Thursday, April 26, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination

I was recently nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by a college friend Dawn who writes the blog Since You Asked.  Dawn is a sweet gal ~ witty, friendly and fun to be around. She writes on all kinds of things, hence the versatile part.  I do too ~ as I never know what path my creative life, mom life or everything else life might take me down. Thank you for the nomination...I will do my best to post and follow the rules below! :)

Versatile, of course, means to have “many uses, able to be used in many different ways”, or “able to move easily from one subject, task, or skill to another”.   

This award is one that keeps on giving, so without further ado, I will post the rules and my responses in order to allow you time to check out these fellow bloggers and their writings.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

The rules are as follows:
1.  Nominate 15 fellow bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

2.   In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.

3.   In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.

4.   In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.

5.   In the same post, include this set of rules.

6.   Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs

Seven Random Pieces of Information about Me.
1). I was born in Germany.
2). I have more unfinished projects than Imelda Marcos has shoes.
3). I volunteered teaching illiterate adults how to read.
4). I love to travel and would like to see the entire world but am also a homebody.
5). I was on a Nike billboard for the first marathon I ran along with my daughter in San Francisco Union Square.
6). If I could "do it all over", I would be an architect.
7). I sometimes fantasize about streamlining coffee into my veins in the morning.

Now, for the blogs I would like to nominate for this award ~ most of these already are quite successful, but perhaps are new to you.   Enjoy!

My favorites for artsy things...
1. Christy Tomlinson  ~ she has inspired me to explore mixed media and create amazing pieces!
2. Simply Me ~ this is Donna Downey who is hilarious and talented! Loved meeting her at her Inspired event. If you ever get the chance sign up for one.  
3. Jeanne Oliver ~ I would love to be friends with this woman. She is so beautiful and generous with her gifts. She sells gorgeous clothing, art and seems to have a humble heart as well.
4. Kelly Rae Roberts ~ I love Kelly's style and outlook! I have one of her pieces (not an original!!) next to my nightstand and LOVE it. She is inspiring to me and my meager attempt at living the life of an artist one day!
5. Pitter Patter Art ~ Laura Kelley lives in my neck of the woods and would love to get together with her sometime and paint. I love her collage and art pieces! Beautiful.
6. Alisa Burke ~ She is truly a versatile talent! Art, photography, mommy. I would love to learn from her one day however, I doubt I will be able to convince my husband to fly me to CA for an art class. I am inspired how she "does it all" and still looks freaking beautiful!!

My favorites for photography ...
7. Something Shiny ~ I met Kelly Luna the wonderful photographer, artist and kindred spirit in North Carolina. She is witty and fun and oh so talented!
8. Zach & Jody ~ I have taken several classes from Zach and Jody (formerly Gray Photography) just to understand better how to make the most of my photography. I have toyed with the idea of starting a business for years and they are my inspiration. If I do, I hope I can achieve their standard ~ they are a wonderful couple who have immense talent and generosity.
9. Cupcake Chronicles - I went to college with Michelle and she is an established professional photographer living in NYC and constantly capturing beautiful images of her life. I love to look at her blog and the creative eye she has!

My favorites for writing...
10. Art of Non Conformity ~ This is a blog with lengthy but meaningful posts about everything in life and challenging the status quo. I love to read them and re-post them when I can.

My favorites for scrapbook inspiration...
11. Triple the Scraps - Funny story about Patter. I used to be neighbors to her parents in Germany and best friends with her brother. I came across a comment she made on an online class we were both taking and voila! I found her blog, art and more wonderful inspiration.

My favorites for everything else...
12. The {Scrappy} Girl Next Door - I met Tracy on an art retreat and we were "table mates". She is my twin in so many ways. We love to dabble in all things creative and we are both a little OCD. Check her blog out and be inspired!
13. Maple & Magnolia - I have mentioned Susan in previous blog posts. She is basically living my dream life in an a beautiful restored farmhouse. She has an eye for taking salvaged things and creating beauty.  Check her amazing gallery out on her blog. 
 14. Silo Studios - Shawn is a local girl and sweet friend of mine who took an old barn and silo and turned it into a colorful reflection of her fun and funky style. She runs Snooty Giggles Dog Rescue and creates beautiful furniture out of junk others throw away and sells it to fund rescues for sick and elderly dogs in the middle TN and northern AL areas. I could go on and on about her wonderful talents but better to just check her blog out for yourself!
15. Leave it to Lisa ~ Lisa is a friend of mine from high school. She epitomizes "life" in the fact that she truly embraces it and makes the most it! She is one of those people everyone wants to be around. She is a great writer and photographer and I love her sense of humor. You will too!!

I hope you can check out these blogs and find a new one to enjoy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just bloomin' beautiful!

A little garden eye irises and peonies are blooming and I am just soaking it in. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Everyday inspiration

I am a very visual person. When things don't "look" in place to me, it rocks my world. I am also easily stimulated by visual things. Place me in a beautiful garden setting I will be lost for hours. Take me to a museum of art and I can stare and study. Perhaps that why I love to photograph things and create art.

I find inspiration for my art in every day things.

Recently, I received a hostess gift in this gift bag. I loved the bright fun nature of the bag and thought, I would love to paint something fun like that. So I kept it in my art studio.

Here is a photo of the bag:

I coupled the shapes and bright colors of the bag with words that have been percolating in my mind for awhile based on my 2012 word of the year: Embrace.  Here is what I created:

Go find inspiration in something today!

thank you

I find it's rare people actual back up their gestures.  Often I hear people say things like, "let me know if you need anything" or "I can help you whenever you need it"...but seldom get around to taking action.

Recently, I had to send off my camera and three of my favorite lenses. Because I LOVE to shoot just about everyday, it felt as if I had lost an appendage. I was stuck with my daughter's pink little point and shoot and frankly, I was depressed.

I posted about it on Facebook as I sometimes do about things that are on my mind, and a friend from my high school in Germany offered to send me an extra Canon they had laying around.  Wow! How nice. And he meant it.

Now this is a person I have not even laid eyes on in 25+ years. I mean, how does he even know I will take care of this equipment. Jim and I have reacquainted through Facebook and I am a fan of his wife's blog Maple & Magnolia. Susan is an amazing talent, clearly has an eye for design and restoration and I know if we were to be neighbors she is someone I would seek out as a friend.

So thank you to Jim and Susan Haskins for being impeccable with your word and generous with your actions. I am finding my time away from my camera much easier now that I have a "real" one to keep me company!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mantel Re-do

So with the change of seasons, I always get a little twitch or itch or hankering for a new look in my house. It must be the military brat in me that desires a change of scenery because of a lifetime of being conditioned to move every 2-3 years.

I think the warm weather makes me want to clean, purge and freshen things up too. So, as the warm weather has pushed me into spring cleaning mode, I also decided to re-do my mantel decor, which was almost bare since Christmas. Seriously.

It is a little challenging because the wall our mantel is on is so darn tall!! I think 25 feet or so. It is hard to have a decent scale when the sizes are so, well, big. One thing I did want to do was to add some family photos, which I have never had on the mantel before. The other goal was to get rid of a pile of coffee table books that have been sitting on the floor. I don't want any piles on the floor.

So here is the very bare BEFORE photo with my dirty mirror and all:

This is in between when I was still playing around with my stuff:

And here is the AFTER photo with my semi-cleaner mirror:

I think it is better although I am not sure it is "done". I think I might add a large "R" in green moss to hang from top of the mirror. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Make New Things, but keep the Old

I got a call from my good friend Michelle the other day.

She said, "Kirsten, I was out jogging and my neighbor is throwing away an old table. You should come by and check it out. It looks like something you would fix up and keep."

I was on my way home from a soccer game and decided "what the heck?".
When I arrived at the house, it was dark but I could see potential in this dilapidated thing. It was missing the center board and quite wobbly. It definitely needed some love.
Nothing a few nails, wood and some paint couldn't cure ~ so home with me it went!

Wow, Vince was surprised when he came back from his business trip and found he couldn't park in the garage because a 'piece of junk' was occupying his parking space. Nothing like a little incentive to get him to "help" me restore this more quickly! I had wood already cut and ready for hammering. I even had poison to treat the wood for any critters that I didn't want to take residence in my home. He sprayed and hammered. I cleaned and painted.

Here are a couple photos of the table BEFORE:

Here are a couple photos of the table AFTER:

I painted it a lovely shade of robin egg blue (not the official paint color by the way) and purposely went light to allow the old wood grain to show through. I wanted to keep the rustic character of the table so I painted in a flat finish and rubbed off a few areas. I painted the legs and base in a creamy ivory. I then used a light coat of polyurethane satin finish over the entire thing.

I am moving into my "art studio" to enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I pledge...

I pledge allegiance to my body that I will not eat lots of refined sugar, that I will exercise or move my body every day, that I will fit into my bikini without sending families shrieking in horror from the pool.

Well, I pledged something like that anyway last week along with my sweet friend and neighbor Teri and my husband. Teri and I are both in our early 40s and are beginning to understand the havoc hormones wreck on your body. I can no longer eat an entire box of eclairs and still lose weight. It is horrifying!

Not only that, I have to EXERCISE! Double horrifying.

Now, I have never been obese and for the most part of my adult life I have been a moderate "exerciser" going through periods of months running races or dancing, or something. But never because I HAD to. It is now required.

Although to see me you would not know I feel this way, but I have, as Bridget Jones said lots of "wobbly bits" on me. My intention is to firm up those wobbly bits and adopt healthier eating habits in the process, but it is hard. Overall, I have always eaten well, my mom never fried foods, rarely let us eat cereal besides granola, didn't drink sodas or Koolaid, and had very few "chip types" in the house. With all the information on food, hormone-injections, fake sugars, refined sugars, etc...I am just trying to weed out as much junk from our diets as possible without causing a complete revolt.

The one problem with me though is sugar. I love sugar. I love cookies. I love chocolate. I love a little something sweet at the end of each meal to signal my stomach ~ "the end". I don't drink sugar in my coffee, I don't drink sugar drinks, but I like my sugar fix.

I am starting to realize with this mini six week diet we are on that I am REALLY addicted to it. I have gone to bed the past two night dreaming of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. So much so, that when I wake up in the morning, I want to open a box and gorge on them while I drink my non-sugared coffee. :) This is not normal. So, I have decided to allow myself a little bit of sugar or else I am afraid I will be an epic failure with my self-inflicted Fit Pledge.

Any tips on keeping yourself from falling of the diet wagon ~ do comment! Also, if you have insight to the most effective exercises for women my age to trim down, let me know! Or if you just want to support me ~ write me a comment.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Last Weekend...

Had an Easter celebration here at the house after church. Here are some photos that capture the event!

And the highlight of the egg hunt was the baby bunny the kids found snuggled down in my Shasta Daisies! Awwwww.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Splashing down the Ocoee

Last week was spring break for my kids and we did a few things in the nearby area ~ not huge travel budget as we are saving our $ for our big summer trip (more on that later)!

Anyway, last year, if you remember we took them whitewater rafting and it was a first for all of us ~ lots of fun! We promised to take them back this year because Ben would be old enough to go down the class 4 rapids. So off to the Ocoee with Adventures Unlimited we went!

Our beautiful niece is a college student near the Ocoee and we took her too. Here are a few pictures from our trip.

It never ceases to amaze me how powerful Mother Nature can be and at the same time so serene and peaceful. Loved it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's been a ball around here...

It's been awhile since I have posted. So many things have been keeping me busy and I will be sure to write about them and post. For now, I thought I would post pix of the kids playing soccer since that takes up (4 days a week for Sarah) and (2-3 days a week for Ben). Love watching them play. They both have grown so much in their games and are great athletes!

Above: Ben about to score a goal ~ perfect shot!

Corner kick with some power ~ go Screaming Eagles!

Above: Sarah (#6) comes in to steal the ball in perfect form.

Driving the ball to the goal!