Tag Archive for 'challenge'

Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions? I really could use some. Things like creating schedules to cook regular meals, keep the house clean and make bill payments and work on some fitness goals. It’s nearing on 10 years that I’ve said I want to run a 5K and yep, that hasn’t made much progress more than the wanting part.

fall 2014 chalkboard

It’s Winter and time to clear the board and start a new season, but in the meantime here is a rough list of what happened in the fall. Highlights include Matt and my trip to Kentucky and getting engaged (although it also created a lot of self induced stress as well, on what that expectation means to other people), two new babies by two good friends, and finally taking the leap to start the Little Art Book project I have been thinking about forever. We hosted Thanksgiving this year at our house and the kids wanted to draw on the chalkboard so I let them erase  it, so some of the items at the bottom were later photoshopped in. Also, not listed is another niece or nephew that is expected in our family in June! 2015 is looking to be a GOOD YEAR!

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

I was just looking over the previous season’s post and realized that I had said I wanted to crack down on finishing up items on my to-do lists from 2009-10 with hopes to create a new list for 2015. Well, I completely forgot about finishing up those items when I got sidetracked and focused on the Little Art Book, which is actually an item on that list. Time to go revisit those lists and see if I can crank a bunch out in a short period and still have time to start a 2015 list.

Happy New Year!

And since it is a new year and a change of season, this is as good a time as any to share our adventure from New Year’s Day. Leading up to the new year we were talking about our fitbits and the few times we reached 20,000 steps and my sister suggested we aim for 30,000 steps on New Year’s Day. THIRTY THOUSAND STEPS! For me, a thousand steps is roughly 10 minutes, so walking 30,000 steps is walking for 5 hours. It sounded like a fun idea and we talked about where we could walk. I’m reading Wild (I haven’t seen the movie yet) and love stories of people just walking/cycling/traveling great lengths on their own. What we didn’t think about is that we live in Northern Illinois and it is COLD. We didn’t let it stop us though and I came up with a big loop and my sister mapped it out to find that it was 9 miles. It was cold but my sister is a FAST WALKER. I was a bit overdressed and overheating and she was slightly under dressed and getting frostbitten legs, so at our pit stop we rearranged clothing a bit, had lunch and were on our way again. We were golden until about 20,000 steps when we both hit a wall. It was literally “I could go forever” to “I can barely lift my feet” in the span of 1,000 steps. By the time we got home we were limping and I’m sure our faces showed our agony. We only had 23,000 steps.  We recouped with the hope of going back out and making those last 7,000 steps, but as the sun went down we both realized there was no way we wanted to walk in the cold AND dark, so we took our adventure to Target and did some shopping, did some laps, did some more shopping, did some more laps and then finished our last 150 steps in my basement. 2 days later and my feet still ache, but I was able to still get in my regular 10,000 steps yesterday. I realized that I think I want to add in more regular 20,000 step days every week. I can do it!


Day Nine – Yoyo Zipper Clutch

I’m so excited about day nine’s thing, I just had to share it before it is completely finished.

I’ve actually been working on this yoyo zipper clutch in bits and pieces, here and there, over the last several weeks. Most of the work went into piecing the yoyos, as you can probably see. The zipper pouch is complete, I just need to anchor the yoyos to the pouch itself.

When working on yoyo’s I love picking fabrics that have super tiny patterns, and I found this excellent retro reproduction fabric at a local quilt shop. I love that I was able to find a zipper in just the exact color I wanted, which replicated the color in the fabric. I wanted more of a pale orange, sherbet color, for the background, in the pouch itself, but I just can’t find a good selection and variety of solid fabrics locally. It’s either patterned or the 10 standard colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, brown, gray and white) and that’s it. Forget about finding anything as fancy as chartreuse or teal, as if they were some extraordinary, hard to come by, colors. I could probably find the colors I want online, but when I buy, I usually only buy half a yard here and half a yard there. It’s not really worth it to buy online if I’ll have to pay for shipping, And there’s always the fear that the color on the screen is not the same color as what arrives in the mail.

I’m thrilled at the way this pouch looks and I’ve already cut out fabric and started working on my second pouch. I’ll post better pictures once it’s completely finished. With any luck, I’ll be posting some of these to my etsy store soon.

Day Five – pill box

Today was extraordinarily busy. It wasn’t until after dinner that I remembered that it was actually Friday and I still had to do a thing for today. I was exhausted from running around and was regretting that I would have to resort to just pressing a one inch pinback button for my thing. Even that small project seemed daunting in my tired state. Then I remembered a small handful of lathed wooden pill boxes that I bought at a garage sale.

Immediately I was inspired and filled with energy to create. The original and unfinished box is pictured above. Actually it probably had been stained, but I painted it white, cut a piece of felt for the inside and created the collage/mixed media piece to go on the lid. I plan on giving it a glossy resin coat over the image when I have enough pieces to make mixing the resin worth it. I bought a bunch of these small boxes so you will probably be seeing more.


Completely unrelated, check out this tutorial on Design Sponge for making a beautiful chandelier. I think I’ve admired similar ones in stores before, but now I think I must create one for myself.


Have a good weekend!

Daily Challenge for August

In the wee hours of this morning, Rosa updated her twitter to invite others to create something every day for the month of August. In an email she reminded me of my challenge from last year where I also invited others to create something everyday. Last year during August I created a new piece of mixed media artwork on a 9×9″ piece of watercolor paper everyday (M-F) and had quite a bit of fun in the process. Talking to my best friend on the phone earlier today, she inquired if I was up to the task, and reminded me that I did some nice work last year. I decided, yes, I would try to create something each day in August (M-F). But, this year I think I will do a variety of things. I have a list going of all sorts of things I want to do.

Last month (July) I barely stepped foot into my studio. If you look above at the before you probably can sympathize as to why I couldn’t cross any of my things off my list last month. So, to start the month fresh, with a nice new work space, I’ve cleaned up my drawing table, so I could actually work at it, imagine that! Hopefully with the challenge and the more organized work space I can get the ball rolling again.

Once again, I encourage everyone else to try to create something new every day for the month and share it on your blogs/flickr/twitter/facebook/etc. It need not be a large daily commitment. I’m sure there will be some days in there when I make a pin-back button and call it a day. You might just jot down a quick sketch everyday, or perhaps you have a larger project going and you can share your progress daily. If you decide to participate, please comment and let me know and I’ll share your link.

Thanks for the challenge, Rosa! Here we go!

day 21 – Golden Circle

Today is the last day of August and this is the final piece in my personal challenge to create a new piece daily and list it to my etsy shop. I successfully completed the challenge and I have to say I am very proud of myself. Thank you everyone for following along with me, and for those who purchased pieces and support me in my creative and artistic endeavors. (((Big hug everyone!)))

The Golden Circle is another piece inspired by my Circle Series. I worked it in reverse from what I usually do, moving from the outside in. All those tiny golden circles were hand painted in watercolors by yours truly and there are touches of gold shimmer here and there.

Change of topic, but more important, could I ask a huge favor of you? You might recall me mentioning my friend Nikki on here in the past. She has been struggling with cancer for over two years and because of recent events she is in desperate need of your prayers and/or any positive thoughts you can send her way. She is one of my nearest and dearest friends. Some wonderful things about Nikki:

She LOVES movies and would probably love to see every single movie ever made.
She loves photography and takes excellent pictures.
She was just married this summer to one of my other near and dear friends Tom.
She also is the kind of individual who always puts others before herself.
She will save any stray animal that comes her way.
And her birthday is one day before mine, but several years younger.

My sister in law is also organizing a novena to St. Peregrine, the patron St. of cancer patients. Starting on Wednesday she asks people to please say this prayer for 9 days in a row. I would be grateful if you could spread the word. You can read more about Nikki’s journey here on her Caring Bridge’s page.

Thank you!

day 3 Sing

Day 3 of the challenge is complete! I like this one a lot. This original piece can be yours for 10 clams.

Today I had no idea what I was going to do until I sat down at my drawing table and just started shuffling through paper. Cough, I have a lot of paper, ahem.

I think it was a success.

While I was listing the piece in my shop I thought of the song “If You Want to Sing Out” by Cat Stevens, featured in one of the best movies ever, Harold and Maude. If you haven’t seen this movie before, quick, get thee to the local video store, or surf on over to netflix and rent it. You can thank me later.

I hope you can read my chicken scratch