Daily Prompt: Childlike

The writing prompt on the Daily Post @ WordPress yesterday was “Childlike” (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/daily-prompt-childlike/).  That seemed pretty perfect for how I spent my weekend… at NYC’s Comiccon.  It wasn’t exactly my idea (okay, my wife had to pretty much drag me), but it certainly did remind me that there’s still a bit of child left in every adult (or at least every adult I saw that day).

A lot of the people who are serious about “Cos Play” are actually really talented- you should see what they create.  They’ll walk around and pose for pictures and this is clearly their chance to shine.  I’m more of a hip-shot kind of a photographer than a pose-for-the-picture photographer, but here are some of the photos I got (I have no idea who more than half of these characters are:

IMG_8759These were my favorites, but the picture came out terrible.  They looked absolutely amazing (no idea what characters they are.)

IMG_8752No idea who this guy is, either, but holy-moly.  He was being led around on a leash (not sure if that’s part of the character, or just because he couldn’t see out of that thing).

IMG_8755My friend Diem, who we went with, and a Stormtrooper.  There must have been at least 100 Stormtroopers in the building at any given time, of all different shapes and sizes (and her husband took pictures of at least half of them).

IMG_8762The family that plays together, stays together.

IMG_8764Even cartoon characters need lunch, too.

IMG_8765My friend from work.  I knew she was going but we hadn’t planned to meet up.  It’s amazing that we happened to run into each other, amidst the 30-40,000 people there (the overall attendance for the 4 day event was 130,000).  And, yeah… she’s a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning

IMG_8685For me, a good morning is a Sunday when I’m at church, drinking in the beauty of the music, the sanctuary, the words.  It renews me, refreshes me, and helps me pack up the week I just had and get ready for the week to come.  For me, that’s what Sabbath should be about.  Sometimes, though, the rest of the chaos and work I end up having to do on Sundays seems to get in the way.

Crossroads

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house: Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

I’ve been overwhelmed lately and haven’t had the time or energy to create much of anything.  And I haven’t liked it one bit.  But I have a little time tonight and felt the urge to blog… but what to say, share, do?  So I pushed the “Inspire me” link on WordPress and the image and quote above came up.  Of course, they’re pretty perfect for where my life has taken me right about now.

I’ve been thinking so much about balance, lately.  As I’ve been working to build a new department at my agency, one that I think I would truly love to run, I’ve had to give up a lot of the time I’d been able to spend on my crafting.   Things had gotten pretty stagnant in my last position and I had been able to do it without a lot of thought or effort.  This was a new sensation for me, as I’d always been pretty consumed by work (working in a mental health field can easily be all-consuming).  Luckily, I was able to channel the extra time and energy I had into my crafting and I realized that I’d gotten to really love that part of myself.

The quote speaks to me of my own “enlightenment”, or my moving up in the social services world into a position I’ve  always thought I wanted.  But the “ghosts” that I’m afraid that I’m creating are the possible ghosts of my creative, family,  and spiritual lives.  I’m afraid about work consuming my life once again, as it’s done at so many points in the past.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to be able to do everything I want to do.  But I know there are things I need to do.  These are the things I’ve learned about myself in the past several months of having the creative time I’ve had:

– When I have the time to be creative, I feel alive.

– When I have the energy to participate actively in my faith community, I feel connected.

– When I feel alive and connected, I’m a great mother and wife.

So, what to do?

I’m so scared about being that little house in the picture with the sad title:  “love Don’t live here anymore”.   I’m scared about not being able to balance the pressures of work and life and still make time for the things that really feed my soul.  I’m scared that the career goal I’d always aspired to (moving up in the agency, having the chance to have a greater impact on the lives of a greater number of people) may end up being the thing that makes me into a person I don’t want to be.

How do you balance work and life and yourSELF?

The wedding scrapbook continues

The network was down at work today so I came home, cleaned up my crafty table, and did another couple pages in our wedding scrapbook.  That was so much more fun than working!!  (Unfortunately, I’ll have twice as much work to do once the computers are up and running.)  I used sketches for challenges for both of them.  Challenges really inspire me and give me good inspiration that I can then build upon to make my own.  Here they are (with little iPhone app stickers to cover up the kids faces):

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This was inspired by the Scraps of Darkness and Scraps of Elegance.  It’s called “The Black Album Sketch Challenge” (http://scrapsofdarkness.com/Forum/index.php?topic=3531.0).  We had a lot of our photos printed in sepia, which I love and which seemed perfect for this challenge.  These photos are of my wife and myself with our boy (my “Best Man”) and our two flowergirls (on the left) and my wife and her “Maid of Honor” (on the right).  We went to a park near our house to take the photos and they turned out beautifully!  I like all the rounded edges and flourishes in the sketch, that I tried to get with some stickers.  The border was done with a white Pen-Touch marker (I’ve really been loving using white marker on dark backgrounds).

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This is for one of Sketch ~n~ Scrap’s September challenges (http://sketchnscrap.blogspot.com/2013/09/card-sketch-10.html).   It’s designed for a card, but it’s fun and easy to use the sketch in a scrapbook layout, too.  The sketch featured the three thick lines and a big circle around/through them.  I thought this paper worked perfectly because it incorporated the circle and the time element was at the forefront of the beginning of our wedding day (we were in a MAD RUSH to get everything set up)!  We had centerpieces made of different sized mason jars and vases with assorted purple ribbons tied around them (kind of a shabby chic look).  The florist made the bouquets a little more full than I had hoped (I was hoping for more of the sparse, loose look), and they actually ended being top heavy.  That, paired with the wind that day, had them all falling over as soon as we put them out.  With a couple hours before everyone was about to show up, we were desperately trying to add pebbles (from our rock garden) to weigh them down.  When that didn’t work, we just pulled the flowers out of all the taller vases and laid them down in the centers of the tables.

Here’s the completed page with my journalling added (the sketch didn’t really have a space that I could neatly fit journaling in to because it was made for a card):

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Both background papers are from Die Cuts With a View’s (http://www.dcwv.com/) “Heirloom Stack” (I love their paper.  I have that one and “Tattered Time”, with a cool Steampunk feel)

 

 

Oh Baby, part II

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Here’s my second baby card.  For this one, I used title of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books:  “Oh, the Places You’ll Go“.  (My absolute favorite is “The Lorax“.)  People give the book for graduation presents all the time, but it’s a perfect theme for a new baby, too (I think).  The other bonus- Dr. Seuss shares a birthday with my lovely wife AND is from my very city.  Yes, I’ve been on THE Mulberry Street (it’s no where near as exciting as he portrays it to be, unfortunately).

I used a map I picked up from a brochure stand on our recent weekend in Vermont for the “O” and Sharpie for the rest of the letters and the road and water.  I cut the pictures out of an old Highlights magazine (I’ll be so sad when my boy is no longer young enough for me to justify a subscription).  The “grass” around the bike is non other than my famous glitter spray.  Oh, and the background is my homemade spray ink (see here for details: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/18/a-few-more-icads-on-the-home-stretch).  On the inside I just wrote “Welcome to the world.”  My diaper cake is almost done and I’ve gotten started on the diaper bouquet for the parents of today’s kiddo’s card.  Stay tuned!!

I’m entering this card into a few challenges:  http://chocolatecoffeecards.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-48-anything-goes.html – How could you not love this blog?  Coffee, chocolate, and cards (3 of my favorite things)!

http://bunnyzoescrafts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/september-challenge-something-blue.html – A “something blue” challenge, this month (good thing the baby’s a boy).

http://cutiepiechallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/challenge-53-cute-one-for-boys_22.html – The Cutie Pie Challenge is not something that a lot of my cards would necessarily work for, but I definitely think this one is “cute”- and it’s for a boy.

http://cardmakinmamas.blogspot.com/2013/09/cmm74-for-kids-sponsored-by-bugaboo.html – The Card Makin’ Mamas “For the Kids” challenge is another fun one.  I’m loving all these kid cards at the “back to school” time of year.

and

http://cisforchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-6.html– The theme is “make is sparkle”.  I’m hoping my glitter glue will count for that.  The prize is 6 meters of white lace.  (I’m not quite sure how long a meter is, but I really like lace!)

And, just for fun, here’s a photo from the Dr. Seuss Memorial sculpture garden near our house.  (Yes, that would be Horton.)

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UPDATE:  Shoot!  I just realized that the car’s on the wrong side of the road.  Maybe we should move to England before the baby’s born.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

 

The theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is “From Lines to Patterns” (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/lines-patterns/).  Today we went to a pop-up sculpture garden in a nearby orchard called “Art in the Orchard” and had an amazing time.  (http://www.parkhillorchard.com/art)  I took this photo of a shed that was covered in mirrors on the outside and the inside was a huge, walk in pinhole camera obscura.  It was amazing.  I think this fits the theme with the lines on the reflected image from the seams of the mirrors (part of the cool part of the mirror panels was that they were all different sizes, seemingly “found mirrors”).  I took pictures of several of the little signs detailing info about the pieces and the artists, but am kicking myself for not getting this one.  All I can find about it on-line is that it’s called “Shed” by Maggie Nowinski (http://maggienowinski.com/)

Here are a couple of my favorites from this week’s collection:

Illuminating the Invisible posted a series of black and white photos from the Otago University campus and wrote about her experience in such a beautiful way: http://illuminatingtheinvisible24.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/from-lines-to-patterns/.

Women Who Think Too Much has a few, very different, entries.  One groups is of aerial photos, which I love.  This one is a pattern of palm branches and maybe some kind of starfish?  I can’t tell, but it’s beautiful (and reminiscent of a mandala).   http://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/weekly-photo-challenge-from-lines-to-patterns/

And these, from WryGrass, are of Fort Macon.  They really remind me of a fort that we had an amazing time exploring on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico (El Moro in Old San Juan).  I took several pictures with similar angles and viewpoints.  I love her perspective.  http://wrygrass.com/2013/09/21/weekly-photo-challenge-from-lines-to-patterns/

Hope you enjoy exploring some other photos from these week’s prompt.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

 

The prompt over at the Weekly Photo Challenge is “Inside” (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/photo-challenge-inside/)  It reminded me of a photo I took last weekend of my boy in the bounce house at the Glendi Festival.  As I was going through my photos, I found an even better one from a few weeks ago at a VBC we just happened upon as we were on our way somewhere else.

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He absolutely LOVES bounce houses and could spend all day in them.  We even rented one for his birthday last year.  I think it’s because he’s somewhat accident prone so he’s learned to be really cautious.  The bounce house is the one place he can be totally crazy and carefree and not get hurt (usually).

A room with a view

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I’ll know I’ve “made it” when I have a window in my office. Alas, I’m not quite there yet. So, in the spirit of making lemons into lemonade, I made myself a window a couple years ago.

I found an old window on the side of the road. It was old (I already said that), distressed, dirty, and the panes were intact: perfect.  I cleaned it up, sanded the wood lightly, slapped enough paint on to make it still distressed but in a different color, and picked out a “view”.

The photo I chose was one my dad took on a trip to Australia. He’s an amazing photographer and I love the colors in this photo; the contrasting ocean, cliff, sky; the calmness of it all.  Here’s a better view of the photo itself (taken from a tricky angle with my office lights off and just the camera flash).
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He had it printed and mounted on foam core (I’m not sure what it cost but I’m guessing it wasn’t cheap). That’s probably the key to it staying in the frame so well and staying so vibrant even a couple years later.  I used little nails to secure it into the frame.  I also put a couple ATCs I made around the edges, mostly because I couldn’t think of anywhere else to put them. (The one with the ark is an image from a Heifer Fund card which I cut up and “embellished”.)
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It’s not the same as a real window to the outdoors, but the view’s beautiful and the weather’s always perfect.

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV

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When I saw this photo challenge theme, An Unusual Point of View, I immediately thought of a photo I took atop the Yokahu Observation Tower in El Yunque National Rain Forest in Puerto Rico.  I actually took the picture with my iPhone, because I wanted to send it to my dad.  It just tickled me to see this binocular thing in the midst of one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.  I guess it’s for people who have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees.

I love the theme for this challenge as I’m really into the unique point of view.  I think it can say a lot about someone’s creativity and willingness to “think outside the box”.  There are a ton of awesome photos at the blog this week with this theme:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/unusual/

Here’s another photo I took that day that goes with the theme.  It’s from the ground looking up at the tower.  I just love the blue and white of the sky behind the aged, rust colored stone.

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I’m not a big photo blogger, but I love taking pictures.  Touring the rainforest was a truly amazing adventure and going through the photos brings it all back to me!

My WordPress Family Award nominations

So, I’ve checked out some other blogs who have this nomination/award, and as far as I can tell the “rules” are pretty simple for this one:

1) Thank the person who nominated you (done).

2)  Let people know who it was (here is her nomination post and wonderful blog: http://shutupandcreatesomething.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/versatile-blogger-wordpress-family-awards/)

3)  And pass the nomination along to 10 other WordPress blogs.  For folks that are nominated, feel free to grab the badge from my side-bar (or anywhere else you find it) if you want to post it or pass along the nominations to some of your favorite bloggers (that’s what it’s all about, after all, “spreading the love”).  So, here’s my list (in order of most to least recent of when I first happened upon them):

http://hippiehauswife.com/–  I love, love, love her recent post of a redo of an armoire-kind-of-think (but with drawers) for her girl.  It looks fabulous.  And I also love that she’s coming around on the whole distressing thing- recent converts always make the coolest stuff.

http://serialwoman.wordpress.com/– She hasn’t posted in a while, but I found her blog recently and have been loving it.  I hope she comes back!

http://linhaiwen.wordpress.com/– “Cardboard Robots!” (need I say more?)

http://kerrybest.com/– She does really neat stuff with beads and polymer clay and isn’t afraid to try new stuff out.

http://knotsewnormal.wordpress.com– Knitting, cute kids, and pie… what could be better?

http://margobreen.wordpress.com– I love reading this woman’s stories.  So much I can relate to and so fun to read.

http://creativelycurious.wordpress.com– She has a couple blogs that I’ve found recently and love.  This first one is frugal, creative ideas and the other one is all about adorable little polymer clay charms: http://charminglittletrinkets.wordpress.com/  (a 2 for 1 nomination!)

http://friendsandfaux.wordpress.com/– She’s restarting a faux postage stamp mail art project that sounds super cool!!

and, last but not least,  http://theinboxjaunt.com/– Her posts about quilting make it look so easy but she does amazing stuff (that is clearly not easy at all!)

So… there you have it.  I hope you enjoy checking out some of these blogs and I’ve had a wonderful time spreading the love.

Oh, and here’s another photo I took:

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(The Washington Monument, under construction, behind cherry blossoms.)