Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Making a Reading Life

Currently reading...

in the mornings while having coffee, toast, jam, and a hard boiled egg;

in the evening while Lim watches tv (usually something I'm not interested in);

before bed to fill my dreams with inspiration.

Monday, June 29, 2015

In this little art journal...

In this little art journal...

there are sacred hearts and hamsa hands with evil eyes, ... 

and painted pages with sketches, ...

and this still life inspired by Horace Pippin and Studying Under the Masters III, ...

and these two ladies.
Inspired by Marie Laurencin and Studying Under the Masters III

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Art Journal

Today marks the last official day of my year off. I will be forever grateful for this gift...

Happy Friday and LAST DAY OF SCHOOL to all of my teacher friends and colleagues out there!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Learning Goals Update

Back in September I wrote  a post on the learning goals I wanted to pursue this school year. Well, the school year is almost over (last day is June 26th) and it's time to assess my progress. 

10 things I want to learn more about this year:

1.     How to take better photos. 
      This has not moved forward as much as I would have liked, but I will get there. My Verizon contract is up in July so a new phone is in the works (my current phone was free when I signed up with Verizon and I plan to purchase a phone this time around). Also, my birthday is in August so maybe I can finagle a camera? Just putting that out there into the world :)

2.     How to use my electronic devices (currently am only using them at about 10%)
      I've signed up for one-to one mac classes at the apple store! This is a step in the right direction. Things are looking promising.

3.     How to use this blogger layout and template designer to add a banner and links and gadgets and …
      Am currently still in search for help with this. I prefer human teachers to me fiddling with buttons that could potentially take me down a rabbit hole I won't be able to get out of. However, I did manage to view some online tutorials on how to add posts to pages in blogger, and successfully applied this below the header. I fiddled with some other things, but assistance is still needed. 

4.     How to hack an IKEA console table.
      After much deliberation and searching for the perfect kitchen storage solution for the empty wall opposite our stove, I came right back to the Norden Side Table I originally liked as it fits perfectly in that space and is the most cost effective of them all. A trip to IKEA and Benjamin Moore is imminent.

5.     New York State
      Trip to Hudson, New York, and watching PBS specials on NY and NYC ... these count towards my NYS education, no? :) 

6.     Mexico, China and South Africa
      Yes, yes and yes. Reading, making a shrine, visiting Singapore (which has roots in China), learning new facts about Chinese New Year, visiting the Ubuntu Photo Show at Chelsea Market that supports children at-risk in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, ... My enthusiasm for teaching and learning about these cultures has not wavered. Now onto Egypt!      

7.     Embroidery and fiber arts
     I tried my hands at some embroidered fabric hearts, received a sewing tutorial from mom, visited a few blogs and pinned some pins,...every little bit counts!  

8.     Sketching, drawing, painting
      I completed my Drawing II and Painting II classes at Parsons, bought a book on how to draw and am trying out some exercises, watched some drawing tutorials on youtube, continued to work in my art journals, and signed up for some online art workshops (I can not help myself with these online classes).   

9.     Collage and mixed media
      I completed my collage class (it was a good introduction), but my mixed media class was cancelled due to low enrollment. Some of the online classes I'm taking include collage. I plan to continue to explore this medium. 

10. Yoga and meditation to slow down and quiet the brain
       I took a few yoga classes at the gym last fall but after the holidays all yoga has stopped. I'm on my year off so anxiety levels are low, but this is something I would still like to pursue this summer, and put into practice when I return to work in September.

What I've learned about myself through writing down goals is that I am a lifelong learner, and that I am consistent in my pursuits despite the pace that I move in (slow and steady wins the race). I've also learned that often times the things I put off the most... are the things I need the most (e.g. yoga). They are the things that do not come easily to me or that intimidate and challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone (e.g. technology, sharing this blog, travel that's too far from home). If I am completely honest, sometimes it's simply laziness. During these times I tell myself, "Don't be afraid to experiment" and "Just Do It!" 

So what are my next steps??? Work on some house projects, take those mac classes and squeeze every ounce of knowledge out of them, experiment with my future iphone and camera, and for heaven's sake... go do yoga! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Days

I am not going to lie and say that I love going to the beach in New York (when you think of New York do you think of beaches???). I have actually never been a real beach goer because I tend to be a bit high maintenance. My pale skin, inherited from my Ecuadorian mother, needs shade. I feel like I can't breathe if I don't have some reprieve from the heat, like splashing in the waves, swimming in a pool or sitting on a nice lounge chair under a big umbrella. My husband has taken me on a few beach holidays and I am now spoiled!

But, when my little sis, who will soak up the rays and listen to the waves anywhere, asked if I wanted to go to Coney Island yesterday, I thought I'd oblige. Especially since I usually say no, and because she said we'd only be there for a couple of hours (Last year I went with her once :).

Well, it turned out to be a lovely Daycation! There was a constant breeze despite the 86 degrees, I managed to get a bit of color and on the way back we stopped at the best taco joint in Bay Ridge to have a margarita (Yes, only one. It's Monday people).

Coney Island

Me and My Sis (I'm the one on the left)

Best Margaritas in The Ridge

Happy Summer Everyone!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Zen & Luna

I got to spend last week with two of my favorite little people in the world, my niece and nephew, Zen and Luna. They are 7 and 8 years old, and filled with curiosity, smarts, sass and sweet cuteness. I had so much fun this week being a kid with them. We planned our days together, ate bagels for breakfast and in the evenings ate popcorn while watching Harry Potter (one, two, three and four!). We worked in our art journals, visited a couple of museums, did some grocery shopping, and had a sleep over with Titi Veronica (my sis) and her long haired Dachshund, Toni Boloney. Our time together ended with a trip to Barnes and Nobles for some summer reading material.  Here are some highlights:

The American Museum of Natural History
Zen and Luna visited the American Museum of Natural History when they were about 3 and 4, so coming back was a whole new experience for them. Our first stop was the Hall of African Mammals. I told them they could take out their art tools and they went right to work. They had no inhibitions about stopping and sketching while tons of people walked by (I can be quite shy about drawing in public unless I'm with a group doing the same thing) and they were so particular about what they wanted to sketch! I love this so much about people this age. 

They labeled their sketches

Luna loved the Hall of Birds of the World.

You can see that from her many sketches.

Zen sketched this Tibetan Mask.

They went nuts when we got to the Hall of Biodiversity and the Hall of Ocean Life.

We were at the museum for about four hours and these beautiful kids did not complain about a thing; not about being hungry or thirsty, not about having to go to the bathroom or being tired. I was the one who decided mid way that we (meaning me) needed to use the bathroom and get some food.
More of Zen's sketches

I had to buy this beauty of a book as a souvenir. The kids chose something, too. ;)

Art Journaling 
Zen and Luna have their own sketchbooks and I thought it would be fun to have them use some craft paints and collage to create pages that would remind them of their time with their Titis (aunties).

Luna adores Toni Boloney and she dedicated her pages to him. She's too cute.

Zen wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty. We never made it but it still inspired this page.

The Brooklyn Museum
Ya think I love this place? I've only posted about it here and here. I wanted to share one of my favorite museums with these two little guys. An added bonus was that ages 19 and under get in free!

Zen wanted to make sure that we remembered the name of this ancient Egyptian game (senet). We googled it when we got home and even watched a youtube tutorial on the rules of the game. Zen is planning to create his own board and pieces.

As per luna's request, I took lots of pictures of the ancient Egyptian cats.

My sister Valerie lives in PA, so I don't get to see her or Zen & Luna as much as I would like. How wonderful that I was able to spend real quality time with them. These kiddos are awesome! I love you Zen & Luna!