Friday, August 29, 2008

Beat the Clock !

This week at Inspire Me Thursday the challenge was to Create Against The Clock. The challenges are always great and this week was no exception. Here are the instructions we were given :
"Get out your supplies, set a timer and do your creative thing for 10 minutes. Scan or snap a photo of your work. Then, with the same supplies, set the timer for 1 hour and let the creative juju flow again. Snap another photo and share both with us. How do the two compare? Is there a contrast — unfinished and raw versus complete and finished?"

So my creative thing in this case was creating an art journal page. I used an already painted background page in my journal, my gel pens, Sharpies, scissors and a glue stick. I randomly chose ten images or ephemera pieces from my "play" folder that could be used in each page. I couldn't use the exact same images for both pages as I was using originals cut out of magazines and old books and such.
Here is my 10 Minute page :

"We Could Be Here For Awhile..."

I think this page shows the frantic pace I was working at ...kind of all over the place. At the same time, I like the colors involved, and there are sweet spots, as always, on the page. Here's a spot I really like :

An hour is a much more comfortable time frame for me to do a journal page in. Here is what I accomplished in one hour with the same tools, but 10 different images and elements from my "play" folder:

"Some days I feel like taking a trip but leaving my luggage behind."

The second page is definitely more controlled. I spent a long time just positioning the elements carefully. Only the last five minutes were spent gluing it all in place. I like how the center "character" looks like a funky paper doll. Maybe she should be named "Katy Barry" after the cigar wrapper on her dress ?:

Introducing Miss Katy Barry

I really enjoyed this Inspire Me Thursday Challenge ! While an hour is definitely at least the amount of time I would like to have to work on a journal page, I can see the challenge and the fun of working more quicky on occasion. It is like stream of consciousness writing in image form - much less controlled, much less censored and with a rawness and openess that is good to explore now and again, I think ! And there will always be the sweet spots to look for afterwards...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Queen climbs a mountain...

One beautiful August day, the mountain man

and his Queen

climbed a Mountain.

(Okay, they used the Royal Motorized Vehicle to do the climbing.)

Once the perilous acscent to the top was complete,
the Queen and her man joined the many travelers who stopped and viewed,
in awe,
the magnificient vistas.

As the Queen sat high on her rocky, lichen-covered mountain throne,

she was struck by many profound and possibly life-changing thoughts.

Thoughts such as these :

"How very, very lucky are We, (you know the royal We), to be sitting here, on the top to the world, savoring this view ? We are so grateful for this moment in time !"

"That road was so ^$*&@* (insert Royal expletive here) steep, I swear I saw the clouds go diagonal !"

"These wind-beaten shrubs that withstand the elements and thrive on the side of the mountain are an example to us all !"


"When [W]e tire of well-worn ways, [W]e seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view." (Okay, that was a thought from Ella Wheeler Wilcox, but it could have been her Majesty's !)

Viewing grand vistas and thinking profound thoughts finally complete, the Queen and her man headed back down the mountain. The perilous descent survived, they arrived at level ground forever changed after their adventure.

The moral of our tale is :

If you wish to feel like the Queen of the World (or the King, for that matter), travel to Gorham, New Hampshire and climb the majestic Mount Washington. You will be forever changed!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ten Tiny Things

So the other Queen, Lesley at Funky Art Queen, posted a fun little challenge this morning. She asked us to gather 10 tiny things and take one photograph of the grouping, comment and link the photo post from our blog and we could win some of her art ! Cool, n'est pas ?

So I did a kind of stream of consciousness gathering of 10 things, plopping whatever struck me onto my tray. Then I re-read Lesley's post and saw that she told us we could have a whole week to do this ! Oops ! I didn't read through all the instructions before doing the test !!!

Anyhow, here is my photo of 10 things I gathered in about 2 minutes, photographed in about 5 minutes and then took 10 minutes editing. Hope that all ='s something kind of fun to look at !

(Hey Your Majesty, do I get any extra points for speed ? ;-) )

10 things :
1. A beanbag lizard named "Brocoli".
2. A flower pendant from the bottom of my jewelry box.
3. A broken clear glass bead.
4. A tiny rock I painted with Black-eyed Susans about 10 years ago
5. A card with a quote about "Father" on it.
6. A moon face charm.
7. A millefiori glass heart that my mom gave me.
8. A rock with interesting lines on it from my dad's trip to Nova Scotia.
9. A telephone jack thingy from the top of David's desk.
10. A collage pin I got from an swap a few years ago that was also in the bottom of my jewelry box.

Cheers and happy Tuesday !

Monday, August 18, 2008

GPP Street Team Crusade #22 - Pay It Forward

This month's Crusade at the GPP Street Team is a little different. As you many know, Michelle Ward lost her beautiful sister Shannon last month, and that loss inspired her to create this month's challenge for us Crusaders. The challenge is to think creatively, think about the kindness and care that we are grateful for in our our lives and to come up with some expressions of that gratitude. You got it! Feel the gratititude for a kindness and then pay the kindness forward !

I have been so lucky in my life for my friendships with women. I am truly grateful everyday for the gestures of friendship I receive, big and small, from phone calls, to birthday gifts to shared jokes. I am truly blessed to be loved by such beautiful women as my dear, dear girlfriends (sisters, mom, aunts and nieces included here !!!).

Next door to me lives a beautiful woman, Catherine, who I would have to say I share a neighbourly acquaintance with, more than a close friendship. We don't really see each other socially more often than the occasional chat over the bushes, though we have been promising for three years to get together for drinks and really talk and get to know each other! We have exchanged Christmas cards, Christmas cookies, Valentine treats, all in gratitude for how much we appreciate each other as neighbors. She and her husband Stephen are like David and I. They enjoy a quiet couple life, like to keep their property tidy and pretty and in a neighbourhood where that isn't the case for all the neighbors, the expression of gratitude for that should be celebrated !

Recently, Catherine has been pretty ill, fighting cancer. But man, is she strong ! And beautiful in her fragile physical state. It makes me so sad to know what she and Stephen and her family are going through right now but oh, so very grateful for each precious moment we have on this earth!

So Catherine and I have upped the ante with the "kindness" exchanges these days. We have our own "pay it forward and then it comes back" crusade going on ! I think it makes us both feel good to connect to our neighbor, to truly acknowledge their existance and appreciate their neighborly qualities. What we do is exchange tokens of neighborly love about weekly. One day she will receive a necklace with a hand-painted "hope" charm on it from me. The next day, a gorgeous vase with hydrangeas cut from her garden will appear in my entry porch. A trip to the farmer's market for me means a couple of perfect tomatoes on her doorstep. And guess what ? One day, I actually knocked on her door when she was there and we did go out on her deck and share that drink and get to know each other better !

So my challenge to my Crusader friends is to think about your neighbor. Have you told them lately that you appreciate them ? Do they know you care about them, even if it is just in an over-the-fence way ? What little gesture could you do that would pay the neighborly kindess forward ? Believe me, your heart will feel so very full when you go for it and it sure makes the neighborhood all that much sweeter.

One Wedding, One Christening and a few days in Paradise.

So we are back from our action packed jaunt to Montreal and Mont Tremblant. It was a great week filled with love, laughter, busy, festive times with wonderful family and friends as well as quiet down time enjoying the sights and sounds of nature for me and the hubby. Other than the crappy Summer of '08 weather, it was a perfect summer vacation !

Here are some photos highlights.

Andrea & James' Wedding - 08-09-08

The bride was beautiful, relaxed and radiant. The groom was handsome, oh so proud of his woman, and so obviously totally in love. A great time was had by all !

I love this shot of the first dance smooch ! And this is what was happening down below !

I hope this symbolizes their marriage for always - love and comfort from head to toe !

Kate's Christening - 08-10-08

Katherine Ainsley deBroin Monaghan was baptized in the same quaint Catholic church in Mont Tremblant where her parents John and Kristina were married. Proud Auntie Kim and Uncle David served as godparents.

Auntie Kim with her gorgeous godchild pre-ceremony

Auntie Kim with her gorgeous god-child during the ceremony... asleep for the whole hour long ceremony... got love those magic pillows !

Kate actually woke up just about 5 minutes before the actual water-on-the-head part of the ceremony which was perfect ! Welcome to the world, beautiful little one !

The "Lion King" moment !

Five Days at Lac Bibitte - 08-11 thru 08-16

David and I had a quiet time at the cottage. We read and slept a lot and spent a lot of time watching the beautiful loons feed their baby on the lake. The weather was kind of grey and kind of cool pretty much our whole time - except for the day we left of course !!!

We took care of Katie one morning so Kristina and 5 year old Thomas could have some mommy and son time. Isn't there something so beautiful about a scruffy, handsome man holding a baby ?

Or even better, a sleeping baby !

One handsome godfather you have there, Katie !

And as a finale, here is a photo of me in the beautiful dress that my friend Lois made for me to wear to the wedding. I didn't get a good shot of it from the wedding day so had to do a photo shoot, Lac Bibitte Style !

Cheers, all !

Glad to be home and anxious to catch up with everyone ! Happy Monday !

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Need A Vacation !!!!

So this week has been pretty crazy busy ! Tomorrow David and I leave for our weekend in Montreal and our week in Mont Tremblant. Saturday is my dear friend Andrea's wedding. Part of my busy week was spent getting my final dress fittings done (the dress turned out beautifully - I will hopefully have some good shots of it when I return !), finalizing what the Hubby was going to wear and working on this :

This is a 90 year old slate tile saved from my roof when we had it redone a few years ago. It is hand-painted with a love message for the happy couple. I have made several of these as address slates but thought this was a sweet little gift. When the tile is varnished, the beautiful depth of the slate colors comes through. Sorry about the crappy photo but I told you I have been busy !!!!

On Sunday, it is Katie's Christening. David and I are the godparents. So another part of this week was spent finalizing outfits for that event, and working on this :

I bought this keepsake box from Things Remembered and had it engraved with Kate's name. Then I personalized the shadowbox top with her birth announcement, some pretty pink paper flowers and of course, a picture of the little Cupcake ! Then, I had to do something to go inside the box and spent more time working on this :

This note is from David and me to the sweet Kate and the pictures are from our trip to Virginia, taken on the very day she was born. It is a little more scrapbook-y than my usual style but I think it works okay for the keepsake box.

I also dyed some men's sport socks pink and mailed them off to the wonderful Michelle Ward for her very sweet Pink Wink project, did all the laundry I could find, made lists of what we need to pack for our week at the cottage, fluffed up our sleeping bags in the dryer, read most of my favorite blogs, and created this post.... All that without a cigarette, thank you very much !!!! (17 days today !)

I am so looking forward to the fun celebrations of the weekend ! Lots of great times with family and friends to come. Then on Monday, this is where I will be :

The cottage at Lac Bibitte, Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Feet up on the porch railing, hot coffee nearby, a good book to read, my sweet Hubby beside me and a whole five days of "Us in Nature" time ! Sounds really good to me now, as I run through all the last minute stuff left to do before we go. The only thing that makes me a little sad is that the cottage has no electricity which means no computer which means no blog visits, no blog posts and no connecting with blog buddies for a while week ! Boo hoo ! Don't forget me while I'm gone, okay ? I kind of count on you guys being there everyday now... I promised I will have some great posts with great photos when I return. I will miss you.. really and truly miss you ! Be good ! Kiss, kiss !

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Coldplay Update

So the hubby and I had a great, great time on our Coldplay date on Monday night. Here are some hightlights (not in any significant order, just random, ok, sweet Hubbyman?):

- I heart Chris Martin !!! He is a fantastic showman! He is so into just playing with his music.. I love how he skips around the stage like a little kid. Also, you could really tell that the entire band loved the crowd's energy !

- I heart my Hubby ! He and I had a great time people watching, and walking around Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market in downtown Boston before the show. Fun to hold hands in the big city !

- The Coldplay light show was spectacular !!! They had these cool orbs that hung above the crowd and serves as screens or reflectors of the lights and colors depending on the song! Hard to describe but very, very cool to see !

- My favorite song of the night was "Yellow", I think. I just loved how Chris let the crowd sing most of it - his Monday Night Sing-Along as he called it. It amazes me how huge crowd of people can sound so very beautiful singing along...

- We had several big celebrities attend the show with us - Gwenyth Paltrow (Chris's wife ) was there with her mom, Blythe Danner and their guests for the evening, Jerry Seinfield and his wife Jessica. Also, Tom Brady, star quarterback of the Patriots was there. Not to mention, Kim and David Mailhot from New Hampshire, ..... hee hee... actually I am not sure if this was a highlight as they were all seated very far away on the other side of the arena and all we could see was the flashes from the "illegal" cameras of their paparazzi.

A couple of low lights...

- the extremely drunk woman and her only slightly less drunk friends who were sitting beside us and who tripped over, trampled and annoyed us all evening as they staggered across us to the aisle to go to the bathroom about a hundred times !!!
Yikes !!!!!!!

- the first opening band, "Luxury" from Boston was ok but the sound was so horrible! The second band, Santogold, was really, really bad - some techno crappy stuff that just didn't fit in at all !

- the Coldplay set felt really short - only 90 minutes including a very planned encore and that's it. They have so much great material, they could play forever, and the crowd was so energized it would have been great for the show to go on longer...

But all in all, it was a great show and a great event for the hubby and me !

The rest of the week has me frantically trying to get all the details in place for our trip to Montreal on Friday... so much to do, so little time... but all to the soundtrack of my Favorite band !!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Viva la vida ! - Ain't life grand ?

So today is a very cool day ! The Hubby has taken the day off work and this is a summer day just for the two of us ! We are headed to Boston to play tourists for the day and then....


I have been a Coldplay fan for a long time - my sister Natalie introduced me to them way back when their first album "Parachutes" can out. I was lucky enough to see them two years ago here in Manchester, NH and absolutely loved the show. Chris Martin is a fantastic showman, and man, can he play that piano !!! I am loving the new album too, so tonight should be great !

Here's a preview of what I will probably hear tonight : (Love this song !)

Happy Monday, y'all ! (By the way - 14 days smoke free ! Yay for me !) May your day be just grand !!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Mixed Bag Post - Soul Journal Potpourri, Porch Flowers and some beautiful things...

So I really wanted to post yesterday but life had other sweet plans for me ... more later in the beautiful things portion...

I did a photo shoot on the back porch again - check out this gorgeous hibiscus ! I love the orange ! The blossom is about the size of my hand ! :

And this beauty is a cosmos I grew from seeds. The plants are about 3 feet high and finally flowering. Cosmos remind me of my dad. He always planted them at our cottage up north. I love their delicate strength.

The artist in me is still working at low speed. I have a few projects I really need to get done ! My deadline is next Thursday, just before David and I head to Montreal for Andrea and James' wedding, Baby Cupcake's christening and then our week at the cottage. I want to have it all done but seem to still have a hard time focusing on those have-to's !

Finding time for the Soul Journaling though... Here are page 3 and 4 of the Collage Potpourri. Some of the things Sarah (at Caspiana) suggested we try on these pages were painting with a plastic fork, adding numbers in a variety of ways, doing a monoprint with a paint blob, adding significant words and doing some sewing on the page. Sewing isn't really my thing but I added some stitching in red embroidery floss to page 3 and I sewed on a tassel I made from metallc embroidery floss on page 4.

Here is a "sweet spot" shot of page 3. I love all the numbers popping through and I love how the fork painting at the bottom looks like a little red fence. I think this sweet spot should be called "Don't fence me in !"

"Don't fence me in!"

Here is the sweet spot on page 4. I think you can see it pretty well in this shot but what I love best about this page is the depth of the colors in the background. That came from the various color washes and dry brushing but also the glorious metallic color from the copper Lumiere Acrylic paint ! This sweet spot is called "Love : Long May She Reign".

"Love - Long May She Reign"

As you can tell, I am really into that creative process that this Soul Journal project has inspired. I think I will bring a few minimal art supplies with me to the cottage and continue the pot pourri thing up there ! A whole week just to play ! No have-to's ! Yippee !

To end off, here are my three beautiful things for the end of this week :

#1 My wonderful friend Sonia took me for my first every pedicure yesterday ! I know ,43 and a pedicure virgin !!! But I am a virgin no more, let me tell ya ! The woman who did my foot massage was incredible ! I almost fell asleep ! And my icky summer "Hobbit" feet are so very pretty now ! Ready for the high heeled sandals for the wedding next week ! A thousand thank you's Sonia, for that wonderful sweet treat ! You rock, girlfriend !!!

#2 My incredibly talented friend Lois has been working so hard on my beautiful dress for the wedding next week. It is turning out so well and I am excited that I will feel pretty and special in my dress. A thousand thank-you's to you too, Lo ! You are amazingly generous and I so, so appreciate it !

#3 Girlfriends, girlfriends, girlfriends !!! Girlfriends are a beautiful thing everyday ! I am so very, very grateful for them on the good days and on the bad. I also know that I am a good girlfriend back, when one of the glorious women I know needs me. Thank God for girlfriends and all the joy, support, laughter, tears and love they bring ! Now that's a beautiful thing, baby !

Happy August, have a great weekend and may your world be full of beauty (and girlfriends !) today !