"Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Art Journaling 2012

Something I love to do, but don't share often, is art journal. I plan to share more in 2012!

Usually when I art journal, I place what I do in to two categories, both of which keep from sharing my pages: either way too personal or (I feel it is) way too hideous to share. Yes, I do let my inner critic get to me. No more! While I will still continue to make pages that I do feel are too personal to share, and that is OK, I will no longer deem any of the art I create "too hideous." That is so against what I love about art journaling....the fact that it is free-form, funky. Basically, it is what it is.

To encourage me to share more of my art journaling adventures I will be joining in Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Art Journal Every Day this year. If you are unfamiliar with Julie's work you must check it out. She is an amazing artist. And I can say I have had the privilege of meeting her, too!

So, here is a page I am actually excited to share. Simple, yet meaningful to me...
I created this a few days ago with a technique I actually learned from Julie's blog, the drip. I used two shades of Adirondack Color Wash and sprayed them heavily at the top of the page, allowing them to form longs drips down the page. The journaling is done with acrylic paint (white on letter stamps for "BE" and black for the free-hand painted words). The flowers on the side of the page were stamped using a thin coat of white acrylic on a Hero Arts rubber stamp. I used Claudine Hellmuth acrylics in this, but I also use Liquitex quite a bit.

This shows the facing page that I got random squirts on! I plan to add to and build something on that page at some point, also.

I also wanted to share a couple backgrounds that I have started. The top was made using a few different colors of Maya Road Mists. The bottom was made using Lyra Watercolor crayons and a wet brush. Sometimes when I just feel the urge to get messy and play I will do a bunch of backgrounds in my book then come back to build on them when the mood strikes.

I'm linking up this post to Julie's first Art Journal Every Day post for 2012. I hope you will go to her blog to check out all the amazing creations linked up there!
In the interest of full disclosure I need to put this out there from the start: I know me. I know how I am. I know I won't actually art journal every single day this year. I have decided that is OK! I will do it as often as I can and as often as the creative juices are flowing freely!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Merry....

So it is no secret that in this 2nd half of 2011 I have been a terrible blogger. Still, I couldn't let Christmas Eve go by and not post something. And I certainly couldn't miss an opportunity to wish all of my bloggy friends a very Merry Christmas, or Happy Hannukah, or Joyous Whatever You Celebrate at this time of year!!!

This entire month has been one busy blur. I still can't quite accept that is already December 24. At this time next week we will be ticking away the final hours of Twenty-Eleven and getting ready to usher in Twenty-Twelve.

So what I have I been doing this month? Well, working, mostly. Working has sucked up and enormous amount of time and the stress of it definitely contributed to it not feeling too Christmas-y. But, it is what it is. I have a good stable job and at this time of year more than any other I am thankful for it.

I baked...a lot. I have always enjoyed baking. I don't like having all those yummy baked goods around my house, though! Too tempting! Luckily I enjoy the process of baking more, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing what I make. So I have sent in loads of yummies with Kevin for his office and brought in bunches to mine. I have given to neighbors and baked for my family and friends.

Some of that baking for friends was shared on Friday evening December 16 when I got together with girlfriends for a Girls Night In Christmas Party and (very informal) Cookie Swap!

Some of the yummy goodies we all divided up to take home

We had lots of other yumminess and, of course, an array of liquid refreshments....

My fabulous friends

Mom even stopped by after her own Girls Night In with her friends up the road

Even Bailey got in on the fun before Kevin took him upstairs. No boys allowed after a certain time!

That was just one of the fun parties this month. On Friday December 9, Kevin, Joe, and I  attended a big Christmas party with my friend Shawn from work, his wife Erin, and his brothers Brian and Kevin. Erin's Dad has a few parties a year at a local social club and it is always a wicked good time!!! Dinner, live band, and FULL OPEN BAR all night (which is why I am never able to write about it right away....ahem!). The following pics were taken with my phone, well in to the night, and there are either people's fingers or weird ghost-y light things in most of them. Oh well...

My handsome hubs!


Me and Brian. We are pretty bad when we get together and drink! We pretty much lose track of how many each of us have...then we dance and act stupid and have a blast!

Me with Shawn and Brian. At this point I was pretty much using them to lean on...

Stefan and Michelle. So cute! They are engaged! I love them because they don't believe I'm 40!

Brothers. Trouble! ;-)

I love this pic...even though Kevin was pretty much holding me up and that weird finger ghosty thing is in it I still love it. My hubs is such a good guy!!!

And speaking of what an awesome guy he is....
Kevin rang the bell for the Salvation Army in Harvard Square in Cambridge this year!!! So very proud of him for doing such an amazing thing!!!

Of course, when I have had the time, there has been Christmas crafting. That is my December journal in progress and the Christmas card we sent out this year.

My GLU friends and I continued a beloved tradition....
.....exchanging handmade ornaments! So exciting and fun to receive the box each year. One of our friends described as "it is like opening a box of hugs from treasured friends!"
(Yes one of those ornies says 2010. They were misplaced last year and added to this year's bunch.)

Speaking of more craftiness....
.....my Mom taught me to sew!!! I made Christmas stockings for Bailey, Kevin, and me!
This one is Bailey's!

I love the pom-pom trim! Fun and a bit retro!

And the best thing we saw this month.....
.....seeing this little guy perform with the rest of this third grade class in the school Christmas concert!

Love love love!!!

While we were at the school, the principal got up to speak after the second grade classes performed. She asked a little boy to step forward then she explained that his Dad has been serving in Afghanistan for a couple years and it had been a very long time since he had been home. Then she told the little boy that we all just wanted him to know that we all think his Dad is a hero and we are grateful and thankful for all he does. Then she said that since he is such a good boy he deserves a surprise. I started to hear gasps and whispers and I looked across the gym and spotted him: the soldier waiting there in his desert fatigues!!! Tears immediately filled my eyes, and the eyes of everyone in the room, then the principal told the little boy his Dad is home!!! When he stepped in to the gym that kid sprinted off the stage so fast and flew in to his Dad's arms!!! It was truly the most precious thing to see. The gym erupted in to cheers and woohoos and a long standing ovation and they just hugged and hugged!!! Even all the guys in the room were crying!!! If I had my wits about me I would have snapped a picture but I was too busy wiping my tears and cheering!!! Even without a pic, though, I will never ever forget that moment.

The joy of the morning events was misplaced with shock and sadness later in the day when we learned that one of our city's firefighters lost his life battling a blaze at a local apartment building. What makes this harder is I knew him. He is only a year older than me. He graduated a year before me and was also a member of our church, I hadn't seen him in several years but my brother was good friends with him. He leaves behind a wife and three young children. Two days before Christmas. So sad and tragic and unfair. Please keep this hero's family in your thoughts and prayers.

Wow. I didn't mean to end on such a sad note, but this blog has always been about keeping it real.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas Eve!!!!!!!!

Don't forget...you can track Santa's journey around the globe through NORAD!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Fall Journal Pics.....

As promised, here are the pics of my Fall Journal for 2011. There are quite a lot so I made them in to a slideshow. If there is something you want to look closer at you can pause the slides. Please feel free to ask any questions you like about my process, products used, etc.
(After the slideshow was done I realized a few of the pics are not rotated. Sorry for that.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

~* Fall Journal 2011......


Pictures soon.......

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm still here, I promise!

I have slacked off on blogging again....BIG time.
So here's a cutie photo to distract you from my lack of posting ;-)

Ironically, I have a million and one post ideas floating around in my mind, loads of photos to share, updates on fun fall stuff to write about, and so much more....I just can't seem to settle myself down long enough to to write. The days fly by, one hour blurs in the next, and then it is 5AM and starting the craziness all over again.

But, I am here. And I will write. And write and write and write.

I promise!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Its almost HOLIDAY time!!!

You can pre-order your copy of Holiday with Matthew Mead now by clicking here. I can't wait to get my hands on this year's issue! I absolutely loved last years issue...such fabulous Christmas inspiration and yummy eye candy!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/01 - 9/11/11

Never forget....

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I can feel it...

Can you? Can you sense it coming? I can...and it thrills me to no end!

Autumn is my absolute most favorite time of year. And the fact that I live in New England makes it all the more special. Truly, autumn in New England is a season to savor. New England just does autumn right!

I can feel it coming. Though the days are still mostly warm the nights have taken on a chill. The mornings, too. The wind blows with a bit more gusto....it's blustery. I just love that word.

And don't even get me started on the light. Oh the light! That golden-hued warmth that saturates a fall afternoon. It is so hard to describe, but it is just so gorgeous. It actually starts to get this way in late August, a sure sign that fall is ready to make its grand entrance.

I know the calendar still says it is technically summer, but as far as I am concerned, when the page turns to September 1 fall has arrived...at least in my heart. It is a season of warmth and coziness, of renewal and fresh starts (doesn't the start of a new school year bring with it the excitement that anything is possible, even if you are no longer a student?!), of comfortable azure-skied days and crisp, million-starred nights, of leaves and pumpkins and apples and woodsmoke curling from the chimneys.

I am so ready for all of it!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. 
 —George Eliot

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Lots to share!!!

I have been busy! That is a good thing, but I have neglected sharing all the fun stuff, and I love to share the fun stuff. I actually don't have too much time right now but I really wanted to post. I promise separate posts for each of these things with more detail but for now here is a just a tease of what has been going on...

We took an amazing vacation to gorgeous Bar Harbor in northern Maine!
This is the view from our hotel balcony!

Self-portrait on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

At the Bar Harbor town dock

Main Street in Bar Harbor

Sunrise taken from our hotel balcony

Then we got home in time to see our nephew begin THIRD GRADE!!!
I simply cannot believe he is in third grade already. The years go way too fast...

As per tradition I had to make him a cake to celebrate his first day....

...and he loved it!!!

And, of course, since it is now, finally, SEPTEMBER, my thoughts turn to all things AUTUMN!!! And as is my tradition each year, I had to make my annual fall journal!!!

Here are just a few peeks at a few of the pages...

For those of you that follow my blog you know this is something I do each year. You can view last year's completed journal here.

So now that it is September you can expect a LOT of Autumn posts....again something you expect if you have followed my blog! I am a fanatic! I can't help it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Memories over 30 years in the making.....

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
~Helen Keller

How do you put in to words memories that span a huge part of your life? I am writing this morning, tired (after getting to bed at 3:30AM and only sleeping for a few hours), happy, and feeling overwhelmed and grateful!

I haven't blogged much about this, but my brother and I attended summer camp for a good chunk of our childhood, in to our teen years, and early 20's. The camp was run by our church and everyone that attended was all Greek kids that we have known pretty much our entire lives. The camp is no longer in existence, having been replaced in the early 90's by a much larger camp run by the Greek Archdiocese of America. I am so sad my nephew and his generation will never get to experience what we did...though, much of what was, umm, accepted in the 70's and 80's, like hanging campers by their underwear from a flagpole probably wouldn't fly now! :-)

I want to try to put in to words how much camp meant to all of us that attended, but at the same time I don't want to. First, because honestly if you weren't there you just wouldn't really get it. And also because it was such a personal and wonderful experience shared by a relatively small number of people....it is like it all ours and it is kind of hard to share.

So, with that said...I will let these pictures that I took last night at the reunion we had do most of the talking. Most of us, though still fairly local, have not seen each other in over 20 years! In the last few years, as the popularity of Facebook grew, a group was formed. We talked and talked over this time about getting together but none of us actually took action. Finally our friend Jamie stepped up and made it happen! She picked a date and time and location and got the ball rolling. The result of her hard work? An amazing night with amazing people that will always be an important part of a special time in my life! And now that we finally did this and we saw how great it was we definitely will not let another 20 years go by before doing it again!

Get ready to see a whole bunch of Greeks!

Enjoy the pics!
Chris, Chris, me, Nick

Corrina and Peter
(so bummed this one came out blurry)

Jonathan (my brother) and Evangeline

Mark, JIm, Francine, George

Pam, Mary, Nick, Jennifer

Love him! Always such a goof!

Jim and Chris

Eleni, Teena, Jim, Tina

Nick, Jim
Brothers goofing around! All we were missing was their
younger brother Tommy who couldn't make it :(

Nick, Jim

Steva, Steve, Kerri, Michelle, Dean



Nick and Peter
This is so great...every year at camp someone won Camper of the Year. Peter knows someone who makes trophies so he had this one made up for "Camper of the Year 30 Years Later"or something like that...

...and presented it to Jamie for getting us all together!!!
So very cool!!!

Ernie was our camp director for several years (after many years at camp!) and lives out of state now and unfortunately couldn't make it up for the reunion. So he sent up dozens of gorgeous long stem red roses for all the girls! So sweet!

And Peter put together a DVD of camp pictures through the years and set it all to music...and he made a copy for every one us!!! So very thoughtful!

It was a FABULOUS night! So many laughs, stories, hugs, and memories!!! The few words I have said here hardly do it justice, because really, how do you adequately describe such precious memories?