Thursday, July 27, 2006

Let Go - No Regrets

This is a page that I did for Donna Downy's Big Picture Scrapbooking Class in which we had to do a layout using a song lyric. My journaling is going on the 'No Regrets' paper in the upper right corner of the's a little intense so I am kind of shy to share it here. The lyrics are from Carrie Underwood's song "Wasted" which is on her CD called Some Hearts. I think it is easy to relate to the words, as everyone takes life for granted every now and then thinking that we have all the time in the world to do what needs to be done. Life is precious and fragile and one just never knows how much time is left. So whatever it is you have been putting off.....DO IT NOW!

I tried a cool technique on this page that I read about in Creating Keepsakes special edition called Can-Do Techniques. The stitching on the green horizontal rectangle is done with fine tip markers. The secret to get it to look like real sewing machine stitching is to use a paper piercer to punch evenly spaced holes. Then take a fine tip marker and dot each of the holes with the ink. Finally, use the marker to connect the dots with a thin line. It's hard to tell here, but it really does look like actual stitching, which is great for those times you don't feel like lugging out the sewing machine!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

HeART Journal {Project Runway}

Okay, I admit it....I am addicted to Project Runway. However, I am not the only one with this vice. Check out Claudine's blog here and you will see there are lots of us who plan our Wednesday night activities around the show. I got hooked on it midway through season one which included Jay and Austin. All the designers are nothing less than highly talented, but unique, characters. This season is no exception. Too bad Malan was considered "out" last week...I had a feeling he was going to be extremely entertaining. But not to worry...there are many more designers that won't have any trouble keeping our interest peaked throughtout season three. And of course there is always Tim Gunn who provides amusement everytime he opens his mouth. In addition to the cast, I really enjoy the challenges they have every week...they are full of inspiration for any artist. I can always find a way to incorporate the challenges into my own artwork to keep the juices flowing. It's a fun show and I can't wait to watch it tomorrow!

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Daffodil Principle

A friend of mine sent this to me and I thought I would pass it along to all of you.

My daughter has telephoned me several times to ask me to come see the daffodils before they finish blooming. I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from my house, so I told her I would come next Tuesday. Tuesday turned out to be a cold and rainy day, but since I had promised I reluctantly drove over to my daughter's house. I told my daughter we should forget about going to see the daffodils as the fog is really bad. But she smiled and said, "But mother, we drive in this weather all the time. Besides I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car. It's just a few blocks away. However since the weather is bad I will drive"

After several minutes, I asked where we were going since I noticed she wasn't driving in the direction of the garage. My daughter informed me that we were taking the 'scenic route' by way to the daffodils. About 20 minutes later, we turned onto a small gravel road where I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden." The two of us got out of the car walked down the path. As we turned the corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a huge pot of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and it's surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.
There were five acres of flowers in all. When I asked my daughter who planted this lovely garden she told me it was planted by a woman who lives on the property. She lives in a small house in the middle of all the daffodils. We walked up to the house and on the patio we saw a sign which said,

"Answers to Questions You Are Dying To Know"
#1. 50,000 bulbs.
#2. One at a time, by one woman.
#3. Began in 1958.

For me, that moment was life-changing. I thought of this woman who more than forty years before, had begun planting one bulb at a time in order to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration there is - learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time {often just one baby-step at time} and to love the process by learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

In a way it made me a bit sad as I wondered what I could have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal 35 or 40 years ago and had worked away at it one bulb at a time through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said. She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask,
How can I put this to use today?

Use the Daffodil Principle and Stop Waiting.....
Until your debts are paid off,
Until you get a new car or home,
Until your kids leave the house,
Until you go back to school,
Until you finish school,
Until you clean the house,
Until you organize the garage,
Until you clean off your desk,
Until you lose 10 lbs.,
Until you gain 10 lbs.,
Until you get married,
Until you get a divorce,
Until you have kids,
Until the kids go to school,
Until you retire,
Until summer,
Until spring,
Until winter,
Until fall,
Until you die.

There is no better time than the present to start working towards your dream.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Goodbye Sweet Bootsy

Today is a sad day at our house. One of our kitties, Bootsy, passed away this morning. He and his brother, Midnight {see picture below} came to live with us 13 years ago when my husband found them abandoned in 100 degree weather lying on hot asphalt pavement near a loading dock. Boosty was the smaller of the brothers, but he was always the louder and more rambunctious of the two. The two cats were very close and slept curled up together every night. When my husband first brought them home they were newborns and didn't know how to eat or drink from a bowl. They were so young we had to feed them kitten formula out of tiny bottles. This was quite an experience for our, then 10 year old, daughter who had always dreamed of having a kitten. When we took them to the vet I remember reading a brochure in the waiting room which said that a very high percentage of kittens who are abandoned by their mothers do not survive. My heart sank when I read that passage and I vowed to myself that Bootsy and Midnight were not going to be one of those statistics. So we nursed them, fed them, taught them how to eat from bowls, use the litter box, etc. And they survived. Until today. Bootsy had become frail and sickly and had lost most of his muscle-tone in the past few months. The vet said that it is just a matter of time. Last night he was still a bit frisky and excited to see his dish of food put on the floor. But this morning his little body just gave out and he left this world curled up in his little bed and very much as peace. We will miss you Bootsy. And so will your brother Midnight.

Friday, July 21, 2006

HeART Journal {Blue Jeans}

Instead of doing things that NEED to be done today, I escaped to my art room to spend some time working on my HeART Journal. I have quite a knack at procrastinating like that. I can always find something to do other than what I am supposed to be doing. I started out by brain-storming ideas of the things I 'heart' and one thing that kept coming to mind was blue jeans. I must love {I mean 'heart') them since I wear them all the time. Paired with a white t-shirt, what could be easier and more comfortable to wear? So I figured why not do a HeART journal page about blue jeans? Blue and brown just happens to be a favorite color combination of mine, so the palette was a no-brainer! I photographed my jean jacket and cut it up to use as elements on the page....see the jean pocket and the zipper? The copper brads {both round and square} remind me of the rivets on blue jeans. The photo of the woman wearing the jeans is from a magazine which didn't tear out as neatly as I had hoped, but once I put it on the page I rather liked the torn edge as I think it adds some contrast to all the straight lines on the page. Well, now that I have completed this page I suppose it is time to go back to doing all the things that I should be doing today. No more excuses! Don't forget to check out what Norah has been doing in her HeART journal....her pages are awesome!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

HeART Journal {Ribbons, Etc.}

Here it is....{ I 'Heart' ribbons, bright colors & clean lines } is the first page of my HeART Journal that I am doing with Norah. I had to play with it a little more until I was satisfied with the look. I covered the page with a patchwork of brightly colored papers. Then I created the ribbon heart by cutting a heart shape from chipboard and covering it will a variety of ribbons from my vast collection. I do love ribbons and enjoy using them as embellishments whenever I can. I also used ribbons to make the three tabs on the right side of the page. A fabric letter, a heart button and Dymo label words make up the journaling. Then I added the three little flowers on the lower left corner for balance. The heart is attached permanently, but now I am thinking that I should have attached it with Velcro so that it could be removed and used as a hanging decoration. It would have been a clever little feature, but the glue is dry so it's too late now.

Book of Dreams {Pop-Up Page}

Here's another page from my Book of Dreams that I finished this morning. I had saved this movie marquee from a magazine advertisement for Lincoln Automobiles knowing that it would be great to use in my BOD. Of course it was the phrase on the marquee that caught my eye - "You're the writer, director, and producer of your dreams." Awesome quote! Anyway, I was trying to figure out how to get it to fit on the page and it suddenly dawned on me that it will have to span across two pages. Okay, sounds great, but it still was too large. I really didn't want to cut it down and lose the side panels of the marquee. I thought of scanning it and shrinking it down to a size that would fit but that just seemed like too much trouble. Then it hit me....make a pop-up page out of it. And Voila! Here it is! Before attaching the pop-up to the layout, I covered the pages with a glaze of Golden Titanium Buff so the text from the book would show through a little bit. Then I stamped two different sized stars with gold pigment ink all over the pages. And finally I inked the edges of the pages with two shades of blue pigment ink. Fortunately I saved the entire ad from the magazine because I noticed that the words used in the small print would make a great addition to the page. It is a little hard to read in this photo, so here is what it says:
"The script is entirely up to you. Wherever it takes you. Celebrate your achievements and reward your success. Then it's on to the next episode. Life' calling. What to next?"
I also worked on a page of my HeART Journal last night, but I am not happy with it yet. Thought I would sleep on it and see if I would wake up with some divine inspiration about it, but so far nothing. I still need to fuss with it a little more and maybe that will spark some great idea. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 17, 2006

HeART Journal {Cover}

Took care of all my regular Monday chores...paid bills, grocery shopped, ran errands, did laundry - yada, yada, yada. But when I was finished with all of that boring, mundane stuff I got started on my HeART Journal. Norah came up with this idea and I decided that I couldn't resist joining in on the fun. I am a little behind Norah in getting starting (you must check out her altered book is fabulous!) but now that my cover is finished I am off and running. I will share the pages with you here as I complete them. The idea behind the HeART Journal is to create pages about things or places you I 'Heart' New York and I 'Heart' Chocolate, etc. You get the idea, right? I think it is going to be a fun journey - why don't you join us!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Book of Dreams {Cover & Title Page}

As you can see, I usually work backwards when I do things. Most people create the cover of their altered book first, but I have to have the design come to me instead of me trying to force it. It sort of creates itself that way. So although it has been weeks since ArtsyMama's Book of Dreams challenge ended, my cover had remained naked.....until I stumbled upon a scarf I found at Walmart of all places. I loved the scarf (I bought for the book and one to wear!) and knew immediately that I had found the cover for my Book of Dreams. It has a Anahata's PaPaYa look to it - you know, sort of Bohemian Chic. I thought the colors were absolutely scrumptious! First I gessoed the black book cover and then I applied the scarf to both the front and back of the book with gel medium. Then I found a complementary ribbon to use down the left side. I added the book plate with various letters to spell out the title. Below is the inside front cover and title page. I think I want to still add something to this, but I haven't figured out what that "something" will be yet. I guess I will just let that come to me the way the cover of the book did!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Simply Beautiful!

We went to see Pirates of the Carribean yesterday....ahhhh! : )
The reviews weren't very good.
I didn't care.
I was only watching Johnny.
He is just way too cool!

Friday, July 07, 2006

A Trip to the City {Part Two}

Another popular attraction of Millinnuem Park is the sculpture called, "The Bean." It is a silver bean-shaped structure which took several years to complete. The metal used in the sculpture was welded together to form the shape and through some painstakingly long process none of the welding is visible, thus producing a perfectly smooth, shiny surface. If you walk underneath "The Bean" and look up, the undulating shape forms an unusual optical illusion as you can see in the photo above. We rested a bit at that point and listened to a rehearsal of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra which performs in the evenings for free. One of the jewels of Grant Park is our famous Buckingham Fountain, which actually is more spectacular at night when the water is lit up with colored lights.Of course no trip to the city is complete without a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. I could spend days wandering around in this museum. I used to love when we would take classes on field trips here and watch the children's faces when the docents explained some of the art work.And finally, a trip to another Chicago landmark...Marshall Field and Company. This store holds years and years of memories for me. My mother and I would ride the elevated train and subway to go shopping here before the days of indoor shopping malls. {I do believe I am dating myself with that comment!} My parents, my brother and I would come here every year a few days before Christmas to eat lunch in the famous Walnut Room. We would sit at tables surrounding the gigantic Christmas tree, where for years I would order {to my mother's horror} a plain hot dog. Frango Mints, Uncle Mistletoe, the decorated Christmas windows all were a huge part of our childhood Christmas memories. But alas, Marshall Field's has been sold to Macy's and so this sign, which has been above the entrance for decades, will soon be replaced marking the end of an era. : (

A Trip to the City {Part One}

Yesterday we went downtown to attend The Taste of Chicago, which is an annual event consisting of lots of good food and music. It is held in Grant Park, which is Chicago's version of Central Park. Grant Park stretches along the downtown area of the city between the lakefront and the skyline. If you ever visit the city, be sure to take a boat tour because the view of the city from the lake is absolutely spectacular!

Within the boundaries of Grant Park you will find a brand new park called Millinneum Park, which is Mayor Richard Daley's million dollar pride and joy.
One of the features of this park are two tall monolythic shaped fountains. Each fountain features a video taken of actual people who look at you for quite a while and slowly they begin to pout their lips and eventually a stream of water appears as if it is coming from the person's mouth. The children absolutely love this and many of them come all prepared dressed in their swimsuits to take full advantage of this feature. After the water has poured out for a while, the entire monolyth turns into a huge waterfall with water flowing down all sides from the very top. The screams and squeals of the children when this happens are sure to put a smile on even the grouchiest face! : )

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Hope everyone has a great day celebrating our nation's independence. It is an important day in our country's history. Sometimes that fact gets lost with all the fireworks, food and fun. For a fun greeting check out this card which was sent to a friend of mine. America Rocks!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

21 Day Challenge {Days 18-21}

This is the final day of Rhonna's 21 Day Challenge. You can view my entire 21 Day Challenge Journal here. It has been great fun to be a part of this event and I have enjoyed all the wonderful inspiration from Rhonna and all the other participants. Everyone's pages were awesome! And the quotes were so thought provoking. I have gained a lot...not to mention an empty corner of my garage! Thanks!
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