Projects · Uncategorized

Little hand-lettering project (and printable!)

 I have had a quote by Roald Dahl pinned to my inspiration board for some time, and I finally decided I should try and do something with it. I started sketching out the quote, channeling a bit of my zentangle practice to fill in empty space, and before I knew it I had lost track of time and was really liking what I was coming up with.
IMG_0288After I finished the sketch, I traced over it with a fine-tipped Sharpie.IMG_0289Then, when I finished with my Sharpie, I thought my artwork might look even nicer with color. Just in case, I retraced my design on a separate sheet of paper before I got started. IMG_0291Here are the two different versions I completed below. I am not sure which one I like better, but I was thinking of seeing how they look printed and then choosing one to put up with washi tape in another room in our apartment. If you like, feel free to click on the pictures to download your own copy!

Roald Dahl quote(1)
                            Click here to download the color version
Roald Dahl quote                     Click here to download the black and white version

Which version do you like better? Have you ever tried working with a favorite quote this way?

xxCaitlyn

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Who needs motivation?

Oh. I guess I need motivation. I mean, yeah, I’ve set tasks for myself that are totally doable. But you know what? Sometimes I just don’t feeeeeeeeel like doing that whole exercise thing. I mean, I love going for walks and doing yoga, but Chad has decided I need to run a half marathon or something. Yeah, you read that correctly. CHAD. DECIDED. I’M GOING TO RUN A HALF MARATHON. And he’s going to be my hard-ass trainer.

But I’ll tell you what: he’s really fricking good at motivating me. Not to mention inspiring me. For example, today we had a lovely lunch with old friends from Mie, and I drank enough beer to be on the tipsy side by 2:30 in the afternoon. I was silly and had beer with the knowledge that I was supposed to run 5K today in order to stick with the training plan Chad found for me. By the time we got home from running errands after lunch, the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run. The biggest thing on my mind was avoiding running today. I felt heavy and tired, and like there was no way I could get myself out the door. I struggled against Chad’s encouragement like a HUGE baby, playing up my puppy dog eyes as much as I could for sympathy, but to no avail.stones-608373_1280Chad got me out the door for my 5K, and I must say, albeit sheepishly, I had a really nice time. The first few minutes, I told myself, “You are being good to your body. Your body is thanking you.” And after that, I was able to enjoy the rest of the run.

Chad is an awesome Valentine (not to mention an awesome husband!) because he encourages me to be the best version of me, no matter how stubborn I get (and just ask him, I can get really stubborn!). He helps me set goals for myself, even if I don’t want to at first, and helps me achieve them. I’m not really sure why I try to fight against things that are good for me, but I am sure that I am super lucky to have someone like Chad in my life. He encourages me to follow-through with things and to work to make my goals reality. I’ve witnessed him work for his dreams time and time again, like back when he ran the Kobe marathon, got his black belt in judo, or ran the Detroit marathon. And I’m not just talking about fitness goals. This guy can seriously do anything he puts his mind to. And who doesn’t want to be like that?

I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who help motivate you, inspire you and lift you up. Chad is one example in my life. Who are some examples in yours?

Happy Valentines Day loves!
xxCaitlyn

P.S. Have you ever given or received a locket as a symbol of affection? Read some interesting locket history here!

P.P.S. Did you know there’s a downside to Love Locks? Learn about it here, and enjoy the alternative ideas for showing your eternal love 😉

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On setting daily, doable goals

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It is a pretty simple idea, really. Basically, you just choose a task to focus on, and then set your timer for 25 minutes. After the timer goes off, you take a brief break before starting on your next task. Generally, you complete 4 tasks in a set, so your tasks take about 2 hours including breaks. You can add more as you like.

I only read a few articles online about the method, but it seems simple enough that I’ve got the gist. After reading a blog post talking about dealing with procrastination, I decided to make my own little Pomodoro schedule for some things I’d like to complete daily. Floral Folk

1. Exercise – Every day I want to get at least 25 minutes of exercise, in addition to what I normally get walking to and from work. This is good for body and soul 🙂  Lately I’ve been doing yoga, as I mentioned here, but I’ve also started running again.

2. Study Japanese – It has been a little frustrating to realize how much Japanese I have forgotten. I really want to become fluent, and to pass the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) in the future, so it’s time to put in a little more effort!

3. Art Journal/Zentangle/Be Creative – This could technically take up an entire 4-task set, because once I get going, I often don’t want to stop! You know I’ve been art journaling every day, and that I had been spending time zentangling as well, but I’ve really got to expand on what I make time for creatively.

4. Blog –  This one is pretty obvious, but I really want to be on here regularly because I just love interacting with all of you wonderful readers!

5. Read a book – I often get lost reading zillions of articles online, and that tends to lead me away from one of my favorite pastimes: reading books! Setting it as a task will ensure that I fit at least a little reading in each day.

Here’s what I like about these goals: They are doable, if I finish any of them before the timer goes off, there is always more within the tasks that I can learn or explore, and once I’ve finished with them, I will still have time for things I have to do (like clean, etc.). Additionally, following a schedule for these tasks will not only help me complete them daily and have a sense of achievement, but also, it will help push away distractions and procrastination. On nights we go out, there will obviously be some adjustments to the task-list, but overall, I think it’s going to be something really good for me.

What do you think? Do you have certain things you want to do every day? Or certain goals you’re working toward? Do you have any tips that work for you when it comes to avoiding distraction and procrastination?

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How I Spend My Me-Time (Tag, You’re IT!)

Me TimeToday I read a blog post–about a blog post–about me-time. Both posts invite readers to play along with a me-time questionnaire, so I’ve decided to give it a go myself!

What do you watch or read during me-time?
I tend to read a lot of articles online. I mean, a LOT. I also really enjoying reading blogs, crafty books and magazines, cookbooks and cooking magazines, and of course, BOOKS! As I mentioned before, right now I’m reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage.

What do you wear during me-time?
I could probably live in leggings. Or shorts over leggings. In the wintertime, fleece leggings.
IMG_1560Otherwise I love wearing running shorts and tank tops, hoodies, etc., and I’ve almost always got my red snuggie on when I’m lounging around the house. Oh yes! And I am rarely without slippers!
What are your me-time beauty products?
I actually don’t tend to go wild with beauty products during me-time. Once in a while I will use a face mask, like Garnier’s Skin Care Renew, or paint my toenails. I used to love the face masks in Japan–you could find tons of really inexpensive ones that worked really well and were really fun. I’ll keep you posted on some of my favorites when we get settled in next month!
Current favorite nail polish?
Unfortunately I’m not allowed to wear fingernail polish at work, but I loved this Sally Hansen Hot Tamale color in the summer, and I like this snowflake-like Blue Marks the Spot in the winter for my toesies.
What do you eat/drink during me-time?
It’s hard to really nail down a specific food for my me-time, but one of my favorite pastimes is exploring the worlds of chocolates, pastries and sweet breads.
If you know me at all, you must be able to guess that my beverage consumption tends to be almost on a daily routine: coffee in the morning, water throughout the day, and beer and/or tea at night. Favorite coffee at the moment? Probably Starbucks Christmas Blend. My favorite, favorite (favorite!) beer is Ranger from New Belgium Brewing Company. And my favorite tea? Tazo Refresh Mint or Henry & Sons Sencha.

Usually any moment I get to drink or eat anything counts as me-time, because eating and drinking are two of my favorite things.

IMG_1563
This is my favorite tea cup

Current favorite candle?
I love Bath & Body Works “Party Dress” scent (currently unavailable through their site, but you can find it on amazon!). Not only does it smell really nice, but it reminds me of when one of my best friends visited me from Japan last year (I bought it when we were shopping together!).
Do you ever have outdoor me-time?
Definitely! In the summer I love riding bike around town–especially to the library, little shops and the beach. I also enjoy running and going for walks in the summer. In the winter I go for a lot of walks (I have to, as a matter of fact, because my car was totaled about a month and a half ago. Luckily I live close to work!). I really enjoy listening to podcasts when I’m running or walking. My favorites are Dinner Party Download and Radiolab.
Would you ever go see a movie alone?
I’ve considered it, but if I were to see a movie by myself I think I’d rather just watch it at home (with my kitty cats and my snuggie).
Favorite online shop?
I don’t really do too much online shopping, but if I do I suppose it’s from amazon, and I usually order books.
What else do you do during me-time?
I do a lot of baking, cooking, writing and crafting (drawing, wood burning, painting, art journaling etc.) during my me-time.
IMG_1568I made these easy Mexican Wedding cookies yesterday and they were dangerously addicting!
I almost always am listening to music, too. I really like classical guitar music for me-time, especially when the weather is rainy. I also enjoy yoga when I’m not distracted by the million other things I want to do (I like Jillian Michael’s Yoga Meltdown). Oh yeah, and going to cafes and bookstores. And art stores. Annnnnnnnd, I think I have way too many hobbies!
Okay, TAG! It’s your turn to tell me about your me-time 🙂
xxCaitlyn
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Letting the Cat out of the Bag…

As some of you have probably heard by now, Chad and I made a very difficult decision recently. We were contacted by our former company in Japan and asked if we would be interested in starting a new campus for the school in Tokyo. With much consideration, we’ve decided to accept their offer! We have purchased our tickets, so things are feeling very official now. It is a bit scary to leave family, friends and kitty cats behind, and we know it’s going to be especially hard to go so soon (we fly out to Japan the end of December)!movingbackWe are thankful for all of the endless support everyone in Michigan has been giving us, and we are looking forward to the great opportunity ahead. I will of course continue blogging here, so don’t go disappearing on me! Lots of love to everyone ❤

More soon!
xxCaitlyn

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Art Journal

Hi, everyone! Ariel here with a short post about art journaling. If you spend any time at all with me you know I have an art journal (or four). I find having a designated place for creativity to be therapeutic; it’s a great way for me to recharge my batteries after spending time out in the world. I thought I would share a page I made recently in case anyone was curious about art journaling but wasn’t sure what was involved/how to start/what constitutes art journaling. I made a page in my journal about doing the Color Run with my husband and friend. I first gathered my supplies which were gesso and watercolors. Gesso is a primer for a page. You use it to make the page thicker and easier for things to stick to it, whether that’s paint or adhesive or what have you. It’s a little expensive but it’s worth the price if you have a journal with thin pages.  IMG_2830After painting on the gesso and allowing it to dry, I put blotches of watercolors at the top of the page and used a spray bottle filled with water to make the paint run down the page.

the blotches of paint will stay wet for a while so you can let the paint running down dry and then spray more water at the top to give more interest to the page
the blotches of paint will stay wet for a while so you can let the paint running down dry and then spray more water at the top to give more interest to the page

I sprayed water at the top of the page, letting the page dry between sprayings, until I was happy with the way everything looked. And to be totally honest, I didn’t like the top of the page with those big blotches of paint. That was okay, though, because the next thing I was going to do was put pictures from the Color Run on the page.

IMG_2833

I placed the pictures on the page in such a way as to hide what I didn’t like about the paint, namely the top and bottom. You can still see the colors and the way the blended together and that’s really what I was going for. I used photo corners to attach the pictures to the page. The only thing left to do at this point was to add some journaling about the day.

IMG_2834

Mostly I wrote that we had a great time and after the race we had an amazingly delicious breakfast at a local restaurant. And that’s it! There isn’t a whole lot going on with this page but I liked the way it turned out. It documented an experience that I will remember for a long time and allowed me to be creative.

Here’s a few links that I’ve found helpful in making an art journal:
A Beautiful Mess has an e-course that Caitlyn and I have used
Daisy Yellow has some good tips
Thistle Dew blog has monthly art journaling prompts

Also, PInterest has some really great art journaling images!

Have you ever kept an art journal?

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October: National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

Guest Author: Ariel Knapp

Good morning and happy October first! Did you know October was National Popcorn Poppin’ Month? I just found that out earlier this week when I visited this popcorn website. My family and I love popcorn! We usually have it as a snack once or twice a week. And we don’t use microwave popcorn, either. We pop it on the stove top. It’s super easy to do and you don’t have to worry about all the chemicals that get added to the microwave variety. If you’ve never popped popcorn on the stove top before here’s a quick run through of how to do it along with some topping choices that we like at my house.

First, gather the ingredients (such as they are) together:IMG_2813That’s it. All you need is oil and popcorn. Canola oil is a good neutral oil to use plus it’s good at high temperatures. Cover the bottom of a high sided pot with the oil and then pour in the popcorn. IMG_2815You want the popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan but not be overcrowded because then you get kernels that don’t pop. Cover the pot and apply medium high heat like so:IMG_2816At the same time, put a small amount of butter in another pot over low heat so it will melt and you can pour it over your popcorn.IMG_2820Pretty soon, your popcorn kernels will start popping. Turn off the heat when the time between popping sounds is about 3 seconds or so long.

my dog Barley gets very excited when we make popcorn
my dog Barley gets very excited when we make popcorn

IMG_2825This is what happens when you overfill the pot with kernels. But it’s ok because the more popcorn the better if you ask me. When the popcorn has stopped popping, transfer it to a large container and pour the melted butter all over it.IMG_2829

Most of the time, I eat my popcorn without butter but with plenty of salt and pepper. But other times we’ve put parmesan cheese on it, Italian seasoning or even these handy little seasonings.IMG_2823The most important thing when having popcorn? Making sure you have a friend to share it with.IMG_2828If you haven’t tried making popcorn at home before I hope you try it out soon. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with different flavors and toppings!