|This is my nephew, Richard.|
Show and tell time.
These are my family's new bookshelves:
I LOVE them.
Please note all the picture book shelves. And the face-out picture book rack on the wall to the left of the shelves. I am a proud picture book hoarder. I feel that this is a very fine thing. I have a five-year-old afterall (or maybe, yes, that 's just an excuse...).
Also! These awesome bookshelves do not stand alone.
How about some bookshelves just for all our handmade journals and photo albums?
Are two shelves too many? How about three? How about one for the wall? Face out!
Or maybe four?
Aren't these shelves AWESOME?
They are like half-tables stacked on top of one another.
Now, how about some handmade shelves by yours truly (and my crafty sister):
Patchwork bookshelves for the nook at the top of my stairs.
Because every crafty lady should try DECOUPAGE at some point.
Here's the shelves right after I hung them, before I filled them up. My son helped me. He loves helping mommy with projects.
As long as said projects don't involve trips to the craft store.
Is it embarrassing to realize that this little list does not include the bookshelves in my studio? Or my bedroom? or the one downstairs for cookbooks? I mean, is that too many? Too many bookshelves?
NO SUCH THING!
In fact, how about I just add pictures of those shelves too. Why not?
Studio shelves, complete with flying pig light
Cookbooks under the T.V. Wouldn't we rather be reading anyway?
This one houses journals I'm still filling.
BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS!
"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."
Alright. Enough already. Go read a book.
|From an assignment in Andrea's Superhero Photo Class.|
One of my favorite bloggers, Andrea Scher, recently decided to offer a playful online photo course.
I couldn't resist.
I have this habit of taking a crazy amount of pictures. I look for color, shape, light. But it's all just playful.
|Red-shirted girl in the distance|
|My mother and my son holding hands|
Instead I embraced my practice as a way of appreciating the moment. I was no more obtrusive with my pictures than I've ever been (Let's just say the overly shy girl isn't one to walk around with a camera dangling from her neck, She leaves that to the real pros, like my uncle, or to the bolder amateurs, or to the tourists riding big buses).
Andrea will be offering another class soon, I believe. I hope, if you like to play with pictures, you'll join her.
|Blue umbrellas at Angkor Wat|
|This is my apron.|
|The floor of my studio the day I wrote this post.|
“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh.
This is one of my favorite pictures I took in Sri Lanka, just because it caught such a serendipitous moment of color -- the kind of serendipitous moment of color I'm constantly on the look out for and love to find. I just love the stripes of the guys shirt with the stripes of the tree and the red hat and the shorts that match the tuk-tuk perfectly. It may not be fine art or whatever, but it was a happy color moment.
My wish for you today? To dwell upon any happy accidents -- fortunate accidents. They happen more often than we notice. Or maybe someone who needs it most can have a little happy accident today. Is that a strange thing to hope for? No one hopes for accidents. But what about happy ones? Those surprises in life that are unplanned. If we never had happy accidents, we might never fall in love. So I hope for a little happy accident for someone who would appreciate it today. A good one. A moment of serendipity.
"Serendipity is putting a quarter in the gumball machine and having 3 pieces come rattling out instead of one -- all red" ~ Peter H. Reynolds.
(a New Year's sort of thing, no?).
"We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light" -- Mary Dunbar
I took these pictures this past fall in Southern Utah and the quotes are from my quote journals.
Which are you going to do today -- find a little light to bask in or be a little light and glow?
I heart every book Antoinette Portis has ever made and I especially love that my son loves them and I also especially love her new book, A Penguin Story. Deep breath. There. I got that off my chest.
So when I saw a video of Antoinette Portis talking about A Penguin Story and she said the very true and true-to-my-heart words, "This COLOR thing rocks," I decided to blubber on like an idiot here and share the link to the video (Amazon won't let me embed the video here or I would) because I have a thing for color and people who are passionate about it.
If you haven't read these books, you are in for a treat:
Not A Box,
Not A Stick,
A Penguin Story,
They are picture books at their best. Go check them out.
I wanted to take her there with all my heart. But I knew the kind of travel I most enjoyed would probably not be comfortable for her in Morocco (she is in her mid-eighties!) no matter how adventurous she is.
So I spent many a long night after my son had gone to bed researching just the right way we could take her on a day trip to Morocco without it being cheesy and without it being uncomfortable.
I found a woman in Spain who owns a guesthouse near the ferry to Africa who lives and breaths all things Morocco. We stayed at her guesthouse, a magical and tranquil place called Dar Cilla, which is decorated peacefully and perfectly with Moroccan handicrafts and antiques. Even if we weren't going to spend the night in Morocco, I wanted Grandma to relish the flavor of the place.
The people at Dar Cilla arranged for a private tour for only my family. It was a beautiful and perfect day. I never imagined a day-trip tour could be so fulfilling. Our guide listened to things we cared about and walked us (or drove us) to see such things. That's how we ended up in an apothecary shop learning about spices (my husband loves to cook) and in a communal bread baking oven underground. It's also how we saw many of the sites Matisse had painted when he lived in Tangier (There are unassuming diamond shaped cobbles in the roads wherever Matisse painted). These colorful string bits are tied all around posts and doorknobs in the section of the market where thread spinners work:
We weren't pressured by any heavy duty salesmen but we didn't have to worry about the stresses of transportation and we had a guide who taught us lots of fun and interesting things. We also ate one of the best meals I've ever eaten in my life with some crazy brewed fruity juice concoction. I felt like the day was a trip on a magic carpet ride back in time to the days when silent movie stars and Parisian artists came to Tangier for the color, life and magic of the place. My Grandma beamed all day. I was thrilled that I made her dream come true.
And here's where I sigh and bring us back to journaling. My journal pages from this magical day are anything but. How frustrating.They are boring. And un-colorful. In a sense, I let them go before I even started making them. I was too busy taking in all the color and life and magic to collage about it later that day. But even though it's frustrating, it's also okay. Sometimes my favorite "rule" in journaling is to just let something go. So I didn't do it justice. Move on. At least I had that magic ride.
If I beat myself up about every time I didn't do some experience justice in my journal (travel or otherwise), it would mean I wasn't having enough magical experiences (I'd rather be having them than recording about them).
So consider this a permission slip from a journal junkie. If you are ever journaling (or blogging) and you really really wanted to capture it all, but you also really really wanted to do something else, do something else -- especially if that something is magical. Journals suck when they become dreaded obligations.
I drove about 2 miles from my house to a spot that overlooks Bellingham Bay. I got out my journal thinking I’d brainstorm ways to get out of my funky mood. Instead, as I opened my journal, I was inspired to daydream.
I asked myself what I would like my life to look like a few years from now, and to dream BIG. This is nothing really new. I dream all the time. And I do dream big. But I wrote out the 5-years-from-now vision in present tense, as if it were now.
About two pages in, I stopped myself. I smirked. I realized, while all this was very cool and sounded wonderful, first off, it was not too far off from where I’m at now. I mean, if I were to ask what that version of 5-years-from-now could look like 5 years earlier, it’s my life now. I’m just a 5-year-earlier version of that supposed big dream. That was a pretty awesome and funny moment for me.
Even more awesome though: I stopped myself because I was describing my relationship with my son 5 years from now. I realized I didn’t even want or need to go there. What I realized was that I want and need to focus on now. I want to enjoy his sweet little 2-year-old self while it lasts and not worry too terribly much about his 7-year-old self lest life passes us both by.
And really, despite the fact that I think dreams are essential, I know that also, I really want and need to focus on now in all the other aspects of my life too. I think I was blue because subconsciously I had slipped out of the moment that afternoon. I looked out over the bay, then over my shoulder at my sleeping son in the back seat and slipped right back into the moment.
I’ve been working at becoming an illustrator for an embarrassing amount of time. And it’s fun. I’m so thrilled that I have the chance. Thank you Universe for my life as it is now. It’s a dream come true.
It feels appropriate to put pictures up because of the garden on front. I've been doing a lot of work in my yard on mommy days (as opposed to artist days when my kid is at daycare) while my two-year-old plays with his bike.
You aren't still writing in a journal with lines, are you? Lines are like horizontal prison bars. What do you do when you want to write big? Or write in spirals? or write sideways. If you are an artist especially -- I dare you. Step out of the box. Buy a journal without lines next time and destroy it with your crazy handwriting (no matter if it's ugly).
It's a playground. Play.
I love having patterned paper mixed in with regular (well colorful) plain paper. I normally weave text all around the images or glue stuff down over the patterns.
These pictures were taken last year when I did a big photo blitz and took photos of lots of my personal journals to eventually post here. So the pictures above show empty pages. But I assure you the pages are not empty. They are full of crazy ugly handwriting and cross-outs. And the whole thing is all the more precious because it's where I've let myself go and allowed myself to play.
LATER UPDATE/AFTERTHOUGHT WORTH SHARING: I also should add for anyone interested, that I started calling my journal a playground after hearing George Shannon's phenomenal talk "The Journal as A Playground" several years ago. If you ever have the chance to hear George talk: do! He's an amazing speaker.
The youth made "sojournals" that night, that's where I got the idea -- she said I could steal it -- thanks, Jen.
I love these portraits. Somehow they capture my color courage, while at the same time capturing my shy side.
Thanks for sending these to me, Jen!
A NEW SEWING MACHINE!
I'm not awesome at sewing by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted a sewing machine that I didn't have to spend hours adjusting the tension every time I used it so I could make crazy fun cloth journals and sew on paper. I tried it out last week on my very own new journal:
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this journal! Let's call it this month's journaling inspiration of the month.
It was sew fun to make.
And true to it's promise, my new sewing machine (named by Singer: Confidence) adjusts the tension automatically.
I switched back and forth from thick fabric to paper without adjusting anything (although I probably should change the needle next time).
I've already filled many pages in my new journal. I'm thinking of it as a "soujourn-al," or maybe a "sew-journal."
I like the word "sojourn." Besides meaning "a temporary stay somwhere," I think of it as a retreat, a break, an excursion outside of the ordinary.
So (Sew), I like my new sojournal (sewjournal).
And my new sewing machine. Did I mention that my new sewing machine makes all sorts of fancy stitches? It's a dream come true. Thanks Bryceroni!
Sorry for the overload of pictures, but the different pages and colors are just too fun not to share.
Almost everytime I develop a new kind of journal to sell it comes from me playing around with my own personal journals first.
Yay for play.
I should really show off the insides of journals with a video instead of 10 pictures. I'll try that out next time.
Now, what else can I sew?
And what do you do to sojourn?
When I was very young I asked my mom to paint my room yellow. She did.
My husband sent me an awesome article entitled: "Yellow Expected As a Bright Spot For 2009.". He found it via Lance Armstrong's Twitter page.
Here's a quote from the article: "There's a prediction from a leading color source that cheerful and sunny yellow will be the influential color of 2009." Awesome.
What a sunshiney article to get in your inbox! Articles about color are good things.
P.S. I feel compelled to point out that the links on this post may not always be what you expect. Try the Lance Armstrong one, for example. Now. I better get back to work...