Friday, April 26, 2013

Loving Lettering

Had a good day yesterday catching up around the house. Swept and dusted and puttered a bit. Put on a big pot of split pea and ham soup (I absolutely LOVE making soup and split pea is one of my faves--so yum!!) Threw open every single one of the windows just because I could and enjoyed the fresh air and listening to all the birds singing outside...beautiful day. I also managed to get a couple lettering projects done (the icing on my cake!) I've begun working my way through Creative Lettering by Jenny Doh, which is a super fantastic book, featuring sixteen different lettering artists and their top tips and techniques, with lots of fun projects to play and practice!
First project in Flora Chang's chapter. I used a list of journal prompt words from Joanne Sharpe's Letter Love to fill a page. It was so hard to just stick to only pink and black...but I really like the graphic look of the finished piece.

And Flora's second project-a simple floor to ceiling lettering style quote, colored in negative space-used my Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils.

This morning I have to run and pick up the new laptop. It's finally ready. Hopefully it won't take too long to get the hang of Windows 8 and sorting the finances on the new Quicken program...Supposed to have a gorgeous weekend (beach, anybody??) Happy Friday!!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
~Psalm 19:14

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Whole New View

It took two days to finish but the new windows are all happy! I can see outside now, so clean and clear! No ugly storm windows, no peeling caulk, no dirty panes that I was unable to clean since I couldn't get the old windows even open. Now I have all clean, pretty, opening windows, fresh clean, love, love it!! So, as promised, old and new pics:
Old entry side view--big ugly storm windows...

Brandy new! Slider in the big kitchen window so we can open now for a wonderful cross breeze!

Front view...more ugly storm windows

Pretty pretty new! Love the picture window in the livingroom!

Old, other side-cardboard wedged in the storm windows to keep from rattling in the wind

Ta da!
I thought I'd taken new shots of the back, but only had partial shots of where they left off after Tuesday...and deleted those thinking I had other new shots...But, you get the idea...We really love how they look!

Today I finally get the house back--no strangers in the way, lots of sawdust everywhere to clean up and catch up on the rest of my cleaning that I couldn't get done...

And, our old PC finally bit the dust as well...I knew it was coming, just didn't need that added expense right now. But, hopefully we'll pick up the new laptop either later today or tomorrow.
Always something, isn't it? So, happy Thursday! Almost the weekend....Hang in there, baby!

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
 ~1 Corinthians 15:58

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Windows are Coming! The Windows are Coming!

We're having our new windows installed today and I'm kinda excited about it. Kinda nervous, too, since this is by far the most expensive home improvement project Bill and I have ever undertaken. We've never stayed anywhere long enough to bother with such investments before, so I'm taking this as a positive sign that we just may stick around here a while...(Can I get an Amen and a Hallelujah!?)

Plus, it's a way of moving forward from the events of last week here in MA--and I just need that right now. I've been rather shocked into a stunned silence after the Boston marathon bombing and the aftermath that occured too close to home for comfort. Seeing the police cars swarming the campus at Dartmouth Friday morning as we left a nearby grocery store, helicopters flying over our house so low it sounded as though they might take some shingles with them, and sitting glued to the TV all that night waiting for resolution as the second brother hid himself in the boat, praying he'd live and no one else would be hurt in the stand off.

My heart broke for Martin Richard's family and I gasped in horror at the photo of Dzokar spotted behind them at the finish line, the bomb filled backpack laid on the ground, as Martin cheered on the runners. How do you take your child anywhere in this world and feel safe anymore? I'm so sickened by it all. I don't understand the hatred, the blatant disregard for innocent human life. Still, something inside me wanted Dzokar to come out of this okay and I didn't understand that at all. I thought maybe he'd been coerced into all of this by an idolized big brother. I wanted to believe maybe this wasn't his true choice. How could anybody choose to do something so awful...? I don't get it. Not at all.

So I've been rather numb this past week. I've managed some art time but I didn't take pictures. I am so thankful for all the beautiful mail I've received for NLWM, a shining light in this otherwise bleak time. I need to gather up all the gorgeous goodies that have turned up in my mailbox but think with it being so close to the end, I'll just wait 'til it is all over and take one big shot of all of it--though I really don't think it'll all fit in one frame! Such wonderful amazing talent and even more incredible loving new friends--this has been so much fun and I'm already looking forward to joining in again next year! Of course, the fun will continue through the remainder of 2013 as we're sending out Random Acts of Mail to individuals who need a reminder that the sun is still shining and there are always people who care to put a smile on their face. So I've got a little pile of mail I need to put together to go out today-five NLWM participants and two more RAM's--and who knows what fun I'll find in my own box this afternoon...? Yay!

Pictures, pictures, pictures...I did take "Before" pictures of the house with our old windows and will post them later with "After" shots hopefully tomorrow! They've already finished the upstairs and are halfway done with the downstairs and they've only been here three hours! And I need to catch up on arting pictures as well. I finished Letter Love. Well, I'm not doing the final project which is a lettering journal of repeated lesson projects, all bound together by hand with decorative tape. Eh...I can always go back and do it later if I should so decide. For now I'm moving on to new things. I just started working my way through Creative Lettering by Jenny Doh which I'm LOVING!! And still paging through the Art Journaling magazine--so, so pretty...My faces project...has quite a bit to be desired but I'll keep practicing. And take pictures. Blogs are rather boring without pretty pictures. So here's a few:

We took the boys to Buttonwood Zoo last week for Spring break--had a gorgeous day! Colin, Bug, and Jacob

Mama Elephant

I love Screech Owls

Bugga did some hand art! He also whipped up a few postcards last week to play along with NLWM (stupid Mom didn't get pics of those either....drat)

I love his signature!
All right--happy week, hoping for happier times anyway...Also hoping I can find some peace today and tomorrow amid window contractors and whining dogs to get some arting done (and take pictures!!!) See you soon...

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
~Isaiah 40:30-31

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I'm Up To Now...

Sadly, the end of Letter Love is approaching and, like any good artist girl, my mind has begun a-wandering to think about what I should do next? It's so easy to find myself distracted and then completely lost, blocked, stumped, and confused...So, I took a good look at my bookshelf. Oh my...I have--wait, let me go count them--a good fourteen...fifteen...arting (not including writing) books I've bought, played with briefly, then (easily distracted) tucked on the shelf to go play with some new shiny object that caught my eye...That's not good. Plus, I had also just picked up the Spring issue of Art Journaling magazine, and I'm completely enraptured with the beautiful work that packs its pages...and I just want to PLAY!! Make pretty, pretty pages and paste and doodle and paint and stencil....aaahhh! Yeah, sometimes I have the attention span of a four year old trying to focus between a happy cupcake covered with sprinkles and pink icing, a new coloring book and box of sparkley, pretty crayons, and the cartoons blasting on the TV...Just give me ALL OF IT!!!
Anyway...So what I've decided to do:
1. Finish Letter Love
2. Read/play with one or two articles in Art Journaling magazine each day (before the Summer issue hits the news stands...)
3. I alphabetized all my art books ("I WILL have ORDER!" ala Dolores Umbridge) and am starting with Creative Doodling & Beyond by Stephanie Corfee since that came up first in the line up--and fits perfectly with my current direction--so will practice a page or two every day until I finish the entire book before I move on to the next (and no buying more books until I make it through the ones already on my shelf!) (Oh, I've said that before...)
And finally, 4. Faces. I've never been good at drawing people/faces. Mainly because I'm not crazy about people. I love animals and can doodle, draw, paint animals 'til my arting supplies run out. People...not so much. But, I'm drooling all over these gorgeous art journal pages and there are some amazingly beautiful faces in so many that I really, really want to draw and paint faces now (grrfff) So, the only way I know how to get better at things you're not naturally very good at is to practice. A lot. Like every day. The plan (always "The Plan"...) is to draw/paint a face every day. Until I get it. Which may be never. But, I will not be deterred and will give this my best shot. Until something else grabs my attention and off I go to play on that...Right? There really is no hope for me...
But, alas, a few pics of what I've done the last few days:
A painted background for Letter Love which then turned into this:

Creative Color Bands lesson

And this is my first Faces/Creative Doodling & Beyond page, with a couple quotes I found in Art Journaling magazine that I loved...So, the face wasn't too bad? Maybe I have hope?
Ooo! Sunday we went off exploring. We tried to find the Bird Island lighthouse in Marion but got turned around after asking directions and ended up here at Ned's Light in Mattapoisett:

I love lighthouses!

And seagulls!

Bugga on the rocks
 National Letter Writing Month continues...This was yesterday's stash:
So many creative people in our group--just too fun!
We are supposed to go to Buttonwood Park Zoo today with friends--the weather is looking perfect! Sixty-five and mostly sunny! I'm also supposed to be running this morning so I need to get off of here and get my butt out there...So Happy Wednesday all! Keep on Arting and see you soon!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8:38-39

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pretty Treats and Reclaimed Treasures

I've been playing around with some new techniques this week. A friend from the NLWM group posted directions on how to make your own Washi tape on her blog, Lazy Lizard Studio, and I just had to give it a shot! Super simple and cheap to make with supplies already in the medicine cabinet--yes! Medical tape! I spritzed mine with the homemade spray paints I'd made, let dry, then stamped 'em up:
Pretty tapes on the bottoms of the envelopes I'd made for NLWM--who doesn't love a rainbow??
Then, this quote has been popping up everywhere for me, so thought I'd play with it for the letter cut outs lesson for Letter Love:
Still want to paint this on a slate with a little beachie scene...
And my dear hubby I think must've been a pirate in a previous life because he is the ultimate treasure finder! He found these two cabinets hiding in the basement of one of the stores he works at, covered in dust and forgotten. No one wanted them, so off he went yesterday to bring them home...

A lighted hutch that's now in our diningroom

Not quite sure yet what we'll fill the display case with on this one but
fun storage space in the top and bottom--really a cool piece! More art toys, anyone??

And this is simply the missing loveseat that matches the couch hubby's sister had given us to replace the one Tucker ate in PA...His nephew's had it and no longer needed it now that he's bought new furniture. The bottom liner needs tacked up but apparently it's passed Tucker's approval! Oh good! Hahaha!
We also kicked off Spring Break yesterday and since Bug had pre-bowled on Thursday, we skipped his league and headed to the Ocean Explorium in downtown New Bedford. It's not very big but it certainly packs a whole lot into such a small place. Bug got to pet sharks and rays, which we got to watch being hand fed--they have a baby ray that's SO cute!! He also got to hold bay and sea scallops(that squirted at him! Haha), a quohog, a clump of mussels, a sea whelk, and an oyster--really cool. Plus they have a beautiful octopus that put on a little show for us, climbing around her tank so you could see how long her tentacles are and watch as she flashed changing colors, then tucked herself neatly back into a shell--so pretty!

Not sure what we'll get up to today, though it's supposed to be fairly nice weather-wise...mayhaps we'll go for a family stroll on the beach this afternoon and pick up some more seashells...
Happy Weekend!!

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
~1 John 4:7,8

Friday, April 12, 2013

Paint Party Friday/Creative Every Day Check Ins

It's been a crazy week, some good, some not so good, but such is life...Monday we finally got around to filing our taxes and our new tax guy, George Mendonca (you should hear him pronounce his name--aaahhh!) was great. Found us a nice return and a potential art job for me later this spring-yay! Painting his business name on his front door! I'll take it! Tuesday I wasted the whole morning with Comcast, Wednesday I tried to play catch up and lost, yesterday morning was spent grocery shopping...and today will be more catch up....sigh...

Anyways, NLWM has been rather underwhelming for me. I've mailed out over sixty cards so far and have only received twenty back. Hmph. So, I'm laying off for the time being. I'll finish mailing out the cards I've already done, but after they're gone I'm only replying with thank you's to new cards I receive. So we'll see how the rest of the month goes...

In the meantime, I've gone back to Letter Love (more catching up!) and have been playing around with some calligraphy and letter layering, which has been fun!

A 'Letter Layered' journal page done with water soluble wax pastels, Sharpies and Gelly Rolls; two final postcards for NLWM, top watercolor pencil, bottom done with watercolor (both were drawn with Sharpies). I have a couple more ideas in my head for the layered letter pages I hope to play with this afternoon. Bugga's done early for school today since it's Friday, then next week is Spring Break--hoping the weather is nice enough for a beach trip at least one day! Yay!!

So, happy weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105

Monday, April 8, 2013

A New Week and a New Baby

Week One's stash
Here we are at Monday again-those weekends do fly by so quick. I received fourteen cards/notes/goodies last week for National Letter Writing Month-I'm so excited to see what comes this week!
I haven't been very happy with the homemade spray paints I'd made. The sprays went too wide and I wasn't getting good color coverage. I discovered that the littler (is that a word?) spray bottles from Walmart worked way better than the ones I had found at Target, so grabbed a handful more this weekend and whipped up a few new colors. Hopefully I'll get to play with those some time today since I'm dreadfully low on envelopes. Below is an experiment in stenciling with a twig and little clump of boxwood leaves--eh...Will definitely keep trying new things with these sprays--I'm intrigued at the possibilities. (Oh, and I added more of the Perfect Pearls this time so they're really nice and sparkly, especially in the sunshine! Pretties!!)

Just a few more cards-doodles and flowers and words, oh my...

Meet Baby Pearl
Our sweet little love, Skye, passed away Saturday afternoon. She (he, actually...long story...) had been sick for quite a long time. I'd been giving her medicine, she'd get better for a little while, then start throwing up again--medicine, better, sick, repeat, for at least a year. I realized she'd never fully recover from whatever this was and stopped the medicine since it had to go in the water and I figured it might not be doing our other parakeet, Blinkie, good to be drinking medicine he didn't need. It's so sad, the letting go. She (he) was such a sweetie, a perfect little love. Blinkie really freaked out Sunday morning, waking up to an empty cage, so off we went to find him a new buddy to keep him company (as if our other three birds aren't enough...) And...welcome Pearl! She (we hope) is a beautiful tiny creamino with just the lightest wash of yellow on her forehead. Blinkie wasn't quite sure of her at first, but settled down after a little while and the two of them just sat and took each other in...I think they'll be good friends in no time.

So today is tax day--at last!! Nothing like waiting 'til the last minute! Fun times. But, first, it's almost fifty degrees this morning and Tucker and I need to hit the road for a quick run! Yay! Happy Monday--have a great week!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
~Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, April 5, 2013

NLWM, Paint Party Friday, & Some Linky Love!

Fun times and mail love just keeps flowing in this week! Wednesday I received this sweet surprise from Joy in CA:
So cool to get this fun bottle and then! Opened it up to find a little note and such pretty pink nail polish! Yay!
 Thursday brought notes and cards from CA, OK, and WI!
I'm still keeping up with my goal of sending out four cards a day (28 sent so far! And have cards addressed and ready to go through Monday...) Made these two postcards with my brandy new Caran D'ache watersoluble pastels--scrumptious colors!!

So, linking up to Paint Party Friday, Creative Every Day, and Tammy over at Daisy Yellow has started a new April mission to Share the Linky Love! Which makes me think I should share a link for Lindsay Ostrom-click on her name if you'd like to see more National Letter Writing love folks are receiving this month! Crazy fun!!
Hoping to get more cards made today though I have a bunch of errands to run this morning, groceries and returns and I need STAMPS!! Then Bug has basketball this afternoon and bowling tomorrow (only three weeks left--the season flew by!) Busy is good, right? Happy Friday! Happy Weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
~Matthew 5:16

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NLWM Fun is Under Way!

Woohoo! Only two days into the month and I've already received five cards! Some girls have gotten more and, sadly, a wee few haven't found anything in their mailboxes yet (aside from one unlucky little spider! Yikes!) Though, I'm sure that will certainly change shortly--there's so much letter love floating around out there still to be delivered and lots more to be sent out! I've mailed twenty cards myself so far and have a bunch more made just waiting to go. Seriously way too much fun!

Received these two cards on Monday

This is the joy I found in my mailbox yesterday! Three cards from CA (along with a beautiful handmade envelope!) AND my Caran D'ache Neocolor II's!!! How happy am I???

Figured I better get busy making some thank you's...

And another batch I worked on yesterday--a little bit of everything from Zentangle and doodles, flowers, waves and thank you's...
McBugga starts guitar lessons this afternoon--quite interested to see how that goes! My little guy is very musical, he's always singing and making up crazy songs, so I can't wait to see what he does adding a guitar into the mix....
As for me, I'll be playing with my Caran D'ache! Happy Dance!! Yay!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose.
~Romans 8:28

Monday, April 1, 2013

April is Here!

Is anyone else having trouble keeping up with this year? Spring and now April are suddenly upon us, ready or not...I know most of the world is ready to be done with winter weather and, I have to confess, I'm ready for some warmer weather myself. It's so much easier to convince my hubby to take me to the beach when it's not windy and freezing out there...After all, there is a time and a season for everything, right? And it is officially spring...Snow wouldn't be so much fun if we had it year round...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter celebration! We started ours super early (5:45am) in the dark, on the beach, and yes, it was freezing--twenty-eight degrees!! But! It was so beautiful seeing the sun rise over the water, listening to the seagulls wake and take flight over us, watching the fishing boats coming in to harbor...gorgeous way to begin our Easter day!

Super early O-dark thirty

Here comes the sun!

Sleeping New Bedford

Seagulls shared in the service

We even had a baptism! How cool to be baptized at the ocean on Easter morning!!

Easter morning breaks on New Bedford

Butler Flats Lighthouse-built in 1898

This was actually Saturday's sunset seen from our patio door--we have the most gorgeous skies here!
More cards for NLWM! Ya' gotta have a snail, a little Zentagled new pattern Weben,
and a whole lotta love flowing from the mailbox!

And, it's official!! National Letter Writing Month has begun!! I've sent out a dozen cards so far, four more going out today...I'll post pics of all the lovelies that land in my mailbox this month--I can't wait! Love, love, love fun mail!
So, happy Monday! Happy April! Happy Spring!

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him.
~John 3:16-17