Monday, April 7, 2014

...just a song before I go...

So much goodness, and the time seems to pass more quickly every day...  The past couple of weeks have flown by in a flurry of work on every front!  I have been riding a wave of utter joy; mind, hands, and heart occupied with the various tasks at hand.  All the while, marveling over the fact that in x days I would be on the other side of the world!?  The Girl and I are SO very excited, and tomorrow is The Day (!)

In addition to being busy in general, some way cool changes have come into the routine here on the homestead.  The Man and I have started "Greening" -- "Somoothie-ing" just sounds weird *ha!*  Inspired and encouraged by the experiences of a couple of friends, I broached the subject of "juicing" a few weeks ago.  To my utter surprise, The Man agreed to give it a try.  After loads o' research, we decided on the NutriBullet.  We are both beyond pleased with this decision!  To my further amazement, he has *quite bravely* enthusiastically embraced this epicurean adventure.  Now we *who virtually never ate breakfast* have been juicing our way into every day for the past two weeks (less our runaway weekend to The Beer & Bacon Festival, of course)!

Green goodness - now served daily!


Even in so short a time, we have both experienced noticeable results:  increased energy, less desire for "junk" during the day, clearer skin, and a bit of weight loss.  All of which is pretty much a side benefit, as our primary reason for starting this was to increase our intake of 'good stuff' -- we now begin our day with more fruit & vegetable content than we were ingesting in a whole day!  ...amazing, really.  Between the booklet that came with the machine, the recipes from their Blog, and a general idea of what works well together I have been daily concocting highly palatable green beverages that have us both feeling incredible!  I am really going to miss this beginning to the day while I am away.

I took some time today to construct a vessel for the Big Adventure.  It turned out to be a grand, chunky affair -- with plenty of room for notes, sketches, photos, and the sundry accumulations of interesting bits guaranteed when traveling.  

It's a lovely mashup of assorted things I already had.

A handy pocket holds daily cards, pre-punched for easy addition
to the proper area when needed.
Washi tapes, at the ready, housed on the empty backing sheets
from used shipping labels.
An assortment of decorative papers, watercolor paper, linedwriting papers, and blank card stock all come together in a
substantial, handy, totally customized Travel Journal!
Another nifty travel arrangement:  I found a fabulous Bluetooth keyboard that works with both my phone and my tablet *schweeet!*  In case you may wonder, gentle reader, why this matters in the least it is this:  I will be equipped and ready for Blogging Abroad!  Camera packed, tablet and charger at the ready, and a handy-dandy power converter (along with an equally spiffy Global Data Plan); I will embark fully fortified as a Life Reporter.  With my gadgets and my swell journal in hand, my memories shall be well attended to; I look forward to sharing the sights, as I venture to the adopted land of my *not so* wee one!  I am one lucky gal -- and I know it!  When I set out on the morrow for the grandest trip to date, I will venture forth wrapped in the loving thoughts and best wishes of a cadre of family and friends, and the hearty blessings and amazing love of my Beloved.  It really doesn't get much better than that!

Love, good wishes, and plenty of portable sanitary goods!
Life is good, indeed.
I'll be seeing you!

Onward & Upward,

Words of wisdom for today:

Photo Notes:
   All Photos in this Post - taken with Samsung Galaxy S4
   Words of Wisdom - from

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It Won't Be Long, Now...

So much has happened since our last virtual visit, and I want nothing more that to catch you up on all of that; but there is a *not so much* little matter that has me busting my buttons -- and that just must, Must, MUST come first!  In exactly three weeks from today, I will get off an airplane in KOREA!  ...I will then proceed to soak up as much of the adopted country of our youngest as humanly possible in the almost two weeks allotted to me in said place.  This trip was a gift from my beloved (a combo Anniversary, Christmas, Birthday gift of EPIC proportions)!  I am so very excited!  She is so very excited!  Why then do I feel as tho' I am in some interminable time warp -- plenty of time...  no worries...  E.G.B.A.R. *

Sh*t just got REAL!
...and lucky for me, I found my Passport
Mayhap it is because this week is the first in recent memory that I have not been burning up the road, running like mad to work on one of the many projects that includes my hands (?)  After all, in a mere week and half after my return my creative cohorts, Jean & Jodi, and myself will welcome the inaugural class of ReMe Students to our magical island experience in Ocracoke, NC!  Much of the past couple of weeks has been dedicated to properly aligning the finishing touches and behind the scenes preparations to accommodate each of our crazy schedules, all while making sure that all of the wonderments we have in store for our guests are lovingly attended to!

A Day of Creativity
...and super secret preparations for ReMe Ocracoke in May

It could also be because in spite of everything else that is going on, I took a leap three weeks ago that resulted in the very first commission work for Arrowood Paper Arts!  ...and if it weren't for all that is already on my plate, I probably would have been in attendance at the very event for which I created these oh-so-lovely Journals!  I have made peace with the fact that I will only be there in spirit *this time!* -- but I am sure that this is only the beginning of wonderful things for the amazing KB and her Whiskey 'n Whimsy offerings.

A Strong Offer Made & Accepted
...I'll be raising a glass of the 'good stuff' to toast the
Whiskey 'n Whimsy kickoff in Lousiville, April 3-5th
My seeming 'disconnect' could have a bit to do, as well, with the wild & wacky wintry weather that discombobulated a whole raft of schedules and left the wonderfully inspiring crew of the CMMAG playing massive catch-up at our February/March mash-up meeting, last week!?  We have SO many amazing things happening this year, and not being able to meet in February was a sizeable wrench in the works!  I'll have more on that in the coming months, but if you are anywhere near Raleigh, NC come September we'll have something incredible for you to enjoy!  *...yeah -- that's a big ol' teaser, right there!*

I thoroughly enjoyed a brief reunion with some fabulous Art Friends on Friday (03/14) when we visited North Raleigh Christian Academy for their Spring Art Fest.  Once again, I shared my love of paper and the wonders it holds for the maker of books; twenty six middle and high school students visited with me to make loads of these li'l lovelies!  Lunch afterward at the incomparable Upper Crust Pie & Bakery was just what the doctor ordered -- good food, great company, and batteries recharged to keep on keepin' on!

Little Things Mean A LOT!
...and are often much larger than we imagine
SO...  I am returning to the many tasks at hand, feeling a bit better for having shared the blessedly blissful happenings in my little corner for the past couple o' weeks.  I hope that you are fully engaged in this wild ride called Life, and that each thing you do puts a little more "happy" in your heart!

Until next time,
Onward & Upward!

* E.G.B.A.R. = Everything Gonna Be All Right -- a gift from The Man & my Mantra on most days!

Words of wisdom for today:

Photo Notes:
   Korea Tourism & Wee Book  - taken with Samsung Galaxy S4
   Whiskey 'n Whimsy Journals  - taken by Kerrie Blazek
   ReMe Creative Day  - taken by Jodi Ohl (Samsung Galaxy S4)

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It Was Just Two Weeks Ago, Today...

...Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play (?)  Oh, wait, that's not this story!  While there was no "band teaching," there was indeed some very happy paper-based learning taking place.  Wednesday before last, I had the extreme pleasure of spending the day with a lovely group of creatives in the equally lovely town of Pittsboro, NC.  This gathering of friends meet once a month, and call themselves simply Art & Lunch.  They share new techniques and handcrafts with one another, and host local artists for small workshops -- and the Lunch portion of the day is no trifling matter!

Two members of this number are also fellow members of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild *regular readers of this blog will immediately see the connection*.  They invited me to come and share a bookmaking project with them; in doing so, the Official Teaching Schedule for 2014 began.  Only a couple of the 7 ladies who were there on our wonderful Wednesday together had ever made a book from scratch before.

Preparations under way
...let the 'making' begin!

We spent the morning getting our paper ready to take form:  cutting, measuring, trimming, folding, and learning the lingo of bookmaking.  After taking a break for a phenomenal lunch *accompanied by lavender lemonade! (thank-you-very-much)* and a little time for visiting, we returned to our task and rounded out the afternoon with a passel of pretty new books! 

A Bountiful Spread
...and it tasted even better than it looked!

Our attention then turned toward the myriad uses for our new creations, and various ways to embellish them.  A little "tech-talk" covered several types of glues and the best ways to choose the right one for the job at hand.  With a little time to spare, we added a quick *bonus* activity; everyone folded their own origami heart/bookmark!  ...and as they used to say, in the small-town paper of my youth, "A good time was had by all!"

The Art & Lunch Crew lovely hosts for the 1st workshop of the year

My sincere thanks to the Art & Lunch bunch!  I had a most lovely time sharing my passion for paper and its many wonderments with you all.  Our day together was the perfect beginning to my teaching rounds for the year, and I will carry my warm memories of our time throughout the rest of my engagements.  I wish you all more happy days of learning and lunching together!

Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"When one teaches,
two learn."
                             - Robert Heinlein

Photo Notes:
    All Photos  - taken with my trusty Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Monday, March 3, 2014

And the Winner is...

Febrary's Fridays were much brightened by the sharing and commenting provided by the participants of the Great ReMe Blog Hop!  My creative cohorts and I are so appreciative of all the kind folks who visited our individual blogs and the ReMe blog throughout the month.  Today's big announcements mean the end of this joyful jaunt around the interweb, but that's no cause for sadness -- let's join together to celebrate our winners, and know that we have more artful happiness in the works!

Here on Thoughts Askance, the winner of my UH*Os, upcycled Journal is:  Marueen Hayes!
"I have actually learned a lot already from the posts about how to nourish my creative soul, but I was really touched by the post that Jean wrote for this part of the hop on reaching out to others. I think the world would be a better place if we all took the time to do this more often! Thanks for some wonderful food for thought and for giving me the dream of attending one of the retreats some day!"
Maureen, congratulations; please send me your postal mail address, and I will have this beauty on its way to you!  Contact me at

The Winners from each of our blog giveaways and the Grand Prize Winner can be viewed over at the ReMe Blog.  We had SUCH fun on our very first Blog Hop, and do hope that each of you enjoyed learning more about each of us as individuals and artists as well as more about our beloved ReMe Retreats!  For the announcements on the other instructors' pages, visit the handy links below.
Don't forget to check us out on Pinterest.  Visit the ReMe Retreats Board for more artful goodness and creative inspiration.  The caption below the photo is a direct link ;-) 

ReMe now available on Pinterest!

Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"To be creative is to be in love with life.
You can be creative only if you love life enough
that you want to enhance its beauty,
you want to bring a little more music to it,
a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it."

                                         - Osho

Photo Notes:
   ReMe Banner  - created by yours truly
  Pinterest Logo  - from Pinterest
   UH*Os  - taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1  - collage created in Pic Monkey
Jean, Penny, and Jodi - from Facebook profile photos (effects applied in PaintShop Pro X2)

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Friday, February 28, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End...

...and so it is with the fabulous, February of Fridays with the Great ReMe Blog Hop.  Today is the day!  But we will not go quietly into that good night *nay, NAY!* -- we are going out with a BANG!

Throughout the month, the organizers of ReMe Retreats have reveled in sharing with you how we incorporate the central message of Rest-Relax-Renew in our day-to-day lives as well as what our Motto means to us with regard to the ReMe Experience.  As much fun as that has been, we didn't want the sharing to end just because the month is over...  We are happy to introduce an all new 'nook on the net' where we can share more ReMe goodness:  our shiny, new, inspiration-packed Pinterest Board!

Follow us for more fun & inspiration!
We are celebrating the latest outlet for ReMe goodness by wrapping up this month of hopping and sharing with one last round of incredible giveaways.  So...  let's get hoppin'!

Upcycled, Handmade Ol' school Journals
Unique, Handy Organizational storage
Here at Thoughts Askance, I have one of my fun, Note & Sketch UH*Os (aka Upcycled, Handmade Ol'school Journals).  These retro-inspired notebooks feature covers constructed from actual 5.25 in. floppy disks (front) and diskette mailers (back) -- providing instant pockets to keep up with the bits and pieces one is bound to encounter on any good creative romp.  The pages are designed *and printed and lovingly cut* by yours truly (based on feedback from actual users), with the front sides mimicking wide ruled legal paper and the back sides blank -- wide open for sketching or free-form note-taking.  Heavy-weight, 24 pound paper makes for the ideal work surface:  thick enough to take broad strokes from your favorite writing implement (be that a dainty ball point, a free-flowing fountain pen, or the big fat marker that was the closest thing to hand when inspiration found you)!

The giving doesn't stop here, tho'...  *not by a long shot!*  Be sure you take your hopping to heart, today -- there are treasures to be found (and WON) at every stop. The Grand Prize over at the ReMe Blog is a marvel to behold!  We are pulling out all the stops, and offering a TRIO of original works to one lucky winner. That's right, gentle reader!  Not one, not two, but THREE lovely, hand wrought creations from the ReMe Founders/Hosts/Instructors!  The winner of this weeks Grande Finale Drawing will receive a Rest-Relax-Renew, stamped copper necklace from Jean Skipper, AND an original painting from Jodi Ohl, AND canvas-cover journal from me!  Hop over to the Blog for photos and additional information.

Visit the ReMe Blog for the details of the Grande Finale Giveaway!
Entering is easy:
   (1)  Leave a comment.  Tell us your favorite discovery from the Blog Hop, or your favorite thing about Pinterest.
   (2)  For a bonus entry, share this blog post with your friends through any social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and leave another comment here -- just let us know that you shared, and where you did it.

Easy enough, right?  ...but we're not through, yet!  *what? WHAT?*  Follow the handy links provided below to see what my creative cohorts have in store for the 4th Friday fun.
Enter anytime this weekend (by midnight Sunday, March 2nd).  All of the winners will be announced on Monday, March 3rd.  Be sure to visit with us again then for the Big News!  Here's another nifty-cool thing you can do to make sure you don't miss out on any of the happenings with ReMe:  sign up for our Newsletter.  Our subscribers get all the juicy details of new offerings and additions to the ReMe roster before anyone else!  *in Literature, they call this "foreshadowing" -- we just call it a big ol' hint, because we have even more creative collaborations in the works!*

Thanks for visiting, and hopping, and sharing!

Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"For pleasure has no relish
unless we share it."

                                         - Virginia Woolf

Photo Notes:
   ReMe Banner  - created by yours truly
  Pinterest Logo  - from Pinterest
   UH*Os  - taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1  - collage created in Pic Monkey
Jean, Penny, and Jodi - from Facebook profile photos (effects applied in PaintShop Pro X2)

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Monday, February 17, 2014

We have a WINNER!

My hearty thanks to all who visited with me this weekend during The Great ReMe Blog Hop - Week 2:  Relax!  A recurring theme in your responses was that finding time to Relax seems a daunting task.  I say we all make a concerted effort to make more time for it!  It's good for us -- reason enough, eh?

Now, onto the business at hand!  Drum Roll, please...

Congratulations, Lynn!  You are the winner of an Arrowood Paper Arts FolioBook!  Please contact me at: with your mailing address, and your prize will be on its way to you! 

Winner:  Lynn

For all the rest of my 'commenters' -- if you send me an e-mail with your mailing address TODAY (before midnight, 02/17, EST), I'll send you a little somethin' somethin' by way of thanks for playing along.

Hop on over to the ReMe blog for the announcement of the Winner for that giveaway! a bonus, you'll get to see Wito in action one more time.

Visit the ReMe Blog to see the Winner of my 2nd giveaway
(Click the Banner)
There's more fun, sharing, and giveaways in store!  Be sure to join us for Week 3:  Renew next Friday (02/21) for an inside look at what the third portion of our Motto means to Jodi Ohl.
Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"Stop a minute, right where you are.
Relax your shoulders,
shake your head and spine
like a dog shaking off cold water.
Tell that imperious voice in
your head to be still.

                                      - Barbara Kingsolver

Photo Notes:
   Wito (video) taken with Samsung Galaxy S4
   FolioBook taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1  - collage created in Pic Monkey
   ReMe Banner  - created by yours truly

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Big Thaw

Regular readers to this blog know that weather is one of the few topics never given voice here...  However, if you live anywhere along the eastern seaboard, the past week has been chock full o' weather that spawned multiple *many expletive-laden* discussions across the country!  Sadly, some of our far-flung nor'eastern friends are battening down for even more of this treachery.  *bless their hearts!*

We here in the "Sweet Sunny South" are ne'er prepared for weather the likes of which we saw this past week.  With good reason:  we have not experienced accumulation the likes of thess since 1999*!? 

On a typical afternoon/evening in February, this is what the view from the front porch looks like around here (02/16/14); temperatures ranged from a low of 37 overnight to a high of 55 today:

Early Afternoon                    Late Afternoon/Early Evening
(approx 12:30)                                                                         (approx 5:30)

Two weeks ago, we had what I thought would be our "big winter" weather.  Nestled as we are, along the meteorological mystery land known as The I-95 Corridor, we rarely get any of the forecasted nastiness.  My winter weather anxiety is usually reserved for friends and family further afield who actually do have serious concerns when bad winter weather visits the region.

...just two weeks agoI figured that would be it for 'winter'

This past week, however, we were on the receiving end of the brunt of the bizarre Winter Weather Marathon.  We ran the gamut:  from snow, to sleet, to freezing rain, to micro-hale-like ice pellets, to more snow, aaand a dash more sleet and freezing rain to top it all off.  It made for quite the anxiety-laden week, to say the least! 

It all started on Tuesday, with swirling snow beginning in the morning and continuing for over 8 hours!?  *yes, gentle reader, this freaked me right out!*  By the end of the day (photographically speaking), we had about 4.5 inches of snow -- and that's a whole bunch for this part of the country, not to mention this part of NC!

The Great 2014 White Out
Day 1 - February 11

Wednesday morning, it started snowing again just before 10:30.  When it stopped just over two hours later, we had another 3 inches of snow.  I watched from my post at the front door as the sidewalk and driveway disappeared under the snow.  Within an hour, it started sleeting; this hellish accumulation continued until just after five o'clock.  By the end of the day, the snow and ice had gathered up to the lip of the 2nd step -- just over 8 inches total...

The Great 2014 White Out
Day 2 - February 12

Things fell into 'wait and see' territory after dark, and we really didn't see anything else until the early hours of Thursday morning.  We awoke to a fine, steady misting of rain that had already glazed the bushes and tree limbs with a coat of ice.  There was also evidence of a shower of micro-hale *quite bizarre!* that had fallen before the freezing rain began, now encapsulated in the ice covering that increased throughout the day into the late afternoon.  The biggest worry, as we entered day 3 was whether or not we would maintain power if the freezing rain lasted too long (?)  We were very fortunate in that regard, as our power never wavered throughout the three day Event.

The Great 2014 White Out
Day 3 - February 13

Never ones to stand on ceremony, we celebrated the end of the storm by enjoying a St. Valentine' s Day Eve dinner fit for Royalty:  grilled rib eye steaks flanked by stuffed, bacon wrapped baked potatoes.  It was divine!  ...and had we not fallen upon the repast like hunger-ravaged beasts, I would share a photo with you *oops!*

Here's to the end of Winter's scorn.
Here's to the coming of Spring!

What was the meteorological highlight of your week?  *inquiring minds want to know!*  I hope that whatever it was, it afforded you the opportunity to feel fortunate in spite of any discomfort or inconvenience.  I know that we were lucky to have the comforts of hearth and home *and a well stocked larder,* throughout the nasty weather that found so many not so well-prepared.

Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and
for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home. "

                                      - Edith Sitwell

* {ack!} I can NOT find a link to that iconic song, as performed by Prince (?) *you can just hum it to yourself, m'kay?
Photo Notes:
   All photos taken with Samsung Galaxy S4
   Edited with Pic Monkey
and PhotoGrid; color adjustment in IrfanView
   Winters Wine taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1 - edited in PaintShop Pro X2

  *All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*