February 28, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 8

This is week 8 and I continue to love this project. I decided to document some of the highlights of time with my nephews this week. And I have three inserts for the week as well. So fun. As always, click on images to view larger.

Here is the two page spread:

Left side: 

Right side:

Insert One. You can read more about this insert and supplies used here.

Insert Two. You can read more about this insert and supplies used here.

Insert Three. You can read more about this insert and supplies used here.

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Carrie Stephens. Quote of the week card by Smitha Katti. Journaling paper by Shabby Princess. Bubbles element by Katie Pertiet. Word stamps by Stacy Marks.

February 27, 2013

To This Day Project

You know that old poem that goes sticks and bones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? Well, I have never believed that. Bones often heal much faster and cleaner than emotional damage. I saw a link to this incredible video on Cathy's blog, and wanted to share.

If the embedded video does not work click here.

February 26, 2013

One Little Word 2013: Vision Board

I'm a person who does homework. I was that kid that had homework done even if it was a snow day. Not that we had snow days in Kenya, but I'm just saying that if we did, I would have my homework done anyway. The homework this month in the One Little Word class is to create a Vision Board. Since I was creating mine digitally, decided to look for images on Pinterest and in my photo and art folders. Here is what I ended up with.

(Click on image to enlarge)

What you do, is you flip through magazines and rip out images and words that pull you in some way. No thought, you just do it. I did one of these with paper and glue many moons ago. Sometimes you have no idea what it all means, but other times you have a pretty good idea. Like I do with this one. I decided to use a layered template based on Project Life Template F, and since this will be an insert to Week 8, I used the same background for consistency. Thanks for stopping by.

February 25, 2013

Recent Reads

16. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
I listened to the audio version which is really well narrated by Kathe Mazur. Having already watched the author's TED talk, I was interested to hear how she would flush out the topic. I found this an insightful book, especially the case studies and strategies during the first and last quarters of the book. However, I did feel that the middle dragged a bit, and could have used some editing. Whether you are an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert, this book is a fascinating look at personal and interpersonal dynamics, and can help shed light on some of the puzzling people in your life. Rating: 4 stars.

17. The End of Your Life Book Club
This memoir tells the story of a son and his mother, who read and discuss books and life while she undergoes chemo for stage four pancreatic cancer. They form a book club of two. I listened to the audio version narrated by Jeff Harding, who is a wonderful narrator, but I found his women's voices annoying. This is a hard book for me to review, because while I was intrigued by the connection between mother and son, and the story is about books and life and illness and loss, the writing left me unmoved. It felt like I was snorkeling at the surface, and what I wanted was a deep dive. I enjoyed the reviews of the books they read, I have read many myself, and found several to add to my TBR pile. The author has captured his mother in a manner that photos only cannot. A wonderful gift for his family. Rating: 3 stars.

18. The Last Summer of the Camperdowns
I excitedly ripped open the package that contained my advanced reading copy and dived in. I so wanted to love this book, but did not. The story is set on the Cape and is told from the perspective of Riddle, a 12 year old girl named after Jimmy Hoffa. The novel describes the lives of the characters over one summer, and the secrets and events that change life as they know it. The most compelling character in the novel is Riddle's mother Greer, her one-liners and comebacks are quote worthy. However I did not find the book a compelling read, the characters are rather one-dimensional, and the plot and pacing of the story did not suck me in. Rating: 2 stars.

19. The Graphic Canon, Vol 1: From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons
This is such a fun book dip in and out of, and while I had heard of, if not read, most of these classics, there were some that were completely new to me. The thing to know before reading, is that this is a sampling of these classic stories - abridged, or a chapter of two of each. The graphics are simply wonderful, and while I did not love each and every one, there are many that are fantastic. I've added the next in the series to my TBR pile. Rating: 4 stars.

February 24, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 8 Insert: A Conversation with Luke

It was school vacation week, and my nephews were over for a play date. As part of Project Life, I decided to document where are my nephews are right at this moment. Here is my conversation with Luke who is 10 years old.

(Click on image to enlarge)

This layout will be an insert for my week 8 spread. Inspiration for the idea came from Cathy and Ali, and the date tag is a freebie from Melissa

February 23, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 8 Insert: A Conversation with Jonah

It was school vacation week, and my nephews were over for a play date. As part of Project Life, I decided to document where are my nephews are right at this moment. Here is my conversation with Jonah who is 8 years old.

(Click on image to enlarge)

This layout will be an insert for my week 8 spread. Inspiration for the idea came from Cathy and Ali, and the date tag is a freebie from Melissa. Thanks for stopping by.

February 22, 2013

Tingling brain cells

If you are a regular reader of this blog (nice to see you again), you might remember that I am on a mission to give my brain cells a good workout this year. The eight week online Introduction to Astronomy class that ended last month did just that. 

I'm in the midst of a new class. This one is 14 weeks long and is called The Modern and the Post Modern. I'm currently in Week 3 of the class and that means Karl Marx. I love getting a chance to read authors I have not before, and learning about the giants whose shoulders we all stand on.

Here is the class description from the Coursera site:

In this course we shall examine how the idea of "the modern" develops at the end of the 18th century, and how being modern (or progressive, or hip) became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change during the last two hundred years. We shall be concerned with the relations between culture and historical change, and our materials shall be drawn from a variety of areas: philosophy, the novel, and critical theory (with possible forays into music, painting, and photography). Finally, we shall try to determine what it means to be modern today, and whether it makes sense to go beyond the modern to the postmodern.
The Modern and the Postmodern traces the intertwining of the idea of modernity with the idea of art or culture from the late 18th century until the present. Beginning with the Enlightenment, Western cultures have invested heavily in the notion that the world can be made more of a home for human beings through the development of culture (and technology). Throughout this period there has also developed a strong, sophisticated counter-movement that sees the Enlightenment effort as a disaster – destructive of both art and of the world.
The Western idea of modernity is linked to but not the same as the idea of modernism. We will examine both in this class and then consider postmodernism in relation both to the philosophical idea of modernity and to the aesthetic considerations of modernism.
This course covers a lot of ground, historically, conceptually and aesthetically. There is much to read, and very different kinds of reading: from philosophy to novels, from theory to poetry. Not all students will like all the reading, but if you digest it all, you should have a clearer sense of the cultural history of our present.

February 21, 2013


Saw a link to this video on Ali's blog, and loved it. We all need a chatterbox in our town.

If the embedded video does not play, click here.

February 20, 2013

Journal page

I've been liking this type of journaling lately. Something soothing about filling in all those circles.

(Click on image to enlarge)
Pen and watercolors.

February 19, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 7

This is week 7 and I love this project. Some weeks I have way more photos and stories than will fit on these pages, other weeks are quieter. Some people use this project to capture a story every day. Not me. I focus on what stories I want to document in a given week, though I do try to take photos daily. As always, click on images to view larger.

Here is the two page spread:

Left side:

Right side:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Carrie Stephens. Graph paper and You & Me card by Erica Hernandez. Photo flags by Cathy Zielske.

February 18, 2013

Recent Reads

10. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
I want the author to be my new BFF. And if not that, we should at least meet monthly for tea and scones. Or pie. To discuss books, and life, and well, everything. This delightful collection of short essays are witty, and insightful, and thought provoking. Rating: 4 stars.

11. Journal It!: Perspectives in Creative Journaling
The book profiles various artists and gives us a peek into some of their journals and journaling styles. Rating: 3 stars.

12. The One and Only Ivan
Based on the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla, this award winning book for middle grade readers explores themes of captivity, friendship, art, family, and the idea that it is never too late to be the person you were meant to be. Rating: 3 stars.

13.  Ant Cities
I read this as part of my search to find great reads that might interest my nephews and nieces. This one is full of great information, but the illustration and presentation is rather uninspired. Rating: 2 stars.

14. Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute
I read this as part of my search to find great reads that might interest my nephews and nieces. This graphic novel series is highly recommended for middle grade kids, and while there were some interesting scenes, as a whole was not captivated. Rating: 2 stars.

15. Pride and Prejudice
I am slowly making my way through Austen for the first time, and as this is the 200th anniversary of the book, figured it was a good time to dive in. I've heard it described as a romantic comedy, but what I loved about it most was not the romance part. I loved that it was essentially a story about women - mothers, sisters, nieces, aunts and neighbors. Yes there are men, but the men are all incidental characters. The strength of the story was about how the women related to each other, how they defended and snubbed one another. It reminded me much of Little Women - the most influential book of my childhood. I love Austen's wit and humor and clear insights into societal and familial strictures. I think her work is still relevant today because of her social critique and wonderful writing. I have ordered up the two most recent movie and TV productions of the book for my viewing pleasure. Rating: 5 stars.

February 16, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 6

So love this project, and so glad that I decided to jump in and try it this year. As always, click on images to view larger.

Here is the two page spread:

Left side:

Right side:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by ateets. Blue aquastripe paper by nothern elements. Hello name tag element by JE. Celebrate Winter element by Ali Edwards. Line element by KHM. Keep Calm card by tomkat.

February 15, 2013

Near Earth Objects

Asteroid 2012 DA14, the 150ft rock, will not hit Earth today, but did you know that 90% of the near earth objects (NEOs) are undetectable by NASA until right before impact? I now know how the dinosaurs felt.

(Via Telegraph)

February 14, 2013

Game of Thrones Valentines

Happy Valentines Day. Here are cards for those of you who are fans of the Game of Thrones books or TV series.

(Click on image to enlarge)

You can see more work by the artist here.

February 13, 2013

Journal page

I love listening to audio books and podcasts, but cannot simply sit and listen to them. Ususally I am driving, or walking, or cleaning. Never running - am too busy trying to convince myself I am not dying! I used to listen while knitting. That sounds like I am a master knitter, which I am not. I knit scarves. Dozens. But my knitting needles have been stashed away for a couple of years now. What I do these days is sketch or splash color around while listening.

(Click on image to enlarge)
Pen and watercolors.

February 12, 2013

Break the Chain

Love this. Are you rising?

If the embedded video does not work, you can see it here.

What Valentines gift could we want more than a world free of violence against girls and women? See more at V-Day site.

February 11, 2013

Journal page

There is something about spending hours shoveling snow that makes me think in black and white. My new journal, started in January, is still not an intimate of mine. We circle each other warily. As an ice-breaker, decided to go with my signature piece - my hand. We've since warmed up to each other, and have been happily playing together all week.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Pen and markers. There is something juicy and soothing about using markers. 

February 9, 2013

Shoveling Out after Nemo

Holy smokes did we get a lot of snow. Thank goodness that it is the light fluffy kind here. This is the most snow I've ever seen fall in a single storm. The snow has stopped, but the wind is still brisk and it is so cold - temps 19F. Shoveling out in stages. Stage 1 dug a path to the hump at the end of the driveway. Stage 2 cleared the hump. Stage 3 cleared the driveway to the back of one of the cars. Stage 4 time for cocktails. Not bothering with the walkway today - if salespeople want to ring my doorbell, they can shovel their way to the door.

Blizzard 2013

Woke up to 26 inches of snow and still it continues to fall. So happy that we have power. Might need snow shoes to shovel all this snow! Check out this fab pic of cars buried in snow on Beacon Hill in Boston.

(via NYT)

That is what our cars look like in the driveway. Buried up to the mirrors. Gonna be lots of shoveling when the snow stops later today.

February 8, 2013

Here comes Nemo

This is expected to be on of the top 10 storms we've had in the area. As much as 3 feet of snow predicted. Now that is what I call a snow day. Hunkered at home. To quote a friend of mine: how nice to be non-essential.

February 7, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 5

We are five weeks into this year, and I continue to love this project. It is so much fun to document the details of this ordinary, wonderful life of mine. As always, click on images to view larger.

Here is the two page spread:

Left side detail:

Right side detail:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Katie Pertiet. Striped papers by Shabby Princess. Graph/dot card by AVegasGirlAt Heart. Flowers by Jessica Sprague.

February 6, 2013

How many lives will you live?

As a reader, I simply do not understand people who do not read. No judgement. Well maybe just a bit. One of the most amazing things about reading is that you get to live different lives. Thousands or million different lives as opposed to just one. That beats the nine lives that cats allegedly have. So love  this message.

I have been all those characters and thousands more. I am one happy Aunty that all my nieces and nephews read, and that we have frequent book discussions. Love that.

February 5, 2013

Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

You can watch his TED talk here.

February 4, 2013

Quote the Ravens Nevermore

Did you watch the Superbowl last night? What a bizarre game. Here are some of my random musings:
  • 34-31 Ravens. What a game.
  • San Francisco 49ers were hugely favored over the Baltimore Ravens, and maybe that is why the game commentators had nothing to say the first half when the Ravens stomped all over the 49ers. Comments like "the Baltimore Quarterback". Seriously? Did you mean Joe Flacco? I want a word count - how many times was Flacco mentioned as opposed to Kaepernick?
  • And the power outage. At the Super Bowl! Really? C'mon fess up, who was the 49er fan who pulled that plug?
  • And speaking of the the game commentators - did they really add any value to the game? Comments like "They will go for a safety", and "No they won't" do not help. Oh, and my personal fave: "Hidden deep in the rule book is a rule about a free kick". Huh? I need to find someone who really understands the game to stream while I watch. Hey John Madden are you live streaming these days?
  • Did love the fact that the coaches of the two teams were brothers. Anyone else think they look identical?
  • Was rooting for the Ravens - AFC after all - and loved texting with my family during the game. Such trash talk from the 49ers side of the family.
  • Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys rocked it. Beyonce, while fun to look at, not so much.
  • And the ads. Some of the most creative I've seen in ages.
  • A well deserved win for the Ravens, and the game MVP, yeah that Ravens QB Joe Flacco.

February 2, 2013

One Little Word 2013: February

As part of OLW, I'm pairing up my word with an intention for the month, and focusing on three goals. Here is the card I created for this month.

Flowers by Jessica Sprague. Striped paper by Shabby Princess.

February 1, 2013

One Little Word 2013: January Update

And just like that January is over, so time for a monthly status update. Remember these were my goals for the month:

And how did I do? 

Goal #1: Three miles a day. That meant 93 miles for the month. I am driven by numbers and love graphs, so decided to track my daily progress with RunKeeper (I use the free version), and this is what it looked like at the end of the day yesterday:

I love graphs, so here is the graph I was motivated by each and every day:

So you might be wondering - did I actually walk 3 miles every day? Nope. I skipped some days. 4 to be exact. But in the spirit of consistency, not perfection, let it be, and simply made up the miles on other days.

Goal #2: Daily Meditation. That meant 31 times for the month. I meditated for at least 10 minutes for 21 out of the 31 days. Unlike my miles, I did not make up missed sessions. Again, letting go of perfection, and enjoying the rewards of making meditation a part of my day. This practice has changed my life for the better.

Goal #3: Daily Morning Pages. That meant 31 days of writing for the month. I wrote at least 2 pages for 29 out of the 31 days. Whenever I don't write I feel emotionally constipated, so this is another daily practice that has changed my life for the better. 

All in all, am quite proud of my efforts and accomplishments. I hope you had a great month as well. Let's see what February has in store.