Saturday, February 14, 2009
I'm sure many of you have experienced the feeling of being "the new kid on the block"....or blog, in this case, as you began your journey into this vast, oftentimes overwhelming, world of blogging. Although I was instantly "hooked", I wondered, during my first few weeks: "Is anyone (aside from my sister, my mom & my best friend) ever going to read this stuff?" That question was usually followed by an immediate afterthought: "Do I really want anyone else to read this stuff?" Afterall, the things I share here range from my daily frustrations with being a single mom...to my dating horror stories....to exposing myself by putting my attempts at creativity "out there". It was with some hesitancy that I even dared to leave a comment on other blogs. I distinctly remember, the first time I got brave enough to add my two cents, I carefully chose a posting that had a slew of comments already posted, counting on the fact that mine would get swallowed up somewhere in the middle. As I wrote the comment, acutely aware that I was choosing words that weren't too flowery or familiar, I felt as if I'd sidled up to the "popular girls" in high school, and attempted to join a conversation that was well underway. Anyone who knows me well would laugh at this uncharacteristic show of insecurity. I am a "bloom where I'm planted" person and rarely is there a social situation which makes me feel the slightest bit uneasy. With some lingering trepidation, I realized that, in order for me to get connected to the ladies within this community, I was going to need to get over myself.
I plugged along, pouring through your blogs, with growing admiration for your artistry and imaginations and began to feel slightly more comfortable each time I left a comment for one of you. One of the biggest blessings about this experience has been "meeting" my friend, Monica (The White Bench). Monica was, I believe, the first non-family member/ existing friend to leave a comment on my blog. When I decided to do my vintage jewelry swap, it was Monica who contacted me directly...and that is how our friendship was birthed. Since our first exchange of emails, scarcely a day goes by where she and I aren't in touch. I do my best to keep track of the 8 hour time difference between Connecticut and Italy and try to get my "Have a wonderful morning/ day/ evening" straight :-) Most of what I have shared, in this posting, is old news to Monica as she has become a cheerleading squad of one, ever ready with kind words of praise and encouragement. I was more excited than she (although she might argue that point) when she finally received my swap package in the mail. Although she emailed me as soon as it was delivered, she kept me waiting while she brewed some tea and sat down to open her goodies. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long to find out that she was pleased with what I had sent her. Monica wrote me the most wonderful email and was so descriptive that I could imagine her face as she tore into the package. The gorgeous flowers are pictures Monica took, and sent to me, of a bouquet she gathered from her garden. By the way, Monica, peonies are my absolute favorites as well...with lupines also at the top of the list! My parents live in Maine, so lupines hold a very nostalgic place in my heart.
Aside from taking a few moments to publicly acknowledge what Monica's support has meant to me, I want to encourage anyone who is new to blogging not to get discouraged if it takes a bit of time to get/ feel acclimated. Because this is such a large community, you may have to spend some time navigating and reaching out before you find your niche.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Perhaps I will, a little later, write about the grueling 24 hours I have spent with my ex-husband, following surgery he had to rebuild his shoulder...and the insanity I face in trying to now prepare for the baby shower I'm throwing on Sunday. Perhaps I won't. Suffice it to say, I am emotionally & physically exhausted and, somehow, have to find the energy to do what needs to be done. C'mon God, some divinely-inspired endurance would be greatly appreciated right now!
Focusing on the task at hand: Pansies! Well, technically it is a single pansy I am referring to, but one is enough to remind me that: hope springs eternal. Following a night devoid of slumber, my children and I came home this morning and, as I was shuffling up my walkway, in a semi-comatose state, I saw...out of the corner of my eye...a purple pansy. Visual hallucinations wouldn't be out of the question at this point, so I asked my kids to confirm the sighting. They affirmed that there was, indeed, a flower in the garden...albeit with a lot less enthusiasm than that which filled my spring-loving heart. "Big deal, Mom. ONE flower in the garden and it'll die tonight when it gets cold again", says my eldest (very adolescent) child. Big deal, indeed! Clearly the metaphorical significance of this single bloom was lost on his jaded sense of hope and the blessings of things to come. Thankfully, my daughter was indulgent enough to stand outside with me while I snapped picture after picture of this glorious flower.
***an aside: I got a new camera from my best (guy) friend, for Valentine's Day! It has all kinds of bells and whistles, which I still need to figure out, but I am feeling certain that my fuzzy, too dark/ light picture dilemmas are going to be a thing of the past! To make my gift all the sweeter, my new camera is pale pink...I'm such a girly-girl!
Thank you, God, for putting that sweet pansy in my path today. Thank you, Glenn, for such a wonderful gift. As for the other blessings in my day, I'm sure they, too, will become apparent if I can keep my eyes open long enough to see them :-)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Last weekend I picked up a really cute, rustic decorative plate rack at T J Maxx...on the clearance rack for $2. It hung, empty, for a few days because I didn't have any plates that matched the current colors in my kitchen. Today, I ran into a T J Maxx, in a neighboring tow,n and found 3 plates that I thought might work. The black plate and the floral plate were $1/ each. The BIG floral plate (on top) was.....$.70!!! It has a fairly conspicuous chip in it, but, as luck would have it, that chip fits snugly on top of the metal bar. If not for the chip, the plate would topple right off the rack. It's no wonder "Serendipity" is my favorite word in the English language!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Finally, finally, finally...I figured out how to change my blog "wallpaper". I'm thrilled to have gotten rid of the original template. The only problem, now, is: I have no idea how I got it to switch! I followed the steps they outline on "The Cutest Blog on the Block" just as I have 100 times previously. This time, however, it worked. Lo and behold, I have a sassy and fun background to go with my...ummm....rather mundane, silly blog ramblings. Ah well, who am I to question how it worked? It did and I'm a happy blogging camper :-)
Oh, the fun I am having playing with my new shipment of ribbons! I can't say enough about Deb, the owner of Just Because Ribbons
I gave Deb carte blanche to choose the specific colors, although I did give her an idea of what I was looking for. Her choices were perfect! I wanted to take a picture of the whole lot, before I send some off to my friend, Monica: The White Bench
Serendipity: a fortunate accident. Just last night, I was lamenting about my camera/ photo editing program being highly uncooperative. In the midst of trying to take pictures of my projects, I switched to the sepia effect, on my digital camera, and happened to catch my daughter looking very pensive and sweet. There was no posing for this picture and it required no alterations whatsoever. Suddenly, my angst over the other silly pictures has vanished. I have this one...and it more than makes up for the rest!
Sunday, February 8, 2009
In my earlier post, I mentioned that I am throwing a baby shower next weekend. The shower is for the daughter of one of my closest girlfriends. The mommy-to-be is like a daughter to me & used to babysit my children, so I wanted to come up with something special as a shower gift...without breaking the bank. My kids love looking at the scrapbooks I've made for/ of them, over the years, while the thousands of photographs I have in boxes are ignored. There's just something special about leafing through a whole book that's been lovingly made for you. I happened to have a pretty Flavia scrapbook on hand, so I decorated the enclosed pages, adding some for particular holidays/ seasons. All that needs to be added are the pictures of the new baby. I hope this is something Mommy will love (and not something she's likely to do herself) and will, hopefully, bring many years of joy to both she and her baby boy! These are pictures of a few of the pages:-)
I took advantage of my "free" weekend and spent quite a bit of time working on finishing up several projects (in between updating my resume, applying for jobs, getting ready for an interview tomorrow morning & cleaning for a baby shower I am hostessing next weekend). I proudly took pictures of all of the completed masterpieces, in anticipation of sharing them with all of you, and my camera/ Picassa just are not cooperating. I'm afraid I have switched the setting on my camera so many times that it doesn't know whether to snap a picture or scrub my bathroom floor! Although the pictures, clearly, did not come out as I'd hope (as evidenced through the viewer), I thought, surely, I could make them more presentable with Picassa. Not so much, I'm afraid! As I type this posting, I'm holding out hope that the pictures will magically transform between now and the time I hit "publish post".
The basket was an ugly red and brown, heart that I glued silk rose petals to. I added my favorite, double ruffle ribbon to the top and made a pretty light blue/ green fabric lining. A bit of sparkle was added to the rose petals with some silver mica. An adorable cherub pin sits angelically on the front of the basket.
The collages are prizes I made for baby shower games. I think they turned out rather well, considering I was assembling them at 1:30 this morning!