Sunday, July 31, 2011

This Week's Reflections

I know I haven't told her yet, but I do love the concept of wrapping up a week with a review of sorts.  Nicole over at Destinations Unknown has a weekly post about Things I've Learned This Week.  I like that. 

I like the idea of a short and sweet list of the week as I reflect on it.  And I have maintained for many years that I will be a lifelong student.  So why not reflect on what I've learned?!  (Thanks, Nicole). 

Things like:
  • It's been 3 months since my kidney surgery.  Man that time went fast and I'm feeling great!!
  • When you get diagnosed with cancer, it's okay to not like what you are hearing.  But it can be inspiring to others to watch how you handle it.  And my big brother is amazing!!  (Love ya, Larry!!)
  • I really am getting better at working on damaged photos in Photoshop.
  • I need a new cell phone.  My flip phone takes its sweet time pulling in text messages.  I end up getting them 24 hours later. 
  • Mother Nature is simply amazing.  In less than a month, she can go from this
July 3, 2011

to this
July 31, 2011
  • My daughter knows how to touch my heart.  And it's the little things that touch my heart in a big way.
  • I'm not good at computer repair.  And I need to have the ability to view videos on my computer.  It's been a over a month that I've tried to restore my video capability since loading a new version of Adobe Flash Player and I'm not getting anywhere.  Therefore, I'm handing my computer over to my favorite IT guy so he can make it like new again. 
It might be a few days before I visit your blogs and leave comments.  But once my IT guy does his magic, I'll be back taking online classes and showing you the results!  Have a happy week!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creative Avenues - The Road Now Traveled

My friend Leanne over at From Chaos Comes Happiness once said that she doesn't multi-task very well when it comes to creativity.  I think I'm the same way.  Sometimes it's art journaling, sometimes it's card making, sometimes it's writing/blogging and sometimes it's scrapbooking.  But I don't seem to be able to do more than one of those and feel like I'm putting a part of myself into them.  Does that make sense?  I guess it's like driving.  You can only be on one road at a time!

Lately, I've been having some fun taking up Design Challenges over at Big Picture Classes.  We are issued three challenges a week, roughly every other day.  And I've really been doing a good job of keeping up.  I thought I'd share with you some of the layouts I've completed in this class. 

The first challenge was to take something common and use it to design your layout.  I came up with this:

A checkerboard layout
(I love how the flash caught the center of the flower)
Photo courtesy of Colleen Buti

Challenge #2 was to use your photo as your base.  (I'll probably re-do this one by handwriting instead of computer writing). 

Cormick's Imagination

Challenge #3 was to use orange:

What a happy little girl!
Photo courtesy of Christine Buti

Challenge #4 was to use vintage font/type in your layout

So Silly
Photo courtesy of Christine Buti

Challenge #5 was to use a symbol as part of your layout (I think I may tweak this a bit).

The Door - left page

The Door - right page
Challenge 6 was to do an almost monochromatic layout.

Challenge 7, one of the most difficult for me, was to use bold/busy paper. 

Challenge 8, use a sign.

Photos by Edward Fox Photography

We've got three more challenges to go.  Can't wait to see what they are. 

But I guess that's all I have for you today!!  Sorry I can't think of any deep, probing, life changing question to post!  It's just not in me right now!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tricks of the Trade - Marketing Version

Saturday, my BFF Murph and I went shopping for bridesmaid dresses at David's Bridal.  She's standing up for an "across the pond" wedding of her friend Andrea.  Since Andrea is having a civil ceremony PLUS a church ceremony, Murph needed to try on dresses for each event.  I got to be the photographer and first-round judge.  Andrea gets to make the final decision. (And just for the record, there was not one dress that Murph tried on that DIDN'T look good on her! )

But as I sat there looking around the store, I discovered something.  Nothing earth shattering.  And actually, not really NEW information.  Just proof that the display marketing they do in stores has nothing to do with real sized girls.  I wanted to show you.  

Dress on display at David's Bridal

Dress on display at David's Bridal

Note the back of the mannequins/dress forms.  See how they don't can't even have the dress zipped up all the way.  Now, we're not talking plus size dress forms here, People.  We're talking about those thin microscopic waisted dress forms that they use.  And then they use the smallest sized dress available to display.  Hence, the inability to zip it up all the way. 

WHY do they use them instead of the forms that are closer to the size of a real woman?  Because they think they won't sell as much.  Because our society has saturated our thinking that if you're not an itty-bitty thing, you're not sexy.  Are we ever going to get past this thinking?  Are we ever going to realize that "having a little meat on those bones" is not necessarily unhealthy or unsexy?  Y'know, we can change it, don't you?  We just need to be aware of these things.  We need to be aware of what marketing is trying to drizzle into our brains shove down our throats.  And then let those stores know that you'd like to see something on display that looks more like the people you know. 

It's nice to know there are some stores out there who "get it".  David's Bridal apparently is not one of them. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Little Tree That Could

When the world says "Give Up",
Hope whispers "Try it one more time." 
-- author unknown --

Over the July 4th weekend, my neighbor had a garage fire that totally destroyed the garage and destroyed a lot of their belongings they had stored there.  The fire also damaged a portion of my garden.  I blogged about it here.  This week, the owner's insurance adjuster told me there was nothing in the owner's policy that would cover the actions of his tenant.  So there was nothing that they would be doing to repair the damage to my garden. 

After feeling sorry for myself for a couple of days, this evening I took another look at the garden.  

A couple weeks ago, I was convinced this hydrangea was a goner.

But this evening, there is hope.  I see growth.  I see promise. 

It may not be this year, but I'm sure next year, it will end up looking more like it used to.

Same with the ornamental pear trees --  What started off like this a couple weeks ago:

is showing signs of new growth amid the burned and charred branches and leaves.

I now envision my tree saying to itself, "I think I can, I think I can, I KNOW I can."

What's not to love about the perseverance of nature?  Maybe we could all use this lesson at some time in our lives!!

Where flowers bloom, so does hope.
-- Lady Bird Johnson --

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pros & Cons

Refuse to accept the many reasons why it can't be done
and ask if there are any reasons why it can be done. - Hanoch

Have a happy Saturday!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finding Peace in Nature

Most of my regular followers know how much I enjoy my garden.  I pester my PG each year to help me get it turned over and ready.  I look forward to getting the plants in as early as possible to get a jump on the growing season.  Gives me more time to enjoy.  There have been years when we've planted the garden and it was just too hot to sit out to enjoy it.  This year the weather was just so rainy and cold that it delayed planting.  But we finally got it planted.
Oh, and now...sitting in the yard, enjoying the birds,

and the bunnies,

and the flowers,

and my new wind chime.


And then I came home after a barbeque over the weekend and found the neighbor's garage totally destroyed by fire. Very sad.  No one was hurt, but they lost family pictures that were being temporarily stored there while they remodeled a bedroom.  And they lost two vehicles. 

And I lost a third of my garden.  Yes, I know it's not all about me and their loss is so much greater than mine.  And I certainly don't want to sound like I'm whining.  I'm not.  I'm frustrated.  And I'm not enjoying sitting in the yard watching those birds and flowers and listening to that wind chime.  But I know it's only temporary.  And a lot easier to fix than that garage!!

Okay, I'm done unloading.  Thanks for listening!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, America!!

Image from

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!  Say a prayer and a thank you for those who allow us to enjoy our freedom, from the founders of the Constitution to each and every military man & woman who have protected it. 

God Bless America!