Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Easter

  I was MIA at Paint Party Friday last week, one of the very few times I've missed...because I was at the beach!! Not once did I look on a computer so it was a nice break to be "unplugged". My girlfriends and I mostly went to do a thorough Spring cleaning of the house, and we worked very hard but also took the time to walk on the beach each day, and enjoy fabulous dinners we took turns cooking in the evenings.

          It was so wonderful to be able to have breakfast and coffee on the deck each morning.

  After some hours of cleaning we took nice walks on the beach and found a few special treasures:

  There were many horseshoe crab shells-mostly baby ones which we hadn't seen here. Kinda sad. They must have been swept ashore by stormy waves and weren't able to make their way back to the ocean.

 We ate very well each night, had a bottle of wine with our dinners, and then champagne on the last night to celebrate all our hard work in making this gorgeous house sparkle and shine again.

 I made a Panko Mustard Crusted salmon, green beans with lemon vinaigrette and red quinoa with spinach and mushrooms one night.

   And on the last night I made Chicken Piccata, sweet potatoes and spinach sauteed with garlic, white wine, olive oil and lemon.

 And best of all we didn't gain a single pound because we worked it all off during the day:)

 I did manage to get some simple lettering practice pages done in my journal but that will have to wait til I photograph them. In the meantime this is my April calendar spread done as prompted by the Draw Your Awesome Year class.

  The initial Pitt pen layout:

  and with the watercolor paints added:

                              I am caught up and the days are journaled in up to today.


  To all who will be celebrating the Easter holiday this Sunday, I wish you and your loved ones a joyous day. I will be hosting a small, very casual dinner for some family and a dear friend. But I will be stopping by to see as many of you as I can in between preparations. Thanks to EVA and Kristin for hosting Paint Party Friday, along with all the inspiring artists who share their creativity with all of us!

                   " April hath put a spirit of youth in everything."     William Shakespeare

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beverages and More at the Beach

  A special thanks for your thoughts and comments last week. As you know, I mentioned going to the beach and did not have the time to reply personally to anyone. During my beach time I chose to be "unplugged" except for having my cell phone on. Photos to follow.

  I am linking this card I just made to the Simon Monday Challenge Blog whose theme is "Winged Things" this week. They offer a new theme each week along with a random drawing to win a $50 gift card to their shop! And the DT always has the most beautiful projects to share around the themes.

 Products: white card stock-the Paper Studio; patterned card stocks-CafĂ© Mediterranean Stack-DCWV; paper flower-Studiog; clear stamp-Think Big Favorites #3-Papertrey Ink; bird stamp set and punch-Stampin Up; Onyx black ink-Versafine-Tsukineko; die cut machine and dies-Spellbinders.

 Needless to say , the beach getaway was awesome!! We had wonderful weather. We worked HARD Spring cleaning our friend's beach house all together, top to bottom. But we also took some time to walk on the beach each day, and end our evening with a delicious healthy meal (mostly), conversation and wine :)

 Beverage of choice in the morning was Starbucks coffee and breakfast on the deck each morning-what a glorious view eh?

Our first walk down to the beach. I stopped, looked down for some shells and found this beautiful starfish with that small white shell attached! There were numerous small gatherings of reeds etc. that reminded me of nests so I staged the starfish on one for this photo.

 And we came across this vignette while walking:

  There were many horseshoe crab shells lying on the beach-many of them babies which we'd not seen before. There must have been some nasty storms that brought them too far on the sand to get back to the ocean. I did bring a shell of a little one home.

 Of course there were plenty of various Eastern shore birds sharing our walks with us:

  We took turns making dinners in the evenings. Here are two of the dinners.We ate VERY well.  I'll have more to share perhaps in a post on Friday-if I get to the editing.

  First night I made mustard Panko crusted salmon, green beans with lemon vinaigrette, and a warm quinoa salad with spinach and mushrooms. The second night Lynne made a spring mix salad with slices of roast chicken breast topped with walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette. Of course, after all our hours of cleaning we did reward ourselves each night with a bottle of wine for dinner. And did I mention-the oven wasn't working! The next two dinners we had were just as special but you'll have to check back another day for that.

 And there was nothing like watching the sun set on the bay side while preparing the dinners...

  We are blessed to be frequent guests in this beautiful, welcoming home with such spectacular surroundings and to consider the owners such very special, long time friends. It was a privilege for Trina and I to be a part of restoring this home to it's true sparkle and shine. To the power of three!

 You are welcome to join in any Tuesday at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's for T Stands For Tuesday. And don't forget to bring along a cuppa (anything).

     " The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul."  Wyland

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's A Henley...

   teapot that is!!

  Last Tuesday I shared photos of my lunch and shopping at Donegal Square in town. If you missed it you can see it all here.  LuAnn and I both ended up buying this medium sized original Henley teapot. Believe it or not, with all the tea we drink around here I don't own a single teapot so I think I was justified in this purchase :) I also bought some loose leaf decafe Irish tea which is what I was enjoying here along with a new recipe I made for a Spanakopita Quiche.  Both the tea and quiche were excellent!! Even hubby liked the quiche very much (just please don't tell him there's fat free feta in it-he claims he can't stand feta cheese:) The teapot holds enough for 3 nice mugs of tea. And the Irish Breakfast blend has a nice strong, malty like flavor. If in the future I should have to give up my caffeinated Starbucks I would definitely accept this in its place.

 As for some art I just have a few painted backgrounds I did with leftover paints I had on a palette:

  That's all for now. I have been very busy planning, preparing meals ahead for hubby, cleaning, doing laundry, packing some clothes and food ingredients to take for the days I'm in charge of dinners- AT THE BEACH!!! My two girlfriends and I are heading to Fenwick Island , DE for 4 days of girl time! I haven't been to the beach since last Sept. so although I will miss hubby and our dog not being with me I just cannot wait to breathe in that salty air and get my feet wet on some long walks along the shore. I'm sure I'll have some great photos to share next week. Until then, happy "T" day everyone. Feel free to join in with your favorite beverage of choice at T Stands For Tuesday with Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

   " I cannot imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."   Chuck Swindoll

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hooray For April!

  What joy to see nature blooming again. It won't be long before we are finally surrounded by the greens of the trees and grass and the colors of the soon to be blooming flowers. I found the perfect quote to end today's post that says just how I feel :).

 Note about my giveaway-I have tried to contact Susi since my  "winners" post and have not heard anything back. I will give it one more week then I will have to choose another winner for the domino kit.

 The theme at Inspiration Avenue this week is "show off your marigolds". I don't have any yet this year but I do have a photo I took last summer of them:

   And then  I took a bit of time to play with it digitally in PSE 10:

   I used a blue color fill, "glowing edges" effect, then "color dodge" in layers. What a dramatic difference! Kinda reminds me of an electrical storm.

  My March calendar spread is complete for my online class and also Kate Crane's Calendar Project. This one was a lot of work-time consuming but worth it in the end-I love all the color! I have begun April's but it's not quite ready so I'll share that next week.  

  I also completed another drawing lesson page.

 Filled in with water colors:

  That's about it for now. Joining up with Paint Party Friday along with Art Journal Every Day as well as the two challenges I mentioned above. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      " Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."        Doug Larson

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An Irish Lunch and Tea

  Last  Thursday my friend  and I finally were able to get together to have my birthday lunch (thank you LuAnn!). We went to our favorite Celtic place in town-Granny McCarthy's Tea Room which also houses my favorite shop-Donegal Square. This is where I bought my Scottish mug I shared in a post a few weeks ago.

 The first thing you see when you come up the stairs from the shop is the bakery/dessert case :)

                                                                  I KNOW!!!!
 These are THE best-very traditional in flavor and taste and not very sweet-my favorite kind of indulgence.

  But we did have lunch and tea before splitting a little something:
  We both had the turkey melt on brown bread and shared a sponge cake filled with strawberries and cream. The tea we shared was a pot of a berry/herbal blend called Casablanca and it was so good! (We both have to have decafe). You can buy the loose leaf teas they have on the menu. More on that next week:)

  Here's a collage of the tea area, the tea menu and the bar/pub:

  Then we meandered around the shop. So much to see!

  The bottom right photo is of the owner Neville Gardner with one of the two Glen of Imaal terriers he and his wife own and show. This is Fergus. Cormac was with his mum that day. Often when I visit the pups are somewhere either in the shop or out at a table with Neville on a nice day. I love that many of the shops in town are doggie friendly and that they put out bowls of water in the warmer weather.

   I was tempted to buy one of those pots I took a close up of-just because it makes me giggle. But I didn't. LuAnn loves the color pink and she adored the pink teapot with the piggies on it. But she didn't buy it. We both did however buy something else which I will share next time with Bleubeard and Elizabeth and friends for T Stands For Tuesday! I think you got your fill of things for this week:)

       " It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'what about lunch?' "     Winnie the Pooh

Monday, March 31, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

    Thank you all so much for your comments! It means so much to have blogging as a way of connecting with people I would never had otherwise had the pleasure of meeting. Nor would I have been able to know the many talents you all possess. Without further ado...

                                             yes, I did this the "old fashioned" way :):)

  the winners are:

     So there is no confusion here are the comments also:

Winner #1 Susan (Ariel): "Linda Belated Birthday Wishes to you. Hope you had a wonderful day. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway. If my name is selected I would love to have the Journaling book package or the Watercolor Pencil set package. I'm now following you too.
Thank you
Susan"      I put your name in twice for this kit.

Winner#2 Susi: "Happy Birthday to you and your blog Linda- wonderful giveaway.. I would like to win..
the domono package would be my fav!
You made fabulous pendants too..they look great!"

Winner#3 Carola: " Happy belated birthday, Linda!! What a sweet idea of you to celebrate both your birthday and blogoversary with such a generous give away. I love package #3, the watercolor pencils. I thought I have been a follower for quite some while, but I couldn't find my name in the list, so I added myself as your newest follower!
I always love the quotes you add to your posts!"  Your name was in twice for this kit.

 Congrats!!! Please contact me with your mailing info so I can get your pkgs. out ASAP. Also please keep in mind that if you live outside the US it will take a bit longer. I'd really appreciate you all letting me know once you receive your pkgs. also. Again, thanks to everyone!

 Now, if it's OK Id like to sneak the above card in to the Simon Wednesday Challenge blog for the theme of "buttons" and to Freshly Made Sketches with the challenge to create a card (or two or more-as I did:) following this sketch:

   I've already begun working on Easter cards and am using this sketch!

Products used on my card: 5" x 7" white note card (Canvas Corp); pink card stock (The Paper Studio); patterned card stocks (The Glitter Mat Stack-DCWV); paper flowers (Spare Parts-The Paper Studio); clear stamp  (Mega Mixed Messages-Papertrey Ink); Onyx Black ink ( Versafine-Tsukineko); tiny button (Gary Burlin and Co.).

    "Appreciation and gratitude are a must if you choose to become the architect of increased happiness and your own fulfillment."   Doc Childre

Friday, March 28, 2014

Play Day Friday

  Reminder; my giveaway closes Sat. March 29 at midnight EST so if you want a chance  (or two) to win one of the packages you still have time. Go HERE for the post and details. Edited: this giveaway is now closed.Look for the winners names on Mon. March 31.

  Some weeks ago Suzy of Suziqu's Threadworks posted about some lovely gifts including a group of crocheted flowers she received. You can see them in this post. It got me thinking of how I used to crochet-A LOT- but it got away from me. Until I saw those beautiful flowers. I grabbed my hooks and some threads and began making some.

  Now , these flowers cannot compare to Julia's intricate beauties but they're a start :) The only thing I forgot to add to the supplies above is the ball of black yarn I used for the larger, heavier weight flower. Fun! The crochet hooks belonged to my grandmother-who taught me how to crochet. I still have sets of the placemats I sewed and crocheted years ago (a sample of each in the photo).  You really must visit the two blogs I mentioned above-especially if you love vintage and laces etc. Suzy's blog is stunning!

  I already used one of the flowers on a card. The following cards were made for the Simon Wednesday Challenge  theme of "anything goes with buttons". I am also linking to a new to me challenge- Freshly Made Sketches. Each week a DT member produces a new sketch design for you to create cards by. Check them out! Here is this week's sketch:

  And here are my cards:

 It was fairly easy to whip up three cards by keeping with a specific color palette and theme. These remind me so much of my great grandmother's dining room with the vintage flocked wall papers, patterns all around and of course lace.

  Products: 5" x 7" note cards (The Philadelphia Group); patterned card stock (La Creme Matstack-DCWV); Onyx Black Versafine ink (Tsukineko); UM clear stamps (Mega Mixed Messages-Papertrey Ink); "special day" rubber stamp (source unknown); assorted laces (JoAnne Stores); paper flowers (the Paper Studio); hand crocheted flower; buttons (vintage).

  My last project for today centers around the book "The Art of Whimsical Lettering" by JoAnne Sharpe.
I received my book recently-have already read it cover to cover and am now ready to begin the practices and techniques. I began by covering a plain composition book and making a title for it as suggested both in the book and in JoAnne's private FB group.

 The front cover:

                I have never used my washi tapes more since taking her classes and I love it!

 Front and back covers:

  Most of the papers I used are copies of my own hand painted or marbled papers. If you enjoy COLOR-LOTS of it, if you enjoy wHiMsY and perfectly imperfect, then you will LOVE JoAnne's  book!!! 
I'd love to know if you have it and /or in the FB group:)

 Besides the above mentioned challenges I am also linking to Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, and Paint Party Friday. Let the weekend fun begin!

"Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul." W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Glitter, Vellum, and Tea

   Reminder: I have a giveaway (three actually) which is still open if anyone's interested. You can find all the details and comment in this post.

  We had a brief respite from the cold so over the weekend it was Spring cleaning -indoors and out for us. It felt so good to get out some lounge chairs (protected under the patio roof) and to put away my dark, heavy boots and clothing! Of course, it got very cold again with the threat of a bit of snow today so I've been warming up with these teas the last several days, steeped in a practical mug which keeps the tea hot for quite a long time:

   Usually I start with the heavier vanilla chai early in the day (after the coffee of course :) and then sip on the green or tulsi. I'm sipping the chai now and joining Bleubeard and Elizabeth and friends for T Stands for Tuesday.

 T also stands for transparent which is the challenge theme this week At the Simon Monday blog so I have quickly made a set of CAS note cards I can use for any occasion. The theme for the Simon Wednesday blog challenge is glitter it! so I am also linking there. Both of these blogs offer a generous $50 GC to a randomly chosen winner from the entries-EVERY WEEK, along with a new theme challenge. It's so easy to be inspired-especially with all the DT entries-really fabulously detailed projects!

  The cards:

  These four cards were made with glittered card stock from the Glitter Matstack by DCWV. I tried to capture the fine glittery patterns but think it's one of the most difficult things to photograph. Perhaps if you click for a larger view you can see the shimmer . They are really beautiful papers, and the best thing is - they are the perfect size as is for the large (5" x 7") white note cards by Canvas Corp.! Other products used are- felt butterfly, star gemstone stickers-Michael's, paper flowers-studio g, Nature and Inspiration Vellum Quote Stacks-DCWV, small rhinestones, Stickles glitter glue -Ranger.

 These last two cards probably took all of two minutes! Al I had to do was cut the printed vellums to the note card size, run a bit of glue (gluestick) along the fold and voila-instant lovely  note cards! Unfortunately I've had these vellum papers in my stash awhile so I no longer have the makers names.

  Really, anyone can do this and pretty vellums can be found online or in craft and scrapbooking stores. I think a set of these along with a book of stamps would make a great hostess gift!

                                         Drinking tea with a pinch of imagination!