December 1, 2010

December 2010 Desktop Freebie!!!

     It's here! December has made it...seems like it was just yesterday I was picking July blueberries with my friends from Savannah (Hi Deanna and Mary!). Now Christmas is coming up fast, then 2011...WOW!
     Anyway...I made a desktop for the last month of 2010 and I hope you enjoy it! There are two popular sizes, so hopefully, you will find one that works for you. I want to wish you a happy holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate! And Merry Christmas...and don't forget the real reason for the season!
I only make the layouts with beautiful freebies from these generous designers...make sure you visit them!

Raspberry Road Designs joy of christmas add-on kit (papers, elements)Sabrina's Creations (template)Katie Pertiet (Deck The Halls tab)Miss Cutie Pie (Vintage Santa pic)Mini Calendar (Gypsy Designs)Jessica Art Design (music WA on background)Shabby Princess (safety pin and polka dot ribbons)Dani Mogstad (Bow)

Thanks for visiting...don't be a stranger!

November 15, 2010

For Today...November 15th

Outside my window: it is sunny and chilly. Winter is fast approaching, especially since the news just said there will be rain snow mix this weekend.
I am hearing:well, aside from the news, my cat is sitting in the window in front of me purring and enjoying a sun puddle. Best sound ever!
I am wearing: yoga pants and a t-shirt...thinking about a sweater though!
From the kitchen: i had an Activia Peach yogurt (yummy!) and a banana
I am thankful for: life reminding me in little ways everyday to be mindful and present in each moment.
I am going: to have to get a sweater! Then, who knows.
Noticing that: yoga is harder than it looks, but the hardest part is being kind and nonjudgmental to yourself while practicing. 
I am reading: My Lobotomy by Howard Dully (a birthday gift and a great book!)
From the learning rooms: My hubby is still doing very well in his school work! As for me, I am trying daily...well, minute by minute actually, to be mindful. I am really trying to be kinder, more patient, and nonjudgmental toward myself. It's really hard.
On my mind: my grandmother and my family in Florida. 
Quote for Thought: "Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it." -Eckhart Tolle
One of my favorite things: the moment right after my hubby walking in the door from school or work. I love seeing his smile and getting a great big warm hug!
I'm creating: a new routine. I feel like I need to work on my spiritual and physical self a little before I can do much creative work.
Around the house: the usual to-dos of laundry and dishes of course!
A few plans for the week: taking it day to day, but I am planning to practice with my AM yoga and PM yoga daily for starters.
From my lens: this is just a beautiful picture I found on a positive thoughts website. Sorry I forgot to write down the address. This is very calming isn't it? Love this!

You can participate in The Daybook too! 
Head over to The Simple Woman's Daybook and join in today!

November 14, 2010

Love, Loss, and Saying Goodbye

     Life is so fragile. Most of the time, we go through our day to day life in a rush, never slowing down to just be. Just enjoy this thing called life. Losing someone you love really makes you slow down and remember what is important in the world. I try to be mindful, to be present in the moment, but too often I get bogged down in worries that just aren't important. It's times like this that remind us to be present, every moment.
     It's been a tough few weeks for our family. Just a few days shy of the end of October, we got the news that my grandmother's brother had advanced bone cancer. The universe works in amazing ways, and it just so happened I was already headed south for a visit. Our family has always been a close knit one, so there was no two ways about it. The minute I hit the ground in Charlotte, we headed for my grandmother's house, then drove to Florida. The first day was spent chatting and hugging, and listen to Nanny and Uncle JM talk about their childhood. We made it just in time for that blessing of a day, because that was the last day he was really able to interact with us. The rest of our visit was spent enjoying our family and just being with Uncle JM.
     I had never really been in this situation before. When my mom passed, it was sudden and I didn't have the chance to say goodbye. I was far too young to remember much of the process when my grandfather passed away. The hospice that was helping had the most beautiful, comforting pamphlet about the process. It really did help a lot. I took it to heart and, when we had to say goodbye and return to South Carolina, I made sure I  helped my grandmother understand that it was OK. It was OK to cry, OK to tell him you will miss him, and OK to tell him you'll be just fine. It took us four or five trips in and out of his room...Nanny just couldn't bare to let him hear her tears, but the moments I was blessed enough to share with the two of them were beautiful. She stroked his forehead, held his hand in hers, and told him she loved him, that her world was a beautiful place because of him, and that she wanted him to give Dana (my mom) a hug for her. That was about all she could manage before she just couldn't say anymore. All the while, I could tell he could feel her there, tell he wanted to say something. I had a moment alone and I made sure to tell him what I knew he wanted to hear, but Nanny just couldn't find words for. I told him I was going to take good care of Nanny. That she was in good hands and that we'd miss him so much, but that we would be OK. I felt the peace that gave him, and being in that moment was beautiful.
     I returned home, and I got the call the next day that he had passed. I can't tell you how thankful I was for the moments I shared, then and through my life, with him and the rest of my family. I can't stop thinking of the wonderful times. I remember being a very young child and thinking my Uncle JM was just the tallest man I'd ever seen! I loved our visits to Florida...he would hoist me or my sister up on his mighty shoulders and we'd head out to his back yard to pick oranges until we couldn't hold them all. Later, when I was older, I saw him as the best example of a husband and father anyone could ask for. The love and tenderness he never ceased to show made him a ray of sunshine to everyone that knew him.
     I guess the thing I am most thankful for is that I had the chance to say goodbye. I am so thankful that life constantly reminds me to cherish ever moment I have with those I love. Though I have tears rolling down my face as I type, they are a mix of sad and happy tears. Sad because I miss him, but so happy that I had him for a little while, and that he made this world a better place just by being in it.

October 31, 2010

November Desktop Freebie!!!

WOW, I can not believe it's already November! Well, almost, but close enough! As this posts, I am traveling, so I hope the scheduling system throws me a bone and helps me out. This is the freebie I made for you, and I made the two popular sizes (1024x768 and 1366x768 resolutions). I hope you like it, and thank you for visiting and downloading! I hope your Halloween was amazing, and I pray your November is to you soon!

October 25, 2010

Great News!

    Ooo la la!! The voting is closed, and the winners of the first Cat Portrait Contest have been announced over at Fifi Flower's blog...and my baby girl was one of the winners! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself! I just love the whimsical style Fifi has, and I couldn't wait to see the portrait of my sweet Pumpkin. Well, the winning kitties' portraits are all posted on Fifi's blog, and I wanted to share them with you!

     Aren't they fabulous? Of course, the one on the left is my Pumpkin! I just love these paintings and I can't wait to see the note cards when they get here. I smell a frame shopping expedition coming soon!
     Thanks to Fifi for having such a fun contest, and congratulations to the other three fabulous felines. Make sure you visit Fifi at her website and explore her galleries, she has so many wonderful paintings for sale! You can also see the before and after process of the cat portraits here. Have fun shopping at her Etsy Shop too! It's simply fabulous!

October 21, 2010

Please Help Pumpkin Win!

Hey everyone! I have a can help my cat Pumpkin win a contest! See, artist Fifi Flowers is having a contest, for cats! She has posted the contestants on her blog and, starting tomorrow, you can go over to the contest post on Fifi's blog and vote for your favorites! I believe you have to choose six or eight of your favs, because the contest is to choose cats to include in a note card set.

     My beautiful baby Pumpkin is Contestant #2, and I'd love if you included her in your favorites. Here's an example of some of Fifi's work. I love how whimsical her paintings are!

      There are a lot of cuties posted to vote for, and I can't wait to see makes it into the note card set. Thanks in advance, and good luck to all the other contestants too! I hope I get to see my Pumpkin's portrait in that note card collection! Fifi has a lot of cool paintings in her shop, and some are of my favorite place...Tybee Island, GA and Mermaid Cottages! Don't just vote, make sure you check out all of Fifi's work while you're there! Thanks again!

October 17, 2010

For today...October 17th

Outside my window...the sun is going down and it's getting chilly!

I am wearing...jeans and a long sleeve tee shirt. might have to get a scarf when I head out to pick up my hubby from work!

I am thinking... about my up coming trip to South Carolina. I'm glad I get to see my family for a bit! It's the airport and the flying alone before I get there that is getting to me!

I am thankful wonderful, loving, sweeter-than-honey hubby. We just celebrated our second wedding anniversary on October 11th! The best 2 years of my life, and I can't wait to see what the future brings!

From the kitchen...well, I'm making cookies. I shouldn't be, because I eat them...yet they are baking as we speak!

I am creating...I finally got around to making the fall memorials for my mom's headstone today. Yeah, I'd rather it not be memorials, but it was really nice to get back to my flowers again!

I am reading...Healing Mind, Healthy Woman: using the Mind-Body Connection to Manage Stress and Take Control of Your Life by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D, and Henry Dreher. I just got 49 books at the local library sale though, so who knows what's next! Gotta love the bag sale! I got all those books for $3!!! 

From the learning rooms...I'm still learning to take life one day at a time.

I am hoping... that I am making a difference! 

I am hearing...the tv. I love America's Funniest Home Videos!

I am remember that I am one person and I just can't please everyone at the same time. 

Around the house...the laundry is folded, but not put away. The dishes are washed, but not put away...I think there's a pattern developing here!

I am remembering...well, trying to remember everything I need to write on my "Going on a Trip" list!

Quote to commit to memory... “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” -Buddha

A few plans for the week...gotta mail this package, make sure all the things for my trip are in order. Getting close now!

One of my favorite things...warm homemade chocolate chip cookies and a coffee.

Photo for Thought... this is our first full autumn season here in PA and I am just loving the fall weather! The leaves are just gorgeous I took a stroll and shot some pictures around North East. I hope your fall is beautiful where ever you are!

September 30, 2010

Finally...a Freebie in Time for October!

     Yes, I know. I was out of commission with the digital scrapbooking for a while, and missed making the September desktop altogether. But the good news is that I am back to scrapping and I have the new October Desktop ready! The most popular size seemed to be 1024x768 so that's what this is. I'd love to know if anyone uses anything else OK! So, without further ado, here's your freebie! Thanks for stopping by!

September 29, 2010

For Today...September 29th

Outside my window...chilly and rainy, a great day for a nap!

I am wearing...jeans and a long sleeve tee shirt. Thinking about getting a sweater though... 

I am thinking... how I really need to get back to being more disciplined with following my Weight Watchers again. What is it about Fall that derails a diet? Oh, I know, the amazing food!

I am thankful for...a husband and friends that comfort me and truly care. you guys don't know how much you are appreciated.

From the kitchen...well. Coffee first, then I think I shall have a bowl of Cheerios and a peach yogurt.

I am creating...I made a header and background for my sweet hubby's new blog! I'm also going to work on the memorials for my mom's headstone today. Gotta get the fall colors out. One of my pet peeves is when people leave old, out of season flowers on a headstone...big no-no!

I am reading...Healing Mind, Healthy Woman: using the Mind-Body Connection to Manage Stress and Take Control of Your Life by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D, and Henry Dreher 

From the learning hubby just started his new term at school. He is doing so well and I am SO proud of him!

I am hoping... that I am making a difference. 

I am hearing...the tv...ever notice that the morning news shows are more positive? Why can't the afternoon and evening news do that too? 

I am remember that I am one person and I just can't please everyone at the same time. 

Around the house...well, with two part time jobs I feel like I let the house go! Getting caught up on laundry today, seems to be piled to the ceiling!

I am breath deeply and take a time out when life gets to me.

Quote to commit to memory... “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Teilhard de Chardin
A few plans for the week...just plodding along. Hopefully I can get out and maybe take a few pictures of the fall leaves.

One of my favorite things...warm, 2 blanket naps on chilly, rainy days.

Photo for Thought... this past weekend was the 29th Annual North East Wine Harvest Festival here in town. It's only the biggest event of the year around here, since our little town is known for grapes! These are just a few shots of grapes I got while taking a drive through the smells SO good here in the fall! Hope these help you feel a little Fall where ever you are!

September 28, 2010

The North East Wine Harvest Festival!

     Well, I finally made it to Wine Fest this year! I've known my husband for nine years and we have never made it to North East for this special event...but this year we live here, so we had no excuse! The weather was supposed to be worse, but thankfully, we chose the right day to venture out. It had been back in the 80s the entire week, but Saturday, clouds funneled in and the temperature didn't crack 60! It was beautiful fall weather, perfect for a harvest festival!

Some beautiful local grapes!
     There were two spots for the fun. Gibson Park, right in the middle of North East, was full of local crafters, food venders, and people enjoying the day. Gravel Pit Park, only about a half mile down the road on the edge of town, was the place to be for wine tasting, fine art and crafts, live music, and loads of food. I was good...I shared a small fried grape pie with my hubby. I decided to forgo the funnel cake this time. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels, right? I ended up with a small hot dog and fries though, because you simply can not eat healthfully at a fair. You just can't. Anyway...on to the grapes!

     Here in North East, we are known for GRAPES! There are vineyards everywhere. You really can't turn around without seeing one! During the harvest, the air is heavy with the smell of grapes of every sort. And that is intertwined with the smell of pears and apples as well. This town is like a huge fruit basket, really!  Speaking of...this was just one of the fruit offerings at the festival. So pretty!

     We had loads of fun walking through the crafts, looking at the award winning wines. But there was only one thing I really wanted to do. I wanted to stomp some grapes! My hubby had told me for years that they offered this opportunity at Wine Fest, but we never made it. So this year, I was on a quest. I even wore a skirt so I won't have to roll up my jeans... I was prepared! My fantastically imaginative brain had this huge scene all worked out. If you have ever seen A Walk in the Clouds, you all know what I mean! I could just see a huge barrel with thousands of grapes just waiting for a group of people to jump in. Well, it was a little different than that. There were two modest barrels, maybe big enough for two people.

     And there were loads of people in line. I'm not pushy, so when I was cut in line by like, twenty kids under the age of 10, I bit my tongue, watched, and quietly moved to the shorter line for the second barrel. (Don't worry, the rant about the lack of manners today will be saved for another time.)
     It was SO much fun once I got in the barrel. I was even cheered on by the crowd for not holding onto the railing! I can't really explain what it felt like. All I can really say is that it felt like cold jelly...well, preserves I guess, because of the bigger, un-squished pieces!

     I had a blast, and now I can mark this off my bucket list! After I washed off my feet, we returned to watch more people take their turn squishing and squashing. You couldn't stand too close...some of the participants really wanted to make it more like a theme park ride and were intent on getting grapes on everyone!

     The last few ladies were hilarious though...making Lucille Ball references and the like! They were doing so well that the MC asked them to get in a bucket together and have a little friendly competition with the Erie County Apple Princess! They got quite a work out, and let's just say they beat some Apple Princess butt! They were so awesome, I had to get their picture after their victory!

Montrae and Eileene after their victory over the Apple Princess!
     After walking around both parks most of the day, we decided to hit the closest winery to our house...we didn't really want to get on the shuttle with people who'd been tasting for hours, if you know what I mean. I don't drink, so it was my hubby that was looking forward to the tour. We actually made out better than tasting at the festival! They were selling tokens for $1 for a one ounce taste. Well, the South Shore Winery (sister winery of our favorite Mazza Vineyards!) was offering five different wines to taste for the same dollar! Plus you got the fun of listening to the lady teach you about different wines and their individual qualities.

     Yes, she has corks for earrings. I loved them. A lot. And haven't had too much drink, that is a walking bunch of grapes pouring the wine. I'm sure that got some of the more tipsy tasters! The hubby likes sweet reds, but he gave a few dry selections a try. The tour guides before the tasting had told us their best selling bottle of the weekend was the Honey Mead. We were intrigued. Luckily, the Honey Mead was on the tasting list! It, in fact, was one of my hubby's favorites that we will have to return for at a later time.

     My favorite part of the tour was the building. The owners bought the house and, just a few years ago, discovered that there was a cellar underneath completely filled with dirt! After excavating, they discovered a beautiful cellar and it's dated back to the 1860s! It was breathtaking, and I honestly can't believe it's only a half mile from my house! You can read more about the history here.
     So needless to say, ending at The South Shore Winery and seeing the cellar was the highlight of the day. Besides the grape stomping of course! OH! And I can't close without sharing this... nothing like a little dry wine humor (ha ha, get it, dry?!)...

September 21, 2010

Starfish and World Gratitude Day

     Today is World Gratitude Day! Of course, I didn't really know that until this morning, so that makes this post all the more special. I was on Facebook last night, just seeing what everyone was up to...maybe playing a game or two, and I saw a wonderful status from a friend that really made me stop and think.
Isn't that beautiful? I don't think we slow down and remember that enough...much less take the time to tell other people in our lives the affect they truly have on us. I just loved I clicked to read the other comments and noticed my friend had continued her thought in the comments section. She shared a story that brought tears to my eyes. Now, for those of you who really know me, you know that calling me emotional is a huge understatement...huge. I can easily go from a smile to a torrential downpour in less than a second.

Which leads me to this aside: I love star fish. They make me happy and sad all rolled up into one, and I can't explain it. I think it is because they are usually so small and fragile, but their little arms always look so happy. Like they are jumping for joy or something. So...I love star fish., Frederico Stevanin
Now...back on topic. The comment my Facebook friend shared got me, and then the little story she posted underneath totally unleashed the tears. I felt so connected to the little girl in the story, I couldn't hold back the water works and I became a blubbering wet mess. That is not an exaggeration. I cried like someone took my best friend away! So, of course, I had to make a page about it. It was just what I needed to read at the time. We all make a difference, no matter how small our actions....
I made this with edits to a photobucket image. The fonts are Jellyka St. Andrews Queen and Garamond.
I hope this parable touched you as much as it touched me. I kept starfish around me before because they reminded me to smile. Now I have more reasons for my little friends...they remind me daily that I do make a difference. No matter how small my contributions may be... I make a difference. And today is the perfect day to say that is what I'm thankful for.

September 15, 2010

For Today...September 15th

Outside my is absolutely gorgeous! I am so excited that fall is coming...the leaves are starting to change and the air is crisp...doesn't get any better!

I am wearing...jeans and a light sweater (not something I'd be wearing if I wear still in SC)! 

I am thinking... about having some apple pie. A friend was nice enough to give us a pie and I have really been trying my best to only eat a small piece every other day or so! It's SO yummy!

I am thankful for...people that have faith in me. As a house wife, I was honored and lucky enough in the last month to stumble into two jobs because the people I work for have loads of faith in me. I can't tell you how good that feels :-) 

From the kitchen...well, I think I said I as having pie, hehe!

I am creating...I've been writing a lot lately, and I have really gotten a lot out of my new laptop! It feels fabulous to be able to scrap on the go, and edit pictures on the fly!.

I am reading...Healing Mind, Healthy Woman: using the Mind-Body Connection to Manage Stress and Take Control of Your Life by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D, and Henry Dreher Though I haven't read lately. New toys will do that to you...

From the learning hubby is doing so well in school! this term seems to be the most trying for him, but he is such a good student and I am so very proud of him!

I am hoping... that I am making a difference. 

I am hearing...the tv...the news is never good. I should turn it when I hear the theme playing. 

I am going...give it my best and remember, that's all I can do. I am capable of more than I think. 

Around the house...well, with two part time jobs I feel like I let the house go! Honestly though, i just looked and all I need to do is fold the clean clothes and wash the dishes. That's a relief!

I am remembering...that good things come to those who wait.

Quote to commit to memory... “Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.” ~ Edwin Hubbell Chapin

A few plans for the week...I've got a lot of writing planned, more photo editing, and in between, working at the new job at Bob Evans. I work with my hubby and that makes the nervousness SO much better!

One of my favorite things...the color of sunlight in the fall. It just looks different, almost like it's burnished :-)

Photo for Thought... Its almost time for the grape harvest! Though I have seen a few of the farms getting their pickers out, I haven't gotten a shot of them in the fields. I did, however, get a picture of a picker at the Cherry Festival parade a few months ago. So, especially for my southern friends who have probably never seen such a thing, this is a grape picker! (Complete with the Grape Queen and her court of 2009!)
This contraption drives down between the rows and shakes the grapes loose! I'll be getting more pictures of them in action I'm sure! Stay tuned!