Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wishes for the New Year

Happy New Year's Eve!

As 2010 approaches, I took some time last night to write out what I hope to accomplish in the new year. Although I was tempted to jot down resolutions like "Lose weight," "Eat healthier," and "Sleep more," I decided to take a different approach and jot down things that were tangible in mind-- little mile markers in my search for artistic expression and happiness as a human being.

I'm sure there are some things missing from this list, but I find that exhaustive lists can be self defeating, so here's to hoping that 2010 is all that I wish for it to be and more. Cheers!

2010 New Year's Resolutions
"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors,
and let each new year find you a better man."
- Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 28

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

We have so many things to be thankful for this year - but I think most of all, to have a Christmas where Jeanine is cancer-free - it's more than any of us could have ever wished for Christmas and for the New Year. Happy holidays indeed.

Week 28

Week 28

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Year Gone By

I turned 31 this year... 31... Good ol' 3-1... The big 31-rino. (I think I went too far with that last one.)

It was a good year, and I had an excellent birthday because of all of the well wishes I received from my family and friends. But I plan on setting my sights higher in 2010 so that I can give 31 a good send off. Are you with me?

31 Baby!

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.
We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."

- Samuel Ullman

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Words to Live By: Weeks 26 & 27

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

An empty supply of 5x7 canvases at Michaels has kept me from updating this in a while. Luckily, I found a stash in Durham for sale, so all is well in the universe.

Jeanine had a busy week last week, visiting schools and slowly getting back into the swing of her job. She still has to take it slow, but I know it must be nice for her to be visiting schools again. She is such a phenomenal educator and adviser.

Week 26

Week 26
After Christmas, Jeanine's sister, Kristie, is coming down for a visit. The bond they have is undeniable. She has really been there for Jeanine throughout her ordeal with breast cancer, and I know Jeanine treasures her as a sister and as a friend.

Week 27

Week 27

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Getting Crafty with My Bad Self

Every year since we've married, Jason and I have been designing our own holiday cards. The first year, we were quite ambitious and made two designs: one for friends and family, and the other for nieces, nephews, and god children. The first was a portrait of us as figure skaters, and the latter one was of Jason getting into shenanigans in the Christmas tree.

Patten Christmas 2007 Design

Patten Christmas 2007 Design

2007 Designs

Last year, we opted to do one design - a simple ode to one of my favorite Christmas movies.

Patten Christmas 2008

2008 Design

This year, we decided to reflect the main source of our pride and joy - Jason's totally awesome mustache (however, if you ask the boy about it, I'm sure he'll be singing a different tune). If you don't know the story behind the infamous 'stache, you can read it here. Every day, Jason threatens to shave it off, but, so far, my "I didn't marry a man who breaks his promises" seems to be working. (In case you were wondering, the dear boy has until June 14, 2010 to keep the mustache, so mark your calendars.)

Patten Christmas 2009

2009 Design

One of things I like doing most during this time of year is making gifts for people. Sure, I love to shop as much as the next gal, but sometimes you just want to create a gift that says, "Hey, I cared enough to put my own sweat equity into this for you. Enjoy!" I think that's why we enjoy designing our own holiday cards so much. It's like giving a little bit of ourselves for Christmas.

This year, I was inspired once again by the 'stache to create these unique gloves for my girls at work. I bought fleece gloves at Old Navy and sewed my own felt mustaches to the index fingers on each glove. (Tip: Slide a wooden popsicle stick into the index finger to keep from pricking yourself with the needle. Works like a charm!) I liked the results so much, I even made myself a pair!

Mustache Gloves!Yes?

Ah, we meet again!

I also had enough felt left over to make these sweet flower pins. They were so easy and fun to make, that I, again, made one for myself. Note the diva-like quality of my pin.

Flower Pins in ProgressFlower Pin ConstructionFlower Pin Construction 3Special Flower PinsMy Flower Pin

Flower Power

I hope the holidays bring you all great joy and happiness and many opportunities for creative blessings. <3 Diana

Sporting My MK Scarf

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present,
hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow
with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."
-Angnes M. Pharo

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

R.I.P. Journal

Today was our official last day of the Wreck This Journal meeting group.

Kerri Smith's Wreck This Journal Project

Although it didn't go as I had imagined, I can say that a lot of good things came out of the group:
  1. I discovered that I wasn't the only one who was yearning for a creative outlet. A lot of people shared that the meeting group was a good way to channel that energy.
  2. It was a great environment for sharing not only the assignments presented in the journal but also our own ideas for creative projects. We participated in a Photo Challenge and dabbled in Japanese calligraphy and created song lyric posters.
  3. Without the group, I don't think the company art show would have been as successful as it was. Everyone's input really contributed to its success.
  4. The journal really gave us a great excuse to do things we normally wouldn't do in a journal like set pages on fire, smudge pages with dirt, or vandalize pages to our heart's content.
BurnFingerprintsScratchCirclesGood ThoughtsPosterDoodleSpillChain

Where do we go from here? Well, we discussed continuing the meeting group but under a different pretense. Instead of letting the journal be our creative guide, we would start fresh and allow people to take turns leading the meetings. People would get the opportunity to lead the group into different creative endeavors. Here's what we brainstormed so far:
  1. Create "Green" Projects - Each challenge would be centered around trying to create something useful out of something we would normally just throw away (like pantyhose, plastic curtain containers, toilet paper rolls, shower curtain rings, egg cartons, plastic jugs, and shoulder pads).
  2. Continue doing other projects like Japanese calligraphy and introduce new projects like Celtic lettering.
  3. Participate in something similar to 1,000 words where members bring in photographs and other members accept the challenge of writing story consisting of exactly 1,000 words to go with it.
  4. Develop a book of Jim-isms (in honor of the always entertaining JP).
I think it's going to be an exciting follow-up to the journal. Hip-hip-hooray for creative vision.


"I fall back on this journal just as some other poor devil takes to drink."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 25

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

With the success of her surgery behind her, Jeanine is taking it easy and healing before her radiation treatments start. This week she's been celebrating by buying new pieces for her wardrobe, purchasing items that she was never able to wear before. I can already sense that our future shopping trips together are going to include many v-neck shirts and blouses. Yay!

Week 25
Week 25

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 24

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

Almost forgot to tell you... Jeanine's surgery was a SUCCESS! They didn't report the results on Tuesday as they had promised, but the very next day, the doctor called to tell Jeanine that the lumpectomy results were negative. Take that, cancer!

Week 24
Week 24

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

This year was the second year Jason and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our home. I usually take a week off of work just to prepare. That means cleaning my house from top to bottom, researching Thanksgiving recipes on the Food Network channel, and buying yummy food at great prices for more than a dozen hungry relatives. Although a lot of work goes into the event, one of the traditions our family has started has been creating the Tree of Thanks.

Our Tree of Thanks

The Tree of Thanks

Last year, I created the first Tree of Thanks, and this year, I asked my sister, Barbara, to create the second Tree of Thanks.

Barbara Making Leaves...

Barbara preparing the leaves for the Tree of Thanks

Decorative Leaves

The assorted leaves

As our family arrives for Thanksgiving dinner, you will find in our home the Tree of Thanks posted on the back of the front door. As the meal is being prepared, guests are asked to fill out an empty leaf and share what they are thankful for that year.

Joyce Filling Out Her Leaf...

Joyce filling out a leaf

Jake, Jack, and Emily

Jake, Jack, and Emily reading the Tree of Thanks

As you can see, we have A LOT for which to be thankful. This has not been the easiest year for our family. We lost many loved ones this year as well as faced many personal and difficult challenges. But in the end, we have each other. What more could a girl ask for?

Tree of Thanks

"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 23

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

Jeanine came out of surgery with the cancer removed and new bosoms to boot. We are all waiting and praying that the analysis of the lumpectomy comes back negative on Tuesday. Please keep her in your thoughts as she embarks on her next phase of recovery - radiation.

Week 23

Week 23

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Butterflies and Such

Hubby's status on Facebook today? "Jason is glad he has someone in his life who helps him defy gravity." Sometimes the boy surprises me... and I like it.

Young Victoria

Quote above: "Love is the condition in which happiness
of another person is essential to your own."
- Robert Heinlein

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flowers for Angela

Quotes seem to dominate a lot of my work. I am drawn to them and like to incorporate them into the pieces I create. I also use them at the end of each blog post as a way of reinforcing what I may have failed to say in my own words. Many of them are as beautiful and as thought provoking as art for me.

I Appreciate You

My obsession with quotes began in high school when I used to keep a journal of them tucked away in my bookbag like secret treasures. The first quote I ever recorded was from the movie Heathers. For some reason, when the character, Veronica Sawyer said, "This isn't just a spoke in my menstrual cycle," it struck a chord with me. Go figure.

You Are the Embodiment of Strength

But now, instead of keeping quotes to myself, I like to give them away and share them with others closest to me. If I could grow each one into a beautiful flower, I'd give them away as bouquets.

I Am in Awe of Your Beauty

"It is not so much the content of what one says
as the way in which one says it.
However important the thing you say,
what's the good of it if not heard or, being heard, not felt?"
- Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 22

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

This particular gem really stood out for me this week. Jeanine is a modern marvel, going through the things she's going through, and, yet, I know her. The miracle that she exists and that destiny had her cross my path is amazing to me. She is amazing to me.

Week 22
Week 22

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Start Your Engines!

Yesterday, we had our company's second annual pinewood derby race. Alfonso finally managed to finish his car the day before the race, and I was also able to assemble a proper driver for my land speeder. We both felt pretty good about the entries we'd prepared for the race.

Second Annual Pinewood Derby RaceMe and My Car

Yoda and the Land Speeder

Alfonso's Final ProductAlfonso and the Mach Five

Behold the Speedracer Mach Five

I had to hoped to race my car on the day of the derby, but, alas, the car was too heavy and didn't meet racing regulations. I had to settle for entering it into the Best in Show category. And boy, did I have some stiff competition! Look for yourself...

Needless to say, I did not win. However, I did have someone ask if she could have my car to give to her nephew as a Christmas gift. How could I deny a child the fruits of my labor? I'm sure he'll appreciate the craftsmanship. Amanda was also kind enough to donate her Sponge Bob car to the same person's niece. We were promised cute pictures of the children enjoying their new toys. It's only fair.

Sponge Bob Square Pants EntryAmanda and Her Masterpiece

Our Cars Spread Joy to Children... Kind of Like Santa

Prior to last year, I had never made a pinewood derby car. It was never a part of my childhood experience, but I guess it's never too late to do childish things and to take part in youthful endeavors.

Still Winners

"It is never too late to have a happy childhood."
- Tom Robbins

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Handmade and Well-Made in Raleigh

Yesterday, I attended the Handmade Market in Raleigh. It's the second time I have attended the event, but this time, I brought along a friend.

The Handmade Market in Raleigh

Slogan - "Because mall is a four-letter word." Brilliant.

Ready to Shop!

Me and Amanda

The venue was equally packed with amazing vendors as well as potential shoppers. It was kind of a madhouse as dozens of shoppers moved about the seemingly large space. I was excited to peruse each vendor, but I felt rushed as other shoppers brushed and bumped against me. I ended up purchasing some yummy biscotti for Jason since he's recently started drinking coffee again. It must be the mustache.

The event also had savory fall treats for sale right outside of the venue. After an hour of shopping, I couldn't resist the sweet smell, so I ordered myself a hot chocolate and a cranberry oatmeal cookie. I deserved it, right?


More Treats!

So worth the extra calories...

After the market, Amanda and I had lunch and then stumbled upon this shop. I couldn't resist the peculiar pets they had. You know me. I have an affinity for the quirky and odd, so I adopted a pet of my own.

At the end of the day, this is what I scored:

What I Scored That Day

Being surrounded by so many artists on their own and it doing it their way was really inspiring. I wish all fall days could be spent like this.

Gotta Love Fall

"Whoever said money can't buy happiness
simply didn't know where to go shopping."
- Bo Derek


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