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Living Graciously, Artfully, Frugally.

Consciously taking notice of the gifts each day places in our path.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” R. W. Emerson

Friday, January 30, 2009

Still Wandering in Wonderland...and crafting...and reading

I know you are all getting tired of snow photos but indulge me a bit longer. We got out for a bit last evening and walking up the driveway our house looked so warm in all the frosty weather I had to post a pic.This morning the sun is finally shining. This is the fourth day off school this week! We finally managed to dig the cars out yesterday afternoon. My son's girlfriend has been snowed in with us since Monday night. We were all out with shovels and kitty litter trying to push her car out of the spot she was stuck in. Hilarious! She finally got to go home last evening but called to say travel was still not so good.
Today the ice is really glistening. I am going to take a walk later with fresh camera batteries. ( I hear you groaning) Just like spring, this beauty is so fleeting I feel the need to capture it. To get a better feel of the icy majesty don't forget to click on the pics to enlarge them. (I always forget this). I haven't been idle while snowed in although I haven't accomplished what needs to be done either. I made another bottle a la' City Farmer for Sadie's art teacher. (I'll tell you why in the next post, Big News) The quote at the bottom from Hans Hofmann says "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."
I have read two Carol O'Connell books "Find Me" and "Winter House" and am beginning "Bone by Bone" thanks to one of you sweet bloggers out here who posted about it. I cannot remember who (senior moment, and I don't mean high school!) If it was you please comment so I can add a link. I also read "Ghost Radio" by Leapoldo Gout but it was lost on me, started out Ok but...
I am an avid reader but just so you don't think I've been sitting on my considerable A** I have been reading while on the treadmill for an hour a day! I am going to stick with the program because my son is signing us up for a fun run. (Thank goodness it's not until October.) It is sponsored by a local rock station, WEBN. It is called the "Run Like Hell" and takes place in a graveyard. That's my kinda run!
I'm off to capture some icicles with my camera (stop groaning, spring will be here soon enough).

Have a glacial Friday, P.
O.K. I am editing this post to say that I got hooked on Carol O'Connell this past week because of Bella Shabby's post about the new book Bone by Bone. I started reading it on the treadmill this morning and I don't think I'll be able to stop 'til I finish. (Reading not walking, I can stop that anytime.) Thanks for the reading suggestion.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wonderland in White

A few more pictures because I know it won't stay pretty for long enough. The weather report said to expect up to 10", what do you think? Maybe 12? I didn't measure officially.Still can't quite capture the magic of the ice glistening in the sun.
Powder sugar tree tops.
Fluffy, soft and so quiet.
Shhh.
You can here the crackling of the ice.
Just gorgeous.

Have a crisp refreshing Thursday, P.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh the Weather Outside is...Stunning!

We are encased in a life sized snow globe. Our little area of southwest Ohio gets maybe one or two good snows per year, the rest are quick snow showers that melt in a day. We are in the second day of a city closing snow and ice storm and (sorry for all you snow haters out there) it is stunning. I tried to capture the feeling as I look out my windows but the camera doesn't pick up the fluffy white flakes floating down from the sky.The hush of the snow seems impossibly quiet. I wish there was a way to capture the the look of the snowfall.
The view from my front door is a magic landscape, white and desolate, but so inviting.
My photos simply do not do it justice. The whispering of the flakes as they fall. The fairy like glisten. The snow is falling so fast that it almost feels as if you are rising instead. Last night the ice that came down sounded like a tinkling rain of glass glitter hitting the roof.
It coated every branch with a shimmer of glass. Like magical sculpted crystal.
I wish I could capture the look and feeling for you. It is truly breathtaking. I hope you are staying warm and cozy where ever you are. I am thoroughly enjoying this beautiful morning.
I really do love the winter weather.

Have a wonderous Wednesday, P.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Make Over Monday

First of all thanks so much for the lovely comments on my Pay it Forward post. I will post occasionally on this matter and give any updates on where to go to help this extremely important cause. I have included a badge with a link to Days in the Life on my sidebar. You can visit for updates on Cody as well as links for information there.
On to Make Over Monday. I am going to make Monday the day for make overs. Personal, home, junk, art, links, anything to do with taking raw material and improving on it, making it more pleasing to the eye. On that note as pleasing as this cup of hot chocolate may be, I need to avoid too much of a good thing. I am going to drag you all along with me in a quest for self improvement. I want to be healthier and happier with my self image this year. To that end I am going to take baby steps towards this goal. (It took years to put on weight so a few extra months to take it off isn't asking too much)I am not going to post my weight, a girl's gotta keep her dignity, but I will tell you I intend to lose 20 pounds by my 52nd birthday on April 18. So, to keep myself motivated I will be posting my success or failure each Monday. Thanks for indulging me. Speaking of indulgence, I do love me some chocolate but I do not think this is what weight watcher's had in mind for their treats. 1 point per piece x 10. This can't be good!
Since I am bringing you along on this journey (join me if you would like) I need to reward you as well. In reward I will post tutorials and links on many different ways to make over what you have. Different ways to refresh your treasures. Like this little tin measuring cup below. I glued a few ribbons and strips of scrap booking papers around it and Ta Da, a little Red and white container for a nosegay of sweetheart roses, (or candy, but we won't go there.)
Great for Valentines Day.
Speaking of V-day, City Farmer has been revamping old bottles and vases into fabulous candle holders and containers. Check out her blog. I took her idea and made a bottle for Valentines Day.
Some scrap book paper, label using Word from my printer, some ribbon and book pages...
and you have a lovely container for display.
I used a litle Walnut Hollow distress ink to age my collaged label.
The topper is a 90% off Christmas sale ornament from Michaels flipped upside down.
Filled with cinnamon hearts it is the perfect Love Potion. (did you know the smell of cinnamon is an aphrodisiac to men? ...Did you even want to know?)
Now how about an easy little tutorial? You will need a battery operated tea light, ($1.00 for two at Dollar Tree. Hello!) paper of your choice, (scrapbook, vintage notepaper, old book pages, etc.) pieces of ribbon, buttons, trinkets , white glue, a scissors and a pencil. You may also want Modge Podge, Goldens gel medium and some type of antiquing material (distress ink, paint, whatever you have).
Flip your paper over and trace around the base of the candle. Then turn the candle on it's side and mark your paper so you can cut a strip to encircle the candle. Cut these pieces out.
Bend your top piece slightly in half to find the center and cut a small hole for the "flame".
Cut a slit on each side of the hole to slip over your candle. Now take white glue (or Modge Podge or Golden's and cover the top of the candle beneath your paper to glue it to the candle top.
Next, cover the sides of the candle with glue and wrap the strip around, working out any creases for a smooth fit. If you want to do any antiquing now is the time. At this point you can cover the whole papered area with white glue and water, Modge Podge or Golden's to seal it.
You can wrap a piece of ribbon around the base and the sealer will act as glue to keep it in place. You can also use the Golden's medium to texture the candle to look like wax. If you want to add any buttons or trinkets use tacky glue to be sure they do not pop off later.
The possibilities are endless. Wouldn't these be cute teacher's or hostess gifts in a pretty tea light holder?
You could place one at each setting for a dinner party as a gift to guests. Think of all the themes!
An added plus is you won't burn your house down. Enjoy!

Have a brilliant Monday, P.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paying it Forward

Debbie at Talking Trash and Trash Digging and lately a contributor to the Vintage Journal... has won an award and in place of making a list of bloggers to pass it on this kind hearted gal has hit on a better idea. Post or comment at her blog, about a blog in need. One who needs prayers, or kind words, or a new blogger who just needs to know someone is out there reading what they have to say.I would like to add Days in the Life as a blogger in need of prayer. My 2 year old niece was diagnosed with the same type of cancer as this young boy. Thankfully she has now been in remission for 5 years and is doing well but she and her family went through hell for almost 2 years. There are links on this blog to places to go for information and ways to help those suffering from childhood cancer if you are so inclined. I think this should take priority over all disease suffered by adults. This blogger, Deck Ape, is the father of Cody, who is battling his second bout with Neuroblastoma. Deck Ape cites some shocking statistics about where our research priorities lie. Out of a yearly federal budget for cancer research, Breast cancer receives 12%, Prostate cancer receives 7 % and all twelve major groups of childhood cancer combined receive less than 3%. A child diagnosed with cancer receives 1/6 of the research funds per patient allocated to AIDS patients. In 2004 there were 48 new cases of pediatric AIDS vs. 12,000 cases of pediatric cancer. Each school day 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.
We should be shouting right now! I know statistics can be misleading but I think parents with sick children just don't have the energy or money it takes to fight an extra battle for Federal research funds. So let's do it for them. Spread the word to your Representatives that this is important to you. Also, of course more importantly, pray for a cure for all these little ones, and all who suffer from life threatening illness, for healing and strength for them and their families. I was going to write a short post and a link but excuse me for the rant.

Have a Blessed Sunday, P
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

I'm am definitely feeling the need for Valentine colors. I always love red and white.However, if you throw a little pink in there I am ga ga.
I really adore this combination of colors. If this were a man free zone or I had a little play house all to myself it would be a candy coated dream. I could use it in my art space but artist daughter HATES pink. (Where did she come from?)
For now I will use V-day as an excuse to indulge.

BTW Thanks for all the advice on the baskets and form. My friends aren't into Longaberger but I have a neighbor who is. (I bought most of them at her parties) I think I'll give her the ones that have some kind of date plaque or special year and paint the ones I have a use for. I am going to rip that covering off the girl today and work on a new look for her. You guys are the best!

Have a luscious Saturday, P.
Did you notice, I couldn't resist playing with color...but no more JUMBO print for me.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Sunlit Window, a Cat, a Dress Form, Longaberger and a Crafty Idea

Probably my longest post title ever!
I have to begin with two questions. Please let me know what you think. I bow to your knowledge. First, being late to every game in town, I am finally the owner of a DRESS FORM! My darling daughter and dear nephew were coming home Sunday evening...Monday being trash day... and spied a dress form out by the curb down the street! I now know I have been teaching my daughter well because they jumped out of the car and loaded her up. My daughter was grinning ear to ear as she presented me with her trashy gift. Love you Sadie! Now, the girl (dress form not daughter) has a covering of grey knit, like a t shirt fabric, over her base which looks to be kind of ecru paper mache type material. It is not glued on, only attached at the top and bottom. Can I remove this? Is this what all the forms I see out there have as a base? I am dying to get under that fabric!
Question two. (I hope no one has a heart attack) I have several Longaberger baskets that I purchased at various friend's parties. I am sooo over them. I really wasn't into it in the first place, but you know how those parties go. O.K... would it be sacrilege to paint them? I see them on e-bay and they aren't exactly selling for what I paid. I want black or red or ANY color but basket color. I am not using them as they are but they really could be useful. So whadaya think?
Thanks in advance for the advice.
Now, on to the next subject. You have seen these little battery operated tea lights every where, right? They only look cute if they are hidden but they sure come in handy for places where a candle isn't safe.They actually look pretty good when flicking in the dark. Well I have an idea I will share with you next week, promise.
I was playing with getting sharper pics using my tripod.
Afternoon sunlight on cold days is so crisp.
This pic...not so clear.
Yin actually turned out fairly well even if she wasn't invited to model.
How can I turn down a face like that.
A star is born.
Did you notice... no fun filled text. I may try again but please be warned...do not press the LARGE button on your text size bar when posting. If you use this button you may be perceived as insane or at least someone to be approached with caution.

Have a warm fuzzy Friday, P.
Do you know the word feline isn't in Websters thesaurus, even as a synonym for cat? You see what I was originally going for? Have a feline Friday wasn't working for me.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Art Journal for 52Q

This is my Art Journal for the 52 Q challenge I have been working on. The base for each page is a playing card. I have used the front of each card to address the question and the back to journal in Words or Pictures .The first question is What are your wishes for 2009.
The second is Are you afraid of change ?
This week's question is Do you believe in fairies ?
I keep it hanging on a peg near my Red desk.
So far I am caught up.
I was playing with TEXT color and size with this post.
I don't know how it will look when it actually posts on my blog. Always a surprise.

Have a thoroughly pleasing Thursday, P.
(O.K. Am I trying too hard with the sign off thing?)
P.S. I just previewed this post and if some of the words come out as large as they preview you may find yourselves rolling on the floor laughing. However it doesn't look that way on my post as I write. I've found that just because it previews that way doesn't make it so. This may be the last fun with text experiment. Does this count as create or participate or both?
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cheerful Colors and Suggestions Please

Random photos of my son's dishes that came back home with him. They were sitting on the counter before we packed them away, that is until he moves again.The colors of the cups against the black and white bowls and plates were so cheery. Springlike. The sun was shining in the perfect spot to make them glow.
I just had to share them. I am trying to be more creative with my camera. I found my old tripod and it makes a huge difference when photographing still lives. Also, with that same thought I have joined two creative challenges for 2009. Creative Everyday will post a topic each month that we can follow (or not) to boost creative thought. This can be writing, art crafting, decorating, photography. You can then post your ideas on a blog or the flickr group or just in the comment section of the blog.
I am also participating in a year long mini journal challenge 52Q-2009.
Each week we will create a journal page to answer the question posted that week. I am using playing cards as the base for my journal pages. $1.00 for two decks at Dollar Tree. Woot woot! At the end of the year I will have a journal of 52 pages. (Hopefully) I will post my progress throughout the year as well as on the flickr group for this challenge.
I am also going to attempt to share some easy, cute craft ideas. I want to see how we all take a concept and put our personal stamp on it.
BTW, I am running out of adjectives for my sign off. I found a thesaurus and will start using that. But if you have any words you love the sound of, I could use suggestions. Creative ones. Thanks in advance.

Have a warm hearted Wednesday, P.

There seem to be a lot more synonyms for unpleasant words. LOL
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