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AEDM #25 – On a Roll…

Today was my art group.

I knew I wanted to work on my London album, but I was a little panicked before leaving the house, trying to think of everything I could possibly need to take. Then I decided to make it easy on myself and just START by getting a few pages laid out, then worry about getting them embellished at home. Turned out to be a good plan.

I dove in, and by the time I came up for air, almost 3 hours had flown by! I’m sure a messy scrapper!


Once I got home, I still had some more left in me, so I spread it all out again and got back to it!

I ended the day with 5 basic layouts (very few embellishments, so far, just photo placement) plus 2, 2-page collages. Half of them document my visit to Highclere Castle. I confess I went a little overboard on photos, but given my obsession with Downton Abbey, it was to be expected, doncha think?














Whew! Productive day. And a fun day. As much as I’m enjoying putting the album together, the best part is reliving the trip.


AEDM #24 – Movin’ S…L…O…W…

If this is the speed I’m going to be moving at while doing the albums for this last trip, I’ll be finishing up around the middle of Nevuary.

I suppose I could have continued to alter paper while I was waiting for my prints to be made, but I didn’t want to get a bunch done and realize once I put photos on them that I don’t like them. So, I waited.

Then the photos came.


This is the 1,984 photos from London and Paris. Lord have mercy. Looking at 6 boxes was intimidating enough, but the worst part was…THEY WEREN’T IN ORDER. No kidding. Most of the photos from one venue were together, but there were random photos mixed in. They weren’t even in chronological order. It was a mess. And they pretty much needed to be sorted and organized before I went any further. I spent time each day for 4 days sorting and organizing.


For the purpose of today’s post, I’m going to count that as doing art! Not everything about art is the wonderfulness that shows up on a canvas (or in this case, on a page…) There’s “behind-the-scenes” stuff that has to get done, and that’s what I’ve been working on. There was no way around it. To get past it, I had to go through it, even though it was my very least favorite part.

I used tabs on index cards to separate subject matter.


I had considered doing the whole album diary style, each day’s photos together, but I decided instead to do it by subject matter, in a loose framework of the chronological order of the venues visited. Then I’ll throw in layouts about specialty stuff, like the tube and our nightly pub drinks (yes, I actually photographed our drinks every night! Heeheehee!) along the way. I think it will work.

I’d like to say the organizing is DONE. But it really isn’t. However, it is “done enough” to be able to start to put a few pages together and give myself a break from the not-so-fun-part.


So the worst part is over with, at least for the first third of the trip. Um, yeah. This 1,984 is just the first 2 1/2 weeks. There are 4 more after this. I know. I’m nuts.

AEDM #18 – It’s a Start!

Well, at long last, I’m starting back into a bit of art.

I’m going to be incorporating some mixed media art into my scrapbooking. The project I’m working on (getting the 5000+ photos from our European Vacation in albums) is huge, and I’m tempted to take short cuts and just slam them into an album, but I really want to get as much as I can out of my available time. Combining painting, stamping AND scrapbooking will be a great way to do that, I think.

I started with this basic paper.



Then I added some stick on letters and stamping…


This will be the title page. I plan to cut the word “London” out of photos of icons, and add a 5×7 picture of the two of us (the photos will be ready to pick up tomorrow!)

Then I embellished two papers for the 1st layout, starting with this…



…and turning it into this…


I’ll do some more embellishing, but I need to get the photos in place first.

Not a huge accomplishment, but at least I got my toes wet and I’m ready to get going! It’s a good feeling.


Today I’m feeling grateful that I haven’t completely lost my desire to create! I was beginning to wonder if I had! Altering paper isn’t anything monumental, but it’s a step in the right direction.


It’s Been Awhile…

I haven’t blogged for 13 days. 13 days.

It’s not that I’ve been a slug, or even had better things to do. I’ve been horribly depressed over the election and have not been able to work up any passion for anything since.

Barely 36% of eligible voters cared enough to get off their butts and do the one thing that is our birthright in this country. It was given to white males at the inception of our country, and fought for by minorities and women.  But only 36% got to decide where this country will spend it’s energy and resources for the next two years. And it ain’t gunna be pretty.

So. Here we are.

November is Art Every Day Month. I’ve participated for the past 2 years, and had every intention of doing it again this year. But I haven’t been able to make myself do art. Or even make myself write – something I normally do almost every day. Day after day I’ve sat at my blank screen wondering what’s the point? No one cares about the REALLY important things in life (like voting) so why would they care about what’s going on in my life?

And you know what? 13 days of not doing art and not writing hasn’t changed a thing. It’s still the same world I woke up to the day after the election (maybe even worse.) And I’ve lost out on 13 days worth of joy, and frankly, I’m a little upset with myself that I’ve allowed the 64% of people who didn’t vote rob me of my joy.

I’m resisting the urge to turn this into a political post. Well actually I didn’t resist, I wrote practically a novel and deleted it. But it made me feel better, and I think I’m ready to get back to the life I want to lead. I’ll need to do some compartmentalizing, but it won’t be the first time. I can do it.

Thanks for listening. Tomorrow I intend to art. Let’s see if it happens!

For all you AEDMers, thanks for your patience, and hopefully I’ll see you tomorrow! With actual art to show you! Heeheehee!

Today’s Gratitude?

I’m extremely grateful for having the right to vote. And grateful that I care enough to exercise it. No matter how mad I am, no matter how much the whole system stinks right now…


EV Day #47 – Oh, Wait….


How sad is that?

For so long, I’ve not even had to THINK about what to blog about. It’s been right there in front of me. The only thing I needed to concern myself with was which of the gazillion photos I’d taken that day to show you.

Now I’m home, it’s time to get back to doing my art, and all I have to show you is a bunch of hypothetical projects that may or may not turn into actual things.

Here is the album I bought for the 1st leg of our EV – London. I sure hope I can find another one just like it because the chances of all the photos fitting into one are slim and none. But then the chances of the album getting completed are, too! Heeheehee! And that’s not even counting the other 2 legs, that as of yet, have no album!



Then there’s the cookbooks that were supposed to change my life. I have yet to make anything out of them, and we’ve been home for over 2 weeks.



And the blank glass balls that are going to have scenes from each leg of our trip on them for the Christmas tree. Yeah, I’m kinda rolling on the floor laughing over that one, too! HEY! It could happen!



And I’m LOVING this empty wall. It is going to be a vacation showplace for our favorite vacation photos and mementos. Come on now, people! That kind of hysterical laughing is damaging my ego. Oh, wait! That was me! Heeheehee!


Lord have mercy. Those are just the projects that are front and center on my “want to do” list. It doesn’t even take into account all the things already stacked up in various stages of completion from God knows how many years ago.

Someone needs to do a blog challenge about finishing up abandoned projects. Now there’s a thought…

Today’s Gratitude:

I’m grateful to have so many choices (I think…) Imagine how boring and unfulfilling life would be if it was so structured you could do only the things someone else wants you to do! So in spite of the fact that I have waaaaaaay too many things on my plate, no one is making me do them, and if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world.

EV Day #46 – Travel Day and Wrap up

Today we headed home. It was a very long, grueling day – 4am wake up, 3 hours from Budapest to London, running through Heathrow to avoid missing our connection (thus spoiling our plans for bringing our veggie food onto the plane with us AND loading up on Cadbury to bring home) another 11 hours in the air, topped off with a 2 1/2 hour trip from San Francisco to home (but at least we didn’t have to drive, so that helped!) By the time we arrived home, we were beat.

We’re already putting plans in place to avoid that much pain in the future.

This was the longest, most diverse trip we’ve ever taken, and we learned a lot.

1) It would be better for us to do the quietest part of the trip 1st. Going at warp speed for 4 1/2 weeks then slowing down doesn’t work. It SOUNDED like a good idea, but instead of being able to relax and decompress before coming home, it felt like watching grass grow much of the time in comparison to the busy-ness of earlier in the trip. Had we done it the other way around, we would have eased into the vacation, then gone 60 miles an hour at the end, and being home would have seemed relaxing!

2) Considering that we were packing for 3 separate two-week vacations in one “under 50#” suitcase each, we did a pretty good job of packing. I took only 3 pieces of clothing I didn’t wear, and they were pretty much “in case of” things, and I don’t regret taking them. I DO regret taking just a small backpack for carry on instead of a suitcase AND a backpack. We had literally NO space for souvenirs. I won’t be making THAT mistake again.

3) When deciding what art supplies to take, I really need to consider what type of a trip we’re taking. Ocean cruises, take art supplies. They get used on sea days. Any other kind of trip, chances are they’ll never see the light of day. This one, I never even unzipped my go bag! Not in 6 1/2 weeks! Had I left them home, I would have had at least a little space for buying a treasure here and there and taking another pair of shoes! The truth of the matter is, blogging and keeping photographs down to a manageable level is all the “art” I have the time and energy for on a land trip.

4) I REALLY need to keep up on the journal! I got way behind, and even though I eventually got caught up, I hate to think of how much I forgot between the time the events happened and when I got them on paper. I like to think I photograph everything, but I know there are things that aren’t able to be photographed that I want to remember.

And so we’re back to the real world, and will remain here until the end of the year, then we’ll be off on another adventure!

Let me end with a few more photos through my tattered lens! Okay, more than a few. I got carried away!











































Yeah. It was a great trip!

Gratitude Day #3:

I am extremely grateful for my health, at least so far. So many people I know are dealing with terrible health problems right now. I know it could be me at any time. But for now, I’m doing’ okay, and grateful for it.





EV Day #45 – Budapest, A Huge Surprise!

Although we still have a travel day tomorrow (so will technically still be on vacation!) today is the last REAL day of our European Vacation. And what a great way for it to end.

Budapest was not on my radar as a place that I WANTED to go. It just happened to be at the end of this cruise. Little did I know it would turn out to be the crown jewel of the river cruise (and maybe even the whole trip!)

The day started out as every day on the cruise did…arriving in port and spending a portion of the day touring the city we were in.

Budapest is quite a beautiful city. It has been ravaged over and over throughout its history, and sustained major bombing damage during WWII.  During its communist years most of the remaining art and other treasures were destroyed. But eventually, the most historic buildings were re-built. There were originally 3 towns that combined to form present day Budapest (pronounced Boo-duh-pesht) Buda, Obuda and Pest. A large portion of it is now a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and cannot be modernized, leaving it to be one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe.






















One of our favorite sites to visit was Heroes Square, with its statues of historical people who played important parts in the long history of the area.








We went back to the boat for dinner thinking that the day was pretty much over, but unbeknownst to us, the best was yet to come.

After dinner we were invited to come up to the sun deck for a night tour of the city by river. We went up top to find that whole city was lit up like a Christmas tree – the castle, palaces, bridges and monuments were all aglow in a golden light. It was incredible. The photos don’t even begin to do it justice.












The weather was perfect. Clear, cool and dry. The Blue Danube Waltz was playing in the background, and all the while we sipped schnapps. Can you imagine it? It was so romantic.  And soul-touchingly beautiful.

What an amazing way to end an adventure.

But here’s the deal. Like I said, this was not even on my radar. And it makes me wonder how many other wonderful, amazing places are there out there that we don’t know about? For now I’ll have to imagine. We’re home for a couple of months before we hit the road (or sea) again…

DAY 2 – Gratitude:

I am grateful that we have been given the opportunity to live close to both our kids and their families! Both kids and their spouses have blessed us by allowing us to care for their children while they work (at least when we’re home!) and we feel so fortunate to be able to do that!



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