Friday, December 29, 2006

Creative Hiatus

The holidays have thrust me into a temporary creative MUST end soon!
Maybe the 3-day holiday weekend will get me back on track?

In the meantime, thought I'd share another one of my photographs...the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge taken from the deck of a cruise ship as we left New York City, September 2005. The late afternoon light couldn't have been more perfect for this shot!

Watch for a link to a website of my photography to appear in the "Creative Obsessions" section of this blog in late January/early February!


Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to All!


To my new friends and old, both far and near, I wish for you the Merriest Christmas ever and all the best in the New Year! Be happy, stay healthy and safe...and don't forget to follow your dreams wherever they may take you!!


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Too Much Time on my Hands

Uh, oh....
I think I've created a monster LOL! Found myself sitting around with nothing to do (just waiting for my cousin to arrive for Christmas) and here's what happened! Didn't you know my kitties were world travelers???? And for the scientific types, I am aware that the blue-footed booby is only found in the Galapagos, but I thought they would look great in this collage!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


Be careful what you ask for!
For Christmas, Mom asked for a customized mousepad featuring the Divine Felines...well, after much fiddling in Print Shop & Photoshop Elements, Kitties In Space!!! was born :)

I found a really neat customizable micro-thin mousepad at Staples that accomodates a 4x6 photo. The best part is that you simply slip the photo into it and you can change it whenever you want! I suspect that more random mousepad silliness lurks on the horizon... Perhaps the photo will change with the season?

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas is Coming!

Whipped up these Sculpey Christmas ornaments this afternoon... well, it took ALL afternoon because Sculpey is not my friend! They came in kits with most of the clay colors and instructions to make all the ornaments. While they turned out better than I thought they would, they don't look anything like the packaging showed. I had to take some liberties with the directions. Oh, wait! That's right, I have artistic license! COOL. In that case, they're perfect, oui? LOL

Anyway, they're finished & about to get gift bagged for the gals at work. (Lucy, if you see this tonight, act surprised tomorrow, okay? LOL) Other than wrapping gifts, this was my last project to complete for the holidays. Boy, am I relieved :)

More importantly, my cousin, Christopher, will be arriving on Christmas Eve and will be here for Christmas Day. He's a Staff Sergeant (Army) and has been a drill instructor for the last 2 years. He's also the little brother I never had. We're 4 years apart in age and got to know each other during vacations that we spent at our grandparents' house in Florida each summer when we were kids. Usually he only stops in for a few hours, so an overnight stay is a "real" visit and a chance to trade "war stories!" And we've got plenty of stories, that's for sure! It's been years since he's been here for Christmas...I can hardly stand the wait!

Hercules, in his Christmas finery, wants to take you on a tour to see some of the Christmas decorations! (I still can't believe he actually wears this collar and doesn't object. The other 2 kitties freak out.)

This wreath is one of my designs from about 6 years ago. It was based off of a floral centerpiece that Mom bought and which is displayed inside our living room fireplace (non-working) each year. I also made up some garland for the mantle which matches both the wreath & the floral centerpiece. For some reasons, all the pictures I took of the garland & centerpiece came out blurry & unusable. Sorry!

Our Christmas tree is a big mixture of handmade ornaments & Hallmark collectible ornaments. We favor anything that depicts animals! (Go figure!) The only problem we have with the tree is decorating the bottom set of branches...a definite no-no with the Divine Felines. We've learned to put some soft "sacrificial" ornaments on the bottom branches for them to pull off & play with. I think you can see a heart-shaped one in the picture. It really does save the tree from certain disaster!

Our stocking are hung (patriotically!) by the chimney with care... I saw these a few years back at a local old-timey hardware store and couldn't pass them up.

And our carved carolers have been with us for years. We found them in a "country primitives" shop in Hudson, Ohio at least 20 years ago. They are my favorite pieces to put out each year. Even the dog and cat are caroling! How cute is that?? :)

Well, it's off to fight with the Divine Felines over the wrapping paper...I'll let you know who wins!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Whimsy

I acquired a new Christmas decoration this year....the Christmas alligator! Isn't she darling in her red high heels and pink bows? I couldn't resist this bit of whimsy to add to the traditional decorations around the house! She's up on the mantle in the family room by herself because she simply doesn't coordinate with anything else we have. Next year I'll have to work out an Alligator Winter Wonderland for her! :)


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Photographic Phumble

There are some things I shouldn't do at 6:00 in the morning.

Brilliant me, who procrastinated making Christmas centerpiece #2 until 10:00 last night, decided to take its picture this morning...before my required cuppa Joe, before my shower and before feeding the Divine Felines. Result? Lousy pictures.

No amount of photo editing or cropping could save these two images. Lousy angle, lousy background, lousy light. Also please note the kitten in the lower left who insisted she was starving and continued to insert herself into just about every photo I took, only to turn her nose up at kitty banquet offered mere minutes later.

At any rate, Mom took the centerpiece to her luncheon meeting and raffled it off. More success! More people made positive comments and more people took my card!
As for me, as they say around here, I am wore slap out! Happens to me every year just before Christmas... too many things to do, not enough hours in the day. Anyone else who feels the way I do, raise your hand and say "Dagnabbit, I need SLEEP!"

Luckily, I am counting the hours until my vacation begins....only about 18 hours or so until I can relax! Well, at least a little bit! I still have some Christmas shopping to do but all next week to finish it. Oh, and the tree isn't up... and all the decorations aren't out....and I haven't started my Christmas cards...and....and....uh, oh.....I think I'm in trouble already! :)

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

4 Things...

Having just visited Lucy's blog-Sweet Repeats- it looks like I can consider myself "tagged" for Four Things.....

4 Jobs I've Had...
  • worked in a pizza restaurant at Sea World of Ohio, 3 summers in a row
  • car salesperson
  • French teacher
  • a variety of positions at the bank where I've worked for the last 13 years!

4 Movies I'd Watch Again...

  • The Man Who Would Be King
  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • You've Got Mail (I've seen it a dozen times and can't help myself!)

4 Places I've Lived...

  • Millington, NJ
  • Hudson, OH
  • Toulon, France
  • Phoenix, AZ

4 Places I've Vacationed...

  • Alaska!!!! (by far, my favorite!)
  • Italy
  • San Francisco
  • The French Alps (skiing)

4 of my Favorite Dishes...

  • my Mom's spaghetti :)
  • roast pork loin with mashed potatoes and gravy
  • green beans with spaetzle
  • cioppino

4 Sites I Visit Daily...

  • Google
  • Sweet Repeats
  • Newfoundland's Grand Banks (genealogy website)
  • Fox News

4 TV Shows I Love...

  • 24 (can't get enough of Jack Bauer!)
  • House
  • What Not to Wear
  • Whose Line is It Anyway?

4 Places I'd Rather Be Right Now...

  • asleep in my bed with the Divine Felines snuggled up with me
  • driving to Raleigh to claim my Powerball millions (hahahahahaha!!!)
  • on another Alaskan cruise (better wait until Spring for that though LOL)
  • anywhere in the South of France

If you're reading this, feel free to join in!!!

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Christmas Centerpiece

Just wanted to share a picture of my latest creation, a Christmas arrangement that was raffled off last night. Mom commissioned me to make it for the Christmas party for her ladies' social club. I was sad to see this one go because I really liked it! However, the arrangement attracted a bunch of attention and very positive comments from the 50 folks at the party. Quite a few took my business card! Mom's club is also having their annual Christmas luncheon next week and there will be another arrangement raffled off then. Hopefully, I'll get some calls in the near future!

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Kitty Alarm Clocks

"The best laid plans of mice & men, often go awry."
(Adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men , Gang aft a-gley.”)

So much for sleeping in this weekend. The Kitty Alarm Clocks went off at 6:45 on Saturday, and 7:00 today. Yesterday, I would have ignored them but I did need to drop Katie (my dog) off at the groomer by 8:00. For making sure I didn't oversleep, they were warmly praised! What good kitties they were!

This morning........I could have killed them. At 7:00 precisely, I was awakened by the sound of Hercules & Isis knocking over my bedroom lamp and breaking the light bulb inside of it. Ugh. Glass everywhere. Of course, they looked at me with big, round, innocent eyes when I loudly announced, "I am NOT amused." What bad kitties they are!

At least I made use of the extra time so lovingly granted to me by the Divine Felines. After I dropped off Katie yesterday, I indulged myself with a bit of photography. The morning light was too perfect to ignore! Here's a sampling of what I saw:

The Southern Pines train station.....renovated by the town about a year ago. Lovely to look at, hard to photograph! The train track runs right through the middle of town. Broad Street, the main thoroughfare and home to many eclectic boutiques, runs parallel to the tracks (on both sides - one way in each direction).

The Christmas display in the window of A Wild Hare, one of my favorite gift shops in the downtown area.

Our new Christmas wreaths that decorate the lamp posts up & down Broad Street. The lamp posts, also new this year, have an old-timey gaslight look to them and really complement the atmosphere of downtown Southern Pines. And the new wreaths are a HUGE improvement over the old ones which were too ugly to describe!

I liked the way the light played on the branches of this towering old sycamore tree. I'm always fascinated by how quickly the light changes when taking photographs. I took 9 or 10 pictures of this tree, mostly from this very same angle, over a period of 2 to 3 minutes and no two of them are exactly alike. This was the very last one I shot and it turned out to be the best. Also, this scaled down image does not do this picture really looks much better as an 8x10!

Two more shots of Broad is so peaceful downtown when no one else is around!

This morning, after the great broken light bulb caper, I decided to put together 2 floral creations. I had a special dispensation from Lucy to purchase silk poinsettias and other sundries to make Christmas arrangements for work. I even came in under budget, although not by much! ;)

I hope everyone at work likes our 2 new reindeer friends....

It's hard to see but the baskets are grapevines twisted into the shape of reindeer, spray painted gold and then given a dusting of snowy glitter. The antlers are really the best part...all those twigs jutting up. Very cute effect!

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