Thursday, July 29, 2010

Close To My Heart (CTMH) Watercolor Pencils

My friend and CTMH rep did a video tutorial on using watercolor pencils- check it out!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tatting, digi-scrapping and's summer!

Time for an update! The very warm weather has abated, it's actually chilly after dark now. Such great sleeping weather- and yet the beach calls in the afternoon sun- PERFECT!

Above is my progress on tatting motif #6 for the 25 Motif challenge. It is going slow, but I am pleased. It should be done by my self-imposed deadline of this weekend.

Last weekend included a wonderful day spent with my aunt and some of my cousins on Long Beach Island on Friday, and a return visit on Sunday for a memorial Mass for my cousin Helen on the 10th anniversary of her death. Brunch at my aunt's followed and it was terrific to spend time with so many of my cousins- they are all terrific, wonderfully warm people.

These two pages are from Universal Visitation Day at CD in 2008. They were done for a challenge on the Facebook page of Polaroid's My Memories Suite- one of the two digital scrapbooking programs I use and love. My favorite is always the one I am currently using, lol! This challenge was to use the templates that come with the MMS program- which I am just, finally, learning to use (thanks, Lisa!) and really, REALLY liking!

It is nice now to have pictures of my classroom filled with kids. I have more like this and will be making more pages.

I've also been doing a lot of reading. Just finished a murder mystery, which I read mostly out of curiosity when I saw that one of the authors was Cordelia Biddle. Well, with that name, she could ONLY be a Philadelphia Biddle- related to St. Mother Katharine Drexel, those who founded Drexel University, the famous Philadelphia jewelry store, and "The Happiest Millionaire" as portrayed in a 1960's Disney movie, Anthony Drexel Biddle. It was a cute book, with some interesting looking crossword puzzles as the "hook" and it was prefect summer reading- no strain, just fun.

On a much more serious note, I am currently working my way through James Michener's "Poland", which is so interesting that it has captured me in spite of hardly being "summer reading". Michener often wrote books that dealt with the historical effects of geography and how history is created by a combination of geography and national culture. "Poland", which as a country I knew little about other than it's roles in WWII and the collapse of the Communist block, is another of his books that outline how geography can affect a nation's destiny. I was attracted to the book because I spent about a week in Poland in 1972 and was fascinated then by the way the Poles operated under the Russian communist regime- which was markedly different from what I saw in Czechoslovakia and Russia on the same trip.

The book spans 1000 years of Polish history, and like in so many of Michener's books (the man really was incredible in this way), I am seeing the almost inevitability of today in the history. I'm up to the late 17th century and have found myself several times thinking "that explains...." I've had this experience several times before while reading Michener- check out "Caravans" for some explanations of why we are in Afghanistan today.

I'm starting to change from receding and recovering from the trauma of the last school year to anxiety about the new one- a new school, a different type of schedule, unknown expectations from new bosses. Not fun!

But, I am also looking forward, with great joy, to the wedding this weekend of the youngest child and only daughter of my "oldest" friend. She is, lol, actually younger than me by a few months, but we've been friends since 1st grade and I love all her family like they were my own. It will be WONDERFUL to see everyone at such a happy event!

Time to get some late-afternoon sun and think about a trip to the beach!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wonderful Weekend!!!

Well, I had a wonderful day on Saturday! It was the Annual "Cards Soar at the Shore" get-together for alumni and faculty alumni of Cardinal Dougherty.

Getting there is a problem- I am at exit 83 of the Garden State Parkway and the SOAR is at exit 4. Last time I went it took 6 1/2 hours to get down the GSP on a Saturday. So, this year I decided to beat the traffic- and had an extra special day as a result.

I got up at what is for me "the crack of dawn" in the summer- 7am! Got on the road early and had only a little traffic so I made good time. Went right past Wildwood and headed to Cape May.

I love Cape May- with the old "painted ladies" it is just delightful to walk around. For those of you who don't know the term, the "Painted Ladies" are the gorgeous Victorian homes of Cape May, painted in all kinds of pretty pastel colors. If you have never been, and live on or visit the East Coast, Cape May is a wonderful place to see.

I walked around for a while, ending up at the "mall". The "mall" in Cape May is a few blocks of fun, eclectic shops in an area where the streets have been closed to cars and are all bricked over. It was warm but not too hot and I really enjoyed looking in the shops and seeing all the different things offered.

I visited a yarn shop and found some tatting books and supplies. I was happy to hear from the owner that she doesn't get a lot of customers for tatting, but that the number seemed to be increasing in recent years. Go, Tatters!! Since I have been unable to find my copy of Rebecca Jones' tatting book- the BEST for me!- and she had one, I bought it! Now, of course, I will very soon find my original- which I can now loan to a friend who wants to learn tatting.

I also visited the really nice cross stitch shop, Stitch by Stitch, which I'd heard about for years but never been to. They have a very extensive chart collection, and some expensive, but GORGEOUS, needlepoint canvases. I didn't have the size information I needed- DARN!- to get stretcher bars for the small needlepoint canvas I brought down here, but I did get a small patriotic flag XS chart that I'd never seen and really liked.

The Church pictured above is Star of the Sea, a beautiful little church that I always visit in Cape May. I made a point of saying prayers and lighting candles for all my CD kids who are fighting serious medical issues right now. It made me feel really good to offer prayers for them in this pretty little church near the beach.
After my morning in Cape May I headed for Wildwood. The picture above was taken while I was stopped for a redlight heading into town. This is a CRAZY looking Wawa and I had to get a picture!

The Soar at the Shore was terrific! I got to see soooo many of my former students and it was just wonderful to hear about how and what they are doing now. I also got to see old friends my own age who are CD grads. It turned into a mob scene, which was great, and all in all, I had a fabulous time!

Sunday was really nice with DH and DS. Most of the time was spent discussing and planning our August trip to Disney World- always a favorite topic. We had the perfect summer dinner- crabs that DH had caught an hour before, fresh Jersey corn on the cob Nero Wolfe style- the best!!!- and Jersey tomatoes. HEAVEN!!

Been doing some tatting and, of course, lots of reading. Getting ready to take some watercolor classes tomorrow. Things are going really well.

I've begun to heal from the awfulness of this past school year. I find myself noticing that I am happy again, for the first time in a long time. Thank you is due to my magnificent husband for giving me this wonderful time here at the shore, where I can refind my better self.

Time for a late afternoon swim!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hey dude- it was like, a totally excellent day!!!

What a wonderful day!!!!

Pictured above are (right to left) my niece, my cousin's daughter and another cousin's grand-daughter. Behind them is the beach and ocean of Long Beach Island.

My brother is here at the Jersey shore, visiting from Chicago for a week, and I am enjoying seeing them SOOO much- it has been almost a year. The kids have grown so much and I love talking to them and seeing how they have matured and changed.

This morning my brother called (he is staying nearby) and said they were going over the LBI and visit our aunt and any cousins who happened to be around- did I want to go with them? Heck, YES!!!!

My aunt celebrated her 90th birthday in February and is still just amazing. Her home is a block from the ocean and there are always people in and out in the summer- it is like a private beach club for our immense family. My cousins are all really terrific fun and such good company to be with and so welcoming and inclusive whenever anyone shows up.

So, I got to visit with my aunt, go to the beach with multiple cousins and their families, swim in wonderful 78 degree ocean water; it was truly an awe-and-then-some day!!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Can't wait to lose this jewelry

One of the sorrows, but also the privileges, of being a high school teacher, is sharing in your students' sorrows. Especially in a small school community, and when it is a good school (as CD was!), the family that is formed shares the good and the bad. Entirely aside from our school closing, this has been a bad, BAD year.

There are the normal bad things that happen- injuries and illnesses, sudden deaths in the family. Then there are the extraordinary ones, which seem to just keep on coming in recent months. Since the winter, we have had two former students become quadraplegics, one through an accident, the other as a result of a drive-by shooting. Months ago a young graduate was diagnosed with cancer and we have watched her fight. Now we learn that one of the kids who graduated only weeks ago is also fighting for his life with a newly diagnosed cancer.

I've been wearing purple toenail polish since the spring as a daily reminder to prayer for the young girl who is in rehab to learn to live without the use of her legs and hands. As soon as it arrives, I will be adding the ankle bracelet pictured above to remind me about the young man with lymphoma. I hope I don't wear it for very long due to a quick recovery for him.

In the process of thinking about them, and praying for them, I hope we all also recognize the fragility of our own lives, and the need to live each day in the best way we can. Finding our joy and sharing our love is something we should never skip over or miss out on.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finally some tatting to show

One of the things I want to do this summer is get back to my needlework, in several forms, including tatting. Last year I joined a 25 motif tatting challenge, but never got very far with it. So, it is time to get back on board.

This little motif is #2 from "Minitats- 69 petite motifs" by Patti Duff. It's very tiny but it gets me started again. I still need to finish motif #3 for the challenge, but this is motif #4 for my challenge attempt. I hope to finish motif #3 sometime this week.

It is very, VERY hot today, so taking it easy is the general rule. I have to go out, however, as I discovered that my iphone does not ring when someone calls me. So, a trip to the AT&T store is required.

DH went home a little while ago, but he and we had a great weekend. By this time next week I'll be in Georgia; driving Auntie and the puppy home for their annual summer visit up North here. I do hope the weather is a little kinder for the trip.

Time to get ready to run errands, then back to my needles and shuttles later.

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's hard to believe how fast the summer is going- 4th of July is already over!

I used part of the holiday to make some cards for Operation Write Home. I had company (my mother and aunt) and we watched the delightful town parade here. There were 4th of July festivities all day- games on the beach (I almost got hit during the egg toss- THAT would have been yucky in the 95+ degree heat!), a DJ in the afternoon and a band at the town pavilion at night. I went swimming for about an hour late in the afternoon- THAT was the best part of my day! LOTS of fireworks- we can see several towns from here. DH and I finished the day by watching an interesting show on PBS: "Rebels and Redcoats- How Britain lost America; The American Revolution from the British Perspective". A good day!

Since the last time I posted, I actually picked up a needle!! I only got about 50 stitches done before the phone rang, but it was really nice to be back to stitching! DH is a completely and totally crazy person today and just left to play golf (it is SOOOO too hot for golf!!!) so I am looking forward to doing some stitching this afternoon and evening. I started working first on the Sekas Dragonflies piece that is really close to finished- once I get it done I can start on one of the several new things I brought down with me. Pictures soon I hope!

I'm reading a really good book, "The Few", by Alex Kershaw. It is the story of the Americans who flew for the RAF during the Battle of Britain. I know from the introduction that only one of them will survive the war, so I am prepared for it to be quite sad, but it is always interesting to me to read true stories about my Father's generation.

So, that not only sums up the last few days, but most of my plans for the rest of the week- reading, stitching, TV, some more work on my Heritage digital scrapbook, and I hope, a visit to my Aunt on Long Beach Island. Yeah, it's a tough life, I know. Oh, and did I mention sleep????

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

To celebrate the 4th, let's remember those who are serving our country, especially those who are far from home this year.

Friday, July 2, 2010

June 2010 Personal Review

These are two of the 6 (yes, six!) digital pages I did this morning for my family heritage album.

I was going through all my blogs on my sidebar, and saw something really neat at "Katie the Scrapbook Lady". It is a monthly "roundup" and I think it is a very good idea for reflection. So, stealing her questions, with a few modifications, here's my personal wrap up for June 2010.

1) What books or magazines did I read this month? I got a lot of reading done which can be seen in my two lists on the sidebar. My "What I've Been Reading" covers the stuff I read before I came down here to the shore, and "My Summer Reading" is the list of what I've read since I got here. The "summer reading" will continue until school starts- I want to see how many books I read this summer compared to last summer which was 27.

2) What were my needlework accomplishments this month? Almost none. I didn't actually pick up a needle or a shuttle so nothing physical to show for the month. I did do quite a bit of needlework related reading, especially about crewel.

3) What were my papercrafting accomplishments this month? Again, none.

4) What were my digital accomplishments this month? I completed two 8x8 albums with Creative Memories Storybook Creator Plus. Looking forward to getting them and seeing how they turned out- especially since I rushed them.

5) What fun things did I do this month with family and/or friends? We attended Kate Fisher's wedding. She was gorgeous and we had a good time seeing friends we don't often see, as well as being with close friends. It was a really nice day.

6)What gifts did I give or receive? Well, there was the wedding present to Kate and Joe, another wedding present sent early for Maryellen and Brian. I designed mugs as gifts for some special friends for the last day at CD. As for receiving gifts, I am at the shore for 6 weeks, the gift of my amazing husband!

7) What illness or health concerns did I have? My biggest problem was that the incredible stress of the closing of Dougherty resulted in a flare in my fibromyalgia that was worse than anything since I developed this %^&* disease!! I also did not find the time for some really necessary dental work.

8) What were my accomplishments this month? I think that I handled myself better than I expected to, and was able to be strong and positive for the kids at CD as we went through the trauma of the actual school closing together.

9) What were my disappointments this month? My biggest disappointment was that there was no understanding of our pain from those who were closing our school.

10) Anything else noteworthy this month? Yes, I am very blessed that I will be going to Little Flower for next year. I am blessed to have a job, I am blessed that the school is not too far, I am blessed that the administrators I met there seem like they will be good to work for, I am blessed to be going to a school with strong spirit, and I am blessed that several of the teachers from CD who I respect and consider friends will be at Little Flower with me.

So, that's my review of the month of June 2010.