Saturday, May 28, 2011

E-courses

My Big Dreams Small Wonders e-course by Louise Gale came to an end last week. It was a full 6 weeks of organizing and prioritizing my thoughts! It was great. I learned techniques to stay positive and confident and to keep moving forward.

For this course, I created a journal to keep my notes on all the things I have learned, quotes that really spoke to me and all the exercises (lists, maps, timelines, reminders to myself, etc). It's very exciting to me. If I keep my own promise to myself ... you will see my very own etsy shop opening by the end of this year. Hopefully in time for Christmas! :-)

Here are a few snapshots of my journal.












While this e-course has ended, another has started for me. I'm taking the She Had Three Hearts - art journaling e-course by Christy Tomlinson. I just love her videos so! I think this will be the last e-course for a while though. Summer break is starting in 2 weeks and I will be busy entertaining ... a 4- and 6-year old :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Holy Moly - ribbon sale

Remember these ribbons I so loved?


They are 30% off this weekend! I just got some. Go here, if you have always wanted some, too!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Secret-keepers

My art journal has been sitting on my table a bit lonely lately. With kids and e-courses and a whole range of household chores to take care of, it hasn't been getting a lot of attention. It's good though to step back a bit and come back and see it with fresh eyes.

When I looked at it yesterday, I realized that it was not quite what I imagined it would be. When I started it, I was imagining a journal that was a bit more 3D, full of embellishments, plenty of nooks and crannies - a little charming mess. Instead, my journal is neat and tidy. Most pages cut to the same size. No surprises.


So I looked through my recycling and found little brown paper bags. I decided to make a few secret-keepers ... envelopes really, to put things I want to keep. I wish I had secrets to put in there for my kids to find long after I do not exist. But alas, I don't have any.


I had to think of other things :-)


This one contains a few notes I wrote to myself. My hope and wishes, those sort of things.



This one contains tiny little photos that I sometimes print out to make cards and stuff. But over the years I have been printing out more than I have really used. Recently I keep finding them in old art boxes and paper stashes. Finding them has made me really happy, so I have decided to make quick little "albums" using die cuts. And now they finally have a home.



This one houses a few "books" that my kids keep making and giving to me and notes my hubby sometimes writes to me. Seriously no space will ever be enough to store my kids' creations. But I love keeping them and I have hard time choose which I shall keep.



This one has turned into a Father's Day envelope for my Dad. I will stick in my kids' photos and a note or two.


Not sure yet what will go into these ones.
I'm sure though they'll be stuffed with goodies soon :)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Free motion sewing ...

To all of you who use a sewing machine to sew freely, depicting birds and flower and sentences ... WOW! I really admire you.

When I set out to stitch pictures using my sewing machine yesterday, I had Pam Garrison (whose blog I LOVE) in mind. Have you seen her video Saturday Morning? It's been dancing around in my mind for months!

My sewing machine was out and I thought: Hey, now or never. I was excited to try it out and so thankful that my Mom gifted me a great sewing machine with all the right "feet" a few years ago.

So what did I make? This:


What happened? Well ... let's just say I need LOTS of practice before I go on stitching something beautiful for a pillow.

After getting stuck a few times due to various reasons (sometimes the thread, sometimes the fabric), I decided to practice with individual, small shapes first. I drew the shape on fabric scraps, then backed it with T-Shirt material from my kids' "too small, but can't part with it" pile.

It was part frustrating and part comedic to guide the fabric back and forth to make it go in the right direction. I don't think I ever talked to my sewing machine before. After this experience I ought to name it!

So what is to become of the above shapes? I actually have a few ideas: necklaces, bracelets, art journal embellishments ... Alex suggested making a watch for him. I'll update you later with the fate of these shapes :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Addition to the garden family

Last weekend we took a little road trip to Half Moon Bay. We had a little lunch at the Ritz Carlton and took the kids to the beach. On the way home we stopped by the Half Moon Bay nursery. I just intended to buy a few succulents, since they do so well on my balcony. The kids were having a snack and I thought they would just sit with hubby in the car. It would have been a quick "in and out" sort of visit.





But it turned out Jasmine wanted to go in with me and the "quick in and out" sort of visit turned into a "stop and smell the flowers" sort of visit. Fifteen minutes later the boys joined us, which was good, because Jasmine's and my arms were full of pots and we truly needed help. 

Jasmine was so excited to be in there, you would have thought that she had never seen a nursery! I have to admit there was such a variety of plants, it was hard not to go overboard. Jasmine and I wanted everything!





But the plant she wanted most was this:


Jasmine :)
On this visit I tried not to buy plants that cost over $5/pot, because my plants have been known to die ... But how could I deny a bright eyed Jasmine, saying please a hundred times, to a little pot of Jasmine? So now there it is, on our balcony!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sewing project - complete

So, have you guessed what this would make?


Here is a hint of the completed project. I didn't end up using the lace, because once I sewed on all the ruffles and tulle, I felt that was enough! ;)


Well, it is an apron for my little girl ...


Here it is on her. 


She is so happy, she wanted to make a cake right away. Unfortunately, I didn't have any ingredients for a cake plus it was bed time. I'll have to do some shopping tomorrow.

While I have the sewing machine out, I'm thinking of making a matching skirt/apron for her dolly. Not sure which one though ... one with a tiny waist for sure! haha. I'm also thinking of experimenting with sewing something for my art journal. More on that later. Good night for now :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

My new project


I bought this gorgeous jelly roll of moda fabric a few months ago. Ideas have been knocking on my brain ever since. With all my painting and art journaling stuff on the dining room table, I thought it would be crazy to add sewing stuff, too. 

Yesterday I have decided to put away my paints and brushes for a little while and take out my sewing machine. After all, the project I have in mind, has been promised to my daughter since January! And I can take only so much asking and begging. 

So what is it this fabric + lace + tulle going to make?
Stay tuned :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's day lovely ladies.
I hope you had a wonderful day!

Mine was great and very relaxing.
I just want to quickly share with you the card I made for my Mom. In the past few years I have made mini albums filled with kid photos and a poem or a meaningful quote. This year I didn't have much time assemble things. I went through my collection of cards and pretty paper, but it's my collection of die cuts that really caught my eyes. My Mom loves nature: flower and birds in particular. So I settled on a few tickets by Tim Holtz and die cuts by K&Company.




Of course I had photos to send too. OF COURSE! :)
I packaged them as pretty as I could.


And off they went with the canvas.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Garden update

Okay, I actually don't have a garden, but my kids like to call our balcony that. With the absence of a real piece of property with grass and all, I have let them and tried to keep up with the flowers to make it fun and pretty for them. About a month ago we started with this years plantings.

I must admit, I don't have a green thumb. My Mom is the one with the green thumb and she has been desperately encouraging me with tips and all for years. Sadly, I don't think much has stuck.

A couple of weeks ago, we have been plagued with aphids! I have been trying to spray them with soapy water. It seems as though there are millions of them! My ranunculus and anemone have all gone and disappeared. Also the flowers - whose name escape me, see below (picture taken the day after we planted them), have withered by 98%.


I think next up are the spinach and the poppies. I'm trying desperately to save them. Not sure though, I think those green, little pests are winning! We had a tiny little crop of spinach, just enough to mix in the kids' Mac 'n Cheese a week ago. Yesterday I cut and threw away most of the big leaves, because the thought of eating them, when just the day before there were hundreds of green eggs sticking to the back of it, sends shivers up my spine! 

The poppies are profusely flowering right now. We've got a bunch of whites and yellows and a couple of reds and oranges. However, I can tell that the new buds are not quite making it. Most of them have already withered.



What is doing real well, so far, are the strawberries. It seems as if aphids don't like them?
We picked 3 to date and my kids tell me they are delicious! Another dozen are waiting to ripen. I hope they survive the four little hands that admire them every day!



My tomato plants are also growing well. My kids don't like them, and neither do the aphids (I think), so they have been growing in peace.


My sedums are doing awesome, too. It's not my efforts really. I've had them for a few years, not been watering them during the fall/winters, and ignoring them most of the time.


I guess I'm really a sedum person. Low effort, great growth. That's for me!
My kids think that they are not very pretty though ... so here I go, watering what's left in my garden.



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day present

Remember this started canvas from last year's "must work on this" list?


I know! It's been too long. I didn't even remember that I had a half done canvas lying around, until I was looking for my painting stuff just before I started a painting e-course a couple of months ago.

Anyway, I didn't know what to do with it for a long time. It never seemed the right thing to use when inspiration struck for a painting assignment. Then ... last Monday, I suddenly realized in horror that Mother's day is this Sunday, and I hadn't made or bought a thing for my Mom! I know, I feel so bad. Reading this you might think that my Mom and I are probably not too close. Well, truth is, we are. I swear! But like everything in life these days ... time just passes me by.

For a second, it crossed my mind that maybe I'll just donate one painting to the fundraiser and send one to my Mom. Oh gosh, it's embarassing to admit it out loud! haha. After all, I already had promised two paintings to the fundraiser AND my Mom really does deserve something more personal, something just made for her.

For a reason I cannot explain, I felt now was the right time to use my blue canvas.
And so I made this.




I love my Mom so and I hope she loves it!
Happy Mother's day ... Happy Mother's week! (I love to celebrate in terms of "weeks", like Birthday week :)