Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Cards

This is the first year I came up with my own design for Christmas cards. The design itself was inspired by the following folk tale (retold by Angela Elwell Hunt). It's a great story of hopes and dreams, where life sometimes takes us, and how we can trust God and his ultimate plan for our lives.


Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" The first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even river; instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God...

"Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful." She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beam was Yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And Every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

So next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Fun with ATC's

It's been so much fun trading Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) and my family and friends have been really impressed with my growing collection. Last Thanksgiving when we were all gathered together, my nieces and nephews wanted to make some of their own. So after eating, we cleared the dinner table and had a lot of fun painting and creating more ATC's to trade with one another.

Here are some of the results (they came up with some great stuff!)

I think encouraging others to pursue creativity is so important. We're planning another one of these sessions for Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Top 25 Movies!!! (and more)

The super-talented Jeff Brame tagged me to share my top 25 all-time favorite movies. It was SO tough to limit the list to just 25 because I have so many faves. But I managed to list those I have seen multiple times and never get tired of watching (or those seen once or twice but have affected me deeply). A few more came to mind as well =) Here goes...

1. While You Were Sleeping
2. Return of the Jedi
3. Star Wars
4. Empire Strikes Back
5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
6. The Sandlot
7. Frequency
8. Sense and Sensibility
9. The Goonies
10. Executive Decision
11. The Patriot
12. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
13. Outbreak
14. Shawshank Redemption
15. Big Business
16. Terminator 2
17. Aliens
18. Jurassic Park
19. Radio Flyer
20. The Passion of the Christ
21. A Christmas Story
22. October Sky
23. The Pianist
24. Speed
25. Eight Below

Other Favorite Blockbusters/Action Films…
The Phantom Menace
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
LOTR: The Two Towers
LOTR: The Return of the King
Back to the Future
The Mummy
Shoot to Kill
The Rock
Dante’s Peak
Independence Day

Foreign Films…
Seven Samurai
Life is Beautiful
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Wedding Singer
50 First Dates
City Slickers
Coming to America
Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion
Major League
Shallow Hal
A League of Their Own
Angels in the Outfield
The Princess Bride
Forest Gump
Kindergarten Cop
My Best Friend’s Wedding

In Her Shoes
Hotel Rwanda
Billy Elliot
Finding Bobby Fischer
Dangerous Minds

The Lion King
A Bugs Life
The Little Mermaid
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
Toy Story

March of the Penguins
Supersize Me
A Player to be Named Later

Tammy and the Bachelor
Singing in the Rain
The Sound of Music
Calamity Jane

Whew! ok, there's more that I can name, but I need to end this post somehow or else it will go on forever. I'm going to tag these other talented artists to share their favorites: Eslina, Steve, and Katrice. Thanks for playing along!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hey, It's Me!

At Monday Artday, we had the awesome challenge of illustrating our fellow artists. Here are the ones of me in...

Godo-Style by Pati

Zappy-Style by Zari

Moony-Style by Moony

Thanks so much! You all are so talented!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Eslina from Ocean and Me tagged me to share 5 random/weird things about myself. Ok, here goes...

1. I’m a huge fan of the Oakland Athletics (baseball team). I try to get autographs and pictures with the players, and I even have a pic with the world series trophies we won. They’ve not been doing so well as of late, but I still like them. Go A’s!!!

2. I eat cereal out of a drinking glass, but I consider this more “practical” than “weird” because I can at least drink the milk after the cereal is gone!

3. I used to be in a band once and played lead guitar and did some of the singing –we were together only 5 months. I’d love to say we broke up because of “creative differences”, but the actual reason is that each of us got too busy with other things.

4. My only claim to fame was that I was in the movie, “Angels in the Outfield”. Well, I’m in the crowd scene during one of the “games” they filmed, along with a couple thousand volunteers who also sat in the seats. I haven’t seen myself in any of the shots yet, though…. But I know I was there!

5. My secret dream (other than being a famous artist) is to be a chef, and sometimes when I’m cooking I like to pretend I’m hosting a cooking show and say “bam!” when I add pepper or spices, haha.

Ok, I have tagged my friends Zari and Pascal. Will try to find others but most everyone has been tagged already! Hope to find some who are willing to share some fun facts about themselves!

Here's the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well
as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Things I've Been Working On

Wow, been super busy lately. My mom and I are combining forces for a fundraiser early next month. Here are some pieces I've recently completed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Desktop Meme (my workspace)

My friend Eslina tagged me to show my desktop/workspace area. I've never been tagged for anything before, so I was very happy to participate. But the only thing is that I don't really have a desk. For now, I've been doing my artwork on my kitchen counter! But I can't complain because I have a decent sized work area, and the lighting is pretty good from the overhead lights above.

I mostly use watercolor and color pencil...

I just love using my prismacolor color pencils...

For now, my JC's Coffeehouse exists only in blogland. But someday, who knows? I might have my own coffeehouse where I get to display my artwork, as well as my friends'. I had some family who used to own a coffee shop a few years ago -- a really cute one too. They had a wonderful 70's/hippie theme going. But Starbucks moved into the same shopping center and they absolutely KILLED their business. They eventually had to close. Very sad, but that's life.

But here's a photo of my own little coffee corner in my kitchen and my friend Zari's cards that she sent me (a furious J and C). If I ever do get my own coffee place, these cards will DEFINATELY be displayed, as well as all those that people have been so nice to send me. =)

Anyone who would like to show their workspace area, consider yourself tagged! =)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pass the Pink Penguin(s)! Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I was inspired to post this after reading Emila Yusof's blog on Breast Cancer awareness. She was kind enough to let me put her lovely "pass the pink penguin" graphic here. I have dear friends who had moms (also dear friends) pass away from breast cancer, and the "pass it on" badge I created (below Emila's) is a tribute to mothers, daughters, and families who have been affected by this disease.

**Update** Here also are a couple of new pass it on badges that other blogger friends created.

Eslina of Ocean and Me, made this:

And Zari of justZHM created this one:

There is lots of information and tips available about breast cancer:
- Examining your breasts is an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it's most likely to be cured. See the following site on Breast Self Exams.

- Know the risks and how to prevent the disease. Detailed information about how to understand these risks (including genetics, environmental factors, etc.) is available on the website

- The site also gives information about Nutrition and Breast Cancer. Research findings suggest that physical activity, a healthy diet (particularly one low in fat and high in vegetables and fiber), and a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of breast cancer or the cancer coming back.

- Did you know that men can get breast cancer, too? Please read the article on statistics, risk factors, treatment options, and why male breast cancer should NOT be taken lightly.

- Do your part in helping raise awareness on breast cancer!

Here's how you can help:
1. Spread the word. Announce the event on your blog. You could write a blog post (like this), or a little note about it. Whatever you choose to do, just go ahead and tell your readers about it.

2. Go pink. Modify your theme if you know how to, or get yourself a pretty pink theme. If you run a website, turn your website pink. But if you don’t like pink, you could still participate by putting up a badge on your sidebar.

3. Design badges and banners. Design a couple of “Pink for October” badges or banners for other participants to use (for free) and to publicize the event. Some of the existing badges and banners can be downloaded from the Official Pink for October Site.

4. Design blog themes. There are a lot of bloggers (me included) who can’t even do simple designing, so if you are good at it, perhaps you could design and release a few pink themes? So, I am hoping that whoever happens to read my post, please do something to spread the awareness. It only takes a moment of our time.

If you like to take part in this awareness, you can copy paste these instructions and come up with 5 tips to avoid breast cancer. Feel free to save or copy my Pink Penguins to your post.

Thank you!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Life Imitates Art

I need to use this blog more! I made the ATC on the left last month and recently traded with Tracy for her cute trick or treat mouse. Then, just this past weekend, I went with my friends to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin and Art Festival (a madhouse!) and took the picture on the right. Funny huh? I didn't even realize it looked like the card I made until I downloaded the pic on my computer a couple of days later.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Island Fairies - ATC's

Island Fairy - Plumeria

Island Fairy - Hibiscus

Island Fairy - Sanddollar

Island Fairy - Shells

Monday, September 24, 2007

Special ATC's for Coffee-Theme Exchange

I made these Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) for a group "coffee-themed" trade we are doing on the Monday Artday ATC site. These were a labor of love for me because I so admire the wonderful work of Sandro Botticelli, Marc Chagall, and Vincent van Gogh. These are part of what I'm calling my "favorite artists coffee mug" series.

If you haven't gotten into ATC's, you should check out the site and come join the fun. It's an incredible opportunity to get to know artists and their fabulous work through trading these little gems.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Alphabets - Coffee ABC's

Color pencil sketch, manipulated in Photoshop.

The cup sketches were actually from artist trading cards (ATC's) I created. After scanning the images into my computer, I simply manipulated the images in Photoshop and came up with this illustration. I was going to try to do the whole alphabet, but that will be for another project someday. =)

I was so busy making ATC's last week that I didn't get to post my "visitor" drawing for Illustration Friday last week (it's on my list of things to do). And I hadn't missed a week since I started this blog in May! Anyway, I didn't want to miss it again, so this is what I came up with.

I also found an "A to Z of Coffee" list on the internet. Really good info and definitions of some coffee-related terms. Fun read!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Monday Artday Challenge - Charm

Yay!!! I'm so excited about the awesome award I won for the weekly challenge. Thank you so much Bearuh and thank you Monday Artday!

Monday Artday posted a challenge to "alter" a small object so that it could be worn as a charm.

First, I found my small objects: small wooden tile and buttons from my sewing basket. I think just finding something to use took the longest time!

I painted a small tropical fish on the tile and painted the buttons, which were used as embellishments. I also applied gloss varnish to seal the paint, and added a starfish charm and crystals, too.

Oh, and I finished it with a lobster clasp so that one could easily hang it on a charm bracelet.

I'm so happy to be trading with Sheri, who also made a beautiful charm out of a domino tile. I'm looking forward to the exchange! =)

"Crazy for Coffee Mugs" ATC's

These ATC's are getting to be so addictive! =) Here are some new ones I did...

Beach Mug

The Love Mug **For Kat Blue**

Mermaid Mug **For Emila Yusof**

Tuscan Red Pot Mug

Friday, August 24, 2007

"I Love Chocolate" ATC's

Giant Toblerone Bar (watercolor) **For Pati**

Sees Candies (watercolor) **For Zari**

Chocolate Covered Oreo - Chilled (watercolor) **For Brian**

Joseph Schmidt Chocolates (watercolor) **For Woody**

Brownies... Yum! (watercolor) **For Zari**

Frrrozen Hot Chocolate (pen and watercolor) **For Irisz**

Chocolate Lip Balm (watercolor)

Amalfi Lemon-White Chocolate (watercolor) **For Mike**

Fields' Burger and Chocolate Shake (watercolor) **For Mim Stella**

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry (watercolor) **For Maryam**

Cheese and Chocolate Train (watercolor) **For Ms. Froggie**

Chantico Shock (colored pencil)

Just heard about these Artist Trading Cards and thought they would be fun to do. These are from what I'm calling my "I Love Chocolate" series, based on something I posted a couple of weeks ago: Click here. If you'd like to trade I have most of these available. Email me at