Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More and More Beauty

I am busy busy busy. Mainly because I'm an idiot. If anyone knows of a calendar that does not have pages but is just one big long sheet, let me know. Because at the end of every month I always think that the next month is waaaaaay far away. Especially with the way I've been duking it out with time lately, I should have known better. A whole ton of stuff snuck up on me when on Saturday night just before bed I looked at the calendar and went, "Waaaaait a second. What? WHAT? WHAT?" And then I couldn't go to sleep because I was so stressed about all the things I just then realized that I had to do, like, right then. [Siiigh.] So I've pretty much been running around like a chicken with my head cut off ever since, interspersed with moments of clarity of perspective when I remember--Dude, calm down. Life is good. Really, really good. Look at all this beauty in your life. And I stop and see and am grateful. Until I see my To Do list and freak out again until the next time. :)

On Sunday I headed into D.C. for Crafty Bastards. I am still learning my way around so I kind of pop up out of Metro stations like a gopher and look around and try to figure out where I am or just ask a stranger who looks like they know where they're going. Much to my happy, happy surprise I popped out of Dupont Circle station directly into a glorious farmer's market!

Lo and behold, I found the elusive Honeycrisp apple! After all the talking that Kal and Paulette and Aimee have done about this apple, I was thrilled to find some, and bought a couple pounds even though I knew I'd have to carry them around with me all day!

And let me tell you, these lovelies live up to all the hype! They are aptly named for sure. Crunchy and sweet and a little tart and yum yum yum. I made Jason promise to savor every bite or I would hide the rest of them from him.

Walking around the market made me feel like I was right back in Italy (almost). Talking to the growers/farmers, fresh gorgeous produce displayed beautifully, delicious cheeses. Oh, I was so sad to have to pass most of it up! I might just go back one of these Sundays, just for the produce shopping.

I kept stopping to take photos and then I'd realize that someone wanted to buy the thing I was photographing, but were politely waiting for me to get my shot! How nice. :) After looking at these photos, I am more glad than ever that I took that photography class. Love these peppers!

Oh, I could have eaten three pints of these raspberries! Yummmmmmm.

I didn't take any photos at the art & craft fair because I was too busy shopping I understand most artists don't want people photographing and then stealing their designs. Also, it was crowded and muggy, blech. But it was great! It was really "indie" as you might guess from the name. :) There was a huge variety of really cool things. I bought a few things; a lot less than I'd thought I might, actually! But I'm really glad I went. Especially since Andrea joined me and we went out to lunch at a yummy French/Belgian café!

On the way back to the Metro I found some purple sunshine.

It's not the name of the flower or anything, that's just what I called it since a ray of sunshine came through the trees and directly onto these pretty flowers. :)

I've made a few more pieces of jewelry, too, but my photo shoot last week did not work out so well; bummer. But I accidentally learned how I think I can make it better next time. So I will try, try again on the jewelry photoshoot. In the meantime, the pile to be photographed is growing larger, and that's something, right? :)

A photoshoot that did work out well was of my favorite accessory. Wait, are shoes accessories? Well, they are for me. I adore this shot, almost as much as I adore these shoes.

And you will see this photo again, kind of. :)

But right now, at this very minute, I must go go go. I'm working feverishly on some design ideas for my gorgous Hitchcock Blonde kit from Technicolor Postcards. I'm feeling it. I'm loving it. Beautiful, Baby, beautiful!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #16


That is the sound of today just flying by. It is also the sound of the years flying by, because apparently this weekend is a big ol' milestone in my life, kinda sorta. Which is the inspiration for today's favorite photo (see if you can guess).

Oh my goodness. Yes, that long-legged girl in the middle? Um, yes, that was me. [And it still is, somewhere in here.] This weekend is Homecoming weekend and the 10 year reunion for... ahem... college. Ahh, good times. Goodness gracious, I can't get over those legs the length of those shorts. This might have been the very last time I wore anything that short! Oh wait, I lived in Vegas for the three years following college, so probably not. :)

Anyway. Yes. It came as a big shock when I received a large postcard in the mail with "1998" scrawled across it and "10 year reunion" somewhere, too. I think I actually did a double-take. HUH? Well, yes, I suppose that I did graduate in 1998. And I suppose that it is now 2008. I just hadn't really done the math until I got the postcard!

I went to the University of Puget Sound (yes, UPS), and I loved it. You know how people say high school is the best four years of your life? Well, high school sucked ass for me, and UPS was the glorious proof that--praise Jesus!!--life could be sweet. I blossomed.

I was one of those girls who swore up and down she would never join a sorority; I almost made a Gamma Delta Iota t-shirt, for real. But somewhere along the way I started to realize that a lot of the friends I made in classes, around campus, etc, were Kappas. And then one day they invited me over to the house and I went and realized, "Wait, all of you are Kappas? But... but... but... you're cool! And smart! And you're not all snotty and holier-than-thou and all those stereotypes I have!" So, long story short, I joined. My senior year I lived in the house as the house coordinator, which paid for my room, and I had the best freakin' time! It was definitely my favorite year of college and it made me wish I'd moved in sooner.

This picture was taken one of the nights that we went out to a dance club in Seattle. Oh, we were Dancing Queens, yes, we were. Pictured left to right are Summer, Nicole, me, Brittney, and Maria. I got this print from someone--remember when you used to have to get extra copies made from negatives and actually give them to people instead of just e-mailing them?--and it's been in a frame in my bedroom for the past ten years. Or maybe I should say that it's been in a frame in the seven bedrooms I've had in the past ten years, which somehow seems more impressive. :) I had to pop it out of the frame and scan it. Which I should also do for five hundred other photos I own.

Today, as I mentioned, flew. I did get photos taken of my jewelry but I haven't even looked at them. Hopefully I'll be able to share them soon, as well as a bunch of other beautiful things both here and in-the-works. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Sincere thanks to everyone who posted kind comments and sent kind e-mails; it means so much to me. I found out more information about how Caryn is doing and, as I edited the last post to add, she does get to stay in Germany. She's a teacher at the school on base and they were able to secure "command sponsorship" for her. I can't tell you what a relief it was to hear that. I know that she couldn't be better cared for than she will be in that community; military families pull together and rally 'round unlike any other group I've ever known. [You might notice a change... yes, I also found out that I've been spelling her name incorrectly all this time. Sigh. Sorry, Caryn!] My thoughts, of course, are still with her (and everyone I mentioned before). And thanks to Jeff for all the updates.

Today, it was time for some much-needed beauty. I was feeling it; I needed it. And I'm happy to announce that I currently have seven finished necklaces and a bunch of matching earrings waiting to be photographed! Yay! I would be happier if I'd caught the light today but I'll set up the contraption tomorrow and will get some shots. Until then, here are a couple photos that I don't hate managed to salvage from my fading-light indoor shots. ;)

Little tiny grey peacock pearls within mother of pearl rectangles, and big freshwater pearls in between. The little pearls have a lot more color than this; their irridescence ranges from pink to green to blue to purple, although this shot doesn't show it well. I also made another pair of earrings for this set out of the big round white pearls... so simple and pretty! And nice to have an option if you don't feel so matchy-matchy.

This set is so pretty that I just might have to keep it for myself--or make another one just like it, if I can find a few more of those little turquoise beads! ;) The small beads are Chinese blue and green turquoise and the big beads are amazonite; they're all faceted and catch the light well. I used a really nice sterling silver toggle clasp, which finishes it so well. I also used big loopy earwires for the earrings. I love these colors and I only wish turquoise weren't so freaking expensive!

I can't wait to get good photos of the other things I made so I can show you (and get them up on etsy)! More pearls, ruby quartz, crystals, coral, aventurine, and oxidized silver (among other things) all made an appearance today.

Lots more beauty is abounding around here, including my Technicolor Postcards Hitchcock Blond kit which arrived--wahoo! I can't wait to play with it and tell you all about why I love it so dearly, but Jason is pacing--quite literally, directly behind me--and jumping up and down and screaming at the television. Ah, football season.... So I'll see you tomorrow for Favorite {Photo} Friday and more and more beauty! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


When Jason was stationed in South Korea, he became friends with Rodolfo "Rod" Rodriguez; with that name how could he have any other nickname, right? They were both Captains in the Civil Engineering squadron. Unlike Jason and I, Rod's wife Caryn was there with him. I got to visit Jason twice (for a month each time) during that year and Rod and Caryn had us over for a dinner party. Even before I met them it had become kind of a joke that they were the exact opposite of Jason and I; Caryn was the loud, boisterous, life of the party (like Jason), while Rod was the quiet, reserved, more grounded (like me) half of the seemingly mismatched but balanced pair. I remember looking at a scrapbook that had a hidden photo and Caryn's funny story about it. They'd been snorkeling and Rod kept following her around with an underwater camera and poking her; slightly annoyed, she decided to really give him something to take a picture of and mooned him, hence the photo hidden in a panel under another more innocuous picture. Listening to her tell the story and watching their interaction as she did, I could see so much about their relationship; full of love and fun and bantering. The four of us had a lot in common and a lot to talk about.

Yesterday Jason got a call. One of those calls that as soon as you pick up the phone you know it's bad news.

Recently Rod was deployed to Pakistan to train Pakistani troops. He was in the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday when a terrorist drove a truck filled with explosives up to the hotel and detonated it, killing at least 57 people and wounding 200+ more. Rod was one of the 57.

Jason and I have been awash in emotion since finding out. Sadness. Relief that Jason is out of the military. Guilt. Frustration. Anger. Thankful that we are still part of the informal military network and got the call. Confusion. Anxiety. Hopelessness. Sadness, sadness, sadness, sadness.

There are so many thoughts running through my head, things too big for me; this war, this election, our friends in the military, on and on and on. I don't know the answers; I don't even know all the questions. My favorite author Anne Lamott says that the two best prayers she knows are, "Help me, help me, help me," and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." I've been saying lots of both, but I've simplified it to "Help, help, help, help." Help Caryn, who is in Germany where she and Rod were stationed when he was deployed; most likely she will have to move back home now, leaving the support network she has in Germany. [Edited to add: she was able to get base sponsorship from the school where she teaches, so she doesn't have to leave.] My heart continues to break for her. Help Caryn's friends and family to be what she needs now. Help Rod's family, his coworkers, his friends. Help the families and friends of all the people killed in this attack. Help all of the people injured in this blast; help the doctors and nurses caring for them, help their families and friends. Help the media who have such an impact on the world's view of this war. Help people who have become so desensitized to this war that they gloss over every headline declaring more people dead, and help those who feel those same headlines so acutely they forget to breathe as they search for names, hoping not to see one they recognize. Help our military and the families that support them. Help soften the hearts of militants. Help our country's leaders. Help the world's leaders.

Help, help, help, help. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Peek

Oh, I had sooooo much fun yesterday with Deitra and Donna! I didn't finish any of my three mini-books, but I did do all of the other things I mentioned on Thursday... yes, even the belly-dancing! I laughed so hard that people turned and stared... and I kept right on laughing. If you knew how I used to hold my laughter in and try to laugh as quietly as possible you would know what a victory this is! Awesome, Dude. Pure awesome.

I want to keep working on my books this week, so until I finish any of them here are a few peeks into what we did yesterday!

My favorite class of the day was paint. watercolor. doodle., our first class. We got to use those Neocolor II's I've been talking about. They are water-soluble crayons, and they are awesome.

Oh my goodness how I love a new set of colorful pens/pencils/crayons arranged so prettily by color! I played with these crayons for a second when I first got them delivered, and I must say that on regular plain old cardstock they left a lot to be desired. I used them as I'd use watercolor pencils, only they didn't work as well. Wow, imagine that, crayons didn't work as pencils as well as pencils do. Duh! That's like trying to use a screwdriver on a nail or hammer in a screw; good tools wrongly used. So in class we learned how to use them as crayons, and they are freaking awesome crayons.

This page is a chipboard arrow primed in manila paint, then colored with three colors of crayons (orange, white, and yellow) and then "painted" with water to dissolve and blend the colors.

I think I'm addicted. This is the first book I'm going to work on finishing. [Oh, by the way, underneath the page is an old catalog--I put it on my work surface and painted away and when the page got messy I just flipped to the next page and voilà! a clean work surface and no unwanted color transference.]

Then we had an hour break for shopping lunch before the next class, 100 eyelets or die trying. :) This class was smaller so we had more chance to chat with Donna. I asked her a question about Cathy's upcoming BPS class since I know those two are friends. So Donna just called her up on the speakerphone! It was pretty funny; Cathy loves Deitra's accent and just couldn't get enough of her at Inspired... so Donna had Deitra start talking and Cathy immediately said, "IS THAT DEITRA?!?!"

By the way, the discussions we had in this class made me want to look into the different "types" of people. Everyone talks about "Type A's" but you never hear anything about the other types... when I mentioned this in class the MCP (Most Competitive Person) in the room said, "That's because they're the only ones who matter!" Oh my goodness! Well, alrighty then. Why don't you tell us how you really feel? :) I am "Type A" in a lot of ways (perfectionistic and over-achieving) but I'm completely not competitive (although I am into fairness, which is often mistaken by certain family members as competitiveness... but that is a whole different blog post!). And I'm definitely not hostile about it! So I'm going to research the whole Type thing (if you have a good resource for me let me know!).

Back to the photos! These pages are pre-eyelets, obviously. :)

After this class we had a three-hour break before the last class. I had wondered what in the world we'd do with three hours, but they flew by in an instant and we ended up rushing to get dinner so we could get back in time! We could have filled eight hours, let alone just three!

The last class was the journey of me. Of all three books this is probably my least favorite, but it was the one that gave me the most ideas for different ways to make books (and one super-cool idea for taking photographs).

It is sort of a journal-book, so I can't imagine that it will ever really be "finished," but I'll show you when I've completed a bit more of it than I have already.

Enjoy what's left of the weekend! I'm off to color! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #15

It's Friday!

Obviously TIME has been a theme for me this week. So I went searching for a photo that I took of a clock in Paris, but then I stumbled upon this one and went, "Oh, holy crap!" It's like she's battling time, too!

So I opened it up in Photoshop and started trying to take that ugly crane off the top of the building until I said, "Oh, holy crap." Battling time is a constant process and I'm working on it. So I clicked revert and the crane stayed in.

Jason took this photo in Verona in April 2005. Aaron was visiting us and we were traveling all over; we stopped in Verona for a couple of hours on the way back home from a big road trip (the previous stop of which had been a night in Milan to see Jude perform).

Verona, of course, was beautiful. But the main thing I remember besides the nasty car park dude is that we were walking back to our car and I looked up and saw a bald woman. And since I don't like to stare (especially at people who have to endure staring more than most), I smiled politely and looked away. And then I thought, "Wait just a second--I think I know the face attached to that bald head!" So I looked back, and she was looking at me, too... it was Paula, my sorority sister from college! What the heck? We're on the other side of the world, seven years after college graduation, and we happen to run into each other? We marveled at how we'd found each other and how easily we could have been in the same city and missed each other, but we didn't. (In college Paula had a small bald spot hidden on the side of her head. She has alopecia that "spread" since college, hence the baldness.)

We had to get back to the car and on the road, but we found out that Paula would be in Venice tomorrow and we would, too, so I gave her my cell phone number so we could meet up! But something happened--I don't remember whether she lost the number or couldn't figure out the Italian pay phones--so I didn't hear from her and we just headed down to Venice the next day. I was kind of bummed about not getting to talk to her more since we'd met in such a crazy way, but still glad that I'd seen her. And then we ran into her again. Seriously. In a huge city with miles and miles of tiny alleys and zillions of people, we just happened to be in the exact same place at the exact same time, again. So we wasted no time in sitting down and chatting over a spritz! So I can't think of Verona without thinking of amazing coincidences. :)

Lots to do today... I need to gather up class supplies and choose and print photos for my three classes tomorrow, I'm having lunch with my aunt Susan, I want to finish up a couple necklaces, hopefully take photos and get a few things up on etsy, and then we're going to a birthday party for my neighbor Maryalice. Maybe you'll hear from me again today. If not, have a super weekend!

Thursday Already???

Man, this week has flown and not in a good way! I feel like I have been moving normally but the fast-forward button has been pressed on Time. I felt really crappy the past couple of days so I haven't been able to do nearly as many of the things on my big ol' To Do list as I'd have liked, so today I feel like I need to work in fast-forward to catch back up! And so far this morning it's working. Sweeeet.

[As if to prove a point, Time got just right away from me again today. I wrote this post this morning and didn't have time to proof and post until tonight!]

When I'm feeling less-than-amazing, I like to make lists of things that are making me happy and/or excited. So here's some things that made the list while I was concentrating on not throwing up lately:

Thank goodness Kate and Dave (and their girls and dogs and house!) made it through Hurricane Ike okay. They are out of power but other than that they're well. And I just can't tell you how happy I am about that.

A while back I posted a snippet about a stupid Silk soy milk commercial that makes me crazy. [The actress says she was "weary" of trying soy milk. If you speak English at a seventh-grade level then you should know that weary means tired. What she means is that she was either leery or wary of trying soy milk.] Apparently I am not the only person who noticed and was annoyed by this because I've now received two comments on that post from people who found it in a Google search they did after seeing the commercial. This pleases me greatly and I'm not exactly sure why. :)

I've been working on some new stuff (jewelry and papercrafts) for my etsy site, and hopefully will have photos to show you tomorrow and links to them in the store (fingers crossed). I've also been working on some extra goodies to include in Stella's and Katie's kits to thank them for their orders and I've just gotten carried away! I made some extras so if you place an order mention you saw it on here and your kit will have a nice extra goodie bag included with it!

I'm super excited about Saturday--I'm driving two hours south to Richmond to meet Deitra, who is driving an hour and a half north so that we can both take three classes from Donna! It will be a looooong day, but 12 of those hours will be spent with Deitra talking and painting and laughing and watercoloring and laughing and cutting and pasting and laughing and eating and possibly belly dancing, because that's just how it rolls when you're with Deitra. Sweet!! And I got our Neocolor IIs in from Dick Blick since I had a brainstorm and asked if she would split expedited shipping with me after they came back into stock--duh and yeah!

Kimberley wrote a super nice note about me on her blog! She said, "This blog is a fun delight for me to read, and Cameron shares her talent and herself through and through." How nice! What's super funny is that she's never posted a comment before so I didn't even know she was reading! Which just goes to show that you never know who's reading (and what they're thinking of it!) in this crazy blog world! I'm going to make sure to leave a few more happy comments on a few more people's blogs just to let them know I'm there and digging it. :) And you should, too!

Today I'm going in for physical therapy and running a whole ton of errands on the way there and back; bank, post office, Michael's, Costco, used book store. [Now it's the end of the day and how stoked am I that I can say I did all of those things? Plus a few more.] See you tomorrow for Favorite {Photo} Friday!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Papercrafting Kit #1!

Did anyone make it to my Favorite {Photo} Friday post? Normally they are by far the most commented-upon posts, but this week I got nada. I guess it's because those photos of me from back in the day just distracted everyone? :)

All week I'd been jonesing to make some jewelry, so I laid everything out and tried to design a couple things, and I Just. Wasn't. Feeling it. And if I have learned one thing about myself and this artsy life I'm trying to live, it's that if I try a couple creativity exercises and I'm still not feeling it, then I should just do something else or I will become frustrated and feel crappy all day. So I sat back and thought about what I WAS feeling. And here is what I decided: PAPERCRAFTING KITS.

I'm totally loving mini-books lately (see here and here). I love the idea of making one little book that is outside of your normal scrapbooking routine. One little book that says, "Hey, check this out, I made this and I did this and this is how I feel" (or whatever else you want it to say), and whether or not you are "caught up" in your scrapbooking doesn't even enter the dang picture. And I love the idea of taking a big old mix of different things and putting them together in a semi-cohesive way.

And once I started putting things together, I realized that I really love stamping and inking and punching and designing and printing and knowing that someone somewhere is going to make something cool with it. Or at least hoping that, anyway. I started with just a vague idea to collect some different papers and do a couple things using my myriad of tools, but then I just kept thinking of new things and suddenly I had a big pile of stuff!

All of the papers are 5" by 7", and there are 16 different papers. Two sheets are my own photos with some Photoshop-type stuff done to them so they're more like background papers, printed on linen paper (oh it's yummy!). Two sheets are hand-printed with paint on cardstock. One sheet is cut from an old atlas! The green sheet has six different stamped images on it, which can be cut out to use as accents or can be used as-is. One sheet is faux-notebook paper; I love the look of notebook paper but it's too cheapy and thin, so I designed my own and printed it on both sides of cardstock (and yes, of course it matches up front to back because I have an abnormally high attention to detail). :) One page is an artsy quote designed in an artsy way (it is so cool in person, even Jason was impressed). One page is cardstock with a pretty punched border.

There are two sheets of chipboard, ideal to use as covers. One is white and on the normal chipboard-colored one I hand-punched different-sized holes along the edge for visual interest (on the left in the below photo). The final six pages (from left to right below) are a handmade paper with seed inclusions, a fibrous translucent green paper, two different double-sided patterned papers, a cover-weight translucent vellum, and a totally fun velvet-flocked paper.

I've included a bunch of goodies to use as embellishments, too! Strips and border-punched edges, a selection of flowers, a huge paper clip and a couple of little blue spiral clips, ribbon, a button, a photo hinge and brads, a circle tab and a file tab, some tags, and a strip of silver metallic tape!

The kit is tied together in a clear envelope with some pretty loopy fiber and imbued with love and creativity before I pop it in an envelope and send it out. :)

These limited-edition kits are now available here! If you buy one mention that you saw it in my blog and I'll include some extra goodies for you. :) I'll be working on making and adding more items to the shop this week (and throughout October), so check back! Let me know if you'd be interested in a mini-kit with about half of everything listed above. Or if you have any other ideas or requests for my next items!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Damn You, Cathy Zielske

Cathy posted a link to this thing called Yearbook Yourself.

Don't go there. Don't click the link. Because if you do you will spend far too much time making things like this:

And this:

And, Lord help me, this:

p.s. I did not actually graduate in any of these years.

p.p.s. I swear that the 1994 head was stolen from my 1991 yearbook and her name was Candy Stigall. I was a loser freshman when she was a super-cool senior and one time I was in the girls' bathroom when she applied hairspray. I thought I was going to choke but had to pretend to be fine so she and the other seniors wouldn't think I was even more dorky than they probably already thought I was.

p.p.p.s. I don't have a complex, I was dorky in high school. I didn't hit my stride until much later. "High school is the best years of your life" my ass!

p.p.p.p.s. Jo (aka Jason's mom), I'm sorry I said damn and ass in the same post. Have fun in California. :)

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #14

HELLO, Friday! I am so happy you're here. Welcome back! Friday means all kinds of good things around here, the first of which is Favorite {Photo} Friday!

I love seeing what my inspiration will be for each Friday's photo! Inspiration could come from a feeling, or a holiday, sometimes it's the weather, and once it's been my doctor's homeland! It's been a now-too-small shirt, a vacation, laughter, and even absurdity. And it's been just photos that I love!

Today it is color and shimmer. Because after I tackle a couple of really boring necessary chores around here I'm using my new colorful and shimmery beads to make some colorful and shimmery and hopefully beautiful jewelry. And that is for sure enough incentive for me to vacuum and mop and all the rest!

This photo is obviously of a peacock. Not so obvious is that this is a Polish peacock! In June 2007 Jason and I and cousin Aaron visited new friend Agnieszka (which sort of sounds like Ag-nee-aysh-ka) and her friends Kamila, Kris (who is really Krzysztof but we couldn't begin to pronounce it correctly), Joanna and Wociech (which we also couldn't get right but we all settled on something that sounds mostly like Vo-Tech, ha ha). We flew into Krakow and lucky us it happened to be the city's 750th birthday celebration; yes, 750 years! It was awesome! Then we all traveled by train up to Warsaw where they all live and they showed us around their town, including a beautiful park with peacocks hiding up in trees and strutting about on the ground and I just couldn't stop taking photos. :) We were so spoiled to be shown around by Polish friends, and I hope that someday we get back to visit them (and that they come visit us here!). I can't say enough about Poland... it's beautiful and wonderful and the food is excellent and the people are kind and welcoming. Oh, I love Poland!

You can see my entire Poland trip slideshow with descriptions here. A little note about that is that a lot of the photos are not excellent, but they still show things I love remembering. I had completely forgotten about the squirrels and now I'm so glad that I made the slideshow right when we got back! Note to self, Dude; you will not remember all the things you think you will remember so write all the cool stuff down (like how to call squirrels in Poland).

I might be back later to post some beauty and/or some hilarity--we'll see how the day goes. Have a super weekend! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 Years

It's a phenomenon of crises that often the people who are most closely involved remain silent and in shock while those on the periphery talk on and on about how they were affected. I was most definitely (very, very, very far out) on the periphery, and to honor those who were truly affected I will not talk about my experience that day. What I will say is that seven years ago today I held my breath for longer than I thought possible. And today, seven years later, remembering that day I still find myself holding my breath.

So today I'm sending thoughts to all of those who were and--let's face it--still are affected. Those who were on the planes and in the towers and in the Pentagon; their families, their friends. Those who saw things that day that no one should ever have to see. Those who responded and rushed towards danger. Those civilians who helped, and those who were paralyzed with fear. Those who have been sent to fight a war in retaliation. Their families, their friends. To everyone who has been affected by that day: today we are all thinking of you all and for you all, and we are still remembering.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

C'mon, Fall!

Oh how I love Autumn! Oh how I love Fall! Whatever you call it, bring it on!

Here in Northern Virginia Summer is fading but Fall hasn't quite stepped in yet, either. I've always loved Fall and everything it brings and I'm especially looking forward to these changes here in NoVa; changing leaves, not sweating through my bra, Fall colors, not having sweat drip down unmentionable places, the crispness in the air, fall festivals, not feeling like taking four showers a day, corduroy pants, scarves, not having all my clothes stretch out as I wear them because of the damn humidity, my cute wool jackets, being able to use a hairdryer without undoing the shower I just took, and sweaters!

I've had some Old Navy gift certificates hanging out in my wallet and their Summer clothes just didn't do it for me. Bring on the Fall sweaters, baby!

Today I'm headed to Alexandria for a date with my aunt Susan, yippee!!! We're going up to Georgetown for some window shopping and lunch and some much-needed girl time. And I'm going to Pearl Arts to pick up some of those Neocolor IIs I need for my Donna Downey class in ten days! Woop-woop!

Happy humpday, y'all! :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Well let's just get it over with, shall we? THE GAME SUCKED ASS. The Beavs just plain didn't show up. To be honest, I didn't expect them to win; in the past three seasons Penn State has lost at home only twice. But I hoped what I always hope when I watch a football game--to see a good game. And that definitely didn't happen. Buh-mer. It was ugly.

I am nursing a bit of a disillusioned spirit today. It's not that the Beavs lost, really. I realize that anything I say will be can be misinterpreted as the result of a wounded ego from getting trounced (ha! like I have an ego about football!), and I'm still working it all out in my mind so I don't know what to say yet anyway. So for now I'll just say that I am really disappointed in people who don't seem to understand the concept of good sportsmanship. When your team is up by four touchdowns the score speaks for itself; there is no reason to be mean and ugly. I'm bummed out about that. Really, really bummed.

It was good to see so many OSU fans show up for the game, though!

I realize this section may not look like a lot of people, but considering that the stadium holds 107,282 people, this wedge of orange and a few others of us scattered about added up to about 5,000 fans. Pretty good for an underdog from the opposite side of the country!

The B&B where we stayed was also a nice surprise. The House on Top of the Hill is just that! There's a beautiful view of rolling hills and farmland from almost every window of the house. Plus, they just adopted a lovely purr machine kitten who spent her first night in the main house curled up on our bed on Friday night and that just made our stay. :) The proprietress Sharon made us feel almost like family and all of the other guests were great, too. I really enjoyed talking with them over breakfast each morning.

On the way home we decided to drive only back roads and not take any freeways. We stopped at Cowens Gap State Park and had a picnic with the leftover food we'd brought to tailgate, and then took a nice walk around the lake. It was beautiful!

Jason was super patient as I stopped every few minutes to photograph a flower or mushroom or lichen or tree bark or the dappled shadows falling through the trees or... :) It was a good way to end the weekend.


Today I went to the physical therapist and spent an hour in pain doing exercises and a half hour getting massaged and laying on heat. I will subject myself to this twice a week as well as doing all the exercises by myself at home every day! Yikes! Hopefully this will all help, though.

I'm also loving a necklace I bought at Sugarloaf on Friday!

Isn't this just the cutest, most "Cameron" thing? I adore it! Artist Lori Flanders runs Isabel's Rose and makes the coolest jewelry. Of course I'm more into this cutesy bird on a tree, but she also makes funky skull-and-crossbones pendants, as well as her own invention of the heart-and-crossbones! I thought of Katie when I saw this, and what would be a better gift for Stella than a funky cupcake? The "bondage series" hearts or her "undead undead" hearts would also be great for Halloween next month, or as a gift for someone with a broken heart. :) Go check Lori out at her page or her etsy shop or her blog! Tell her I sent you because I also want to buy the acorn pendant and am hoping she'll give me a discount next month at Art on the Avenue if I send her business I love to help support artists! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Favorite {Photo} Friday! #13

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's FRIDAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!

You know what that means! It's Favorite {Photo} Friday!

Since we are going to an Oregon State football game this weekend I searched through old photo boxes last night looking for a photo of the last time we went to an OSU football game, but I couldn't find them. I'm missing most of 1998-2001 (when we were in Las Vegas); I know they're here somewhere, so I'm not worried, but I just couldn't find them last night.

So since several things around here have been rather absurd lately, I thought I'd choose a photo of one of the most absurd things I've ever seen.

We were walking around the streets of Budapest in August 2007 when suddenly this tiny woman with this absolutely preposterous bag came around the corner. I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of shots... I generally find it rude to photograph people to make fun of them, but I figured that if someone walks around like this then they must be asking for attention! :P Most everyone around stopped in their tracks and stared in awe (and snickered) so I have to assume this is not a normal sight in Budapest. :) She tried to put the bag in the trunk of her car but it was too large so she ended up putting it in the back seat. I just wonder what she was carrying in there!


This week I ran around to a lot of different appointments and it feels good to know some things now and to have a bunch of things crossed off my To Do list, but I haven't had enough creative time. Buh-mer! I woke up at 3 a.m. yesterday with a necklace idea--a sure sign I need to make some art! So I'm writing down my ideas in a notebook that I'm taking with me this weekend and I'll art my heart out on Monday! :) It's kind of funny because I got to talk to some friends and family this week and they all said they love how much I've been creating--just when I felt like I haven't been making anything. So that was perfect timing and great to hear. :)

Today I'm running around trying to pack and buy a few things we need for our trip, which of course are not available at one store so I will be bopping around; cheapy ponchos from the Dollar Store, huge black and orange markers (to make our OSU sign) from Staples, beer (for tailgating) from the grocery store, etc. Isn't it annoying that it is just as much work to pack for a two-day getaway as it is for a week-long vacation? I always forget that until I try to pack at the last minute! :) My hummingbird feeder is almost empty and I have to keep those babies fed so the sugar syrup is cooling right now. And I'm trying to get everything done as absolutely quickly as possible because this weekend the Sugarloaf Craft Festival is in our very town and I want to spend as much time there today as I can before Jason gets home from work early and we take off for Pennsylvania.

Wish me luck, since I may just pass out upon entering Penn State's stadium tomorrow. A stadium that holds 100,000 people in a town of 38,000 people? Jeez Louise, talk about absurd! Considering how I felt at the Dave Matthews concert, I must really love my husband to agree to this! :)

Have a great weekend and I'll "see" you on Monday!

Beads Beads Beads

Busy, busy! Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment and then drove an hour up into Maryland to get a massage. It was a great massage and lucky lucky me there was a bead store just down the street. Which was having a trunk show and sale. When the lady told me that the huge table of gemstones was 50% off I said, "Pardon? How much?" She said it was the first day of their sale and they hadn't put up the signs yet but yes, 50% as in five-zero. Holy mamma!

Oh, look at those keishi and stick pearls! Check out all those facets on the turquoise, carnelian, amythyst, and aventurine! Can you see the lampwork beads? Oh, they are gorgeous in person and I have a plan for them already! I can't wait to play! Unfortunately today is full of appointments, too, so it will have to wait. Off I go to the dentist!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back in the Swing of Things (As Usual)

Ciao ciao!

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!

Jason and I hung out with Aunt Susan and Uncle Bob on Saturday, which was awesome because I haven't seen them for far too long. They spoiled us rotten (as usual) and we ate like kings (and brought home leftover peach cobbler, to boot!). Yummmm. We had show-and-tell as I showed them some things I've done and Susan showed me her latest quilting projects, which are fabulous (as usual).

My back was bothering me a lot more than usual so I really took it easy and didn't even attempt to tackle any of the many home projects I'd considered. Jason was super-productive (as usual) and took care of a ton of stuff outside the house and with the cars. He noticed this beauty outside and let me know so I got to snap a few shots in the backyard in my pajamas, as usual.

One of the many things Jason did on Sunday was to fix some part of a car that I'd never even heard of the valve tappets on my 1967 Fiat 500. This car is my baby, and someday I will write all about her. We brought her over from Italy and she is just the cutest thing you ever did see. He also got a shiny new grill-piece for her (if you can call it a grill when it's this small?).

She is very happy with the face-lift and we three went on a little drive out in the country on Monday evening. It was great to be out and about in my beautiful little car, although I imagine some of the drivers in gargantuan vehicles who came upon us were slightly startled at the slow-moving, metallic-green, speed-bump-sized car in front of them. :) Luckily nobody ran us over. :)

When we got home the lovely Katie called and we had a marathon phone session. I haven't talked on the phone that long in a looooooooong time! I went through all three of our cordless phones as I successively used up the battery in each one. Oh, how I adore my Katie! I can't possibly explain what our conversation last night did for me so I will just leave it at this--thank you, thank you, thank you, my dear Katie (as usual)!

Today I bounced around to different appointments and scheduled a bunch more... which is kind of a bummer but kind of exciting to think that I might feel absolutely super sometime soon--on the outside as much as the inside! Tonight I am surfing Etsy for some research and trying to decide what to make and sell first (and not buying anything, can you believe it?). If you love anything I've made and think I should make it/them to sell online, I'd love for you to tell me. :) Top contenders so far: hand-bound star books (blank, to be decorated as you wish) either with or without supplies for decorating (I haven't decided); bamboo-tile pendants; other jewelry; photo cards; mini-books.

Tomorrow I have more appointments, one of which is an hour massage. Sweet! I won the massage at an Avon Walk event for over-achievers (seriously). I got the most questions correct about old movies; it was pure luck that they were all questions for which I happened to know the answers. Making the most of the fact that it is about an hour's drive away and running a ton of other errands on the way up and back if all goes well.

See you soon (as usual)! :)