Thursday, January 22, 2015

December Daily Peek

This is the beginning of the December Daily portion of my smash journal.  I began it as I did all the other months of the year with the first page of the month dedicated to some goals for the that month.  What is different for December is that one page or fold out is dedicated to a day of the month.  On that page I would journal about the day or a prompt I wanted to focus about.

For December I got a little crazy and sewed pockets and tabs to hold journal cards or ephmora.
I loved writing over pictures and doing "Story of Today" cards to tell about the day.
It's kind of hard to tell but the center page has a clear pocket I made to hold a 3x4 project life card.  It is attached to the page at the top so by flipping it up you are able to continue reading what I wrote on the back of the card.  On the right I had attached on an envelope with washi tape the same way I created the fold outs.  You are able to open the envelope and see the Christmas card we sent out this year.

I had a lot of fun seeing this all come together.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Mullings

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."  Henry Ford

This quote resonated with me today as a reminder for those feelings of  discouragement I had experienced over the last week at work.    I need to remember to learn from my experience and keep movinng in the right direction.

We had been working on closing out the books for last month and the year.  Thing didn't go very quickly due to errors that popped up.  December was basically the first month I did the accounts payable and billing by myself.   In the process of closing things accounts were balancing out due to some accounting errors I had made.  This lesson has taught me that there are still some things that I don't know about my job or that I missed in the training.  So even though it was discouraging I have learned some more and hopefully those mistakes won't happen again.

Are there experiences that you have taught you some things?  If you feel comfortable sharing  them in the comments, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Smash Book Peek

 Last year I had to say "no" to several creative outlets.  The only one I stayed fairly consistent doing was working in my smash journal.  This journal turned out to be the fattest ever and the only one with out and cover art.  It still sports the boring black and white composition book cover. 
 I enjoyed painting, cutting and pasting to create art journal pages sporadically throughout the journal.  There are several pockets of various types to hold journal tags, letters received in the post, or private thoughts.

When we had our two family reunions there was a lot of memorabilia that I wanted to include so I added flaps, file folders, and even an accordion picture book that folds out and folds back into the book..
The page on the left is another pocket page which has  a 3x4 project life card, journaling on a paint chip, and a little booklet taped to its front with washi tape.

The page on the right is something that I would do at the end of every month.  In some way I would document some things I learned during the month.
Towards the end of the year I began to change things up a smidgen by adding a flip page to the right.  On the left I did snippets of journaling, to do lists, appointments, quotes or something significant for that day.

In December I did a form of December Daily in my smash book.  I'll let you in for a peek of that next week.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Simple Calm

Photo Description

With  the New Year, New Beginnings, people are thinking about how to better themselves and their circumstances.  There are goals set to  get physically fit, to be more healthy, to de-clutter our homes, de-clutter our lives. I came across a few blogs writing about minimalism and the challenge to pare down belongings to 100 personal items.

You read that right.  100 personal items.

I carry 1/3 of that around with me daily in my purse!

Thoughts of  that challenge kept creeping into my brain during the past week.  First: That's crazy!  How could anyone do that?  Next: How would it be to have fewer things to take care of and worry about?

I feel that there are times that having too much stuff stifles my creativity and hinders my productivity.  Too much stuff means making too many choices.  What should I wear?  Which scrapbook embellishment should I use?  Will this look good with that or would this be better?

I had at one time, for a vacation, created a journal/smash book travel kit.  I had to pare down my tools, embellishments and papers.  I think I got more down in the bits of time I journal/scraped than I did the whole year at home with all my wonderful stuffsa.  When I look back over scrapbook pages I've done it always seems to be the pages with a lot of white space (ala Cathy Zielske style) that make my heart sing.  They give me such a good feeling and I can't help but linger and enjoy them.

I would love to pare down so I could enjoy the peace that comes without the clutter.   I would like my house to have that IKEA kind of feel to it; simple, clean, yet beautiful.  I wonder if I could really pare down that drastically.  I admire those who do.  How could I adapt the challenge for me since I'm looking for more of that simplicity?

I have gone through phases of decluttering and I've experienced that feeling of freedom as I've cleared out things that are no longer useful or loved.  Just last week I went through a rolly-cart file drawer thing that I haven't opened in, gosh, over 8-10 years.  As I went through it I found 3 file folders.  Count them 1 - 2 - 3.  That's it out of three drawers that were of any real significance.  I need to be more consistent in these type of exercises.

Maybe I can adapt the challenge by making a more conscience effort to DO serious de-cluttering.   I wonder if I can or throw away or bless another's life by giving away 100 things a month.  Maybe I'll give this idea a try to start things off.

What do you think?  Could you, would you find it easy to pare down your belongings to 100 personal items. Are there things or habits in your life that need to be pared down?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I Finally Tried It

I don't know why I didn't try this before.

It wasn't like it was a bid deal.  There would have been no great loss if it failed.

So why did it take so long for me to do it?


All it took was a little time, a lb of hamburger,  an onion, some garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, black beans and Cayenne pepper.
I've had the recipe clipped to try out for a very long time.  I had found it in one of those little recipe books you see tantalizing you with delicious looking pictures of food while you wait in the grocery checkout line to pay for your food items.  

This recipe has remained all these years in my "to try" notebook.  Good grief.  I think the kidlets were in middle school when I found that recipe and now they are grown and married.

The result was a tasty bowl of chili just the way we were hoping it would turn out.  Not at all spicy.  Just a lot of good flavor.  I think that was the hang up all this time.  My Mann and I have sensitive taste buds.  We just don't handle spicy food well.  Even recipes with too much black pepper can ruin a meal for us.  We like to taste our food without it biting us back.  You would think that I, coming from a Hispanic/Latin heritage, would like spicy foods and that chilies would be an accouterments to every meal.  But that just isn't the case.  My Mann was never raised on spicy food.   Us kiddos got my dad's palate.  At dinner we would all ask my mom "Is the chili verde hot?  Is the green chili hot?  Are the chili rellenos hot?"  If she said, "No, it's not," the rest of knew to add no more than a couple drops onto our food for a meal that our taste buds could tolerate.  Mom would ladle it onto her own food and complain that the chili wasn't hot enough.

This recipe made enough for us to have two more dinners of leftovers and each time My Mann smacks his lips and comments about how good it tastes.  I guess I'll be making more of this chili.

Question: Have you put off something and then wondered what story may linger behind the why?

Monday, January 5, 2015

You Should Do It

Image Credits
It is the first Monday of the first month of the New Year with a new journal, a new word, and new possibilities.  How exciting!

It kind of reminds me of how I get all giddy about new school stuff.  A fresh steno pad or notebook, the smell of a new pink eraser, brand new pens and pencils. They hold the promise of something big.  An adventure not yet realized.

Early December I figured out what my new word for 2015 would be.  With that realization came the excitement to figure out what that would mean for 2015 as far as my goals and personal growth.

This will be year five for me since I've followed Ali Edwards in choosing one little word as my focus for the year.  Some of those years there was a lot of progress and a couple where there was not so much.  Regardless of the amount of progress made in the year I was glad to have that one year of awareness due to the changes it brought about by the end of 365 days.  I can see myself continuing this practice for the rest of my life because I like the results so well.

For this year my one little word is the smallest yet.  Any smaller and it would be the word I, not a good choice in my humble opinion, or the word a, which really doesn't focus on anything.  I read a scripture early last year and when I started to think about my word for 2015 this scripture in Colossians 3:23 came back to me.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men;

My word is DO. 

I'm feeling the drive to Do things. Things that would make God happy and things that would make my heart sing. 

DO first things first, like prayer, reading scriptures, and working out first thing of the day.

 DO gratitude living.  Be aware of the good around me and having an optimistic attitude about my circumstances.  Let's face it if I wasn't alive I wouldn't have circumstances.  So if nothing else I should be grateful to be alive.

DO a photo a day.  I am hopping on the Capture your 365 train again this year.  I did it a few years ago with good success.   After a break I tried again last year but it didn't go well at all and I hardly picked up my camera.  I'd like to change that.

DO good.  Do something good for someone else every day.

DO the routine, Baby.  I want to get back to a routine for house blessings (Fly Lady lingo for house cleaning.  Blessing your home with love, tidiness, and less clutter is much better).  I also want to create routine for blogging (writing), journaling, hooping, creating, and meditating.

DO what is right.  In everything.

DO always remember my dependence on God, that He loves me, knows what is best for me, and He wants me back Home.

DO more reading.  I am still thinking about how I want to set this goal and be stretched yet successful.  I did quite a bit of reading last year but I don't have any documentation of all I did.  I'd like to see it documented this year.

If you haven't given the one little word a try I think you really should Do it.

What are you wantinng to do this year?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Rear View Mirror

I was driving home tonight and couldn't stop looking back.  Looking in the side rear view mirrors.  Looking in the rear view mirror.  Looking at the remains of the day.

This is the time when everyone seems to be thinking about the year that is coming to a close and the new year beginning.  Looking back and looking ahead.

I've been thinking about what I've done, experienced, and learned over the last 365 days.  Here are some of the things I'm seeing in the rear view mirror of 2014.

I got to know Tucson, Az really well this year.  And I think I like it.  I was there twice this summer during their heat wave.  Twice.  The first time for a family reunion and the second time for a family reunion.  Yes, you read that right.  Two different families reuniting in the same location within a few weeks of each other.  I know our families don't seem to be terribly original.  But they are both fun groups to hang with. 

I experienced the shock of how old I really am.  I kind of lost track of my age around the time I turned 35 or 36. I kept getting mixed up about my age.  After a couple more years of confusion I just quit trying.  This year I realized that I was just one year from the big six-0.  I can't believe it.  I don't feel . . . "old".  I still don't believe it's true but no matter which way I figure and calculate it still comes out the same.

I get to experience being an empty nester.  When we started out our marriage we thought children would follow after a short period.  But instead we learned what it was like to be empty nesters except we called it our ten year honeymoon.  After that experience we knew we would enjoy being empty nesters so to find ourselves in that situation again is very comfortable.  Sorry kiddos.  We love you.  We enjoy seeing you. You are the sunshine of our lives.  Life would be so incomplete without you.  But, we also enjoy being just us.

I learned that my employment change is so much more than a less stressful job.   I learned that my current employer is a very generous and giving company.  I hadn't realized that a company could be so kind and aware of its employees.  One of my responsibilities is to write all the checks that go out.  This puts me in the position of working directly with my employer as he expresses his desire that everyone have a very nice Christmas.  Over the holidays one of our employees passed away from natural causes and again my employer expressed concern that the family need not worry about the financial burden of the funeral services.  As the one to tell the family this I realized how fortunate I am to be working for this company.

I experienced the feelings of some regret along with acceptance towards myself.  I choose a  focus word a year.  This year it was surrender.  Surrender my feelings of pride.  Surrender my feelings for the good of others.  Surrender my will for God's will.  I regret that I wasn't very good at surrendering my feelings.  I did horribly actually, but I think I have improved a bit from how I was earlier this year.   That is where the acceptance comes to play.  I've accepted my poor progress because I still see a smidgen of progress was made.  I love having the one little word each year because no matter how poorly things work out they are working out.

What interesting things have you experienced or learned inn 2014?

Have a great 2015 my darlings.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's in the Little Things

My.  It's been a while.  How are you, my little blog?

I had to take some down time and make a few changes in my life.  The dust seem to be settling and I've been thinking about you lately.

With said dust settling I now have time to do some reading.  And there just happens to be a library right  around the block from my new job.  So I walked into the nice air conditioned building with the beautiful surroundings and signed up for their library card.
I don't know about your area but around here we have fewer county owned libraries and more city privately owned libraries.   In a way it's a pain because I now have to carry 3 library cards in my wallet.  On the other hand the privately owned libraries seem to be much prettier

and have a much better selection and stock of books.  So I got my card and checked out my book,  and took it home to happily read.  Then a few days ago I received an email from the library reminding me that I had a book checked out and that I could either return or renew it within the next few days as my time was running out.

I've never had a library remind me that I had a book checked out and to take measures so no late feeds are accrued.  Can I just say I love this library?  Every day since the email I get all giddy inside thinking how nice that was to be reminded. Typically I forget and end up paying fines.  Who tries to cut their profit?  Who is more concerned about their patron's finances?  I like this library.

I think I"ll be visiting this library a lot more.   They just won a customer.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blow It Away

Setting up vignettes is a lot harder than you'd think it would be.  This week in the Frugal Still Life class we had a guest teacher who challenged us to set up a vignette of three objects.
In the past I've sneaked peaks at the beautiful work of other class members, but this week I didn't want any subtle influences to affect my vignette.  After looking around the house I focused on a statue that has reminded me to stop worrying or trying to change things that aren't within my power.
I found this statue after I went to a seminar where Stacy Julian was speaking.  She spoke about not focusing on the things that we can't change.  Enjoy life.  Be intentional.  Whenever I see this statue it reminds me of her forming a bubble with her hands then blowing it away. 
Anyway, I decided to pull this statue in with my initial and a butterfly (which also reminds me that there are times we have to go through hard times before we reap the benefits)  Since a lot of my orchids are blooming I thought I use one of them.  

Do you have something that you see on a regular basis that reminds you to keep on going and to focus on the good?  

Ciao, Bella

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Perfect Ending

What a lovely time.

The week has been full with another to follow.

Recently I've been delving into a hobby that has taken a back seat in my creative outlet but I'm hoping I'll be more active in it this year.  I'm sewing clothing again. 
Recently, well not recently because we have been having warm weather for a while now.  It's hard to believe it is January.  Saturday was such a beautiful morning I knew My Mann and I had meet the sun at the end of the day to say good-bye and thank you for such a perfect day.  So we did.  It was beautiful.  We also saw a pod of dolphins swimming back and forth close to the shore and seal while we were there.  We also met the loveliest gentleman while we were there.  We meet some of the nicest people on our little adventures.

Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with My Sweet Pea.  She was my co-pilot as we made our way to the flower mart and garment district in downtown L.A.  Found some treasures there. 

Wishing you a good week.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Frugal Still LIfe

Where I felt very uncomfortable and pushed into imaginary boundaries with last week's Frugal Still Life assignment I am feeling more open and relaxed about it this week.  I'm realizing that I've done a teeny tiny bit of still life photography in the past I just didn't realize it and now I have this gracious opportunity to learn.  I can surrender myself to change and growth and have joy in it.

So that is what I did this week.

I pulled out my nail polish and enjoyed seeing the bottles full  of color all clustered in one spot.
At first I used the surroundings and light I had from the large sliding door to the right of me and the nail polish.

I think I tend to gravitate to white space.  I like the calm it can give to a picture or the drama it adds to the subject being photographed.

Of these two photos I can't choose which I like best.  I enjoy looking at them both for different reasons.  The idea that there must be at least one more bottle of nail polish in the group leaves me wondering.  The way the black cap contrasts with the white cupboard in the background and the red polish color against the black counter create a natural boundary for the eye moving my gaze back and forth.  Almost like reading a book. 

Although, I really like the reflection that shows up in the group photograph.  It was hard to get the writing on the bottles to be clear with the way the light glared on them and the thickness of the glass. If I had a longer depth of field to get the writing to come out clear for all the bottles the background would not be as unobtrusive.  Any suggestions on what I might have done differently?  

I tried it again almost taking the same pictures only this time I placed a piece of white cardboard behind the bar counter in an attempt to block the refrigerator, the cupboards, and the dining room door in the background.

I think I like the second photo of the fewer bottles and white space better than the first photo.  I think it's because the angle of the bottles seems more pleasing to the eye and they fill the space a little better.

But I not quite as happy with this photo of the complete group as well as the first one that has all the background in a shallow depth of field. In the second photo of all the nail polish the white background seems so stark.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Say Cheese

I finished Week 2 for the Documented Life Project.

We had to use a picture of ourselves and if we had chosen one word for the year we could incorporate that on the journal page as well.

This year after I had chosen my word I found a poem titled "I Surrender" in an old magazine I was going through before throwing them away.

The poem was perfect.

 I couldn't have planned it better.

One of those serendipity things.

I attached the poem this page.

The poem reads

I  Surrender by Melissa J. Coffin

He will not compel us
To be conquered, but
It is in the
Conquering of ourselves
That we win our
Battles best and
Achieve peace,
Not fighting against
The process of
Becoming, but
Burying our
Weapons of resistance
In complete surrender
And obedience.

This giving place
Within ourselves
For the only worthy
Offering that will please
Our Conquering King -
That of a broken heart
And a contrite spirit.

I am finding that these challenges are just what the doctor ordered for my creativity.  I don't feel like what I've done is great, but it has been fun.

I'm looking forward to Week 3.  What are you doing to bring "fun" into your days?

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I am signed up for the Frugal Still Life Photographer class.  It's an 8 week course on still photography. 

I thought this would be a "fun" class.  Which in my mind meant: A class that would mildly stretch your photography skills.

It has been almost 5 years since I bought my first and only DSLR after years of a point and shoot using it's programmed settings of macro, speed, portrait, museum, etc.  At the time I purchased my DSLR I promised myself that since I was spending so much money for a nice Canon EOS 40D and lens (18mm-200mm telephoto) I would not revert to the programmed settings.  Instead I would learn and work in manual only.

I have kept that promise with just a limited amount of time using the aperture or shutter modes. I am for the most part pleased with my efforts.  They aren't always great, but more times than not they are fairly good. 

Hence my feelings that this class would be "fun" and I might learn a few things.

What I didn't realize is that it would be hugely uncomfortable and hard.  It would mean I had to put the thought into what I wanted my photograph to say instead of seeing something as it was, left as someone or God Himself placed it, and capturing the image as is to speak for itself.

For some reason that put a huge amount of pressure on me and I felt limited with the few "props" and lighting opportunities I had available.

This is what I ended up with for the first week.  I can't say that I like it, but I can say I completed the assignment and I learned from it.
38mm, f/7.1, 1/30, ISO-500

I Learned:
1.  That I don't like being pushed (not really a new thing, but it's been a bit since I've felt pushed)
2.  Although we have lots of nice light from the windows all the little panes get in the way for photographing and the winter months mean less time to capture that lighting  after work.
3.  Shoot using multiple depths of field.  I wish I had lengthened my depth of field for this once I looked at it on my computer's screen.

Have you tried something new that surprised you in ways you didn't imagine?


Friday, January 10, 2014

4 Simple Goals

When we were at the beach last month a flock of pelicans flew overhead.

All in beautiful formation.

Except for one.

That's me.

At least I want that to be me.

Part of the flock, but still my own person.

In order to be outstanding I am choosing to do 4 simple things this month.

1. Sew a garment

2. Implement S.H.E (Side-tracked Home Executive homemakers plan)

3. Read The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

4. Bake something

How about you?  Have any plans for January?