Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Back to the Classics Reading Challenge 2016

I'm delighted that Karen K. of the blog Books and Chocolate is hosting the Back to the Classics Reading Challenge again for 2016. I'm signing up for it. I have really enjoyed participating in the challenge for the past two years. Here are the details, copied from her blog post where she announced the new challenge:

The challenge will be exactly the same as last year, 12 classic books, but with slightly different categories. You do not have to read 12 books to participate in this challenge!

  • Complete six categories, and you get one entry in the drawing
  • Complete nine categories, and you get two entries in the drawing
  • Complete all twelve categories, and you get three entries in the drawing
And here are the categories for the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge:

1.  A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2.  A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

3.  A classic by a woman author

4.  A classic in translation.  Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

5.  A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

6.  An adventure classic - can be fiction or non-fiction.

7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984.

8.  A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you're looking for ideas.

9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title.  It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college).  If it's a book you loved, does it stand the test of time?  If it's a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. Children's stories are acceptable in this category only.

And now, the rest of the rules:

  • All books must be read in 2016. Books started before January 1, 2016 do not qualify. All reviews must be linked to this challenge by December 31, 2016. I'll post links each category the first week of January which will be featured on a sidebar on this blog for the entire year. 
  • You must also post a wrap-up review and link it to the challenge no later than December 31, 2016. Please include links within your final wrap-up to that I can easily confirm all your categories. 
  • All books must have been written at least 50 years ago; therefore, books must have been written by1966 to qualify for this challenge. The ONLY exceptions are books published posthumously.
  • E-books and audiobooks are eligible! You may also count books that you read for other challenges.
  • Books may NOT crossover within this challenge. You must read a different book for EACH category, or it doesn't count.
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link to reviews on Goodreads or any other publicly accessible online format. 
  • The deadline to sign up for the challenge is March 1, 2016. After that I will close the link and you'll have to wait until the next year! Please include a link to your original sign-up post, not your blog URL. 
  • You do NOT have to list all the books you're going to read for the challenge in your sign-up post, but it's more fun if you do! Of course, you can change your list any time. Books may also be read in any order. 
  • The winner will be announced on this blog the first week of January, 2017. All qualifying participants will receive one or more entries, depending on the number of categories completed. One winner will be selected at random for all qualifying entries. The winner will receive a gift certificate in the amount of $30 (US currency) from either Amazon.com OR The Book Depository, and the winner MUST live in a country that will receive shipments from one or the other. For a list of countries that receive shipments from The Book Depository, click here.

I haven't settled on my books yet, since I just found out what the categories are. But I'm pretty sure I'll be re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wrap Up - Back to the Classics Reading Challenge 2015

I completed my challenge; I read 12 classics from a variety of categories:

2.  A 20th Century Classic - My Antonia by Willa Cather - finished 1/27/2015

3.  A Classic by a Woman Author - Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers - finished 2/28/2015

4.  A Classic in Translation - The Trial by Franz Kafka - finished 9/30/2015

5.  A Very Long Classic Novel - Middlemarch by George Eliot - finished 9/4/2015

7.  A Classic with a Person's Name in the Title - My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart - finished 2/7/2015

11.  A Classic Children's Book - My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara- finished 3/27/15
12.  A Classic Play - The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde - finished 10/12/15
My favorite book from this list was The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, which I rated 5 out of 5. This surprised me, since I don't usually read mysteries. But a couple more of my favorites this year were also mysteries: Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers and The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White. I rated those two 4 out of 5, along with The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, The Trial by Franz Kafka, Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson, My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara, and My Antonia by Willa Cather. The remaining 4 books on the list I rated 3 out of 5: Middlemarch by George Eliot, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart, and Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I really enjoyed participating in the challenge again this year and hope that Karen K. of Books and Chocolate will host it again in 2016.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

This is my 12th book for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015, and I read it for the Classic Play category. It is the story of two young men (John Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff) who both call themselves Ernest, and two young women (Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew) who will only marry a man named Ernest. Throw in mistaken identity, lies, manners, and witty language, and this is quite funny. It's a very quick read and I rate it 4 out of 5. It is also my final book for the challenge.

Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This was my non-fiction selection for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015. I found it very interesting, since it was originally published in 1955 (the year I was born). Much of what she had to say was a big part of the Women's Movement of the 1970's and beyond. I am sure that it would be enlightening to many women, especially young mothers who have little or no time for themselves, but I am well beyond that stage in my life. I am quite fortunate to have time alone when I need it, and to be able to travel and take workshops and classes almost whenever I want to. So the book had very little relevance for me, but I still enjoyed reading it. I rate it 3 out of 5.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Trial by Franz Kafka

What a chilling story! This was my classic in translation for the Back to the Classics 2015 reading challenge (my 10th book out of 12!). It is the story of Josef K., a respected bank officer who is arrested and has to defend himself without knowing what the charges against him are. I'd certainly heard of this story and had a general idea of what it was about. I'd always assumed that Josef K. was put in prison after his arrest, but that is not the case; his arrest consists of being questioned and having to appear in various court proceedings. But this particular court system is separate from the usual court system; most citizens have never heard of it. This leaves Josef K. uncertain how to defend himself and what is required of him. Just imagine trying to defend yourself when you don't know what the charges are!

It was originally published in German in 1925, a year after Kafka's death. In fact, Kafka had left behind a letter to his friend Max Brod with this last request: "Everything I leave behind me . . . in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others'), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread." Max Brod believed that Kafka asked him to do this because he had told Kafka that he would not honor his wishes; instead he worked very hard to get all of Kafka's works published. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Digital Scrapbook Layouts

I haven't done any scrapbooking in a long time, but I actually managed to complete two layouts last month while we were vacationing in Colorado. The first layout is from our trip to New England in October, 2013:

Journaling reads: 

"This bridge, built in 1872, is named the Artist's Bridge because of its reputation as being the most photographed and painted of the venerable covered bridges in Maine.

"The bridge, an 87 foot Paddleford truss, was closed to traffic in 1958 when a new bridge was built downstream. It is located about four miles northwest of North Bethel. 

"We stopped to see the bridge and I sketched it from the car, since the temperature was in the 50's. We were glad we took the short detour." 


And the second layout is from our trip to Estes Park, Colorado, in July, 2014:

Journaling reads: 

"Mom wanted her ashes taken to Bear Lake, the same location she placed Daddy’s ashes years earlier. We met Charlie and Pat in Estes Park in order to carry out her wishes. The top right photo is Bear Lake; the other photos were taken later the same day during our drive."


Pixel Scrapper Digital Scrapbooking

I recently joined Pixel Scrapper Digital Scrapbooking, where you can get free downloads every day. I haven't done much scrapbooking lately and I'm trying to get back into it, so I thought this might help. There are some really nice scrapbook kits and elements there, and I've already downloaded some cool stuff. I'll post some layouts as soon as I get some done (I'm WAY behind - I have tons of photos to scrap!).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I read Middlemarch for the Very Long Classic Novel category for my Back to the Classics Challenge this year, and it certainly was that (762 pages of story plus introduction, afterword, notes, and bibliography). I enjoyed it; I wouldn't call it one of my favorites, but it was still good. It was pretty much of a character study, and I found myself caring about what happened to the characters. I wouldn't have minded if it had been a bit shorter, but I never really got bored with it. It did take reading a hundred pages or more before I knew that I was going to like it though. I rated it 3 out of 5.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Documented Life Project - Week 13

Here is the second page I forgot to post awhile back:

March Theme
Making Your Mark (Doodles & Mark Making)
March 28
Art Challenge:  Make a Custom Element
Journal Prompt:  "Ride the energy of your own unique spirit." - Gabrielle Roth

Documented Life Project - Week 12

I'm not really working on this project much anymore, but I did finish a couple of pages awhile back and forgot to post them, so here is the first one.

March Theme
Making Your Mark (Doodles & Mark Making)
March 21
Art Challenge:  As a Focal Point
Journal Prompt:  Coming into Focus

I added a little something to the second one, so I'll post it as soon as it's dry.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bloomin' Doodles

I've discovered alcohol markers (Copics, KaiserFusion, etc.): my newest obsession! Bloomin' Doodles online class with Joanne Sharpe.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

This is the very depressing story of a poor farmer (Ethan Frome) who just barely survives with his suspicious, hypochondriac wife (Zeena). When Zeena's cousin (Mattie Silver) comes to help out around the house, Ethan falls in love with her. The story was a bit overly melodramatic, but fairly good and a quick read. I read it for my Classic Novella for my Back to the Classics 2015 challenge. I rate it 3 out of 5.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Joanne Sharpe's Online Class Bloomin' Doodles

I enjoyed Joanne Sharpe's in person classes so much a couple of weeks ago (you can read more about the classes I took from her here) that I signed up for her online class, Bloomin' Doodles. I'm having a lot of fun with it, but between this class, another of Joanne's classes called Artfully Inspired Life 2015, and Laure Ferlita's Imaginary Trip to New Zealand, my Documented Life Project challenge seems to have gone by the wayside. I may get back to it eventually, but then again, I may not. I'm not going to stress about it either way.

Joanne is teaching us how to turn flowers into fun, funky doodles. Here is one of my pages as an example. This is before the addition of color; it's even better once the color is added.

Joanne recommends using an inexpensive composition book to paste inspiration photos into. I'm not too fond of composition books, so I made a book instead. I used inexpensive mixed media paper for the pages and scraps of mat board and chipboard that I had on hand for the covers. I bound it with my Bind-It-All and decorated the front cover with gelli printed papers. Here is the cover of my book.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

In Person Classes with Joanne Sharpe

Joanne Sharpe came to My Heart's Fancy in Edmond, Oklahoma, recently and taught 3 classes. I was able to take all 3 classes, and what fun that was! She taught Artful Alphabet Soup; Sketch, Paint, and Doodle Stitch; and Pockets Full of Posies. I enjoyed all 3 classes and really expected to like the second one best, since we were painting on fabric. I did like that class a lot, but I actually liked the Pockets Full of Posies the best. We made little flower paintings and then cut them up to fit into 4"X4" or 2"X2" vinyl pocket pages (the kind used by scrapbookers for photos, journaling, and/or decorations). Here are 6 pages that I did in class (they are all 4"X4" in size).

I enjoyed it so much that I cut up more pages from paintings I had done previously, mostly in other classes. And I bought more vinyl pages with more sizes to do more in the future.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Wheel Spins (The Lady Vanishes) by Ethel Lina White

This book was recommended to me by a good friend. It was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938; the book's original title was The Wheel Spins, while the movie title is The Lady Vanishes. I enjoyed the book and plan to see the movie soon; it is available to stream on Netflix. It is the story of Iris Carr, who befriends Miss Froy during a train trip. When Iris awakens after a nap, Miss Froy has disappeared, and no one else on the train admits to ever having seen her. This is my Forgotten Classic for the Back to the Classics reading challenge. I rate it 4 out of 5.

Documented Life Project - Weeks 10 & 11

March Theme
Making Your Mark (Doodles & Mark Making)
March 7
Art Challenge:  As A Layer Element
Journal Prompt:  Surviving the Elements

I was actually able to finish TWO page spreads yesterday, because I had forgotten that I had worked on a background several weeks ago that was almost done. All I had to do to complete it was to add a few more marks and figure out a focal point. An advertisement in a magazine provided what I was looking for.

March Theme
Making Your Mark (Doodles & Mark Making)
March 14
Art Challenge:  Borders
Journal Prompt:  "Borderline feels like I'm going to lose my mind."

One of the nice things about an acrylic paint background is that if you don't like it you can always cover it up. This page started with dark red and blue paints that were applied with an old credit card; it was very dark and quite ugly. I decided to cover it with gesso, which ended up covering more than I intended. I applied the yellows and pinks with a brush and a brayer. I added marks, the images from a catalog, the writing and the borders and am quite satisfied with the result. The borders are from a couple of sheets that I gelli printed, tore down to size and sewed together on my sewing machine.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Update on Challenges

I am participating in two challenges this year:  the Back to the Classics reading challenge, and the Documented Life Project (an art journaling challenge).

I'm doing well with my reading challenge; today, I finished my 7th of 12 books. I'm feeling really good about this challenge, both because I'm on schedule and because I'm reading books I'm enjoying.

The Documented Life Project, however, not so much. I completed 8 out of the first 9 challenges, but since we're up to challenge number 22 this week, you can see that I'm really far behind.

This is what I wrote on my blog when I decided to participate in the challenge:  "I probably won't be able to participate every week because I'll be doing some traveling this year.  I imagine that other things will probably get in the way as well, but I plan to do what I can."

I really thought I would be further along than this by now. Oh well, I'm not giving up; I'm going to try to work on a page spread today.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Art Walk Greece 2015 - Part 3

Monday, May 4, started early again. Our ferry to Naxos left Amorgos at 6:00 am, and we had to have our luggage outside our door by 4:30 am; it was about a 45 minute drive to the port and our hotel had a light snack for us before we left. Carlo arranged for us to be picked up in Naxos by the Naxos Resort Beach Hotel. They served us breakfast and kept track of our luggage for us so that we could relax and/or explore the town.

Then back to the port in the early afternoon for our second ferry of the day to Mykonos. This time it was a "Master Jet," which was much faster than our earlier ferries. After we'd had time to settle in, Carlo took anyone who was interested on a walking tour of the area.

Tuesday morning, May 5, several of us took a bus to Platis Gialos Beach with Carlo and then walked to Paranga Beach. In the afternoon we had our sketching class on the veranda of our hotel, overlooking the windmills of Mykonos.

Most of us took a boat to Delos on Wednesday, May 6, where we had an English-speaking guide. Delos is one of the most important mythological, historical and archeological cites in Greece. The excavations in the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean. In ancient times, Delos was believed to be the birthplace of the god Apollo and his twin sister, the goddess Artemis, making the island sacred. After the tour, we had some time to visit the Archaeological Museum of Delos.

Our last full day in Greece, Thursday, May 7, we visited the Mykonos Folklore Museum (according to Wikipedia: "the oldest house on the island houses a collection of 19th-century furniture, jewellery, ceramics, embroideries, marble sculptures, tombstones and a variety of other trinkets. The museum also pays tribute to Mykonos' traditional nautical roots with models of 19th-century Mykonian ships, maps and an anchor and canons used during the Greek War of Independence.") and Panagia Paraportiani (the Church of Our Lady) (again, according to Wikipedia: "The building of this church started in 1425 and was not completed until the 17th century. This impressive, whitewashed church actually consists of five separate churches attached all together: the four churches (dedicated to Saint Eustathios, Saint Sozon, Saint Anargyroi and Saint Anastasia) are all on the ground and constitute the base of the fifth church that has been built on top of them."). I sat in the hot sun to get the view of the church I wanted for my sketch (I usually try to avoid the sun, but sometimes one must sacrifice oneself for one's art).

Here is my map of all of the places I visited (except for Delos, which I didn't know I was going to visit when I made the map).

Early Friday morning, May 8, I flew from Mykonos to Athens to Philadelphia to Dallas/Fort Worth to Tulsa. I was supposed to fly from Philadelphia to Chicago to Oklahoma City, but my flight to Chicago was delayed and I was very likely going to miss my connection to Oklahoma City, so I was re-routed. Luckily, my husband was picking me up, and I was able to call him before he left for the airport (since it's about an hour and a half drive from either airport to our home). There were still delays, so I arrived home at about 3:00 Saturday morning. My luggage, however, didn't arrive until Monday, May 11. I've been lucky in my travels; this is the first time my luggage has been delayed. I was VERY glad to get it back!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Art Walk Greece 2015 - Part 2

Even though I upgraded to a cabin, I wasn't able to sleep much on the ferry ride to Amorgos. We arrived at the Aegialis Hotel & Spa around 4:30 am on Wednesday, April 29, and fortunately I was able to get some sleep in my room. The hotel was nice enough to keep their breakfast up for us until 11:30 (it's usually put away by 10:30). We had a tour of the spa after breakfast, and many of us (including me) booked spa appointments for later in the week. We went into the nearby town of Aegialis for some shopping (where I bought a Pashmina shawl and some postcards) and lunch. Jane picked some poppies on our way back to the hotel for our painting class in the afternoon. None of us realized how delicate the poppies would be once they were picked. Even though we put them in water, they didn't last very long at all.

I also took pictures of designs that were painted into the concrete in the town and included some of those on my page.

On Thursday, April 30, we went to the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, which is situated on the side of a cliff northeast of Chora. It was built early in the second millennium to protect a religious icon, dating from the year 812, from intruders. I counted 275 steps coming down from outside the monastery, and that didn't include the steps inside! We had planned on painting on location, but it was hot with little shade, and everyone was tired after climbing all those steps, so we changed our plans and had our lesson at the hotel after we returned. The lesson was on sketching a landscape, which was the view from the terrace of our hotel.

I had my spa treatment after the lesson, so I had to finish my sketch a couple of days later. It's the first time I've ever had a spa treatment, and I loved it. I had what they called the Detox Deluxe, which included the Hydro Therapy Spa Jet (which several people nicknamed the car wash), facial, scalp massage, full body exfoliation, and full body massage. It was quite wonderful.

On Friday, May 1, we toured an Herb Distillery in Lagada. The man who ran the distillery was very knowledgeable about all the local herbs and he seemed to be a very kind and gentle soul. We ate lunch in Lagada and had a lesson on quick sketching a long narrow landscape. The idea was to set your rectangle first, then sketch only as much as would fit into the space. I didn't have time to sketch from the restaurant, so I sketched the view from my balcony later in the afternoon instead. I added the design and journaling at the bottom later. I also had a pedicure in the afternoon, which was very nice as well.

Saturday, May 2 found us in Katapola, the harbor town in which our ferry arrived (and from which it would depart on Monday May 4). We had lunch near the harbor and then painted a church on location.

Everyone approached the sketching differently, and it was fascinating to see all the differences. Some sketched the whole church, some did parts, some included trees and/or other shrubbery, some used watercolor, one used pencil only, but all were wonderful.

On Sunday, May 3, some of us went back to Aegialis for more shopping (I bought a hat). The town is close enough to the hotel to walk, but the walk back to the hotel is all uphill. In the afternoon, we made our portfolios to hold all of our pages (most of us were working on a watercolor block, so after we finished a page and removed it from the block, it was loose). I haven't finished decorating mine, so I haven't taken a photo of it yet.

Monday, May 4 we headed to Mykonos. More in my next post.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Art Walk Greece 2015 - Part 1

I just returned (at 3am Saturday, thank you very much) from a wonderful 2 weeks in Greece with terrific art teacher Jane LaFazio, Carlo Roberts of The Blue Walk, and 14 other intrepid travelers and journal artists. I will be sharing some of my experiences (and journal pages) with you over the next couple of weeks.

You may have already seen this sketch I did of my new suitcase before I left, but I'm including it again here for a more complete record.

I arrived at my hotel in Athens (The Electra) at about 8:30 pm on Saturday 4/25. Sunday morning, I met Carlo (our tour director) and a few others at breakfast. Pene and I decided to do some shopping that morning and then we took the Athens Open Tour bus tour in the afternoon, which gave us a good overview of the city. We all met back at the hotel at 4:00 to introduce ourselves and hear a bit about our "agenda" for the trip. Then we walked to our restaurant for drinks and dinner, where I did a quick sketch of our view and my drink.

On Monday, I discovered that several others were going to the Acropolis, so I joined them. Pene, Ellen and I walked there, while Mary, Helen, and Louise took the bus. It is such an amazing site, and so hard to comprehend how old it is. We climbed LOTS of steps. Pene, Ellen, Louise and I walked back while Mary and Helen took a taxi. We met everyone back at the hotel at 11:00 and then we all walked to the National Garden, where we had our first lesson.

I did some shopping in the afternoon and then we had our fabulous welcome dinner.

Tuesday morning I went to the Acropolis Museum, which is a beautiful new building with so much information that really helped me to understand more about the Acropolis. I returned back to the hotel by 11:00. We all walked to the Church of Panagia Kapnikarea, which is a Greek Orthodox church and one of the oldest churches in Athens. I used a Tombow marker (with water soluble ink) for my sketches.

Tuesday evening, we took a ferry from Piraeus (the port city near Athens) to the island of Amorgos. It was a long ferry ride (from 5:30 pm to about 3:30 am). More in my next post.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

This is considered by many to be the first detective novel.  I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. 

The moonstone was a large yellow diamond that had been stolen during the storming of Seringapatam (India) in 1799. Through a complicated series of events, the moonstone is given to Rachel Verinder for her 18th birthday in 1848, and it disappears the next morning. The story is told by many different narrators, beginning with Mr. Betteredge, house steward for Rachel's mother, the Lady Verinder. This sounds like it would be difficult to follow, but it actually worked really well. 

This is my 19th century classic for the 2015 Back to the Classics challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed it and rate it 5 out of 5.

Packed and Ready

I'm leaving for Greece in the morning! I can hardly believe it; I'm meeting up with Jane LaFazio and several other artists for Art Walk. I'll be sure to post pictures when I can.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson

This was a delightful story! Miss Buncle's income is reduced to the point that she must find a way to supplement it, so she decides to write a book. She writes about her small town and all the people who live there, using the pen name of "John Smith." When the book is published, the people in her small town are outraged, and try every way they can to determine who "John Smith" is. There were many humorous incidents and passages; here is one I found quite funny:
". . . she pointed out that the book was a disgusting book, it had ridiculed her, she wanted an abject apology and large damages. She explained, somewhat incoherently, that the character of Mrs. Horsley Downs was a horrible character and not in the least like her, but that it was obviously intended for her, because it was exactly like her, and that therefore it was a libel and as such ought to be punished to the utmost rigor of the law."
 I read this for my humorous or satirical classic, and I rate it 4 out of 5.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

After reading Whose Body? (the first Lord Peter Wimsey book) last year, I wanted to read more by Dorothy L. Sayers, so I chose Clouds of Witness (the second book) for my classic by a woman author. I actually finished it a few weeks ago, but I forgot to write my review for the challenge. Lord Peter Wimsey must figure out who killed the man who was engaged to his sister (Lady Mary) in order to save his brother (The Duke of Denver) who is accused of the murder. It was another enjoyable read and I rate it 4 out of 5.

My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara

There are a lot of children's classics I've never read, so I had many to choose from for this category. I chose My Friend Flicka after reading this post by my friend Kathy Johnson and I'm glad I did. It was a great coming of age story about a young boy who can't seem to do anything right. He learns about responsibility and friendship one summer from Flicka, a chestnut filly with a wild spirit. I rate this book 4 out of 5.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Documented Life Project - Week 9

February Theme
Layers You Will Love!
February 28
Art Challenge: Using at Least Five Layers
Journal Prompt: Give Me a High Five
Layer 1 - book pages
Layer 2 - gesso
Layer 3 - modeling paste
Layer 4 - acrylic paint
Layer 5 - rubber stamps, collage, marks
Layer 5 could also be layers 5, 6, and 7. Layers 1, 2, and 4 cover the whole spread, while layers 3 and 5 are over parts.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Documented Life Project - Week 8

February Theme
Layers You Will Love!
February 21
Art Challenge:  Repeating Elements
Journal Prompt:  It's Worth Repeating
I used a round gelli plate repeatedly for my background. I also repeated several elements on the page: the flower image, dictionary definitions, outlines, and writing.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Documented Life Project - Week 5

January Theme
The Blank Page and How to Face It!
January 31
Art Challenge:  Under Paper (paper on your work table that gets all inky while you work)
Journal Prompt:  What Lies Beneath?
I'm still behind - counting today's prompt, I have 2 more page spreads to be caught up.
I started by gluing a number of pieces of under paper to my background. It looked pretty chaotic, so I covered it with a light coat of gesso, hoping to knock back the colors a bit and make it more cohesive.  But it covered more than I intended, so I added some acrylic paints to make my background.  The under paper ended up only providing texture to the background, but at least I liked it.  I searched for quotes using "beneath" as my search term, and this is what I ended up with.  The bird and branches are made from under paper as well.  I had no idea where I was going with it when I started the page, but I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Colorado Coneflower

This is my quilt that was selected as a finalist in the Quilting Arts Reader's Challenge.  I took the photo of the coneflower in 2009.  I manipulated it in Photoshop Elements, printed it on printer fabric, then thread sketched and quilted it.  It is 10" square.

You can check the June/July 2015 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine and their website (quiltingdaily.com) to see all of the finalists' work.

My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart

I read Mary Stewart's Arthurian Saga (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, and The Wicked Day) many years ago and loved them.  She is one of my friend Kathy Johnson's (of Catching Happiness) favorite authors, so I decided to read My Brother Michael for my classic with a person's name in the title.  It is the story of a young woman, Camilla Haven, traveling alone in Greece after the friend who was supposed to join her broke her leg.  Shortly after Camilla writes to her friend, "Nothing ever happens to me," she is plunged into an adventure that mingles suspense and romance.  It was an enjoyable read and I rate it 3 out of 5.

Documented Life Project - Week 4

January Theme
The Blank Page and How to Face It!
January 24
Art Challenge:  Writing
Journal Prompt:  Words with Friends
I'm trying to get caught up. I just have week 5 to do, but week 7's prompt will be issued tomorrow!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Documented Life Project - Week 6

February Theme - Layers You Will Love!
February 7
Art Challenge: When Not To Stop
Journal Prompt: "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough!" (Ooh)

I am a few weeks behind. This page started out to be my Words with Friends page (week 4), but as I worked on it, I found that I kept adding more and more layers and realized that it would work better for the Don't Stop Til You Get Enough page (I guess that's one of the advantages to being behind!).

Monday, February 02, 2015

Dog and Snow by Paul S. Piper

The dog in this poem sounds so much like my own dog Buddy that I just had to share this.

Introduction by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate:  Dogs are smart enough to get people to take care of them, a skill that a lot of people haven’t learned, but they’re still wild at the heart. Paul S. Piper lives in Washington.

Dog and Snow

Dog sees white. Arctic
light, the bright buzz in the brain

of pure crystal adrenaline. In a flash
he is out the door and across the street

looking for snowshoe hares, caribou, cats.
His wild ancestry ignited, Dog plunges

his nose into snow up to his eyes. He sees
his dreams. Master yells from the front porch

but Dog can’t hear him. Dog hears nothing
except the roar of the wind across the tundra, the ancient

existential cry of wolves, pure, devastating, hungry.
Time for crunchies. Taking many detours, Dog

returns to the porch. Let master think what he
wants. Freedom comes at a price.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2011 by Paul S. Piper from his most recent book of poems, Dogs and Other Poems, (Bird Dog Publishing, 2011). Poem reprinted by permission of Paul S. Piper and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2015 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Antonia by Willa Cather

I finished my first book for the Back to the Classics 2015 challenge, and I really enjoyed it.  My Antonia, by Willa Cather, is my 20th century classic.  The story is narrated by Jim Burden, who loses his parents at the age of 10 and is sent by relatives in Virginia to live with his grandparents in Black Hawk, Nebraska.  Antonia, one of 4 children of the Shimerda family, is traveling to Black Hawk on the same train as Jim.  The Shimerdas are the first Bohemian family to come to Black Hawk.  Antonia is just a few years older than Jim, and they become friends.  The book was well written, the story was interesting, and I rate it 4 out of 5.

Documented Life Project - Week 3

January Theme - The Blank Page and How to Face It!
January 17 Art Challenge:  The Color Wheel
Journal Prompt:  "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way . . . “    - Georgia O’Keeffe

I'm a little late with this - but I have the excuse that I was traveling when the prompt was announced (more about that later) and then I came down with a cold.  It's really amazing how little energy I have when I have a cold, but I'm starting to feel better now.  I got a pretty good night's sleep last night which really helped.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Preparation for Winter Interrupted

This is the palette I'm taking to Florida TOMORROW!

And this is the pencil case with supplies I'm taking.

I am SO looking forward to this trip!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Documented Life Project - Week 2

January Theme - The Blank Page and How to Face It!
January 10 Art Challenge: Gesso
Journal Prompt: “The beginning is always today.” -Mary Shelley

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Documented Life Project - Week 1

January Theme - The Blank Page and How To Face It
Art Challenge - Book Paper
Journal Prompt - Be Your Own Goal Keeper

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Documented Life Project 2015 and My Word for the Year

I've decided to participate in the Documented Life Project this year.  I probably won't be able to participate every week because I'll be doing some traveling this year.  I imagine that other things will probably get in the way as well, but I plan to do what I can.  I don't have my journal yet; I've ordered it and it should arrive early next week.  Each month will have a theme, and each week there will be an art related challenge as well as a journal prompt.  January's theme is "the blank page and how to face it."  The first art challenge is book paper and the first journal prompt is "be your own goal keeper."  I already have an idea of what I want to do for my first challenge, so I am anxious to get my journal!

I've also chosen my word for this year:  ORIGINAL.  I want to do more original design in my fiber arts, so I am hoping that by choosing original for my word this year, it will focus my intention.  And since that is one of my goals, I will incorporate my word into my journal page.  I've only chosen a word once before, and it didn't really do much for me, but I'm going to try it again.  I have high hopes for the year.

Happy New Year everyone!