Saturday, November 28, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 24

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

Almost forgot to tell you... Jeanine's surgery was a SUCCESS! They didn't report the results on Tuesday as they had promised, but the very next day, the doctor called to tell Jeanine that the lumpectomy results were negative. Take that, cancer!

Week 24
Week 24

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

This year was the second year Jason and I have hosted Thanksgiving at our home. I usually take a week off of work just to prepare. That means cleaning my house from top to bottom, researching Thanksgiving recipes on the Food Network channel, and buying yummy food at great prices for more than a dozen hungry relatives. Although a lot of work goes into the event, one of the traditions our family has started has been creating the Tree of Thanks.

Our Tree of Thanks

The Tree of Thanks

Last year, I created the first Tree of Thanks, and this year, I asked my sister, Barbara, to create the second Tree of Thanks.

Barbara Making Leaves...

Barbara preparing the leaves for the Tree of Thanks

Decorative Leaves

The assorted leaves

As our family arrives for Thanksgiving dinner, you will find in our home the Tree of Thanks posted on the back of the front door. As the meal is being prepared, guests are asked to fill out an empty leaf and share what they are thankful for that year.

Joyce Filling Out Her Leaf...

Joyce filling out a leaf

Jake, Jack, and Emily

Jake, Jack, and Emily reading the Tree of Thanks

As you can see, we have A LOT for which to be thankful. This has not been the easiest year for our family. We lost many loved ones this year as well as faced many personal and difficult challenges. But in the end, we have each other. What more could a girl ask for?

Tree of Thanks

"Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 23

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

Jeanine came out of surgery with the cancer removed and new bosoms to boot. We are all waiting and praying that the analysis of the lumpectomy comes back negative on Tuesday. Please keep her in your thoughts as she embarks on her next phase of recovery - radiation.

Week 23

Week 23

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Butterflies and Such

Hubby's status on Facebook today? "Jason is glad he has someone in his life who helps him defy gravity." Sometimes the boy surprises me... and I like it.

Young Victoria

Quote above: "Love is the condition in which happiness
of another person is essential to your own."
- Robert Heinlein

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flowers for Angela

Quotes seem to dominate a lot of my work. I am drawn to them and like to incorporate them into the pieces I create. I also use them at the end of each blog post as a way of reinforcing what I may have failed to say in my own words. Many of them are as beautiful and as thought provoking as art for me.

I Appreciate You

My obsession with quotes began in high school when I used to keep a journal of them tucked away in my bookbag like secret treasures. The first quote I ever recorded was from the movie Heathers. For some reason, when the character, Veronica Sawyer said, "This isn't just a spoke in my menstrual cycle," it struck a chord with me. Go figure.

You Are the Embodiment of Strength

But now, instead of keeping quotes to myself, I like to give them away and share them with others closest to me. If I could grow each one into a beautiful flower, I'd give them away as bouquets.

I Am in Awe of Your Beauty

"It is not so much the content of what one says
as the way in which one says it.
However important the thing you say,
what's the good of it if not heard or, being heard, not felt?"
- Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 22

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

This particular gem really stood out for me this week. Jeanine is a modern marvel, going through the things she's going through, and, yet, I know her. The miracle that she exists and that destiny had her cross my path is amazing to me. She is amazing to me.

Week 22
Week 22

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Start Your Engines!

Yesterday, we had our company's second annual pinewood derby race. Alfonso finally managed to finish his car the day before the race, and I was also able to assemble a proper driver for my land speeder. We both felt pretty good about the entries we'd prepared for the race.

Second Annual Pinewood Derby RaceMe and My Car

Yoda and the Land Speeder

Alfonso's Final ProductAlfonso and the Mach Five

Behold the Speedracer Mach Five

I had to hoped to race my car on the day of the derby, but, alas, the car was too heavy and didn't meet racing regulations. I had to settle for entering it into the Best in Show category. And boy, did I have some stiff competition! Look for yourself...

Needless to say, I did not win. However, I did have someone ask if she could have my car to give to her nephew as a Christmas gift. How could I deny a child the fruits of my labor? I'm sure he'll appreciate the craftsmanship. Amanda was also kind enough to donate her Sponge Bob car to the same person's niece. We were promised cute pictures of the children enjoying their new toys. It's only fair.

Sponge Bob Square Pants EntryAmanda and Her Masterpiece

Our Cars Spread Joy to Children... Kind of Like Santa

Prior to last year, I had never made a pinewood derby car. It was never a part of my childhood experience, but I guess it's never too late to do childish things and to take part in youthful endeavors.

Still Winners

"It is never too late to have a happy childhood."
- Tom Robbins

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Handmade and Well-Made in Raleigh

Yesterday, I attended the Handmade Market in Raleigh. It's the second time I have attended the event, but this time, I brought along a friend.

The Handmade Market in Raleigh

Slogan - "Because mall is a four-letter word." Brilliant.

Ready to Shop!

Me and Amanda

The venue was equally packed with amazing vendors as well as potential shoppers. It was kind of a madhouse as dozens of shoppers moved about the seemingly large space. I was excited to peruse each vendor, but I felt rushed as other shoppers brushed and bumped against me. I ended up purchasing some yummy biscotti for Jason since he's recently started drinking coffee again. It must be the mustache.

The event also had savory fall treats for sale right outside of the venue. After an hour of shopping, I couldn't resist the sweet smell, so I ordered myself a hot chocolate and a cranberry oatmeal cookie. I deserved it, right?


More Treats!

So worth the extra calories...

After the market, Amanda and I had lunch and then stumbled upon this shop. I couldn't resist the peculiar pets they had. You know me. I have an affinity for the quirky and odd, so I adopted a pet of my own.

At the end of the day, this is what I scored:

What I Scored That Day

Being surrounded by so many artists on their own and it doing it their way was really inspiring. I wish all fall days could be spent like this.

Gotta Love Fall

"Whoever said money can't buy happiness
simply didn't know where to go shopping."
- Bo Derek

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Words to Live By: Week 21

My friend Jeanine has cancer, but cancer does not have Jeanine.

Jeanine got the details of her surgery this week. She's scheduled to go in on November 18th. Please keep her in your thoughts as she prepares to remove the cancer that's she's been battling these past six months.

Week 21
Week 21

Friday, November 6, 2009

First Annual Art Show

The First Annual Art Show was a success. We had so many pieces on display, and the comment I heard most throughout the event was "Who knew we had so much talent among us?" It was great to see so many creative people come together and have an outlet for sharing their work. It was the first time I had ever really participated in something like it.

I even got my first review.

The silent auction was also a success. We sold every piece of art and raised $140.14 for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

It was a great evening, and I even walked away with two newly purchased pieces of art to boot. I can't wait to do this again next year.

"Jumping at several small opportunities
may get us there more quickly than
waiting for one big one to come along."
- Hugh Allen

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Last Day Before the Show

Several months ago, I approached the CEO of the company and asked him if it would be okay if I organized an amateur art show consisting of employee artwork. Without hesitation, he told me that it would be a great idea.

Preparing for the Art Show

An idea comes to fruition

So, in September, I sent out an email to the company, inviting people to participate in the show. I didn't get the response I was hoping for, but I did get a good sized group together to commit to bringing in works to exhibit. We marked November 6th as the day to hold the show. I even got permission to start the show at 4 o'clock in the afternoon on a work day.

Slowly Adding Colors

Committments are made

Those not participating in the event even gave me the great idea to make the show a joint charity event. With some collaboration, it was decided to conduct a silent auction for the donated pieces by the exhibiting artists and give the proceeds to charity. Since Thanksgiving is coming up, we decided to donate our proceeds to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.

Slowly Adding Colors 2

Results are being produced

As it got closer to the day of the show, my group of participants dwindled down a bit. However, those who were left to participate excitedly shared with me the details of the pieces they were preparing. I was just happy to hear that people were going to submit more than one piece under their name.

Slowly Adding Colors 4

No one can stop this train

A few days ago I learned that the CEO was even going to submit a few pieces that he did back in the third grade... and he's going to bring in a cake with "First Annual Art Show" piped on it. First Annual? The buzz around this thing is already creating the expectation of a second show. Yippee!

Slowly Adding Colors 6

Almost show time!

Tonight, I am finishing up the final details: creating artist profiles, labels for everyone's pieces, and bidding sheets for the auction. I also went shopping for some light refreshments for our guests to enjoy.

Slowly Adding Colors 7

I hope I'm not forgetting anything...

I hope the show proves to be a worthwhile event. We have so many creative people hiding in our midst. Shouldn't we encourage them to share their talents?

Slowly Adding Details

I'm all smiles

Wish us luck!

Almost There...

"As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life."
- John Lubbock

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Keeping Busy on Halloween

My friend, Alfonso, and I made plans to meet on Halloween afternoon to design and finish our pinewood derby cars for our company's annual pinewood derby race. The race is going to take place on November 9th, so we didn't have much time to postpone the inevitable.

We agreed to meet at noon, have lunch, and begin working on our cars. Jason even assisted both of us in the preparation and assembly. We set up shop in my kitchen so that cleanup of wood dust and would chips would be relatively easy to execute.

With our designs on hand, we were ready to begin.

Pinewood Derby Fun

My Chosen Design: A Star Wars Land Speeder

Alfonso's Design

Alfonso's Chosen Design: Speed Racer's Mach Five

I kept my design simple, adjusting the design so that car would give suggestion of being a Star War's land speeder instead of adding extra width and special hardware to make it look like a real land speeder.

Coming Together

The body


Base paint

Adding Details

Adding details

My Star Wars Land Speeder

Finished! Now I just need a driver...

Alfonso, however, took a different approach. He glued extra pieces of wood to the original pinewood block so that he could have enough width and body to make the it resemble Speedracer's Mach Five as closely as possible. I admired his ambition. After several hours of chiseling, dremeling, and sanding, I think he ended up with a workable body.

Alfonso Chiseling His MasterpieceUsing the Dremel

Alfonso chiseling and dremeling during daylight hours

Still Chiseling...Jason's New Passion

Alfonso and Jason taking turns bringing the car to shape during the night

Getting There

The somewhat finished product

Granted, he didn't get to that point until well after midnight. I guess great design truly does take time and is a labor of love. It was fun helping him shape the wood into his vision. With a little more sanding and time for paint, he should have a really great car. I can't wait to see his finished product.

Go Five!

"What is art? Are we art? Is art art?"
-Lisa Turtle, character on Saved By the Bell


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