January 31, 2012

12 Skills in 12 Months: January Round-Up

One of my goals for the new year was to stop talking about things I want to learn and just LEARN them. It's part of my quest to become more creative, so each month I'm delving into one skill. Some of them I already know but need improvement on, others I don't know at all. I'm not pressuring myself to master any of these, but I'd like to have a working knowledge of them by the end of the designated month. If you have book recommendations or classes you've taken in any of these skills (or if you know how to do them and would want to give some tips), please pass them on!! I'll be sharing my process at the end of each month.

Since January's skill was photography, I'll share a little of my journey. Exposing myself by showing more of me and my life has been somewhat rattling. But I want to be more vulnerable and willing to be honest about my world so this is a step in doing that. I also knew that putting myself in front of the camera with the In the Picture project would be hard but stretching, and it has been. I've noticed I tend to take wide shots instead of honing in on details; I'll be changing that. Hopefully taking pictures will get easier to do as I continue through this year. I've shared my photos here along the way so I'll just spotlight a sampling in case you've missed them:

I console myself that these beginning photos will show me how far I've journeyed by the end of the year. You know, like the Before and After shots of people losing weight? Only this will be the photo kind.

January 30, 2012

Much Love Monday: Celebrations

Today I'm savoring sweet memories of a celebration:
*  Roses on Red Velvet Cake
*  Photo-booth fun
*  Triple hoola-hoop
*  Twinkly lights gazebo

January 28, 2012

You MUST See These--

Elana Johnson's new covers!! Possession has a new look for paperback coming soon and Surrender will be out June 5th.

Love these. Simple, poignant and compelling. Congratulations, Elana!!

January 27, 2012

In the Picture: January Edition

Self Portrait #1
Self Portrait #2
Self Portrait #3
Self Portrait #4
I've never done a project of self-portraits before. Sharing these photos feels vulnerable, like getting caught talking to yourself or dancing alone in a room. Taking them felt weird enough, but broadcasting them uncovers another thing entirely. It's an unveiling of moments. My moments. I joined In The Picture to stretch myself and I'm getting my money's worth. During this first month of "selfies", I learned a few lessons. 1.) It's difficult to get a good timed shot. 2.) I struggle to smile at a person-less camera. 3.) Shooting photos of myself when others are around is unsettling. 4.) Imagining myself as an item in the picture, rather than the focus, helps.

Does anyone have tips they'd like to share?

How do you stretch yourself in your art, writing, sewing or other craft?

January 26, 2012

Valentine Owl Pin

Trying to make something useful out of bottle caps, I made this little owl pin. To create one of your own:
  1. Paint the bottle cap pink and let it dry thoroughly.
  2. Pencil in an owl by making a large U and closing the top; add triangles for ears, wings and beak; put circles for eyes; then add lined details and a few hairs on top.
  3. Paint in the owl or color with markers.
  4. Print, "Owl always love you" around the outside.
  5. Glue the cap onto a wooden disc. After it's set, glue a jewelry pin onto the back of the disc.
  6. Through trial and error, I found Tacky Glue was not strong enough for this project and ended up using superglue. I also switched to a wooden disc when card-stock didn't work for the back.
Enjoy making your owlsome pin!

January 25, 2012

Have More Than One Valentine

With heart candy lining the stores, I've been thinking about Valentine's day. It's a bit exclusive.

Sure it's fun to dote on someone and share how much you love them. But I feel we've elevated the romantic aspect of this day until it's become like a clique that only those with a lover can participate in. Isn't this holiday supposed to be about love? Yes I know it's traditionally the romantic kind, but why couldn't it be more?

I have friends and acquaintances who've gone through great loss this year, suffered through sickness, moved to unfamiliar places or endured difficult break-ups. I know I can't change their circumstances, but I could send them a card, take them out or gift them with a trinket; something to let them know they aren't forgotten. It won't heal their pain, but at least they'll know on this day they were remembered. Loved.

I think it's time we have more than one Valentine.

storytellers button rust

January 24, 2012

Three Adventurous Valentine Dates

Photo by Giverslog

1.  Scenic Quest
Make a list of wonderful surroundings like: a beautiful sunset/sunrise, an antique building, a snow or flower-filled landscape, a zoo, swings at the park, or a quaint house/barn. Spend the day finding them and picnic with chili and cornbread in a jar at the love-liest spot.

Photo found by Dark Lamb
2.  Breakfast at Tiffany's 
You and your loved one choose five things you've never done before (keep it simple). Spend the day doing them by alternating down your lists. For instance: get a cupcake at the fanciest bakery, lay on the car hood to watch the stars, dance in the middle of the mall, see how many freebies you can gather (popcorn and suckers at the bank, free coffee at hotel), or cuddle on the couch of a furniture store. End the date by watching Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Photo by Sensesmaybenamed on Flickr

3. Camera Word Search
Find words like LOVE YOU, BEAUTIFUL, TRUE LOVE, BE MINE, VALENTINE on buildings, traffic signs, graffiti and banners around town. The words don't have to be together--the more traveling, the better. (Although you may want to scope out places before date night) Take photos together in front of the words and frame them for an end-of-date gift.

January 23, 2012

Much Love Monday: Heart-y Finds

With Valentine's Day getting close, I'm loving hearts on everything:

Atomic Passion on Etsy
Big Silly World on Etsy
Wee Lambie Knits on Etsy
Yeah, the hat's sized for a child, but you know you want one. And who doesn't want a Chenille sock monkey to cuddle with?

What are you loving today?

January 19, 2012

Doodle Fun

I'm loving this Visual Journal Online Worship that Sea Sky Stone introduced me to! It's free so if you love to paint or if you'd like to try a hand at it, check it out!

Playing around has allowed me to let go of perfectionism and just doodle. I've had so much fun with this piece. I didn't do it on paper like she suggested, I went straight to canvas (the flat kind) because that's what I had on hand. Notice there is no girl in the painting yet because I didn't let myself think about how she fit in or where to put her. I may decide to add one later, but for now, I'm just enjoying this new exploration.

I've also been working on some Valentine goodies that I can't wait to share with you next week! Hope you have a bright and cheery weekend.

Little Black Dress

Jacket: Hand-me-down from Mom
Little Black Dress: Eco Chic Thrift Store
Shoes: Target (Fall clearance for $6.00!)
Pearls: handmade by daughter 
Beads: garage sale

Not being accustomed to black tie affairs, I was nervous about going to a fancy fundraiser. I knew some women would be in full evening gowns but I also knew that wasn't me. I wanted something simple, comfortable and classy. So I decided on my little black dress. My daughter lent me her jacket, shoes and beads. The jacket had a nice sheen to it that's hard to get right in these pictures.

She attempted to talk me into three-inch heels but I nearly killed myself tripping into the wall; so we went back to a more do-able heel. I love the splash of color and the flower decal on these shoes. It's only a plus that they were $6.00 on clearance!

Are you frilly like Fancy Nancy? Or more down-to-earth like Junie B. Jones?

January 18, 2012

Through A Rectangle's Eyes

In an effort to be more creative, I chose twelve skills I wanted learn or improve on for this year. One of them is photography. I'm not a photographer, but I want to be able to take better pictures of my family, art, and the world around me. I want to tell stories with pictures.

Katsicles introduced me to a great photography challenge. It involves taking self-portraits for ___ amount of days (you choose). On first glance, I felt resistant. Why would I want to take pictures of myself? But the more I read, I realized it's a documentation of life--a picture journal, if you will. And I do love journals! So... I'm joining In The Picture by Urban Muser. My goal is to take a self-portrait every week, 52 pictures. I won't post them that often, but I might do a round-up once a month or something.

If you'd like to join, check out the button on my sidebar. You don't have to do 52 pictures. It can be 10 or 30 or 1--whatever number is meaningful to you.

storytellers button green

January 17, 2012

Tent Date

This is my attempt at the camp-out/conversation date I talked about here. It took a bit to figure out how to hang the first blanket because unlike the living room, there were no chairs to throw them over. I ended up tying a ribbon around the light fixture to anchor it, then I was able to add the side panels to the middle one. It's a bit sparse compared to the many beautiful tents I've seen in Blogland (like this one) but it was fun to set up. I put tealight candles on the windowsill and heart shaped lights across the pillows. That's Hedwig in the middle (gifted to me by my sister and niece).

January 16, 2012

Much Love Monday: 1 Dress 365 Ways

Today I'm loving:

...this heart pendant
by HELLO my name is Heather

...this doodle quote
by The Notebook Doodles

...this owl purse
by Jillysboutique

...this uniform project (1 little black dress 365 ways)
by Uniform Project

January 13, 2012

Let It Snow

Oh  how I've been pining for snow. We got a tiny taste of it this week, just enough to wet my appetite for more. This has been the weirdest winter--more like an early spring. Please don't throw stones all you warm weather friends, but I'm ready for at least a foot of the icy fluff.

Winter has always been romantic for me. (I was married in it, remember?) I'm not wishing for any electricity-out-for-weeks kind of storm. Just enough snow to make snow ice cream, build forts and throw snowballs. Come on winter, let it snow.

I'll add Let It Snow to my shop soon, but she needs a few touch-ups before I release her.

January 12, 2012

Beyond Sweatshirts

One of my goals for 2012 was to dress up more. Being a plus size has kept me in sweatshirt and jeans on most days. But I've decided to play around with my wardrobe, add some color and break out of the rut.
Sweater and Shirt: Handed down
Jeans, Boots and Belt: Thrift store
Knee Socks: Target
Headband: Belt from sweater
Earrings: Hand-made by niece

Just a small step in the journey of embracing myself where I'm at and letting my wardrobe grow up.