Thursday, July 31, 2008

CED ~2008 -

Since our road trip, we been back at our daily grind. Me with catching up on housework, and Don returning to work once again. I sketched a bit in my sketchbook and attempted a watercolor on non-watercolor paper without to much success. Then Don's day off rolls around and he's restless and ready to go and do once again.

On Monday, we sat and discussed a lot of things that we'd like to get accomplished around our home... unfinished projects, those we'd like to begin... so we started creating a list so that we obtain any materials we may or may not need to get those things done. After dinner, we sat out on our rear deck, enjoying the late afternoon/early evening, gave Chaos a good brushing, and finally removed a boatload of yarrow that was taking over the top section of back yard watergarden. I don't remember planting it... or purchasing it... so I'm assuming some seeds had spread into something I did plant. Either way, I'm happy we ripped it out and removed it.

Yesterday, we visited a resale shop for used furniture early in the day, as we're still searching for a "just right" smaller kitchen table. Although, neither of us are in no real hurry to replace the one we have. We've decided to continue looking, brainstorming ideas for other options, until we get the Spiderback chairs out of layaway. We could get those out but have opted to leave them in until September. Then, we took a trip over to Ontario, where we stopped into the Flower Factory, Barnes and Nobles, then on back to Arbor Creek Gardens. I made some purchases --- more Tim Holtz's Distress Ink Pads, Somerset Studios and Artful Blogging mags, and then some plants to fill in the watergarden once again. On our way home, we stopped and visited with Amber, Chris, and Alexxis, making plans to get Little Miss for an overnight visit on Saturday night.

We arrived home just as it was nearing twilight and with just enough time for me to replant the watergarden with some ornamental grasses, some coleus, and a flowering perennial, that I've already forgotten the name of... Anyways, I'll try to capture some photographs of the re-planting soon.

My mind has been on finishing up some of the million and one projects that we always seem to have going on. One day, I hoping to make it out to the studio to finish up with the re-organizing efforts I started earlier this year. My mind tells me I should wait until late fall and take advantage of the dog days of summer and accomplishing all the things I could be utilizing this weather to complete. So, who knows what's next...

Tomorrow evening we're going check out an auction that Don's been desiring to attend and on Saturday, I intend to do some snuggling with one very special little girl!

On the way home....

As we drove out of Baltic, on a road that neither of us know to where it may lead, we drive up and then, down over hills for several miles, then into a twisting, winding, curvy road...
first to the right...

then, to the left...

and to the left again... for miles and miles and miles.

Until we finally began seeing some signs of civilization in some road signs for Historic Roscoe Village outside of Coshocton, Ohio. We arrived there at approximately 5:30-6:00 p.m. and the Visitor's centers was closed, so we opted to get out and stretch for a minute or two while taking in the view of this:

Here's Don, asking me, "What in the world have you gotten me into?" Hmmm, should I mention that he was the one doing the driving, LOL!

On our way into Roscoe Village we did notice road signs for St. Rt. 36 West. It's a road we've been on sections of during previous road trips so we took it, driving through Mt. Victory or is it Mt. Vernon?, Centerburg, Sunbury, and finally into Delaware, where we made a pit stop into the Cracker Barrel for potty break and a hot cup of coffee as we made our way back towards home. Needless to say, seeing our driveway was a welcoming sight and the perfect ending to an amazing day!

Amish country, con't...

Here's another Amish buggy... I believe I captured this one as we were entering or heading into a small town called Baltic, Ohio. I'd have loved to have been able to stop and check out this little General store and taken a few more photographs.

CED ~ 2008 - More pics from our Amish country trip...

It's been a while since I loaded the previous photographs but here's a few more taken from our trip last Wednesday over and into Amish Country. The photo above could grace a postcard! It is taken from behind the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Walnut Creek and is what one would view from inside the restaurant with it's amazing wall of windows. This restaurant is one of our favorite places to grab a bite to eat when we're in this area. Normally, we settle for ordering the buffet as it's filled with a variety of Amish cooked foods to enjoy. After dinner, we wander back behind the restaurant to take in the view. Both of us enjoy visiting the gift shoppe located directly across the street, even if Don tells me one each visit that we've previously, "been there and done that".

And since he actually said that to me, we decided to just drive, out onto some of surrounding County roads where views like this one are plentiful. Isn't that view gorgeous?! I could definately get used to waking up to that every day for the rest of my life!

Here's another fairly common view... sharing the road with Amish horses, families, and buggies. I didn't even mind being behind them as it quickly makes you realize it's time to slow down and take in nature's beauty, to breathe freely, and to take each and every moment of life in... its a refreshing reminder.

Scenes, like the one above, are also everywhere you look. It's part of the experience as you drive up over one hill after another or take the next curve in the road. Then, you spy something like this windmill and it makes want to abandon the vehicle for some slower mode of transportation! This would be the one area that I would to travel in a golf cart or heck, even on a bicycle. I couldn't even begin to count the number of times, I wished we could have been able to simply park the Jeep and walk, my mind reeling with all the amazing photo opportunities available.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Keeping "Christ" in "Christmas....

And lastly, but never the least, nothing says Christmas quite like a Nativity scene... Isn't this one absolutely adorable?

And there's yet another garden arbor decorated for the season...

Okay, we didn't drive the entire way to Walnut Creek only to visit this store. I just somehow got all caught up in it, LOL! I'll add some more photographs of our road trip at a later date ---but for now, I've got "chair butt" from posting all of those I've previously posted today. I'll share more of those taken on thisf day soon... I promise!

A "Hodge-Podge" of images from 'Tis The Season...

I never imagined when I began uploading these photographs that they'd span across a couple pages within my blog... So, if you love Christmas, as much as I do... be certain to click on the "older posts" link at the bottom of the page...

This one is for all of us "Snowmen" or "Snow-women" lovers out there. This shoppe offers a wide variety of different style snowmen. Although, I actually captured this photograph for several reasons... I obtained eight of these glass shelved modular cubes years ago when I purchased my studio furnishings from the hands of store liquidator so I was very interested in the mirrored back panels displayed with those modulars here. And do you see those acrylic reindeer's on the next to the bottom shelf? I actually own one of the two... the buck with his head bowed! I purchased it years ago and have utilized him on a mirror in the center of a wreath as a display located on our back kitchen countertop! Seeing this one was like visiting an old friend!

I loved this old world Santa and sleigh, being pulled by none other than a polar bear! Isn't it stunning!!!!

Another Old World style of Santa... this one as tall as I am! {or should that be as "short" as I am... since I'm only 5'1" in height.}

Here's , yet another, radiant tree... I love the Santa hats used as a tree topper and those amazingly large white irridescent glitter snowflakes! And we won't discuss how I missed that beautiful white feather tree to the left of the photograph! I'd love to obtain one of those for use in my studio along with some vintage style white and teal blue ornaments I purchased one year after the "after Christmas" clearance sales! Hmmm, maybe we'll have to make another trip to 'Tis The Season before the holiday season approaches!

And Look! It's Santa!!!! {Sorry, ladies, he's been spoken for... you'll simply have to find your own...}
Doesn't he appear excited? Perhaps, he's waiting for Christmas to arrive too.... at least, he's waiting patiently, because you know what he'd discover in his stocking this year!!!

I don't know about you but I found this beautiful red tinsel tree absolutely mesmerizing! How unique, is that??!! And dang it! There's another gorgeous white shining tinsel tree!!! Is it me or do you also hearing them whispering my name?

An "Over-View" of the Shoppe...

Once again, I apologize for some of the blurry appearance of some of these photographs. It's hard enough capturing photographs of lighted Christmas trees, especially without the use of a tripod, but add in the excitement factor of being in such beautiful and gorgeous surroundings and having the opportunity to purchase any and everything that your heart could ever desire, and your mind twirling with thoughts and ideas of all that you could create... Oh My! I was definitely on "inspiration overload" LOL!

I captured these photographs on our way up of the second story land. Here is the top of large arched garden arbor that was so beautifully decorated and an overview of the a portion of the shoppe's first story. Isn't it amazing!!! It's definitely a magical, mystical experience...

I captured more of the first floor while we browsed each section of themed areas and would you believe that there is actually more that I didn't obtain photographs of? I really loved these two exquisite white and gold colored themed trees... they were ever so elegant!

Another shot at that beautiful lamp post and another beautiful display utilizing a garden arbor.

Ideas for "Inside and Out"...

Is there a woman alive who doesn't love images of Christmas villages displayed with beautiful lights, sugar coated and snow flocked feather and brush trees?Well, what about adding a few battery operated or solar powered garden lights, a crystal cake plate, and those beloved garden cloches? Isn't this just wonderful? I also loved the white lights strung behind a sheer piece of fabric... simply magical, I tell ya! Perhaps a wonderful idea for window decorating... with a table strategically placed and decorated in front of it...hmmm...

Here's yet another inexpensive idea that's absolutely breath-taking! A large cylinder style glass vase, a candle, a shimmery and shiny garland, and anything Christmas related adorning the exterior of the glass! Is there any one of us who doesn't have a glass vase, a set of apothecary jars , or even a set of wine glasses?! This idea could certainly be implemented in a variety of ways and scale. From creating a focal point on table, mantle, or a clutter of them utilized as a centerpiece or lining a dining room table...

I don't know about you, but I feel in love in with this beautiful chandelier! It wasn't over-priced by any means at $124.00, but what I was amazed at was how elegant just adding a sprig of greenery made this sing, "home for the holidays!" What I didn't capture within this photograph were some of the most beautiful hand-blown glass holly and berries napkin rings. I tell you, those were so adorable!

And isn't just too adorable? As soon as I rounded the corner of this room displayed with gift baskets, I spotted this lovely "leopard love" lamp! Of course, I just had to photograph it for one my favorite interior decorating blogging friends, Rhoda, @ Girlfriend, you've got to create one of these lovely leopard shades complete with a black boa! It's perfect for your own home decor! although I wasn't certain if it was for sale...

Next up, was this beautiful Victorian lamp post decorated with yet another Christmas wreath. The lamp post in our front yard isn't this elaborate but I've always desired to decorate it for Christmas. Doing so for our December wedding last year was the first time I ever got to experience such beauty. Seeing this reminded me of one of my lofty goals of cleaning it up and adding a new coat of black paint. Isn't it gorgeous?

If you look closely near the bottom of this image, you can see how the store is designed in two stories... each and every nook and cranny is filled with something creating an amazing "Winter Wonderland!"

More "lofty" thoughts and ideas....

Obviously, this is two photographs of the same item in the shoppe... it's a wreath, totally decorated and hung in a very unconventional way. I loved this concept and once again my whirled... I don't know about your home, but within ours we have several lighted ceiling fans, utilized mostly to assist circulating our window air conditioning during the summer and to cool us off just a bit during the winter months.

What I never considered was decorating them up during the Christmas season, well, at least not until I saw this! Wouldn't it be fantastic to add some greenery or garlands to decorate them and perhaps even change the votive shades? Our shades within the kitchen are all white so perhaps I wouldn't have to change them, perhaps just the light bulbs to a lower wattage bulb... and with the pull on the fan pulls so that no one accidentally turns the fan blades on!

Another thought was to utilize this wreath idea my granddaughter's, Alexxis's nursery here at Grandma's house. Wouldn't she just love going off to dreamland with "visions of sugar plums" dancing in her head with one of these gorgeously decorated wreathes strategically placed over her crib? A few well placed ceiling hook and a fabric covered electrical cord hung just out of her reach...

Victorian Inspired...

These photographs were obtained on the 'Tis The Season" shoppes upper level. The faux rooms here a divided into a variety of spaces, each one featuring a theme of one sort or another. This is a Victorian themed area of the shoppe, complete with a faux fireplace and so beautifully decorated. I loved this slim line style of tree, the gingerbread houses, the crazy quilted stocking! It's one of those spaces that everywhere you looked you discovered something to love --- just like the entire store! LOL!

There's certainly no lack of creative ideas here... if you take your time and look around. Wouldn;t be wonderful to create your own gingerbread houses to display with those paper mache houses found in craft shops? A variety of craft products could be utilized in their creation and I can envision them covered in faux snow --- all glittery and frosted.

And I liked the framed prints hanging on the wall behind this tree... what another great way to display all the wonderful images that one receives from family and friends in Christmas cards each and every year. It certainly beats the thought of wrapping framed pictures that don't quite say, "Christmas" or "Winter" with wrapping paper and decorating them up as a gift, which I've done before, LOL! Perhaps, utilizing a mat board and attaching cards and images from Christmas past to replace some of those photographs and pictures that don't quite go is an idea I'll utilize in the future.

Did you notice those over-sized stars decorated with Christmas floral pics? How easy it would be to re-create a few those in a variety of shapes and styles! {I warned you... my imagination was soaring!} Perhaps, I should skip starting on the altered book and focus my attention on Christmas decorating instead!

Some traditional Red and Greens...

Did I mention just how hard it is to photograph lighted Christmas trees? Well, perhaps, I should have... because I realize these pictures aren't the clearest but they are still beautiful. I love the golden light quality that this arch had... although I could only capture one side of it this photograph. Perhaps it the yellow background that adds to it's beauty, who knows? Anyways, it is a huge arch that hides a set of stairs leading to the shoppe's upper level. As I attempting to photograph all of these gorgeous trees, I got sort of confused as to which ones I'd photographed and felt as if I was running in circles, LOL! But it was certainly FUN!

Anyways, here is an idea that I loved on yet another tree! This is for all of us vintage "paper arts" lovers out there... Do you see that red vintage lametta tinsel garland? Yes, I know the picture's blurry, sorry about that... but if you look past all of that, can you the see the concept of it? It's got shipping tags attached to it that spell out, "Merry Christmas" with al it's paper layers, glitter, and it's so adorable! Granted you could add any saying or Christmas themed quotation that you desire and wouldn't it be an absolute blast creating one of these for your own Christmas tree! This is one idea that I'd love to incorporate into decorating our tree! Another is to create our own paper art ornaments and decorations using some of the fabulous vintage Christmas card images that can be found on the internet!

I love it when I discover craft style inspiration in unexpected places! This one certainly sent my imagination soaring!!! And who says need to pack away all of garden decor? Use it in your Christmas decorating! I tell you, I was so ready to make my way to some craft shops to raid their floral department, obtain some spray paint, and more glitter... my mind was whirling with ideas!!!

Silver and Blue...

All over this shoppe there's a variety of trees. Each as beautifully decorated as the next. And, Yes! Even the infamous, upside down trees that hang from one's ceiling!!! And all of these different shapes, sizes, and styles of trees are available for purchase, as well as what you see displayed upon them.

I didn't or cannot see what this tree was titled, but I thought it was beautiful and rather unique. It reminds of seeing fields of glistening snow in twilight's sweet light. Perhaps that's what we should title it, "Twilight's Sweet Light", LOL! I captured these two photographs of it, one to show the body of the tree and the other so you could see the topper design a bit more.

Isn't it gorgeous?

Some Inspiring objects,tablescapes, and ideas that I discovered...

I loved this angel table scape and could see this idea used in so many ways... to create a vignette on any stand, coffee table, mantle, or even as a dining room centerpiece. Whether you utilized a wreath, pine garland, or fresh pine greenery or even sprigs of holly... any circular shaped florist foam could be used to add live plantings. A circular mirror, which I just happen to have a few on hand in my own stash, could reflect light upwards illuminating the angle figurine even more. I, also, loved the sheer glistening ribbon, silk florals, and ornaments tucked in here and there. And while viewing this, I thought wouldn't this even make a lovely gift for someone you love? It's certainly something that I would love to receive to be able to remember a certain someone special year after sweet year! And who says, an angel, needs to be the star of the show? Any item could be used in it's place from a favorite Santa, elf, or a snowman!

And this! This just simply blew me away!!! It gave me a few ideas and inspired me to utilize my own my own mirror backed curio cabinet to create vignettes upon it's glass shelves. I love the color scheme of white on white with subtle touches of soft colors added within. And see that beautiful swan... I'm still kicking myself for not picking it up and placing it within our basket! I love the silver glittered tree, the use of ornament hangers to hang ornaments, and that precious Santa figurine...

And although I didn't capture any of the addition items on the shelves below, while uploading this photograph, I noticed the picture frame. Wouldn't it be cool to utilize it to display some of your favorite Christmas cards received from Christmas' past and present?

Christmas in July...

These photographs were captured inside 'Tis The Season, a shoppe in Walnut Creek, with permission. This place is so magical as it inspires me to continue adding to our own Christmas season collections and add to the miracle of the season within our own home. Every time we visit, I see something new, something that inspires me with decorating our own home, either with store boughten items or those that I could re-create with my own two hands. The inside sparkles with lighted trees, glitter glistens, and the sights, sounds, and smell of Christmas surrounds you. Each and every tree is designed around a theme, be it color, texture, or use of themed ornaments. I can assure you that this shoppe offers something for everyone regardless of your own home decor and style. 'come on... let's go look at some of these beautifully decorated trees....

I loved so many of the color schemes and this one was no except... the use of copper, gold, and a smidgen of red. I loved the unique tree toppers that the staff here or the designer's create, the use of oversized ornaments, the white lights that seem to twinkle as everything else glitters and glistens. Surrounding each and every decorated tree there are baskets of the items used to decorate the trees while additional ornaments available for purchase hang nearby on display boards of one sort or another.

The tree, above, was themed and titled, Gold, Frankincense, and Myrth, and so appropriate so. I loved this tree! Everything about it, simply shines. From the tree top of shiny stemmed sequins, to the ribbon that was tucked here and there that ran through it. And the ornaments...oh la-la! I really was drawn to the use of big sized ornaments, the glittering balls and ornaments, and the use of glittered edged, over-sized roses. I purchased 6 of the gold glittered palm-style fronds that decorated this tree and one glittered cross that surrounded the base of this tree as our already own ornaments are a mix of golds, burgandy, hunter green, and deep, dark blue although over the years, we keep adding more and more color to it.

Here is another color scheme that I loved with it's lime green, gold, and touches and shades of a variety of whites. Isn't it pretty? Some of the ornamanents on this tree are pearly whites and in a close up of this photograph, it appears that there's touches of aqua and purple. I think it's reflections of some of the surrounding trees, even if that combination would work quite well.
Let's venture on... shall we?

{*I'm breaking these photographs up as I am uncertain of how long it will take for each of my blog entries to load... there's more...}

CED ~ 2008 - Wednesday's Road Trip...

Don and I began our journey to Amish country later than we'd intended, mostly due to me lolly-gagging around in the morning. I was a little hesitant to even go due to all the clouds covering the sky. At least until Don finally convinced and then promised me it wouldn't rain. You can see the cloud coverage in the photograph below; this is exactly what I woke up to. As we cruisied along on St. Rt. 309 East heading towards Galion, Ohio, around 11 a.m., we spotted the Goodyear Blimp hovering in the sky.

As we continued traveling east on St. Rt. 288, then on to St. Rt. 97, just outside of Lexington, Ohio, the clouds began breaking up and the sun began to shine. This lifted my spirits and made me realize that I was so glad that Don had convinced me to make this trip, in spite of the dreary, over casted, cloudy weather. I so love this area of Ohio. It's one were very familiar with as we've made many road trips over to and in this area, visits to Malabar Farm, Mt. Jeez overlook, and the Mohican State Park. Our scrapbooks are filled with pages and images we've captured on those previous visits. We love these hills and it is truly exhilarating to come up over the top of one of them and to be able to see nature's beauty for miles and miles. Everything is so lush and green! It is serene... doesn't it just lift your spirits?

The roadway allows you to climb up and over the hills, then brings you back down into the valley below, where there's plenty of wide, open spaces to see over the fields and there's a splattering of farm houses, each with their own unique features. There's one special barn that we absolutely adore seeing on our travels, as it holds two cupolas on it top, although its hard to stop along the road to capture any photographs of it. You'll just have to take my word on it, that it does exist.

As we cruised into Butler, Ohio, we were forced to make a detour over to St. Rt. 95 from Rt. 97. I was a little disappointed as 97 takes you into the Mohican State Park area, but the detour did actually save us a lot time in reaching our destination of St. Rt. 39 East in Loudenville, Ohio. We traveled on, through Amish country until we reached Walnut Creek, Ohio and made our first stop at 'Tis The Season Christmas shop. This is one of my favorite Christmas shoppes, although we both seem to love it.

Sadly, it reminds me of another Christmas shoppe, The Christmas Castle, that we came upon years ago while traveling to Portsmith, Ohio. Unfortunately, The Christmas Castle went out of business a few years ago, Thanks to all the big box stores and new developments in that area of Ohio. Perhaps, one of the reasons that both and Don and I prefer to shop in a lot of the little "Mom and Pop" style of small boutiques we discover on our travels, although I suppose like most Americans, we utilize both, mainly for the convenience they both offer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

CED ~ 2008 - Inspiration...

On Tuesday evening, I poured through the contents of the large zip lock bag that I'd brought into the house to further investigate. My mind whirled with instant inspiration of how I could utilize this, that, and the other items into my artwork. Since I was feeling so inspired, I once again poured through the pages of my Art Idea Journal RR that I had completed a few years ago with 17 other participants and my mind whirled and twirled some more! It was hard attempting to concentrate on the movie, "Definitely, Maybe" and America Got's Talent when all I really desired to do was run out to my studio!

To add to the re-discovering of inspiration, our road trip into Walnut Creek, Ohio yesterday really sent me over the top! We revisited the 'Tis The Season - a Christmas shoppe and I asked if I could take pictures. Granting me permission, it seems like I took a ton! This morning I uploaded all of the pictures, cropped, and digitally enhanced, those worth saving anyways. I'll try to put all my thoughts and feeling into words as I work to create several posts for them --- there's simply too many and my mind is still a whirlwind! Today, I hoping to sit and create a few sketches of what I desire to begin creating --- while those memories are still so fresh in my mind's eye. I'll post again soon and I promise some pictures.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CED ~2008 - Just In From the Studio...

I made it out to the studio after posting previously. What an adventure that was! As I was rummaging around searching for some of the items that I desired to add to my traveling sketch briefcase and only finding a few of the items I desired, I began rummaging through some boxes of supplies, odds and ends, that I had left to sort through when I was all about re-organizing my studio. Talk about "A Trip Down Memory Lane", I was on a journey! I don't think I've ever heard myself exclaim "OMG!" so much in my entire life.

I discovered so many bits and pieces from my past. Artwork from internet friends, bits and pieces of artwork that I've created, items from swaps, baggies filled with this, that, and the other that I had previously gathered up for one project or another. After awhile, I was all finding more "discoveries" and at one point remembering thinking, I should never say that, "I'm bored." as I've collected so many things with the intention of completing or doing something with them. I discovered cigar boxes, I desired to use in some assemblage work; old chipboard coasters that I intended to collage upon and assemble into a book. And speaking of Books! there's some of them, too. Handmade books that I had forgotten entirely about creating and some even filled with some of my writings.

I came across a large baggie--- a gallon sized ziplock, filled with collage items from magazine clippings, puzzle pieces, dominoes, game pieces and more artwork from friends. There were envelopes I'd saved --- addressed to me and even a few things from 2002/2003 when I participated in a few exchanges on Postcard X! OMG! Talk about memories!

Well, needless to say, I gathered up that baggie after putting everything back into that I'd dug out while rummaging through it, to bring it back inside with me for some further investigation. That is when it hit me, I should really use this stuff in the altered book that I've been desiring to create.... there is at least a decade of collected items of some sort or another. I'm thinking that I'll jot down some notes in my current written journal as I go through the contents of this baggie. I'm hoping that just as seeing these items once again as I did in the studio will continue to jar my memory of so many things I've forgotten over the past several years so that I can record some of those thoughts and feelings as I begin to work on creating this altered book in the fall.

I'm even thinking that I want to organize my studio now!!! Just so I can discover some more of those little memory- joggers, perhaps putting all the little parts and pieces in one large box and using some old ziplocks and baggies to organize them as I go. While in the studio thinking these thoughts, I remembered the perfect book to use for this. Years ago, when I met one of my best friends ever, Rebecca who once owned and operated Scrap and Stamp Ink, I remembered when Don and I had stopped in to see and visit with her and she had this large, thick book on her playroom table that she had offered to me. I'm thinking the book was on college scholarships or something, as her girls werestill in high school at the time. This book will be perfect as I can create some niches within it, remove as many pages as I need to accommodate all the things I desire to adhere or wire in. I'm so excited!!! I feel as if this is the book that I am destined to create and I'm really looking forward to starting it now!

But first things first.... I did gather up a few of the sketching supplies that I wanted to add to my traveling sketchbook case. I didn't find everything that I was after, but I've made a good start and I'm now excited about re-organizing my studio, which needs to be done, in the process!

CED ~ 2008...

Yesterday, I sorted and packaged up the results of the Row House swap. I'm happy to say that this swap is currently winging its way home for each of the swap participants. Each of them made my responsibility as their swap hostess a pleasurable experience as the communication, inquiries, and their sense of obligation to follow through with this was amazing! I'd definitely host another swap with this group of women in the future, but for now I'm perfectly content for a while to focus my attention onto some of my own personal desires in my art-filled journey. Even if I must admit that this swap really got me re-interested in creating art once again.

Over the course of the past several days, my thoughts have been on what I desire to achieve within the pages of my sketchbook, so I have been continuing to sketch on a daily basis. On the 2oth, I realized that I'd love to learn, or teach myself, how to draw or sketch anything, anywhere, so I'm attempting to do some really quick sketches using items that are scattered around our home.

My favorite so far with that one is a large cranberry vase that is filled with three silk greenery stems with tropical style leaves. Then, I attempted to sketch Don's chair. It was a challenge as the chair is at an odd angle from where I was sitting on the love seat attempting to sketch it and adding in the textured, floral fabric that it is currently covered in. I think it's a good sketch considering those two things and the fact that I've attempted to draw a chair before. All I can really say is... "Yes! I did it!" and "No. I don't want to do it ever again." LOL!

Since it has been a few days since I sketched that chair, looking back now, I can see now a few things that I could have corrected like the angle of the two of the arms of the chair and the depth of the opposite arm where the cushion of the back of the chair forms. So, it has been a wonderful learning experience.

This evening, I sketched a picture that hangs in our living room. It is a picture of a partial stone garden bench that holds a concrete urn filled with peonies as another peony bush hides one end of the bench. I colored it in with colored pencils attempting to introduce a variety of colors to the shaded areas to suggest depth; to create an area of light and shade that you'd see in sunlight and shadows within nature; and in the peony blossoms, I incorporated three colors - a tint, true color, and a shade. All and all, I like it! I attempted to capture pictures last night but the light wasn't right, so I scan them in today.

I've also been thinking that I'd like to browse some books on sketching on our next trip to Barnes & Nobles. Just to see what is out there that may or may not be of any assistance to me. Another consideration has been the purchasing of a fountain pen. Since I'm new to all of this sketching and working in a sketchbook, I want to be sure that 1.} It's something that I believe I'll stick with for awhile and 2.} what I'd desire in a fountain pen. So far, I believe I'd like for it to be refillable and I think I'd like to use India ink so that my sketches could be watercolored, so I'm doing some research on those things. Of course, I won't be able to watercolor in this book, as it isn't watercolor paper, but a sketchbook paper with what appears to be working for now. I'd appreciate anyone thoughts and suggestion on either of these two items if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions to share. So far, my research tells me fountain pens and India ink aren't compatible, so perhaps with my limited experience, I'll see what alternative options are available.

Other than that, Don and I doing good. We've been focusing our attention on spending time together and areas in and outside of our home. I'm intending to spend my evening cleaning as we're hoping to make a road trip on Wednesday, if the weather co-operates. We've had a heat wave of 90 degree weather the past several days and yesterday, thunderstorms and rain were expected. Which hopefully, will cool down these high temps! Well, I'm off of here as I'm desiring to get going, I gotta make that trek out to the studio to search and gather up those supplies I've been intending to put into my traveling sketchbook case, as well as look for some of the brochures I've gathered from our travels into Amish country as that is were we're hoping to head once again.

I do not know if I'll attempt any sketching on this trip, but I'm hoping to at least remember to charge my camera batteries and bring it along! We'll chat soon.....


Friday, July 18, 2008

CED ~ 2008 - Discoveries...

I've made a few discoveries over the past few days...

The first, purchasing a stereo from an out of town Goodwill store for $40 was a good purchase. I worried for a moment that it wouldn't work; only to discover, it does, now I just need to figure out how to shut it off! LOL! I'm not joking... when I hit the power button, the led screen spins. I attempted to set the clock... hmmm, I'm still baffled on that one and over the course of the past few days discovered it definitely has a mind all of its own! I tested the CD player with an old Melissa Etheridge CD and it works fine. The only problem was a few days later, I was on the computer in the other room, and hear comes Melissa's voice singing in the background over the TV that Don had left on in the living room. It took me several minutes to realize that the song playing isn't even on this CD! It seems the FM radio is possessed! Turns on whenever it feels like it... oh well, it's very portable for using on our deck or even in my studio! What did I expect for $40? LOL!

I'm still working in my sketchbook, sort of randomly, here and there. I added a quote to the back of the previous page I created, in fact, I scattered a few of my favorites elsewhere in the book. The photo above was taken with my digital camera while those below were scanned in.

This one I used the B&W/text setting on the scanner, and the one below as was scanned as a photograph.
I thought there was some amazing differences in the images. Anyways, I'm attempting to get myself back into the habit of drawing once again, like everyone, I suppose I'm better at drawing some things better than others which is the purpose of my explorations --- to challenge myself. The Ralph Waldo Emerson quotation is a reminder of that.

In other news, news-worthy to report... I've updated the Row House Swap participants of a change in mailing the return of this swap out. Instead of me waiting for one person's swap contribution, I emailed her to see if it would be possible for her to mail her contribution out to each participant individually. This will save all of us involved some time from waiting for the return of the swap and I hope this change was well received. I hesitated to ask, knowing it would mean more work for someone who is so busy already... but in the end, I felt it best for everyone involved. The results of this Row House swap are phenomenal! I'll post a photo after I get my own set up and adhered the way I desire them to sit on one of my studio shelves.

Speaking of studios, I haven't been in mine in a while. This past week we've seen a heat wave here in Ohio and although Don offered to purchase me an air conditioner for the space, I declined, believing with the economy we can put that $$$ to work in better ways right now. It seemed sort of indulgent to me as I would probably only need it 6-8 weeks out a year, during July and August.

Did you notice that my sketch contained a new tool that I recently purchased? I made a sketch of it in my sketchbook and since it is a gel pen, and refillable, I figured if it wasn't suitable in my sketchbook, I could use it for my written journals... which I've sadly been neglecting. I'm going to have to rectify that soon....

My thoughts have continued along the lines of starting another altered book. I've been doing some browsing online and considering what I want the end result to become. That may seems sort of pointless to some but I want some sense of unity with the finished book once I begin creating it. I dug out a few of my old trusty ephermera CD's and have been browsing for images I'd like to include, and have made some notes of techniques I'd like to try to include. I'm thinking perhaps this would make a wonderful project for me to get started on in the fall as I am desiring to finish up some of my own WIP's.... like patching my crazy quilt entirely so I can work on stitching and embellishing it this winter... another work in progress, LOL! Little by little, I have faith that one day I'll see the fruit of my labor, it's just going to take some time, and I know it will be all worth it in the end!

Whatever you are "discovering" today, I hope that it's "happy discoveries",

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Still sketchin' away....

Bradford Pears ~ locally grown in our back yard;

An "R" for "Reams"; smudges and printer's marks; and the "eraser" as a new tool;

Breakfast for One.... a late brunch... and journaling reflecting my favorite meal of the day.