Thursday, December 31, 2009

GOODBYE UNCLE DAN...GOODBYE 2009.......



Well, yesterday was both sad and joyful. Sad that Uncle Dan is no longer here, joyful when we all started to tell our individual memories of Uncle Dan.
My Uncle Dan passed away December 27th after a lengthy lung problem. He was the twin of my Aunt Eleanor that passed away on August 29th.

There was a wonderful insert in Uncle Dan's funeral program and I have attempted to include part of it with this post.

Uncle Dan and Aunt Mickey were my favourite, favourite uncle and aunt.
They had five children of their own and took in a nephew whose mother abandoned him when he was quite young. Over the years, they opened their home to more people that needed temporary refuge.
As a kid, I spent most of my time with these particular cousins. We would go out to my Aunt Mickey's family farm and made so much fun with very little. We would play hide and seek in the corn stalks, go in the barn and jump for hours in the hay, had bonfires and roast marshmallows, walk along the river, and so on and so on...wonderful memories.
My Uncle Dan had one of the most contagious laughs ever! He really loved to laugh. He was indeed the family 'mad scientist'. He invented many things that probably should have been patented. If he couldn't find a tool to do a certain job, he'd make it. He was a card carrying pack rat. He was always fixing things for any member of the 'family' that needed it. He was a wealth of knowledge about our geneology, and loved history and geography. The 'talents' have passed down a generation. My brother is definitely the 'mad inventor' and my cousin 'Pat'(his daughter) is now the geneology nut.

Uncle Dan was my Dad's brother and they are not one bit alike. It's so strange that in this family thus far, they've passed away in reverse order beginning with the youngest. Although Uncle Dan and Aunt Eleanor were twins. Aunt Eleanor was born a couple of minutes before he arrived. Uncle Dan was a quiet and unassuming man, but so genuine. He was stubborn as all get out, meticulous about anything he did and an absolute sponge learning everything about the stuff he was interested in. He loved simple pleasures. I'd bring him Australian licorice every now and then and he'd get so excited. He'd tell me, "Now, that's REAL licorice!"

Uncle Dan was an amazing father to all five of his kids. He ALWAYS had time for each one of them, doing various and sundry things, depending on the child he was spending time with at that moment. He'd cut out horse heads from old plywood, affix an old broom handle, add a mane with old mop heads and they'd have a horse to gallop around.

He will be missed by all. If I sit quiet for a minute, I can recall that wonderful infectious laugh. Rest in peace, Uncle Dan.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS OVER .....


Well, another Christmas has come and gone. It amazes me how quickly it passes considering all the planning, shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping etc. etc. Too bad we can't 'DVR or TIVO' the moments to review a few times and really get to take it all in and appreciate.
It was indeed a different Christmas for us without our daughters, sons-in-laws and grandchildren. Having said that, we've managed a couple of webcam(Skype) episodes with both the grandchildren. A different kind of Christmas, indeed!
We drove to Toronto Christmas Eve day and brought my girlfriend's mother with us as well. They always have their celebrations and dinner on Christmas Eve. My friend always does a wonderful job of preparing both the food and the atmosphere in her beautiful home. She had the house decorated beautifully and with a simple, classic and inviting mood. The table was set so elegantly!
We then came home Christmas Day morning. We had received news that my Uncle was taken to the hospital and may not make it through the day. With that news, we showered, changed and then went to be at the hospital with my aunt and the grown children. He was SO thin! They had started to give him morphine to help with pain, breathing and to get him some sleep. As of this writing, I'm still not sure how he is as there's no answer at the home.
We then went out to my brother and sister-in-laws in Buckhorn, Ontario. They have a really nice piece of property with a cozy log home and a little stream running through the property. My niece and her fiance were home so had the opportunity to catch up on their news. I contributed the salad, the rum and eggnog and the Christmas pudding and sauce. My sister-in-law did a wonderful job of putting a delicious dinner on for us to enjoy!
Today, I have been so tired and feeling so 'beat up' as it were. I had a wee nap and I'm STILL so tired. It will definitely be an early night!
I'll use the rest of this week to take down decorations, and begin to organize and purge stuff in my craft room.
My brain seems to be in overdrive with SO many decisions I'll need to make within the next couple of weeks. I'm struggling with what my focus should be for the upcoming year.
For me, although it's hard to see time zoom by, I'll personally be SO happy to see this year end. I pray that 2010 will be different and more positive for me personally. 2009 was not one of my happier years!

Monday, December 21, 2009

OFFICIALLY WINTER.........

Well, it is now officially winter! It's quite cold here, but we haven't had any snow for over a week now. Everything left on the ground is now frozen rock solid. It makes for some interesting maneuvering on both the roadways and the streets...better have really good balance.
The good thing about today is from here on in the days start to get longer again. I actually like fresh fallen snow but I like longer days full of sunlight much more. Sitting on a beach at Christmas, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I spent the entire day, yesterday cleaning my house from top to bottom. I started at around 10am and finished around around 7pm. I must admit that it takes me longer to do these tasks than it used to, but I still can manage. My bones and muscles feel it but in a day or two, I'm back to normal.

I think I'll try doing a little baking tomorrow, but the operative word is 'little'.
Maybe I'll make some shortbread, ginger cookies and this delicious 'bark' that is my daughter's recipe. I think the actual name is 'Tutts Toffee'..........yummmmm!!

The 23rd of December is an annual event for my family. It's an open invitation to one of my cousins homes where we all get to catch up and eat and drink and have a few laughs....Did I mention the eating and drinking part? Last year there were about 80 of us there. My husband and I will pick up my nephew and his daughter and take them as well. Before the evening of fun, I've decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. I LOVE, LOVE mani and pedi's!!!

I look forward to seeing some family over the holidays and really hope to connect with my girls and their families. My youngest daughter called on Sunday and suggested we get on webcam to watch my grandaughter open her 'stocking stuffers' while we watched. It was such fun seeing what little gifts she gravitated towards and the excitement in her eyes and her voice....so cute! I recall both my girls getting so excited. They too, used to love the stocking stuffers more than the big gift. When my girls were little, little, I wrapped every single stocking stuffer and would allow them to open those gifts BEFORE they would come and wake us up. It worked for a couple of years but then we wanted to be part of the celebration as well. The girls knew I wasn't too civil until my first cup of coffee and my first cigarette. They got very good at making coffee even though it didn't appeal to their palettes. They just wanted Mom up and alert...ready to get Christmas started! I have SO many great memories of my girls and holiday traditions...(grinning with pleasure).

As many of us are so blessed, I hope each one of us takes the time to personally do something nice for someone having a tough time right now.

It's also my sister-in-law's birthday today and called to give her best wishes.

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN.........

I must admit that I'm not quite as enthusiastic about Christmas this year, and yet I really am OK with that feeling.
I am taking the time to really understand what Christmas is and how commercial it's become. It's BIG business!
There is a new Christian singing group called 'Go Fish' and they have a song that's been listened to millions of times on 'YouTube' called 'It's called 'Christmas'. I really love the words of the song and the beat is so great as well. Take a listen...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ

If I were more technically gifted I could figure out how to post the actual video on my blog..........not happening, today!.

I haven't put up a tree this year for a few reasons. We aren't doing any entertaining this year, and no family are coming home. We still have the old style artificial tree that requires one to string on the lights...yuk! I've been looking for a pre-lit tree at a price I'm willing to pay, but no luck as yet. Who knew, there were so many things to consider when purchasing a pre-lit!.. how many tips, how many lights, what type of lights, etc. etc.

Personally, I have ALWAYS preferred a real tree, but by the time we'd get one picked out, set up in a proper stand safely. my husband and I weren't speaking to each other. It kind of took away from the whole happy tradiiton. I will admit, it's much easier to put up and take down a 'fake' tree. Also, if you have wee children or animals a 'fake' tree doesn't present quite so many issues. Don't you just love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, though?

I'm SO calm about Christmas this year. I have no baking done, other than the fruitcake, I still need to clean my house, and maybe put up a few more decorations and yet if I don't get it done........oh, well. I think I'll now go back to reading the book I'm into at the moment.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NINE DAYS LEFT.........

Well, I've given up trying to get the stocking made for my grandaughter before they leave for their Christmas vacation. Although I feel badly that I can't get it finished in time, it's not quite so bad considering she's only two and really won't understand.
I was tracking the parcel's I sent to each of the grandkids for Christmas and discovered each should receive them by tomorrow. Whew! At least that's going to happen!
I had also sent a small package to each of my daughter's but when I tried to track them today, they appear to be 'lost'. I called Canada Post today and they have now set each shipment up as a 'case' to be looked into and will follow up with me. Fortunately, the way I shipped them, they are insured and if they've actually disappeared I'll at least get my money back. That doesn't help with my gesture of love to send something a little bit special to my girls. The simple fact is I can't do anything about it.
Many things I've learned this year, but especially the fact there's SO much out of my control. I'm working very, very hard on 'letting go' of those things out of my control and focusing on what I can control. The bottom line is that the only control I have is over me....period... full stop. It's beginning to sink in and moving forward I will continue to do the work needed to make me happy. There very well may be some people disappointed in the 'new me' I'm working on.
Today, I finally got everything cooked and made that I promised to take to my brother and sister-in-laws on Christmas day. That's another thing off my list.
I purchased just a few stocking stuffers for my husband and need to get them wrapped and that's all my gifts looked after for this year.
I was hoping to get a bit of Christmas baking done, but we'll see. Since we're not doing any entertaining this year for Christmas or New Year's, I had just planned to put some plates together for my neighbours. If it doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world. I may just have each of them for dinner early in the new year.
I must admit, I'll be glad to see the end of 2009. Overall, for me personally, not a particularly good year.
I don't plan on making any New Year's resolutions, but I DO plan on evaluating what I need to do for me next year. At 62 years old, I've finally decided to make me the priority.
I feel spread to thin and will definitely be dropping some of the things I've been doing and focus on only a few.
I have been doing a tremendous amount of soul searching and will write myself a 'bucket list' and then begin trying to achieve the things on my list.

For my blog followers, I want to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and all good wishes for 2010!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

XMASBALLZRUS............FAVOURITE ETSY SHOP # 9




Well, I felt it only appropriate to feature a shop that specializes in the holiday Christmas theme. This particular shop is fairly new to Etsy, but the story behind the shop and the artist are so inspiring. These are beautiful pieces that show the heart and the soul of this artist. Love these!

As per usual, I am using the artists own words to describe what motivated these works...

Please go visit the shop at:

www.xmasballzrus.etsy.com

In this sometimes cynical world in which we live, you might think simple economics to be the reason that someone like me paints Christmas ornaments. In fact, to a degree, that is true. But bear with me. There is a story here…
My dad painted ornaments. You see, he was a frustrated artist; truly gifted and truly skilled, but frustrated by WWII and the brood of children that followed. Later in his life, though, after my mother had passed away, he began to paint again. And oddly enough, he began to paint Christmas ornaments. Each year my father would create a select number of Christmas “balls” to give as gifts to his family and friends. It always struck me that he seemed to enjoy giving them to us as much as we liked receiving them. They were beautiful! But it was more than that. It was the spirit. His spirit. The spirit of Christmas.
Years later, towards the end of his life, at a time when it was obvious that I had caught my dad’s “art bug”, I would sit with him and we would paint together. Our styles varied greatly. (Life imitates art, or is it the other way around?) He painted manger scenes and choirboys while I went more towards the wildly-colored abstract. But this wasn’t about our differences. It was about what we shared... what my father gave to me and what I tried to give back. Sure, we shared art. And we shared time. But what we really shared was love. The love of a father for his son and of a son for his father. It is this spirit that comes alive for many of us at Christmas. It is the spirit of my dad that I carry today. And it a spirit that, as I paint my ornaments, I hope to share with you.
I hope you enjoyed looking at my site. And yes, I hope you buy one of my ornaments. But even more important, I hope you felt a little bit of that loving holiday spirit and that you share it with those that matter most to you.

I hope you enjoy browsing this shop, as I did.

We had our first snowfall yesterday, and yes, it now feels like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

BUSY,BUSY,BUSY!!!!!!!!!!

Well, my cousins and I returned last Wednesday night with a lot of shopping, a lot of talking and a lot of laughing under our belts. It was SO much fun, we're now talking about making it an annual event....better get saving for the next one!
I finally got our annual newsletter finished, cards all addressed and the last of them mailed out today...yeah!
Since I've returned, I know I've been very busy and very tired. I'm not even sure at this point exactly what I've been busy doing,except I've been going pretty much non-stop.
When I returned, I had many, many emails to answer,which finally got finished today. We needed a few groceries and I had just a bit of last minute Christmas shopping to get out of the way.... done!!
Yesterday, I went to the Tea Room and traded out my floral plates with 10 Christmas plates. I decided to put them there instead of posting them on Etsy. Although, many people leave wonderful comments about my decoupage plates, no one seems to purchase them. I think it might have something to do with the fact that Canada Post charges SO much to ship! Not sure, however.
I was up early this morning to attend our local Chamber of Commerce breakfast. I joined to represent my event planning business. There was a huge crowd there which is great for networking. I definitely went about the start up of this business all wrong. I should have done a complete business plan prior to registering the company with our government. Live some...learn some...hopefully! I will just go about a business plan which is a fairly instense process. It's better late than never. I'm going to attend a workshop in April to learn more about running a local business.
Tonight I'll wrap my grandchildren's stocking stuffers and get them shipped off. I still haven't finished the heirloom stocking for my grandaughter so will ship it separately. I'm having some difficulty getting this stocking finished. Three years ago, I made each of my immediate family members their own heirloom stocking. The stockings are very large and made from upholstery fabrics and heavy satin linings..definitely won't consider making and selling these as they are expensive to make and VERY labour intensive! If there are more grandchildren in the future, I will make a stocking for them as well. These stockings will last for years and years.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

THREE DAYS OF FUN AND FROLIC...AND SHOPPING, TOO!!!

Three days of fun ahead and I'm SO looking forward to it! Four of my girl cousins and myself are leaving in the morning and driving to Watertown, NY to spend a few days just doing what we want to do, when we want to do it.
We are all staying in one hotel room (with cots)which is always good for many a laugh. I was kidding with a friend of mine today, that maybe I should bring extra underwear or Depends as we (the cousins and myself) have some sort of genetic issue that causes us to possibly have a 'wee' accident when we get laughing too hard. Trust me, we have all done it at one time or another. Sometimes it's the stupidist thing that will set all of us off. Sometimes, it's just the sheer fact that we're free of resposibilities and other issues in our lives, which allows us to truly forget and just have fun for the time alloted. CAN'T WAIT! Some are on a serious shopping mission as well. Me, not so much. I've pretty well finished what shopping I plan to do for this year. You never know though, there may be a treasure or two I must have.

My grandson is having an absolute blast at Disneyworld in Florida. He has almost a week there with his Mommy and Daddy doing lots and lots of special stuff. I've heard about his meeting with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and the two main characters from Toy Story. Today, he opted to stay around the hotel pool rather than the Animal Kingdom. He will have such wonderful memories. He was five years old last week. I remember when we took his Mommy and her sister( approximately around his age). I think that and a few other 'events' we took his Mom to gave her the love of music, theatre, movies, etc. In some ways, she is still that little girl with the same enthusiasm and excitement as she had the first time round. I love to see that excitement at any age.

I'm wondering how much my decorated tree brought at the live auction for the Festival of Trees. They will publish winners of the raffled trees, but not sure if they publish who won the auction bids and for how much. I'd love to know.

The day after I get back from Watertown, I have another craft show to do and that will be it for this year. I sure hope I do better than the last disaster!

Well, still have a few things to get done before I leave, so I better get going. I actually manicured my nails for the first time in a long time. It's kind of fun to dress up a notch for this trip. I've been so busy doing glass blocks and plates, my hands have been ignored.

We have yet to get any snow, so I'm hoping it stays that way until we get back. I must admit, however, that I love fresh snowfall Christmas eve and Christmas Day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TO MY AMERICAN FAMILY AND FRIENDS.....HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!



Well, it's been a week since I've posted to my blog and finally have a a bit of time to catch up on things.

Since we last connected, I managed to make four large and four small dark fruitcakes. I personally don't like fruitcake but my husband, my father, my girlfriend and my brother and sister-in-law all love it. My husband says he'd rather have fruitcake and steamed pudding with sauce than any gifts. It's funny, people either love it or hate it!

Saturday, I did a Christmas Craft Show in Mississauga which was a total waste of my time. There were approximately 50 - 60 vendors and not one single vendor did well.
The advertising was almost non-existent apparently and was SO evident of that fact by the few shoppers that came. I don't think there were more than 100 people who showed up and none were in much of a buying mood. I sold two glass blocks. I just made back my table fee...won't do that show again!

Monday, I spent the evening decorating my tree for our Festival of Trees. This year I requested a white tree and chose black, silver and crystal decor items. This is a week long event with many, many things going on to raise funds for our local hospital. My tree was picked to be part of the live auction event on Saturday evening.

My husband and I went to 'Family Night' tonight and got to see my tree with all the other decor surrounding it. We like to go 'Family Night' as my cousin and his family perform.

Today, we also attended a housewarming for my cousins daughter. She is only twenty one years old and has managed to purchase her first home. It's really a lovely little home and she has put all of her own personal charm into it aleady.

I have to get some baking done for Friday night and plan a dinner, as my husband is hosting an out of town woodturner for an all day event on the Saturday. We will also put him up for the night.

Tomorrow, I'll also replace my plates in the Village Tea Room with ones with Christmas and holiday themes. The owner also wants to put a few glass blocks in as well...yeah!

I'm SO looking forward to Monday through Wednesday next week. No obligations, other than plain fun. Four of my cousins and myself are going to Watertown, NY to do nothing but shop, eat, drink, laugh, and talk and talk and talk. We are also going down to Syracuse for one day as well. We all have had so much going on and family issues for some that each of us can't wait to get away from it all and just 'hang out'.


In closing, tomorrow is American Thanksgiving, but it's also my grandson's 5th birthday......
'Happy Birthday, Little Man'!!
It will be a very special birthday for him to remember. His Mommy and Daddy are taking him to Disneyworld for five days with all kinds of special things planned. I'll get to talk to him via webcam and hear ALL about his adventures. I can't wait!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FISHING ENTHUSIASTS ---------- A GEM OF A DIFFERENT KIND!





I'm deviating from my usual Etsy shop features this time.
I have a friend that is an amazing artist in her own right. What she does takes patience, talent, a steady hand, and amazing creativity!

Art Flies are an exciting art form based on the hand-tied fishing fly. The feathers come from various exotic birds that moult. These flies are strictly for the 'art' collector and not to be used in actual fishing.

What a great gift for the fishing fanatic that has everything he/she needs to fish, but would love to acknowlege their love of fishing in a more artistic way.
Each art fly is one of a kind.

These could be purchased for a special loved one, a corporate gift for retirement or achievement, a competition award or just because you love the work these represent.

She frames them in many different styles, but I especially love the ones in the shape of triangles with wood frame on three sides and then enclosed in glass. If two of these were purchased, they'd make beautiful book ends for a den, library, or an office.

These have been purchased in the past by people from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Africa. Currently, one particular Art-Fly graces the Canadian Parliament Building.

For the triangle ones, she has the capability to have them laser engraved with a name, a company logo, or a tribute with date to signify the occasion.

Wouldn't one of these be a great Christmas gift for the fishing addict in your life?

If you would like one for a Christmas gift, please leave me a comment and how you can be contacted and I will have my friend contact you.

She is indeed the struggling artist at the moment and so deserves to have her 'art' out there for people to really appreciate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

HAND OF MAN CHRISTMAS SHOW AND SALE ........



Well, I'm slowly recuperating from the three day Christmas Show and Sale. Although this local show has been taking place for years, it was the first time I've participated.
I'm learning how much work it is to get stuff made for a show, packing up and unpacking, designing a booth, and dressing appropriately for a show. This particular show is done in our Memorial Centre, which is also the Juniour A hockey home. SO, for the show they put down plywood over the ice. Let me tell you, that you had better wear warm socks and footwear especially. After 5 - 8 hours, it really can feel quite cold.
As far as the sale itself, there were some really wonderfully talented vendors and everyone for the most part is very supportive of each other.
Sales wise, I did OK. I sold just under half of my glass blocks and only a few of my plates. Other vendors who've been at previous shows said the same. They did OK, but felt the economy and the fact we had unseasonably warm weather kept people away.
I had a few people take my business cards with an interest to order custom blocks. I'm not sure if that will take place but we'll see.
I was incredibly, incredibly tired at the end. By the time I got home and then unpacked everything, I was in bed by around 10:15 pm. Anyone that knows me, knows that's unheard of for me!

Unfortunately, I had to get up really early Monday to drive to Mississauga for two separate doctor's appointments. Tired is becoming my middle name!
I did manage to have dinner with a friend who is going through a lot. Her husband, sadly, died from colon cancer two years ago that spread all through his body and left her with a company to run, etc. etc.

I've been making more plates this week to take to a sale I'm participating in on Nov. 21st in Mississauga. Since I didn't sell all my glass blocks, I don't need to make any more.

Yesterday and today, I've been cooking as well. I made a huge amount of chili and today made a very large pot of chicken soup for the weekend.

We are having guests this weekend from Australia. She is the daughter of one of my best friends that also died of colon cancer 11 years ago on November 9th. I still miss her quite often. Her oldest daughter married an Australian and they are on an extended tour of Canada for the next year or so. I have never met her children and I'm so looking forward to seeing her and her family.

The next few weeks are so busy for me but it's all good.

I can't end this blog without acknowledging all of the armed forces personnel who have fought and died in the past and most recently. We all owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. Many of my relatives, including my father, fought in WWII, my father-in-law in WWI and most recently for me, my nephew has completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Thank you to those I know and those I don't know. You are appreciated!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ROMY AND CLARE...........FAVOURITE ETSY SHOP # 8




Well, I finally have a bit of time to feature another amazing Etsy shop! I've been so busy making glass blocks and decoupage glass plates for a Christmas Art and Gift Sale this weekend, I didn't think I'd get time to do this feature.
Having said that, I feel so strongly that there are SO many talented artists with shops on Etsy, I really, really want to spotlight some of them. Since Christmas is just around the corner, what a wonderful time to go exploring for that really unique gift for someone in your life.

These women are really deserving of a look!

PLEASE go visit their shop at

www.romyandclare.etsy.com

I've copied their profile so you can get a sense of who they are in their own words.

Romy and Clare Creative Clay began in 1995, but a lifelong friendship led us to this creative union. Our parents grew up together as friends and were in each others weddings. So, we've been friends since diaper days.

After college (Romy attended Herron School of Art and Clare graduated from DePauw University with a BA in Studio Art), we played, we traveled, and we both eventually made it back to Jasper, IN.

That's when we started putting bright paint to clay and gave the pieces to family and friends as gifts. The rest, so they say, is history. A local shop, art fairs, but mainly...friends told friends and Romy and Clare Creative Clay was born.

And now more than ten years later, here we are, a little older, with new responsibilities, like children, trying to juggle the challenges of modern day life as working mothers.

We design, paint and/or sew and sign all of our pieces in our studio...a hundred year old grainery often inhabited by cats, kids, and craziness.

With the spirit of fun and friendship, we hope that you enjoy our work as much as we enjoy creating each piece.

Romy and Clare

As I stated earlier, it's really worthwhile checking out what they are making and will give you another gift idea. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SANTA'S ELVES...I COULD HAVE USED A COUPLE!!!



Well, I've finally come up for air. Yesterday, I finally finished the last of the glass blocks I'm doing for our local 'Hand of Man' show that's taking place November 6, 7 and 8th. It is one of the oldest Christmas art and gift sales in this area. This is my first year, so needless to say I'm both anxious and apprehensive. It has taken me two weeks in between the normal things I had going on, but I did it! I made 70 glass blocks and still hope to make another 5 plates besides the ones I already have made...we'll see. I've posted a picture of just a few the the blocks so you get and idea of what I've been up to. I could have used a few elves myself!
We have had the 60th birthday party here for my cousin. My brother, sister-in-law and ourselves took my Dad out to dinner for his 90th birthday. We attended a benefit blues concert for our local 'Angels of Flight'. We attended my best friends 60th birthday party which was catered and entertainment to boot! Wonderful!
I got over 250 bulbs planted and will be rewarded next spring. I took in all the solar lights, garden decor, etc.
I've also committed to do another Christmas show in Streetsville on November 21st. I was invited by a teacher who saw my work on Etsy. Kind of cool!
I've had a few conversations with my daughters and of course, my grandkids and that is always SO enjoyable. We won't be celebrating Christmas together this year which will seem weird. This will be the first Christmas we won't be together as a complete family. As the grandkids get older it's a bit more difficult but we will make the best of it, I'm sure.
I'm back to my walking which I've missed and today I got my regular flu shot. Unfortunately, the clinic won't be getting any H1N1 now, so we have to go stand in the lines in town and wait our turn....darn it!
Tomorrow, I have family breakfast, a couple of medical appointments and some shopping to do. I've managed to get a few stocking stuffers for my grandchildren but want to get a few more. We, as a family, all agreed no gifts this year. We will get a few bits for the kids stockings but that's it! None of us NEED anything and in these times we all agreed not to purchase for the sake of purchasing.
We(my husband and myself) may give a bit of money instead to the charity my cousin's family set up for the children of Haiti. There is such great need down there. The charity is called 'Seeds of Hope Ministries'.If anyone would like to know more or
would like to help please visit the website at:

www.seedsofhopeministries.ca

Our Festival of Trees is November as well, but I'm ready for that one.
This is a special time of year for all the artists around the world to showcase some of their work and I'd like to wish ALL best wishes and good luck!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

JUST FOR THE KIDS.......FAVOURITE ETSY SHOP # 7




I feel like a 'chicken with it's head off' these days. I have SO much still to do for the three day Christmas Craft Show I'm doing locally November 6,7 & 8th. It's called 'The Hand of Man' and has been an annual event in Peterborough for years and years.
I'm also trying to get ready for a 60th birthday party to be held at my home this Saturday for one of my cousins.
Having said all that, I really wanted to take the time to feature my next favourite Etsy artist. She has a great love of children and her art shows how important they are to her and she offers some wonderfully original works for kids. Go take a look at her shop!

www.bfkforkids.etsy.com


I'm including her profile and then she was kind enough to answer a few curious questions I had about her and her art......here goes!

I am a mother of three married living in OHIO. I am also a registered nurse at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. I have been doing children’s artwork for about 10 years. Until recently, I’ve mostly done custom work. I am also involved in a children’s charity that I donate artwork for church carnivals, artwork and displays, as well as custom children’s wall murals. My artwork is all about the children! I do this because I love it! It brings me so much joy creating items that make children smile!

These are some questions I was curious about…….
How did you get started and why?
I have been painting for years. I have had many people ask me to make things for them. I have always done it, free of charge. Thought I’d dabble in selling a little.

What is your favourite piece you’ve made so far and why?
I love my treasure chest. Thats my personal favorite of all the things I’ve made so far.

Tell me more about the charity you’re involved with?
The charity is called COLOR YOUR CORNER. It’s a children’s charity that raises money to redecorate children’s rooms for children with highly complex medical needs. The goal is to help make their living space as fun as possible less focus on the medical. I donate a piece every year and make pieces for the charity when requested.

What is your long term goal?
I am going through a lot in my life right now, I love to paint for fun, earning a little money is just a bonus really. I love children and I love making items for them.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have three beautiful children of my own, and I work at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland and work with so many children everyday. They are my inspiration!

I was featured on "Thats Life.." which is a local TV show in the Cleveland area back in August.

I wish you well for now and the
future and thank you for allowing this feature.....bkforkids.....think about Christmas and your kids or grandkids!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

EMOTIONAL WEEK....HIGHS AND LOWS

Well, this past week has been a roller coaster of emotions. I started the week still looking after my little grandaughter. On Monday, I took her to daycare and then went back and made pumpkin cupcakes to have for her birthday on Tuesday. I cleaned and tidied up my daughter's home as they were due back Monday night. Tuesday was Maggie's birthday. Mommy and Daddy took her to daycare and arranged for her room to have pizza for lunch. They arrived home from daycare and Mommy had bought her a heliium filled birthday balloon. Oh my gosh, she was SO wired! Hilarious watching her and all her excitement. She had a few gifts and then I had made a pasta dinner. She chowed down pretty well and then we put two candles in one of the cupcakes. She was covered head to toe in icing and cake by the time she was finished.
Wednesday, I left to return home. It was a long nine hour drive as it poured rain and crazy winds the whole way home. I was disappointed as I had hoped to do some photography of the fall colours while driving through the Poconos...no such luck! Wednesday night I arrived home to find out that my cousins husband(who had terminal cancer) had indeed passed away. I was also informed that my cousins daughter sadly lost her baby and was five a one half months pregnant...so sad.
Thursday I went to family breakfast and then did a pile of small errands. That night, of course, we went to the visitation at the funeral home...so sad to lose such a special man...he truly was one of the good guys. There were SO many people at both the afternoon and evening visitations that each segment went one hour longer than planned in order to accomodate all the people who came to pay their respects. Friday was the funeral and then there was a lunch and 'celebration' of his life afterward....really, really touching. His grandaughter who is ten years old wrote such an emotional tribute to her 'Grandpa'....had many of us in tears.
I then had to have bloodwork and met another cousin for coffee. Yesterday, I cooked and baked for a big part of the day for our family's Thanksgiving. This is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and although there have been some sad events this week, we, as a family, still have SO much to be thankful for and count our blessings, which are many. We all drive up north to a camp and each contributes something to the meal. It was absolutely wonderful. There were 48 of us there and we were missing 32 others who couldn't make it this year....such a great thing to do!
I'm now sitting here doing my blog very, very tired. I'm trying to plan my week as I have SO many glass blocks and plates to get made for a sale I'm doing the first weekend in November. OMG!...where does the time go?????
video

Monday, October 5, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BROTHER............!!!

First, I want to acknowledge my brother's birthday today...Happy 59th...next year is the big one and we'll definitely have to celebrate. He has always had a special place in my heart and will continue to do so. I hope his day was great and that he got to do what he'd like. Hopefully, there was a good birthday meal as well. I know my sister-in-law would have something special planned. He is such a talented person. He invents all kinds of things to meet needs he might have in his shop. Oh yeah, he also makes custom guitars...very creative. He's also a wonderful guitar player as well!! Their daughter and her fiance are coming home for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, so maybe there will be a delayed celebration....Love you and best wishes, always!
This was my last day with my little girl by myself. Her Mommy and Daddy should be arriving home in a couple of hours. Sadly, they don't get to see her until tomorrow morning, which happens to be her 2nd birthday...!!
Overall, it was a great pleasure to take care of her...lots of smiles, giggles, and LOTS of activities. She has WAY more energy than her Grammie! That's the only hard part is trying to keep up with her.
When I get home, I'll try to post a couple of pics or a small video. I don't have the capability from here.
She is a really wonderful treasure and it will be so interesting to see how she changes over the next year. Unfortunately, I won't get to see her again until the new year at some point...probably the spring.
Thank goodness for webcam!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

MAGGIE ................HAPPY LITTLE MUNCHKIN!

Well, it's been SO much fun with Mags! I'm sure I'll go home absolutely pooped, but I'm so glad to get the time with just me and her. She wakes up around 6 - 6:30 am and then it's go, go , go until bedtime at around 7 - 7:30.
She loves to draw on the driveway with her sidewalk chalk, she loves the bubble maker I brought, she loves to go for long walks (her in the stroller, of course), she loves to eat and drink, and the new thing is to pile up leaves and then grab and throw them in the air. Daddy is going to be thrilled they are now all over part of the driveway.
She also LOVES her bathtime and especially getting her Grammie' all wet! She laughs and laughs.
Last night I cooked sweet potato, baby carrots, and baby redskin potatoes and boy was she hungry. I'm not sure if she's had any of those things before, but she sure ate them all up! We had applesauce for dessert, which is one of her absolute favourites!
She's down for her nap at the moment and then we are invited across the street to a neighbours who are celebrating the holiday after Yom Kippur. I forget what it's called but we will definitely make an appearance.
We will then take another walk to the mall to pick up a few things for tomorrow.
Well, Mommy has called to see how things are going and I think I hear a little girl starting to arouse....break over.
It poured rain here all night, but it's really hot and sunny out now....
Well, off for another walk...

Friday, October 2, 2009

SO FAR SO GOOD!.................AND FUN TOO!

I've been in Princeton, New Jersey since Tuesday and my daughter and her husband left for a few days vacation yesterday. This is the first time they have left their daughter. She will be two years old on Tuesday, Oct. 6th.
Since I live so far away, I was a little bit apprehensive as to how she would be with me.....so far so good!
She is one of the happiest, friendliest,most bubbly little girls I've known. She gets the 'friendly' gene from her Grammie and her Mommy. We both love getting to know people and she waves to people, she blows kisses, she is just generally a sweet, happy, outgoing little person. I'm SO enjoying my time with her.
I'm planning on doing some fun stuff with her over the weekend. We will go to the park, take some long walks, make bubbles, play in the yard and oh yes, what all 'women' like to do which is shop.
She LOVES her bath and is really good about going down for the night. She has a definite routine and is usually always in bed by 7pm - 7:30 pm. Last night, I gave her a bath and put her down and she was fine even though Mommy and Daddy weren't there to say 'Goodnight'. I smiled a lot as I listened to her sing and talk to herself through the monitor..so cute!
She is at her daycare school today as my daughter wanted to keep her routine that she's used to through the week.
The tough part for me is getting up so early...definitely not used to that!
It's actually great for me as I'm able to get some time to work on my glass blocks and plates as I try to get ready for a Christmas show in early November.
Today, however, a good friend of mine that just got married the end of August is coming to visit and have lunch. She lives in West Chester, PA which is only about two hours away. I haven't seen her for over a year, so I'm really looking forward to seeing her and seeing her wedding pics.

Monday, September 28, 2009

CANADA...SOME AMAZING ARTISTS HERE! - FAVOURITE SHOP # 6 - IMAGINE STUDIO




What can I say about this artist? Amazing, intriguing, talented, imaginative, whimsical, mysterious, etc. etc. I could go on and on, but I believe to understand my statement, you MUST go look at her work!!!!
She is another Canadian artist to brag about! Although, she was born in western Canada, I see much of the French influence in her works. When I look at her work, I ask myself, where in her pysche does this come from? Look at her work and you continually notice things that you didn't the first time you looked, thus the intrigue. Her work, to me, has a mystical feel to it as well.

I WILL have one of her works in the near future!

Please go see for yourself and visit here Etsy shop at:

www.imaginestudio.etsy.com

Now, in her own words,she does a beautiful job of describing herself.


My professional background is in visual and creative arts as well as in social work. I presently live in the Montreal region where I share my life with the loves of my life, my husband and my two daughters. I’ve been creative all my life…literally. It all started with feeling the mud between my toes on the farm in the Canadian prairies where I was born and spent my childhood. Creativity is definitely a passion with me. In that sense, my artwork is neither a job nor a hobby but a need. The ideas just keep coming and I continuously strive to bring them to life.

Everything about life seems to inspire me. I am always in awe with nature’s extraordinary creative force and beauty. I have a love of nature, music, travelling, best friends, family, laughter and all the joys that life has to offer. And then there are life’s tribulations. Having worked for over 20 years with people struggling with mental heath disorders, I have to say that some of my most profound and rewarding inspirations have come from individuals who have overcome life’s obstacles on their own terms. I’m I strong believer in the concepts of empowerment, resilience and the possibility of transforming one’s life.

Through more than 30 years, my one constant expression in art has been Collage, and for the past five years I have been working on transferring this art form into the digital world. Layers upon layers of thoughts, emotions and research have been turned into transparencies, textures, colours, depth, emotions, portraitures, etc. This virtual digital world of seemingly endless possibilities has given me a new take on my artwork, allowing me to pursue even further my undying need to produce lyrical, evocative and sometimes provocative images.

You may notice that as a collagist I will often use master paintings or sculptures for the expression of my ideas, my emotions and reflections in my photomontage and photofusion artwork. Some of the master painters or sculptors that give flight to my imagination are: Bouguereau, Barbier, Chase, Collier, Degas, Lautrec, Menzel, Modigliani, Pascin, Sargent, Waterhouse, Vigeland, Homer, Monet, Rousseau, Redon, Seurat, Klimt and others. The images that I use are all in the public domain and therefore no longer under any copyright laws.

I personally print all of my artwork, using only the finest archival papers and inks, to ensure consistent quality and satisfaction for my clients. It also permits me to offer extremely reasonable prices for a high quality print.

I invite you to visit my virtual art gallery(shop) and welcome inquires and feedback regarding my work.

Thank-you!
I’m a woman, born with the moon in cancer on the 9th of July.

Thank you Lyse ....... Bon Chance! (Hope I said that right)

Friday, September 25, 2009

HOME ................




Well, I left my daughter and her family at 6 AM yesterday morning and arrived back home at 9 PM.... 15 hours driving. I'm beginning to think I'm getting too old to do that trek in one go. My body doesn't bounce back as quickly as it used to a few years ago.
The drive through the mountains was SO beautiful! Another week or two and there will be a sea of fall colours, but they had started to change colour. I really love the scenery and quite frankly love the quiet of driving by myself. It gives me time to think and evaluate.
My daughter was off on the weekend so we got some time to spend just hanging out and doing the typical weekend things she needs to get done. On the Sunday, we went in to Greensboro as her mother-in-law put on an amazing dinner for all of us. She usually cooks whatever the 'birthday' person requests as their favourite meal. We had a wonderful salad first and then absolutely pigged out on jumbo shrimp done in lots of butter, garlic and other seasonings...Delicious!!!! She made my daughter her favourite chocolate cake with a whip cream filling between layers. I'm not a sweet tooth like my daughter, but it was SO good!
Her in-laws from Roanoke came as well so it was really special to all be together.

The times I get to spend with my grandson are more and more special as he grows and I get older. At this point in time, he loves spending time with me and I'm grateful for that. I'm sure it won't always be that way, but I try to make some of our time together just his special time with his Grammie. He didn't want me to leave and that's always the hard part. We really do have fun together. He loves for his Grammie to just do silly things with him and I do ... from playing dinosaurs to singing to having a crazy bath time, it's all good. Thank goodness for webcam....miss him.

They are having a real problem with spiders this year in their area and these are really big spiders and they are leaving the biggest cobwebs everywhere. I took pictures of some of them as I've never seen such big cobwebs.....WOW!

I'm leaving Tuesday to go to spend a week with my other daughter and they will be going away for a few of those days and I'll have my little grandaughter to myself. I'm hoping that all goes well as this will be the first time her Mommy and Daddy have left her for any length of time....fingers crossed. She is getting SO cute and we will find our own special things to do. I think grandchildren should always have things to do with grandparents that make the time 'special' and 'memorable' My grandaughter will turn two years old the day after her parents get back so I'm staying to celebrate with her and then head home the next day.

October is going to be a crazy, crazy busy month. .......!!!!!!!!

October is also when we Canadians celebrate our Thanksgiving. Many of my family will be together at a camp where we all pitch in and have a great day being thankful for each other and our blessed lives. We all have our various trials and tribulations, but when you see and hear many of the struggles going on around the world, shame on us if we whine or complain!! I can't imagine living the hell on earth a large portion of the world's population have to wake up to each and every day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

NORTH CAROLINA BOUND!!!!!!!!

Well, it's been a crazy, crazy busy week and as you can tell, I've had no time to blog.
I had my nephew and his girlfriend here for a day over the weekend and then Monday, my husband's sister and brother-in-law arrived from Calgary. They are leaving to go visit one of their sons and his girlfriend in Cambridge tomorrow.
I, however, am leaving before they do. I'm hoping to leave no later than 6:30 am to begin my fifteen hour drive to North Carolina to spend a week with my oldest daughter, my son-in-law and my 'little man'. I talked to them tonight on webcam and my little guy wanted to make sure I really was coming.....can't wait to hang out with him for a few days. Grammie will get to do a few special things with him. We always have a 'Grammie' day when I go down. It's even more fun as he gets older to do stuff together and hopefully he'll have some good memories with his Grammie to recall when he's older.
We took our Calgary family out to eat at a really nice restaurant in Peterborough on Monday called Saporito's and they have a two for one pasta night on Mondays...really great. We took them to a wonderful, wonderful Tea Room for lunch yesterday called the 'Magic Rolling Pin'.......amazing, amazing food and ambiance. We know the owners and both were there so had a nice chat with them as well. We also went to an art Gallery called 'Gallery on the Lake' near Buckhorn, Ontario. It's set back in the woods and is on the lakeshore. A beautiful log type building with such a great selection of local artists. Oh, if I only had the money to buy a couple of pieces....sigh!
I'm so blessed as I really enjoy and love both of my sister-in-laws. We are all different in some ways and so similar in others but I believe we really appreciate each other a lot.
Well, must sign off as it's a VERY early morning and anyone that knows me knows I don't handle mornings, especially early mornings all that well.....bring on the coffee! I'll stop at the Duty Free at Fort Erie before I enter the USA and get my last Tim Horton's coffee for a week.
The drive through the mountains should be so beautiful...colours and hopefully sunny weather.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NEW MANTRA.............

A good friend sent this to me and I feel it's SO worth sharing!
I told her I'm going to print it off and tape it up on my mirror. It will remind me everyday to keep these pieces of advice at the forefront of my mind.
Hopefully, others will find it valuable as well. We get many things sent via email, facebook, etc. and after we read them, they immediately go out of our minds....I need this mantra (as I call it) to keep going and make some sense out of everyday living.


Here it is:

Ponder and know that HOW you live is YOUR choice alone!


The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.

Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity.

An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.

As you grow, your associates will change.

Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are.

Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl.

Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream.

Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you.

Consider this: Never receive counsel from unproductive people.

Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how.

Not everyone has a right to speak into your life.

You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person.

Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere.

With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it.

Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life.

Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships.

If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.

"A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses."

The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate - for the good and the bad.

Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends.

Yes...do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what.
Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.

"In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us.
In Adversity We Know Our Friends."

"Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them."

"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you have to develop the habit in little matters.

Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude."

Ephesians 5:15-17 (amp)
Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

We all have beliefs and we need to honour and respect those that don't think the same as us. I believe our life is planned out for us, but sometimes we don't listen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

FOR THE SHOE ADDICTS!.......FAVOURITE ETSY SHOP # 5!




I absolutely LOVE this girl's creativity and imagination!!
How cool to express yourself on shoes and make something that's SO original! Although I'm too old now to wear those really high, high heels, I did wear them for many years. I am a self-confessed shoe addict.
She is now expressing her art on flat and lower heels, which pleases me to no end! I keep watching her shop for that perfect pair(s) I can purchase.
Also, she's now painting on purses and clutches and wallets. There is something for almost everyone!

She has just announced as well, a new Etsy shop for clothing, so go check it out as well!

Here is how to find her Etsy shops.....

www.crafttastrophe.etsy.com
and

www.CTclothing.etsy.com

In her own words, here is a short profile of this wonderfully one-of-a-kind artist:

I am an Art School drop-out with unquenched painting desires.
When my painting and doodles spread over most of my wardrobe and our home, I decided to open this little shop :)
I love the idea of owning your own original piece of wearable art. Everyone deserves at least one beautiful item that no one else on Earth has.
I am a young newlywed and a "mommy" to 3 woozles (ferrets). I love bright colors, chocolates, pomegranates, cheesy horror movies, bargain shopping, tattoos, and spending time with my family. . .and shoes. . .I love shoes.


To my fellow shoe addicts, enjoy this special shop and if you see something you like....buy it! You will be the only one with that exact pair of shoes! VERY SPECIAL!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

FINALLY...A SOMEWHAT 'NORMAL' WEEK



This is the first week in a long time that I felt like I had a fairly even keel schedule for the week....finally, no major committments.
I started organizing the decor items I need to make my glass blocks. I've marked the drill holes and hopefully one day this week, my husband will drill them and then Ican clean them out and dry them out. I am making another 75 blocks. I also need to get about 15 - 20 plates made with fall and Christmas themes as well. The sale is the first week of November.
Wednesday was the funeral for my aunt. We had a family get together at one of my cousin's afterward, so most of the day was taken.
Finally, I've spent about 15 hours this week weeding my rock garden...whew...what a mess! Weeks of weeds have taken over so badly, you can barely see the actual plants. I'm not quite half finished and really want to get it done before I leave for North Carolina.
I was so, so happy when the girl whose wedding I did the photography for reiterated how thrilled she was with the results. She said she had printed 130 photos and still wants to do a few more. Her mother, who paid the fee, is also so pleased. I have to tell you it's such a relief. Never having done anything like that before, I was scared to take this project. It proved once again to expand one's boundaries and not let fear take over. I'm so glad I did it!
The best part of my day today was getting to do webcam with both my daughter's and their families all together. My daughter and her family from North Carolina went to spend the weekend with my daughter in New Jersey.
My grandchildren are getting very comfortable with webcam. I just love watching them grow and change.They are just too cute! Of course, I kind of biased. Two weeks yesterday, I get to see my grandson in North Carolina. I'm driving down and it takes about 15 - 16 hours. I've driven it SO many times by myself and this time of year is especially a fun drive.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

GOODBYE TO A SWEET, CLASSY. SWEET AUNT.........YOU'LL BE MISSED!




On Saturday, another one of my aunts passed away. She was one of my Dad's sisters. The youngest of his sisters died 7 or 8 years ago, and now another. His last sister is now 91 years old and she will miss this sister, especially. Their whole lives they were SO close. My Dad's brother was the twin to the aunt we buried today.
I am happy she is no longer in the pain she had been having the last little while, but we all will miss her.
My girl cousins that do the cottage trip almost every year would include the three aunties who were left. Now there is only two.
I've included a couple of pictures of the three 'aunties' chillin' in the lake at the cottage. I think these pictures are SO wonderful. My cousin took these photos and I think they are priceless and deserve an award of some sort. My aunt who passed away is the one in the middle. So cute!! All of them have/had a terrific sense of humour!

It was a beautiful day and after the internment, we had two separate receptions in her honour. She loved it when the family got together. She was a very classy, quiet, and introspective lady...and I do mean lady. She had opinions, but rarely voiced them. She dressed with such class and style. She had a beautiful singing voice. She had a deep faith that got her through many trials she personally faced. BUT, there was such a cute and impish side to her. She had the sweetest grin with a hint of mischief to it and her laugh always made you laugh. She was a great mother and grandmother.
Good bye Aunt Eleanor and rest in peace. Thank you for your love, your insight and for just plain caring about all those whose lives you touched.

I pause to remember my own Mom. Her birthday is September 4th and even after 5 years since she died, I actually forget and go to phone her at times.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

GETTING READY TO TRAVEL..........YEAH!

Crazy week!
I realized when we went to Buffalo that my passport was due to expire. I couldn't apply for my new one until that visit was out of the way. Tuesday, I got up early and went and had passport photos done (gosh, they sure don't compliment one)and then drove to Whitby, Ontario to apply directly at the passport office. Fortunately, it wasn't busy so got to an agent right away. After the application was approved I agreed to pay extra to have a rush put on it and now I can drive back up to get my new passort on September 10th.
I'm going to North Carolina on September 19th to spend a few days with my family down there so really needed it. My daughter has her birthday on the 17th, so we'll celebrate a couple of days late.
My husband was suppose to go to Boston area for a meeting, but when he got to the border, he was turned back as they said he needed a special visa to go down as a consultant. There's no point in creating any kind of issue because you will lose. So now he has to see about getting this special visa....oh, well.
I had all kinds of errands to do this week. I peeled and bagged 15 quarts of Ontario peaches. They taste SO good come winter time! Lots of work, but worth it.
My priority, however, was to complete the editing on the wedding photos and get the DVD burned to give to the bride and groom. I was so, so anxious about this! I learned a whole lot about that type of photography, but the main thing I learned is to have a better camera! I am now saving to buy a really good SLR...probably a Canon or a Nikon.
I was SO nervous when I handed over the DVD and waited to see what the feedback was after they had a chance to look at all the photos.
When I received an email from the bride stating most of the photos were exactly what she was looking for, you can imagine my relief. I know I could have done better, however, I felt out of 460 photos, she'd find some she and her husband would like and be able to put a nice album together. This couple was so great to have such faith in me and I appreciate that very much. I played with one particular photo of the bride and kind of turned it into a 'Warhol' type print....she loved it!
Saturday, I went to my friend who owns the B & B (Aye Lighthouse at Gore's Landing) for what she chose to call a 'Girl-Fest'. It was really great! There were approximately 35 women there and it's so interesting meeting new people and finding out about their lives. We had an opportunity to be 'read' by a numerologist...wow....interesting to say the least. I've never done anything like that before and it certainly makes you wonder.
Unfortunately, I had to leave early. Sadly, I got news that one of my aunts had passed away. It's tough, when you know these family members are at the age now when it's inevitable, and yet still so sad. Her funeral isn't until Wednesday and then the family is having a get together at my cousin's house afterward. This coming week, I truly hope to get caught up on other projects. Our gardens look so pitiful. I want to buy more bulbs to plant as well.
I need to start posting more photos in my Etsy shop and iCraft. It all takes blocks of time that I haven't had recently.
Well, let's hope it's a productive week.
Just as I do an favourite Etsy shop owner once a week, I'm thinking of posting a favourite recipe once a week...hmmm, we'll see.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

GETTING MARRIED, GOING TO A BLACK TIE EVENT? ..... VISIT MY FAVOURITE ETSY SHOP # 4




This is a really 'elegant' Etsy shop. Cheri is also another fellow Canadian, living fairly close to me. Her work is beautiful! If you have a daughter getting married or you have a special affair to attend, her jewellry should definitely be considered.
I wish I had known about her shop when my daughters got married...I would have recommended Cheri to my own girls.

Please go visit her shop and appreciate some beautiful, beautiful, creative pieces... YOU MIGHT FIND THAT PERFECT PIECE TO WEAR TO YOUR SPECIAL EVENT!

www.eleganzbycheri.etsy.com

In her own words, here is a brief bio:

Hi my name is Cheri.
I am born a true redhead, with a passionate and fiery personality that comes with having red hair, and a Dutch and English background too.

I was born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada for most of my life, with the exception of living in Toronto for a brief time. I sometimes felt like an the odd child of the family, because I love acting, going to the theatre, singing, traveling, and art.
I love all of my family very much despite my somewhat different personality, and I also have my two cats that I love dearly, rescued from the street.

I have always had a creative side, which started with artwork, then singing, and as I grew out of my younger years, I developed a love of jewelry, as I have always loved to dress up, and to look elegant.

I married my best friend of four years at the age of 30, and he has always been supportive of my projects, even the ridiculous ones, and my creative side.

After years of being disappointed in many, many, retail jobs, and with the love and support of my husband and family, I decided to start making jewelry for less cost than in the stores we find today. With this in mind, I decided to open a store on Etsy. Now, I have expanded into doing what I love the most, which is very elegant and beautiful Bridal and Special Occasion Jewelry. With a positive outlook for the future, my dream is to succeed and possibly see one of my creations around the neck of a celebrity someday.

I love to make handmade beaded jewelry and have been creating my own designs for a long time. I enjoy beading and have fun in everything I do.
your visit.
Thanks
Cheri

Female, born November 21st.

CONTINUED SUCCESS, CHERI! I'M SURE YOUR 'CELEBRITY' DREAM WILL COME!

Monday, August 24, 2009

ALMOST OFFICIALLY OLD.....




This past week has been crazy, crazy busy. I officially turned 62 years old last Thursday and started the day with our usual Thursday family breakfast. I then had shopping to get done for both groceries and had three different baby gifts to buy. My husband asked me if I wanted to go out for a birthday dinner and I can't believe it, but I said no. He then offered to cook dinner. I needed to tell him what to get out of the freezer and what to have with the meat. It was really good! He did pork chops on the BBQ, baby potatoes, asparagus, and salad. I had a homemade carrot cake in the freezer so that was my birthday cake. I've been 'on the go' so much lately, it was nice to have a quiet evening. I can't believe in three years I can collect Old Age Pension...whew!
Friday I spent a portion of the day editing the wedding photos I took. I still have many more to go, but I'm making progress. I told the bride I'd try to have them ready by the weekend or early next week.
Saturday we drove to Buffalo to help a special couple celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. When my girls were younger they twirled baton for a twirling corps called the Twin-Ton-Ettes for approximately 5 years until we had to move to North Carolina. 'Miss Gail' as the kids called her was the leader of that corps. We had some wonderful years with this group. The kids had great fun and so did the parents. It was really good to see some of the parents again. It's hard to believe it's twenty five years ago now...WOW! Again, another reminder I'm getting old(er).
Sunday, we went to a corn roast........and I wonder why I'm tired!
The next couple of months for me are absolutely nuts! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are arriving from Calgary mid-September. Two days later I'm driving on my own to North Carolina to spend six days with my grandson, my daughter and son-in-law. I'm only back two days and then driving on my own again down to Princeton, NJ to spend a week looking after my little grandaughter while my daughter and son-in-law go to California for a wedding and a day or two of R&R. I'm also trying to get a Christmas stocking made for my grandaughter. I've made these heirloom stockings for each of my immediate family members and she will get her own this year.
I make these beautiful glass blocks for seasonal occasions and have to get 50 made for a three day Art and Craft show in November. The following week after that I will be donating a decorated tree to our local 'Festival of Trees' which raises money for our local hospital.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

MY FAVOURITE ETSY SHOP.....# 3 .... TIDDLYWINKS!




My third feature in this series is focused on children. Having an almost five year old grandson and an almost two year old grandaughter, I'm always on the look out for cute things to buy them. They are children who lack for nothing, but 'Grammie' likes to find something 'special' for them once in a while and also for birthday and Christmas. This artists work certainly fills the bill. These are cute, cuddly, and quaint and provide a gift that is special in so many ways.

You really must go take a look at her shop!

www.tiddlywinks.etsy.com

In her own words, here is her 'profile' for you to understand her passion for what she makes.

I am 30 years old, happily married for 7 years now, with 3 kids! A 8 year old son, 5 year old daughter and an almost 4 year old daughter, and 3 crazy kitties.

I have been sewing since I can remember. It's big in my family. Everyone sews, knits or quilts. Always have. I learned it early and it's just a part of me now. Imagine my suprise and delight when I found Etsy. I thought...hey I can do that!

The best part of all of this is the thought that little toys I've made are sitting all over the world being played with by all different children. I've sold dolls to places I've never even heard of! And EVERY single sale feels like my first one, I haven't gotten over that yet.

I strive to make sure everyone leaves happy, and wants to come back. If you are unhappy with your encounter here at tiddlywinks PLEASE let me know, and I will do everything in my power to make it right by you!

If you are curious about me and my little family, or you'd like to see all the dolls I've created, not just the ones available to Etsy please feel free to peek at my Flickr album at http://flickr.com/photos/hilliardpics/ It's updated very regularly, and I love visitors.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

HOT DAY...BEAUTIFUL WEDDING...



Well yesterday was the hottest day of the year, so far, in this neck of the woods. My task from about 2 pm. until 6:30 pm was to photograph a wedding which was held outside at a golf course...HOT!!! One saving grace was the course is kind of at the top of a hill and near Lake Ontario, so there was at least some breeze. I felt most sorry for the groom and his party as they were dressed in black pants, black long sleeve shirts, red vests and jackets...whew! Oh yeah, they wore top hats as well.
All in all, the day went rather smoothly. I was quite nervous as I've never done this type of photography before and was totally aware all day, how important this type of assignment is to the couple. I hope they won't be disappointed!
The ceremony was short but very poignant. Her son stood and mouthed all the words to their vows...very touching.
The bride looked absolutely beautiful and once we got the standard family photos out of the way, we went out with a golf cart and took some 'fun' pictures of just the bride and groom. It will give her more of the shots she wanted and it gave them some quiet down time as well. They are really cute together and I really wish them the best. They are now off on a week's honeymoon fishing and some R & R. Best wishes!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

TODAY.....WEDDING DAY!




This afternoon I will be doing my first wedding photo shoot. I'm both excited and nervous about the prospect. I'm more accustomed to photographing nature mostly, so people are not my forte. Having said that, I must admit this could be a lot of fun. This couple definitely aren't conventional and some of their ideas wouldn't be typical wedding shots, but it's who they are and it is their wedding after all.
It is suppose to be unbearably hot today so we will see how we all stand up to the heat.
We went through the rehearsal last night and came up with a couple of additional ideas. Although it wasn't part of my contract with this couple, I shot some pictures to include in their final CD.
I wish them well and hope they truly enjoy their moment! They truly are in love and both deserve a great future together.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

STILETTO HEIGHTS.........My favourite artist # 2




Well, I'm about to present to you another one of my favourite artists on Etsy.
Her name is Jennifer and her creative ability produces such enchanting, colourful, nostalgic acknowlegement of women in particular. Although she does other pieces that are also beautiful, I personally love her 'women'.

You MUST go take a look at her Etsy shop!

www.stilettoheights.etsy.com


In her own words, here is the profile of this talented, interesting artist:

I (Jennifer Gordon)am a writer and mixed media artist originally from Manchester NH, about 45 minutes north of Boston. I graduated from the acting program at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, it was there that I got the chance to work as an artist model as well as work with the innovative professional theater- New Art Theatre.

It was during my years at the Institute that I fell in love with art in all of its forms.

After five years of regional professional theater I decided to express myself in other mediums as well, finally stumbling on the combination of writing and art.

I decided to go back to school and study English and Art History at the University of New Hampshire while working as an assistant gallery director at the Art 3 Gallery in New Hampshire.

After several years I decided to move to Columbus Ohio, to be close to the love of my life ($700 cell phone bills just seemed like a waste).

My mixed media art creations are another form of storytelling- my love for antique letters led me to an exploration of the hidden stories of letters of the past.

My work has been shown in several galleries in the New England area, such as the Carney Gallery and Art 3 as well as being sold throughout the Midwest at trade shows.

My art has also been seen on the cover of the indi book "Johnnie Zombie" as well as the literary journal "The Poet's Touchstone".

Mixed media collage art created by someone who is far more Kate Hepburn than Audrey Hepburn.