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Phoenix to Pasadena

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Travel | 4 comments

Since I couldn’t take all of you to Pasadena with me, here’s the one-minute version of the drive.

You can see us travel from the Phoenix freeways, through the desert, over the state line/Colorado River, past the Cabazon Dinosaurs, and finally make it to the (much cooler!) Los Angeles County and City of Pasadena.

Southern California sunset

I put it together from the Snapchat photos and videos we took along the way. I snapped most of them from the passenger seat. When I took over driving for awhile, Phillip learned how to use the app and took on the videographer role.

travelcraftjrnl on Snapchat

Oh, in case you’re wondering, I’m travelcraftjrnl on Snapchat. Also, I have a couple other new videos in the pipeline, so feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss those.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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What’s in your browser?

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Life | 1 comment

I can be kind of a browser tab pack rat, keeping things open I want to get back to, accumulating tabs with various sites throughout the day.

Browser tabs

Melissa of Stirrup Queens posted about her tendency to do this one Microblog Monday and asked everyone to share what they had open. I started typing what turned out to be a pretty lengthy comment about what was stacked up in my browser that day.

Then the page refreshed and erased it all.

So I decided that it was probably better as a post than a comment anyway and started over. Since it’s been awhile, there are updates in brackets.


I’m writing this March 7 just before noon [see what I mean? been awhile!], and here are the tabs I have open on my iPad browser:


1. Local news article about Souhwest Maker Fest, which I’ll be presenting at. [And did.]

2. BlogHer 16 conference info, because I’m going and wanted to post about it. [I’m now also going to be speaking.]

Me with my BlogHer Pro speaker badge

3. Hotel I was thinking of staying at, but it looks like it’s permanently closed. [It’s actually not open yet.]

4. Alternate hotel that maybe I would stay at instead if they’re done with renovations in time. [Nope. No end in sight!]

Chalkola markers
5. Draft of a review of markers. [Done!]

6. Coffee shop I was checking the hours of.


7. because my friend Anne recommended moving my other site to Tumblr. [I still might.]

8., because I still have so many questions about tumblr. [Yep.]

9., a tumblr site with a nice layout.

10., the site where’s nice theme came from.

Downtown Mesa mural

11. Mesa Arts Center calendar to see what outdoor movies they had coming up.

12. ScotteVest, because my friend Lori and I were discussing whether you could actually do all your packing in a jacket with a lot of pockets. [Maybe.]


13. My watercolor therapy post, so I could grab the link for Microblog Monday.

14. The Stirrup Queens, where Microblog Monday lives.

15. And a draft of this post. #meta


So that kind of ended up being a weird journey through my head.

What’s on your mind and in your browser? You certainly don’t have to go into that much detail, but feel free to post a list or share a screenshot!

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Garden Sculptures at Norton Simon

Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in Travel | 8 comments

One of the things that really struck me as I was wandering through the Sculpture Garden at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California was the interplay between the sculptures themselves and the natural elements surrounding them. Smooth tree trunks, twisted branches, round lily pads, and even afternoon sunbeams beautifully echo (or are echoed in) the artwork.

Norton Simon statue garden

Norton Simon statue garden

Norton Simon statue garden

Sculpture garden

There are more sculptures on the lawn in front of the museum, as well as inside. Many of those are also framed by trees and illuminated by sunlight.

Norton Simon statue

Norton Simon musuem statue

We received complimentary press passes to Norton Simon Museum via Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Happenings List: July 2016+

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

This is our monthly curated roundup of maker/artist/explorer events!

Angle brackets (>>) point to related info on our site.

Liberty bell Philadelphia


National Park Service Centennial

Aug 25. There are programs throughout the United States to celebrate the Park Service’s 100th birthday.

  • Now – 2017. Art Quilt Tour: 13 art quilts created in celebration the National Park Service Centennial are touring the National Parks they depict now through 2017.
  • Read on to find out about celebrations in Arizona, Hawaii, and Massachusetts!

Barn at Windmill Winery, Florence


Tucson Movies in the Park

Jul 22, Aug 5, Aug 19 at Reid Park, Demeester Performing Arts Pavilion, Tucson. Free admission.
>>Ongoing Phoenix-area movie events.

Sewing Classes with Oxford Dogma

Techshop Chandler


2nd Mondays, 6pm at Gangplank Chandler. Free monthly meet-up of artists and crafters. Learn something new or bring your own project to work on!

Hilton Indoor Fine Art Festival

Jul 16, 10am-6pm at Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort.
Juried fine arts festival with artisan displays from around the region and live strolling acoustic violin, jazz and bluegrass performances.

Road to flagstaff

National Park Service Parks in the Pines Birthday Bash

Aug 20, 10am-5pm at Flagstaff City Hall Parking Lot. Celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial with a free park fair, photo booths, and cake.


Maurice Sendak art exhibit

Now – Jul 17 at Burton Barr Central Library. 50 original pencil drawings and other early images from Where the Wild Things Are author and illustrator Maurice Sendak.

Blended Conference

Sep 15-16 at Windmill Winery, Florence. Blogging conference with workshops, speakers, and networking.

>>Our visit to Windmill Winery.



Pasadena Summer Concert Series

Now – Sep 25 at Levitt Pavilion band shell in Memorial Park, Pasadena. Free concerts featuring both emerging and established musicians of many genres.

  • Thursday through Sunday evenings.
  • Thursdays are children’s nights.
  • Festival opens two hours before music starts.
  • You can picnic on the lawn.

Balboa Park San Diego Summer Events

  • Now – August 29, Mondays, 7:30pm at Spreckels Organ: 2016 International Summer Organ Festival. Free outdoor concert series.
  • Now – Sep 2, Fridays: Balboa Park After Dark. Extended musuem hours, food trucks, and entertainment.
  • Now – Sep 5, 3:30pm at San Diego Zoo: Nighttime Zoo. Artisan demonstrations, movies, live music and other performances to celebrate the San Diego Zoo’s centennial.
  • Now – March 3, Sundays, 2pm at Spreckels Organ: Sunday Organ Concerts. Free weekly concerts at one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs.

Citrus park in Riverside, CA

Citrus Historic State Park

  • Most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30am, 12:00pm, and 2:00pm. Tour and Tastes: Learn about citrus trees, sample fruit, and pick some of your own.
  • Jul 16, 9am. Groves on Wheels: Wheelchair and stroller accessible guided tour through the Park’s citrus groves.

>>Our visit to Citrus Historic State Park.

dineLA Restaurant Week

Jul 18-31. Fixed-price menu at restaurants throughout Los Angeles.

BlogHer conference stage

#BlogHer16: Experts Among Us

Aug 4 – 6 at JW Marriott LA Live, Los Angeles. BlogHer annual conference.

  • Aug 6, 10:30am. Mobile-Readiness Blog Review Geek Lab: I’ll be leading this interactive small group session. (See online schedule.)

The Junk Show

Aug 14, 8pm at Copper Still, Los Angeles. A monthly comedy-focused variety show at the bar inside Jaraguá Salvadoran restaurant.

sculpture by Ken Newman


Animalia exhibition

Now – August 21 at Loveland Museum/Gallery, Loveland. Art with animals as the subject, which explores their complex relationship with humans.

  • “The Rat Race” sculpture (and photo) above by Ken Newman will be included in the exhibit.

volcano art center


Volcano Art Center

“Where people, art, and nature meet.” Educational center and fine arts gallery with handcrafted work by over 300 local artists, as well as a performance series and rain forest tours in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Return of ‘Alalā: Restoring The Voice Of Hawaii’s Native Forests

Sep 3 – Oct 9 at Volcano Art Center, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park campus. Juried exhibition of multimedia artwork featuring depictions of the Alalā, Hawaii’s native crow, in anticipation of its reintroduction into the wild this September.

Fountain Square Indianapolis


Outdoor Concerts in Indianapolis 

There’s a great round-up of free summer concerts on the Visit Indy blog.

>>Our visit to Fountain Square.



Bring the Park to the People!

Aug 20, 1-4pm at Eagle Park, Lowell. Interactive pop-up museums with crafts and informational materials, neighborhood tours, and a community weaving project in celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday.

+New York

Point of Vision: Celebrating Women Artists in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Now – Aug 20 at Museum of Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, New York.

The Great Food Truck Derby

Aug 19, 4pm at Hayground School, Bridgehampton. At least 15 New York City and Long Island food trucks serve food and drink during the Community farmers market. Event benefits Hayground schoolyard projects providing culinary arts training for local kids. (Graphic via Edible East End.)



Virginia Craft Brewers Fest

Aug 20 at Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows. Celebration of Virginia’s craft beer industry.

>>Over 60 participating breweries, including South Street, which we visited in Charlottesville.



Graphic Masters: Dürer, Rembrandt, Hogarth, Goya, Picasso, R. Crumb

Now – Aug 28 at Seattle Art Musuem. Exploration of how six historical artists used prints and drawings to express personal sentiments.

Shoe Camp with Jason Hovatter

Jul 21-24 at White Salmon Studio, White Salmon. Intensive 4-day shoe-making workshop. Finished shoes will be custom built to a casting of your foot and based on a classic 10th century Northern European design.

Narional Mall, Washington DC

+Washington DC

Objects Out of Storage

In conjunction with the ongoing Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project, the Objects Out of Storage program temporarily displays related objects with talks from experts at National Museum of American History about once a month.




Star Wars Celebration

July 15 – 17 at London Excel Centre, London. Star Wars fan convention.
>>Things we saw at last year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim.

WORDfest on Beckenham Green

July 16, 12pm at Beckenham Green, Bromley. Free community festival of all things book-related – crafts, workshops, bands, groups, poets!

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5 Telltale Signs You Went to Phoenix Comicon 2016

Posted by on Jul 7, 2016 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Phoenix Comicon 2016 PHXCC

Did you or someone you know go to Phoenix Comicon 2016?

Phoenix Comicon 2016 PHXCC

You may notice some or all of these symptoms:

1. Persistent laughter over PUGS-related incidents. Chuckling resulting from things said during the Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown may continue for days.

This is a tournament of geeks to see who can most passionately debate absurd topics like “Ant-Man vs. Aunt Mae: Who was the better A(u)nt?” As bizarre as the questions were, this year’s contestants took some even more bizarre – and hilarious – approaches to arguing their respective sides.

Phoenix Comicon 2016 PHXCC
Phoenix Comicon 2016 PHXCC

2. Outbreak of photos of dogs in superhero costumes.

Superdog, Wonder Dog, Batdog, and a four-legged Ewok were among the cosplaying pooches that gathered on the patio of the Herberger Theater ahead of the Comi-PAWn Pet Parade.


3. Thermoqueuephobia – fear of waiting in line in the heat.

About the time it topped 110 degrees on Friday, a “perfect storm” of crowds and computer glitches resulted in a registration line that spilled out onto the sidewalk and stretched about a block-and-a-half. Organizers apologized for the hours-long wait and worked to rectify the situation so lines would be inside the rest of the weekend.

Phoenix Comicon 2016 PHXCC

4. Claims of spotting Jedi weapons in unusual places, such as on Phoenix streets and in place of a symphony conductor’s baton.  

Outside programming included pairs from Syndicate Saber demonstrating their surprisingly elegant lightsaber combat and choreography. This was followed by a lightsaber walk, where anyone with a lightsaber could light it up and march around downtown Phoenix.

While that was going on, Phillip and I were at the Phoenix Symphony’s Star Wars vs. Star Trek performance. The audience could vote via text for which franchise’s music they preferred. To announce the winner, Conductor Tito Muñoz emerged with a red lightsaber, which he began using to conduct the “Imperial March!” (We were not allowed to take photos during the performance, but I found one on Instagram!)




5. Sudden increase in geeky and/or pop culture related skills, such as learning in a matter of days how to make a duct tape prom dress, a music video, and a tabletop game.

Yep, as usual there were a plethora of diverse panels, including…

  • Huntington Keith’s panel on making costumes from duct tape. In high school, he used duct tape to make a tux and a Kaylee-from-firefly-inspired prom dress.
  • While the protracted music video’s post-apocalyptic theme may have felt contrived, the cast and crew were able to accomplish a lot on a budget. The song itself, “They Pretend,” is a catchy, reggae/Afro-pop melody by K-Bass & Farafina Musiki, who are worth a listen.
  • The Making the Game panel, where Father-and-son team Eric and Gavin Torres spoke about their experience in making and distributing their indie board game.


Phoenix Comicon 2016 PHXCC

If you missed out, check out Phoenix Fan Fest this October. (Passes are on sale now.)

We received media passes from Phoenix Comicon and the Phoenix Symphony.

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