Monday, July 28, 2014

August Swap Completed...

Once again I was able to participate in A Swap For All Seasons.  The month of August was themed "Just My Style" and had no color designation.  This is the card and tag I created to send out.  Summer is my favorite season and this image just said Summer to me.

I contacted Joyce whom I was to send to.  Her blog is Scrap for Joy.  I found out she likes red and aqua so I gathered a few destash items in those colors and sent them off.  The one item in purple was her favorite...a bubble wand.  Blowing bubbles is also a very Summer thing to do.  Actually for me it is any season.  Joyce was very sweet and let me know she really liked her package.

All of this is what I received from May of May's Happy Daze blog.  Not only did May mail from the UK she stuffed the envelope ever so full with all of these wonderful goodies!  Her card and tag are elegant and I love them. I am "gobsmacked" with all the beautiful and generous paper images, ribbons, buttons, laces, bits and bobs, and even some tea to sip while creating.  Thank you very very much May.  I am "chuffed to bits".

I truly love this swap Linda has created and facilitated.  Thank you Linda.  I will be signing up for September!  After all Halloween is not far away.  My calendar pages are turning faster and faster as I try to keep up.  Are you already creating for Halloween?  I know my daughter is already purchasing and preparing for her 2nd annual Halloween Epic Party.  I missed last year and will probably miss this year too.  Actually I don't do scary very well.  I attended Knott's Berry Farm Halloween event one year and that was too scary for me.  I about died while sitting outdoors having dinner and some sort of unseen Zombie grabbed my ankle under the table.  Never!  Again!  Ever!  I get scared just normally and that was too much for me!!!
Wildfires continue in too many places.  So far we are safe.  Prayers continue for all those affected.  We truly need rain...lots of rain.  No lightening...just rain!
I have been spending all my spare time and beyond sorting beads.  Upcoming post for certain.
What have you been doing as July comes to a close?
Creative Bliss Continues...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paper Pocket Card...

My friend Ana of Scrappy Pink Corner blog sent me a lovely card with a pocket containing lots of embellishing goodies (no bad).  Thank you Ana, I love it all.  Well, you might have done what I did.  Yes, I deconstructed her card very carefully so as not to ruin it and then proceeded to make my own. Out of one 12" x 12" piece of cardstock you can make two paper pocket cards.  There is probably a die cut for these however I merely used my trusty pencil, ruler, scissors and score tool.
This tea themed one is in the mail.  I couldn't resist.  I also mailed out a few others but didn't take photos.

This one I sewed the edges as opposed to using glue or tape.  I used a postage stamp that arrived on another card I received and am sharing it with its originator.

In the pocket I placed a clear transparency cut to size with a glitter butterfly stitcker that can be reused.  The first photo card pocket holds a tea bag in keeping with the paper's theme.  I have mailed ribbon and lace in the pockets of some others.
This is a very quick and easy craft and one I like so well I will make lots more to send out.  Any time I can send a little giftie along makes me happy.
What do you think of this Paper Pocket Card?
We are still without any rain.  I do not consider a "spit" to be rain and it certainly didn't even coat the deck let alone the ground.  Mr. C and I did some weeding last evening and it was more like scraping the hard clay ground as opposed to pulling and getting any roots.  Our lawn is turning fashionable California Brown 2014.
My prayers are continuing for all of Washington State and Oregon who are experiencing horrific wildfires. California has managed to put out most of its fires so far.
I have just finally finished editing our Holiday photos and will be sharing some more of our travels with you very soon.  Now Mr. C is building DVDs of our photos which is nice to view on the TV screen.
Summer Sunshine (Winter Sparkle) and Creative Bliss...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bonjour Provence Hilltowns...

Another photo heavy post.  I find it very difficult to condense over 2000 photos into just a few to share with you.  When Mr. C and I travel we love to explore the old town centers as opposed to the newer parts of any town.  So on our recent trip to Provence France where we stayed in St. Remy we drove to many hilltowns and explored their ancient charms.  We also take very different photos.  I like charm and he likes life scenes.  I turn the camera to the right and he turns it to the left.  We balance one another very well.
Welcome to Arles, France.

This ancient Roman Arena was featured in a few scenes in the movie Ronin starring Robert De Niro.  Arles is not a touristy town so the authentic old charm feel was quite prevelant.

Breathtaking Les Baux.  Crowning the rugged Alpilles mountains the sights are spectacular.  With its medieval castle you are transported back in time.  These were some bicyclists who climbed over a wall.

Rugged limestone softened with flowers and living trees and vines. Now this is charming.  See the hand carved face in the stone in the right front?  These are details I enjoy.

This current cemetary dates back to the ancient times and is peaceful and beautiful.  I seemed to be very tranquil while visiting this part of history.

Very rugged terrain and it was sunny and quite hot this day we visited the castle.  We had driven to Les Baux a few days earlier but couldn't even get close as it was celebrating and full of visitors enjoying the reenactments of medieval pageantry, tournaments and demonstrations.  Thankfully our day of visiting was much less crowded and we went early when they first opened.

I am always awed by the fortitude our previous ancestors must have had to endure building and living in such forebidding circumstances.

This is Pont Du Gard.  An ancient Roman Aqueduct built in about 19 B.C.  Truly awe inspiring work that still exists today.

There is a grotto from ancient times when the river flowed through.

This is part of the grotto.  I can only imagine the power of the river and its waters back then.

Today the river is all but a stream.  There were lots of day-trippers who come and play like it is their day at the beach.  Pont Du Gard actually sells a yearly pass for locals to enjoy it.

On to Uzes for us.  Officially Uzes is in Languedoc, not in Provence, but we did not notice.  We were hot and tired as we had just visited Pont Du Gard and were parched and ready to sit and enjoy a break.

After parking, which is a feat in itself, we wandered through this archway not knowing what we would find.

Ahh...feeling better and refreshed.  Nothing like some beautiful shade trees and a cool drink while sitting in a plaza enjoying the people watching.

After eating a delicious lunch we wandered through a wonderful artisan open market.  I regret not buying some of the items I found and loved.  I should have then as I won't be visiting here again anytime soon. Maybe I should learn a lesson.  It seems I have missed out on some special momentos from just about every place I have traveled.  The one that comes to mind is the amazing artisan mask in a tiny little back street shop in Venice.  By the time we decided we should buy it, the store was closed and we were leaving the next morning at dawn.  Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda...
I hope you have enjoyed my wanderings.  There are so many more places I wish to share with you.  Maybe another time soon.  Traveling is such an eye-opening horizon-expanding experience and I am so very fortunate to be able to enjoy the journey with Mr. C.  We are both still adjusting to getting back into our regular routines.  I have signed up for my favorite Chamber of Commerce volunteering.  Mr. C is helping a friend with his computer issues.   Mr. C is also working on his cars which he loves long as it allows them to go faster. We are both working in the yard as the weather permits.  It is so hot and dry here.  We are having an issue with Voles (yes you may Google Voles) who are destroying our lawn.  I can only imagine the orgy that field mice, gophers and moles had to beget Voles.  I actually saw one yesterday and they are furry and fast!
May you be enjoying your lazy days of Summer (and for my Winter friends...brrr).  Spending time with family and friends and just soaking in the slower paced life that we should be experiencing.  I don't however believe the world clock is any slower paced.  I am losing full days at a time and have no idea where they have trotted off to.
Creative Bliss My Friends...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Coaxing Creative Muse...

After putting my Creative Muse on hold during Holiday she hasn't been wanting to return.  So I have been coaxing her by walking into my studio or sewing room and just letting her feel the aura.  I showed her some cards and envelopes she made before leaving.  Do you want to make some more?  No...already done that was her reply to me.

I pulled out one of the watercolor journals she had made before and she actually embellished it for a little gift.  Now that was fun...

I picked up needle and thread and yarn and did a few stitches on my Fellowship of the Flowers project.  Creative Muse was not ready for old Valentine colors so I promised to update with a new pallete of fabric and wool felt very soon.

Now here is where she came to life...just a little.  I had stamped this beach scene image onto some watercolor cardstock and a piece of matboard.  Creative Muse liked coloring this tranquil scene.  Nothing like using a virgin stamp that I have owned for decades.  Thank you Creative Muse.  We may be in sync now.  Let's try another approach...

I took Creative Muse to our local Ben Franklin and spent a glorious afternoon with Lindsay, Creator of Cuteness while she taught an Art Journaling class.  This is the unfinished page we created.  Creative Muse had such fun just playing and getting into the moment of watercolors, oil sticks, pens, collageing and glue. Before I realized it we were laughing and splattering watercolors not only on our page but on my dress. Fortunately it was a color that actually matched so no harm done.
Lindsay has given us homework to actually in journal...on our pages.  We can add or embellish or whatever feels right.  I will add a quote I like..."Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." Edgar Degas.  Creative Muse really had a fun day and I feel she is back and ready for more play.

I celebrated the return of my Creative Muse with a few new art supplies.  This is the paper we used in class and it really held up to the abuse we gave it.

I also purchased the oil pastels that are a dream to work with.  I didn't even mind having them smudged on my fingers as they are soap and water clean up.  The white ink pen is amazing and actually writes and dots on top of all these mediums.  Uni-ball Signo pigment ink white...Lindsay's favorite pen for excellent reason.
Taking time to enjoy being creative was the best time spent this past few days.  I believe we are ready to tackle some projects we/I have begun but not finished.  Creative Bliss is back!!!
What are you doing this summer/winter?  Are you enjoying just being in the moment?  Last evening Mr. C and I prepared a small dinner and enjoyed it out on our bedroom deck at a small Bistro table we placed there.  Under the canopy of pine and cedar trees with the sun going down overlooking our pond...and a deer who was slowly strolling along munching some greenery.  Time to truly enjoy part of our busy day.
More travels in my next post...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

St. Remy, Provence, France...

This post is photo heavy so "fair-warning".  Our first destination.  This is known as the "Hamptons" of France.  I absolutely loved it here.  Warm, sunny, friendly people, great food, lots to see and enjoy.

We had rented a car in Avignon and therefore made this our home base for a week.  Our hotel was perfect! Walking close to town center and yet quiet and comfortable.

Cozy, modern, charming and very comfortable.

My very good fortune was to find this Brocante just like I had read about.  Be still my heart!  Our weather was perfect.  I wandered around and just soaked it all in.

Then I met Flavio (my name for him)(in the red hat)!  Very French and quite charming.  He just happened to have the one and only very item I was coveting to find before we ever left on this trip.  However I was certain it would be uber expensive...if I could even find one.  Yet there it was on his table of wares.  I got brave and used my sad French to ask how much it cost.  YES!!!  Score!!!  And Flavio let me have it for a better price since I was from California and the Euro was expensive.  Thank you Mr. Frenchman Flavio.

Here is Flat Fanny with my coveted purchase.  An authentique Absynthe spoon from the turn of the century. Flavio even told me the usage back when.  Of course I have already studied and know this but it was so sweet of him to spend the time and confirm my knowledge.  I will leave my cherished spoon in this exact polishing at all.

Then a few days later was the weekly open-air market.  Everything imaginable for sale.  The colors were incredible. Mr. C and I spent five hours wandering the many streets and vendors offering amazing things.

French people really do have a flair for easy living and these linen curtains really caught my eye.

Normally I would not even eat olives of any color or flavor except black ones.  And I certainly wouldn't eat anything that is in the open for bugs or germs to contaminate.  Ahh, but the colors and allure and living in the moment and feeling so lucky to be part of the St. Remy culture I could not resist.  I bought some of those green olives and they were the best I have ever eaten!

Mr. C had purchased a Blue Cheese Salami, Baguette, Olive Tapenade and some white donut peaches.  We hopped in our little car and had a roadside picnic just the way the french countryside people do it. No facilities what-so-ever...just time with nature and enjoying our food.

So being in the moment I did buy a linen top.  I was also going to buy some linen pantaloons but never found just the right ones.  In St. Remy everyone wears linen.  The men even wear the brightest bermuda shorts I have ever seen...lime green, red, flourescent pumpkin orange and many more colors.  Lots of suede driving mocs in red, bright blue and that orange again and this is the men.  All in all I loved St. Remy and have wonderful memories of our time there.
Some of you have commented how could I NOT do any stitching or crafting while gone.  It was a concious decision I made to stay in the moment with Mr. C and celebrate him and his accident recovery.  Mr. C is not a fan of my need to always be crafting as he feels it doesn't allow me to focus on him and what we are doing. As I choose my path I am very thankful that I am able to live this wonderful life with Mr. C and enjoy the travels and adventures we share together.  Putting my Creative Muse on hold is the least I can do.  Now I am feeling rested and healthier and hoping she comes rushing back to me.  As I am getting back into my daily routine of household and yard chores I find myself pulled into my studio and reaquainting with my fun supplies.  I am certain my Creative Muse has not abandoned me entirely.  She is probably merely being a petulant child and making me wait for the bliss I shall once again enjoy so much.
I hope you are enjoying your Summer (or Winter) and truly living in the moment to fully maximize all the joy we have each and every day.  Creative Bliss Dears...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Home Sweet Home...

While I professed to be slowing down with my blog posts of Slow Down Therapy, I was actually NOT doing any such thing as relaxing or slowing down.  Mr. C and I went on holiday.  The trip we had planned last year but missed due to unplanned activities by Mr. C on Summer Solstice 2013.  Thankfully he is recovered and we have been able to celebrate his amazing recovery and life in some beautiful and breathtaking places. This is the two of us as we left our home to begin our journey.

We drove to San Francisco and parked our vehicle at a Park and Fly hotel.  Here I am on the shuttle to the airport.

 And here is Mr. C on the shuttle.  I will share lots more of our trip in upcoming posts.  We took lots of photos and it will take me a while to upload and organize them.

This is just one of our amazing places we visited.  Do you recognize this?
Thank you to my faithful followers for hanging in with me.  We chose to travel without any modern technical devices...not that I own or use any even here at home.  It is amazing how Wi-Fi is covering our planet. Every place we were there were thousands of people on their cell phones and tablets and whatever else they have. It is so good to be home now.  I love traveling but the logistics and schedules are hectic and harrowing. Unfortunately upon our landing I had to go straight from San Francisco airport to my doctor.  I had gotten sick half-way through the trip and my throat was flaming and I was coughing more and more as my chest got heavy.  Fortunately I am on the mend with antibiotics now.  My doctor has no idea what I got as I was exposed to every nationality on this earth so he just wanted to knock it out of me since I already had it for almost three weeks.  After four days and nights with NO sleep I have finally gotten a good night of sleep last night. I even skipped fireworks and celebrations for good old fashioned sleep and feeling better.  I was very relieved to wake up way too early this morning and see that our uber dry forest is safe.  I am eternally grateful for our house sitters for taking such good care of our home and property while we were gone.
Now I shall get into my blog groove and see what you all have been up to.  It will take me a while but I will visit each of you.  Now to find my Creative Muse whom I put on hold while gone.  I never even touched any type of hand-craft while gone.  This trip was totally for Mr. C and his passions...yes we ate well!
Summer Sparkle and Creative Bliss...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Slow-Down Therapy #35

By Linus Mundy and Illustrated by R.W. Alley.  I am not showing the adorable illustration that accompanies each step.   I really think you would enjoy getting this little book for yourself and discovering every page.

Slow-Down Therapy Number 35.

Count your at a time and slowly.

To all my American friends...Safe and sane Fourth of July.  May you celebrate with family, friends, food and remember why we are celebrating.  

Thinking of each of you and reflecting on my wonderful life with Mr. C while I am blog breaking.

Creative Bliss My Friends...