Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April showers

Last summer I splurged and bought this set from an Amazon seller, which I have watched some of the videos whenever I get the massive travel urge. Home by myself-wow, what a thrill- and that travel urge is once again bubbling just below the surface. So yesterday I watched several shows on Turkey (looks like a really interesting place to visit) and today I watched one about ancient Rome-which was a great revisit from our trip several years ago. Saw the Forum, the Palentine, the Parthenon, and some places we didn't visit. What a fun thing to do when its wet and dark and you're alone.
Actually, been a great vacation so far. Sunday I made massive polymer clay tiles. Yesterday besides watching Rick Steves, I started to put together a mosaic for my mom for mother's day (finished it today so I can bring it to her house tomorrow when I go visit), cleaned my studio up a bit, ran some errands at Staples and AC Moore (needed more clay and some ink for the printer so I can print off more London photos later this week), and had dinner with my friend Lynnie at the Olice Garden. Today- I went back to bed after Katie caught the bus and slept until 9 (I love it!), went to the rubber stamp store in Laconia (don't go that way too often and I forget what great stamps she has!), finished my mother's mosaic, put some more stamps away ( took my clear alphabet stamps and put them into a 3 ring binder so their all together), visited my mother-in-law. Enjoyed my day, though it was busier today than yesterday.
Tomorrow I'm off for Paxton, MA to visit Mom. Will be a long day but will be nice to see Mom. I signed up for an intro drawing class with our local adult ed and that starts Thursday night, and one day I must clean out my closet and put the winter stuff away. Will get to it. The week is still young...
just having fun-even in the rain!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring vacation has arrived!

Spring vacation! A week of gorgeous spring weather last week. These photos are from my garden and yard as life is returning after one very very long winter.
So Katie was off last week- she had gorgeous weather- into the high 80's by Wednesday. I took a personal day that day, and she and I went to the Burlington mall down in Mass-her choice since it was her vacation. We had fun shopping-ate lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and had cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory before we headed home- with a quick stop at my craft store AE which was right off the highway home. Thursday she met me in Portsmouth after school and we saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall, not a bad chick flick.

Love these buds and blooms- took the photos yesterday afternoon. I cut out of work early and went with 2 boys to the fish hatchery here in town- learned a lot about raising fish-was a good visit even though I didn't get home very early. The guys are doing an ichtheology independent study which was why we went. They had little salmon spawn still with the eggsacs connected- very cool.
Also found out that Katie and I got our summer jobs up at the lake- should be working 1 morning a week for me which is a nice little extra change. Still waiting to hear about credits and this new teaching job- had a few nights of stress dreaming last week and now am ready to decide-depending on the credits and my retirement.
So today was sunny but cooler, I did 70% of my bark mulching and my legs are a bit sore. Also vaccuumed the upstairs, did some laundry, changed my sheets, went grocery shopping- BUSY day all around. But am happy about the mulching since some BLACKFLIES were out, and my goal was to beat all that. Been raking a bit most days all week, so am way ahead in my yard work.
So this week coming up- want to do clay and art!!!! Meeting a friend for dinner Monday, need to squeeze in a Mom visit. Who knows what else- there are LOTS of possibilities to explore. Maybe do nothing-if it rains as much as they predict. Strip some wallpaper, clean my freezer- see what happens and how ambitous I am.
But the best-no work for a week. And when I go back, countdown until summer!!!
Spring is so nice when we have it, vacation always is too, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Gorgeous Earth Day

Finally watched this movie this evening- and I really loved it. I'm a sucker for a good romantic love story. Wow- still thinking about it, that's good when movies make you do that.

Another gorgeous day. We've been having a whole string of them and I LOVE IT! Got more raking done after work- every day do a bit- now my gardens are all cleaned out-only the lawn left to do. Hopefully might barkmulch this weekend before the black flies appear. My crocuses are in full bloom, and, except for 2 small piles (really small)-the snow is GONE! Happy day.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Really Spring in NH!

See the small remaining snow pile, just above?

This is torture! Dave's car back in early March buried. Now, there is only a couple of really small patches of snow in the backyard. By tomorrow-it will all be gone. I have crocus blooming, daffoldils budding, robins hopping around the greening grass, buds growing larger on the trees, chirping birds. squeeking spring peepers. SPRING has arrived in NH!
Bought a bunch of stamping items on eBay this weekend-I really am naughty. Will kick myself later when I could use the cash for something else, but am in an addictive buying mood-
Made a bunch of tiles today too-today was green Celtic, leaves and then some bright flowers out of some single packs of polymer clay I had. Trying to get many tiles made so I can put together a bunch of mosaics for gifts and hopefully to sell.
Katie is off this week coming up but I have 1 more week to go. Not a bad week though- tomorrow am doing some applications for honors and AP kids and Wed. am taking a personal day to go out with Katie. I do need to do some job decision this week- been thinking a lot about it but still feel like its not a real decision. Only it is. That's the scary part.
Off too go put the pile of laundry away so I can find clothes in the morning. Love these longer days-my favorite things about spring is the light, the warming and the greening

Thursday, April 17, 2008

thoughts on rubber stamping

Took a trip to my favorite craft store today after work (Absolutely Everything in Topsfield, MA-I've mentioned it before), and that got me thinking about art. Specifically rubber stamping. I love to stamp-probably because my drawing is so poor and ugly. I am addicted to rubber stamps-buy too many, sell too few on eBay (my summer project), but LOVE my stamps. So thinking about it- what would be the bare necessities of a stamp collection. Here's my thoughts....
1) a diamond background pattern stamp
2) a writing background pattern stamp
3) some good word stamps- I like dream, poem, believe, etc.
4) some definitions- they make great additions
5) swirls are hot right now- I love swirls- but some swirls would be good
6) I was never big into postage until lately- maybe the last year. I love postmarks, PO markings, stamp stamps-they make great additions too
7) circles-I love circles-have a whole drawer full- whether their dots, large solids, rings, interlooping circles, dotted circles...
8) a good alphabet- at least 1
9) journaling stamps-for scrapping
10) leaves of some sort- they make great additions
11) big flowers are great as a main focus, small flowers-even tiny, make great little additions
12) some texture background stamps
13) I love numbers
14) for cards- some of the basic sayings like Happy Birthday
15) a few saying stamps-I love quote stamps and have too many, but they are great for all kinds of projects
16) some stamps of things you love- for me its architecture, birds (even before they were so hot), travel stamps, natural items, sun and moon stamps, tea and coffee stamps, sea/ocean items, sewing items
17) a few useful shapes like hearts, squares, stars
18) a few seasonal stamps for fall and the holidays
19) a few edges/borders
20) so with this pretty precise list, why can't I weed down my collection? Well, I don't want to for one, not yet at least, and I do have stamps I bought but then found out I don't use much- or least right now don't use much like I'm not a big people stamper, but I have a bunch, and I don't like too cute stamps or too "new age" stamps...
Maybe tomorrow I'll do my favorite supplies- for the moment...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another trip list

Ok, a few more trip items I just HAD to add. Tonight the theme is OLD!
1- Oldest ruts- gladiator tracks in the stone roads of Pompeii
2- Oldest ruts in the USA- wagon tracks worn into stone on the Oregon Trail in Wyoming
3- Oldest drawings-not sure which is older- petroglyphs in Northern Sweden and at the Valley of Fire in Nevada
4-Oldest sculpture-though I can't say I am a date expert-the wolf with her children at the Capitoline Museum in Rome (Romulus and Remus)
5- Oldest items that were spectacular (again-I don't have a very good mental time line)-the items in the King Tut exhibit from his tomb
6- Wow-oldest death marker- Ceasar's spot (where he was cremated) in the Forum in Rome
7- Oldest mummy that I can actually remember I saw- Cleopatra in the British Museum ( I've seen older but who can remember all their names)
8- Most bizzarre mummies- the cat and the rat who were mummified in one of Dublin's cathedrals- can't remember if it was St. Patrick's or Christchurch

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Look what I found in my garden- a garden still 1/2 covered with snow, and full of last falls leaves and other gook. Wow. Tomorrow they will be blooming- and the snow is REALLY melting away. I am so excited to see growth and rebirth after such a long winter.
Had my interview today. Now is the tough part- deciding. I swear- right now it is really and equal split. If I go, shorter commute, great technology, old building that needs work, all bio no electives. If I stay, long commute, good friends, seniority, knowing the ropes...
Thanks goodness I have some time to decide this.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Finding spring in small places

The snow is melting fast- everyday its more bare ground. Now its all brown and blah- I'll show you tomorrow- and I'm waiting for some green. This weekend had fun dreaming of spring and I made these ATCs. Had a blast playing with some new Hero Arts flower stamps- well not new as in I just bought them but new because I bought them back a bit (month or 2) and never used them yet. Also won this lot of 6 clear stamp sets by Inkadinkado on eBay a few weeks back because I wanted 1 set in the 6. Wasnt sure about these bug stamps-like the butterfly above, but now I love them. They look like cloth, which is cool. I made a few other ATC's over the weekend which I either haven't finished or finished after I photographed these, and I used some of the other bugs from this set- like an ant and a beetle. Then I used lots of clear glaze so the beetle actually pops up-fun.
So tomorrow I have a teaching interview- haven't had one in years and years. Not sure about the job but its much closer to home, my home district, and it would be nice not to have to commute. Lets see if I get wowed or not.
This week is MUCH LESS busier than last week, and I want to keep it that way. Katie is off next week but we're not off until the week after-can't wait. Maybe by then the snow will be gone and we might even be greening up a little bit...one can hope.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Really spring!

Thanks to the Smithsonian for these photos
OK, lots of melt going on-in fact, enough melt to look like it will all melt away. Actually bare spots-big ones- not like just the edges. (Though still some snow- will post photos later!)
But here's the big news- when my spring actually arrives. More accurate than the calendar and temperatures because these birds never return until its almost great weather.
Its the Eastern Phoebe- a fly catcher bug eating bird- and they nest under the eaves of Dave's workshop. I heard one this morning- with their scratchy "Phoebe" call, though need to go look and see-but with the rain today, and me cleaning the house-haven't gotten that far yet. Look for tail wagging-back and forth-that's what they do.
April12- on the late side-sometimes they're here in March- but they're back-yahoo!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The end of the week

From the last couple of posts, some photos-above: best castle Ruins-Ireland and below- best Ruins-Rome
End of an EXTREMELY BUSY week. Had midterm exams at school (still need to do some grading), had Leadership Teacher at Pease Air Guard Base and the Airport there, got my boating liscense-took a 2 night course and passed the test with 1 wrong out of 60- 9did the best in my house but must admit, really like beating Dave who got 3 wrong), had my hair cut, did the usual mom things and the work things and am BEAT!
Think this has become a travel blog over an art blog lately.
No, this blog is about life-art and travel are big parts of my life though.
Katie has school tomorrow morning to make up for 1 of her snow days. I was suppose to be doing the SESL team (a leadership competition) at school but things feel apart earlier this week, so now can hang home in the rain. Sleep. I am definately beat tonight.
And the snow is really going away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anyhow, should go grade the rest of my exams tonight, but am tired...I'd love me better in the morning if I did them though!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

More travel records

Having so much fun I decided to carry on some more.
More of the Mosts...
1. The best statue-a wow moment-David by Michealangelo (spelling?) in Florence
2. Most awe inspiring painting- a wow!- the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel (not sure I spelled the right either)
3. Most unique animal encounter-being at Seawall in Acadia National Park in Maine and having a bald eagle fly down and land not very far in front of us on the rocks
4. Most unusual reason for a traffic jam- buffalo watching in Yellowstone (why I have the most rush anywhere on my list yesterday)
5. Most tacky tourist restaurant-don't remember the name but it was in Custer, South Dakota and the sign was a big cowboy and inside was filled with taxidermied animals and I remember a big snake skin on the wall behind our table
Be back-need to go get Katie
Now I'm back after getting Katie and having fish and chips at Johnson's-a local restaurant
6. Most advertised item on a billboard-billboards for Wall Drug in South Dakota, Wyoming, etc.
7. Best speech by a park ranger-really captivating- at little Big Horn and also at Ford's Theatre
8. best ruins of castles and towers-Ireland
9. Best rubber stamp shopping on a trip- a tie- The Ink Pad in NYC and Blade Rubber Stamps in London
10. best rental car-our white VW Carbio convertable in San Diego
11.the city I liked the least that I have been too so far-Dallas, Texas
12.best church I have visited-Westminster Abbey in London
13. most rural drive -in the Maine townships and the drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
14. most excited to see trees-Katie when we arrived back in NH after visiting SD, WY,Montana, and Eastern Colorado
15-funniest encounter with wildlife- the burrow that came to Katie's car window in Custer State Park, SD
16-place we saw the most wildlife (as in types)- South Dakota around Mount Rushmore
17-one of my most favorite buildings-Flatiron Building in NYC
18-Best museums-American Museum of Natural History in NYC, Smithsonian Museum of American History in DC, Peabody Museum in Cambridge,MA, Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, and there are a bunch other so maybe this wasn't a good choice
19-Favorite cities-San Diego, San Francisco, BOSTON, Washington DC, London, NYC-also probably not a good question because I've liked a lot of cities I've visited
20-worst plane ride- (fortunately nothing bad with the plane) but a child screaming "I want my milk" and the parents saying no over and over as we fly over the entire Atlantic Ocean

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Travel list-the start of one at least

Its a beautiful day and I am in a great mood-unlike yesterday's stressed out mood from having too much to do. Took a walk, am going to boater safety class tonight, have been cutting out some alphabet stamps I bought eons ago from Ma Vinci's-putting them onto the backing for acrylic blocks. Little annoyed because I swear I had 2 letters for my Celtic alphabet and now I can't find them- so did I really have them or just need to find them in the pile of letters?
Who knows?

Am inpsired by a blog I was reading about a couple travels in the west and in Asia-John and Belinda's Excellent Adventure (http://www.cris.com/~Johnmc/). So here is my list from all my trips of the MOSTs....

The Most...
1-smelliest place was Yellowstone
2-best beach walking-San Diego
3-best airline service- British Air
4-best hotel room- Radisson SAS St. Helen's in Dublin
5-most shockingly expensive meal (and an eek because it wasn't anything fancy)-TGIFriday's in Dublin
6-most northern place I have been-Sweden north of Ornskaldvik
7-best sunrise/best inspiring moments-sunrise at the Grand Canyon
8-biggest rush to get somewhere-back to our hotel in Cody, WY from Yellowstone since we had no headlights on our car
9-biggest culture shock-Tijuana, Mexico
10-best travel stories-my sandal in SanDiego, Katie at Ford's Theatre in DC and plane trip home from Rome
11- best ruins- Rome/Pompeii
12-best meal-our prime rib dinner at the Grand Canyon
13-hottest spot-Mojave Desert at Lake Mead in August (like 121 degrees F)
14-coldest spot- Disney World in November when you expect 70's and it ends up like 40 at night and like 50 in the day
15-most boring drive-can't remember the route- up Eastern Wyoming from Fort Laramie before you cut over to the Black Hills
16- the most Murphy's Law situation- it rains in the dessert once or twice a year and we hit it- Ango-Borrego (spelling) in California
17- the biggest surprise- Dave discovering National Parks are cool when we visited Yosemite and he complained before we got there that he had to visit nature
18-the best find- Dave discovering and telling Katie and myself about the National Park Passort Books at Mount Rushmore
19-the most unhappy child- a tie-Katie at the Badlands and at Yellowstone
20-the most unique hike- the narrows at Zion
21-the most visited restaurant- visit the Hardrock (if there is one)
22-the oldest man-made place we visited- the tomb at Newgrange in Ireland
21- the most lost we've been- driving in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland
22-the most questionable drive- getting off the highway in Nevada to go to the Valley of Fire State Park- it was a dirt road into the desert with no signs at first
23-the most repeated statement made on a trip-Dave in Custer State Park in South Dakota calling out the window to the antelope "Hey Antelope"-we still tease him and its been 5 years
24-the most times we stopped for a hotel room and were told there was none available- driving home from Niagara Falls and finding nothing from Syracuse all the way through Albany
25-the weirdest place we visited- the Edgar Allen Poe House in Philly because it was a slightly not so great neighborhood and it was an empty house-

Monday, April 7, 2008

Notes and comments

Note- we are down to 1 feet 6 inches of snow on the gauge. But its suppose to be above 40 degrees all week.
Comment-Love it.
Note- Work was extremely busy today- one thing after another non-stop. Could barely even get to the bathroom.
Comment- I left cranky and frustrated and refused to do any grading tonight. I did make some spring ATCs and cut out some stamps I am putting on backing to use with acrylic blocks
Note-Dave was upset at work today and I'm worried he'll just quit
Comment- I have to have faith he won't. he's a repsonsible guy afterall.
Note-I did pre-order those stamps.
Comment- I'm stupid dumb and b ad with money. But I am excited to have some new acrylic letters coming.
Note-I keep having these crazy dreams at night. The kind that leave you exhausted when you wake up, like you've lost control or can't get to where you want to go.
Comment- What is bugging me? Is it just that I was so busy last month and this week and I hate being that busy.
Note- 3 weeks until spring vacation.
Comment- Can't wait.
Note- I'm tired and going to go to bed.
Comment- Be back later.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday afternoon

A gray day-though not cold and not snowing. Actually, the road was slightly soft but not muddy this morning so I could get back into my morning walking routine-at last-usually I'm out mid-March. I enjoyed my walk so much.

Made some more clay tiles for a while today. Want to make some pieces to sell and give as gifts. Working on some blue tiles with an ocean theme- still have a lot more to do but needed to put a pot roast in the oven for dinner. PLus, its the kind of day that good for a nap...which is on my agenda after I finish this.

So I'm looking at these new Hero Arts letters trying to decide if I should pre-order or not. here's my pros and cons:

  1. Its a lot of money- like $130.00, but it is 5 different fonts-complete 26 letter sets of each. Its also those frames, flowers and a little bird.
  2. I love the little frames.
  3. I like the birds but a lot of them are similar and like other Hero Arts birds recently released.
  4. The little flowers are nice, especially the few I have in bigger forms.
  5. I really like the frames.
  6. Think the way to make them useful is to take the letter sets apart and to do those acrylic stamp notebook pages (from Sunday International) with each alphabet complete and then the birds complete, flowers, etc. I think it would be a pain to dig out whole pages of letetrs as you need them. (Think I should do that with the month sets I have. I think Hero Arts needs to make a small notebook to put these into.
  7. I liked the old letter sets Hero Arts put out because they had a BIG letter and lots of items that were related to the letter (like Kimono for K). These really don't have that, but the old sets were like $14 a letter so it added up really fast.
  8. I like cursive style letter and the big plain letter a lot.
  9. Would I use them enough? I get kind of lazy putting letters together sometimes.

What do you think? I don't mind spending that money if I'd use them enough. But its still a lot of $$$. If you like them, check them out at StampingOnline. She's a really good seller, ships fast and lets you pre-order without paying until they are ready to ship- but you should realize that pre-ordering does mean you will be paying for them. Its only right. And shipping is free over $45 or so.

I'm back a few hours later. Did take a nap and put laundry away and eat dinner. And talked to my mom. Which frazzled me. Often does, but she went to a cousins retirement party today and she just LOVES this woman- more than me, and just says things she doesn't know about and says they are absolutely true and in the process hurts my feelings and makes me feel like like I am nothing. Why do I let her get to me? Always. She and I are SOOOOO different in many ways, and our views of the world are sooooooooo different. She has narrow vision too, which is ok, she's happy with it, but it rubs me wrong and I take things personally. I don't know if she realizes how much she puts me down- and I'm not sure she does it with purpose...but ARGH! I never get credit for anything with her. (And she wonders why I moved away-which is NOT what anyone is suppose to do in her mind but I would have been really NUTS by now if I stayed there).

Also, have decided everyone but me has spring. I know that's not true, but I don't have to go far to get away from snow- work in fact. Portsmouth has no snow. I want green. I want flowers and leaves budding. I am I here in NH? Why didn't I go somewhere that has spring and I would be better inside...I know, because my mother insulted me like she did with college when she said if I went away I would drop out in a couple of weeks and move home...not that I remember her insulting me about moving away after college...so I shouldn't blame her, but it was all these silly rules she and my dad had...wish I had been born into a different family. Wish I had been encouraged to be me, who I really am, instead of trying to to be someone who made them happy.

Ah, if I knew at 20 what I know now.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day by Day the Melt Continues...

Although there is something exciting about watching the snow melt away-what's left is brown and dirty and so March, not April. I'll take it though!
Instead I've included some photos of my travel journal that I kept while in London. I love having this journal because its great to keep a log while you're actually in a particular place. Lots of details get recorded that wouldn't be recorded later, and I TRY to make it like the place I'm at. Of course I would, right? And then, when you go to scrap your photos later, you have the details. Its authentic as we say in education. What was fun is I went to Blade Rubber Stamps while in London and got to buy some cool local stamps which I used on some of these pages. How much better can you get?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The good news is its April!!!

Warm-like in the 60's and high 50's, but gray with some rain. Snow is going down and away- but here at home its still there- just brown, dirty and less than before. Don't know what's up with me lately- haven't scrapped in a week (ok, I did do all my clay tiles this weekend and I was in Boston a few days and sometimes you just need a break from a project like doing a travel book) and am soooo sleepy. Hard to get up, hard to stay up at night. Think I need SUNSHINE and blue sky and warmth. Think I need to go for a nice walk. Sunday I thought it would be great to go down to York Beach and walk, but it was late in the day and I didn't feel like traveling. Maybe this weekend-if its sunny and not too blustery. I have been in a reading mood- though not getting too much read lately as when I came home from Boston Saturday I napped and tiled, plus Sunday was chores, tiling...Am now also putting some of my unmounted alphabet stamps onto those peel and stick backings, so I can use the acrylic blocks. I hate digging out letters and this way I can see if they all go together. Who knows how much I even have for sets as I sold a bunch of random letters last summer on eBay. I will admit I love organizing my things as much as I do using them.
Really enjoying the book I've shown above- Mistress of the Art of Death. Read some before dinner, now I might read some more while I wait for Dave to get home. One exciting arty thing that's happened is that I've managed in the last 2 weeks to buy some stamps on eBay I have wanted but can't find. Older stamps. One is a small set called Provence, the other is a Tin Can Mail Stamp that's a map of China, India which refers to tea growing regions. That's exciting. I also bought a bunch of Sculpey III at AC Moore yesterday in hopes of making more tiles this weekend. Have some more mosaic ideas and would love to make some to put out for sale.
Keep thinking about another trip, though I haven't the money for that. A roadtrip though. Its the weather. This winter has been so long. Last year we had late snow but a milder early winter. Some years the snow is done by Feb. But this year, we have piles of snow and winter just hasn't ended. Plus my road is MUD. Oh spring in the north of New England. But at least I can say spring!