Thursday, July 08, 2010

Having My Cake...

We had a quiet 4th of July holiday and it was so nice. Just hanging out, going to the movies and being still. Summer is in full-swing and it was nice to take a break. Although this is only the second summer I've had off, I was caught a bit off gaurd when I started classes and realized I didn't have near the time I thought to work on projects and to actually do some fun things. But now, I'm hitting my stride, finding my mojo and taking some time in between classes to do a few creative things.

Over the holiday weekend, I even got out paints and attempted a collage-y painting inspired by who else, but this gal. It was a fun process, but I'm not sure I quite have a handle on her whimsical style. I loved giving it a try though! ;)
And on Monday, I started an e-Zine workshop on art journaling taught by one of my creative heroes. It's felt so good to be back at creating something - anything. I love cutting and gluing, mixing colors and learning new techniques. Although I don't often venture far from the example, I do love the challenge of trying to recreate the examples.
Once in awhile, I do come up with my own thing. One of my favorite things is incorporating the bits & pieces I tear from magazines, junk mail and whatever else I happen to spy. The face on the sun and the wings on the clocks are from a take-out menu!

AND, I made a meal tonight! Yep, told you I was on a roll! It was SO delicious and very simple. The corn and zucchini salad was particularly good since the ingredients were homegrown. I loved the combination of the fresh lime juice and the sweet corn that made up the dressing. So, so good! Both recipes were from Everyday Food magazine and can be found HERE and HERE.

Well, I'm off to do my other favorite summertime activity-READ! I am unbelievably addicted to the Outlander series. I just started the sixth book, A Breath of Snow & Ashes and I can hardly put it down!

However you're spending the summer, I hope you're finding a way to have your cake... and eat it, too!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Something About Mary

Even after all these years, I just love the art of Mary Engelbreit! Did you know she has a blog? I loved her most recent post in which she gives us a peek into her creative process. This is the end result, but seeing how she got there was very cool.

I also love how she just seems to come up with the perfect illustration to go with a quote. This one really struck me.

Sometimes that's how it feels isn' it? I call those Chevy Chase moments (remember Nat'l Lampoon's Family Vacation). We're in such a hurry to create the moments and memories that we don't enjoy and embrace them when we finally arrive at that point in time. Or just too busy to have them to begin with!

Anyway, I continue to be charmed by her artwork and intrigued by the brand she's created. Like many of you, I was disappointed when she decided to stop publishing Home Companion magazine, but I am excited about some of the other things her company is doing. She recently held her first-ever artists retreat here in our very own hometown at the Chase Park Plaza. And she has a new association with Papyrus cards. So be watching for that sweet card with the owlie and the bluebird this spring!

Now I'm itching to get into my tub of ME goodies I tucked away a few years ago. I knew that I'd want them later on! And I've already stockpiled some of the beautiful posters she's licensed for teachers. I just love all the reading ones, of course!

There's just something about Mary!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

10 Things on Tuesday

Taking a nod from a fellow blogger, I'm putting my spin on a familiar list. Here's 10 things on my mind on a Tuesday. (Well, that's the day it was when I started the post!)

1. I didn't think I'd like The Newsboys with Michael Tait as their new lead singer. But I really do. Their new single is very reminiscent of DC Talk-IMO. UPDATE: It's now hit #1-guess I'm not the only who's lovin' it!

2. Sunshine makes me very happy. Although the trade-off is humidity. Without the beach. Still, I'm happy to see the sun after a rainy May. Slather on the sunscreen. UPDATE: Yes, after a couple days of gloomy rain I'm ready to see Mr. Sun again. Humidity or no.

3. I love Jenny Doh's (former editor-in-chief of Somerset magazines) newest venture, Crescendoh. Love the name, the mission statement and the products. Here's one I had to have first thing..

I did these on a pretty spring day. Outside under a big tree chit chatting with some of my favorite third and fourth graders. We were actually doing a lesson - observing MO songbirds and writing about what we saw and heard. ;)

UPDATE: Did you know that the MO Dept of Conversation has an entire curriculum you can get for FREE?!? I recently received it and can't wait to use some of it in my reading lessons. I'm developing a unit of study on Owls-whooo's suprised?! ;)

4. Really enjoying XM radio this evening. Sometimes its just so nice to have music on in the house. I don't do that often enough.

5. Speaking of music, I have recently discovered Colbie Caillat. I know. Late to the party. Her cd's will be the soundtrack of my summer. Well, except for Newsboys and Toby Mac. But mostly Colbie and dreaming of the beach. I really love her first CD-tracks 18 and 19 especially. On her second CD I love track 7. Or is it 8? The one about blue eyes. Reminds me of JAMMF-if you don't know what that stands for then you won't get why I like the song either. Sorry.

6. Nothing makes me smile like a clean fridge. Well, except maybe a fridge stocked with healthy groceries. Maybe the clean space will inspire me to buy and eat more healthy. UPDATE: Here's hoping-still.

7. I'm still determined to get organized. I have been back to the 15 min/day plan. Although I have to step it up quite a bit to get to where I want to be by the end of the summer, it's a start at least. But I think my to do list is perhaps already overscheduled. Need to rein it in! UPDATE: Um, overcomitted much?

8. My newest favorite color is gray. Is that really a color? Hmmmmm...DISCUSS!

9. Trying to decide if I should purchase a Vera Bradley tote or make one out of Amy Butler material. What's your vote?!? UPDATE: Or maybe just use something I have. Yeah, ever once in awhile I choose the high road!

10. I'm nearly delirious about summer. Popsicles, cookouts, outings, late nights and everything else that goes with this magjcal time of the year. Summer makes me giddy! UPDATE: As if my summer would consist of such things. More like lectures, term papers, phone interviews followed by more of the same. I think I'll just daydream about the others. Hey, maybe I can eat popsicles while typing?!? Now, that's problem-solving!

BONUS THING: Are you a Gleek? I TOTALLY AM! And I love that they're going to repeat all the episodes this summer! YAAAAY!

Okay, JUST ONE MORE: I am loving Eric Carle and didn't actually realize he has written/illustrated as many books as he has. I had never heard of Mr. Seahorse, but fell in love with it! I had hoped to try his tissue paper collage method, but chickened out and did this in watercolor while daydreaming about the beach and visiting HERE. Have a mAgicAL summer!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

completely random thoughts

a few completely random thoughts. as those are the only kind you can have when you are throughly exhausted.

i'm tired. yeah, said that already. sorry.

throughly enjoyed Brady's first band concert. i hope it is truly the first of many. fingers crossed.

i would love to sleep in on a rainy sunday and read the paper over a lazy breakfast with lots of luxuriously chocolatey coffee.

i am planning a carnival. i did this once before. as a fundraiser for the march of dimes. i think i was maybe 12 or 13. they announced my name on Mr. Patches.

only 14 more days of school. there. i said it. i could use a break. so could the kids. they definitelly need the break.

i bought so much cotton candy from the $1 spot at Target tonight that a lady looked at my cart and gasped. seriously. you, too? it's for the carnival.

i am the lorax. i speak for the trees. what?

now i know why the kids hate the rule about not starting sentences with i. it's hard. obviously.

must have sleep and dream about starbucks coffee. maybe i can get up in time to get some before school.

be back soon. promise.

Friday, March 19, 2010

dear aby

Have you seen those shows on TV where a professional organizer comes into a home and radically changes the family's life? Well, that's what has been happening at our house the past three or four weeks. Think Clean Sweep minus the hunky handyman and the yard sale!

Jeff and I recently contacted Aby Garvey of Simplify101 and asked her to help us jump-start our operation organziation. For awhile now, we had been finding ourselves overwhelmed by stuff and determined once-and-for-all to take back our space. No small feat after nearly eight years of living with clutter.

Enter dear aby who has changed our lives for the better. I had heard a lot about her and the online organizing classes she offers from a number of bloggers. After checking out her website, we knew she was the gal for the job and invited her to tour our home and develop a plan to conquer paper clutter and complete some projects that would make life more enjoyable for our entire family.

And that she did! Along with several "aha moments," Aby helped us find under utilized areas, establish new habits for handling the paper that comes and goes from our house, harvest low-hanging fruit and use it to earn some cash, befriend the kitchen timer to manage the precious time we have to declutter and organize and helped us fall in love with our house all over again.

I wish that I had taken a BEFORE photo of our master bedroom closet. Let's just say it could've landed us a spot on one of the aforementioned TV shows! I cannot tell you just how happy it makes me to open the door and see this. All thanks to dear aby!

We are learning what is most important to us and how to make our home a refuge. Check out Aby's website for more info about Simplify 101 and the online courses she has to offer.

P.S. My beloved handyman hung the additional shelves in the closet. Eric Stromer has nothing on you, Dad!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you are spending the day with those you love. We're huddled inside watching it snow and just enjoying a quiet day.
Love to you!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Once Upon a Study Break

Outside my window- the sun has set and stars loom behind the clouds. I wonder if snowflakes linger there, too.

I'm thinking- about what I'll write for my school paper tonight. Lots of thoughts swirling in my head. Now to get them down on paper/computer.

I am thankful for- my Sunday school kids. They touch my heart when I least expect it.

From the kitchen- taco soup again. Jeff is addicted to this stuff! Thankfully, it is super easy and yummy. I like mine served with a bit of avocado on top.

I am wearing- a t'shirt I purchased from New Missions to benefit their rebuild efforts there. We sponsor a 10 year old boy through them. The t'shirt says, "Save a Life/Sponsor a Child" in French Creole. And of course jeans, my fav roll cuff ones I wear with my uggs.

I am creating- on the fly! I have a project going that I've dabbled with all weekend. Taking a lead from T McFayden and her Paper Romance eZine, I dyed some ribbon and ric rac with cherry kool-aid this morning. Smells so good! Hopefully, I can get back to this after I finish homework.

I am going- to chillax this week. Seriously. Life is too short for drama.

I am reading- actually, I just finished reading Water for Elephants. Great story. Rumor has it will be a movie soon with Rob Pat and Reese Witherspoon in the leads. Well, if you believe the gossip rags that is. :)

Around the house- some things never change. I'm hoping to enlist the help of a personal organizer to help me get some major projects accomplished and to work with our family to develop some tidy habits. Bring it on! maybe it will carry over into some other parts of our lives.

One of my favorite things- is an icy cold diet A&W rootbeer. Had one today and it brought back a flood of sweet memories.

A few plans for the rest of the week- start a new book, organize something-anything, make valentines and a trip to the Science Center with my sis and the kiddos.

A picture to share- proof that I really am trying to keep the creative ball rolling. With a bit of luck this pile will be a valentine-y mobile by the end of the day. Love that I will get to use some of the vintage seam binding I found at The Leftover Store last weekend. Boy, do I love that place!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Whether intentionally or by accident, I am slowly booking a bookworm. A couple of years ago, one of my new year's intentions was to get back to reading. I set a paltry goal to read two or three books. Yes, for the whole year. Nice. Not very confident in my ability was I? No.

Here I am two years later becoming a bookworm. I was recently introduced to, a website with book reviews and all sorts of other info to help you choose your next - wait for it...good read. You can also compile lists-my favorite part. Lists of books you've read, those you intend to read and those you're currently reading. Yep, I've also become that kind of reader. Just out of curiosity, I began to compile a list of the books I've read since I set my short-sighted goal of reading two or three books in a year. I was shocked to see how many had added up!

Some may say I've had alot of time on my hands. But reading is a worthwhile pasttime. Reading makes you a more well-rounded person, keeps your mind busy, increases your vocabulary, exposes you to parts of history or cultures and places you might otherwise never visit. Reading is a good thing.

My reading habit will be further perpetuated (yep, a reader's word!) by my schooling this semester. My next class requires that I read 7 different novels in addition to our two texbooks and reading for pleasure. Um, yeah, can you say, bookworm? Albeit (another reader's word), the novels are intended for a younger audience, but it's reading all the same. By the way, some of the best books I've read in the past year were written by childrens book authors (many of whom also write adult fiction). Our first assignment, in addition to reading, is to write a reader's autobiography. To share our earliest memories of reading or learning to read, to discuss those who've influenced us to be readers, our favorite books and our current reading habit.

Hmmmmm...where do I begin?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Like a Slow Movin' Train

I'll tell ya, I am sooooo slow. Particularly when it comes to creative things. I am just amazed at how free and relaxed some folks are when they are making things. For some, it seems to just come naturally. I've been trying to embrace that free and easy side of things lately, but I'm like a slow movin' train. I hem and haw around like noone you can imagine. For starters, I believe I have a phobia of the sewing machine. While I've managed to make clothes, quilts and complete other sewing projects in the past, I always struggle with the mechanical workings of the sewing machine. So when I discovered Mary Ann Moss and her Remains of the Day journal class I thought it was a perfect opportunity to overcome my fear of the sewing machine. Mary Ann's technique uses needle and thread to attach all manner of paper and fabric to create one-of-a-kind journals.

So while we've had a couple of snow days here, I managed to set up my machine, get the book out and thread the thing. A small victory, but then the bobbin ran out along with my zeal for dealing with the machine. Intrigued and inspired by Mary Ann, I continued to dig in my scraps and whipped out my glue stick just to see how things would look. I also thought if things were tacked down it would help when I attempted to sew the papers. Besides, it's WAAAY too cold to venture out and purchase more thread or contemplate the new BROTHER machine at Target that autothreads and winds the bobbin. ;)

That was two days ago. I still haven't venturned out into the cold for thread. But like a slow movin' train, I'm making my way out of the station. Here are a few of the pages I have ready to sew. It's a start...

I am loving this process of creating layer upon layer of stuff to create a visual journal of my days. Mary Ann uses this type of journal when she travels and I can't wait to create one when I head out on my graduation trip in a couple years. I know - I may move slow, but I do like to plan ahead! And what a great way to get rid of some stuff. I definitely need to do that!

So I'm going to keep at it. Tomorrow I think I may even leave the house to get thread and then give the sewing machine a go again! I know it's been cold most everywhere lately. Besides working on this new journal I've been doing alot of cooking for my husband and just started reading a new book. What have you been doing while staying inside and trying to keep warm?