Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying Good-Bye to 2013

This year began with choosing my word for the year - JOY. It was a good word - as I needed to seek out joy. It appeared in many small moments throughout the year. I created, I wrote, I explored new things.
Joy filled my art literally:

2013 was the year that I retired, after 36 years of education. It was the right decision but it was still a very difficult one to make. I am still adjusting to the changes.
I have been following reverb and have been looking back on the year. It is good to see where you have gone and what you have done.
As the year ends, I know I am looking forward to new beginnings, new adventures and new challenges.

A new quote showed up on facebook today:

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.
 Write a good one.

Yes, a very good motto, one I am aiming for.

May everyone have a wonderful New Year's celebration tonight!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Shadow Shot Sunday

I may not have been posting shadows lately, but the obsession is still there to seek them out. Here are some from the past few weeks:

Our back walkway after an inch of new snow.

Cedar hedges with ice and snow.

Be sure to check here for for wonderful shadows from around the world.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Photo Challenges

This past weekend Southern Ontario was hit by an ice storm.. Throughout the region thousands of people lost power and there are still many who have no power 4 days later. What a way to spend Christmas.Hydro workers have been working overtime to remedy the situation. The major problem was the ice on the trees -thousands of trees have lost limbs or worse, resulting in so many lines down.

There was much beauty though in these trees, sparkling in the sunshine., against the blue sky on Monday.

Be sure to check here for wonderful skies from around the world.

Messy Little Details
After the storm, we drove around to see some of the devastation - there were so many limbs down just in our neighbourhood alone.

Be sure to visit here for other "messy little  details".

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Weekly Wrap-Up

It has been several weeks since I have posted a Sunday weekly wrap-up, so thought i would share some work from the past week.

One Word/ Winter Intentions Vision board
Yesterday was the first day of winter and I created a vision board for the winter season. It also focuses on my word for 2014:   EMBRACE

For Inspiration Avenue and OLW:  Magic of Christmas

Paper Traders: laugh every day



Spread the Joy

Read Down the House

i have to admit that I did not read any of the books from my list altho I did try. Instead I actually bought(!) several books and read them!  Hopefully in the new year I will do better.

I had read about 2 books that were written in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, and as a teacher I had to read them. One was a picture book and it really was lovely:

Snowflakes Fall  By Patricia MacLachlan; illustrated by Steven Kellogg

The other was written by Scarlett Lewis, who lost her son Jesse: "Nurturing Healing Love". I was very moved by it.

I also read "Starry Night" by Debbie Macomber.

Linking with:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

First Day of Winter - Winter Intentions

It is the first day of winter - the longest night of the year. It is only four days until Christmas so I thought I would share our snowy nativity in our front yard.

Each new season for the past few years I have crated an intentions vision board for the coming three months. I also share my new word - for 2014 it will be embrace.

I broke it down into 4 areas with an embrace and activities for each area. They are as follows:

Embrace joy and faith
Gratitude journal
 Prayer journal 
Bible study 

 Embrace creativity and learning
Project 365 
Write daily 
 Quote cards 
Embrace healthy living
Move daily
Healthy eating

Embrace love and friendship
Weekly date  

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Collages

The Magic of Christmas

At Inspiration Avenue the the theme this week was Christmas and at OLW (One Little Word)  magic was the word to focus on. For me, Christmas has always been a magic time. This quote said it all. I loved these stickers from the Lung Association from 1979 - created by children. Magical!

This is the final life word prompt at Paper Traders. Laugh every day was the prompt and when I looked up quotes I could not choose just one. Here were my favourites, with a photo of my daughter many years ago enjoying herself.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Photo Challenges

Skies and a snowman - I had to share today!

This morning the clouds were lovely!

Be sure to check here for awesome skies from around the world.

Messy Little Details

This afternoon, I started to make a snowball and realized it was perfect for making a snowman. I rolled some balls and had fun creating a weird little guy.

Check here for  a fun meme of  "Messy Little Details"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Word/FullCold Moon Dreamboard

Kat asks us the following questions;

What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2013? What gifts did this word bring?What word will you choose to guide you through 2014? What do you hope it will bring into your life?
I have ben choosing a word for the year for several years now. Rather than make a list of resolutions which usually don't get fulfilled, choosing a word gives a focus for the year.
I have  had  believe, Carpe diem and last year "JOY".
I have worked through Ali Edwards' "One Word" course and enjoyed it. I now use parts of it to help me focus on the word.
Joy was an excellent word for last year  as I really did need that extra help to see joy all around. I created more, using the word in quotes to focus on it.

After visiting other blogs and evaluating what words would be a good fit for 2014, the word EMBRACE just felt right.

There are so many things that can be embraced:
good health
One person I discovered, chose a different thing to embrace each month. What a great idea. I hope to do something similar. 
I will make a canvas for my word and will share it at the end of the month.

Tonight (17th) is the full Cold Moon and I created a dreamboard, something I have been doing for several years. Because of issues with using magazine pictures, I won't be sharing it but I encourage you to try it. It helps you to look forward to the coming month and dream.  (Jamie Ridler holds a dreamboard group each month.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December Challenges -Days 11 and 12

Jamie and Shannon posted these prompts for Days 11 and 12:

Day 11

What makes you weepy?

Death of a loved one, a sad movie or book, joy, pain – there are many things that can cause tears.

Day 12

What 10 things do you know for sure?

Ten things I know for sure:

1.    My husband will always be there for me as I will be for him.

2.    My children are my greatest gifts.

3.    Love is the most important thing.

4.    Faith and prayers can move mountains.

5.    Christmas is a time for love and miracles.

6.    “A joyful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

7.    We all need laughter, love, music and art.

8.    I will always be a teacher and a learner.

9.    There is always something positive or something to be learned in every situation.

10.  Every day is a chance to start anew and to be thankful.

Kat had these prompts for us:

Day 11

What challenges lie ahead in 2014? How might you meet them boldly?

The main challenge for me in 2014 will be to really focus on getting fitter and to deal with the pain in my knees. I am going to work with a personal trainer throughout January to set me on the path to better fitness.

The other challenges will be to create and write daily. I have to make the commitment to work on the craft of writing and art.

Day 12
I'm a big fan of muddy experiences. They become our greatest teachers when we're wise enough to exfoliate with them; roll around in the deep until we finally feel ready to get clean. 

Today, identify something muddy that kept recurring for you throughout 2013, and then ask yourself this: What's the clear truth underneath this damn mud if I finally wash myself clean?

 For me the mud was health and pain and lack of consistent exercise. It was a start and stop, start and stop  process of knowing I needed to exercise and eat better.  I need to really focus on the positive and take control of my poor habits.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Challenges - Days 9 and 10

Jamie and Shannon posted these prompts for Days 9 and 10:

Day 9     Share some favourite movies:

Since it is the Christmas season, I'll start with my 3 favourite Christmas ones:

One Magic Christmas
Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (with Burl Ives)
It's a Wonderful Life

I'll be watching most of the other wones as well - it isn't Christmas with all those wonderful movies.

Some of my other favourite movies  (which I've watched several times!):
Mrs. Doubtfire
It Could Happen to You
When Harry Met Sally
Sleepless in Seattle
The Green Mile
The magnificent Seven
Some Like it Hot
Star Wars - original
Hunger Games

Day 10 Show and Tell

I've taken several courses this past year and here are three pieces I am proud of:


(first time I tried layering)

 (using India ink with watercolours)

Acrylic painting

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Kat has given us these prompts for Days 9 and 10:

Day 9   
Who inspired you in 2013? And why?
What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2014?

It was the inspiration of Joanne who inspired me to retire. She was the sister of a dear friend and it was her death and funeral that made me realize time was so very precious and I needed to be doing what I really needed and wanted to do. Leaving teaching was one of the most difficult decisions I have made for a number of reasons, but it was Joanne's death and how she lived life that inspired me to re- evaluate what it was I wanted to do with my life.
As I head into 2014, I want to be more focused on using my skills and really go after my dreams.

Day 10
Meredith writes:

Living life on auto-pilot can feel disorienting and dull. How did you cultivate a life worth loving during 2013?

How can you turn off your auto-pilot button in 2014?

It was retiring that forced me to look at what I was and wasn't doing and to be more determined to fulfill my dreams.

ABC Wednesday - V

It is time for V at ABC Wednesday! We are getting close to the end of this season.

For V this week I have created 2 APCs for:

Ritchie Valens - one of several rock and roll artists who was killed "When the music died" in 1959

Queen Victoria  -the longest reigning monarch in British history (1837-1901)

Love that quote - glad to be a "dangerous artist"!

Be sure to check here for how others have solved the V question.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Challenges Day 7 and 8

Day 7:
Jamie and Shannon posted this question:

As best you can, capture your day in one sentence!

As I am late , I am writing about the weekend.

This weekend was all about family - A Christmas reunion in Toronto, with 60+ family on Saturday and a birthday party on Sunday for 14 for my husband!  Such lovely times!

Day 8

and they posed this request:

We hope you don't mind if we invite ourselves over. 

We'd love to see where you blog!
I work on a PC at a desk, with a roll chair. I like using a mouse and having a big screen.

Day 7
Kat asks us to:

Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2013, self-portrait or otherwise!


I can't believe this is the only picture I have on my camera for this year. I had a number taken in June at the retirement dinners but I don't have any available. So this will have to do. It is the most current.

Day 8
What went right in 2013?

Maybe you didn't quit smoking or lose those pounds or go to Paris, but something did work, did happen, and/or was realized. What was it?
Some of the things that went right:
completed NaNoWriMo in November and wrote 3 short novels (50,000 words)
completed PiBoIdMo and have 30+ picture book ideas to work on
I retired and am enjoying retirement
I completed many art projects and took art courses

Friday, December 6, 2013

December Challenges - Day 6

Today Jamie and Shannon ask:

Whether you've been blogging for 5 years or 5 days, share with us your first post. What inspired you to start,
what have you've learned or
 how you've changed since then?
  Here is my first post:


A First - Still a few left at My Age!!

My first identity was as Bunny and John's daughter. I am an orphan now. I lost my Mom last May; my father 36 years ago. My mother's influence is still very strong. Hence the title - a homage to her.

I always said that when I grew up I wanted to be a teacher, writer or an artist. I have written, I am a teacher, but I have only dabbled in art. Well, at 57 - when will I be grown up and be an artist- if not now?

I have been following The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women blog, hosted by Jamie Ridler.
All the advice points to "Just do it. Create.".
So "do it" I will.
My first step was to create my "101 Things in 1001 Days" list. I want to challenge myself to try new things and be creative.
My second step was to start a media collage online course. More on that later.
My bravest step thus far though, is the creation of this blog, to put myself on the line.
My goal is to explore my adventures in art, education and life. .
Join me in my explorations.

Even back in March 2009, I knew I needed to do something more. Creating the blog, taking classes, creating, all helped me move past grief and discover what I truly needed.
I continue to take course, to create and to write and am enjoying the journey.
Kat's prompt today:
Today's prompt and image come from my dear friend and sister wordsmith, Alana Lawson, whose friendship, support and inspiration continues to be one of the most precious things in my life.

Alana writes:

“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.”— E.S. Bouton

There are so many “precious things” that are presented to us each day; discoveries and treasures found in simple moments, memories we wish to store in our hearts and keep with us forever.

What precious things have you gathered in 2013?

Which memories from this year do you wish to keep with you always?
Memories are special. We often take pictures to remember what we were experiencing or what we saw. We want to capture  our children and family members so we have those moments always. As we look at those photos we remember the feelings and it is those that actually anchor the memories for us. Happiness, pride, sadness, even anger are relieved.
Memories I want to cherish from this year:
 times with my husband, even just simple ones of walking and holding hands
seeing my children, playing "Scattegories"
opening a card  and gift she made from a special student
receiving a ceramic plate from my class with all their names drawn on it
special words spoken by a friend at my retirement dinner
dinners with all the family gathered round
watching a play or movie
reading good books
All these add up to happiness and joy.