Saturday, June 29, 2013

Week 2: Channeling Bob Ross

My husband and I recently celebrated our two year wedding anniversary.  The traditional gift for this anniversary is cotton which certainly challenged both of us as gift-givers.  I went with a couple of Blackhawks t-shirts so he could support his team properly during the Stanley Cup Finals, especially when that very team won the whole thing! 

My husband out did my gift by far.  His gift to me was a beautiful picture of us dancing on our wedding day printed in black and white on a canvas AND a small blank canvas, a pack of 5 canvas sheets with adhesive backs, a set of 28 acrylic paints with paintbrushes, and an extra set of paint brushes in larger sizes.  I have long wanted to try my hand at painting (pun intended), and he gave me the perfect project for my second week of this little experiment.

The over-planner in me immediately went a little crazy.  I thought of all these different textures and elements I could add to my artwork.  I definitely went overboard.  And, I really had no idea yet if I could was capable of actually producing anything close to the picture in my head.  So I scaled back a little and decided to practice my painting technique on one of the canvas sheets before I did anything with the real canvas.

I practiced a paisley pattern in greens and blues so that I could test out the different brushes
A flower created from cutting petals out of the paisley pattern
I tested out the different brushes and my new paints by creating a paisley pattern.  It looked pretty good with just the two shades of green, but of course I couldn't leave well enough alone.  I decided to add cobalt blue to punch it up a bit. 

I wasn't really happy with the way the pattern turned out with the blue, so I decided to take it even further and create something else entirely.   By cutting out petals and a center from the paisley pattern, I came up with a pretty decent flower.  I have considered creating a few more and framing them together as my first real piece of artwork.

Now that I have practiced my technique a bit, I feel ready to take on my next project--a tree outline with an excerpt from "i carry your heart with me" by E E Cummings.  My husband and I read this beautiful poem at our wedding.  

Pictures to come.

COMING UP... Week 3: Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

UPDATE:  Here is the tree painting.  It took me many, many hours to produce this and I am still not quite happy with it...

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Week 1: Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds!

I recently watched a documentary called Hungry for a Change about how horrible our over-processed, chemically-altered, hormone-ridden food is for us.  Of course no one would argue with that fact, but sometimes it can be difficult (and expensive) to completely cut it out, to go organic, to incorporate some obscure wonder food into our everyday diets.

But, we have to start somewhere.  So my first foray into this 52-week experiment is: chia seeds.

According to the documentary, chia seeds help the body get rid of toxins.  Additionally, WebMD explains that chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber.  People have added chia seeds to their diets to help with diabetes and reduce risk of stroke and heart disease.

I was a little skeptical about these seeds because of the whole chia pet thing and the fact that they become gelatinous when liquid is added.  But, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

I started with a bowl of plain oatmeal
Added a tablespoon of whole chia seeds
Added some milk
Added some brown sugar and cinnamon
And, this is the finished product.

It actually wasn't too bad.  I was correct to think that the texture would go well with oatmeal.  The chia seeds were kind of like a tapioca texture, and they don't have a flavor at all.  The package says to add them to water during a workout to help stay hydrated.  And, I read that some people add them to lemonade.  I could see myself incorporating them in my smoothies for that extra boost of omegas and fiber.

I'll chalk week one up to a success!

COMING UP...  Week 2: Channeling Bob Ross

UPDATE:  I added chia seeds to this morning's smoothie (frozen peaches, peach mango juice, vanilla yogurt, whey protein, dash of homemade vanilla extract & ice) and even my husband drank a glass!  Double success!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Challenge Accepted!

Hello, my name is Brit.  I am a nondescript, married, twenty-something Midwestern woman who works in banking and is nearly finished with grad school.

I have no sense
of who I am
of those

My husband loves hockey, plays in a dart league, and even brews his own beer.

And I have...
well, there's...


I swear I used to be a lot more interesting than this.  I used to be passionate about literature and writing and music.  Somewhere along the way I lost that passion.  I lost my individuality, my sense of who I am outside of work and school and my relationships.

After a great deal of moping around, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and finally came up with a solution:

Once per week for the next year, I will push myself to try something outside of my comfort-zone and report back on both my successes and my failures.  The goal is to find my way back to me and to hopefully grow a little bit along the way. 

COMING UP... Week 1: Ch-ch-ch-chia seeds