365 Somethings Project: Week 5

And so, I have made it to week 5. Each week, I keep a short list in my notebook of what I want to accomplish creatively. This week, the list didn’t happen, primarily because I have a book to review and reading takes up my precious bits of creative time. Still, I did find ways to be creative.

1. Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop: I managed to complete Rachel’s highlighting and shadowing project. I like how this turned out. Furthermore, I genuinely enjoyed the time I took to work through this project. I was very happily absorbed, and that feeling counts for a lot with me.

The highlighting and shadowing project in Color Workshop

2. William Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken with Lemon Vinaigrette Couscous with Raisins:  This one is absolutely delicious. The house smells fantastic with spices I don’t typically use, and hungry teens seem to be lurking in the shadows around the slow cooker. I’m calling that a win.

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon Vinaigrette Couscous with Raisins

3. Photography: I posted an entry in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for the subject of variations on a theme. I have also been goofing around more with my Nikon D500 and Picasa and posted several pictures that made me smile.

4. Daily Prompt Books: This week I dabbled in some of my daily prompt books. I certainly didn’t do so with any consistency. Still, grabbing a prompt and writing or drawing for a few minutes let me exercise my creative muscle without feeling too invested in an outcome. The books I’m working through at the moment are Draw Every Day Draw Every Way and A Writer’s Book of Days, and they seem to suit me quite well. That said, I will not post any pictures from these exercises because I need a place to simply learn without an audience watching. (Thank you, Pierr, for the good advice.)

With that, I’ve completed my fifth week of the 365 Somethings Project. I think I’ve created enough of a fledgling habit to justify to myself announcing my goals and parameters for my project in my sixth week. So, it’s finally time to reveal my master plan . . . . 😉

Miscellaneous Photographs

I’ve been playing with my Nikon D5000 this week and had some fun doing so.

A heron decided to visit a seasonal pond in our front yard.

Heron

My middle son got my gene for loving all things living. Joining Quincy the leopard gecko, and Pipsqueak and Piper the guinea pigs, let me introduce

Almond Biscotti the hamster

For the record, that shot is magnified. At a month old, Almond is about two inches in length. She is also the most charming member of the rodent family that I’ve ever met.

A typical winter moment in my office. Note: it’s not my magnetic personality. I have the space heater.

Can I please come back as one of my cats? Please?

Finally, a couple of shots of the flowers my amazing husband surprised me with, just because.

Flowers from my thoughful spouse

Second shot of flowers

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Variation on a Theme

This week’s challenge: variations on a theme.

Three variations on the theme of cat. (With abundant thanks & kibble to -from left to right- Stormie, Wiley, and Moxie.)

 

365 Somethings Project: Week 4

This week’s report will be very concise because I’m feeling particularly worn. Still, progress was made. As always, if you want to know more about the underlying challenge, see iHanna’s post.

  1. Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop: This week I used petroleum jelly to blend oil-based colored pencil. Per Rachel’s suggestion, I used Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils. I found these much nicer to work with than my usual wax-based Prismacolor pencils, and I liked the result:

    Polychromos pencils blended with petroleum jelly

    2. Hoisin Pork and Vegetables from Prevention’s Ultimate Quick & Healthy Cookbook: I bought this cookbook not long after I married, and it quickly became a favorite before we had children. After that, the recipes seemed a bit labor intensive and the quantities too small for the time I had to cook and number I had to feed. This week, however, I found this recipe. After changing the proportions to twice the meat and noodles, three times the sauce, and at least three times the vegetables, it turned out really well, and I have leftovers for another meal.

    Hoisin Pork and Vegetables

 

3.  Ashley Cowl: Okay, we aren’t going to discuss this one, let alone photograph my progress this week. Let’s just say I learned that, as much as I’m determined to make progress, it’s better to stop when I’m tired or distracted. :/

4. WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: This week, the topic was silence. I’m still a bit on the fence about my photo, but I suppose it sometimes counts just to show up.

I’m toying with adding a daily or weekly writing prompt from one of my writing books and/or carrying a small sketchbook with me so I can doodle or make a fast sketch when I get a moment away from home. I think there is a balance to be found between being spread to thin among various endeavors and having different avenues of creativity for whatever circumstances I am in.

365 Somethings Project: Week 3

As I’m continuing to progress with this challenge while the rest of my life as a homeschooling mom of three on a hobby farm returns to our typical, chaotic pace, I’m slowly convincing myself that I can in fact complete this challenge. I am definitely enjoying the process at the very least. If I can just complete two more weeks, I will feel more than ready to commit my project goals and parameters to blog post and not look back.

This week, it feels as though I am getting in just under the wire. However, that’s still getting in, and I’m going to take that as success. My progress this week is as follows:

1. Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop: Last week’s start on the burnishing project went from:

Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop Burnishing Project in progress

to:

Finished burnishing project

 

This project taught me about layering color with wax-based pencils and, less directly,  about creating a color palette. Overall, I’m pretty pleased.

2. Ashley Cowl: I have to say this one was more of an exercise in patience this week. I was so delighted with my progress, only to look down and notice a glaring error which required laboriously removing about an inch of rows. As of tonight, I’m left with this, which I suspect is a zero net gain, but the error’s been corrected and shouldn’t recur. Truth be told, I learn so much more from my mistakes in knitting and crochet than I do from the parts that go seamlessly, so I guess that’s some consolation.

Ashley cowl – week 3

3. WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: The challenge word this week was “weathered.” I struggled with this one, but a quick walk out to the pastures on Friday to see if a predator was making our animals restless revealed ample subject matter. 🙂

4. Writers Happiness Challenge: A friend and I have agreed to support each other in this 30-day challenge, which takes just five minutes a day. The attraction for me is that this will allow me to create my perfect balance. I’m testing out a theory that I am happiest and most creative when I multitask between art, fiber art, and writing, rather than focusing exclusively on one. I am toying with the idea that multiple outlets helps to spur creativity in each.

Tonight, as I’m reviewing this week, I’m feeling a sense of frustration. I don’t feel like I’m creating anything of my own. That said, I am learning techniques and creating important habits, which should eventually lead to my own original work. I suppose a bit of patience is required.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered

This week’s challenge topic: weathered!

(And another hat tip to my friend, Pierr, whose comment made me laugh out loud when I really needed it this week. Be thankful creativity finally struck, and you aren’t looking at a pictures of my toes. 🙂 )

Knowie, feelng less than impressed with her modeling experience

Project 365 Somethings: Week 2

(I’ve decided to post the purpose and parameters of my Project 365 Somethings when I’ve reached week 6. That way, I can refine the details and confirm my commitment to myself before announcing it here. However, if curiosity is killing you, I can say that my fellow blogger, Ihanna, suggested the challenge, and you can head over to Sweden and read what she proposed here.)

This week, I set a couple of goals for myself to have opportunities to infuse creativity into my day wherever I am.

1. Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop: When working on this project, I discovered that I like to focus with good light and few distractions. Therefore, working at home in my office makes the most sense. Unfortunately, two-thirds of my homeschooling sons returned to their normal schedule this week, so I had far less time at home. That said, I still accomplished a little. I worked on Rachel’s burnishing project:

Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop Burnishing Project in progress

 

At first, my internal critic immediately piped up that I hadn’t accomplished enough for this week . However, some of this challenge for me is about enjoyment, and, although I’d like to finish everything, I enjoyed what I did and I’m going to make the choice to focus on that.

2. Ashley Knit Cowl: If the Color Workshop is best accomplished at home, this little cowl project is perfect for portable creativity. It fits neatly into my backpack and the pattern is simple enough to accomplish in a noisy, distracting environment like my sons’ alternative school. Best of all, I get a lovely sense of achievement and the tactile and visual joy as the yarn runs through my fingers.

Ashley Cowl in progress

3. Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms: I decided an easy and useful way to add a bit more creativity to my week could be as simple as dusting off one of my numerous cookbooks and trying a new recipe. This week I chose Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms, which was fairly quick and easy. I intended to take a picture of it when it finished in the slow cooker, but, with two male teens and one male preteen in my house, I was too late. Then again, I think that might say enough in itself. I did manage to get a photo before the adults took their portion, so I suppose that is something.

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker

 

 

 

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker: Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms

Whenever I make a new recipe, I follow it exactly the first time.  After that, however, I can’t help but start making it my own. In this case, I would switch from a whole chicken to chicken breasts to lower the fat and add broccoli florets and diced bell peppers in various colors to increase the variety of vegetables and add some color.

4. WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges: I decided to join the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges because it nudges me to play with my Nikon D5000 and a handful of lenses. The topic of the challenge this week was growth, and I was pleased with how my entry turned out.

Overall, I’m generally happy with my progress this week, and I think happier for the 365 project overall.

Project 365 Somethings: Week 1

I will write more about the details of this project in a few weeks when I’ve proved to myself I am going to stick with it. For now, however, I will record my progress.

Reinert’s Color Workshop

This week, I’m tackling Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Artistic Effects.

My goals with this book is first, to increase my enjoyment of coloring by being able to get depth and a better color schemes into my pages. A second, longer term goal is to improve my skills for my own art work and possibly for children’s book illustration.

Thus far, I’ve read through the first three of her four chapters covering tools, color theory, and techniques. While the tools were pretty familiar, the color theory provided an easy-to-understand review of basic color theory which I needed, and she included several techniques which I had not previously seen.

I am now working my way through her final chapter where she provides step-by-step instructions to get specific effects. The last part of the book contains coloring pages on which to follow her instructions. I’m really enjoying this. Here’s my first completed piece.

First Project in my 365 Project

 

 

 

 

Overall, a solid start to my project!