Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Son Also Rises

I am happy.

Yellow smiley face, balloon releasing, clicking my heels kind of happy.

This One awoke before noon and agreed to pick today's challenge.

Guess what it was?

Oh man, this made me happy in a walking on sunshine kind of a way.

So, headed straight to You Tube, of course to get that video to embed into the blog. I figure if I'm craving to hear it, you are too. Right?

As I am previewing the video just to continue my happy groove, That Girl interrupts.

"I know that song! I love that song! But, who's that singing it?"

"That's Katrina and the Waves. This song was popular when I was in high school."

And then she said (this is an absolute quote, I swear), "Dude, Aly and AJ sing it faster."


 Did she just call me "Dude"?

And who are Aly and AJ?

Well, I still don't know, but in the spirit of learning and growing together, I guess I can learn how to sing a little faster ...

 So draw the sun and enjoy, Dudes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I personally think "Schlumpadinka" is the MOST appropriate word to describe That Girl and her feelings toward today's challenge. Thank you, Aunt Oprah for coming up with that one.

So, who needs Websters? Make up your own word!

I've got one.

It's good.


It's pronounced Ma-goo-dee-us.

It's my new favorite word.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Who Makes Up This Stuff?

Sometimes, these sparks of creativity are mine. The Littles come up with some. Others come from a variety of random places and miscellaneous mines of inspiration.


Consider me your Visual Journal Enabling Fairy.


Well, you'll see what I mean when I post today's challenge.

Since it's a little hard to read I'll clarify. The challenge is this:
"Find an article of clothing or piece of fabric that should be thrown away. Paste it in and write a goodbye note."
That's a weird one, don't you think? I'm pretty certain I didn't make that one up. I don't remember the original source, but I would happily credit that person if I did. You know, credit where credit is due kind of stuff.

Keri Smith, author of "Wreck this Journal" has been a constant source of inspiration as has the book "Creative Juices". Generally, I read through hundreds of blogs (mostly design blogs) per week and can always glean some kind of new and exciting challenge. But, I've got to admit, I don't write each and every challenge myself.

Just your Visual Journal Enabling Fairy speaking...

Now get going! My husband's got some stuff hanging in our closet circa the Duran Duran era. That's the first to get going!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Add It to the List

Monday, Monday. Can't stop that day even during the summer.

My little folks were up early bright as squirrels (squirrels are bright, right?) all chipper and ready for their first week of gymnastics camp! That One hopped in the shower in anticipation of the first day of summer school. The Other One is getting started on that laundry.

Nope. Totally making that up.

The White Sheep and That Girl moaned and carried on that camp in the summer should start whenever you actually wake up and you should not have to set an alarm. That is because they are sooooooo tired from the complete lawlessness of the weekend.

That One thinks the first day of summer school is pointless because what are you actually going to accomplish the very first day? He thinks he should jump in tomorrow.

I don't know where The Other One is. Gotta be honest about that one.

Attitudes will be adjusted.

Challenges will be met.

I will find The Other One.

And all will be right with the world.
Until then, I'm going to work on this:

BTW. See the examples at the bottom; walking, riding in a car, DDR? This challenge is a repeat from several years ago when That One and The Other One were seriously into "Dance Dance Revolution". They won't admit that now, though.

BTW Part 2. If you don't have a clue what this photo is about. Please see my explanation of our Summer Visual Journal Challenge here.

Today I got an email from Chelsea, an art and fashion student from Western Australia. Yep, that is Australia as in way way way over there on the completely other side of the world! She is jumping in with us and I, for one, can't wait to see what she comes up with. Welcome, Chelsea!

Reminder: please share your designs with us. Email your pix to me at Otherwise you will all be visually assaulted by every adorable doodle That Girl comes up with. That email again is

Not too subtle, am I?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Time for Reflection

Remember way back to yesterday when I said that it might get messy?

I have got to start being really careful what I say.

It wasn't because of yesterday's painting challenge - it was just because of the way life goes. Yesterday, life just kept on going and going and we never actually completed (or started) our painting challenge.

It was a day full of:
"I reeeeaallyy need purple high tops!"
"What did that dog get into? Get the hose. Stat!"
"But you called and said my prescription was ready"
"Boys, report cards came."
"Hello, Summer School? I need to enroll That One in a couple of classes."
"Would you like know how many soda cans I found under your bed? Just guess. Oh, that's right, you're not all that swift at math."
"Mom, I don't think Bandit is breathing."

Yep, we ended our day with a guinea pig funeral.

Just so you know, when you are required to preform a guinea pig funeral in the summertime it's a pretty sure bet that the ice cream truck will drive by with those crazy twinkling bell sounds at the very crescendo of tears and unfathomable grief.

After a guinea pig funeral you really don't feel like doing anything else.

A Sponge Bob push-up does lessen the sting a little, though. Thank you, ice cream guy. You came through this time.

The moral of this little saga is this: don't worry if you can't always stay up to date on these challenges. They are meant as an embellishment to your life.

Kind of like sprinkles.

Jump back in when you can.

The White Sheep is now okay with his grief and thought it should be his turn to Magic Bowl it.

Awww, that's a sweet one.

That Girl wanted to know what a childhood was. I told her that means all the time you are or were a child.


And the messiness continues...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This One May Get Messy

I warned you. I did.

Things may get messy. 

Now is that day.

Break out the maple syrup if that mood so strikes you. 

Any kids out there joining along? Note to kids: please grab a responsible adult and very very nicely ask permission before trying this challenge.

Asking nicely will serve you well in the future. I promise. There's no crying in baseball and there's no whining in any of my challenges. Okay, moving on ...

Here you go - get to it!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This One Will Get You Spinning

We're a little late posting our daily journal challenge. Our apologies to Sophia in NC who has been patiently chomping at the bit to get started.

The White Sheep gets up a little later than That Girl, and it was his turn to pick out of the Magic Bowl.

Still,  he gets up way earlier than That One or The Other One, so I don't think they will ever get a choosing chance.

One good excuse deserves another, right?

The blogging gods are not smiling down on us today and are not allowing us to post a photo of the challenge we chose.

Luckily, I can be resourceful (after trying 25 times and whining like a baby) and have come up with a solution:

Here is today's Visual Journal Challenge-
"Put circles all over a page and color them in"

The blogging gods will not beat me. At least not today.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This Will Make You Hungry

Visual Journal Challenge #2
(If you have no idea what I'm talking about visit here)

That Girl was so disappointed that we are not going to go out this very minute and buy her new high-tops that she refused to pick today's challenge.

Did you notice that it's not even 9 am?

And who needs a pair of high tops in the summer, anyway? That's just weird.

So, I saved the day and picked from the Magic Bowl. Have fun with this one.

All we really need is butter right now. But, I am now on a cholesterol reduced diet (hello, forties!) so I really shouldn't even get that. Then again, I do have French ancestry and you really can't claim you're French if you don't have butter in the house, right?

Lost focus again, didn't I.

Well, at least you know who you're dealing with.

Bonne chance!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Day one and we are psyched. Well, some of us are and some of us are still asleep. And by some of us, I mean That One and The Other One.

We're used to that.

That Girl could not wait to attack the Magic Bowl and dove right in once she was appropriately robed up enough to take a picture.

Note to self: We've gotta do something about that nail polish.

Here y'all go - Challenge #1.
Another note to self: do something about that nail polish after all the gluing.

Have fun, get messy and please share.

You can email your creations to We'll post a round up at the end of the week. Can't start today? Just jump in when you can ...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Get Set ...

We've got our journals.

We've personalized them.

We're ready to roll!

2011 Visual Journal Challenge Starts Tomorrow!

Who's joining us?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

On Your Mark ...

I told you I'd be back ...

I hope you will follow me, my kiddos, and some creative pals this summer as we tackle our ...

2011 Visual Journals (imagine inserting James Earl Jones' voice here)

See. I told you this was going to be fun.

My kids, This One and The Other One, and I have spent the last several summers working on this project together. This year, I will including my younger two kids, The White Sheep and That Girl. Together our ages will range from 6 to 44 years old. Not including you, of course. I don't know how old you are.

Here's the gist:
Every weekday I will post a challenge.
You will accept that challenge.
You will email me a photo of your completed challenge. (
On the weekends I will do a roundup of all photos I receive.
We'll all share.
It'll be fun. (There will probably be random prizes along the way. TEASE!)

You need details?
The challenges may or may not be artistic in nature. (How vague was that?)
You may use any form of media you like. (Go ahead, paint using maple syrup. It won't fuss me)
If you've got them, please get your kids involved.
If you've got friends that would enjoy this - get them in on the game.
Enjoy playing along and don't sweat it. Perfection is not important. Trying is.

Need an example?
One of us randomly pulls a challenge out of the magic bowl. If the puller doesn't like it they may try to sneakily chuck it back in and pick another one. Although I try to police everything - no promises on that one. Often times, The Other One decided that he has a much better idea and wants us to try it his way. As long as it doesn't involve setting anything on fire, we usually go along with it. 

Here's the magic bowl.

And here's our dog. Her name is Magic, too. 

And here's our other dog. We are convinced that he dreams about sleeping.

And here's our other dog. He looks ferocious at this angle, doesn't he? Never noticed that before ... no wonder the neighborhood kids are scared to come over.

Okay, lost focus there for a minute.

I do that sometimes.

Okay, a lot of times.

This is what a challenge or prompt will look like:


What materials do you need?
At our house we use a variety of journals. I feel strongly about using whatever we have on hand. I am using a book I enjoyed reading and was probably not ever going to read again. Also, it was one the NY Times Best Seller List for about 87 years, so I'm pretty sure everyone else has already read it to. Yes, Tom Hanks was in the movie. That wasn't as good.

The Other One says he is using his Middle School History/Civics binder. He did not open it the entire year of eight grade, so it's pretty fresh. (Note: you're going to hear a lot about The Other One. He's pretty fresh, himself.)

You don't have to use a bound journal.  You don't have to use paper. We do because with all the people and things that reside in this house, we would absolutely lose them tout de suite. Also, we like to go back and "read" them again. Reflection is good for the soul, you know. But then again, sometimes you've got to just let stuff go. Decide that for yourself.

As for the other stuff you may need, well, that could be anything. Pencils, markers, pens, crayons, glue, glitter, collage materials - whatever makes you happiest.

We have all kinds of collected things all over our house that I hope will sacrifice themselves for great art this summer.

Yes, you may even paint with stuff you find around your kitchen.

And this is what it may look like when it's done: 

Or it won't look anything like that because it is YOURS! 

This challenge starts on:
Monday, June 20th

To repeat: 
Monday, June 20th


Friday, June 17, 2011

A Creative Kick-Start!

Hi. It's Caroline. Owner of Zazu and Trollbeads Studio.

I was just sitting here wondering how to keep all my kiddos occupied and brain-fed for the entire summer, keep the fun stuff happening at Zazu while I am at home tending to said kiddos, and start up my newest website - Trollbeads Studio. And ... how am I going to do all of that at the same time?

Meanwhile, over at the Zazu blog, it was getting pretty quiet.

Hear that?

Yup, crickets.

Posting was sparse. Comments were sparser. Ideas were sparsest.

This is me. (I swiped this pic off the internet. It sums the sitch up.)

Luckily, I know where to go whenever the "stuff I gotta do" is pulling me in a number of directions. That's right. I hit the Crayolas pretty hard.

You didn't expect me to say Crayolas, did you? 

I can be funny that way.

So, in normal-person terms, I can explain it this way; whenever I get stuck, I turn my creative juices way up in a seemingly different direction. This seems to un-stick me from wherever I am and I have a pretty good time in the process.

And you get to follow along.

How'd you get so lucky?

Details tomorrow. I promise. Get your juices and your Crayolas.