Monday, March 30, 2015

T is For Treats

Well, after the excitement/scare of last Wednesday's big fire down the street from us ( you can see a pic and read more here) I can say all is well. We have our power which was only out for hours, and today our land line phone was restored after being out since last week d/t the fire.

 For my T Stands For Tuesday gang I'm sharing a collage of pics taken at my birthday dinner the other week:

 Caesar Salad, Vegetable Medley, Wine, Seared Scallops with Jasmine Rice, Mexican Dk. Choc. Cake with a peanut butter whipped frosting/filling. The Apollo Grill in town is our very favorite restaurant to go to for a treat! The food is very fresh , beautifully presented, top quality ingredients, and excellent service. I didn't get a pic of hubby's main plate of crab cakes but other than that we both had the same salad and veggies. There was a group of girls that came in celebrating a bachelorette party just as dessert arrived and so they and our waitress sang happy birthday to me-a really sweet bunch! Of course, Bill ate the dessert-all of it- minus one bite because I had to taste. And I must say, it was DIVINE!

 Last Friday another friend took me for lunch but I didn't have my camera. It was also in town- a newer restaurant. We had a quiche and mixed greens salad which was very good. She also gave me this gift:

A beautiful wood box with a stained glass like hummingbird on top. Lynne knows I have a thing for hummingbirds and it is one of my totem animals. I love it!

 This past Saturday my friend LuAnn and I went to the Heirloom Productions Rubber Stamps and Paper Arts Convention that was held in the next town. I wasn't sure what to expect as the number of vendors seems to decrease each year and there isn't very much new. We had a GREAT time and were delighted to be able to purchase new products! I also ran into a few old friends who used to take classes I taught-back in the early 2000's :).

 Here's what I came home with:

 Beginning at left- 6" x 6" background stamps from Impression Obsession. I was given a sample card and then had THE hardest time choosing just three of the many fabulous styles they had! The deal was to buy the mega mount and two stamps and the third was free; journaling stencil from Lost Coast Designs; Tim Holtz Lace Stencil; below that is a pack of three Wink Of Stella brushes -gold , clear and silver. I have been seeing these and hearing so much about them. They are brushes filled with a liquid glitter with a brush tip that allows for writing and filling in-without a glittery mess. Right next to that is a pot of Light Gold pan pastel-another product I keep hearing about. They are not cheap so I went with a color I thought would best serve me. I got three different Stickles glitter glues -for  $1.99 ea. A four pack of gelatos in vibrant tropical colors-YUM!-another new to me product I need to play with; and next to that -new Staz-On mini ink pads in new colors. I got St. Valentine-a gorgeous red, and Spiced Chai. I try to get reinkers every time I buy an inkpad anymore. I love my Staz-On inks!

 If any of you know of any of these products and have any tips or links I'd LOVE to know-thanks!

 So, here is just a quick journal page playing with the two new stencils above:

 Linking this to the Simon Monday Challenge (Pastels). I used distress inks in the background; and the Simon Wednesday Challenge (Anything Goes).

 Have a great rest of the week everyone! Oh, and if I'm not back until after, a very Happy Easter to those of you celebrating this coming Sunday!

                              " Relax, recharge, renew, restored."               Lailah Gifty Akita

Friday, March 27, 2015

Angels And Nymphs

 Happy Friday! So how has your week been? I was quite busy early in the week but the real excitement came when I awoke to no power Wed early AM. And the house had a faint odor of burning wood or something. Of course I checked the house and then looked by the neighbors but saw nothing. A bit later there were helicopters hovering overhead. Well, that's not good! The  intensity of smoke and odor began building up outside. We found out there was a massive fire at a small fabricator business just down the street from us! Our phones were dead too. All day long we heard sirens etc. Our neighborhood was bombarded with local  news reporters etc. and even from as far as from Philadelphia. Hubby talked with our local reporter but then I stopped answering the door. Fortunately we were not told to evacuate which was a concern of mine. Specialists said the fumes were not toxic.  Our power went on hours later but as of today-no phone line so we have a repairman coming Monday. We were also lucky here in that the heavy billowing smoke blew away from our neighborhood but was seen for some miles. Firefighters and reporters were at the scene well into late night. The roads nearby are still barricaded. Of course there will be an investigation and we heard they need to at least take down what remains of the roof immediately.

 Now, on to the fun stuff. I am awaiting a shipment of new supplies from Dick Blick thanks to Paint Party Friday! Saturday my friend LuAnn and I are going to the Heirloom Productions Rubber Stamp and Paper Arts Festival in town. I do hope to see new products. There tends to be a smallish showing of vendors. I'll let you know.

 Still on my first class lesson in Radiant Faces. I seem to be dragging my feet on this can see the first sketch and the intention in this post. Here is another and this is the sketch I decided to go with for my painting of a nymph.

                                                          my Waterhouse inspiration

                                                              and my rough sketch

 This is what I've painted and sketched in my Canson Lg. Mixed Media Journal (9" x 12") so far:

 She looks quite different than my original sketch but that's OK by me. I just wanted a similarity.

 This is a page I did in another art  journal:

  Layers of scrap papers, vintage image, layers of reinker glazes, stencil and recycled dryer sheet.

 And that's the extent of it for this week. Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Art Journal Journey(Things With Wings), Mix It Monthly (Angels/Saints), and Paint Party Friday. See you there!

      " I think true success is's love. It's kindness. It's community."   Tom Shadyac

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tea (Earl Grey, that is) on Tuesday

 It's Tuesday and once again it's time to visit Bleubeard and Elizabeth with a cuppa in hand for T Stands for Tuesday. I was there last week but for some reason my link didn't show and and dear Elizabeth was kind enough to leave me a comment to let me know I hadn't linked up. Thank you Elizabeth! Here is last Tuesday's post if you wanted to see some birthday celebrations pics, news and a bit of art.

 Speaking of.... the Friday before that-the 13th- was a special post celebrating my bday/blogiversary, and also Paint Party Friday's blogiversary where I made a celebration portrait. That week there was a prize being offered-AND I WON IT!!! A $40 gift card for Dick Blick! You can bet that will go to good use:)

 On St. Patrick's Day my friend LuAnn picked me up and took me for lunch at McCarthy's Tea Room in town.

  We both had the same delicious meal which was a turkey melt on brown bread, homemade chips(which I actually ate because there was not one bit of grease on them nor were they salty!) and coleslaw. Along with that we shared a pot of Earl Grey tea. Mmm, mmm good! I was so full after that but took two scones to hubby which he put away in no time. LuAnn also gave me a gift card which she tucked into this adorable basket:

 She told me it was made from a Sizzix die. I have now put a few Easter candies in it as it will be my only holiday basket :) Thank you Ms LuAnn!!!

 Sorry but this is it for now. My day began at 9AM to pick up Betty and then Truman to get some outpatient procedures done. A lot of back and forth driving, including a dr. appt. for myself that was squeezed in. Home by 5:30 PM and must be out for my own bloodwork by 8AM tomorrow which is why I'm posting this Mon eve. And you can bet I will be taking a mug of coffee to have in the car the minute I get out of the office:). As I'm typing here I have a loaf of banana bread in the oven almost ready to come out so I really must go. I'll be around to visit during the day Tuesday and see what everyone else has been up to.

 " Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish."     Ovid

Friday, March 20, 2015

The First Day of Spring?

 Yes. The calendar says it is officially Spring Equinox here in the northern hemisphere, But you could have fooled me! It is snowing-with 3 - 6 inches predicted before it ends later today. I could just cry ... but I won't. With another cancelled appointment I'll spend the day in my art room :).

 Thank you ALL for your birthday wishes last week! I've had some really wonderful birthday gifts and lunches and have more invitations to schedule within the next few weeks. Since it was also my blogiversary I treated myself to having another year of blogging made into book form.  I have been very happy with my books the last two years and have used a coupon every time to keep costs at bay. Well worth it! Blog2Print is the site I use.

 I'll be making a handful of thank you cards and was thrilled to come up with this CAS card! With thanks to Freshly Made Sketches for this week's inspiration sketch:

 I had just bought the pretty patterned Duck Tape (down the center of the card) the other day on clearance for $2 at Michael's!! Other products used: small white note card (Canvas Corp); pink card stock (Bazzill Basics- Chablis); blue card stock (Bazzill Basics - Evening Surf); Versafine Onyx Black ink (Tsukineko); clear stamps (Inkadinkado-Just Saying set); Grand Calibur die cut machine and Standard Circles Lg. dies (Spellbinders); Stickles glitter glue (Ranger).

 Linking this card also to the Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog (theme is "Spring Pinterest Inspiration" featuring Bazzill Basics products).

 And for Art Journal Every Day, Art Journal Journey, Express Your Creativity, Mix It Monthly, and Paint Party Friday I am entering this journal page:

This is the background:

 I used primarily acrylic paints, French dictionary text, Stabilo All pencil, and charcoal pencil to complete the page.

 Looking forward to seeing what you all have been up to lately!

" Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit, for, without being seen, they are present with you."    St. Francis De Sales

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day Tuesday!

 I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes!! We found out the downtown St. Patrick's Day festivities were on Saturday -not Sunday-and it was actually a shame because the rain came down so hard most of the day that the parade and several other things were cancelled :( However, I will be making up for it later today when my friend LuAnn and I head down to our favorite Irish place for lunch, and perhaps a few shenanigans:)

 For my T stands For Tuesday gang I have some photos of the lunch I had last week with Uncle Truman and Aunt Betty:

                                                  Truman (95) and his sister Betty (87)

 We went to a café where Truman has enjoyed going for some years now. The food is always good and I enjoyed my first time there very much. By the time we left, the waiting room to be seated was packed!


 Burgers are their specialty so Truman had a mushroom burger and Betty  chose a California burger.

    I very rarely eat meat so I had a broiled haddock sandwich and it was delicious!


Then Betty surprised both Truman and I by having the waitress bring French Vanilla ice cream with a birthday candle and a group of them sang happy birthday.

 Hubby took me out to a fabulous dinner Sat nite but I'll save those pics for another time. Our tickets arrived in the mail for, YES, ANOTHER CELTIC THUNDER CONCERT-and this time we will be 4th row center-WOOHOO!!!! Sunday we went to see the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and we LOVED it!! I thought it was just as good as the first one. I will def. be buying both the movie and the soundtrack when it comes out. I do love Maggie Smith , and Judy Dench and oh, some of the lines and quips by Maggie were hilarious- and oh so clever! Richard Gere is as handsome as ever too.

 Here's a pic of my table with my birthday cards -and flowers from Todd:

 The flowers were to make up for that card on the right where you can read part of it. It says "you aren't old until the fat lady sings" and when the card is opened there is a loud operatic voice singing. Hmpf!

 I mentioned I wanted to do something to celebrate my birthday and blogiversary so here's what I wrote in Friday's post:

"...AND my birthday  and 3 year blogiversary on Sunday!!  I began by offering giveaways to begin each year but this year I want to do something a bit different. Rather than offering just a few things I would like to randomly send out happy mail throughout the year as RAKS (random acts of kindness)!! Do you know how much art  I accumulate just through the fun of challenges?? All I ask is that if you wish to receive a little something is to email me at (neenfrance(at)yahoo(dot)com) with your snail mail address. I will note it in my paper address book (I do not keep any of this info on my PC) and promise it will NOT be given out to anyone."

 It would bring me joy to send something out to anyone who sends me their addy!

 Now, here's  bit of art. I mentioned taking the online class Radiant Faces and have finally begun to tackle the first lesson. It is taught by Jane Davenport and is about learning to be inspired by famous masters portraits.

 this is a Waterhouse painting and the idea is to look for the bare bones of line, shape and shadows and sketch it without a lot of detail.

 This is my sketch of it:

 I will sketch another and then choose which one I will redraw and paint a portrait of. Once I got over the fear of doing this I actually liked it, and it sure is good practice. It is not meant to be a copy but a way of getting a feel for proportion and emotion.

 Happy T day to Elizabeth and friends and ...


" Gratitude helps you to grow and expand, gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you".    Eileen Caddy

Friday, March 13, 2015

Celebrations Abound!

Several birthdays/anniversaries/blogiversaries are happening, along with St Patrick's Day festivities the next few days. So get on your party hats!!

 First, a very happy anniversary/blogiversary/birthday to the Paint Party Friday blog!!! Four candles have been blown , and thanks to EVA and Kristin-the amazing hosts- PPF is beginning year 5! I cannot say more about this amazing group- and not just the art that is shared, but also the camaraderie, the friendships made, the tips and techniques, the encouragement, the support, and the cyberspace hugs. Here's to YOU!!

 A bit about this page: background is a deli paper printed from the gelli plate. I printed a black and white photo of myself on a gelli print paper, then just painted in the flesh tone and some blond highlights in my hair. The hat, balloons and cake are dimensional stickers. Words were added digitally.

 There are also several other birthdays amongst friends and family this week so using the latest Freshly Made Sketches prompt:

 I made a few cards like this one:

 Just flipped the design. Here's a detail pic because you can't realize how pretty this is in person with all the soft glitter:

 I am also linking this card to the Simon Monday Challenge Blog  for the theme of "B is For..." In my case it's for birthdays!

 This weekend I am also celebrating St. Patrick's day festivities on Saturday -so long as the weather cooperates...AND my birthday  and 3 year blogiversary on Sunday!!  I began by offering giveaways to begin each year but this year I want to do something a bit different. Rather than offering just a few things I would like to randomly send out happy mail throughout the year as RAKS (random acts of kindness)!! Do you know how much art  I accumulate just through the fun of challenges?? All I ask is that if you wish to receive a little something is to email me at (neenfrance(at)yahoo(dot)com) with your snail mail address. I will note it in my paper address book (I do not keep any of this info on my PC) and promise it will NOT be given out to anyone.

 I have a full weekend and week ahead but promise to get around to visit you. Thank you all so much for making my blogging experience one of the best!! Mwah!

" Celebrate the success of others as you would want others to celebrate yours. What goes around, comes around."     Anon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Springtime is Getting a Bit Closer!

  For the first time in a LONG time we are getting temperatures in the upper forties all week and that means those piles of snow are melting! Oh, happy day! Fingers crossed it lasts through this weekend because hubby and I have special dinner plans Saturday, and on Sunday in town it's going to be a St. Patrick's day celebration with a parade, a "best legs in a kilt" contest and lots of other fun things, good food and of course Guinness! Last year we watched the parade and all from the restaurant window because it was so cold and snowing. Hopefully that won't be the case this year!

 With thoughts of Spring in mind I made this postcard:

 Image is from Retro Café Art, words are from ARTchix Studio, mica flakes are from Paper Whimsy. Other supplies-dictionary page, gelli plate deli paper print, washi tape, recycled dry sheet , Vintage Photo Distress ink (Ranger).
Linking to the Simon Monday Challenge Blog (theme is "B is for..." ), and the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge #10 (theme is "Birds Of  A Feather").

 And for my friends at T Stands For Tuesday hosted by  Bleubeard and Elizabeth I am sharing this pic of what I've been drinking while in my art room:

 In warmer weather I fill it to the top in the AM and finish it by the evening. Lately I've been so cold that I only fill it 3/4ths of the way because I'm drinking more coffee and tea to keep me warm. I'm sure I've shared this bottle before. I think it holds 64 oz.

 This is an art journal page I made to replicate an old plaster wall. For some reason I have been so drawn to making backgrounds with this theme in mind. I did one the other week, and I'm now working on a third one. For this page I used a handmade paper that has some thick areas and thin areas which give it a great "bumpy" appearance. I added just a bit of muted color then adhered the tissue paper cherub and the dream heart clipped from a magazine. Linking this to Art Journal Journey (this month's theme is Things With Wings) and Mix It Monthly (theme this month is Angels/ Saints). 
 Back in Nov/ Dec I mentioned helping care for hubby's great uncle. Thankfully he's managing pretty well on his own and on Wednesday I am picking up his sister so we can check on the house and then we're all going for lunch to celebrate his 95th birthday!! It is truly amazing to me that both Truman and Betty live alone in their own homes and can pretty much take care of themselves. We're also celebrating my birthday which is on Sunday. That's also my blogiversary so at the end of this week  I will have a little something  to share with all of you to celebrate :)
 Have a great week everyone. I hope the weather is cooperating in your neck of the woods too.
  " Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn."   Lewis Grizzard


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dream a Little Dream

 How is everyone this week? Having good weather? I for one will only say that (as the snow continues to fall and temperatures plummet again) I am dreaming a little dream that we can get through one week without a snowy mess! Thanks so much to all of you for your healing thoughts about my recent health issues. Although things are not perfect I am feeling much better than I did.

 I managed yet another journal page inspired by  several techniques in Dina Wakley's book including the section on altering photos. Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Art Journal Journey (theme this month is "things with wings", and Paint Party Friday.

 Been working on a few St. Patrick's Day projects-just some ATCs and postcards. Here's a simple ATC:

The background is a gelli plate print. The rubber stamp is an old one (one of many) I inherited from a very dear old departed friend, who happened to be Irish :)  It's made by Ann-ticipations. Linking this to the Simon Monday Challenge Blog (theme is "just a hint of clover" ).

 I'm also beginning some sketches for the first class in Radiant Faces so I'll be sharing those  in my next post.

 Wishing everyone a happy, art filled weekend!

    " Dreams are illustrations...from the book your soul is writing about you."  Marsha Norman

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sharing a Cup of Warmth

 Last week I had a flare up of inflammatory issues thus making it a bit difficult to do a whole lot. The accumulation of bitter cold days took its toll. Thankfully, my body is healing and improving with each day. And art helps. Last week I also mentioned that I began an online art class recently. The first lesson itself had 6 videos to watch (Jane Davenport teaching)!! So far I have nothing to show for it-very intense and detailed-so I'm just trying to absorb it before delving in. I may even go with another lesson before tackling this one. There's a lesson by 8 other teachers including Joanne Sharpe, Tamara LaPorte, Dina Wakley, and Christy Tomlinson whom I might be more comfortable with to start. And it's all about faces so I created this simple page to warm up a bit. The above is a part of it and this is the complete page:

 I only wish you could see the shimmer from using Twinks over the acrylic painting and page. The words were added digitally. Sharing with T Stands For Tuesday and Express Your Creativity.

 This was our Sunday:

 And guess what? More of it is to come later Tuesday-snow, and a wintry mix!!! ENOUGH!

 It IS March and so my thoughts have turned to St Patrick's Day so I made an ATC and have a postcard in the works:

 The sentiment is an old Ann-ticipations rubber stamp. I used a gelli print paper for the background and added some printed napkin at the top and bottom. Linking to the Simon Monday Challenge whose theme this week is "Just a Hint of Clover".

 Wishing you a cuppa warmth wherever you are.

 "Friendship is a word, the very sight of which in print makes the heart warm."  Augustine Birrell