Saturday, January 28, 2012

One Little Word/ Thinking Journal~

Last year I took Ali Edwards' One Little Word Class~
I created this journal to use for my class work, (heavily inspired by Mary Ann Moss and her beyond spectacular and phenomenal classes, which I beyond highly recommend.) but still have a TON of space left in it, so this year I am repurposing it for my class writings for my Hello Soul Hello Business class...

A few days ago I spent several hours in the studio adding elements to my base pages, and just wanted to share... this is before I have journaled on them (which I since have quite a bit)... will take photos periodically to share and document the progression.

This spread in Oct. 2010, not long after the book was made...

Same page spread, finished, with the right page extended and some of my photos added, 
as well as some paint and fun washi tapes...

Another before and after...

Same spread as above, with pages extended and images added but still in progression... 
(no journaling yet)~ I loved Ann's marker test doodle page so I put it on there too...

I extended this page with a print out of an older journal page (the raccoon part)...
I had scanned a few pages of a journal a few years ago, before I wrote all over it.
I printed it out full size on cardstock, cut it in half and used it here to extend the outer edges of both pages... still in progression. No collage details or journaling added yet.

This page I added a large paint sample to extend the page, then some paint and an old photo, taken right after we took our epic family adventure of moving 3,000 miles away.

Detail of the backside of above paint sample page... I love the paint color names so I let them show.

This is a copy from a CT scan I had a few years ago. That's my HEART!
Too cool. I am still geeking out over those CT images.

This is a photo (a bit blurry) of a REAL rainbow ending in our pond.
SO magical.

This was a template I used for a painting a while ago... put over to extend the page.
Still in progression... 

K. the book is calling me, I think today I will get messy with it. Paint??? hmmmm
Reenie out.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Straw Bale Couch~!

Yesterday we started to convert our barn area into a transitional studio space.
No remodeling as of yet, only repurposing the space.
It is still a tool storage/barn area, only NOW we are adding fun fort features, like a straw bale couch!

It turned out more like a chaise than a couch, due to the shape of our bales, they were long and narrow, so one was not deep enough.... so we used two for the width/depth of the seat.
Covered with some canvas tarps and an old quilt and afghan and it makes a comfy place to hang out.

We then hung some art and a few ikea lights for ambiance...
Ann is chilling out, listening to some loud music...

Wanna come hang out????

Today we will start to paint some art and make a mess out there... 
(waiting for the temp to rise a bit- no barn heat yet).
Will take more pics to share.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My 2012 Book of Madness and Dreams~

Since I learned how to bind my own journals I cannot use store-bought versions, no matter how delicious they are...
I made this particular book (link to entry about it's creation) to be used for an online class I took last fall, but I loved it so much I decided to use it as this year's "Book of Madness".... my journal, a record of my brains... (here is a link to some page progression)
Shown above with my 2012 Calendar Book peeking out...

A few weeks ago I made a closure for it, and wanted to show you what I did... (as promised in my calendar book post)~

Ezmaralda always has to have her say in whatever I do in the studio. Good thing she is so snuggly and cute. Because it's not easy working with a load of a cat in the way...

I found the perfect button in my hoard of button jars... HOT pink with some bling in the center.

I poked two holes through the cover with my awl, making a "button hole", which I used to sew the button to the cover... I used some of my waxed book-binding thread, but any thread would work just fine. You have to use your imagination a bit here, this is inside the front cover.... you can see the thread knotted under the pink tape. I taped over the thread to protect it, because I am hard on my journals. Then I wrote a note to myself... "

For the closure, I used a strand of some of my crazy handspun yarn...
Attached in the same manner as the button, and taped for it's protection. 
This shot is of the inside of the back cover...

Here is a shot of the back cover, which I probably should tape over also... 
Blurry pic, but you can see where I poked the holes. I sewed the yarn strand in with the same waxed thread I used for the button to make sure it was in extra tight...

I love how it looks peeking out.

To close it I simply wrap the yarn around the button. 
This gives me plenty of room to grow as my journal grows in thickness.

There you go! An easy closure. and pink!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Moments of Gratitude~

(that is my boot and my house.... way down there)

Today we took a break from our crazy life and laid in the field.
I know, how wonderful can it get, right?
The sun was bright and amazing, the wind was blowing through our magical valley...
making the most amazing noises and gusts.

We basked and listened to the sounds... 

and napped a bit...

absorbing the craved sunlight...

my girls' long leggy legs...

... success or failure, the truth of a life really has little
to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion,
always, to the capacity for delight.
The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.

Julia Cameron

Then we were back at it, our busy things we do...
so thankful for where we are.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. 
John Milton 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Paul came across this Dr. Seuss book this the other day... and the words hit the nail on the head for us right now... wanted to preserve them here and share them with YOU.

(looking out of our caves here at Peculiar Ambitions)

Oh, the Places You'll Go!   by Dr. Seuss


Today is your day.

You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself 

any direction you choose.

You're on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.

About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 

you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any

you'll want to go down.

In that case, of course,

you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there

in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen

and frequently do

to people as brainy

and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,

don't worry. Don't stew.

Just go right along.

You'll start happening too.



You'll be on your way up!

You'll be seeing great sights!

You'll join the high fliers

who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.

You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.

Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't.

Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so

but, sadly, it's true

that Bang-ups

and Hang-ups

can happen to you.

You can get all hung up

in a prickle-ly perch.

And your gang will fly on.

You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch

with an unpleasant bump.

And the chances are, then,

that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,

you're not in for much fun.

Un-slumping yourself

is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.

Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.

A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!

Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?

How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...

or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?

Or go around back and sneak in from behind?

Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,

for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused

that you'll start in to race

down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace

and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,

headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go

or a bus to come, or a plane to go

or the mail to come, or the rain to go

or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow

or the waiting around for a Yes or No

or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite

or waiting for the wind to fly a kite

or waiting around for Friday night

or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake

or a pot to boil, or a Better Break

or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants

or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.


That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape

all that waiting and staying

You'll find the bright places

where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,

once more you'll ride high!

Ready for anything under the sky.

Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!

There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.

And the magical things you can do with that ball

will make you the winning-est winner of all.

Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,

with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't

Because, sometimes they won't.

I'm afraid that some times

you'll play lonely games too.

Games you can't win

'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!

Whether you like it or not,

Alone will be something

you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance

you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,

that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go

though the weather be foul.

On you will go

though your enemies prowl.

On you will go

though the Hakken-Kraks howl.

Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,

And I know you'll hike far

and face up to your problems

whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,

as you already know.

You'll get mixed up 

with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.

Step with care and great tact

and remember that Life's 
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)



be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray

or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,

You're off the Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So...get on your way!

*** The above text was copyrighted in 1990 . The complete book which has great pictures to accompany the text is published by Random House and can be purchase at any bookstore. Amazon Link

The Seussical sky at dawn here at Peculiar Ambitions...

(cross posted on our farm blog... )

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New Calendar Book!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I meant to do a profound post about the ending of 2011, and new beginnings for 2012.
Truth is, 2011 was not my favorite year. 
I had two dear friends pass away last year (Angela and Ruth, both my age!) and my last remaining grandmother. 
It was a year of a lot of lows and recovery periods and bleh....
In honor of Angela and Ruth, I am choosing to move FORWARD. 
They would both smack me upside the head and tell me to do just that. (I love my feisty friends).

So here you go... my New Handmade 2012 Calendar Book!

I always make my own calendar book. While I love store-bought versions, they never seem to have everything I want.. the pages are not laid out right, or the size is off, or they are too fancy...
I tried to use the fancy computer calendar on my smart phone, but it just frustrated me. Some things just work better with pen and paper, ya know?

My calendar book is really also a journal of our days, how we spent our time, recorded in short phrases, etc. They get stored with our photo albums and ephemera after the year passes. 

Here is my well-worn and loved 2011 calendar book, the cover made from a Matisse print.

The 2012 cover was cut from a painting that I did last year on some poster board... 
an abstract version of a map of our farm.  

I added a cover page of neon pink (the pink is a requirement) card stock 
and a lined page for notes and such.

All bound together using a simple binding...
...Clamped and ready to bind..

The calendar pages are blank calendar pages printed from

I used some stamps my Eve carved for me for a Christmas gift 
and added silver number stickers, so I don't forget what the year is (grin). 

I then added some lined clear packing tape to strengthen the edges (I am hard on things) 

and the spine... (also to cover and protect the binding threads)

...and then laminated the entire cover using regular clear packing tape. 
(a trick I learned from Teesha Moore)
You can see the light reflected off the tape in this photo. 

I added the months and dates to each page, then went thorough 
and added important dates to each month (birthdays, holidays, etc.) 
Some months get very scribbly and messy, but that is OK. Life is scribbly and messy.

Voila! All ready to go!

It is sized to fit right inside my current journal of insanity, my manifesto of dreams and ideas...
Which is also a new manifesto for 2012. More on that later (that's another post entirely)...

Ezmaralda approves...

Happy NewYear, and friends? PLEASE, no more dying off on me. seriously.