Sunday, September 15, 2013

Growth comes in many forms

If you haven't checked out Effy Wild's Book of Days art journaling program yet, you're totally missing out. Psst, registration opens again in October so go sign up for her newsletter and keep an eye out! ;D  That said, I've been a total fangirl for anything Effy for some time now and my Book of Days practice has taken on a new evolution with Project Life!

I hadn't heard about Project Life until Shelly posted on her blog, Inspiration Everywhere, about it. Besides the fact that her art is amazing and her own Project Life book is something I drool over, can we just talk about her handwriting for a second? *fans self* If I could download her handwriting as a font into my brain to be able to write like that... ahhh! Okay, anyway, enough fangirling again.

After pondering over this for a couple weeks, I got a coupon from Michael's arts and crafts store for 40% off one item and picked up a big ol' variety box of page protectors. These are really cool because they are all 12x12 standard scrapbook page size, but with pockets split into 3x4, 4x6, and 6x6 sizes so you can insert a bunch of stuff without having to make a traditional scrapbook layout on a big 12x12 page. Now all I have to do is find my scrapbook binder that's hiding somewhere amongst my stuff... ;)

Until then, I'm trying to put in a little insert for every day. I haven't really succeeded in that goal just yet, so I'm just making it work till I find my groove. But instead of using the traditional Project Life cards that are available for purchase, I'm using index cards because somewhere along the way I decided I needed like 3000 index cards and they are a good, plain background for any kind of arting. I also have a ton of scrapbook paper to use, along with tons of bits and bobs for accents. I am trying to make do with what I have and only buy things that will truly serve me in my interests and growth, so I like to think this is helping me with that goal.

I have a few reasons I wanted to try this. First, because my most recent altered book art journal is nearly full, so it was about time to find a new one to work with anyway. Second, my previous Books of Days (Book of Dayses? haha) are all kinds of stuck together. Super sad face! I mean, who knew a page with glued-on stuff would stick to another page with, you guessed it, glued-on stuff? LAWL, common sense, I have none. I know there are ways to prevent this, like sticking wax paper between the sheets, using a spray-on fixitif, or rubbing the page with beeswax. But I was lazy and didn't do any of these, so peeling apart the pages of books that are now at least a year old is a little heartbreaking!

BUT, it's all about the journey when it comes to arting for me, not so much the outcome. Effy wrote a great blog about this recently that you should read if you're a creative type. :)

So anyway, I wanted to make my Book of Days worry-free when it comes to having things stick together. Another reason I wanted to try this was due to the varying sizes the page protectors allow. I've found I prefer working with a smaller canvas, so the small sized pockets work great. And if I want to go all out, I can work with a 12x12 page and put that in there with a standard scrapbook page protector, too! So it seems really easy to customize to whatever I feel like that day I sit down to slap paint and glue on the page.

Yesterday I had another 40% off coupon for Michael's (by the way, they have a 50% off coupon now... they really are good at having me give them money willingly) and went in there expecting to get one of the kits of pocket inserts. They didn't have any of the designs I was eyeballing online, so I picked up a teensy tiny Sakura Micron pen instead for $1.90. Yay! I think it was fate reinforcing that idea that I don't need pre-made stuff when I can make do with what I have. But all my black pens (all 50,000 of them, it seems) were regular ol' ball point pens with black-but-not-quite-black ink, or fat bullet-tipped Sharpie markers. That's my justification for that purchase, okay? Don't judge me!

OKAY OKAY OKAY. *waves hands* Now the whole purpose of me writing all that is to work up the courage to show you what I've done, art journaling-wise, for this new Book of Days. The Glitterhood group is doing the 29 Faces project this month, so that inspired me to try a face.

Once I have a page or two complete I'll show the whole layout, but for now I'm kind of proud of this little chicky. She looks... like a person! Granted, she's ghastly white because I haven't gotten the hang of shading yet (let's just focus on making the people-drawings look like people first). But she's there! On the page! Eeeee!

...anyway, it's a start. :)

So that's my Sunday Shiny for ya. Head over to Effy's blog to see more swoon-worthy posts and share your own. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Oh, duh! It's a dogwood tree!

It occurred to me after writing about the funky seed pods on the tree at Trader Joe's that I had taken pictures of trees there before (they're just fascinating!). I found these pictures from May:

Turns out those are dogwood trees... the state flower and tree of Virginia! I find it amusing that these pretty flowers turn into a big ol' pokey looking seed ball. I never would have guessed that if I hadn't put two and two together from these past pictures. I'm sure this is super common knowledge to a ton of people, but for me, learning about the simple things in nature still brings me so much happiness and wonder with every light-bulb moment that occurs.

“Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the universe.” ~ Thomas Berry

Thursday, September 12, 2013

You are an explorer.

When I was shopping at my local Trader Joe's store, 
I saw this plant out front and was compelled to take pictures of it.

I have no idea what it is...

But it sure is pretty!

Are those seed pods? Fruits? I have no idea.

Finding wonder in the mundane world isn't hard, if you just keep your eyes open. :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weird Al taught me it's weird to eat marbles.

What happens when you go a little too long without going grocery shopping? You end up eating up most of what's in the fridge and freezer and make a nice dent in the cupboard, too. And then, you go grocery shopping and BUY ALL THE THINGS! Observe:

This was after making dinner and shoving things around to find room for leftovers. I may have went just a teensy bit overboard! Now the goal is to use it all up before it goes bad. As far as cupboard space went, I stocked up on coffee since it was on sale, got some of Trader Joe's variation on Wheat Thins (a little more healthy!), and my new favorite snack: pretzel slims with goat cheese.

Oh. My. Gosh. These. Are. So. GOOD. They are basically flat pretzels that aren't too salty and in a flattened shape that makes plopping toppings (hee hee, plopping toppings) on them super easy. Almost too easy, because I ate like half the bag and half a log of goat cheese in one night. OMNOMNOM.

So besides snacking, we've had a couple Cara-made meals that weren't exactly gourmet but still edible and tasted okay! HALLELUJAH, I didn't wreck the food! I guess it wasn't too hard when I used a lot of pre-made stuff, but for a cooking noob, I like to cut myself some slack. I found pre-packaged bags of ready-to-make chopped salad at Harris Teeter, then tossed them with spinach and romaine to bulk it up. This one was actually good enough that I'd buy it again if I were in the mood for it:

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It came with a mix of veggies, then a packet of dry ingredients - this one included sliced almonds and fried wonton noodles - and a packet of salad dressing. I got the southwest variety as well to try since they were new-to-me and I adore chopped salads!

Next up: homemade pizza! Well, I made it at home, so it counts. I found some of these funky flatbreads that are perfectly sized for a sheet pan and as thin as a tortilla. The package suggested using them to make pizza, and of course the grocery store marketing was genius by putting Boar's Head pepperoni right next to them. Okay, okay, I'm easily suggestible when it comes to food! So I made that tonight but thankfully there are plenty of leftover ingredients to try again, because - note to self - with a crust that thin, you need to go skimpy on the toppings! I loaded that thing with mozzarella slices and pepperoni like a crazy woman and the poor pizza was all kinds of floppy. But, the flatbreads had good flavor, from what I could tell amongst the overwhelming flavors of the toppings, anyway. There are 3 more in the package so I'm looking forward to making more pizzas!

I guess it's so thin because it's meant to be rolled? Ah well. Turns out this brand has specific flavors to use for pizza, but they didn't have any at my store. These will do for now! I'm thinking I might try some kind of baked pizza spiral-y wrap or something. But, if I were feeling ambitious, Trader Joe's makes some great ready-made pizza dough I've used many times in the past. This, however, is a good option for when you don't feel like spending the time to mess around stretching out the dough, or don't have time to let the dough come to room temperature. It's good to switch things up once in awhile, anyway.

I've realized that I'm so good about taking pictures of all the incredibly delicious food that Ian makes for me, but when I make something I forget about the camera and just dive in like a hungry hungry hippo starving for marbles. So instead of pictures of salad and a sad looking pizza, I will leave you with a photo of my cat sleeping on his face.