Sunday, May 25, 2008

In Grateful Remembrance

Memorial Day
Joyce Kilmer

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.
In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace...Who brought a sword.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Take a Deep Breath....

Going to Market was wonderful- I talked to so many kind and helpful people and saw so many things of beauty...It just inspired and overwhelmed me so much. I had been warned of the enormity of the show, I knew it was going to be HUGE. But what I wasn't prepared for was the incredible energy and extraordinary creativity which surrounded me. I got about a third of the way down the first aisle, and I just felt....small. Humble. Unworthy. Like I shouldn't even be there...

It is hard for me as an artist to recognize my own gifts and talents. It seems to me that everyone else is always way more talented. I know I shouldn't compare myself to others, but I often do. I guess maybe we all do. I just know that I have tried to do lots of other things with my life- I have worked as a waitress, nurse, administrative assistant, day care provider, and more. None of those things has ever come close to filling me up the way art does. I know it is what I am supposed to do.

So I forced myself to take a deep breath and push those feeling of insecurity aside...And after a while I thought...I knew...that I belong here. And it was wonderful, being swallowed up by that energy and excitement. And it has inspired me to continue to pursue my dreams, to have a plan for the future, but not to get so caught up in ambition that today loses its joy.

Put God in charge of your work,
then what you've planned will take place.
We plan the way we want to live,
but only God makes us able to live it.

While I was at the show, I met up with the ladies from Moonlight Design, they specialize in patterns for wearables. They had picked up some painted pins from me a while back, and they use them to accessorize their sample jackets. So my pins actually made it to Market before I did! Here are some photos of their cute jackets.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

To Market, To Market

I have been at Quilt Market in Portland Oregon for the past couple of days, and all I can say is....WOW!!! The beautiful work here is absolutely stunning and, dare I say, intoxicating. I have been to trade shows before for the gift industry, but this was my first trip to Quilt Market and everything was soooo beautiful. Aisle after aisle, booth after booth....just gorgeous! Inspiring! Overwhelming!

I have met some really nice people. This is Brenda from Acorn Quilt and Gift Company. Such a lovely woman, so helpful and generous with advice. She has a new book out called Home Comforts, and a new fabric line called Seeds of Love...for Georgia. Another nice lady I met is Deanne at Snuggles Quilts. She also has a new book coming out in August, called Country-Fresh Quilts, published by Martingale. Her designs are darling, I'm sure her book will do well!
And here is Cheryl and her booth for Waltzing with Bears. I was drawn to her booth immediately- really wonderful designs and beautiful colors! Lots of adorable wool patterns, too!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free...The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

I went on a class trip with my daughter's class to Ellis Island this week, and even though I only live a couple of hours away, it was my first trip there. I believe that most of my family came to America before the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, and my husband's family came through Canada, so I don't have a direct connection to this incredible gateway. And yet, I felt strongly connected and proud, simply by virtue of being an American.

When I saw the photos in the gallery, and read the stories, I was moved by the courage and determination of those who chose to come. To leave one's family and homeland, to cross the ocean knowing you may never return, to come with only the clothes on your back and no job prospects- that is courage and determination I don't think I'd have. I was taken aback by some of the stories- an 11 year old girl traveling alone from Japan to meet her family here, a family who borrowed an empty suitcase to bring so that it would not be obvious that they had absolutely no possessions.

Walking through the Great Hall where up to 5,000 immigrants were processed every day, I could almost hear their voices, in tongues from all over the globe, and I could feel their spirit. Perhaps this is why America is a land of such great innovation, of mavericks and risk takers. For our collective ancestory is a great one: a strong, brave, and determined human spirit. Immigrants still come here, seeking the freedom and opportunity that we mostly take for granted. For all of our problems and troubles, this is a place of hope. Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not, yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27
Let us be as the lilies of the field-
totally dependent on God,
growing in beauty and grace,
and secure in His love.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plays and Proms...and Time Marches On...

It has been a very eventful weekend for us. Last night, my younger daughter, who is in 7th grade, was in her school's production of "High School Musical." It was a good show, she has her final performance tonight. She is tired but has been having a great time. Last year her school did "Into the Woods" which I wasn't crazy about, but the year before that she played Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!" which was wonderful. It's so funny that she gets up on stage and does this stuff, because she is usually a really quiet kid. But she is quite the little comic on stage.

Also, last night was my older daughter's Senior Prom. So there was, of course, the hair appointment, and picking up the flowers, and the makeup and manicure and pedicure (done by yours truly to save a few $), and the photos, and going down to the school for more photos and seeing the dresses.......You know, I can't imagine what it's going to be like to plan a wedding! (I don't remember my wedding being so complicated, but I guess it was and some how we all got through it and had a good time!)

Today she is off to Hershey Park with some of her friends. I was a little sad this morning, thinking about how she is able to have fun without me! That she is getting ready to fly off..... Honestly, I don't know how time goes by so fast.... Sometimes I just ache for those days of little hands and dirty faces and giggles..... She hasn't left for college yet, and somehow there already seems to be a hole here, as she runs off with her friends for fun and adventures..... I just want to capture the days in a bottle and hold onto them forever..... But one of the lessons I have found myself repeating to my kids over and over and over is that things change, and oftentimes change is hard, even when it's good change, and I have to keep repeating that to myself now.... And I am sitting here listening to the somewhat melancholy Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack and it is not cheering me up, not at all... Maybe I should put on something more upbeat....

She called this afternoon from the park, she hadn't known that one of her favorite groups, The Afters, were performing there today. She got to see the concert, and got her Tshirt signed and got her picture taken with one of the band members. And she wanted to call home to share her exciting news. It's nice to know that she doesn't completely forget about us when she leaves, that we are in her heart...

So anyway, things are just rolling right along around here.... Graduation in a few weeks, she's starting her summer job this week, maybe a trip to the shore this summer........

And then August 23, her first day of college, will come, and I am afraid nothing will ever be the same again.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring Riot

I went out this morning to get the mail and spotted this- a beautiful rose, a week before Mother's New Jersey. I think that's just a little crazy, but we had a very mild winter which seems to be agreeing with my garden.

The bees are getting busy in the blueberry bushes...

The ants are picnic-ing in the peonies...

The rosemary, thyme and sage are growing like crazy....
...And the lemon balm refuses to behave....
Ahhh- SPRING!!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Puppy Love

This is a photo of a mixed media piece that I entered in a challenge (unfortunately, it didn't get chosen for publication. I got it back in the mail yesterday, with one of those form "Thank you, but" letters.....I hate those........) Anyway...I thought I'd post it here, 'cause I think it's cute! The name of my piece is "Puppy Love," and I chose to put my dog Daisy amongst the daisies. Clever & quite original, huh??? Have I mentioned that I love my dog (well, not LOVE, but you get the point.)

You had to pick one image and use it three different ways in the piece. This is a photo of a daisy from my garden last year. As you can see, I used it in different sizes and also flipped it. I think my favorite panel is the third one, with Daisy dressed up in a bumble bee costume (she doesn't really have a bumble bee costume, and frankly, she'd never stand for it, so I made one out of paper!) I handpainted in the stems and leaves and some hearts with acrylic paint, and added some collage elements with printed tissue paper, old book pages, and metal charms. Also, some crackle medium and colored chalk thrown in.


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