Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ready For The Beach

Just a quick post today to share a layout showcasing two photos (almost identical) snapped on a summer day when I was a pre-teen.

So much FUN to scrap photos of my much younger self!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ohio Trip & Scavenger Hunt Finds

As I mentioned in a previous post, Robbie and I took an unexpected trip to Ohio this month. We got the news on a Friday morning that his best friend since 1st grade had passed away. We headed out that evening for the 1100+ mile (one-way) drive. Our primary purpose for the trip was to honor Robbie & Jeff's friendship by attending the funeral services, however we were also able to spend time with Robbie's family and find a few more items on Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt list along the way.

Robbie's hometown is Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The city is  named after the Cuyahoga River and the series of waterfalls that run along the southern boundary of the city, so I knew it would be the perfect place to find #18 - A Waterfall.

One of Robbie's favorite desserts is Italian Cream Cake, and he often enjoyed one from Vincent's Bakery for his birthdays growing up. We drove by Vincent's to capture this shot for #9 - A Bakery.

We spent a beautiful evening boating on Portage Lakes with Robbie's brother, sister-in-law and 2 nephews.

When Thomas was snapping a photo of me & Robbie, he also captured #10 - A Photo Bomb (see Jacob down in the bottom left corner!).

I even got in some skipping with Kathy and Jacob! (It was late evening & the sun was going down & Jacob hasn't yet mastered the art of holding the camera steady, so these are not the best pictures . . . but they do show that I'm still skipping along this year!)

As a special treat, we took our nephews to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here's a reflection photo of the four of us with this year's Vince Lombardy Trophy behind us.
While we were at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I was also able to find #12 - A Mascot from the parks department,
 and #5 - A Rack of Post Cards.
Here are a few more favorite photos from our time in Ohio.

Before we left Ohio on our drive home, I also captured #7 - A Rural Landscape.

On the way home, we added 120 miles and a few extra hours so we could dip down into Alabama to visit my nephew Trey and meet his sweet wife Pam.

We returned home six days after we left, mourning the loss of a friend yet refreshed by the opportunity to visit with family we don't get to see often enough!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review - The Old Man And The Sea

This year one of my goals is to read the Pulitzer Prize winners in fiction and review them here on my blog. A couple of weeks ago, I read Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea, the 1953 winner. (I'm not sure how I made it through high school without reading this classic!)


Despite the sad turn of events in this story of Santiago, an old fisherman who catches the largest fish of his time (after an 85-day dry spell) just to have it eaten by sharks before he could sail back to land with it, this is a fantastic story of courage, triumph, perseverance, acceptance, and determination. The book is extremely well-written (it is Hemingway after all!), and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Have any of you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Great Thou Art

Cheri's theme for this month's Life Tunes is a favorite spiritually uplifting song. I have to admit that this is a difficult one for me because there are so many hymns, southern gospel tunes, and worship songs that I find spiritually uplifting.  

Amazing Grace is a tradition favorite that always stirs my soul. I can't keep my feet from tapping and hands from clapping when I hear the Happy Goodmans singing I'm Too Near My Home. During difficult times, I've been known to sing I Am Determined To Hold Out To The End over and over again. (Always when I'm alone, just me & the Lord, who hears the "joyful noise" my singing creates!) I love to listen to Daddy pick the guitar and sing The Greatest Love Story of All. A recent favorite is Mandisa's Overcomer. I even have a CD by Crystal Lyons with some popular country songs with the words changed to Christian lyrics (When I Die, I Know I'll Go To Heaven is my favorite!) My list could go on and on . . .

. . . however, if I have to choose one song that moves me and lifts me up every time I hear it, I would choose How Great Thou Art. This is a powerful hymn that's been a part of my life as long as I can remember. It's been sung in many churches that I've attended, it was sung at my Grandma's funeral, I can belt it out when I'm driving down the road (all alone in the car), and it always reminds me of the greatest of the Lord! Of course, my favorite memory (as with so many songs) is listening to Daddy sing this song as a special during church services or while hanging out with the family or driving down the road.

[I had hoped to go through my CDs of Daddy singing and see if any of them contained this song, however Robbie and I had to travel unexpectedly to Ohio for the funeral of his best friend since 1st grade.] Instead, here's a great rendition I found on YouTube.

Final Cozumel Layouts

Over the past couple of years, I've been steadily working my way through the photos we took on our 10th anniversary cruise and creating scrapbook pages to fill an album (which has expanded to two albums!). Today I have the final layouts for our day in Cozumel to share with you. Since I kept a daily journal on the cruise, I'm not journaling on all the pages in the album. However, there are some stories that simply have to be told again . . . like the one on this first layout.
Journaling reads: When we walked into the first store in Cozumel, a salesman looked at Robbie and said, "Hey Superman, I have a super deal for you!" We laughed and continued strolling through the various shops along the waterfront road . . . and EVERY salesman greeted us with "Hey Superman." By the end of the day, Robbie vowed never to wear his Superman T-shirt in public again!

I also wanted to share a FUNny story from lunch that day.

Journaling reads: After a couple of hours of walking & shopping, we were ready for lunch. I was surprised that a coke cost $29 . . . until the waiter explained that the prices were in Pesos!

This next page showcases a couple of photos we snapped as we were pulling up to the dock.

And finally, I used the front and back of a divided page protector for photos of Cozumel taken from the ship and those taken as we shopped & strolled along the waterfront.

I love working with these photos because each time it brings back all the great memories from that trip, our first cruise and the celebration of ten years together!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Time For Everything

When I felt the inspiration to create an art journal page using a scripture from Ecclesiastes chapter 3, I pulled out my art journal, some washi tape, pages from an old hymnal and book, and a small booklet on Proverbs to begin.

With the addition of a few items from my stash, I used these pieces to create a collage background.

I liked this look but wanted to tie the pieces together more, so I used watered down gesso over the entire page.

Once that was dry, I added some spray mist, paint, and clock faces to the background. I must admit that I think this is the best background I've ever created and I let it sit for a couple of weeks before completing the page.

I used markers to add a title.

And wrote out the scripture around the edge of the page.

I'm thrilled with the final result and am excited about trying the collage background again soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Not On The Scavenger Hunt List

Some of you may remember during last year's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, I posted a collage of longhorn photos and lamented that I wished that had been on the list. What I'm discovering is that during the scavenger hunt, I'm much more focused on my surroundings and looking for the items on the list. However, I often discover other extremely interesting things that would have made great finds . . . if only they had been on the list.

This phenomena occurred a couple of weeks ago when Robbie and I took a Friday evening drive up to Sanger (about an hour away) to enjoy a fried chicken dinner at Babe's Chicken Dinner House. I was on the look out for items on this year's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, and I did find one item that would be my second submission for #1 - a sign welcoming people to a nearby town.

However, I also found quite a few interesting things that weren't on the list - a giant rooster . . .

stools made from old tractor seats . . .

Darth Vader, Spock, Captain Kirk, Clint Eastwood, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe (be sure to click on the photo for a larger version that will allow you to read the talk bubbles) . . .

singing waitresses . . .

a warning sign . . .

a great quote . . .

and a pick-up truck literally sitting on the ground.

Thanks Rinda for hosting this FUN summer event and helping me be more observant!

Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 Deep Cleaning/Decluttering Organizing/Redecorating - Front Hallway & Lighting

I started out the year motivated to deep clean/declutter/organize and (in some cases) redecorate every room/space in our home.  I made a list of each area (because I like to check things off) and came up with 26 rooms/spaces/areas to work on. My goal was to work through them all by June 30.

I got off to a great start in the Laundry Room and Front Hallway and shared those completed areas with y'all here on my blog. I haven't shared anything about this goal since the beginning of February, however we have been busy and completed several projects over the past few months. Here's a look at two of the projects we've completed.

The first project involved our front hallway.

As you can see, we use this area to display framed family photos. We first hung photos here shortly after we moved into this house over seven years ago.

For several reasons, I decided it was time to redo these wall displays. First, over the years, we've added more photos to each wall, and I thought the groupings no longer looked balanced and pleasing. Second, I wanted to update some of the photos and remove others. Mama had recently given me some old photos that I wanted to include. And, finally, the frame on Robbie's family photo collage was beginning to come apart and the matting was faded and stained. (I think his dad originally put it together in the 70s.)

I removed all the photos, puttied all the nail holes, touched up the paint, and purchased a few new frames. Robbie wanted to reuse the mat from the old family collage, so I used a dark brown distress ink to even out the color and cover the stains. He then framed all the new and updated photos for me, and we hung them all back up. It totally makes me smile to walk into the front hallway and see all these photos rearranged and updated.

The second project involved lighting.

In our large front room, there were four different light fixtures - a ceiling fan & light that we added after we moved in (but is no longer manufactured so we couldn't match it!), a really cheap gold chandelier that I added lampshades to years ago, a pendant light (that hung down in front of the quilt I have on display), and a set of track lighting.

It's always bothered me that these fixtures were so different in the same room, so Robbie replaced them all! He put matching ceiling fans & light fixtures in the main part of the room (replacing the ceiling fan & chandelier) and matching ceiling-hugging light fixtures in the foyer part of the room (replacing the pendant & track lighting).

Robbie also replaced the two light fixtures in the front hallway with new ones.

Then he installed a new wall mounted lamp by my sewing table.

[And because the ceiling fan from the front room had five lights (instead of four like all the others), Robbie put that one up in my craft room. And because the ceiling fan from the craft room matched the guest bed frame, Robbie put that one up in the guest room.] Isn't he handy!!

While I haven't yet deep cleaned/decluttered/organized the entire house, I have to admit that I'm very pleased with the progress we've made. I'll share a few more completed projects in an upcoming post. Have you completed any home improvement projects this year?