Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How to feel like a kid before Christmas again:

Kim Laws who I still don't think I have met face to face, yet.  I would buy her product and they all were adorned with a ticket with JOY on it.  I followed her blog:  http://artjoystuff.blogspot.com, and I am friends with her on Facebook.  I love what she makes.  A few weeks ago I saw an invitation for an Artist Trading Card Swap and I jumped at the chance!
 I forgot to take a picture of the actual card, but I couldn't wait to make them.  I bought netflix for the first time and put Gilmore Girls on and had some Starbucks (which is a big treat I rarely indulge in) and I got busy.  It was a 6 for 6 card swap:  Here is the box they came in and Kim Laws was so generous to include an ornament  and a tag pretty enough to use as an ornament too.  If there is a link I included that.  One was anonymous. 
 Here's what the package looked like.  Kim Laws you are awesome!!!
 Waiting for Santa by Mary Walden
 Christmas Wishes by Kim Laws
JoAnne at http://vintagedragonfly.blogspot.com




 This was beautiful front and back.  Joyeaux Noel by Terri Wilerson junqueseeker.blogspot.com

 Cathy Steal www.catartnsoul.blogspot.com
And this was the beautiful ornament Kim included.  The theme of the ATC swap was White Christmas.  I love swaps, because making these little cards are so fun.  Then the anticipation of waiting for the package.  I just can't decide if I should make a garland or use them as ornaments for the tree.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Blinded by the Light



Sometimes money can't buy what you really need to read or have.  Sometimes you already possess it and have to revisit all that you have.  Since, we started the record part of Greetings from Geralyn, we would spend a lot of time going through the big collection of records.  In the beginning we would use what we needed and threw away what we didn't.  This could become a problem, but a lot of time has been spent, mostly on Glen's end "weeding" out all of the records.  I am naturally a saver, and have been trying to control myself and not save everything.  But, this is one of my favorite finds!  I found it in a Janis Joplin record.  It was how Columbia records in the early days would promote other Artists within.  It is a record sleeve called the "Inner Sleeve".  It included Miles Davis, The Birds, and Bruce Springsteen.  It is marketing Bruce Springsteen as a writer and Artist.  I have been writing how my life has come full circle and this is one of those times.  I will see Bruce Springsteen for the third time in two weeks tomorrow.  I will go with my son(his birthday present) and my friend who we have seen Bruce together a number of times.  In summing up my admiration for Bruce Springsteen I would have to go to the beginning.  Which, is what he has been doing lately.  It is called the River tour, but he has been playing a lot from the Greetings from Asbury Park album.    I can say now I have seen him perform all the songs captioned on the little picture of Greetings from Asbury Park.  We even saw him do the acoustic "For You" in 2012 and were among only 600 people by the stage at the new Met Life.  Grateful is the one word I could use to describe how I feel to be able to witness such greatness.  I also would like to add I was in the pit that time and it was because of the customers at Greetings from Geralyn telling me how to accomplish that.  But, now we have regular seats.  I have to say I really need the seat and don't know how we did that a mere four years ago.  I really enjoy seeing all the hands in the air, the people dancing and really hearing everyone singing along when we sit far away.  I am looking forward to seeing Bruce and the E Street Band tomorrow and am ready for whatever surprises in the set list he has in store for us !  Like the ending of the inner sleeve written more than 40 years ago.  "Bruce is a writer that really has to be listened to."


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Is a dream a lie if it don't come true?

Casa Batllo in Barcelona Spain.  A very famous, brave courageous example  of  Art Nouveau Architecture in Barcelona, Spain.

 With today's technology there are images to show the inspiration and genius of it's designer: Antonio Guadi

We visited there on the last day of a 10 day trip to Italy, France, and Spain.  We were pretty exhausted.  But, to say I was curious was to say the least.  The inside is centered by a gigantic spiral staircase.  The hues on the tile were the most beautiful blue I had ever seen in my life and as you climbed the different floors the colors became deeper.  When you reached the top on a very hot day, I thought it would be sweltering.  But, the whole design of the top was about natural ventilation before electric air conditioning.  They actually would do the laundry up there and had dowels on the rafters for drying.  On a folding table there was the hugest bar of lavender soap I had ever seen and the breeze of the ventilation sent the lavender scent throughout.  Then the biggest surprise was to find out we could go out on the balcony and get our picture taken.
I started this blog more then five years ago.  It was out of need to document my life, my dreams and inspirations.  My dad had been gone for about five years and I lost my job, my children were graduating high school, we were preparing to sell our home of almost twenty years.  I wanted most of all a place where if my children wanted to remember me or know what I was thinking, could come and hopefully get some comfort.  I do have a fear of developing Alzheimer's and getting angry with myself for never following through on documenting our life.
Sometimes the words come easy, sometimes life gets so hard you don't want to write anything.  So, today I woke up this September first and thought,  I want to write how thankful I am to have my mom  still alive and her wanting to be independent.   After spending a day with her yesterday, I realized how much we are alike.  I want to say to my children how proud I am of them as they have reached the milestone of being a quarter of a century old.  They have been the biggest and hugest inspiration to me and fill my heart up with joy.  And, finally to my husband I would really love to say after we just celebrated our thirty-fourth wedding anniversary that I do believe in fairy tale endings.  Our trip to Europe was just that.  It was a complete joy to have a handful of kingdom of days to rest, enjoy, soak, eat , and drink in all that life has to offer.
In the last week we were also able to take in some of the best music ever, sung or performed by Artists in their mid sixties to their late seventies.  I remember when I first started my blog I had said Glen had given me the River album at a time I didn't even have two pennies in my pocket when I was away at college.  Now, we went to see the River tour together, and it felt right.  Here are some lyrics I read from the song "I wanna marry you" off of the River album.  


Now, honey, I don't wanna clip your wings But a time comes when two people should think of these things Having a home and a family Facing up to their responsibilities They say in the end true love prevails But in the end true love can't be no fairytale To say I'll make your dreams come true would be wrong But maybe, darlin', I could help them along 
These words of Bruce Springsteen pretty much sum up my feelings.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making my dreams come true.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pompeii Inspiration

 I am going to let the history of Pompeii and the pictures I took speak for themselves on this post: 




 I tried to take as many pictures of the murals and reliefs as possible.....so incredible.....so timeless.




 I don't know whether it is the retailer in me, but I did find this the most fascinating part.  The groove on the bottom of this part would be for a sliding wood door for the markets.  They were side by side.  Almost like a main street of today.





 One of those places I have seen so many documentaries of, but never in my wildest dreams thought I would visit one day.  The area is vast.  It was hot and hard on the feet.  But, mouth dropping and awe inspiring!  I would like to read more about it to put what I saw in perspective.  It was actually overwhelming the thought of how old it is.  A little strange how there are new sculpture exhibits with the old and people along the trail selling wares.  They are still digging.  And I just had a real hard time with what was real and what was staged.  But, totally fascinating and worth the time!!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Grateful

Taking some time today to feel grateful for my new job.  I had bought these placemats at April Cornell last summer and the most I did with it was take one out.  I took it to Boscov's and used it on a shelf in my stockroom that I used to write on.

I always appreciated everything April Cornell.  The clothes, the linens, the flowers and even the blue and white bags I would get with a purchase. The last time I really purchased dresses for myself and daughter was when she was about seven.  We had put a second floor on our house at that time and purchases like that became a memory.  When we spent a few years getting our house ready to sell, I started purging, donating and selling what we had. It was depressing.  But, life has been full for us watching our children grow up and owning our store, our focus shifted away from our home and my wardrobe.

I actually told a friend at work once, I just want to be a hippy.  I want to wear clothes that I love, are comfortable and make me smile.  I want to fill my home with flowers.  I want to concentrate on planting a beautiful garden at our home we have been in for three years now.  I even said to Glen about a week before I got this job.  I want to have nice clothes again and decorate our home and have a happy home.  So, along comes this job and it has been a true blessing.  One of the best perks of working at April Cornell is a very generous discount.  And......as a store manager  I am given an allowance for each season and receive free  outfits!  Every time I take a tag and button off a new outfit, I wish I had something pretty to put them in.  So, this morning I made this box to put the tags in.   I love when I take the time to create something and take the time to feel how grateful, lucky and blessed I am!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I love you, baby, like the flower loves the spring

I love the line I used for the title of this post, it is from the song Mountain High River Deep which Darlene Love sings on her new album.  I have seen her perform the song live probably four times in the last few years.  On Monday night my son, Ian Gray, performed with Darlene Love.  He is pictured on the right of the horn players playing the trombone.   Ian told me last week he would be playing the gala in New York City and it would be a private event.  I was thrilled to see Darlene Love shared it would be the first live stream show she would perform.  Our cable went out on Friday and I ran to the cable store on Monday after work to get the new box and a half an hour before the performance we were able to hook up to the internet and by the time I found the right link it was one minute before the performance started.  
I was so happy she performed Among the Believers and Sweet Freedom.  They are very inspirational songs that have become on my list of songs to listen to.  Darlene Love sings from the soul and lifts you up.  She is 75 years old and brings all of her wisdom to life in her performances.  Sweet Freedom is a song for women.  I can't find the lyrics yet to share.  But, you can listen to it on her album Introducing Darlene Love or you tube.  Freedom is sweet and should be celebrated and this song shows this.  Sometimes it is just freedom from being fearful and we need to be released from the chains of what holds us back.  Fear no more.....sweet freedom is here!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

One step up......two steps back


This year like many of my life comes with a bit of irony.  But, when I saw Ian play with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes as a substitute in New England I KNEW 2016 was and  is going to kick ass!!!!  The picture above is a picture that my son made sure I got and I am holding a flying saucer that the venue threw out to the audience before the show.  I was very lucky to get a ticket to the sold out venue, because I only decided to definitely attend that morning.  As I sat and watched the frisbees being thrown into the air I was thinking like I normally think.  There is NO way one of those 10 frisbees is going to make it to where I am sitting.  As they threw the last one, it went to the far left and bounced off the wall and literally landed in my lap.  Wow!   Below the pic of Southside and me is a signed set list from a 4th of July show at the Stone Pony.  I think it may have been the year Billy Walton played and they did a  meet and greet at the end.  But, what is that brown stain on the top right corner?   Well, that would be water damage from Sandy as the list was showcased in our store.  So, hence, my attitude of feeling like if something good happens to me, something is going to take that away and change the way I feel.  So, I try to have a good attitude and say life is like a roller coaster with it's ups and downs.  2016 has not been that different for me, except I have had some pretty amazing life changing experiences already.
  I would have written about how I got the job at April Cornell already, but at the very same time as I started the new job, my brother landed in the ICU for almost three weeks.  So, with the good I am still enduring the bad and really haven't felt like writing.  And, even writing today is a challenge.  I do believe this is longest I have gone without writing.  But, I will have a lot 
 to share this year.  But, as always I wait until after it happens so I don't jinx anything!  Love to share the one step up, but no need for you to hear about the two steps back!!!!  Oh yeah, ... and it is the year of the monkey.....so as I believe in magic or whatever it is that makes really amazing things  in my life happen......so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Life is a circle

 I have been walking through the basement and surprised with the inclusion of my work from a sculpture class included in my daughter's room/studio.
   These boots were the highlight of my Senior year.  When you create something in college, it is not only the finished product, but the reaction of others who see it.  My sculpture teacher loved this and everything about them.  Which, coming from an accomplished Artist came as a complete surprise to me.   The idea came so easy to me.  It was a time my husband was working very hard as a union carpenter.  I would just stare at his shoes at night and think about how hard he worked.  I wanted him to know how much I appreciated it and they became what I wanted to make a sculpture of and when it came time to finish them the decision to make them bronze, like people would bronze baby shoes....that came quite easy to me too.  It really was my crowning glory of my college days and I loved how it made Glen happy too.
This was a sculpture project of making a sculpture from a painting.  It was Matisse's Green Woman.  I didn't know how to paint it.  But, now 25 years later I want to paint it like it is in the painting, so it would be recognized for who she is.

 The name of my sculpture teacher was Michael Malpass.  He would bring his children in to model.  This is his youngest son.  I never sculpted before, but I really enjoyed the process.  The longest part is hollowing out the center just enough, so it doesn't explode in the kiln.  Very challenging, everything was made with terra cotta clay.

All of the sculptures were in the basement windows.  When I walked away I had to take a picture, because of what my daughter had put on the wall.  The work on the left was my weaving project of the ocean.  The middle was a textile design based on Western America which she shared on Instagram.  After I saw the likes and reactions it motivated me to paint again.  On the right is a lino print of a panda.  This was carved into a linoleum block and printed with black ink for printmaking class.  This was called Patient Panda.  I was going through intensive fertility treatments at the time and was totally relating to the panda bears, who only have the chance of getting pregnant once a year.  The one on top my mom did which is the holy family made as a relief she had made with one of our neighbors who owned a craft store after they were empty nesters.  Art for me has been the greatest healer and form of getting through anything life has presented me.  It is challenging yet fulfilling.  It allowed me to express myself when words failed.    When you are a student you may not even realize this unless you have the right teacher.  Michael Malpass was that teacher for me.  I remember his first class was really an open discussion of why each student was in college majoring in Art, and it was fascinating to hear each student.  Then we were able to hear his story and see slides of his work and why he created each one.  So, by the time we met his children we knew that family was a big part of his work.  He never actually said it, but I myself felt like his work took on a life themselves and represent the circle of life.  
I, myself, said last year when I had lunch with classmates from elementary school had this feeling of my life being a circle and my circle is closed now.  All the things I wondered about myself have come true and the circle is closed.  But, opportunities like feeling like a kid again and sharing a meal and conversation with people I haven't seen for forty plus years was so pleasant and hugely fulfilling.  It was like filling up the circle and I actually verbalized that in conversation.  This was a big deal for me as I was a very quiet child, not usually very much of a small talker and really quite nervous in social situations.  
When, Michael Malpass talked about his life, his family always was part of the lesson.  They meant the world to him.  He had moved them from the city down to Brick Township for a slower pace of life.  He gave up teaching at Pratt to slow down and have more time with his family and he was working a lot on his spheres in his big backyard.  He would talk about it a lot.  He liked to fish and my husband at the time was fishing a lot also.  His class was always a pleasure, because he shared so much of himself with us.  I would have loved to have continued to pursue something in Art after college, but really there aren't too many opportunities in the arts and ended up in retail to have a career.  I did get pregnant finally in 1991 and at the same time found out that Michael Malpass had died of a heart attack at the age of 44.  I can't remember if I was pregnant or had the twins yet, but it didn't matter.  All I could think of was his family and what a huge loss this must have been for them.
So, back to 2015......opening my mail after the lunch with my friends from elementary school there is a mailer for events at Monmouth University and I flip through it and there is a great photo of Bruce Springsteen with a movie showing and then I turn the page to see a retrospective of Michael Malpass with a picture of one of his spheres.  It's been a long wait, but tomorrow is the opening at Monmouth University, the students have also made a documentary of his life.  You can find more information here  I am really looking forward to filling up the circle of my life again.  Life is good, especially when you are lucky enough to have memories of people who have enriched your life so much.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.

May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.

May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue.

And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.”

~ Irish Blessing


Watching the Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day parade today, and there was a float honoring the Irish Memorial.  These pictures were taken on our visit to see the Pope.  When we got off the ferry and went up the hill this is where we stopped to look at the Memorial.  I was intrigued at first sight.  I first loved how when taking the picture, it was fascinating how the outreached hand could play with the sunlight.  

So, it reminded me to look up the artist today.  I was fascinated.  So very happy it is a woman artist.
It is actually a Memorial depicting the potato famine in Ireland which brought so many emigrants to the United States, many of which came to Philadelphia.  So, when I found out the name of the Artist I have spent a lot of the day reading about her.  Very fascinating and I am in awe of her!  Her name is Glenna Goodacre (what a great name for a public sculptor).  If you would like to read more about her, you can follow the link here.  I loved that she also designed the Sacajewa dollar coin.  She has one daughter and she is married to Harry Connick Jr.    Very glad I was able to revisit this Memorial through the internet and hope you were inspired too.  Love the line on the memorial also:  to celebrate what survives-without apology or fear.  All, so great for an inspirational St. Patrick's day in 2016!   May you have a happy one!

Friday, March 4, 2016

What inspires every single one of us?


 This is the card my parents gave me for my graduation from high school.  I still remember their face  after graduation when I was going out with my friends and not out to dinner with them.  I remember I didn't think I was that smart or did that well in high school.  When I found out I had to stand, because I was graduating with honors, I was stunned.  Honestly, I thought I was average.  When I read this card I took in every single word that was written to me.  I don't think I ever verbalized to my parents how much it meant to me.  But, it was a huge validation for me.  My parents took the time during a very chaotic time in our family.  I am so glad I saved this card and that I am sharing it with others.  In this world today, as I am writing this, I think it is so turbulent for just someone to feel like they are who they want to be.  Everything is so confusing and media driven.  It feels good today to turn off the TV and write this.  I feel we are inspired and influenced so much by our parents.  My parents both had a college education and I feel were both successful and I did feel a lot of pressure to be a success in their eyes.  After having children I then changed to feel the need to be successful in their eyes.  This is where my deep love of Art appreciation comes in.  My parents both painted before they had children.  I painted before I became a parent.  But, I haven't really painted since.  My daughter Kaylyn moved back in with us.  She spends most of her free time when not working.....painting.  Occasionally, I make it down stairs to my craft (crap) room and walk by her room.  Little by little she is pulling out my work from college.  She is pulling out pictures of string art created by my husband.  I then realize I have inspired her.  What a great feeling.  I look at this graduation card and I never knew what I wanted to be.  I was a waitress when I met Glen and hey, the money wasn't bad, but, I knew there was something out there more to reach for.  So, this year 2016 I am giving to myself.  I sort of did this when I first went back to work in 2013.  Last year I concentrated on putting my heart in our store, so I would have no regrets.  So, this year is a year for days off to fill the well.  Go with the flow......just see what happens.  It is off to a great start and I have been inspired in my travels and watching my children talents bloom.  I am setting goals in every part of my life such as my weight, finances, work, family, house and so far so good.  I, also have a problem with saving things....I guess that  is the hoarder gene in me.
 So, that is something I am working on too.  But, clearly this is something I saved and for good reason.  The quote on the front is priceless and timeless.  I can feel close to my dad even though he is gone.  I have their handwriting which is comforting.  It is all positive.  I love certain parts, especially the part about time accelerating and my love for peanut butter.  I love that their is the sky and seagull....very dreamy.  And, the colors.......I LOVE blue and white!!!  I want to be more creative this year and not too sure what I am going to do, yet.  But, I bought marking pens with every shade of blue.  Maybe, I will start journaling along with blogging.



How Great The Art!

Decided to start a new blog.  It will be a blog full of inspiration.  It will be full of what makes my heart go pitter patter.  It may be as simple as finding a hidden heart in nature, favorite quote, photograph, museum visit, public art or music.
Please follow my blog to be inspired too!