Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Loving Memory

My Gram, Meta
December 19, 1911 - June 21, 2009
at her 97th b-day celebration

Thank you, Gram, for all the loving years we shared. Thank you for teaching me to make perfect scrambled eggs and how to set a lovely table. Thank you for the weekend breakfasts together, eggs, waffles cooked right at the table, English muffins with jam and Sizzlean. I'll always remember waking up to you whistling polkas in the kitchen on Saturday mornings while getting breakfast started.

Thank you for all the wonderful books you introduced me to: the Little House on the Prairie series, Heidi, Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Yearling, Raggedy Ann's Adventures, Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables... thanks for inspiring me to try embroidery and learn how to sew. I still remember all the lovely dresses you helped make for me when I was in elementary school. Thank you for always having time to play Aggravation and Kings in the Corner and for making me a fan of Jeopardy.

You taught me to love African violets and antiques and vintage china and table linens. You taught me that family dinners and traditions and celebrations were important. You showed me how to make a house a home. And so much more...

You'll always be in my heart, Gram.

Friday, June 19, 2009

WTJ: Baby Steps

The Next Chapter has begun their latest book blogging adventure-- Wreck This Journal. I'm a bit behind the rest of the group with getting started, but I had to join in. I've been wanting to get Wreck This Journal for ages. I can already tell its going to be a challenge for me. I had a feeling it would be.

Proof that my journal started out in pristine condition:

Okay, so here's the deal. Books and journals are like gold to me. I don't break the spines, I don't dog-ear the pages. I carry my books around in a zippered book cover to protect them while I'm reading them. Seriously. I do. I love the smell of new books, I love the feel of fresh, crisp journal pages. If I make a messy page in my journal I have to figure out a way to "fix" it or else I carefully cut it out and start again... yeah... its safe to say I'm a bit OCD when it comes to books & journals. But I also realize this is just part of my perfectionist streak, which can be pretty paralyzing at times. I am my own worst critic. So the very first thing I did to my journal was...

... I broke the spine. OMG. That was almost physically painful for me to do. I cringed, I really did! And the spine was tough, so it was difficult to get it to break, so I really had to commit to get it done and I just *cringed* the entire time. And then after I broke it once, I did it one more time, just to be see if it was any easier the second time around. It WASN'T. I broke it again tonight, though, and that was a little easier, finally.

Coloring this page wasn't too bad. In fact, I sort of got into it, scribbling and changing colored pencils as fast as I could. I colored so fast and pressed down so hard the pages started to soften and tear and a little voice inside my head said, "yessssssssssss..." As you can see, on the previous page, I poked holes. After hesitating for the first few, a little maniacal laugh began to cackle in the back of my mind and I poked with reckless abandon. I may go back and poke some more.

Tonight, I pulled out the lighter. After several thwarted attempts to catch the page on fire, I almost gave up. Then-- WHOOSH! Too late to turn back. I think I singed my hair a little bit, too.

Not much for my first week; I'm still trying to get into the spirit of this wrecking business. I am so surprised (and yet, not) at how damn hard it is for me! Well, we'll see if I can loosen up a bit during my second week.

Wanna see more wreckage? Visit other participants' WTJ journeys by following the links HERE.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This, That, The Other

News, awards and a pile of memes ahead.

Monday morning, June 1st, the winner of the first Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild monthly challenge was announced: my swirly sun brooch! The challenge was a smashing success with 8 entries, 87 votes, 24 new followers of the guild blog and tons of promotion for guild, its members and their poly clay work.

As winner of the challenge, I pick the theme for the next month. My choice was PASTELS. A few thoughts about why I picked PASTELS as the theme for the challenge:

1- It seems like I don't see pastel colors used very much by very many poly clayers. Lots of people mix special colors, but its rare to see an ALL PASTEL palette used. I know *I* don't use pastels. So I thought it would challenge many of us to think outside our color comfort zone.

2- Clay isn't sold in pastel colors-- hence, it challenges us to work with mixing clays and creating new colors.

3- Pale colored pieces can be a challenge for baking. Some clay colors automatically darken during baking, and light colors of clay have to be carefully watched during the baking process to prevent burning. So baking pastels could also end up being a challenge.

4- when I think pastel, I think of dainty work. But does it *have* to be? Maybe we can think out of the box and come up with some FUNKY pastel pieces!

We also have another award winner in our guild: 2goodclaymates won the May challenge of the ArtFire Artisan Jewelers guild. The theme was Cinco de Mayo and her swirly gecko fiesta necklace is fantastic! See it HERE.

Peppylady tagged me for the 8 Questions and Growing meme. The rules are:

1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Copy these question but add your own answers to them.
5. Tag as many as you feel like but you have to a least tag one.
6. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
7. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
8. If anyone catches this out in blog world, they are welcome to jump on board.

1. Has the Economy effected you? Absolutely! We are watching our pennies more than ever.

2. What flowers are blooming in your garden? My calendula, chamomile, peonies, shasta daisies, red geraniums and decorative sage are all in bloom right now in my yard.

3. What are clouds like your area now? Just a few big fluffy white clouds with a touch of grey on the undersides are in the sky this afternoon.

4. Do you wear glasses? Yep, sure do! Ever since 4th grade.

5. Do you have a Target were you live? Yes, but I haven't shopped there for at least a year.

6. Have you read 10 10 10? Not only have I not read it, I've never even heard of it.

7. How many letter in your middle name? 5

8. What is a good motto? "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Mahatma Ghandi

9. What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? Curl up under a blanket and read a good book.

Like this meme? Take it, add your question, pass it along!

The wonderfully creative Coltpixy was awarded the "One Lovely Blog" award, not once, but twice this week! She in turn passed it on to me.

Thanks so much, Coltpixy! I'm honored that you thought of me and my blog. Posting has been erratic here lately, but I'm glad to know people still enjoy visiting! Now to pass on the award to 15 others-- this is a mix of wonderful, creative bloggers:

Magical Musings
Honor Yourself
Bead Dreamer
Mother Henna
Carolina Gonzalez
Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom
Reality Insanity
Weaving the Web
Attic 24
Barb's Craft Therapy
Bringing Up Salamanders
Simple Craft
Her Speak
Dora's Explorations

Next up, Mrs. B tagged me for the 8 Things Meme:

8 things I'm looking forward to:

  1. full moon ritual tonight with friends
  2. a massage next Wednesday
  3. coloring my own tarot deck
  4. using my new rotary tool
  5. going to the zoo for Firehand's b-day
  6. my 12th wedding anniversary
  7. new project starting at work
  8. summer time fun!

8 things I did yesterday:

  1. got a massage
  2. put gas in my car-- first time in a whole month!
  3. took photos of new necklaces for my online shops
  4. jammed with Journey "Stone in Love"
  5. watched "Land of the Lost" TV show marathon with husband
  6. ate chicken shawarma
  7. played with my new tarot deck
  8. brushed Moose until he ran away

8 things I wish I could do:

  1. sew well and sew fast, takes me forever
  2. swim with sea turtles
  3. get my bf JLo to come for a week long visit
  4. be able to go back to IA to help my mom after her surgery
  5. travel more
  6. have an abundance of energy
  7. get my living room and kitchen painted
  8. fly-- sans airplane; wings preferred

8 shows I watch:

  1. Forensic Files
  2. CSI-- the original one only!
  3. Forensic Files
  4. Criminal Minds
  5. Forensic Files
  6. Paranormal State
  7. Dexter
  8. aaaannnndddd... Forensic Files ;-)

8 favorite foods:

  1. potatoes, any way you want to make 'em
  2. steak on the grill
  3. smothered burritos
  4. chicken shawarma
  5. berries-- strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, mulberries, blueberries...
  6. Granny Smith apples
  7. real NY cheesecake
  8. cheese fondue

8 places I'd like to travel:

  1. Niagara Falls
  2. Mackinac Island
  3. Wales
  4. Scotland
  5. Ireland
  6. England
  7. the Carribean Islands
  8. HERE to do THIS

8 people I've tagged:

Up for grabs, people! Take it and run with it.

And now its time for: one... more... meme! Are you ready?

Coltpixy also tagged me for 7 Random Things; let's see if I can come up with some interesting answers.

  1. I have a degree in psychology and my all time favorite job was doing research for the Institute for Social & Behavioral Research. I'd love to do more behavioral research, it's fascinating.
  2. I said "No' the first three times my husband asked me to marry him. I'm glad he asked one more time!
  3. I pretty much refuse to wear anything black. When I was younger I liked wearing black and white together and I still wear white now, but not black. It's just too... black.
  4. I love tarot decks; I think they are fascinating. I love the psychology of tarot and seeing the different interpretations of all the archetypes. They are also like little mini-collections of art.
  5. I like to buy my books in trade paperback size. I carry them around in a zippered book cover during the time I'm reading them. I don't dog-ear pages or break the spine. Yes, its safe to say I'm a bit OCD about my books.
  6. I love vintage china and would love to collect it, but I don't see the purpose of having lots of stuff I don't use, so I mostly drool over it at antique stores and online. My favorite styles: anything chintz, especially in yellow/pink, and Clarice Cliff's Tonquin in mulberry. Looooove transferware and carnival glass, too.
  7. I took children's theatre classes when I was young and had many roles in theatre productions in junior high & high school, but I'd be terrified to be on stage nowadays. I don't know how I ever did it.

Now I'm supposed to tag 7 people-- here's where I break the rules. If you want to do this meme, go for it! Free to all!

Dudes, I think I'm finally caught up. Whew!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birthday Celebrations

I've been celebrating my birthday this week! Its been lovely.

My husband, Firehand, had to work over the weekend, which meant he got a day off during the week, so he took Tuesday off to spend my birthday with me. We planned on going to the Botanical Gardens for a long afternoon, strolling through the flowers, but alas and alack, it was cold and rainy that day. So on to Plan B-- a trip to the Science & Nature Museum.

First, we saw artist Vasily Konovalenko's beautiful gem sculptures.
Russian born Vasily Konovalenko was 22 when he first sensed the hidden life in stones... His challenge was not just to develop the necessary lapidary skills, but to balance artistic creativity with the beauty-- and limitations-- of carving gemstones. Each gem has inherent hardness and breakage characteristics, requiring great skill and sensitivity to reveal its unique beauty. Using rich imagery of Russian folklife as themes for his whimsical sculptures, Konovalenko was able to combine many different minerals, from varities of quartz-- agate, jasper, carnelian, amethyst, chrysoprase, and chalcedony-- to the more exotic lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite, sodalite and jade.
The carving and detail of these sculptures was incredibly intricate. They were absolutely fascinating and lovely. Here's a sample of what they looked like. Believe it or not, I didn't take my camera with me to the museum-- I wanted to just enjoy the whole experience of the museum displays that day and not see it only through the lens of my camera, which is what would have happened if I'd had it with me.

Next, we visited the Egyptian Mummy display. There were 2 different mummies on display-- a rich woman and a poor woman. Through x-rays and CT scans the differences in their mummification was shown, which indicated the different status in the women. We also saw displays of amulets and household items buried with mummies to assist them in their afterlife. There was an example of a papyrus scroll with detailed hieroglyphics and artwork, a model of an Egyptian temple and a brand new sarcophogus created and decorated in the traditional manner. Most interesting was a facial reconstruction of the rich woman/mummy's face.

But best of all was the Gem & Mineral display. The very first display was like peeking into a cave full of crystal covered stalactites. Gorgeous! There were hundreds of examples of minerals in all their different forms and colors, both in their natural state as well as cut, faceted and polished. I could have stayed in that exhibit for ages. I love minerals and semi-precious stones with all their brilliant colors and textures.

We also saw one of the IMAX films at the museum. This one was called Grand Canyon Adventure and was about the Colorado River, which is in a terrible jeopardy. It is rapidly disappearing as a water source. How rapidly? Well, Lake Powell, which is located along the Colorado River between Arizona and Utah has lost 40% of its volume just in the past 8 years. And, because of the dams and excessive use of the water for irrigation, the river dries out at its delta and is no longer able to reach the sea. Scary stuff. But what irritated me was that after spending the entire 45 minutes of this film emphasizing the horrible condition of this once-mighty river, only a few ways to conserve water were suggested-- during the film's credits, as if they were put in as an afterthought!

After the museum we had a nice dinner together, and then it was time for my giftie!

A Creative Rotary Tool and accessories! I've been wanting one of these for my poly clay work. I can use it to sand tricky curved parts on the wood boxes and frames I decorate, I can use it for drilling holes in beads and pendants and best of all, I can use it to buff and shine my beads and pendants! Much faster and easier, plus I'm sure this will do a much better job than I could, doing it by hand. The tool also came with engraving bits and I have some ideas for experimenting with those as well.

On Wednesday I got together with two friends from my tarot group, Darling and Vosvara, to celebrate birthdays. Mine is on the 2nd and Vosvara's is on the 5th, so we celebrated together. We went out to lunch and they gave me the most beautiful pair of hand painted candles from South Africa as my b-day gift. They are lovely and I'm thinking that they will look perfect on an altar in my craft room. My gift to Vosvara is going a be a set of herbal runes; I took some samples of runes I've made in the past, plus a color sample I mixed for her to see if I had the correct shade of purple like she wanted, and we worked out the details. Now to make them for her!

After lunch, we went to a couple of different metaphysical shops to explore. That's when I finally found the Pearls of Wisdom tarot deck that I've been looking for. I was so excited, I've been wanting this deck ever since it came out a couple of years ago.

After the metaphysical shops, Darling treated us to ice cream and we sat at the shop and did three-card tarot readings with each other and looked at my new deck. We also talked about plans for coloring our own personal tarot deck, a project we're going to meet for and work on once or twice a month until they're complete. I'm very excited about this project, I think it will be lots of fun.

These two days were a really great way to spend a birthday and I'm very thankful for a loving husband and friends who celebrated with me. It's going to be a great year!

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Favorite Month

"For stately trees in rich array,
For sunlight all the happy day,
For blossoms radiant and rare,
For skies when daylight closes,
For joyous, clear, outpouring song
From birds that all the green wood throng,
For all things young, and bright, and fair,

We praise t
hee, Month of Roses!

For blue, blue skies of summer calm,
For fragrant odors breathing balm,
For quiet, cooling shades where oft
The weary head reposes,
For brooklets babbling thro' the fields
Where Earth her choicest treasures yields,
For all things tender, sweet and soft,
We love thee, Month of Roses!"

- Elaine Goodale. June

Its here! My favorite month of the year. The month of peonies blooming, giving off their heady scent; roses, too. My birth month, my anniversary month. The summer solstice.

All tree leaves change from the bright green of spring to the deep green of summer. The foothills are lush, the mountains are deep purple. The days are warm and sunny. The evenings are long and peaceful.

I love the month of June.