Friday, March 31, 2006

Inspiration Overload......

I've got it and I've got it bad! I don't know if it is from all the recent warm weather, the sunshine, the physical activity of the spring cleanup around our yard, or whatever........ but I've definitely got it! What is it you may ask? Inspiration overload!

I swear I cannot seem to get over this, not that I particularly want to I might add..... It seems everywhere I look the last two days I'm discovering something inspiring and enabling..... whether it be from colors, pattern, textures, fabrics, paper, stamps, art supplies or whatever, I simply see something and am instantly thinking, "Hey, this would be kewl!" or "I could try that with such and such supply!" It's more of a feeling, and intuitive sense of suddenly feeling totally connected to everything in the world....... maybe because it's Spring! but anyways, I'm keeping notes of all these thoughts and ideas as the magically appear. It almost as if God has lit a candle in my soul and I suddenly desire to rush to the studio...... to experiment, to experience whatever this is!

I do believe that there is a special someone who helped to ignite this increased passion of mine. She's definitely inspired me beyond belief to actually begin to work once again on something I've been desiring to do for quite some time and need to get back into the swing with. "Who is this person?" Ethel - known as Lucasmom on 2P's --- you can see some of her inspiring Craft Fair Projects here: and "what is she inspiring me to do?"

To get creative, to create, to play, to enjoy the journey of filling up the spinner rack that's been in my studio since last year that I intended to fill and place in Don's store! Last year, I began working on this project and as I created items, Don took them into his store and 65% of what I made sold! I've had the greatest intentions of getting back to working on filling this rack with handmade journals, notecards, card sets, magnets, charms ect. that I've created. To take my role as an artist one step further and actually begin to market my artwork locally. You see, my desire to do this comes and goes, wains and wanes, weaving itself in and out of my life like wind and waves--- sometimes gently nudging at me and other times, like today, comes in and crashes over my very soul! Of course, making $$$ earning a living has been a huge distraction.... one I welcomed at the time and proved to be a very eye=opening experience for me. It allowed me to realize that this isn't what I'm meant to do and that by doing so, I'm denying myself of pleasure and joy in my life. I'm cheating myself, robbing myself by not doing what it is that I truly want to do, more than anything else in my life and that is to be a true artist!

I think being an artist and saying one is one are two very different things, and lately, I don't' feel as if I'm doing enough to even deserve that title. Of course, how I'd measure such a feeling is as personal as each person is individually........ but it is as if today, I woke up and realized this is actually it! This is what I want to do everyday for the rest of my life. And the inner critic that sits waiting to lurch in and whisper or shout loudly "Are you sure?" has suddenly become quite. I've no longer any doubts whatsoever in what direction I want to take my artwork. Today, there is simply clarity...... and inspiration overload. It is as if suddenly my eyes are open and I am experiencing the universe in entirely new way! So, where am I headed? Why, Out to the studio to play!!!!! { *smiles and waves* }

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm hopeful to upload some pics of Amber's Baby shower soon. Some of my pics came out good; while others are awful --- not certain what happened whether it was bad film or camera setting modes, but I'm intending to see what pictures Amber got developed as well. I have a few in my camera still that I need to finish shooting off the roll; so cross your fingers there. Anyways, that is enough for this girl for today! I've been on here quite some time scanning, adjusting the exposures, resizing, and uploading these...... it's time to get outside and enjoy some of this sunshine! while it's here! But before I go, besides the baby ----- this is what I'm waiting for........... Springtime!

Some various additional nursery decor......

The dresser top is decorated with some of my favorite room decor items prior to the room being made into a nursery for my first grandchild. I handpainted the ceramic fairies a few years ago and other items were gifts from Don. The lampshade was my Family $ store find....

The shelf is currently located above the baby's crib but will be moved prior to the baby's arrival. The "G" is for "Grandma Brag Book was one of these items I simply had to have, LOL! and I couldn't resist the little giraffe baby rattle intented for gift wrapping.

Crib Bedding and Accessories

The pic with the cutest little elephant is closer to the true colors of the nursery decor I chose. While Amber & I were shopping at Baby Depot, I couldn't resist this elephant by Carter's --- it's so soft, the baby's Daddy, Chris loves elephants, and it plays one of my favorite songs, "Imagine" by John Lennon. What could be more perfect!

The bunny is the one I couldn't quite resist when Don & I went to get the crib out of layaway! A green bunny ---- but it certainly is adorable!

Nursery Crib

This is about as close to the true colors of the room that I could get, although the bedding itself is soft yet a bit more vibrant. Don & I have yet to put together the trindle drawer for the crib itself. The crib is a Simplicity 4-in-1 Chelse style and will get us through until our grandchild is ready for a twin size bed.

Nursery at Grammies........

Unfortunately, my pics that we picked up from WalMart's send out service weren't the best. I had them remove some of them refusing to pay for them. These are some that I did decide to purchase --- desiring to have some vs. none at all. I worked with them a bit in ACDSee 6.0 to get the colors as close as possible. The walls are a true lilac color and the fabrics are more of light blue turquoise and a very soft muted spring green, if that helps.

This pic is of an old bookcase that Don's brother, Bob created in a high school woodworking workshop that I had long since painted and added additional fabric to so it would match the bedroom decor. Desiring to keep a the color scheme possed a few problems while shopping for our nursery decor --- along with not knowing the sex of soon-to-arrive grandchild. All in all, I believe I did a great job! This pic, also, depices where all my $$$'s been going as Amber and Don so lovingly like to tease me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Nature's Beauty Tin

Today was a busy day! Don and I left early this afternoon in search of "the perfect gift" for his mother's 82nd birthday today! She loves to garden so we headed out for several garden centers in search of a present before deciding upon a 24" angel with a harp that contains a wind chime. Next, was finding a card....... and how could I resist one that said, "We found the perfect gift" on the outside, and on the inside said, "but he got away in the gift wrap department!" Even his mom got a chuckle out of it and asked us, "Why the hell we didn't chase him down!" ROFLOL!
We stayed and visited for quite awhile this afternoon, catching up and chatting.

Arriving home a little later than planned, it was a quick dash out the door for Don to get to work and a quick dash for me to answer an email and to begin working on my tin. Here's what I came up with so far...... I'll have to wait til Thursday to finish the sides and back.

Tinnies and a tutorial...

I barely managed to get my two large spaghetti sauce tins painted last night before my sauce thickened and it was time to put the spaghetti on to boil, but they are done! Sometime today I'm hoping to make it out to the studio to choose some printed, handmade, texture papers along with some text and images to use on them. I've some ideas in mind but then normally my creative must takes control and my projects end up in a different direction, LOL! I believe I want to try out my Basic Grey Notch tool for some of the design and am thinking of adding a favorite quote which means browsing through some books to find the exact words to cut out. I may have to use some computer printing to finish them up.

I was surprised this morning to see my tins ready to be decorated sitting on the patio table on my kitchen, but was further surprised to see a post on 2P's inquirying about them. I guess it goes to show that great minds think alike! Anyways, I shot Ethel off an email, not desiring to step on the toes of some of my fellow artlings toes as many of them have already created and swapped out some of these out; yet, desired to share the info. It wasn't long after that another pea inquired regarding them, so I typed up a simple tutorial for creating them, which I'll share here.

First and foremost, the "tinnies" are not my brainchild but rather the work of Lisa Kaus who submitted them for publication within Somerset Studio's Wedding issue and more in the Somerset Studio's Jan/Feb 2006 issue. Lisa's website is: and some examples can be seen in her recent work. She's planning to add some soon as there is a "tinnies" button already in place. Anyways, here is my condensed version of Lisa's published tutorial:

Tinnies Techique by Lisa Kaus {featured in SS Wedding and Jan/Feb 2006 issue}.

Prepare tin cans for accepting acrylic mediums and Modge Podge by washing, rinsing, and drying can thoroughly. Using a fine-grit sandpaper or steel wool, lightly sand outside of can to accept acrylics and modge podge. {I wiped mine down with a damp rag to remove any shaved debries – and Goo-Gone is great for removing any left over label glue}.

Lisa suggests using layers of contrasting paint and lightly sanding again to allow a layer of paint underneath to show through; although this is optional as you could cover the can entirely in paper if desired, as well as painting the inside of the can.

After the paint is layered and dried, use your hands to “squish” the top of the can. Don’t over “squish” as the tin can may not stand upright but just enough to add some visual interest and character.

From here on it’s all about embellishing!
Lisa used Modge Podge to adhere papers and Golden’s Heavy Gel Matte Medium for heavy items. Lisa states that lightweight papers are easiest to use and handmade or heavier papers may require a little extra patience. She burnishes using her fingers to assist wrapping around the tinnies. Sealing with additional Modge Podge is optional however she recommends it for protection and longevity of the papers. Then, add additional trinkets to embellish.

Using an awl or hole punch, puncture the cans ¼” down from the top on the sides. {As a bookbinder, I don’t recommend using an awl! Some cans are heavier and not all cans are tin so you may bend the tip of your awl! I’m planning to use my Dremel to drill my holes.} Floral wire, no preferred gauge size provided, is cut to 30” and folded in half prior to stringing it through two hole that are punched in each side of the can. An 1 ½” of wire is wrapped back onto and twisted onto the handle.

I'm hopeful that my fellow artlings will add in some links to those they desired to create and swap and that Daria will add them to the some of our classic threads there. If anyone is new to stamping and paper arts, is an excellent place to obtain information and try some techniques. Also, as I've mentioned many times before, manufacturer websites offer a lot of information regarding many products and some even provide tutorials as well.

Anyways, I’m planning to add wire to my large spaghetti sauce tins, purely for decorative purposes, but plan to bend it downward vs. Lisa’s versions of leaving them upright because I plan to use my tinnies to hold colored pencils and stipple brushes within my studio. I also have some ideas for decorating them up a bit adding in a few spirals to the wire and maybe some ribbons, fibers, and labeled tags. I'll certainly have to take some pics to add to my grandchild's journal I'm in the process of working on regarding my passion of Paper Arts.

I love the idea that these tinnies aren't only the most gorgeous altered items I've seen in quite some time but that they can be functional as well! They offer a lot of possibilities perfect for gift-giving and RAKing family and friends.

I may even have to expand on the idea and create some with some punched holes to be used on our rear deck surrounding the hot tub. Don & I love to use candles out there, especially at twilight and night but are often leary about using glass as we're often barefoot when coming and going in and out.

I've also been desiring to purchase some garden decor items for our rear deck but have hesitated mainly due to being undecided regarding a theme. I do know I desire something that I want to add some finishing touches to our living room so whatever I do decide to do, flows throughout the main spaces of our home and can tie in between the kitchen and the art studio. I'm also still desiring to paint and change the kitchen decor a bit more to a Country French theme and still utilize the existing rooster decor.

Since we recently painted the two living walls with Churchill Vanilla, I'm leaning towards adding a faux finish to those walls, maybe a sponged gold or butterscotch paint color that could tie into the red and accent colors that I desire in the kitchen. {I'll have to scan in some paint samples I've picked up}. Anyways, I'm thankful that paint is so cheap to work with and that I will be able to move some fixtures and decorative items from other spots within our home to assist in keeping our costs down.

For the deck, I'm seriously beginning to think, and am leaning towards the idea of European/English Gardens for ideas......... perfect for my love of anything floral and yet possesses that well-loved, aged to perfection, shabby chic appearance. I'm thinking of continuing into the light, white, off-white, vanilla with some red, pink, and cream cabbage roses, aged statuaries and urns, aged & pantina'd wrought iron that will tie in with each area of our home and provide some lighter contrast while in the kitchen looking out onto the rear deck.

If anyone has any ideas or links for any inspiration to share, I'd be more than grateful for them. I'm keeping a small workbook for ideas and somethings I can create and do inexpensively myself. Sheeesh,,,, where did all that come from? I've managed to write not only a tutorial today but a novel, LOL!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Yesterday and today were beautiful days weather-wise; today even more so. On Sunday, Don & I took at trip over to PetSmart to pick up a few grooming tools for Chaos. I purchased a shedding comb, a brush, and nail clippers with a safety feature, although I am a little learing of clipping his nails. We had them try during his being boarded at the vets but Chaos is a little too hyper to co-operate fully..... something we're still plugging away at. The grooming session is always a challenge as Chaos believes he needs to see, taste, smell, everything you're doing. He is so comical to watch; someday's I wonder where I get the energy for it at all.

After shopping, we had a great lunch at O'Charley's, then proceeded to stop by and visit with Dennis & Sheila. I had to try out the shedding brush on Chaos's dad, Shadow, who loved it! I cannot wait for Chaos to mature some, to be as calmed down as Shadow is. Anyways, we had a good visit; staying a bit longer than either of us originally intended to but all is well!

Since we arrived home later than planned, Chaos got groomed on the back deck this a.m. We worked a bit with the obedience training on the rear deck; then, in the afternoon we attempted a walk down the front sidewalk. It was more of him walking me, LOL! He totally forgot everything once out front with so many new things to distract him, --- trying to chase cars, desiring to check out the neighbors dogs, ect. so after about 15 sit, stay, heel", and a few "Hell, No's" from me, we proceeded back to the back yard. He so wants to be good but is so curious and easily excited---- we'll work on it again once this evening inside before giving up for the day. Tomorrow is another day........ and offers a new chance for family and friends to tease me regarding my "baby" purchases....... grandchild and fur-baby!

Don worked on cleaning up the yard, clearing out the debries from the recent storms, twigs, limbs, and trash that has blown in. I think we're both looking forward to doing some yard work soon. Sheila's brother-in-law will be by one day this week to provide us with an estimate for a new garage door header and garage door for the carport. We're planning to put in a small workbench on one side for Don to putter around in or on and add a single door to the remaining space.

We had a late lunch of homemade bacon cheeseburgers, so I put on some spaghetti sauce to simmer, shredded some lettuce, and chopped up some vegetables for small salads, and will throw on some spaghetti to boil just before Don gets home. Sounds yummy.......

In the meantime, I'm rinsing out the big cans from the spaghetti sauce, removing the labels, and doing some sanding on them. I may make it to actually base coating them with acrylic paints and allowing them to dry completely prior to adding yet another coat and decorating them. I got the idea from Somerset Studio's mag.... the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of a project called "Tinnies - Whimsical Embellished Tin Cans" by artist, Lisa Kaus. You can view some of her amazing tinnies at Fun!!!! I believe I'd like to use my larger cans for storing my Prismacolor pencils in my studio and will eventually divide them by color schemes and blending tools.

Well, that is about it for our day today... tomorrow is always another story! { *smiles and waves* }

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Where the heck has the time gone?

Don and I have been busy most of the week...... the normal, everyday things that seem to slip by you without much notice yet leave you wondering why the heck they seem to take up so much of your time kind of things.

We're both anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spring! It's coming! It's coming! Everyday seems to promise...... but when looking out the windows or letting Chaos outside we see rain, sleet, and yes, even a bit of snow! I noticed the trees are beginning to bud, my daffodillies and hiacynths are beginning to peek themselves up out of the cold, frozen ground but the temperatures certainly aren't reflecting any of this! It's been up and down, 20 degrees to 40 degrees most of the week, overcast, grey cold skies with mixed periods of sunshine, that only make you want more!

Chaos is shedding his winter coat so cleaning up dog hair around here has become a daily chore which means a trip over to Pet Smart in the near future for a shedding comb and nail clippers as the vet's assistants couldn't get him to hold still long enough to even think about clipping them. Imagine that! Our Chaos, causing trouble? The obedience training, is well, not going so good. Even nearing the 9th month mark, Chaos is still so hyper! so easily distracted! He wants to learn but his short attention span certainly compounds the problems and I know I give in too easily giving up his treats, LOL! With the promise of warmer weather, I'm hopeful to get out and get walking with him soon, working on the obedience traingin outside on the rear deck. He's such a blessing in our lives but his antics often you leave you wondering.......

Amber had her most recent Dr.'s visit. She only gained another 1/2 lb. but she's all belly/baby! Everything seems to be going right on schedule, the babe's heartbeat is strong and right in range. Amber and Chris even laugh at not desiring to know the sex of the baby, that even the baby seems to be in on it know as the Dr. and nurses try to guess based on the babe's heartrate --- what a tricky little mischievious child already..... staying between 140-160 bpm! The nurses seem to believe the baby is going to be of quite some length which doesn't surprise me too much with a 6'2" tall daddy! The baby's feet are up near, and often under Amber's ribs, and it's little round bottom on the opposite side, constantly moving as you try to feel for it, and the baby's head isn't fixed yet...... but moving into position. She should beginning dropping anytime within the next several two-three weeks. As a mom, I can sense the uncomfortableness she's experiencing from time to time. So, we all keep waiting.... allowing nature to take it's course --- just like we wait for Spring!

On Friday, I made another appointment with Sadie for a fresh haircut and highlighting. She does such a great job on my hair...... I absolutely love it! We went a bit shorter and lighter with the highlights this time so it's taking me some time to get used to "the new do!" Passing in front of the mirror it's one of those "who are you?" moments.... although I'm certain I'll adjust to it as the week moves on....... some new growth begins to occur and the brassiness begins to calm down. I'm still doing the dates with Mr. Billy Banks but did take an extra day off as my gluteous maximus muscles and hamstrings seemed quite tender this past week. Without the workouts, I've been increasing my drinking of water and eating a little more smaller portions and the weight is staying steading.... I've probably plateau'd once again but will stick with it knowing it'll come again.

So this week's theme is waiting........ waiting for Spring, waiting for Chaos to begin to demonstrate some of the obedience training, waiting for my first grandchild to arrive, waiting for the weight to begin to shed off my body once again........ and wondering where in the world the time has gone? LOL!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Arting around.........

Isn't this the most gorgeous faux patina finish? I cannot believe that I achieved this while arting around a bit tonight while Don was as work. The urge to play has been with me all day ---- next time I'll know to simply, "Give in!" I could look at this all day!!!!

What I've been up to........

Cleaning........ again! I cleaned my kitchen entirely yesterday ---- well, with the exception of mopping ---- who wants to do that while the snow is melting and it's muddy now? I tore my stove completely apart and clean it til it shines........ need to run the self-cleaning cyle on the oven yet but will wait for a really cold day so the heat can help heat our home.

I picked up some of my craft supplies from my recent book making pages and Art Idea Journal RR. Put some away and left out for easier access, although my heart says I need to get them all back out in the studio and organized soon.

Afterwards, I gave Chaos a bath --- well, sort of. I had him in the tub lathering him up and went to wash his left front leg and he actually growled at me and jumped from the tub, spraying water and dog hair everywhere. I finally had to tackle him with a towel over his head to get him to calm down. After several attempts to get him back in the tub, I finally gave up and used a wet towel to rinse and dry him as best I could. After getting him out of the bathroom, I spent a good half hour whipping up all the water and dog hair, cleaning out the tub/shower, before I could get myself in there. Once dressed, I checked out his left leg and believe he may have pulled a muscle.... he's very protective of it but seems to be running around on in fine. I've decided to keep a close eye on him the next several days to see if we need to make another visit to the vets soon.

Deciding I earned some time to relax, I watched a movie on the Lifetime channel. It was good to see something positive on there for once vs. some of the regular movies the show; although a lot of them are based on actual real events and lives. Later in the evening, Don and I took Chaos for a ride in the Jeep ---- he loves riding although this trip was a little longer than he was comfortable with and the last leg of the trip home he laid and whined like a little baby! Sheeesh, someday's you can't please him. We're still working on the obedience training...... he is such a puppy yet it is hard to keep his attention span and concentration very long so I trying to work in smaller sessions more often ---- making my schedule thoughout the day a little crazier than it normally is.

Today, I do my Tae Bo date with Billy Banks once again. I skipped yesterday due to some soreness ---- guess doing some further exercising after the workout wasn't such a great idea, huh? Anyways.......... I'm doing it.... I'm hoping this darn weather will break soon so I can incorporate some of Chaos's training in with some walking soon. So, bring on Spring, will ya?

Today's agenda is to make it as easy on myself as possible, throwing a roast in the crockpot for dinner and some light cleaning in other areas of our home. Maybe a trip to WalMart tonight to pick up some film recently dropped off..........

Well, time to get excercising......... no time like the present, so they say............. {*waves*}

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My "About Me" page for Linda's journal.......

This is the image that I used....... family and close friends have already seen it up close and personal. The text reads,

"Cathy is a Mixed Media Artist who primarily focuses her attention in the Paper Arts. Her artwork is spiritually-inspired by both her devotion to meditation and prayer which enable her to slow down and listen to the still, small voice within.

Cathy feels it is important to take make time for soul-searching and creating a connection to the divine creater within oneself. She considers her studio a sacred space where she can retreat and be fulfilled with a divine presence of peace, enabling her to observe both the world within and outside of herself. Nature also plays an important role as she often incorporates the handiwork of God into her artwork.

She is striving to become a Mixed Media Paper Arts Instructor and is planning to open her own Rubber Stamp Paper Arts website in the future. Her hope is to increase the awareness that each of us have within us a soul; a spirit that is connected to something greater than oneself, a presence both mystical and divine. One that is filled with love and grace that allows others to interprete their own beliefs through their artistic creations in a manner that is right for them."

I chose the stamped images to reflect upon the time that this artist statement was written... it has since been revised, many, many times............

Get "R" Done.....

Don't you just love that phrase from Larry the Cable Guy? LOL! Well, today, that is exactly what I did........ got "r" done....... all 3 of the Art Idea Journals are completed. I did my typical Whimsical Writing and instruction pages, colored in stamped images using the same technique, and in Linda's journal she'd specifically requested a page re: each of us as participants in the journey. So, I obliged..... well, sort of....... I'd saved some images I'd used on my Mixed Media Artist foam board from a past art show in a rubberstamp store to my computer. Since I've not changed much.... okay with the exception of the lost of some 10-15 pounds...... I look pretty the same except a light lighter highlights in my hair and the black metal framed bi-focals, LOL!

So, what's a girl to do..... but sign up for an ATC Technique Swap, of course! I had so much fun playing with the walnut ink, lumineres, and acrylic glazes that I may try that....... or something to do with Opalite backgrounds........ I'm uncertain how they'd turn out so I have a reserve, LOL!

Gosh, It feels absolutely fabulous to be creating once again..........

Enjoy Life to the Fullest...

One of my additions to one of the Art Idea Journals. I enjoyed playing with this image and my Prisacolor pencils recently, so why not continue?

The First Day of Spring?

What? "Spring?" Brrr, is it ever cold........ and we are under a winter weather advisory with the possibility of waking up to 1-3" of SNOW! NO Way, Hosea!!!! I am so ready for some more sunshine, some tulips, daffodils, and how about some hyacinths for my soul?

Well, I decided the weather wasn't gonna get me down...... so after checking my emails, I got OFF the computer --- hey! That's a big accomplishment for me.... and guess what I did? TAE BO! Yep, me and Mr. Billy Banks are meeting up once again..... After about a 35 minute workout, a 16 oz. bottle of H2O; and a bath........ I felt like a whole new person! Full of energy and hungry as hell, LOL!

So, in the kitchen, I'm cleaning out the fridge ---- thinking I've got this, that, and the other, but I want some Fajitas! So I defrosted some chicken breast, sliced them in thin slices, cooked them in oil....... throw in some onion, peppers, tomatoes, fijita mix.... I started some Spanish rice, then realized I wanted some refried beans with cheese as well. So off to the store I go....... I pick up more onions, peppers, tomatoes....... my refried beans...... may as well grab some salsa and chips......... well, $25.00 later I'm wondering why the hell didn't we go out for lunch? I could have at least two margaritas, no slicing and dicing, and someone else could have cleaned up the mess, LOL! Upon returning home, Chaos is all "NOSE".......... sniff, sniff, sniff...... in and out of the kitchen although he knows better. He finally decides he better hit the water bowl and eat a bit of his own food before he really gets into some trouble before laying down in the doorway giving me those sad, puppy dog eyes. Why he believes I care, is beyond me, but whatever...... I'm immune to them. As I'm working diligently wrapping tortillas, baking refried beans with cheese, putting the spanish rice with some more cheese, turning meat in veggies in the iron skillet, I hear this whining....... I turn to look and this crazy dog is asleep, nose going a mile a minute and whining in his sleep! Must have been some Mexican food dreams, LOL! Anyways, our meal was great; clean up was a breeze; but my siesta afterwards was even better!

I awoke just as Don was heading out the door for work..... "Bye, honey!" he says... must have been a good meal! Hopefully, he'll think so when he's eating leftovers tomorrow, LOL! How do you make fajitas for a family of two......... Christ I think I could have feed half the street. Well, okay, at least invited a few friends.

So now, here I am.......... wide awake! But I did manage to get some art created this evening! I put on a pot of coffee; grabbed the vanilla caramel creamer and finished two, yes, TWO! of the Art Idea Journals!!!! and I received another in the mail......... If the weather holds out, I may make the trip to the P.O. tomorrow so I'll have more time to work in Linda C's and not swamp Vicky in Michigan. I'm certain she'd appreciate it! { *wild eyed wink!* }

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sunday's Adventures....

Since the sun was calling and Don and I both seemed to be suffering a bit of cabin fever, we decided on a road trip. This time we had a destination in mind --- Jeffersonville Outlets. It is a several hour drive for us but we both enjoyed the journey. Upon arriving, our first stop was into Pottery Barn Outlet which I didn't find much cheaper than their store --- although there were some good sales.

Next, we checked out a Zales Jewelry store. Again, I thought their prices were high --- even on their "clearanced" items.

So, we walked, and walked, and walked...... I did purchase a new bra in a smaller teen shop! Hey, for $5.99 with removable straps, how could I resist? LOL! Actually, I looked at a few other items but unfortunately couldn't find what I wanted in my size ---- apparently their are a lot of my size shoppers in the area! I did also purchase a new T shirt in pink for Spring......... and I love visiting Carter's! I had to pick up a couple 3+ month toys for the new little one..... and found a fleece pant and hoodie outfit on the clearance rack for $7 in a 9 months. Figuring the baby would be approximately 5-6 months by October and colder weather setting in..... and the baby still growing....... 9 months was probably the safest bet as far as sizes go. It is absolutely adorable...... a soft light frost blue, with embroidered snowflakes and a penguine, too. Hey! That's unisex, right? LOL!

Around 4 or 5 p.m. we began out trip back home; stopping briefly into Hometown Buffet for a quick bite to eat on the way home. We arrived home a little after 9; both of us tired and sleepy... something a full belly and heat make you, especially after driving about 200 miles in a day! It wasn't long before both of us were in bed and asleep...... and Chaos decided it was time to play!
We woke this morning to his made-up bed consisting of my throw and a throw pillow with this huge black fur ball rolled up in it on the living room floor! and guess who decided to sleep until noon...........

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My Fat, Chunky Book Swap pages....

are done! Did you hear me? I said, "DONE!" I worked diligently on getting the images created they way that I desired. Some took on a new life all their own..... that tends to happen when I'm creating. I did have fun! Played with a lot of glazes, acrylic paints, textured papers, and embellishments! My pages are, well, Fat and sort of chunky and use some experiments and lots of playing around with supplies --- the great, "What if I do this?" was on my mind and I achieved some great results that I'm happy with.

For now all 3 sets of pages are stored in a ziplock bagggie. I need to get them scanned in so once they are received by their recipients, I can upload them here along with the Coptic bound binding and covers I'll create.

Now, it is time for me to buckle down and work on the Art Idea Journal RR. Hopefully, by Wednesday the two in my possession will be postal once again!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The last several days....

I've been trying to relax a bit, keep up the housework, work on the obedience training with Chaos, spend some time with an old friend, visit more with my dd, Amber, and work on some creative projects. Whooo-hooo! I think I got it all!

My relaxing has been mostly working on creative projects - the book swap and then, yesterday while with Amber, I scrapbook'd the first 2 pages for the babies album that I've scrapped in quite some time! We both enjoyed how the pages came out........ the first is a page that I created titled, "Baby Saunders - we're waiting for you!" I did some handlettering for the title, created a photomat, and did the journaling about the day being St. Patrick's Day, how I brought Amber over a small dresser for storing the babe's clothes, how Amber & I spent our day reminiscing about the baby shower.... looked through some of the wonderful gifts she received, sending Thank you cards, talked about the baby's arrival with new excitement. Amber really liked it but wouldn't consent to a photograph of us as her hair isn't done! LOL! She such a girly-girl! I'm thinking she's going to be a great mother, fun, filled with excitement, and a new vitality will emerge once this baby is born. The love she already has shows and yes, she positively glows! The second page is/was a lift --- not something I normally do, it wasn't one of those copy and still everything pages........ just some journaling of a title, "Your smile makes me smile!" from this month's Simple Scrapbook mag. I created all the page elements using leftover ribbon from the baby shower and a "Thank you" charm that we'll be adding to the Thank You cards.

Training Chaos is another matter! I'm constantly saying, "Sit. Heel. Beg. Lie down. Stay." Of course, you can say them all you want, however, that doesn't always necessarily mean that Chaos is going to do it! Research says, practice at least 15 times a day with each one.... yet, I find myself saying, "No!" more than that! LOL! He definately has his own ideas about how this obedience training actually works. I give the command, he listens, sometimes he'll comply, sometimes stares at me with that "what do you mean you want me to do it AGAIN" look! Other times he flat out refuses and I have to gently encouraging him to do it; believe me there have been a few times I've given up........ well, ok, more like "givin' in" Give him the treat anyways.... we've been at it for a while.

The ideas for the book swap are still brewing. I'm heading out to the studio later to try something NEW! Something fresh! Wish me luck and I hope it turns out how I am envisioning it!

On the horizon, more artwork. I really need to begin in the Art Idea Journal RR again... I got to get these circulation once again. YIKES! Christy just emailed another is one its way....... has it been that long already???? Where the hell does the time go?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Morning Meanderings....

I woke myself up at 5 a.m. this morning dreaming about my daughter, being uncomfortable, being pregnant. I half-consciously remember wondering if she's ok and then smiled when I could see me calling her and waking her up! ROFLOL! Along with her asking, "Do you realize what time it is?" Needless to say, I did refrained from the giving in to the feeling, but have made a mental note to call her later this morning.

While making my morning coffee, letting Chaos out - so that he could turn around and try to come back in, giving me "that look" that says, "Don't you see it snowing lightly out here?" before he ventured out to go potty, I noticed my left arm hurts. Not hurts in a severe way, but more of an soreness right at the top of my elbow. It has been bothering me off and on since working at DMI, coming and going...... guess I'm going to have to finally break down and get it looked at, hell, it may be a hairline stress fracture for all I know.

With coffee in hand, I sat down in my computer chair, wrapped in a blanket....... "Brrrrr, baby, it's cold outside!" Thought I'd check my email early, catch up on a blog update before settling in to watch the morning news.

Today's agenda is to clean house. Not much too do....... although I do need to get the art supplies picked up once again that I left scattered about in the kitchen --- on the breakfast bar, on the table, and in the living room small table where I used the rotary trimmer. I have some items that will need set aside so I can begin to work on the book swap again tomorrow. The ideas are coming in spurts of inspiration........ and I've some technqiues I'd love to experiment with; although I believe I'll head out to the studio to do those. I'm hoping to one day spend some time working in the art idea journals as well and hopefully have those ready to mail by the week's end or at least the beginnig of next week. The been in my possession far too long....

Today is Don's day off; don't know what we'll end up doing.... possibly hang the bi-fold doors in the laundry/nursery room. He exchanged the one and had to get 2 36" sections and the hardware. This should be interesting to say the least; his sense of "balance" isn't the greatest and we work so well trying to assemble things.......... {*wink} Ahhh, what a thought.....

Anyways, not a lot happening, other than Chaos is......... well, being chaotic! He's back to his normal self --- trying to intimidate, dominate..... it won't be too long before "the leader of the pack" gets up out of bed and puts him in his place. It is comical to watch as Chaos believes since I'm up and about, Don should be, too. He'll bother him until he does........ {Shhhh, don't tell them I find this morning ritual too amusing! LOL!}

Well, I'm off of here......... ready for the sun to rise, the birds to begin singing..... and my day to start in.. I'll check in later. *waves*

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tuscany Transformed

Deciding to play some more using the previous image, I dug out some more art supplies I had in the house. Using various mixed media collage techniques, I came up with this piece of artwork.

It's been great to find some time to simply PLAY today.......... mixing fluid acrylics and various materials, exploring and experimenting. It's what I love to do!

Freestyle drawing using Prismacolor Pencils

My Mystical Muse.........

Another piece of artwork that I colored in using both the Dover Ornaments CD and my Prismacolor pencils. I name this piece, "My Mystical Muse" because I never really know when she'll visit whispering gently in my ear, "Create with abandonment!"

A Taste of Tuscany

We each see life differently
as if gently pushes us forward;
accompanying and encouraging us
silently from within.
We become aware when we are
an empty receptacle
ready to be filled
with a divine presence.
~text taken from the Gospel of Thomas~
{The Hidden Sayings of Jesus}
This piece of artwork reminds of that once old discovery of the text above. The wine goblet encircled with the grapevine entertwined around the full-bodied goblet of red, red wine. The image is from a Dover Ornaments CD I recently purchased and is colored in using Prismacolor pencils and Mona Lisa Odorless Mineral Spirits applied over to assist with the prevention of wax bloom. I plan to add this to a piece of artwork later, for now I'm simply enjoying creating!

Creating....... on my mind....

After searching through my stash of images to use in the "Secret Pathways, Doorways, and Portals" book page swap, I couldn't seem to leave well enough alone. My creative process is like often like that. Trust me, when the muse comes calling I'm all up for listening to the voice that beckons me onward.

Having written some words, phrases, thoughts, and ideas down as I search for the images I thought would work for the theme, I discovered that I was caught in the writing mode so I decided to expand upon my artistic vision by playing around with the words. On a clean sheet of paper, I began writing placing the pieces of text and words that spoke to my soul in an order that described the theme to my spirit. As I wrote my theme seemed to be taking on a life of its own and in a direction that I had never considered when I originally thought about the pages I'd create.

Deciding I liked the way the words came together, I decided to type them up in MS Word. I even tried something new, using the book fold feature. It wasn't what I expected it to be, however, after cutting down a page the size required for the artwork I need, I realized it would work perfectly. I'm a bit undecided about how I'll actually go about including the text in the actual pages as I really want the art that I create to speak to each of the individual participants in their own way. So, I have a few alternative ideas in mind that will enable me to add my interpretation without distracting from what my intented audience might envision. {Geeshhh, it is hard to write about my thoughts and ideas without giving it all way, LOL! I like the element of surprise and allowing for personal interpretation and discovering if the recipients seen what I actual felt while creating the art!} Anyways, it was a bit after 2 a.m. when I finally went to bed, to sleep, to dream.

I woke today with thoughts of creating this art on my mind. I had some pre-conceived ideas that I haven't given up on as of yet, and in some small way may still be incorporated into the pages as they are created. I've learned to never say never when it comes to actually creating art as often what I am envisioning and what actually appears can become something else with a life all its own. I got to thinking about some of the techniques I'd like to try on the pages that will be added in, the colors I desire to use, and think I have enough to actual begin getting started!

So, today I plan to review the images I chose, begin to look for a central, common theme within them and see what comes from that. I also brainstormed a bit and have one idea in mind that I believe is achievable with some of the stamp images I have in my stash of supplies. I'm actually excited and cannot wait to head to the studio to begin sometime this afternoon! This will be essential as some will take some time to set up, to work, to create the desired effect I'm hoping to achieve.

Monday, March 13, 2006

More personal information.... probably more than you'd ever imagine!

Using my given birth name, I discovered these facts:

There are 16 letters in your name.
Those 16 letters total to 79
There are 4 vowels and 12 consonants in your name.

Your number is: 7

The characteristics of #7 are:
Analysis, understanding, knowledge, awareness, studious, meditating.

The expression or destiny for #7:

Thought, analysis, introspection, and seclusiveness are all characteristics of the expression number 7. The hallmark of the number 7 is a good mind, and especially good at searching out and finding the truth. You are so very capable of analyzing, judging and discriminating, that very little ever escapes your observation and deep understanding. You are the type of person that can really get involved in a search for wisdom or hidden truths, often becoming an authority on whatever it is your are focusing on. This can easily be of a technical or scientific nature, or it may be religious or occult, it matters very little, you pursue knowledge with the same sort of vigor. You can make a very fine teacher, or because of a natural inclination toward the spiritual, you may become deeply emerged in religious affairs or even psychic explorations. You tend to operate on a rather different wavelength, and many of your friends may not really know you very well. The positive aspects of the 7 expression are that you can be a true perfectionist in a very positive sense of the word. You are very logical, and usually employ a quite rational approach to most things you do. You can be so rational at times that you almost seem to lack emotion, and when you are faced with an emotional situation, you may have a bit of a problem coping with it. You have excellent capabilities to study and learn really deep and difficult subjects, and to search for hidden fundamentals. At full maturity you are likely to be a very peaceful and poised individual.

If there is an over supply of the number 7 in your makeup, the negative aspects of the number may be apparent. The chief negative of 7 relates to the limited degree of trust that you may have in people. A tendency to be highly introverted can make you a bit on the self-centered side, certainly very much self-contained . Because of this, you are not very adaptable, and you may tend to be overly critical and intolerant. You really like to work alone, at your own pace and in your own way. You neither show or understand emotions very well.

Your Soul Urge number is: 7

A Soul Urge number of 7 means:
With a number 7 Soul Urge you are very fond of reading, and retreating to periods of being alone and away from the disruptions of the outer world. You like to dream and develop you idealistic understandings, to study and analyze, to gain knowledge and wisdom. You may be too laid back and withdrawn to really succeed in the business world, and you will be much more comfortable in circumstances that are tolerant of your reserve, your analytical approach, and your desire to use your mind rather than your physical being.

You are very timid around people that you don't know very well, so much so at times that casual conversation and social situations can be strained. You tend to repress your emotions to the extend that some people have a good bit of difficult understanding you. You tend to be very selective with friends and you don't easily adapt to new environments or to new people very quickly.

The negative traits of the 7 include becoming too much the introvert and isolated from others.

Your Inner Dream number is: 9

An Inner Dream number of 9 means:
You dream of being creative, intellectual, and universal; the selfless humanitarian. You understand the needy and what to help them. You would love to be a person people count on for support and advice.

The Creative Process begins.........

Tonight I went out to the studio and brought in a plastic file holder that I keep my magazine images, words, titles, handwritten text, book pages, images, etc. in... I'd hoped to one day categorize it but somehow that day never came. But as I sat and looked through the papers, I realized just how special these pieces of paper are to me and to my artwork.

I was searching for images that I could use in a Fat, Chunky Book Project that I am hosting with 2 other artists. The theme chosen was, "Secret Doorways, Pathways and Portals". I'm comfortable with this theme and as I was browsing for any images that I feel would work well with the theme, I had to jot down some ideas, text, and words. The ideas are beginning to flow... I've several techniques and ideas I'd love to incorporate into the pages I create --- for now I'm letting the ideas & inspiration marinate!

I'm planning to work a bit on both this project and the Art Idea Journal RR as I sit and relax this upcoming week. The great part is there is nothing pressing in on me and it will be easy to keep up with the housework since the Spring Cleaning was completed along with the baby shower preparations. I'm excited and happy to be making creating art my first priority ---- a first in quite a long time!

On Sunday......

Don and I took a road trip to Columbus; he took me out shopping for some Spring/Summer clothes since I've been doing so much for everyone else. I was surprised and found some beautiful things... a new pair of Capri's; 3 tank style tops embellished with beads, seashells, and rhinestones. I found a beautiful off white lace top...... perfect for summer events and celebrations of a more formal kind. I'm hoping to find a skirt to match it sometime soon. We picked him up a new shirt and a pair of Khaki shorts, before we went to eat at Chili's........ Yummm!

I had a few drink with dinner and upon returning home, we decided to go to the OK Cafe so Don could sing some karoke. He did an excellent job........ the place wasn't as packed as usual, and man, was there ever some true talent there. I can say I had one drink too many as I've a slight headache today and feel very dehydrated.

This a.m. we picked up Chaos from the vet's from boarding him........ gosh, I missed him. He is so happy to be back home and is so lovable to both of us. Well, off to get something besides coffee to drink, and maybe a nap, LOL! I'll be back soon..................

Music of the heART swap

This is the piece of artwork that I created for my friend Deborah's Music of the heART swap. Deborah provided us with a list of supplies to be used in the 4" x 4" piece of artwork but allowed us to interprete our creations in our own unique ways. I desired to swap out my stamped image for another vintage image, however I never found the time. I hope all the recipients love it anyways!

I used a 4" x 4" piece of chipboard as my base, cut two co-ordinating pieces of printed paper the same size, and tore one to be layered over. The Music backround is staped using Staz On ink on a transparency --- one of the supplies on Deborah's list to be used. The forget me not portion of the artwork is from a Stampington stamp. Stamped with Opaque Cotton White Stazon and embossed with Judi-kins white embossing powder. A piece of fabric, another supply Deborah listed, was ran through my Sizzix to diecut the heart shape and a beaded MM hat/corsage pin is slid through it and adds the beads required. Colorbox red ink was used to ink the edges and blend the color into the printed papers.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Amber's Baby Shower...... A Huge Hit!

We managed to pull Amber's Baby shower off very gracefully. It was a huge hit! We received compliments on everything from the invitations, to the decorations, to event planning..... the game pieces, the food............ you name it!

It began a light sprinkle of rain around 1:00 p.m. and moved onward to a bit more than a sprinkle up until around 1:45 p.m. --- an umbrella placed at the studio door assisted getting our guests from their cars and escourted to the studio and was used for trips inside the house for use of the restroom. By 2:00 p.m., the clouds were clearing out a little and the sun began shining. We had a few minor glitches, Amber forgot the veggie tray so Nancy & Shelly ran back to get it; and Chris had to make a trip to the drive through for the ice he'd forgotten. Amber & Nancy both ran about 15 minutes late getting here --- but all in all it worked out well as my mom and Shelly arrived a half hour early to assist me with some final touches of moving food out to the studio.

Amber's guests numbered 14; not bad out of the 30 invitations we sent out. Just the right amount of people that none of us where too crowded. Whitney and her dd, Ashley, who is 4 and the cutest little girl one could ever meet; Rena {pronounced Renea} a co-worker and friend of Amber's from SeaWest; Sheila, another coworker and friend from the AmeriTemps office she worked at prior to complications with the pregnancy in the early stages; Jamie, a friend and photographer at Sears Portrait studio; Shelly, Chris's cousin and one of my co-workers at DMI; Mickey, Chris's sister; Nancy, Chris' mom; Yolanda, Amber's friend; Mom Saunders - Chris's grandma; Aunt Sally, Chris's Aunt; and my mom who is also Amber's grandmother. Whoo, I think I got everyone!

We began by having guest sign Amber's Baby Shower Guest Book and retrieve a pin for the "Don't Say Baby!" game - this lastest throughout the shower and Shelly won with 20 pins!!! Our next game was "Guess Mommy's Waistline" which was a hoot! I was the only one who guessed smaller than she actually is and Chris's mom Nancy won. The baby anagram game was won by Yolanda, and no one was unable to unscramble "grandparents"! The Baby A-Z game was won by Chris's grandma, with my own mom coming in a second with one word less! We had Amber's guests address their own Thank you card envelopes, which I shuffled up, and had Amber draw one for a door prize --- Michelle Hall {Shelly} won that one ---- a beautiful acrylic frame with is in a wave and holds 3 pictures. We played Baby Shower Bingo right before Amber opened her gifts. I'll try to provide a list......... but I know I won't remember it all..... we did write the guest's name and gifts in the Baby Guest book so Amber could personalize the Thank You cards.

From Aunt Mary, in Texas, who was unable to attend: A 3 pc. accessory set to the Baby Looney Tunes patchwork bedding set Amber signed up for on her gift registry through; a dozen cloth diapers; and the cutest "cow" robe with "mooooo" embroideried on it. From Mickey, she received a disposable diaper pail similar to the Diaper Genie which uses the smaller trash bags. From Rena, a beautiful cloth lined basket filled with 3 sleep and play sets, diaper rash ointment, baby powder, a rattle, baby washclothes....... I know there was more, I just cannot remember it all. From Sheila she received a Fisher Price Portable Aquarium Swing; Patty, who was unable to attend sent me down a totally cute baby toy and Huggies disposable washclothes - which everyone had to touch and play with, LOL! The rest is sort of a blur.... I know she received a Carter's blanket from me, a digital ear thermometer and another thermometer included in the set, and a blanket her great-grandmother knitted for her when she was a baby. Grandma Miller, my mom, gave her $25 towards the purchase of her crib, Grandma Saunders also gave her money, she received another blanket from Jamie? Yolanda? Anyways, I said it would be hard to remember who gave what........ LOL!

My cupcakes and sugar cookies were a hit! As were Shelly's meatball ---- I bet that girl wrote that recipe out 12 times! Nancy's cake decorating skills surprised us all! Between the meatballs, sloppy joes, veggie tray, all the desserts and candies........ I don't believe anyone left hungry....

After the shower, Amber, Nancy, Shelly, and I sat and chatted about an hour or so before we pitched in to clean up........ It wasn't too bad to do actually. I'm happy for my dd, that I could assist making her baby shower an event she'll always treasure and remember, even if I didn't desire to do it at first! She left tired, happy, and content.......... but I can bet you today, she'll be ready to do some shopping! {*smiles}

Everyone loved the party favors - a beautiful vintage style candle holder with a vanilla candle and a tube of bath salts!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Today's the day, we will Celebrate a New Life

I cannot believe Amber's March 11th date for her baby shower is here already. I've been so busy with the preparations within the last week it seems it has snuck up on me. I woke up this a.m. with some mixed emotions...... my baby's actually having a baby! Now, I've know this...... but it seemed as if today it truly hit me. In a few more months I'll be holding my first grandchild.

I look back and I wonder where the years have gone? When did she become the woman she is today from the little one I seemed to holding in my own arms and heart what seems like only yesterday? I reminesced a little about special moments we shared together, just her and I, and before I knew it tears began to fill my eyes. Ohhh......

I went out the studio late last night, doing some last minute items, shot off a roll of film of all the little details that went into the decorations for this celebration. Then, into the nursery at grammies and took some more photographs of the way I decorated and designed it...... it seemed so empty yet filled with anticipation and hope! I'm glad I took those pictures so that I can re-capture those emotions when I'm better at interpreting them.

For now, I'm enjoying my morning coffee, easing into the day before the rush of activity begins. I'm excited and hopeful that this event will be everything my dear child wished for it to be.....

Friday, March 10, 2006

Doing computer Updates and Maintainance....

Yesterday I mentioned having a computer glitch the last several days, so today after checking my emails, I decided it was time to address the problem. First, I ran my Norton Doctor... part of my Norton Antivirus System Works. I discovered 2 errors, neither should have contributed to the problem I'm having using hyperlinks, however, I allowed the fix to be ran.

Next, I closed all open Windows and IE windows; turned off Yahoo Messenger, and ran my Webroot Spy Sweeper. First, I checked for software updates, updated my definitions, then ran the actual program scan. I cannot say enough about this software! It is absolutely amazing. Thoroughly scanning my computer, with 2 main drives, C:// for computer programs and D:// for files, temporary files, and items I desire to save --- allows my computer to function at optimal capacity. Anyways, Webroot discovered 9 new Adware and Spyware on my system. I allowed the program to remove them.

Next, I ran my disk cleanup on both my C:// and D:// drives. I cannot get over the speed I picked up once again after running these. As time allows today, between cleaning house for tomorrow's baby shower, I will be going through my Documents and My Pictures --- moving those I desire to keep off my C drive and over to the D drive; and sending any I no longer need to my recycle bin. Any that I desire to keep permanently will be burned to a cd. I'm slowly getting in the habit of backing up data that is important to me; Lord knows I'd hate to lose and have to re-do it.

I also need to update on my Windows XP registries and Norton, check for any Microsoft updates and install any critical ones, once done I'll be completely caught up with the maintainance.
Overnight tonight or sometime during the next several nights, I'll allow the disk defragmenter to run as it takes several hours to do one drive, let only 2.

Anyways, whatever I did today, I'm now able to click on hyperlinks on IE. I'm thinking the adware and spyware was slowing me down so much that I wasn't able to make a quick enough connection which caused my commands to time out. But please know, I'm no computer expert. I've learned what I know by trial and error and assistance from my computer Guru, aka Computer Doctor, Gary. Without him and his assistance, I'd have been long ago offline.

So, there you have--- computer science by a geek {*me}

Today's agenda is to clean up my home --- dusting, vacuaming, picking up a little. There isn't too much left to be done.... so I'm hoping for some time to simply relax. Trust me, I've been resisting the urge to create something, LOL! This isn't the time to be making a mess with my art supplies. But look out, after Saturday........ it's all fair game!!!!! {* happy arting! *}

Thursday, March 09, 2006

After updating my weblog, checking emails, viewing a few groups, I quickly discovered a glitch in my computer....... in one of my MSN groups, I cannot post a reply...... and on the 2P's message boards any hyperlinks won't work for me..... so somewhere, somehow along the course of the last few days one of my settings must have an error in it. I'm hoping to find some time to run my Norton Doctor and see what I can do to rectify that situation.

It was long after enjoying what little computer I have, my coffee, and yes, a cigarette....... that I was moving once again. One of the things I worked on was a 8" x 30" picture frame that I had purchased to give to Amber & Chris at Christmas. I did give it to them, however, they both knew there was something I desired to do to it so it has been here ever since. Well, yesterday morning I finally had some time to work on it. I took the frame completely apart and using the shiny paper that has the pictures for display purposes for selling, I added some 4" x 6" photographs that I desired to use. The 3 photographs are of a a baby hand playing with its feet, a baby's hand wrapped around a mother's index finger, and another picture of a baby's hand holding the mother's wedding rings..... I discovered these pictures on the internet without any copyright notification on them although I know the copyright belongs to the actual photographer who originally took them. I went ahead and used them simply to provide my dd, Amber with some ideas and inspiration for her to personal the frame with pictures she'll take or have taken of her own baby. On the double layered mat surrounding the photographs, I used chipboard letters along the left side, in a diagonal line, to spell out "FAMILY" then used some Making Memories Rub On letters to add "love", "CheRish" and "Treasure" The word love is between the first and second photograph; cherish is between the second and third photograph; both along the top of the mat. Along the bottom and sort of offset from the third photograph, I used the word treasure to provide some visual balance to the mat frame prior to re-assembling it within the frame. I absolutely love it! I took it out to the studio and placed it along the west wall on the first shelf of the slatwall board and used a black decorative finale to keep it from sliding or moving and possibly getting damaged. I'm certain Amber will love it and it will inspire her to use her own personalized photographs of her baby along with a picture of her & Chris together.

I looked over my sugar cookie recipe and icing recipes to be certain I had all the necessary ingredients here to make the sugar cookies and cupcakes today. Made out a list for the grocery store and left to stop by my mom's.

Once at Mom's, Dad, Don, Mom and I drank a cup of coffee and chatted a bit before Mom decided to go to WalMart and Kroger's with us. I needed to make a quick stop in at the downtown Post Office to get something mailed --- and wouldn't you know it, they were closed early. This is the second time that has happened to me! and it is frustrating we are planning to use it vs. driving across town to go to the main branch - especially when you won't make it before they close! Well, needless to say, we went ahead and ran the rest of our errands. Upon returning to mom & dad's, I assisted mom with putting away her groceries before returning home to do my own and get our dinner on the table.

I did invite mom and dad over for a roast dinner today. I figured since she'd be here helping me make the cupcakes and sugar cookies for the baby shower, that I could put the roast, potatoes, and carrots in the crockpot and then, neither of us would have to worry about cooking dinner afterwards.

After Don & I ate dinner last night, I sort of fail out, literally. I just couldn't get moving again. So, we watch a DVD and went to be soon after.

Well, I need to get out in the kitchen --- get the roast on, peel potatoes, add in some carrots and get started.... I got a few surfaces to clear off with some of the remanents of the shopping for home neccessities that I didn't get to last night.

Whatever it is that is on your own agenda today, do it with all the love in your heart. I know that Amber, Mom, and I will as work to make those cupcakes and sugar cookies that will add to our celebration of our newest family member. {* smiles and warm fuzzy thoughts}

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Studio is almost done!

Yesterday after getting bathed and dressed, I worked on cleaning up our bedroom. We'd dragged so many things into our room while removing items to set up the laundry/nursery room that it was in a state of major clutter.

So, while waiting for Amber who had a few errands to run prior to picking up Shelly, I organized and cleaned in there. I still have a few odds and ends to finish up, clearing off the dresser tops of some of the everyday debries Don & I are both guilty of depositing there, some dusting to do, and some organizing in our closet to make room for the bedding we removed from one room to the other.

All in all, I'm happy with the progress I'm making; our home is almost cleaned thoroughly; well, at least the most time-consuming things that need attention. From here on out, it will be easier to keep up with, simply picking up, dusting and vacauming. Don and I normally good about picking up as we go as long as we've time to do so. It's when we get so busy with the comings and goings that our home gets kind of neglected. I suppose this is the same with everyone, but I feel that since we're aware of what causes the disarray, we can work more together to control it somewhat.

I worked until about 3 p.m., doing a bit here and there throughout the house, before deciding to make some Sloppy Joe sandwiches to have on hand in the event that we got a bit hungry while working on the studio. Amber and Shelly arrived a little after 3 - 3:15-ish, we talked for a bit before Amber left to return home. Shelly and I work great together. Having worked at a job for several months together we were familiar with one another ways, each anticipating what needs done and assisting one another in accomplishing the task at hand. So, working to clean up the studio, get it set up for the baby shower on Saturday wasn't any problem for us. We got caught up with what's been happening in each others lives since November, joked around and laughed, and drank a couple glasses of wine while listening to some good music. Before we knew it, we had all the boxes out of the way, the studio dusted, tables moved, floors swept and mopped so we decided to go get all the decorations and decorate!

We hung a crepe paper Teddy Bear banner over my journaling table, used my MM Chalkboard to write "Gifts for the PRECIOUS Babe", hung a couple Teddy Bear themed hangables that came in the baby shower decoration kit using some curling ribbon and a couple of push pins to attach them to the ceiling to hang over the front corners of the gift table, yet out of the way. The tabletop is adorned with a blue tablecloth, my gifts to Amber which Shelly wrapped and decorated beautifully; a vase of English roses taken from the house, and a stuffed Teddy Bear to sit gracefully beside it, and Viola! It turned out beautifully! It is so ironic that the decorative kit had Teddy Bears in it as Chris's Mom, Nancy collects them! So, they were perfect in every way.

We trimmed a section of the blue tablecloth off and folded it over to fit on the bookbinding table for beverages to be sat upon and be at hand. A cooler with ice can sit in front of it without being in the way. On the opposite end we placed my galvinized floral watering can filled with pastel wildflowers and daisies, 4 columns of white styrofoam cups, and another standup decoration from the kit of a stork with a baby.

We moved two tables from their vertical position to a horizontal position to make the third table. A large gift plastic pattern drawstring gift bag {24" x 36"} was used in the center of the tables as a smaller table runner. I had originally picked it up to use to put in my Carter's Baby Blanket but once I realized the size, I quickly discovered it to be too big. Using it as a table runner was the perfect solution, a few double sided sticky tabs for photos holds it in place. On top of it is a tissue paper baby shower umbrella from the kit, two green daisy buckets filled with pink Easter basket filling to hold the pencils needed for the baby shower games, and we used 6 vanilla candles left over from the party favors to form a design around the above items.

Using a sheet of foam core board, I created a patchwork style background mixing cardstock from all the pastel colors we used: purple, pink, blue, yellow, and green! I added the Baby Shower Congratulations banner from the kit, then, hand wrote, "In honor of Amber Blair-Sauders (the mommy-to-be) & Baby Saunders fathered by Christapher Allen Saunders" I place that on my picture frame easel and decorated the top scrollwork of the easel with more pastel curling ribbon. In the event that it doesn't rain on Saturday, balloons can be added and we can use this out front of the house......... if it does rain, we'll keep it in the studio.

While shopping for the party favors, I was able to pick up several packages of blank cards complete with envelopes, some baby stickers in a matching theme, and a small blank journal to be used as Amber's Guest book. Shelly and I opened all the card packages, and removed the envelopes so that each guest can address their own "Thank You" envelope. This will save Amber, the mommy-to-be, quite a bit of time after the shower is over. We used a package of stickers to decorate the front of the guest book, I'll have to scan it and upload it so I can share it. It turned out beautiful! A glitter elephant graces the front cover - perfect as Chris collects elephants! I cannot get over how much we were able to personal this baby shower unknowingly with the decorations that relate so much to our families! Amber's main theme is the baby, of course, my love of flowers is displayed in the theme and decorations, Nancy's love of teddy bears, and Daddy Chris's love of elephants........ I know it sounds sort of quirky - but once I get pictures, have them developed, and uploaded --- you'll see what I mean! It's absolutely gorgeous!

I am still floored that Shelly & I managed to accomplish so much! I won't have anything else to do other than add in the other 6 chairs Don will return from the store; have my card table chairs on hand, Nancy has a set of 4 as well, and all that is left is the food and drinks and setting them in place.

Amber & Nancy came by around 8:30 p.m. I think Amber was a little disappointed that we wouldn't allow her to come into the studio, LOL! Shelly & I decided she should be surprised and not allow to see it until all her guests have arrived and we move out to the studio to begin on Saturday. I know the suspense will absolutely drive her nuts.... If I can hold out on showing her, ROFLOL! I'm not good at surprises....... I want to tell, to share, to have another share in my excitement, LOL! Ahhh, life is great!!!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A bit more about me.........

It seems I'm always doing something for so many other people in my life that I often have so little time to pursue the things that I desire to do and that I'd love to participate in.......

One of those things is........ I've never been "tagged" in the blog world...... so instead of waiting for someone to "tag" me, I'm taking the initiative to answer some questions I found on another artist's blog that I admire. The "3 Questions" come from Melanie Komisarski's Typepad journal. Melanie is a wonderful artist who has her own since of style and unique quality that shows in her artwork. I love checking her journal as often as time permits to see what she has been up to and what new artwork may appear. Mel certainly inspires me.... maybe she'll inspire you, too. Here is a link to Melanie's {Navylane Studio} website and journal:

3 Things You Wish For (Just for you…)

  1. a sense of balance and inner peace - I have to agree with Mel on this one! I definately could use a good dose of balance to my life, hoping to discover it along my journey should provide me with some sense of inner peace;
  2. personal success - again I'd have to agree with Mel! I'm aware that success means so many different things to different people so I've decided to elaborate on my own definition... the personal success that I desire to focus on my life right now would be to be a good sister, friend, fiance, mother and soon-to-be grandmother; {that is the thing I do for others as well as myself *wink*} and more personally, I'd like to delve deeper into the artist that is in me, secretly hidden and buried somewhere deep down inside. I have some other artistically related goals go......... but for now, that is enough to focus my attention on.
  3. time for myself each and every day! - I'd be much more happier and able to make those in my life happier as well!

3 Things You Would Do To/For Yourself If There Was No One To Judge You (…or if you had the guts to do it!)

  1. Get in touch with my inner muse..... create the art that I know is within me and somehow find the confidence to submit my artwork for publication!
  2. I would move to another city/state.......... although I'd miss my family and friends here immensely, I'd love to live somewhere else....... somewhere with a warmer climate, near the mountains and close to a beach........ somewhere like Charlotte, NC or anywhere in the Virginia/NC/SC........ I loved it when Don & I travelled through there.
  3. Promote myself as an artist more........ I think I don't do this for several reasons: I don't know where exactly to start; problems with time management; and too much chaos in my little corner of the world!

3 Bad Habits You Have

  1. smoking
  2. cursing
  3. procrastination

3 Insecurities You Feel {Wow! Only 3?}

  1. not fitting in or feeling a sense of belonging - this is deeply ingrained in my nature!
  2. fear of failure and often a fear of success
  3. the biggest for me! - feeling that wonderful sense of being vulnerable; bearing your soul for the world to see. Writing this weblog is probably the closest thing I've ever done to assist me with this one.

3 Talents/Skills You Wish You Had

  1. more self-discipline - I can achieve what I set out to do - once I get started, LOL! but I really mean more in the area of focusing on the Me, myself, and I - without feeling selfish or guilty for doing so......
  2. I wish I could draw and paint better than I am currently able to - of course, I could, if I'd practice at it more on a daily level vs. the sparodic rhythm that I do it in
  3. more interpersonal skills - communicating with others more one on one. I suck at this, truly I do! I'm so scared of getting hurt that "I never stray too far from the sidewalk".... Kelly Clarkston's song oughta be my theme song.........

3 Things That You Would Do If You Had More Time

  1. Create more art! and do more self-promotion and marketing
  2. Get my home-based business up off the ground
  3. Travel more, experience life to the fullest!

3 Things That Bring You Peace/Relaxation

  1. A long leisurely soak in the hot tub on our rear deck surrounded by candlelight at night
  2. A well-written book - a novel, an art book, anything uplifting and inspiring to my soul!
  3. hmmm, maybe I shouldn't put this one here, LOL! Some things are better left to one's imagination.......

3 Things That Spark Your Creativity

  1. Learning a new technique
  2. Experimenting with a new art supply
  3. Being involved with and surrounded by like-minded kindred spirits

Next question is 3 people to tag, and since my time is so limited and I myself have never been tagged, and I am uncertain of who exactly checks in and reads my blog to discover more of the details of my life vs. the artwork they'd like to see, I'm uncertain about this one. So, if you read this and you have a blog, consider yourself officially "Tagged!"

Today's agenda...........

After I finish up on the computer, updating this blog, checking emails, and few groups for replies, I'm heading for the bathtub! A long, hot soak to start my day........ and ease some of the soreness setting in. I somehow managed to add a large black & blue bruise to my outer right thigh yesterday....... dang! is it ever tender!

I did managed to pick up, dust, and vacuam the living room before I finally stopped around 9 p.m. last night. So, the house isn't too unpresentable. I'm figuring that sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 we'll head over to pick up Shelly and get started with the studio cleaning. The rain that is due to come in hasn't began as of yet, and hopefully, it will hold off a bit so that some of the yard can be cleaned up a bit and we can get all the necessary cleaning supplies taken out to the studio to avoid getting drenched in the process.

I'm hoping the studio cleaning goes together as easily as the nursery did..... smooth sailing is definately something I could use a good dose of. Who knows maybe I'll actually make it to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for the sugar cookies Mom, Amber, and I will be baking on Thursday.

Chaos is scheduled to be boarded at the vets; beginning on Thursday a.m. and picking him up on Monday morning. I dislike having to do that to him........ but Lord knows I can certainly use the break of not having him underfoot as we work to finish everything up for the baby shower on Saturday. He really is a good dog; not as awful as I make him out to sound to be, I'm sure. He's just, well, a puppy! 6 months old and counting.... as much as I'm looking forward to the baby shower now, I'm looking forward to the small break. When he returns home, I hope that I can spend a bit more time with him on the obedience training...... he is so intelligent and so desires to please us {even if he hasn't realized the full potential of that yet, LOL!}

So there you have it, our small, crazy, coming and going, mixed up - disfunctional lives in a nutshell! Although, I do find some comfort in knowing that others lives are often as chaotic and stress filled as ours is.......... {hmmmm, I won't mention any names! *smiles*}

Changing the guest/laundry room over to a laundry/nursery....

Don and I spent the better half of the day in the laundry/nursery room working. I decided since almost everything was out of the room to go ahead and wash down the walls. I'm happy I did, although it wasn't necessary, it certainly smells good in there!

Next, we drug out the box of the bi-fold door hanging hardward only to discover we provided them with the wrong measurements. So, the kit was taped back up to be returned soon. The opening is 72" (6 foot) and two white shutter style bi-fold doors measuring 35 1/2" total will be inserted there covering up both the washer and dryer and the cabinet above used to hold detergent, fabric softer, stain removers, and dryer sheets. We will also need 4 - 8 foot sections of wall trim to complete the opening hiding a hint of the hardware used to hang the doors and around the base of the wall that build a few years ago. I did discover that there is a light in the space, left over from when we had the electricity updated and all new wiring ran so it is nice to know that a small florescent light fixture could be added if we desire to do that down the road. For now, we're not planning adding one into our plans.

After realizing we couldn't hang the bifold doors, we moved on to assembling the baby crib. This went a little better than I expected as Don and I worked very well together once we got started. An hour or so later the crib was assembled and ready for all the bedding. I'd thrown in all the baby's bedding, clothes, washcloths, blankets ect. that will stay at our house while we assembled the crib so it was washed and dried by the time we finished up with the crib, so I got to enjoy something I havent' done in quite some time ---- home decorating!

While putting the twin bed in the upstairs room on Sunday, I'd ran across a nice soft green tapestry style curtain that I had previously used on my scrapbook room door years ago before the studio. Figuring it would save us some money and could be used until we would be able to purchase the closet door, I grabbed it. Later in the afternoon, prior to Don going into work, we ran to the Family Dollar to purchase a cafe style curtain rod so that I could hang it. I also discovered the cutest $3.00 green and white gingham lampshade in the perfect size for a small touch on lamp I'd been planning to add to the room! A 60 watt lightbulb later, and I have a new soft light with 3 levels of softness; perfect for the nursery!

After the cafe style rod and curtain was hung, the lampshade and lightbulb being added to the lamp, I set about removing knick-knacks....... determining which to store and which to keep. Some were decorative accessories matching the previous decor but they will come in handy for cottonballs, q-tips, and various other items so I kept those. They also match the dragonfly/leaf theme previously stamped on the walls.

I washed off the 3 tiered bookcase and shelves before moving on to washing all the knick-knacks and determining their placement mixing them in with some of the previously purchased baby items. I also re-arranged some wall art and I love it! The room is warm and inviting, yet cozy.... I put my small chair back into the room for an area for me to sit as well.

I'm hoping sometime down the road to replace that chair with a wood rocking chair! I've been desiring to purchase one from the Crackle Barrel for years......... so I mentioned to Don that I finally realized what it was I wanted for my birthday, LOL!

I cannot wait to get some film........ get it developed....... so I can upload some photos. Geesh....... I really need a digital cam!!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cleaning and organizing contines......

Don & I worked around the house yesterday, catching up on laundry, cleaning and organizing the nursery/laundry room. We took down the twin bed; hauled the bed frame upstairs and put it back together. We wrapped up both the newer matress and box springs in plastic before taking them upstair and placing them on the frame. The reason: cedar wood floors!

When Don's dad built our home back in the early 1950's, this area of the house was no existance. It wasn't until the 60's that he added on the half basement, the hallway, the two bedrooms which we converted into one large room, and the half story room upstairs adjacent to the attic. This smaller room has two sloped pitched ceilings that run along the outer roof line and cedar plank flooring. It makes it difficult to store any clothing, or fabric related items, as the weather warms up, the cedar smell emerges.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love the smell of cedar...... in a chest, LOL! In a room, is in entirely 'nother story. One thing we won't have to worry about is moths eating at the fabric of either matress or boxsprings, LOL! One day we're hopeful to complete paint this upstair room in a whitewash appearance on the walls and box in the slopes with small bookcases. It is one room of our home I'm "giving up" for Don's personal use. I figure it is the least I can do since he gave up his garage for my art studio and I've basically taken over the rest of our home for one whim or another, LOL!

A quick vacauming of the nursery/laundry room revealed that I won't need to completely shampoo the carpeting in the room - although I do intent to hit the traffic area from the doorway over to the washer and dryer.

Today's agenda: To stay warm! Can you believe we got an inch of snow overnight? Snow! Bllleeechhhh! It is supposed to warm up within the next several days and turn over to rain. Yeah! Meaning a bit more cleaning up after Chaos makes his potty trips....... and one final cleaning on Friday before the baby shower.

We may attempt to hang the bifold doors up over the washer and dryer today and plan to assemble the baby crib. This should be interesting, LOL! Don isn't too mechanically inclined and I can do these things if I have some assistance...... so what an adventure this will be! If I'm not completely worn out afterwards, I plan to pick up, dust, and vacaum the living room.

Shelly {Chris's cousin and a former co-worker} is going to be a god-send to me tommorow as we'll clean the studio..... dusting, washing off the tables, re-arranging them, making certain we've enough chairs, moving a few boxes which I've yet to find a home for, and sweeping, mopping, and vacuaming the floors. Hopefully, we'll be able to get is all set up and get started on the decorating without dragging in too much to be cleaned up afterwards.

Thursday, Mom and Amber are coming over to assist with baking and decorating cupcakes and sugar cookies. Amber is desiring to assist with the decorating of the studio so hopefully anything Shelly and I don't get completed can be done then. I'll have all day on Friday to do all the last minute things prior to Saturday's event.

I've yet to pick up film and batteries for my camera.... and few odds and ends....... however, it's all begining to come full circle. {*smile}

Karmic Life Lesson........

Aquarius is the most progressive Sign of the Zodiac; ruled by Uranus, the Planet of Rebellion, Aquarius is never satisfied with the status quo and is always forward-thinking, finding creative, innovative ways to improve things. Its other ruling Planet, Saturn, lends it the hardworking sensibility needed to turn those ideas into tangible, concrete results. Those born under the Aquarian influence are known for their quick minds, their magnetism and their social conscience; Aquarians are always the first to espouse viewpoints that favor the oppressed. They also make great and loyal friends and love a party or a gathering that allows them to mix and mingle with all kinds of people. Trouble for an Aquarius occurs on a more personal or private level. While totally at home in a crowd, Aquarius doesn't do so well one-on-one and can actually come across as cool, aloof or indifferent to anyone trying to gain its personalized, intimate attention. Why does Aquarius shy away from intimate contact? In truth, Aquarians tend to be shy and lacking in confidence; that cold demeanor comes not from a cold heart but from a basic sense of insecurity.

Uranus possesses a coolly androgynous energy; that, plus its rebellious tendencies, contribute to Aquarius's uncertain grasp of its own identity. Neither overwhelmingly feminine or masculine and with unpredictable impulses coming seemingly from nowhere, the uncertainty is understandable. Originality is never comfortable, especially under Saturn's more conventional rule, and Aquarius is a true original. However, this same originality can devolve into perverse eccentricity; Aquarius may try to be different simply for the sake of being different. This is an empty, pointless pursuit; eccentricity isn't an identity in itself. Aquarius must try to learn the reasons behind the impulses: What interests foster the humanitarian urge or the desire for progress? The answers to that question may provide Aquarius with the key to its inner self.
Being so forward-thinking may be another reason Aquarius can seem so aloof; this Sign finds it difficult to remain grounded in the present for long. It may actually consider lovemaking and other forms of one-on-one relating to be akin to procrastinating. During slow, intimate moments, Aquarius may feel more and more restless by the moment, wishing it could stop wasting time relating and get back to the workshop (literal or figurative) where it can continue to invent, innovate, create! This restlessness can come across to others as tactless or rude, two of the last things this people-loving Sign would want to be. Aquarius must develop a certain level of comfort with its own ambiguity in order to be truly comfortable with other people, to be able to relate to others as individuals.

Aquarius may also need to harness its rebellious urges before it can truly understand itself. Learning to separate rebellion for its own sake from rebellion intended for revolution is key; learning the value of rules and traditions may help a great deal. Aquarius can look to Taurus in this regard, as Taurus places the same value on tradition that Aquarius places on rebellion. Aquarius can look to warm-hearted Leo to learn the joys of caring for another person in a close, intimate way; Scorpio can teach Aquarius not to fear depth of personal connection.

My Karma Sign........

There's some truth in this.........

My Karma sign is Capricorn.

"Success at any price seems to be your motto. The price you usually pay is never being able to relax and enjoy life. Your nose is always to the grindstone -- and amazingly, it seems that you do it all to benefit others.

Because you are so persistent you usually achieve your goals and find yourself in positions of authority. But shouldn't you examine the cost?

If you want to ever evolve you might try answering this question -- 'Why am I working so hard all the time?' Your family and friends have probably been asking you this for so long it no long registers. And you might have pushed the answer so far down because the truth just might blow your entire do-gooder image.

The answer is fear -- that's right, your need to control your environment so it never gets a chance to control you. You might want to explore your relationship with your mother as well. Who you are isn't bad -- in fact you can make wonderful things happen. You should just be honest with yourself about the motivation."

That's kinda deep, don't you think?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More on the "Nursery" Decor........

On the way home late last night, Don asked me an interesting question. He inquired, "Just how are you going to incorporate "the Dragonfly and Leave theme into the Zoo theme" in the baby's room?"

To answer that question, I guess you'd have to actually see the bedding set I purchased. It is in a patchwork pattern.... a mix of solids, checks, stripes, and dots all in pastel purples, blues, greens, and yellows. {There isn't a touch of pink anywhere in it.} The "zoo animals" are fabric that are appliqued on embroidery-style consisting of a blue elephant, a yellow and soft brown spotted giraffe, and a yellow lion with the same soft brown as a mane, and a green with a beautiful pastel teal blue alligator. There are only one of each on the bumper pad and the quilt is framed with these on the border surrounding the patchwork design. The reversible side of both is a gorgeous lilac purple check with thin green stripes running through it.

Also, you'd need to see the room with the "sparingly" stamped dragonflies and light green leaves. They're simply in groups of two or three --- one near the edge of the window, another on the wall where the white bifold doors will be hung to cover the washer/dryer area, and another stamped set near the light switch.

Therefore, my thoughts are to create some stencils for some lily pads, cattails, water and a few sprigs of grass, and maybe even a frog or two. What zoo doesn't have a pond? I'm thinking created in the soft pastel colors reflected in the bedding, a few of these strategically placed around the room approximately chair rail height will pull the entire room together.

And Hey! What little girl doesn't love going to the zoo? So the room is still unisex, in the event of any surprises! {Amber and Chris are always saying, "He." but you just never know!}

For the first time since this all began --- with the hosting of the baby shower in my studio, all the required time and effort that I didn't really want to make, I can say that I am actually getting excited! Hell, I'm even looking forward to more cleaning, the laundry/guest now nursery room so I can get ready for our newest arrival!!! {*smiles*}

I'll have to take some pics to put on here so that you can see our finished results!

Whoo-Hooo! I finally found all the Nursery bedding!

After Don returned home from working yesterday, we decided to make a trip down to Columbus in search of more of the nursery components I'd already purchased. My main focus was to find the elusive dust ruffle to the Nursery set that is being sold individually. I figured without it, I may as well begin to look for something else.

My heart sort of sank at the thought of that, as this bedding was working out for me so perfectly in so many ways. I wouldn't have to re-paint the guest/laundry now nursery room.... it is absolutely perfect with the lilac walls and white trim and my stamped dragonfly and leaves scattered sparingly about the room, even though the bedding has a soft pastel "zoo" theme. I could still keep my curtains that are already hanging as the colors within the bedding work with them beautifully even if they are a little softer on the color scale. Also, the biggest factor, was I wouldn't have to get so gender specific, as Amber & Chris desire to be surprised by the sex of the baby---- something that is driving this first-time grandma completely nuts!

As we drive down to Sawmill Road, with the intention of going ahead and making the final layaway payment on the crib and picking it up, we both are getting hungry; so we drive down Sawmill looking for something to eat. I'm in the mood for a steak dinner and the Lonestar is sounding mighty good. Unfortunately, there isn't one in the area, however, we spot a Once Upon a Child store where we ventured in to browse. My heart once again sinks a little into my chest as I realize I may just have to wait until after the baby is born before I can actually do more shopping! LOL! As I'm browsing, Don striked up a conversation with another man who is rolling his eyes as much as Don is at this point, as us ladies are ooohhhing, aahhhhing, and practically drooling over some of the items we are seeing. {Okay, it wasn't quite that bad, but anyone who has ever shopped for baby items can relate to what I'm saying!} I was quite shocked when Don actually asked for "directions" to the nearest Lonestar restaurant and the gentleman says the nearest one is at the Tuttle Crossing exit. My mind begins reeling when I realize Tuttle Crossing has a huge mall......... and there is also a JC Penney's store in it, so off in that direction we head.

Arriving at the mall, the wonderful search for a parking space ensues.... without too much difficulty we found one near the JC Penney's store. Once inside in the baby section of the store, my heart once again sinks........ they have the bumper pad and the quilt but no darn dust ruffle! I inquired about the dust ruffle to a young sales clerk, a sweetheart of a girl, who was the most helpful employee I believe I've ever met! She went over and above the call of duty, searching the stockroom, talking with other associates, and can you imagine my surprised elation as she comes back with not 1 but 2 of the dust ruffles! Thankfully, that wasn't the only surprise --- the reason I couldn't find them was they've been clearanced out! I ending up purchasing both!!! I couldn't pass them up after all I'd been going through emotionally and mentally over finding them. Purchasing a regularly priced $24.95 dust ruffle for $2.77........ how could I resist? So, I bought them both! Deciding since I'd saved so much on them, I could afford to do a bit more shopping, I also picked up the matching quilt, a softer heavier blanket that works beautifully with this set, a 6 pc. set of washcloths and socks! I haven't been so happy about anything in such a long time and Don is beaming --- as if this was his idea, LOL!

From there we head back along I-270W to the Sawmill exit. Deciding to get the shopping out of the way before we head to a Lonestar we stop in at Babies R Us across from The Baby Depot where the crib is on layaway. Man, I was in "baby heaven!" I've never been to Babies R Us ever in my life so now I'm on Cloud 9 and no-one is bringing me down! Don found a nursery recliner to sit in and a willing male sales associated to entertain while I shop, look, and drool a bit more....... I spent at least an hour browsing before I decided it was time to head out with my purchases. I found a crib matress that I wanted, a solid soft green sheet.... which I'd been desiring; the cutes gift wrap baby rattle with a giraffe similar to the one on the nursery bedding, and a Grandma Brag Book that I couldn't pass up.

Upon heading to the registers, I begin to feel a bit nauseated, shaky, and thirsty....... I suddenly realize I haven't eaten a thing all day and know immediately my blood sugar is dropping.... so I grabbed a Pepsi. I don't usually drink soda pop so this is a rare occasion for me...... and I couldn't get over just how sweet this stuff actually is! Once you get away from it for a while, you'll know what I'm talking about. Anyways, within the next 10 minutes I'm feeling a whole lot better and had only drank 1/4 of the bottle! Man, that is some "powerful" stuff......... so now I'm not only starving to death, I am on a sugar high, ROFLOL!

So, here comes the most excited first time grandmother this salesclerk in The Baby Depot has ever seen in her life. We talked about me desiring to get my crib out of layaway and she mentions that she can feel my excitement. I'd had to laugh, and no, I didn't mention drinking the Pepsi..... Anyways, on the way to the cash register, I spy the most gorgeous "green" Easter Bunny......... yes, I said "green", LOL! Believe me, Don has been teasing me ever since I bought I it but you'll just have to trust me, it is adorable and perfect for the nursery at Grandma's!

After eating a wonderful dinner at Lonestar we are headed home.... I'm so peaceful and content; a feeling I haven't had in quite some time. The search is over.... and I learned a valuable lesson along the way........ Sometimes, I simply need to trust that God knows what is best!