My Watercolor Supplies.

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This isn't everything, I obviously forgot my paper!  Probably because the day I sketched this I really did forget my paper (whole pad was in my scanner), but my friend Christie met up with me and spotted me a sheet of soft press.

Here is what I bring everywhere so I can paint on the go....or even just downstairs instead of being stationary at my watercolor desk.  Doesn't happen that often right now with a 3 year old and a 5 month old.  Need to be mobile!

  1. My pencil pouch - got it from Urban Outfitters years ago.  Holds my pens, mechanical pencils (.03), long click eraser, brush pens, iPad/iPhone stylus, lead refills and cough drops.
  2. Herschel backpack - I. Love. This. Backpack.  It's so cute and functional.  I almost bought a Kanken one but it has no padding or real structure with my stuff in it.  There is a separate compartment for a laptop but I put my iPad in there, books and sketchpad.
  3. Assorted brushes - I love DaVinci and Sceptre Gold.  Prefer natural hair vs. synthetic.  My brushes range from 00 (super tiny) to 8.  I work teeny tiny so small brushes are my jam.
  4. I have a travel watercolor paint case with a mix of tube paints inside.  I love Winsor Newton professional, Holbein and when I run out of these I think I will try to get my hands on Schminke.  Can't justify buying a set right now...but it is very tempting.  Next month is my birthday month after all.  I am hopeless.
  5. A rubber portable cup for my water  - It folds up and it's amazing
  6. Paper towels - I don't take the whole roll, just about 5 or so sheets.  They are a life saver for mopping up mistakes, drying my brush and adding effects.
  7. Paper (not pictured) - I love pads and cold press (some texture) is what I use, soft press (light texture) and hot press (no texture) are turning into my favorites though.  Fabriano is my number 1 choice.

Seeing the supplies of others is a guilty pleasure of mine so I thought I would share some of mine.  Here's a list of more of my favorite supplies and resources.

Have a great weekend!

Konmari.

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I am obsessed with the Konmari method and I've seen great results so far by following the book. One thing I've been working on within myself for awhile now is organization. Being a tidy person has always been a struggle for me. I think it was more rebellion when I was growing up and living at home. The rest of the house was put away but when it came to my room, that was my identity, my own little world that I could leave how I wanted so I usually opted for untidy. When I moved out this continued and I was too busy being my twenty-something self going to school full-time and work full-time so my car and home were filled with papers, water bottles, etc. When I had free time I was out partying, not tidying up my spot, no way!

Raul and I started dating and then that trumped everything as well, I am a clean person, don't get me wrong. The clutter piles would just always come back because I didn't want to make the decisions and actually deal with the item. I either left it for later or kept it stored for whatever reason. Now fast forward to two kids later and wanting to time manage, I don't want to spend my time reconciling piles of any kind. The worst thing ever is to have the weekend arrive and we are spending the whole weekend cleaning up the house from top to bottom. No thanks.

I highly recommend getting the Konmari book and following the steps if you have come to a point where you just have too much stuff and you need to know how to pare it down. It's a journey but you see quick results. Marie Kondo sets the expectation of 6 months but it doesn't take long at all to feel a difference.

Let me know your thoughts and if you have the same struggles too.

Organization Tips Part 2

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Hey there.  Time for Part 2 of my lessons learned organization tips.

  • Mail Station – We used to have a pile of mail and that turned into a pile of mail for me and another pile for my husband.  Then if we weren’t able to get through our little piles and we picked up more mail, there was another unsorted pile for each of us.  It was a mess.  So I bought this vertical file from the Container Store and we have the following folders:
    • Incoming – rarely use but it comes in handy when there is a stray pile and you just want to get it off the counter
    • Outgoing – rare again, I like to act on whatever needs to go out as soon as I get it.  Or it gets taken directly to the car or my purse so I have it on me to mail when I’m out and about.  We only have one place that needs a check, everything else is auto-pay baby!
    • Stamps/Labels – lifesaver, they are all in one place and easy to find
    • One folder for each of us, even the kiddo - perfect so we each handle our own mail.  Addy's wellness check paperwork and other things go in there and then we go through the folder together.
    • To File - Remnants of our mail that needs to be filed and we don't have time right that second.  Usually I just like to put those items where they need to go so it doesn't pile up at all.  I am a pile killer in training.
    • To Pay - rare again, just use this as a home just in case.
  • “Everything is impossible until it is done” – Nelson Mandela. - This is my favorite quote at the moment.  I am turning into a project manager extraordinaire and I am tackling everything as such.  One of the things I hate is working all week and then cleaning up all weekend.  No thank you.  So everything is tackled in bite size chunks and manageable pieces.  If I have a free moment to clear out the sink of dishes and put away the clean ones, just take the time out and do it.  If I keep this up through out the week, when it is time for the weekend it is 85% chill time and that is key to recharge and get some rest.
  • Meal Plan first, grocery shop second - Both of us don’t like the “What’s for dinner?” question so we figure it out ahead of time and go from there during the week.  Salmon is a given so one day is taken care of, we have a Trader Joe’s (yes!) and we’ll get frozen meatballs, marinara and angel hair pasta for another easy meal. So on and so on.  Has worked wonders.

I have an iPhone and I am a sucker for a good app.

  • Mint is AMAZING.  I tried the budget method of different folders and loads of cash, didn’t work.  But this app is the best, you just plug in your accounts and set up budgets.  Then you maintain categories for everything, it lines up with your budgets and you can let this beautiful interface show you trends, savings, etc.  It is wonderful!
  • Wunderlist – I can make my own lists, which I only do right on the fly, like a mall trip or an art store trip when I inevitably forgot to buy Cerulean blue watercolor paint.  Always happens.  Or you can make team lists where 2 or more people can read/write to a list.  We use it for grocery shopping so we can “watch” the other person shop and quickly add something to the list we might have forgotten.  It’s so futuristic, love it.

Organization Tips Part 1

I've mentioned before that organizing doesn't come easy to me.  It is not natural, always a work in progress over here.  This is a little long so I broke it into two parts.  I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

  • Put it back – I’m getting better about having a place for everything and when I’m done, I put it back.
  • Like with Like – I am grouping things together like a mad woman.  All hair stuff in one drawer.  All lotions, body butters and bath stuff in another drawer, etc.  All baking stuff in one drawer, all of the rare cooking utensils in one drawer and so on. This makes such a difference in efficiency for me and other helpers in the kitchen that aren’t even familiar with ours.
  • Using lazy susans in the cupboards for spices and alphabetizing them.  Could sound crazy to some but it helps a. lot.
  • Clearing off and wiping down the bathroom counters every night
  • Having as much as you can containerized.  In my purse and extra bag I have all of my on the go art supplies in a zip pouch, on the go beauty items in a zip pouch, etc.  Pouches are perfect for grabbing and taking to meetings, love.  In my extra bag I carry another zip pouch (I know) with more beauty stuff, my sketchbook, iPad, agenda etc.
  • Mani/PediBox- I use a hobby box from the Container Store that is actually for crafts but works perfectly for everything needed when painting your toesies.

What works for you?  Let me know, I could talk about this stuff all day.

Girl Crush - Kate Spade.

Kate Spade Rose Agenda 2014

Kate Spade Rose Agenda 2014

In my ongoing quest for getting everything in order, I bought an agenda.  A real, tangible, velvety separators, college ruled and beautiful script filled rose Kate Spade 2014 planner.  It took me a good 20 minutes before I could write in it.  I was frozen just like I am with sketchbooks.

So so pretty.  I have resolved to have one spot for all of my plans, to dos, thoughts, "mind flies", etc and this is it.  I tried the digital thing and it only took me so far but I can already tell that this planner routine looks promising.  Before I made the plunge I researched how to even use one and I found this excellent article which was originally about kids using planners but then there was a link that gave some back story/help so us adults can get familiar with the idea first.

Man, it is just so pretty.  My girlie side is showing.

It's all a blur.

Hi, it has been forever and a day.  November and December are both a blur.  January is time to sit down and take in everything that happened.  The trip to Vancouver was so much fun!  I miss Tom Horton's Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate and how everything was covered in moss.  I have a new realization about how much I love the sun.  We were there for seven days and for six of them there was no sun.  Just clouds and me getting frustrated with getting the correct exposure so I could really capture the trip.  But then I got some perspective and just enjoyed the company and cherished the memories in my mind.  I'm working on my photography workflow + Lightroom so I'll have some Vancouver trip photos up soon.  My little 19-month-old girl has a site of her photos over here.

2013 was a good year overall, can't complain much.  My main goal was to get better with organization and I think I accomplished it.  I learned that organization has a learning curve and I had to just stop and think about how I want to spend my time.  Major things that have been working for us is having a mail center in the kitchen.  It's a vertical filing bin that has a folder for each of us and our mail gets sorted and put in the folders so they stick out.  Then we know those items are unread.  We both handle our own mail and any junk is immediately shredded/tossed.

Next was finishing up organizing the kitchen.  Last year on New Year's Eve, I was organizing the pantry.  I couldn't stand it a second longer so I took everything out, put it in piles of baking, grains, snacks, etc and piled it all back in...neatly.  For the most part we have maintained it so I'm pretty proud about that.  So over the year we kept putting like with like.  IE. The drawer on the left of the stove is all baking utensils.  The bowls and pans are in the lazy susan to the lower left.  All of the tea, coffee and baking cocoa stuff is in the upper left cupboard above the stove, etc.  This has helped out with cooking and baking SO much.  No more sifting through a drawer full of cooking utensils.  At least we have a starting point now, which I love.

For this year my goals are the following:

  • to focus - less time shopping, window shopping, etc and more time focusing on true goals and relationships
  • photograph - shoot but commit more to taking photos and culling them - be cutthroat
  • food - even better choices, eat out less and cook more
  • fitness - even more exercise, amp it up
  • fun - I think the ratio of work to play was a little higher with work last year and this year I want to have more fun.  Be it with reading, exploring, traveling, etc

Lots of goals but why not?  For focus, I am starting today with focusing on hand lettering.  The word on Illustration Friday was "reflect" so I used that.

I'm excited for this year, I am every year.  What are your plans for this year versus last year?

Organization - His & Hers Office/Studio

Making more progress with everything having a place, organized and designed.  The last room to tackle was Raul's office.  In the midst of getting other projects done, this room ended up being the parking lot for lost items.  Items we weren't ready to deal with at the time. We could just close the door when a curious crawling baby, now walking toddler would want to check that room out.  When I took the class on Skillshare, I knew this would be my homework assignment.  As a side note, now I completely understand why "Before" shots (bottom of page) look so bad in the first place.  I know that for me, when I was finally ready to just spend a day on this room, I wanted to get in there and start.  The photos were taken haphazardly because: 1) I didn't want this documented and 2) I was ready for change and photos just delay the process.

I am so happy with both rooms.  We still have a mini pile but at least it is MINI.  :)  Only have so many hours in the day.  Here are the sad, sad before shots.  But it's all in the past!

I also made a few more tweaks to my office styling and just today I bought a little 4 inch golden pothos plant to add some life to my area.

I'm trying to slowly end the ban we have on plants and introduce more into our home instead of just succulents.  We're getting there.   Now it's time to go watch Homeland.  Gnite.

Organization - Office and Entry Closet

I have already shared here that organization does not come naturally to me.  I was working on it while Raul and I dated, then he moved from his condo into my condo and we had all of this stuff to merge with no storage besides closets.  Then we moved into our first home together about three years ago and making improvements to the home itself did not run parallel with organizing.  We wanted to make our home into a home bit by bit.  Trying to find things we really loved instead of just filling it up.  And there is the part about us being tired from all of the improvements too.  Oh and add to that a baby and everyone said to "let that stuff go and just be with your baby girl".  And we did.  Now Addy is 16 months old and we can focus more on making our home into our dream home.

So fast forward to present day and you will find me pinning awesomely designed rooms and following organizational blogs.  It's helping and I'm excited about the results.

Operation Office - So I don't know if you know but there is this place called SkillShare.  It is an awesome place where professionals share their skills by offering small classes from $19 to $30 on whatever skill is their expertise.  There are classes about digital illustration, photography with iPhones, painting and more.  One of the classes I signed up for was "Interior Styling: Style Your Place Like a Pro".  Now I am obsessed with Justina Blakeney and couldn't stop looking at her beautiful site full of beautiful designs this weekend.  This class was not easy and there were some projects I could not do.  In this stage of life styling a coffee table isn't going to happen plus I think it is too stuffy with what we have going on all around the coffee table area.  Right now this piece of furniture is pushed across the room anyway.

I swear I did not do the Take-A-Crappy-Before-Picture-To-Make-The-After-Picture-Look-Better thing.  I took the pic early in the weekend, we had not installed our new blinds yet, I was just determined to get this project done already.  Also, the piles of books in the before pic is also a result of a little curious toddler who doesn't give up.  So just like a flood, keep moving things up higher and higher and this is what you get.  To get from A to B took a lot of staring, grumbling but even though my books aren't together by subject like before, they are easier to find this way.

Now I can see my desk and might actually get some painting done.

I also re-did my arrangement above my other set of drawers.

Operation Entry Closet - We have been battling a growing pile of stuff (shoes, diaper change stuff, the vacuum, etc ) that was piling up at the bottom of our entry closet.  I found a solution at the Container Store (I am a convert and love this place now).  The Platinum elfa Mesh Start-A-Stack works like a dream.  The top drawer holds everything for Addy (her diapers, diaper cream, shoes, etc).  The other drawers are for my shoes/flip flops and Raul's shoes/flip flops.  Just enough room on the side for the vacuum to still live in there too.

Two areas done!  Hoo-rah!

Hello September.

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Can you believe it is September?  I can't.  Updates here came to a hault because so many other things have taken a front seat.  Spending time with Addison, only her second summer ever which is much different than when she was only 2-5 months old.  Loving running around with her, watering plants, going to events, etc.  Then there are the home to do items like working on our deck, refinishing the garage (putting epoxy down, getting shelves) and adding more to our backyard.  We planted nothing but perennials and the yellow purple combination is so nice!  We have cloreopsis, a vibrant purple butterfly bush for bees and butterflies, some penstemons to hopefully attract hummingbirds, a yellow trumpet vine that should look gorgeous when it blooms next year, russian sage and some really pretty whiteish lightpinkish petals.  I can't remember the name right now.  Also, this month was my birthday!  Flipped another digit.

Lots of change at the same time, trying to juggle and enjoy.  Carve out the life I want for me and my family and that process isn't always an easy and clear-cut one.

I've missed you and in order to get more organized and get things done; managing cleaning this home, the projects up above, painting, putting more paintings in my etsy shop, exercising, posting here, I am putting everything on a Google calendar.  I also use Wunderlist which is an excellent app for sharing lists/projects.  So far that is working the best for grocery shopping with Raul and I.  Do you have any tips for organizing your dreams and household?  I absolutely love crossing items off of lists.  Best thing ever.

Oh and did you do anything amazing this summer?  The highlight of my summer was going to Sante Fe. Now it is the place where I took a photojournalism road-trip in college, got engaged  and went on road-trip with my parents/lil family.  Love.

Do Over

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mama y bebe

Happy New Year!  Since January was a wash for me, I am declaring a new New Year, right now.

I have fantastic news to share and it happened toward the end of last year.  My watercolor birdies are being used in the packing for a mother and baby products line in Chile.  :)  I think the end result looks beautiful, Carmen at Leon Del Monte did a wonderful job!

One thing I did manage to get done in January was to re-open my shop on Etsy, three new prints have been listed (Sweater Whales, Cool Cats and Slouchy Bird).

Since most of the house is organized and under control (ha ha), I 've been focusing on getting things organized digitally:

Feedly - working well for checking up on favorite illustration sites, beauty gurus, you name it.

Inbox Zero - the number of emails in my inbox is embarassing and crazypants so I am becoming a little ninja and anhilating them one by one.

sunset

Here's a sunset shot from December I wanted to share.

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kale chips

Thanks to Michelle Kondrich and her kale chips recipe, I was able to try them out.  Not bad for my first go but it still tasted very kale-y.  I'll try again though, Raul liked them too.

Kale Chips

Take one bunch of kale, tear all the leaves away from the stems.  Try to keep them on the small-ish side.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle with olive oil (go by instinct the more you make it), toss, then add salt and toss. Bake for 5-6 minutes, take it out and shake it around or use a spatula to flip it over and stir it around.  Bake another 5 minutes.  When you do it the first few times, keep a fairly close eye on it.  The best is when it's mostly crispy but still greenish.

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green lemonade

I made some of my Green Lemonade to go with the chips, delicious!

Green Lemonade

3 fuji or pink lady apples 5-6 stalks of kale 1/2 lemon 1 head of romaine bit of fresh ginger (to taste)

I cut out the apple cores and get rid of the seeds in the lemon. Toss all ingredients in a juicer and you're good to go.

bird visitors

We have no trees in our backyard and the deck has stairs so all the nature action is on ground level.  Found a beautiful bird feeder and this little couple has claimed it as their own already.

This post was random and all over the place but this is how January left me. Feel like I'm playing catch up.  Blowing the dust off of my goals and going at them full force again.