I'm sorry I'm posting something a little late here, but it was on time there. There, being the Idaho Women's Journal where I will post a few articles in their family life section. The Article is Fortune Cookies & Freedom. It's late because Friday was National Fortune Cookie Day but not so late that you can't use it on other days. (You'll have to head on over to get the idea and download.) It's just a way for you to tell someone it's your good fortune to know them.
Okay, yesterday I left a little teaser here, though it didn't start out that way. It was just that after having a little introspective moment I realized I had gone on so long already that I didn't want to go on even more and I really had one more day that I could work with. So the unintended teaser.
Here's what I really wanted to say yesterday, "In 50 days I'm turning 50!" (Though yesterday would have been 51 days but let's not get sidetracked again.) Starting today, I'm going to celebrate for the next 50 days. Well, let me revise that, we're going to celebrate for the next 50 days. That's if you want to join me.
The best birthday present for me is to be able to be creative. Something artsy. That's all. Soooooo....... here's what we're going to do. I'm going to post a portrait a day (except Sunday), for 50 days starting today, from one of your photos. Ambitious right. Okay, crazy. Like I said yesterday, maybe one challenge.
I did this one time a few years back (here) - where I had people send in an image and painted a portrait. That's the portrait I did above. I had fun with it so I thought I'd do that again, just on a much bigger scale. Because 50 is big!
Here's the how-tos and what-fors -
• I don't have to know you. Have met you. Agree with you. Or even like you
for you to post a photo
• Send a headshot that's not blurry
• The photo has to be of you or you have to be a parent/guardian if a minor
• I don't know yet how I'm going to pick the images I use
• I'm going to interpret your image whatever way the creative muse says to
• I might not use your photo or I may use it sometime in the days following your
• If I use your photo, you don't get the artwork
• You do get a high res jpeg for personal use, your compensation
• By sending in your image you give me permission to use your image any way
I want and to reproduce it
• I make no promises about anything
• I have no idea how this is going to turn out
There are 2 things you have to do to be considered -
#1 Upload an image to Shannon's Studio FB page, here
#2 Leave your email in a private message on FB or my website
#3 Optional - Leave a thought about birthdays, turning 50 or
whatever you think of
#4 Optional - It would be nice if you 'like' the recent
Shannon's Studio FB I've opened up
(I'm switching over from the Shannon Christensen Fine Art FB page)
Since it's a celebration this will all be fun and flexible. So? Are you in? I'll know if you upload a photo.
I'm going to turn 50 in Aug. It seems like a milestone to me. Something that should be celebrated, in a bigger way. I have a Provo friend who celebrates her birthday all month long. Every year. (You know who you are.) I love that she does that even though I've never been inclined myself to carry it out that long. Until this year. Until 50.
Fifty is just different. It seems like a transition. And permission. And...
Okay, I'm back. I went and looked for a word to best describe the feeling I was trying to convey. And I found it --- concordant. I've never used that word concordant in my life. No time like the present, since it fits. I feel like fifty is coming into agreement, harmony - concordant. Or concordance. Or concord. Whichever. Whatever, it feels like it's the long process of the coming together to contentment.
I'm content with where I am. Not the content that wants to sit and slide. Not the content that doesn't want improvement or see the need for it. Not the kind that doesn't want a challenge or two. (Okay, maybe only one.) But the kind that recognizes and respects goodwill, harmony, friendship, love, because of pain, contention, loneliness, and heartbreak. In the little scheme of things it's like a personal peace treaty.
But, this really wasn't what I was going to talk about. At least not in such depth. What I wanted to say was that I've been thinking about this for a while and I've come up with a way that I want to celebrate turning 50. But, this has taken up too much space already so I will tell you how tomorrow.
The other day one of my daughters informed me that she had a birthday party to go to. Of course she let me know at the last minute and we were scrambling for a gift. I went back to my original idea of the Hospital Contraband Kit and decided to see what I could do to quickly revise it. With a few changes this is what I came up with.
I printed the new insert and she folded and filled it. What a life saver!! I'm beginning to really like these kits. Made my life a little easier when my kid was trying to make it harder. Here are the contents she put inside.
Here's a download with the name space left blank. I've added a few direction with the measurements so that you can print it off with your own name if you want. Hope the idea comes in as handy for you as it has me.
I have finally finished (see my New Year's Resolution) one of my Celebration Suitcase projects. It's a suitcase that holds decorations for a party - anytime, anywhere, for any reason. This one is themed "Old School" and I show 3 ways it can be set up. I've created an ebook that shows what's inside and how to use it. It's for sale for $3 here. (I have to support my habit somehow.)
I also show some DIY info so you can see how I did it and then do your own. I was so excited with this idea of stage lights on the inside of the lid. Plug it in and they light up. (I have more creative ideas in the works too.)
My kids thought it was fun when we used it one night for Family Night. Love to celebrate!!!
How would you use the Celebration Suitcase?
Okay, I have this little secret obsession that the Boyfriend doesn't even know about. Not yet. But now I'm going to let you in on it. I want a celebration wagon. I want a party on wheels. I want a caravan. Caravan as in "f course not just any caravan. But one that looks like this one.
Or this one.
Or this one.
Or this one.
Or even this one.
Yeah, this works too.
A celebration wagon. I've wanted one for a while but I haven't had the nerve to break it to the Boyfriend because it's a project that would involve him. I've gotten him into tons of my if-a-things-worth-doing-it's-worth-over-doing activities and I was trying to see how I could manage it without him. But I can't. So he has to know.
You have to see some of the interiors. Singular. Sensational. Spectacular. Play the slide show.
Okay, just a few more.
One day I might be able to say, "Welcome to my caravan porch."
If these don't scream CELEBRATE to you, I don't know what will.
PS - If anyone's sitting on a little trailer that they want to get rid of, let me know.
Parade Float conception and construction is not usually what people do in their spare time. Welcome to the unusual life. Here's a float our youth group did for the parade this summer. We had about a month to do it from start to finish. I think the longest part was trying to come up with something that 1) had a message, 2) that many people could be involved with and work on, and 3) that stay within a very small budget. It took us about 10 - 12 hours of group construction. And a few more from me.
Our Construction Team did a great job! The young women are a natural at this sort of thing but the young men even got their creative sides to show up and did a lot of things they don't normally do. And everyone was laughing, smiling, and having fun with one another. Bonus!
I've kept my mad-float-building skills to myself and didn't volunteer for this project. Things just seem to find me. Like the float another group I was a part of did 12 years ago. It was a bit bigger with more people involved. But, I learned a lot constructing... guts for all the animals - saws, screw guns, wood, chicken wire, pulleys and paper mache on a LARGE scale. Also, there was animation - giraffe's swiveled, jaws opened up, and elephants sprayed water on the crowd. It was a great learning experience for me. Things tend to run in my family and here's my sister's float experience.
I noticed that a lot of sites that talk about DIY float building have never built a float. I hate that. Not because they haven't built one (they could have done a lot of good research talking to people who have made one) but because their info doesn't really answer the questions of people who are doing it themselves and usually aren't "creative". So, here are a 5 quick tips to things that usually come up in the beginning of any parade float madness.
Here's 5 Quick Tips to DIY Parade Float Building
1) Have a Theme
This helps immensely in decision making. If you know what you want to put across, that helps in the how to put it across. Having a theme will automatically make some decisions for you.
2) Know your Budget
DIY floats can be from a few hundred dollars (the Free to Believe float) to a couple of thousand dollars (the Ark and Sister's float). Knowing how much you can or can't spend helps you get creative with materials.
3) Appoint a Head
Someone's got to be the bottom line. There has to be a coordinated effort for the group. When things don't go according to plan, and that will happen, then someone has to be able to make a decision about what to do next.
4) Combine a Team
Even though this is a DIY project, it's still a good idea to have teams doing specific tasks to spread the workload. Get a 1) Trailer Team, 2) Creative Design Team, 3) Construction Team, and 4) Outreach Team. Because this isn't a project that comes along very often, involve as many people as possible.
5) Enjoy the Experience
It's hard when you haven't done something before and don't know how it's going to turn out or even if it's going to turn out, but try to remember to have fun along the way. By nature, parade floats are about fun and celebration. It should be that way through the whole process.
Here are a few links of DIY types. They don't really have a tons of info but it might get the ball rolling for you.
• Here's a DIY for the "guts" (trailer construction) of a float
• This link describes the standard materials (tends to be expensive) and lots of other parade float info.
• Another true DIY parade float builder with tools they used
• UPDATE 2/25/12 Another link with a few tips by Bethenny Watters, eHow Contributer
Add more links below from others. I've already been given the assignment for next year.
Here's a celebration idea for a DIY wedding that we used. Actually, it would be fun at any number of occasions. It's a 6 foot chalkboard that we used at wedding #2 and repurposed for wedding #3. The Groom made a frame for it and we stood it on end at the entrance of the reception. I had one of the gals write on it "Jessie & Barry go together like...". It went along with part of the reception theme of cookies and milk. We had the reception at a dairy farm that the bride worked at.
Guests were able to write their combinations. Some of them were - bread & butter, salt & pepper, cowboy boots & mud, cornbread & chicken, mac & cheese, bacon & eggs, batman & robin, chicken & dumplings, hats & boots.
I am CELEBRATING! The three DIY weddings are over! I'm thrilled for the marriages of my kids, but glad I'm at this end of the work. Here are the 3 DIY Wedding dresses. Luckily, I didn't have to sew all three. I sewed 2, which wasn't so bad, except, they were customized patterns, and you know, for the timing of 2 months to do both. Thank goodness they were simple. (Well, that was after I vetoed trying to make a Vera Wang number for wedding #2.)
Here's wedding #3 dress and couple.
Here's wedding #2 dress and couple. My two girls look different and have totally different styles.
Here's wedding #1 dress (compliments of her Grandmother) and couple. That's my son, so pleased.
When we decided on the birdhouse theme for this DIY wedding I did an image search of birdhouses. I didn't know there were so many different styles and that the really nice ones were so dang expensive. And I rarely find exactly what I am looking for anyway. So, plan B, we build them ourselves. I call this one the Birdhouse Triptych. Dictionary.com defines a triptych as "a set of three panels or compartments side by side, bearing pictures, carvings, or the like". I consider these birdhouses, "the like". Usually, paintings are done this way, like this one but this time, I just applied it to wood.
I measured, drew, and cut some out. But admittedly, the Boyfriend is bigger, stronger and faster (and better looking) than I am. Everything takes me three times longer. So, he did most of the assembly.
We make a very good team. Except when we don't. Luckily, this wasn't one of those times.
Hope you feel inspired for your next celebration.