Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ultimate Blog Challenge

Today is day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  I didn't make it to 30 posts.  This is my 15th post this month.  What I've learned:
1. I actually like blogging.  Even if nobody else reads what I have to say, it's cool looking back to reflect over the past month.  This blog has been a digital journal of a portion of my life.  
2. April isn't the best month for me to make month long commitments since my daughter is off school for most of the month and we often take a vacation, well, we did.
3. 15 posts is progress since I had only posted 6 times between February and March.
4. I didn't stop going when I could have said, "screw it" when I knew there was no way I could accomplish the goal of 30 posts.  I'm not disappointed.
5. I'm glad I participated.  It's been a great jump start to blogging.

Now that the month is over, I'm really looking forward to doing more blogging and continuing to create my own structure in which to do it.

My list of happy

Now that I've been back almost a week (where did the time go?  No, seriously, where did the past week go?).
1. Road trip in California with my honeys. Time to chat and time to be.
2. Tour of Hearst Castle.  Such a fascinating place.
3. Monterey:  Grilled artichokes (where have you been all my life?) in Monterey.  Monterey Bay Aquarium. Watching my daughter fall in love with sea otters.
4. More driving.  Text updates with my sister.
5.  Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.  Such amazing towering trees.
6. Santa Cruz.  Sea lions, surfers, dolphins!
7. Lots of fun and laughs with my family.
8. Business in my Etsy shop when I reopened my shop after my vacation.  Yay!
9. Home Sweet Home, once again :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Welcome to my sketchbook!

I started keeping a sketchbook of whimsical girls  around August of last year.  I'd bring my sketchbook, pencils and other supplies to have something to do while my daughter was at her dance class.  When she was switched into a higher level class on a different day and time, I stopped doing it for a while.  This was my first time since February.  I'm not aiming for perfection but improvement.

Do you have something you do a little at a time with the aim of improving your skill? 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Super easy canvas!

Here is a super easy way to add something special to your home decor.
canvas (I used a 6"x6")
envelope seal or sticker (I used an envelope seal from my shop, The Whimsical Muse on Etsy)
1. Grab a canvas and envelope seal
2. Apply the seal where you want it on the canvas. You could even add more than one seal. 
3. You're now ready to hang or place the canvas where ever you'd like.
It's that easy!

I have some other ways I will be sharing on using these envelope seals in the coming weeks.

 Have you ever thought about what else you might do with the glitter heart envelope seals from The Whimsical Muse on Etsy (or other fun stickers or seals?), aside from using them as envelope seals or stickers on a card or scrapbook page? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Did you see the lunar eclipse?

Did you have a chance to see the lunar eclipse on Monday night/Tuesday morning? Normally, I would have  skipped it, especially since my family members were each asleep in their respective beds, but I was intrigued.  I wondered what I'd actually be able to see of this "blood moon."  When I saw it, I was really struck by the intensity of color and how well I could see it without using binoculars or a telescope. I imagine it would have been really great to be able to see it better. 

Did you see the lunar eclipse on April 14th -15th?  What did you think? 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Whimsical Muse...Crochet School?

I took my daughter who is 8 years old with me when I went to buy some yarn the other day.  She asked me if maybe I could teach her to crochet.  Thinking about how much she's improved with her crafting and how she's really into Rainbow Loom, I figured it would be as good a time as any to start to teach her.  We got out some of the yarn I don't have plans for and I showed her some basics: how to make a knot, chain and single crochet.  Talk about great quality time!  We spent time together doing something that I enjoy when I want something to do with my hands and that she's been wanting to learn.  We both laughed so hard when she used the same hole over and over and created an accidental but really pretty wave in the crochet.  I had only taken my attention off of her and what she was doing for a few minutes.  She decided to get rid of the wave but it would have totally worked to keep it. 

I have vague memories of my grandmother teaching me how to crochet when I was young.  It was something she did often and really well.  I think it was my mom who taught me to knit. 

What kinds of things have you taught your children?  What did your parents or grandparents teach you? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Have you ever just wanted to quit?

Have you ever just wanted to quit?  To stop doing something you said you would do?

That was me over the last few days.  I was done with the 30 day Ultimate Blog Challenge.  It was 13 days into the month and I had 8 blog posts done.  I was behind by 5 days, and therefore 5 posts.  I felt like I was in over my head.  It all started with assessing where I was with the challenge at almost halfway through it and thinking about what I had learned.  I felt good about getting started and working on photos.  Yet I realized that I just wasn't putting enough time into blogging. My posts that felt the best to me were the ones that involved a project, then writing it up and editing it (well, I love my "little list of happy").  They were the ones that took time beyond simply writing out a few sentences.  Looking at my schedule for the month, I knew I couldn't do a daily project that would meet my expectations, including pictures not to mention writing and editing.  I do like a challenge.  I don't want to just stop because I've fallen off track.   This is where the learning dusting myself off, figuring out what works better and keeping on.  

This is post number 9 of 15 days so far.  I am going to keep going despite being behind and not knowing if I will be able to catch up.  I probably won't catch up given my schedule over the next week.  While that will be uncomfortable, it will feel better than saying "I'm done" or flaking out.  Im in!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I don't usually... myself flowers.  Yesterday, my daughter and I ran into the market the other day to grab a few things and we both noticed the daffodils.  They looked like asparagus.  I decided to get a bunch and put them into water when we got home.  By the morning all of the tight buds had turned into these bright yellow flowers.  It was so nice to see them in bloom when I walked into the kitchen this morning!

Home sweet home canvas

I painted this canvas today, inspired by this (the buy 1 get 2 free canvas sale at Aaron Brothers didn't hurt ;) ). 

I started by painting a background.

Next I applied some 2-inch vinyl letter stickers from Staples (I think they can be found at office stores, craft and hobby stores, and hardware stores).  I didn't bother with measuring things out since I could see the letters would fit, I wanted the letters left justified and at the bottom of the canvas.  

Then I covered most of the canvas with white paint.  I used two coats of paint, letting it dry between each coat.  I left a few blue spots on purpose.  It would have been faster with spray paint but I decided to stick with the thick acrylic paint that I had on hand. 

I let the paint dry most of the way and then carefully peeled the letters from the canvas. 

All in all, it was an easy project.  I may end up making some small changes to the canvas like replacing the period with a small heart.

Have you made any art, craft or diy projects recently?  If you've posted them on your blog, Instagram, Flickr, Etsy shop or whatever, please share a link in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Just stopping by with another color palette based on this red Ranunculus from the Flower Fields of Carlsbad in North County San Diego.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The New San Diego Central Public Library

9th floor
When I was a kid I loved the library.  The local library where I lived was about 4 blocks from my house. When I was old enough, I'd go on my own and invariably return with an armful of books I couldn't wait to crack open.  Now I have a child who also loves to read and while she isn't quite old enough to go to the library alone, loves to bring home books to read.  I was so thrilled when the San Diego Public Library opened a brand new Central Library back at the end of September.  I couldn't wait to go.  I don't know what it was, though.  I just didn't get around to going there.  My husband and daughter had been there on several occasions.  I kept thinking I'd go soon but six months passed.  Finally today, I was thinking that since my daughter and I had just finished reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and we needed to pick up the next Harry Potter book.  I didn't want to buy a book (not sure why given that we are addicted) and I didn't want to wait until Monday to go to the nearest library (since we're that addicted).  So after lunch, my husband, daughter and I went to the "new" library.  It's huge! It's more than double the size of the previous location at well over 366, 000 square feet.  I didn't explore the entire place but I was really impressed.

The architecture is very modern and open.    

The kids area was in use by many kids but it wasn't crowded either.  Dr. Seuss art on the wall, computers on younger kids height tables, books set at kid height... 

There's a teen area.  At the entrance it said it was for 12-18 year olds...everyone else keep out.  Yikes!  Haha!  We waited just outside since the Harry Potter book on our list was supposed to be there.  The librarian took us in and explained that we're welcome to come in to get books but the area with the computers and whatnot was for teens.  It's a great area for teens and was in use.  The librarian was familiar with some of the kids there and engaged them.  It was cool to see since he looked to be older than us.  

The 9th floor has a lovely deck with a great view of the city including the Coronado Bridge.  The pictures I took above are from the 9th floor and the bottom right picture has a bit of the bridge in it.  

There is lots of seating on the various floors.  Staff were very accessible and offered to help.  There are books everywhere.

The only thing I found that I didn't totally love the parking.  Yes, I'm thrilled that the first two hours is free since I used to have to pay the meter.  The spaces are tiny in this day and age when most people have SUVs and other big vehicles.  We drive smallish cars and it was still a tight fit.  The space just doesn't seem that well thought out.   

It looks like they have all kinds of programs.  Music, chess and more.  

The gift shop...yes, they have a gift shop, is adorable.  It's very on-trend and Etsy-like.  I felt like I was in a cute little boutique that had all kinds of book related gifts, as well as other lovely things.  

I left the library with an armful of books looking forward to cracking them open and to spending more time exploring this new library.

Are you a reader?  A library lover?  I'd love to hear your stories.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Look at that pic...!

La Jolla Cove in San Diego, CA.  Picture edited using PicMonkey.  I've had some challenges with Illustrator  making more color palettes.  I'm still determined to figure out how to fix whatever went wrong. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My little list of happy

1. Teaching my daughter to make brownies.  She got a huge case of the giggles when I was showing her how to crack the eggs.  Every time she picked up an egg she started to crack up.  So much fun!
2.  Happy coming onto the radio while we're baking.  We're so addicted!
3. These brownies with some vanilla Haagen Dazs.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My 5th Etsyversary and I almost forgot!

Do you ever get nearly to the end of the day and realize that you totally forgot something?  Today I forgot about the anniversary of my Etsy shop.  How could I forget?  Gah!  It is April 1st, April Fools Day and all.  I remember that day five years ago when I decided to open my shop.  Though I wanted to open it on the anniversary of my grandfather's birthday which was a little over a week later I was so excited with my new shop idea, I just couldn't hold it in any longer.  It was of fun to open my shop on April Fools Day.  My shop and the things I sell have certainly changed over time.  I credit many of the things that are my biggest sellers to people who asked, "hey, do you think you could make me..."  I really appreciate the many kind customers with whom I've worked. 

Quick tip: using color

color palette made with Illustrator

It seems like color palettes are all over the place from various blogs to Pinterest.  While I've been prone to just looking at them for how lovely the color combinations, they definitely have practical applications.  Whether decorating a room in a home, planning a wedding, developing a website, or figuring out what to wear for a special occasion, colors and how they work together are part of setting the tone.

I recently came across a fun website called Colour Lovers where you can create your own color palettes and learn about color trends.  The color palettes on Colour Lovers are categorized by wedding, home, fashion, web, print, craft and business.  There are some really gorgeous wedding palettes.  I haven't thoroughly checked out their site but it looks like a great color resource.