Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Everyday Beautiful

Although I have graced this planet for over fifty years, no one would ever accuse me of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. On the other hand, I am hardly a dim bulb either, but you would never be able to tell that from the fact that there has been a glaring fact of my life that I did not notice until about a year ago.

I grew up on Bay Point Road.  I summer on Echo Point Road.  They both have point in the name. 

Nope. I never noticed that until, as I said, a year ago. See?  Dim.

But let me get to the point.  Those two points are quite possibly the most beautiful places I have ever seen and I have seen a fair amount of places. I do not mean Alps beautiful or Norwegian fjords beautiful or Inside Passage beautiful. I have seen all three and that kind of beautiful takes your breath away and makes you wish you had a better camera and a longer vacation, more money and retirement on the horizon.

No. I mean everyday beautiful. The kind of beautiful you live with and love every day.  The kind of beautiful that you miss when you visit that other world beautiful. The kind of beautiful that means home and peace and contentment.  The kind of beautiful that means family and parents and cousins and friends, games and picnics and barbecues and sleeping under the stars on hot summer nights in the years before air conditioning. The kind of beautiful that makes you remember climbing trees and riding bikes and drinking lemonade on the back steps, watching it snow and sledding on the hills and snowball fights. It is the kind of beautiful that you have to work for by mowing the lawn, washing the floors and replacing lost shingles, by planting the flowers, shovelling the snow, and sweeping the deck. Not extraordinary beautiful. Just everyday beautiful. 

I may not live on a point anymore, but I get to visit.  And both of those points scream home to me. They are the best beautiful of all.

Layout Notes


These photos were taken from the point in the first photograph.  It dates back many years so I did not record the supply information.  However, I recognize the letters as old ones from Making Memories. Mica can be obtained from US Artquest.  It was probably painted with Plaid Paint.  The sand effect in the background was most likely a spray paint called something like "Make It Sand." I have no idea where those gold shell stickers came from.

Echo Point

Supplies: paper - Heidi Swapp; stickers and tags - unknown; acrylic title letters - Heidi Swapp colored with Ranger Alcohol Inks; chipboard title letters - Maya Road covered with patterned paper (unknown source); beads - Blue Moon; mosaic tiles - unknown.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We Love Rock and Roll

When I was a little girl, it seemed that everyone took music lessons of one kind or another - piano, violin and flute lessons seemed the way to go, but not at my house. As a little girl, I was forced to take organ lessons. You read that right. Organ lessons. In my house. At the organ my parents bought and plopped in the living room. It was eleven years (yes, eleven long years) of abject torture. For, you see, I had absolutely no aptitude for the organ.

Here's the problem. An organ, unlike a piano, has three keyboards at a minimum. There is the top keyboard for the right hand, the bottom keyboard for the left hand and the pedals on the floor - a keyboard for your feet.  Add that to that the volume pedal and all the stop buttons to change the sound of the organ from flute to oboe to whatever and you have a recipe for disaster.

Every Monday evening from September through June, I had a 30-minute lesson with a lovely older gentleman, Mr. Robinson. He drove up in his blue VW Bug and charged $4 for each lesson. It was the 1970's, after all. My brother, younger by four years, went first once his lessons began (he was even worse than I was) and then it was my turn. At twelve, it was even more horrible because it meant that I missed the second half of Little House on the Prairie. In fact, I missed the second half of Little House until I graduated from high school. It was utterly, totally and completely unfair when by brother's lessons stopped upon my graduation as well. Even worse is the fact that my much younger brother was never subjected to this misery. He never took a lesson in his life.

College was, therefore, a heavenly and liberating experience. No more lessons! After a year, however, I decided to try something new, something different. I signed up for piano lessons. So much for new and different. However, having two hands on one keyboard and none on the floor was so much easier. Still, I had no aptitude for the instrument and when the word "recital" was mentioned, that was the end of that.

Years later, my children came along.  My parents waited and waited for the lessons to begin, but I simply could not do that. Then, one day, they asked for lessons. I wanted to cheer. Wait, what kind of lessons was that you just asked for? Guitar lessons. Of course, my children had succumbed to the pressure of rock n' roll. 

That was seven or eight years and three instructors ago. We started accumulating guitars - lots and lots of guitars. This layout does not even begin to touch how many we have now.

We visited the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City instead of going to our old standby, the ESPN Zone which is now long gone.

Both of my kids and even my drum-playing husband took lessons. My husband is an old dog who did not take well to the new tricks although he refuses to give up. My older son is pretty good, but prefers to play only for himself although he did once perform in a talent show. My younger son, however, well, he is a different story altogether.

He has a talent. Even I can tell the kid knows what he is doing. And I am not saying that just because I am his mom. He has demonstrated it time and time again. He attended rock band camp for four summers, performing a variety of songs in a restaurant with his new friends and instructors at the end of each week.

As a sophomore, he played in the school talent show.  Last spring, he and some friends put together a band to pay at our high school's version of Woodstock, called Glen Stock.  At the beginning of the school year, the same group performed in a fundraising event for an education foundation.  Right this very moment, he is practicing for this year's version of Glen Stock set for early June.

But soon, the lessons and performances will come to an end.  There will be silence in my house come September. I will have to go around dusting all the guitars that are going to live, quietly, in the empty rooms of missing boys.

As for all those organ and piano lessons?  Well, they did not go entirely to waste. Those skills come in handy - at rehearsals for my chorus, a chorus I have been singing with for almost 28 years.  But the story of that odyssey is an adventure to be told on another day.


Layout Information


This layout dates back to 2008 before I kept track of all the supplies I used.  What struck me about these photos is that my boys were wearing clothes that were the opposite of the color of their shorts, hence the title.

Guitar Guys

This layout is even older, but I do recall many of the supplies here.  The paper and title are by Basic Grey - their original set of papers and letters.  The guitar is from EK Success.  The staples are by Making Memories.  I have no idea where the acrylic words came from. The Fender sticker came in some guitar order or another. The wires, however, are from actual guitars. When my husband changed his guitar strings one day, I kept a few to use on a layout.

Hard Rock Cafe

Another layout that pre-dates my keeping track of the supplies, but I do recall that those chipboard letters, those very old letters, were by Making Memories.

Rock Star (single page)

I doodled a lot of this layout and make the guitar picks from chipboard scraps.  I traced a guitar pick and then cut them out, inked them and embossed them with embossing powder.  The same was done with the letters.

Supplies: patterned paper - 7 Gypsies; chipboard rectangles - unknown; chipboard picks - handcut from scraps; chipboard letters - Fancy Pants; gesso - Liquidtex; ink - Ranger Distress Stains; embossing ink - Versamark; embossing powder - Judikins; guitar diecut - Cricut; quotation stamp - Tim Holtz; marker - Micron, Y&C Gel Extreme.

Rock Star (second one - double page)

I did not seem to keep track of the supplies for this layout. I must have done it at a crop.  However, the circles are Tim Holtz Grungeboard, inked, heat embossed and dotted with Ranger Dimensional Paints and Viva Paints.  The title and stickers must be from EK Success.  The paper is Bazzill stamped with a stamp I cannot identify.

Glen Stock

This is another layout from a crop. If I recall, the chipboard shapes are from Blue Fern, covered with a thick layer of Stickles. I also coated the title letters (source unknown) with Stickles.  It took forever to dry.  The metal tape is from US Artquest and the fortune is from Anima Designs.  The band ticket is from Creek Bank Creations.  As for the rest, I have no idea.