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!!