Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Meet Leafster!

My new pal LEAFSTER!


I realize it's been a while friends... 

November got super busy with Thanksgiving, chocolate Baci, tea parties, and a craft show, oh my!  But as they say, "the show must go on.."

Here's creation #7 (from my list of "10 Creations You Can Make in 10 Minutes"):

Meet Leafster!

She's a super cute leafy monster whose tail can take her on all kinds of adventures!

Where did she come from?  So glad you asked!

I pressed a sweet little red leaf (the old fashioned way) in between the pages of a phone book.  After leaving it in there for a a few days (or weeks in this case), I took it out and created a leaf rubbing with a red colored pencil.  

Then things took on a more adventurous turn!

I took a red Sharpie marker and transformed my little red leaf into the GIGANTIC tail of a teeny monster named Leafster!  Leafster also has leafy ears and a cozy red scarf to keep her warm on all her adventures!

So I challenge you friends!  Can you create some super cool pals for Leafster?



Monday, November 5, 2012

Scary (or not!)

Here we are: creation # 6...

I felt that prickle on the back of my neck again. My breath caught in my throat. I closed my eyes and tried to calm down. It was probably nothing. I leaned back further against the tree and tried to focus on my book. I felt it—something—slide down my shirt! All I could think about was the tarantula my brother, Adam, bought when I was thirteen. He'd apologized a million times for letting it escape into my room but I'd never forgotten. I could still see it's black fuzzy legs crawling on my skin. I jumped to my feet and practically ripped off my sweater. I shook out my tank top. And then I saw it. Sitting ever so still on the ground was my attacker—a crisp red Autumn leaf.

Want to watch a video of me reading this (not so) scary story?  Check out the Rini By Design fan page:


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Creation # 5: When There's Something Strange...

Howdy and Happy Thursday!  I invite you to continue the journey through my list of "10 Creations You Can Make in Ten Minutes".

Today's creation?  A photo of something strange!  

Take a look...really stop to MULL it over...

Give your brain permission to wander wherever it dares to go...

And make a list (another one you ask?) of everything this photo reminds you of-and don't worry, this can be a mental list!  


Did you do it?  What did that fabulous mind of yours think of my new friend here?  Oh, and in case you're curious-I named her Cluckers!  

Here are my thoughts as related to Cluckers:

  • Gonzo from The Muppets-he loved chickens!
  • I want to read Tammi Sauer's book Bawk & Roll even more now...
  • A stuffed chicken-now why didn't I ever ask for one before?  Oooh...I know what's going on my Christmas list!
  • Maybe someday I could get a real chicken? Or chickens?  
  • Both my grandmothers had chicken coops!
  • Chicken pecks hurt!  Would I have the guts to collect the eggs? 
  • What would I name all these chickens?
  • Why DID the chicken cross the road?
  • Chickens are funny!  I don't know why...they just are!
Feel free to share your thoughts on Cluckers (or a strange object of your own fascination) right here...see below where it says comments?  Yep, right there! Thanks!!



Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Would Be...

Creation # 4: Make a list! 

(And don't think too much about it...just do it!)

Here's mine:

If I could be anything I wanted, I would be...

  • Clown (...or fairy...or some other colorful character found at a kid's birthday party!)
  • Fashion Designer
  • Marine Biologist
  • Psychology professor
  • French ambassador
  • Singer/songwriter
  • Ballerina
  • Sociologist
  • Ten years old again!
  • Astronomer
  • Professional Photographer
  • Journalist
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • House cat
  • Purple
  • Blue butterfly
  • Six years old again!
  • World traveler (on a cruise ship or my own plane...)
  • The sound of a clarinet (which I played once upon a time)
  • Velvet...or corduroy...something soft & cozy!
  • A hint of cinnamon
  • and Lavender...
Mostly, I would be...what I already am: 

A writer who wants to inspire both children and adults to laugh, love, and have the courage to live beyond what seems possible!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stick Kitty!

Here she is...

Creation # 3

My sweet little stick kitty!

Anybody have ideas for a name?

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Creation # 2- An Imaginative Snack!

Here's my take on Creation # 2 from my post "10 Creations You Can Make in 10 Minutes".

Unleash your imagination and make snack time more fun! 

What are your creative snack ideas?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Haiku LOVE

Love dances across
fields of wildflowers blooming
against fading light.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Take Ten!

I shared this video on Rini by Design's Facebook ( page this morning!  

The 10 minute concept inspired me to create this:

10 Creations You Can Make in 10 Minutes!

  • Write a Haiku-it's only three lines!  (1st line: 5 syllables, 2nd line: 7 syllables, 3rd line: 5 syllables)
  • Make a snack but find a way to do it creatively!  Arrange fruit in the shape of a heart, star, or flower; draw a face on your sandwich; or use cookie cutters to make snack time more fun!  *Extra points: Name your creation!
  • Draw a stick figure portrait of yourself, a friend, or even your cat!
  • Make a list-of anything!  Your favorite ice cream flavors, zoo animals, vacation destinations...It'll get that brainstorming part of your brain going!
  • Take a picture of something strange!  Could be in your house or around your neighborhood but it's often those odd things you notice that can inspire a story, poem, or song!
  • Write a funny paragraph-about what scares you!  Heights?  Spiders?  Creaky noises at night?   Turn it around & give it a silly ending!   
  • Design your own leaf creature!  Grab a sheet of paper, a crayon (or pencil), & a leaf!  Now put the leaf under the paper and color on the paper with the flat part of your crayon/pencil.  Then take your leaf rubbing and use it to draw something else!  Maybe your leaf picture might transform into a leaf dragon, monster, or a new kind of insect!
  • Build a sculpture!  Collect a handful of random items from around your house (paperclips, bottle caps, ribbon, empty toilet paper roll...) & use glue/tape as well as your awesome imagination to arrange them into a new piece of art!  *Extra points: Hold a special reception (with those yummy snacks of yours) to showcase your creative genius!
  • Write a short autobiography-of something inanimate!  Pick something...let's say your phone, purse, or favorite pair of shoes...and write their life story!  Where did they come from?  What's their passion?  What do they hate?  What do they hope to accomplish a year from now?
  • Put together a life recipe!  What kind of life are you making?  What goes into it?  How much?  What comes first?  Any helpful tips?  *Extra points: Grab a stack of magazines & make your recipe! Cut/glue photos (your ingredients) onto a large sheet of card stock (or whatever paper you have handy-you might even consider reusing a paper bag for this!).    *Double Bonus Points: Find a frame (or ribbon/yarn) for your masterpiece & hang it up-keep yourself inspired!
Sound too complicated?  I'll do this with you my friends!  
That's right, I'll do each of these ten activities myself & post my creations come visit again soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Unexpected Beauty

What's beautiful to you?  A sunset?  A long stemmed red rose?  A set of candles at the dinner table?  

A walk around my bustling Berkeley neighborhood yesterday morning got me thinking about all the beauty that slips right past us....unless we slow down long enough to really look at what's there.

Take a quick look (30 seconds) at this photo!  What's the first thing you see?

Probably the first thing you noticed was the NO PARKING sign.  This probably made you cringe.  
In fact, this unsightly red sign might make you want to walk a little faster just to get away from it.

Now remember that it's not Thursday and slow down...way down.  Look way down there in that photo 
and see...

vine of rich purple flowers cascading up toward a beautiful blue sky!

Now look at this next one.  I almost walked right by it.  It's just a bush after all...or is it?

Luckily, the sun was out in full force yesterday and something shiny made me stop and take a closer look...

A spider's web glistening in the morning light...
each bead of water shimmers like a tiny star bursting with brightness, hope, and mystery...

There's so much unexpected beauty every day.  These are the things that we don't stop to notice unless we slow down and make a conscious choice. We can choose to notice these "little things" that made us gasp in wonder and awe when we were children.  

The unusual twists and turns of a tree trunk.  

The crisp smell of leaves in the Fall.  

The squirrels that run and jump like little gymnasts along the top of the neighbor's fence. 

All I can say is...BEAUTIFUL. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Miyazaki Madness

The Studio Ghibli Collection 


Hayao Miyazaki is an established Japanese film director and animator.  And he is also the co-founder of Studio Ghibli whose films are being celebrated this month at the Landmark California Theatre in Berkeley!

The film festival opened last Friday, September 14th with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984).  This movie features a princess with the spirit of a warrior and the heart of a servant.  Nausicaa practically carries you along in her glider as she navigates a post-apocalyptic world filled with poisonous gases, gigantic bugs, and friends who help her triumph.  The entire theatre was clapping by the end credits of this fantastical story.

I'm personally drawn to Miyazaki's films because of the way in which he captures the emotion of the characters through both their illustration and dialogue.  From the very beginning, Nausicaa is presented as a heroic princess with a true love for her father and all living creatures.  Even the son of a competing clan becomes enamored by her deep sense of compassion and does everything he can to aide Nausicaa in bringing peace back to a ravaged land.

Nausicaa was an excellent choice for the debut of Ghibli's collection.  My husband and I, along with many other film fans, laughed, cried (a little, yes), and sat back in awe during parts of this marvelous nugget of Miyazaki artistry.

The Landmark Theatre is located on 2113 Kittredge Street in Berkeley, California.  The films are all in Japanese (with English subtitles) and upcoming Studio Ghibli titles include:

  • Today 9/19:  Only Yesterday (1991)
  • Thurs 9/20-Fri 9/21: Spirited Away (2001)
  • Sat 9/22: Princess Mononoke (1997)
  • Sun 9/23-Mon 9/24: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Tues 9/25: Pom Poko (1994) & Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
  • Wed 9/26: Whisper of the Heart (1995) & Ponyo (2008)
**For more details and show time information check out:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ready, Set, Jump!

Origami Earrings by Rini
Do you like trying things that challenge you?  I do!  Well...sort of...kind of...sometimes?  I certainly love being a creative person and a big part of that involves diving into the unknown.  Creativity requires moving forward, exploring, and playing around with ideas & materials.  That by itself can be a challenge.  How do you move forward when you don't even know where to begin?

Sometimes you need a jumping off point!  The earrings that I made (pictured above) were inspired by a design pattern that I found in the book Origami by Gay Merrill Gross.  The shape is called a hexahedron and it looked simple enough (for an origami project!).

Since I wasn't sure how to even make the basic pattern, I started with pretty large size pieces of origami paper.  I figured that once I had practice with something larger that I could then move onto these much smaller earrings.  I made quite a few hexahedron "Christmas ornaments"  before I decided to jump into a much more daunting task--making earrings out of one-inch squares of origami paper.  It was slow, painstaking, and frustrating at times BUT an hour or so later...I had these gorgeous earrings that I'd made myself!  How absolutely thrilling--to find your way to something new and undiscovered!

Since then I've kept trying new things ranging from knitting to moving across country to mentoring, cardio-boxing, zip-lining, pedal boating, & more!  I keep a mental checklist of things I want to try and experience.  And guess what?  Even though I don't necessarily love everything I try, my list keeps growing! I've made a deliberate choice to live a life that is passionate, exciting, and transforming.  I hope you'll join me for this exhilarating journey!

When was the last time you tried something you've never done before?  What was it?  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Purse Potential

Create!  Transform!

We all have our favorite things.  A jacket...mug...or in this case, purse!  And just as in the story of The Velveteen Rabbit--our favorites begin to show signs of this "love" over time.  A chip here...a rip there.  We often disown or discard these things without much thought.  I almost did this (again) but then asked myself: 

What if I transformed this worn out purse into something new?  


  • A well "loved" purse
  • scrap material
  • ribbon
  • silver chain, lobster claw clasp, & large size link/hoop
  • mini glue gun

This project was not only fun to make but also a great reminder that we often overlook the potential of what's already there.  Not just the potential of the things we love but of the people that we love...including ourselves.

After all, even people can become worn out and faded over time.  Unfortunately, we start to treat ourselves (and one another) like dispensable items that can be thrown out and replaced.  We forget just how invaluable we are as human beings.  Our potential for growth and change is never diminished.  You and artists, writers, and creative beings...we can take what we've already got, gather our supplies, and use our imagination to make something new and wonderful.  We've got everything we need.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Creative Passions

My Top Three...
What are you passionate about? 

This is something that many of us have long debated since childhood.  

For me, the answer was always different...

In fourth grade, I fancied myself a professional violinist.  

By sixth grade, I found myself absorbed in a world rich with literature and poetry.  

In high school, my life outside the classroom was filled with band concerts (including many hours with fingers frozen to my clarinet at football games), dance lessons, and baking endeavors for my French class.  

Now my top three are:  jewelry making, knitting, and writing stories for kids!

What are your top three?