Calendar Journal

Wit and Whistle is one of my all time favorite blogs. I love everything about Amanda Wright’s site. She is definitely full of wit, you can see it in her paper goods and the writing in her blog. Her blog is full of wonderful posts, including this DIY Calendar Journal that she reinvented from a Design*Sponge idea. When I saw it I knew I needed to make one of my own!

DIY Calendar Journal by Chloé Yingst |

The idea is very simple, for everyday of the year you have a card stamped (or hand written) with the date. Everyday you write down one short thing you did that day. Once you reach the end of the year you start over. This is the third year I’ve been keeping up with it and it is getting more and more satisfying to read what I did that day in the past. I think I have room to get 10 years on each card! I keep it on my night stand and (almost) every night I write down one thing. Sometimes what I write is really exciting, like the day I bought my first car. Other days it can be quite boring.

There are many ways to display your cards. Wit and Whistle used a vintage recipe box and Design*Sponge used a fruit box. I found a little bamboo box at the container store. Then I spent an evening stamping each card with the date and creating dividers for each month. My box wasn’t quite deep enough for 365 cards, so I used the back and the front. I really enjoy this journal, it is easy to keep up with and can be very rewarding.

As a side note, the pen in the photo is my favorite pen! I learned about it from Swiss Miss.


At the end of November I made a list of end of the year resolutions. Unfortunately the holidays crept up faster than I thought and, well, you get the picture. I may not have reached any of my goals, but take a look at the progress I did make below:

1. Create 5 more blog posts this year, thats about 1 a week
I completed 2 of the 5 I was shooting for. In total I created 13 posts last year. I’m hoping I can beat that by quite a few this year!

2. Finish the sketch I started about my trip to NYC
It is about half way done!

3. Make good progress on my T-Rex commission
An illustration job popped up after I made these resolutions and took away the time I had to work on this commission, but I’ll get it done early this year!

4. Create a Twitter list of Austin art galleries to follow
I have a good start to this one, but (again) it’s not quite finished.

5. Draw for at least 15 minutes everyday
I was originally hoping for 40 little drawings, one drawing a day. But, like all of my other end of the year resolutions, I didn’t quite make that. I did draw about half of those days. I’m glad I made this resolution even if I didn’t reach it, it helped motivate me to work on a daily sketching routine.

6. Start a drawing of a Golden-Cheeked Warbler
See number 3.

I may have screwed this one up a little, but making the goals helped me focus my creative energies, even if I can’t officially cross any of them off the list. Perhaps I will continue the tradition of end of the year resolutions near November of this year!

Here are some of my 15 minute sketches from #5 (some were completed in 2 sessions).


Favorite iPad Games Part 1

The holidays are a particularly great time for iPad games, whether it’s to pass the time on a flight or long car ride, or just to get away from the holiday commotion. The following are a few of my favorites. Stay tuned for part 2!

Sketch of World of Goo by Chloe Yingst |

World of Goo

World of Goo was originally made for the Wii but now is available to play on your iPad for $4.99. It is a physics based puzzle game in which you construct towers, bridges, and other structures using balls of goo. The story is told through sign posts encountered on each level left by a mysterious character known as the sign painter. The object of the game is to get a specific number of the goo balls into a pipe at the end of the level by creating the structures across challenging terrain. Got it? Good. There are many different types of goo balls, each have their own unique properties. My favorite is the Ugly Goo Ball, she has a lovely, hairy mole. 

Art is © 2D Boy

Sketch of Year Walk by Chloe Yingst |

Year Walk

There are two parts to the Year Walk experience: the $3.99 game, Year Walk, and the free Year Walk Companion for iPhone. Both are enjoyable as their own applications but together they expand the scope (and the magic) of the game. I recommend having the companion app on your iPhone next to you while you play the game on your iPad.

The game follows a vision quest set in the dark woods of 19th century Sweden. You are tasked to solve cryptic puzzles using all of your senses while encountering mythological Scandinavian creatures.

The companion app is a guide to the mythological creatures in the game including the seductive forest guardian, the Huldra, and the deathly Brook Horse who lures people onto his back and promptly leaps into the water to drown them.

The art is wonderful and haunting. I loved every second of playing this game! It definitely creeped me out but the art and the stories ensnared me.

Art is © Simogo

Sketch of Tiny Wings by Chloé Yingst |

Tiny Wings

In this simple and addictive game you are a little bird. All you do is dream of flying but you wings are too tiny! You slide down colorful hills and jump up to fly for short periods of time. You can only fly as long as the sun is up. This lovely little game is only .99¢ in the app store.

Art is © Andreas Illiger

Sketch of favorite iPad games by Chloé Yingst |

Roderick on the Line

I listen to podcasts constantly. They root me to my seat and keep me focused on drawing, painting or designing. They make long car rides fly by. They make working out seem less daunting. Sometimes I like to just slow down for a little while and simply sit, listen, and enjoy them.

Merlin Mann & John Roderick  Photo credits to   Chris Glass   &   Victoria VanBruinisse

Roderick on the Line is one of my favorite podcasts. It is a weekly (mostly) conversation between Merlin Mann (on the left) and John Roderick (on the right).

Merlin Mann is a writer, speaker, and podcaster. He co-hosts several podcasts including Back to Work (in which he speaks about productivity and work life), You Look Nice Today (an improv podcast), and of course, Roderick on the Line.

John Roderick is the lead singer and guitarist for The Lone Winters. He has collaborated with many other bands including Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, and Jonathan Coulton. He lived in Alaska as a kid and has some great stories about traveling in Europe as a young adult.

John and Merlin’s only goal is to help people. They discuss philosophy, politics, Hitler, their kids, music, etc. Their conversations are ridiculous, insightful, educational, often obscene, and definitely worth the listen.

The following are my 3 favorite episodes.

Ep. 25: Supertrain
John shares a story about how we woke up in his tent in a land fill. He also discusses what it was like to grow up in Alaska with a dad who worked with the Alaska Railroad.  The concept of Supertrain is born. 

Ep. 48: Wherever Trail Needs to Be Built
This episode starts off with a discussion about Billy Corgan, dead keyboard players, Herpes, and other music related things. My favorite part of this episode starts about 35 minutes in when John and Merlin discuss what it was like to go to military school. Then they get into a spectacular rant about how 7th and 8th graders are useless people who contribute nothing to society.

Ep. 69: Campfire Spaghetti Party
John shares a story about a campfire spaghetti party in the Czech Republic that involves ketchup, Metallica, and thousands of frogs. John and Merlin discuss what its like to be tracked by a bear, the shoe of Binky the polar bear, painting elephants, and a chimpanzee named Cheetah.

Merlin has his own list of favorite episodes to get you started as well. You can follow Merlin Mann on twitter as @hotdogsladies and John Roderick as @johnroderick.

Photo credits to Chris GlassVictoria VanBruiniss