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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TICKLING THE MUSE

I love puzzles. I have loved doing jigsaw puzzles with my children when they were small ~ I have enjoyed having a big puzzle set-up at family gatherings for everyone to work on over the course of the holidays ~ and one of my treasured memories will always be seeing my grandmother, now 98, continuing to work diligently, despite her failing eyesight, on her puzzles every Sunday afternoon at my mother's or on the ongoing project always "in play" at her apartment....yes, I love puzzles.

It was great fun to discover a special site today that not only "tickled my muse" but also tickled the "child" in me (or perhaps that may be heart of my muse...). Art Puzzles, from Susan Reynolds' Studio, provide you lovely "art canvasses" which become jigsaw puzzles online at the click of your mouse. A terrific escape and wonderful way to "feed" the muse and the brain at the same time.



So, pour yourself a cup of tea, relax, select your favorite print, and click away - but watch that timer... :-)

Monday, March 30, 2009

MONDAY REFLECTIONS

FOR TODAY, March 30, 2009

Outside my window...a sunny spring day has begun, a beautiful new start to the week....what is the quote that comes to mind? "Hope springs eternal..."

I am thinking...of what a wonderful weekend I had and the busy weeks ahead.

From the learning room..."The Artist's Life" continues to inspire and challenge.

From the kitchen...I think I should dive in to my favorite "green cookbook" tonight - believe it may be the only night that both Hannah and I will be home for dinner this week so I think I should fix something special.

I am wearing..."lazy" pj's after a busy, long weekend and Hannah with a day off from school today.

I am creating...the Mimi necklace this morning :-) and new earrings for Spring Break.

I am going...to state soccer trials this weekend (congrats, Hannah!) and then a whirlwind spring break trip.

I am reading..."The Artist's Way," a growing to-do list as we prepare for our trip, and lots of maps.

I am hoping...Andrew is okay and is feeling better soon - his closest and dearest PC friend left yesterday, giving up her post early to return to the states.

I am hearing...Michelle Featherstone "I'm There, Too"

Around the house..."get ready for spring break" week.

One of my favorite things...will be picking up the newly released Slumdog Millionaire dvd tomorrow.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
filing taxes (whew!); getting our "road music" set; writing Andrew a letter and emailing his friends to encourage cards, letters.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...congrats, ladies, on your 2nd place tournament win!

Friday, March 27, 2009

FRIDAY FAVORITES

A little music, a little smile, a little musing, a little laughter, and a BIG sale ~ TGIF!
  • Abby is smiling, really smiling - not gas, not dreaming - real smiles now! We've still to catch a full-mouth grin on camera, but here's a first-day "half-smile" as captured by her daddy.
  • One of my favorite parts of the The Artist's Way are the great quotes that "litter" the margins of the pages...here are a few from this week that are really sticking with me:
"What we play is life" ~ Louis Armstrong
"You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours." ~ Anne-Wilson Schaef
"The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order...the continuous thread of revelation." ~ Eudora Welty

  • Last year my sister and brother-in-law sent my parents a Dvd of The Vicar of Dibley, a BBC series we had been unfamiliar with, but now we are fans. Alice, the vicar's "helpful" albeit rather clueless assistant at most times, is one of my favorite characters -- here she struggles with the concept of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter..."


  • And finally....don't forget! The "SPRING FEVER SALE" is still going on now in the shop! That means savings of 15% on ANYTHING with the words GREEN, FLOWER, or GARDEN in the title or description. Just put your items in your cart, proceed to checkout, and put "SPRING FEVER" in the "NOTES TO SELLER" and then WAIT for a revised invoice (or pay immediately and I will refund the discount to you through PayPal). One discount code per purchase. Catch "SPRING FEVER" while it lasts!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DO YOU 'EARTH HOUR'?

VOTE EARTH

Earth Hour 2009 is approaching quickly, this Saturday, March 28th, 8:30pm. At that time, wherever you are, you are asked to "unplug." According to the source of all knowledge (;-0), Wikipedia, Earth Hour is

"an annual international event created by the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund), held on the last Saturday of March, that asks households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change. It was pioneered by WWF Australia and the Sydney Morning Herald in 2007,[1] and achieved worldwide participation in 2008."

Now last year being the first year that Earth Year went "global," I am rather unaware of the U.S.'s response as I was actually in Canada at the time, but I can tell you that Ontario's preparation and response was fairly remarkable. The media, the "buzz," and the resulting response (the city of Toronto reported a 8.7% reduction in electricity consumption during the hour - quite considerable for prime time Saturday night in a city of over 2.5 million).

Toronto Skyline 2008 ~ top: during "Earth Hour"; bottom: before "Earth Hour"

No, the city did not "go black." Not every single business and household turned out every single light and unplugged every appliance...restaurants kept cooking, but used candles during the hour for lighting. We wandered into a wonderful pub for dinner during the hour, and I'll admit, it was quite dark and reading the menu was a bit of a struggle by candlelight, but we knew we were a part of something bigger, a part of a global experience and statement of awareness. No, we weren't changing the world overnight, but it is these small steps, each of us can take.

So, what about Earth Hour 2009? Where will you be? Have you thought about what steps you might take for this hour, to continue or begin the journey of awareness? Think about it...

Here's a great article about one reporter's "relationship with electricity" that makes us consider our own:
http://www.thestar.com/living/article/608082

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY (Hannah, again) ;-))

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TICKLING THE MUSE

I have to admit I'm enjoying this new weekly feature as an excuse to take a break and "play" a bit - who can argue with that!? As I was blog-hopping this past week, I found and bookmarked this site which I knew would be perfect for today's "tickle" and indeed it has been great.

WORDLE creates "beautiful word clouds." As the site explains, Wordle "is a toy for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends."

I experimented with WORDLE today, using first my blog http address ~ simply typed it in and a "wordle cloud" appeared and then I started "playing":
Next up was my Artfire shop http:
Finally, I wanted to try my hand at WORDLE's free text entry so I entered words that I would associate with SignatureSterling in general and then "toyed" with that cloud for a while - quite happy with how that turned out!
So, grab your words, your website, and stop by WORDLE ~ get tickling!

Monday, March 23, 2009

MONDAY REFLECTIONS

FOR TODAY, March 23, 2009

Outside my window...I caught a beautiful sunrise ~ a wonderful way to begin a Monday, to begin the week.

I am thinking...of how long my to-do list is for today and how there is no way I will ever get through it!

From the learning room...I continuing my study of "The Artist's Life" and finding myself more open to it this time around.

I am thankful for...spring sunrises.

From the kitchen...I'll need to check with Sarah to see if I can bring something as we've been invited to dinner tonight ~ how nice!! :-))

I am wearing...a pair of favorite, comfy pj's that I found at the bottom of the drawer last night, LOL! Yes, laundry is on the to-do list.

I am creating...2 new pairs of earrings and/or bracelet to "meet" my new rule/guideline from last week since I completed another necklace :-)...wait, I don't think creativity likes "rules"! :-)...just finished "sketching" a Mimi necklace that I want to work on as well.

I am going...to Hannah's soccer tournament this weekend.

I am reading..."The Artist's Way," a stack of "delicious" new beading books, and finishing "Moon-Calf."

I am hoping...that Sandy's mom and families continue to be wrapped in peace and love; also hoping that doctors will find help for Blake, a friend of Hannah's friend:
http://wwwphp.10tv.com/vplayer.php?clip=2009_03_23_Student_Battling_Rare_Infection.wmv

I am hearing...Bob Patin's "Blackbird" - pandora

Around the house..."out with the winter clothes, in with spring and summer" week. I love doing this - like "shopping" every year without spending money! :-)

One of my favorite things...will be finding time to watch Twilight with Hannah!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
helping Hannah complete her soccer contacts now that spring break plans seem finalized; spring newsletter

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Friday, March 20, 2009

FRIDAY FAVORITES

The day has almost slipped away before I could post this, but "no worries," plenty of favorites to share FOR SURE today....

  • "Hands down"....the #1 favorite is that today is officially the first day of spring! Woo-hoo! Let the sunshine, warm weather, and yes, even the spring rains (within reason!) begin ~ I am MORE than ready this year...
  • I am a "collector of quotes" and this is a new favorite that I came across just this morning:
"The beautiful is everywhere." ~ Fernand L├ęger
  • Some of you may think that my complete wardrobe is comprised of my "Goodwill Hunting" forays :-), but to be honest, I shopping just like the next "gal!" In fact, one of my "favorite" shops is Coldwater Creek ~ I love to peruse their latest catalogue or surf their site to see what might be new, finding their colors, designs, and textures refreshing and unique. So, when I can find a Coldwater Creek sale + free shipping + my yet-to-be-used gift card from Christmas (Thanks, Hannah! ♥), I can't resist what I think is quite the deal! Here are the "Friday Favorites" that came in the mail today!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TICKLING THE MUSE

Last Tuesday, I started a new blog "practice" designed to promote my "artistic energies" or what I call ~ "tickling the muse." Now ideally I am doing this in different ways throughout the week - for example, I'm learning to play golf and my instructor, aware of my "creative, artistic bent" and background is approaching it by telling me that I need to find the rhythm and tempo of my swing...spending time outside in this newly springtime weather is always refreshing to my mind...quiet time with Abby, considering the miracle of new life and hearing the wonderful newborn noises inspire and renew me.

But, yes, on Tuesday, specifically, I'll be searching online for special sites that might be helpful in "tickling the muse" in an "outside the box" approach. Today, especially as one who is not a "traditional artist type" (as in can't draw a straight line and struggled with traditional "art" classes in elementary and junior high school...), I encourage you to visit the National Gallery of Art's site for "kids" of all ages - designed for online painting creations.

There are many options - select different pattern, brush designs; use an auto color option or pick your own colors; once you've made a "painting," apply special effects; or try the "auto" painting creation and see what "pops up." Each of your masterpieces can be framed and saved, printed...and certainly something will inspire you later if color and design is something you use in your work. Most of all, have fun and laugh with joy - after all, that's what tickling the muse is all about!

Peace...

http://www.nga.gov/kids/zone/brushster.htm

Monday, March 16, 2009

MONDAY REFLECTIONS

FOR TODAY, March 16, 2009

Outside my window...the grass is looking greener, preparing for spring or perhaps for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow :-)

I am thinking...of Sandy's family, especially of her daughters the loss they must be feeling. And her mother - to lose a daughter so suddenly, so young...it will be such a difficult time for all.

From the learning room...I am learning to golf and enjoying it ~ and my instructor understands my "creative" background so tries to tell me I need to find the rhythm and tempo in my swing - not just hit the ball. Ahh, it's not golf...it's music!

I am thankful for...family, for friends, for life.

From the kitchen...It's time for Irish Soda Bread - yes, there's a wee bit a' the Irish blood running through these veins!

I am wearing...comfy blue jeans and my favorite OSU hoody to celebrate my Buckeyes making it to "The Dance!" GO BUCKS!

I am creating...a new necklace inspired by a palette pattern selected last week (new rule of thumb as I find myself loving to create necklaces despite this economy not wanting to sell them ~ for every necklace, will design 3 pair of earrings and/or bracelet...begin this week)

I am going...to make a coffee run tomorrow to my favorite coffee shop (can't run out!).

I am reading..."The Artist's Way," "Moon-Calf," and trying to find Hannah's soccer stats...

I am hoping...that this week of incredible sudden loss and pain will also somehow bring peace and healing.

I am hearing...Rosie Thomas, "Farewell" - pandora

Around the house..."out with snowmen, in with spring..." week. It's about time. :-)

One of my favorite things...was hitting a golf ball, "feeling it" fly up and seeing it land about 75 yards out at the driving range ~ hey, there may be hope!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
remembering Sandy

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...


Friday, March 13, 2009

FRIDAY FAVORITES

I've got another collection of Friday Favorites for you today...first up, answers the "age-old" question (hmm....sure!), where does Sue buy her earrings when she doesn't make her own??? I know you were wondering! Well, take a peek ~ yes, I did scoop them up finally after "dreaming of them" for quite a while! These Red Coral Drops are on their way to me right now from Lee at AbeleesHandcrafted. And, no, there aren't anymore for you....BUT

LOOK...you can find these beauties and more wonderful earrings at Lee's shop right now so be sure to stop by and check it out - incredible design and artisanship!

Wandered onto a very cool website a few weeks ago via my blog-hopping. This site will "age" your photos 100-150 years in a matter of seconds, allowing you to then save the newly "antiqued" copy. Why? Not sure - fun, scrapbooking, photo effects....you figure it out. Here's a sample I had some fun with from last summer's vacation. The shot is of a church on Boca Grande, FL:

Voila! Turn of the century Boca Grande!

The website is labs.wanokoto.jp/olds. HINT: when you get to the site, if it is all in Japanese, you can "switch" to English up in the top right hand corner. :-)

Favorite new music this week - have to mention the new U2 album. Find it, listen to it...enjoy! Repeat often. I also discovered a new artist (for me) and have been enjoying her music all week ~ Michelle Featherstone. This is the song that will get me every time:



And...finally, favorite Abby picture of the week is the beginning of her career as a real Buckeye -- titled, "WHO SAID, "Go Blue?"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

AW, SHUCKS! AWARD TIME!

I was so very honored to receive the following award from one of my favorite goat bloggers, Pricilla (The Maaaaaa of Pricilla), ...well, actually, she's the only goat blogger that I know personally, to be honest with you, but she is still one of my dearest friends (hmmm, just wondered what that says about me!), writes an awesome blog, and makes the most incredible soap I've come across in a long time! So, when dear Pricilla bestowed the Kreativ Blogger Award on me, indeed, I truly felt my day had been made ~ thanks, Pricilla! A big "MAAAA!" right back at you, girlfriend! :-)

Now in lieu of an acceptance speech, this blog award comes with rules. I am to list 7 things I like and then pass the award on to 7 people, being sure to comment on their blogs to let them know to come by here and pick up their award. And so, I begin...

7 Things I like:

1. My new granddaughter

2. Watching my daughter play soccer

3. Getting lost in bookstores

4. Reading cookbooks

5. The first few minutes of settling under the covers in bed at night before drifting off to sleep

6. Having my cell phone calls to Andrew in Tanzania get through on the first try

7. The ocean - anytime, anywhere

I pass this award on to:







Wednesday, March 11, 2009

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TICKLING THE MUSE

As I begin to study "The Artist's Way," this week, I considered that one way I might commit to "tickling" my creative muse on a regular basis was by every Tuesday (Tuesday ~ tickling...see, sometimes there is sense in my nonsensical randomness...) intentionally seeking out and sharing new (or perhaps, tried and true) ways of jump-starting the creative process ~ thinking outside the box ~ heading in a different direction ~ or seeing potential creations with new vision.

Today, I returned to a site I was first introduced to last fall through our Artisan Beaders Street Team Fall Color Palette Challenge ~ colourlovers.com. There you can see already created wonderful assorted palettes and patterns or create your own, sometimes even creating your own new color!

Knowing that I wanted to focus sometime this week on a new "Pretty in Pink" piece, I headed in "that direction" and first began working on a color palette with that title:

Now as it turns out, the center color was a "new" color and needed to be named in order to be included in the palette (and now forever in the system) :-), and so "Gerbera Pink" has bloomed.

Then I wandered over to the "patterns" and simply browsed through using "pink" as my keyword search to find some favorites that might add some further design and color inspiration for me as I'm working later this week.




My muse is already gearing up and anxious to "play" with these colors and ideas....it will be interesting to see what appears later in the week as a result. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 9, 2009

MONDAY REFLECTIONS

FOR TODAY, March 9, 2009

Outside my window...the sky's streaks of blue and white seem yet undecided about the day, but the overnight wind has ended our run with spring for now.

I am thinking...of Andrew and how I need to let him know how his niece loves NASCAR (!) - apparently the sound of the cars running on the television fascinates her and lulls her to sleep. Andrew will be so proud - LOL!!

From the learning room...I am beginning a new study of The Artist's Way.

I am thankful for...Hannah and her laughter, her tears, her smiles.

From the kitchen...I have picked up my reliable "green" cookbook (bon appetit - fast easy fresh) to decide on something for tonight as "hockey boy" is joining us for dinner.

I am wearing...a pair of favorite blue jeans (what else, right?) and a warm sweater for the morning's weather that has greeted me.

I am creating...an heirloom bracelet for Abigail, more "Pretty in Pink" pieces, and more spring pieces as time permits.

I am going...to enjoy my "Mimi" time this week.

I am reading..."The Artist's Way," "Moon-Calf," and assorted others in "the stack."

I am hoping...that the "ball gets rolling" with Dad's visit to the doctor this morning and that he will be okay.

I am hearing...Ben Taylor - listening to my "mellow" playlist off of napster.

Around the house...much to-do before Hannah's friend arrives later today.

One of my favorite things...was enjoying my niece's dance company performance Saturday night ~ an incredible, creative, talented group ~ such a joy to see!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
filing in the office (yes, I've progressed to that point!); making spring break plans; visiting with Sarah and Abby; being "soccer mom" :-)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

(mother and daughter) :-)

Friday, March 6, 2009

FRIDAY FAVORITES

It's Friday and I've got a BIG list of favorites to share with you today...
  • FIRST....the windows are open and it SMELLS like SPRING!! Woo-hoo!! YAY!!!! Loving this weather :-)
  • Guess what arrived this morning to make my day!
Yep, it's my very own copy of Alphabet City by Stephanie Chisholm - the "Chiz" - that I raved about in last week's Friday Favorites!!
  • I have been a HUGE fan of SOCK MONKEYS ever since my "little" Sarah (now a "mommy" herself) was a premature little sweetheart and her daddy placed one in her hospital nursery 'bed' right after she had been released from the NICU...
  • So, I had a great time window shopping and "faving" some great sock monkey finds this week -- take a peek and see what you think! I'm hoping to share some of these soon with my new sweetheart, Abby! :-)
From Shop3pm on Etsy, what could be cuter than this traditional sock monkey doll - oh, it does take me back!!


Any little one would be stylin' with these coveralls from JustKiddn ~ how cute are these!!


At this time of year, who could resist an adorable sock monkey "tip-toeing through the tulips" from Sockmonkeycards?


Hey, if you know babies...you know babies burp and you know that you want to have one of these handy from ClaireandJanae!

And from one of my favorite Etsy artisan friends, how could I resist this special one! Marcy - you've done it again!! :-) Check out her work at StudioMarcy!!
  • And, what I think will be new favorites in my Etsy shop (once I get them listed...soon -- probably tonight or tomorrow) :-)
~ SPRING GREEN Necklace
Spring Green Necklace

~SPRING GREEN Earrings
Spring Green Earrings

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY


(Happy Birthday to the Dr.!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

MONDAY REFLECTIONS

FOR TODAY, March 2, 2009

Outside my window...the bright sun is deceiving, masking one more Arctic-chill morning - March has arrived lion-like, indeed.

I am thinking...of Andrew, having just learned that today is the Peace Corps' "birthday" - 48 years old.

I am thankful for...the quiet, restorative weekend I was able to have.

From the kitchen...it will be a good day to start some bread to have with dinner - what a wonderful aroma all day.

I am wearing...some comfy blue jeans and a warm hoody (GO BUCKS!).

I am creating...more spring pieces, having completed two over the weekend that I will need to get listed ~ ready to "think spring!"

I am going...to have more fun playing with old photos and the scanner this week.

I am reading...or re-reading Devotional Classics as part of my Lenten journey.

I am hoping...that Sarah and Abby have a wonderful first day alone together at home as daddy returns to work.

I am hearing...Haydn, have my "classical" station on pandora.

Around the house...everything is wonderfully in order.

One of my favorite things...was seeing Gram hold Abby on Saturday ~ 5th generation.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
finishing the office (almost there - I can see the desktop - yay!); coffee with a good friend; catching up with Mom and Dad; getting my "Mimi" cuddles; going to my niece's dance company's performance

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...