Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Random Stuff"

Have been down for the count with bronchitis and a sinus infection, this week...yuk!!!
But, thanks to my wonderful Dr and modern medicine, of which I am truly grateful for, I am feeling a bit more like myself this evening...another good nights sleep and a hot steamy shower tomorrow morning should be the perfect start to a new week...

Tomorrow begins my new online art class...The She Art Workshop by Christi Tomlinson..and I absolutely couldn't be more excited...and right on the heels of Brave Girls Soul Restoration..
am I blessed or what!

And Now


 A few more photos taken by my very talented husband Eric W Johnson...
The first two are obviously from Seattle and are incredible!
The remainder of the photos are in and around our beautiful little city of Spokane, WA 


Seattle Waterfront..although I am not quite sure where  he took this from...


Seattle waterfront from West Seattle


The Maple Street Bridge Spokane


Hangman Creek Spokane

Spokane's Riverfront Park and Clock Tower



Well thats it for tonight...


Blessings to all,


Val




Thursday, February 24, 2011

What a Dork-I admit it

Ok so my Sweet Mama just called me to kindly let me know that Ap-rah-poe is a real word, that is if a person spells it right...total brain cramp...
I am assuming that y'all already know this but it is 
Apropos...

Thanks a bunch Mom

Me

"A Bit of Quilt Love"

Ok, so for the last couple of weeks I had this cold thing that never got very bad..kind of a stuffy nose, a little bit of a sore throat, a little sneezing, some body aches but not bad, felt kind of tired, but it never got unmanageable, didn't affect my sleeping or eating...and then on Monday I felt so good and thought Yeah I finally beat the bug!!!

Well Tuesday morning, just the very next day of all things, I woke up with my nose so stuffed up I couldn't breathe, my ear hurt, my throat hurt and I was freezing...and of course, like always, here comes the bronchitis!!! Drat..
On my way to the Dr. today, so I know once I get some good medicine in me it will be a thing of the past...and I was so excited that I made it through the winter without getting sick...

And if you don't live in the Northwest, our lovely skies delivered 12-15 inches of the white stuff...wind and 12 degrees...not looking forward to the 14 mile drive to the Dr. I am totally going to have to find a Dr closer to my house...


Out my front door


The table on my patio

Ugh!!!  My hubby is going to have a lot of snow blowing awaiting him when he gets home tomorrow! Usually I would take care of it, but in this case don't think that would be to good with bronchitis..

Anyway, so back to the point of this post...

I haven't really felt good enough to do anything that required much thought...so I decided to pull out a beautiful quilt that I have been working on for almost 3 years and do some work on it...
Each square requires hand stitching, which I totally love doing, and it is one of those things you can sit on the couch, watch TV and it doesn't require much thought if any...perfect for a sickie..


The name of the quilt is called "Birds of a Feather" and it was a "Quilt of the Month" kit that I signed up for from 
Carriage Country Quilts in Des Moines Washington...
I love this place...even my husband doesn't mind visiting them..

So, so cute outside and inside!

Wanted to share a few pictures, please excuse the wrinkles, as I don't usually pull the iron out until I'm completely done with all the squares..


I don't know what my problem is with the pictures being all blurry...I'm sure it must be the camera and not the operator...guess I better leave the picture taking up to the Mr.










So there you go...I feel it quite perfect timing to bring this out  to begin working on it again..having just completed "Brave Girls" class and with their little guardian being birds, it feels quite app-rah-poe...is that even an actual word..spell check thought I was crazy or something...

Blessings, stay well and drive safely

Val  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"For My Hubby"

This song is on my playlist and I have listened to it previously and loved it, but prior to today I had never really listened to the lyric's..

My hubby and I will be married 35 years this May..
My life has been truly blessed in so very many ways..

I am so thankful for you everyday, you are an incredible spirit, a wonderful husband and such a dedicated and wise father...
I am grateful to you for always being such an incredible provider, always placing your families needs above your own..
and I appreciate the unconditional love you have always shown me and I admit it, sometimes I can be challenging...

The world is a better place Babe because you are in it!


For My Eric, My Love:



"Grow Old With Me" by Mary Chapin Carpenter

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
 

Grow old along with me
Two branches of one tree
Face the setting sun
When the day is done
God bless our love

Spending our lives together
Man and wife together
World without end

Grow old along with me
Whatever fate decrees
We will see it through
For our love is true
God bless our love

Me

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Monday Sharing"


One of the things I love to do on the weekends is re-visit blogs on my list, see what is new and also through that, find new blogs that inspire me, touch me in some way, motivate me to try new things, teach me to put my heart out there and not be afraid...so having said that...
Each Monday morning I am going to start sharing these wonderful places for you to visit...
There are so many incredible women out there doing incredible, beautiful, inspiring things..

Today it is my pleasure to share with you...


You will find her here http://reverieart.blogspot.com

Enjoy!
Val

"Another journal page"

A quick post this morning...
Another journal page from yesterday...
This page was created around the statement
"It is no accident that you are where you are, with who you are with, doing what you are doing"


The inspiration for this page was not only the journal prompt above, but also a picture that I found in the little advertising booklet I get from Pier 1.  On the front cover was this lovely picture of a bouquet of beautiful roses that look more like peonies to me.  They are in all shades of pinks, even the ones that look white in the picture are a very soft shade of pink that almost looks like organza fabric.  Goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere!
I again brought out my watercolors, this time not the pencils, and played around with shades of pink to make the background.
I cut the leaves from different green papers I had in my stash, added a few more typed and printed expressions, and lastly had to have some buttons and another little flower embellishment. 
When I look at this page in my journal it brings back to me so many memories of my Grandma Mary...she not only loved roses and peonies, but also grew the biggest most beautiful bushes of each...always caring for them with such love...


Obviously my picture taking skills were not up to par on these photos..that certainly will instill in me, yet once again, the importance of patience and waiting for the professional photographer in the household...the shininess that you see is the Mod Podge I now am in love with and can't live without since Brave Girls...


Truly, these pictures do not do this page justice...it is a very pretty page and makes me yearn for spring and summer...

Blessings to all,
Val

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"A Little Doodling"

Was playing around last night and this morning using my new watercolor pencils...they are just an inexpensive set perfect for beginners...you can find them many places...but I happened to get mine in Seattle up on Capital Hill at the big Blick Art Store, they are a great online source as well for art supplies..it is located right across from Seattle Central Community College and while my son was in the college taking entrance exams, I was happily wandering through the art store finding all sorts of wonderful goodies to bring home with me...


Just a few pics to share of my doodling fun..


I had such a great time just playing, experimenting and merely trying out the different colors, along with some shading..but now that I am looking at it further it almost looks like there are colorful headstones at the bottom...eeek!!! I'm not a big fan of cemeteries or tombstones, although the really old big ones are quite fascinating...ugh, freaky...I divert...sorry
Instead I am going to envision that I am looking over the top of a very artistic fence, that I most certainly built and painted myself, into my own backyard...yeah I think I like that thought better, much better...however there is a flaw in that because there seems to be grass growing on top of the fence...so lets just call that bamboo leaves peaking above the fence and very tall flowers...now I'm going to give myself a big break..it isn't supposed to be anything but imaginary doodling...ok now I totally feel better...but I do love it and think I will be using my watercolor pencils more often...


A little closer look...I love the writing in the branches...I've seen that before and thought I would try it...and was also messing about with filling up the page with some of my favorite words and expressions...that was very fun...


Another closer look...I have to say I am loving it...the colors make me smile...I especially love that yellow flower for some reason...I think its the imperfect swirly thing about it...
But now up closer the tombstones or fence tops or now for me, cartoon heads with spiky hair or maybe those are tiaras...
Well at least its a picture that you can look at and use your imagination...!!!
Obviously mine keeps changing with every look...I think that is a good thing...different things to different people....ART!

Happy Sunday

Val

Friday, February 18, 2011

"So So Excited"

I woke up this morning, so excited, happy and grateful for so many reasons.

Its actually light outside now when I wake up...
My dog Maddie is all cuddled up right beside me..
Its Friday and that means my hubby is flying home tonight after a very long week apart from each other..
I have a whole weekend with him as I don't have to go into work on Saturday...
I have a whole weekend to work on my art projects..
I am reading a really great book I can hardly put down...


I made a delicious stew yesterday in the crock-pot which means I have leftover stew, yummmm.. 
I got to spend time with my sweet Mama yesterday, with her cuter than ever little white peacoat with big black buttons..I totally want one too...we had a delicious lunch at the wonderful 
I had an incredible conversation last night with my Schwan's guy about our faith..his story was such an incredible inspiration and a story of true faith in God and his plans for our lives...who knew!!..
My cold is almost gone...
I got to talk with my very dedicated hard working daughter last night for a few...love you sweetie, it will all be behind you soon...and....
My new art class the highly anticipated


starts in just 10 days...I am so excited...today on Christy Tomlinson's Blog
she gave us a little sneak peak of the class..ok now I am so jazzed I can hardly contain myself...


Christy herself..our teacher...isn't she beautiful...love ya Christy!
She has taught me, along with Melody and Kathy at Brave Girls, so much..absolutely incredible things about myself and my art..and what I have learned is...well there are actually no words that I can find...but what I do know for sure is that I love "Mixed Media Art" on canvas, in watercolor sketchbooks...oh my gosh its endless...and I have you both to thank for introducing me to such a wonderful way of showing the world who I am through what I love to do...
Oh here's a picture of Melody and Kathy..amazing women



And most of all...I am enough..just as I am...goofy at times, quite a chatterbox, rather OCD, only to mention a few...after all...as the saying goes
God Doesn't Make Junk...

Lastly just a few pics of some recent projects from Brave Girls Class I have been working on...


A couple pages of my timeline


A couple pages from my "Restoration" book




And a few more pages from my journal...



This page was from an online tutorial that Christy Tomlinson taught on her blog..
I love, love, love it...


Hope you enjoyed a little piece of Me...

Have a great weekend and of course many blessings...

Val 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My tribute to Michelle and The Brave Girls Club





She had lived a life unable to find her tears…unable to find her way…scared and full of sadness and shame. She was lost, fallen, alone. She found acceptance, safety, reassurance and strength in an incredible woman, given to her by God, and her name is Michelle.  A gift to this world, and they worked hard together. Harder than she had ever known. An emergence of a lost child trying her best to live in an adult life. It was difficult, it challenged the most damaged parts of herself…but she pushed forward, she faced her fears, she faced her past…she found her tears and shed them for the little girl who was always just trying to do her best…she was at times so afraid…
but she did it anyway!!


 Then one lovely Christmas morning, her family, knowing the gifts inside her better than she, placed a beautiful package in her hands. Upon opening, she found a journal of orange (her favorite color), soft to her hands..within those pages held for her the gift of a new life. It was the gift of Soul Restoration! It came, as if on the wings of angels, at just the right moment and she is changed forever. It too was difficult, it too challenged her…but she didn't quit,she didn't run, she faced what needed to be done. Putting fear aside yet once again, she moved ever forward, regardless...and as the words she had come to embrace..no matter what...


SHE DID IT ANYWAY!!!


That girl is ME....

It is now the 6th week, the end of this experience has come and even though she is sad, she is ready to embark upon “A Life Uncommon”…from the bottom of my heart with more love than can be expressed she thanks all those involved…!!!





Lyrics from "A Life Uncommon" by Jewel




You will find a YouTube video on my sidebar of her singing this song..take a moment and treat yourself, for she is incredible..

Don't worry mother, it'll be alright
And don't worry sister, say your prayers and sleep right
It'll be fine lover of mine
It'll be just fine
Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall lead a life uncommon
I've heard you anguish
I've heard your hearts cry out
We are tired, we are weary, but we aren't worn out
Set down you chains, until only faith remains
Set down you chains 
And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that
Which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead a life uncommon
There are plenty of people who pray for peace
But if praying were enough it would have come to be
Let your words enslave no one and the heavens will hush themselves
To hear our voices ring out clear
With sounds of freedom
Sounds of freedom
Come on you unbelievers, move out of the way
There is a new army coming and we are armed with faith
To live, we must give
To live
And lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we with to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And we shall lead... 
Lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery










And we shall lead a life uncommon

Blessings Always
Val

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Some incredible work from my cousin"

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to the blog of my cousin Linda Hill..you can reach there by clicking on her name above or you will also find the link to her blog
 "Art From The HeART" 
on my sidebar under "other blogs"..
When I was young Linda was quite present in my life for a time and used to babysit me..but as families grow up and move on I have only seen her once in recent years at a family reunion...and I will never forget when her sweet husband swallowed a bee and got stung in the throat while it was going down...
so scary...especially since I'm allergic to bee's and it kind of freaked me out..he ended up just fine, thank goodness..
We have recently reconnected through my blog, which has been such a treat for me, and she has been such a wonderful supporter and commenter..
Here are just a couple of her beautiful painting...Linda, thanks for sharing, and to see more of her work please visit her blog...


For those of you who live in Spokane Washington this is Gordon Hall on the old MaryCliff campus..MaryCliff was a catholic all girls school, which has since closed sometime in the 70's or so...what a stunning painting and such a beautiful depiction of the building...


This is entitled "Sycamore" and if I understood her description correctly..she talked about it being "our" Sycamore, so it must be on their property..I just absolutely love this painting...the colors are so beautiful and the detail is incredible...


The West Orange Road Bridge..on Linda's site she has such a wonderful narrative on the history of this bridge...so much history in a bridge...this is my absolute favorite..she captured all the different colors of the metal so beautifully, so true to form, and the road leading up to the entrance is so lovely...I can just visualize it so well as if I was standing there...

Linda I love your work, absolutely love it...thank you for sharing..

Blessings and love to you Linda!

"If you like Banana Bread, you gotta try this one"

I know, I know...who needs another Banana Bread recipe..but maybe just maybe this will be the one you keep and throw out all the rest!!!
I think maybe so...yum yum yum...


A 5 star recipe from allrecipes.com

Banana Sour Cream Bread
(that is just a little hint)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup white sugar
1 teas ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
3 cups white sugar (no that is not a mistake, just be patient)
3 eggs
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 teas vanilla extract
2 teas ground cinnamon 
(yes I know I already listed that, but again I say, just be patient)
1/2 teas salt
3 teas baking soda
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
 (these would literally kill me, but by all means you go right ahead)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 7x3 loaf pans or 1 large.  In a small bowl, stir together 1/4 cup white sugar and 1 teas cinnamon (see..what did I tell you, patience is a virtue).  Dust pans lightly with cinnamon sugar mixture.

2.  In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar.  Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon.  Mix in salt, baking soda and flour.  Stir in nuts.  Divide into prepared pans.

3.  Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Viola...now get yourself a Latte and go for it..

Blessings...cough, cough, cough!
Val

"Enough Already"



This picture doesn't represent anything for me or this post...I just thought is was beautiful, it has a feeling of calmness about it that made me feel just a little bit better...

Yesterday was a very challenging day for me..
Working on some pretty tough projects from my
 "Soul Restoration Class"...
Dealing with the flu...and
saying good-bye to my husband once again...
If I haven't talked about this before, he lives and works all week in another city...so every Friday night he flies home and every Sunday night we are back to the airport and saying good-bye again..its been 3 years of doing this and it never gets easier..
I am alone in my house now, my daughter married and although they live close, we don't actually see each other as often as I would wish..of course with jobs and household obligations, time is at a premium..
My son is living in another city, which sometimes can be very sad for me, but of course he is having a wonderful time and enjoying the big city, and I love that...but I still miss him very much..
So that leaves me and my dog Maddie..I don't know what I would do without her..
Anyway, back to saying good-bye..I usually cry all the way home from the airport, I try not to, but its hard to watch him walk away knowing that he doesn't want to leave either.
We are working hard to get him back home, but I know that God's plans for us are in motion and I need to be patient and have faith.
Its just so very hard to be apart from each other.  We will be married 35 years in May and have been together since we were 16...
Life has just been so hard the last 3 years, for many different reasons, and I just pray everyday for it to be less hard, a little less challenging...I'm tired and so is he...
There have been so many lessons learned and for that I am endlessly grateful...so much growth for us as individuals and as a couple, again I am grateful, thankful....
I have been living all these years in survival mode, not ever realizing that is what is called strength, for me it just was..
It is said that struggles build character, show you what you are made of, make you appreciate the good times..
I don't disagree...but I must admit, sometimes I think 
"enough already"...

Blessings to all,
Val



Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Back to myself in a bit"

I've got the "Flu Blues"
I jinxed myself the other day by simply stating out loud, with a smile even, that I have been really lucky so far this year...I should know better!
Be back soon...



Blessings
Little ole me..

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Finally some projects to share from "Brave Girls-Soul Restoration Online Course"

Camera and battery charger finally in hand, I was able this morning to load some pictures of the projects I have been working on...actually works in progress...will share more as I continue to move forward...and
beginning February 28th I will start a new online art course entitled 
so much more to come in the weeks ahead..
Also haven't forgotten the showing of my friends Justine and Christy Kondo's Art as well...hoping to get together with them in the next few days, life has been pretty busy in the last couple of weeks, so be watching for some pictures and narration of their beautiful handmades...

On to a glimpse of "Soul Restoration" be sure to check out the "Brave Girls" site for information on upcoming courses..a life changing experience to say the least...and I am so excited to learn last night, that there will be a "Soul Restoration - Part 2" beginning in June..I absolutely can't wait...!


A big part of the course is "Art Journaling"..a combination of creating pages based on specific journaling prompts..each week there is a new page of at least 20-30 prompts to center your design and writing around..these are just a couple of the pages I have made, but will share more as I go.  Of course I won't be taking the pictures up too close, as the writing I do around the prompts is quite personal in nature. But here are a couple pictures a little more up close..



The bottom picture is a perfect representation for me of letting go of "perfectionism" and embracing messy. An experimentation of using a paper doily as a stencil. Quite rustic in feel, but this picture doesn't quite capture how cool it really is, but hey, sometimes life is messy and the writing on this page is all about that...and I love it..represents so much for me that would be difficult to explain...

Another project that is ongoing throughout the 6 week course is your "Truth Book"..each week there is an additional theme in which to add a new 2 page spread to your book..this book will be your companion for a lifetime..reminding you of where you have been, the hard work you have gone through to "restore" your soul, ie "Your House" and where you are going.."Your new path to finding your purpose, healing your past, leaving it behind and moving forward to unleash the gifts you have always had inside you"
Very powerful, soul searching stuff...the book may appear to be quite simple, but the journaling in your art journal in combination with the themes you focus on, explore and express through writing and art, are life changing...I won't really delve into the details...I will leave that up to Melody and Kathy to explain, should you ever decide to embark on "Soul Restoration" for yourself..

The cover of "My Book"


A few more pages


Hope you enjoyed...and maybe, you might find a little inspiration as well..

See you soon, with many blessings to all...
Val