Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Plane, Train, Automobile, or Armchair

Is your soul filled with wanderlust?  Are you most content at home?  Do you travel the world?  Do local experiences give you what you need?  Does your mind do the wandering for you, across photos, books, websites, stories read and heard?

Me?  I'm not a big traveller, though I did journey out of the area more before having kidlets.  I married a homebody who is quite content to enjoy the nest.  And while we (or I) still take some jaunts around California, traveling isn't something we're partaking a whole lot in right now.

Thankfully, my Four Musketeers and especially my brother, like to travel and fill my head with their out of area adventures.  Wanderlust and my brother are very well acquainted with each other.  Sometime back I shared just a bit from his summer trek up to Mt. Everest Base Camp and if I can convince him to let me, I'd love to share some of his other travels across the continents.

In the meantime, in addition to the well travelled loved ones in my life, guess where I've turned to, filling my eyes with magical locales and destinations?  If you said that place where many of us just can't stop clicking 'See More Pins' one more time, Pinterest, you hit the mark.

I keep two boards primarily geared towards this new armchair travelling:  Dreamy Destinations and Favorite Places and Spaces.  The first are places that peak my interest or are simply beautiful; the second, are places or approximations of spaces I've been.

These boards actually began as something else entirely.  They began as visual inspiration to use when I write, fiction and/or memoir.  Having a photograph to spark a memory or as a jumping point for a scene can put an entirely different spin on words click clacked out across the keyboard.

And now?  I use my boards for both writing inspiration and the ever fabulous, entirely inexpensive armchair travelling.  One of these days, I'll get to some of the destinations on my list, but in the meantime, just one more reason to read tales in exotic locales, wander the web, listen to friends' adventures, and keep pinning!

When Julia travels to Burma to search for her missing lawyer father, she discovers much more than she expected. Join From Left to Write on February 1 and read posts inspired by the book,  The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker.

As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Animate January

One Little Word - January - Because 

We're wrapping up January (can you believe it?!) and wanted to share just a bit of my One Little Word's 2012 travels.

I took Ali Edwards' One Little Word Workshop at Big Picture Classes last year and found that it helped me keep my 2011 word: Grow front and center.  So, I'm taking it again this year to keep my 2012 word: Animate dancing on the front burner...so to speak.  And I have the title page, as well as the page for January to share with you.

The title page is sweet and simple.  I used the pdf from Ali's workshop for the small 4x6 title page that highlights my word, Animate.  The gray is the pdf and I used Making Memories glitter stickers in pink & teal from my stash. (Just love it when I use some of the stuff I've been hoarding for far too long!)

Then flip the small title page to reveal the 9 pocket 7 1/2 x 10 page for January.  (This particular pocket page protector is from an assorted set the I ordered extra of last year, but is no longer available.  Though there are other 9 pocket protector options that can easily be found in the 8 1/2 x 11 size.)

Ali's pdf has prompts that encourage us to filter what we want from our words this year and where we think we might go.  And then four open spaces to put in whatever you might like - anything from more writing to pattern paper to doodles to symbols to whatever.  I used acrylic paints, Prismacolor marker, writing, and an old acrylic letter 'a' for animate on top of the words I used in the invitation prompt.

One LIttle Word - January - Animate Quote

I adore the quote I found for 'Animate' and in case you can't read my scrawl:

"Today, a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it."
~ Ninon de l'Enclos

It felt good to papercraft again, even if in the smallest way.  Though a new year brings new inspiration and I've been dipping my hands in a variety of creative outlets.  And while I'm only sharing one little bit with my one little word, let me tell you, these hands have been covered in ink and paint many of January's days.

And I'm lovin' it!

What about you?  What has been your creative outlet so far in 2012?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tangled up in Gaiman's Wondrous Web o' Words

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

Rolling down my newsfeed on Facebook, I delightfully fell into this web of words, shared by From Left to Write and I just love it!

"good madness"

I think I might have let out an audible squeal at those two words meeting.

Gaiman's words are so filled with life and hope and great "good madness".  And as surely as my paint stained hands before me click clack across the keyboard this morning, I'm determined to grab me some, if not gobs, of "good madness" in 2012!

How about you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quiet can be Loud

Are you an introvert or extrovert? Author Susan Cain explores how introverts can be powerful in a world where being an extrovert is highly valued.

From Left to Write on January 19 as we discuss Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain. We'll also be chatting live with Susan Cain at 9PM Eastern on January 26. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

Are you an extrovert or introvert or a balance of the two, an ambivert?

Growing up, I would say I was an extrovert. I loved socializing, so much so, almost every school report card I had said, "Talks too much," and most people I'm friendly with today might even say the same thing. Yes, I can be quite chatty. I loved singing in choirs, playing in band, summer school drama classes, and definitely did not shy from attention.

Fast forward to my twenties. Something changed in me. I don't like being the center of attention, I prefer one on one or small groups, and I actually enjoy time alone now.

I'd even venture to say I'm more of an ambivert or possibly an introvert.  So, I wasn't overly surprised when I took Susan Cain's Introvert Quiz and did indeed score as an Introvert. Whatever the reasons may be, I definitely no longer feel those extrovert qualities singing out.

There are lots of ways I've seen this shift factor into my life in the fifteen years since the shift began.  I won't bore you with a long list, promise.  Let's just stick to one way here:  the creative growth in independent thought.

Susan Cain discusses the New Groupthink in her book in terms of how we as a society have jumped into that pool of thought that working in groups is better, more productive, more creative.  Schools and companies have all jumped on this bandwagon.

I remember when group assignments in college went from on occasion to the norm during the 1990s.  And I was never a fan.  When working in groups, there was always a pack mentality and independent thought was watered down.

Cain shares Steve Wozniak's creative tech innovation and how it did not come to fruition in committee as an example of what an introverted thought process can bring to the table...after working independently.

For me, in these years since becoming more introverted, I've experienced a kind of creative rebirth.  I absolutely love the creative energy that is shared in all directions being with creative friends.  That energy is almost palpable and definitely inspiring.  But, it is when I am on my own that I take that inspiration and try new things, take creative risks.  It's where I feel free to explore a new medium, a new process, a new idea.  When I have pulled it together, then I share.

Whether my old extroverted self will continue to haunt me in the shadows, pop out for some play on occasion or I develop my newer introverted nature or even learn to enjoy the best of both worlds, Susan Cain's Quiet has given me a lot of food for thought.

What about you?  Are you an introvert?  An extrovert?  An ambivert?  And whether you are a writer, a scientist, a rockin' awesome mama, an attorney, an artist, does it have an effect on your independent creative thought?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA Strike

Do you know about SOPA?  What about it's counterpart, PIPA?

If you blog or use social media, you've probably heard about it.  That's how I first heard about it several months ago - on Twitter.

If you don't already know about it, chances are you will by tomorrow.

January 18th is #SOPAstrike where many large websites (and even more smaller ones too) are going black for the day in protest to encourage everyone (because it truly will effect everyone who uses the internet for anything if passed) to contact your representatives in Congress.

(I found the video a bit jumpy in the beginning, but I suspect it was due to high traffic. It does settle down and I'm including it because I feel it's a worthwhile watch.)

I'm keeping this short & simple because I want to you click through to the links with more information.

Be informed!

Quotable Bits Zwei

If we live in the past, we take from our present and give ourselves no new future.  That's something that has taken me years to learn.  And while I still occasionally need reminders, thank goodness for a man from humanity's past to remind me!

Sidenote:  Actually, there are so many uber awesome things that man said, wrote, gave to the world, I expect I'll be sharing another one or two from him again. :>

Guess what time it is?  It's time for Bits of Bee's #QuotableBits!  I loved her link up last week and am just beyond tickled pink that she enjoyed my { Magic } post so much that she's highlighted it as her favorite from her first meme!  Thanks so much, Bianca!

If you are here, looking for my Write on Edge, RemembeRED post, scroll down or click here!

RemembeRED: Title & Tagline

On the Move
After living on two coasts, in four states, twelve towns, sixteen abodes, standing still, she regained her momentum.

Write on Edge: RemembeREDOur memoir prompt at Write on Edge is "to come up with a title and tagline that captures your life, or a moment from your life."

Easy peasy, right?  Yeah, that's what I would have thought since microfiction and I are such fine friends.

But, micro memoir that's boiled down to a title & a tagline?  Not so much!  I wrote about a dozen or so, but this is the one I'm running with.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Color Wash

Turning onto the main drag we look for a place to park without great success.  Cars accessorized with different states’ plates, packed full of travelers gear, line both sides of the narrow lane.  Just as we reach the street’s far west end, we find a small space to slide our car into.

We step up onto the crumbling concrete sidewalk, his hand opened wide, inviting my own.  Grabbing it, we walk the familiar path eastward.  The sky, donning its morning slate cardigan hovers above us.  Salted air skims our skin; I drag it in deeply, filling my lungs with its pleasantly peaceful scent.

Trinket, tchotchke, souvenir shops with windows filled wave for our attention, but our eyes dial in our target up the small incline.  One step in front of the other, stepping aside for groups walking back down – some returning to their cars, some to the bluffs, some to take their cooped up pup for a walk – like a folk dance, native to this small spec of a town.

Without a word exchanged, we step into the first of our routine stops.  Pretty jewelry, nice paintings, some woodwork we stop to examine and the fat cat that’s always in the back gets a chin scratch.

Cross the street, up the white stairs, local artists’ work and one to chat with as we find a perfectly personal present to tuck away.

A few doors down, canvases steal our breath – our eyes fooled, rather than paint we see strokes of light.  Jokes about the necessity of kids’ college funds routinely punctuate the visit.  And with one last look we return to the crumbling sidewalk.

Pausing for a seafood lunch with a view we can see now that the coastal sky has shed her morning cardigan.  We chat, we eat, we agree that nothing we’ve seen sparks us both, yet.  Paying the overpriced tourist trap bill we readily signed up for, we walk up a block off the main drag.  No sidewalks, just road.  There are a handful more stops to make to make the day’s gallery walk complete.

We leisurely stroll back to the car.  Not a painting in hand, but the hours’ zen color washed across us.  It’s a favorite hue, bookmarked for our annual visit.  Carrying it with us, one town north, we step into the next color waiting to paint our day, staining our memories…hopefully, permanently.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood2012 has put The Creative back in the driver's seat - but, so far that has been via journaling; (different for me) scrapbooking; inking, painting, doodling in my art journal; trying new GFCF recipes; and lots of photo editing.

The Creative, however, had not joined me in the word pool until I found a little { Magic } in a Ronald Dahl quote, earlier this week.  So, I'm tickled pink to finally be responding to a Write on Edge prompt this year!

The prompt is to write a piece, fiction or creative non-fiction, 400 words or less, sparked by "Flavor."  Whether that be a taste, spice, or the quality or character found in something is up to us.

This began as a fictional piece, but it's so colored by memory it definitely falls into the creative non-fiction category.  Can you feel the flavor of the memory?

Monday, January 9, 2012


~ Ronald Dahl

Magic bits of our days carry a key for me.  That key unlocks all those little bits and pieces, small moments that make me smile.

Laughter floating through air, a leaf coasting upon it.

Sun shinning through a spider's night shift masterpiece.

Felines stretched long; furry bellies soaking up sun.

Painted toes, never seen beneath a warm winter shoe.

Fresh crayon boxes, filled with pointy rainbows.

Overflowing tubs of broken crayons; hand pressed stories in every break.

Rain water's curbside travels, breaking at each tiny pebble in its path.

So thankful to believe in the magic.

What about you?

Happy to be linking up with Bits of Bee today on her meme hosting maiden voyage!  I have always been driven by, inspired by, made better by taking in the words of others.  I've had quote journals, walls covered in quotes written on post-its, and now, thanks to Pinterest, a Letters Word Type Talk board celebrating words themselves.

And a meme dedicated to that very thing I love?  Perfect.

I found the above image on Pinterest and via that, have had an opportunity to check out the rest of the artist's site.  Definitely go see
Madi Illustration for yourself!

Surprising Superbowl Spread Requests

It was Wild Card weekend, aka the first round of NFL playoffs and my boy started thinking about Superbowl Sunday - from the big plays to the touchdowns to which teams might make it there to the food.  Yes, the food.

Last year, we munched on some yummy GFCF goodness, including trying Pioneer Woman's Shrimpo de Gallo for the first time.  I think he liked having a spread of munchies that were all safe for him to eat.

So, grabbing a cookbook, he went to his room to make a list.

I was quite impressed that with each item he was interested in, he was noting which ingredients he could have, as is, and which ones we'd need to either check for gluten or substitute something to make it GFCF.  This was a fantastic first!

Now, here's the surprising part - check out what my elementary school aged boy asked if we could make:

Citrus Spiced Mixed Olives
Pork Satay
Grilled Trout in Grape Leaves
Wilted Escarole with Garlic & Potatoes

Seriously?  Did he just ask for escarole??  Grape leaves?  And trout?

I know my kids like great flavor and are willing to try new foods - actually, they usually beg for it.  But, even my husband and I did not expect a Superbowl food request like this one.

As of right now, I have no idea what we're planning on making, but Yowza - I think my boy just scored a Touchdown!

What will you be having come Superbowl Sunday?  And what teams do you think are going to make it there?

Let's BEE Friends

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Worth the Click: Plugging back in for blogosphere great goodness!

So, guess what marched its nasty ol' self into our home just after Christmas?

Mr. Stomach Bug

I'm rather sure I never painted a 'Welcome' sign, never sent out invitations, never lit the way.  Yet, it's marched through multiple generations and the only person who was left standing was my husband.

Thankfully, while that pesky li'l bugger's shadows are still haunting, just a touch, it's making it's travel preparations to leave us....as long as said husband keeps using his magic Stay Away powers, avoiding it.

But, I didn't invite you to join me here for stomach bug tales o' woe.  I thought you might like to check out some rockin' awesome places I've been visiting in the blogosphere over the last twenty-four hours as I plug back in.

Elsie shares her Bike Love, but really, I'm feeling the purple boot love.

And while visiting Elsie's A Beautiful Mess, I cannot help but get excited about her new Art Journal All Year e-course.  I haven't committed to this creative course...yet.  But, it sure does sound tempting.

Grab a cuppa and spend some time checking out the SITS Girls new look.

Ali Edwards put together a video tutorial for Printing Two 3x4 Images on a 4x6 - great for all kinds of uses, but also specifically for people who use Project Life.

I love the idea of monthly inspiration bulletin boards!  And Kal Barteski is sharing hers for January on [i] Love Life.

Sunday's beyond exciting news that took 8 years, 11 months, 10 days to be able to say!

Alisa Burke has made some delish looking gluten/dairy free pumpkin muffins that make me want to riffle through my cupboards and get baking.

While photo a day challenges have been perking my interest for the last several years, this is not one I've dived into this year.  But, for those that have & in case I ever do, Angry Julie's got How to Organize Project 365 & Stay Sane.

So many great goodies throughout the blogosphere this first week of Twenty Twelve off, don't you think?

May our uninvited guest finish packing its bags and exit with speed.

May Mr. Stomach Bug stay far away from your doorstep.

May you enjoy this round of Worth the Click as much as I have, clickin' my way through the goodness!

Linking up:  It's Monday and I'm being "Miss Elaine-ous" over at The Miss Elaine-ous Life - join the fun!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Creative Everyday 2012

I've seen Leah's Creative Everyday Challenge for the last two years.  Since that's already a focus I try to have, I haven't joined in.

But, I've loved the premise of it.  I've loved that it views 'creativity' in the broadest sense of the word; from something whipped up in the kitchen to words written on a page to images captured through a lens to paint spilled across a canvas.

It's part of why I started blogging:  to alter personal time to include creativity in my daily life.
I have loved Leah's Creative Every Day Challenge.

And I still do.

And I want to connect with more people diving into whatever 'creative' is for them.  So, I'm joining in for 2012!  What about you?

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Little Word 2012

On Friday, I wrapped up my online experience with my 2011 One Little Word and now that we're into the new year, I wanted to share with you my word for 2012.

For the last couple months of 2011, one word had been coming to me, at me, swirling around me, escaping my mouth.  But, when I started thinking about committing to the word for the coming year, it didn't hit all the notes I wanted.  And the search began for a word that would both simmer and excite me.

My 2012 One Little Word is

Myspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace GlitterMyspace Glitter

I am taking Ali Edwards workshop over at Big Picture Classes again this year and am excited to see where my word and I will go.

What about you?  Do you select just one little word to guide you through your year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

We said Good-bye, We say Hello!

Did you have fun ringing in 2012 last night?  We were mellow, at home, kidlets asleep at their usual time, but there was a fun, fresh energy buzzing about that made me welcome in the New Year!

Before the kids went to sleep though, we had one last 2011 task.  I printed out a li'l something I found at Pinterest:

Mique has great things to share at her site, 30 Handmade Days - go check it out, she's oh so Worth the Click!

I knew my girl would be all over this and she didn't disappoint.  And while I thought my older boy wouldn't be too thrilled, he jumped right in and filled it out!  Way to make this Mom happy!

I may be a tad late to the this tradition train, but I still think it's going to be pretty cool to have them fill something like this out every year and watch them grow.

I'll be back tomorrow with my One Little Word for 2012 to share.  In the meantime, tell me what you did to welcome the New Year in last night, or even today!

Happy New Year!!!

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