365 Somethings Project: Week 8

I’m pretty happy with my progress this week, so let’s get right into it.

1. Ashley Cowl: I think I see the end in sight, and I like what I see! (And I can legitimately start pondering the next project. *she types with a happy gleam in her eye.*)

Ashley Cowl progress

2. Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop: This week’s project involved stippling, or taking a gel pen and dotting the page until you start questioning your sanity. Truth be told, I’ve never been a real fan of pointillism, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m not fond of stippling. Bottom line: I completely agree with Rachel’s comment that it provides a nice texture for the mushrooms and I see that it provides a great deal of control for both mixing colors and creating lighter and darker areas. I’m glad I understand the technique, but I’m pretty sure it will make rare appearances at best in my work.

Rachel Reinert’s Color Workshop Stippling Project

3. WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: I also post an entry for this week’s challenge. The topic was “Sweet.”

Overall, I feel like I accomplished something this week, and it does seem the challenge keeps creativity in the back of my mind throughout the week. Probably most important to me, I’m noticing that, whenever I’m working on something for my challenge, I generally have a feeling of satisfaction. That’s good information to have when planning the rest of your life. 🙂

365 Somethings Project: Parameters and Goals

At the end of my last post, I practically heard a drum roll in my head when I wrote that it was time for the big reveal of my plans for my project. And then. . . radio silence. I clearly jinxed myself. 🙂

I’m getting a bit sideswiped by life at the moment, and, as far as I can tell, I probably will be for at least two more weeks. At least. January tends to be a quieter month here, and then by some magical process, things tend to ramp up till they reach a chaotic conclusion somewhere around the end of school in June. I’ve been thinking about this phenomena as I have been mentally composing this post and realizing that my 365 Somethings Project isn’t about having a perfectly smooth home life that provides me ample time to create. Rather it’s about finding time to create in the midst of my home life, and if I get less time one week or two or three, the fourth week will inevitably arrive with new opportunities.

Speaking of my 365 Somethings Project, it’s time to show my cards. I should probably start with a bit of background. For over a decade, I have been a homeschooling mom to three boys, while overseeing our ever burgeoning menagerie and hobby farm and running a company with my husband some of the time.

From the time I could form interests, I have loved drawing, painting, writing, reading, photography, and needlework. In school, however, I was strongly encouraged to concentrate on a path that would lead to a good job. (I’m not criticizing that line of thinking, by the way. I really wouldn’t mind knowing each of my sons has a job that will provide a modicum of security some day, and I still sleep better at night knowing that I could support our family if it became necessary.) So, I have no formal training in any of those areas that pique my interest.

Over the past decade as I was working, homeschooling, and generally keeping the world turning, I’ve tried different creative avenues, only to drop them because (a) something else needed my attention, and (b) I am now realizing that I have a terrible streak of perfectionism that stopped me. The end result is that I have an office full of books, supplies, and barely begun projects, which happen to be carefully chosen to be of great interest to me.

Change, however, is a constant, and my life is no exception. I no longer run our business, and my role in our homeschooling is evolving as my children grow. With that in mind, I took a poetry class at our local community college this past fall. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed using my mind as I hadn’t done since college. At the end of the course, my instructor, a well-regarded poet, strongly suggested I go back to graduate school, which floored me. I spent winter break pondering new possibilities, but kept returning to the same stumbling block. If I am considering graduate school, should it be writing or something else?

That’s when Hanna wrote her first post about the 365 Somethings Project, and I knew I needed to join. Having looked at others’ projects, I realized that mine is probably not exactly what she had in mind when she first posted. Most participants seem to have a chosen area in which to work. I do not. My project goal is to explore those books, supplies, and projects that I have stockpiled in my office and break through my perfectionist streak. Mine is about 365 days of learning and creating to discover what I like and don’t.

I have only two parameters for the challenge. First, I want to post once a week (as I have been) with my progress so I can look back over the year and see what I’ve accomplished. Second, I will limit myself to only one project in a given area (reading, needlework, art, etc.) at a time.

So, that’s it. Nothing more or less. I guess it’s time to get back to it then. 🙂



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.


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.)