Friday, November 28, 2008

Etsy Extravaganza!!!

Holy Moly - I've been a beading fool these last couple of weeks. I am way behind in just about everything and instead of tackling "the list", I bead beautiful, whimsical things and I feel happy and safe and calm in a world that does not feel familiar to me. Our times seem uncertain, volitle and troubled and yet, when I sit quietly and create for the sole sake of creative expression, I am Ok. This is my reprive, my repose, my oasis. (smile) Thank God.

I have updated my Etsy Shop with most of the new items although I have a few more to photograph. I have also set aside a couple of pieces for Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hand made book instructions and fun with drawing

My graphic design class was awesome this last week. We created hand made books. I LOVE this method and will be doing more for Christmas gifts as mini albums.
Here are the instructions. It is a really fun project and they turn out great!
Inside Pages (the pages will all be connected by tiling – taped together to form an accordion fold):
• text weight paper U.S. legal size 11" x 14" or U.S. tabloid size 11" x 17"
• 2 pieces of chipboard- each piece is size 6" wide x 9.5" high
• 2 pieces of cover weight paper, patterned or solid color, one for the vertical front cover and one for the vertical back cover (recycle anything colorful including calendars, posters, magazine covers, or any cover weight decorative paper); each piece is size 6" wide x 17.5" high
• 2 pieces of text weight paper, patterned or solid color, one for the horizontal front cover and one for the horizontal back cover (for contrast, pick something different from the vertical cover materials above); each piece is size 10" wide x 9.5" high


• 1 piece of light cover weight or text weight paper, patterned or solid color, used as spine of the brochure (for contrast, pick something different from the vertical or horizontal cover materials above); size is 4.5" wide x 9.5" high

Other tools/supplies needed:

  • ruler
  • burnisher
  • cutting mat
  • X-acto knife with spare blades
  • double stick tape
Creating Brochure Pages
When ready with your materials, follow these steps:
Step 1: Create the brochure pages. Use a U.S. legal size paper (14" wide x 11" high). Score and fold in half the 14" wide side. Each side is now 7" wide x 11" high. Measure and trim only the panel on the left at 6" wide. The panel on the right should be matched with the left panel so it folds on the 6" width. Fold down. Add a half-inch on the right and trim. While the pages are still folded together, trim the height to 9.5". You will end up with two pages each at 6" wide x 9.5" high with a half-inch flap on the right side. (The half-inch flap is what you’ll use to connect with the next piece; later you will either use double-sided tape or magic tape to connect with the next brochure page.) Make sure to fold down the middle fold of the left page and the right; fold up the half-inch. Your brochure pages will have accordion folds.
Step 2: Repeat step 1 to create another inside page.
Step 3: Create an inside end page. Use a U.S. tabloid size text weight paper (11" x 17"). Using the longest side of the paper, measure and mark 3 panels: the first panel is size 3" wide, next to it is the second panel (size 6" wide), and next to that is the third panel (also size 6" wide). Add a half-inch flap next to the third panel. Score and fold where the measurement marks are. Between the 3" first panel and second panel (6"), fold up; between the second panel (6") and the third panel (6"), fold down. The last fold is between the third panel (6") and the half-inch flap: fold up. Your folded paper should now resemble an accordion. While this is folded, trim the height to 9.5".
Step 4: Repeat step 3 to create another inside end page. Turn around this piece. The only difference is that this second inside end page should not have any half-inch flap; trim this off. You will end up with 6" wide page; fold it down next to the other 6" wide page; fold that up next to the 3" panel.
Step 5: You should end up with 4 pieces of folded papers. Organize. First position one end page on the left (3" wide will be on the left side, followed by 6" wide page, another 6" wide page, followed by a half-inch flap). Next to the end page, position an inside page (6" wide page will be on the left side, followed by 6" wide page, followed by a half-inch flap). Next to this inside page, position another inside page (6" wide will be on the left side, followed by 6" and a half-inch panel). Finally, next to the second inside page, position your last end page, (6" wide page, another 6" wide page, and a 3" panel).
Step 6: Use your double-sided tape to connect the pieces of paper. Tape on the half-inch flap (make sure you tape it edge to edge and conceal it). Burnish down flat. Arrange the folded pages like an accordion. The left end page should start with the 3" panel, followed by the 6" wide pages, and the right end page should end with the 3" panel. Set this aside.
Step 7: Prepare the cardboard shell for the front cover and the back cover. Use at least 2-ply cover weight. You may recycle the back cardboard of your tracing paper pad. Trim two pieces of cardboard each to size 6" wide x 9.5" high. Set this aside.
Step 8: Create the vertical front cover and the vertical back cover. Both are identical so you may produce two pieces the same way. Use text weight paper (patterned or solid color). You may use a light cover weight for this. Trim two pieces (could be the same or different color); each piece is 6" wide by 17.5" high. Each piece should be placed in a vertical position. Score and fold up from the top: 4" high x 9.5" high x 4" high.
Step 9: Create the horizontal front cover and the horizontal back cover. Both are identical so you may produce two pieces the same way. Use text weight paper (patterned or solid color). You may use a light cover weight for this. Trim two pieces (could be the same or different color); each piece is 10" wide by 9.5" high. Each piece should be placed in a horizontal position. Score and fold down from the side: 2" wide x 6" wide x 2" wide.
Step 10: Create a spine (use to connect both the front and back covers). Use text weight paper (patterned or solid color). You may use a light cover weight paper for this. For added contrast, find a paper completely different from the above. Decide what weight of paper works best based on the front cover and inside front cover materials you are using. Overlapping heavy papers together often times will not work. You will need to create a “dummy” to test your paper weight-combinations.
Trim one piece of paper size 4.5" wide x 9.5" high. Score with the burnisher the center of your paper (vertical side). You may need to adjust the score in the middle of your spine based on the thickness of your brochure. Set this aside.
Step 11: Assemble the front cover and the back cover. Take the vertical cover paper and wrap around the cardboard shell (no tape needed). The scores of the vertical paper should wrap around the cardboard shell. One side is exposed. It will not completely cover the cardboard on the back. Take the horizontal cover paper and wrap around to cover the exposed side of the brochure cover. Tuck in the flaps of the horizontal paper inside the vertical paper. This should keep the cover flat even without the use of tape. Repeat this on the second cover.
Step 12: You should have two covers and loose accordion pages. You will now connect the inside pages with the covers. Tuck in the first 3" panel of the inside pages inside the vertical front cover. Tuck in the other end, the last 3" panel of the inside pages inside the other vertical cover (back cover). 
Step 13: The last step is to add the spine in order to create a clean look to your brochure. The spine will also keep the assembly strong. On the outside, tuck in one end of the spine inside the front cover and the other end inside the back cover. Use your burnisher to keep it flat and even.
For extra credit, we made paper vases. This one is mine. I did not have large enough paper on hand, so I used the funny papers.

This last assignment - you know the "challenge" I spoke of was super intimidating at first but it quickly transformed into a delight. I can't describe the "high" I got from drawing. It felt amazing to live in that part of my brain. It recharged my batteries and after a session of drawing I had so much more to give to my kids and I was totally present for my life. I LOVE ART!
The drawing is a two week assignment. I think it is coming along but after stepping away from it, I can see I have some troubled areas to work out. The chin needs to be extended out on the right. The nose is the wrong angle and is not wide enough. The ball at the tip needs to be enlarged. The eyes are too close together and I think the ear may need to go to the right providing a little more area on the right cheek. Also, the hair is off, but those are final rendering details. The BIG bummer here is that I used my charcoal pencil so I may not be able to erase. I'm posting it in the workshop so I can get some tips on how to move things with the least amount of reconstruction. I'm nervous that I may have to start all over - but then again, it was so fun the first time that if I have to, I'm OK with it.

I made my first payment towards Inspired this week. Thank you to those who have contributed to my fund!!! I am thrilled that I get to attend again this year. I'll be roomies with my fellow art school student and the woman who started me on my adventure - the talented and skinny Heather. You can see her amazing work at Runs with Trimmer. We were in the same group at last April's Inspired and she kept me in stitches the whole time. Among her many talents (including a pilots license lol) she has the best sense of humor! Sooz and Aimee just signed up too so I think Jen is our only WASSIMA sis who hasn't enrolled. We are crossing our fingers!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Challenges - They are everywhere today. I've got one running on my blog (Gratitude Album Challenge), one in my kitchen (a clogged sink) and one in kindergarten (- he's 5 and 3/4 and cannot stop making sound effects of giving or being punched, shooting, crashing and/or fast motors -btw, I googled this "condition" and found nothing on the subject.) I have another challenge on my head (my bangs are too long), one in my car (cheese-it bag explosion) and one Big, Fat challenge sitting my desk:

This is my latest homework assignment for my Analysis of Form class. Draw Einstein (or is this Walter Matthau playing Einstein?) from a black and white photograph and bring the piece to life with your own voice. An interesting drawing assignment right? Now look at this...

Yes, he is up-side-down on purpose - I'm supposed to draw him this way. Yea - I'm going to have to call this one as a challenge. I know that this is a commen technique used to train an artist to see the lines and values rather than the picture as a whole, but this guy starts out with an IQ of 180 and has the mug to match. I'm thinking, if I have to use my voice to bring him to life, I'm going to need my mind to see the whole picture, right? Well, we'll just have to see....

I know one thing for sure. If I approach it as "an opportunity to learn" rater than "a challange", I'm bound to do better. It is that glass-half-empty vs. glass-half-full thing. (sigh...another challenge - having a positive attitude.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gratitude Mini album challenge - week1

I have had so much fun working on this challenge. I've been so busy participating in the things I'm grateful for, that I have not had much time to scrapbook so this made me pull out my trimmer. I have felt a strong pull to work on this project after completing my 7 days of gratitude lists. Here are pictures of 1-7.

I obviously did not stick to my original plan of pockets and 4 x 6 pages. I blame it on the rain. The down pour on Saturday night gave me a great excuse to get lost in my supplies and the next thing I knew I had the 20 inside pages started. I have not made my front cover yet but when I do it will read I AM GRATEFUL FOR... Each tab has a number on it so I elected not to put numbers by my captions. This is the raw cut - I will probably go back and add a few embellishments when time permits. I'm anxious to see everyone else's so please leave a comment when you've posted your pages!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I have a better attitude because of my gratitude - Day 7

It has been 1 week and I cannot deny how much better my spirit feels today versus 7 days ago. Somehow this gratitude has made me feel peaceful with my life as it stands right here and now. And knowing that other people in different parts of the world are doing their gratitude lists at the same time fills me a sense of connectedness that puts things in perspective. This is going to sound really corny but I just feel like at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is love. And while I may not be rich in money, I am very wealthy in love.

Day 7 - I am grateful for:

  1. The internet and how it has helped me stay in touch with so many INCREDIBLE woman
  2. blueberries
  3. courage
  4. mysteries
  5. my baseball cap
  6. the drive created my fascination
  7. that I can visit the snow and the ocean in a matter of hours
  8. forgiveness
  9. the new produce market that just opened up next to Trader Joe's "Real Produce"
  10. crossing guards
  11. my moral compass
  12. that I get to work from home
  13. central heating
  14. the clean laundry I discovered this morning because my husband stayed up late to do it
  15. honesty
  16. caller ID
  17. hot baths
  18. freecycle and craig's list
  19. that feeling of love that makes your heart swell and your blood warm up just a little.
  20. My life, the good, the bad and the ugly...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gratitude List - Day 6

Well the kids are sick again so we did not get much sleep last night so I'm kind of grumpy and looking forward to today's list.

Day 6 - I am grateful for...

  1. Do-overs
  2. hope
  3. that feeling you get when you do spontaneously do something kind for someone
  4. feeling a part of
  5. wisdom
  6. motivation even though I am pooped out and grumpy
  7. color
  8. my warm jacket
  9. animals
  10. my white get pen
  11. a good cup of coffee
  12. my body and all it does for me
  13. change
  14. the way music makes me feel
  15. grilled cheese sandwiches
  16. humility
  17. friends that know me and like me anyway
  18. warm days in February
  19. the amazing infrastructure in my city, state, country and beyond that allows us to communicate, travel orderly, safely and quickly, removes hazards and responds when there is a breakdown or interruption in service.
  20. the library

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gratitude - Day 5

These daily gratitude lists have been so good for my outlook on life that I thought of a fun challenge! I’ve designed it to be really low maintenance because most of us have a lot going on already… I hope you will join me in this celebration of the good things in life.

Gratitude Challenge:

  • Buy or make a 4 x 6 mini album (or whatever size you want) with 22 pages (11 pages because we’ll need front and back covers plus 10 inside pages using both front and back) The album can be made of chipboard, card stock, or you can purchase an album made from acrylic, envelopes, vinyl or just plain paper.
  • Each day for the next 20 days take a picture of something you are grateful for. It can be a person, place or thing. It can be a metaphor for something or a photo that captures a feeling. This book is for you so you are the only one who has to understand what the picture means. If you miss a day or five or 20 – don’t sweat it, you can make up by taking multiple pictures in one day or pulling from pictures you already have. The point of a picture a day is to keep you thinking about the things you are grateful for each day for the next 20 days, not to make you feel stressed or guilty.
  • Take a minute to jot down the significance/ meaning of each photo. What is in this picture that expresses what you are grateful for? It can be a word, a phrase or a journal entry – it is totally up to you. Be sure to number it so that you have numbers 1 – 20 for the book and an entry beside it. We’ll incorporate this list at the end.
  • Next comes formatting your pictures. You can totally leave them exactly as they are or you can format them to punctuate the thing that you are grateful for. I am going to use Ali Edwards as my influence because I just love how she crops and scales pictures so that they are down right poetic (click here for example). If you have Photoshop or something equivalent, you can use the program to write the number and word(s) stating what you are grateful for right on the photo.
  • Print your photos – you can do one each day on your own printer or have all 20 developed when you are finished. It is up to you.
  • Adhere your photos to the album. I am going to adhere each photo around 3 sides so that it becomes a pocket. Some pockets will open at the top and some will open at the side. Later, I am going to place tags tied with ribbon, twine, and other embellishments in each pocket (more on that in a minute).
  • Adhere or write your numbered gratitude list (1 for each photo) on each page. You can do this directly on your photo or if your album is larger, on the page. I will be printing out my list then cutting each line item and gluing it on the photo. I will then write how this photo represents the thing I am grateful for or the specific memory of that photo on a tag and tuck it in the pocket behind the photo. Get creative or keep it simple. The point is that you have a photo and a coordinating label that expresses what you are grateful for.
  • Lastly, decorate your cover. You can adhere chipboard letters or stickers that say “I’m grateful for…” or “my gratitude list 2008…” or you can use embellishments to decorate it. It is totally up to you.

I will post pictures as I progress with the project

Day 5 gratitude list..

  1. the warmth of morning sunshine on my back
  2. redwood trees
  3. the sound of crickets on a hot summer night
  4. uninhibited dancing with my kids
  5. my right to vote (today!) and being a part of something so much bigger than my little world
  6. those moments of clarity when everything is just as it should be ( i just had one )
  7. St. Timothy's school and everyone there who is helping us raise our children
  8. the sound of the ocean
  9. swimming holes
  10. to have food in my cupboards
  11. that we have medical insurance
  12. babies
  13. helpful people
  14. opportunities to be in service to others
  15. that force inside me that keeps me from saying things I don't really mean when I get mad
  16. all of the utilities that come straight into our home and the trash service that never misses a week
  17. human contact
  18. the SPCA
  19. my washing machine
  20. hair conditioner

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 4 - Happy Monday!

I am grateful for:
  1. parks
  2. drive through banking
  3. farmers markets
  4. yoga
  5. garage sales
  6. Trager and the amazing woman who administers it (I can't wait until Wednesday!)
  7. the sound of silence
  8. a smile from a stranger
  9. Billybob and 12 x 2 plus all the trimmings
  10. uninterrupted deep sleep
  11. the incredible bond I feel with my kids
  12. I do not live with anger inside of me
  13. the generosity of others
  14. those that lead by example and make great sacrifices to improve conditions for others
  15. teachers
  16. the many, many times I "dodged a bullet" disguised as a breakup, failure or rejection
  17. Those individuals that protect and serve - our armed forces, police, firefighters, the legal system and all the support staff that defend our freedom, rights, safety and way of life.
  18. a grocery store, post office, hardware store, several restaurants and numerous other conveniences are within a mile of my home. Many, many people around the world do not enjoy that luxury.
  19. I am healthy
  20. UGRA

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Today I'm going to be fabulous and day 3 of gratitude

I was just visiting my friend Cynthia at Technicolor Postcards and she had a very thought-provoking entry about what our teenage self would think of our life today if she had a chance to see it. It got me thinking about my own perception of myself as I sit in front of the computer in my PJ's with my cup of coffee, procrastinating, before I have to dig into life. My self concept was not very fabulous so this gratitude list is dedicated to changing my perception today. The first 10 will be qualities I enjoy about myself. The second half will be about 10 things I enjoy about my life.
  1. my artistic talent
  2. my mommy skills
  3. my ability to multi-task
  4. my culinary skills
  5. ability to make a home for my family
  6. my computer aptitude
  7. my sense of humor
  8. my metabolism
  9. knack for stretching a dollar
  10. my enthusiasm
  11. that I get to be so involved in my kids school
  12. that I have so many wonderful friendships in my life
  13. that my family lives so close by and that I get to see them so often
  14. I can share my spirituality with my loved ones
  15. my clients, especially Lauren
  16. I got to go to Inspired last May
  17. my husband is so helpful around the house and with the kids
  18. I have so many resources available to me
  19. I live in Northern CA
  20. I did so much traveling before I started a family

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gratitude-Day 2

Gosh, I woke up this morning feeling a lot of fear. The kind of anxiety that fogs my judgment and gets in the way of being kind to those I love the most. I couldn't put my finger on any one thing that was causing the flurry of feelings - it was a hodge podge of garbage that had been piling up in the back of my mind and it needs to get dumped. A Public blog isn't the appropriate place for this sort of purging but I will share a few things because I think a few of my readers can identify.

I'm suffering from I-want-it-all-itis so I'm volunteering at my kids school, in Art school and busy with three clients plus trying to keep up a house, marriage and some kind of self care. The net-net, is that I fall short on many of the things - mostly neglecting the tasks that aren't visable to others focusing most of my energy on ego based or guilt preventing activities (i.e.- working at the school, art school and work). The good news is that I'm getting a lot of great feedback in those areas which makes me feel good about myself, provides us with financial resources and most of all, makes my kids happy. The bad news is that I'm not taking care of myself, my home, my personal responsibilities and my most importent relationship - with my spouse. Those shortcomings eat at me and today I felt it. I have no idea how to resolve this dilema but I do know that it is an inside job. So this gratitude list is dedicated to healing my current state of discomfort.

I am grateful for:
  1. second chances
  2. rainy days that make being completely lazy with my family really easy
  3. naps
  4. the support we get from our parents
  5. my husband and I can squawck at each other and be totally fine 5 minutes later
  6. that I have my whole life to work on being the best me I can be
  7. I don't struggle with saying that I am sorry
  8. my community
  9. pay per view
  10. the Dave Matthews band
  11. my art room and studio
  12. salads
  13. children's tylonal
  14. Random Acts of kindnrss
  15. that my family gives me time to do art
  16. flowers
  17. hot showers
  18. I don't have any desire to be the prettiest girl in the room
  19. I have my problems versus the problems millions of others have around the world (starvation, disease, lack of freedom)
  20. That my fears have nothing to do with my personal safety or my family's.