21 December 2008

Mom Wisdom

I came across this little piece the other day, especially good advice for this time of year:

"Be quiet.
Quiet, not only for the ears, but for the eyes.
Quiet for the mind and heart and soul.
There are shelves of books all about de-cluttering our lives. It is simply this; we can have the thing or we can have the time it takes to do it. We cannot have both. Quiet makes possible the higher human activities:
Genuine conversation
Why do we prefer the complex and expensive solutions to our ailments over the simpler Mom Wisdom that is free and readily available? Why not start today with a nap and a good meal? And then take a walk."

19 December 2008

First Snow, Finally!

a virgin blanket of snow

The two of us happily enjoyed our first day of vacation, snuggled down in our cozy little house in the woods, while the snowstorm raged outside! So far we've gotten about 8-10" of white stuff and it's still coming down ~ with another storm to come saturday/sunday!

So we're relaxing and enjoying this last weekend before Christmas and taking time out to remember the true meaning of this

very special holiday!

Both of us are most excited to be able to go snowshoeing tomorrow morning... in our CHURCH OF THE FOREST...where we are closest to God. And the best part? We are blessed to have a property that connects to a 250 acre Nature Preserve. We can hike MANY good-sized hills, cross a beautiful rushing stream, spot red-tail hawks, white-tailed deer (below), native songbirds in the marsh and in the thick underbrush and disappear for 3 hours without seeing another person. Truly, food for the SOUL!

snowshoe tracks & a visitor!

15 November 2008

Art-e-zine & The Goth Postcard Swap

I have always been a huge fan of Gillian Allen's website ART-E-ZINE. If you haven't discovered this amazing artist's resource yet, prepare to be hooked! Just LOOK at the image resources she has provided for you to use in your art!

Also for your viewing pleasure are pages and pages of inspiring artist's eye candy such as fat books, mail art, journals, altered books, digital art, and more here, here, here and HERE! They even have swaps, a list of online tutorials and more links here! Be sure to look for the spot to make an annual donation which will not only help cover rising costs for website "upkeep" but you get a lovely series of vintage images to download as her way of saying thank you! ($12/year)

I was invited to participate along with a group of approximately 26 artists, many on facebook, in a 4 x 6 postcard swap with a GOTH theme! (EDIT 11/26/08) The goth's are here... come on over to the "dark side!" You can join in the fun over at the art-e-zine cafe yahoo group, as well!

"the gatekeeper"

11 November 2008

Forget Them Not

Today is Veteran's Day in the US and, unlike Memorial Day which honors those that PERISHED in service to their country, it is an opportunity to honor ALL U.S. military veterans!

This is a special post because I am an extremely proud daughter of a WWII veteran who passed away 3.5 years ago at the age of 85, wrapped in his family's arms. (we miss you, dad!)

Following my father's college graduation, with a nation at war, he enlisted in the pilot training program for the United States Navy. Travelling up and down the East Coast studying long and hard at several of the top universities, he called it "a million dollar education" and he was grateful for the opportunity! Receiving his wings in early 1945, dad was in line to become one of the elite fighter pilots for the US Navy. Shortly before marrying my mother (and LUCKY FOR US) his graduating class was RANDOMLY selected to remain state-side and he became a Flight Instructor stationed at Barin Filed in Pensacola, Florida, USA. Their lives were forever changed by the collective pain and sacrifice of so many.

One month before their wedding day, Germany surrendered.

Every year, on this day, our nation pays tribute to its war dead by symbolically laying a presidential wreath & the playing of "Taps" at the Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields… - John_McCrae

My husband and I wish to give our heartfelt thanks to all who serve!
~ You are our h.e.r.o.e.s. ~

06 November 2008

Join me, Suzi and 1,250 OTHERS

First 3 Dolly's - by VICKI
(sketched then colored, digitally
... collage is NEXT!)

Les Petite Dolls and Art Healing Love - by SUZI BLU

.. over at NING! And y.e.s. - ALL skill levels are welcome!
You can sign up for Les Petite Dolls, a flex-time Workshop (8 weeks of video lessons + homework and 8 PDFs of art/love support through 12/31/08), take part in her new challenge series (we're making Oracle cards this week) or just hang out and feel the love! So many wonderful, supportive, creative women ~ I promise that you will be forever changed by the experience!

Angel of Art - by SUZI BLU

31 October 2008

Bewitching Hour!


Enchanted Merchantile image

"When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween!"
- 19th century Halloween postcard

approx 1993

25 October 2008


pic taken from the Music Pier

I recently posted in a forum that I want to start working on a "personal reflection" journal, though I've never made anything like this before. If I could share, for other first-timers, the one thing that has helped me to get started - it would be to do some real soulsearching and come up with a particular subject that brings up E-M-O-T-I-O-N-S! ... and you will see how quickly the excitement and the IDEAS begin to flow.

scott & me - 1958

Yes, there was a lightbulb moment for me because I am currently in the process of assembling a collection of photos on flickr, in a set titled "Ocean City Memories." When complete, it will span FIVE DECADES of happy times with family and friends at this popular south jersey beach resort!

Another great idea, to help get you started, would be to create a "techniques journal" or altered book like my friend Eileen Grobeck (cookala) has been working on over at flickr. Link to her project here.

I will post the progress here along with any special techniques I've used. I also plan to post the books, blogs, posts and people (starting with Eileen) who have inspired this "maiden voyage WITHIN." (could be a title lurking in there somewhere!)

THE BACKSTORY: "Beginning in the late 19th century, my great-grandparents and other relatives, had summer homes in nearby, Margate.

Google "Lucy the Elephant" to see a grand example of their Victorian era memories of that town!


a vintage beach scene

Two tidbits. (1) Twenty years after the fact, my parents learned that they played in the sand as children on the same beach at 2nd street. And (2) not only did my uncle meet my aunt on the boardwalk as a teenager, my brother met my sister-in-law when they stayed with friends at the same rooming house... 32 years ago (and counting)!

The tradition continues to this day with my (5th generation) nephews who STILL spend a few days each summer with my brother in August!

Something tells me, god willing, they'll be bringing THEIR children here!"

08 October 2008

Mount Snow, VT

summer '08

Located less than a mile from one of the TOP ski resorts in New England, it makes perfect sense that we've had a steady increase in showings regardless of the current real estate market. Our "condo alternative" shares the same zip code as this popular year-round resort town which includes a world-renowned Golf School, Tennis School as well as a major Mountain Biking destination. Also nearby: snowmobile trails a few steps from the backdoor, trout fishing and boating on several large, scenic resevoirs, whitewater rafting, the list goes on! This home has had only ONE OWNER, has NEVER BEEN RENTED and is PRICED TO MOVE! It will not be available for long. A perfect weekend retreat or investment property, a short 4 hour drive from Manhattan / 3 hours from Boston!

Take a look at all 5 downloadable .pdf trail maps, details on the $8.5 million snowmaking expansion, or go to the resort website for daily photos, 3 live cams, snow report, trail & lift report + more!

If you or anyone you KNOW may be interested - please email me. See sidebar for my address just to the right of the photos, below.


Immaculate, much-loved family home on quiet cul-de-sac. Room to spread out in the sun-filled open living space which includes A/C, large eat-in-kitchen, beautiful raised-hearth fieldstone fireplace, screened-in porch and wrap-around deck with mountain views! Price includes several brand new appliances plus new roof and furnace.


28 September 2008

freehand freedom - my journey

It was Feb '08 that I went out and purchased a sketchbook and this is one of my first attempts! I just created a new Flickr set of the same name tonight because I started to sketch again, slowly but surely, and I'm very excited about it and anxious to continue!

I come from an artistic family ~

- my father snapped and developed several BOXES of photos as a youth, beginning in 1936 at 16 years old and continued throughout his entire life! Well into his eighties he submitted a brand new series of photos called "From the Forest Floor" for juried review at Mount Snow, VT's "Art On The Mountain." Even though he was turned down, dad never stopped believing in his abilities and continued adding to this collection!
- he also took oil painting classes from my mom's step father. One of my favorite winter landscapes hangs in my living room!
- my father's father drew several, professionally framed, pen & ink drawings at the turn of the LAST century. Four of them grace my walls.
- my father's sister, now 92, is an accomplished (hobby) painter & pastel artist.
- my mother's mother's father was a "decorative painter" of furniture. Just this year I located a copy of the 1880 census which lists that as his profession at 17! Many years later, he started a successful furniture finishing business (stains, lacquers, varnishes, etc) that is still in business today, 133 years later. QUITE an accomplishment! After a quick search, I found the company website tonight! ...where you can read about the history (Est 1875).

I have always had an artistic soul yet, of all the many things my parents exposed me to, photography is the only form of art that I pursued into adulthood. In my tweens & teens I had a solid feeling for lettering and perspective and I am grateful for my father's influence. It came to me quite naturally and, although I dabbled briefly in ballet, poetry, acting and drawing, nothing ever really took hold of my attention and HELD IT. I've had the opportunity to develop an eye for composition, detail, negative space, line, texture, color and observation as a result of my 25 year love affair with photography. The next brick in the foundation was when I learned about rubberstamping and cardmaking 10 years ago. I've been enamored with Paper Art ever since!You can only imagine the THRILL I felt when I discovered mixed media collage in April 2006. Thanks to the internet, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of artistic expression, and since then I have grown both artistically and personally in SO MANY WAYS. After 2.5 years, I feel as if I am still at the beginning of a very precious journey!

Thank you for sharing it with me! - xo

17 September 2008

Giving Back - Our Future Depends On It!

I have been a part of this amazing organization for more than 10 years and am anxious to tell you a little bit about it. I am THRILLED to see the many ways in which Animal Therapy plays such an important role on this NY campus, for young students and residents alike. It includes such wonderful programs as: "ECAD" (link below & photo above) where some of the students get the opportunity to train Assistance Dogs, "Farm on the Moo-ve" where there's an opportunity to bring animals and their student care-givers to local schools, both wildlife & farm animal rescue where children can learn "if they can heal, so can I!," as well as participating and winning awards for 4H and Equine Therapy for the handicapped. The list GOES ON!

(Please note--> Because there is such a WIDE scope of campus & community outreach programs, portions of this post are excerpted from their official website. Please follow any of the links I've included to learn more - I promise that you will be amazed!)

"Green Chimneys is a nationally renowned, non-profit organization with a mission of restoring possibilities and creating futures for children with emotional, behavioral and learning challenges through educational, therapeutic and outreach services, while providing care for animals and nature, thereby promoting a philosophy of dignity and worth for all living things.

Each year, Green Chimneys' restoration system gives children and their families the tools that enable them to positively experience their youth, regain a sense of self-worth and create hope for the future as independent, positive and productive adults.

Founded in 1947 and headquartered in Patterson, NY it is recognized as the worldwide leader in animal-assisted therapy and activities. Green Chimneys operates

  • a residential treatment center for children,
  • a farm and wildlife rehabilitation center,
  • a certified organic farm and horticulture therapy,
  • a therapeutic riding program,
  • community based services in NY and CT including
  • a runaway shelter and community outreach center,
  • Clearpool Education Center,
  • Nature’s Nursery and Hillside Summer Camp,
  • the Good Friend youth mentoring program (learn more), <--- where it all started
  • group homes,
  • LGBTQ programs in New York City (learn more),
  • ECAD or East Coast Assistance Dogs (learn more),
  • programs and special events for the public and
  • adult services programs in Connecticut.

    Green Chimneys Farm now encompasses 160 acres, almost 400 animals, and over 40 varieties of rare birds. The school has both residential programs and day treatment programs attended mostly by boys, half of them from New York City. The others come from the surrounding area including Connecticut as well as from other states. Doctors, veterinarians, and social workers from around the globe have visited Green Chimneys to learn about its amazing work!

    View a list of over 15 Upcoming Events.

    Each year, Green Chimneys serves more than 3,500 children and their families. There's a permanent link if you scroll down on my sidebar under "Please Visit," or click HERE!

      I'll be posting (soon) about my personal involvement!

    26 August 2008

    Heaven & Earth Through An Artist's Eyes

    Paintings by Roderick MacIver,
    artist & founder of Heron Dance - a 501(c)(3) nonprofit

    After a short visit to Heron Dance tonight, I learned a little bit about Rod's amazing and well documented artistic journey, his spiritual journey and was completely drawn in! I admire his life-long connection with the natural world as I, too, gain sustenance from it and have also been deeply touched by his generosity and faith! His company is unique, in that it serves through its donation to other nonprofits and direct support of wilderness protection!!

    On his fascinating website, I learned that he's just published his 55th (or 56th) newsletter using a format which combines ::JOURNALING & MEDITATION:: Rod says that he has used the same technique to develop resourcefulness and survive cancer!! A must read!

    He also developed The Heron Dance Journaling Project proposing that the reader write out the core beliefs by which he or she has tried to live life, and then suggested forty four questions or issues that could be considered in thinking carefully through the future course of one’s life.

    You can also visit Heron Dance to sign up for a FREE weekly e-newsletter, called A Pause For Beauty, sent to 25,000 people "containing a new painting and either a short essay or a poem on the beauty and mystery of the natural world and of life itself. It is intended to be a reminder of things are often overlooked but that have the potential to add satisfaction and peace to a human life."

    Lastly, I was stunned & thrilled to see this extensive list of ART DONATIONS to non-profits and wilderness protection efforts! Please take a few moments and follow the main link, above. RE-LAX & ENJOY the many talents of Rod MacIver!

    ~ Mr. MacIver, I salute you for not only sharing your journey but for being an example of how to live your BEST LIFE. And my most sincere wish for you is that you continue to find S.E.R.E.N.I.T.Y and I.N.N.E.R. P.E.A.C.E. along your journey "to the center!" ~

    15 August 2008

    Pure Poetry

    The following Artist Statement was taken from Maralena Howard's website.

    "Painting so deeply the secret selves.
    If found by another who claims one as their own - I am at peace.

    Generally sexless, neither male nor female.
    I strive for the pure connection.

    That IS the ultimate goal.

    I sit with empty space (canvas and non-intention).
    Silence and emptiness takes its own direction.
    Color finds its way in, out, over, under, through and through.
    Sometimes staying until the end and other times a short visit before it leaves
    or morphs into a new existence.

    The works hold many layers.
    Some perfect, others scratched and marred.
    Harmony and discord build upon the other much like life itself.

    Nothing is so simple that it loses its pure voice.
    Truth presents itself without permission.
    In the end, empty decides what fills it.

    Now - is where this art will take us."

    ~Maralena Howard

    ... please take a moment to drop by this talented friend and artist's

    07 August 2008

    Faith, Family & Friends

    Early this summer my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We have had some good days, when we've been closer than ever and some really ROUGH ones, when we questioned everything! And, like anyone who has received a similar diagnosis for someone you love, it's been a roller-coaster ride ---- like nothing I've ever experienced!

    It gets pretty frightening when someone you love, wakes you up one morning with a kiss before leaving for work, and says "Hun, I'm scared!"

    Dan is my hero in many ways. Last month I learned that he (Mr. Private - Mr. I Leave My Personal Life At Home) decided to CALL A MEETING at work to tell his employees and his manager that he has cancer. He explained that he'd been given a great prognosis then asked that "no one leave the room with their head down because I need your positive thoughts and prayers." Afterwords, several people told him that by being so open, he would touch many lives. Already we know that one person, in particular, was delaying a blood test and scheduled one immediately! This was wonderful news & music to our ears. Dan's action demonstrated how quickly a support network grows when you're not afraid to speak what is in your heart!

    After major open surgery for a Radical Prostatectomy on July 29th, 5 days in the hospital and 3 pretty hairy days at home this past week, we received the news that his patholgy report came back "organ confined." It was and is the best news we could've hoped for! Lots of (careful) celebrating here.... OUCH! in between naps (lol), delicious home-cooked meals,

    BUNCHES of Tender Loving Care

    and so many cards, phone calls, deliveries, good wishes, meals dropped off and several visits! We are ever-so-grateful for this AMAZING CIRCLE OF LOVE! We have no doubt that what got us to this point is all of the above plus our faith in god and our deep, abiding love for each other!
    UPDATE: Being a lover of words, I purchased a set of Healing Word Magnets (or you can shop here). This is what I found spelled out this morning by my dear husband:

    pure gratitude
    disease free
    feel relief
    grow new love
    rest and mend

    I really, really love you Dan. With all of my heart!

    P.S. No more hospital food.

    20 July 2008

    Birth Day Miracle!

    A little backstory first. DH & I have been avid birdwatchers forever! Using our dog-eared copy of Peterson's as a sort of unofficial diary, we've noted TONS of backyard sightings over the years: Woodthrush, (resident) red-tailed hawk, flicker, scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, baltimore oriole, red-headed woodpecker, yellow-bellied woodpecker, (regularly nesting) phoebe flycatcher, rose-breasted grosbeak as well as our more common but much-loved little friends!

    We appreciate every single morning that we wake up to this backyard habitat PARADISE that borders a 250 acre nature preserve! So when a neighbor gifted us with a homemade bluebird nest box (BB1) we mounted it... SHHH!... and never monitored it. It was mounted too high, over our heads and is nailed shut.

    **** THE BAD NEWS **** We know our neighbor meant well, but after reading and learning much THIS WEEK I am horrified to realize how he could be creating more problems since allowing house sparrows to nest in HIS BOX for years thereby unknowingly expanding this invasive population. I'll be speaking with him to rectify this immedately!

    **** VERY GOOD NEWS **** As luck would have it, our box has supported bluebirds 2-3 times a season for almost 10 YEARS! Nevertheless, we will be buying proper boxes and following mounting instructions to the LETTER beginning this fall!

    And now for the Birth Day Miracle & the reason for this long post: (shame on us again) We have had a deck-mounted nest box (BB2) for 5 years with no interest. Due to a resident black bear, I had to remove the nearby birdfeeders for the very first time in June and VOILA a pair of Bluebirds began nestbuilding. Since nesting birds don't want to be near a busy birdfeeder, I'm quite sure this is why they decided to, very unexpectedly, move in to this improperly mounted box! YIKES! We are hoping for a happy ending although I have learned that there are many failures along the way to success. So we will happily take this one-day-at-a-time!

    June 30 ~ 2 eggs.

    July 2 ~ 4 eggs & incubation period begins.

    July 15 ~ Note white marks on 1 egg HOURS before hatching.

    July 17/Day 1 ~ BIRTH DAY!

    16 June 2008

    It's All Good!

    I have been MIA for weeks... but it's all good! Seemed like it was about time I checked in here to get you up-to-date because I've really missed visiting my friends, my favorite websites, groups and creating ART! Hope all of my internet friends are doing well & haven't written me off! LOL

    Nothing more than living my life, yet I must admit that my art has suffered for it! I am longing for that cherished time that all of us need, where we simply get lost amongst our paints and pots and forget about life for awhile! Over the next few weeks, as things begin to slow down for me, I will be making a concerted effort to find some creative time because I am way overdue!

    I've been busy doing things like: