June 29, 2013

Journal page

The other day I spent some time in a book store with an iced tea, my journal, and some magazines. As always, click on images to view larger.

There was a group of about seven women at a table next to me. They were knitting and debating about how much Valium was needed for a plane trip. 

I knew that the paper in this journal would not handle water well, so when I got home, I played with some colored pencils.

The sketch was inspired by an artist new to me. 

June 27, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 25

This is week 25, and I continue to love this project. Celebrations this week included the summer solstice, an anniversary, and the super moon. 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 Carina. Hello today element by Tina. You and me card by Molly. Heart card by Jessica. Today rocks element by Ali. Let's eat element by Shabby Princess. Brad by Marisa. Scan this card by Leslie. 4x6 collage template by Liz.

June 26, 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 Ian.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Pen and markers. You can watch this interesting interview here.

June 25, 2013

Book Title Poetry

Have you heard of book title poetry? The goal is to create poetry using only titles of books. Typically, you arrange the book spines and take a photo. While browsing in a book store the other day, here is what I came up with using only titles, no added words.

I can't complain
On looking
Far from the tree.
The ordinary acrobat
In the body of the world
Inventing the enemy.
A man of misconceptions
Governing the world.

Can you guess which section I was browsing at the time? Look at the books around you. Do you see poems?

June 24, 2013

Recent Reads

66. My Ideal Bookshelf
I love the premise of this book. Various people, some I had heard of, most I hadn't, where asked to select books for their ideal bookshelf. People interpreted this in various ways - books that changed them, books they would pick if stranded on a desert island, etc. Each contributor wrote a short essay, and the artist (Jane Mount) created artwork that went with each piece. I loved the art, but found many of the essays disappointing. What I wanted to know is why each person put each book on that shelf. What was it about the books? Most of the essays only touched on a couple of books on the shelf. I did however find it an ideal book to dip in and out off while having tea, and found some new books to add to my TBR shelf. Rating: 3 stars.

67. How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
There is no doubt that Mohsin Hamid is a gifted writer. This is the second book of his I have read, and while I did not love it as much as The Reluctant Fundamentalist, I enjoyed the time I spent with it. Writing a novel in the guise of a self-help book is a clever notion. Much of the writing is so on point as to make you stop and read it again. Did he just really say that? Like pop rocks, there are entire paragraphs that pop and sparkle in your brain as you read. So why not a higher rating? At no time did I feel immersed in the story. I was too busy marveling at the author's skill. This might benefit from a second reading. Rating: 3 stars.

68. The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose
The copy of the book I read is so old that the note on the type states: This book was set via computer-driven cathode-ray tubes in ELECTRA .... Copyright 1977, 1978. Seems like the dinosaurs were roaming the earth back then no?

But I digress. I read this book for book cub, and while I have read other books by the author, I cannot recall which ones. What has stayed with me, and what this book confirmed, is that she has a wonderful writing style, and can keenly capture the essence of a situation. This is a collection of 10 interconnected stories about Flo and Rose. We move seamless back and forth through time, and each story slowly builds their world. Like brushwork on an oil painting, it is only when stepping back that you can take in the entire picture. 

So why not a higher rating? I do think the fault is entirely mine. I am not a fan of the short story, and while the stories are good, I missed the narrative arc one gets when reading a novel. Rating: 3 stars.

June 22, 2013

12 Weeks of Summer: Week 3

Melissa is running the 12 Weeks of Summer challenge. Check it out if you have not already, and join in the fun. The goal for week three was to create a 5x5 with still photos in between each video. Also the 5x5 was to focus on one event.

The event I decided to document was a trip to the grocery store. An event most of us do so regularly that we hardly give it much thought. What struck me as I was buying groceries this week was how much more I noticed everything. I was seeing with new eyes. I had a flashback to my first several visits to an American grocery store, and being dazzled by the sheer volume and variety of what was available. Over the years that newness had eroded, but this week I was again filled with wonder at the abundance available to me.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

June 21, 2013

Happy Summer Solstice

This might just be my fave day of the year. At least in the top five anyway. Here at 42 degrees North, it is the longest day of the year. And if that was not enough, Babes and I celebrate an anniversary too. Here are numbers that are significant right now:
21 & 9 & 82
Happy 'versary Babes.

June 20, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 24

This is week 24, and I continue to love this project. It is boat season in these parts. Love that too. Highlights this week included Susan's birthday, Dragon boats, and Father's Day. 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 Brandy. Striped card by Melissa. Good week card and Remember this element by Katie. Today word element by Karen. Watch this card by Leslie. Brad by Shabby Princess. 4x6 collage template by Liz.

June 19, 2013

Journal page

"It is often hard to tell the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. And someday you will likely discover that the small moments you're living now are really big ones with worth dreaming about. So learn to appreciate what you have now before time forces you to appreciate what you had then." (via Marc and Angel)

(Click on image to enlarge)

Background acrylic wash. Pen and markers.

June 18, 2013

Recent Reads

63. Of Mice and Men
My heart aches. But in a good way. Now that I am no longer in tears, let me try and convey how much I loved this book.

I dole out Steinbeck to myself as treats. And this is why. He captures people and place with so few words that it hardly seems possible he has created this rich, wonderfully cinematic world in your head. Can anyone capture the dreams of desperate people as well as Steinbeck? This is the story of George and Lennie. And while you root for Lennie, it is George who sucker punches you in the gut. Because he knows. And you know that he knows. 

And the icing to this experience was to have the book marvelously read by Gary Sinise. I am off to request the movie version. If you have not read this yet, or the last time you read it you were a snotty teenager, get your hands on a copy as soon as you can tolerate an achy heart. Rating: 5 stars.

64. Lonesome Dove
Turned to page 858, and gasp, it is over. This incredible ride I have been on for the past several days is over. I feel bereft. What oh what will I do without a visit with Gus and Call everyday? Seriously. Cannot even imagine starting another book at this point.

This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986, and I am one of those people often leery of prize winners. All that hoopla often lets me down. But this is a wonderful read. Outlaws, Cowboys, Indians, Whores and Texas Rangers Oh My! The characters are so well developed that I feel I've known them most of my life. And I do believe that I am more than slightly in love with Gus. Augustus McCrae. Sigh. Will probably be doodling his name in my journal later today. 

I digress. This is the first published book of the Lonesome Dove series, but the third installment in the series chronologically. The story focuses on the relationship of several retired Texas Rangers and their adventures driving a cattle herd from Texas to Montana. I loved this book so much that after I have recovered, I'll probably get around to reading the rest of the series. Rating 5 stars.

65. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
I listened to the audiobook which is wonderfully narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin. Deftly weaving four threads, the book explores the life of Henrietta Lacks, her family, the science and scientists who used (and continue to use) HeLa cells, and the story of the author's journey in writing this book. Narrative non-fiction that sucks you in with a good mix of science, history, personal anecdotes, and social commentary. Rating: 4 stars.

June 17, 2013

12 Weeks of Summer: June 5x5

Melissa is running the 12 Weeks of Summer challenge. Check it out if you have not already, and join the fun. The goal for week two was to create a 5x5 video. 5 clips of 5 seconds length each. In addition. the first clip had to be shot between the hours of 7-10, the second clip from 10-1, the third 1-4, fourth 4-7, and fifth clip from 7-10. They did not have to be shot on the same day. So fun. Here is what I ended up with.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

June 16, 2013


So many fun memories with my Dad. Happy Father's Day.

June 14, 2013

Currently reading

It is Friday, and I've just started Under the Dome by Stephen King on audio. At 35 hours, it is a chunkster and should take me a while. I am already hooked. Also reading How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid in print. What a way with language he has.

What are you reading?

June 13, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 23

This is week 23, and I continue to love this project. After all the cold and rainy days (feels like months), it is finally sailing season. Love that. A couple of firsts this week. I added a QR code as to link to a video. Also tried the Collect app to create the photo cards. And finally played with the Instaweather app to create the Boston photo card. All of these are free and fun ways to add some variety to my pages. 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 is a chart of Boston Harbor. Heart card by Tina. Love this photo element and Real life card by Melissa. This is worth watching card by Traci. Compass element by Marisa. Hello card by Leslie.

June 11, 2013

12 Weeks of Summer: The Joy of Catching Frogs

So, I've discovered that I love making little videos. I captured these clips while playing with my nephews last year, and never really did anything with them. Along comes the 12 Weeks of Summer project, and I'm a movie making fool. So love how this turned out. It really captures a place and time, and the essence of my nephews. They grow up too dang fast.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

June 10, 2013

12 Weeks of Summer: Video 1

One of my goals has been to get better at creating and editing videos, so I was delighted to see that Melissa is running a challenge to do just that. The goal for week one was to simply learn to use a video camera and editing software. I decided to use the video function on my iPhone, and instead of editing on my phone used the free Movie Maker software on my PC. Without further ado, here is my first video. You'll note that I'm standing on floating docks while filming. 

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

Monday morning

Love mornings on the water.

Forecast calls for heavy rain the next 24 hours, but there is not a hint of that yet.

June 9, 2013

Reading right now

You know how when you finish a wonderful book, it takes a while to get back to reality, and no other book sounds good? Well, that's where I am right now. Finished Lonesome Dove yesterday. Over 850 pages of immersion in a book that swept me away. 

This is exactly the time I fill with graphic novels. Something to read while I digest a wonderful book. Here is what I  reading right now.

June 7, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 22

This is week 22, and I continue to love this project. Holy Moly, but it is already June. Where the heck does the time go? 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, Let's Eat element, and Flower card by Shabby Princess. Keep Calm card by Tina. This Week card by Suzy. Awesome element by Melissa. Authentic element by Sande.

June 6, 2013

Go. Bruins. Go.

So fun to walk around and mingle with all the fans.

June 5, 2013

Worn out

Sails up today. Here is my photo of the day.

June 4, 2013

Boston Harbor

It is a lovely day to be on the water. A Goldilocks kind of day - not too hot, not too cold, just right.

(Click on image to enlarge)

This is my view of the North End from the forward hatch. Love sailing season in Boston. 

June 3, 2013

Recent Reads

60. Lost in Shangri-la
I listened to the audio version read by the author, and with a sub-title like "A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II", I had high hopes for a rollicking good adventure/rescue story. And while there were parts that were really good, I would not have finished it if I had read the print version. It could have used better editing, and could have been much shorter. It almost felt like an Outside Magazine feature article that was padded with lots and lots of miscellaneous data to get to a particular word count, and while much of the miscellany was interesting, it did not really add to the flow of the story. Rating: 3 stars.

61. Uglies
This is book #1 of the Uglies young adult series, and since all the books in the series have already been published, decided to try it. 

The story takes place sometime in a dystopian future. Humans have destroyed most of the planet, and now live in cities, though there is a resistance movement. Those in the city are ugly and live with other "Uglies" until you turn 16, at which point you undergo mandatory surgery that makes you a "New Pretty", and you move to live with other beautiful people on your own island where you party all the time. Enter our protagonist, Tally Youngblood, who cannot wait to be beautiful, but when her new BFF runs away to live with the resistance, Tally is given an ultimatum: Be a spy and betray the resistance, OR, be an "Ugly" forever. Gasp!

I find myself rather conflicted about this book. On the one hand I love the premise of the novel and the discussions it could lead to for the YA reader - the beauty myth, the need to conform and fit in, the haves and have nots, ecological destruction, etc. On the other hand, Tally and the other characters are not well fleshed out, and seemed rather one dimensional to me. The story has interesting twists and turns, but seems to drag on longer than needed. I liked it enough to read the next book in the series. Rating: 3 stars.

62. An Illustrated Journey
This book is a wonderful collection of travel sketchbook pages from artists all over the world. Packed with sketches, tips and materials used, this book got my sketching juices flowing, and makes me want to sketch everything in sight. Loved it. Rating: 5 stars.

June 2, 2013

One Little Word 2013: June

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.

June 1, 2013

One Little Word 2013: May Update

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

And how did I do?

Goal # 1: Bike 50 miles. When I picked this goal, I had no idea that I would be out of town for part of the month, and that we would have a cold and wet spring. But as the month drew to a close, decided to get my bike out and see what I could do. And you know what? I biked 45.7 miles. In 3 days! I admit to not easing in and slowly building up the miles, but I was out of time people. And you know that when I finished my 15.25 miles yesterday (the last day of the month), I was tempted to simply ride on and get to the 50 target. But this is the new me. Perfection is not the goal. I decided to be thrilled at what I did accomplish and leave it at that.

Goal #2: Weekly nature rambles. See above in regards to being on the road and the wet weather. I planned for 4 and got in 2. Not bad.

Goal #3: Explore new paths. I did this both literally and figuratively this month. Literally by exploring places completely new to me while on a road trip. Figuratively by exploring old, well worn mental and emotional paths that no long serve me and doing some re-routing.

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