Thursday, January 29, 2009

Camera Time

I know absolutely nada about photography, but I've been playing around with my little Canon PowerShot. It's really a lot of fun. Here are the results of some of my experiments. Also: Photoshop is my friend.

Chubby McChubberson:

Anicka likes posing:


Heh heh. Ryker's feet look huge in this one:

Five things I've learned about photographing kids:
1. Focus on the eyes.
2. Get down on their level.
3. Props are good.
4. Get up close and personal.
5. Try different angles, it makes things interesting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Feel like Makin' Jewelry

I've been experimenting with making my own jewelry for about a year now, and I finally decided to upload a few of my favorites.

My 'Dreaming of Spring' necklace: last winter I got to longing for the colors of spring, and made this with a wire crochet technique that I saw in a magazine. It looks a little jumbled in the picture, but I love the way it looks on, and it's probably my favorite piece that I've made.

Macrame Spirals: One of my favorite chokers broke and I salvaged the focal bead to use as a pendant. Combined two of my favorite hobbies, macrame and beading.

Simple and elegant, a glass foil pendant on black leather. I'll have to get Crystal or Evie to model this one for me so I can show you how I wear it.

This is the very first set that I made, and I wear it all the time. I've learned quite a few techniques since I made this, and the workmanship is shoddy compared to some of my newer pieces, but I still love it. Adam helped me with the wire work on the earrings, because I hadn't figured out how to work with wire yet.

If you're interested in making jewelry let me know! I have tons of helpful sites that I can send you with tips, techniques and tons of free tutorials. (Wow, listen to that alliteration!) There's also a great website called beads and pieces where you can buy some super cheap stuff, and pay zero shipping. How great is that?

Edited to add:
Oh yeah. All of you who wanted to help out with those art journals, I'll be starting them next week. As soon as I finish a couple pages I'll send it off to the next person. I'm pretty excited.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

'My To Do List' or 'Things I've Always Dreamed of Doing' or 'What Randy Pausch's Book Made Me Think About'

- Really become fluent in Spanish
- Learn two more languages (Sign language, French, Italian, German, Portuguese?)
- Start a non-profit organization
- Finish writing a book
- Publish a book
-Visit as many countries as possible
- Live on a ranch
- Own a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Great Dane
-Participate in a cross-country horse race.
-Have my art in a gallery or in an art show
-Dance on Broadway (too late for this one?)

Monday, January 19, 2009


I admit it, I'm a total fantasy novel junkie. There is nothing that I love to read more than a well-written fantasy series. I even read YA fantasy novels. Sometimes I get strange looks from the teens and tweens as I prowl the YA stacks in the public library, three year old in tow, looking for my next fix. And I'm not even ashamed of it.
Some of my favorite fantasy novels/series include (in no particular order):

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

And this year I add another set of books to my ever expanding list of favorites:
The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.

Brandon Sanderson is a relatively new author, but he has been asked to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, a set of books that is well loved by many of my fellow fantasy junkies. Although I'm not a big fan of WoT myself, as an avid reader I can imagine how apprehensive
many of Robert Jordan's fans would feel about someone else taking over the last book of the series. But, after reading Mistborn, I can see why Sanderson was chosen, and I don't think WoT fans have anything to worry about. Sanderson is a master worldbuilder and an extremely talented storyteller.

I was very impressed with Mistborn. Most fantasy novels have very similar themes.
- There is some sort of 'dark lord' or evil king
-There is a simple, ordinary member of the peasant class who is revealed to be the 'chosen one', or a prince in disguise.
- The chosen one leads a ragtag group of friends on a quest to defeat the dark lord.
- The dark lord is defeated and everyone lives happily ever after.

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn turns those everyday fantasy themes upside down by asking some basic questions.
- What happens if the dark lord isn't defeated?
- What if the chosen one isn't who you think it is?
- What if the dark lord isn't who you think it is?
- What if the chosen one fails to complete the quest?
- What happens after the dark lord IS defeated and the government collapses?

Sanderson pairs those themes with a rich, detailed fantasy world and an awesome system of magic called Allomancy. In Mistborn there are certain people born with the ability to ingest metals and then 'burn' those metals in their stomaches in order to gain certain powers ( I wrote about this a few months ago when I first started the series). One of the powers gained is the ability to essentially make chunks of metal fly through the air, or to make yourself fly through the air by pushing yourself off of chunks of metal. This makes for some really great fight scenes.

I could talk about these books all day, but I have to go make lunch now, so I guess I'll stop. Suffice it to say that if you like fantasy, I absolutely recommend these books to you. And if you do read them you should check out Brandon's blog (link to the right) afterward, as well as his forum on You'll find that there is a lot more to the Mistborn world and Allomancy than he put into the books.

Annnnd a big thanks to Eric, who bought me the last book in the trilogy for Christmas. Thanks, bro. As you can see, I loved it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

1001 Journals

I am well known for constantly starting new and exciting projects and then abandoning them as soon as something more interesting occurs to me, so I know some of you will be skeptical about this. BUT... I'm really stoked about this one, and hopefully I'll have a bunch of people helping me out with it. *meaningful glance at everyone reading this*

I recently found out about the 1000 journal project, where a man who calls himself 'someguy' left 1000 empty journals all around the country, hoping for people to fill them up and send them back to him. You can now buy a book filled with some of the artwork and journal entries that found their way back to someguy. And since he got such an overwhelming response from people that found out about the project and wanted to participate he started the 1001 journal project, which you can find out about here. Anyone can start their own journal and upload the images on to the site. Well. I've long been fascinated by the thought of letting friends and family members write in my journal, and hearing about this project brought that idea back to me.

So what I'm going to do is this:
I'm going to start three new journals. One I'm going to leave in a public place with instructions and a return address glued inside, and hope that it gets filled up and mailed back to me. Two I'm going to keep as my own personal art journal, and I might or might not upload the results to the website, depending on how personal the contents end up being. And Three I'm going to pass around to friends and family members and let them fill it up with their artwork, poetry, memories, collages or what have you, and then I might or might not upload the results to the 1001 journals website, depending on the feedback I get from said friends/family members.

So I've already gone to the D.I. and found some interesting books that we can turn into art
journals. It's going to be awesome. These books will start out as old, hand-me-down things that nobody wanted to read, and they will slowly be turned into something else, something beautiful, something like this:

So. This is my plan. This is my exciting new project. And I want all of you to help me out with it. Is anybody interested?

The Truth About Blogging

Courtesy of

Also: I'm seriously frustrated right now. I'm trying to post pictures of my jewelry, but according to blogger that's a 'Bad Request'.
So, instead I'm going to post a link to someone else's blog entry about some funky jewelry. This is something I'm totally going to try someday:

Edited to add:
Ah! I want! I want!

Ever heard of Mohop shoes? I hadn't either, until I started wandering through old posts on Capitolagirl's blog today. ( I admit it, I am a blog lurker)
So. Mohop shoes are these awesome sandals that "let you lace any ribbon through elastic loops on the base to create a one-of-a-kind look with a comfortable, custom fit."

Check out the pages and pages of variations on the Mohop website:
The bad part is that the cheapest pair costs 75 bucks. I guess I'll start saving up!

Mohop Etsy Shop

Monday, January 5, 2009

Holiday stuffs

We have had an awesome holiday season. So awesome that I forgot to take any pictures. (Actually, we completely forgot to take the camera with us when we went out to my parents' house on Christmas Eve. ) Adam got off of work early on the 23rd and didn't have to go back to work until yesterday. And all but one day of that was paid vacation time. Awesome.

We spent Christmas Eve over at my parents house, (where it snowed! Again!) along with about half the town, who came over to eat my mom's delicious Traditional Cuban Christmas Eve Feast. I wish I had taken my camera so that I could show you how packed their house was.

We stayed the night there, and had a wonderful Christmas day together playing games and watching movies. We got home around 10:30 that night, and Anicka immediately passed out on the couch, snuggling the new puppy that Santa brought her:

We got lots of wonderful gifts from everyone. Anicka made out like a bandit, she's got so many new things to play with, she's been in heaven this last couple of weeks. She loves all of the building blocks and lincoln logs that she got, and has spent countless hours building things with her dad:

We've also played Candyland more times than I care to count.

And Ryker loves his new mobile almost as much as he loves his toes:

My favorite thing that I got was a pile of new books. I got four from Adam, two from my parents, and two from Eric. So great! Adam's favorite thing was the .38 special that my dad gave us. He can't wait to go shooting, and is planning on getting a concealed carry license for it.

The day after Christmas we spent all day at Shane and Dusty's place. We had a Settler's of Catan marathon

While Grammy crocheted

And the kids curled up on the couch and watched a movie.

Sunday we were back out in leeds because my little brother Eric (who is not so little anymore, he's turning twenty this month) was ordained an Elder! He is getting ready to go on a mission, and will be putting his papers in next month. It will be hard not to see him for two years, but I'm very excited for him to go. He will be such a great missionary.

(^those blocks are supposed to spell 'family' but we could not resist the urge to play with them.)

Monday we spent all day cleaning our disaster of an apartment and then went to the coolest park ever, on Tuesday Crystal and Tyler came out and played games with us, and oh yeah! Guess who's engaged?

Wedneday we spent the morning with Adam's parents and his sister Heidi, and the evening back out at Shane and Dusty's, where we ate lots of junk and rang in the new year. It was very exciting, 15 minutes before midnight Ryker had a blowout diaper and I had to bathe him. The rest of the week we just chilled at home. It was great. I'm really lonely now that Adam is back at work. It has been so fun having him home for almost two weeks.