May 31, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 21

This is week 21, and I continue to love this project. Scary things this week included a massive tornado in Oklahoma and my Dad needing a biopsy. This week also included a farewell dinner for my pal Vanessa, and lots of lounging at home and reading. As always, click on images to enlarge.

Here is the double spread:

Left side:

Right side:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Unknown. Tornado graphic and Scout badge from the web.

May 30, 2013

Free Audiobooks All Summer Long

What is SYNC?
SYNC is a program that gives away two complete audiobook downloads – a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title – each week to listeners ages 13+ while SYNC is in session.
SYNC is in session this year from May 30 – August 21, 2013.
This is such a fun program for people in the US and Canada. To get free audiobooks, and see the lineup this summer, go here.

May 28, 2013

Journal page

I like to sketch while I listen to podcasts, so I was delighted to learn that Danny Gregory has video interviews with some of the artists featured in his new book. Here is the quick sketch I made while he talked to Roz.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Pen and markers on acrylic wash. You can watch this interesting interview here.

May 27, 2013

Recent Reads

57. Goliath
There are always at least two sides to any story, and this graphic novel tells the famous story of David and Goliath from the giant's point of view. Goliath is a giant, true, but he does not like fighting, or the spilling of blood. Given the choice he would rather do some admin work. He gets roped in to this now famous battle, and is not happy about it. A fun quick read with wonderful art. Rating: 3 stars.

58. 84, Charing Cross Road
I loved the movie with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, so decided to read the book. This delightful novella is a true story of a transatlantic business correspondence about used books that developed into a close friendship. 

There are so many wonderful lines. Some of my faves:

1. It's against my principles to buy a book I haven't read, it's like buying a dress you haven't tried on.
2. Anything he liked I'll like except if it's fiction. I never can get interested in things that didn't happen to people who never lived. 
Rating: 4 stars.

59. Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
This is a companion book to the more widely know 84, Charing Cross Road. The edition I read had both books. What a delightful surprise.

While 84, Charing Cross Road is a collection of letters that span 20 years between the author and Frank Doel (and others), the Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is a collection of diary entries made by the author on her first trip to London. Her keen observations of people, time and place, makes for an interesting read. As does her dry humor. While I liked this fun, fast read, I did not love it as much as 84.

So love this sentiment she express in the book:I despair of ever getting it through anybody's head I am not interested in bookshops, I am interested in what's written in the books. I don't browse in bookshops, I browse in libraries, where you can take a book home and read it, and if you like it you go to a bookshop and buy it.

Rating: 3 stars.

May 24, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 20

This is week 20, and I continue to love this project. I decided to make this week all about my nephew Jonah's First Communion. He is one of my fave guys in the whole wide world. As always, click on images to enlarge.

Here is the double spread:

Left side:

Right side:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Unknown. Sunday card, Camera card, and Photo Rocks element by Melissa. Here's the Story card and Recent Reads card by Kimberly. Adorable flag by Cathy.  Bubbles elements by Katie. 4x6 collage templates by Liz. Keep Calm card from the GIP.

May 22, 2013

Journal page

I like to sketch while I listen to podcasts, so I was delighted to learn that Danny Gregory has video interviews with some of the artists featured in his new book.
Here is the quick sketch I made while he talked to Steven Reddy.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Pen and watercolor pencils. You can watch this interesting interview here.

May 20, 2013

Recent Reads

55. Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
As readers, I know you know Tolstoy's famous line about families. Well, I humbly submit an addendum: each crazy family is crazy in its own way. This memoir is hilarious y'all. I listened to the audio wonderfully narrated by the author. I usually stay away from author narrations, but this one was brilliant. I found myself shaking my head in horror, talking back to Jenny, and laughing out loud - often all in the same paragraph. 

Now a couple of things you need to know going in:

1. If you are a sensitive type prone to fainting, this might not be the book for you.
2. If you have unresolved PTSD issues from your own childhood, this might not be the book for you.
3. If you are offended by cuss words, this might not be the book for you.
4. If however you like the idea of having a shot every time you hear the word vagina, open up a bottle and enjoy the ride.
Rating: 4 stars.

56. Bitterblue
The thing about me is that I have yet to meet a trilogy I did not finish. And yes, I've got a several trilogies awaiting my attention.

I so wanted to love this book. After being disappointed with Fire (Graceling Realm #2) I was hoping that this one would be better. At the end of Graceling (Graceling Realm #1), you just knew that there would be a Bitterblue book didn't you? But the story of a girl coming to terms with a monster father who destroys the kingdom was already explored by Fire, and this book does not really add anything as to how a daughter reconciles her love for a father who is a psychopath. While it was fun to see the old gang together again, the plot was not tight, and the book meanders on way too long. 

This series has gotten rave reviews, and I know that I am one of the lone voices crying out in the desert, but maybe it would have worked better for me if I had read it while I was the target audience - a young adult. Rating: 2 stars.

May 19, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 19

This is week 19, and I continue to love this project. Highlights of the week included the final leg of our road trip with stops at Monticello and Gettysburg National Historical Park. Another World Heritage site visited. So love that. I also have an OLW insert this week. As always, click on images to view larger.

Here is the double spread:

Left side:

Right side:

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

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Anne. Remember this element by Suzy. Journaling card by Shabby Princess. 4x6 collage templates by Liz.

May 15, 2013

Journal page

It has been a while since I shared a journal page, so here you go. I listened to an interesting TED talk that Amanda Palmer did on The Art of Asking. Talk blurb: Don't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan. 

(Click on image to enlarge)

I did a quick sketch while I watched. Pen and watercolors. Thanks for stopping by.

May 14, 2013

One Little Word 2013: Messages

The homework assignment this month in the One Little Word class is to listen. Listen to messages I tell myself. Listen to what others are telling me.

(Click on image to view larger)

One thing about running is that I've spent a lot of time with the messages in my head, and that has helped me pay more attention to what tapes play regularly. I've been working on replacing the negative ones with positive ones. These are some of the little (and big) messages resonating with me right now.

Freebie supplies used:
PSE layered template by Ali. Textured cards by Melissa. Arrow and heart cards by Tina. Thoreau quote card by Jennifer. Center quote card by DAD.

May 13, 2013

Recent Reads

52. The Killer Angels
This book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1975, and has been on my TBR list for ages, so when as part of our Spring 2013 US road trip, we decided to visit Gettysburg, I got the audio book version to listen to on the trip. 

As a person who did not grow up in the US, my knowledge of the US Civil War is sketchy at best. Oh, I understand the broad strokes, but really have little knowledge of the actual battles, and the players involved. This book tells the story of the four days of the Battle of Gettysburg. The story is character driven and told from the perspective of various protagonists, and is wonderfully narrated by Stephen Hoye. I got so involved with the characters that I was rooting for both sides, and found that I have a soft spot for the boys from Virginia and Maine. The only downside to not reading a print book was I did not have maps to look at while listening.

It was rather amazing to be in Gettysburg after listening to this book. I knew the players, and the events, and being there brought the entire story to life. By the way, I would also highly recommend a visit to Gettysburg National Military Park. I've come to believe that one cannot really understand the America of today without understanding the Civil War and its aftermath. Rating: 5 stars.

53. Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books
I imagine that most book people would love to move to Hay-on-Wye, a Welsh town with 1500 inhabitants and 40 book stores. While most of us might think about it, the author does just that. This memoir is a meditation on moving and the meaning of home, and on reading and the meaning of books. The book starts out strong and is often hilarious, but it seems to lose steam along the way. Still it is an enjoyable read if your idea of heaven is living in a quirky town with so many indie book stores. Rating: 3 stars.

54. The Scarecrow
I was in the mood for a thriller, so went to by my go-to guy, Michael Connelly. This is the second book in the Jack McEvoy series, and while I finished reading it in two sessions, this is not a book I would recommend. Yes, Connelly knows how to tell a story, and his pacing is good, but honestly, I found the plot rather predictable, and there was no character development at all. Too bad, since I really liked the first book in this series. Rating: 2 stars.

May 12, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 18

This is week 18, and I continue to love this project. Highlights of the week included phase three of our road trip with stops at the Maker's Mark Distillery, Mammoth Cave NP, Cumberland Gap NHP and Smoky Mountains NP. Cannot recommend our national parks more highly. They are fabulous. As always, click on images to view larger.

Here is the double spread:

Left side:

Right side:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Becky. Journaling card by CreativityPrompt. 4x6 collage templates by Liz.

May 11, 2013

One Little Word 2013: May

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.

May 10, 2013

One Little Word 2013: April Update

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

And how did I do?

I find in fascinating that my goals in April focused on strengthening my mind, and that my training was tested all month long.

Goal #1: Be present. This is a hard one to measure, but overall I was successful at staying in the present moment. I found that simply breathing and paying attention to my breath helped prevent me getting swept away by my monkey mind. All the what ifs, and should haves. Simply breathing and focusing on the now helped create a space that was soothing.

Goal #2: Daily gratitude. Yes. I have much to be grateful for.

Goal #3: Focus on the positive. Another intangible that is hard to measure, but overall I was successful at focusing on the positive. There is something I heard many years ago: I spend all my time worrying about disasters that never happen. It is so very easy to spin my wheels and get nowhere. I found this practice really helpful this month. 

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

May 9, 2013

Man 'o War

Before this road trip, I had spent very little time in Kentucky. I flew into Lexington for a customer visit several years ago, and was captivated by the lush green paddocks with lovely white fences, and the most beautiful horses I had ever seen. I knew I would be back.

Having spent a week or so exploring the state on this road trip, there is much I love about it. One delightful discovery is my new fave cocktail, a Man 'o War. This version has bourbon, lemonade, muddled strawberries and crushed basil. Yummy.

May 8, 2013

Knob Creek

The thing about a road trip is that you visit new places and learn new things. For one thing, I learned that Knob Creek is not just the name of a bourbon, but also a town in Kentucky. For another, I thought that Abraham Lincoln was born in Illinois. It turns out he was from Kentucky.

While driving along on pretty Kentucky roads, passed his old school house, and stopped by Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home at Knob Creek, part of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.

In an 1860 letter Lincoln said, "The place on Knob Creek ... I remember very well; but I was not born there .... My earliest recollection, however, is of the Knob Creek place." 

Remember that story you read as a kid where Lincoln lives in a log cabin and reads by candlelight? Well, that cabin was torn down in 1870, but this one was reconstructed on the original site in 1931, possibly including logs from Austin Gollaher's home (Lincoln's schoolmate who rescued him from drowning in the creek). How cool is that? The cabin is tiny. 10 feet by 10 feet maybe? No running water, no electricity (hence the candle), but set on lovely grounds. The site was closed, probably due to the budget cuts (don't get me started on that!), so we could not see the inside of the cabin.

May 7, 2013

Cumberland Gap

I admit that when I hear the name Boone, I immediately think of Boone's Farm, a cheap, rather horrible beverage that was popular with the college crowd. It turns out there is another Boone. Daniel Boone. I learned more about this American explorer and pioneer while exploring Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

The history of the Gap as the first great gateway to the west is a fascinating one, and it is rather incredible that roads were re-routed and the Wilderness Trail that Boone blazed in 1775 has been restored to what it looked it to those early travelers. 

As we hiked along parts of the Wilderness Trail, we could only imagine what it must have been like for those early settlers.

They were hardy souls indeed. 

May 6, 2013

Recent Reads

50. Fire (Graceling Realm #2)
This is book #2 in the Graceling trilogy, and while I liked book one, this story did not grab me. I really liked how this book tells a story in a parallel universe set in the neighboring lands of book one. Great idea that. However, I did not find Fire a compelling character. Granted she is young, and conflicted, and doing the best she can, but after a strong start, the story got boring. I do like the creative imagination of the author, and plan on reading the final book in the trilogy. Rating: 2 stars.

51. The Faithful Spy (John Wells #1)
Decided to start this audio book on a long road trip, and the story was interesting enough to listen to completion, but not sure that I'll be reading the other books in this series. Did not find John Wells a compelling character, and the dialogue parts of the book are quite stilted. Rating: 2 stars.

May 4, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 17

This is week 17, and I continue to love this project. Highlights of the week included phase two of our road trip with stops at the Airstream factory and the Kentucky Horse Park, where we stumbled upon the Rolex Kentucky. As always, click on images to view larger.

Here is the double spread:

Left side:

Right side:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper and the owl paper by Hollander's

May 1, 2013

A picture is worth ....

You know that I double and triple checked all the tent zippers right?