from crayon box to powering my soul… color defines me

A fine site

Chinese New Year 2013

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I just spent about an hour on the phone catching up with my friend since Junior High, Vicky. I was such a great chat but I realized that not sending out Christmas cards and/or a letter at the holidays meant that my friends who don’t follow me on FB or Pinterest or here are missing out on some little day-to-day details. So, this blog entry is to make up for that!

I started Christmas cards, but never finished making them. I decided I’d finish them this year and instead be ready ahead of time. I think last year was the first time I can remember not addressing, stamping, preparing Christmas cards over my Thanksgiving 4-day weekend.  It was also the first time at Christmas vacation that I didn’t transfer everyone’s birthday and (hopefully) correct age in 2013 to a new calendar… instead I got one free from the grocery store via Shutterfly. That was simple and I used photos of my art, my son and my kittens to make me smile month after month!


The mid-60’s, the gold station wagon in front of my grandparents’ San Francisco home 1386 Noe Street. Left tor right: my brother Stefan, mom Betty holding my sister Paula, me, my father George, and my older brother Scott.

So, here I am while others are celebrating the 2-day Chinese New Year, The Year of the Snake, I’m blogging for my friends to catch up on what happened last year, hopefully as a mini photo journal of sorts.

My father, George, passed away the last Sunday in March 2012. He left us quickly, dying of another heart attack. He was 81 years old and had been in very bad health, rarely left the house, fell often, grumpy and lacking quality of life.  Caring for him was a burden my mother juggled, along with caring for my disabled brother, Stefan. My sister Paula, her husband Douglas and daughter Sydney came from  Omaha, Nebraska, to San Diego. My older brother, Scott, who had just completed spring break with his girls in Mexico (complete with sunstroke and jellyfish sting) came from Portland, Oregon. With Chinese take-out from Chin’s, we all gathered around the dinner table, delighting my mother with our typical banter… I think she smiled that whole evening.

One day in Spring, I was out shopping for a new pair of jeans and I saw that the pet store was holding cat adoptions, so I thought I would stop in and see who was looking for a new home. I never did buy those jeans, but Tippy (for the white tipped tail) and her sister Leah (we presume for Princess Leah of Star Wars fame) have a new home with us. These two rescue kittens are like no other cats I’ve had – we had to childproof the house. They are very adventuresome, fearless, and must have nine-lives in the multiples! They are both black-and-white tuxedo cats, short-haired unlike our  14-year-old long-haired tuxedo cat, Rafe (who occasionally tolerates one but not two additions to our household). I refer to them as our Three Penguins. The girls love to curl together to sleep, sometimes reminding me of the yin-yang symbol 🙂

I taught my last class at SDSU in the Human Resources Certification Program this summer, however I didn’t know it would be my last at the time. I was informed when I received the Fall Catalog and my class was not listed! Well that’s one way to let someone know they are no longer needed, but not the way most H.R. professionals coach their management to follow. [Did I mention that this year my New Years Intention was to try to be less sarcastic? Well, awareness is the first step even if I’m not sticking to it!] I will miss teaching but hope it is only temporary as I am applying at other local universities and still occasionally lead supervisory training at work.

My niece, Claire, came to  San Diego for volleyball camp at Point Loma Nazarene so we had a little time to spend with her. She is a Senior in High School this year and a sweet, lovely young lady. Mom and I enjoyed dinner with Claire before dropping her at Lindbergh Field to fly back to her family.

Zac is working hard at SDSU, a Senior this year, but he will need one more semester to finish his English Lit degree. He lives at home with me, so I look forward to the day he moves out on his own (and I convert his room into my studio!). He has a part-time job in Shipping at an electronics manufacturing company on the days he’s not in school. His work is in the midst of my work’s “campus,” so we carpool to work together. He spent a week in NYC with friends at a ComiCon conference. His friend Alan takes amazing street photos including this one of Zac kissing Brittany in the Subway:

and Zac with friends:

and the photo he now uses as his LinkedIn profile photo 🙂

My friend Mary and I enjoyed a day trip to San Juan Capistrano; I hate to admit this but it’s my first time visiting the Mission where my grandparents were married. Found a great art store in San Clemente and did some shopping! I also snuck away for a weekend to my favorite getaway, LaQuinta Spa and Resort. Unfortunately on the way back home some jerk who lives in Marina del Rey backed into my car. He apologized right off but when I gave my statement to the insurance company I learned that he changed his story and accused me of rear-ending his SUV. So more out of the principle of it than anything, I am currently taking him to small claims court and we will travel to Banning Superior Court where the incident took place this March. I will be surprised if he shows up, the process server is busy trying to locate him right now as his business address turns out to be a MailBoxes Etc.

I’ve also enjoyed crafting with friends and really, really enjoyed several wine-tasting events locally with friends, mooching wine corks with every visit. These became wreaths and coasters at the holidays for gifts:

I’ve taken several online art workshops and particularly enjoyed Christy Tomlinson and Art McCracken’s The Art of the Living Canvas from and the on-going My Crazy Life Workshop from Art McCracken. I recommend anyone, regardless of how artsy-fartsy you may think you are or are not, to consider joining My Crazy Life online workshop – it’s a great community, albeit small right now… we need you! Click here to join us! I feel like I’m really growing into who I am as an artist, enjoying color, texture and medium.

Lately, I have been working on shadow boxes, which reminded me of my friend Vicky who I spoke to this morning. Vicky and I made shadow boxes for each other in high school. These have been inspired by board games and record album covers (found at the local thrift store):

Augustin Lara, “Invitacion de Romance,” Latino record album cover – I was inspired by the beautiful vintage photo

2013-02-10 11.43.05

Holiday-inspired shadowbox with birdhouse I created for Christmas gifts, snowflakes, Tim Holtz bottle brush tree and wreath (sprayed with Key Lime Glimmer Mist), Leaky Shed Studio chipboard tree, and Scrabble tiles “Holidaze.”

Looney Tunes Monopoly game board with holiday theme including birdhouse I created for holiday gifts

“Merry” Looney Tunes Monopoly game board with holiday theme including birdhouse I created for holiday gifts

"Luv Music" shadowbox inspired by the colors of this 1967 Motown Records album cover Stevie Wonder "I Was Made to Love Her"

“Luv Music” shadowbox inspired by the colors of this 1967 Motown Records album cover Stevie Wonder “I Was Made to Love Her”


As we move into 2013, I celebrate (I use this verb tongue-in-cheek) my 5th year working at the aerospace company. My birthday gift from my son says it all:


One thought on “Chinese New Year 2013

  1. Carla – I did miss your creative Christmas card this year, but your “Color Me Carla” web-letter was even better! Of course I started drooling over your gorgeous shadow boxes… I think Pinterest should hire you! So sorry to hear about your car accident – did that guy have too many of those infamous LA Quinta margaritas?!!! I do miss scrapbooking with you, but hope to attend Melissa’s MS crop and maybe I’ll see you there. Thanks for keeping me in your loop – Fondly, Susie

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