Thursday, September 25, 2008

off course a little . . .

I guess I'm having a mid-sixties crisis. Having remained steadfastly healthy all these years, I am now being torqued around by a couple prescriptions that just won't sit right with me. I feel like a big swamp of ennui has engulfed all my moving parts, and I can go no further than my desk chair, propping my laptop on my lap, with my feet extended. Or maybe I could manage one daredevil journey to the freezer for ice cream. In any case, the problems of the world will not be solved by me today. Check back in a day or so.

Meanwhile, I am daydreaming about a bit of a vacation back here, and hoping you are in your favorite place.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

anna griffin alix summer layout

As the weather turns cooler, the birds are chirping noisily around my house, urging each other to make the most of the glorious days of fall. Auburn leaves have already fallen, their crisp curling edges scratching across the walkways when the slight breeze puffs them along their way. It's time to start gathering the basil from my garden to make pesto ice cubes for winter sauces.

So teaching this weekend's Anna Griffin class using her "Alix" line was our farewell to summer. The one-page layout was beach-themed, with shells and coral patterns in vibrant summery colors. (Alterations in layout design include the little chipboard leftovers making the "fence" at the beach.)

Accompanying the layout, the accordion album (below) provided lots of room for more photos of those lazy summer beach vacations.

Since so many of us prefer a two-page layout, here's an optional second page I made for your enjoyment. Except for the full background sheet and the photo mats, the rest of the papers and embellishments came from the class kit. The wide bottom border is layered and attached like a pocket for the photo mats; the corner bands on the photo mats are attached only at the ends so a photo can still slide under them.

P.S. I just realized that none of my Blogger photos are retaining their intensity of color as they were in class. I'll try to fix that if I can.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

still smiling

It was so freezing cold in the cabin on my late-night flight home from Phoenix that all the passengers were bundled up in sweatshirts and blankets. The flight was only a third full so there weren't even enough warm bodies to add a little heat. After a full week of friends, shopping and Creative Escape classes in 104+-degree temperatures, I wanted nothing more than to sleep, but I couldn't stop shivering long enough. It wasn't long before I had to tuck my bare toes into my cloth purse on the floor under the seat so they wouldn't lose feeling. Now my sore throat and I are still hustling to get up to speed in between croaky little cat naps.

Speaking of friends and shopping, here are some of my sweetly-smiling partners in crime last week. Jeanette, Carol, Kitty and I spent all Wednesday enabling each other in Carol's favorite haunts -- until Kitty somehow managed to be wearing the very necklace I decided I wanted right after she bought it. See those lovely black beads and the soldered fleur-de-lis charm from Melrose Vintage around her neck? No matter. For consolation, I bought the crown sitting next to me on the counter, below right (thanks for the photo, Jeanette).

Only for friends will I voluntarily eat Mexican food. :) It's not the heat, it's the refried beans. How can that possibly sound good to someone raised in the PA countryside? Naturally, since we were in the sweltering southwest, my friends all seemed to crave Mexican for almost every meal. One evening we ate at Mangos Mexican Cafe, complete with lots of bright blue paint and gutsy fresh and fiery tastes. My meal even came with an egg fried on top to seal in the flavor (actually that sounds a little like the PA countryside). Can you believe those humongous margaritas, the size of small green oceans, floating invitingly in their color-coordinated glory in front of Kitty, Virginia, and Bunny?

As a designated driver, Carol drank iced tea with me, in spite of all the signs to the contrary (I mean those signs in the background). She was the most generous hostess all week, from cooking a delicious meal straight out of my PA childhood to even saving me seats in class when the hike from my hotel room took too long.

After CE on Sunday, Carol and I returned to Melrose Vintage to pick up Debby Schuh who was teaching her class there, Michelle White from Paper Tales visiting from San Diego for Debby's class, and Diane and Wendy, the dynamic mother-and-daughter duo who own the fabulous shabby chic store. At My Florist Cafe, we lingered over a late lunch right next to the baby grand piano until it was time for Carol to race me to the airport and away from the warmth of so many wonderful women.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

in the sonoran desert at ce

Now that I'm home from a fabulous week in Phoenix and all the creative energy at Creative Escape (see the slideshow), I'm diligently trying to re-program myself for the classes I'm teaching here in VA and MD during the next three weekends. Of course, I'd rather leisurely unpack and savor each CE class project, many of which I still need to finish and none of which I've photographed yet. But the laundry, grocery shopping, and baking had to come first, as always.

So I'll share instead a photo that illustrates my quirky, forgetful style of taking event photos. In spite of being surrounded by old and new friends, over 600 women at times, and by striking desert scenery, great hotel ambience, and several shopping forays, this is what I captured in one of the few times I managed to look through the mechanical eye. It's the public ladies room at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel, with its tent-shaped pile of guest towels, earthenware soap dispensers, and natural wall elements coupled with metallic sheen -- indicative of the earthy decor throughout the hotel.  What can I say, except it caught my eye?

The view from my room's balcony included a walking path, a pond, one of the golf holes at the resort's two golf courses, the distant Sierra Estrella mountains  . . .

and a nearly cloudless Arizona sunset over the Sonoran Desert.  Usually feeling like a deer in the headlights when I'm surrounded by lots of people, I found myself often enjoying this long quiet view.

Almost everything was dual-labeled to include the Maricopa language, even on my balcony door.

Back soon with friendly faces and projects-in-progress.