Day 22: 30 Day Journal Project

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“Be like water making its way through cracks.

Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.

If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water.

If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash.

Be water, my friend.”  ~ Bruce Lee

This project has been fascinating and frustrating! I read the quotes and prompts and think about them and sometimes my response is is fairly quick. Other times, like today, I don’t know how to respond.

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What usually happens when I’m stuck is I set a kitchen timer and give myself 5 minutes to write. For this page I was stuck on the art part. I decided to set a timer and give myself 5 minutes to paint.

I made  a mess! I swirled blue paint around the page making sideways figure 8’s. Or, I realize as I write this, the symbol for infinity over and over. That was going ok but when I added some green I lost the shapes and it become murky. In frustration, I covered the page with paint. Art from head = not working!

However, once I looked at the green page I thought of a wide, turning river and started collaging that and things started to…well, flow.

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In fact, as has happened several times now, I experienced a few instances of serendipity. Opening a plastic envelope of blue  and green paper scraps, the little square printed with “Divine flow” was right on top and wanted to be included on the page.

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My writing tried to express how I felt stagnant when I set out on the page. Black and white zigzags on washi tape represent the static in my head when I try to empty my mind.

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As I was adding finishing touches I scanned a few torn-out dictionary pages, seeking a word to add by the river. “Living” is what presented itself. And another moment of unexpected rightness: it was only after I’d pasted the bit of paper onto the page that I read the full definition, which includes “gushing forth; flowing.”

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After taking the first photo at the top of the post, I added the words “journal/journey” as seen in the second picture. They are both derived from jour, French for day or daily, as in a day’s travel or daily writing. This journal project has been a journey for me. I appreciate you traveling along with me.

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Day 21: 30 Day Journal Project

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“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.

You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.

And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”  ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I went through my saved magazine pages seeking happy images and pulled a bunch out. These are the ones that made it to the first draft of the page, below.

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On the lower left is a box from a bar of chocolate, but it didn’t make it to the final page.

I do agree that happiness is, at least in part, a consequence of personal effort, as Elizabeth Gilbert writes. But for me, it is not something I have to fight for.

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Orange and blue are a happy color combination for me.

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On Day 21 I made a decision to take a walk in the morning rather than work on my page, and go to my choir rehearsal in the evening rather than work on my page. Although I didn’t want to fall behind on the #30DayJournal project, I wanted to take care of myself, both my physical and mental health.

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I have a peach-colored T-shirt that says “Do What Makes You Happy” with a cheerful sketch of a bicycle on it. Wearing it while shopping the other day, one of the store employees commented on it. She then turned her back to me and pulled her shirt away to show me a tattoo with the very same words! She explained that her best friend had a matching tattoo in the same place that said “Be With People Who Make You Smile.”

Those two phrases are really what helps keep me happy.  Doing things that I love to do around the people I love.

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I think Blue-Footed Boobies should wear blue bow ties more often.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Day 20: 30 Day Journal Project

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Nothing is original.

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.

Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows.

Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul.

If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.

Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.

And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said:

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” Jim Jarmusch

I had a little problem with the quote for this page, and what seems like encouraging the reader to steal from other sources, but I decided it was more a matter of semantics, because I certainly look at other art, layouts and photos in magazines, Pinterest and the sites that I find linked to pictures I like, and copy (imitate, use, adapt) all the time.

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Although it wasn’t feasible to take any photos the day I did this page, I found some photos I’d taken previously to use and then borrowed the image in the sunset photo.

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I also copied the border that I’ve been admiring on artist Deb Weiers pages for this project.

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I think I learn to expand my own style and techniques when I try another persons work. I may not do it with the same skill or medium, but maybe it will help me to grown and learn and also to put my own spin on it.

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I can’t recall looking at nature as an inspiration for specific pieces of creative work, although I love being outdoors and love all the different things I see. From a wide open vista of sky and ocean, to an up close view of textured rock or driftwood in sand on a beach, or the peeling bark of a tree.

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I may come back to this idea and try my hand at actually copying some of these close-up images and using them in my art.

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Thanks for stopping by. Thank you also for your patience as I catch up on these posts for #30DayJournal – I’ve caught up on the artwork, and now just need to get them online! Check back again soon.

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Recipe: Thai-Style Seven Flavor Salad

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After nearly two weeks of juicing fruits and vegetables for breakfast and lunch and eating vegetarian meals for dinner, Rem and I went our for Thai food on Friday evening and ate a yummy appetizer that inspired this dish. At Thai Smile in San Rafael, the dish is called MIANG KHAM (Spinach Wraps).

Instead of a bowl or plate of salad this is assembled in small lettuce leaves and eaten out of the hand like a mini lettuce taco. Each person assembles a wrap with the seven different ingredients, plus the chutney to pull it all together. It is very flavorful.

I used lettuce leaves instead of spinach and cooked shrimp meat instead of dried shrimp. Peanuts were replaced with almonds, but only because I didn’t want to buy a large bag of peanuts.  Either would be great. It was a refreshing supper on a hot summer evening.

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I also cheated by using chutney for the sauce, but it was fairly similar to the sweet, gingery sauce we enjoyed the other night.

I’m going to offer suggested amounts for two servings, but to be completely honest, I didn’t measure as I was making this. So feel free to ad-lib and adjust as you see fit.

Thai-Style Seven Flavor Salad

2 baby gem lettuce, leaves pulled apart and washed and dried on paper towel or in lettuce spinner

1/3 lb. cooked shrimp meat

about 1 cup dried shredded coconut, toasted in a dry pan until a bit brown, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn ( I got plain, unsweetened shredded, dried coconut at Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts or almonds (I used rosemary and salt Marcona almonds – yum!)

1/2 lime with peel, thinly sliced, each slice cut into about 6 small squares

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very small dice

2 inch piece of green onion, finely sliced or chopped

1/2 jalapeno chili cut into very thin slices, than cut those in half or quarters

1/2 to 3/4 cup of chutney

Arrange all ingredients in small bowls or in piles on a platter.  Each person assembles their own individual wraps.

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The coconut and almonds or peanuts are crunchy, the chili, onion and ginger add their own zing and the lime is bright and tart. The dried shrimp we had in the restaurant was kind of chewy and salty.  But for our summer dinner (with half an avocado on the side), the cool, sweet shrimp were delicious.

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In my #30DayJournal project today, the prompts asked about how I bring creativity into my life, and experimenting with recipes is one of the ways I do that.

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Thank you for stopping by (sorry for the early draft that went out by mistake to my subscribers).

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Day 19: 30 Day Journal Project

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There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren

This #30DayJournal project was a real struggle today, and I don’t know why! I wasn’t feeling well this morning but I didn’t start on it until afternoon when I felt ok.

I was trying to figure out a way to depict a fountain but that wasn’t working in my head. Next I decided to play around with watercolor paints but I don’t know what I’m doing and wasn’t coming up with something I liked.

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The prompts were about ways I bring creativity into my life or tap into my creative fountain. I feel as if I’m a very creative person and thought this would be an easy page for me. Ha!

The other day, Rem gave me a great piece of paper ephemera: the receipt from when he visited the source of the Nile back in April 1998. The idea of the source of the Nile was something I wanted to include in this journal. I decided to make a collage and use that slip of paper.  The source of the Nile would be a good stand-in for the fountain of youth.  With that decision, I was able to move forward and create my page.

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It was only after I’d completed the collage and was finishing up the spiral that I made another connection with the quote for the day, from Sophia Loren, and the receipt: “learn to tap this source.”  The spiral is my journaling about the ways I bring creativity into my life and the lives of those I love.

The background stamp has some great words on it: share, experience, create, inspire.  I try to do that in this blog.

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A little side note here: the image of the two people with the rowboat is from a much larger picture from a calendar by papercut artist Nikki McClure, Nikki cuts her intricate pictures from a single sheet of paper with an Xacto knife, and her site is well worth a visit.

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Thank you for being part of my creative journey.IMG_0179

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Day 18: 30 Day Journal Project

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“It’s difficult to get your creative juices flowing if you’re always being practical, following rules, afraid to make mistakes, not looking into outside areas, or under the influence of any of the other mental locks.”  ~ Roger Von Oech

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This page is really about the journaling and processing of the ideas and I just didn’t have the energy (or take the time) to make it more than that. Maybe because of the very topic of this quote and the prompts for the day, I decided to be ok with what I did, and call it done.

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I needed to do a quick page and get to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ve been letting each day’s project flow into the next day, and Day 17 with two double-page collages and a cutout door in between took lots of time. I didn’t reach my goal of 10,000 steps on Friday, but I did on Saturday.

What rules would be on your list to ignore?

Thanks for the visit.

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Day 17: 30 Day Journal Project

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“Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, take all that is good as your own.

With this as your base, open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right before you.

Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people.

Everything—even mountains, rivers, plants, and trees—should be your teacher.”  ~ Morihei Ueshiba

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The message today is about how everything can  be your teacher. I read the quote, above, and the first thing that caught my eye was “open your own door to truth.”  I knew I wanted to include a door in my page!

Aperi Ostii Sui Veritatam: Open the Door of Truth.

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My teachers include paying attention to others works and to the world around me. Looking online (hello, Pinterest) and in magazines and sometimes books is something I do often. That is represented by the bookshelves in this page.

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But my truth and what I’ve learned is that I need to figuratively go through the door, out of the library and play in the garden! Which is to say, I need to get the paint out, sit at the desk, tear up some paper and get my fingers sticky with glue.

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Thank you to one of my teachers: Virginia Simpson-Magruder, of Kentucky Girl Designs and her wonderful Altered Book workshops. Her studio is a blooming garden of abundant, colorful flowers in the way of pens, inks, paints, rubberstamps, magazines, etc. and her class was a delight!

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Thanks for following along with the #30DayJournal project.

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