Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MiddleSex by Jeffrey Eugenides a Book Review!

Another book club book choice. I did notice this book a few times and people mentioning it here and there but I just never got around to reading it. I was excited when they announced this book for book club. It's a heavy book and I mean that both literally and hypothetically.

I did look this book up on Good reads and it did have some great reviews, as well as some mixed.

Without giving this book away I just want to share bits and pieces but nothing that will give away the story.  The book is broken into book 1, 2 etc. The story is about a hermaphrodite and so when I began reading I assumed that is what would be discussed. Book 1 is entirely about the grandparents and their journey in Greece and their struggles. They are brother and sister and for obvious reasons struggle with this but also are forced to leave their village and travel to the states and make a life for themselves their. There perspective is from the main character but he isn't born yet. It's ALOT of reading and ALOT of detail. Everything I just told you is told in about 200 or more pages.

The second book is about the main characters parents who are by the way first cousins. We follow them through life again through the eyes of the unborn main character. This is told in about 200 pages or so and ALOT of details and story. I had a very hard time keeping my focus in the story because by this point I felt 'ok get a move on'.

The third book, ok we are finally on the main character. The character struggles with himself and finding who he is. Has a friendship with someone he calls an object almost an infatuation with this person. The parents find out that the main character is a hermaphrodite and this starts a struggle and adventure of finding oneself for the main character. I found this to be boring as well. It took forever to move along in the story. I felt the author was very detail oriented but I had a very hard time getting attached or involved with the characters. I didn't have a bond with them.

I don't want to give away any more of the story but when I finished the book I sat down and felt angry and disappointed. I had to force myself to read this book and I hate that. I read to enjoy books. I then started to think the story through and try and find symbolism that perhaps was hidden in the book and important messages that may have been placed in the book for me to find and better enjoy the story. Yes, I did find some but again not something that I felt , 'oh wow so and so HAS to read this'

I went to book club having to bite my tongue and be polite because there were people who really enjoyed it and did feel the struggles of the character. People felt that we did need to have all the back story in order for the character to develop.

Overall I gave this 1 star out of 5 and that's just based on the fact that I like reading for leisure and with this book I felt I needed to read it and then break it down to understand symbolism and deeper meaning. I don't care for that when I'm reading for leisure. I want a story not something quite this deep. I also felt that this was about 300 pages too long. I think we could have gotten family and incest out of the way in about 200 and then focused on the main character. I don't recommend it, especially not as a beach read!

What are your thoughts on the book if you read it?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Easy DIY Journal!

I am finishing up my "dear diary" journal and was thinking about what my next journal should be. I really love the leather journals that Barnes and Noble offers and I believe my last 3 have been like this but after watching all the creative people out there I decided to make my own. I was at Micheals looking at their different scrap papers and found this gorgeous woven piece and thought that I could make a journal and use that as my cover. 

The cover just feels fantastic. My next challenge was how to bind my book. I make alot of my own inserts for my Midori and so I used that idea along with some book binding videos that I have seen on Youtube. It took me about an hour to put together and I just love it!!

If you would like to see how it turned out check out my video!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

DIY Hobonichi Planner Update and Flip Through!

Since sharing my idea of making your own Hobonichi planner I was overwhelmed with all the kind words from all my viewers and the fact that I inspired people made me so excited!! I love when I get an idea and I can share it with everyone!!

With the positive response I wanted to share how I was journaling and using my DIY Hobonichi! I use it every single day and I get excited to use it every night. I love to pull it out and touch the cover and flip through the pages that I already filled and then open it to the current date. I always begin by filling in the weather and I draw a mini picture of the sun or the sun and some clouds whatever the day looked liked.  I then think about the day and something that stands out for me. It can be something as simple as going to Target or Costco and I draw the target sign or a grocery cart whatever inspires me! I will even draw something like the tulips coming up from the ground. Whatever you stopped to look at or whatever errands you ran etc!! It's a way to help you remember your life! I feel like when I scrapbook I capture the bigger moments but the little moments count too!! I have been using it for about a month now and I can't tell you how much I enjoy using and how great it's been!

If you would like to see a flip through please check out my video!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Day! What my table looked like!

If you watched my YouTube video you will know that I hosted Easter this year. I have done it in years past and it has become my holiday to host which I love. I love the spring colors and it's all very inspiring for me to host! Every year I like to change what is on the menu as well as what my desserts and spread looks like. So here it is...

I'm happy how everything turned out. I had glazed ham, deviled eggs, two types of polish sausage, hard boiled eggs, potato salad, bunny cupcakes, glazed carrots, a green bean casserole, homemade horse radish, sweet potatoes, garlic potatoes, a lamb cake, macaroons, and I think some others that I forgot!!
Everyone seemed to love it and I had very little leftovers. Most of my ideas came from Pinterest but a lot of it was just made up as I went along!

Here is a quick video of how everything turned out!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring time Dessert Ideas!!

I am  hosting Easter this year and I have done it before but each year I try to out do myself. I like to challenge myself and social media really helps with my creative side. Pinterest is wonderful for this if you are in a slum and can't decide what you would like to do. In this post I am sharing only a couple of things that I did in preparation but I will have more in a future post when I actually set up on Easter day.
For the first project I was inspired by both Lush soaps as well as some Pinterest ideas.

These cute little bunnies!! I always study a picture or an idea and try to find things that I have around the house. Sometimes I make mistakes or I discover things along the way so it's really great fun to experiment. For these bunnies I just used some Philsbury funfetti cake mix. I used vanilla frosting and strawberry frosting. The little eyes are chocolate chips and the little nose is a pink jelly bean. For the ears I used marshmallows and with the sticky side down I picked up some spring looking sprinkles.

For my second project I initially wanted chocolate covered strawberries that  looked like easter eggs but in the process I found that with this pretty orange color they looked like carrots!! So I actually prefer that idea! 

Here is how they turned out. I have a great idea for the display of these to truly make them look like carrots in the ground!

If you would like to see how I made these little treats check out my video!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fujifilm Instax mini 8 first impressions!!

I just received this little camera and I am obsessed and in love!! I have forgotten the joy of polaroids!! Yes digital photography is wonderful because we can take one million and one photos of the same thing just to make sure that it looks perfect but there is something so wonderful about having an instant photo in your hand!!

What made me purchase this camera? Well I thought you weren't going to ask but I would be happy to tell you. I love art journaling. I love it so much and it's very therapeutic to me. I do project life as well but that's a whole other beast. I'm just talking about me and my Moleskine and whatever comes to mind. I love having mini pictures to put inside of it and just write about it.  I have a great printer and I purchased 8x10 matte photo paper with the intention of selecting a bunch of pictures and scaling them down to a 2x2 and then cutting them out. This is the process I currently follow.

The problem with this method is that a lot of the times I forget which photos I wanted to put in the journal. Sometimes I only want one and don't want to waste a bunch of photo paper trying to get the perfect size. My solution....well this little beauty!!

I happen to run across this on someones instagram and it just got my attention. Did a little research on it and thought it is a perfect option for me! It is small and gives me instant polaroids! I had a polaroid when I was a kid and I still have memories of going out during recess and taking photos and writing little notes with a sharpie. Of course being someone who loves memories and the feeling I get just thinking about those times I was pretty much sold and wanted one.

The price on this little camera.....well at Urban outfitters it came up at $115 which is a lot for something that I consider a hobby and I also have a very beautiful Nikon and a small camera so it was hard to justify that kind of money. I of course had to turn to my one and only Amazon. Not only do I go there for the reviews but I also go to see the best price and of course take advantage of my prime.   I found wonderful reviews on this camera so now I was even more excited about it and found prices that are much more affordable $55 -$67. The colors for some reason have different prices. It was a toss up between the blue or the white but I went with the white because it was cheaper.

That brings me to the next topic. This camera is just adorable!! It looks like a toy! It really looks like a plastic toy I would buy for my duaghter. The color selection is adorable in a pastel yellow, blue, pink, and white. They are all beautiful colors and this might be difficult for some to choose. Being that it is primarly plastic makes it very light weight which I love. I already carry everything and the kitchen sink in my purse so this makes it a really nice option. It does come with a hand strap which is very nice. The sixe fits perfectly in my hand. For example, taking selfies is easy because the camera forms to your hand and you can easily hold it. Now I dont have super tiny hands and I also don't have man hands but I would say I have an average female size hand and I love how it fits and feels!!

The camera has a dial to rotate depending on the light exposure. This made me nervous at first but the best part is, the camera detects what lighting it should have and lights up next to where you need to turn the dial!! How awesome is that?!!? It has a little house for when you are indoors and a picture of the sun for say when you are at the beach as well as a cloud for a cloudy day. Genius! I love it!! Super easy to use and so much fun.  

The camera runs on 2 double AA batteries. The instructions claiim that the camera should run up to 100 pictures before needing to be replaced. This is not an issue because with this camera I will not be taking shots constantly only times when I think there is something I want for my art journal so that is not a problem. 

The film. Well here is the one thing that I would consider a con. It's expensive, even on Amazon. It's about $13 for a 10 pack. So this is the one down side. I do wish it was a lot cheaper then I would take lots more pictures but at least now I will really think my pictures through, so it could be a blessing in disguise. The film comes with the classic white trim but you can also purchase colorful ones with polka dots and tie dye which I just love!!

Overall wonderful little camera. I love it and have really been enjoying it for my art journaling. I love the look of the photos and just love photography and adding this to my collection!! Hope that if you get one you enjoy it too!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fauxdori Passport Travelers Notebook....What's in mine?!?!

I love this little guy!! I purchased this passport sized midori type notebook on etsy for about $14. It was a put this together yourself and I also dyed the leather. I really enjoyed the process because I learned how to make it myself and understand how the Midori works and I was able to make more midoris on my own!!

Why do I love this little guy.....well it's because I write everything in it!!! I have 4 notebooks and so I feel as though I can fill it with anything and I am not restricted by anything!! I think that is the most important thing when using a system like this. Never be intimidated by blank pages just start using them and love them!! Your love will shine through on your pages!!

Let me take you through a tour. As I mentioned I dyed the leather myself. The color is called Oxblood and I just love it!!

You can see in the above photo that it has seen some love and I love seeing it get beat up!! I know that may seem strange but the more I use this and it gets more 'ruined' the more special it becomes!

The color is so rich and beautiful. I condition all my leather covers with the leather conditioner wipes that I use for my furniture. I just do this when it is feeling a little dry, there is no routine that I follow.

Now let's take a peak inside...

I use Moleskine Cahiers in the pocket size because I LOVE these notebooks!! I just love them and they are easy to find. I normally buy them either at Target or Barnes and Noble. I usually paint on the cover or add something cute. I find that the cuter my things look the more I want to use them! So I have a must haves and what I put in here are items that I either see on Youtube and I may want to purchase or do a little more research on. I will write down things that I find on Pinterest or sometimes music, any thing basically that I feel is something I must have. I will on occasion go back in here and then move something to another journal. For example I may find a project I like and then it may get transferred to my YouTube notebook for a video idea.

Here is my YouTube notebook. I feel you can already guess what's in Youtube ideas. I can get an idea at any point and time so this is important that I have this notebook with me at all times. I hate it when I think of a video and then I forget it later. I try to always write it down as quickly as I can. In here there could be quick sketches or drawings, materials I may need for a video, etc.

Yup, gotta write down my books!! I have this split into two section. One section is for the books I want to read and then one section is for the books I am currently reading. I like to write down the date I start the book and when I finish it and I write down all my immediate thoughts on the books when I finish it. I have an official book journal that I will later put this information into but I like to know what my immediate reaction is to a book when I finish it.

Here you can see that there really is no rhyme or reason in these little notebooks it's what I love about them the most. Writing in colored pens helps me to find things quickly! I will occasionally add a tab if there is something in there that is really important or something that I want to catch my attention. 

Hope you enjoyed a little sneak peak into my passport size Fauxdori!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

DIY Hobonichi Planner!!

During this obsession/love for journals and filofaxes I started to notice pictures of a planner on instagram and flickr  as well as tumblr. I was so intrigued with how people drew in these little books that I found out what they were. Hobonichi Planners.

This is not something new. It has been popular in Japan for over a decade and it's a very loved item in this country. I could not stop looking at the endless uploaded photos. The little stickers and everything. I did find out that in 2013 someone who works for the company had translated the  planner and so an english version was made. There is also a 2014 version but because it is April I didn't want all those blank made my own. When I saw this planner it reminded me of a planner that I had in college. 

I found this very attractive journal at Barnes and Noble filled with tons of graph paper. I loved this little notebook and after looking at the Hobonichi Planners I thought I can make one using this same journal.

I began by looking at photos online. I used these photos as inspiration and here is what I came up with.....

Friday, April 4, 2014

My Journal Collection!

Do you love to journal? I do and I have loved to do some form of it since I was a little girl! I remember writing in my journals almost on a daily basis recording all of my daily doings. I remember writing the weather and in the summer my days at the pool. Not too much has changed since then...

Well maybe some things have changed. Thanks to YouTube and all the wonderful and creative people out there I have come up with several different ways to chronicle my life. I have several journals now that I keep and each of them is just a different and creative way to do it.

My first journal is still the dear diary type. I don't actually still use that although I did when I was a little girl but I love the format. I feel as though in this journal I can be raw and divulge every little secret that I have. It's really really great for me to do a brain dump in this and it really helps with any temptation to gossip. I don't like to gossip I hate it in fact but I think sometimes as human we have something so big and juicy we just have to tell someone. journal is that someone. Any problems I may have or things I want to work out usually go in this book. I get a new one almost every year and I love the ones from Barnes and Noble. 

My next journal is kind of a newer idea thanks to the wonderful and creative people of YouTube. I
t like an art journal where I collage some photos and do journal prompts and things like that. It's also a way to chronicle my life but in a differntt way. There are tons of pins on Pinterest for daily prompts to put into a journal and many times I follow these to help get my creative juices going. In the back I like to keep some photo prompts and I also love using a Moleskine notebook because there is a pocket in the back. I have been using a Moleskine since 2000 and have been obsessed ever since. The one I am using is the sketch in the large size. The paper has almost a cardstock feel to it. 

I use another Moleskine to capture some watercolor drawings that I do usually when we are vacationing. It's really fun to capture moments in watercolor vs a picture because it's all about interpretation. I love this journal so so much and it has been with me a long time. There is so much sentimentalness in this wonderful journal. This journal is a watercolor Moleskine and it is in the landscape format.

My Midori is my newest baby and I love it so so much. I could not resist the beautiful leather. I love the style of it and how it feels in my hands. I love this journal so much. I just love to hold it. I like to play with some sketches in this book as well. I keep my bullet journal in here which has changed my life completely. If you are turned off because the inserts are not readily available don't be. There are so many videos and people out there that share DIY inserts and they look awesome!!

My smashbook is something I picked up when it was clearanced at Micheals. This was when I was really learning about smashing and art journaling. I love saving my cards and different sentiments and this book is perfect for that. I don't follow any rhyme or reason in this book I just glue things in as I feel fit and I love it. I love keeping everything in this book. I use to keep everything in a box which works also but having it in this smash book I can flip through and look at it. Which by the way I do often because I love it so much!!

If your looking for more inspiration please check out my video that correlates with this post. And remember have fun and keep journaling!!