Thursday, September 25, 2008

ARUBA and Picasa 3 Fun

Speaking of Aruba. I thought that I'd share some of my memories of this paradise: Hot. Trade winds. Blue sky. Blue water. White sand. Did I mention trade winds? They were constant and fierce. The rainbow was from our final morning, just prior to take off. What a treasure. How fortunate am I? These images are also stored in my heart. Thank you, sweet heart.
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Baby Birdies..... New Year!

The new school year has begun for me in earnest now....... visits to my school-sites! Here are the big kiddos doing the "Baby Birdie" puppet show. This is the last verse: 'Baby birdie in the nest, take a rest.' Everybody's giving little snuggle hugs to their little buddies. We all need to learn how to receive affection and we all need to learn how to give affection. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

1312: One Happy Island

So just after I finished my radiation treatments last summer (36 trips to Riverside Hospital) following the removal of the breast cancer, my dear sweet husband started planning our second honeymoon to ARUBA. Earlier this summer, P.B. [pre-blog] as we were landing on the island we had to fill out our forms for official entry. It had a line for your birthday, with the day's number coming before the month of the year. Well........ then we got to the island and learned the slogan: "One happy island" was an accurate description of this oasis and found it posted on each of their license plates. T-h-e-n we went downtown -- to the capitol city and enjoyed kicking around a flea market. Every one of the various merchants had boxes of outdated license plates to sell as souvenirs. I knew I'd like to bring one home as a reminder of this amazing trip.

So I decided that I'd like a red plate, each year had it's own color, as it would fit best with my office color scheme. Next I told Allen that I wanted to find a 'good' number. He responded with "what's a good number?" It was just then that I looked in my very first box of red plates and flipped right to number 1312!! My birth date in Arubian nomenclature. How amazing is that? Some folks would say, 'what a happy coincidence.' I just gotta think that it's an angelic, serendipitous wink from above, reminding me -- that all's right with the world. I'm always on the look out for just such winks of encouragement.... and am convinced that the more I look -- the more I find them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Irons in the Fire

It's time to add another project to the mix. Another exciting iron in the fire. More fun. Inspiration and ideas. Put on your seatbelt -- this is getting down right exciting! Last year @ NAEYC in Chicago, Mimi (pictured below, earlier in the week) introduced me to her friend Connie Bergstein Dow: a specialist in movement and dance. Well, one thing's led to another and we are now in "cahoots" on Connie's second book for teachers. Connie will share ideas from her lifetime of experience in dance through out the chapters, and it is our intention to include one of my songs for each of her many ideas. If all unfolds according to our plan, we will have a CD recording included in the book. We are planning to include some of my songs in 'sung' format and others presented as instrumentals, to give teachers the most possible freedom in movement.

I have been attempting to add Connie's website here, but to no avail. We need techno help for some mysterious reason??? Just when I was starting to feel confident of my blogging skills. You'll just have to click here: and hope that it works (or cut and paste it, the old fashioned way.) Stay tuned for further developments. Speaking of NAEYC. I will be co-presenting with Enrique Feldman of FAME for our fifth straight year in a row. Connie will be co-presenting with my other buddy Zak Morgan. Enrique and I have a four hour block of time on Wed. morning: Dallas. Connie & Zak are later in the week. Make your plans now! You can see all of us in action. What a deal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Greater Columbus Arts

Council's Artist-in-the-School Annual Open House and Showcase. So despite the fact that the school districts all had cancelled school for the day (yet again -- due to continuing lack of electricity and clean up) our annual fall-da-rah of-da-arts was held at Veterans. We artists were there with drums and whistles, juggling bean bag chairs, and shedding black rabbits for the magicians. Alas, the general public must have been home -- attempting to sort out what could be salvaged from their refrigerators and raking up the downed tree limbs.

In some strange way, this gave LOTS of time for us (the artists) to put our heads together and get caught up on all the travels and opportunities that have flowed over the past year. Since many of us only see each other on this one occasion yearly, it was indeed a grand evening for camaraderie.

Pictured above are Tony who does African drumming and videography and had the table beside mine, and my mentor Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld -- central angel for all arts in the mid-west and beyond....... and in the second picture is Brian of Hip Hop Academic fame (I've just added the link directly to his website.) Brian & I are in cahoots over putting on a morning workshop together. Right now he's focused on his new first grade classroom. Maybe we'll get it together for next summer?
Somehow, I missed getting so many other favorite people into pictures. Zak Morgan, newly returning to OH from his west-coast adventure is always a breath of fresh air..... and how did I miss getting Candace? She brought me the neatest gift ever, this time!! She's just too amazing to attempt a description. (See both of their websites here for details.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ike Blows thru Ohio

Here are just three images from my very neighborhood, following Hurricane Ike blowing thru central Ohio. We are still without electricity as I type this post, now @ the 48 hour mark..... I am at Allen's office pirating his electricity. We played the Abe Lincoln, reading by candlelight game last night. It's interesting what you miss, without electricity, and what you gain. Also amazing just how dark our walk-in closet is -- even in the middle of the day. We hunkered down at Sarah & Scotts for the first 24 hours. We do have hot water/hot showers as that follows from our gas water heater: yeah!! The final pic is our own sycamore tree, in our front yard, the first pics are from our neighbor's right across the street.
The tree trimmers have come with roaring chain saws and given the cul-de-sac a haircut.
I've been thinking a lot about how on a street with 256 trees, there are 25 that have fallen, broken, cracked or been torn up by the roots. Some were very small trees, sheltered by bigger brothers that were whipped in two. Some big brothers fell, in the shadow of their fathers. Same winds. Trees of all sorts. Many still standing to greet today's sunshine. Somewhere in there must be the moral to the story..... just not sure what it is???

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Farewell Flowers & Fun

It's time to wave good bye to the final colors of summer...... couldn't believe that I found holleyhocks still waving wildly in today's wind. So thin I could almost see thru them. We'll pack it up in the morning and head south. The times they are a'changing. This respite has been such a blessing: rejuvinating, reinvigorating and just enough rejoicing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pebble Beach Cairns

Today's field trip took us on our farewell-motorcycle-ride to the very edge of town..... all the way out to Little Sister Road! [**Remember I have the 'original' now-antique, street sign by the same name in my studio.] Anyhow, it's a picture perfect, blue-sky, postcard-sorta day. We went to the public "pebble beach" and just had the most fun finding such incredibly happy rocks. Perfect circles. Triangles. Flat spheres. Golf ball rocks. Allen made a perfect exclamation mark from two 'perfect' rocks. We left our statue cairns for others to appreciate. I could have stayed and played all day. We have just over one day left for our northern playground hiatus. Yikes.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunsets are Earlier Now

We've been here for just over a month and the sun is now setting over an entire hour earlier. Each day gains another two to three minutes -- sooner. We're now seeing the 'kerplunk' followed by the big splash at 7:15 or there abouts. It's also getting closer and closer to the stretch of land jutting out to the south of our marina. In a few more days we may need to go north of the marina to see the sun over the water. The times they are a changing.

Mountains: Fabric Collage

I am in the midst of juggling SEVERAL projects at the moment. We're continually making progress on my new book, "Tall Giraffe" so that has allowed me to return to quilt making for what will be my third book, "Red, White and Blue." Here you follow the momentum in my little studio over the last week. This will be my ode to purple-mountains-majesty two page spread, when all is said and done. Probably very near to the beginning of the book. The text will likely be the phrase 'sing for our country, sing for our country.'

As I got to work selecting the fabrics to use for this particular illustration, I decided to use the technique of "fusing" as the process of joining the fabrics. Let's hear it for 'Wonder Under' as that's the glue that holds it all together. So I've been fusing to my heart's content. There will eventually be additional 'thread work' to further embelish the shapes and colors above. This is very much a work in progress, but 'seeing' it come to life here, makes it seem more real to me. **This makes quilt #10 out of an eventual 16 quilts, for a 32 page book.....for those of you keeping track for me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Keeping it Simple

This just says it all..... and with such grand style in the process. Keep it simple. Keep it clean. Keep it bright. Keep it colorful. Most importantly make it happen. Get it done. Just do it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be obvious. Enjoy and make it apparent that you're enjoying. [Note to self: "I'm gonna tell ya what I'm gonna tell ya, then I'm gonna tell ya, then I'm gonna tell ya what I told ya..... from presenter at the Art Museum some time back on Aminah's big day.]
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Rear View Mirror Snap

Yesterday and even more so today, we are aware of the impending changing of the seasons. With just a hint of sunshine to encourage us, we bundled up in numerous layers and had a glorious jaunt, on the big green bike, to the tip of the top of the peninsula. We popped in at Charlene's Ten Gallery, took a photo shoot at Gills Rock and then continued up further, to land's end all the way to the ferry dock. The stretch of road pictured above is every one's favorite snaking tarmac and is photographed by all who make it that far north. I was very focused on getting a pic of the road and had just recently read about the importance of the tripod to successful photography. I figured I'd use Allen's shoulder as my tripod. Imagine how excited I was at downloading the images -- to find our reflection in the mirror!! Funny. Had I known that was a possibility, I don't know if I'd have gotten the road ahead? Or the reflection?? Sometimes life just gives you the happiest of surprises.
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blue Sky with Yellow Flowers

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Flying Pigs Gallery, Algoma

After all of these years we finally made a field trip to Algoma to the notorious "Flying Pig" gallery and gardens. The gallery features 'outsider' art -- and newcomers. They asked that we not take pictures of any of the artwork. I decided that the wall decorations in the restroom were exempt from that decree. I loved the quotes and their unique, bright presentation. The artwork was so-much-fun and seriously inspirational. I was wild about one assemblage that had approximately 13,289 buttons, strings-of-beads, paint brushes, wooden spoons and other bric a' brac brought together in the form of an immense flower.... that featured a clock in the center. We got some VERY healthy perennials for our little yard, too. Well worth the trip!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Gratitude, Years Later

It's a great day that gets capped off with a delicious meal between old friends. It's a fantastic day that concludes with laughter and story telling. It's a unique day that includes sharing from the heart. It's a memorable day that draws nigh with gratitude and reflection. How fortunate am I to have had all of the above, wrapped up over one incredible Italian meal in a new intimate restaurant? Pictured here is the dear, hilarious, capable and talented Linda Batley.... owner of Sister Bay's quilt shop. It was Linda who was first to hear my hair-brained idea about making illustrations from fabric for this book idea that had been fermenting in my brain. It was sweet Linda who sold me my first ever rotary cutter and my virgin-green cutting mat. It was patient Linda who explained the concept of paper-piecing to me -- the novice quilter. It was generous Linda who loaned me a table in the corner of her shop AND her own sewing machine AND her iron plus her ironing board AND her scissors!! All so that I could get immediately started while the idea was hot and I had vacation-time-to-burn. So I already knew that I liked Linda. BTW: She was also the one responsible for getting me the interview on the Green Bay TV station and she was the very first one to carry my books when they were initially churned out.

But after having spent the evening together with this jokester and her dear husband, Bruce...... Allen & I marvelled all the way down the hill to home about the story of their supporting each other to take a risk on the idea of a shop.... about her leaving her job at the garbage collectors to pursue her dream. She was the first to admit that it was Bruce who created the permission to follow her dream and that Bruce was the mastermind in keeping it "up off the ground" from his position as official 'groundskeeper' of the shopping center. What a team. Now why didn't I think to get a pic of Bruce with Linda? [I'm so new to this blog process...... I guess I'll just have to make another trip to their quilt shop -- to capture them in their local habitat.] Thank you Linda, you hold a special place in my heart. Thank you Bruce. Now I know the rest of the story.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Few of my Favorite Things

Speaking of photo collages...... look what we have here!! This is a framed genealogical study hanging here in our hallway. Starting in the near middle -- the fourth picture from the left: you find a black and white picture of ME, moi -- at about the age of four (give or take.) Then to my left is my mom at about the same age, and then to her left is her mom and to the left again is her mom, my GREAT grandmother!! Now start again. First picture (reading left to right) is my great-grandmother whom you've now met, then my grandmother, then my mother, then MOI and continuing on is my first born daughter, followed by my second born daughter, followed by MY sister (my mom's second daughter) and last but not least is my niece (my sister's daughter.) Got it? There will be a quiz, but it will be open-book.

Each night as I head to bed, I pass this incredible Christmas present from some years back and I am reminded anew from whence I come. Imagine the stories that could be shared around a campfire between all of these young giggling girls, filled with potential and awaiting opportunity. What choices will be made? What paths chosen? Which possibilities pursued? Hmmmmm. I now have a grand-daughter myself and my mom is now a GREAT grandmother! I wonder if I'll get this re-framed some day to add this next generation of girl power? Time marches on.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

My First Picture Collage!

A whole new era. A whole new play toy. A whole new level of fun. Welcome to my first, ever picture collage -- a product of the wizzardry of our friends at Picasa 3. These are the pictures I took over the last couple of days. Brought to you in living color. There are so many possibilities...... if I can just keep taking one little baby step at a time, and then another and another. I will have to develop a whole new level of self-discipline and self-control..... cuz I could spend all day playing with this delightful piece of technology.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

White Caps for Fall

Yesterday was the first day that we felt the need to kick in our air conditioner, in the several weeks that we've been up here. Blink your eyes. Today, without even checking my Farmer's Almanac, I can tell you that fall is around the next bend in the road. The wind has whipped up and begun curling white caps at the point. Cloud cover keeping things particularly cool. I saw my first banded woolie worms today..... supposedly you can predict the strength of the approaching winter by the relative size of their stripes. I wonder. Will keep you posted on such observations.
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Birch Trees Galore

I'm attempting a technological experiment. I have just downloaded "Picasa 3" in an effort to be more streamlined in working with my photos. I took this snap this morning on my daily walk: trudge up Hill Road, on the north side (aerobic workout extraordinare.) I just adore the descriptive names of the roads on this peninsula: Hill Road (noted for it's EXTREME grade,) Water's Edge, Lighthouse Point, Birchwood Park, Post Office Lane, Waterview Crest, Lakewood Drive..... I think that you get the idea. Call it like you see it. Simplicity. There's something to be said for simplicity.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sunset thru Clouds

A couple of weeks back we made our nightly ritual of walking the block to our marina pier to celebrate the evening's sunset and as usual, I walked with hopes of radical splashing colors awaiting our arrival. We've been here long enough to see professional shots of incredible clouds with riots of color exploding over the water -- in numerous galleries. I always keep my fingers crossed that I'll be able to capture something as unique.
Imagine my disappointment to find an entire bank of clouds covering the sun. I decided to take a couple of clicks anyhow. Imagine again my complete sense of excitment at downloading the image above and finding complete serenity in this picture. Calm. Peace. Tranquility.
So my favorite sundown of the whole season may end up being this one pictured above. Tonight's was a similar bank of clouds...... which reminded me that I hadn't yet posted this picture. There's a parable here. Go to the beach with an open heart, always search for beauty. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Edgewood Sculpture Garden

Today's Labor Day motorcycle trip took the two of us back to Edgewood Gallery, specifically to capture their brand new sculpture garden area. My mom fell in love with the little bird there last summer and remembered it as we told her about the new garden. Noelle was fond of the turtle, by the same artist. It bore a resemblance to her sweatshirt: "Fear the Turtle" (slogan of her University of Maryland Tarpins.) I especially enjoyed the flag-waver and his flair for the unusual. What a unique setting for these pieces. I hope that they find new homes, so that we are introduced to additional pieces in the future.

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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