Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Couple of ATC's, a Card....

The paper used to make these stars is flocked.

Below, two ATC's

Card made with red cs background, same flocked paper as above, stamped SU tree, Sizzix poinsettia. The Sizzix image was used in the Cuttlebug. Gotta love the bug!

The countdown to the New Year has already begun, and I have art projects to do before it begins! Not panicking though. Well, not much, anyway. One project is the "Where are you from" for Michelle Ward's December Crusade. The other is for the "Blissfully Journalling" Yahoo group. Wish me luck in getting these done, and done well!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Café au Lait at Second Cup Café

The Second Cup Coffee Shop is my favourite place to have a coffee with a friend, or, in this case, my younger son. Marc was with me for Christmas, and we had a great celebration and much conversation. He returned to Montréal this morning.

Second Cup viewed from the entrance.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas is in the Air!

Welcome! This is the small entrance room to my apartment.

I made a couple more cards with House Mouse stamps yesterday. I went wild collecting these stamps a few years ago, and decided to use all of them with a Christmas scene this year. I stamped a few more images last night, coloured them, and they're now waiting to be put on cards.

My porcelaine crib scene, inherited from my grandmother.

A closeup of the crib scene.

The very special American Heart ornement given to me by my cousin, Mary Anne.

Carol-singing Snow Babies.

March of the penguins. They must like the wolf harmonizing with the Snow Babies.

For many years, I've been in the habit of reading "A Christmas Carol" in the days before Christmas. Haven't gotten to it yet, but I will. Scrooge, visiting his Christmases past, invites us to do the same. How lovely, on a snowy Christmas Day, to muses on pleasures past, experienced with people long gone, or no longer close. I have many fond memories of childhood Christmases, and of those spent with my children and husband and his family.
Thinking of past Christmas celebrations doesn't make me melancholy. It makes me grateful for the blessings of those family feasts, and for those of the present, which will be added to my stock of memories.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Cards

I'm definitely in Christmas mode, and here are the cards toprove it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tired of Snow Yet?

Over 40cm/15in. of snow fell on Québec City last Sunday. Environment Canada said that in mountainous areas of Québec Province, it might have been 60cm/24in.

The front page of our daily newspaper, Le Soleil/The Sun; "A real one".

This is what happens when someone doesn't remove their car from the apartment building parking lot the morning after a snowstorm.
Below, the path to the back entrance of the building next to mine.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Cards and.....More Snow!

Yes, I've been busy card-making. Here's:
Pink Christmas

Good Will to All

Even Cats Celebrate Christmas

Shoveling snow on my balcony

Rascal contemplating

Fripon wondering when it will all go away.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Let it Snow!

Above, front entrance to my apartment building. Below, rear entranceIt's been snowing every day since blizzard Monday. Just a gentle snowfall each day, which lulls one into thinking it's nothing. But all those little flakes accumulate...

Here are a few artistic efforts of the past days. The bottom card is an ATC. The star on the card directly below is actually embossed with silver ep. The scanner evidently didn't see it that way.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More Storms and Treats

I shall spare you more pictures of It's been snowing since morning, so I'll undoubtedly have more opportunities to take more photos and will decorate my site with them another time.

Instead, feast your eyes on these treasures that came in the mail today. They’re from The Red Door Studio Above, the items as they came out of the box, with two chamingly decorated cups containing delicious, melt-in-your-mouth peppermints, unexpected gifts from the Red Door owner! I left out the charming hand-made cards enclosed for my writing pleasure.
Below, the little handmade book of original illustrations and poems that came wrapped in the green tissue paper. Unfortunately, I overlooked the reflecting capacity of the glass in the picture frame, and the buildings behind the singing bird are barely visible. You catch a glimpse in the photo above.

Also in the mail were three books. The Bell Jar and Ariel and Other Poems, by Sylvia Plath, and a book on Sylvia Plath, Eye Rhymes, Sylvia Plath's Art of the Visual. Have I gone round the twist on Sylvia Plath? Not any more than I usually go over anything.
I'm rediscovering Plath, thanks to Pilar of
I mentioned Pilar's posting of Sylvia Plath as her muse for Crusade 14 on the GPP site. After reading Pilar's essay on Plath and googling some of the latter's poems, I decided to re-read this author. The cats and I will have plenty to occupy this evening as we curl up together on the couch and listen to...Mozart perhaps.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Storms and Treats

As I type this, the delightful odor of Real Lavender is wafting upwards as a delicate little Aromatherapy Lady dangles from my neck. She seems quite comfortable there.
The Doll Pin is precious! The are from an order I placed to Sandy on her blogsite, Art Tea Life.
These treasures came in boxes which were themselves artwork. I almost---almost decided not to open them. But I decided that I could use them to decorate a shelf or my desk. Wonderful work!
Sandy included a surprise of packets of tea and Ghirardelli chocolates! What can I say about these unexpected extras but, "Yummmm!" How did she know that a friend just gave me a mug decorated all over with the Ghirardelli logo and labels? At teatime, what a party I'll have with my furkids Rascal and Fripon . I'll have some hot chocolate in my Ghirardeli cup, and munch (delicately) on a matching chocolate. No doubt I will then purr like the cats when they get an unexpected treat.

It will be especially cozy to curl up with chocolate, cats, pin and aromatherapy, since we had a snowstorm yesterday that began in the wee hours of the morning and ended in the midnight hours. The streets around here are passable, but not completely cleared. The snowplows have been going since yesterday morning, and are still huffing around. I measured, and there are13 inches of snow piled up on my balcony. When I lived in Oklahoma, such a snowfall would have been unimaginable for me.
These are the first pictures taken with my new digital camera. I'm surprised they turned out so well, but I will have to learn how to take a closeup of small things.
I've also learned how to add a You tube video to my post, so I hope you enjoy "The Voice" by Celic Women

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Card

I was thinking of mothers and those receiving family for the Christmas holidays when I made this card. We somehow always manage to have great get-togethers, although they may not be exactly what we planned. It's a time for the unexpected, and the chief thing is to celebrate the Holy Child, who brought light back into the world.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A bit of Whimsy

Poor Fluffles! An ATC

This is not a card, but perhaps I'll apply it to one eventually.
I'm glad to greet December, not just because of the Christmas holidays, but because it brings back the sun. The 21st, the days start ever so slowly, to lengthen. Great symbolism for the birth of the Light of the World!
It's not quite 4:00 p.m. here, and it's already twilight--the blue hour. It'll be dark at 4:30 p.m., and almost 8:00 a.m. when the sun rises. I never appreciated the sun fully, growing up in Oklahoma. I know it's worth now, however, and am thankful I don't live farther north, where the sun doesn't rise for 12 months!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Back to Cards

I made this card yesterday. Now that I'm up to date with the themes from the Blissfully Journaling group,(see my other site) I can get back to card and ATC making. This card is in response to a challenge to make a Christmas card using non-traditional colours.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Facing the Inevitable

Okay, now I've got to phone the garage for an appointment to get my tires changed and my brave little Honda Civic Hatchback winterized. This was the view I got when I opened my eyes and window blinds this morning. I have an appointment with the opthalmologist this afternoon. Pray for me.
The snowplows were out before I arose, and probably the sand(or whatever is used)trucks, too, so the roads should be okay. I'm the glass-half-full type.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More GPP Crusade 14

I rediscovered Sylvia Plath on Pilar Pollack's site I had read "The Bell Jar" in my twenties (back in the ice age), and found the poems depressing. Now, due to life experience? I can read them with more understanding and appreciation. Thanks for helping me rediscover Sylvia Plath, Pilar!

The Disquieting Muses
By Sylvia Plath

Mother, mother, what illbred aunt
Or what disfigured and unsightly
Cousin did you so unwisely keep
Unasked to my christening, that she
Sent these ladies in her stead
With heads like darning-eggs to nod
And nod and nod at foot and head
And at the left side of my crib?

Mother, who made to order stories
Of Mixie Blackshort the heroic bear,
Mother, whose witches always, always,
Got baked into gingerbread, I wonder
Whether you saw them, whether you said
Words to rid me of those three ladies
Nodding by night around my bed,
Mouthless, eyeless, with stitched bald head.

In the hurricane, when father's twelve
Study windows bellied in
Like bubbles about to break, you fed
My brother and me cookies and Ovaltine
And helped the two of us to choir:
"Thor is angry: boom boom boom!
Thor is angry: we don't care!"
But those ladies broke the panes.

When on tiptoe the schoolgirls danced,
Blinking flashlights like fireflies
And singing the glowworm song, I could
Not lift a foot in the twinkle-dress
But, heavy-footed, stood aside
In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed
Godmothers, and you cried and cried:
And the shadow stretched, the lights went out.

Mother, you sent me to piano lessons
And praised my arabesques and trills
Although each teacher found my touch
Oddly wooden in spite of scales
And the hours of practicing, my ear
Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable.
I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere,
From muses unhired by you, dear mother.

I woke one day to see you, mother,
Floating above me in bluest air
On a green balloon bright with a million
Flowers and bluebirds that never were
Never, never, found anywhere.
But the little planet bobbed away
Like a soap-bubble as you called: Come here!
And I faced my traveling companions.

Day now, night now, at head, side, feet,
They stand their vigil in gowns of stone,
Faces blank as the day I was born,
Their shadows long in the setting sun
That never brightens or goes down.
And this is the kingdom you bore me to,
Mother, mother. But no frown of mine
Will betray the company I keep.

The fifth verse beginning with the line, "Mother, you sent me to piano lessons" resonates particuliarly with me. After my mother's early death, Gram determined that I should "pick up where your mother left off," meaning that I should become an accomplished pianist, as mommy had been. I am not tone-deaf, but my musical interests lay in singing, rather than in piano playing. I persevered, and finally won the right to quit piano lessons and continue with voice lessons.
In the above poem, Plath seems to resent the fact that her mother was unable to banish the evil Sleeping Beauty-like "fairies", who attended Sylvia Plath from birth to death. Her mother couldn't prevent the hurricane from destroying their house. Most children discover at some point that their parents are not the gods they believed them to be as small children. Most children are not devastated by this discovery. The sensitive, fragile Sylvia Plath evidently did not.
This poem is filled with wonderful images, such as the darning-headed, faceless, evil ladies who appear at Plath's birth and never leave her. They give chills up the backbone. How they must have tormented Sylvia Plath!
There's the wonderful image of the hurricane, which causes the study windows to be "bellied in/Like bubbles about to break" , and the "twinkle dress" which contrasts so perfectly with Plath's "heavy-footed" performance. A performance accomplished "In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed Godmothers".
Rest in peace, Sylvia. Your struggles have resulted in wonderful words which amaze and delight, at the same time as they make one want to hold you and tell you that mothers cannot save us from all the ills of the world, but we can always fall back on the remembrance of their love and unequivacal approval of even our tonedeaf and heavy-footed performances.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Feeling Winter's Breath

Loss of Season
I knew the robins all had left yet
Hoped for one more song.
I saw the last leaf flutter down, yet
Searched for one last bloom.
The frozen breath of a steel-blue sky
Has sealed the lake’s clear eye.
Winter’s brittle step rings out, as
He bears an icy winding sheet.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Seasonal Thoughts

The picture in the masthead above is of a tree on my street. It expresses for me the world of color which is autumn. Autumn is a harlequin season of biting, brisk mornings and slowly toasted afternoons. It's sunlight magnified through stained glass leaves and sunlight weakened by truncated days. Autumn is walks through silent woods on paths voluble with brittle leaves, hearts that celebrate a feast of colour while bones chill at the Dark Season's advance. Autumn brings back school days, choirs, book clubs, and football. It terminates lazy summer days, vacations, baseball, barbecues and sundown at ten. Autumn is a harlequin season.
If you think that the photo for this post seems familiar, your're right. It's the picture I used for my Hemingway-style ATC in a previous post.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

GPP Crusade #14

Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

Only the light from the radio glows.
Mommy and I sit close in the dark
Waiting for music to fill our hearts.
Then the overture swells,
Stirring hidden corners in our minds.
I listen while Mommy weaves
Magical tales from strands of sound.

Long years have passed
Since those afternoons,
Long years since Mommy’s gone,
But her legacy lives
And breathes anew
In story-filled notes,
In darkened concert halls,
In magical corners of my mind.

If you're not familiar with Michelle Ward's Green Pepper Press Street Team monthly crusades, check out her site at
The Crusade this month is "Imaginery friends", in the form of muses. Who's yours?
My mother was, and is, my Muse. She died of breast cancer 30 November 1944 at the age of thirty-five, leaving a five-year-old daughter. The above poem is based on the Saturday afternoons Mommy and I spent listening to the radio broadcasts of Metropolitan Opera performances. We also went to concerts, ballets, and any other musical experiences my mother could find.

Always, always, Mommy explained beforehand what we were going to hear. She made an exciting story of Bizet, Bach, or Tchaikovsky. She was an accomplished pianist, and wrote short stories for the publications of Duchesne College, which she attended in Omaha, Nebraska.

I say she is still my muse, because the light with which she infused my imagination lives on in my poetry and other writing, in my interpretation of songs, and in any other artistic endeavor I undertake. Thanks to my mother, I see poetry and stories in the everyday things which surround me. Give me a car or a turtle, and I'll write you a poem, a story, or an essay. Maybe all three!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Reunions Rock!

I finally got back the film from my 50th High School reunion in Oklahoma City. Here I am with two of me with friends I hadn't seen since graduation. You know who you are!

I'm only putting up the best photos of the lot, but everyone in the other pictures was having just as much fun. Not their fault that I'm not a good photographer!
Would you believe that this was our very first high school class reunion? We all wished we'd hadn't waited 50 years to have our first.
The principal himself gave us the grand tour of the brand new McGuiness Catholic High School, and this is one of the many new classrooms. Only a little of the old building was incorporated into the new edifice. We were one of the first graduating classes in the then new Catholic High School, which opened in 1950. The "McGuiness" was added on later, to honor the Bishop McGuiness, who built our school.
We have something to smile about--friendship since childhood! Mary was in the class ahead of me, so wasn't at the reunion. I spent a couple of days at her home before moving on to the hotel where attendees from out of town stayed.