Monday, April 27, 2009

amy's class sneak peek

Well, my clone didn't show up again. So I've been trying to multi-task as fast as I can through my imaginary list (not organized enough to have a real list). From house guests, dinners, and my husband's surgery to shopping for "Inspired" class supplies, my classes to teach and a wonderful test class to take, it's been a full schedule.

I won't show you the iPhone photo I took of my husband's incision to prove to him while still in his hospital bed that he was indeed alive and well. Or the ones I took while holding my camera out the car window to record all the beautiful spring trees in bloom around here. Yes, traffic was ponderously slow.

Instead, I've been wanting to share some photos of sweet Amy's fabulous project for Kim's Artistic Affaire Printemps at the end of May in CA.  Along with Hope, Lorraine and Sue as Amy's "official test crew" prior to class, I was lucky to share in all the happy colors and crafty techniques that Amy is known for.

Of course, I don't want to spoil the fun, so a few peeks will do. But if you're going to Artistic Affaire (a few spaces left), you'll love the cheerful spirit of Amy's exuberant project.


Monday, April 20, 2009

weekend in review

All work and no play? No way! Before she started teaching her two days of classes, Debby joined me for a full shopping day in Leesburg. We found lots of great stuff!  Have a look. First up was The Cottage, where Ann helped us find some treasures before the Leesburg Flower and Garden Show crowds descended.

Ann was very excited about the 6-page article featuring The Cottage in the June issue of Romantic Homes.

Among my purchases were these large old glazed platters, perfect as palettes for mixing my paint washes.

Look at this wonderful collection of children's chairs . . .

in blue . . . and pink . . . and unpainted . . .

Just down the block is the recently relocated Ekster Antiques shop, full of European imports in gentle, serene tones. Caroline travels regularly home to Holland to add to her stock in the elegant high-ceilinged showroom.

Among the collections in the store, I found another miniature chair. And beautiful ironstone platters.

My purchases included the bolts of lace and some worn French books stashed on these shelves.

This iron horse greeted us at Lucketts. Luckily, it didn't follow us home. I truly would have loved to lug this huge urn back to my garden, but gosh darn, it was already sold :).

After a few more stops, we happily headed home to relax on the back deck with wine and strawberries.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

delayed for sunshine

My good friend Debby, coming today to visit and to teach at Scrapbooks Plus this weekend, called to say her already delayed-and-rearranged flight was again delayed. So while she sits on the tarmac at La Guardia, I'm sitting in the sun on my front porch, enjoying an unplanned break in schedule. I've been cleaning up my laptop, something I never have time to do. And installing new Microsoft security measures, not that my Mac generally has that sort of problem. Basically, I'm just idling. It feels good.

As I rock gently on the porch slider, the neighborhood is filled with birdsong and sounds of gardening projects underway. The dogwoods are lifting their little hands to cup the sun on this first sunshiny day in a long time. I probably should be inside clearing a seat somewhere in my studio so Debby and I can relax after we spend this afternoon at Reston Town Center. But she might call any minute to say she's underway, so I'll just keep puttering.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

a mellow afternoon project

With a little free time on my hands this afternoon, I decided to play a stack of mellow jazz to help me stick with a somewhat tedious job I've been wanting to do in my studio for some time. I had just the right book pages to tear up, neither too old nor too literary. Set partly in Scotland (my paternal grandmother's birthplace), it flashed some catchy phrases here and there to perk my interest as I slowly tore through the book. Never did get the story line sorted out, but I could tell it was inventive, stoic and romantic, as the Scots in my family were, I'm told.

Melodic Stan Kenton started the afternoon set of CD's. Since my task required little attention, I reminisced about how long ago I began my love affair with jazz, jumpstarted early by finding boxes and boxes of hard vinyl records in my grandfather's basement. When I was entering high school in the late 50's, I started listening from the back stage areas to some of the visiting jazz bands that played at my uncle's Sunnybrook Ballroom in Pottstown, PA. Most vivid in my memory are The Dave Brubeck Quartet and Thelonius Monk.

One summer during college in the early 60's, after being hired to drive someone's Mustang convertible from PA to CA, I worked for Mark Thomas, keeping inventory of things like his wine cellar at his Outrigger Restaurant on Cannery Row in Monterey. Around the corner was the Spaghetti Factory, where I was regaled by "the last of the red hot mamas" singing on stage accompanied by black and white silent movies in the background. These robust women sheathed in sparkling red sequined gowns had fantastic voices, belting smoky hot favorites all evening. Mark Thomas had to vouch for me at any of the night spots since I always looked too young to be allowed in the door. And there was jazz everywhere, such as Ahmad Jamal performing at some small venue I can't remember.

Early in 1966, I started studies on scholarship in England, first at Oxford, then at the Polytechnic University of London. Despite my meager student stipend, I became a member at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, in his new digs on Frith Street. Being the only young female in regular attendance, I was taken good care of, with my special small table and favorite salad for dinner. Ronnie Scott was always the MC, a performance himself. There I came to appreciate Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, and many other visiting jazz musicians.

Eventually some 300+ book pages were torn and glued and my afternoon was gone, but my project still has a long way to go. I'm looking forward to another mellow afternoon. Meanwhile, since it may be a while before it's finished, here's a glimpse in progress to let you guess what I'm covering with all these book pages. Did you guess? It's the Making Memories Embellishment unit, and I've stacked three of them to equal the height of my bookshelves.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

anna griffin flora april layout

In this month's Anna Griffin layout class at Scrapbooks Plus, my new two-page layout design will feature another selection of her "Flora" papers, her only new line available to lss's so far this year.

Although a couple papers are repeated, allowing this month's layout to coordinate with last month's layout, the color range is different. We'll be shifting to the cooler side, with more blues and browns, including a special flocked butterfly paper, a butterfly die-cut paper, hand-cut flowers and a pleated frame embellished with ribbon tape. This floral layout will still lend itself to spring and Easter photos, but for another suggestion, I added a vintage photo to one page.

We've had so much cloudy weather lately, especially when I took these photos, that the warmth of the browns and green is not so evident as it really is. You can view the layout on the class board at Scrapbooks Plus. Please join me in class to continue our fun with paper techniques.

By the way, if you missed last month's class and would like to make the colorful coordinating layout to enhance this month's pages, a couple extra kits will be available in class.

You can see more of my Anna Griffin layouts created for my monthly classes elsewhere on my blog. I try to post the layouts each month, but sometimes I lack time or ... forget :) Hope you enjoy them!


Monday, April 06, 2009

one last weekend back in the ice rink


When my youngest son was in third grade, already in his fourth elementary school as we played musical houses to the tune of military assignments, an older friend on his soccer team suggested he check out the local ice rink on Fort Bragg, NC. Soldiers were volunteering their time and skills to start an ice hockey program for kids. Well, older friends are like beacons, aren't they? They show the way. Anyway, like many of his friends, he enjoyed roller blading around the neighborhood. It seemed an interesting challenge to try on ice skates.

So we signed him up for the program. On his first day at the small indoor rink, he was outfitted with the full borrowed regalia of a miniature hockey player, from helmet and protective pads at chest, elbows and knees, to a jersey, socks, skates and a stick. Then he was given the directive, "OK, now go skate." Kids of various ages were on the ice already, zipping around with various degrees of efficiency in all their gear. But our son had never been on ice skates before, much less with full body armor. An emergency one-on-one tutorial from a patient soldier allowed him to conquer moving forward while remaining upright. It didn't take long for him to figure out on his own the advantage of speed. Later in the session, after another brief but earnest tutorial, he finally grasped how to use his skates to stop instead of running full tilt into the boards.

From those couple months on the ice, under the encouraging guidance of volunteer soldiers, he developed a love of the freedom and complex skill sets of playing ice hockey. Travel soccer and lacrosse eventually had to give way while he played on the Washington Little Caps, then at his New England prep school, and finally in college. His smooth strong skating made him a standout on his teams, and his ability to read the ice like a chess game made him an excellent play maker and a team captain. I have to brag a little. You can understand.

So now he's finishing his national paramedic qualification before going on to med school. Having rejoined his UVA college team for one last year, he was selected with another UVA team captain to attend the first national ACHA All-Star Challenge in West Chester, PA, this past weekend. It didn't matter that his combined team of "southern universities" (as the big hockey guns called them) were not the tournament winners. He enjoyed the camaraderie, the knowledge that he could still assist and score against all that talent, and the opportunity to end his college playing days with a fun but selective honor.

Of course, his dad and I attended the tournament. After all the years of driving or flying all over the country, to Canada, and to Finland to sit in innumerable ice rinks, we couldn't miss this last weekend of huddling on cold bleachers, listening to spurts of blared music while waiting for the puck to drop, and adding our voices to the collective "yays" and "ohhs" as the games surged. He'll continue playing men's hockey, reffing games, and teaching young skaters. But I'm guessing our participation, even on the sidelines, is over. Now what to do with the goal cages sitting beside the garage?