Sunday, January 29, 2006

Some recent events.......

Whooo - Hooo! After working tonight, 16 of my scheduled 24 hours will be completed for this week. Of course, there is always the possibility of receiving a phone call requesting a bit more of my time, which is both a blessing and a curse, LOL! A blessing because we can certainly use the $$$; a curse because it will take me away from my home, my family, and the things that renews my spirit. Tonight will be the 6th night of 8 hours shifts that I've worked, and the Lord only knows how I'm looking forward to a few nights off and some time for myself and family.

Don has been awesome adjusting to my new job. Sometimes, I think it is all too easy to take our partners role and how our lives effect them into consideration. But I have to admit, he's been a God-send to me lately; assisting me with household chores, taking care of Chaos, demonstrating patience since we're on two very different schedules. He's doing excellent with his recovery from surgery...... going on the 7th week now. He is still experiencing some pain, mild to moderate discomfort, however, his 6 week follow-up visit with his Dr. is one the 1st of February so we'll know how to procedure from here. He's beginning to get more and more restless as cabin fever is setting in and since he isn't working, I don't quite think he knows what to do with himself nor his time. We talked there for a while regarding him getting a hobby; he's had a lot of silkscreen printing experience and would like to pursue that further. Of course, I'm excited as some of this can be transferred and carried over into my paper arts hobbies! What could be better? LOL!

I really had to the urge to create tonight. Unfortunately, little too late to actually do a thing about it. By the time I would have gotten out the necessary supplies, I wouldn't have had any time to create a thing so I decided to simply think about creating and those thoughts themselves brought me pleasure. I'm hopeful to get some rest after arriving home tomorrow and upon getting some housework done, spending time with Don and Chaos, I can find some time to create. I'm thinking I'd like to try to stay on my 3rd shift schedule a bit more than I have been on my nights off. Even if it is only for 3-4 hours, it would allow me some time to create..... something I can do quietly while Don and Chaos sleep. I'll just have to remember not to bang too many eyelets, LOL! or learn to do so quietly. Of course, I could always purchase a quiet setter, but that takes have the fun out of setting them, LOL! not to mention some of the tension the act itself releases. *wink*

Don's Dr.'s appointment is in New Albany, a suburb of Columbus, so I'm thinking maybe I can make a stop at Scrapbook Art, Stampland, Prism's, and/or Michael's on our return trip home, if Don is feeling up to it. Of course, I'll need to make a list of items I desire as going in any of those places is hazard to our wallets without one. I also want to focus on the studio re-organization a bit more and begin implementing some of my storage solution ideas into my creative space soon. One step at a time............ as I have some previous commitments that need to take presidence first, like the Music of the heART swap and working on the Art Idea Journal RR, which is fine by me. It allows me the opportunity to pull some supplies and think more about the final results that I hope to achieve in the long run. And, who knows what I may discover along the way...........

Friday, January 27, 2006

This hit the nail on the head..........

Your Life Path Number is 6
Your purpose in life is to help others
You are very compassionate, and you offer comfort to those around you.It pains you to see other people hurting, and you do all in your power to help them.You take on responsibility, and don't mind personal sacrifice. You are the ultimate giver.
In love, you offer warmth and protection to your partner.
You often give too much of yourself, and you rarely put your own needs first.Emotions tend to rule your decisions too much, especially when it comes to love.And while taking care of people is great, make sure to give them room to grow on their own.

"You Never Get Enough of What You Don't Need"

I remember my grandmother saying this....... at the time, as a young child, I never really comprehended her meaning behind it. But lately, that seems to be "the current theme" in my life. If I want it, it isn't happening.......... so many things in my life seem to be connected with either Time or Money....... something that I never seem to have enough of either one, LOL! And for some strange reason, why is it that anytime I seem to take "a stand" on a though, an idea, or a viewpoint, there is some sort of a "test" attached to it? If anyone thinks I'm joking, I assure you I'm not. Just try it. Establish a clear cut idea, make it a goal, and watch what emerges to interfere with those plans. Lately this is a re-occuring theme in my life....... and feel as if I'm only deluding myself when I begin to think "it will work out and get better". I don't know when, I just have to hope, and when I think I know something, there seems to be something or someone else who thinks, feels, and believes otherwise and isn't afraid to voice that opinion, to squeeze you into something you're not.... or have no desire to be.

I apologize for the vent. I'm truly frustrated today. Tired, sore, hurt. If I was doing what I want, creating art, I believe I'd be slapping around some red paint, LOL! Maybe, that isn't a bad idea, I've desiring a red kitchen, ROFLOL! Not that I need yet another distraction. Anyways, it is time to put this bad mood behind me and think of some happy thoughts. Anyone who wishes to send me some good vibrations, feel free, Lord knows I can use them. It's been one of these days.................

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Making a Commitment to Change.......

~ George Eliot,
once said,
"It is never too late to become what you might have been."
So, I'm beginning to focus my attention, the age old question of, "What needs my attention? What is it that I need to do to become the what I want to be?"
Lately, my attention has been on adjusting my crazy work schedule, home and personal goals of the studio re-organization. Yesterday, that all changed as the Art Idea Journal RR resumed after a hiatus, and I once again realized my commitment to seeing this through to completion. That realization brought me to thinking about the "Music of the heART" swap, and a comment left by Paint Chip reminded me to once again be "taking the time to still take care of your artistic side!" Cindy's comment reminded me of yet another quote:

"We often spend so much time coping with problems along our path
that we only have a dim or even inaccurate view of what's really important to us."

-- Peter Senge
That quote really brought me around to realizing just how important my art is to me. It allows me to express the spiritual side of myself, to truly get in touch with my thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, it is one aspect of myself that I feel I've been neglecting by not giving into the urge to create.
I realize that often I must draw boundaries, make adjustments in my life, especially since beginning this new job, changes in Don's and mine relationship and health issues. I realized that somewhere along the way of taking care of our home, our family, and our health, that I've somehow forgotten to take care of my own health by denying myself the artistic outlet that my art provides to me in allowing me to express myself.
Then, I realized that I need to face this struggle and resolve it for lately I'm feeling unfulfilled, frustrated, and yes! a little bit of resentment and anger towards all that is interfering and getting in my way.
It seems that I'm striving to be a good worker since I'm the new kid on the block, but today, I realized I am already a good worker. I thought about all the comments and compliments I've received from my co-workers and peers.
It seems like I'm striving to be a good fiance, which agian, I believe I've already proven. It seems that I'm trying to be all these things for other people, that somehow along the way what I'm striving to be is everyone else that I've totally forgotten to be what I need to be to be truly, "Me!"
Anyways, I realized that by bringing my ATTENTION to my TENSION often releases it. So, today, I am making a new commitment. A commitment to change........... a commitment to allow time for myself to be what I desire to be........ AN Artist! And to be an Artist, I must create ART!
So, I, once again am focusing my thoughts back on making the time to get back to the studio re-organization one hour a day so that I can get back to creating the art that I love. And not only will I be re-organizing, I'll be making a commitment to myself to actually create some ART along the way! So, I'm off to look at my schedule so I can find some time to add in an hour of art a day! *BIG SMILES and Waves*

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What a Crazy Life.........

Just when I think I'll have some time for the things in my life I desire to focus on, I get "the" phone call. "Hey Don! Is Cath around?" Yep, you guessed it.... from "0" to "32" hours, once again.

I worked last night and am scheduled the next 3 nights. We're getting in "Super" trucks......... meaning lots of merchandise - skids for meat, dairy, produce on top of our "grocery" stock. I worked between aisles 5 & 6 most of the night. Just when you think you've one aisle completed, there's another 4 wheeler piled high with stock. For those not familiar with our store layout, aisle 5 is Dressings, Marinades, Pickles, Jams, Jellies and Juices; aisle 6 is our baking aisle, which encompasses Cake Mixes, Frostings, Brownies, Baked Dessert boxes, Pudding, Jello, Lunchbox Snacks, Flour, Sugar, Box Mixes, chocolate, butterscotch, walnuts, and various baking nuts, Crisco and various oils, and spices of a lot of variety.

I received quite the workout last night! between stocking the two. Normally, we unload the truck, do a pre-sort after the dairy, produce, and meat skids are placed in refrigerated and frozen coolers.......... but with so many items on the truck; only several were actually sorted and placed on the 4 wheelers we use to stock. Once we're out of 4 wheelers loaded with stock for aisles 2 - 10, we pull out skids which are sorted and worked. Well, last night was entirely too busy! Lots of skids to pre-sort and work. We stocked until 8 a.m. skipping store conditioning as it was in pretty good shape and most of us condition as we're stocking.

Anyways, I've 3 more nights ahead of me. Going to lay back down in a bit; get rested up to do it all over again. I did get to sleep around 9:30 a.m. and woke around 2:30. Putting some cubed steak in the crockpot before heading to bed made dinner a lot easier. I have supper disheds to do up; and a load of laundry in the wash.

Today, is the first day I've missed my one hour in the studio every other day. The re-0rganizing is slowly coming along. I figure due to hours I'm working, I might as well put that on hold for the week and do a little playing "catch up" when I have a day off.

Today was a good mail day. I received 2 of the art idea journals from Christy. I spent a little bit of time browsing through them while waiting for dinner to finish. I plan to begin working on my contributions in them a little bit here and there, knocking them out in steps. Working on one then the next each step of the way until my pages are finished.

The "Music of the heART" swap has yet to be started. Although, thinking about it recently and at work at night, I basically have figured out what it is I desire to create for it. Shouldn't be much to do ---- again I'll work in steps creating all 8. I just read that one member has dropped out due to health reasons, however, I still intend on creating her piece and mailing it as an RAK along with a handwritten letter.

Don continues to heal, although still experiencing some pain. We are still awaiting work on his continuation of physical therapy and his follow up appointment has been scheduled. If you're squimmmish.......... you may desire to skip the rest of this paragraph! Don complained of some pain along the line of his incision so I took a look at it a few days ago. Finding some inflammation and redness in one area at the top of the incision, I knew something was up. He said it felt as if something was rubbing his jeans, sweatpants, and robe when he wears them, so upon further inspection, I noticed it seemed one stitch hadn't disolved. So, cleaning my hands, prepping the area with rubbing alcohol and using the tweezers, I removed the stitch which left quite a small hole, and pulled about an 1/2" to 3/4" of undisolved stitching out. We're keeping an eye on the area, the redness and inflamation seems to be diminishing, as well as the pain. It just another one of those things that makes you wonder about others who undergone knee replacement surgery, the healing process, and who don't have someone with any medical experience, how do they do it?

Chaos is growing! I cannot get over how big he is......... he's adjusting to our new schedule but is so stubborn and head strong. Makes me feel a little guilty that I don't have the time to really work with him more........ one of the items on our agenda.... more discipline! With the growing comes the ability to get into more, LOL! He's good, though, just curious by nature, almost cat-like. He's very playful, wants to be constantly underfoot {both Don & I}, and loves attention!

Well, there you have it......... another day in "our crazy lives" *smiles*

Friday, January 20, 2006

Planning ahead........

Working last night, I checked my schedule for the upcoming week ahead. I'm back to being, unofficially laid off, with "0" hours, but once again on call. I figure I may get called in possibly for a night or two, but truly do not look for more than that to happen right now. But, it is really hard to say.......... one way or another; co-worker's do give up hours, desiring some time off; trucks can be unpredictable; and what needs done can fall behind.

Anyways, my intentions are to use this week, or whatever, I may have of it, to continue re-organizing, re-evaluating keeping some of my supplies, and going through and weeding out.

I'm not sure why I cringe when I think about actually giving some of my things away! It isn't like I won't have enough to utilize the space but in a more effective way! I know some of the things would be received with open arms and there are some things I desire to give to me sister and neices that will be set aside until I can afford to ship them.

I'm truly starting to LOVE this idea......... even if, you may have to remind me I said that! *smiles*

Kimberleigh's Scap the Crap, continued again.....

Kimberleigh's challenge continues with a note to purge and assess your space. She states, "If you have already come up with storage solutions - great!! Start putting them into action!! " I can do this to some extent, using what I already have while those I desire to purchase will have to wait.

She goes on to state, "On a little sidenote many of you are storing other things besides scrap stuff in your space? For me personally, I have papers, catalogs, flyers, you name it, it is somewhere in my room."

Yes, I do......... but the other things I am storing there are "hobby-related", LOL! I guess this is where I will continue along with what I've discovered works best for me ---- having separate, yet, in the same space areas for my scrapbooking, rubberstamping, journaling, bookbinding, collage work, and mixed media supplies. Just placing them in a more organized fashion determing areas of room designed specifically for each as I've always done.

My goal is to not only organize but assist me with creating a sacred place that I truly love so much that I anticipate the journey to actual get out there! And to keep some of my favorite, to be "kept out in sight" supplies displayed beautifully within.

I'm loving the thought of this, and have some additional ideas I jotted down. No sense accumulating the supplies to do it with yet, it will only compound the problem, LOL! The notes are easier to store, ROFLOL!

Studio Inspiration.......

Here are some of the little touches that I'd like to adapt to suit my studio space:

Sally Jean has definately captured my heart and romantic side of my wanderlust soul with images from her studio space! I love the soft off-white, the warmth it projects, the softness of the silk cabbage roses, the elegant touches of the French Country style with a touch of shabby-chic, and the handmade quality and vintage flair of the decor. This is the look I am hoping to achieve!

Some of the things I've done already:
Hand-rolled and tied up all my large sheets of paper for bookbinding use. I wrapped and tied them up using fibers, jute, and added some tags, circular, walnut inked, and regular manilla. I lined a large black trash can with a white trash bag, for now, to prevent moisture from effecting the papers. I one day would love to find a vintage-y looking large container, in a vase style, in the form of the old victorian style ceiling tiles to hold these treasures.

The cones with the paint brushes can easily be created using some of the papers that I already own, filled with some raffia, gift basket shred, and decorated with wire dry brushed with white acrylic paint for a more aged to perfection effect.

I have some old world style containers, trunks and suitcases, that can be lined with an off-white fabric that I already own, and will eventually store some of the empherma that I already have.

I also desire to cover some of my old treasured hard cover books with some handmade papers, adding some ribbons, silk florals, and a tag with the titles of each book hanging on the spine. For some vintage sheet music books, I believe I'd like to create a slip cover type of bundle around them, add a co-ordinating image or a fabric transfer from the material I've found and previously posted to further embellish the bundles. I'd also like to display some of the empherma that I've picked up on Don & I's various road trips....... flyers, brochures, newspapers, etc. It will be in these personal little touches that will help me create my own sacred space.

I some cards from internet friends that I'd love to have close at hand to look at and reminense when the mood strikes me, so I'm thinking of creating my own vellum and tissue wrapped envelopes to keep them out on display in more see through containers. Currently, these are being set aside while I am organizing until I can get to actually creating the actual dream that I have in mind for them.

One project that I've forgotten to mention that I've began is a journal. I originally picked up simply because I loved the soft coral color, the rose fairy image on the cover, and the velvet-y spine. The inside of the journal contains a verse printed on vellum, that reads,
"Best and dearest flower that grows,
Perfect both to see and smell,
Words can never, never tell,
Half the beauty of the rose~
Buds that open to disclose
Fold on fold of purest white,
Lovely pink, or red that glows
Deep, sweet-scented. What Delight
To be the Fairy of the Rose!
Behind the vellum printed poem is a rose edge stationery style sheet, and beyond that lies the
lined pages which I am filling in for my first grandchild. The text is very personal but discusses how I found the journal, discovered my paper arts hobby, and how I wonder what will become of my most treasured and precious studio supplies and papers after I am gone. I desired for my grandchild to have a piece of each and every piece of paper I treasure, so I plan to include some photographs of my studio and the projects that I have created using some of those papers, small samples and information regarding them will be enclosed within the pages and pockets of the Rose Fairy journal. A ribbon bookmark already on the journal holds a fairy pin created from shrink plastic and a large walnut inked circle tag that reads, "A journal and hopefully pleasant journey through your grandmother's heart." The opposite side says, "Full Circle" and is embellished with the date, January 2006, and a paper flower with a gold brad in the center.

As I work on both the re-organization of the studio, scraps of fabric, paper, and photographs will be taken to include with this journal. A treasure I'm certain my grandchild will hold with both hands and heart!

Kimberleigh's Scap the Crap, continued....

The next two steps, Kimberleigh mentioned was taking inventory of items needed to organize. Well, I definately do not need to buy any additional organizational items, so I plan to use what I have already in the studio by purging some of the items, combining the two steps.

I believe I have a friend who is starting to scrapbook that may be interested in some additional clutter, LOL! So, I intend to surprise her with quite a bit of it, and save some for her daughter, my close friend, Patty, only a much smaller and selective scale.

But, there is always some desired items lurking somewhere in the deep creavices of your mind. For me, it is these items from The Container Store {they are also available at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Linens N Things, and yes, even Target!}

I'd like to also purchase some clear shoebox style containers, to group similar and like items, within the Open Canvas bins.

It never ceases to amaze me.........

how you can think a thought, and find others who are on the same wave length with their thoughts, too. This happens often to me while creating, enjoying life, or whatever the task at hand may be. Maybe, it is because since it is something I desire for myself within my own life, I'm more tuned in to the thoughts and ideas when I actually discover them being thought about somewhere else. Whatever the case may be, I love the serendipity of those moments.

Lately, I've been talking about what I desire in my studio as far as my re-organizing effort goes, so I wasn't too truly surprised when I discovered another Pubster on 2P's, kimberleigh13, was equally as frustrated with her scrapbook space so she proposed a "Scrap the Crap: Disaster Clean Up Challenge" on the Pub message board. I haven't actually participated in the discussion as it is hard too when I work 3rd shift and really do not need yet another distraction, but I was surprised when I read her Day 1 challenges which seemed to coincide with my own thoughts previosly mentioned.

Here is kimberleigh's thoughts:

***envision what you want your space to ultimately look like (within your means and budget) ***take inventory and decide what things you will need (i.e. a bin, basket, maybe a dresser from an antique store, etc.) ***ask yourself if you are willing to purge old items (possibly sell stuff on ebay, give away some items) Remember - to make room for new, you need to purge the old. If you are like me and don’t have time to list things on eBay right now, you can still purge and separate, just put the eBay items in a separate box or wherever you can store them so they are out of your way. So purge, purge, purge!!!

I've already envision what I desire for my space to ultimately look like and have described it quite some detail in some previous posts. I also got to browsing online for some Country French fabrics as I desire to create my own window treatment above the existing sheers and create a curtain to be hung on my bookbinding station to hide some of the clutter of some items on the shelves.

I was floored when I discovered Calico Corners online.
Here is a sampling of some of the fabrics that interested me:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Just another update........

Don pitched in to help me out with the household cleaning today. He's feeling so much better, although suffers with pain from the total knee replacement when he tries to do too much. Today, he helped wash up a load of laundry, wash my white coat for tomorrow evening's adventures, and ran the sweeper in both the living room and our bedroom. Running the sweeper is one chore, I wished he'd give up as I don't think it is too beneficial for him to be doing in less than 5 weeks after his surgery ---- but try to tell him that.

Today, he's out of pain medication and is trying Ibephrofen {sp.? don't feel like running after the bottle, LOL!} I'm hopeful it works out for him. I worry that he'll become addicted to the pain medications, although they've not done a lot good for him. The Dr. did prescribe Restoril to assist him with sleeping.... he says it doesn't help too much, and I really haven't noticed a change.

We both are getting a lot of rest. Me, due to working 3rd shift, him still on a 1st schedule sleeping at night. But he's up and down about every 3-4 hours. I think he's finally realizing how I developed my weird sleeping habits of 4-6 hours a night and a nap every couple of days.

The weather here is changing..... we went from 31 degrees and snow, to 40's by noon, melting snow and ice, now it nearing 50. Stick around long enough and it'll change again, LOL! There is a 30 percent chance of rain after midnight........ hopefully, it will be gone by my shift's end at 8 a.m.

I'm planning to lay back down for a few hours sleep here in a bit. After I catch an afternoon movie....... if I can make through it, LOL! Don is out running errands, picking up Chaos's dog food, paying the water bill, and making a bank deposit for me. He's feeling a bit tired too so we'll probably nap together, get back up for dinner, spend my one hour in the studio before I get ready for work tonight.

Don also recently surprised me stating he wished he had a hobby. I offered to teach him to rubberstamp. He surprised me by offering to assist me with the "Music of the HeART" swap, so I'm going to allow him to do that. He can measure and cut paper, do some trimming, and layering. It will be fun to discuss some of the techniques I use, the types of inks, and the supplies used to create these as well as have a sounding board to bounce some ideas off of. Heck, he may even surprise me with how much he's learned from our road trip convos! Anything is possible.........

Well, my movie's to watch and relax a bit. *tootles*

Why yes! I have lost my mind.........

Yesterday absolutely flew by as I'd worked Tuesday at midnight until 8 a.m. Wednesday. I arrived home after stopping for breakfast, and couldn't keep my eyes open, so off to bed I went. I awoke sometime around 2:30 p.m., checked my email, and posted a very lengthy reply re: the Fat, Chunky Book swap complete with instructions. It was a very difficult thing to do as I was interrupted by Chaos several times, needing to be taken out to potty, simply desiring to play, and annoy me in the process! It wasn't until I hit the "send" button that I realized I should have copied the info, and how was I right. My post timed out! Urgghhh, back to square one. This time in Word, so I save often, LOL! Then, I did the copy/paste and got the message posted.

I had Don order a pizza from Tubby's; which he had to venture out into the cold, freezing night air to pick up. Shame on me, but I was simply exhausted. Believing I had to work, back to bed I went at 7 p.m., sleeping until 10 p.m. which by now, you'd think I'd know isn't always the greatest idea as I didn't want to get back up. Out of my nice warm bed, into the chill in the air, are you nuts? Anyways, off I went, gathering up my clothes, jumping in the tub, blow drying my hair, putting on my make-up, and proceeded to get dressed. Deciding I'd take a cup a coffee with me, I walked past the refrigerator and just happened to look at my schedule ---- imagine my surprise when I read, "Wednesday/Thursday OFF!"

I told Don I'd wasted my evening! Sleeping........ of all things. Thinking I'd never get to sleep again, we headed out to WalMart for a quick pick up of a few necessities and an issue of Scrapbook Answers magazine. I'd been reading about it, hearing its name, but I'd never picked one up before --- heck, I think this is the first time I'd ever seen it!

Upon braving the cold night air, we returned home where I made some hot fudge brownie sundaes --- I know, I'm the only nut who craves ice cream when it seems below zero! Cranked the heat up, grabbed my comforter to cover up with, and another cup of coffee with cinnamon and vanilla creamer and settled in to read. I think I made it to page 8 before feeling like I couldn't hold my eyes open, so at 2:30 a.m. I crawled back into bed to sleep until 7:30 a.m. this morning.

I still don't know how I missed overlooking the fact that I had last night off work! Working 3rd shift is crazy anyways, your nights and days get extremely mixed up, you have to look at the computer screen for the date, and to determine what day it is....... then, turn around and second guess yourself, LOL! Is it really? Is that right? What a life!!!! or is that "lack of one?"

Anyways, today's game plan, one hour in the studio re-organizing. Some housecleaning, determing what's for supper, more sleep this evening, because YES, I'm on the schedule. I'm sure of it! Because this Friday/Sat a.m. is my night off and I have a date! One that will take me out of the house, around people who I don't live with and work with.......... ahhh, LIFE!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I can ONLY Dream..........

For many years, I've dreamed of attending an Art Retreat........ name any...... Heart and Soul, ArtFest, any and all Paper Arts, Mixed Media Related......... but my greatest dream would be to one day attend:

I love my bookbinding! It allows me the freedom to be creative in a variety of mediums, incorporating my skills and knowledge of a variety of crafts and hobbies, provides me with the opportunity to decide upon techniques and ideas to experiment further.

Unfortunately, for now, I can only dream about attending......... but one day, I plan to work on making that dream......... a reality!

Achieving some personal goals.......

Lately I've been in a retrospective, reflective mood. Perhaps, it caused from all the sudden and recent changes within my life, or possibly the fact that I'm both a dreamer and a sentimentalist. Either way, I believe it helps to keep me focused on what is truly important in my life.

I previously mentioned my intention of working one hour a day on my studio re-organization; which I fully intent to begin today! After a few brief household chores are accomplished and completed, possibly inbetween the task of doing some laundry. To assist me achieve that goal, I'm planning a crock-pot meal to cut down on some time spent cooking. Not certain what it will be yet, but I'm certain I can come up with something!

Another goal that I desired to start, and did manage to get only one completed, was to create a Coptic Stitch books for some active members within a group that has supported me and my creative endeavors for a few years now. However, life has a way of getting in my way, and there has been many obstacles I've had to overcome, like my returning to work, which forced me to put this on the back burner for quite some time. So, within the last few days, this has been on my mind, so after thinking it over, I decided that maybe making the idea into a swap would assist me with completing the desired project, so I proposed the idea to the group and am anxiously awaiting a response. This is very important to me, because a lot of the members of this groups are precious online friends, whom I feel I am often neglectful with, without intentionally meaning to be that way. They're wonderful about sending out a Random Act of Kindness, A thoughtful card, and yes, an occasional email. Their lives are as busy as mine so I thought a swap would be the perfect solution to part of my desired accomplishment. I'm hopeful I'll hear from them soon....... and they'll assist me with meeting one of my personal goals to become more of an active member, participate more, and yes! even host my first swap within the group!

*Crossing my fingers!* as I love the ideas I've had for it..... more info to be shared soon. And in the event that the idea fails........ maybe I can offer it here on my blog for any blog readers to participate in.

I'm still participating in the Art Idea Journal which hit a stall back in September and most members are hopeful of completing in 2006. I have the "Music of the heART" swap to begin creating, and have proposed this swap, as the hostess and the book cover and bookbinder, so I don't think I'll bite off any more to chew on for a while....... unless it is a 1 on 1 ATC Swap! *smile*

I've been INVITED..........

to return to Scrap-N-Stamp Ink in Mansfield, OH as a monthly Featured Artist! My dear friend, Becky, recently invited me to put my artwork back on display in her mother-in-laws store. which recently moved to a new location, located at:
1502 W. 4th Street(at 4th & Brookwood) in Mansfield, Ohio.
Their telephone number is: (419)529-4491
and their New Hours are: Closed Sundays, Monday's 10 a.m. -5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Although, we've not established "an official date" for this event yet. I'd like to do it before Becky relocates.

You see, I recently received this personal email from Rebecca:

Dear Friends,
Nearly four years ago, an amazing chain of events began to unfold that would forever alter my life: my mother-in-law Peggy and I began planning our business partnership as co-owners of Scrap N Stamp Ink.

With intense contemplation my husband and I now prepare for a new chapter in our lives. With Michael’s job taking us to Atlanta, Peggy is taking over full ownership of the store (Up until our move, you will still find me playing and teaching at the store). For those of you who have come to know me over the years, I feel it is appropriate to provide a little more information...

The initial move from Denver to Mansfield in 2002 involved significant changes for our entire family. I resigned from my job as office manager of a global human resources and career consulting firm. My husband, Michael, negotiated an arrangement to telecommute from home so I could open the store with Peggy. I thank him first and foremost, for Michael has provided steadfast support and encouragement in our endeavors. I would also like to thank my kids, all of whom exhibited tremendous resilience and open-mindedness when we uprooted them from familiar routines and childhood friendships at the threshold of their most valued high school years.

Many of you have witnessed the relationship between Peggy and I evolve since the opening of the store. I often say there is no other person I would prefer to be a business partner with. I have discovered a part of my self that could not have been found without her. Peggy, in the audience of my friends, I thank you for believing in my strengths, for encouraging me, for helping to open my Self up to creativity. I value the impact you have had on me, throughout the laughter, the tears and everything in-between. You are more than my husband’s mother: you are my teacher, my friend, and I love you dearly. It has been stabilizing to finally settle in near family long enough for me to get to know each of them, bonding and finding strength that only family ties can offer. I must also publically thank my parents and sisters in the Pacific Northwest, who have offered prayers and support throughout the store's existence.

Thousands have walked through the doors of the store over the past few years. I am forever grateful for each of you who have supported our business. I have a special gratitude for those of you who have opened up their hearts to let me into their lives, and for those who have found a special place in my heart.

Some of you I may have only seen once or twice, and I trust that our encounters have been pleasant and that your experiences at the store have been happy and instrumental in both the practical and personal aspects of your paper arts hobby.

One of the unique facets of a store like ours that it’s a feel-good’ store, and it works both ways: Whether you’ve brought in a project that we’ve shared with others, or you’ve taken a class, our store may be financially supported through product purchases, but it is through our relationships that we find our truest success.

There are numerous friends and acquaintances I have come to know through unique relationships in which we have found a common bond. Sometimes through tears, but usually through laughter, you know who you are: The ones from whom I solicit advice…the ones who know I need advising when I don’t ask for it! The ones with whom I can be my silliest Self…the ones who hold up the walls and sign for packages…the ones who need a listening ear, and the ones who listen to my rambles. Thank you, for the store could not survive without your unfailing support.

There will not be an absolute farewell to my participation in the store, as I will be covering for Peggy occasionally, designing samples and projects, teaching a class here and there, and most importantly, I will be over there playing and creating and shopping for my home studio! Most immediately I am taking a little bit of time to recover from the physical demands of moving the store, and then will begin job hunting to help with the financial demands of three college-bound kids and preparing for our move. Even after we are settled in Atlanta, I hope to keep my product and technique knowledge up-to-date and have time to formulate exciting classes to bring back to Mansfield!

Thank you, again, for the pleasures of your acquaintances! I will give another update once we are settled in Georgia, so just ask Peggy if you want to know how things are going for me. The other possibility is that Michael and I will buy a sailboat and ride off into the sunset!

Wishing you happiness, health, prosperity and wisdom in the coming year,
I cannot even begin to tell you the heartache I felt when I originally stopped by the store, prior to this email, and Becky talked about her and Michael's plan for relocation to Atlanta.
You see, Rebecca and I instantly, looked into one another eyes and seemed to connect with each one another's souls. The bond that was created in that moment in time is like no other bond I've ever experienced. We immediately were able to share our intermost thoughts, feelings, and secrets with each other and inspired one another creatively like no one person has ever inspired me before.
I am truly happy for the the opportunity to have met, discovered, and come to know her, not only as an amazing wife, mother, daughter-in-law, and friend; but as one talented and amazing artist!
I wish her and Michael the best as they embark upon a new chapter in their lives and those of their children. I'm hopeful we will have some time to spend together before she moves, for certainly no-one ever before has reached for my hand and touched my heart in the manner that Becky did.
Mon Ami, my dearest friend, please stay in touch, feel free to call me at 2 a.m., and always know I'll be here for you whenever you need me. I'm hopeful that maybe one day, Don & I can come visit with you & yours in Atlanta, and always know our door is always open should you ever need a place to stay when you come to re-visit.
I hope we'll both promise to stay in touch and keep that promise. Possibly send some hand-written letters, I know we'd both treasure forever, and swap some artwork as time allows. Always know you'll always be in my thoughts and prayers, and may God Bless and Keep you and yours. I love you, my friend......... you'll always have a home in my heart!

Be inspired..........

Last night was one of my night's off this week so Don & I both decided we needed to get out of the house as cabin fever is beginning to set in. We all know what they say regarding, "All work, and no PLAY"...... so we decided to treat ourselves to an evening out for dinner. I was in a mood for some Smokey Bones, Pulled Pork, so to Polaris Parkway we traveled.

I'm certain if you've read my previously written blog entries, you've figured out by now that I LOVE to travel! Even if it only a few hours ride one way or both, it's freeing to my gyspy soul. Riding or driving provides Don & I an opportunity to catch up with one another's thoughts and feelings and there isn't anything that we cannot share with one another. Sometime during our conversation, my mind turned to ART, a recent swap, and I decided I'd like to make a few stops along the way. First, was Prism's Art Supply, which I quickly decided against, determining I always spend too much $$$ in there, especially when I'm not going in for something specific! Second stop, Stampland, which unfortunately was closed upon our arrival. If you've never been to Stampland, Norma, the owner, is a fabulous person who goes above and beyond customer service, and the store is filled with stamps, stamping supplies, and is a treasure trove of "Eye Candy!" So, we continued on down the road to Scrapbook Art, this time with a purpose to purchase 8 identical embellishments for the "Music of the heART" swap I signed up for.

I love themed swaps, especially one's where the hostess allows you to determine the style of art you desire to create. It makes for some very interesting interpretations as you view the return of the swap. Having my own set of pre-conceived thoughts, ideas, and techniques I'd like to try, I went in search of some new supplies to inspire me. Little did I know how expensive that would be!

Let's just say that I went "a little overboard", shall we? ROFLOL! I purchased embellishments for the swap, a half inch stack of red paper!, for some reason the color "red" has been inspiring me, and a new tote bag and tool!

The tote I purchased, is one of the new Making Memories Runway Tote which is absolutely gorgeous! Made of a stylish faux leather with beautiful white stitching, and lined with a sophisticated black and white polka dot material, it is ideally spacious, yet portable! It comes complete with a sholder strap, pewter hardware, a custom MM Tote Charm set, and a 12" x 12" Storage Box that accents its sleek design. I absolutely love it!

I'll be on the lookout for the Tote Tag to decorate in my own unique way and have an idea in mind already.

Another purchase, the tool, I previously mentioned is the Basic Grey Notch Tool. I'm certain, I'll find this tool useful in my Paper Arts and Bookbinding hobbies.

Sometimes, I wonder.........

Sometimes, I wonder why I desire to blog, to write my thoughts and feelings out in place where just anyone surfing the internet can stumble across my blog and read my most intimate thoughts and feelings. Other days, I wonder if anyone is reading it all!

Then, out of the blue, I receive an email telling me how it's beauty, truth, and reality related to someone who stumbled along, perhaps from my link on 2P's, or a link from another blog, or heard about it from a friend of a friend........... today was such a day! Now, I don't know how this person discovered my blog, but her comments truly inspired me. I'm hopeful she doesn't mind my sharing her email here:

Subject: thanks!

Dear Cathy
I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing and being real. :) I am also over 40. I am almost an empty nester but not quite.yet. And I LOVE scrapping and designing. Plus I am just discovering what a blog can bring to my life. :)
Thanks again.

She also included a link to her blog, which I won't share without her permission, but can imagine my surprise when I discovered it was someone well known in the scrapbooking industry! Heck, I had once been a member of one of her Yahoo groups regarding studio organization and organization and time management techiques, have probably read at least a hundred of her well-written articles? I was truly floored! Little ole me ---- from a small city got noticed by someone of importance in an industry I definately can relate to. My mind began whirling with questions that I love to ask her........ for I'd truly love to pick her brain on so many ART related issues. Awhhhh, maybe one day.........

Anyways, in my recent blog rolling travels, I discovered it is "International" Delurking Week. This is the chance for anyone and everyone, myself included, to let another blog writer know you where there and your thoughts and comments on their blog. I know we all do it, in our blog surfing travels, we tend to lurk, read another's thoughts, share in their lives if only for a second in time; while other's are visited daily hoping there is another post, an update. Why not let that person know you were there? You love their thoughts, their ideas, their artwork. It only takes a moment but that moment truly makes another's day! So, in the spirit of "International Delurking Week" I've decided it is time that I too post comments or at least email the author to say, "I love what you're doing!"

In the event you prefer to remain anonymous, in the public forum, feel free to shoot me or any author an email. Here's mine:

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Thinking ahead..........

Creating ART has been on my mind a lot lately, unfortunately I haven't had the time to actual do too much of it. So, I began thinking of some of the obstacles that are getting in my way and ways that I can resolve them.

First and foremost, is my studio; it is simply in shambles. I believe I've previously mentioned that I spent a few hours there last week, packing up some items, clearing out my bookcases, dusting, etc. That is still a work-in-progress........ but I signed up for a swap, this is a chore I MUST begin to tackle. So, I've decided to make spending at least one hour every other day doing that. I've stamps to clean, some to display, paper, stickers, and other supplies to put away, and tables to clear off so I can begin to work on the "Music of the heART" swap.

I created a list of all the requirements of the swap, made two copies --- one for in my home which is placed directly at my computer to remind me of this goal; and another to be taken out to the studio so I can set aside the supplies I'll quickly need to locate once I begin to work on the actual swap. Next, I have "the list" of techniques, thoughts, and ideas that I originally had upon reading the swap suggestion and requirements. On that list is a variety of techniques that will require certain tools and supplies which I'd like to leave out easily assessable to anyways.

So, beginning tomorrow, it's one hour a day, every other day .... time spent cleaning, clearing, and re-organizing. I'm thinking setting the goal of one hour is an achievable goal for me and I can add to that time as I have it. I'm hopeful with the next week or two this task will be complete and I can begin focusing my complete attention to the swap itself.

I'm thinking that once the swap is done, I'll continue with the re-organization issues. I'm hopeful to establish some Feng Shu to the space to assist with the flow of creative energy within the studio. I've been thinking of the decor of the space, I love the warmth of the oak veneer slat wall, the Behr Restful light green paint, my Tina Chaden art prints, and the "ole' world traveler" theme that I've previously established. My intention is to add to it! I want to be surrounded more by the things I love! In the recent issue of Somerset Studio, my favorite art magazine, there was a recent article on White & Whiteness that truly inspired me as far as the color of white goes....... Lynn Perralla's article on Quite White truly inspired me to think about my own collection of correspondence, the creamy vanilla, and the antique aged appearance of some of the things I love. I've decided I'd like to display more of them within the space, add some off-white cabbage roses, cover some books, boxes, and display pieces that fit within the theme of white and whiteness to lighten it up and inspire me further. I believe that by surrounding myself with creative things I've created or altered to be white or tone or hue of whiteness, adding in a touch of the sentimental romantic within me, I'm certain to create a space I truly love!

Another thought that I have is that "less is more". Now, I'm not talking about getting rid of a lot of the things I love and treasure, just simplifying some of the things within the space, like removing one of the tables to open the space up more. I can always add one back in quickly enough in the event that fellow artists and friends would like to visit.

I want my studio to be my sacred space, my Zen-like area, filled to the brim of all that I love, yet not so over-bearing to me that I don't look forward with love to my each and every visit there. I want to be my space to retreat to whether it is for writing in my journals, creating a piece of collage art, making an ATC for a friend, or a piece of personal artwork for myself or as a gift for another artist that simply says, "Hello. I'm thinking of you." I want to feel my heart dance within my chest with each and every step I make on my way out to the studio. I desire to establish a ritual that will assist me in getting in touch with my own creative muse allowing her heartbeat to become a bit of my own. I'm excited to get started on this journey......... the one inward that will reflect outward to myself and others visually.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

More Serendipity..........

I couldn't believe my eyes and ears when I read Artella's new newsletter which was delivered to my inbox overnight. It available for online viewing at:

And I was instantly surprised when I tried discovering an Acronym for "BLISS"!!!! I came up with "Being Loyal is Self-Satisfying!" By being loyal, I was thinking of being loyal to our true self, the one we don't always show to the outside world not always by choice but more of fear of lying ourselves on the line and experiencing that sense of vulnerability. Which me to thinking about being true to ourselves and trusting in our own truths. So, I created an acronym for TRUTH. "Trusting "R"selves Unconditioning To Heal" which amazed me once again. For surely being to oneself and learning to trust ourselves continues to keep us healthy!

Something interesting to explore further.......... and possibly illustrate through an artist's journal!

How Appropriate....... an email.

I believe I've mentioned before that I often get an inspirational emails, one that stimulates and inspires. Today, was just such a day........ and I like to think that little seredipity-style messages are God's way of saying, "You go, girl! You're on the right path."

Today's message:

Go For What You Want
" F O L L O W Y O UR B L I S S . "
~ Joseph Campbell
It asked, "If we stop to reflect on how we are in the world when we are happy, we can see how this serves. We'll have more vitality. We'll more loving and generous to others when our own needs are met. "
It asked, "What activities bring you greatest joy?" stating that each of us possess a "unique gift to the world will be found in those pastimes that we love the most. "
Now, I'm asking you, "How can you live your joy each day? and What are you doing that you enjoy to pursue your own ....
B L I S S ? "

A New Discovery.........

Recently I discovered a new magazine. More. A magazine for women 40+ ( I remember when I first read it, I felt like I'd finally found my place in this world! A magazine wrote by women for women who are 40 and over. I absolutely love this magazine!

I remember when I first turned "the BIG 4-0!" How I thought, I should somehow feel at least sense some sense of drudgery, LOL! that my life expectancy was half over. But I truly do not remember feeling that way......... I felt young and happy, vibrant and rubust! I'd spent the past 20 some years raising my dear daughter, Amber, I was a "career girl", one who looked forward to the rest of life. I was content to be where I was, yes, even at my age! LOL! I looked forward to my future, of once again having some well-deserved "ME" time, the opportunity to explore, to learn, to discover just what exactly I desired to do with my newly found "free" time.

At least until life threw my a major curve ball in the form of an automobile accident which landed me flat on my back and spending the next two years learning to walk all over again. And yes, it was a challenge to overcome...... at first, one filled with regret, to only be replaced with anger and frustrastion before lulling me into a deep depression I'd felt at the time I'd never recover from. But day-by-sweet loving day, I recovered. I remember being "42" and taking that first step once again, thinking, "You want me to do what?" and "I don't remember doing this the first time around." I remember the sense of fear, the "what if I fall?", and the terrifying moments that followed. But what I mostly remember the is the joy, the sense of accomplishment when I finally did take that first step, the sense that "I did it!" and the pride that I did.

Yes, it is true, my life was in shambles! I was no longer able to walk, to run, to work, to take care of my family. My marriage had failed; falling apart under the strain emotionally, mentally, and physically. I divorced after a two year separation and twice returning thinking that I should at least try to hold my marriage together. I look back on all that once was, and now I realize that was my mid-life crisis!

It was during that time, that healing and recovery period, that my life came to be all that is now.
I "knew" for the first time in a long time what I desired to do! I never had that sense of knowing as a teenager, or a twenty-something, or a thirty year old mother of a teenage daughter. I simply did what I felt was the right thing for me to do. I thought I wanted a career in nursing, to become and be a nurse. I worked in a Dr's office while attending school back then and that was my dream. But life had other plans.

It wasn't until my car accident that I discovered scrapbooking as a creative outlet and an opportunity at healing emotionally from all the scars and my previous life experiences. It wasn't until then, that I realized that my families life didn't revolve around me as "the hub of the home". It was a period of adjustment in every sense of the word. However, that "unfortunate accident" allowed me to finally explore and discover "who I am" and "who I wanted to be". Of course, I didn't realize all this at the time, but reflecting back on it all now, I know, it wasn't "an unfortunate accident" at all! For somewhere in the middle of all the doing, the trying, the re-building, I discovered me! Of course, it was by trial and error, mistakes made along the way, life lessons learned.... but it was beautiful! It was my "life-changing event."

Now, that my 45 birthday is fastly approaching, I've been doing some reflecting upon my life. And I can truly say that "I'd do it all over again" to have what I have in my life now. I can remember hearing my mom and her girlfriends talk about feeling that way, and I always wondered if one day I, too, would ever have a moment like that. That moment of "No regrets." No guilt. No wondering, "what if?"

Could my life be better? Possibly. But then, the thing is, for now, I am truly content with my life --- just the way it is! Of course, things could be better. I could have a better job, more money, a better love life, ha. ha. But for now, just for today, I'm allowing myself to simply be content with where I am, with what I have, not wondering and worrying over what I'm not or what I don't have. I've come to terms that I don't want a new beautiful home that is a showcase, vs. the scratches, dents, and dings that says, "There is LIFE here!" within my own home. I don't need the 2006 Lexus SUV, the payments and all the interest, insurance rates, and the responsibilities that come along with it. I don't need all the latest fashions, along with the "I'm better than you" attitude that comes with it nor the prestige or social status of having a high-paying executive position.

Now, please, don't take this the wrong way, if you're reading this and you own all these things, I'm truly happy for you, if these are what bring you pleasure. I am a firm believer that in being envious or jealous of another blessings in life robs another of the joy they should be entitled to experience. What I mean is that for the first time in a long time, I'm simply being, "ME." For the first time in my life, I'm content with my worn-out 1992 Jeep Cherokee, our home that is need of some major repairs, the not-so-crummy stock job at the local grocery store and co-workers that I enjoy seeing on the nights I work. For me, I'm truly happy to be where I am with what I have! I want "the simple life" to simply be free to make my own decisions over what I desire in my life. And I want it "More."

If you are in your 40's, I encourage you to check out this magazine or the link above to it's website. There are some wonderful online articles that I am finding myself relating to. Like, "Don't Call Me Grandma!" LOL! This one especailly hit home as my now 25 year old dear daughter, Amber, is almost 7 months along with the pregnancy of my first grandchild. It's nice to know that there are other 40+ woman out there who are experiencing the same trial and tribulations, the same mind-set that I'm having. They careers, jobs, are wifes with grown children experiencing the same issues and life event that I am. MORE so now that my 45th birthday is fastly approaching...... {smile}.

Sometimes, You Simply Have to Spoil Yourself........

As many of you know, since September I've been doing a lot of running around, working long hours, taking care of the many household responsibilities, making preparations for the holidays and Don's recent surgery; afterwards, playing health-care provider, and even changed to a new job. Money has seemed to have grown wings and flown out of our hands for labor and repairs to the Jeep, household bills we are paying and trying to catch up on, holiday dinners, Christmas, preparations for Don's surgery and recovery, and the simple everyday things we all need to survive, like groceries to nourish our bodies.

On Thursday, I called to schedule a haircut appointment with my hairdresser. While talking to Sadie on the phone, I'd mentioned that I was in dire need of a haircut but didn't think financially, I could afford to get my hair highlighted once again; but I asked her to leave some time, if possible, in the event that I changed my mind. I knew in my heart, I needed the highlighting as my previous highlights where growning out and the grey was once again beginning to show; but financially, I worried I shouldn't do it.

Anyways, I worked on Thursday night until Friday morning to returned home around 10 a.m., after an early morning visit with my parents, I caught a few hours of shut eye, to re-awaken around 1:30 to go to the salon.

Upon arriving, Sadie and I began catching up with with one another lives, talking about Don's recent surgery, how her son is getting along who was born with Spina Bifada {sp?}, the holidays, and our lives in general over a much needed cup of coffee lightened with a cinnamon vanilla creamer. Our conversation turned to "the little things", that we both enjoy to indulge in that assist us in restoring our souls.... a hot bath, a cup of Starbucks mocha cappuchino, chocolate, art....... just the little things we all do to pamper ourselves once in awhile. During our conversation it dawned on me that I'd been doing so much for everyone else that I deserved to be pampered a little, too!

So, Sadie and I began to working on my hair..... we decided to highlight it along with the fresh haircut. I chose a "natural blonde" color, way out of my comfort zone! and Sadie was shocked! and we continued our conversation. We talked about life in general, raising children, ex-husbands (LOL!), our lives events, fashion likes and dislikes. She complimented me on the weight I've recently lost and the jeans I was wearing, and our conversation turned to what styles and brands of jeans we each liked as Sadie placed me under the hair dryer. Various other salon worker's began to come in to work on other women's hair and nails, as Sadie took me over for a shampoo and condition before placing me back in the chair for my haircut.

The other ladies in the salon began to add their comments into our conversation about pampering ourselves and how little we often tend to do so and often neglect ourselves doing so much for our homes and families. We chatted and laughed, carelessly throwing in a few jokes and a couple digs on the men in our lives.

It wasn't until Sadie finished my hair that she turned me around towards the mirror and I instantly feel in love with myself all over again! Gone was the worn-out, tired, frazzled-to-the-bone 44 year old who drudgingly drug herself into the salon. We all know the one, who is in desparate need of a color, haircut, and change! It seemed as if years were instantly wiped away as I looked at my reflection in that salon mirror and smiled. I mean truly smiled! I was beaming.... even with the dark circles under my puffy eyes from all the recent lack of sleep, my skin glowed! Gone was the drag in my step, the slump in my shoulders, and in it's place was a new beautiful woman who held her head high: newly refreshed and filled with the determination and confidence to go out and face the world once again! As I paid Sadie the $70.00 for my salon visit, I graciously tucked $10 into her hand, asking her to please use it towards pampering herself with that new pair of jeans she desired and so deserves.

When Don arrived to pick me back up, he was simply fabberglasted when he saw me! He told me he felt like he had just picked up a new woman, LOL! We had previously made plans to go out for the evening, just a small get-together with friends in a private club to simply celebrate life and my night off. We chatted carelessly and Don suggested we go shopping to see if we could find a brown light-weight jacket to wear over a new chamoise-style top I'd received from him for Christmas to wear out that night. And who was I to say, "No."

So, as we shopped and I finally found the perfect jacket, he I both noticed how other girls and women in the store stopped and turned to look at me. Now, I'm not "all that and a bag chips" type woman, not your average "girly-girl" who is into all the "Bling-bling", {Shot! Give me a comfy pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes, LOL!} but I felt beautiful for the first time in a long time, but the best part was it truly showed! It was that geniune, sincere, self-confidence not the "phony look-at-me type of attitude", we've become so accustomed to in our society today.

Don and I decided to stop at Mi Jalapeno's Mexican restaurant for a dinner consisting of Fajita's, as we both knew I'd have a drink or two that evening to help me unwind and relax. While there, we chatted with the barmaid and a few friends we'd ran into. We ate an enjoyable dinner, shared with some awesome company before we returned home to prepare for the night ahead of us.

As I walked once again, over the threshold of our home, I felt true bliss! Bliss like I haven't felt in quite some time..... I was simply content to be "HOME", to be near him, surrounded by the things that we both love, and desired nothing more than to stay there and savor every moment. So, we graciously cancelled our plans, crawled into bed, and snuggled with one another..... for the first time in a very long time. Don held me close as I dosed off to sleep, content and happy, warm, cozy, and comfortable, for the first time in a long time, in my own skin. I awoke at 3 a.m. {remember, I work 3rd shift, LOL!} and that feeling is still with me.

I love my new look, and the feeling of contentment and bliss is one I truly desired to share. If you are a woman and you are reading this, "Please, do something nice to pamper yourself today. " It doesn't have to cost you a thing ..... take time to read a book, enjoy a refreshing soak in the tub, take a quiet walk, or whatever it is that "restoreth's your soul". {And even if it does "cost you a little money, don't you deserve it?} Trust me, take my advice, you'll "Thank yourself" for simply doing it!

We all get so wrapped in our day to day, or night to night lives, taking so much care of those we love, that so very often we forget to love ourselves, too. Make or take that time to be good to yourself. By doing so, your families will love you for it, you'll be happy you did, and best of all, you'll fall in love with yourself, in your own skin, once again.

{And Sadie, I hope you read this. Girlfriend, go get yourself that pair of jeans! Feel free to call me if you'd like to spend that time shopping with a friend, I'd be happy to go! {smiles}.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Resolutions for 2006.....

I cannot believe it is the 12th day of January and I've yet to make any New Year's resolutions. Normally, I suppose I'm much like "most people" desiring to lose weight, to eat right, exercise more, get more rest, and accomplish a few personal goals. Frankly, I've been too busy to even think about the promises a new year might bring, let alone actually plan for them!

As far as desiring to lose weight, I have! I'm down almost 15 lbs. since I began working once again in September. I'm lovin' it and feel extremely great about that. Although, I'm not totally against losing another 10 lbs. either! I'm eating healthy foods, even on this crazy schedule of mine --- normally eating breakfast upon my return home from work in the a.m. and dinner in the evening around 5:30-6:30 p.m. Occasionally, I'll a quick snack before heading into work at midnight; although I'm trying not to eat at all while there. (and Brian, "No, I don't want anything from McDonald's, Taco Bell, or Steak-N-Shake! {big grin})

As far as exercising goes right now, working 8 hrs. doing grocery stock is enough for me! I'm assisting unloading semi-trailers loaded with skids of groceries, sorting them, moving them to Dairy, Meat, and Produce departments; lifting, bending, and turning stocking shelves, do you really think I'll need one? LOL!

Getting more rest! Ah, that's a good one....... I can only say I'm trying. 3rd shift sort of puts your entire life out of whack, including your sleeping habits. However, I have to say that I am sleeping good; getting approximately 6 hrs. per day and falling out occassionally for a good 8 hours!

As far as personal goals, my first resolution would be to begin to come to terms with my 3rd shift schedule which hopefully, will allow me to keep up with the demands of my home life. One goal that I am striving for is to be more of a participant in one of my art groups online. Posting more to the message boards, leaving replies, participating in some of the swaps hostessed there, and sending some RAK's {Random Acts of Kindness}. I'm happy to say that I've actually recently done something to accomplish this goal by signing up for a swap! The theme is, "Music of the heART" in a 4"x4" size and must include: a transparency, some stamping, a vintage image, beads, and fabric, and your own happy heART!" I've made a few notes on some ideas I had when I first read the description. There is definately a lot of possibilities with this as far as techniques and I love the sense of freedom the hostess allowed in creating the actually artwork. I, also, like the possiblity of being able to bind the pieces into a fat, little mini-book after the swap is returned, and creating a book cover to reflect the theme. In the event that I do bind the book, I'd love to display it on my blog --- with the other participant's permission, of course. We shall see........

Ok, back to my 2006 resolutions, I really wanted to begin working on submitting my artwork to magazines this year to assist me in building an artist's portfolio. I still haven't ruled that out, just came to terms that in order to that first I must actually be creating some ART! ROFLOL! I have assessed that situation and have discovered having my studio so unorganized is one of the things that is interfering in that, so I'm making small attempts as time allows to re-organize it. I'm hopeful that soon this need to feel that I am current with many online friends will pass as I once again get involved as much as I can, I can spend some of my early mornings off of work out there actually doing it!

Once I'm more organized, I fully intend to explore my artistic self more. Experimenting with new techniques, creating some of the projects I've been desiring to create, getting in touch with and finally developing a style that is uniquely my own. I've dabbled in many areas since beginning on my paper arts journey.... everything from scrapbooking, to rubberstamping, creating collages, working in mixed media, and bookbinding and still feel as if I haven't found my own personal niche. Although, if out of any of the above, I'd have to say binding my own books probably is it as it includes components from all of the above!

I've come to the conclusion that life is about balance. Finding it. Establishing it. and definately, Living it! Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Between home, work, and creating art, I simply need to figure out how and to begin to make it all come into place for me. I keep telling myself that it one day will all simply fall into place, but I pray that it does before life throws me another curve ball!

From Zero to 32.....

I began this week with "0" hours for week for a work schedule and finishing up my previously week with Orientation on last Saturday during the day. Believing I'd a week to get some things done and caught up around our home, my hopes quickly dimished. No sooner had I seemed to arrive at home, I received a phone call from my Dept. Head asking if I could possibly come in from midnight Saturday to 8 a.m. on Sunday. Figuring "a paycheck" vs. "no paycheck" was best, I quickly said, "yes!"

Arriving at work on Saturday, Brian {a co-worker} quickly offered me his Tuesday night to Wednesday shift to allow him some time to work on more remodeling of his new home so I picked up an addition 8 hours there; Bob called me early Sunday evening asking if I'd work Sun. to Monday morning as a co-worker was in the ER and on my Tuesday-Wednesday shift, I was asked upon arrival if I'd work tonight! Well, today is Thursday, and after I work tonight which will put me at 32 hours this week alone. And the week isn't over yet.........

As if working 3rd shift itself isn't confusing enough, try being on call for it, LOL! I swear it changes the entire way you look at the calendar, plan your life, and having a night off inbetween a few of those shifts is just enough to throw you completely off any sense of establishing a schedule. My body says I'm daytime/morning person, my schedule says "3rd shift" and my nights and days are as equally mixed up. I don't ever remember being this disoriented when I worked third shift back in 1992. Somehow, someway, I'm hopeful I'll manage to get myself and this all figured out. So, if my schedule seems crazy to you, trust me it is!

For my family and friends who desire to telephone me, I am normally home in the mornings from 8:30 a.m. I try to lay down for some sleep anywhere between 9-10 a.m., but it is usually 10:30 before I actually do, and then awaken before 2-3 p.m. I spend at least a half-hour, drinking coffee, trying to re-group and re-oriente myself before working on housework and getting dinner between 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Those late afternoon hours, into the early evenings are the best time to telephone me. I promise, I'll TRY not to be too upset if awaken, as long as it is between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Some nights, I try to lay back down for a few hours rest before work, normally between 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. From 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., I'm normally finishing up any housework that needs finishing and getting ready for work. So there you have it......... welcome to my CRAZY world!!!!

Hopefully, I can establish some sense of normalacy somehow in my life........ at least until I have another day off, LOL! A funny thing is that I've been desiring to watch a movie and do you think I can stay awake until 8 or 9 p.m. let alone long enough to watch one? What a life...............

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A new discovery.........

I just came across this quotation, which is simply perfect for my previous post.

"One must still have chaos in oneself
to be able to give birth
to a dancing star."
~Friedrich Neitzche

2006 & New Beginnings

It's been quite some time since I've last updated my blog as my life has certainly been coming at me fast. If 2006 has a theme, I'd certainly have to say that theme is "change."

Don continues to heal from his total knee replacement done on December the 14th and is doing well with the physical therapy and activities of daily living. My new 3rd shift job began on Dec. 20th, has provided me with quite a bit of an adjustment; a part-time position with full-time hours as I worked through to the new year. Now, my hours are lessing. If fact, so much that I originally had zero hours with the schedule change for this week, to being on call and now have worked 8 hrs. last night, being called in for tonight, and a co-worker offering me another 8 hr. shift. There is also the possibility of taking another position, this one full-time days as a friend telephone called me after a co-worker just quit and a position became open there. I am seriously considering applying for tomorrow. My current job with Kroger's is willing to work with me on a part-time schedule, so it is possible that I may work both for a while as we try to catch up with all the soon-to-be received medical bill, repairs for some recent computer problems, as well a major repair with our Jeep that has finally been successfully resolved 12 transfer casings later. One thing that I can say is that I've learned a lot about expecting the unexpected when you least expect it!

Chaos continues to grow by leaps and bounds. As of yesterday, he is now a 5 month old with too much energy all in one place. He is developing his own personality along with some stubborness and headstrong ways. Unfortunately, I've little time to work further with his training and obedience --- something I'm hopeful to rectify shortly.

Artistically, I've little to say that I've been creative although I have managed to carve small blocks of time to play. In December, I created some Basic Grey Ornamental balls as ornaments from a kit, managed to play with some glossy cardstock, Tim Holtz alcohol inks, and create a beautiful pop up card and some backgrounds for additional artwork. A few days ago, , I took advantage of a day off which provided me with some much needed "me time" to create a new coptic stictch book which I titled, "Always Remeber to Bloom". I'm hopeful to be able to share its creation soon as I find time to reinstall the scanner back into the revamped computer system. I used my Awl guide and new awl for the first time and cannot even begin to explain how easy it is to use! After my first time of using it, I certainly wondered how I ever got along without it! I'll definately will be ordering more bookbinding tools from Talas as my fianances allow. My dream purchase is a book press, however, really says, "keep dreaming" --- guess I'll be content with my two pieces of wood and "C" clamps for a while longer, LOL!

I did manage to make it out into the studio in the early a.m. on a few of my days off. I've started working once again on the re-organizing. I boxed up some supplies, cleared off both bookcases of rubberstamps to dust and re-organize once again as time allows, even if it will be in increments of time stolen from here and there. I've outgrown my stamp cabinet for storing my wood mounted stamps, so I'm faced with the decision to either add more acrylic trays or utilize the bookcases. I'm leaning more towards the latter allowing me to make the best use of what I already own vs. purchasing anything else. I've definately come to the conclusion that some of the wood stamps I've outgrown need a new home somewhere else and that I really need to be more selective of those that I will purchase mounted vs. unmounted. I'm hopeful to be purchasing more unmounted than mounted images in the future.

My dd, Amber is doing great with the pregnancy. She is now 5 months along and is off the modified bedrest she was placed on earlier in the pregnancy. Her and Chris are in the process of moving back in with Chris's parents once again. Unfortunately, finances were a major part of their decision to make this move; although I as her mom am a little relieved as she'll be able to focus more on the planning for my grandchild's future arrival.

Well, there you have it --- our lives in a nutshell! Chaotic, commotion, and filled with changes and new beginnings!