Saturday, September 30, 2006

{Studio Friday}

Studio Friday Week of September 30, 2006
This week's topic was submitted by ME!

" Studio Friday, for me, is a network of Artist from all over the world. It's a fabulous way to communicate with and learn from artists of all backgrounds. With this being said, I would love to see a showcase of what YOUR art is. Are you a scrapbooker? A clay artist? Are you a collage artist or a photographer? Do you paint or work in the fibre arts of Knitting, sewing or enbroidery? Are you a gardener a botanist or an eclectic artist of many trades? I'd love to see a piece that you have created that you are most proud of. SHOW off your STUFF!!"

As an artist, I can't really catagorize myself in one area. I love ALL forms of art and dabble in quite a few different areas. My favourite is scrapbooking. Why do I love scrapbooking so much? That's an easy question for me to answer. It's simply because I can incorporate words and photos on the same 'piece'. For me, scrapbooking is complete freedom to create a look I like that goes with my photos and my thoughts.
You can meet more artists here.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Praying Mantis

My 4 year old is a self proclaimed 'bug-ologist'
She lets everyone know that she's going to take care of bugs at the zoo when she grows up. She doesn't play favourites either, if it's a bug, insect, arachnid or any type of creepy-crawly, she loves it.
You wouldn't think of her as a bug lover if you looked at her. She looks like a girly-girl with long hair with curls, and she's ALWAYS in a dress, by her own request!
We ran across this Praying Mantis a few days ago on our travels. My 4 year old noticed her here on this newspaper vending box. Of course, striking GREEN on RED will be an attention getter (what WAS the mantis thinking?! They change color from brown to BRIGHT green) After she caught her eye, she immediately wanted to investigate!
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Of course, upon immediate sight, Mackie wanted to HOLD the Mantis. Due to her very gentle manner, I allowed her to put her hand out to see if the Mantis wanted anything to do with that. She wasn't having ANYTHING to do with Mackie's hand....
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So we figured to find a leaf or something, but there wasn't anything close by. I decided to try my keychain since it was green and, lo and behold! The praying Mantis was interested and decided to check it out.
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And up Mackie's arm she began to creep... Mackie was totally focused on it and LOVING every minute of it.
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Daddy had to step in and 'help' the praying mantis back down Mackie's arm.
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My 2 year old wanted to be part of the scene too. And with her inquisitve manner, moved herself right alongside of her sister to see what all the ruckus was about!
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Ellie was as delighted as Mackie was. She wanted to hold the mantis too but when she felt the 'sticky' feet, she didn't like it so decided to let her sister do all the holding!
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Mackie was very interested in finding the Praying Mantis a safe place so we looked around and found a barrel garden. (we were in downtown Gettysburg). Mackie commented that she thought that the praying mantis would be happier on the green leaves where she can hide.
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We went back the next day and she was STILL there within the green leaves in the barrel garden. Mackie went to hold her again but she disappeared deep into the foliage. What a nice thing for Mackie to experience. She saved the mantis from the sidewalk and found it a lush, green home! I am so glad that my girls are so enfatuated with nature. They are both so gentle and calm with animals and bugs. It makes me feel good that they have respect for life. Even the life of a bitty bug is cherished and dear to them. I am so very proud of my little girls!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

{Pen & Pixel}

As a design team member at Time To Scrap, I have been given an awesome opportunity to write and at that same time, encourage others to embrace writing. The owner of the site and I had a long meeting a few weeks ago to discuss the area which I felt I was most strong. I am not one for uploading layouts... I just can't seem to be a fast enough scrapbooker to keep the gallery fresh. I'm not a 'top' poster. My 2 toddlers keep me too busy to be able to post like a fiend like I used to. BUT, I am rabid about writing. Katie and I sat down and figured out how that could be an asset to the site and came up with "Pen and Pixel"
I am aware that it may take some time to build up, but I feel that it'll eventually have quite a nice group of contributors and that I will be able to bring myself even further into the world of writing, journaling and/or blogging. Come along for the ride and check it out. It's a continuous workshop for writers of all kinds. You can move at your own pace, pick the exercises that you feel would work for you and share your ideas, thoughts and writing if you so desire.

Exercise for the week of September 25, 2006

Do you find it hard to write? If so, why?
Do you find it easy to write? If so, HOW?

I would love to know what issues you may have about writing and hopefully, help you past them. You can learn SO MUCH about yourself by simply choosing a topic and writing about it for 30 minutes a day.

What I want you to do is to pick a topic.... ANY topic. IT can be 'flavors of ice cream' or 'breeds of dogs' or 'family resemblances' or something even deeper like "Democrats" or even "intimacy"

Take 30 minutes and write about it. What you DONT want to do is stiffle yourself. DO NOT scould yourself for writing something that you're thinking, do not stop yourself in mid-thought and restart. Go with the flow, keep writing until 30 minutes is up (or longer if you wish!)

***Once you're finished with this exercise I'd love for you to share the experience. How did the exercise make you feel? Did it turn out differently than you had originally thought? Did it turn out EXACTLY as you had thought? Did you learn anything about yourself during this exercise?***

If you want to BLOG this and share, please share your link here and if you are writing in a journal, you can post here and let us know what your experiences were as you were writing and how the exercise affected you. I would love to see how this exercise works for each individual.

Monday, September 25, 2006

{Scrapbrats Blog Ring Challenge #3}

Scrapbrats Blog Ring #3

This week's question is:

"I feel most at peace when ..."

This topic wasn't hard for me at all. Last week's topic is still in draft form and I will, eventually, embrace it. For now, I'll move on with hopes to un-clutter my brain and WRITE it all out!

I feel most at peace when I am writing. When I am writing, I am at ease, I am totally focused on what I am doing and it seems that my body is harmoniously centered. When I am writing, it's as if I am somewhere else, completely engulfed in confidence, relaxation and balance. I allow my thoughts to flow at whatever rate they wish and my hands always seem to be able to keep up the pace.
If I have a particularly stressful day, I turn, immediately, to my blog or journal to start writing. The moment I start is the moment that my stress, aggravation and dischord start to drain away. Writing is my escape and also my therapy. It allows me to voice my aggrivations and stresses without doing so towards any one person. I can vent here at anytime, know that someone 'hears' me and be done with it. It's said, my way, in my temperment at that time and it's out. Writing is an AWESOME tension reliever for me and something I do, every night before bed. I have never, ever had problems sleeping and I wonder if it has to do with the fact that I do 'check my stresses and tensions at the door' , so to speak before going to bed. It never follows me around because I let it out here or in my journal and once it's out, it's been dealt with and said and there's nothing further I can do. I simply let it go.
I feel most at peace when I am writing.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gettysburg, PA

We pilgrimaged to the wet, soggy Eisenhower Farm for their annual WW2 Weekend to set up a WW2 Field Hospital. When you arrive, you are immediately immersed in 1940s WW2 culture from soldiers to sailors, homefront to correspondants. It's an amazing display of both the Axis and Allies, open to the public. Here's our Field Hospital.
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We joined our buddies, Larry and Fred and put on quite a nice display between us. We had the PERFECT spot to set up as we were right in front of the gate. People who where visiting the display came in the gate right across from us so we had a lot of people paying visits throughout the weekend.
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My girls enjoy the weekend excursions as much as we do and love to don their vintage 1940's dresses and play with their vintage 1940's toys as well. They are no stranger to military drills, vehicles and 'friendly' fire. You can almost say they're the youngest WW2 veterans out there!!
We make this annual trip a sort of extended weekend vacation too. We love to drive the roadsides along the battlefields and stop to admire the monuments and lush battlefield views. Gettysburg is rich with Civil War history.
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Above is a photo of the Pennsylvania monument. It's MASSIVE and you can't get the feel for it unless there's a person in the photo. It was almost dusk and there wasn't a single person in sight. What a gorgeous, absolutely fantastic monument it is.
The battlefields are full of monuments and markers. There must be thousands of them which makes it impossible to see them ALL. Here's another that caught my eye. This is the monument for Major-General John Fulton Reynolds.
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We drove past "Devil's Den" at sunset and had our picture taken by another visitor. (Thanks, Kim!)
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There's lots of stuff to do around Gettysburg. We did some antiquing, shopping and we took a Candle-lit walking tour of 'Haunted Gettysburg'.
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The photo above is the sign on the porch where we started the walking tour. It came out GREAT! As we walked along the tour, we took a bunch of pictures throughout the walking tour but this one (below) was the only one that came out with orbs. All of the other are pristine without a single orb. This spot that I photographed used to be the stream where the wounded soldiers would wash their wounds and drink. Several were too weak to drink or wash and simply fell in and died there. The tour guide has experienced several sightings here in this area so I decided to snap a pic. I got some orbs.(or are they dust!?)
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The day before we went home, we went to "Boyds Bear Country"
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The girls were completely overwhelmed and actually wanted to LEAVE a couple of times because it was just that ovewhelming. There isn't a single spot to rest your eye. It's three complete floors, the size of a 3 tiered WAL*Mart, no kidding.
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They each got to 'build a stuffed animal' which they thoroughly enjoyed! As you can see below.
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Our hotel was very nice and it had an indoor pool which was GREAT! We were lucky and had the pool to ourselves and my girls and I enjoyed winding down there before bed each night.
The trip was very fun, but as most vacations go, much too short! We look forward to returning to Gettysburg in the, not too distant, future for more trekking about and exploring!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Happy Mabon, Autumn Equinox, 1st Day of Fall!

Autumn has finally arrived! I am so excited because this is my very favourite time of the year. I LOVE the weather, the holidays and the landscape.
The 2006 autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere occurs Friday, September 22, at 9:04pm PDT; 00:04 UT 9/23, when the Sun enters Libra.
Equinox, which means "equal night" refers to a time when the length of day and night are equal. As the Sun crosses the celestial equator, the axis of the Earth points neither toward nor away from the Sun resulting in in 12 hours of darkness and light over the planet.

"Mabon (pronounced "MAY-bon") marks the Second Harvest of the Celtic/Pagan year.
It is very much like Thanksgiving. Most of the crops have been reaped and abundance is more noticeable than ever! Mabon is the time when we reap the fruits of our labor and lessons, both crops and experiences. It is a time of joy, to celebrate that which is passing (for why should we mourn the beauty of the year or dwindling sunlight?), looking joyously at the experience the year has shared with us. And it is a time to gaze into the bright future. We are reminded once again of the cyclic universe; endings are merely new beginnings.

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Since it is the time of dying sun, effort is also made to celebrate the dead with joyous remembrance. It is considered taboo to pass a burial site and not honor the dead. Natural energies are aligned towards protection, wealth, prosperity, security, and boosting self-confidence. Any spells or rituals centered around balance and harmony are appropriate.

To honor the dead, it is traditional to place apples on burial cairns as symbolism of rebirth and gratitude. Furthermore, it is a time to honor the elders, who have devoted so much time and energy to your growth and development. Something special is in order for these gracious people."
(Parts of this post were excerpts taken from here)

Pen and Pixel

I am the proud moderator of the new journaling thread at Time To Scrap. I am very happy to be taking this on since I am such a writing addict. I hope that it'll be a success. I don't know how many of the members over there are into journaling or blogging but I hope that there'll be, atleast, a handful of 'regulars' who will participate.
I am excited to share my passion with others in hopes to 'jump start' them and get them passionate about writing. Come check it out, it's free. It's on a scrapbooking forum but it's NOT just for scrapbookers! It's for journalers and bloggers too!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

WW2 Weekend at The Eisenhower Farm, Gettysburg, PA

We had such a fantastic turn out! We had a great location for set up (right in front of the in-gate) and it was really a great weekend. We set up with 2 friends and made an awesome Aid Station display (photos to come) The event was sponsored by the National Park service and the Eisenhower Estate. Gettysburg is so rich with war history that if you are a war buff, you HAVE to visit here. It's also a great place for crafters, quilters, Boyd's Bear lovers and hikers. There's really SO MUCH to do around here that just about everyone would love it.
I have some great photos of the event and also of the Gettysburg battlefields. I will upload them as soon as I get home. I forgot my camera-computer cable. DUH!~!!:(

Friday, September 15, 2006

On our way to Gettysburg, PA

We're on the way to Gettysburg, PA! I have my trusty laptop and will be able to (hopefully!!) update as we go along.
1st stop is here at my inlaws! My hubby had to work today so we opted to hang out here and leave from here in the AM to save about 4 hours of time. I am picking him up tomorrow morning from his work and we'll be off on our 3+ hours adventure. Three hours is nothing for us, we LOVE driving and exploring!!!!
I'll check in again tomorrow with some photos.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Scrapbrats Blog Ring Challenge #2
Most influential person in our life.

It occurred to me that I haven't really written about mine and that I feel it's high-time that I sit down and do so.

mentor [men-tawr, -ter]
–noun 1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

My mentor is Thomas F. Crum.
The man probably has no clue how much he means to me or even how much he changed my life.
I met Tom when I was 16 years old. I happened to be serving a summer internship at Windstar, the same place he was conducting his 'Aiki Week' workshops. My internship sorta intertwined with his workshop and I wound up volunteering at his workshops for the remainder of that summer and 2 more to follow. It was friggin' FANTASTIC.
Tom is a sensei of Aikido (A Japanese martial art). He is also a life coach and a motivational speaker who specializes in Conflict Resolution. His programs are phenominal and I highly recommend them.
I don't think Tom knows to what extent his involvement in my teen years has affected me. I haven't seen him since my mid 20's but his teachings, his words and wisdom are an intricate part of my every day. I live in the moment. I always do. I am always RIGHT HERE and no where else. I rarely daydream about far off events, I am content to be in this moment, in this time, right here, right now.
I always grasp "the strawberry of life" and see the best in things. I DO stop to smell the roses, to call a friend, write a note. I am centered 95% of the time, though I do have a small tendancy to get off-center occasionally. (usually when it has to do with one of my girls having a tantrum!)
I haven't spoken with Tom in years. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that life's journey has brought me to different places and we haven't crossed paths. I think I will write up an email or dial the phone this afternoon.........

Monday, September 11, 2006

What is YOUR family's plan?

On the anniversary of the "9/11" tragedy, I sit here thinking about that question that, undoubtedly, has gone through almost everyone's mind,
"What would WE do if it happened right HERE?"
My dumbfounded answer is, "umm.. I dunno"
We are prepared somewhat in that we do have at least a week's worth supply of food and water. We always have, it's just the way my hasband and I are. We've got a 1st aid kit (yeah..that'll help, right.) 4 flashlights and we have tons of batteries of all sizes. We're prepared with matches, candles, a rope ladder and all the straight forward check list items on the local fire department hand-out. We don't have a generator and hate to think that we actually SHOULD get one but have yet to do so.
We DON'T have an evacuation plan which, sadly, I think we do need. It's said that all families should also have a 'meeting place' in the event that we may be separated. I hate that one too. Horrible thought, but again, necessary.
We live right in the middle between Philly and New York City and there's always news broadcasts about this stuff. Has your news done a special on it?
What I want to know is, do YOU have a family plan? If so, what is it? Have you ever NEEDED to evacuate (We only had to ONCE and it was only for a few hours, thankfully!) What's on your disaster checklist? Are your supplies all stocked? A hard topic, yes, but one that's, sadly, necessary to face.
Tell me about your family's plan in the event of a disaster.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

{Bloggin' Brats}

This week's Scrapbrats prompt is "I wish I knew then what I know now......"

I read the prompt last night and decided to sleep on it. (Aside from the fact that my 2 year old was up till MIDNIGHT bouncing off the walls for no known reason!)
Ok, onto the topic...

I thought long and hard and honestly, there's nothing that I would have done or would have wanted to do differently or change if I had today's knowledge 'back then'.
We all move along our timelines accumulating bits and pieces of wisdom and knowledge at a certain pace. If we are wise beyond our years (considerably that is)then the manner in which we move along our timeline would be greatly affected, thus not allowing us to learn certain necessities along the way.
For example, I wonder how many of you will take this prompt and write about ill-fated love. The heartbreaks and love lessons we have suffered are parts of life's lessons. Perhaps if we knew the outcome of a relationship BEFORE we experienced it, maybe it would have kept us from entering that relationship and learning something crucial. Yeah, we get our feelings hurt, heart broken and all that NORMAL stuff, but there are other aspects to the relationship that may have been one of life's great lessons.
I am fortunate to not have anything really 'icky' that bothers me about my past. I enjoy the learning process and think of my life as one huge science experiment. I enjoy going along at my own pace, picking up bits and pieces of knowledge and experience along the way.
I wouldn't change a thing.

Friday, September 08, 2006

{Studio Friday}

"There is such a diverse group here, with such different art forms, I think it would be interesting to see what tools others use on a regular basis to create their art or product."

Ah.. this is a fun one!
Let's see... my primary 'art' is my scrapbooking. There are a few tools that I consider a 'must have' for my artistic endeavours.
1. My 12" Fiskar's Paper Trimmer
This is such an AWESOME trimmer. It cuts so smooth and so crisp. I love it!

Another tool I NEED is my pair of Cutter Bee Scissors. If you have not had the fortune to use a pair of these scissors, you have missed out! I've had several other brands of scissors but none have held up to the abuse and use like my Cutter bee!!

Being a scrapbooker, I rely heavily on my digital camera to take the photos that I so LOVE to scrap! This is a fabulous little Nikon digital camera. It's small, has video capacity, and has many different settings with which you can fiddle and get the exact shot you want. It even has a cool feature that you can use to snap photos instantly one after another in a cool action sequence. (can ya tell I love it!?)

These 2 aren't TOOLS, but they are defintely necessary for the inspiration and creation of my scrapbooking layouts!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Full Moon

I find solace in the full moon. It's a sort of energy cleanser for me. When the skies are clear, I like to sit outside under the glow of the full moon. It couldn't have come at a better time this month.

Do you have anything that recharges your energy? Is there something that you do that helps you when you're 'out of sorts'?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Can't shake it

If you know me, you know I'm all exuberance and sunshine. I am happy-go-lucky, outgoing and optimistic. The death of Steve Irwin is really bothering me. It feels personal. I know, that's really WEIRD since I've never met the man. I really admired him, felt a bond with him for his views of animal conservation and preservation.
Every time I load an internet page or turn on the tv or radio they are talking about it. I keep getting annoyed because it seems that people are so quick with an attitude that he deserved it. NO ONE deserves death like that.
I am annoyed at the media for being so crass and asking STUPID ASS QUESTIONS every 2 seconds. They have NO respect for Steve's grieving family and friends and are in the faces of his colleagues, producer and employees asking such STUPID QUESTIONS. "How do you feel about Steve's death?" One reporter asked. I couldn't believe it. WTF? How do YOU THINK he feels, ASSHOLE! His best friend just DIED! Yeah he feels great, never felt better. DUH MORON. WTF?!
This happened to me after the death of John Denver. I had known him since I was a kid and when he died, I was interviewed by a local source who asked me that very same question. I couldn't believe it. I just sorta looked at her and didn't answer. That STUPID question didn't even merit an answer. I would love to be a journalist. I have been around them long enough to know WHAT NOT to do. These people are out for a buck. They are taking advantage of someone else's heartbreak, someone else's hardship and grief all to try and make a buck. I don't have the insensitive brass balls to be IN someone's face and business who is suffering! I am a sensitive person and feed off of other's emotions. If I had to interview someone who was GRIEVING, I would be a complete wreck. My empathy would kick in and I'd be a weeping mass of flesh in a puddle on the floor.
I don't mean to be dissing journalists. We do NEED journalists but some of them have to learn a little compassion and tact. Asking someone how they FEEL after they lost a family member or friend is just TACTLESS and RUDE. YOU KNOW the answer to that question so why do you feel that you need to ASK IT IN PUBLIC?!
So here I sit, still in shock and disbelief, unable to shake my saddness about the loss of Steve Irwin.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Another great humanitarian, gone.....

At 6AM this morning I was woken, abruptly, by the phone. It was my dear friend in Australia, Nicole. She wanted to give me the news before I saw it on the telly or the computer.
She said, "Take a moment to wake up" and I said in my groggy state, "ok." She then said, "Have you seen the news yet?" and I answered, "Umm no" then she apologised for it being so early and said "I am so terribly sorry, I knew how much you loved him" and then I knew, without further words, exactly what she was telling me.
Steve Irwin was gone.
Of course, still 1/2 asleep and not wanting it to be REAL, It didn't sink in right away. I wanted it to be a dream. I sat there for a few seconds, waiting to wake up but sadly, I was already awake and Steve really IS gone.

On the news they said he died doing what he loved, filming and teaching about wildlife. As much as I KNOW that's true, it doesn't make his death any more easily accepted for me. I have followed his career and life for almost 15 years now and it's just so sad that he's gone. His was such a dedicated family man. His daughter, Bindi Sue is only 8 years old and his son Bob isn't even 3 yet. I feel for his family and friends as I know this will be a very difficult time in their lives. I will miss his exuberance and passion as will the rest of the world.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I Updated the Look of my Blog

I love it. It's very 'ME'. I am one in love with night, the moon and all aspects of it. My favourite month of the year is October because the sky is so velvet BLACK at night and by day so velvet blue.
I get a lot of energy from the night. It's my creative time. I usually sit outside and take in all the energy; the sounds, the breeze, the light of the moon. It's all very inspiring for me. Most of my "Ta-daaaa!" pieces of art (generally scrapbook layouts) are done in the dead of night.

Friday, September 01, 2006

{Studio Friday} Artist's Block

You've heard of writer's block. Well, as an artist I sometimes suffer from Artist's Block. 'What is this' you ask? It's when you sit and sit and can't come up with anything. This can go on for hours, days, weeks and even months sometimes. It's extremely frustrating to the point where I've left my studio, closed the doors and haven't returned for DAYS. I get angry. It feels like my mind is shutting me out and not allowing me to create and enjoy.
When this happens, I generally turn to the design team galleries at various Scrapbooking forums. Being on the design team for Time To Scrap, I do get to see a lot of inspiring layouts and altered projects and they usually can snap me out of my funk.
A long walk along the canal here also snaps me out of my funk.
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