Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Project 64 {21/64} and Art Journaling

So I'm taking a couple of online Art Journaling classes right now.  The primary one being "She Had Three Hearts".  So while my computer activities are strictly curtailed (I'm editing photos one at a time on picnik.com - great site but not my normal workflow!!!), I've been busy playing with actual paint and pastels and rubons and stuff...

My Art Journal cover - the original print was from a Jessica Sprague class.  It's been altered quite a bit.

My very first art journal page.  I love all the bright colors on this one!.

close up of the actual journaling.  I was perfectly okay with my hand writing being a bit messy!

this is the two page spread I made in honor of my 50th birthday.  And I have to say it was unintentional, but I really ended up rocking the "yellow-orange" color for Project 64 in these pages!
And for reasons i can't comprehend (or fix) at the moment, blogger will NOT let me put this photo in the proper orientation (landscape) even though it was saved that way!

the quote is from Oprah Winfrey on closing out her talk show.  But to me it is just as fitting for turning 50!

And I think it is kind of amazing and neat that I've been rocking it as long as Cover Girl!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's Official

I'm 50. Wow.

I'd love to share the rest of my girls' weekend and my birthday with you.  But here's the rub.  On Thursday night my computer got a nasty virus. Super nasty. As in you couldn't see anything on the hard drive, no programs, nothing.  I turned my computer in to work on Friday, but because of the holiday, they won't even start working on it until Tuesday.

In the meantime I have a loaner.  Basic internet access, but none of my programs.  No Photoshop.  No ACDSee. No personal outlook.  I need to check email online.  I can't process or upload photos.  Not clear at this point if even my external hard drive escaped damage.  Ugh.  Assuming I can even get my photos and images back, all the tagging I have done in the past month is probably gone - again.

So this will be a basic post to say I'm here, I had a wonderful birthday, and I'll have to catch you all up later. 

I can share this photo borrowed from the internet:
This was my gift from hubby.  It's absolutely gorgeous! And has more personal meaning to me than even he is aware.  And he remembered that I wanted this from a comment made quite awhile ago.  So brownie points for him.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend.  I'll be back when I have a viable computer again!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Meet My Best Girls - Chapter Three

Last, but by no means least, Deanna:

My sister, my best friend.  Younger by four years, yet I don't remember my life without Deanna in it.  Not to say we didn't have our share of sibling rivalry... and sharing a room our entire childhood was challenging... but I love this girl... and we survived, together, through a lot of ugliness.

As we were raised - in a Brady Bunch style his, mine, ours, and a few others household - I clearly held the role of eldest and Deanna fell into the role of middle child early on.  She is the peace keeper. She has a gentle soul.  She hates conflict. She loves horses, the ocean, and her family.

Deanna dabbled in scrapbooking and the "biz" with Krystal and I, but her heart is at the barn.

This is the canvas I made for Deanna:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Meet My Best Girls - Chapter Two

Next up, Rachel:

I met Rachel in 1983.  I had just graduated from college.  She was still in high school.  We were hired by Sears to work in the catalog order department at the same time.

Rachel has been there for me through moves (yes, lugging boxes!), my wedding, pregnancies and births, taking care of my toddler twins when I needed to go out of town, and helping out in emergencies (like when I ended up in the hospital with kidney stones).  Even though we live in the same town, we can go weeks or months without seeing or talking to each other, but I always know I can count on her if I need to.

Somewhere in there she got married, had kids of her own, and got busy with her family life. And I like to think I was there for her too.  We share some of the best and some of the worst times. My Mom and her Dad both died from cancer within two weeks of each other.

Shortly after her 40th birthday, Rachel was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.  It was in her honor that I walked in the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3 Day (60 miles) in 2008 and it was with that event that I launched this blog!  Rachel is now three years cancer free!

This is the canvas I made for Rachel:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meet My Best Girls - Chapter One

So how do I begin to encapsulate and share my girls' weekend away?  I'm thinking first off, you need to meet my girls!  So for the next three days, I'll introduce them one by one.  But don't run away too quickly... there is She Art involved!

First Up, meet Krystal:

I met Krystal in 2001. She is the youngest of the group, having not yet crossed over the "40" mark.

Krystal is a portrait photographer, but when I first met her, she was a rep for an upstart direct sales scrapbooking company, and my upline. I was immediately drawn to her personality, her cute southern charm, her feisty spirit, and the way she was able to analyze and maximize profit from any downline structure.  She definitely had a way with that puzzle! And a knack for getting people to do whatever she wanted.

We joined the "scrapbook biz" together and stuck it out for eight years, through two different companies. Along the way, we got to enjoy numerous retreats, conventions, shows... all "girl trips" even though work was involved.

We share the role of eldest child, a strong education, and a love of the written word. Oh, and scrapbooking!

After the second company went belly up, I gave up the biz and settled into scrapbooking as just a hobby (and learned my way around Photoshop!).

Krystal became a portrait photographer.  Alas, I have yet to get her to shoot my family.  I have the airlines to thank this time - her flight was delayed so many times that instead of getting here at 3:30 (with plenty of time to do a sunset shoot), we finally got her back to my house at nearly 9 p.m. - and couldn't even do an indoor shoot because the girls had already showered and changed into pjs!

Knowing my best girls were all coming to celebrate my big 5-0, I used the She Art Class as an opportunity for gift-giving.  This is the canvas I made for Krystal:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Project 64 {20/64}

I have this beautiful pottery barn bench (that doubles as a window seat) in my living room.  I made the pillow and the cushion cover.  And it just so happens....

That they are a perfect choice for "asparagus"!

Blogging for Bliss

After nearly two months lost in the postal system between Canada and the U.K., Blogging for Bliss arrived at Jacky's last week!  Hurray, we are back on track.  The book now has a lot of traveling around the U.K. to do!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Catching My Breath

I don't even know where to begin.

I had the most fabulous weekend!

I'm still trying to catch up to everyday life again (the price you always pay when you go away, right?). The laundry seems to have multiplied exponentially while I was away. Kind of like tribbles.

My girls' weekend destination was beautiful Cape May, New Jersey. 

Just being there slowed me down.  Brought me peace.

We stayed here: Rhythm of the Sea Inn.  Even the name sounds beautiful. It is a 1915 craftsman style home turned Bed and Breakfast.

I'll introduce you to my girls in another post, but here we all are!

I had a few truly lighthearted moments like this one.  Totally goofing on the beach.

And today I'm so grateful that we had this weekend. And I'll fill you all in later. 

After I'm done catching up with life. 

And catching my breath.

Because today word came that made it official.  Jay's position (that he has held for ten years) at work is being "eliminated" effective May 31st and he is joining the ranks of the unemployed.  We're making adjustments already.  And hoping that he can find a new job quickly.

In the meantime... if you could all add your prayers and/or positive thoughts to the Universe that the right job for Jay will come along, I would really appreciate it!  Quickly would be nice.  A positive work atmosphere would be great.  Closer to home would surely be a bonus.  But most of all, whatever and wherever it may be, just let it be a position that will make Jay happy and fulfilled.  That's what really matters in the end.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Time Out

I'll be offline for the next few days - best friends are kidnapping me and taking me to an undisclosed location for a girls' weekend!  I don't know if I'll have internet access or not... but even if I do, I'll be reading, but likely not commenting on blogs. I'll be concentrating on living in the moment.

But I couldn't leave without giving you one more photo to ponder:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Project 64 {19/64}

I didn't have to look far to find this week's color.  It was right there on my computer screen!
I also found it  with my fitness ball and water bottle!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good Mail Day

received this delightful little card and gorgeous envelope from Sian earlier this week.

Yay, bring on the sunshine!

Thanks Sian!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chocolate Tasting - Rounds 3, 4, and 5

I have spent the last several days trying out new chocolates.  But before I tell you what I thought of each, I feel I need a disclaimer.  I am by no means a chocolate connoisseur.  In fact, I have a rather odd palate.  Some flavors that seem pleasing to a lot of folks just don't sit well in my mouth.  These include butterscotch, coconut, yogurt (any flavor), coffee, tea, and all manner of alcoholic beverages.  I don't like any of it.  I've tried to like tea - I've tried a lot of flavors. Just can't.  I can't even get past the smell of coffee!

When it comes to chocolate, this is my guilty pleasure:

No fancy expensive high cacao dark chocolate - but a grocery store staple.  Manufactured by the Mars Company in New Jersey (next state over to the east).  I believe this brand is available in the U.K. under the name "Galaxy." (based on info read on the internet.)  

Dove Dark Chocolate Promises probably barely qualify as "dark" - they are apparently in the range of 50-60% cacao content. But they are smooth, creamy, and just the right balance between sweet and chocolate for my palate. This is the standard against which I measure my chocolate. And when I don't have chocolate gifties to sample, I usually indulge in one of these a day! (just 42 calories!)

Okay, back to European chocolates.  First up, Prague:
A milk chocolate filled with nuts and a cherry-flavored goo.  This was so cloyingly sweet it made my teeth hurt.  It was truly not edible. Sarah actually tossed most of her little square in the trash.  Even Rachel who usually loves sweet stuff didn't like it.  Score:  0/10.  I hate to waste food, especially chocolate, but this puppy is headed for the trash can!

Next up, Rome:
A dark chocolate with a truffle-like filling. My first taste was okay. But once it settled, it tasted like coffee to me. 

Now I can't read Italian, but I do know how to use Google.  So I learned a couple of key phrases from the package.  "con morbido ripieno" means "with a soft filling". Check, I knew that.  "di crema alla nocciola" (from the back of the label) means "hazelnut cream."  Okay, that explains it.  I've never had hazelnuts before, but apparently I don't have any great love for hazelnut cream.  I gave this one a 3/10.  To be fair, Sarah and her friend Allison both liked it and said it didn't taste like coffee at all.  So I may not be the best choice for food critic!

Last for today, Barcelona:
This one is a straight up solid dark chocolate bar. 70% cacao.  No fillers or flavors, just chocolate.

I expected with the super high cacao content that it would be bitter. It isn't. But it's not sweet either. It's just dark chocolate. The melt factor isn't so good - in fact it doesn't really melt at all, you have to chew it, which isn't my preference in savoring chocolate. It is a little bit gritty.  But overall, it is good.  This one gets a 7/10.  I will finish it... although I'm also willing to share.

So far I still love my Dove Promises best! Guess that makes me a cheap date!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Picture Inspiration 12/52

"Mysterious Ways"

That isn't a water droplet, it is something internal to the flower that oozes out from the stigma (the tip of the pistil).  Isn't it amazing what you can learn on Google?

So why is this flower weeping?

And for those of you who are curious, this is almost "larger than life".

The photo was taken with a Canon Powershot SD1400IS in program mode with the macro setting on and flash off.  Post processing was limited to a very slight lightening of the shadows and a very slight sharpen.  It was actually pretty decent SOOC.

I'm guessing that a DSLR with a macro lens and a photographer who knew how to use it would produce a crisper image with more detail, but for my purposes, right now I'm pretty happy with my little point and shoot!

Don't Blink

Becca and Rachel - May 2003

Becca and Rachel - May 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Project 64 {18/64}


This basket sits right next to my computer and holds books and journals.

I thought the handle, trim, and markings on the basket were a pretty good match for tumbleweed.

Picture Inspiration 9/52

"Observation Mode"

Post-salon appointment, I was requested to do a french manicure for Becca.  Other than the fact that I look a bit like  "Cousin It" this is a good interactive shot.  Obviously I'm not the photographer!

Isn't Becca's hair cute?

And to the astute observer, you can see the manicurist has changed. My skills at french manicure weren't up to par.  Apparently, neither were Rachel's.  Ultimately Becca went to prom with purple nails that in her words "look like a five-year-old painted them."  Well Becca, nobody noticed!