July 31, 2013

Ironsides @ Sunset

Walked over to listen to the sunset canon and watch the lowering of the flag. Some military traditions are quite cool.

July 30, 2013

Journal page

Faces are hard for me. Oh, I can draw faces, but they might not be the most flattering thing you ever saw. Like eyes that are wonky. Still, I have fun, and that is what it is all about no? Was listening to a fascinating podcast on Sex in the Arab world while playing on this page.

Collage, pen, watercolors.

July 29, 2013

Recent Reads

80. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls
David Sedaris has been my walking companion for the past week, and he is a good one. He does not complain about the pace I set, whether slow or fast, and has amusing stories to share along the walk. 

In my opinion the only way to fully enjoy a Sedaris book is to listen to one he reads. When you read it yourself, you simply cannot capture the snarkiness of tone required. While there are some essays that had me laughing out loud, I did not love this one as much as his previous books. Most of the essays are travelogues of one sort or another, and I found these more enjoyable than then ones where he writes as a fictional character. All, in all though, if you need a fun walking companion, I would recommend inviting David along. Rating: 3 stars.

81. Building Stories
This has got to be the most artistically creative book I have ever read. The author tells four distinct stories using 14 pieces. What do I mean by pieces? Well, there are bound books, pamphlets, accordion books, huge newspaper style parts, etc. It all comes neatly packaged in this wonderful box. 

So how to even read it? After drooling over the box art, you slowly lift the lid, take everything out of the box, ogle at all the pieces, and then randomly pick one to start reading. There is no order as to how you read this book, and that is part of the magic. Everyone will read it differently, so how the characters and events unfold will be different for each reader. The four main stories all intersect at various points in time - present, past, future. But what might have happened in my future timeline, might be your present one. How cool is that?

When you get the book, I recommend sitting on the floor so you can spread it all around you. Then take a deep breath and dive into this marvelous world. Rating: 4 stars.

82. The Constant Gardener
Though I have seen the movie adaptations of his books, this might be the first book I have ever read by the author. Why start with this one? Kenya is home and I was in the midst of a heat wave in Boston. Seemed like the perfect conditions to dive in. 

Tessa Quayle is found murdered on the shores of Lake Turkana. Her husband Justin sets out to track down what got her killed. We are immersed in the gilded lives of the British High Commission set, the corruption of Moi's Boys, Big Pharma shenanigans, and the tragedy of ordinary people who do not have the resources to get out of the way. Murder, conspiracy, corruption, whistle blowing. Yes, this has all the makings of a thriller, but it does not move at a fast clip. Rather it is a slow meditation on what is seen, what is hidden, what is one's duty, and to whom. Rating: 3 stars.

July 27, 2013

Journal page

There are days when her purpose is clear, and days when she is all clogged up inside.

There is something fun and soothing about throwing paint around with no goal in mind. Mixed media.

July 26, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 29

This is week 29, and I continue to love this project. This week was all about the heat wave that never seems to end, and how much I love being on the water. 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 Shabby Princess. 4x6 collage template by Liz.

July 23, 2013

Journal page

Another fun play date with my art supplies. The quote by Katharine Hepburn says: If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. Could not agree more.

Mixed media - wall paper sample, collage, acrylics, pen, colored pencils, stamps.

July 22, 2013

Recent Reads

77. Tales from the Farm
Essex County Vol.1. I read the Complete Essex County omnibus version of this trilogy. After his mother dies of cancer, 10 year old Lester goes to live on his Uncle's farm. The story explores themes of loss and grief and imagination and connection. The art is bold and sketchy and captures the mood of the story really well. Rating: 3 stars.

78. Ghost Stories
Essex County Vol.2. I read the Complete Essex County omnibus version of this trilogy. Ghost Stories, the second volume in the trilogy, is about two brothers, Lou and Vince. The story is a meditation on family, dreams, hockey, love, loss and aging. As in the first novel, the sketchy nature of the art wonderfully captures the emotions. And the connection to the first story made me smile. This really is a collection about a small community. Paths cross. And diverge. I look forward to seeing what the final volume has in store. Rating: 3 stars.

79. The Country Nurse
Essex County Vol.3. I read the Complete Essex County omnibus version of this trilogy. In this final volume of these graphic novels set in Essex County, we spend more time with Nurse Q, and follow her on her rounds as she makes house calls. This volume ties up the loose ends from the previous two, and the artwork is loose and sketchy and wonderful. Rating: 3 stars.

July 20, 2013

Journal page

It has been hot here people. We are not used to this kind of heat here in the Boston area. When I see that we are less than 4 degF cooler than Las Vegas (think desert), you know there is something wrong.

This was a fun page to create. Acrylics, colored pencils, pen and collage.

July 19, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 28

This is week 28, and I continue to love this project. Activities this week included staying cool during another heat wave, and a stroll along the Boston Harbor Walk. As always, click on images to enlarge.

Here is the double spread:

Left side:

Right side:

You can see how I decide on this project, and the basic supplies I will use every week here.
Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Dianne. Scan this card by GG. Colorful card by Melissa. Star element by Traci. Compass element by Marisa. 4x6 collage template by Liz.

July 16, 2013

Journal page

Trying to stay cool during a long heat wave had me looking kinda like this this guy.

Markers and collage.

July 15, 2013

Recent Reads

74. The Rime of the Modern Mariner
It is sailing season, so books that have anything to do with boats and oceans jump higher on my reading pile.

This is a fun graphic novel. The poem is a wonderfully updated riff on Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I quickly read through on my first sitting, but now plan to slowly pour over the wonderful artwork. Rating: 4 stars.

75. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Even though it is over 200 years old, this poem this sucks you right in. I listened to the LibriVox audio version. Rating: 4 stars.

76. The Siege of Mecca
The subtitle says it all: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine and the Birth of al-Qaeda. 

I had never even heard of the siege of Mecca, and since it is considered the first operation of a global jihad in modern times, I would have thought it would have gotten more coverage. 

This nonfiction book reads like a thriller, and connected so many dots for me. A quick, fascinating, and illuminating read. Rating: 4 stars.

July 13, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 27

This is week 27, and I continue to love this project. Activities this week included a visit to the farmer's market, playing with my art supplies, and staying cool during a heat wave. As always, click on images to enlarge.

Here is the double soread:

Left side:

Right side:

Additional freebie supplies used this week:
Title background paper by Shabby Princess. July 4th card by Katie. Colorful card by Melissa. 4x6 collage template by Liz.

July 12, 2013

My parents

My parents were married 48 years ago today. Love this photo.

Happy anniversary Mom and Dad.

July 10, 2013

Fabric Journal Covers

Rainy days are perfect for making new journal covers.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

Links to videos I mention:
How I make these covers.
My Turkey journal.

July 9, 2013

Journal page

After what felt like days, maybe weeks of rainy days, she decided to nurture the garden inside herself, and bring her own sunshine.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Mixed media.

July 8, 2013

Recent Reads

72. Under the Dome
The audio book is wonderfully narrated by Raul Esparza. I've been living under the dome for the past couple of weeks, and thirty five hours of listening later, I am gratefully gulping down some fresh air. 

King gripped me by the throat with the opening pages, and never really let go. The story is relatively simple. A dome drops and cuts off a little town in Maine from the rest of the world. The interesting thing about this book is that the why-did-the-dome-drop-and-who-did-it is not the major focus of the story. It is all about what happens to the people in the town. How fear and uncertainty changes human behavior. What people give up when they are scared. And those who take advantage of that fear.

King does a masterful job of pacing the story, but the characters are caricatures of sort. People are either so good that they should have had wings, or so bad that they should have had horns. There is not much nuanced character development, and at over a thousand pages, I would have expected more.

Overall though, I was highly entertained, but would not recommend reading/listening to this story at bedtime. It will not put you to sleep. I know of what I speak. 

As an aside, I watched the first episode of the new TV mini-series, and shouted no, no, no the entire time. I have since calmed down, and have decided to think of the show as "loosely based" on the novel. Keeping some chocolate handy will probably help as well. Rating: 4 stars.

73. Wool
I love when a self-published series of novellas gets a cult following, and the next thing you know it is picked up by one of the publishing houses, and is a bestseller. How can one not root for the underdog?

This omnibus version combines novellas 1 through 5, and in my opinion is the only way to read this work. The first novella is only 40 pages long, and you don't want to have to hunt down the next one, especially late at night.

What about the story? It is a dystopian one. The world outside is deadly, and the air you breathe can kill you. How do humans survive? They live in a silo buried in the earth. A silo that is over a hundred and forty floors deep. People know their place, and it has been a long time since the last uprising. But things are about to change. The world created by the author is an interesting one, the pacing is good, and I do love a strong woman protagonist. Go Jules Go.

It looks like there are 4 more novellas in this series, and I liked this collection enough to read those as well. Also, read that Ridley Scott bought the film rights, and I for one cannot wait to see it. Rating: 3 stars.

July 6, 2013

Journal page

When I sit and listen to a podcast, I tend to doodle. Here is one such page.

Pen and markers on a page that had an acrylic wash already on it.
Thanks for stopping by.

July 5, 2013

Project Life 2013: Week 26

This is week 26, and I continue to love this project.  The big news this week was the ruling by the United States Supreme Court that DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was unconstitutional. Huge victory that. 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. School's out card by Cathy. Multi-arrow card by Suzy. Double arrow mask by Katie. 4x6 collage templates by Liz.

July 3, 2013

One Little Word 2013: July

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.

July 2, 2013

One Little Word 2013: June Update

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

And how did I do?

Goal #1: Let go of perfection. This one has been an ongoing process to break my all-or-nothing type of attitude. There is no such thing as perfection. I know that. Rationally I know that. But then there are these demons I've been fighting for years and years. If only I was perfect, I would be .... Fill in the blank. Loved. Worthy. Belong. Good enough. And don't you know that there are times I have actually achieved what I thought was the perfect outcome. But then, there is the next hurdle in front of me, and I start all over again. So the goal is to stop this tape that plays in my head. And I am getting better. Not perfect (hah!) but better. For example, just the other day, I missed a couple of days of meditation practice, and my old tapes chimed in: why even bother to continue as I won't have completed the entire program. I gently turned off the tape and played a new one: no problem, as some is better than none. See what I mean?

Goal #2: Let go of comparisons. My mantra is comparison is the thief of happiness. And it is so true. I am totally content until I start comparing myself to someone else. And they are not comparisons that even make sense. I remember getting mad on a golf course because I could not play like Tiger Woods! Did I practice as much as he did? Nope. But somehow I expected to play as well. Crazy making. This is another ongoing goal for me. Stay within myself. Stay centered.

Goal #3: Weekly celebrations. The thing is most of us strive and strive, and then we get there, and instead of celebrating, we turn around and create a new thing to strive for. The focus on celebrating life this month brought me a lot of joy. And I had much to celebrate. So glad I did not miss it.

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

July 1, 2013

Recent Reads

69. Pretties
I know, I know. I was looking for a quick read, so should not be surprised, that while this is indeed a quick read, it was not a tasty or filling one. 

This is book #2 in the Uglies trilogy, and suffers from the dreaded in-between-syndrome. Tally is now a New Pretty, and the toughest part of her day is deciding what to wear to a semi-formal. Things occur at the party that set the action in motion, and before you can say bubbly, she is up to her old antics. I like the creativity of the author and the world he setup in the first book, but the characters are still rather one dimensional, and the "bubbly" language was "totally missing" for me. Again, this is a young adult book, so I'm probably not the right audience for it, but still. I expect more. There is a fun cliffhanger at the end, but will it be enough to make me read the the final book in the trilogy? Maybe the next time I get the munchies for a quick reading snack. Rating: 2 stars.

70. Feynman
This graphic biography is a fun way to learn about the life and work of this Nobel Prize winner in Physics. Rating: 3 stars.

71. Burma Chronicles
This graphic memoir is the record of a year the author and his family lived in Burma. Guy is a stay-at-home Dad and cartoonist, and moves to Burma when his wife, who works for Doctors Without Borders, is given a new assignment. While his wife works, Guy and their little son, explore and make new friends. In this travelogue, the author captures the political, economic and social aspects of Burmese and Expat life. Rating: 3 stars.