Monday, August 29, 2005

Sunday Adventures

Sunday was a beautiful day weather wise. Don & I quickly knocked out the housework, grocery shopping, etc. and during the early afternoon received a telephone invite from Dennis and Sheila to come over for dinner.

We arrived around 4 p.m., cooked some BBQ pork chops over an open fire back in the woods, scalloped potatoes, green beans, macaroni salad, and fresh sliced garden tomatoes filled us all up. We visited with John and Charlotte who also stopped by to discuss an upcoming party on Labor Day weekend........ complete with a live band. The party is being held in honor of Charlotte's son, Dustin returning from Iraq. It promises to be yet another great time!

We are not sure what is going on with the puppy situation. Dennis and Sheila's, black labordor retriever, got an AKC Chocolate lab pregnant before the 4th of July.... anyways, now the owner is looking at making $$$ from the 12 puppies. So, I don't think we will be getting one.... Maybe it is a good thing with me working now....... the cost of gasoline, utilities, and various other things on the increase........ we really do not need the additional vetrinarian bills, dog food, and other expenses at the moment. However, in the event that he changes his mind, we may reconsider it........

My job is going good; I'm adjusting fairly well although 10 hrs. a day with drive time certainly isn't too much extra time for my hobbies. I am certain I'll adjust to it more as the days go by and get back into the swing of stamping and bookbinding. Hope to have some new samples to post soon......... {smile}

Sunday, August 28, 2005

My new temporary position is going well. I've successfully completed the first three days, although the real test will be next week when I actually work an entire week plus Saturday! I'm adjusting well.......... realizing I need to get to sleep a little earlier --- 4:20 a.m. rolls around might early. The first two days, I napped on the couch for an hour or so but yesterday, I was just fine.

I'm looking forward to my day off today. Got a bit of shopping to do for groceries, a load or two of laundry and a quick run through of the house --- dusting and vacuamming. Don and I are planning to run down to Scrapbook Art, I may call first to be certain they have what I want, Autumn Leaves new book, Designing with Paper. I have every DW book and am hopeful to complete my collection. Even if I purchased no other idea books, there is inspiration galore within these to keep my creative muse flowing.

Next week will be a busy week, besides working, I've two art journals in the RR to complete and get ready for Don to mail out for me. Once those are completed, I'm hopeful to clear off the tables in the studio and get it organized again. I'm hoping I can at least make it out there a few evenings a week to create artwork. Of course, it will require some juggling on my part so that I'm back in the house when Don returns home about 8:30........ and to get ready for the next day of work. I'm feeling a little thankful that this is a temporary position, LOL! But it may be just the boost I needed to get some time management skills under my belt...........

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Well, I like the job. I'm inspecting boxes full of bottles, checking for broken glass, chips on the bottles, and checking the glue on them and the bottom and side seams of the boxes. Any glue on the boxes can get on bottles as they are not completely sealed or encasing the bottles. I create layers of 6 boxes, 10 high, and yes, I need a 2 ft. step ladder to place on the 9th and 10th layers on the skids.

The day seemed to fly by... and my feet were a little sore after standing on the concrete flooring. Huge industrial fans help to keep us cool while working on the line; when a skid isn't so high on the opposite side that you can actually feel it, LOL! Believe me you notice it when the skid is moved. It like, "ahhhhh......"

Don helped get dinner on, placing steak in the crockpot and on low since 9:30 a.m. Whipping up some potatoes and mushroom gravy made for a nice light dinner. My lunch is packed, water bottles for the day ready to go. I've supper dishes to wash up quickly, leftovers to be put away, and figure out what to take out of the freezer for tomorrow.

I took a tylenol upon returning home, and an hour or so nap, so I don't feel too bad at the moment. I'm not to sore at all, however, that is subject to change come Saturday. I managed to check in with two groups, answer a few emails, got a load of laundry in the washer, and plan to soak in the hot tub and relax before heading to bed about 10:30 p.m.

I also received some good news today. I am going to be a grandma! My dd, Amber, age 25 is expecting and the baby should be here April 16th. Please keep her and Chris in thought and prayer, as they miscarriaged back in December. I'm not so certain that either could endure that again. Of course, they say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger........ I think many of us can relate to graduating from the school of hard knocks, not entirely pleasant to experience, but such is life. I'm certain that they would appreciate it.

Today's question of the day for me has been what do I plan to do with the $$ I'm making.... many have suggested that I use it to support my stamping/art habit, which I am certain will be a reward of sorts that I will grace myself with.

The deciding factor for me to return to work was to assist Don and I to pay off a few debts, help with maintainance on the Jeep --- the breaks need replacing soon and of course, it is overdue for a complete tune up.

There are several remodeling projects around the home front that have been put on hold, so hopefully we will be able utilize some of it to have the carport repaired. I'd really like to do this for Don since he gave me the two car heated garage for my studio. The carport is in dire need of a new header, a garage door, and several sheets of OSB board replaced. I doubt that we will be able to get vinyl siding, however, placing sheets of Tyvek will work until we can come up with add'l $$$. I am thinking approx. $600 should take care of it. If not the carport, purchasing the oak laminate wood flooring for the 12 ft. x 16 ft. section of carpeting and subflooring we rip out last winter is an option. We are not too concerned with it, one because it indoors, isn't as pressing as the carport is, and is managable to purchase a box on a monthly basis if needed until done. The good news is even with a grandchild on the way, they don't crawl until at least 5-6 months! {grin} For me, making the $$ is the easiest part, using it for what it needs to be used for is the real challenge. Don and I are both good at budgeting our $$$ so that should be a huge help.

We'll off to finish up so I can soak in the hot tub, relax a bit, and retire early..........I'll write more soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Out of the Blue...........

Don and I have been discussing the possibility of me returning to the employment world for quite a while recently. Well, tommorow is The Big Day!

I applied at a temporary employment agency today and will be starting work first thing in the morning. I've a feeling 4:30 a.m. is going to roll around mighty quickly..... as I'm so excited I can't sleep! I've been laying in bed since 10 p.m. with my a variety of thoughts running through my head. Is 3 bottles of water going to be enough, do I have appropriate attire, will I be able to perform the job? Do I have an adequate lunch packed?

It is factory work, I will be inspecting packaged boxes of glass bottles for proper adhesive while filled, stacking the boxes which are approx. 14" in height on skids in layers of 10 per skid. I've heard a 2 foot step ladder is provided. Thankfully, as I am only 5'1" tall {or is that short?}

Anyways, the hours are 8 hrs.per day, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Yep, 48 hrs. per week; with mandatory Saturdays. Including travel time to and from the site, my hours will be from 6 a.m. to approx. 4:15-4:30 p.m. {So out of state family and friends, and those near to me, may desire to keep this in mind ;)}

I'm certain it will take some time to adjust to the New-for-me schedule, the work itself, and juggling both work and home responsibilities. The job assignment is possible to last through Christmas, if there continues to be work available.

I am both excited and concerned. It has been 3 1/2 years since I've worked outside of my home based-business and in a factory setting. I wonder if I'll be able to keep up.... I've aged some in those 3 1/2 years and got quite cushy sitting in this office chair at my computer, LOL! I realize I am in for some adjustments, and may just love the sight of the hot tub come about 5:30 p.m. tomorrow! I had Don adjust the tempature up from a cool 98 degrees to hopefully around 102 degrees. A good 20 minute soak {and a 325 mg. tylenol} should take care of any aching not so often used muscles I've forgotten I have!

So keep me in your thoughts while I'm traveling to and from and wish me the best. I have a feeling I may just truly need it. I just wanted to let you know I maybe missing in action for awhile. I'll check in as the opportunity presents itself, continue to update my blog, groups, and email. I'll let you all know how it goes!

Until then................

Bookbinding and Handmade Books......really?

Just out of curiosity today, I decided to check out who on Blogger is in to Bookbinding and Handmade Books and decided to check out some of their blogs; what I discovered is very few have any handmade books and bookbinding information. One is the blog of a calligraphy artist, so I'm certain you'd find some actual books there; most calligraphy artists are into creating books. On another blog there was a link provided to a site that sells handmade journals. Interesting................ not much discussion and chatter regarding them..............

Maybe it the cost of bookbinding classes or internships that plays a factor. For me, I know it is that even though I've been creating books for several years my creative interests vary from rubberstamping, mixed media, collage, and trading ATC's so often my love of bookbinding and creating handmade books often gets put on to the back burner. So, time to create them is a huge factor.

Another factor, is $$$. Supplies to bind books from tools necessary, to the supplies of handmade and imported papers, book boards, etc. play a factor as well as the style of book I desire to create.

I still consider myself a beginner/intermediate bookbinder....... meaning I know how to create more of the simple structures of Accordian and Concertina book; and I know a few basic stitches and in the process of learning more of the stitching techniques; and I have the basic down for actually binding more of the traditional style books, like a Codex bound.

I receive a variety of emails for book recommendations, tool questions, stitching methods, and how to instructions. I would love to be able to write tutorials for some of these, however, with out actually seeing the step by step references, I would probably only confuse someone desiring to learn. Then, there is also the possibility of omitting a step. Unfortunately, I do not have access to a digital camera where I could photograph the pictures step by step of the way, nor do I have access to any computer program where I could write the tutorial with pictures included. I also think if I was to go through with doing so much work and putting so much effort into writing that I would probably try to get it published in a book where I could receive royalties for the sales which I personally don't think I am quite yet ready for, LOL!

Anyways, there is some of the thoughts that ran through my pretty little head today. Food for thought, perhaps?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Monday wasn't quite so productive of a day for me, I did very little as I must be in the lingering in the garden mood from yesterday's visit to the Park of Roses. I read emails, visited some of my favorite message boards and groups, posted a couple of replies, watched TV.

I received Claudine Hellmuth's new book, "Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond The Unexpected" which I quickly and quietly devoured. In all honesty, I liked her first book better, the original Collage Discovery Workshop. I'm not quite certain what it is about this book that doesn't thrill me as much, if it is the change in her style of artwork --- although gorgeous, or if it is not filled with as many techniques, or the techniques she's using would mean purchasing more supplies for me to utilize them. Anyways, I do understand her desire to branch out, to grow, and experiment more as an artist and I feel she definately accomplished that.

The re-organizing of the studio is still on my mind although I didn't make it out to the studio yesterday. There is still quite a bit to accomplish. I did cut up some pages, imported papers, and covers for yet another book although I haven't began assembling, gluing, and stitching it together. I figure it will be there when I'm inspired to begin again. I'm learning to know and trust my own creative process more, realizing that there is more to being an artist than simply creating artwork. Re-oganizing, paperwork, marketing, ect. also plays a big role...... possibly one day I'll discover my own sense of balance with all that as well.

Today's agenda consists of simply enjoying life, picking up, putting away and cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and living area. I believe I mentioned receiving two add'l journals to work within for the art journal RR. I made a mistake in working ahead of schedule and forgot to trim the pages down before I began. However, all is not lost as I can use the instruction sheets by cutting them down due the way I designed them a little differently. Trust me after creating six to seven of them, you get a little more creative, LOL! The content is the same as the others so I suppose that is what is important. I've decided since the Whimsical Writing pages I'm contributing are a mix of pencil, pen, and colored penciled alphabets to be used as a guide for the recipient to use to recreate the artwork within their work that it wouldn't be too big of a problem to take them to the Office Supply store to have them reduced and colored copied. I believe that is what I am going to try to do. In the event that I don't like the copies, I'll simply have to buckle down and re-create them. The good news is that there is one journal coming my way shortly that the original page I created and forgot to trim down will work in that one so all is not lost!

Well, I have a few more things on the computer to do: check emails, make a few replies, visit one of my favorite message boards before starting in with the house work. Don's schedule flips beginning today ---- he now will be working from 4- closing at the store so I may make it out to the studio yet today. I'd like to continue to work on the re-organizing, as I am making process. It is cloudy and overcast, looking like rain so I doubt that I'll be carrying any additional supplies out there to be dealt with yet, which is fine, it makes doing this a little more managable!

OH, I changed my settings so that anyone can now post comments on my blog. If you'd like to leave me a comment, ask a question or whatever, it is no longer required that you set up an account with Blogger. I didn't do this previously due to some of spam, advertising, etc. I've seen in replies on others weblogs but I thought that I'd try it and see how it goes. *tootles*
Thought I'd write since it has been a while since I've update........

Sunday, Don and I took a ride to Columbus's Westerville area. It was a gorgeous day after the rain and thunderstorms on Saturday had cooled things down and we were finally out from underneath the god-awful humidity. We had dinner at a small roadside cafe with an outdoor patio along High Street, called "A Bag of Nails" that featured excellent food and service. We we're thankful about deciding to share a wonderful Fish Sandwich platter of alantic cod, fries, and dill pickle and a house salad with a variety of lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, bleu cheese, and ranch dressing as they definately give you your money's worth. Tall glasses of cold ice tea were constantly being refilled. We sat quietly eating our early dinner, people watching as couples, some with children, and other young children rode their bikes and window shopped. An older couple who were said to be staying at the Westerville came into the Pub-style cafe in their wedding attire brought a smile to my face. They were adorable and their love for one another shown through in the sweet way they chatted quietly. It's great to know that such a romantic love still exists in the world regardless of one's age.

After our early dinner we drove further into Columbus to visit the Columbus Park of Roses. Every Sunday there is a band in the park on a gazebo tucked in between the fragrant floral beds. We could listen to the band as we gently strolled through the small herb and larger beds of roses. The gardens were absolutely breathtaking! Roses of assorted varieties graced a variety of shaped beds, trellis filled with climbing roses sent the sweet perfume of their scent throught the air along on a gentle breeze. An iron work gazebo with a spiral staircase offered amazing views throught the vistas within the gardens while Don and light-heartedly chatted as we stroll along the paved pathways. Memorial stones and carved blocks are scattered among the pathways and a rock with a favorite Emily Dickenson quote graced new pathways.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me however, it is close enough to us that an additional drive can be made sometime in the future. I'd love to have had some photographs to use withing my Secret Garden AB I'm planning to create at a later date. All and all, it was a beautiful, relaxing day. Something we all need sometimes, just to get in touch with nature and renew our spirits.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Don assisted me with removing the ugly black bars that held the shelving I hated once I put it up last night. The entire wall is sight for sore eyes but it won't be so bad after I get the remaining screw holes joint compounded, sanded and touched up with paint. Thankfully there are only 8 to cover. Not sure what the hell I was thinking putting them up there in the first place! I love that wall......... it was the only wall that doesn't have paper racks, bookcases, or large cabinets hiding it. Awwhhh, but now I have it back and once done I can hang my larger beloved Tina Chaden pics back up there {sigh}. I promise I won't do it again. I'm even rethinking the shelving idea altogether, at least a wall mounted one and may adapt more of a hutch type shelf that would sit on the table itself. We shall see.....

I've not been in the studio yet today........ simply too hot to move! The humidity is ungodly; maybe it'll rain......... preferably in the evening say around 8:30-ish after the sun goes down as to not make matters worse.

I received two beautiful journals from the art idea RR; all I can say is, "I'm impressed!" I spent at least a half hour/45 mins. enjoying and savoring all this eye candy yesterday! Amazing and talented group of women, that is for sure. {If you are participating in this RR and are reading this, pat yourselves on the back! The artwork and communication within this group is outstanding!} I'm excited to add my pages and get them on their merry way soon....

I got to browsing online today for some paper that I no longer have, I found a scrap of it which is what lead me to search for it. Anyways, the paper is Anne Griffin's and on checking her site I discovered the following under the Press, "We are pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the 'Anna Griffin Last Chance' online outlet store! Please visit our 'Where to Buy' page to purchase overstock products at reduced prices!" Is Anna Griffin's line going to be a thing of the past? I've a ton of her stamps, however, I so love her paper. It has that age old classic elegance that really doesn't go out of style and I hate to think about not getting any of it anymore. Does anyone know anything? {I realize that some of the Michael's store still carry some of her line, while some of her stamps, stamp sets, stencils, and punches were clearance out.} I guess I just hate to see them go............. like PSX.....although it is possible some of their designs may resurface yet.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Still plugging away..... I move the VCR cabinet completely across the room and used it to establish me a cardmaking station. Inside on the shelves are the photo boxes of fabric, envelopes, pre-cut and scored cardstock, etc. I emptied 3 boxes, found some lost stamps [one was my favorite Stampers Anonymous block alpha!], and got my CD towers in place beside my journaling table. I cleared off all the shelves above the table, removed the shelves and have them stacked out of my way. I cleared off the journaling table completely prior to placing my embellishment cases back on it. I gathered up all my glues and cutting tools got them in their home. Embossing powders and liquid glues are now in the 4 drawers in the CD towers. I gathered up all my wood mounted stamps and unmounteds, they are in a section of the tables in the center of the room. Now, I'll simply need to check them out, make sure they are clean, and re-organize them back into the stamp cabinet in the right categories. They mixed matched ever since I removed the trays and took six of them with me on the 39 hour National Scrapbook Day crop back in May, LOL! Ahhhhhhhh, such is my life.

I'm really thinking I don't want to let the studio to get so out of control again that I cannot pick it up within a 1-2 hour period. Which means I need to start cleaning stamps, putting away unused embellishments and keeping up with the scraps of paper better than I am currently. Maybe an alarm clock that I can set so I'll stop an hour before I end up creating will help........ something to consider anyways!

Don works all day tomorrow, as far as I know right now. Anyways, I should be able to get more accomplished tomorrow. At least there is a light at the other end of the tunnel. {big smiles} If I can get the center tables cleared off, I may make it to cleaning out the cabinets and removing the fallen shelving and putting the smaller shelves in. Maybe Don will assist me tonight, getting measurements for the hutch style design I have in mind for the CD towers and two smaller shelves to be set in underneath of the top section. Also, remove those ugly black bracket holders from the shelves I got taken down, so I can mud up the holes, get them sanded down and touched up with paint. We'll see................. of course, all this may happen if I don't run out of steam first!
So as usual, I've plenty on my plate to keep me busy...... somethings I welcome the opportunity to do while others I'm not so crazy about as they will be taking away from my creative time. I am certain though that once these things are completed, I'm going to be a happier person. I am excited about the process and am proud of the accomplishments I am making with setting these small goals to achieve them. It is working out well and I am learning from them...... I guess that is what is most important. Of course, last night is the first night in a few that I haven't dreamt of cobwebs and an inch thick dust in the studio so I must be doing something right, LOL!

I'm looking forward to getting back to creating some art. Yesterday, Becky showed me a handmade book that she created . She wrote a story line to go along with it; mentioning she was getting a little tired of some of her empty books. Her book was titled "The Key to Happiness" and the text was about a young woman in search of finding happiness, the journey she took on her pursuit of it. It was beautiful and inspiring! A key on the front of the book and a box attached to the back cover, along with other paper art inside complimented the story line.

I think it is great how serendipity works for you because I just took an entire roll of photographs of Kingwood on Wednesday thinking I'd like to create "A Secret Garden" as a book theme. I've a lot of photographs from Kingswood, with a lot of the flowers in bloom from many different seasons to use in my book creation. I may try to find a small wire style garden gate to put on the cover, I can see some twistel woven and entertwined through it with some silk flowers hot gun glued to the cover........ I now have a lots of ideas which I plan to write down on a project sheet and simply brew for a bit before I begin it. It will be great to think of a kewl binding technique to utilize with the the theme of the book, Lord knows I've always into to experimenting esp. with book bindings!
I actually accomplished quite a bit yesterday while organizing the studio. I got my scraps all gathered up and in a Highsmith 12x12 corragated box. My ephermera is in the hanging file folder container, I organized some of it --- this is something I can focus more on at a later date when organizing the entire studio isn't such a priority. I stumbled across a Pampered Chef bakeware organizer that I had taken out to the studio to use, I was able to use it for some vertical storage of the 12x12 paper that didn't have a home. I boxed up a scanner/copier/printer Chris had brought over and a smaller scanner ---- so now my computer center is cleaned! A major accomplishment I assure you. I have an empty photo box that I really have no use for so I'm thinking I may just create some cardstock cards and wind the organza ribbon around and use it for storage which will resolve another problem.

I have 9 small to medium sized boxes that will come in handy when getting into the attic to take the remaining supplies out into the studio. If I know me they will be so heavily packed it would take 3 men and a truck to budge them, LOL! The boxes will be handy to clear some of them out and make them lighter to move out.

Don called over to HL yesterday and had them hold two of the cd towers for me. We made the trip over after he got off of work to pay for them and to pick them up. They wouldn't take a credit card over the phone, against store policy, however, they did hold them! We stopped into Scrap N Stamp Ink to visit with Becky. She is looking good! Was in an upbeat mood and preparing for a Scrapbooking On the Wall class. The class examples were awesome! She showed me a display board just as you enter the store where they are doing the Featured Artist again and she asked me if I'd be interested in displaying my items in the store once again. Would I ever? Another opportunity to add to my portfolio, you betcha!

We then stopped for dinner at the Golden Corral. Had a nice relaxing dinner, thought about stopping off at Dennis & Sheila's on our way home, however, large looming dark clouds made us decide to drive on home. It began raining just outside of Ontario, just a light misty rain until we reached the outskirts of Marion where it became heavier. Luckily we were able to pull right up to the studio door and opening the Jeep rear door provided us some shelter while we unloaded the cd towers. I placed them right in front of the wall furnace {it isn't on} until I can get the existing shelves cleaned off and the item on them moved.

I'm excited that I purchased these; cannot wait to start filling them with CD cases of unmounteds...... I have some Cd's purchased already.... just need to determine what boxes they are in and begin. I'm thinking of doing the same thing with my alphabets vs storing them in the 3 ring binders they are currently in. I noticed that I've misplaced one of my letter "A" alphabets. I'll need to search and rescue it.... which means if it doesn't turn up, I'll need to check the sweeper and trash before emptying them. Fun! {cannot wait to do that, LOL! Luckily for me most of it is paper and packaging.}

I'm still making a list of items needed, things that need done --- like the Drill press being assembled, curtains made for the bookbinding area, etc. I've a stack of stickers, ink pads, and embellishments that are in need of being put back away, I'm creating more piles so I can tackle them all at once when everything is in the studio, although if they are tending to get to big, I may tackle them before moving anything back in.

Don recently brought some of my shelving back home from the store, so I'm thinking there are brackets and additional shelving there that I may use vs. cutting the existing shelf in the cabinet down. Using the smaller shelves and having more brackets to support the shelving should solve the falling shelf problem and the long 8' shelf may just cut down for the cd towers shelving since it is already stained to match the oak veneer used in the studio. Would save me some time and money to just cut it to fit! I'm thinking I will probably look for some hardward brackets for the shelving as I am not too fond of the metal that runs behind the existing shelving.

I don't think we'll get rid of anything that I'm planning to replace but use it in the room upstairs adjacent to the attic. The sloping ceiling makes it a challenge to do much in that room, however, I'm thinking my dad maybe able to cut the metal bracket insert downs to fit the space. I've a lot of white paint left over from the living room remodeling so I'm hopeful once the weather cools off, I can get up there clean that up and paint the entire room white. Add in the shelving and utilize some of the furniture stored there, like an old desk, some outdoor lawn furniture etc. to create a space to organize some of the items we'd like to keep. There is an old doll house in the attic that I'd love to finish and upstairs would be the perfect place to do it. Heck, maybe Don would enjoy assisting with that project. I love to keep it for any *cough*cough* future grandchildren to play with.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The organizing continues........

Yes! I can now see 9 empty boxes! Now mind you this boxes are huge boxes, they range from sm./med. to a medium size with several being Avon boxes with lids. I got half of the space behind the bookbinding area cleaned out completely!

I am realizing I don't need anymore tins to alter! and I need to do something to organize my ribbon more efficiently. Having a wooden shelf with two trays for the most often used ribbon and a Highsmith 6 drawer container filled is getting to be a problem. Also, I opened three photo boxes that I never sold. One now holds my fabric scraps giving me two with fabric squares and pieces, another I'm planning to use for cards from family and friends - although I've pulled a few bits and pieces from my favorite artists to create a book with. I'm not quite sure what I'll use the other for right at the moment, however, I'm certain I'll find a good use of it. These are fitting perfectly inside the VCR cabinet {on the shelves, leaving the doors for unmounted stamps! gotta love that...}

I also am stumbling across some sketches, notes I've made, things I desired to try that I'd forgotten about, small piece of artwork I created that can be used on ATC's or cards, but the most enjoyable thing I found was a quote I've handwritten on a piece of paper that reads, "The heartbeat of a dream has a rhythm all its own." Too kewl!

Cleaning the studio is inspiring.........

* the spiders really are taking over - I walked into two cobwebs! {YUCK!}
* I've found books I've made, supplies, I knew I had! - a few things I can cross of wishlist
* you really should wait to sweep last vs. dragging up more dust to let it settle; you'll have to do it again when done
* I should have been out here at 5 a.m. vs waiting until it is getting hot; the humidity is up

What I've gotten accomplished:
* the box by the backdoor is in the studio, along with the new stuff from HL purchased yesterday - Thank you very much....
* I emptied two boxes of stuff and created, hmmm, piles.......

What I'm realizing:
* I need to tackle the scraps again soon,
* ephermera needs organized!
* I need another personal storage rack for paper {12x12} or a more efficient way to use what I have,
* I'd be happier in here if the printer and scanner were hooked up and I downloaded MS Word Professional 2003 in this computer,
* and I'd like to check out something on Feng Shu for creative spaces
{normally, I'm happy with the placement & layout of my fixtures --- with the exception of the shelves we added over my journaling table. I really dislike them!}
* the two cd towers I saw yesterday are looking more and more delicatable! I could re-create the journaling area table in a more efficient way and utilize the existing shelves!
*I believe I truly want to get rid of some of the stamps I have for sale; even if it means simply re-couping what I have them in vs. retail prices! {Hey, that could pay for the cd towers! or at least a portion of it}
* I've been at it for 2.5 hours now and I haven't even scratch the surface --- in fact it is in more chaos! I guess that is a sign I need to get back at it! *waves*

Opening the Heart..........

I get these emails daily and often they seem to so coincide with my thoughts, feelings, and actions. Today's email floored me................ is this what I'm doing --- opening the heart?

“Everything is made of light; everything is alive. The Great Mystery of life has little to do with intelligence. The universe is not an intellectual process. The intellect is helpful; but our hearts are the wiser part of ourselves.”
-- Mellen-Thomas Benedict

Heart is a word that refers to many different levels of our being. Essentially, it is the love aspect of soul, capable of making direct, intuitive contact. Soul love is not emotional; it is highly impersonal and intelligent, capable of grasping the essence of someone or something without any projection on our part.
Appreciation significantly turns on the heart. Appreciation is not an emotion that arises spontaneously, but a soul quality we can choose. The more often we choose to be appreciative, the easier this choice becomes and the more frequently our heart opens to give and receive love.
“If you open your heart, love opens your mind.”
-- Charles John Quarto

I've been saving these to use as journaling prompts for the *cough*cough* artist's journal that I've yet to start creating. Maybe after I get the studio cleaned I'll start working on pages, I can always bind them once completed into my own book. {big smile}

Do you smell smoke?

I've really been thinking lately that I really need to get back into getting my butt back out into the studio more often. I have an absurd amount of $$$ tied up in not only my SB supplies, but rubberstamps and bookbinding supplies, as well as the studio fixtures, space, etc. and I believe I'm feeling a little guilty because I feel as if it is simply sitting there!

Granted I have done better recently creating Donna's tag and 7 books total this month alone, but I have to wonder how much artwork I could actually crank out if I really truly put my mind to it? I hear myself constantly saying "so many projects and so little time" but truly it isn't that I don't have the time; it is that I simply don't do it.

I know I NEED to get out there and reorganize. The place is a mess! There is so much stuff that needs done:

* the shelf that has fallen, for the 3rd time!, that I need to get out of the cabinet and have it cut down
* Boxes of stuff that I simply haven't messed with and to be completely honest, some things I simply know I have but don't know where they are
* There are still a few boxes , a couple punch pals {who knows where my punches are?}, and my art easel still in in the attic
* There is a file box filled with hanging files and two 2" thick manilla envelopes filled with magazine clippings I've never filed since cutting them out
* unmounted stamps that need EZ Mount cushion
* need to find my extra blades for the rotary trimmer
and these are just what I can list off the top of my head!

Don & I took a ride to Mansfield last night and I decided to stop into Hobby Lobby --- as if I really needed to do that! Anyways, a lot of their SB supplies, rubberstamps, and inks were on on sale for 1/2 off so I purchased 2 new stamp sets, some HS rub on's {since I have no more T, R, S's and L, M, N's to use any of the remaining ones I have} a sheet of alpha stickers --- since I never seem to have enough of them, and extra cutting blades---see? here I go "justify my purchases now, LOL!".

Anyways, while we were in there, we met up an acquaintaince that works at JoAnn's who is just getting started in scrapbooking, when I thought to myself, "What is a good price limit to set on a hobby?" Is it a $1000.00? $5000.00? possibly even, $10,000.00?

Then it struck me that since I began creating scrapbooks, learned rubberstamping, got into all the altered art stuff like ATC's, boxes, altered books, mixed media, and collage, I have spent well over that! Granted it has been over the span of coming close to 9 years.

If something were to happen to me tomorrow, my dd would definately hate me! What would she do with all my things? She has no were to put them. Of course, Don would allow her to store it here but that isn't my point.

The point is, I probably have enough stuff that if I never purchased another sheet of paper in my life I'd never run out! I might only need to buy adhesives. Embellishments? No. Heck, I can, could, and do make a lot of them... and have a slew of items like my brass stencils, bottle caps, diamond glaze, Sizzix die cuts, rubberstamps and........ man, could this list ever go on and on............... that I could use to create them. So, why am I still out buying?

Why am I buying at HL when I have a wishlist of items I'd really truly like to have? Why am I buying, period? {Please, understand this isn't a "look at what have thing" but it is ME -- doing some deep soul-searching!}

If I was designing for publication, I can see making purchases to keep up with the trends. Let's face it, that is what the magazine editors are after. The latest and greatest goo-gads & gadgets, who is putting what manufacturers products out there in the best possible fashion. But I haven't submitted a thing in how long? Granted the idea of submitting and getting my artwork out there is something I think I'd love to do, but I really need to ask myself IF that is really what I want for myself. Do I really want to be caught up in the spending of more $$$ simply for the chance to make that happen? And quite frankly, no I don't. I'd really like to use what I have already accumulated, stop dreaming about cleaning the studio and do it, {LOL! yes that happened}; use the knowledge that I have to explore my creative self further. I don't even think I have scratch the surface of what I know is inside me and create the artwork that I'm confident I can create.

I look at some of the well-known artists that I love, trust me there's simply too many to list. They are creative, very unique, have their own "niche" cut out, focus in their field of artwork while I feel scattered. Am I trying to do too much? Do I simply need to narrow it down? Would I be happy if I did? Probably not. Why? Because I love different aspects of each of my hobbies.
So, what is the answer?

First of all, for me, it to get my butt up out of this chair go get my studio organized the way I want it. Create a list of what it is "I think I need" to use what I have, and start putting the knowledge and talent to use creating the way I desire to create. Even if it means pushing myself out of my comfort zone, walking to the studio daily in rain, sleet, ice and snow, and simply create! I NEED to pull out that list of projects of thing I've been desiring to create and start creating them. I need to FOCUS! Do you think cleaning my studio will help me do that, LOL! At least then, maybe I'd stop dreaming of walking through cobwebs and dusting an inch of dust off the shelves! I think my subconscious mind is telling me something...........

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The three books. The color on these are off; I had to adjust the brightness. Anyways, my Japanese Stab Binding, Anne's Double Needle Coptic Bound Book, and my Double Needle Coptic Bound Book. Posted by Picasa

Inside of the Japanese Stab Binding. Posted by Picasa

Remember the PVA I poured too much of, here is the finished result in a Japanese Stab Binding. The stitching is my own design since I wasn't really certain how these are created. Anyways, I like it! Posted by Picasa
I can hardly believe I created this in a little over 2 1/2 hours, even with interruptions from the telephone and an IM from my sis! I will be creating more of these babies; it is absolutely gorgous! What I cannot get over is how intimidated I was to even begin it, honestly, my hands were shaking it has been so long since I've actually sewn a bookbinding. I know what a lot folks will be getting for Christmas this year.... OOPS! Did I really say that?

Now, I'm hoping for a little more time. I'll need to watercolor some paper with the Twinklin' H20's and choose a stamp image for the cover; maybe a layer of pink mulberry tucked underneath....

Double Needle Coptic Bound Book - complete! Posted by Picasa

Scan of the actual binding. Not bad for an intermediate binder! Posted by Picasa

Second stitching is completed! I cannot get over how uniformed my stitches are. This shows the inside of the book, in the middle, between the 6 sewn signatures. Posted by Picasa

This is the inside of the book. Off to sew the second set! (OMG! I cannot believe how easy this truly is!} Posted by Picasa

Half of my Double Needle Coptic binding is done! Posted by Picasa

Here are my two covers for this double stitch needle coptic book. The yellow is a textured mulberry and is the outside cover while the printed is an italian paper... I never labelled it! The pink string is the waxed linen thread I plan to use. Posted by Picasa
Today must be the day for learning in lessons....... Shhheeeshhh! I poured out way more PVA than I needed; so not only have I created two beautiful covers for this double needle coptic stitch book, I now have two beautiful covers for another 5.5" x 8.5" Japanese Stab Bound book. Guess I'll need to cut more pages, LOL! {Strange how I don't remember going through all of this before!}

Use it or Lose it!

What's that saying..........Use it of Lose it! Well, I am especially finding out just how that true that is yesterday and today. Yesterday, I had to look up the instructions for the Baby Blessings book, I could not for the life of me remember where the Japanese Stab Binding started. After a few failed attempts, I headed for the studio for some of instruction sheets.

Today, I decided I'd like to try a different coptic stitch called a double needle coptic and I got stuck trying to remember how to attach the first signature to the cover. Now I know I begin inside the first signature, stitch to the outside, but do I go over or under the cover? Urghhh. Back to the studio, I go to get those instruction sheets. I have never attempted sewing a double needle coptic stitch before, however, thanks to an online friend, I received one in the mail yesterday. I was so amazed someone would actually create and send me one! I was in search of the instructions; I knew I had them at one time, however, I could not for the life of me remember which book in my bookbinding library contained them. I guess this is additional proof that I really need to get re-organized, LOL! Anyways, I received a beautiful handmade book but no instructions. I got lucky that I was able to think rationally, look at the book structure and figure it out.

Re-organizing was on the top of my priority list of things to accomplish today, but I simply do not feel like it. I guess I never really realized that I had a "re-organizing mood" before. It usually happens when I've created such a mess that I cannot find anything I had ten minutes before. Trust me, that inspires and motivates me to just do it! Well, not today! I gathered up the supplies I needed and drug them back into the house with me. And the box of supplies that needs to be taken out to studio.... it is still in the same place I left it..... on the chair by the back door! So I begin to think, "okay, I need to accomplish something today." so I start cutting down sheets of paper, scoring them, nestling them in to form the signatures of the book. I realize I'd forgotten just how redundant this task is.... so I decide to divide and conquer it. Now, I've probably enough sheets cut to create an entire edition of 6 books! Guess, I'll have a head start for the next one I decide to create, LOL!

Unfortunately, book don't create themselves and in order to create a double needle coptic binding, I need book covers. So, off I go to create them!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Baby Blessings - a small handbound book; 5 1/2"x4 1/2" to record some daily blessings in. Inside quote, "Too often we become so consumed by how we spend our days that we lose track of how we are spending our lives." ~Sally Warner Posted by Picasa

Cute Organizers and inspiration!

I discovered these searching on EBay the other day. There was an entire discussion on 2P's GS board re: the tins. Seems they are made by Provo Craft, measure 5x7, and are in the tin aisle. Card Organizer Recipe Holder Both ideas are too cute and either would make great gifts! I also know that M's has some chipboard style Card Organizers that are in clearance for $4 that could be altered up. {I can measure mine later, if anyone is interested.} The lid is removable and the indexes are in already in it and could be used for additional templates. I think these could be adapted in a variety of ways by stampers. Can you imagine a supply organizer? Labeled with a variety of inks, markers, pens. How about storage for those with limited space and used for actually storing unmounteds. Each one purchased could be labelled by categories: alphas, florals, vintage, people, nature, scenic, ect. Each index could hold display an stamped image of the stamp stored behind it. {These could be laid in horizontally vs. vertically and would stack nicely.} Perfect for those who have limited space and always in need of organizational ideas and inspiration. For those of use who use a lot of ephermera in their artwork, either the box or the lunchbox could be useful for storing images by categories. Index cards between images would protect them from any damage they may otherwise encounter. For the scrapbooker, can you imagine it filled with favorite photos, journaling, or various other categories? Pictures could be prematted and decorated until they are ready to be added to a page! Would also be great for anyone who creates journaling blocks or uses a lot of quotes. Perfect storage for those vellum quote stacks divided by categories. I'm certain I'm only scratching the top of the pile for uses for these........ anyone with an other ideas --- feel free to post them.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Donna's Blog Book Challenge

I love reading other people's blogs; to see what is on their minds; the artwork they are creating; issues that they are dealing with. One blog I read often is Donna Downey's "Simply Me" on Typepad. I admire Donna's work and her contributions in the scrapbook industry. Her style is simply amazing and she is such an encouragement to other scrapbook creators always striving to inspire them to reach new heights and to get out of the box with their artwork. While reading Donna's blog today I came across a challenge Donna is hosting. She desired to reflect her blog within her scrapbooking someway; however, she desired to focus on it being truly interactive in the same nature of blogs themselves. Hence, her challenge for a "Blog Book" to be created with tags.

Now, I don't personally know Donna, however, she has been on 2P's for quite some time. Always helpful, inspiring, and pleasant to be around so I decided participating in her challenge was something I desired to do. I set out creating my tags using a lot of Basic Gray products, some Danielle Johnson's epoxy stickers, fun fibers, ribbons, and tags. I wasn't certain what content to include so I simply followed my heart and decided to use the opportunity to introduce myself to Donna. My first tag does exactly that with "Cathy Highland, Mixed Media Artist" on the reverse side, I added a quote, "Beginnings are always scary; Endings are always sad; But it is what is in the middle that makes it all worthwhile." ~unknown! The quote really summed up how I often feel as an artist, branching out, and reminds me of when I began my own blog back in Dec. of 2004. There is such a sense of vulnerability in putting oneself out there in the public eye.

My next two tags contains "SNIPPETS" of my Artist Statement. They are mix of images and text, and I tried to pull out some of the colors in the Basic Gray printed papers. The third tag features a transparency overlay and on the reverse side an accordian booklet. The accordian booklet reads, and the following text, "Donna, When I saw the challenge to be a part of your interactive "blog book" I jumped at the opportunity. I created my tags to reflect my interests, so that you could also learn a little about the artist behind the inspiration. Some of the snippets of text are taken from my Artist Statement and the portfolio that I am in the midst of creating. May your "blog book" be all that you envisioned it be and so much more! sincerely, Cathy Highland" I included a notation of my 2P's screen name: nchantin.

This is the inside of the accordian book. Posted by Picasa

This is on the reverse side of tag three - it features the cover of the accordian book. The small eyelet plaque says, " create" I handwrote in "beauty." Posted by Picasa

This is the third tag created for Donna's Blog Book. On the reverse side is a small accordian style book. Posted by Picasa

This is the second tag tucked inside the pocket Tag. It doesn't actually show all the details on the tag. Posted by Picasa

This is the first tag within the Pocket Tag. Posted by Picasa

Pocket Tag containing 3 various tags that I created for Donna's Blog Book. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 08, 2005

Weekend Adventures.......

I've been desiring to the attend COSI's The Titanic Exhibition ever since I first heard about it. I don't know if it is the artist in me, the mystery, the legend ---- myths, drama, the sense of sadness of the tragedy, or that miracle that people actually survived in such harsh conditions but the story of Titanic has always fascinated me. Anyways, yesterday Don decided it was time he took me to actually see the exhibit. One word can only describe the experience, AMAZING! If anyone gets the opportunity to see this exhibit, GO! We walked among huge pictures which featured everything regarding Titanic from its history of shipbuilding, facts, and figures regarding the ship, the birth of the legend, to design features that made Titanic unique, learned about the launch of the voyage, facts and myths; we saw actual underwater footage of the recovery efforts and viewed actual artifacts retrieved from the depths of the Atlantic.

Upon entering the exhibit, Don and I were given boarding passes that resemble the actual tickets of the original passengers aboard the Titanic. I received a boarding pass for Mrs. Stephen Hold {Annie Margaret Hill} Ticket # 26707, who sailed from Southampton on the 10th of April, 1912, at the age of 36 from Cornwall, England accompanied by her husband, Stephen Hold in 2ND class. Stephen and Annie had traveled to England due to an illness in the family and after several months of visiting, the couple were returning to America. The Holds were transferred to the Titanic because of the coal strikes. Annie survived the tragedy being saved from lifeboat #10; while her husband, Stephen, didn't survive.

I did some investigating via the internet, to discover some information re: Annie, to discover she returned to Sacramento for a short while after the death of her husband before returning to forethought's to live with her grandfather, James Hill.

Don's ticket or boarding pass states, "Ticket #PC 17757" Sailing from Cherbourg on 10th of April 1912 as Colonel John Jacob Aster IV, at age 47,originally from New York, New York accompanied by his wife, Madeleine Force Aster, a maid, Rosaline Bidois, Caroline Endres {nurse}, Victor Robbins {manservant}, and their dog, Kitty, an Airedale. {I discovered there were 5 dogs aboard the Titanic}. They traveled 1st class after being on an extended honeymoon in Europe and Egypt, partly to get away from the gossip about their differences in age. (Madeline was 18; Astor was 47). The couple decided to return to the US when they learned that Madeline was pregnant. Colonel Astor was the richest man aboard the Titanic, thought to be worth about $100 million dollars. John Jacob Astor did not survive.

As an artist the fascination with Titanic has always intrigued me, so I believe I may just take this as an opportunity to create something with the Titanic theme and use our "assigned boarding passages" as an opportunity to create something. Whether that something will be a scrapbook or a handmade book, I've yet to decide........ however, I welcome the opportunity to create something in a theme that has always fascinated me. I think it will be fun to research and discovery actual facts, photographs, and memorabilia for this project.

For souvenirs, I picked up two Titanic postcards, saved our tickets to the COSI exhibit, "our boarding passages", and a softcover book titled, "TITANIC - The Artefact Exhibition" which contains a lot of the actual facts, photographs, items on display at the exhibit and so on. I believe this will be fun to do, recreate --- even fictiously, a storyline, a work of art to treasure and a bit time-consuming, although I'm certain the results and the chance to experience it will be time well-spent.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Don and I are always telling each other, "I love you." We say, "I love you." a lot around here. Just in case, I haven't told you lately, "I love you!" Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Isn't it ironic.........

how you tell you someone you are NOT doing something; then, BAM! there you are! Just the other night in a telephone conversation with my sister, Mary, I mentioned I've not been up early in over a month.... and well, today, I get woke up by a "fur-ball!" at 5 a.m. no less! Not just any "fur-ball" but Jordan!

Yesterday morning, Don picked Jordan up from the vets. Returning home, Jordan is all about getting out of the cat carrier and next, all about trying to get outside. Due to his recent surgery, going outside is "a notta-gonna-happen situation" that he simply cannot understand as he normally is an outside cat. So after eating {yes, I bribed him to eat --- poured the water from a can of tuna over his dried cat food!}, he heads to door where he proceeded to "Meow. Meow." Upon no response to his cries, he finally lays down on the floor, but not without thoughts of escaping in the back of his mind! After a few failed attempts, he calms down.

Anyways, next we try to figure out what we're going to do for a litter box. And hope and pray there will be no accidents. Closed go the doors to both the bedrooms ---- new carpets and cats = not a pretty smell; at least none I care to deal with up close and personal! So, Don heads to the store to purchase cat litter and unearths an old hospital wash basin from the carport. {I have to laugh; as I figure Jordan isn't even gonna fit in this thing.} Anyways, we get everything set up; and I pick Jordan up, explaining this where you are going to go potty --- like he's really listening to me as he jumps out, turns and hisses at me for putting in that dry, powdery crap anyways. Much to my surprise, shortly after Don left for work, Jordan hopped into the make-shift litter box and uses the bathroom! Obstacle #1 successful!

Jordan is good in the house; stares longingly at said closed door, meows --- more quietly now before moving on to lie on the carpet in living room. Well, by the time Don comes home a little after 4 p.m., what does he arrive to? Me, asleep on the loveseat, with Jordan stretched out over my chest! Yes, I'm spoiling him rotten and Yes, I'm paying for it. It seems he now is the most lovable cat on the planet, and I am his target. Don even had to shoo him out of the bed a few times last night, LOL!

Also, I'd like to know how can a little ole' cat, no more than 10 lbs. soaking wet, can outwit 2 adults???? We had to bury his antibiotic in a ball of tuna to get him to take it last night. And as if that isn't bad enough, would you care to guess where the little "furball" is now? Yep, laying sound asleep on my side of the bed!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

UPDATE: Jordan McGordan's coming home!

Jordan came through the surgery with flying colors! The vet believes he removed all of the tumor and that Jordan will heal up just fine. He was a little a unsteady as of 3:45 today --- anesthetic, I suppose.

We are so happy to have our little buddy coming back home to us where he belongs! It has been a hard day today opening our front door and not seeing him there. We are talking about our cat who believes he is our escort; he meets us at the end of the side walk when we arrive home, simply pulling into the driveway prompts him into action to escort us to the front door. Trust me, you'd have to see it to believe it! Jordan we love you and wish you godspeed with the healing process.

Heart Songs - the circle book assembled. Posted by Picasa

Heart Songs... the cover. Posted by Picasa

Copyright August 2005. Cathy Highland Posted by Picasa

Where are you going my child? {Child defined - a child is not a vessel to be filled but a lamp to be lighted.} Posted by Picasa

Be at peace wherever you are. Walk Softly. Posted by Picasa

Retreat. Nurture strength within your spirit. Posted by Picasa

Surrender to your soul. Posted by Picasa

Be you-nique! Yourself. Posted by Picasa