Sunday, December 21, 2008

.bring me some more eggnog!.

Okay, so my attempts to be a good lil' blogger last week was pretty much lost in the midst of getting ready for the big C-Day.  We finally got our Christmas tree up (thank goodness!) and most of the holiday shopping is done.  The big focus this year was primarily on the wee ones.  I guess it would be a good time to bring out the wrapping paper!  Lastnight, Aisie had her first photo taken with Santa Claus. . . well. . . sorta.  Her Daddy and I had to sit on Santa's lap as well for she was in a crying fit.  I just wished the photo came out clearer.  It was dark and blurry.  Oh well.  At least we've got one.  Christmas. . . it's truly blown me away just how quickly it has gotten here!  I'm already starting to think up my list of "New Year's Resolutions."  I'll get to that at a later date.  Shall "lose weight" make its way up to the No. 1 slot again this year. . . ?  Ha!  
I truly hope everyone has a wonderful and Merry week ahead!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

.go ahead and bite me!.

Dark, spicy, pearly white smile. . . who can resist such a treat!  Makes you want to bite a chunk of leg off!  Ha!  Well in celebration of the "countdown to Christmas," check out what the gals over at fiddlesticks & funnygirls have rounded up to for the "12th Day of Christmas."  Some neat ideas to help you prep for some wonderful holiday giving.  My personal fave are the rain boots used as stockings!  How clever is that?!  Hope they were new boots.  ;oP  I want to wish everyone a fantabulous week to come!  

Friday, December 12, 2008

.oh the weather outside!.

Lastnight, we encountered our first real snow here in Nashville.  Well, actually it first started off as sleet and rain, then turned into ice and snow.  Now it wasn't like we got 2 feet of snow (more like 2 inches), but still, it managed to cover the ground nicely.  Ice and all.  Ha!  The sun is coming out now.  The ice that has formed on the bare tree limbs outside are glistening like diamonds!  So pretty!!  What does a girl do when it's nice and chilly (and apparently sparkly) outside?  She makes hot chocolate.  Hey!  Why not top it off with some whipped cream and a candy cane!  Mmm. . . addicting. . . 

Well it looks like there are only 13 days left until Christmas arrives.  We have had "The Polar Express" playing on the DVD since Saturday as it has become Aisie's favorite movie.  There are gifts to be wrapped, more cards to send out, gingerbread cookies to bake, hot chocolate with peppermint sticks to consume. . . yes, I would say that it's definitely looking a lot like Christmas!!  Hope you and yours have a cozy weekend!

Monday, December 8, 2008

.17 days and counting.

Christmas cards are on their way out tomorrow.  Yeah, tomorrow.  I've got a few more to make.  
The ornaments are ALMOST on the tree. . . it would help if we actually put up our tree!  Ha!  
And cranberries are STILL available to purchase at the grocery stores!  I love cranberries!  It's this time of the year that I put homemade cranberry sauce on EVERYTHING!!  Okay, so maybe not everything, but close!  

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Monday and a fabulous week ahead!!  

Friday, December 5, 2008

.a charming new project.

Good Afternoon!  Well, I find myself, once again, in the midst of a new project, one that I know I will get addicted to!  I've decided to plunge myself into the craft of soldering charms.  It's something that I have wanted to do for some time, just wasn't brave enough to do it.  Well, I got with my grandfather, a true bona fide ornamental blacksmith, and worked with him in his shop yesterday.  I loved it!  It had been awhile since I've been in his shop.  The walls are dingy from smoke, the floor is covered in fine metal dust.  His work bench full of scrap metal.  There are copper creations propped carefully on the walls, from a new weather vane of an indian and his horse, to a sculpture of Sitting Bull.  I LOVED every bit of it!  It reminded me of times when I'd visit him at his old shop in Hawai'i.  Now that was a shop that made you feel like you stepped into a time warp, bringing you back a 100 years.  The air was filled with a mixture of coal and cherry cavendish tobacco smoke.  My uncle Vince had his bladesmithing shop right next door.  It is such a beautiful thing to have such awesome talent in our family!!
I made two charms.  I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be when I came into his shop.  I lacked assembled projects, partly due to the fact that Nashville lacks the supplies that I needed.  Thank God for the internet!  I took a photo I had taken and shrank it down to an inch.  I cut the glass just a little too big.  You can see the mistakes in this one.  Plus I think I needed more solder.  Hey!  I'm still learning.  Don't judge me.  Ha!  Practice will make perfect.  Despite the mistakes, I truly had fun making them.  I've got a ton of ideas in my head.  It's all going to be a matter of time before I get brave enough to open up shop.  Ha!  We'll see.  For now, I'm just having fun!  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

.one fair lady::audrey hepburn.

photo by Mel Ferrer

If there was ever a woman whose bell of life still rings sweetly in the hearts of those who revere her, that woman would be Audrey Hepburn.  Her life is a woven tapestry of monumental joys, sorrow, struggles and success.   In itself, a script fit for the big screen.  I was doing some reading for myself on this wonderful performer and Goodwill Ambassador, to gain more insight on the draw that she has had on generations of admirers.  In every manner of speaking,  she truly was, is, a brilliant gem.  A lady of prestigious bloodlines, she always remained humble.  There always seemed to be a true sincerity in her every step.  I was so deeply moved by her struggles during World War II.  It was during this time that would help shape her into becoming the advocate for humanitarian aid that she is also so well known for, something that would gain her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She was a phenomenal actress, a legendary fashion figure, and a loving mother.  A true example of beauty, both on the surface and within.
photo by Philippe Halsman

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you 
never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored,
renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; 
never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, 
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands;
one for helping yourself,
and the other for helping others.
~Sam Levenson

To learn more about her and her charities, visit her website at:  

Friday, November 28, 2008

.a very quiet black friday.

It has been a wonderful week!  Rather busy.  Busier than I thought I would be!  I'll need to postpone my "Sweet Tooth Swap" for a little while, just to be able to launch it properly.  Who was the genius that decided to start this in the middle of the Holidays?!  Speaking of holidays, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Our friends and family came over to our home lastnight and it was fantastic!  Laughter, TONS AND TONS of food!  Loved it.  And for the first time in 8 years, I did not have to work the day after Thanksgiving.  Today.  There was no draw for me at all to head out to the mall at the butt crack of dawn to fight traffic and people on a desperate mission to shop, blinders on.  Nope, I just wanted to sleep in a little, chill out with Aislin, and do pretty much nothing.  Ha!  It was so nice and peaceful.  I'm taking pleasure out of the simple things I guess.  Just a moment to catch my breath in preparation for the next 3 1/2 weeks 'til Christmas.  Yikes!!  Have a fantabulous weekend everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

.sunday reflections.

It's another beautiful Sunday. . . not so chilly, day spent with the family, and my day to reflect.  This week has actually been a wonderful one for me, despite the fact that I had to be in from work for two days because I felt awful, awful, AWFUL!  Although physically I'm not a 100% yet, for the first time in quite a long time, I truly feel at peace and happy inside.  My heart and mind, reenergized!  I can't pinpoint what it was this week that seemed to "wake me up" and feel alive again, I'm just glad that I do.  Honestly, I truly believe that this pursuit of finding my artistic self has something to do with it.  That, and probably moreso, the fact that I LOVE being the Mommy to my wee Aisie.  My little girl is my little Muse.  This tiny firecracker of a child inspires me so much to be the best Mommy that I can be for her, to find ways to enrich her life through arts & crafts and a whole bunch of lovin'!  For those of you who are mothers, maybe you can relate.  
Art washes away the dust of everyday life.  ~Pablo Picasso.

Friday night was fun!  Creativity and laughter combined makes for a wonderful time!  I actually managed to make more cards for the holidays which of course excited me!  I'm so glad that I've decided to make this a handmade holiday season.  I'm aiming for sentimental this year folks!  The photo above is a shot of some of the bits and pieces I'm using to put my Christmas cards together.  Photo Op!  The above quote by Picasso holds so much truth.  With the economic uncertainties and hardships that families are facing right now, having spent the night creating with friends truly washed away the dust of our everyday lives.  I have found these nights to be very valuable.  If you've got a group of crafty friends, bring them together once in awhile.  It's guaranteed fun times! Believe me, it can do your soul some good!  It did mine.  :o)

Friday, November 21, 2008

.sweet tooth swap.

It's Friday night and that means that it's "craft night" with the girls!  So in preparation for a fun evening, I have done everything from clean house to baking cookies!  I have to admit, since leaving the corporate retail management world behind, I have found myself looking so forward to enjoying the Holidays.  Seriously.  I know that might sound a little silly, but believe me, when you've worked for craft stores for as long as I have (almost 9 years!) and have seen the mass amounts of Christmas merchandise being put out on the shelves, starting in the SUMMER, by the time the Holidays arrive, you want to get in that "jolly" mood but can't.  So this has been nice.  I can truly see myself creating the "handmade" Christmas I so desperately want to do this year!

During my baking time today, I thought of all the different goodies I want to make, like bourbon balls, sugar cookies, peppermint bark, etc, and that's when I came up with the idea of starting a "Sweet Tooth Swap."  Basically a recipe swap focusing on all things sweet!  I'm not exactly sure how I want to get it going, but I know it'll be fun once I do.  Hey, you're all invited!  Just give me a couple of days to figure out how I want to do this and I'll put up an update.  Sound like fun?  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

.a time for cardmaking.

One thing I have added to the "New Year's Resolution" list for 2009 is this:  send more handwritten letters and cards.  In the "instant age" we live in, when letters and cards can be sent e-lectronically, we seldom find ourselves going to the mailbox expecting anything more than the usual collection of bills and junk mail.  Now, if you're like me, when you happen to come across an envelope, hand addressed to you, from someone you may not have seen in awhile, well it's like Christmas all over!  I say it's truly time for more cardmaking!
I am, I must admit, a paper junkie.  My rule of thumb: buy 3 of the same paper at a time.  If you really like it, get more.  Ha!  Unfortunately, my collection has grown and very little has been done with them.  Alex says I have enough paper to cover every wall in our home 3 times over.  He's probably right.  SO. . . I have disciplined myself to work only with the papers that I have purchased over the years.  For right now anyways.  *tee hee*  
In my stash, I found some bright "distressed" papers that I absolutely LOVE!!  I ended up making a card that looks a little more "springy" than I was planning originally, but that's okay.  I thought it was still rather cute!  
With the holidays coming up, I guess I better get crackin' if I intend to mail any handmade cards.  Can you believe that Thanksgiving is already next week Thursday?!  And, they're already playing Christmas music at Walmart!!  Will I have time to make some of the handmade gifts I wanted to give out this year?!  Agh!!  Time sure does fly when you're having fun. . . 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

.sunday & home alone::part deux.

"tweet! tweet!" I'm back! Well today wasn't AS productive as I was hoping it would be, but I did manage to actually make something! Ha! Oh how I delight in the small victories! Just a little square card I plan to mail out to a friend. I manage to pull out some patterned papers that I had stashed away with many more stacks of patterned paper. I had originally planned on doing a mixed-media piece on canvas. Needless to say, that was a lot of time wasted. However! It has got me rolling more ideas in my head, and perhaps next time I'll actually be able to create it and be brave enough to show it to you all! Ha! We'll just have to see.
Once again I pulled out my ever favorite white Souffle pen and doodled my little heart away. I wished that there had been more natural light so these shots wouldn't look as crappy. But alas, that vibrant sun that accompanied me most of the day had to say his slow farewell, thus leaving me with the over head kitchen light to shine upon my work for the day. But you get the picture. So for those of you who continue to carry my name to the Creativity Muse in hopes that she may bestow upon me an idea that will come to fruition, she may be listening. I'll get there. Slowly, but surely.

.sunday & home alone::part I.

It's quiet in the house at the moment save for the collection of piano music I burned onto a disc this morning. A collection compiled of melodies from the likes of Yann Tiersen, Michael Nyman, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. I call it. . . Chasing Ivory Keys. Alas, I do miss the high pitched squeels and giggles from my wee one. . . but she will be home from her Grandmas soon enough. Until then, I will enjoy the fact that I have the house all to myself. Alex is gone to do a photo shoot. Even Keoki (my german shepherd) is behaving quite nicely for Mama. The sun and radiant blue sky is lighting up the house perfectly. ~ . . . sigh. . . ~ Sunday. . . (finally!) a day of rest.

Lastnight Alex and I were able to spend some time together and just hang out, something that we have had a chance to rarely do since becoming parents. It was nice. We had a fabulous meal at a local Thai restaurant close to our home. Then we ventured out to Green Hills and spent a little time at the mall to look at Pottery Barn Kids for a table I'd love to get the wee one. It was at the mall that we stopped into a tea shop (of course!) called Teavana. I didn't get a chance to purchase tea this time, however, I did notice a small jar of white honey from the Big Island (I'm now homesick) that I've seen featured in several magazines recently. Rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey made by the Volcano Island Honey Company located in Honoka'a, Hawai'i. The honey is derived from flowers off the kiawe tree.
This honey is amazingly thick and yet oh so smooth in texture. For anyone who loves honey, this is a must to have! Just as the folks at Volcano Island Honey say, ". . . this creamy, opalescent honey floats off your tongue leaving you to savor its subtle, yet rich, tropical essence." A wonderful delight to your palate!
In addition to our trip to the mall, we decided to check out the new shopping village just down the road. It was built while we were living in Kentucky. This was our first chance to see what was there. A 2-story Whole Foods market! That place was phenomenal! There were other shops as well, but by far my most favorite was, and is, Anthropologie!
I've seen their online store before and was quite impressed, but my goodness, it's a fantastic place to walk into!! Believe me, I was like that giddy little girl walking into the best candy shop in town! Even Alex was enthralled with the quality and assortment of beautiful things! I so wanted to slip on some cute sandals, wrap an exquisite scarf 'round my neck (still a little sick), pick up an interesting book, gather a nice, warm blanket around me, cozy up on one of their couches and just call it home. But I didn't. I behaved. And like what behaved little girls do when they go into the best candy shop in town, they don't splurge, they purchase meekly. Saving up the money they didn't spend to buy what they really want! Ha! It truly was a highlight to my evening out with Alex. Good food, splendid honey, a shop with things that make you smile, holding hands with the one you love. Lovely. ;o)

So now what?! I think I am going to spend the rest of the day actually letting lastnight's boost of inspired energy flow. . . and to see what happens. . . I guess we'll just have to wait 'til Part II. I'll be back!

Friday, November 14, 2008

.the enchanted duirwaigh.

Greetings everyone! Forgive me for not having written much this week. I managed to either pull, crack, bruise my rib! I've had this bad cough for going on three months now and let's just say, it has gotten to a point where I hurt like H-E-double hockey sticks!! But enough of that, I'm okay, really. *ouch!*
I was going through some books on my shelf and I came across one that I hadn't looked at in awhile called A Knock at the Door. It's actually a book that was published by Angi Sullins and Silas Toball of Duirwaigh, Inc. a couple of years ago. Part of the proceeds from the purchase of this book is being donated to the Make a Wish Foundation. If you've never heard of Duirwaigh, then I strongly suggest taking a look at a short film that they created that has captured the hearts and imagination of thousands of viewers worldwide! Believe me, it's a wonderful sight to see! The short film features the artwork of several unique artists whose vivid portrayal of mythical and fairytale characters pulls the viewer into a mystical world of fantasy! The jovial melody, setting ambiance in the film, is by Norweigian musician, Martine Lund Hoel. It's the images from this film that make up the book.

A few of my favorite artists featured are Amoreno, Christophe Vacher, and Kinuko Craft. I love Amoreno, for his soft renditions of mermaids and fairies. Christophe Vacher's paintings are done in such a way that just by gazing upon it, you feel as if you are standing right at the gate that leads to a whole new world filled with mystery and beauty! The skill and vibrancy of Kinuko Craft's work will leave you staring at it for hours, just so that you may soak in every brilliant detail. So for those of you who would enjoy a nice stroll into the Enchanted Forest, I say make sure you get there through the Duirwaigh!

Monday, November 10, 2008

.a poem.

Sweetest dream
the slightest stream
that runs 
within the 
crevices of my 
A great hope
upon you
like a massed ship
to grandest
sweet reveries
play upon the keys
the longing tune
of one 
yearning to find

.quote day::11.10.08.

Dreams are the seeds of change.
Nothing ever grows without a seed,
and nothing ever changes
without a dream.
~Debby Boone

Saturday, November 8, 2008

.distress inks.

In an attempt to make all my Tim Holtz Distress Inks colors visible, I took each ink pad and dragged it across cardstock paper.  I really liked the way the colors looked together, so I grabbed my camera (of course!) and shot a picture of it.  Now for those of you who are into the weathered, antiqued, distressed look, and want to be able to apply it to your crafts (especially paper crafts/scrapbooking) Tim Holtz is the guy you need to look to for awesome products.  Working with Ranger, he has come up with his own line of distressed ink products.  His first, and probably most popular, is the Distress Ink collection.    
There are a couple of reasons why I love these ink pads as opposed to other dye-ink pads.  First, you can use these directly on your photos.  Given some practice, you can antique any photo and be completely amazed at how authentic they will look!  (I personally would not use original photos, but rather photocopies or photos printed onto photo paper)  These inks are acid free, fade resistant, and will pretty much work on anything!  They're fun to work with and the results are truly awesome!!  To see some projects done using these inks, as well as other products that are part of the Distress Ink line, visit Tim Holtz's website and blog for a plethora of inspiration and ideas.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

.bird watching.

Birds. . . what wonderful beauties they are (unless they're planning to bombard your vehicle).  Here lately, I have become somewhat obsessed with the figure of these splendid creatures.  There is just something about the image of a bird that provokes thought.  They have become symbols for such things as flight, freedom, fragility, as well as ferocity, to name just a few.  Let's not forget Wisdom.  It's no wonder that you see them EVERYWHERE!  Artists have taken note of their symbolism and delicate beauty by implementing them into their designs.  

So today, while playing with the wee one in her room, I noticed a large flock of starlings (at least I believe that's what they were) swoop down from the sky and gracefully land themselves upon the many tree branches.  I ran for my camera and through the window, caught some images of them.  Some of them were a little fuzzy because of having to shoot through the windowpane, and yet I was still rather pleased with some of the ones I was able to capture.  In hopes of utilizing them for some projects I'm wanting to do, I have altered the images to "bring out" the silhouette of these birds resting upon branches.  I did this by first converting the images to black and white and then enhancing the brightness and contrasts (highlights and shadows) until I got the look I wanted.  I still plan on playing with these images more, I just haven't had the time!  Oh!  I have downloaded Elements 6 to my Mac, in case you were wondering.  ;o)  So we'll see what else I come up with.  Hopefully I'll have more photos to show all of you soon!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

.a good day to bake.

Hello everyone!  It's Sunday!  It's also the first day of Daylight Savings as we all have had to get our clocks to "fall" back an hour.  Thank Goodness!  That extra hour to sleep in is always nice, especially on a Sunday.  It's beautiful outside right now with an open blue sky, warm sun rays and mild chill. . . I say it's a good day to bake!  

As a morning routine, I check out some of my favorite blogs and this morning, Design*Sponge was one of them.  That's where I noticed the recipe for "Chocolate Swirl Gingerbread."  I love anything with molasses in it so I had to give this one a try.  

For some strange reason, I can't get my photos to line up they way I wanted.  Having the mixing bowl shot up first.  Oh well.  You can see what I've done.  It came out pretty good.  It's especially good with vanilla ice cream, another love of mine!  Yum!!  This time of the year is definitely my fave as it is a time when I am excited to bake!!  It's like an edible science project.  Ha!  The other day, I pulled up a recipe for Pumpkin Muffins.  Just the tingly aroma of spice in the air makes me giddy!  Ha!  Well I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday!  Go bake something!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

.i miss my photoshop.

This has not really been much of an eventful week.  I'm still working on getting Aislin's costume together (I know, I'm running out of time).  The hardest thing was trying to figure out what to dress the wee girl in!  I thought, 'Hey! Let's dress her up as a fairy!'  Then, tempuratures plummeted to 40 degrees!  So. . . I've decided, she's going to be a gypsy this year.  Fully clothed, head covered, warm.  

I've been looking at some blogs and flickr accounts here in the last few days and I'm simply amazed at how beautiful everyones images are!  Which then, of course, got me to missing my Photoshop.  My PC killed over a few months back, again, after having it fixed.  We think that there was a power surge in the house we're renting (the wiring is really messy), and that the power strip that we had didn't do much of anything, obviously, to protect it.  So right now I've been using the Mac Notebook.  Unfortunately,  I don't have PS on it since the one I have was for Windows.  Argh!!  Oh but looking at the use of layers and texture is AMAZING!!  Zee, over at Pixieblossoms, was nice enough to leave some links to tutorials on her blog.  I'm dying to play with some of my older photos to give it an even more vintage feel.  I miss my Photoshop.  :o(  I guess, for now, I shall continue to utilize iPhoto, but it's just NOT the same!!

I have been trying to write some poetry lately.  Honestly, I'm not quite brave enough to share it with all of you just yet.  But before I go, I wanted to leave you with some lovely words.  This time, from the poet, Amy Lowell. 

Life is a stream 
On which we strew
Petal by petal the flower of our heart;
The end lost in dream,
They float past our view, 
We only watch their glad, early start.
Freighted with hope,
Crimsoned with joy,
We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;
The widening scope,
Their distant employ,
We never shall know.  And the stream as it flows
Sweeps them away,
Each one is gone
Every beyond into infinite ways.
We alone stay
While years hurry on,
The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

.a lesson from the teapot.

One of my most favorite quotes of all time came from the mouth of the great artist, Pablo Picasso.  "Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."  And although I have claimed this quote for myself, I don't think I truly understood the message behind the words, well at least until now.
During a conversation I had with a dear friend of mine, who happens to be a brilliant floral designer and artist, we came about the subject of "the fear of facing the blank canvas."  I told him that although I was driven to be "creative" I was frustrated by the fact that I couldn't produce anything, or rather that it took FOREVER to come up with an idea.  With his calm, soft rumble for a voice, he said, "You know, it's the times when I approach a canvas and say to myself that I'm just going to experiment and have no expectations.  And you know, when I approach any project with that frame of mind, my best pieces are created."  
I took in what he said and realized that that is exactly what that quote was conveying.  Children have no fear when the crayons and paper are laid out in front of them.  All they see is color and an opportunity to let their imagination spill out.  When the art and craft supplies are brought out, there is usually excitement in the air, as the kids clap their little hands together and shout out their joy for this chance to create.  You see their minds working as groups of circles and lines are formed, colored brushstrokes overlapping.  I don't believe any of them are concerned whether or not their art piece is going to be sold or put up to hang in an art gallery.  They, very simply, create.  Not a worry.  Not a care.  
So I took this frame of mind with me when I was invited to accompany my best friend Joani to a pottery party with some other ladies, most of whom I had never met before.  The place we went to was a little studio called  Brushfire Pottery in Green Hills.  The walls are lined with shelves full of different unfinished pottery pieces to paint.  With a small studio fee, you buy the piece you want to paint and once you've done that, you leave it with them to finish with a clear glaze and firing.  After a week, it is ready to pick up.  Well, I found exactly what I wanted to paint as soon as I got there.  A teapot.  Go figure.  I knew what I wanted, and with it being Autumn, I wanted my colors to reflect that.  I grabbed my colors and went to town,  practically oblivious to the fact that there were other people there.  I brushed on my colors, starting first from the top and working my way to the base.  Then I saw an opportunity to use a loofah to dab brown speckles onto my piece.  FINALLY!!  I was filled with confidence and excitement!  I was determined that I was going to have fun!  I didn't try to analyze the outcome of my teapot, or give a care as to what the others thought.  I think the fact that with glazes, since you don't see the results right away, this was probably a good thing.  It meant that I had to have faith that whatever I created was still going to look awesome.  And it does.  I love my little teapot!!

I learned a valuable lesson that night.  Every child is an artist.  We are still that child within.  Sure, not everyone is a Picasso, a Monet, or DaVinci.  But we all can create, all it takes is forgetting all your cares.  Don't worry about anything.  Simply grab your colors and go to town with them!!  You'll be surprised AND delighted at the outcome.  I know I did!  ;o)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

.a week in black and white.

There aren't too many celebrities out there that I can truly say I admire.  So many seem too overly consumed with themselves and so far out of touch with the real, tangible world in which the rest of us live.  I can say though, that there is one actress that I do have a deep respect for - Angelina Jolie.  I say this, not because I'm her fervent follower who has seen all of her movies (I have not, only 4), I say it because she is real.  For anyone to give a good chunk of their paycheck to see good come to those who are less fortunate than us, I say the woman deserves the title she has of Goodwill Ambassador.  Going from badass punk chick to the loving mother of SIX, how can you not admire that?  But this is not the reason for my post, so let me move on.  

Being a big fan of photography, I was impressed to see that Brad Pitt was commissioned by W Magazine to photograph Angelina within a span of a week.  He did, and I must say that I was extremely impressed.  The photos were all showcased in black and white.  Most of them were done in low light which gave the images a lot of grain, but a lot of emotion.  I loved them!  I was truly inspired by the tone of these photos, whether it was a loving image of Jolie with her children or a quirky shot of her making a funny face.  It captured emotion and to me, that is the purpose of photography.  

Starting tomorrow, I too will challenge myself to capture black and white photos, with a much more intimate look into the life of my family and the world around me.  Give me a week and we'll see what I can capture!!  This should be interesting.  I have been needing a good photo project to get me going anyhoos!  :o)  Stay tuned. . . 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

.the hotel cafe tour.

It is WAY passed my bed time!  It seems that the Red Bull that I had while at Exit/In has not completely worn off yet.  That's okay.  I just wanted to share what an awesome night I had, with my kid sis, experiencing the Hotel Cafe Tour.  By far, one of the best shows I've ever had the pleasure of going to.  It featured some of the most talented women in music today, in my opinion.  Two of my faves were there:  Priscilla Ahn and Ingrid Michaelson.  Prior to hearing those two lovelies, a wonderful new voice opened the act.  Meiko.  Well, new to me anyways.  A sweet voice and a witty sense of humor, I truly enjoyed her song "Real Real Sweet" which was written to spite a gal who was under the impression her boyfriend had a fling with the singer.  Ha!  Next, another wonderful voice came from Katie Herzig.  Her song, "Forevermore" has won my heart, with its sweet childlike lyrics and jolly melody!   Unfortunately, due to an illness, singer Brooke Fraser was not able to attend tonight's gig.  Garrison Starr filled in for her, and what a treat!   Her last album, The Girl that Killed September, when mentioned, got a shout out from a man in the crowd, who soon became referred to as "Colt 45 Guy" throughout the evening. Another singer I almost forgot (it's 2 in the morning!) Erin McCarley  added to the show a more edgier rock sound, compared to the more folk, acoustics, played by the likes of Priscilla Ahn and Meiko.  And speaking of Priscilla Ahn, she is sweet, just as her voice, and ditsy funny.  Like when she brought out the kazoo and didn't know why the crowd chuckled.  Gotta love her!  And finally, Ingrid Michaelson.  Her entrance was introduced with 70s jive grooves off the electric guitar and bass.  And she played it off well with a walk to accompany the music.  The crowd was putty in her hands as she got us to sing, clap, and laugh with her.  All performers, including host Jason Kanakis, gave the eager listeners, fans, and some dude just there to check out the chicks, a good laugh and some awesome music!  So for those of you who may be living in any of the towns that these guys and gals shall be playing, I say mark your calendars because you're in for a wonderful time!  (I apologize if this isn't quite the most eloquent blog post.  It is seriously too early in the morning for me to think eloquently.  Just be glad I spelled most words correctly.  Ha!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

.sew what?.

Okay, working for a bookstore, I realize, is dangerous.  Especially for someone who LOVES books!!  Oh well!  Once again, while shelving some new titles, I noticed a new addition to the craft/hobby section.  Needless to say, while on a break, I had to make my way back over there to skim it over.  The book I have been waiting for has finally arrived!!  It is called Free-Style Handmade Bags & Skirts, by the editors of Woonjin Publishing, a talented group based out of Korea.  

What I love about this book is that it features a diverse array of skirts, as well as, totes.  With the ever fashionable A-line skirt created from scratch to reforming a pair of camouflage pants, there are so many patterns to work with to create a skirt that is definitely YOU.  The instructions seem rather easy to follow, and all the patterns are included with the book.  Only drawback:  the patterns are based on a size 4, which I am FAR from!  Ha!  

The book is a fun one to add to any seamstress' collection, or anyone that is interested in sewing.  I already have an alteration project in mind.  But that will be for another blog.  All I ask is that you wish me luck!

Monday, October 20, 2008

.beauty in nature.

Ahh. . . I LOVE this time of year! Autumn. It is a time of transition, color, and beauty. When I lack inspiration, all I have to do is look to nature. I altered this photo of a tree I had taken yesterday to give it a vintage feel. Mostly I did it to be able to enhance the lines and texture, as to not be distracted by the intense blue sky. And boy was it intense! There is such beauty in nature. During fall, as well as in springtime, I am left in awe by what wondrous lovelies there are to see around us. O, Autumn, the Muse of so many a-poet! I shall leave with you all today a piece from the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
with banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
and stately oxen harnessed to they wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!

Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
so long beneath the heaven's o'erhanging eaves;
thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
and, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

.writing for the soul.

Throughout my life, poems have always held a special place with me.  Not that I can say that I am in any way a poet.  Nor can I say that I have a vast collection of poets sitting upon my book shelf.  As a matter of fact, I only have two:  Robert Burns and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  The importance of what poetry is to me is that it has been an outlet to express oneself in such a way that it provokes emotion, not just of the writer, but moreso the reader.  Whether that emotion be joy, sorrow, anger, love.  There is no denying that there is a beauty in poetry.  If it were not the case, Shakespeare's plays would not hold as much weight and reverence amongst the masses if they had been written without meter and prose.   

So where does all this blabbering about poetry and such lead to?  Well, nowhere big really.  As some of you may know, with many of the life changes that I have had in just the last several years, I have become quite jaded with myself.   Numb.  Any fire, any creative, emotional blaze that burned within me has been dwindled to mere embers now.  Or so it seems.  I have been trying desperately to incorporate ways of creating something everyday.  ANYTHING.  It has been quite difficult.  Even a simple 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 card looks like a oversized canvas that I am to paint and there is no idea, no inspiration in sight.  So that is where poetry has, once again, made its way back into my life.  Pulling out the thoughts already cluttering my mind, and displaying them down on paper.  Perhaps, even as a drawing.  Not as a literal drawing with pencil or paint, but rather drawing with words, with metaphors.     

While on a break at work, I browsed through our poetry section.  I was actually on a mission to find W.H. Auden's works, but in the process found the above book:  Poetry as Spiritual Practice, by Robert McDowell.  I am just a few chapters into this book, and already I can sense that it has given me the encouragement that I need to write again.  Not that I was great by any means.  I just needed something that was going to help me to find ways to wake my emotions up.  And although my creative heart seems a little cool to the touch, those mere embers, covered up by ash and dust, will soon indeed spark a wildfire once more!  I hope so anyway. ;o)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

.an experimental sunday.

It is Sunday morning. The world seems a little brighter outside, with leaves glistening in the early sun rays, dancing to a song carried upon the fall breeze. As I sat here, gazing out my kitchen window earlier this morning, I felt as if this was an invitation to join the outside for a little while. So I brought my camera along to see what I could capture.
Quite honestly, most of the images I shot seemed too "ordinary." I guess I was looking for something a little more unique to the eye. I looked up to the sun, as it shined through trees, and simply squinted. Yes, squinted. It's rather amazing how things take on a whole other appearance when you look at them through squinted eyes, like a nearly blind person, without their glasses, trying desperately to see...clearer. Ha! So I held up my camera, aiming it towards the trees then, ever so slightly, turning my lens out of focus, blurring the world in front of me. The sharp edges of branches, softened, so much so that they seem to disappear. Leaves, sky and reflections of light all transformed into orbs of color.

Friday, October 10, 2008

.a cup of chai.

If I had to choose my favorite "spiced" drink, followed by eggnog, my favorite would have to be chai. Surprisingly, there are many people that don't really know what chai is. I was introduced to the beverage, with origins that stem from India, by a co-worker while standing in line at a Starbucks. I remember the warmth of this slightly sweet, milky drink, laced with a wonderful collaboration of cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, cloves, anise star, and cardamom.

What we all refer to as "chai tea" here in the States, is actually called "masala chai" in India. The word chai, in most countries beside the Western world, actually means "tea." The word masala is an Indian term used when several spices are mixed together for a dish or drink. To prepare this drink, black tea and spices are added to warm milk and usually sweetened with sugar or honey. Here lately, while fighting the allergies and congestion in my lungs, due to the change of season, I've been drinking the tea without milk. The flavors of all the spices are more intense, especially the black pepper.

The wonderful thing about chai is that there are different combinations of spices that can be used to make up this drink. Although there are the usual ingredients, as shown above, some brands, such as Zhena's Gypsy Tea's "Fireside Chai" uses rooibos, ginger, cloves, orange, and nutmeg. Another spin on the drink, which I have recently been introduced to, is called the "dirty chai." Prepared the same way as the original drink, only with the added shot (or two) of espresso. While it is served at Starbucks, you don't have to stand in line there to enjoy a cup of Tazo's Organic Chai. Tazo, as well as several other brands, are readily available in the tea & coffee aisle of your local grocery store. So make up a cup and enjoy the invigorating taste of chai. A good tea book to add to your library: The New Tea Book, by Sara Perry.

Sunday, October 5, 2008's sundae.

Okay, so there's not too much to really write about today.  It is Sunday.  It's been a beautiful weekend spent with friends and family.  An outing and sleepover with the wee one and my "bff" Joani, a trip into Dickson, TN to check out some of the local shops, a powwow held at Leiper's Fork in Franklin.  And the weather has been simply gorgeous!  So what must one do to top off such a wonderful weekend?  For me, it was to make a stop to Maggie Moos and get a waffle bowl full of that yummy sundae goodness!  Mmmm. . . fudge. . . 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

.autumn leaves.

I have to say that this is my favorite time of year.  Autumn.  The trees begin to put on their more colorful attire.  The air is crisp and full of the promises of change.  During a recent trip to the park, I decided to gather a few leaves that had fallen off a sugargum tree.  Today, in an attempt to add some creativity into my routine, I pulled out my embossing powders and made imprints with these leaves.  Mixing several different "fall colors" onto the same imprint, I thought the results were pretty lovely.  Then again, nature is always an inspiration for me, with its simple yet finely detailed beauty.