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Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Three Wise Men


I couldn't resist the idea of turning my three boys into Three Wise Men this holiday season.  Melchoir, Caspar and Balthazar -- er, Dewey, Kris and Roan -- my three little kings.  Photoshop is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Marshmallow World

Are you presents wrapped and your cookies baked?  If not -- hey, there's always New Years.  No matter what, I hope you'll enjoy this holiday video as much as I did.  xo

Hope you enjoy this Christmas video as much as I did.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas in New York

Walking through the West Village last night at dusk


I breathed in the peace of the season, 


 and the gratitude we share at this time of year, 
whether alone or with family or friends,


for all we have been given, and for 
those we've lost...

...gifts in our lives, whether for a moment, a
year, or a lifetime.


May you find light and joy


warmth and welcome


sweetness and comfort


laughter and companionship


In every moment, throughout the season.


I hope you will take time smell the cookies


and cuddle with your loved ones.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lace and Fabric Journal

My newest lace and fabric journal is ready to begin the rounds to the creative ladies in my round robin group. My theme is medieval horses in all their finery, and I had so much fun doing the research for this!

Here are some facts you might like to know about medieval horses.  Their stature, in general, was smaller than their modern counterparts.  Horses of the middle ages were not usually differentiated by "breed," but rather by use.  There were "chargers" (war horses), "destriers" (the finest war horses), "palfreys" (well-bred riding and hunting horses), and cart or pack horses.

The medieval period gave rise to some significant horse technology, including the stirrup, the nailed horseshoe, and the horse collar, which allowed horses to puller a greater amount of weight.  While saddles had been used for several centuries, improvements were made in their construction during the middle ages, and beneath the saddle, caparisons - saddle cloths - were sometimes worn. These were often decorated or embroidered with heraldic colors, generally used by the upper classes.

It was not unusual for daughters or wives to share the family trade, and thus women also worked as farriers and saddle makers.  Upper class wives often accompanied their husbands to crusade or tournaments, riding on horseback or in a wagon.  Women rode astride, and it was not unknown for them to ride war horses. Joan of Arc was the most famous female warrior of the medieval period, but many others also took part in warfare.
 Here is my book cover. The right side is a flap that folds over onto the cover.  On the left are three buttons that will be part of the page binding when the book is completed.



Front cover

With the right side flap open


 Button binding on the spine


Open up the book, and here is the inside left cover.


A painting of a destrier I made based on medieval artwork inside back cover.



Left side page inside of the book.  



Closeup of the lace detail


Right-side page - The Joust 


 Making a journal - whether fabric and lace or paper and glue - is always a journey for me. I truly loved traipsing through the middle ages while creating this one. Thanks for joining me!!




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Secret Santa 2012

My online art journal group, Blissfully Art Journaling, is having a secret santa swap.  There's a $5 limit on what we can spend, and it should be handmade in some way --  the perfect opportunity to get creative plus use some things in my stash!

I started with a leather journal that I found among my piles of books I bought some time ago but hadn't used. It was very well made but the cover was so plain, and I'm sure that's why I hadn't used it.  Something I could improve upon!

To decorate the cover, I used some vintage lace, adhered with therm-o-web red tape sheets.  I had a tag I'd made last year with a favorite photo of a little girl and her doll, and I adhered that with the red tape, also.  A thin lace ribbon ties it all together.

I created tip-ins of journal paper, sewing across the middle to create tag pockets.  I trimmed some pages in the front of the journal to within about an inch to give me an edge to glue the tip ins.

After gluing, I decorated these pages with washi tape and images I've saved from favorite magazines.  Then I created six small, beribboned tags, one for each pocket, with a bit of decoration and enough room for my secret friend to write quotes or notes.





Since so many people are thwarted by not knowing what to write in their journals, I typed out and printed several pages of my favorite journal prompts and glued one onto every page in the first half of the book.  I included an envelope with many more prompts for her to choose from in finishing the book.

I hope my secret santa friend enjoys using this journal as much as I enjoyed creating it.  She'll find out very soon who she is, as I'm putting it in the mail tomorrow!!

I'm going to attempt to put the journal prompt pages in my sidebar.  If you don't see them there, that means I wasn't successful - but if you would like a copy, email me and I'll send them to you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Our Thanksgiving Miracle


Last year on this day, my daughter had just finished several months of shots, tests and procedures to try to conceive a child. She was on mandatory bed rest, as she had just finished the final steps in the in-vitro process and was hoping it had worked. There was no way yet for us to know whether the process had been successful, and she spent a good part of the day crying, fearful it hadn’t worked, terrified the insemination might not “stick.”  (That’s an expression in the infertile community that was new to me. "Best Wishes! Hope it sticks!")

Fast forward one year to today, and our lives have changed dramatically.  Liam Glenn Simmons, born August 10, 2012, is three months old and gracing our lives every day with his goofy grin and sunny disposition.  I am grateful beyond words to the medical community that made this miracle possible, to the doctor whose kindness and sensitivity allowed Ally and Bill to navigate the terrain of this emotional minefield, and to God most of all for gracing all of us with this miracle of life.  His kindness and mercy is boundless.

My friend Pat asked me to do some Photoshop magic and fabricate a “Liam balloon” for honorary entrance into today’s Thanksgiving parade.  At first, I thought she might be joking, but she assured me she was not.  She said that Liam’s birth was a symbol for her of the grace and wonder of love, and the medical miracles possible in our world today.   I'm so glad she did, because I had a lot of fun playing with Liam's image to "create" his balloon. 

And so, following directly behind Hello, Kitty as the newest parade balloon, I give you Hello, Liam.




Monday, November 19, 2012

Show me Your Anthropologie!!

Continuing my love affair with the art of Anthropologie, here are the promised snowy windows and animal sculptures from their flagship store at Rockefeller Center in New York City.  These window treatments were just going up the day I visited (Nov. 15), and it was fun watching the little elves with their ladders and glue pots, putting the final touches on these scenes.




With foxes, we must play the fox. -Thomas Fuller


"Exit, pursued by the bear."  -Shakespeare


The Woods are lovely, dark and deep. -Robt. Frost


There's a certain Slant of light-Winter Afternoons - Emily Dickinson




And more animals inside the store!  
This is a tea towel I especially love. 
I'm going to have to sketch these two friends
and add my own accessories.


It's amazing what a lovely collar can do for the complexion, isn't it?


Does this scarf make my nose look big?

Can you see me in the ornaments?


Show me your Antropologie, please. I'd love to see photos if you blog about your local store.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's beginning to look...

I know it's early. Thanksgiving hasn't even arrived.  But here in New York City, the holiday decorating has to start in November because of the scale of the adornments.  

So today, for your entertainment and edification --not to mention for my own curiosity -- I took a walk over to Rockefeller Center (five blocks west of my home).  And sure enough -- The Tree has arrived!!  This is the 80th year of the tradition, and I've got to admit that I love this time of year.  Even crowded streets don't dampen my besotted enthusiasm.

Santa's elves have erected a scaffolding around the tree so they can decorate it with the five miles (yes, I checked) of colored lights and the beautiful Swarovski crystal star we enjoy every year.  Historically, most of the trees have been between 75 and 90 feet tall and around 40 feet wide.  I don't know exactly how this year's tree measures up, but it's fat and beautiful.

Here's the far view:

And here is a closer view:

Even closer view:


And here is a very special, very secret PEEK at two of Santa's elves.  Shhhhh.....


More updates to come, plus a view of the Anthropologie holiday decorations.  They're divine!



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Altered Composition Book

When my kids were little, I'd journal about my days.  I wanted to remember what they were like as babies and toddlers because I just knew I'd forget as time went by.

I filled a composition book with reflections about their habits and personalities.  It's amazing how their adult dispositions are so much like their baby temperaments.

Moving ahead 25 years ... since the day my first grandchild was born three months ago, I've been encouraging my daughter to occasionally take some time out of her busy days to write a little about Liam, too.  And to encourage her, I created an altered composition book.

The image on the front of the book is my mom and me, age 4, in the driveway of our North Plainfield, NJ home. We were on the way to church, a typical Sunday morning when someone decided to take a photo.  Just a way to keep the generations connected.



And here is my grandson in a beautiful, hand-knit sweater.  My friend's aunt is incredibly talented and creates knitted pieces on commission. She made this for me just before Liam was born. Isn't it fabulous?  



One final thing.  I've been using an app called Photo 365 to upload a picture of Liam each day since he was born.  I wish I'd done this with my own children - but I would never have remembered to do so.  Once a month I'm printing out a page with all the photos from that month one a single sheet.  So glad for the digital phones and apps we have now!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Day of the Dead and Five on Friday

While I'm not a huge fan of Halloween (I despise dressing in costume), I have always loved Day of the Dead. While still teaching in a classroom, I always included it as part of the multicultural lessons I loved so much.

Last month, I started drawing dios de los muertos skulls and couldn't get enough of them.  First I made a flowery skull...



Then I made a tropical skull...



Then I made a Parisian skull...



And then I made a Manhattan skull...



I just couldn't seem to stop myself.  I sat every night and sketched more and more skulls.  I could have an art show just with my skulls -- that's how many I created.


And in other news...

Today I'm thankful for hot showers and steam heat.   (Got it back, yay!!)

I'm grateful to our first responders and everyone who has worked so hard to help us out in the Northeast

I am appreciating all my friends who have checked in on me - by text, facebook, phone, email...from all over the world.  It is heartwarming.

I'm thrilled the election is nearly over because I'm tired of all the political talk.  And I appreciate the bipartisanship I've seen in resolving this storm crisis.

I'm hoping those who remain without power will get it back soon.

Peace and love.