28 December 2007

A Very Vintage Vicki

This treasured photo is from my Family Album, Christmas 1965! At 10 years old I was attending 5th grade at Whitemarsh Elementary School in Pennsylvania and my best friend's name was Carrie Lukeman. (don't you just love the stretch pants?) Although I've strained to see what was under the tree that year... the memory of what I cherished most this time of year is crystal clear:

  • Having my mom's mother and step-father, Alice and Walter King (affectionally, "Gaga and Pop Pop"), spend the night with us on Christmas Eve
  • Singing along to our favorite christmas carols that dad compiled from his LP collection and taped on his Wollensak reel-to-reel. Here's a link to one of our favorites!
  • Putting out cookies & milk for santa and carrots for his reindeer.
  • Mom & Dad sleeping downstairs on the pull-out couch so they could take care of all the finishing touches before christmas morning! Assembling toys, putting up the HO train table with the plaster-of-paris tunnel & lighted village, stuffing stockings, nibbling on cookies & carrots and arranging gifts under the tree.
  • One of the grown-ups reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and the Christmas Story from the bible.
  • PRAYING for a white christmas.
  • Driving around with the family to look at christmas lights.
  • Picking out a cut-tree together a few blocks from home at Miles Park.
  • Dad & I fiddling with several strings of large, multi-colored lights, replacing bulbs and laughing together! Then hanging them on the bushes outside & inside on our tree.
  • The whole family decorating the tree together - pop-pop untangling the hooks and gaga telling us exactly where to place the satin balls, tinsel, plastic ornaments & treasured keepsakes.
  • My brother & I begging our grandparents to wake-up, then sitting at the top of the stairs on the hope chest, squirming impatiently, waiting for our parent's "OKAY!"
  • Finally, a very special memory - One christmas eve, the two of us took a ride in the old Ford Victoria with Dad in the midst of a blinding snowstorm. Our destimation was our humble Messiah Methodist Church which my parents helped to found. Dad wasn't about to let the storm deter him because we were on an important mission! He was in charge of setting up his tape recorder to play a continuous loop of special christmas music for the silent midnight prayer service. Having arrived before one of the parishoners could plow the steep driveway, we each carried a box filled with wires, speakers, and tapes then hiked together through the deepening snow drifts up to the church. Then, with the set-up complete and snow softly falling outside, I can remember the feeling of PEACE and AWE that welled up inside me as those cherished songs began to play! "Oh, holy night! The stars are brightly shining. This is the night of our dear Savior's birth!"

EDITED 12.31.07: When I mentioned this blog to my mom (84), she reminded me that she "baked a birthday cake for Jesus" when we were young. It was important to my parents that we celebrated the true meaning of Christmas in our home. I hope that plays a part in your celebrations as well! It's our ACTIONS that speak louder than words. xo

16 December 2007

a holiday wish

"oh the weather outside is frightful, and the fire is so delightful!"

I can't imagine a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon ~ than creating some new holiday memories INSIDE while it's snowing OUTSIDE, can you? Wherever you live, may the holiday spirit be shining brightly for you and for those that you hold dear.

Blessings from my heart to yours! XO

13 December 2007

Empress Theodora

WARNING!! Photo Shop is highly addictive and I have proof!! I burned the midnight oil on this and a few others (see my flickr site) and went to bed last night around 4 am!

I know the character name (see title) but do not know the actress. Any information is appreciated!!

Theodora was the wife of Justinian I who was crowned Emperor of the Byzantine Empire in 527 AD. As his wife, she ruled by his side, as his partner, and her intelligence helped to advance the Empire.

The exact place of her birth has not been agreed upon. While some historians say she was born on the island of Crete off the coast of Greece, others speculate that she might have been born in Syria. Whichever the case, she was brought up as the daughter of a bear trainer who worked at the Hippodrome (a huge stadium-like circus), in Constantinople. She worked there as a mime, and later as a full time actress. At the time, acting was not a highly esteemed occupation especially for women, so the term 'actress' was considered synonymous with the term 'prostitute'. While on stage she was remembered for her daring entertainment skills, off stage however, she lived a normal youthful life and was most remembered for her wild parties.

08 December 2007

Room in Your Heart

A Place To Bark - a no-kill foster and adoption rescue. It is also a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization so donations are tax deductible. All monies and items go directly to the care of the animals!

Bernie Berlin is an accomplished Mixed Media Artist who runs a full-time dog rescue, taking in dogs that have been abandoned, abused or police confiscated. She fosters, retrains, transports with the goal of ADOPTION! Cats are also welcome at her rescue. She is drawn to the unwanted, unloved and misunderstood. Bernie hopes to educate and effect change for the animals that do not have a voice of their own. Please visit this fabulous site! Or her secure link to PayPal with a detailed list of items needed.

** Every little bit helps! **

Another great option ~ donations can be made directly, to help with medical costs for "A Place to Bark!"

  • The Critter Clinic, 522 W. main Street, Gallatin, TN 37066 (615) 452-1477
  • Saukville Veterinary Clinic, 303 W. Dekora, Saukville, WI 53080 (262) 284-7000
  • any U.S. bank location. Just tell the teller that you would like to make a donation to "A Place to Bark, Inc." Checks or credit card donations are accepted.


Towels, blankets, toys, collars, leashes, crates, food, treats, very small baby bottles, milk replacement, bleach, 1 microscope, 1 baby scale, 1 stethoscope, muzzles, pet beds.


Bernie Berlin"A Place To Bark"PO BOX 649 Portland, TN 37148 615-681-2631

If you have questions, are considering adoption or interested in learning more: aplace2bark@aol.com

06 December 2007

more fun with PS!

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person."

This is the result of my second session of exploration and experimentation. My hope is that I can inspire anyone that might be sitting on the fence about committing to a purchase.

After some early frustrations... and about 12 hours of playtime, I'm getting the hang of the Elements 6.0 version WITHOUT further confusion of either the manual or a book! There is a WEALTH of information on the web such as free tutorials, free fonts, free brushes (wait until you see what you can do with THESE) as well as Adobe Photoshop online Support. So I say "go for it!" :p

And without question, it IS addicting - like any fabulous new toy!

03 December 2007

Maiden Voyage into PS!

DH surprised me the other day. While upgrading my PC, he had to make a Staples* run for a new scanner and came back with with Photoshop Elements 6.0. !!!

I decided to post it for those of you that have not yet explored the digital world of collage and photo/image editing. I spent 5 hours last night on my VERY first attempt and then lost it! Now I am careful to SAVE! After another 3-4 hours tonight, voila!

Here is my very first collage using custom brushes (chinese chop used for both borders & "shadow-like" bumble bee).

*Staples is an office supply store in the US & elsewhere

01 December 2007

What Can I Do To Help?

Read how HIV can be prevented HERE!

Social networks are a powerful and effective way to show your support for World AIDS Day and help raise awareness of HIV among your friends and acquaintances. Whether you have 5 or 500 friends in your network, your words can have an impact on others -- and make a difference in the fight to stop the spread of HIV.

Here are some ways to join us and get talking in social networks:

  • Join the World AIDS Day MySpace page or Facebook group

  • Add the virtual red ribbon to your profile

  • Blog about World AIDS Day and how HIV can be prevented

  • Start your own World AIDS Day group

  • Send a MySpace bulletin or write on your Facebook wall asking your friends to support our campaigns and share their thoughts and experiences

  • Change your Facebook status or your MySpace quote to read "Today I'm talking about World AIDS Day" on 1 December

For more info and where you can get your OWN red ribbon go to World Aids Day