys vs. bad guys
  • James asking me "What is that white thing on top of the new tea pitcher?" and me having to explain "It's a lid."  So funny!
  • Playing Uno and having to call James out for "excess celebration in the end zone."  And realizing how weird it is that I consider us a "non-sports" family but I use football terms like that.  Also "foul ball," "home run," and "fore!"  
  • Still wearing the blue topaz pinky ring from my Mom, and realizing that if I never wear any other stone for the rest of my life, I love blue topaz enough to be happy with it.  Reminds me of my mom's eyes, and James's eyes.  Plus it varies in blue color from navy to almost-clear, so it matches everything. :)
  • Reading the brand-new Sophie Kinsella book "Wedding Night" and having a crying fit because Fliss realizes that because of her divorce, her "family" is gone forever, and so is mine.
  • Realizing that that's okay.  Really.  It's okay.
Wednesday May 1, 2013:
  • I'm blessed that everyone I love is healthy and able-bodied.
  • I adore Chloe and she makes me want a dog of my own.  But then it's also just as good to be able to give her back.  She's the perfect dog because she can come visit yet I don't have to bear the full weight of her responsibility.
  • Loving Supernatural is unique to me, and I must settle for no one else caring about it the way I do for now.  I must not give in to temptations to call my ex, who doesn't even watch it anymore.  And I'm sad that the show I love so much makes me feel lonelier, but that is how it has to be.
  • I'm having a hard time as a parent right now, but it will pass.
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I want to remember...

I'm taking a video class on Journaling techniques from Ali Edwards through  One of the methods she mentioned is using a repetitive theme such as "I love..." or "I'm thankful for...."  The third example is very inspiring to me, and I'm planning on using it often.  "I want to remember..." is pretty much my entire motivation for doing Project Life, and especially this year, the first one in our small town, the first one as a single parent in a divorce situation.  A year of firsts, actually!

Sometimes it's easier for me to type notes than to hand-write them for our PL album layouts.  So I'm going to use a repetitive phrase often, and keep a track of it here on my blog.  In this way, I hope to personalize and capture our lives without sacrificing materials or having to keep up with journal cards.  So, the next post will begin my official list of moments I want to remember forever
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Friday, April 5, 2013

What I've Been Up To -- A Round-Up

I've been crafting as much as possible, but it's much, much harder being a single Mom than I expected (and I grew up with a single Mom, so I knew it was tough already!)  Also my supplies are here, there and everywhere, and that's a challenge: I have almost no craft paint--where did it all go??  But this also means I'm using and de-stashing what I do have, and that's excellent.

It's hard to take credit for these, because it was mainly arranging jump rings in the right way, but these are three of my jewelry pieces I completed in the last month.  These blue crystals are ones I've had since 2010!!  See what I mean about needing to de-stash?   The picture on the left is a crude attempt at wire-wrapping, which is harder than it looks, people!  The 2nd photo of a jumble using a large dark blue crystal is simply on a large jump ring with several wire-wrapped pieces I bought from other sellers, which I took apart and re-arranged.  The 3 light blue crystals are attached to a wide-link chain using jump rings, and I'm so glad to get all 5 of these crystals onto necklaces!

This is a 16x20 canvas with 2 coats of crimson acrylic paint and hearts cut out from a pad of black, gray and white patterned paper.  The shiny paint worked out well with Mod Podge Gloss, so I'm glad I didn't have to handle the sheen issue with this one.  I'm very into black and white decor right now, with red accents, so this piece became my inspiration for decorating our new place (when we get one.)  And my beloved turquoise fits in well too, which makes me happy.

As far as a sketchbook, I've just started one this past week.  I'm using a Blick 9x12 Mixed Media wirebound journal.  I have been low on inspiration, but decided to let my desire for organization and order lead the way.  When in doubt, make a color chart!  :)

I have 19 Caran D' Ache Neocolor IIs now, {but no craft paint!!  LOL!!} and I bought myself the 12-piece set of Derwent Art Bars for Christmas, and they're extremely similar so far.  I've seen where other artists greatly prefer one over the other, but I haven't done much with either, so I have no strong preference yet.  

This is an attempt at a side-by-side color comparison chartI wanted to see color families together, rather than going by their names.  I've written the name of each in its space, so it's a great way to see what color I need.  (The whole violet/purple/magenta thing gets me every time, and my reds go purple or my purples go red.)  

Up next features this graph which was made on one of those insomnia nights, when I just could not go to sleep.  Allowing myself to go a little insane over straight lines and perfect squares keeps my mind off the clock, so I'm more focused on the page in front of me than on "Oh man, I have to get up in ... hours!"

 These are my markers.  These are everything from Crayola markers to Faber-Castell Pitt Big Brush Artist Pens, and also some Sharpies and "Power Liner" alcohol markers from the clearance section of Hobby Lobby.  In this case, it's about the color and not the quality.  I was also able to throw many markers away that had dried up over time.

I also have a blending marker, and the alcohol inks react with it and makes a kind of watercolor pencil thing happen, and I'll be exploring that in the future.

This last craft is more fun than craft, but whatever.  My son is totally obsessed with Batman right now, and I think we own every single Imaginext Batman toy there is.  Guess who comes with almost every set?  Batman!  We were drowning in Batmen, so James asked me to paint his extras into new costumes.  The lime green paint is a free sample of Liquitex acrylic spray paint, and the dark gray was made using black acrylic mixed with a tiny bit of white.  The 3rd one got painted red, but you can only see a little of him in this photo.  

James named them Grass, Oil and Fire, but I'm not sure if they are bad guys, good guys, goons or sidekicks. 

The Liquitex spray paint is AWESOME!!  It is seriously fun to use, it's not anything like normal spray paint.  There is a depth of color, it's basically the same as their regular acrylics except in a format that is easy to use, inexpensive and I even used it on some papier-mache shapes from Michael's with a brush and it worked beautifully.  (I had no other green to use!  Ugh, I hate moving!!)  I took pictures of the cute lil' flower, but they mysteriously disappeared and I have nothing to show you, but you should try out the Liquitex Spray Paint.

Thanks for seeing what all I've been up to.  I love this last picture of the newly-painted Batmen, so let it inspire you to do something totally crazy with your art supplies!

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My 100th Post!! Project Life Weeks 1-5

This is my 100th post on this blog!  
I'm so excited, and for it to be about Project Life is a wonderful coincidence!

I'm doing our Project Life book a little different than most people.  Because we aren't super active, and I don't take a lot of pictures, I'm using only one 12x12 page per week.  This means that when the album is open and you see two page protectors, that's 2 weeks worth.  I am using both Style A and Style D of the Photo Pocket Pages.

I'm just starting and finding my way.  I decided to just BEGIN and then I can always go back and make changes to my album--which I've done several times already.  So here are the photos of my first few weeks:

Opening Page
My opening page, which includes cards from the Cherry Core Kit, some Life Quote Cards I downloaded from Project Life's freebie section, and some digital scrapbooking pieces I printed.  The teal quote on the bottom left is one of my favorites.  It says "everyday I fall in love with you more and more.  well, not yesterday, yesterday you were pretty annoying."  I'm not sure where I got it from, but it's our sense of humor, and keeps things from becoming too "Perfect Life."

Week 1 Left Page
For the first week, I did use a 2-page spread.  We moved into a new place in a new town and started a new school.  So a LOT happened that week. The giant camera on the bottom left is a digital scrapbooking clip art I had printed.  The other elements are from the core kit.

Week 1 Right Page
The bottom center is a card from the core kit that is a beautiful turquoise flower, one I'll be using as filler art a lot, I believe :)  The "Be Awesome Today" and "I have found that if you love life, life will love you right back" are digital scrap elements.

Week 2
 The yellow card on the top right will be a picture of me celebrating after hooking the TV, Blu-Ray player and cable box up by myself--something all single Moms should celebrate!  This page includes a small photo of one of my son's pictures of his Angry Birds toy set--he loves to take pictures of his toys, and they're usually a good fit for the 3x4 slots.  One day I'm sure we'll look back and try to remember what happened to those!

Week 3
There's that beautiful turquoise flower again!  Week 3 started off with a make-over for me (thanks Mom!) and spending a beautiful sunny MLK Day exploring town and ended with me and James both sick with bad colds.  The temperature dropped significantly that week!

Week 4
So this week started with us both being sick--and the funny picture of me is one I would never have scrapped before, but one thing I've learned through Project Life is that the "normal" moments, the ones with your hair messed up or laundry in the background, are often the best photos to keep.  The silhouette of the girl with a ponytail is actually the card that came with a stamped necklace I'd ordered from a site called Between You and Me, and I love it so much.  The blank spot on the bottom right will be a picture of it.

Week 5
This page is one I'm not happy with.  I can't really explain why though; too much white, maybe.  I love the picture of my Mom, taken in Home Goods while we shopped on a "Girly Day" while James was at his Dad's.  The Visitor card and the receipt below it are from the Book Fair--and I'm always a sucker for buying books for James, and this was the most I'd ever spent at one fair.  But we got some cool new books, real comic books for Adventure Time (which is totally mathematical!!) and Ninjago.  
The book page photo on the bottom right is probably not going to stay, but it's an important lesson for me.  I'd been collecting Book Page projects for about 2 years.  Since I'm such a book lover, I thought I'd love these craft projects.  So I finally (yes, after 2 whole years) got around to making one from a canvas I was trying to salvage, and...I HATED it.  It looks like a bunch of torn pages laying on the floor.  Or hanging on the wall, depending on where it is.  I ended up deleting almost every pin from my Book Page Pinterest board and throwing away some books I'd been keeping just for these crafts.

Ironically, I found this quote on Pinterest last night, and it sums up my major problem:
Instead of collecting Book Page projects, I should have tried one first.  Oh well, Life Lesson learned!

At this point, I fell behind.  My son's birthday was at the end of February, and between that and Valentine's Day, school conferences and a trip to my brother's house in Alabama, I was too busy living life to have time to create my layouts.  I have sooooo many pictures though!  I'm planning on making a couple of 12x12 classic scrapbook pages for James's birthday pictures and another for our trip.

I also have a TON of new journaling cards and 3x4 art cards.  Most are from Studio Calico, who has a monthly Project Life kit I was on the waiting list for, and from Memos Cards from Echo Park paper company I bought at Hobby Lobby.  So I know for sure that these pages are going to change.  But I also know I must STOP going back over my first pages obsessively and instead move on and catch up!

Since this is an image-heavy post, I'm going to make my 101st post a round-up of my crafts and art that I've been up to.  Thank you for reading!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Pastors' Wives by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

I received a copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  I enjoyed it, a lot more than I thought I would.  The story is told from 3 points of view and this is an effective way to move the story along.  I feel there is something to be admired in each woman without watering her personality down too much.
Ruthie is the wife of a man called to be a pastor at a time when her own faith in God is failing.  The two move from New Jersey down to Atlanta for him to become the Associate Pastor at a "megachurch."  She is an honest and complex character, one I felt would be overlooked in an average "chick lit" or "beach read" type book.  She is a born and raised Catholic, and while she attends her husband's new church each week and doesn't hesitate to work there without pay, she also never feels fully embraced by it either.
Candace is the wife of the Pastor of the megachurch, one who is not paid but nonetheless spends every minute just as immersed in the life of the church as her husband.  She was my favorite character--I love female characters who know how to get things done while maintaining a ladylike demeanor.  (I'm from the South, and to me, Candace is a classic Southern Lady.)  But I also love her relationship with God, how much time she spends in prayer herself, and how she is brave enough to go where the Holy Spirit guides. 
Ginger is the 3rd woman in the story, and she is married to Candace's son.  With 2 children under the age of 5 and an absentee husband who is off saving the world, she 's left alone to make it through the day as best she can.  Candace is an overbearing presence to her, as many mother-in-laws are, and Ginger has reason to fear: her past is not what everyone believes, it's much dirtier, and living the lie each day is the real challenge she is facing.  While I found the choices she makes to be hard to believe, they're also valid, well-thought-out and add a surprise twist to the story I didn't see coming.
I highly recommend this book to readers who love women's fiction but need something new to make them excited about the genre again.  I also think fans of Christian lit will enjoy the book; as I said, Candace's faith is a shining example of what we can all aspire to have as our own. 4 stars out of 5
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