Monday, February 28, 2011

Already the end of February!

This month has come and gone a whole lot faster than I anticipated. I mean, I knew it was a short month to begin with and that I would be gone for almost a week because of Brave Girls but add on top of that being sick for a week, being snowed in for several days and just catching up in general and the month flew by before I knew what was happening.
As fast as the month flew by I did manage to:
attend Brave Girlstake Jackie's clipboard class
finish my ATC cards for my swap
Sign up for an Easter Tag Swap
take Jackie's mystery journal class (The picture below is from Jackie's blog)

One thing I fully intended to do was the tote bag for Jemellia's Sewing Challenge and I just didn't get to it this month. I'm still going to work on it but I didn't get it done in time. Bummer.

I'm planning on March being a more productive month for me and I'm totally excited that in less than two weeks we will change the clocks for daylight savings time. I love the longer days and look forward to being able to get so much more done.
On a happy note, I heard today that Silver Bella *will* be taking place again this year. I was sad to hear that it wasn't going to happen but now that word on the street is that it *will* I'm so excited! Sign ups open on April 1st (better not be an April's fools!).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So ready for Spring!

Today it's raining cats and dogs here in Tulsa and I know this is a sign that *hopefully* spring is right around the corner. I'm so happy for the milder temperatures and I'm just itching to get out in the yard and do some planting. I need to see some green!

I love flowers and plants and leaves on the trees and I've got big plans for the back yard this year. I'm extending the garden and we are planning on extending our patio so I'll want to plant around that too. I'd also love to get a new bird bath. My old one got broken a couple years ago and I've yet to replace it. I'd also love a chiminea - I've heard they keep the mosquitos at bay - maybe I'll need TWO chimineas. We'll see.

I'm also awaiting the return of my friends. Why is it that I get so excited to see these guys but I run screaming when I see a bee?
Last summer it was so funny - Doug was out in the yard with a red ball cap on and one of the hummingbirds kept dive-bombing his head. The hummingbird must have thought the cap was a big delicious flower. :)
I'm going back to OKC tonight to take another class with Jackie. This one is a mystery journal class and should be lots of fun!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Creative Updates

I've been a little under the weather since getting back from Brave Girls but here is a quick update on the going's on around here.
Thursday night I went to the Paper Crown in Oklahoma City and took Jackie's Clipboard class:

I just love that little dog with the crown, don't you? We used lots of techniques in this class: shrink art, gold leafing, embossing, using mica sheets and more.
Also, I mentioned in my last post that I decorated my Brave Girl Apron. Here is the top where I added decorative trim and made those fun flowers.

Here are some fun flowers and ruffles that are on the bottom.

Other than that I've been resting since I haven't felt like doing much else. This week I need to complete a couple ATC's for a swap for February and I'm going back to OKC for another fun class with Jackie. Can't wait!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brave Girls Camp Feb 2011

Let me start by saying I hope you had a nice Valentines Day! Doug spoiled me as usual - I'm one lucky girl!
Okay - on to Brave Girls Camp. This year our camp was at a different cabin and it was much larger than last years cabin. We walked into the main gathering area and this is what we saw:

Beautiful, right!?! Once again we had the greeting line with everyone hugging us and telling us they were waiting for our arrival and so happy to have us here. After our long trip up the mountain they served us a fabulous meal. Ahhhhh....
We received these beautifully decorated journals and also a beautifully sewn envelope which held our "curriculum". (When I say curriculum I mean journal prompts, exercises for self reflection and clip art that we are free to use in our art if we wanted to) Not pictured here, we also received a Brave Girls sweatshirt and apron.

One night we had a little visitor at the back door. How cute!

I tend to be kind of shy and don't always take part in all the fun. I tend to watch the fun from the sidelines - it's just more comfortable for me that way but this time I joined in on the fun and made a snow angel on the frozen lake.

We all made them - isn't that awesome!?!

This is a picture of me with my crafting table mates: Rachel, Rachel, Annie, Erin and Michelle. Michelle was also my roomie at Camp.

Here are Lori and Meghan doing the "Pageant Wave" (inside joke)

After busy days of creating and reflecting, Brave Girls get together to share and sing. Sorry the picture is so dark - it's hard to get a good picture at night.

I totally enjoyed my time returning to Camp this year. I had a feeling that it would be different for me because I am definitely in a different place this year - and it was. There wasn't anything I was purposely going to focus on, I figured I would just let it unfold as it may. And it did.
I just want to say here that Brave Girls is not the "fix" for all your problems. To me, what Brave Girls Camp is is a chance to stop all the noise and all the distractions for a few days. It's an opportunity to be around other supportive women who are looking for friendship, a chance to explore thoughts, feelings and dreams and to express all those without being judged. Oh, and of course to have some fun!
For me, not only is it fun to spend hours creating with other women but also to see what comes out in everyone's art. It's also a chance to use all kinds of embellishments (yay!) and try new techniques that otherwise I might never have tried.
Our final night we had a "gallery" and got a chance to see what everyone was making all week. Just beautiful! My favorite project was embellishing my apron. I'll see if I can get a good picture of it and post it next time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Back from Brave Girls February 2011

I'm back from Idaho, a little tired but so inspired! Another wonderful trip to replenish and revitalize.
I need a good night's sleep to gather my thoughts but you will want to check back and see some fun pictures. I'll do my best to try and explain how this year's experience was different for me than last year. Still amazing - just different!
For now, I'll leave you with a picture of Rachel and me with our goodie bags getting ready to board the bus to McCall, Idaho and Brave Girls Camp 2011.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Getting ready for Brave Girls!

So last year about this time, I was really brave. I had read about Brave Girls on a couple of blogs and decided it was something I needed in my life at that time. I didn't know a soul but I signed up anyway and got on a plane for Idaho to spend almost a week with a group of complete strangers. I wasn't sure exactly what it was going to be like except the women who *had* been described it as "amazing, life changing, uplifting, a gift to yourself". It was all of that and more.
It didn't take long for this group of strangers to turn into friends. Brave Girls is a safe place where women can open their hearts and minds. It's also a place where I learned that we ALL have insecurities and we all have pain - some just hide it better than others. But we learned to open up and share our pain, share our insecurities, learned that there are people who will hold our hand, wipe our tears, listen to what we say. We all need support, love, friendship, encouragement and people who love us enough to offer that is who we need to surround ourselves with. All others need to be kicked to the curb - or the moon in some instances. That doesn't mean we don't still love some of them, it just means that we don't allow them close enough to hurt us.

When I returned from Brave Girls last year I knew there were changes I not only wanted to make in my life, but had to make. It took me a while to process what I had experienced in Idaho but slowly I began to make some changes and I still am working on some. I'm excited to see what Brave Girls has in store for me this year as I am in a totally different place than I was last year. I'm not going with any expectations of how it will be or even what I want to work on while I'm there. I'm just going to let things unfold as they may.
Below is a picture of me and Jennifer. She understood me. She cheered me on and offered me the sweetest support. She made me feel at ease, at peace. I'll miss her this year at Brave Girls but she is on bedrest. She has twins that are not due until April but she has been in preterm labor for a while. Please send up some prayers for all of them - for Jennifer to hold off as long as possible and for two healthy babies when the time comes.

I cannot wait to see Rachel and Dawn! If you have read my blog at all you already know that Rachel has been my partner in crime at several Artsy Retreats this past year. We've had so much fun meeting in Omaha, Minneapolis and St. Louis - and as I've already mentioned we are already scheming this year's retreats. Sweet, sweet Dawn. I haven't seen her since last year at camp and even though she isn't attending this year, she has offered to pick me and Rachel up at the airport and we are spending a night at her house at the end of the week. Can't wait to catch up with her too!

I'm going to be busy packing my stuff the next couple of days and praying that the weather holds out long enough for me to get my plane out of here. Until yesterday, it didn't even seem real but now the butterflies in my stomach are starting and I'm getting so excited!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Birds out and about in the snow

Doug got me out of the house for a little while today but the roads were NOT good. I would not and will not be driving on these roads any time soon so I'm lucky that I don't mind too much staying home - even if I am getting a little crabby these days. We had some lunch and tried to go by Barnes and Noble for a few new magazines but they were closed.
Here is our neighborhood:

By the pond:

On one of the main roads by the mall we even saw a firetruck get stuck while turning the corner trying to respond to a call.

I'm having fun using the giant lens on my camera and taking pictures of birds. It's exciting to see all the beautiful and different birds and I'm thrilled with how good the pictures are coming out even though I'm taking them from inside the house!

We have multiple sets of these gorgeous cardinals and finally I'm seeing some bluebirds!

These birds are enjoying some tasty berries.

Look at this little guy - he looks MAD - kind of how I feel these days.

I am so thankful for heat and electricity and plenty of food to eat.
Hope you are staying warm and staying safe!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow, snow, snow

So we got hit with Tulsa's worst storm ever. For some reason it doesn't seem as bad as the blizzard we had on Christmas Eve 2009 but I guess the roads are much worse. I wouldn't know because I plan on just staying in for the duration.
We have heat, power and food which I am so thankful for and the birds are being taken care of too.

Check out this fat little cardinal that I managed to get a picture of through the window. Actually all my snow pictures are taken through the window because I'm not brave enough or crazy enough to go out in this cold weather!

Sweet Shih Tzu loves it! At first he didn't know what to think about the snow. He would be running around the back yard and encounter these deep drifts that would slow him way down and throw snow in front of him which would make him nervous. Once he finally figured out what was going on he would zoom around and check out what was going on out there. Eventually he would get too cold and come in and warm up for a few minutes.

Here are a couple pictures of the awesome Valentine Tags that I received. I can't seem to find a good spot to take a picture in this house as the lighting never is quite right. I'm going to have to get a photo box or find another solution but for now - enjoy this eye candy!

The tag I made is in the left upper-hand corner with the girl kissing the boy.

Well, I'm going to try to get some stuff done inside this house today. Yesterday I was totally lazy and didn't get much done at all. Here's hoping I have a little more ambition today. Looks like we are going to be inside for a while...