"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit,
the greater your capacity to create."

~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Friday, May 29, 2009

Needing to Cool Off

So, with summer right around the corner, I thought I had better get the air-conditioning in my car serviced. It takes awhile to get cool and, on very hot days, the cold seems to cycle on and off. I took it to my regular mechanic thinking it just needed some freon, which would run about $100 out the door with product and labor. He sadly informed me that the compressor and condenser both needed replaced and it would cost $1100! Since my car is only about 5 years old with less than 60,000 miles on it, he called the dealer to find out if it could be covered under my warranty... chances are it probably could be but I needed to take it to the dealer for diagnostics and warranty repairs. So, this morning I got up early and dropped my car off at the dealer, paid an extra $15 for a loaner vehicle for the day, and headed to work. About midday, I got a call from the dealer - they can't find anything wrong with my A/C except that it's low on freon. They're putting a dye into the system in case there's a pinhole leak somewhere that might show up over time but, for now, just putting in about 1/2 pound of freon and recharging the system... price out the door (including a dealer "diagnostic" charge) was $226. Disgusting! I could have got the same service done for half the price if I'd done it at my regular mechanic. Soooo frustrating >:-[

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barn Swallows


It is Spring here in Colorado and the birds have arrived! They're up very early every morning, singing their songs and making sure no one oversleeps. They tend to congregate on my patio, shuffling and fighting over the best spot on the ledge over my sliding glass door. Needless to say, the subsequent mess on the concrete below is a pain to clean up!

I have been contemplating what to do to keep them from assembling there... until today. It seems that a pair has taken over the space and chased off all the other interlopers. I believe they are barn swallows - very colorful with bright red (male) and bright yellowish-orange (female) bellies with black wings and long split tails... they're really quite beautiful. I hope they honor me with a nest of chicks to make up for the inevitable mess they'll leave behind.

They're very LOUD! If you want to hear what they sound like, I found a clip here:
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barn_Swallow/sounds

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Circus Train

This ticket is my sign-in tag for Abby's tip-in journal on Paper Traders. Her theme is trains and I thought it would be fun to do a circus train. I used a copy of a vintage circus poster, trimmed it with my gold foiling pen, and added animals with 3-D pop ups. It's simple but cute... I hope she likes it!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Here is the next spread in my Soul Journal, as prompted by Sarah Whitmire. For this page, we were to make a representative of our house and neighborhood. I live in a large apartment complex, on the third floor, with a spectacular mountain view. I used brighter colors to make my home stand out and asian paper for the background because that is the type of decor I have. Lastly, we were to make paper dolls of our family... since I live alone and don't have any family nearby nor any pets, it's just me =) My house is a pocket so the paper doll can slip down inside.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Soul Journaling Under Wraps

Today's exercise was to follow the prompt "I forgot to tell you..." and then continue the thought process from there. As you can tell from my first picture here, I had a lot to say! This photo is small and a little blurry to protect the privacy of my personal thoughts (not that there's anything here that I wouldn't tell to a friend one-on-one).
Next, I covered it all up with different kinds of tape. This was a challenge for me because I didn't have much variety in the house.
Lastly, I used acrylic paint (denim blue and then burnt umber) over the tape to give it an aged and distressed look. The red/blue striped tape was a shiny cellophane so it resisted the paint... I kind of like it though.
I'm not sure if this is finished or not. I think it makes a better background than a complete piece of art. Maybe we'll be adding more over it later... or, if not, I can always do my own thing!

Another Blog Award

One of my dear online art friends, Kathy Carvellas, was so sweet to award me with a "Friends" blog award. Here's the link to her blog: Pieces of Me

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these kind writers."

Now I'm supposed to pass this award on to 5 other deserving bloggers who meet that criteria - check them out:

Dragon Baby
Blooming Ideas
The Crafty Chook
AltereDiva
Bear Bluz Art

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Soul Journal Inchies

Continuing on with Sarah Whitmire's Soul Journaling prompts... Going back to yesterday's page, I trimmed out my soul armor with a gold foiling pen - it's a lot of bling, but I'm worth it =)

The next exercise was to search magazines for specific images... some were generic items, like "a bird" or "a flower" whereas others were more personal, such as "eyes the same color as yours" or "something you want (which is NOT the picture of money - LOL)"
Actually, one of the prompts was "something comfortable" which I couldn't really find any picture for... so I picked the money as "something I need to be comfortable" because, well, don't we all?

First, I made a wash of some dark purple acrylic paint (which turned out pretty light once I watered it down), then I spread it around and blotted with paper towels. When that was dry, I pasted on the inchies and applied another wash of a lighter colored paint (ochre). Lastly, Sarah had us add some words and draw around some of the inchies.

A few personal things here? Well, the "40 September" was my last birthday, the beautiful mountain scene is from right here in Colorado where I live now, the snowy branches are my "something you have" since I really appreciate having winter seasons again after living in California for twenty years. The banana bread is one of my favorites and reminds me of my grandmother; the hand represents my current round robin journal which is still winging it's way around the world; the aspen leaves are another Colorado specialty; and the purple swirl represents my favorite color (hence the purple background, too!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Soul Journaling

One of my new year resolutions was to start a personal art journal this year. The problem was that I didn't have any idea where to start. One of my dear art friends told me about Sarah Whitmire's Soul Journaling prompts and so I have decided to jump right in! I know I won't be able to follow along daily but will try to work on this project as regularly as I can.

The first two spread are my take on Sarah's first prompt - to cover my pages with text, then pick out words that describe how I am feeling, circle them, and write down some of my thoughts:

The next step was to get out the gesso and cover up all of my words, taking time to contemplate on them as I painted them out. Secondly, I needed to "claim" my book by putting my name all over the first page...
Finally, I needed to create my "soul armor" and decorate it using words that describe how I can protect my creative spirit. Those of you who know me know I love asian things so I just had to use this samurai on my page... I decorated the background with a piece of gold-printed joss paper and some kanji rub-ons. I will probably go back and add more detail to my armor but this is what I've gotten done so far.

A Blog Giveaway

My arty online friend, Terri, is having a giveaway for the anniversary of her blog (one that I read regularly =) Check out all the fabulous-ness here: Blooming Ideas

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there! I am blessed with a wonderful mother who is my very best friend. I love her dearly and appreciate all that she has done for her family. May each of you be able to spend your special day basking in the love and adoration of your families.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

God Shall Be with You Forever and Ever

This was the theme of my Relief Society lesson this past Sunday. Since several of you have mentioned you liked my quotes and references, I'll share the ones I used this week:

“The Church is not built in one generation. The sound growth of the Church takes hold over three and four generations of faithful Saints. Passing the fortitude of faith to endure to the end from one generation to the next generation is a divine gift of unmeasured blessings to our progeny. Also, we cannot endure to the end alone. It is important that we help by lifting and strengthening one another.” (Robert D Hales, “Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure” – Ensign, May 1998)

“Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).

“Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us and do so in ways which sanctify these experiences for our good.” (Neal A Maxwell, “Enduring Well” – Ensign, April 1997)

“Is it possible that in this twilight season of the dispensation of the fulness of times, when Satan and his minions roam the earth inspiring deceit, discouragement, and despair, that we who have been armed with the most potent antidote on earth—the gift of the Holy Ghost—don’t always fully partake of that gift? Are we guilty of spiritually just “getting by” and not accessing the power and protection within our reach? Are we satisfied with far less than the Lord is willing to give us, essentially opting to go it alone here rather than partner with the Divine?” (Sheri Dew, “We Are Not Alone” – Ensign, November 1998)