Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2 weeks of November Art Journalling

Week 1 -- this week coincided with the start of Julie's 30 Days in your Journal online class, so I used some of the same tools and techniques we used in the first set of pages. Watercoloured and spattered the background. SU Halloween stamp in black and french script BG in copper. Added part of a new Starbucks coffee sleeve and a subway ticket that Marc brought home from Shanghai. Sharpie for journaling, as I was having trouble getting other pens to work on this surface. It happens from time to time. Pitt marker doodles around the coffee sleeve, dabs of green acrylic with Julie's punchinella stencil, circles and copper with the chicken wire shape.
Week 2 - Started with a background technique by Cuchy, featured on Julie's blog a couple of weeks ago. Misted colours, sprinkled with salt while still wet. Fun! As I wrote, my husband surprised me with a new, and much needed and appreciated, laptop. A protective fabric like piece was inside, between the screen and keyboard, and those two triangle shapes were in it. A ready made stencil! I sprayed with a dark brown walnut ink, dried my new stencil and added it to my stash. The cardboard sun was packagin material from a mug, brushed with yellow acrylic, then sponged with brown distress ink. Added some bits of paper from the week, wrote the big letters in black acrylic, journalled with a black Pitt marker, and coloured inside the heart with a pink chalk pen.

The Rest of October -- Art Journalling

Week 3 - I knew I wanted to use this stencil, but didn't want to start with my plain gessoed pages. So I used gel medium to apply strips of newpaper. Then the orange. Then then stenciled image. Then . . . I didn't want to cover it! I added a few die cut shapes and stalled again. Pulled out Julie's words stamps, chose 5 randomly, and using those as my starting point for this week's journaling.

Week 4 - black gesso, Julie's circle stamps with orange acrylic, a white spider die cut, and more acrylic paint.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October Art Journaling

October Week 1

Another one of those pages that started with leftover paint from the week before. I added the light blue with the intention of using black and the skyline stencil. The results weren't very crisp. I added a TH stamped image of a bug, and a couple of white rub ons. And our fortunes from Saturday's PF Chang dinner. Some Sakura pens for a bit more doodling, and the FC Pitt markers for most of the journaling.

October Week 2

It was an especially pink week in this pink month. I knew I wanted these pages to be pink. I used pink acrylic on gessoed pages, before the gesso was completely dry. I like how it turned out. I had picked up a pink chalk pen at Michael's -- it was among all of their BC Awareness stuff. I used it for all of my journaling. The white is a Sharpey paint pen.

Our October Colours

At this time of year, the predominant colours around here are the colours of fall: orange, yellow, a blazing red. But in the Pelletier house, our colours fall outside of the typical autumn colour range.

Green. Nick picked up a green suit to wear, possibly for Halloween, but first, for an experiment for his Abnormal Psych class.

Off he went in his green suit, for a day at school. The experiment was to create a situation out of the norm, and study the reactions. And there were reactions!

Orange. Marking the start of Flyers season. Nick dresses for school in his game day attire, on most game days.

Red: UD Lightning, Gaby's soccer team. She's #25.

Camo: not technically a colour, but in abundance in October. Archery season begins for Marc. Last year, he started hunting locally, on a co-worker's property.

For the first time in my life, for the first time in all of our years together, I went with him. Five hours to get a 15 minute glimpse of a doe that, thankfully, Marc couldn't shoot, since his license was for a buck. Best part - the 45 minute drive together, each way. Worst part - tied. Not being able to talk for over 2 hours, losing feeling in my extremities while trying to sit still, or the bugs, especially deer ticks and skeeters.

Blue: the Philadelphia Union came out to our high school. Three players, one of whom is a junior at our school. They signed autographs for over an hour, graciously signing shirts, balls, photos, cards, whatever was presented. They were awesome!

More blue: Team Maryellen, formerly Team Buststop, participating in their 3rd 3Day walk for the Cure. They first walked two years ago in celebration of the end of treatment for Maryellen, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer the year before. Last year they walked without Maryellen as the cancer had returned. This year, with heavy hearts but heads held high, they walked in her honour and in her memory.

Gaby and I got up early to catch the 7:00 opening ceremonies and start, at WG Mall.

Gaby caught the bus in time for school, and I joined the crowd at Rosario's to wait for Team Maryellen.

Once again, it was amazing to see all of these walkers, and even more emotional when Team Maryellen arrived.

Of course there was plenty of pink, the colour for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

We wore pink most of the weekend in honour of the walkers. Carole and Mike gave me, and Gaby, pink Union scarves that were distributed at the game the evening before. Lucky us!

Red, white & blue: the colour of headgear at Gaby's school's Fall Festival. The kids receive tickets when playing games, and can redeem them for a variety of prizes. These hats were one of the popular choices.

And we cannot forget Gaby's favourite colour during soccer season: dirt!

In this state, these don't make it past the front door.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Last Week's AJED

September Week Four and One Half

Last week, while I was working on these pages, Julie blogged about participating in a Sizzix blog hop, and shared the book she made for it. See it here.  I love love love the colours she used, and that was my starting point for this week. I blended acrylics to get this bright red orange. The black on the left is actually the result of a sloppy stencil job, so I covered it up. Once it was dry, I used Julie's leaf frame stencil and I love the result. Her punchinella stencil was used on the right, I added some journaling lines with the edge of an old gift card, and a piece of 7Gypsies tape filled the space on the left. Getting close to the end of the book, the left hand pages are tougher to work on away from the edges, cuz the left side is fat and lumpty. I did my journaling with a black sharpy this time. The paint finish is quite smooth, but it still seems to suck the life out of most of my pens. A sharpy is easier and cheaper to replace.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Art Journaling - September in September

Typos in paint -- I can't even be bothered trying to fix them. But I do know how to spell practice, just not how to paint it!

This is what I did last week.

These pages got their start with leftover paint from the week before. I squeezed out waay too much green for the stencil I was using, and didn't want to see it go to waste, so I turned the page and glopped on that green. Then I added bits of red and black that were also on the palette. I also flipped the stencil from the previous page and pressed it on these pages. Then I propped the book open, or so I thought. Not well enough, cuz the pages stuck a bit. Hence the white shmears.

Once dry, I stenciled across the top with some stencils I got in a book awhile ago. Black acrylic paint, of which I again squeezed out too much. That made my journaling decision for me. A small round brush and a bit of water. I want to work on script more with a brush. Printing is fairly easy but I need more practice writing with a brush in hand.

Those lovely green rhinestone flowers are Kaisercraft, and the cheese label is just something from my stash. It's delicious cheese!

Monday, September 26, 2011

September Art Journaling

The idea is to blog about life, but life keeps getting in the way of blogging! I blame it on the rain. Its been a big time suck in so many ways and continued this weekend, wreaking havoc on soccer schedules and yardwork. Always something.
So once again, I'm playing catch up with my art journaling. October will be here in less than a week, and I'm finally sharing some September pages.
One of the problems with not sharing weekly, is that I can't quite remember how I did some of these.

September Week 1

Awaiting my Julie stencil order, I pulled out some CWS stencils that I already had, and played with a couple, using Adirondack wash, Perfect Pearls Mist and Glimmer Mist. Maya Road Things To Do list, AC Date sticker, and some decorative paper tape by Cavallini & Co.I didn't spend much time on these pages. This was our first full week back home and we had a lot to do as a result of being away for so long.

September Week 2

This background really evolved. I started out spraying some Adirondack wash and Perfect Pearls. I then sprayed water to create the drips. That also muted the colours. I gessoed the raindrops through my brand new JFFB stencil. Love these!
Now this is a place to play and learn and I learned that a sponge brush isn't the best applicator for my purpose. Between that and the curve in the pages, some of my raindrops lost their shape. Oh well! I used the stencil to trace the raindrop shapes from some of the week's photos, and included them. Journaled in the remaining teardrops using FC Pitt markers.
Forgot to mention that both of these were built on gessoed pages.

September Week 3

With all of the France business mostly behind us, I was able to spend a little more time on these pages. While the gessoed base was still wet, I added strips of a polka dotted fabricky paper that was in the box with sneakers I purchased a couple of months ago. I tore them, so there's no consistency. I used gel medium to make them stick. The gesso alone wasn't quite cutting it.
I signed up for Julie's Stenciling 101 and this page made me realize I need to visit it and learn how to build more brilliant and defined layers. I also need to develop patience. The background might look better had I let it dry, rather than dabbing at it with a paper towel. Couldn't help myself!!
I used Julie's chevron stencil on the right, with a heavy bodied acrylic. Same with the punchinella dots on the left, but there I went over it again with a different color and ultimately covered it with jockey stamps! I also used a home made stencil -- the packaging from a 6 pack of Trader Joe's yogurt. With my fingers, I applied a white acrylic to those 6 holes in the yogurt pack. I patiently waited  before adding any journaling and doodles. I added the 3 Australian stamps, layering one of them on a blank Lisa Leonard tag that I had been hanging on to. A little distress ink around the edges of that tag and those stamps. Done.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Guatemala Sunday

The Sunday on which our mission trip team offers a presentation of their trip to the congregation. This year is Guatemala Sunday. They went to Guatemala. Last year was West Virginia Sunday. They went to West Virginia. You get the idea!
Guatemala was Nick's third mission trip. According to him, it was the best yet, and the most fulfilling. Our mission trip leader Elise laughs about this, as she has returned from each trip declaring it to be the best. South Dakota, Costa Rica, Vermont, Alaska, with Guatemala now topping the list.
The mission trip is usually late June or July, and the team comes together in September to share their adventures with our church. A special service with shared photos and recollections, followed by a coffee hour. I've always made a point of try to attend these mission trip Sundays. I remember how moving it was to hear the kids talk about their time with the children of the Rose Bud Indian reservation in South Dakota. Beautiful photos to go along with their life changing stories. Every year I marveled at this amazing opportunity offered by our church and looked forward to the day when my children could participate.
This year, when Elise was organizing the presentation, Nick offered to be an usher, and play guitar. No mention of speaking. She always asks that 3 or 4 of the kids offer their reflections on the trip. He didn't offer. And then, a couple of weeks before Guatemala Sunday, Nick told me that Mrs. S (Elise) had asked him if he could be one of those 3 or 4 kids, and he agreed.
The next surprise came when Elise was asking the kids to forward their intended reflections, so that she could make sure there would be no repetition. Nick advised me that he had nothing written, nor was he planning to. He was just going to get up and speak. From the heart. Noteless. Wow.
And wow us he did! Twice. Nick spoke at both the 8:00 and 10:30 services. Equally composed, thoughtful and hilarious both times.

The team, both students and adult leaders, donned their Guatemala t-shirts. Some wore jackets they had picked up in Antigua, where the group spent their last day before returning home.

Nick spoke. 

He played guitar.

And he made them smile. And laugh! Take a look at the others in the picture. All smiles!
He was funny, thoughtful, eloquent and composed. As someone who is not fond of public speaking, I marvelled at the ease at which he relayed his thoughts and feelings about Guatemala. He compared one week of Guatemala to six weeks in France, which is how his summer played out. How he enjoyed Guatemala so much more, for that one short week. The hard work, and very humble meals and housing more appealing than being a tourist, eating rich French food, showering daily and sleeping in a comfy bed. How much more welcomed he felt by the Guatemalans, as opposed to the French.
Nick might stand out in a crowd because of his choice of hairstyle. It's longer than most at his school, our neighborhood and our church. While I can't speak for what he's like at school, around here, he's pretty quiet. He surprised and impressed a lot of people last Sunday. In addition to the many accolades he received, a lot of people were surprised and impressed by his wit and sense of humour. Me, I was proud. Very proud. Way to go Nick!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A September Weekend

Not typical, but I've come to realize that most aren't. There's always something. This time, the excessive rain we've been experiencing since August finally caught up with us. Everyone was in a panic for Hurricane Irene, which we were thankfully home for. Damp basement, yes. But with the power flowing throughout the storm, our sump pump ran almost nonstop and prevented anything more than a few puddles from forming in the basement. Different story the Wednesday after school started. The rain didn't let up all night. We received a 5 a.m. call from the school district that there was a 2 hour delayed start due to the weather. After shutting everyone's alarm, I went back to sleep. We were still hearing the pump running, and there was no evidence of a power failure so we were shocked to find signs of a greater volume of water in our basement. It was gone by the time we looked, at 8:30 or so. But the damage was done. Clothing in the dryer was soaked, stuff was moved and tipped over and rubbermaid containers that had always been 'tall' enough, weren't. I was heartbroken to come across a container of fully submerged cook books. Cook books dating back to the early 80's. Cook books that were there because I wasn't using them, but couldn't bear to part with them. Thirteen cook books, into the recycling bin. And then Marc discovered another rubbermaid container full of cook books, also saturated. These brought the grand total to over thirty. Again, I hadn't been using these recently, but there were several that I would have kept forever. Cook books from my days at MTS -- recipes submitted by employees. I enjoyed looking at them. Remembering people I no longer saw. A Martha Stewart cook book, her first, that I purchased in 1982. It soon made me realize I had no desire to be like her, but I enjoyed looking at the pictures! And several cook books that were gifts. Gone. A part of the high recycling points rewarded to us that week. (we're part of a program that gives points for recycling based on weight, and that bin was especially heavy that Friday!)

But the effects of the rain didn't end in our basement. Nick's School of Rock Funk and Reggae show was this weekend. Rehearsal Thursday evening, shows Friday and Saturday. But our Ft. Washington School of Rock flooded for the second, or was it the third, time this summer, which necessitated traveling to the not-so-nearby Main Line School of Rock location. For the rehearsal Thursday. For the show Friday. And for the show Saturday. It's a great venue, but the last minute change of plans kept us hopping all weekend. I had to remind myself that our inconvenience paled in comparison to what Steve at the SOR was going through. Again.

The show was fabulous, despite the last minute changes. We loved the show. It was quite possibly my favourite! I loved the music and loved that people were dancing instead of moshing. Yeah, I'm old!

And one of my favourite of the night:

Dancing sibs. Adorable!!

Normally, we like to attend both of Nick's shows. But we had other plans for Saturday night and Nick's blessing. Gaby had the opportunity to be a player escort for our MLS team, the Philadelphia Union, at Saturday night's game. The way Nick put it, if he had the opportunity, he would miss Gaby's concert for it. So with our 3 tickets instead of 4, we headed to the Union game.

We were advised to be there at 6:15, to give the kids sufficient time to get changed and briefed. Our soccer club had held a random drawing of interested kids, eleven and under, and sent a group of eleven. We were thrilled to see our neighbor Abbey was one of the group.

The kids and three parent chaperones, of which I was one, were escorted into a locker room just for them. And the kids escorting the opposing team from Portland. And the ball kids. The player escorts were all provided with full uniforms -- shirts, shorts and socks -- which were hanging under their name. Very cool!

We continued the hurry up and wait game, with the kids donning their uniforms, and then waiting around til it was time.

Check out her name!

Gaby and Abbey.

Marc caught the action on video, and we parent escorts were allowed to hang at field level while the kids were out there.

Gaby with her player, #8, Torres.

After the national anthem, the kids ran off the field, back to the locker room, and we packed up and returned to our seats. To watch our Union hold Portland scoreless. Zero zero.

For our soccer crazy girl, it was an amazing experience -- one she'll remember for a long time. She's planning to be back at PPL Park in three years, when she'll be old enough to be a ball girl.

Being September 10th, there was a special tribute before the game, recognizing the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Earlier on Facebook, a friend had shared a post suggesting a way to mark the date would be to bake something to share with local police or firefighters. Gaby was on board, of course. So on Sunday morning, she baked brownies, I baked pumpkin bread, we packaged both, and took them to our local police department.

They were happy to receive it, and the next week I came home to the empty container between the front doors, with a lovely note of thanks attached. Nice of them!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School

Was yesterday. Gaby in her first day outfit, and Nick in his boxers cuz he goes in later, obliged by stepping out front, even in the rain.

I will remember this as the year we had a paper house number on the front door, from the time Nick painted the trim, in April, til, uh, who knows!

My Hurricane Birthday

All summer, I had believed I would be celebrating my 49th birthday in Paris. And right up until 4 days before my birthday, that was the plan. But because we came home early due to the unplanned occurences in our last week in France, the celebration would be in Oreland. The day Hurricane Irene was scheduled to settle into our area. My how plans have a way of changing!

Marc and I went out for breakfast, just the two of us. He was craving a steak, egg and cheese bagel, and I figured I could have an egg mcmuffin. On the way home we grabbed Starbucks coffees, something that we had enjoyed very little of over the summer. Neither of us are fans of French coffee.

Gaby baked and frosted red velvet cupcakes on Friday. I wasn't allowed in the kitchen at all!

And she made sure I blew out my candles while Claire was over.

Then the focus shifted from celebrating me, to celebrating the weather, once the rain started.

After six weeks of dining out, I was so thrilled to be back home and cooking in my own kitchen. Even on my birthday. But I let Marc do the honours on the grill. Besides, the rain was well underway by dinnertime!

Yummy food and a toast. No, we didn't get enough of the champagne in France. (It was much better there too!)

My focus shifted to the weather. The rain just kept coming. and thankfully, the sump pump just kept running in the basement. When high winds are a part of the forecast, I never mind the kids falling asleep downstairs. We have a lot of big trees in our yard, and well, I'm not the only person I who does this. I have several friends and acquaintances who keep their kids on the main floor during high winds.

There were also a couple of tornado warnings just after 11 p.m. And the power went out for , oh, perhaps 10 seconds. But that was enough for me to make sure there were tealights lit in most of the rooms in the house.

(See Marc sleeping on the couch -- not a care!)



It appears I was the only one concerned about the rain, possibility of flooding, high winds and tornados. No one else lost any sleep over it!