A Book a Week – Harry Potter Series

I promised David I would read the whole Harry Potter series when we went home for the holidays (back in June) and I kept my promise. I had read number 1 years ago when it first came out. So I read 2-7 all back to back.

And they were fabulous.

After I read them all, we watched all the movies, and then we made a Harry Potter-themed food party. It was really fun and I am so glad to have shared this with him.

I am now much better prepared for Nathaniel.

Fifty-Two Stamps - Week 2

After my word of the year, the next four words I planned to care were my Core Desired Feelings for 2015. I figured this way, I could use them on my art projects for the year. or stamp them on my daily planner so I would remember how I want to feel.

So, the first one I decided to tackle was “alive.”

(Now you know what the next three weeks will be, too.)

This one didn’t feel very hard to make but it turned out to be a bit more square than I intended it to be.

Just looking at it makes me connect with the feeling of being alive!

Fifty-two stamps is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

One Little Word 2015 – January

I’ve been taking Ali’s One Little Word class for as long as she’s offered it and this year is no exception. The January prompt is usually my favorite one as it sets the intentions and tone for the whole year and then I find myself referring to it all year long so I take it pretty seriously.

Here are my January pages:

The front is a print out of the text I wrote here about why I picked this word.

The back is beautiful graphed paper from Margie’s beautiful The Girls’ Paperie.

The next page is a 2×3 pocket page. It has a definition and a quotation:

The definition is from the blog post too. It’s what brave means to me. The quote is from the wonderful A. A. Milne: “You are braver than you seem, stronger than you think, and loved more than you’ll ever know.”

And here’s the back with let go, invitation and reason why:

Let go says: I want to let go that things always have to be the way they are. That things can’t change. in fact the only thing we are guaranteed in life is change. I want to let go that this person I am is concrete. I am fluid like life. I can be whatever I wish to be. I can feel however I wish to. I get to choose. I can define every part of my life and how I live my days.

Invitation: This word is an invitation to question everything. It’s an invitation to get out of my comfort zone and look at all the things that come my way with a new filter. A Beginner’s Mind. Anything is possible. I want to be alive. This is an invitation to learn what that means for me. What makes me come alive? What does it mean to be brave? Where in my life can I use more of it?

Reason-why: I chose this word because I realized that brave begets more brave. It gives me energy. It shows me that I must question everything. Assume nothing. Take nothing for granted. I want to fully live all the days of my life. To do that I must be brave and bold.

And here’s the next page which has more sections:

I’ve already talked about what I’ve done so far so I won’t rewrite that section but here’s what I have for more and less:

  • More kindness, less yelling.
  • More generosity, less worrying.
  • More responding, less reacting.
  • More doing, less procrastinating.
  • More exercise, less sedentary.
  • More healthy food, less garbage.
  • More self-care, less postponing.
  • More daring, less settling.
  • More celebrating, less bashing.
  • More time, less rushing.
  • More thinking, less talking.
  • More new things, less fear.
  • More open, less unwilling.
  • More alive, less “the same.”
  • More love, less impatience.
  • More joy. More joy. More joy.
  • More taking chances.
  • More vegetables.

What do I fear the most:

  • I fear not changing, not trying the new.
  • I fear not speaking up when I need to.
  • I fear not asking for help.
  • I fear failing.
  • I fear disappointing the people i love.
  • I fear yelling.
  • I fear regret.

The back of the form is all about my intentions:

I made sections for health, serene, abundance, open, and alive. Here’s the snippet of what I wrote:

  • Health: Exercise daily, eat fresh veggies daily, feel stronger, take care of skin, teeth, hair. drink water.
  • Serene: daily journaling, beauty around me: flowers, declutter, read, down time, nature, respond not react
  • Abundance: be generous, give more time, attention, money, volunteer. spend weekly dates with each kid + jake, say yes. there’s enough of everything.
  • Open: receive, say yes, assume people’s intentions are good, let others take care of me. go visit people.
  • Alive: do something brave daily, go out daily, talk to people i see, walk with the kids, going on adventures.

And if you’ve read this far and aren’t totally sick of me, I have two more things. Ali asked two questions to keep in mind all month:

  • What are you filling your world with? I thought about this one a lot. Wasn’t really sure what the answer was here but finally here’s what I settled on. Drawing: i’ve been sketching daily and loving it. Vanilla: I’ve burned a french vanilla candle almost daily and my table smells like dessert 24/7 now. And, finally, my kids: I’ve been giving a lot of my time to David lately.
  • Where are you going? I am going in the direction of prioritizing my kids and my husband. This is what I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve been balancing it better this year so far. I can do even more here. I’m going in the direction of courage.  Trying new things. Saying yes. Stepping up. Having faith.
  • What one little thing can you do? Well, I did one big thing. At least big for me. I’ve said yes to my son’s project. Yes to spending a lot more time working with him and helping him. So I did that. One thing I did for Nathaniel is get him a gratitude journal so he can write a sentence daily like David did back then. One little thing I can do for my little one is read more with him one on one. One little thing I can do for Jake is be more patient. Kinder. I can always be kinder.

So there we are. Not all months will be this huge but I wanted to make sure to preserve January since I know I will refer to it a lot.

Note to Self - Week 2

For this first page, I used Carissa Paige’s lesson from Life Book 2014. The subject was about home and I thought a lot about what home means to me and what I consider to be my home.

I grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and my sister and parents are still there. A lot of what I consider to be my home is all the way there. I now live in the Bay Area and am married with my own family here. So my heart is always split. Some days I feel like both are my home and other days I feel like neither might be. And the truth probably lies somewhere in between as it always does.

So for this page, I collages some pieces to represent my childhood on one side, and some from my adulthood on the other. I then drew the globe (if I had planned it better, I would have put my sister and I on the right side, closer to Turkey and my boys and me on the left, closer to the US but alas I didn’t plan it.) in the middle and painted all over it.

Then I wrote: Home is where the people you love are.

isn’t that the truth.

here’s a closeup of the left side:

and right side:

this one has a lot of texture:

So, next time I find myself wondering where I belong, I remember: I belong with the people I love.

Note to Self is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

Everyday Brave - Week 2

This week’s page’s photo doesn’t do it justice because the diet coke can is actually glimmering. I used gold guache paint on it. Continuing on the theme of sketching whatever’s around, I went for my pink sneakers on the left side.

The right side is my diet coke, i pad with headphones (can you tell what book I was listening to?) And, of course, nutella!

And there we are.

Everyday Brave is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

Weekly Diary – January 11 2015

I don’t know if this is because I take so many photos during December as part of December Daily, but I realized that I didn’t really take any photos in the first week of the year. I had nothing to weed through when doing this week’s update.

This was a long and busy week. The boys and I had to work on going back to our routines of getting up early, preparing lunches, doing daily chores, etc. I am cochairing their school Benefit so work for that ramped up starting this week, too. And over the course of this week we’ve also committed to a big project David’s going to work on that will be taking up a good chunk of his time during the week with regular trips over the weekend. And, as if that wasn’t enough, I also committed to doing math with David and one other boy every week for an hour. All this happened in a span of two days, making my life a bit more frenzied than I like. And all this will make for a very busy winter and spring.

Not to mention my actual work. Which is all new to me and I waver between being really excited and really scared.

On top of all this, Nathaniel woke up with a fever of 102.7 Thursday night which then climbed up to 103.4 by the time he made it to the doctor. This meant that our plans for going skiing this weekend had to be canceled at the very last minute. The little boy is all better now, thankfully. And, as it worked out, this weekend was a good one to be in town. The universe always works in magical ways.

I also thought it might be interesting to keep an ongoing tab of what worked well each week and what might need a bit more shifting so I can keep myself more aware of my priorities and goals and not evaluate them only at the end of the year. Here’s some of what worked and didn’t work this week so far:

Worked Well:

  • I managed to sketch almost every morning.
  • I started a monthly project and worked on it daily.
  • I managed to complete all my weekly projects relatively painlessly.
  • I’ve been putting skin cream on almost every single night and morning.
  • I’ve managed the 5-2 this week without pain.
  • Every weekday I ate at least one if not two servings of vegetables.
  • I took my required vitamins almost every day.
  • I’ve been really good at saying yes to my boys.
Needs more Work:
  • I only journaled one time all week.
  • I didn’t read to Nathaniel.
  • I did no exercise all week. I need to come up with a plan and execute it.
  • I didn’t drink enough water.
  • I did okay on the sleep but need to get more consistent with it.
  • Now that I am overly committed, the weekly blocking is even more crucial.

So for this upcoming week, the two i want to focus on changing the most are blocking my times and exercising. I think both are crucial and will help me get the other ones on my list done more effectively. Then, the next week I can work on journaling and water, etc.

Here are a few more photos from this week:

Little sick boy who’s such a good sport even when he’s sick.

My three wonderful boys, giggling and having a fun time.

They always know how to have fun.

And how to make me laugh.

and smile.

This week’s we loves were: We love the Patriots, we love the tech challenge, we love plants vs zombies 2.

and my very favorite: tickle time!

and here we are. A crazy but lovely week. I am so grateful for my life.

Weekly Diary is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

2015 - David and Nathaniel's Books of Happy Memories

In 2012, David and I did a project called “David’s Book of Good Memories.” Even though he whined about it often when we did it, he really loves looking through the book. He still looks through it regularly. And it makes him happy.

So when we were trying to decide what project to do in 2015, both of the kids said they wanted to do another Book of Happy Memories. Nathaniel wanted to do one of his own, too. And it’s David’s last year at this school this year so I thought it would be good timing.

Each of the boys got a Moleskine lego notebook. Blue one for Nathaniel and white one for David. David’s is lined and Nathaniel’s is plain.

The idea is to collect all their lovely memorabilia from school in one place and then to write a little bit about what’s special about each thing.

I am really looking forward to doing this project again. It was really fun for us last time.

2015 Projects – Stories of Twenty-Fifteen – Intro and Week 1

I’ve done The Savor Project for the last few years and I’ve changed it up slightly each year to see if I can make it work for me. And year after year, I felt like I didn’t like the system I ended up with. It felt more burdensome than fun. Also, I feel like it always disintegrated to a photo project. A lot of photos from the year but not enough stories.

So for 2015, I decided to do something different. Instead of going for breadth, I am going to go for depth. I will be picking a photo and a story from each week and telling the longer stories.

I am using a 6×12 format. I designed these using the templates Ali Edwards had created for the 31 Stories class a few years ago. Hers was a 12×12 with two 6x12s next to each other but I want to just do a 6×12. I bought 6×12 page protectors and created templates and that’s all I need to get going.

Here’s the first story for this year. It’s actually from the end of last year, I always try out my ideas first so my first few pages are always from the previous year.

Title: The Sticker Book
This weekend, I was working with Daddy on a coding project for work. The two of you had already used up your computer time so you had to think of some way to spend your afternoon. Nathaniel had the idea of making a sticker book and David, you said, you’d show him now to make one.

After David made the book, the two of you went through my drawer in the garage and picked a stack of stickers for your project. For the next hour, you both worked silently and diligently on your sticker book.

When it was done, you showed me all of its pages. Each page had a category. You had one for money, cheer words, stars, science cheer words, animals, and one fo plants and flowers. I loved seeing how organized you two were and how systematically you went through the whole process.

But, of course, the best part was watching how excited you two were about all the stickers, about your project, and how proud you were to show me the results. Even though you get along well, for the most part, it isn’t very often that you two work together on a project.

I cherish those rare occasions when you work together and you’re not arguing but you’re collaborating and really enjoying spending time together. As you grow up, you will see that there’s nothing as magical as watching people you love, love each other. And there’s nothing as wonderful as seeing your kids get along, enjoy each others’ company, and be happy playing together.

The two of you never cease to remind me how lucky I am. Today was just another example of little moments of magic that surround my everyday life. I am so thankful for you, I am so thankful for our lives together. I am so thankful to get to live these little moments with you.

I love you so very, very much.

Here’s to a year of storytelling!

2015 Projects - You Choose - Intro and Week 1

I like to spread out my projects by style and medium (as well as topic) each year. So when it came to designing my projects, I wanted to pick something that wasn’t painting or coloring, at least not just painting. The very same week I was thinking about all this, I saw this beautiful collage. It was very sparse, elegant and really beautiful.

I decided that’s what I wanted. A collage project. My last collage project was back in 2012 so I thought it might be fun to tackle one again. Something different than what I did last time. I think….but we’ll see.

The introspective part of this project is to couple this art with my code desires. I went to pinterest and made a board of images/phrases that remind me of my core desires. My plan is to print one for each of my collage pages. This way, I can always remember my core desired feelings.

That’s the plan, at least.

Here’s another look at week 1:

Love all the shimmer.

I am planning to keep my spreads relatively sparse. Mix in some paint. Have fun.

Here’s to a year of collages that remind me to focus on feeling the way I want to feel.

A Book a Week – Bark

I read Bark for book club. This is a collection of short stories by the amazing Lorrie Moore.

I’ve always been a fan of Lorrie Moore and her wonderful ways of telling sad, sad stories. This book is no exception. The stories are sad. Beautifully told, but so sad that it’s almost tough to get through the book. At least for me.

If you’re a short story fan, I’m sure you’ve already heard of Lorrie Moore, so you don’t need my recommendation on this one.

2015 Projects - Fifty-Two Stamps - Intro and Week 1

Last year, I added stitching to my yearly projects. I liked doing something that didn’t involve painting, drawing, or pretty paper. It was different. I liked going outside my comfort zone. So I wanted to try that again this year. I knew I didn’t want to do stitching again. But I still wanted something different.

I thought and thought and then it came to me out of nowhere.

I would carve stamps.

One stamp for each week.

This might be crazy, it might be boring, it might be useless. I am not sure how it’s going to work out. But what I do know is that I am having fun thinking about it now. I had fun carving the first few stamps I did.

It might be tough to come up with 52 ideas. We’ll see. I plan to start the year with the words that are meaningful to me, so, of course, BRAVE had to be the first one.

Here’s to a year of carving!

2015 Projects - Note to Self - Intro and Week 1

Each year, I like to make sure I do one project that involves painting. Acrylics for the most part but any kind of painting. I liked the idea of Remembering things like I did for last year’s Remember This project. And I signed up for Life Book in 2015, too.

So Note to Self will be a year of painted pages, using mostly Life Book lessons and a moleskine watercolor journal.

At least that’s the plan.

For this first page, I used Flora Bowley’s lesson from Life Book 2014. Even though it has no writing, my note to self here to let myself be more free. Looser. This piece was done in many many layers and without any forethought. With some structure and grouping of colors but not much else.

It’s a reminder that I need to practice letting go. Like everything else, it’s a practice. This is also a reminder that what looks like chaos at first might end up as something magnificent. Part of the trick is trusting the process. Learning to see what’s there. To see inside the noise. And let the beauty emerge.

I am looking forward to another year of wonderful reminders and joyful art.