Thursday, November 29, 2012

Project Life - no longer missing the in-betweens

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So, many of you know that I'm a designer... and many of you have seen my scrapbook pages of my son. And if you really follow along... you would have noticed that I haven't posted any for some time now... Did I give up? Nope... I'm just stockpiling all the photos and journaled moments for a new adventure I'm digging into in 2013. Project Life. What is Project Life you ask? Watch this video.

cultivate a good life by Becky Higgins
I have known about Project Life for several years and always find myself landing on Becky's website when I try and find the perfect solution for memory keeping. As a graphic designer, I wasn't impressed with the Project Life method when I first saw it... I thought that there wasn't room to be creative... it was too "plug-and-play" for me... I designed my son's baby book from birth to 1.5 years... with each important moment as a full 12x12 tricked-out, fully designed, page. Why only 1.5 years you ask? BECAUSE IT WAS TOO MUCH WORK to keep up with.. I found myself only scrapping the pages for holidays and an occasional special moment... I was missing out on all the in-betweens.

I again, found myself landing on Becky's website when I followed the online trail hunt for an easier solution. Only, this time, I dug a little deeper. Many people were singing praises about Project Life, so, I decided to check out their pages and see how they were using it... and I was blown away with ALL the creativity and unique ways other artists were using this method. Yes, some were using it "as is" and simply using the product provided for their memory keeping.. and others were expanding and recreating ways of making their scrapbooks their own unique style. Ok... so.. this wasn't so restricting as I originally thought.
Another worry of mine was, "how can I make time to do this every day?!?! I had a hard enough time doing key moments, how could I fit in all the in between moments? Would i have to scrapbook EVERY DAY?" The answer is no... I also discovered an AMAZING organizing system/journal that makes it SO easy! I can just write down the little things through-out  the week... take some instagram photos on my phone and at the end of the week, I can compile it all together in a layout! Easy Peasy!

I know there are many of you out there that scrapbook the 12x12s and make amazing art journal pages... don't get me wrong... I still plan to make some AMAZING pages like I have in the past... They just won't be the foundation pages any more... they will be the icing on the cake and the cake will be Project Life. So, I guess you could say I can have my cake, my icing, and eat it too. No more missing out on the inbetweens.

There is a great post on Becky's blog today that goes into more detail for new beginners. If you want more information on what exactly this is and if you can do it... (you can)... check out all the resources I've linked to... I think you'll be just as excited as I am. :)

Oh.. and... say a little prayer for me... I applied to be on Becky's Design Team for 2013! Ah! I'm just a newbie.. so.. I have realistic expectations. But wouldn't that just be awesome! I guess that would be the sprinkles on my cake! Hahaha.

Be sure to check out her "Free Stuff" page too... lots of free goodies on there you can use! :)

(hugs) - Leslie

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Art - Homework

Pin It So, I'm taking an online art class, learning about color with Brenda Pinnick. One of our homework assignments for this week is to take the paper that we created in a previous lesson, and turn it into journal pages. I couldn't get to my sewing machine fast enough! And, this style of work is something I will have to do often, as, I've found a great deal of comfort in ripping up something beautiful that I made, only to sew the pieces back together to makes something even more beautiful. Isn't that how life goes? This sure was a great project for meditation on frustrations, struggles, disappointments (as I was ripping) and then laying the pieces out to form something new... and then the task of running it through the sewing machine to stick it all back together. Wow. Healing. :) I highly recommend it.. even if you don't have a sewing machine... you could always glue or staple. Here is a sample of the two pages I made tonight. They will become journal pages. Can't wait to write down some thoughts on these bad boys! :D

Monday, November 12, 2012

Art - Mixed Media Marry

Pin It I've been saving up all the paper I've been making over the past two months for a big project. I just didn't know exactly what that big project was going to be until I found the amazing nativity scenes online. I fell in love with the Mary and Baby Jesus from the retro/vintage set and decided this was the project I was waiting for. All the wonderful, color paper would be perfect for this. It will take me several weeks to finish this, but, I'm already LOVING how it started and where it's going. :)

First of all, I wanted to do this project on black canvas. And, black canvas is hard to find in different sizes. And when you do find it, it's pretty pricy. While I stood in the canvas isle at the local art supply store, I noticed that one small, black canvas was roughly $18.00 and there were regular white canvases on sale, buy a two pack and get a two-pack free... for the same amount of money... Hmmm... one black canvas, or, four white ones (larger) for the same price... I wonder if there was such a thing as black gesso... And sure enough, in the next isle I found black gesso, courtesy of Bob Ross.

And it worked perfectly. I also decided to coat some mini canvas I had hanging around with the black gesso for another fun chalk project down the road. I found that rolling the gesso on with a foam roller worked the best. And, I ended up putting two coats on for a nice solid black.

As my canvas dried, I studied the image I was going to put on the canvas and started to pick out the paper and pieces i would use for each section of the image.

I drew the image on my canvas with a pencil and started to modge-podge my pieces on the canvas. As you can see, I couldn't wait to add detail until it was done... I started filling in sections with patterns, painting over the modge-podge with white acrylic paint. I will also go back in and add shading for more depth. But, So far... I'm pretty excited about it. And I'm sure Marry would appreciate the elaborate, colorful head scarf over the white one pictured above. Don't you think? Be sure to come back and see more progress in the weeks to come!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm Thankful - Family Recipe

Pin It There are a few recipes that I know by heart and every single one of them are from my mother's cookbook. My favorite and one we still LOVE to eat is mom's Chicken Taco Casserole. It's SUPER easy to make and SUPER good. I've tried to make it my own a couple of times and switch up some ingredients and I get a thumbs down every time... I guess it goes to show... if it's not broke, don't fix it. Here is the recipe... as... some of you have asked me for it. :)

1 Can - Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Can - Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can - Rotel (original)
1 Bag of Doritos 
Taco Seasoning
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. 
Cut up your chicken into cubes and cook them in a skillet with Taco Seasoning. 

Mix together the Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken, and Rotel in a bowl. 

Add cooked Chicken to the soup mixture.

Pour 2/3 of the bag of Doritos in your baking dish and then crush them so that they cover the bottom.

Pour your soup & chicken mixture over the Doritos and spread evenly.

Top with LOTS of shredded cheddar cheese. I typically use the whole bag. ;)

Cook for 20 - 25 minuets.

DONE. enjoy.

I'm Thankful - Internet

Pin It So, on my lunch break yesterday... I walked through the Christmas Isles at Hobby Lobby, looking for the perfect nativity set that I could get for my son. I wanted something that he could put out and even play with during December... unfortunately, I'm super picky and didn't want a cutesie set.. I wanted a realistic scene for him. Oh, sure, they had them... and some BEAUTIFUL ones too, but those sets ranged from $299 to $699.... ouch.... that would basically be my entire Christmas budget this year.

So, I decided to do a quick google search, to see if there was another option... and that's when I found THIS WEBSITE. The Paper Model Kiosk is one AMAZING site! I never would have thought about making a set out of paper/card stock! And they have SO MANY to choose from too! Just look at how beautiful these are! There are many different styles to choose from, download, cut out and assemble yourself! At first, I wanted to get them ALL, but, thought, what a great NEW tradition each year, to make a new mini nativity scene to hang on the tree... Oh, I couldn't have been more excited... until.... I click on the full Nativity Scenes link. WOW... just wow... Full scenes, beautiful, beautiful artwork, in many different styles from all over the world. And... if you think it doesn't get better, check this out... MOST of the full scene downloads are FREE... yes... FREE....

Today... I am SO VERY thankful for the internet.... These little paper nativity scenes will be so much fun putting together with my son and he will be able to play with these, no fear from me of them getting broke. Seriously... these are the coolest Nativity scenes I've ever seen... just look at the pheasant and little ducks!? Perfect. I will post several of the free ones below. Just so you can see just how amazing these are! Download all of them! I DID! :D

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm Thankful - Parents

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This is for day two of things I'm thankful for. I'm SOOOOO very thankful for my amazing parents. Here are only 5 of the million reasons.

1 - Every Friday, they have my son, their grandson, all to themselves. And, even when they have things to do, like, build an AMAZING green house that should be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, they still finds ways they can include him.

2 - Naturally, they love him. Every Grandparent loves their grandchild... but I LOVE how they cherish his unique personality and they encourage him and his ideas. I know that I was "free to be me" growing up and it helped me become the artist I am today... And I see that by watching them love my son.

3 - This is a Newspring Chruch shirt. I am SO thankful that both of my parents are involved in the church community. Not only following Christ in their own lives, but, they both volunteer in the childrens ministry and help and encourage children to do the same.

4 - TA-DAAAA!!!!

5 - I love that he is spoiled rotten. Some may say that this is bad, but, I know that my son will never be limited to learn or held back from being imaginative. I believe this is his "outdoor" set of cars... and his "indoor" set could possibly be larger? LOL.

So, like I said, there are a million MORE reasons why I am thankful for my parents. But, I'll save them for another time. Their relationship and love for my child matters to me the most... and I couldn't ask for more.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Holidays Homemade - THE TEAM

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Hey.. guess what... It's LIVE and I'm SUPER EXCITED! Holidays Homemade is a new website & blog that an amazing group of gals dreamed up, planned, and put together these last couple of months. Oh yeah... I forgot to mention... I'm on the team! Woot!

Today, I want to introduce you to this amazing group of gals. We met online in some fashion and quickly bonded. We then decided that we wanted to do a project TOGETHER and today, we are excited to share that project with you! As I read through each person's profile, while building the site, I felt pretty honored to have teamed up with such a talented group!

So, what is this website/blog about you ask? Check this out:
Everyday in December, we will deliver you a homemade project on the blog. The categories cover everything from DIY, Crafts, Home Decor, Cooking, Gifts, Photography, and More! Looking over the calendar, I can't pick ONE DAY that will be more exciting than the others!

And we just couldn't wait until December 1st to start! So, all through November, we will be sharing some fun, pre-holiday posts with you! And it won't stop in December! We will be offering up ideas all year long for each holiday! Oh YEAH!

(ok... I'm a little over excited and winded... must step back and take a breather)

Can't wait for you to share the awesomeness with us this Holiday Season!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Thankful - Art Space

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Ok, so, I'm jumping on the band wagon and doing a post each day about something I am thankful for. I think its a great practice... maybe one that we all should do daily and not just in November. Any who, as I had FUN creating art in my studio tonight... I was humbled... I have been complaining lately about not having the art studio I dream of... And what I failed to see is that I really do have an awesome space to create art. Now... you probably won't see it on the cover of a magazine... but... it is was it is... a nice piece of space where I can be artistic. And it should be good enough. Here are 10 things about my art space that I love and hate.

1 - This little card says DREAM BIG. I never realized how small it was until now. Oxymoron? egh.. maybe. It was a card I was given MANY moons ago at a stamping/craft convention. It was so much fun to camp out with a bunch of women, create all day, and then laugh all night long. I love keeping it to remind me of the friendships I've made through art.

2 - This is insulation.

3 - This is dye on my fingers. I really should wear gloves or something... but hey... it will wash off.. in about 4 days.

4 - This is a window that will have blinds on it VERY SOON. I'm sure my neighbors were probably having a GREAT time watching me set the timer on my camera and then run over to be in the picture. I bet they peed their pants laughing when I tripped over the stool... Again... Blinds... VERY SOON.

5 - This is a Better Homes and Garden Magazine. you would think that, with their website, pinterest, and facebook sites... Why in the world would I buy a magazine? Well... have you ever heard of addiction... yes... I MUST have the magazines too... I can't get enough.

6 - This is THE TABLE my dad built for me when I was in High school. I've done MANY MANY works of art on this table and will forever use it and never change it. It's a staple.

7 - This is what I consume when I've already had my 8 cups of coffee for the day.

8 - This is my "Art Shirt". It's big. It's comfy. It's colorful. and the bunny on it is Oswald the Rabbit, Walt Disney's First cartoon character. It reminds me that everyone started somewhere and amazing things can happen after your first, second, or third try. :)

9 - This is a tie dye cloth. Great for spills and such. Plus, it's colorful and pretty, and I made it. :)

10 - This is a space heater, as, there isn't central heating and air up here just yet... so... yeah...

And there you have it. I am thankful for this space.