Sunday, February 28, 2010

Navy Life

This was a ship, a destroyer, that my husband was on, back in 1999. He deployed to Hawaii; we stayed in Maine, til the ship arrived in Honolulu. When the ship arrives in port, there is a huge ceremony; they put a lei on the brow of the ship.
It is so impressive to see everyone in dress whites, a board the ship in formation. It really makes you feel proud of your extended family!

Hawaii, was definitely on my mind, yesterday with Tsunami warning.
I have been fortunate to live in both Alaska and Hawaii. Alaska twice, Adak and Anchorage, then in Honolulu, Hawaii.
I took on the hang loose attitude and my signed my name Ellei. I was planning to go to back to college, for acupuncture; it was a great place for this type of education.
There is a relaxed vibe in this state, hawaiian wear is worn during business meetings and people greet you with a lei when you arrive. It was scary, yesterday to wonder if Hawaii would be destroyed, I am thankful they weren't, but sad for Chile.

When I reflect back, I have met a lot of people from other countries, Holland, Spain, England, Australia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Scotland, Japan and German. I am grateful for their friendship; this gave me a different kind of passport.

Sometimes Navy life has been exhausting, draining, and sad. My husband has been away most of our anniversaries, missed a lot of birthdays and sport, school moments. Last year, he missed we made a fake Don, Dad. We plopped him on the love seat with his laptop and our hound joined in the ruse. He said, he wanted to be home; I said, you are home in our hearts.
I sent him photos of his fake self via email.

All n' all, it has been an adventure, driving on the Al-Can highway, seeing black timber wolves, riding a ferry from Bellingham, WA to Haines, Alaska, climbing glaciers, boogie boarding in Hawaii, living through earthquakes, tremors and volcano eruptions. I have made a lot of friends and hung my hat in a lot of states. It has been an adventure of a lifetime; I didn't sign up to be in the Navy, but I am. It has been quite a trip...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Loosen your Soul

Spring fever has hit me; even though it is 42 here with wind gusts, up to 50mph, the wind chill is sharp. I think this year, March is going to come in like a lion and out like a lamb.
I want color in my house, plants that are blooming, easter eggs pastels and pussy willows.

When I made this card, it reminded me of looking forward to my green thumb. I love to experiment with my window boxes, container gardens and my railroad tie garden. We will have more sun this growing season without all the trees. I still miss my trees, our trees, the trees.(a lot of people are also affected by this project).

My husband gets fishing fever, when the weather starts to get warmer; Me, I want to get growing. I think when I head out to do a few errands, I'm going to get me some peat pots and seeds and get an early start.

Spring gives us hope of the change that is to come, as things start to blossom, so does my motivation. It is a shift, a tilt towards reawakening my soul.

The seed cannot sprout upwards without simultaneously sending roots into the ground.

- Ancient Egyptian Proverbs

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Happy Accident

I made gumbo this week. My daughter handed me a bag of what I thought was flour, it wasn't, it was confectionery sugar.(I had dumped the bag out into a ziplock and didn't mark it, my fault). I thought the roux, turned brown to quick. I also was stunned, when I add the veggies and it turned into a peanut brittle texture. I tried, tried again, 3 times before the roux, came out right and I
continued on. My husband said, it was the best one, I've made yet. My secret, okay, not mine, Emeril says
to add 1/2 can of beer. My secret was I did add some of the sweet roux, it was a mistake, a happy accident~

I started playing with some ideas, sketching and writing, during my morning pages. I thought about how my creative juices have been simmering sooo long. I have put off my artistic urges for others and my to do list. Why? I think the voices from my past have haunted me.

I thought about the joy of creating and that has been missing for me. I feel I can't live up to my expectations. The end results is so much better in my mind's eye and I think this defeats me.
I think I will just do art for joy, play with paint, touch the vintage fabric I have acquired, grab the images I have tucked away. Jump in, just do it, lunge into the unknown. I think everyone has to find their style, your imprint, your identity.
I think sometimes we look to much at other people's work and we lose our vision. We need to write, draw, play and unleash our view.
I have posted some of my mistakes; perhaps I shouldn't of done that, but for me, I will hopefully look back and see that i have grown. I will see my accidents and be happy that I attempted to do this or that, even though I will see it differently. I can always change it....
I hope I will see more happy accidents as I learn to move forward.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ring around the Rosie

Yesterday ,my daughter had a birthday party to attend. I wanted to help her creatively wrap the gift;she wanted a traditional look.. We compromised! I made these cute little pipe cleaner rose rings. I saw this on Martha Stewart's wedding show. We tied one on her friend's present and used green ribbon to attach it. It was my only personal touch.

I want to make my Mom a small spring type basket-she loves flowers. I have sent her flowers in the past, but this needs to be a hands on kit. I am including the peat pot dots ,some seeds, gloves for the bow and a rose made out of money, for take out food or another treat. Mom for years said her favorite color was brown, I use to think it was because of dirt. I asked her, is that why? "No", she said, "it is because I look good in brown." Now, it is black, this color has various meanings. I will
enclose a black rose ring. I guess they really do have black roses right?! (pics of basket tomorrow; waiting for my camera battery to charge).

Friday, February 19, 2010

It is a Wonder

Funny, lately everything is coming up rabbits. I signed up to do Karla Nathan's Alice in Wonderland Tag Swap. My morning pages a few days ago, I wrote , I need to pull a rabbit out of a hat, so my family, gets that I am not wasting my time. Then I randomly picked up a book, just now " The Jane Austen Book Club" by Karen Joy Fowler, and opened it and this is what it said, p. 50-51, "I suppose," Allegra conceded, "if the writer's not allowed to pull an occasional
rabbit out of a hat, there would be no fun in writing a book at all." Then I tried again, "art cannot be enjoyed unless it is approached with love." Third times a charm right, here i go: "Things worked best if you didn't think about them. Just Jump" (into the rabbit hole, maybe, I do tend to hesitate, sometimes)

I first started opening books at random when I saw this movie, you are gonna love this title,
Next Stop Wonderland.

The main character opened books at random, looking for signs. Meanwhile
what was meant to be, was right in front of her. I don't think her name was Alice, no it was Erin.
She was lost and confused, though, a lot like Alice.

My daughter is reading the book, "Speak", she doesn't know anything other than the swap, I mentioned. She hollers at me to come here, on p. 144, it says "My house is shrinking and I feel like Alice in Wonderland"......"If Alice in Wonderland were written today, I bet she'd have a super sized order of fries that said, "Eat me", instead of a small cake.
I told her about this post and she agreed, I need to start making the strange is that!

Wish I could offer you a spot of tea, but I'm late....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Art Date

A beautiful old home, love those pillars, right in the middle of downtown.
Window shopping, I caught my daughter's reflection in this vintage mirror on a radio?
Another window shop item a heart shaped bird cage, had fabric wrapped around it.

Today, I had an art date with me, myself and I and my daughter. She is an honor student and
I allow her, 1 day to take a frazzled day off. We needed to recharge our batteries; seems like
we have had a lot of colds, allergies and flu threats going around. I was going through some boxes
and found a book, called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I have glanced at this before...but at the time we were moving and there was too much going on to settle into the mindset of exercises to free my artist. I have moved 17x in 25yrs...lots of sorting, packing, unpacking, shoving and tucking things here and there.
This time I plan to commit to the exercises in this book. You need to write in the morning get the cobwebs out and then there are art dates. Today was the day...
I have been doing the morning pages, yesterday, I wrote about feeling like a magician. I need to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Lately, I am struggling, no place to do the crafting, i want to do. The support is wavering, sometimes fine, sometimes what are you doing? Then the self doubt moves in . I'm moving onward; my inner voice, is begging me, too.
Whenever I haven't listened to her, ( my intuition), it hasn't gone well.
A bad car accident one time, another, trying to cross an island causeway, when the tide was coming. We tried to hike around an island ; I had read the newspaper and the time of the high tide...well, it came in faster then we expected. This wasn't my idea and I didn't want to go..I should of listened to my inner voice.

So, here are a few pics, I really wanted to go a few more places, but ran out of time. Next time
I'm going to this shop it has a home feel vibe, lots of felting items and this old desk has
tiny draws, with wonderful scented candles inside and the owner makes homemade lemon poppy seed soap. Then there is new chocolate shop, with a showcase of delectable gems, regular and sugar free. I love English toffee; I know someone was disappointed, we didn't make it there.
It was really cold and it started to rain, so we finished off our art date with a cappuccino and hot chocolate with whip creme. It was just what the intuitive Dr ordered!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let the Games Begin...

Lately, my artistic endeavors feel like an Olympic event. My time is off, my pace isn't right,
my skis aren't cooperating. In reality, there just has been a lot going on, since the Olympics began.
We had to run and get gifts for Valentine's day, we thought we were done, but there was a hint, we weren't( fun), then we had to bake gifts,( good times), then we had to clean house to have boyfriend and friends over. (my daughter's boyfriend, lol) We baked him a cookie the size of a pizza, and decorated it. Had to work on my/our technique. We had to run to town to buy heart shape pizzas, hurry back to make sure cookie wasn't burnt. Then everyone leaves, clean up. Next day, plan for Navy friends to come over for dinner, run to VA, Dr's appt, run to Lowe's get paint supplies, run home, clean, prep for dinner. Dinner went well, but we had a few obstacles and I had to clean my work space(the table), tuck and hide everything away and start dinner. The guests said they would be later, so I delayed(the event) then they arrived early. Oh, is like that...

I think of the Olympic dreams the work, the desire, the underlying tension and the thrill of winning and the agony of defeat. It is not how you start, it is how you finish. Try, try again...

It is an emotional roller coaster, sadness, heartache, broken dreams, and undeniable joy! There are goosebumps, tears and ranting at the TV! Our hearts go out to the family, who lost their son, the young man whose death on the luge training was gut wrenching. Then the
Canadian mogul skier Bilodeau, whose brother has celebral palsy and the older snow boarder,
Seth Wescott, then there is Hannah Kearney's brilliant performance.

I know doing art can't compare, but in reality for me, I don't have my own space, yet... I have to
bring my supplies elsewhere, set up, train(do art) then pack up and begin again, tomorrow or whenever time allows. Some people have a lot of support, some don't. I am in the don't camp.(My daughter is supportive and thanks for me for being creative).
The rest of my family , just doesn't get it, the mess, the what are you doing, etc. I suppose there are Olympian that have friends, that don't understand their passion. Whatever your passion is
don't you have the right to unleash it, try it, discover why you are draw to it, whatever it may be.
I try to explain to my husband, art for me is like fishing for you. You love to go, that peaceful flow that you get into, , whether you catch anything or not. It is a need, a must, something you have to do, for your soul. Doesn't your soul deserve to play, to go into the wilderness of your intuition and find out why you are drawn to this medium. I think I will win him over, I guess I just haven't caught the big one, yet. When I do, then he will see, my big catch is different, but brings the same results..then we will argue, that he can eat his catch of the day and I can't!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gifts from the Heart

I made these cards, I thought they would go well, with the colors and sentiment of the holiday.

This pink depression ware plate was a gift from my Mom, with a set of pink champagne glasses. I had just turned twenty-one. She had a few more heirlooms to pass down. She also picked up a few odds n' ends at various flea markets. She told me to use them, not to tuck all those special things, away. Enjoy them, yes, they make break, but it is meant to be enjoyed /used. We share gifts from the heart, often. Sometimes I will mail her sprigs of rosemary, from my garden. She mailed me lilacs from Maine to Florida; the thought was there, but they were cooked when they arrived. I have received lily of the valley bulbs,an angel food cake pan, a squash from her garden, and special pins, that I wore when I was little, now vintage finds. When I think about what I have mailed people, it is really unusual, to say the least. I mailed my husband car parts, when he lived on a remote island(which later, I moved to).
I have mailed gardenia petals rolled up in fine linen napkin to give my Mom the sweet scent of the south. I have mailed Ulu knives from Alaska; One year, I mailed, volcanic ash, it is great on the garden.
When my husband has been out to sea, they were running out of coffee, I mailed coffee and tea to the ship. Then it was peanut butter, then milk...not going there, unless it is powdered.(yuck).

I still think it is wonderful and special to receive tiny gifts of sentiment, no matter what the occasion. It is great we have a holiday, like Valentine's to brighten the winter doldrums and add some color to our mood. I think we should do it at random, as well. Surprise someone you know who is going through a tough time. Most often the gift of time is the greatest gift to give, but also the best to receive!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Love: the only game two can play and win. Isn't love a gamble, take a chance, toss of the coin, roll of the dice. They say unlucky in cards, lucky in love or is it the other way around. My Auntie Bev loves to gamble;
My Mom calls her the Queen of Beano. (This card is for her). The game of chance, isn't that what love is? We don't know how it will all turn out, it is like the Wheel of Fortune or maybe like
Forest Gump's, box of chocolates, "you never know, what you are going to get." " A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" ~William Shakespeare. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
~Margaret Wolfe Hungerford. There are so many quips and quotes about love, everyone's opinion is different, but supposedly there is someone for everybody. Who hasn't heard this expression! We grow up with the fairy tale versions, someday our prince will come... perhaps,
Snow White really loved one of the dwarfs, but for great reviews and ticket sales, we had to have the tall, good looking one, be her love interest. Belle chose a beast, lucky girl, he turned out to be tall, dark and handsome.

Love is a lot like the game Risk, you have to take on what lies ahead, have courage to go into the unknown. A few things have changed, but it is basically the same game. The game of love/life are the same; you have to take risks!

So, I am going to take more risks, amp it up a bit, throw caution to the wind, and " Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?"~Frank Scully

Trees to be continued

Well, I guess I need to make another tree, one that goes with my Feb. 8th post. The one I made was from being inspired, by
Becky Shander's recycled heart tote in Green Craft Magazine.
I have been dealing with trees cut near our property, so I thought, I'd do a tree heart. Well, while making it, I thought about my life, as a military spouse. I have moved, a lot. Then when I thought about my roots, I started to remember the trees in my yard, at my childhood home. I was 5yrs old when I moved in and stayed til I was twenty-three. My description of my
childhood memories of the trees that gave so much, doesn't fit my tree heart. So, at some point I will try to
do a tree, that reflects, my childhood tree memories.
I am not saying when, but some day there will be a
"Trees to be continued post." Or, perhaps I should say:
T-try, try again
R-reach for more, strive for better
E-Ella's(my real name is Ellen)
E-Edge(my style, which I am trying to find)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Muse is not Amused

I gave up caffeine, when the calendar turned to the New Year. I have gradually weaned myself down to 1-2 cups a week. In reality I started in December, but became more conscious, at the start of 2010. My Muse isn't amused with this decision, I am dragging energy wise, headaches, and moody. I never over did caffeine; okay, i did. When you have thyroid levels up and down, the first thing you do is abuse caffeine and chocolate. I still have my favorite coffee, just now decaf. I know I will level off and my energy will be more even, more stable. Just lately with darker gray days and no pick me up, I find my brain is in a fog.
My Muse misses her artificial stimulation and so do I. I long to go to my
favorite coffee house and get the real thing, but I will try to be diligent.
As for chocolate, can't do it, I have tried....just trying to be more choosy, go smaller and make better choices.
So, for now, I am using exercise, like I did before for my brain boost, my energy break. My muse isn't thrilled, but today was better. .
I have an Italian bump in my nose, love my cappuccino and lean like the Tower of Pisa. Mmmh, my Muse must be Italian! ( I pulled muscles in on the left side of my back, doing my old favorite
exercise dvd). (My tree heart is almost done; I was sidetracked, my daughter had 1/2 a day yesterday and we had to go Valentine shopping and a birthday party). Today my husband came home early, at noon. So hopefully tonight I will finish...

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Giving Trees

I remember growing up in Maine, with these 2 massive maple trees in our yard. No one else on the street had trees this size. We had the "hang house" on our street, the trees provided the perfect shade on a warm summer day. This allowed us to enjoy, numerous picnics and tea parties. When Fall arrived, we had lots of help raking leaves, huge piles over 6ft high. We would line up, run and jump into them. I can remember the first night in our new house. It was an older home and the branches from the trees, scratched the windows all night. We had a Nor'easter, wind gusts coming off the bay. It was a two story home, with other alluring features, when you went upstairs, 2 stairs were hinged. We found old dishes and newspapers inside. We had a huge porch lined with windows. My Mom used it like a greenhouse and we could play inside on rainy days. The trees kept our house shaded in the summer and allowed us to have more friends over. Time went by and after many seasonal storms the trees were moaning and it was feared they would snap and fall onto the house. One huge branch had extended too far near the power lines and CMP(Central Maine Power) had to trim the overhang. This became the beginning of the end. We have many happy memories of trees, everyone in the neighborhood, has been to our house for a picnic or summer night guitar party. I think of Shel Silversteen's book The Giving Tree I remember fondly when i first read it. My son was 3 yrs old...he loved it and so did I; we talked about grammie's trees. When I go home now, it is sad not see the trees, but their memories linger like the salty air, permeating and calming.

Trees, give us so much, but what I treasure most is the memories they helped create and how every season, their changing moods, changed ours.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hearts are everywhere....

Hearts are everywhere this month! A lot of blogs have
heARTS, tutorials, heart sharing and displays. Here are a few I have found.

My son and my Mom, found these mussel shells on the shore in Maine. They hunted for awhile to give me this rare gift. He was 4 at the time; he is 21 now. Time flies doesn't it... I remember being thrilled, i have always looked for signs in nature, especially hearts.

Chrissy of Cul*ti*vate has a 14 day Heart observation.
Some nature finds, some unique ones.

Becky Shander
, shares a cute Greencraft Valentine project!
I'm a working on mine, now...hope to post soon. I have been a bit distracted.

Rebecca Sower
is filling the world with hearts on her blog.
Her passion for aiding Haiti, is amazing. I still need to make something
for her etsy store, Haiti by Hand. My daughter's school has a project it is
called, "Helping Haiti",they are sending specific supplies. My husband's ship has been doing fundraisers and the Navy is still there. His ship is still in the yards. A lot of local churches
are also sending items.

This can't compare to any major world events, but I have struggled lately with what is going on in my back yard. I found myself calling the sheriff, today-I live in a small town. We live near swamp lands. We were told they were environmentally protected; recently we found out, the trees were sold for the wood..huh?
They were too close to my land. There had not been a representative come to the door, stating, "We will be behind your house tomorrow". They were crossing my yard; I couldn't put my dog out, because wood chips were flying everywhere. I found the layout of our land. We own 2ft into the swamp. The cutting was getting too I called and it was stopped today, til the boundaries are confirmed. It makes me sad to see all these trees up rooted and all the animals that are losing their homes. Yes, today, I was a Tree hugger.

I am making a heart with a tree on it...didn't get it finished, but thought it would be appropriate.
It is shocking to go out in my backyard now. Everyone says, It will grow up fast. My husband
thinks we should fill it in with sand and pretend it is our own personal beach. This swamp is 1 mile, from the top of the street to our house. There will be a lot more trees falling. Just makes me sad...
I have many <3's; Nature is one of them!

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. - Dalai Lama

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Roses n' Thorns

This month's focus is on matters of the heart:
arrows of love..., heart break, and matters of taking care of your (muscle) the heart. Love can be personal and private or
in your face. People, sometimes, shout off the roof top or jump on Oprah's couch. Love can affect all your senses. Do you do what you love for a living? Do you have a special bond with a significant other, a child, friend(s)? and/or a favorite pet? "What the world needs now is love sweet love"...
"All you need is love", Love songs "I love you just the way you are"...
Your heart sings...if not there are plenty of love songs to remind us.

On the TODAY SHOW, Mrs. Obama said they discuss with their girls at dinner, the best and worst moments of their day, (the roses and the thorns).
Something good and something bad. I thought this was interesting! I try with my daughter, before bed, to discuss the best thing that happened to her, that day. I like the idea of her focusing
on a positive memory before counting sheep. I do think we do need to vent about the bad, just need to keep it brief. I think sometimes if we don't, it eats at needs to be released and let go. Heartache is also a focus this month; so is the Go Red campaign. Heart disease awareness for women; a great month to get this message out there. No matter, what side you stand matters of the heart. Heartache, heartbreak, or your heart is joyful. Remember Listen to heart, take the time to tune into what you need. If no one gives you a special Valentine; this year, give one to yourself. Love yourself, others will follow!

(photo courtesy of Jackson n' Perkins catalog)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Act Bird Like......

We had a nasty storm; it is rare to have snow on the ground for more then 24 hrs in the south. We have had snow since Friday; rain is arriving later today. I normally don't feed the birds in the south; I have in the north, due to the climate. I saw so many birds looking for food, I couldn't help, but throw out some stale crackers and cereal, for them. I don't feed the birds, because of the weather, but also because of the food chain. The bird seed attracts mice and mice attract snakes.
I strongly dislike snakes. I know, the snakes are hibernating, but never does all the seed get eaten.

I was thinking about the patterns of birds and how people who are creative, share similar traits.

I know I sound bird brained, but listen.... If you are creative you are always hatching ideas, then you flutter about gathering your supplies. You find a nest to craft in, you twitter, tweet and chirp, your ideas to friends. Then you need to hop to it. (birds do hop) Sometime we hover over our next move, perch a little too long. Then we put our work out there; we preen a bit, when we hear chirps of delight. If we don't hear what we want our feathers get ruffled and then we might cry. We hoped our idea would have wings and people would sing our praises. It is best to use your homing skills; Just remember don't peck at yourself to long. Everyone broods, soon another idea will hatch and you'll be singing a different tune.

You should visit Dawn, she is a gifted artist that uses a lot of bird images and really knows how to feather her nest!

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.
William Blake

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
-- Langston Hughes.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson
US poet (1830 - 1886)
(I painted this little blue bird, I saw in my yard, back to the nest to paint more birds)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mom's Next Art Kit

I made several art kits, trying to figure out which one to send my Mom.
She has been a shut in, since November. She fell and broke her right leg and heel. The seed catalogs have been arriving and I was inspired to make a flowery type kit. She has
a huge green thumb and love of nature. I am torn between which one to send her. There is a sewing kit, with felted petals for her to make into flowers. I also made a jewelry one, and a scrapbook one with a chipboard book. I am thinking of making a crochet type one. She use to crochet and sew. I am finding it hard to pick. I also am thinking of maybe submitting one of them to Somerset Life, they are always looking for art kits. I have
a few others, but these photos came out best. Funny, the orange one has a lot of yellow in it, that isn't showing up. I am also making these cute recycled birds that I may submit to Green Craft Magazine, which comes out today! I love all their magazines, but these two, speak to the yin and yang of my tastes. I love the beauty and elegance of Somerset Life and the practical, recycled eco friendly style of Green Craft Magazine. There is something for everyone, you should check it out.