Friday, June 30, 2006

Back to Square One

Why is it that just when things seem to be going along swimmingly, the bottom falls out and you are once again treading water back in the same old place again? Everything you thought you had gained or changed or learned really is no different from the way it was in the beginning. I am feeling frustrated, discouraged and disappointed. Sorry.... I just had to vent.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Day 17}

Well, we are entering the home stretch of Rhonna's 21 Day Challenge. Rhonna has been experiencing some difficulty on her blog so these past few days she hasn't been posting any quotes. But I decided to continue on anyway and do my own thing. I may add quotes to this page and the previous one later when she posts the quotes or when I find some quotes of my own which would be appropriate. I'll see how it goes.

My friend from Florida is in town with her family for a long weekend. She used to live here before moving to Florida and she likes to come up here to shop and visit with everyone. I am glad she does, because I miss her not being close by. Today we are going to hit some stores that they don't have in Florida. Probably IKEA, Anthroplogie, The Container Store, etc. Tomorrow we are going to Downtown Chicago to see Millineum Park and partake in the Taste of Chicago. Should be a fun time!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Days 13 - 16}

Mission accomplished....the garage sale is over! Yipee! We had gorgeous weather and lots of customers. My daughter was thrilled since she was selling a lot of her clothes (many of which looked virtually brand new). It feels good to have all the "stuff" out of here and into good homes. I was able to sell lots of my art technique books that I no longer use to some budding new artists, so I was very happy about that. I packed up all the leftovers last night and put them out for The Cancer Federation to pick up today. I am going to vow to keep on top of this "clutter thing" and get rid of things on a regular basis from now on.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Day 11 & 12}

Two days in one...sounds good to me! We stayed up late to set up the garage sale last night because we put off doing it for most of the day. I do not like that job. Having to put a price tag on your possessions is a bit traumatic for me. But then I was inspried afterwards to work on this page so that allowed me to unwind a bit. I sure am grateful for my creative time.

Friday, June 23, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Days 9 & 10}

These are days 9 and 10 of my 21 Day Challenge journal. I wish I was making more progress but with the weather being so nice, it is hard to stay inside cleaning out closets, basements and storage rooms. But as these quotes say, stick with the positive aspects of the journey...focus on what is going right and the opportunities that will result from it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Girl's Afternoon Out

The other day my friends and I went to the Botanic Gardens for a Girl's Afternoon Out. We all used to work together at the same store before the owners filed for bancruptcy and closed up shop. We have all gone our separate ways and have become involved in new ventures, but we still keep in touch and every once in a while we get together to catch up on what everyone is doing.

On this day we decided to browse the Gardens, since each of us loves flowers and gardening. The weather turned out to be perfect. Silly me forgot to bring my camera (the only one out of five of us), so these pictures were taken by my friend Linda, who graciously shared them to me. Of course as always the colors were even more vibrant and beautiful in person, but isn't it always the case.

After our garden walk we all went to Stir Crazy for dinner. We ate and laughed and had a wonderful time together. It certainly is nice when you can take the time to get together with old friends to reminisce about the past, catch up on the present and dream about the future.

Monday, June 19, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Day 7 & 8}

It is still a struggle to discipline myself to get rid of something every day. I think I have a mental block about this goal of mine. I know it needs to be done, but it is so very hard to do it. I have a terrible habit of getting distracted into doing more fun things like going for a drive to get some art supplies, fixing myself a nice lunch to eat out on the deck, working on an art project, writing notes to friends, etc. Before I know it, the day is almost gone and I haven't gotten one step closer to my goal. But after I finished this page, I DID go clean up my paperwork basket in the kitchen like I said I would. As Lisa would say, "Inch by Inch, Step by Step......"

I couldn't resist going and working on another page after I did my stint of paperwork sorting. Felt I needed a reward. Hmmmm....maybe behavior modification is the way to go with this goal thing! So inspired by Rhonna's swirls, here is Day 8.....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

My daughter put this together for her Dad for Father's Day and I just had to share it with you all. It is a digital layout and she used a photo of my husband and I from 35 years ago {yikes!} and another photo of she and her Dad taking part in their favorite pastime...napping! It is an 8 x 8 layout and the frame is from Target. Happy Father's Day!

Book of Dreams

Wow it was hot today. I stayed inside and worked in my studio because the air conditioning vent is right at my feet so it kept me cool. While I was cooling off I completed another pair of pages in my Book of Dreams. (You can see more Book of Dreams here.) The photo of the little girl releasing a dove is actually a greeting card that I had. I added the little tulle skirt and decorated it with glitter and a beaded waistline. I stamped the word FLY using lavender paint and shaded the letters with a grey marker. Above the mulberry paper arch I wrote the phrase, LET YOUR DREAMS SOAR and added a white sequin heart. I used a silver pen to draw stars above it and also to create the doodled border. Tiny rhinestones add more sparkle to the pages.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Day 6 & Cover}

I worked on page 6 this morning {instead of cleaning something out}. I am trying to make my pages interesting to look at, yet simple so I don't take too much time away from my goal of decluttering the house. I was inspired by the delicate colors of Rhonna's page this morning, so I did my own version of it. I painted the swirls on the background with acrylic paints. I am really into swirls lately. I did go through a basket of sweaters that has been sitting in our bedroom just screaming to be sorted through. Nothing like a 90 degree day to get rid of a few sweaters that no longer fit or look too worn out to keep. Below is the cover to my journal that I finished last night. I just used up some of my old paper scraps which is helping with the decluttering in a small way.

Friday, June 16, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Days 4 &5}

These are my Days 4 & 5 for Rhonna's 21 Day Challenge. I went sort of earthy with the color palette this time. And I added some doodling to the top of the page {shown below} while I was chatting on the phone with my friend from Florida tonight. I have to say that I haven't done much sorting through any of my stuff yet, but that will change over the weekend. I am trying to get myself psyched up to do that. That is the hardest part of everything, isn't it? I do have some motivation that I found out about today. Our neighborhood is going to have a garage sale in one week. Yipee! A means to unload a lot of my things and get money for it as well. The timing couldn't have been better. Now if I can just motivate myself to fill up some boxes to take to the garage, then I will be home free!

Color Week, Day 5 {Red}

Here is my RED photo for day 5. This is a flower that a friend of mine gave me yesterday. She actually gave me a small bouquet of flowers from her garden, but since none of the others were red, I only used this single bloom. This is a photo from my kitchen and the other plants are lemon balm and thyme. The thyme was also a gift from a friend {I have great friends!} who planted it in a darling little antique teacup. She even made the little tag that has a quote from Emily Dickinson on it. You can see a closer photo of it below.

I have been experiencing computer/internet problems all day and it has been terribly frustrating. I have no patience when it come to faulty technology. It drives me crazy!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Color Week, Day 4 {Blue}

Here is the "Blue" I found in my garden. I say they are Forget-me-Nots. My Husband says they are not. You decide.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

21 Day Challenge - {Day 3}

Day 3 and going strong. I am loving this challenge. Wanted to do this during the last go round, but couldn't get myself motivated to start. So glad I am doing it this time. What fun! You can join in too here.

Color Week, Day 3 {Black/Grey}

I chose to capture the color black for today's Color Challenge Black/Grey Wednesday. This table is in my back hallway. Hardly anyone ever sees it, except for my family who pass thru this hall everyday.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

21 Day Challenge - {Days 1 & 2}

Yesterday I started working on Round 4 of Rhonna's 21 Day Challenge. You can read about it and play along here. My challenge is to simplify my life by eliminating all the excess "stuff" I {We} have accumulated over the years. 30 years of marriage amounts to ALOT of stuff which translates into too much clutter. My motto for the next 21 days is going to be "Use it or Lose it!"

Color Week, Day 2 {Brown}

Today's color is brown. At first I thought to myself, "Hmmmm, don't think I have much that is brown around my house." But then once I started looking for it, I realized that there are many things I have that are shades of brown. Duh! Most of my wood furniture is brown (except for the painted pieces that is). So this little vinette shows a portion of my camera collection.

Color Week, Day 1 {White}

I decided to join in with Little Birds color week challenge. Day One's color is white. Pristine, fresh and clean. And oh there are so many shades of white too.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Book Of Dreams Week 7 {Fabric & Fibers}

I never realized how much pink I use in my artwork until I started this Book of Dreams challenge. But I do love it....obviously, since so many of my pages incorporate this color. I used a number of techniques on these pages all using one of my favorite embellishments - fibers. I love ribbons and rickrack and threads and yarns. So I decided to create a pocket covered in all those pretties. I created two bookmark type tags which I can journal on the back of. For the Dream Big page I used a technique I just had read about in Traci Bautista's new book, Collage Unleashed. The words and the doodles were drawn directly onto fabric using permanent markers. Then the background colors and grunge border was generated in Photoshop Elements and printed onto T-shirt transfer paper. The transfer was then ironed onto the fabric and embellished with stitching and a felt flower. The ribbon on the right side of the page was attached with gel medium and the pages were finally adorned with some glitter glue to give it a sparkley touch.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A Little Corner of Heaven

We went up north this weekend to talk to the builder who will be contructing our cottage on this plot of land this summer. I can't believe, after all this time, that this dream of ours is actually going to become a reality. It certainly has been a long time coming. My husband and I have been coming up to this area since we were first married 30 years ago. We came because my mother used to come here with my aunts and grandparents ever since they were little girls. They would spend their summers here playing and swimming at the beaches, bicycling, going for ice cream cones after supper, attending the outdoor plays put on by a local theatrical troupe, watching the sunsets, browsing thru the quaint little shops, etc. etc. Compared to most areas, I have to say that not much has changed here. And what has changed I would say have been improvments for the better. My family never was interested in owning any property up here. In fact none of them owned their own property back home either. They were always content to rent. And in the summers they would rent one of the darling little cottages from the same resort whenever they came for a visit. The area is is considered an artist's community which explains my attraction besides the family history that is here. Many people retire in this area and open galleries to showcase their various artistic talents. My husband has always wanted to have a summer home, so we combined his dream with my love of this area and decided to purchase 6 acres of land to form our dreams into one. I'll try to document the progression of this dream here on the blog.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow!

I got my hair cut today. I think I made a mistake. I look like the little Dutch Boy on the can of paint. Too late now though. Of course this isn't the most flattering picture either. It is a bit freaky looking with the before and after shots morphed together. It makes me look even weirder than I usually look! I guess I could have gussied up a bit also before taking the photo. You know, the way we redo our hair right after we return from the salon because we don't like what the stylist did to it. Oh well, it's only will grow back......eventually.....right???

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - Pop Art

According to the dictionary, "Pop Art is short for Popular Art, because it deals with subjects taken from popular culture." I wouldn't exactly say that I am a pop culture icon, but thanks to this week's Self Portrait Challenge, I guess I am.......for today anyway! Check out more "Pop Art" here.

Special Delivery

Look what the mailman brought me today. Totally cool! : )

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday, Monday

Monday is boring routine day.
I paid some bills.
Balanced my checkbook(s).
Went to the bank.
Mailed some letters.
Bought some groceries.
Filled my car up with gas. (Yikes!)
Went through the car wash.
Did some laundry.
I also sorted through a humungous pile of old magazines that I have been hanging on to for ages. I hate to admit it but some were even Christmas idea magazines. I flipped through them one more time and cut out recipes and articles that I wanted to save. Sometimes I wonder why I bother cutting them out because by the time I get to the end of some magazines I have practically torn out every page! And then I have to find some way to store all the loose pages. Have you ever done that? I really need to stop buying so many magazines because it just creates more work for me and several unwielding stacks to have to go through later. I have a hard time parting with things. I guess you could call me a pack rat. Deciding what I should get rid of is always a problem for me. Everything begins to feel important when I have to decide what to throw out. I wonder what a therapist would have to say about that?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Garden Work

I did a little gardening today. Not the kind that you are thinking though. I created this garden layout using a photo I had taken earlier in the spring of a bed of daffodils in my backyard. I used my sewing machine to add stitching to the border of the pink mat, as well as rows along the bottom and sides of the layout. (I am loving that little Jenome sewing machine!!) Instead of just one color thread, I stitched several times in light and dark pink, brown and green. Then I added a Freestyle-type doodle border right around the photo using a white opaque pen. The copper "Garden" tag is an actual plant label that I embossed with metal embossing dies. I was inspired to try doing this after seeing Lilli's Book of Dreams page. There sure is a lot of great inspiration coming out of the weekly BOD challenges. Everyone has such great talents and imaginations. Anyway, would you believe I found the quote garden after I already started working on it. I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect than if I had written it myself!

We finally moved our patio furniture out to the deck so we can enjoy our meals alfresco again. I made potato salad, parmesan chicken and a green salad. Mmmm! A candle and some background music made an ordinary evening seem rather special. It is still a little cool outside in the evenings, so we made a beeline for the house after we finished eating! Now I think we'll watch some of our Season One DVD of "Monk". We just discovered that show this year, so we have some catching up to do.

Friday, June 02, 2006

More Book of Dreams Pages

What a beautiful day it is today. I didn't plan to spend it all inside, but I got so engrossed in working on my Book of Dreams that the day just slipped away. Sometimes even nice weather must take a back seat to artistic endeavors when inspiration is present.

I am loving this Book of Dreams project so much. I haven't even started working on this week's challenge of "Pop-ups." Actually I was looking through my Book of Dreams and came across a circle I had cut in a page a couple weeks ago when we worked on "windows." For some reason I didn't use this circle at that time, but now I thought a transparancy I had of a vase full of French Lilacs would look nice in it. So from that little chance rediscovery of the cut out circle came these pages.

For many, many years I have longed to visit Paris. It has been a dream of mine since I was in 7th grade where our class took French lessons from a teacher named Madame Varias. She was quite a character, but we all studied our DLM French dialogue tapes until we could recite them to perfection! What I like the most about Madame Varias was that she would tell us about life in Paris - the food, the sights, the culture, etc. I remember thinking to myself that someday I will travel to Paris and see everything she described to us.

In the photo above, the left hand page is an illustrated map of Paris. The right hand page shown in the photo below is done in shades of purple, lavender, teal and brown. I covered the whole page in a wash of lavender and collaged on top of that with a combination of patterned papers, rubber stamps, ephemera, ribbon, a rhinestone earring, paper clip, buttons and page pebbles. I made the tiny travel journal and it has handwritten pages and maps inside of it along with a hand beaded tiny bookmark. The hazy, translucent white circle in the center is supposed to evoke a feeling of a moonlit Parisan sky and has the word "someday..." written in white opaque ink. It also corresponds with the tranparency on the half page, giving it a light background to allow the transparency to show up better.

In the transparency half-page shown below, I used several teal glazes for the background and collaged over it using patterned paper napkins on both sides. I enjoy using napkins and tissue paper on collages because the thin tissue seems to melt into the background. Finally I embellished the page with some rhinestones, a rubber stamped embossed image and some beaded fringe.

So now it is time to get started on the pages that I am supposed to be working on this week - "Pop-ups." I think I may have to get my geometry skills dusted off for this one!!
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