Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time flies When You're....

   BUSY!!!

 Hard to believe I haven't posted nor checked in much since my last post on Dec. 4th. That was when I mentioned caring for two elderly relatives lately. In addition to that and since then, our son lost his job and hubby was given a week's notice that he had to go on another shift and that our healthcare was changing and needed my immediate attention.. Needless to say I have been inundated with appointments, errands and paperwork since. Our son has rent obligations along with car payments and student loans so we have been helping him with all the unemployment papers and helping him stay organized and upbeat. We have reached out to friends and acquaintances for any possible job leads and they have been an amazing support. I work every day at keeping the faith and believing all will be well. I know I have to have some balance so hubby and I did manage  some fun things in between. 

   Last month we had bought tickets to see the Tenors (formerly called the Canadian Tenors). We have been wanting to see them live for a long time. We also took my Mom as a Christmas gift. And so we drove just over an hour away into Reading, PA to the theater to see them. Oh, Reading has also gotten world-wide publicity lately because of "the ugly Christmas tree" dispute. We weren't able to stop and get a picture but we did see it-yup, just like the tree in Charlie Brown's Christmas .


 This theater was built in the 1870's and the opulence and craftmanship inside is stunning! The Tenors did not disappoint either-they were AMAZING!!

 Besides their incredible voices, they were so personable, talking and interacting with the audience (including me-teehee) throughout the show. We had 2nd row seats!!!

  Although very little got accomplished for the upcoming holidays I did manage to get a bit of decorating, cards, and shopping done.

  At Freshly Made Sketches the challenge sketch is this:

  I managed to get a quick and easy card done before cleaning up my desk:

    A round gift tag and coordinating papers were used on a kraft note card. I am also linking this to the Simon Monday Challenge (anything goes); and the Simon Wednesday Challenge (winter inspiration)).

  In cleaning up my desk I added a new mug my Mom just bought me(the one on the left) and found it to be perfect to keep  my favorite colors of markers together:

                                         We have this thing for all things Paris and French:)
                        Linking this to my friends at T Stands For Tuesday - I have missed you!

 And lastly, (linking this to Art Journal Every Day and Paint Party Friday) I am wishing all of you a most beautiful holiday season, however you celebrate!!


  I wasn't able to manage individual hand made cards this year so I created this "glam girl" journal page a la Traci Bautista, added the greeting digitally and had postcards made to send out. I will visit as many of you as I can but know you are in my thoughts and wishes.

 Today I will leave you with a quote I have been reading every day since all life's unexpected changes lately (it came in an email the day our son lost his job) and have given a copy to Todd to keep in his wallet as a reminder also:

   "For everything that falls through, something equal or better comes through."   Alan Cohen













Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Happenings

 It has been awhile since my last post before Thanksgiving. I hope that those of you who celebrated had a wonderful day! Ours was on a smaller scale this year so it worked out quite well. So, where have I been????

 We all know that life happens and sometimes something not anticipated causes a change in your everyday routine. Without going into too much let me explain. Hubby has a great aunt (88) and a great uncle (94). Both live alone in their homes. For many years they have been so very kind and supportive of hubby and me despite the lack thereof by the rest of his immediate family. Aunt Betty doesn't drive so I along with some friends take her to appointments, shopping etc. Just before Thanksgiving Betty found out that her brother Truman who was still driving and handling all his affairs had a horrible fall in a parking lot. No broken bones or concussion but numerous open wounds and severe bruising etc. There is no one else to help out so I have been treating his wounds and taking him to various dr. appointments, etc. along with Betty. He should NOT be living alone but at this point refuses any other option. Uncle Truman has a mind of his own and our biggest fear is that he will get in one of his cars and drive (despite dr orders not to). Needless to say in order to prevent that from happening I am running over to him frequently. I am so very grateful that he will accept my help and I believe he is starting to realize how lonely he was since his wife died.  I have worked with the elderly all my life and know this is where I need to be right now. Hence, no Christmas shopping even started, no decorations out, and only a few cards made. But IT'S OK. It will be what it will be. Thankfully there are no little ones to get gifts for and no young ones living at home!

 I have manged to squeeze in a bit of art so here goes...

 First up is my calendar spread for December-the last class in JoAnne Sharpe's Draw Your Awesome Year online class. This is what's done so far:

   I hope to get the watercoloring done real soon. In the meantime I'm jotting down a note about each day so I can fill it in when I get a chance.

  Here are a few EASY PEASY Christmas cards I made:



  I simply used  decorative gift tags, decorative card stock and either ribbon or washi tape. Linking to the Simon Monday Challenge blog (theme is holiday cards) and the Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog (theme is Christmas/holidays).

 In looking and trying to decide what kind of online class I want to take for next year I recently discovered Wildly Inspired Wednesday through Effy Wild's blog where she posts videos , art and challenges each month. This project is the current challenge/ episode. There are 15 episodes in all and although the challeges are finished I can't wait to get the time to look at a few more and try some of them. Oh, and Effy generously offers a seat in one of her online classes each month!

 The challenge was to create this portrait using graphite, a black Stabilo All pencil and a waterbrush to pull color for shading. To complete her I used a bit of watercolor pencil, and water colors:

   I chose to add the words which kept coming to me as I was working on it. I am linking this to Art Journal Every Day and Paint Party Friday. I will try and get around to as many of you as I can-I have missed your linked art projects lately!

   " There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up."
                                                                                                                   John Andrew Holmes Jr.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Journal Art, Cards, Cooking and More!

  I have been busy! And with our American Thanksgiving coming next Thursday it will be another busy week since I am hosting dinner and will be doing a lot of cooking beginning on Monday. So this week I made a point to make art beginning with this page in my art journal:


  This is a page inspired by Matisse's still life paintings. I used only gelli plate printed papers for all of it. Oil pastels were used to enhance the images and a black Stabilo All pencil was used to outline and add some shading. This is the second page I've done using only printed papers and I am finding it to be such a fun challenge! You can see my first one here. Linking to Art Journal Journey (be inspired by the masters); Paint Party Friday; and Art Journal Every Day.


  A few weeks ago I received the planner on the left with large coils. I wanted to document  next year differently and thought this planner filled with beautiful art created by women, along with poems and stories etc. would be fun! Last week I received a hansa charm with a very cool silver charm attached to the moo card which I won in a giveaway by the talented Jessica Sporn. I also received a beautiful postcard. Jessica's thoughts behind her creations along with all the vibrant colors are just fantastic!Thank you Jessica! Don't you think these will fit perfectly with my new planner?

 Last week I mentioned starting my venture in Indian cooking. I have made two dishes and here they are:


    



  This is called Rava Kitchadi. It is so good-made with cream of wheat, mixed vegetables and spices. It makes for a great breakfast!









 And this is a Mixed Vegetable Poriyal. I did change the recipe a bit and used sweet potatoes in place of russets, and used frozen mixed vegetables. The taste is divine and I have eaten it in a lo carb wrap almost daily for lunch. I love this!



   Can't wait to try more recipes but I must finish these up first. I'm the only one enjoying them so I will have to cut down the recipes a bit.

  Since I may be MIA next week I want to wish everyone who will be celebrating a very Happy Thanksgiving!


 I made a handful of these cards to go out to family and friends along with a note of gratitude. I also wish to share my sincere gratitude for all of you, for your thoughts, kindnesses and support. Have a beautiful weekend!

  Linking this card to the Simon Wedneday Challenge Blog (theme is Thanks/ Thanksgiving).

" I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."    GK Chesterton







 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tea, Thank You, and Tuesday!

  This last week or so I have truly been on a winning streak - with many thanks to the artists, companies and blogging artists who have generously had giveaways! I mentioned  several of them in my last post. Here is the steeping teacup set I won along with a pkg of art in a recent giveaway by the incredibly talented sketch artist Tracey Fletcher King. It was sponsored by theteaspot.com:

                                                      this is a generous size mug-16oz.!

   The company sent me a packet of their Bolder Breakfast (black tea, Pu'erh and chocolate blend) Loose leaf tea was put in the steeper in the cup. Boiling water was added in.

                                                        The lid is on to steep the tea.

  Once steeped, the steeping cup is lifted out, the lid is reversed and holds it while I drink this tea-which BTW is absolutely DIVINE!!!

  And today the other part of this particular win came when this pkg arrived from Australia:


  Tracey was commissioned by the Tea Spot to illustrate this particular mug and she put  a sticker of her drawing on the pkg:) And inside this is what I found:



  A teacup/teabag poster, a postcard, and a set of note cards- ALL illustrations done by Tracey!! The details in her sketches are stunning and I already plan on framing some of these-so very impressive! Do check all the links I have in my last blog post- I think my T day peeps would be especially interested in Tracey's special project:) Linking to dear Bleubeard and Elizabeth for T Stands for Tuesday.

  We got our first taste of snow this past week too one night:


  Pics aren't the best-the snow came very suddenly and quickly, blowing and coming down like crazy! Thankfully it didn't last( we got no more than the dusting you see here) , and even today my summer hanging baskets of flowers are still intact. Even if I lose them to the very cold expected tomorrow I am grateful for the extended duration of my blooms.

 There has to be an art part and this is it:


   The theme this week at the Simon Wed. Challenge Blog is "seeing stars/ Studio Calico" and this is my entry. The Simon Mon. Challenge Blog theme this week is "to the moon/celestial theme" and stars are celestial are they not? Hence this is my link there also.
  Products: kraft note card (Canvas Corp); patterned background card stock (Studio Calico Take Note Paper Pack); Red Star, Navy card stock- Mat Stacks DCWV); tag (K and Company); rubber stamp (Hero Arts); Memories Midnight Blue ink (Stewart Superior Inc.);  Tea Dye Distress Ink ( Ranger); small star punch; Stickles Starry Night glitter glue ( Ranger).

 Oh, one more thing-I am going to see Celtic Thunder and my guy Keith this Sunday in town!! We have met most of these guys (some more than once in person) and cannot wait to see them again (even though we've seen them at least 4-5 x since their first concert)!! ( I know Patty understands my enthusiasm:)



 Thank YOU for taking the time to stop in and say hello-so appreciated!

" Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty. "    James Norwood Pratt
 




Friday, November 14, 2014

Gorgeous Art and More in The Mail!

  Happy Friday everyone! I am so excited to share this post today as it was GRAND mail week for me! I won several giveaways recently along with a GC I redeemed and it all came this week:)  My art is at the end of this post.

 I received this canvas painting from India after winning it in a giveaway by a beautiful artist, Deepa, on her blog HuesnShades:

                                             
  This hand painted canvas is breathtaking!! Deepa not only paints images depicting stories of her Indian culture, she also shares art, history and lots of information about her culture. It is always a treat to read as India is on my bucket list (yes, along with many other places! ). This canvas is about 5 " x 5 1/2" and the tiny painted lines and patterns are amazing! She also sent me a note explaining that this is a story about a mother and her son, which means even more to me because I am very close to our grown son and always have been. Truly a blessing to own this.Thank you Deepa!

 Funny thing about receiving this at this time is that I have recently purchased a book on Southern Indian healthy cuisine and went out to shop for the basic ingredients and spices I will need for my new culinary journey! I decided to give it a whirl because I know the spices used have many health benefits and most of the recipes are vegetarian. I decided to purchase the cookbook after watching the author (Alamelu Vairavan) make some of her dishes on her cooking show on Create TV. I started to print out the recipes but after collecting a handful I thought it was right to just go for it whole hog! I am not familiar with Indian cuisine so this will definitely open my palate to a whole new taste experience. It was so much fun shopping both in a local grocery store and stepping into an Indian grocery store.

 This is only some of what I purchased. I have just completed labeling and putting everything into jars (not shown). I am excited to begin making some of these recipes!

 Tracey Fletcher King had a fabulous giveaway (actually several giveaways) and I won the biggie:

 A RED (my fave color)!  steeping teacup and lid along with a packet of loose tea (Bolder Breakfast-black tea, pu'erh and chocolate) to try from The Tea Spot!! It just arrived so I haven't even taken it out of the box yet. It came along with a lovely note, tea info and card. Tracey painted a brilliant illustration of the mug and you can see it and read more about her involvement with the company in this post. Thank you Tracey and the Tea Spot! Oh, and Tracey has started her "Cuppa with Friends" project again which you can read more about here.

 Another very generous and talented artist Kirstin of Lillibean Designs sent me her 2015 calendar:

  It is GORGEOUS!!! I have always admired her  paintings of big eyed girls and and own some of her cards from another giveaway she had. I won a GC from her some months ago and chose to use it for her calendar so I will have a different beauty to look at each month! Am I one lucky girl or what? Thank you Kirstin! Oh, and she may have a few of these left in her Etsy Shop along with other gorgeous offerings.

 If you're still with me thank you! And now for my art contribution this Friday. A journal page inspired by Klimt. It began like this:

 I opened my book to a page that already had torn text papers glued on. I added some squares of patterned paper along with yellow and gold tissue papers.

 Layers of paints and glazes were added in yellows orange and gold. More tissue paper squares were glued on. Then I stamped the background using Dylusions Basic Backgrounds (dots) with Staz On Mustard ink and a Magenta rubber stamp with black acrylic paint.

 This is my finished (I think) page:


 Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Art Journal Journey (this month's theme is to be inspired by the masters), Mixed Media Monthly (theme this month is to use stamps), and Paint Party Friday!

 Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

    " Creativity lifts you out of difficulties, over the edge of fear, and on to the wild side of new possibilities".                                  Carole Watanable