About Me

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I am a multifaceted woman, living with intention and passion. I always see the glass as half full (ok, almost always). Currently into: jewelry design, glass beadmaking (aka lampworking), visual journaling, cooking and web design everything. Things that bring me great joy: my family, friends, Scrabble, British period pieces, Shabby Chic, Austin, TX, mini art tiles, autographed cookbooks, chocolate, Chianti, pedicures and beach glass. I don't "do" and/or dig: dishonesty, guilt, intolerance, unkindness, drama and goat cheese (it's a long story, but I love all the other cheeses!) So you now have a teeny tiny little picture of me, with a few warts thrown in. Welcome to my world!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Foodie Friday

     So from now on I've decided to post my favorite food finds on Fridays. I had fun on facebook last night chatting about foodstuffs and it makes me want to talk about it some more of course! With my restricted diet (until after my gall bladder surgery and recovery next week), I am more than happy to just "talk" about food for now. Let me start with some of my favorite places to get "the goods." Number one is Benjamin Twiggs. They are the oldest purveyor of cherry products in Michigan. The very best dried cherries I've ever tasted, and I have conducted my own taste test to be sure, along with Cherry Festival Preserves, Cherry Salsa and Cherries Foster. The Cherry Festival Preserves are not so sweet as others I've tried and full of tart cherries, I love it on toast, muffins, between layers of cake, in cookies and with some balsamic vinegar, melted and cooked down as a sauce for pork and poultry. They have other lovely foods too, a light and delicious Cherry Poppyseed Vinaigrette, Cherry Honey Mustard and Black Cherry Preserves among other fabulous things. I love it all and send it to family for Christmas. And they ship everywhere!
     Another place I love to visit is Fustini's. They offer the most incredible selection of flavored/infused balsamic vinegars and infused olive oils that I have ever had. I currently own "Wild Mushroom and Sage" and "Persian Lime" olive oils and "Pineapple," "Cherry," "Peach" and "Ginger Honey" balsamics. These are amazing on salads, veggies, meats, desserts (the balsamics), you name it. When you go in the shop, they have "tastings" and it just blows you away, you want to drink it and bathe in it too, quite the experience.And I am not exaggerating in the least!
     Lastly today, I am a huge fan of the The Spice House in Milwaukee. They have other locations in the area, but just a couple. When I used to attend the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee, I would stop there and load up on spices and dried herbs. My favorites from them include their Garam Masala, a fabulous Indian mixture that is unique to their shops, their own Maharajah style Curry Powder (this stuff is amazing in pumpkin soup!), the exquisite grade paprika (not always available), Himalayan Pink salt, dried Green Bell Pepper and Cocoa Nibs. They also ship, so I have ordered online whenever I run out of my favorites.
     That's it for today. Hope you get a chance to check these places out, even if you don't like to cook, they offer gifts for family and friends that do! Bon Appetit!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blissful ATC Swap update 2

     So today my very first ATC arrived in the mail! I love it, thank you Francie!!! And guess what? I have lost my camera...I took it to a restaurant on Tuesday evening and haven't seen it since that evening. I think I left it in my hubby's rental car, which is with him, and it is probably under the seat. I called the restaurant and no camera...oh say a little prayer everyone, even though my flash is on the fritz, I do love my little camera. The photo is with my phone camera, not too bad. Our theme this month was "sisters."  The back of the ATC says "Sister by birth or by bond we travel lifes road together." It is an acrylic painting, isn't it just wonderful?!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Art o Mat

     Well if this isn't just the most amazing and cool idea! Someone has gone and refurbished old cigarette machines and turned them into "art" vending machines! Apparently they are all over the US and world. $1 gets you an original piece of art about the size of a pack of cigarettes! I see there is one down in Ferndale, Michigan, so next time I'm down that way I'm going to see if I can find it! The website has a listing of locations and a great little gallery with photos of the refurbished machines, which are fabulous pieces of art themselves! Go on, check out Art O Mat.

p.s. Just informed that the price has gone up to $5.00, but still a deal for a piece of art in my opinion!

Blissful ATC Swap update

Orange Inspiration
    I had so much fun creating my first ATC over the weekend, can't wait to see what comes in the mail this week! Our theme this month was "sisters." Next month it is "orange," a color that has become one of my favorites the older I get, isn't that strange? Orange was one of my least favorite colors for years, but over the last ten years, it has become one I love, so vibrant and happy, and it looks great with blues, purples, yellows, greens...you name it. Although I have a bazillion things to do now that I'm home, I will be making time to start the new ATC and to work in my new visual journal!!!
     I have another photo from the workshop this past weekend. One taken at Thai Chili, it is a group of students I had lunch with. I met Bailey from Paw Paw, Michigan at the workshop and we had lunch together a couple times. It is hard when you take a workshop for so many days and don't know anyone, thankfully Bailey was happy to get to know me and risk having lunch with me too...we always had good food and fun.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jigg...

     Back from my adventures in Visual Journaling. Although it was a seven day expedition, it felt like a whirlwind escapade. Of course I squeezed in an overnight with one of my oldest and best friends Maggie, a four day stay at a lovely B&B on Lake Erie, a three day workshop with Teesha Moore and an overnight visit with my wonderful parents...I do seem to pack a lot of living into my days.

    First photo is of me and Maggie at Anita's Kitchen in Ferndale. We had some excellent food here, Greek salad, hummus and a spinach and cheese pizza, can't wait to go back again after my ridiculous gall bladder is removed and I'm all healed up! We also stopped at Utrecht's, an art supply store where I finally found a bookbinders awl. The A/C was out and I wondered if any of the oil based art supplies would suffer any "melting" or "separation." Guess I'll never know. It was just wonderful to catch up. Maggie was my maid of honor when I got married and is also my oldest son's godmother. But all my kids call her Aunt Maggie and she doesn't forget any of their birthdays, she is amazing! She has two cats that
I really like, Joey, the grey tabby, who is very young and funny and Finnbar, black and white, who is twelve and quite tolerant of the "kitten." Joey launched himself at my bedroom door after I went to bed and actually got it almost open, even with a weight leaned against it! Maggie says he likes to bring toys to bed, lol, and I needed to get some sleep. Finnbar is very cool and laid back, and they both adore Maggie. My flash is still on the fritz, so the kitty photos are grainy, but you can still get a good look at them.
          So although there is more to my adventure, I'm going to switch gears and mention one of my all time favorite shows, "Pushing Daisies." I'm watching some old episodes on Netflix for the Wii and I have to say, I am soooo very sad they canceled this show. It is so clever, creative and just plain fabulous! Why oh why is it gone now? The sets were so colorful and surreal, I wish I could live in them. And the whole "Pie Hole" shop is just so yummy, makes me want to eat pie everyday. It is such a fun and absolutely delightful show, it never fails to inspire me and leave me feeling happy and joyful. And the colors, the scenes are drenched with it, bursting with outrageous and decadent color! If you get a chance to watch one of the episodes, you'll see exactly what I mean. A delicious immersion into a world of mystery and make-believe...like Alice in Wonderland in some ways...I think I'll go dive back into another one!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Teesha, Thunderstom and Page Updates

     Day three of Teesha Moore's class and we worked on lettering and actually writing in our journals. I was still wrapped up in "collage" mode and had a hard time switching to writing. I wanted to write on my pages after I got home, when it is harder to do collage but easy to write with the time and space I have. Teesha was very kind and gave me lots of positive feedback, so I feel like I am on the right track. She very tolerantly allowed me to have a photo taken, something she does not enjoy, lol, but I can be a pain in the patootie when I want something. The woman with us is Sue. We are both staying at the bed and breakfast and met there the first night. We have been sitting next to each other in class and working on our journals back at the B&B each evening. She has taken a bazillion classes in all sorts of collage and visual journal type
techniques. She knows all the teachers and has participated in ATC swaps for quite a while and has a big collection. I really enjoyed hearing about all her experiences. A very talented and generous person I'm very glad to have met!
     I'm posting a few more photos of journal pages that I further embellished. It was fun to add the pen and marker details, though I always feel like I am not "done."  I only wrote a few things on a couple pages, so they will still develop further after I get home. If you ever have the chance to take a class with Teesha, I highly recommend it. She is a little on the shy side and does not really socialize with students over lunch or dinner, but she is very generous with her gifts and talents and shares it all. What more could a student ask for?
     After we got back to the ranch, a storm blew in over Lake Erie. It was very cool, though I couldn't catch any of the lightening with my camera. The clouds were still very scary though.  I could see the sheets of rain falling over the lake in the distance, like curtains, it was very cool. The front that came though brought a big wind too, knocking over the lounge chairs that were empty next to us. But did we run inside? No way, didn't want to miss the show of course. After the storm moved on, there was a fabulous rainbow and a stunning sunset. There is something so magical about a colorful sunset. It is awe inspiring as well as creative soul food. I wanted to swim in the colors that appeared tonight, though that may sound silly, that is the thought that popped into my head at the time.

     Lastly tonight, I finished up my first ATC, artist trading card, for my first swap, which has to be mailed out tomorrow! Talk about cutting it close. I had fun with it and will post photos next week. I have to wait till the recipient receives it before I can share a photo. So all in all, a tremendous day full of art, fun and beauty...life it good.

     And a Happy Birthday to my brother Rick!

Class, China Gate and Early Pages

     Today's second class with Teesha Moore was spent adding collage to the painted pages of our journals. I had cut up lots of pages and images before I left home, so I was well prepared. We also spent time learning about using various markers, pencils and Panpastels. The Sharpie Poster Paint markers are Teesha's favorites and of course I had zero of those. However, she brought some for us to work with and after class I headed over to Michael's craft store and bought a couple to use. We had homework tonight. To add lots of details with markers, gel pens, sharpies and pencils. I worked on a couple pages, but felt so fried, I didn't get as far as I would have liked. More tomorrow though.
     For lunch a few of us went to Mark Pi's China Gate, which was just a short walk from our class. The food was excellent, we all agreed. Very fresh and beautifully presented. I ordered Chicken and Snow Peas with some brown rice. The restaurant sign was really cool though. A light up mask that resembles a Mexican "luchador." My photos of the sign and food came out fuzzy, sorry about that, but my flash is not charging properly and the darker photos are not so crisp. Or I was moving when I took the photos, either way, they are fuzzy.
     I'm posting a few pages from the new journal before they have any shading, pen/marker details or words. So when you see them tomorrow, you'll see how much more was added to really bring them to life. I love this part, adding all the details and designs to modify the collage and really make it something more personal and vibrant. These should all be finished or almost finished by tomorrow night.
     A couple things about what we learned today. The Panpastels are cool, but expensive and some of the markers that Teesha likes do not write well on top of them. I have been using the Caran d'Arche Neocolor II Artist Crayons to add the shading to my pre-Teesha class journal pages with no problems adding any marker or pen details, so I think I am going to keep using what
works for me. I adore these crayons now that I have discovered then and hope to have the entire palette
someday, but they are pricey. I notice that a lot of the nicer art supplies are on the pricey side, but I really believe that for the most part, you get what you pay for.
     Teesha also talked about Derwent colorsoft pencils, which I also do not have, but will purchase tomorrow with my lucky 40% off coupon. She wasn't a huge fan of Prismacolors, although my son left his entire set at home that I could easily confiscate. Another point Teesha made was not to "overthink" the collage pieces. She works instinctively and because of that, she works fast! It was great to see how her mind was working as she created pieces as examples for the rest of us. You really have to let go of "shoulds" and "shouldn't," and just play, have fun and go crazy...
at least that is what I got out of it. This is a perfect activity for someone who doesn't like to do the same thing over and over. And there is so much potential in everything. Menus, cards, newspapers, magazines programs, you name it, you can cut if up and use it. Of course, you don't want to become a "hoarder!"
     Lastly, the rain came this evening. Lots of dark clouds rolled in and I could see the rain falling over Lake Erie in the distance, it was very cool. Then the lightening jumped in and lit up the sky. Lucky for us, no power loss or other weather related problems. Hope weather is all cleared up for my drive home on Monday...