Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How did these kids grow up so fast?

One of my great-nephews had his graduation party last Saturday.  I helped his mother, my niece who I love with all my heart, with the decorations.  I was especially pleased that probably 90% of the decor I created was recycled from what I had on hand. Neither she nor I like to spend tons of money on disposable stuff. 
These banners were made from stencils I already had. Unlike for the last party when I did paper banners and it rained, this time I laminated them and told my niece that doing that just guaranteed it wouldn't rain.  I was right!

Give me a can of spray paint and I'm a happy girl!  I already had the pots and just spray painted them; we bought the sweet potato vine. My nephew is a fantastic photographer (intimidates me) so that was the theme for the day. I found the clip art negative strip and included his baby pictures.

The vases are recycled for the third time, and everything else came from my stash or from my backyard, assisted by my beloved spray paint.

Of course, there's the obligatory photo board - he had two. I used a photo corner punch on card stock to frame the photos so they can be removed undamaged.

 My nephew posted his own photographs throughout - trust me, they are fantastic! Whether he chooses to make photography a career or simply an enjoyable avocation, he'll do wonderful work.  I'm thinking of getting lessons from him when I get my new SLR camera.

 The most fun was this photo wall. I had seen these on the internet, and thought it would be a fun touch and fit in well with the photography theme.  I planned it out, bought the frames at the thrift store for 99 cents each, and my nephew-in-law built it.  Yes, you guessed it, the frames were spray painted.

I didn't have any trouble convincing the kids to take part.  The grownups needed a little coaxing but enjoyed it in the end. 
Here's four of my nieces and four of my nephews ...

My niece has the best friends that she met through her church. They all show up and with good nature and lots of laughs, they work their tails off to set up the food stations.  It was their idea to bring their "tools" for the picture.  They were delightful!

Here's me with the graduate on the upper right, my big sister on the left, and my sweet niece on the bottom. 

It sure was a nice day. The weather was beautiful (although a little windy at times), the food was delicious, the people were great fun.  So now we'll gather back all the decorations and recycle what we can for the next party, thanks to spray paint and thrift stores!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't hate me because I like pink

I really do have this thing about pink.  I don't use the color very much in decorating, but it shows up often in my wardrobe.  It must complement my natural coloring well because I get a fair amount of comments when I wear it.  But where I REALLY love pink is in flowers.  I haven't counted, but I must have thousands of pink floral photographs.  Here's just a few photos that I have worked on recently, experimenting with layers and actions in Photoshop.  Enjoy! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Art on Etsy

I listed some new work today in both of my shops. (Click on the photos for the direct link.) In my original shop (anotherbrightidea), two new photographs and a digital collage:

Two Daisies

Stargazer Sky
Taming the Universe

Don't ask me how I ended up with about a dozen embroidery hoops.  Since I'm not doing too much cross stitch anymore, I thought I should recycle/upcycle them for sale. Everything in these two hoops is completely recycled.   These are for my newer shop, Morebrightideas. Here's the first two:

 By The Sea

Victorian Style

I'm finally getting into the groove for doing new work. I still have stamina issues, but it feels good to be creating again!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Missing my Dad

In honor of my Dad's memory on this Father's Day, I'm reprinting a post I submitted to Thursday Sweet Treat in April.  I miss my Dad more and more each day, now that I'm older and understand so much more.

Happy Father's Day to all those great Dads out there.  Cherish your relationships. 


It Gives Me Great Pleasure to Introduce Our Artist/Writer of the Week, Felicia Kramer, creator of Another Bright Idea and More Bright Ideas.

Felicia Kramer. the artists extraordinaire behind Another Bright Idea and  More bright Ideas, created this stunning enhanced photograph titled, Dad & Me.

“I can’t say that I had a great relationship with my Dad, ” Felicia began. “I think he was overwhelmed with supporting such a large family and there wasn’t much time left for personal interaction. This outing to a “ranch” is therefore a special memory, one of the few times I remember having Dad’s undivided attention for a while. He loved horses – he was part of a mounted division in the army and talked fondly of his horse Tony – and I loved horses as well. What little girl doesn’t??”

“I took this precious little black & white photograph and played with overlays and effects to incorporate some color and add a lovely glow to the sky behind. Besides, that’s probably how that little girl must have felt that day. It was a day full of color, not black and white.”

“Often when I think of my Dad now a certain poem comes to mind: “my father moved through dooms of love.” It’s by my favorite poet, e.e.cummings. I love the way cummings plays with words and how the words roll off your tongue as you read them. The poem is quite long; here’s three favorite stanzas that remind me of my Dad.”

my father moved through dooms of love
by e. e. cummings

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height
My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)
and nothing quite so least as truth
–i say though hate were why men breathe–
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Roofs and Porches and Wreaths

We are finally having a stretch of great weather here in my neck of the woods, so things are hopping around my condo complex.  It's a very small complex, just 60 units, so we don't have any of the amenities that large complexes do, like swimming pools or a community house. So we had a little gazebo put in at the back of our property and there's even a small built-in grille behind the big rock. It will be a nice spot for relaxing and entertaining.

We're also getting new insulation and a new roof.  I'm not looking forward to the disruptions, but I know it has to be done.

In my own backyard, everything is growing like crazy.  Since I can't do any heavy work out there, I'm pretty much letting my garden do what it wants this year.  I'm not sure if that's a good idea; it's only June and it looks like a jungle already! 

I love my climbing hydrangea. The flowers aren't so spectacular, but I love the shape of the leaves and how the vine climbs and creates this lovely wall of green.

On the other hand, my bittersweet vine grows quite wild, wrapping itself around anything it reaches and around itself and then sends these long vines straight up.  Not very pretty.

Last year I tried a wacky experiment that worked out pretty well, so I'm doing it again.  Rather than  pruning those long tendrils, I'm twisting and tying them into a wreath shape and as they continue to grow I'm wrapping the tendrils around, just like a grapevine wreath.  I tried cutting them down and shaping them into a wreath once, but instead of drying brown they stayed green and pliable. Not so pretty! Here's one of my twists.

Here's how it worked last year - one small wreath and one larger one.  I'm aiming to get more and fuller wreaths this year.

It's hanging on my little front porch. This is the first time I put a chair out front, but since I'm supposed to take frequent rest breaks (in between my walking exercise, of course!) I decided to try it! It's so nice to sit in the shade and read for a while.

Summertime. I love it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June is for Reunions

On Saturday I went to my high school reunion.  Okay, I’ll admit it – it was the (cough-cough) 50-year reunion.  I know … can’t believe it myself.  How did the time go by so fast??  It was scheduled on the same day that we graduated 50 years ago – June 11.  

I usually prepare and print the reunion booklet, but I had to pass on it this year because of my March back surgery.  I didn’t think I would be up to working on it so soon after surgery.  Thanks to Jim for taking on that task. Here's Jim and me (aka chubby cheeks).
In fact, I worried whether I would make it through the long day of the reunion.  I did, of course – and as usual was among the last to leave! I’m a little disappointed in the photos I took.  I was so busy socializing, and the room was quite dark.  Thank goodness, we had a real photographer there and she’ll eventually make all the photos available to us.  But for the time being here’s some photos.

With it being such a momentous occasion, the committee planned some special events: a tour of the school and a mass in our honor, followed by the celebration. We attended St. Florian grade school and high school, attached to historic St. Florian Catholic Church in tiny Hamtramck, MI. The church celebrated its centennial a few years ago and the schools were established about 90 years ago. 

Some of us were together for all 12 of our school years; a few joined us for high school from other grade schools in the area.  We were a small class so everyone knew everyone else.  When we were growing up, Hamtramck was a predominantly Polish community and many of us were first or second generation Polish-Americans. Hamtramck is now much more internationally and ethnically diverse.  St. Florian schools were closed a few years back and the two buildings are now leased to two charter schools, so the school tour was somewhat bittersweet for us.
How many times did we go up these steps? These are newer doors - the original ones were much more beautiful and ornate.  (That’s our school president, waiting for any latecomers.)

Somehow these halls seemed so much larger and more imposing when we attended ….
A couple of the guys had much better memories than I did, pointing out the different classes where we did our best (or worst) work!   Had to get a shot of this infamous door leading to a class during a year when we were particularly mischievous, causing much grief and aggravation for the nun who taught us.
 The building is certainly showing its age; this is what we called the “old gym” – it wasn’t used for much of anything by the time we reached high school.   It led to an underground tunnel that took us  across the street to a new building  (built in the 1950s, I believe) that housed the new gym, a cafeteria and more classrooms.  

After the school tour, we continued on to the church for the 4:00 p.m.  mass in our honor.

We had reserved seats right up front and the pastor, who wasn’t even born yet when we graduated, was very gracious with beautiful tributes to our class, recounting some memories and laughs. Obviously, someone slipped him some of the “war stories” from our school days! 

Then it was off to the banquet hall for dinner and dancing.  This is us trying to get organized for a group photo first.

 Our photographer managed to corral us long enough for a great photo. 

Then we ate ….

We drank …

we talked ….

One of my best laughs of the night occurred when I saw a group of about 6-8 guys gathered in a circle and having an intense conversation.  I had to pop in to see what they were talking about.  They were comparing their hip and knee replacements!!  Old football injuries, I’m sure!!

I had a great time visiting with everyone, especially those who hadn’t attended any of our previous reunions. 

Of course, we had lots of “period” music: early Motown, “Moments to Remember” by the Four Lads (Junior Prom theme), “Graduation Day” by the Four Freshmen ... Jim promised me the first dance and he delivered.  Thanks, Jim!

I restricted myself to slow dancing, but tried to get in on “The Stroll” for a bit …

I wouldn’t have remembered the steps for the “Electric Slide” even if my back could have handled it …

I had such a great time!  As I was leaving along with the last stragglers while the banquet people vacuumed the floor around us, I couldn’t help wishing a silent goodbye to the 16 classmates who have already died, including one of my best friends from school who passed away just 12 days before the reunion.

It was such a nice but at times bittersweet day, bringing to mind these lyrics:

 There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all.
- In My Life (Lennon/McCartney)

Want to listen to it?  Go here: In My Life

To leave on a funny note, the back cover of our reunion booklet memorialized one of the best pranks ever done by one of our classmates, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty.  This guy snuck into class during the lunch hour and put a nail in a crease in the blackboard.  Fast forward to while we're in class: he arrives fashionably late, and without a word slowly strolls to the front of the class, picks up the chalk, draws a hook on the board, and hangs up his jacket!   Classic.  Just classic!

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