Today: Get Messy Art Journal | Blog Hop

The first season of the Get Messy Art Journal program is wrapping up, so I’ve been catching up on missed prompts and pages before the next season starts.  

I love all the mess um… character my sketch book has developed over the past six weeks.

Recent Get Messy posts:

New pages

This week there are no new prompts to tackle, so I’m sharing a few pages (as well as some previously shared favorites) I worked on lately while playing catch up, as well as links to fellow Get Messy members’ pages for added inspiration.

Materials used: Black tempera paint, pink washi tape, a magazine clipping, watercolors and a nearly dead Sharpie.

This was my take on the 5 Love Languages prompt.  I had never heard of this before, but after taking the quiz, it seems I am all about words.  And I hate gifts (bahshashdhahdha).  I picked up a set of Crayola tempera paint for another project (bubble painting!) and couldn’t resist throwing a bit of black down on these pages.  I tried to follow this tutorial for plastic bag printmaking from Alisa Burke… but halfway through Grace dropped an entire bowl of peas on Clark’s head.  So.  That didn’t really pan out.  Nevertheless, I like how those inky smudges turned out.

Oh, and I had by sketchbook upside down when I was working on these pages.  By accident.  Not in some irreverent, artsy way.  Can’t win ‘em all.

That semi-go-with-the-flow-ness?  That’s new.  And it’s good.  It’s probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned during this first season — that creating something is better than creating nothing.  And that perfectionism can be a real barrier to art making.  And, like… life in general.

Materials used:  Red paint pen from Blick (a freebie during one of their sales), bubble wrap with black and pink ink, white gesso (which got all mixed up with the black ink when I dragged it across the page with some cardboard), washi tape,  pre-cut watercolor paper, black ink spray, black Micron, magazine clippings and… even more pink ink.

Clearly, I was on a pink kick.  I really like the ink splatter on the right hand side (I used a straw the expedite the splattering/dripping process) and had fun experimenting with layers and starting with pre-made (by myself, like a day or two before) backgrounds.

Materials used: Strips of scrapbook paper from a Studio Calico kit, grey watercolor and and a grey sign pen, yellow and gold watercolors and a set of alphabet stamps from the Target Dollar Spot (that special, special place), and half a random envelope.

I love secret hiding places (in our future home, there will be a secret door covered with a old timey looking bookshelf) and tucked little love notes to Nick and Grace in the envelope.  This has been a year of soul searching and prioritizing and making tough but good decisions.

I’m still working on finding a balance between crap everywhere and sufficient white space.  I think it’s the claustrophobic in me, but I crave lots of white space… but I also crave an end product that looks like I actually made an effort.

Materials used: Faber Castel Pitt pen, blue watercolors with a waterbrush, magazine clippings… AND LAMINATED GLITTER (can’t stop, won’t stop).

This is my favorite of the four pages.  And not just because of the glitter.  But that helps. I’ve had that quote kicking around for ages (it’s from an old issue of Yoga Journal, I think), but this page felt like the perfect place for it to land.  On the surface, it’s kind of depressing… but I think it’s also really empowering.  When you find your place, you know.  Stick with it, my friends.  Anyway, the quote is:

Each of us feels some aspect of the world’s suffering acutely.  And we must pay attention.  We must act.  This little corner of the world is ours to transform.  This little corner of the world is ours to save.

–Stephen Cope, from The Great Work of Your Life

While the subject matter this week isn’t exactly light and fluffy, I’ve been all about playing.  Playing with new materials, playing with new techniques, and playing with new messes all over our condo.

A few favorites from the Get Messy Art Journal Season of Love

But wait… there’s more…

Get Messy Art Journal | Blog Hop

I’ve loved learning new techniques and really appreciated the motivation that comes with weekly prompts.  Best of all, though, is the community of members.  My favorite thing to do lately is scroll through all the #getmessyartjournal Instagram posts and swoon over what everyone else is creating.  

For more Get Messy Art Journal pages and all kinds of inspiration…. hop on over to the following blogs:

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Making a spring bucket list… and a spring cleaning list
  • Yes, please: Key lime pie on a stick from The Kitchn
  • My bracket is official busted 

What’s on your must list for your amazing, imaginary dream home?  

Today: Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 5 + 6

Weeks 1 + 2 were all gold and glittery.  Weeks 3 + 4 were all dark and brooding.  Weeks 5 + 6 are… well… all over the place.  I only worked on (and I feel like all three are sort of unfinished) three pages, but so far… so good-ish.

Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 5 + 6

The left side is a page from last week peeking through, plus a little laminated bookmark (ribbon and magazine clippings).  I quickly sketched the birds with a Micron pen and then went back in with watercolors.

The other morning I noticed that our little neighborhood city birds are back, chirping at the crack of dawn.  Maybe that’s what got me doodling birds all week.  That blue bird, in particular, keeps showing up in my sketchbook.  Once I finished up with them, I started thinking… what the heck do birds have to do with love?  Clearly this was a case of working outside the boundaries of the weekly prompts.  Anyway, I was thinking about how these little guys come and go, and somehow that lead to thinking about bizarre bird-related phrases like flying the coop and empty nesters.  

Last fall, I saw a mother dropping her daughter off at college.  They were both crying.  And then I closed the door to my office (which is near several campuses) and cried because I don’t want Grace to ever leave.  But I also think she might turn into a weirdo if I try and home-college her (that’s like home-schooling a 20-year-old).  Anyway… birds, man.

Oh, and I realize seagulls don’t belong in trees.  

The succulents and cacti are watercolor with detail in Pitt pen.  The letters are left over from a display board I made for work (which, frankly, looked very third grade).

Is it me, or are succulents the new pineapples?  

One of the prompts this week was to create a dating profile for yourself.  I had trouble suspending reality (and what happily married person would want to), so I started thinking instead about what it must take to love me– all the wonderful things, and all the things that are less than wonderful.

I can be prickly.

I gesso’d the left side page and added some magazine clippings and a wash of purple watercolor before writing down a little Khalil Gibran.  I broke out the laminating pouches (obsessed) to seal in a tiny bouquet of lavender.  I sketched a little sprig to go with it.

The last page I worked on incorporates two prompts — a quote from a favorite author and dried flowers.  I wanted to press some flowers, but ran out of time so I cheated and picked up some dried lavender at Whole Foods.  It smells divine.  This page reminds me of sort of a grown-up version of those scratch and sniff books.

Yep.  All over the place.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your most lovable quality?

Today: My morning reading list.

If it’s morning and you’re in bed, and you’re reading this on your phone… thank you. I always appreciate your being here. But please, put the phone down.  Let’s meet back here in a few hours.

One of my worst habits?  Letting other people decide what I am going to think about in the morning.  And by other people, I mean my phone.  If you’re looking to get up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, grab your phone as soon as you wake up and get flooded by such things as:

  • Tweets about chemicals in your favorite foods
  • An Instagram post informing you that the Frenchie you insta-stalk died of a mysterious illness (True Life: This is why I don’t follow random dogs anymore.  At least 5 dogs I followed have died in the last year.  Which is both weird and sad.  Also, I am convinced I cursed them all.)
  • Emails from your boss sent at 11:44 PM, 2:06 AM, and 4:18 AM
  • Facebook pictures of your friend’s cousin’s college roommate’s ultrasound
  • “Breaking news!” about Taylor Swift’s most recent break-up
  • Actual news about any of the upsetting things going on in our world
  • Weather reports about 900 feet of snow

It’s a tough habit to break (tougher than Diet Coke, I think… still working on that one… again), but if you can hold off on the Insties and Twitters for even a few minutes — just enough time to choose what you first consume — it can work wonders.  It can set your day on a happier, calmer, more inspired course.  I was going to type, “It will change your life!” (and I kind of believe that), but I don’t have proof.  So let’s just stick with this: Choosing what you read in the morning can have a really wonderful affect on your day.

You might already have something in mind.  A mantra, a prayer, a favorite quote, or line from a movie.  It doesn’t have to be complicated (and given that this is likely pre-coffee, perhaps it shouldn’t be complicated).  I keep a few scraps of paper in my bathroom cabinet and in a notebook in my dresser drawers– my favorite things to read are right there when I wake up, ready to keep me from the glow of my iPhone.

Looking for somewhere to start tomorrow morning?  Here are a few of my favorites.  You’ll find the full text by clicking each title.  Oh, and feel free to print any of the images and stick them to your mirror.

My morning reading list

Mary Oliver’s Five A.M. In the Pinewoods: I love everything Mary Oliver has written.  This poem, in particular, feels very meditative to me.  

A Precious Human Life, His Holiness the Dalai Lama: I’ve read this one so many times, I know it by heart (I love that expression).  It is such a beautiful way to start the day — mindful, kind and well-intentioned.

Dr. King’s “Life’s Blueprint” speech: Last spring, I heard this speech recited by a group of eighth grade students in Washington, D.C.  It was their middle school graduation ceremony and each student had memorized a few lines of the speech.  While I’d read it before, I felt like I was hearing certain parts for the first time.  It was moving and beautiful.  By the time they got to “I would say to you, don’t drop out of school,” I was crying.  The speech ends like this: “Be the best of whatever you are.”  Yes.

The Guest House by Rumi: You have to read the full poem.  It’s a perfect reminder in the morning (and in the afternoon and the evening) that we may not be able to control what or who comes into our lives, but we can choose our response and attitudes.

Okay.  It’s safe to pick up your phone again.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you start your days?

Today: Triple vanilla chai latte.

Drive-thrus are dangerous places.  

A few years ago, I swore off coffee. Or rather, I tried to swear off coffee, but the siren’s donut’s call lured me back.  One morning, I planned to go directly to the office, but decided to sneak a coffee for my commute instead.

Just as soon as I had an iced coffee in hand,  I pulled forward, hit a pole alongside the drive-thru window and knocked my side view mirror clear off.  No one was hurt, but needless to say, I was– and still am– mortified.  Also, why am I telling you this story?

I panicked and called Nick, who was still at home and met me in the driveway a few minutes later.  I didn’t have time to hide my coffee.  My shame kept me away from the drive-thru for quite some time.  

If you’re avoiding the drive-thru (no need to share your reasons… unless you want to…), I’ve got the recipe for you. This triple vanilla chai latte is so good (and easy to make!), you won’t miss your usual morning cup.

Triple vanilla Almond Breeze chai latte

Triple Vanilla Chai Latte

Dairy free, serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almondmilk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 scoop of David’s Tea organic vanilla chai (you can use your favorite loose or bagged chai tea)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp organic pure maple syrup (feel free to replace with your preferred sweetener)
  • 1 dash each of ground cinnamon and ground cloves

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan, heat water and almondmilk until simmering.  Stir often.
  2. Add your tea (if you’re using a tea bag, open the bag and pour the tea leaves directly into the pan) and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Continue to stir.
  3. Remove pan from heat, add vanilla extract, maple syrup and spices.  Let the pan sit for another 5 minutes.
  4. Pour latte through a tea strainer to remove tea leaves.
  5. Serve hot or over ice (my favorite).
  6. Do not hit anything with your car.

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your current vice?

Today: The Weekend According to Instagram 32.

For the first time since living in South Boston, we didn’t head out to watch the parade.  Instead, I was being that mom at the pediatrician’s office.  We got a contagious illness report from daycare this week (the dreaded conjunctivitis is going around), so when Grace started rubbing her eyes, I started becoming a nutcase.  A word of advice: Don’t Google “pink eye” at three in the morning.

The nurse I spoke with this morning encouraged us to come in today, just in case.  By the time 2 o’clock rolled around, I started to wonder if it was more likely Grace had accidentally squirted yogurt into her own eye, or that part of her bagel got in there or something.  Needless to say: no conjunctivitis.  I love our pediatrician, though (and the fact that they’ll see us on Sundays).  We had no trouble getting out of Southie, but heading back in during the parade proved to be a bit more challenging.  

One of the (presumably many) upsides to not being infected and being out and about?  We had a little impromptu visit with my sister and brother-in-law during which Grace tried to eat a crayon and I learned that Selection Saturday is actually Selection Sunday.  And I wonder why people don’t invite me to join their March Madness pools.

Oh but before I say anything else, sorry for talking about pink eye.  I promise we did non-gross things this weekend too.  Like the things pictured below.

The Weekend According to Instagram 32

  1. First things first:  The snow is melting… AND THINGS ARE GROWING.  I spotted these little sprouts alongside our driveway on Sunday afternoon and literally shrieked in delight.  I immediately emailed a photo to my husband and our neighbors.  And I’m now taking bets on who thinks I’m crazier, our neighbors or Grace’s pediatrician.  This weekend was great for my personal brand.  Whatever that means.
  2. Our neighborhood is ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  I don’t want to live any where else.  Most of the time.  
  3. A little weekend doodling.  Watercolor + pen + birds.
  4. I am obsessed with the artwork on these seed packets from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.  I am kicking myself for not buying their calendar at the Flower Show.
  5. Aaaand another photo from this year’s Boston Flower and Garden Show.  Nick and I always talk about living in a tiny house one day, and I think I found the one this weekend.  Technically, I think this is more of a garden shed, but I am pretty sure there’s room for Grace and Clark’s imaginary bunkbeds. And if I take after my maternal grandfather at all (which I hope I do), I’m only going to get shorter so…. I think it will work.   
  6. After the Flower Show, we ducked out of the rain and grabbed tacos across the street at Rosa Mexicana.  Aren’t my lunch dates adorable?
  7. I started Saturday morning with a big cup of organic peppermint amour and some to do list-ing.  Of the 900 things on the list for the weekend, I think I accomplished 3.  One of those things was “make a to do list.”  Can’t win ‘em all.
  8. A peek at my art journal (you’ll find more pages here and here).
  9. Did anyone else read Richard Scarry books as a kid?  They were a family favorite of ours.  I ordered a copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever for Grace and seriously… it’s the best word book ever.  Not surprisingly, her favorite page is the one where the bear gets dressed.  She is all about her shoes these days.

Also On Tap for Today:

How was your Selection Sunday weekend? 

Today: 2015 Boston Flower and Garden Show

For the past four or five years, I’ve looked forward to the Boston Flower and Garden Show as sort of an unofficial start to spring.  And given the wild winter we’ve endured, I practically counted down the days to this year’s show.

I took fewer photos than past years, mostly because I had my hands full protecting Grace from flying elbows.  We didn’t make it in until Saturday (word to the wise: go during the week) and had to battle the crowds a bit, but man.  It felt good to see some flowers.  In the pretend outdoors.  

I can’t wait until spring is really here.  In the meantime, I’m dreaming up all kinds of things I want to plant and grow on our deck.  My parents gave me a tomato grow bag kit for my birthday and I plan to plant a few containers of herbs, as well.  While it will be nice to have more space to work with some day (I am swooning over the outdoor living spaces we saw this weekend), there really is so much you can do with a few square feet and some sunshine.

Here are a few of my favorites from the 2014 Boston Flower and Garden Show for your own spring daydreaming:

I love a good water feature.

How pretty are these seed packets?

Love a good living roof, too.

I think Southie could use a fairy house.  Or twelve.

 

An unexpected, but super cool sand sculpture

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Want more flowers?  Here are my Flower Show posts from 20102011 and 2012… who knows where 2013 and 2014 ended up…
  • Oh, good.  We broke the snow record.  Now please come clean off my car.
  • Happy Parade Day!

What are you looking forward to this spring?

Today: Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 3 + 4

Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement on my last art journaling post. I’m playing a bit of catch-up, but most of my pages were at least in some way inspired by the Get Messy membership prompts for weeks 3 and 4.  (You can learn all about– and join!– the program here.)

Get Messy Art Journal | Weeks 3 + 4

Real talk: This has been a bit of a challenging week.  In a good way, but also in an exhausting, nerve-fraying way.  I knew spending some time making crap would help.  And it did.  

I worked on most of these pages in one sitting.  And that sitting happened to be on the sofa, with a bowl of peanut butter cups, after Grace was sound asleep, with our temporarily disabled Frenchie snuggled close, while Nick watched the CrossFit Open live announcement.  

I didn’t want to break out all of my art stuff, mostly because I didn’t want to give up any space already occupied by Clark.  Or the peanut butter cups.  Limiting my materials proved to be surprisingly helpful.  I spent less time thinking about what to use, and more time using what I had in my lap.  Also, using permanent black ink while sitting on a cream colored sofa?  This is me living on the edge, people.

One of the prompts was “What would the world be like devoid of love?” I can tell you, I wouldn’t want to live in that world.  I worked quickly on this one, to avoid getting depressed (just kidding… kind of).  I used black and grey watercolors (I’m obsessed with this travel set) with a water brush, a white paint pen and a red Micron.

I mostly stuck with black watercolor and black ink.  The result: most of these pages look tense and moody.  Which, frankly, is how I’ve felt lately.  Until the sun came out on Wednesday… and I became a normal person again, along with everyone else in Boston.

I started the backgrounds for these pages a few days ago before having a clue what I wanted them to become.  I used a thick coat of white gesso on the left side and added very watered down acrylics along with a spritz of watercolor while the gesso was still wet.  On the right side, I used a more aggressive spritz of that same green watercolor and doodled a bit with a grey sign pen.  I used black ink and a detail brush to paint the abstract-map-ish design on the left hand page, and used strips from a Chanel ad for the right hand page.  I believe the letter stickers are from a Studio Calico kit, but my mind is full of Raffi songs at the moment, so I could be wrong.

One of the prompts for Week 4 was to describe the greatest act of love.  This time of year, a lot of my work centers around families and clearly that’s on my mind (see the crop top photo below).  There are so many different ways a family can come to be.  I knew the second I heard Grace’s heartbeat that we belonged together.  But I also know you don’t need a biological relation to belong to someone.  This may not be my final answer, but I think that giving someone a place to belong, and being open to belonging to someone else, takes tremendous love.

 

 I like how the hand-stitching from the previous page peeks through on the lower left.  The stamp is from A Beautiful Mess, and I used black archival ink.  Which never. Comes.  Off.  The ripped paper on the left is a e.e.cummings poem (supplied as one of the prompts).  I can’t really decide if these pages are done are not.  I’ve been trying to let them be, rather than over-work them.  Perfectionist habits die hard (that’s a movie script Bruce Willis and I are currently co-writing.)

This photo is of me and my mom (I am the one wearing the hot shorts and crop top.  That’s not something I get to say every day.  Or, really… ever.) I am not sure if my head is actually shaped like that, or if I am scissors-challenged.  The full quote is “We are born of love; love is our mother.”  Preach it, Rumi.  When working through many of this season’s prompts about love, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am to have come from such a loving home, and to have such a solid foundation. I love this photo and owe so much to my parents.  

I’m already itching to sit back down with my sketch book.  But I think I will stick to the table going forward.  I’m certain I’ve jinxed myself with the ink on the sofa comment.

Also On Tap for Today:

What kind of mood are you in this week?

Today: Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls.

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield.

Spring is 20 days away.  That can mean only two things:

  • Winter is almost (finally) over
  • It’s time to stop thinking about frozen sidewalks, and start thinking about frozen treats

Unless you never stopped thinking about frozen treats.  (And if that’s the case, please add this to the list of reasons why I like you.)

Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls

I’ve just about reached my limit of frozen temperatures, but frozen treats? Never.  So I was excited to have the opportunity to try Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls, an innovative collaboration between Stonyfield and Cambridge-based WikiFoods.

Was it love at first bite?  Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to think at first.  Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.  Each bite of organic frozen nonfat yogurt comes in an edible, washable wrapper made of organic fruit skin.  

These edible wrappers were developed by Professor David Edwards and his team at WikiFoods and were named one of TIME’s 25 Best Inventions of 2014.  They’re a huge step towards reaching Stonyfield CEO Gary Hirshberg’s dream of eliminating waste and creating the “edible cup.”

Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls

I had the chance to meet Professor Edwards at Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge earlier this week, and the more I learned about (and… let’s be serious, the more I tasted) Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls, the more I found to love about these delightful treats.

Yes.  I said delightful.  Much of what I eat is routine, ordinary, even boring.  So when I find myself eating something that feels entirely new and different, and even thought provoking — that’s a delightful shakeup.  Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are fun to eat and they’re fun to share.

They’re kid-friendly. Grace doesn’t eat many (or really, any) sweets, but I gave her a taste of a peach and vanilla pearl the other day and she loved it.  The edible wrapper was easy for her to hold (she wants to do everything herself these days) and less messy than a regular scoop of frozen yogurt (I imagine… I’m not quite ready to give that a try).  Plus, I love watching her try new flavors, textures and temperatures.  I bet these would be a big hit with older kids.

I can’t be the only one who has sat down to enjoy a bit of frozen yogurt, only to find myself minutes later wondering where the rest of the pint went.  Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are currently sold in single-serve packages (one serving is two pearls and totals 40 calories).  In other words:  built-in portion control. The packaging itself is made from 100% renewable sugarcane.

And they’re, well… pretty.  These pearls look as good as they taste, and make a wonderful presentation whether served whole, sliced… or kabob’d (I am pretty sure I came up with that idea in my sleep and had to make it happen).  From backyard cookouts to elegant dinner parties, I have a feeling Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls would be a hit at any gathering.  

 If you would like to try these deliciously exquisite treats for yourself, please feel free to use the coupon below.  Stonyfield Frozen Yogurt Pearls are currently available in Whole Foods Market stores in the North Atlantic.

I recommend you treat yo’self to one of each flavor.

Also On Tap for Today:

What has you feeling delighted this weekend?