Monday, September 27, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 39

Another one of those week's when the end result is so different from what I had visualized. The fun of creating!  My list of most memorable birthdays & holidays.

Gessoed the heart, some acrylic paint. The backing is from MM packaging, also covered with acrylic paint. Textured that surface with the heart, stamped with TH stamps. Originally scratched the title into the paint, then went over it with a paint pen.

I have great memories of both childhood birthdays, Christmases, Easter, any holidays where family would get together. Growing up with lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and all 4 grandparents local, family gatherings were fun, large and frequent. Living away from family now, I know how lucky I was. Very lucky.

Monday, September 20, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 38

Still drawing on my Listography book, this week's list is actually supposed to be  past schools or classes that I have attended. I chose to make it just schools, though I did add a few of the fun classes that I've taken over the years, at the end. Mine: Schools I have attended.

Marc has been working on a project located in Japan, and had some blueprints that he was done with. They're more colourful than what he usually works with, and of course, the writing is all in Japanese. I thought these were pretty cool and something I could use. I promised to use discretion,  though because I can't actually read Japanese, I don't really know what part I shouldn't use.

For this, I used a piece of the blueprint that covered the entire side. Bits of sticky notes and some blue and white paint, then spelled out most of the list name with some MM letters. The letters were all picked up on sale at one time or another. I do like the ledger letters, but I certainly know why the black felt ones were on sale: peeling them off the backing makes them lose their shape completely. A bit of a pain to use. SU letter stamps finished it up.

Another Paris type of sticky note, 7Gypsies expression sticker, and an SU owl punch. One punch with all of these shapes. Pretty cool. Same blue and white acrylic paint.

These are the schools I can remember attending, full time and part time. And where I took classes both academic and just for personal interest. Most places offer evening and weekend classes and utilize local schools. I remember taking pottery and  Ukrainian classes at my high school, before I attended there as a high school student. Took Spanish for travel at U of W, and French, to brush up after Marc and I began dating, at CSB.

Being an ignorant Canadian, I didn't realize until I moved from Canada, that education is subsidized to the degree that it is, for its citizens. I had really thought that after moving to PA I could continue taking special interest courses and perhaps pursue more in the way of higher education. But I couldn't justify taking classes just for the heck of it and shelling out 4 or 5 times more than what I had in the past. My Canadian employer also had a generous remimbursement program, provided good grades were achieved.

So since moving here, my school attendance and participation has been more of the PTA variety. But I'm not complaining. Its all good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Something For Me

While you could say the last few months have been all about me, they weren't about me doing what I wanted to do, but rather what I had to do. And who wouldn't make that choice? To focus on self and health short term to get that long term back?

When Kal Barteski proposed an online class for this Fall, I knew it was something I'd want to jump into, but I wasn't sure about the timing. I've done online challenges with her before and loved it! The first time was in February, a quiet week. So devoting time over those 5 days to art and creativity worked. But I wasn't sure about the beginning of September, the beginning of school and the end of chemo.

Kal's all about making it work for everyone's lifestyle, and she decided to offer two options nurture your creativity be bulletproof the online class  I figured twice a week for 5 weeks I could do. Tuesdays and Fridays. OK . Even though the class started on the Friday that the kids were off of school. Yes, two days on, two days off, that first week, due to the way Rosh Hoshanah fell this year. Sometimes these Jewish holidays work out well for our calendar, sometimes not.

The first Tuesday of those 5 weeks of Kal's class was scheduled to be my last day of chemo. And it was. But that's another story on another blog!

I was anxious to see what Kal had going on that first Friday, so I logged in bright and early. A video clip, downloads, links and challenges. I like that. And of course, a flickr group for sharing. My favourite part! I love everyone's shares. It's fascinating and inspiring to see how others jump off from the same starting point.

I try to stay away until after I complete my own contribution for each challenge, as I want it to be me and mine. But it's not easy, knowing there could be more goodness there waiting to be enjoyed!

First challenge/idea was to come up with our own definition of creativity, what it means to us. To put it in writing. To create something with that intepretation, 3 ways, 3 different ways, and post it in places in our enivronment, where we'll see it, everyday, all the time.


 My number 1. Just paint pens on a MM journaling paper. Taped in place c/o 7 gypsies (I think!)

In place in the bathroom. No problem seeing it there several times a day!

I like this picture cuz it's so right now, with that peek of my bald chemo head. Just when it should start growing back soon, perhaps a month or so, it's starting to grow on me! Ooh, bad pun there! But with the cooler fall weather in the near future, I'll welcome the warmth of hair on my head again, no doubt!

My number 2. I've been into freehand cutting letters lately, and thought I give that a whirl here. I also have been enjoying recycling as much as possible on my weekly lists and have a growing stash of packaging and scraps to choose from. This was built on Prima packaging from some of their embroidered embellishments. The label shape was leftover from the journals we did in January for our MLK Day of Service project, as were many of the patterned paper scraps. Also a bit of a woodgrained tissue box and a scrap of stamp advertising from the post office. If I could just keep myself away from online shops and scrapbook stores, oh, and of course all of the great publications that can be found in places like Barnes and Noble ( a favourite family hangout) I might be less tempted to add to a growing patterned paper collection that does just that. Grow. I believe I've gotten better in terms of saving money, but the scraps and bits that I save still take up space. A greener alternative though.

My number 2 hangs in the window where I plan to soon place my desk, when it arrives. For years, I've used the entire dining room for scrapbooking, cardmaking, painting, you name it. Ater all, we have a small table in the kitchen that seats the 4 who live here. And when it's necessary to use the dining room table, everything just gets shovelled into piles stacked in the basement, and Marc's office. No problem, right?! Not really, but things would get lost and misplaced. I also had no space for the business of the house. Bills, that sort of thing.

This window is in the space between the living room and dining room, somewhere you just walk through. There is still a giant 3 door IKEA armoire in the dining room, bulging with my stuff. But I've added some shelves in the space near my desk that would give me access to supplies that I will in turn use more if I have to dig less. And drawers in the desk. Lots of drawers for pens and paints and scissors and sticky stuff and brushes and stickles and inks and ink pads . And of course a couple of file drawers for fun stuff and house stuff. It won't solve everything, but the arrival of this desk should make dining easier!

When the desk gets here, I'm hoping to hang some of those pieces sitting on the window sill right now. Of course that's Kaz, a piece by Kal, peeking out on the left. A print, actually. The original was, I believe 30 X 40 and has since gone to a good home.

The piece in the middle was discovered during Kal's GoVenture challenge in February, for the word WHOLE. I fell in love with Krista's style that week, and after leaving a comment for her, she offered to email it. I was thrilled and grateful. Krista lives in Winnipeg, so her work especially hits home for me, no pun intended! It's all Winnipeg: the map, the images, the Provencher Bridge designed by a friend of Marc's.  I also love how she put it all together. I'm digitally challenged, so am completely in awe of works like this.

The piece on the left is from one of my favourite people whom I've yet to meet, the beautiful Jasmine Her son Isis, now 9, actually drew that when he was 4 and Jasmine added the colour.  It's called The Love of a Mother, and it's one of several she has in her etsy shop. I fell in love with it and can't wait to have it up on the wall. If I had more walls, I'd love to have more of their art.

This is my number 3. It was suggested that we use a medium we're not as comfortable with, or use that often. I grabbed another scrap of cardboard, gessoed it in black, used some bubble wrap with acrylic paint for the background. The most difficult for me was painting the words. Markers, pens, pencils, OK. But I don't 'write' with paint much. I realize now if I thinned the paint, which was also acrylic, I might have been happier with the results. A lesson learned for next time. It was still fun!

Sitting on the kitchen sink window, where I see it ALL the time! Even with a dishwasher, I'm at that sink a lot throughout the day. It's starting to grow on me.

Can't wait to get started on Challenge/Idea 2, which Kal posted on Tuesday. I viewed her video last night and jotted down my ideas. Hope to catch up soon. Loving this!

First Day of School

For a change, I think Nick and Gaby were looking forward to returning to school.

It's been a low key, OK, kinda crappy summer for them. I started chemo on July 13th and as a result, we didn't do much or go anywhere. The house in NC didn't pan out this year. Plans to Canada were put on hold and eventually shelved. Sun sensitivity is one of many side effects for me, and with the record high heat and humidity, the A/C was my desired climate. I believe I had more summer posts on my other blog, so it's time to get back to the everyday stuff. The chemo is done, thankfully, and the upcoming radiation shouldn't impact our lives to the same degree.

So yeah, this year, back to school is a good thing!

Breakfast of champions!

They actually didn't eat together. Nick is usually out the door around 6:35 to get his bus, which comes at 6:44. Gaby's bus comes around 8:20, so she's generally still in bed when Nick leaves. But on the first day of school, only the freshmen start at the regular time. This year, the rest of the students started 2 1/2 hours later, so Nick didn't have to hop his bus til after 9.

But being the willing and cooperative guy that he is, he humoured me by getting up before Gaby left, to pose for a couple of pictures with his baby sister.

Notice how Nick has no shoes on!

And notice the almost matching book bags. Different genders and almost 6 years apart in age, these two don't possess much matching anything. So I HAD to capture this! Notice too how Nick's bag seems pretty empty? Unlike his sister, who had packed hers about two weeks ago, he was planning to take care of that after breakfast, just before the bus!

Still on our own at the bus stop this year, though we were hoping for more kids next week, as kindergarten started later. And our wish was granted, as there is now a boy in Mrs. McG's class who has joined us at our corner.

But on the first day, it was just Gaby climbing aboard. We're happy to see the same driver. Back in the same routine already.

Meanwhile, back inside, big brother still had some time to relax before he was on his way.

And off he went, round the corner to his bus stop. No pictures there. The entire neighborhood loads up at that corner for the high school and I wouldn't want to show up and embarass him. But I might do it discreetly one day. I love the image of this group of barely awake teenagers dragging themselves on board at the crack of dawn.

And me, what did I do that first day with the kids gone? Groceries, photo printing, made a pot of chili, popped over to Gaby's school for library duty (last minute unpacking of the entire school library. the windows were changed in the entire school over the summer and the library was done last, so hundreds of boxes of books had to be shelved) I only stayed for a couple of hours as I was picking Nick up at school for his allergy appointment. Back to our Tuesday routine.

Back to our school year routine.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 37

Late again, and even with the extra day, my list right now is pretty short. But there's room to add. I'm drawing a bit of a blank!

For this week, my list of favourite cartoon shows. I could think of a few from my childhood, but not many. Didn't have many to watch -- no cable.

I found a scrap of already gessoed cardboard, attached more scraps to each end, and stamped white images. I forgot just how LONG the white ink takes to dry. Stamped it in the morning and it was still damp 6 or 7 hours later. Colored with glaze pens, sort of. Actually went over some of the stamped images with a white paint sharpie and used the black one to cover the smudges in the spots that I rubbed over with my sleeve. Ooops!

My lame answers. There's gotta be more!

Monday, September 6, 2010

52 Lists for 2010 - List 36

Surprised myself by getting this done this morning. I was afraid I would forget, given that it's Labour Day. But with no major plans this morning, I was able to complete my creation and get a photo before the sun went down!

Hearts and love. That's what I had in mind when I started. Another piece of packaging from MM bitty letters. A lovely houndstooth check on both sides. Some reddish papers, pinkish tissue and a lovely heart shaped doily. And a wooden heart from Stacy! Some paint and a white sharpey and I thought I was done. But it needed more of the white sharpey and the lacey ribbon at the  bottom to complete it.

Need more pages for this list, though I guess it's supposed to be who you love the most, not just who you love! But I could still add more!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

24 hours at the beach

If you ask my kids, they'll tell you this hasn't been their favourite summer. For all the times Nick has complained about us not staying home when Christmas or spring break roll around, he's complained more this summer about staying put.

I understand their frustration. They don't make me feel guilty about it though. It just can't be helped. With my treatment schedule and the way I feel in between, I've not been up for much of anything. 

I was so excited that plans for an overnight at Rehoboth in mid-August fit perfectly into my treatment schedule, the 'feeling good' time! We were set to depart for Rehoboth on Thursday the 12th, a two-car caravan of three adults and six kids, meeting up with the Elise and Julie in Rehoboth. The plan was for us to dine on the boardwalk upon our arrival, spend the evening on the rides and games at Funland, and have the next day for the beach before heading back that evening.

Notice that we were leaving on Thursday the 12th, meaning the next day would be Friday the 13th. And that it was!

It started with rain upon waking Thursday morning. Rain here in the Philly area, but much more major storming at the Delaware Beaches and up into the DC area. While the rain was minimal here and let up occasionally, by the time we were loading up and leaving, it started again. In time for us to start out soggy while trying to get ourselves organized in the CLC parking lot, our meeting place.

The view from the dash.

A number of fun moments and certainly laughable moments!

(I used Mosaic Maker to put these photos together. Saw it on Ali Edwards blog. I apologize for this first attempt  -- need some practice!)
After a scrumptious dinner at Grotto Pizza on the boardwalk, we sent the kids back to the cars to stow the leftovers and plug the meters, before we headed over to Funland. When they returned, my first thought was that they had detoured through the ocean. They were soaked to the skin.

Turns out the rains had returned. A torrential downpour which left us trapped in the restaurant for an hour, laughing at the antics of both the kids and passers by. They were a bit chilled, but not discouraged.

We finally decided to give up on plans for Funland and headed to a nearby beach, where we were spending the night. But the drive took longer than planned, as the rain had flooded our route. And I found out later that Kay's car had some mechanical difficulties, causing the windows to fog up.

The house didn't really work out for us either. Nuff said on that.

The next morning, Friday the 13th, I woke to Kay on the phone, consulting doctors for Tom, her son. The concern was his back and the possibility that a disc might be involved. It was recommended that she seek medical attention for him there, rather than driving back home first.

What that meant was a shuffle among the vehicles, since there were 11 of us. Elise's family, who summers there, was down to 1 vehicle at that time, so that meant she had to get her husband and son to work, in order for us to use their car.

This got us to the beach a bit later. We decided that the Rehoboth beach would be better, since we were still trying to fit in a trip to Funland.

To say Nick was disappointed to see the no swimming flags on the beach was an understatement, given that this was the first time he was dipping his toes in the ocean this year. While there were guarded stretches where folks were allowed in, they weren't allowed in very far.

Funland did live up to its name though. Gaby won a stuffed creature and joined her brother on what I thought were some scary rides. Give me the job of photographer -- that's all I'm capable of at any sort of amusement park! I'm glad that they both love these rides, that they can go on together, and that Gaby's tall enough for pretty well all of them now. She was especially thrilled to finally be able to ride the Gravitron, and is looking forward to it again at the HM Carnival later this month.

Tom and Kay were able to join us for a short while at Funland and enjoy an ice cream before they hit the road early. Deb returned home with them. The rest of us enjoyed a delicious Elise dinner before heading for home.  I had a few extra passengers. While Gaby enjoyed Jillian's company, I think Mallory, MJ and Nick slept most of the way home.

Growing up in the prairies, I think the first time I swam in salt water was in Hawaii when my parents took us. I was 15 at the time. But Manitoba is the land of 100,000 lakes, so there were plenty of freshwater opportunities. The big lakes offer waves, and except for the water colour, it's just like the ocean, in my opinion. You can't see the shore on the other side. 

My kids have been fortunate to enjoy ocean time pretty much every summer, though not as much as some of their counterparts who summer at the shore. Last year's week in Nag's Head convinced us that we've got to spend more time in a place like that. While this year didn't work out, we know we've got to get back there next year.