Friday, February 26, 2010

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Miracles

It's a crazy world we live in these days, what with Facebook and Twitter and blogs. Less than two years ago when I first went to Inspired Artist Workshop, I met two women who were best friends via their blogs. They'd been best friends for quite a while, talked on the phone all the time, but the first time they met in person was that weekend. Honestly, I had a hard time not looking at them like they had three heads apiece; I thought the whole idea was completely nuts. [The fact that they turned out to be not very nice certainly didn't help matters.]

Soon after that I started this blog, and I opened a Twitter account so that my donors could follow along with me as I texted in updates about my Avon Walk. Both were great ways to stay in contact with my friends and family.

Later that year I opened my Etsy shop. Customers found me on Etsy and went to my blog; friends followed my tweets and saw when I posed new items on Etsy; people saw my comments on other peoples' blogs and came over to my blog, or to the shop; my friends posted my Etsy items on their Facebook profiles so their friends found me, too. It all got very interconnected very quickly.

And I began to understand how people who've never met in real life can be such wonderful friends.

Since I work from home, Twitter is my equivalent to the proverbial water cooler. And reading peoples' blog posts is often the equivalent of an intimate chat over lunch. Except I can do it in my pajamas, without leaving the house. And if you're thinking, "Well, it's not really a conversation because it's one-sided, since you're just reading their blog," then let me tell you that it's not one-sided. Many times I've left a blog comment and the author writes back to me, and we have an e-mail exchange back and forth. Someone will tweet about their child being sick; others of us will respond with sympathy and concern, and later ask her how her baby's doing. Someone will share good news, and others of us will rejoice and congratulate her. We read each others' blogs and share in each others' daily ups and downs on Twitter. In short, we become invested in each others' lives, no matter how wacky it sounds.

And through this crazy internet world I've come into contact with several beautiful women who have suffered the worst kind of loss; losing a child. Sara lost Joel. Arianne lost Mabel. And two years ago today, Beth lost James and Jake.

After reading Beth's lovely post today I've been reflecting on what a miracle it is to have a healthy baby (and how too many people take that miracle for granted).

So of course the only photo I could post today for Favorite {Photo} Friday is my sister's second little miracle, Lily Grace. [For the record, my sister is a NICU Nurse and does not take her miracles for granted.] Lily just turned two; I took this photo when she was baptised at three months old in 2008.

Be grateful for your miracles, friends, and hug them tight. :)

Oh, and the good news is that both Beth and Sara are pregnant again!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project 365, Week 8

This year is flying by; I can't believe we just finished week 8!

We had a great time at the crop this past weekend, and I did finish some pages. I'll share those later, since the day after I get back from a trip (which is today) is always "Introvert Recovery Day" around here. I'm holed up, unpacking and decompressing and generally hiding out and trying to recharge my emotional/psychological batteries.

Thanks for looking!
[As always, click on the photo if you'd like to see it BIGGER to read the journaling.]

Friday, February 19, 2010

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Stargazer Lilies

If it were possible to get drunk from smelling flowers...

... I'd be soooo wasted this week.

Today I'm driving to Virginia Beach for a scrapbooking crop. If you're not a scrapbooker, a crop is where a bunch of scrapbookers get together in a huge room and all scrapbook together. It's kind of a weird concept but it's totally fun. I've been prepping for weeks now, printing photos, choosing papers and embellishments. I'm meeting some friends there so it should be a great weekend, and I hope to get some pages done to add to the scrapbooks.

Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law, Jo!! Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Project 365, Weeks 6 & 7

This whole snow-snow-snow thing has put me into a kind of holding pattern--I'm losing track of days and falling even further behind than I usually do! We had just an inch or so more last night and I'm really hoping that is the last snow we see this winter. Well, the last fresh snow, anyway; the rest of it will be around for months, piled up 10 feet high as it is in every parking lot around! I'm really glad I decided to take this year off of the Avon Walk, considering all the sidewalks are buried from the snow plows and 10 miles on a treadmill is not fun.

Anyway. Back to catching up. Here are Weeks 6 and 7 of my Project 365:

I didn't plan it this way, but it's kind of funny to have these two in the same post. Week 6 was FULL of snow and cold, and by Week 7 (even though it was still snowing) I was craving COLOR, obviously!

I'm still having a lot of fun doing these, and I still work on them every day or every other day. I'm a lot faster at it now. I also think it won't be too many more weeks until I start making my own, new template designs (that still coordinate with the other ones).

And I had a thought--if you like this project and want to play along but you didn't start on January 1st and (like me) like to start at the beginning of things, not partway through, then how about you start on the first day of Spring? You could do just a Days of Spring project, or you could keep doing Days of Summer, Days of Fall, Days of Winter. Mark your calendar to start taking photos on March 20th!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Winter Olympics, Torino 2006

Man, I love the Olympics.

I love the hope, the struggle, the passion the athletes must have. I love the human-interest stories that give me the athletes' back stories and make me feel for and better know who they are and what they're about and the battles they've faced. I love the commercials, especially this one, this one, and this one--I cry every time! I mean Dan Jansen, sitting on the ice, head in his hands? You can just feel his heartbreak. The Zhangs, trying that throw again after disaster? The pain in her face, the concern in his; her courage to try it again is triumphant in and of itself. And all those young athletes--the possibility, the potential, the hope, the years of work ahead, leading to triumph or to anguish, determined in a split second. Oh my word, pass the tissues, please!

In 2006, when the Winter Olympics were in Torino, Italy, Jason and I lived about five hours away. So of course we had to go!

Here's us, up at the Freestyle Aerials competition. We never did get to see it because they had to move it to another day due to the snow (there's a whole other story here, but that will have to wait for another day), but we had a lot of fun waiting around and talking to people. :) The jump ramps are up behind us to the right of me in the photo.

We also saw a Short Track speed skating event, and a Skeleton event (like Luge except they go down head-first on their stomachs instead of feet-first on their backs). It was great to be there and experience the Olympic Spirit in person, and I'd love to be able to go to another Olympics someday. But I did miss a lot, since we were there instead of watching it all on TV (and there, tickets were expensive and/or sold out). We didn't get to watch the Opening Ceremonies, or any other events besides the ones we attended... but what I missed most were the human-interest stories. I love hearing about peoples' stories. I suppose that's why I like scrapbooking; when I look at other people's pages the first thing I do is read the journaling. So I'm really looking forward to hearing all the stories this year. The interviews, the profiles, the sagas--bring them on, I've got the tissues ready!

And I loved watching the Opening Ceremonies tonight. LOVED it. I loved learning about different aspects of Canada; I loved the whales and the beat poet and even the weird Celtic Punks. I especially loved the Parade of Nations. I cheered for all the countries I've been to and love, like Czech Republic and South Korea, Slovakia and Belgium. I cheered for all the countries who have only one or two or a handful of athletes. I love that they must know that they don't have a very good shot at a medal, but being there and experiencing it all and doing their best is enough; I love their hope and I love their pride. I cheered for Italy, and I cried, remembering our time there and missing it so much, and remembering Daniele walking with his fellow Italian athletes two years ago in Beijing.

And I cheered, of course, for the United States most of all; for Apolo Ohno and Lindsey Vonn, for Shaun White and Bode Miller, and for all of the athletes we'll come to know over the next two weeks.

Enjoy the Olympics and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowmageddon Continued

I posted photos from last Friday, but it kept snowing through Saturday, and then we had another storm on Tuesday & Wednesday, so I'm finally getting around to posting the Saturday photos! What a week. What a winter!

Here's our patio set and grill on our deck. There was no wind on Saturday so the snow just piled up on top of everything, so the stool in front looks like a big white-capped mushroom!

I took this photo to show the top-heavy, snow-laden trees leaning over our deck in the back, and only noticed afterward the snow-covered wind-chimes; that really shows how little wind there was if the snow could build up like that on wind-chimes!

Our birdies may not be able to bathe but instead of a bath they now have a large, puffy, white cake. Or pillow?

We kept shoveling throughout the day and all the neighbors worked together. Here's our neighbor Steve helping Jason shovel our driveway.

We love our neighbors! Notice how high the snow is piled up to the left of Steve... it's hard to tell but at the height (just in front of the large bush in the background) it's as tall (or just taller than) his shoulders!

I went out into the front yard to check the snow level. 22" of new snow so far at this point, and 27.5" if I punched through the ice left from the previous snow and went down to the ground.

Here's our house, taken from Steve and Roxanne's house across the street.

The trees were getting so overloaded with snow that a lot of them fell. Our neighbor two houses down had one land on the house and roll off onto the deck.

And turning around 180*, here are two trees down in our next-door neighbor's yard.

I don't think the garbage man will take the garbage like this. And the mail man will soon have a hard time finding that mailbox in the back!

Jason and Steve did a good job on the driveway (even though it kept snowing and built up again by the time I took this photo).

Our poor little trees in the back were so weighed down with snow they were bent over double!

So we shook them all off and they stood up proud and thankful! :)

The power was out so I killed some time outside shoveling the little bit of snow in the driveway.

I came back inside for a bit to take care of a few things. Here's a view onto our back deck:

Jason decided to shovel out part of the deck so he could get to the grill so we could cook dinner (we have an awesome glass-top stove that is a lot less awesome when there's no power).

For dinner we made maple-chipotle glazed chicken, mixed grilled peppers, and baked sweet potatoes. Pretty darn good for having no power, huh? Jason is a grill master (and I am a planning and idea and prep master, if I do say so!). :)

Then we headed out to Brian and Marlene's driveway to meet all the neighbors.

I love this one with Jason and Brian in profile. :)

While we all sat outside around the fire, talking to (and over, lol!) one another, the porch lights suddenly came on and we all let out a huge whooping CHEER! It was so awesome! We were all so excited to have heat in the house overnight! A lot of people left at that point to head home and sort things out (and turn the heat up, lol!). I used the camera flash on the final few left; here's Brian, Jason, Steve, Howard, and my dear and fellow female holdout, Maren.

Then I went home and took a HOT shower, blow-dried (blew dry?) my hair (a choir of angels sang Hallelujah), put on comfy pajamas, plugged things in to charge, and crawled happily into bed. Ahhhhh.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The power keeps going on and off but people have been asking to see photos so I'll put up a couple here quickly while I can. These were all taken last night.

The view from our porch:

Jason started shoveling the driveway when we had about 6.5". He's down there somewhere, I think!

My turn to shovel. I love my very warm cute snow outfit and my awesome red very warm Sorel boots!

By the time we finished shoveling the driveway, the mailbox was almost buried:

And I needed to sit down for a break!

Our neighbor Brian and I made snow angels in the middle of the cul-de-sac! Here's mine:

By the time we shoveled everyone's driveways we were up to 10" of accumulation so we went back and shoveled them all again.

Then we headed back inside to the warmth...

...where we suitably rewarded ourselves for our hard work.


Random fact/thoughts in list form because I'm rather scattered right now:
  • The power went off during the night so we woke up to a cold house.
  • Trees are falling down all over the neighborhood because of the weight of the snow; I'm just hoping none of the trees land on and damage any of our houses.
  • When Jason walked to the back yard to check out our trees, the snow came up to his thighs!
  • The power came back on but it's going in and out. A couple of our neighbors have generators so we'll be fine.
  • There's a TON of snow outside but I'm not sure how much because I've been inside cooking while we had power. Jason's outside shoveling and as soon as I post this I'm going to go join him.
  • Jason had his cell phone in his pocket while he shoveled last night and it must have gotten wet because today it won't turn on. I have it in a jar of rice, which I've heard sometimes works to draw out the moisture. In the meantime, don't bother calling his cell phone. :)
  • I have my cell phone charged but I'm trying not to use it too much, and I'm keeping it on the charger whenever we have power!
  • We have awesome neighbors who are all like our family so we'll take care of each other, so don't worry about us! :)
And speaking of that, they're all shoveling so I should go join them (and take some more photos)! If we continue to have power I'll post more photos later.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Snow Men

We went out to shovel the driveway in the snow, because it's easier to shovel 6 inches at a time than to wait until it stops snowing and then try to shovel out through 24-30" or whatever they're predicting. Of course we turned it into a neighborhood party. Here's the men!

Mark, Jason, Steve (aka Santa) and Brian. Love our neighbors!!

Have a good, safe, and warm weekend!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Today's prompt word in the GOventures challenge was INVISIBLE.

A lot of things came to mind, but the biggest thing was the INVISIBLE fears that we all hold deep in our hearts. I thought about how to make them invisible while still making art about them--tricky, tricky! That's why this is such a great prompt. :)

First, I took a Sharpie and a small, 6x6" canvas and wrote down all my secret fears. Here I've blurred it out, 'cause they're secrets, duh.

Then I squirted on some paint and I painted right over it. When I envisioned this project I thought, "Oh, how symbolic, painting over my fears," but I have to say that it actually felt pretty cathartic, as cheesy as it sounds!

I turned on my Silhouette cutting machine (I soooo love this thing!) and used it to cut out a font I had on my computer. I cut it out of vinyl so that it acted as a sticker and stuck to the canvas (once the paint was dry, of course).

Then I used a Ranger Dabber to paint in the word. I carefully peeled off the mask while the paint was still wet and then let it dry.

So here we have it. My secret fears, hidden behind the mask of hope that I (at least try to) project to the world. An unexpected thing happened while I was making this, which I love; after I wrote down my fears and painted it, the canvas got turned around and I wasn't sure which way it had been facing when I wrote on it. So I just had to forge ahead, not knowing which end was up when it came to my fears, only using HOPE as my guide. :)

Project 365, Week 5

Remember how last week I mentioned that the template I used wasn't even? Well, I looked at the rest of the templates and none of them are even. All the photo sizes are completely different; sure, everything lines up in a grid, but why aren't they even and balanced? Totally annoying. Do not ask me how my house can be a disaster but this uneven grid thing makes me crazy, because I don't know. What I do know is that when I used to run track and cross country, I'd make up math problems to do while I ran. Who does that? Apparently my OCD hit the part of my brain that's in charge of math, and missed the part of my brain that's in charge of housekeeping. Alas!

Anyway, once I realized that all the templates were wrong, of course I had to go in and fix them. The crazy part is that I LOVE that stuff. Meticulous work with numbers? Oh, so awesome! I can totally zone out. So last Thursday I fixed all four double-page spread templates.

This is the fifth template (counting the single page I did as a title page), so now I'll just rotate back through them unless/until I get bored and decide to make my own templates from scratch.

Helpful Blogger Hint: If you ever want to scroll through all the posts about a particular topic, click on the corresponding label at the bottom of the post. This post is labeled Project 365 and Scrapbooking, so if you click on Project 365 then you'll see all my posts with that label. Same for my Favorite {Photo} Friday posts, etc.

I'm really impressed that I made it through an entire month without forgetting to take a photo even a single day! I'm really glad I'm doing this, it's so fun and I know it will be great to look back on at the end of the year. Are you playing along yet?

Monday, February 1, 2010


I follow Kal's blog and Elise's blog, so when they got together to do GOventures, I thought I'd play along. The idea is that they have a word prompt each day this week, and you can interpret it however you'd like, in any way, shape, or form. The point is just to THINK and MAKE ART. I can get on board with that!

Today's word is WANDER, and of course when I think of that I think of all the traveling we did while we lived in Europe. A while back I found this ugly wall hanging at Ross for like $2, so I bought it and brought it home and peeled off the ugly art and then collaged onto it. I glued down some vintage dictionary pages, and then used a Heidi Swapp mask of the world to paint on top of it (NOT as easy as it sounds!!). I really like the way it turned out, except I wish I would have Glimmer Misted the dictionary pages before I put down the mask and painted, so the land parts would be all shimmery.

Anyway, today I took a photo so I could upload it to the GOventures Flickr group. Here it is!

A straight-on shot seemed too boring so this is the one I uploaded. :)

Feel free to play along and/or join and/or check out the Flickr group! It's fun to see everyone's interpretations!