Thursday, September 29, 2005

Where to start on catching up?

We had a very sad day recently, one of those that quickly remind you of just how truly precious and fleeting life really is. A trip to the vetrinarian's office on Tuesday confirmed our worst fear: that Lady's cancer had continued to spread and was in fact into her lymphatic system. Don was hit very hard as he made the decision to have her put down. She's been with him for so many years. We talked about her yesterday, the joy she brought into each of our lives, and how we felt it was the best we could do for her without her enduring a lot of pain and suffering as well as the heartache each of us experienced along with her. I know I for one am looking forward to the next several weeks. It will be a great time for Don and I to re-connect, to find some solitude in the presence of one another; to be grateful for the joy and comfort and all that we've been so very blessed with; and to establish our family bond with Chaos, which somehow seems a little more important now.
We all are truly loving this early Autumn! The crisp, cool air; the slight chill in the air that reminds you that the days will soon be shorter, and how important it actually is to squeeze in those lasting bits of warm sunshine, not only within nature, but within our hearts and souls. All the hustle and bustle of summer days and long nights will soon be coming to an end as our lives quietly begin to slow down.

I am rediscovering just how cozy it is to wrap yourself up in a blanket and simply to be at the computer while enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee; not only to simply to wake me up but to shake off the cooler, damp air as it has been raining overnight. Thankfully, Chaos decided he'd much rather be right back inside where it is dry and warm and didn't take me on a lovely romp through the yard. {smiles} This morning reminds me of the joy of being able to be at home, something that outside employment can quickly and quietly strip away from you. My job duties themselves weren't so bad, however, those 12 hours days definately can take a toll on your mind, body, and spirit.

Yesterday, Don and I took a wonderful drive yesterday up north on St. Rt. 4 over to 2 East to Amherst, OH where we visited Stamplistic! It is a fabulous stamp store with a variety of paper art supplies. Beverly and Kathy were a joy to meet and the drive itself was fantastic! I purchased a few more wood mounted collage style stamps that I cannot wait to play around with although it will be a challenge determing where to store them as my stamp cabinet overfloweth..... but such is life! I added two new Tim Holtz stamps to my collection; a four cubed collage faces stamp from PostModern Design, and a Judikins drawer pull. Seeing more of my purchases from Tim Holtz in the Alcohol Ink Applicator and Felt Pads, Bev so kindly demonstrated the new Tim Holtz Embossing Powders for me. I must say that they would be fabulous in collage work! I didn't purchase any of the new EP's, although I did satisfy my quest for "a great white EP". It is manufactured by Judi-kins, which Bev recommended, and I'm looking forward with excitement for an opportunity to try it out.

One of my objectives for the day was to purchase a Christmas/Winter/Holiday image for use in the US Art Quest request for the victim's of Hurricane Katrina. I did manage to purchase one but decided a Holiday sentiment would be more appropriate as I could mix it with some of the images I currently own. It is from Paper Inspirations, says"Holidays" horizontally and vertically is quote, "May your holidays be bright with promise and warm with good cheer." Something I am certain the survivors of Katrina can relate to as they strive to rebuild their own lives.

After visiting Stamplistic, we stopped at Sky Blue {per Kathy's suggestion re: a good restaurant}and had an enjoyable Amish cooked dinner. I can say you won't leave there hungry and the food was delicious! In fact, we were so full, neither of could even look at the desserts.

The return drive home South on St. Rt. 58 through Ashland provided us with quite a relaxing ride. Little to minimal traffic, a few detours abit nothing too drastic, and some scenic Ohio countryside through an Amish county. The farmers are diligently working to get grain out of the fields while the golden browns of Autumn begin to creep in, bales of hay along the edges of the fields, and the occassional passing of an Amish family in their buggies reminded both of us to slow things down as life often comes at you way too fast.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Will be MIA for a bit......

I received another opportunity for employment today at 10 a.m. and needed to take a drug screening test at 11:00 and began work today at12:00 noon - 7 p.m. For now, I know the assignment will be forThurs., Fri., Sat., and Sun. from 6:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. Yep, 12 hr.days! It is possible that the assignment could be extended; and for$9.00/ hr. I found it hard to turn down.

I am still up for continuing in the Art Idea RR journal and a Calendar by Month tag swap --- even if Ihave to do it in my sleep, LOL! Maybe being half-comatosa will get in touch with my subconscious mind where I may even be able to producesome of the art that for now I only dream about. I have found a fabulous image for my January tags and will brainstorm regarding some possibilities to add some co-ordinating embellishments.

Also, Jamie, I haven't forgotten you.... just wanted to post this update to my blog as well as emailing you...... I have some ATC ready to swap with you; just need to find a few minutes to address the envy, apply postage and they will be on their way.

Anyways, I promise I'll to try to check in as possible.... just wanted to post an FYI. In the event that I am needed to be reach for something important, please email me nchantin @ or some of you have my telephone number. Telephone calls after 9 p.m. EST would be best.
Ok, everything I needed to do is done, this girl is off to bed; 5:30 a.m. is going to be rolling around mighty early. 'night.......and sweet art dreams!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's official......... Chaos' Birthdate

Well, it seems Sheila and I were right. Chaos is officially 7 weeks old this week. His birthday was Monday, August 8, 2005.

Picture of a Black Labador Retriever Puppy

This isn't an actual photograph of Chaos, however, it is a photograph of a Black Labador Retriever Puppy approximately the same age that I discovered on Merial's website. Chaos looks identical to this! Enjoy!

Just some updates.......

My dd, Amber had her first ultrasound on Monday due to some light spotting. Mom and Baby are both doing great; her baby has a strong, healthy heartbeat ---- one of her worst fears after her miscarriage back in December of 2004. The spotting is contributed to her & the baby's placenta laying over the cervix as Amber has a tipped uterus. Her OB/GYN is confident that with plenty of rest and TLC her uterus will move into a more normal position as the baby continues to grow. All positive thoughts and prayers for Amber, Chris, and baby are greatly appreciated.

Chaos, our new family member, had his first vet's appt. yesterday. Dr. Jim believes he is 9 weeks old, he weighs 8 lb. 7 oz. He did excellent for his first trip to the vet, even with the desire to run and romp with a variety of cats and dogs waiting as well. It was all Don and I could do to hold onto him at times........ trust me, 9 week old puppies are wiggly! Chaos received all of first immunizations, was wormed, and we received a free Puppy Care Package from Merial the manufacturers of Frontline for fleas and ticks and Heartguard. The package contained his first dosages of each. I also found this in the packaging! A puppy charm from The charm contained an ID number to register your pet online on their website and register owner information as well as offer a variety of choices for one to be contacted. Chaos is wearing his "Get Me Home" ID tag proudly on his pet collar.

While visiting Merial's website, and I suppose from experiencing the new ownership of a new addition to our family, I couldn't help thinking about all the animals requiring the necessities of life from the recent Hurricane Katrina. This website, shows the conditions some of the animals experienced in the wake of Katrina. I broke my heart ---- it is a slide show that only take a few seconds to view but I definately need to issue a "Kleenex Alert" it will make you think and possibly cry, it did me.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Follow up to "wandering and meanderings" post....

I believe I have previously mentioned in my blog that I receive emails containing quotations that often are serendipity in nature to my own thoughts and emotions. Today, was another one of those days... I received this quotation in an email and it definately hit home.

"When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be."

-- Lao Tzu


Test to determine if I can use this for my 2P's profile pic.

It worked! but makes me look fatter in the face on IE and posting on 2P's.... par for the course, I guess, LOL!

Another perspective.......

I have had many requests to post a photograph of myself online to share with family and online friends. I'm not the most photogenic person and as a scrapbook designer and creator, I'm usually the one behind the camera. Also, I simply despise the way a camera adds an additional 10 lbs. ! especially to my hip, butt, and thighs! LOL!

The ATC's were iron on transfers that Christine so generously scanned and printed for me specifically for this project. The ATC's were created by me as a gift to her while recovering from pneumonia. She told me the ATC binder, dividers, and first page of ATC's was one of the greatest gift she'd ever received! {I certain she was simply being kind but greatly appreciated my gesture and introducing her to Artist Trading Cards.}

My Fabric Stamped ATC Shirt....

This is me wearing my fabric stamped ATC shirt while attending EP's House of Cards Exhibit on the Opening night. This photo is what Chris described to me while instant messaging these photographs as "my pensive look" LOL! {pensive defined - Deeply, often wistfully or dreamily thoughtful; Suggestive or expressive of melancholy thoughtfulness" I have to say that agree with her description as I was entranced with all the inspiration from most of the entries submitted and very inspired by the artwork I was viewing.

Christine Kempler's ATC featured within the Exhibition

Here is 4 of the 5 ATC's Christine created for European Papers Call for Entries. I do not have a photograph of the 5th. Although, I had originally created ATC for the call, somehow my package was misplaced and I missed the boat. {My fault not EP's}

A link to Christine's blog: Scroll to the bottom to see Chris's entries in the Exhibit and click on each for a better view of the details.

European Papers House of Cards Exhibit 2005 - another view

Various artists enjoying the exhibition.

European Papers House of Cards Exhibit 2005

Chris was kind enough to send me some photographs from our trip in July to European Paper's House of Cards Exhibit. I had forgotten to take my camera in my excitement to get going. Chris had her digital, however, needed to delete some photos from it to obtain the ones she did. All photography featured is © 2005 of Christine Kempler.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Yep, our new puppy and my HECTIC life........

Chaos, aka, Casa del Chaos, is doing great! I couldn't have choosen a better breed of dog to add to our family. He is growing by leaps and bounds and is extremely intelligent for a 4 1/2 - possibly 6 week old puppy. I'm still checking into his actual date of birth...... however, Sheila and I believe his closer to 6 week old and maybe going on 7. She'll pass that info on to me as soon as she obtains it.

It has been a very busy week for me.... the job search, updating resumes, making copies, filing out applications, applying at another Temporary Agency and some online testing. So, if anyone has tried to reach me via Yahoo Messenger and was unable that is why.... I turned it during testing so I wouldn't be interrupted. Cable modem speed was a factor in my testing as they were timed tests. I was offered a Data entry position locally, $7/hr. which required this testing. Little did I know, I needed to be able to type 8,000 kph {keystrokes per hour} to qualify! Anyways, being the good sport that I am, I took the testing without any refreshing; let me just say it has been years since I've taken an Adult Business Office Technology course and actually used those lessons learn .... well, other than for my own business, at my conveinence and speed. I tested at 4,000 kph; not enough to send me out for the assignment. I will be taking more at a later date for some computer software applications, however after the previous experience with the alphanumerical 1 & 2 and numerical 1 & 2 tests, I learned I will refresh myself first prior to actually taking them. My good friend Patty, loaned me her books for a basic collage computer class she recently took so that will come in very handy for me to practice up with.

I didn't manage to get studying, well, reviewing my Temporary Driver's Permit package so I retake my testing there. I passed it once last summer, unfortunately my temp permit expired before I took the actual driver's exam. So add that to the list of important things to do!

I am also planning to visit our local collage for an application for fianancial assistance so it will be out of my way should I decide to go back to collage. I think it is a shame I was allowed to successfully complete 141 credit hours and do not have an actual Associate's Degree, even if for General or Applied Science. I wasn't too happy with the College Dean's reponse to this, but what do you do? I was offer to either test out of some of the course I've taken or repeat them. I am considering brushing up and trying to test out of some of them if needed once I make the decision of the field I desire to go back into. Time and $$$ will be a huge factor for me in that decision.

Okay, enough serious talk.. let's discuss something fun and artful...........

Friday, September 16, 2005

Other mind wanderings and meanderings....

For me, it isn't only about the creating of artwork that I struggle with time management. I guess I'd say it is this whole "I am an artist!" thing....... to me, being an artist is more about simply creating artwork. It involves self-promotion, marketing, business knowledge, overcoming creative blocks, artwork successes, as well as, failures ---- which is equally important to me because I learn what not to do! It is about conveying one's thoughts and feelings into the artwork so that the viewer can visually think, feel, and respond emotionally, even if it is that "I can relate" comment I experience so often myself.

I think sometimes that I am trying to tackle the entire ball of wax vs. breaking it down into smaller more managable tasks.... but I long to learn, to discover, and yes, even conquer this! I read a lot of articles related to the career of becoming and being an artist; making notes on writing artist statements, beginning a resume, self-promotion, pricing and selling one's artwork, networking, marketing strategies and an entire list of things I've not even included here. And I still sit and wonder how does one manage it all?

What I've discovered for myself is becoming and being an artist isn't as simple as it sounds. I still need to work........ for $$$ to support myself and family; there is the responsibilities of running my home; being a mother, becoming a grandmother; being an active and vital person in my relationship with Don; being a daughter to my parents who are aging; being a friend to those who I enjoy being friends with .......... in all honestly, it is a juggling act for me. {Just as I am certain it is for everyone else!}

There is so much I want to do, learn, and achieve both personally and professionally that I've decided I need to start with those that are most important to me in each area of my life and re-evaluate. I need to do some deep soul-searching, set some goals and learn to take the small necessary steps to achieve them individually so that possibly one day my life like a jigsaw puzzle will one day fit nicely into place. I realize there will always be a few balls in the air, that what goes up will also come down, often we least expect them too.

And I realize that my subconscious mind also goes through this same process, as I sit here writing this, I am reminded of a dream I had many months ago and a friend who interpreted it for me.

In my dream, I was in hotel. I'd left my room with an ice bucket in hand to venture out into the halls in search of ice. I walked through hallways, enter corridors that were empty or only filled with candy and soda machines. I opened doors that contained brick walls and some that resembled small closets, while others were actual hotel rooms. I took stairs, some that spiraled and some that were simply stairs with exits to the doors on each floor. Some were locked to me or completely absent. I rode on elevators that didn't function properly, up bottons took me down floors and down buttons took me up, while some floors didn't exist, and some stops on the elevator lead me back to where I began. Each elevator contained different numbers for the floors available to them. I walked through hallways, opening doors which lead me in circles to an ice machine that was in a hospital adjacent to the hotel. Behind the counter was an old nurse who wouldn't allow me to take any ice as "it was for hospital use only" and wouldn't answer me when I asked where I could find the ice machines for the hotel. In my dream, I paid her 3 visits and on the third visit, I tried to sneak the ice only to be caught and have to pour the ice back into the machine. I saw two friends, a couple, who were exiting a hotel room who wouldn't speak to me when I inquired re: the ice machine, who walked away from me only to turn a corner and then disappear. I walked a hallway where as I walked along it faces and hands formed in the wall came to life trying to talk to me in languages I couldn't comprehend or whispers I couldn't quite make out what they were trying to tell me. Hands reached out to grab me as I ran along the hallway to escape. The further I travelled down that hallway, the faster I walked and ran, the more faces and hands appeared. I opened a door only to discover I was on a balcony. I felt confused, helpless, alone, and yes, desparate for only ice and to escape from the madness of it all.
Needless to say, it was a startling, very vivid dream. One that has stayed with me for many months, one that I remember every tiny little detail of, and one that still continues to evoke the same emotions in memory of it as it did the night I dreamt of it.

Upon telling the dream to a friend, she attempted to interprete it for me. She stated the ice I was searching for was representative of water. Being cold, hard, and frozen represented a change in my life that could through either thoughts, decisions, behaviors, and actions that would be hard for me to accept. That the searching through the hallways, the rooms, the elevators represented the various ways I may try to deal or cope with the change I wouldn't or couldn't accept at the time. The couple in my dream who were my friends and who wouldn't respond to my plea for assistance, who walked away, and disappeared meant betrayal or absent of being there for support to me and didn't represent themselve but that I would experience this from a person I considered a friend. My relationship with this couple played a factored in her interpretion. The nurse and the ice machine represented me being denied something I desparately was seeking, that a person in my life and not necessarily an older woman would play a factor in denying me what I desire. The hands and the faces that spoke, whispered, and reached at to grab me represent the people in my in my life who are dependent upon me in one way or another and the fact that there were many and increased in number as I went represented and increase in the obligations and responsibilities that I would feel toward them. The emotions I felt, the confusion, helplessness, of being alone, and despiration to escape from the madness of it all represented the frustrations I am or will experience in my life at a later time. Definately a feeling of being overwhelmed.....

I can only say that, Yes, I am feeling this way......... overwhelmed! Overwhelmed by the current search for employment, lack of $$$ that I so desparately desire to get me where I want to be, overwhelmed by the responsibilities and the roles that I play, overwhelmed by the housework, the studio re-organization, personal goals, the relationships I have with some people in my life. I feel the confusion, the sense of helplessness, of being in this all alone, and the desparation to escape from it all even if it is for only a few hours out of the day. I need a break in my life! A break in the job searching, the soul searching, the responsibilities and obligations to everyone else so I can simply focus on ME! my wants, my desires, my needs. For strange reason I feel that whatever I do is never enough for others, I desire to do more, to be more, to accomplish things for them that I know in my heart is their responsibility to achieve, to do, to be. I realize I cannot be all things to anyone person......... that I need to be here for me in order to be the best that I can be for them. I need to establish some boundaries, to say "No!" more often. I need to learn to slow down and not feel that I have to do everything all at once because I do realize my life didn't get this way in any one single day and I cannot do or accomplish it all in one single day.

So, for now, I am planning a break for myself to regroup, re-evaluate, to tackle and conquer one task at a time. I guess this explains my desire for some time-management ideas, LOL! or confirms to all my family and friends that "Yes, I am a nut!"

How my mind wanders.........

I recently asked this question on the website's stamping message boards to see if others had any time management tips they could share with me and other stampers and scrapbooker's there. I quickly realized this a.m. that it is isn't simply 2P's, but groups that I participate in, as well as, "the internet" itself. I'd love to discuss this with other artists, so I decided to add this to my blog.

"The MB here on 2P's is wonderful resource where everyone has shared so much information re: supplies, tips, techniques, frugal ideas, etc. and there is so much I'd love to try/do/create, ideas, inspiration; well, you get the idea.......I often have to remind myself that I am looking at the artwork of 10,000 people and not simply one, LOL!

{the same idea applies to those "enabling" posts regarding products and supplies! which I've mentioned in group discussions online}

Anyways, with so many things going on in life, inspiration galore, the desire to create and continue to work on so many projects at once, what time-saving tips can we share with one another?

I try to: Focus on one project at a time working on it as time allows; often starting knowing it will not be finished in one day, week, sometimes a month, and/or over the course of several months.

I "TRY" to limit the number of swaps, RR's, collaborations that I participate in at a time. Time and $$$ both are factors here.

I work on artwork that provides immediate gratification such as creating ATC's, a card, a tag, a journal entry, or in my sketchbook and art idea journal between larger projects.

I break large tasks into smaller tasks and steps to achieve them enabling me to complete the project at a later time.

What do you do that enables you to complete your art? Does having multiple hobbies inhibit your time? How do you work it all in?

Thanks for listening and replying...... I know I can use some assistance with this and though maybe others face these same issues and through sharing our thoughts each of us may learn something from one another that might help us individually with some time management skills."

One response was in regards to the too much time spent on the computer........ which I, too, can relate to as I've definately been there! For some strange reason it is a little too conveinent to sit browsing, surfing, reading, researching, and being inspired.

It's also almost too easy when I lack motivation to accomplish something! Sometimes, I have to force myself to "step away from the computer". I've found once I begin a task, I normally begin getting "gun-ho" after approx. 20 minutes and once I get over the initial shock of it, LOL!

If I Google something {insert product name or technique or other item here} and links galore...... I've discovered I can, do, and could actually lose days on google and still not find exactly what I was hoping/searching for.

Another response was re: multi-tasking.... Yep! it works, in the event that you've time to prepare ahead.

I've used it; probably not as much as I should. Some things I've done:

* pre-stamped images on paper to be trimmed;
* pre-stamped and created masks for most of stamps that are able to be masked;
* colored in images while watching TV and talking on phone.

I'm sure there is more.......... I'm just not thinking too clearly yet to create a complete list.

Anyways, I think for me having 3 interrelated hobbies, scrapbooking, rubberstamping, and creating handmade books and bindings inhibits me at times. I take photographs for scrapbooking and for use in all my hobbies. Stamping overflows into each, however, not my scrapbook pages enough as it has been forever since I've created an actual page {8.5x11 or 12z12} but my books are often fashioned in scrapbook/altered book/collage style.

Several things I've think about doing is setting up a bookbinding station in my house since my studio is separated from it. My thoughts are:

* Cutting bookboard for covers must be done in studio for larger books as I've no room for my mat cutter; however, my rotary trimmer does work well in here for smaller sizes.

* Covering the book covers;

* Cutting, scoring, and stacking pages to create signatures could be done in advance

* Using the awl and awl guide for the book structure could be done. {Although, I'm not too sure if I should wait until after the pages are decorated or this could be done first for some sewn bindings as I normally create then decorate. Maybe some experimenting is in order!}

Thinking about all of this, I weighed the pro's and con's of each, factors that prevent me from achieving these goals, and looked for options. The main reason I don't work in my home is I've a terrible habit --- I smoke cigarettes. I don't want the RAK's I send, cards I create, and other projects smelling... I quit once for 4 months many years ago and I discovered just how awful cigarette smoke smells. It permeates everything, my hands, my hair, clothing....... It is a terrible habit! I could simply clean everything in my home and smoke outside only. It is ironic that I don't smoke in my studio! Never. No exceptions. I realize bettter yet would be to stop smoking altogether! I am aware of the benefits for my health, Don's health, everyone around me, the $$$ I'd save, so this is a big consideration for me right now. So, if you are reading this, please pray and send some positive vibes my way...... I'm certain I can use them. I'm thinking until I can actually break the habit, or smoke outside only when I do, I really shouldn't consider setting up anything in here bookbinding related. So, Back to square 1!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The task of house breaking/training Chaos is going well. Okay, with the exception of me sleeping throught the night and no outside break overnight, my bad. Chaos couldn't hold it as I was unlocking the front door early this a.m. He squatted, began to pee, and stopped as soon as he felt my hand on his back. I quickly snatched him up and outside we went for him to take care of business. Thankfully, the floor is bare wood, easier to clean instantly and will be recovered one day. He has been feed this morning, a quick --- well, quick for him, walk around the acre and is now chewing his chew bone contently between trips to the closed bedroom door where he is sitting and whining after hearing Don's voice. He seems to believe since he is awake the entire household must be also.

Today's agenda is to do some light housework and be on dog training duty. I was hoping to be able to set up a table outside the studio to create some paste papers while Chaos adjusts to being tied up near me outside. I'm sure I'm in for a treat with that one since he seems to enjoy being under my feet. Anyways, it doesn't appear that the weather is going to co-operate with that artistic endeavor. I'm not too crazy about him being in the studio with me yet and am not certain if I desire for him be honestly. One part of me says I'd love the companionship while another part says he'd have a hay-day chewing on my paper, LOL!

He is getting slowly adjusted to chewing on his small bone, playing with his ball is now becoming a pasttime, as well as searching for a place to simply lie down....... He picks the small space between the ottoman and loveseat when desiring his solitude and lays at my feet or under the end table at others. I'm sure he'll find his way or pick his favorite spot as he grows.

Jordan seems to have taken to him about as much as a cat will, LOL! When it is conveinent for him to do so. Lady, loves him and we always pay her a visit while outside; so far so good. In the evening last night she howled for the opportunity to run, romp, and play with Chaos and I which wouldn't be so bad if she'd stay with us, however, she has to visit with Allie and Mocha {Shawn's two dogs next door} as well. Maybe as Chaos grows and Don assists we can try that one; Lady listens better to him simply because she is his dog.

Chaos is now snoozing in front of the chair but will be on his feet as soon as I seem to hit mine. He is learning to watch for them and so far, I haven't step on the little guy. I believe today is going to be an adventure for him as I plan to give him his first bath, one he will simply need to adjust too.... the faster the better. I'm hoping he adjusts as Isis did and will soon welcome the experience.

Chicken breasts are defrosting for dinner; believe I will fix some shake and bake, mashed potatoes, gravy and possibly bake a cake while the oven is on. Other than that, I may create some book covers or try an afternoon trip to the studio while Don works this afternoon. So, there you have it, my life in a nutshell.

I did make some follow-up calls on recent employment applications; checked online for available employment in the area, and will continue to search.... I'm also hoping to get back to creating soon to fill the display rack for Don's store to see how well that will go. The process continues.........

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

We've a new addition to our family!

Ok, is this a midlife crisis or what? I quit a job I really begin to dislike and knowing I've one last paycheck coming for entire two days of butt breaking work and what do I go and do? Take some $$$ which I should have saved and go out an buy a NEW PUPPY!

Chaos is black labador retriever, only 4 weeks old, his momma has weaned him and as soon as I saw him I couldn't resist! . I reached my hand through the fence in the outdoor kennel and he came to me, licked my hand, wagged his entire body and my heart was lost forever.

Chaos is one of the 12 puppies I mentioned previously re: the possibility of being Dennis and Sheila's dog, Shadow's pups. So, I scooped him up with both my arms and my heart and back to Sheila's we went. Don said he knew as I soon as I left "to go look at the puppies" he knew I'd come home with one, LOL! Ironically, Shadow acted the "daddy" he is, lovingly licking Chaos, sniffing and welcoming him within his home. As a little time passed, Sheila and I noticed the same white star on Chaos's chest that Shadow has, stricking resemblance? co-incidence? We don't believe so, but then puppies of the same breed can possibly look alike, right?

Anyways, Chaos loves to ride in the Jeep already. No car sickness, no climbing all around, simply content to snuggle with me both front paws loving placed in the "I'm giving you a hug" posture while his face is snuggled into my neck and he nestled in my hair. A quick stop into WalMart for dog food ---- okay...., $38 later, it is now a dog collar, leash, worm medicine, chew bones for puppy, some treats for training, and some new toys, well, I think you see the pattern there, LOL!

We arrive home and while Chaos is investigating his new home, Shawn is bringing in the big dog crate, and Don and both are entranced! After an hour or so, several trips out side for pottinging/house training, we get Chaos settled into the crate in our bedroom for me to be awaken at 4 a.m. with yelping, crying and carrying on. I tried comforting him by putting my hand into the crate, softly whispering not to wake up Don, and Chaos continues to whine. So, feeling so sorry for him, open the crate remove him, move to the living room where we romp and play, make another potty trip outside in the cool night air only to return 15 minutes later so he can pee on my carpet! So, I gently but forcefully demonstrate my disapproval, take him back outside ---- like that really helps, LOL! Bring him back inside and confort him, telling him we are now his new family, make him promises to meet his needs, to love and care for him. Well that worked like a charm, he fell asleep in my arms, so I moved him back into the crate where he is resting peacefully, sound asleep while I'm wide awake after cleaning up puppy pee and updating my blog! Sheeesh....... I think I named him correctly, LOL!

What am I thinking? I just today filled out 3 new applications, know I'll be doing more job searching, and eventually returning to work, and I go and purchase a puppy? Who needs time, and training, and lots of love? Oh, the simple joys of life............. I hope Don will pitch in and help out, which I believe he will for I believe Chaos has already taken a piece of his heart as well.

Chaos will not be able to replace the love, the missing, the sharing I had with my studio bud, Isis, but he certainly will help to fill a void that has been lost within my life for the past 3 years. I never realized just how much I missed those sweet puppy kisses, the pitter-patter of being underfoot, the nearness, comfort, and joy that a pet can bring. I look forward to the challenge of training {yes, tomorrow night at 4 a.m. you may remind me I said that ;)}, sharing, the caring, and the love of our newest family member. Welcome home, Chaos!

{I'll try to post some pics soon but must warn you, he's a heartstealer!}

Monday, September 12, 2005

2 O'clock on a Monday........ why am I posting and not at work?

After the frustration I experienced at work last week, I did some soul-searching over the weekend. Some of the events in my life that occurred over the weekend {sorry, I don't desire to go indepth with what those events were} I decided I no longer desired to work under those circumstances. I believe Dr. Phil says it best when he states, "we teach people how to treat us" With that thought in mind, I made my decision. I'm confident that I can find another job making what little $$$ I was making locally and in a better working environment. I am happy and confident that this is the best decision I've made in quite some time. I am not exactly certain what the future holds for me, but I do know I deserve more respect and better treatment than what I received. For me that knowledge is powerful. I realize life is made up of the choices we each make for ourselves, that we each suffer or benefit the consequences from those choices. I just hope that I continue to make the ones that are best for me.

Confidence Boosters

As an artist, I, like most artist I know love to receive feedback on their artwork and handmade creations. When checking my email recently I received some feedback on two of the handmade Double Needle Coptic journals that I recently created. One as an Random Act of Kindness and another for payment for a special request of another artwork to be created for me. What a boost to my self-confidence these comments made. To some they may seem to be simply words, to me they meant the world! Thank you both! (you know who you are {smiles})

"The handmade book is very well done. I think I will decorate it and use it as our birding journal. The card and piano hinge book are very pretty. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your creations in the future. You do such nice work."


"I received your cool book yesterday. Wow, it's awesome! Such outstanding workmanship. Thanks for sharing it with me! Now, what to put inside...."

(I didn't include the recipients of these journals names in because I was not certain if they'd desire their comments to be used in this fashion as a testimonial of my artwork. For some reason, I didn't think to ask. Another "artist" lesson learned.........)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

New Purchases

These are my newest purchases from Talas. I've had this awl and awl guide on my wishlist for quite some time. Today, I decided that I DESERVE to purchase some new bookbinding supplies. I'm certain that the guide will certainly come in handy for punching holes in signatures as I prepare my handmade books for binding. I also could not resist these Spanish Marbled papers! Aren't they simply divine? I order the 205 or the 208; possibly both? I'm dying to get creating once again.......

This past week, I RAK'd two of my handmade and double needle coptic bound books. I am still awaiting the replies of the recipients to get some feedback regarding my books. I know I certainly was excited to receive one in the mail when Anne sent mine! {Thanks again, Anne} I'm planning to create more of them to RAK to a very active group that I am a member of; time and $$$ to send them definately plays a factor, but these ladies friendships are well worth the expense.

Also, I've several ideas in mind for a few new books. One style that I'm dying to create is a Dos-a-Doo Coptic. I'm thinking I'd like to decorate this one prior to binding --- complete with backgrounds, image and text! I'm thinking this book structure deserves a combination of watercolor pages, sketch page {smooth surface for journaling}, and a sheet of vellum as an overlay which also can be stamped upon for my signatures. I am thrilled that my I finally seem to be thinking of pulling all the knowledge I have for backgrounds, stamping, and paper art techniques and incorporating them into my bookbinding. I finally am feeling like my artwork is coming full circle! {smiles}

Was it really only a 2 day work week?

I'm not certain how many ways one could say "tired" but the last two days of working really kicked this girls butt! We are doing re-work, meaning skids of cases of bottles in corragated six pack boxes are being transferred into new cases. Sounds easy enough...... until you actually do about 8-10 skids per day, LOL! My right hand is a little swollen from grabbing two cases of the skid at a time. And a vent! I really dislike LAZY co-workers... where do they find some of these people? I had one right next to me who screwed off a good portion of the day which in turn meant "guess who" got to pick up his slack! URghhhh.....

Anyways, yesterday was payday! I was shorted some $$$ for transportation cost; hopefully it will be on next week check --- which I'm certain it will as I did a little bitching about it. You'd think I wouldn't have HAD TO say a word, ya know? I cannot get over some people who take advantage of another's generosity, sad but true, yeh? Anyways, enough rambling, venting, and bitchin'...

After cashing my paycheck on Friday, I returned home to discover Keith Smith's book waiting for me! Talk about quick......... and eye candy! The illustrations are in black & white; although it only takes a bookbinder's imagination to see it in a beautiful decorative paper and colored waxed linen and dyed linen thread cords. I believe my favorite binding is the Caterpillar ---- one I'll definately have to try sometime. I'll definately be ordering more of Keith's books.... as $$$ allows.

I did manage to place an online order for something on my long awaited wishlist! I'll post a link and pics in a sec...... until then...........

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back to Work......

I received a phone call this a.m. and will be returning to work beginning tomorrow at 7 a.m. I am not certain if we'll be working on Saturday's still. The $$$ will be nice......

I ordered a long awaited book today from Keith Smith Volume III Non-Adhesive Binding: Exposed Spine Sewings
ISBN 0-9637682-4-7

Part 1 is devoted to diagramming various true and false kettle and link stitches. Since the sewings in Part 2 require a sewing frame, three are diagrammed, in case you do not wish to invest in the expense of buying a sewing frame. One frame illustrated can be constructed easily for under $15 in supplies. It requires no skill to build, and requires only a drill and screwdriver. This frame utilizes carriage bolts for an adjustable crossbar.

Part 1 introduces how to use the sewing frame, how to round, to pack, and dying of cords and thread.

Part 2 is variations on raised support sewings, described by text, diagrams and photographs. Some employ the kettle stitch as changeover. Other means of changeover are explored, including packing, and endbands as changeover.

Part 3 demonstrates simple to very elaborate sewings, across, rather than along the spine. These require no equipment or sewing frame, only a needle, thread and scissors. Included are traditional sewings: the Butterfly; three 1-needle Coptic sewings, and five 2-needle Coptic sewings, as well as the Greek Sewing. Also are newly described sewings: the Caterpillar, Celtic Weave, Centipede, others.

The book also contains photographs of bindings by various contemporary binders. {Info taken from Keith Smith's website}.

I've seen some of these bindings and am excited to venture a little further in sewn bindings. Can't wait to receive and try some of these out. There are some other Keith Smith Books I am interested in..... but for now they'll have to wait. Part of the joy of a wishlist.. the anticipation! {smiles}

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labor Day Weekend Adventures.......

Don & I went shopping on Sunday. Took a trip to Stein Mart where I purchased a beautiful lightweight sweater prior to heading to Schottenstien's. I picked up a new lampskin coat; love the smell of new leather! Nothing wrong with the one I had except it is beginning to show signs of wear... Okay for running everyday errands while my new one will be worn when occasions warrant "looking good", LOL! Also, found a beautiful pair of medium heeled suede boots which will need waterproofing prior to wearing and a new pair of tennies......... which I wore yesterday to Fort Wayne, IN while we visited the Children's Zoo and revisted Headwaters Parks. The mastodons on parade are still on exhibit and I shot over 4 rolls of film between the two places.

I believe my favorite part of the zoo was...... well, it was hard to choose just one, LOL! The Africa exhibit, involved a lot of walking, viewed Crowned Cranes, a variety of water foul, gazelles, and giraffes. The zebras were in a holding section as they will attack two baby gazelles born early in August. The Rainforest exhibit was awesome; tucked under a huge atrium to control the moist, rainy climate it featured amazing plants, water features including a waterfall and bridges created from tropical plants and bamboo. The Indonesia exhibit was exciting to me. Lots of tools created from rocks, tree bark; books on nature, and jars filled with specimans each labelled with manilla tags inspired me in my artwork for my Autumn nature journal. I made some quick sketches on whatever paper I could find in the Jeep, LOL! We next visited the Austrilian section of the zoo, where there are aquariums. Seeing some of the different varieties of jelly fishes and sharks sparked some interest. There was also a working farm within the zoo providing examples of a farm complete with barn, a work horse named "Maize", dog house {no, not for the farmer himself, LOL, but for the dog that worked the farm}. Even an old-fashioned outhouse! {which lovingly reminded me of two internet friends in Kentucky and West Virginia who gently tease one another re: painting the outhouse every Spring. Kate and Cathy, you two are a hooot!}

It was a nice relaxing ride, the weather in the low 80's, traffic not heavy, and provided a nice, relaxing ride for us. Dinner at the Golden Corral off exit 25 {yep, the same exit we experience our flat tire adventure in August} was a great way to end the day. We arrived home shortly after 9 p.m., safe, sound, and tired. My feet well-broke in from wearing my new tennies, LOL!

A few quick telephone calls made to my parents and Christine completed the day before I climbed between the sheets. Chris & I are hopeful to possibly get together soon; she's in between homes trying to pack up one to move to the new one. She seems very excited to be on with it; of course, it means a new studio of her own for her creative endeavors which will be on hold for a bit. I'll post a link to her blog later --- when she begins updating it again.

For me, I'm planning to work on the studio re-organizing again soon. My day today will be spent cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping; along with a quick visit to my Mom's and the Post Office. I've two journals to send onward and a gift for a kind internet friend who lovingly created me a pocket tag for my nature journal. I think she'll be pleased with my selected gifts for her. Hopefully, I'll have some new artwork to feature soon --- I'm itching to begin something new! *tootles*

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Request from USArtQuest for victim's of Katrina

Dear Stamping Friends,

USArtQuest has found a small, yet significant way to help those who will for some time, be living in makeshift housing of our devastated south. We know that once the evacuees have reached a point where essential life-needs are met,they will also need something to keep their spirits up.

The employees of USArtQuest will begin assembling Card Art Kits on October 1. These kits are to benefit those suffering from their overwhelming sense of loss, by providing a bit of art therapy. Hands can stay creatively busy, while helping hearts heal. Although the process of evacuating and relocating may take several weeks or months, our project will also take that long to assemble.

This is how you can participate: Please gather your friends, your cardstock and pretty Christmas stamps, new, old, juvenile, pretty, elegant, cute and in-between – all just begging to be used. Stamp and emboss at least 6 Christmas/Holiday cards WITH ENVELOPES and send them to USArtQuest. DO NOT color them or do anything to embellish them in any way, other than to stamp and emboss. Pre-layering images is acceptable. We want nicely stamped, but plain cards. PLEASE PUT POSTAGE ON THE ENVELOPES and 6 cards into one zip-lock bag. If you use dark cardstock, please enclose a piece of white paper, so that personal notes can be written with regular ballpoint pens.

USArtQuest will supply the brushes, watercolors, stickers, additional paper/card, markers and the oodles of donated creative materials, as well as do the assembly, packing and shipping of the kits to the affected areas. Those who receive the kits will have, for at least a few hours, the opportunity to sit, paint, embellish and finish the cards for their friends and family for the holidays.

We all know that something as small as sending or receiving a card can be very important. But, more importantly, these handmade cards may be the only gift they can give this year. Our goal is to send 200 kits, each kit having enough materials for 12 people. (That means a staggering, 72 stamped cards per kit.) If we receive more cards, then we will assemble as many kits as the cards support. We would like to ship the first pallet of kits, by mid- October. If my arrangements to personally distribute the kits does not happen, (my sister lives in Houston), then we have asked that Points of Light Foundation and the Salvation Army to begin distributing the kits in late October.

If you would like to include ribbons, stickers or other creative materials not commonly carried by USArtQuest, we will also include them in the kit boxes. If you are able to participate, please begin sending your cards, with postage attached and/or materials to:

USArtQuest, Inc.
7800 Ann Arbor Road
Grass Lake, MI 49240 ATTN: We Care With heartfelt thanks and prayers for our neighbors, Susan
president Susan Pickering Rothamel
USArtQuest, Inc.

Friday, September 02, 2005

This is the bookmark itself that features the Stamper's Sampler Tempting Template. The "Do Not Judge The Book By the Cover" is one of my favorite stamps....... have you noticed I used it repeatedly within my handmade books? It is perfect regardless of the theme. The paper used to create the template is Lynn Perella's Somerset Studio line of Artist papers and the Art Journal Twill is from 7 Gypsies.

I re-scanned to show these last two pages together as they are meant to be viewed. Text reads, "For every day is an opportunity to discover new secrets. Embracing Life is seeing the world from the inside out and welcoming the outside in." I used the same stamped image of the wooden rowboat tied at a dock again. I used Stewart Superior's India Ink and the Magic Colored Pencil Technique to color in most of the images using this stamp. Once colored, I ran this image through my Sizzix diecut machine to place the image inside the seashell shape to complement the text above and convey the idea. I hope you've enjoyed this journey with me. {smiles}

These are 3 of the 4 pages on the reverse side of the accordian book. You loose the first and last panel on the reverse sides as they are attached to the front and back covers. Text reads, "For every day is an opportunity to discover new secrets. " There is various other text used to co-ordinate the accordian book mixing images and text, such as "I see the perfect journey", "I am my Souls seeker", and "Personal Insight" which can be see in the next photo that completes the book.

These are last 3 pages on the front that features the same stamp used in a variety of ways. Additional text reads, "Let me not be afraid of the fresh, the new; Allow me to revel in the knowledge that Life is a collection of moments; Each leading me onward to the next beautiful discovery. Let me always remember the refreshing gift of a walk in the woods, a moment of solitude, a day by the sea." I used some K&Co. embossed postage and the small tag is colored using Colorbox chalk ink in French Blue. Small seashells adhered with E6000 and twine complete the "beachy, sandy shore theme" complimenting the text.
This is the first 3 pages of 6 on the front side of the accordian book. It includes a book mark from the Stamper's Sampler tempting templates. Various stamps used repeatedly in different points of views. Text reads, " I shut my eyes in order to see. Charting new territories. Fear of the unknown."

Inner Visions is a handmade accordian book I've been working on creating for some time now. It includes a book mark from the Stamper's Sampler tempting templates. Various stamps used repeatedly in different points of views.

Assistance for victim's of Katrina.......

Just an FYI...

The company I am working for through a temporary agency is taking a hiatus from product production and operation . The company decided to utilitize the $$$ saved from utilities, salaries, wages, and holiday pay for Labor Day salary employees to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I will be off work tomorrow {Friday/Saturday} and all 6 days next week........ a small price to pay in comparison to those who've lost so much. Overall, an estimated $25,000 - $40,000 in assistance is expected to be contributed by the company US wide.

It is a bittersweet blessing for some who rely on the $$$ to support their own families, although most {myself included} are truly counting their blessings and are thankful for what they have. This tragedy touches my heart as Gulfport, MS {in the Biloxi area} was once Home Sweet Home to me in the early "80's.... the devastation is unbelievable. I am blessed to working for a company that truly is willing to put off profits to assist where assistance is greatly needed.