Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wishes for 2009

This past week I have visited a number of my favorite blogs and read some beautifully thoughtful reflections of 2008. I'm touched by what people choose to share; inspired, too.

Since I haven't quite gotten over my whole non-holiday-spirit, I feel like my reflections might be a bit tainted right now; rather than wallow, I'd prefer to offer ...

Wishes for 2009

May we live honestly & wholeheartedly

May we be wise enough to recognize what's truly important

May we dare to try new things (even if some may scare us a little ... or a lot)

May we be well & healthy in body, mind and spirit

May we suffer bouts of spontaneous dancing (and/or singing)

May we be open to (and accepting of) our highest potentials

May we share ourselves without fear

May we practice kindness, until practice becomes habit
and habit becomes as natural as breathing

May kindness continue to be contagious

May we be treated to lots of gut splitting laughter & silly little fits of giggles

May we accept others for exactly who they are and not what we expect them to be

May we be inspired

and touched by magic

May we experience 10,000+ moments of happiness

May we all find peace in our hearts, our homes & our universal community

With love,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How Did it Happen?

I've been having issues with this holiday season ... usually I begin preparing sometime in early October and have a bunch of stuff in the works & by December 1 I'm in a baking and making frenzy (believe me when I say that I truly enjoy every part of it, too) ... this year, I never really got started. Strange, really. I have baked a bit, made even less and now it's officially Christmas Eve ... this is so odd. I mentioned in an earlier email that I am hoping that my holiday clock is just set on delay ... who knows, maybe I'll have my holiday burst sometime in March. One never really knows ... I hope that I haven't bummed y'all out & your still with me - this next part is chock full of happy surprises, some pretty pictures (from that trip North) and a super happy face at the end.

A while back Elizabeth Beck (a.k.a. e.beck.artist) was having a giveaway & somehow the lucky gods were smiling on me ... I won an e.beck original! Due to life, art & other such stuff, it took a while for her to make her way to the post office. Even luckier for me as she decided to send me not one, but TWO of her little paintings (and a candy bracelet that my daughter quickly confiscated from me by calling dibs)! Whoa! and hold your horses! Check out what she sent:

I love, love, love them both & am thrilled to have them here in my home ... I may even leave the ornament up all year long (who knows, if I stare at it enough, that Christmas Spirit just might take its bite!). Go HERE to visit her blog & be sure to check out more of her wonderful art.

That's really good and awesome, right? But WAIT! there's more ... the most wonderful and loverly Cathie (a.k.a. Clevelandgirlie) decided that now was the time to send a little cheer my way (did she sense I was suffering from holiday zombieitis?!? I wonder) ... and what a precious little cheerleader I received ... introducing Mz. Meecies (yes, I do call her that & don't blame me if my goober hat shows once in a while - I was born this way & have practiced for years and years!):

Isn't she just the most adorable pin cushion EVER?!? She has a pin for a nose & Swarovski crystal eyes. You can actually put a spool of thread on her tail, too ... talk about a clever, clever design. I adore this little mouse. Right now she is sitting on the shelf right above my PC and just looking at her makes me happy. Go see Cathie HERE - scroll through some of her older posts as her talents are not only with a needle and thread ... plus, she has one loveable Gizmo.

Another wonderful and witty woman decided to send a little something my way ... imagine my surprise when this sweet package arrived:

Chris (at Prism Trail) sent the box full of hand made tags (when in the box, the lid doesn't close, but you get this amazing hand decorated box brimming with colors and ribbon galore - it's so sweet, but I wanted to show off all the pretty little tags & beads). Visit Chris HERE ... don't be surprised if you find yourself giggling for much of your visit.

You'd think after receiving such lovely gifts I wouldn't still be suffering from Christmas Avoidance Syndrome ... I wonder if there are meds I should be taking ... perhaps some Mint M-n-M's ...

You all said such nice things about the photo's from West Virgina, I thought I would share a few more:

And just for the sheer pleasure:

That's Secret. She's the miniature pincher that lives with the peeps we were visiting in West Virginia; she enjoys the ride from the house to the cabin quite a bit. :)

May you all be treated to a holiday filled with
love, laughter & good cheer!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Snow to Sunshine

Not quite two weeks ago we were up in West Virginia with snow and temps that didn't get above 40 degrees and are now back in our SW Florida sunshine (70's - 80's during the day).

On Monday we went to a homeschool Teddy Bear party (dressed bears for the Salvation Army's holiday bear-fest) at a friends home. Here's a shot of 64 bears in all their new finery:

Some are definitely dressed better than others, but all were clothed with a lot of heart and the best of intentions.

I was able to wear one of my favorite hats - event photographer - and have posted most of the party pics on snapfish for all the attendee's to view. Since it was a party, most shots are candids of the kids having a blast, but I did sneak in a few random shots of prettiness ... one of the guests brought rosemary hearts to share:

Don often brings bags of basil from our garden for the other families, so this was a lovely reciprocation and presented in such a simple and clever way - they look sweet and smell terrific. Looks like I have a great Christmas ornament back-up plan for this year (our rosemary bush is huge, so there's plenty, too).

The rest of these shots are taken in the back yard (one of those to-die-for spaces). There are a number of orchids in bloom right now & they are pretty amazing:

Here's a shot of the tree watching us:

Perhaps not part of all the prettiness, but it cracks me up. I've seen a lot of those spirit of the tree faces & always found them to be quite intriguing, but a tree spirit that's watching us? and with his own binoculars?!? too funny.
This little moth found one perfect place to sun and feast:

... and on that note, it's late and I have to work in the morning, so it's off to my pillows.

May you be treated to a day full of wonder.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Last Minute Shopping, Anyone?

I just found out that another friend of mine (check out her blog: HERE) has opened an Etsy store ... actually, she has three ... one for her vintage inspired pieces, one specifically for the earrings she makes and another for vintage beading and craft supplies ... all sorts of yumminess!

Here's a sampling of her earrings:

(click on the image to be directed to the Earring Emporium)

This one:

(click on the image to be directed to La Belle Savage)

and this one:

(click on the image to be directed to La Belle Savage)

and ... this one:

(click on the image to be directed to La Belle Savage)

Are samples of items you could find at her other shop:

Do yourself a favor and go check out the goodies she has for sale ... I'm pretty sure you'll be blown away & her prices are more than reasonable. Have fun ... and let me know if you decide to buy one of her trinkets (even if it's for yourself).

Oh! ... and if anyone happens to have an inexpensive and foolproof recipe for uber-tasy cookies, I am all ears! I have a cookie exchange party a week from today ... EEK!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We're home safe, somewhat sound and a little more than EXHAUSTED!

I feel like I have tons to catch up on ... laundry, emails, lists, planning, crafting & blog visits(I have gotten through my first rounds of checking in, but have a lot more to go) ... and then there's the reality ... I am wiped out (and seriously thinking that I am part bear in need of hibernation ... or could use another four days of vacation) ... so ... I promise not to torture you with the 800+ photo's that I took this past week, but instead will leave you with just a handful ... and a promise to be back soon ...

On the night we left, it was 74 degrees (at 8:00PM) here in sunny Florida and this is the sunset we were treated to as we loaded the mini-v:

We were on the road about an hour after the above photo. 1100 miles later (& a white out that reduced driving to five miles per hour for a couple of hours) we arrived at our West Virginia destination ... the day of the first "big" snow (if you're like me, you might not know that this doesn't mean first snow, but the first snow where it sticks for more than a few hours). It was about 2:00PM and 30 degrees - brrrrr! The sky was really, really gray (I was concerned that I wouldn't be treated to any good photo light ... luckily, I was wrong) ... the next day we woke up to a beautiful day. I walked about along the fence line a little ways from the house and turned back to snap a shot of the house we stayed at (it's the building on the left).

The next few photo's are random close up shots of things that caught my eye ... the crazy range of colors between the white snow, brown twigs/leave and green mossy stuff:

strange little pod things (sorry, I really don't know what this is ... or was) that look a lot like distressed styrofoam balls to be used for art doll heads:

little pockets of ice & green caught in nooks, knots and crannies of trees

And wildly wonderful leaves with their twisted twiggy tendrils still clinging to thorny green stems:

pretty amazing, actually. It was a wonderful visit ... but I am really happy to be home (even if it does mean that I am back at work).

May you be treated to a day of happy moments!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Heading North

The family is about to head north to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends. I'm not sure that I'll have access to a computer while we are there, so I wanted to take a moment to share my thanks with all of you ... I am truly thankful for this most amazing community of creative spirits. Through you, I have been able to share a part of myself with a wider audience & this sharing has made me a braver creative than I have ever been before. I often find myself in awe of the incredible art that is being made, inspired by the beauty and originality that I see & encouraged by the generous comments ... you all have etched yourselves upon my spirit and in my heart ... for that, I am truly thankful.

May you and yours enjoy a most wonderful & blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cigar Box Shrine - A Call to Artists

Last week I learned that our local smoke shop sells empty cigar boxes for $.50/each, so I stopped by to see if they had any and walked out with five boxes. For years I have been intrigued by the magic that can happen to a cigar box & just a few random art supplies, odds and ends. How fun it would be to try my hand at making a little of that magic myself?

The boxes have been sitting in a stack since I brought them home. I keep looking at them & sometimes grab one to open and close it a bunch of times before returning it to the pile ... where to begin, right? As the fates would have it ... I have a starting point and a purpose now.

I know that most everyone is knee deep, in holiday planning/creating/shopping, but if you have a moment, check out the link above (the image) and read all about the Dia de Los Muertos Art Exhibit & Sale (or click HERE). There is also the Cigar Box Shrine Gallery located HERE that has pages of inspiration ... AND the final deadline for recieving them is January 10, 2009.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I thought I would share a few of my paintings:

"Jim" - 3'x3' house paint on 1/4" plywood; mid 90's

flower doodle - 12"x16" acrylic on wrapped canvas; mid to late 90's

"Hero" - 24"x16" acrylic on wrapped canvas; 2004

"Gibson Girl" - 16"x24" acrylic on wrapped canvas; prior to 2005

"Sea Turtle for Antonio" - acrylic on wrapped canvas; 2008

hmmm ... what's next?

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" ~ Helen Keller

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anyone curious?

About whatever happened to the umbrella painting for the Red Art Project?
Did you think I forgot?
... I did set it aside for a time, but there was that looming deadline, sooooo


... and here's a detail ...

and don't forget about:

If you are seeing this piece for the first time and are interested in seeing the progress, click

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dia de Bloglandia

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

I am happy to celebrate this very special day by taking part in Stephanie & Susanna's Dia de Bloglandia uber-Grande par-tay extraordinaire!

I had a very strong desire to create an ofrenda (altar) in honor of the people I love that have passed, but must admit I had a hard time getting started ... I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to come up with anything worthy of the emotion I feel for those I hoped to honor ... that is until this morning.

I knew I wanted to include at least one traditional Mexican craft & realized I had everything I needed to make paper flowers (most of us do have these items on hand - tissue paper & pipe cleaners), so that's where I started ... the rest, well, it just seemed to fall into place ...

There are six people I am remembering today. The two candles sort of center right are for my Grandfather and my Omi.
My Grandfather Pitcairn passed on October 12th of this year; he was 95 and died in his sleep. I can't think of a more gentle way to go. When I found out, all I could think of is that he and my Omi were finally together again. Theirs was a love that not only survived World War II (in Germany, no less), rations & two daughters that both married American men and left their home country for the United States, but thrived. They were more in love in their "golden" years than they even were in the beginning. I loved both of them dearly & was blessed to have been able to spend quite a lot of time with them considering the distance between us ... plus, there was always the letters back and forth.

The four candles clustered to the left are for friends of mine who's lives were tragically cut way too short (in my humble opinion, at least) - John, Brian, Mac & Bill - all on separate occasions. I still miss them dearly and think of each of them often. They are in a very real way responsible for the woman I am today. For that, I will forever be grateful; they will always occupy a sacred space in my heart.

I learned that it is traditional to light an extra candle for forgotten souls, so I have added the larger white candle to the left of the raised portion. See if you notice other traditional items that I included in this ofrenda.

The simple papal picado (banner) below includes "flags" with the names of those I've mentioned.

Special Message: To the lovely gals that won one of my mock sugar skulls from Vanessa's party way back when, you might see your little gems in these photo's ... my sincerest appologies for the delay, but their presence here today is very appropriate and greatly appreciated. They will most definitely be on their way to you come Monday.

Building this ofrenda was truly an amazing experience for me. I felt such a joyful peace in creating it & my heart actually new when it was complete. Once I lit the candles, I sat in silence for quite some time before taking any photographs. I offer my sincerest thanks to Susanna & Stephanie for hosting this beautiful event.

... and on that note, I am off to visit all the other participants ...

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

(ps - click on any of the images for a larger view)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Here's another photo of the small pumpkins we saw at Hunsader Farms last week.

Angela from Just Go is holding her very first Blogapalooza & in the process is also having an awesome goodie bag giveway. Here's what she asked us to do: On October 29, put a photo of a pumpkin at the top of your post (check) and tell us the story of your strangest or scariest trip ever ...

... here goes ...

I wish that in the spirit of Halloween I had a spooky - in a creepy way - strange tale to tell, but unfortunately I don't (though I will admit that I did consider making one up ...). Instead, I'll share a camping trip adventure that nearly scared me out of my britches.

In my mid-twenties, I shared a house with three guy friends and we would often run away for a weekend of camping. We usually headed up to Mingus Mountain, but once we learned there was a seasonal waterfall, well, we just had to make the trip (sorry, I can't even remember the area let alone the name of the falls) ... understand that waterfalls in central AZ are not all that commen, so this was a pretty big deal for us. It should also be noted that though I can play a pretty good pack mule, I am not known as a daredevil ... that said, we made our eight mile hike into this secret canyon and actually found the waterfall. There were boulders to climb on that were huge (taller than me by more than double), beautiful river rock and everything was so lush. Pretty cool even if the waterfall was not much more than a trickle. It was still pretty amazing. We found a nice ledge down "stream" (more aptly dry bed) from the fall that was about 10 feet above the bed and level, so decided to set up camp there. That night we were pretty exhausted after a day of playing and good camp food, so when it started sprinkling we all decided to turn in for the night. That sprinkle turned into a pretty big storm. It rained most of the night and was still raining when we woke. Thanks to being in a canyon, we weren't beaten up by the winds, so I guess that counts for something. ... when we came out of our tents that dry bed had turned into a raging river ... and wouldn't you know it, the trail out was on the other side. The waters were still rising, but the rain had let up a bit, so we broke camp. There we are on the wrong side of the river with the waters still rising and the only way out was UP THE SIDE OF THE CANYON ... I kid you not. The boys had to do some pretty serious cajoling to get me to agree to scale the side of the mountain, but they managed to & I actually made it to the top. The hike out was a good 20+ miles (ok, not really ... remember it was eight miles in and we took that shortcut up the side of the canyon) ... by the time we got back to our truck, we were all exhausted and so ready for a hot meal that we took our rain soaked stinky selves to the nearest Denny's to rehash, revisit and retell our adventurous waterfall trip.

I really should be fast asleep, but I didn't want to be a party pooper ... I'll try to find pictures from the trip when I get home from work tomorrow ... if I find them, I'll be sure to add them.

Now, go check out the other Blogapalooza players HERE (listed on Angela's side bar) ... who knows, maybe one of them will have a wickedly haunted trip to share.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Soul Journey Halloween Blog Style

10/29 @1:41 am ... and the winners are:

Chris @ Prism Trail


Melissa @ Holiday Queen

10/28/08 @ 8:08 pm ... I've been slow on the uptake and haven't pulled the names for the drawing, so I only think it's fair to toss in all the comments (that worked in the word "wicked" to be elligible) received until right now ... winner(s) will be announced soon!

Great! you've made it ... and just in time to get on the Boo Bus Express to the Halloween Fair!

It shouldn't take us long to get out to the farm, so relax and enjoy the ride.

Look! it's Ms. Goat ... she says we're almost there!

Here we are ...

It really is a lovely day ... where should we start? the Pumpkin patch? OK ...

there are plenty to choose from ... we should grab a few extra for the Pumpkin Cannon!

WOW! that was seriously crazy.
I'd like to rest my feet for a minute or two. Would you care to see:

That little ghost sure was amazing ... I had no idea he'd know how to tap dance!
Looks like the next show is at:

I'd rather not wait, if you don't mind.
What is Malificent doing up on the roof?!? I hope she doesn't fall.

Shall we head on over to Madama Furtunata's place? I have been sooooo looking forward to seeing her.

It seems she has a new pet ... don't get too close, this emu looks a bit possessed.

How nice, there aren't any lines. Did you remember to bring a gift? That sounds perfect!

Madame Fortunata was in an extra good mood today ... it's not often she invites us to go along with her to a party!

... and a Soul Journal Halloween Blog Party at that ...

Alright everyone, let's pile back onto the Boo Bus Express for Collage Diva's

Click the image above to visit Kathryn Party and all the guests that are attending

I hope you've enjoyed your visit ... you're welcome back anytime.

Special Notes:

All paper toys (the Boo Bus, the Ghost Show & Madame Fortunata's) are free downloads from the Toymaker's Halloween Section - go check out the plethora of cool paper toys she's made available: HERE

All photographs were taken by me (on our recent homeschoolers trip to Hunsader Farms).

ps - if you've made it this far, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that I do have a giveaway for this post ... shhhh! it's a secret (not really, but it is a mystery prize). If you would like to be included in the drawing, please be sure to leave a comment & work the word "wicked" in there somewhere ... I've been on a dorky "wicked cool" kick lately and I am thinking if I see the word enough, I just might let it go. :)

All eligible comments posted by 6:00 pm EST tomorrow (Monday, October 27th) will be entered.