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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jots in June - 2018 - The Sketchbook Project

A while back I posted my contribution to the Sketchbook Project.

I am REALLY excited to share that it has been added to the Digital Library and is now available for viewing!  The last time I looked there were about 60 views AND THEY WEREN'T ALL FROM ME!

I would love it if you would take a look and tell me what you think.  On the Sketchbook page if you scroll down under the pictures there is a little spot that says "favorite" and it would be so cool if you could make it a favorite of yours.  I'd get a notice and little things like that make me happy :)

I've gotten another book to submit for the February 15, 2019 deadline.  There is still time to get one for yourself to submit, in fact today they are giving a 20% discount.    You have until November to order one.  The possible themes for this one include:  "A visual short story of the day we met," "Things I've left behind," "City Streets," "Stitch & Story," "Homonyms," "Rituals," This one thing..." "Burdens and brushes," "Melancholy," "Go-between," "Disconnection," "Bizarre," "Standstills," and "Infinite sketch." 

I haven't decided which one to do yet.  Any suggestions?  I know I will have an easier time of it this time since I know I can do it.  The blank page won't be so intimidating. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jots in June - 2018 - Father's Day and #SLS

Today is Song Lyric Sunday again and the prompt from Helen is: seconds/minutes/hours.  Today also happens to be Father's Day so here is a little ditty that makes me think of my dad, not so much because of the words but because of the times. 

Dean Martin - Every Minute Every Hour

Every minute every hour
My love grows in every way,
Every minute every hour
That's the way it goes everyday.
How I wish the days were longer
Every minute one more thrill,
Every hour it grows stronger
And it always will.
I live for tomorrow
For I know what's in store,
I can be sure that tomorrow
Will be sweeter than before.
I'll do all that's in my power
Just to keep the old ways new,
Every minute every hour
I'll spend loving you.
Every minute every hour
I'll spend loving you
Songwriters: Taylor Lane
Every Minute, Every Hour lyrics © Barton Music Corporation

My dad was the original selfie taker.  I really wish we had been smart enough to know that selfies were going to be a "thing" and patent or copywrite the word.  He'd get a kick out of that for sure.  Every roll of film we had developed had a selfie of him.  Not many pictures of my mom or us kids.  Mostly him and flowers.     

He did love my mom though.  We were all sure of that.  You could see it in his eyes when he looked at her.  He would usually go along with whatever she said, although she always told us girls HE was the "master of the house." 

There were four of us girls and I know he loved us all equally but I always said I was the favorite because I was born three days before his birthday and got to come home from the hospital on his birthday.  I said I was his birthday present. 

His other love was flowers.  He was a florist all of his life and we had such pretty plants around our house.  His pride plant was a poinsettia that was in a corner of our front yard. 

One of his talents was barbecuing.  He built a huge barbecue pit in our backyard and a long table with benches and would have the neighbors over every summer for a big shindig. 

He was a joker too.  On one of their bus trips to Reno he talked the bus driver into letting him sit behind the wheel.  He always wore a cowboy hat and that would be a fun (?) shopping trip to go and get him a new hat. 

His real name was Italo John Stagnaro but everyone called him "Bash" for who knows what reason (there were a couple of different stories I heard growing up but I'm not sure which was the truth).  He was fond of making little double meanings as on this shirt he wore on another bus trip.  Obviously the B. S. stands for Bash Stagnaro to us kids but I'm pretty sure his friends on the trip had a different take on those initials.

Dean Martin and the Rat Pack era reminds me of my dad.  That is what I grew up with in our house and they are such happy memories for me.  I really miss my dad and hope that I continue to make him proud.  Happy Father's Day to all the other dads out there!   

And here is Mr. Martin:

Thanks again to Helen for her Song Lyric Sunday blog fest.  Please go over and check out what songs others have picked.  


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Jots in June - 2018 - Crafty work for Father's Day

Father's Day will be here before you know it so I've been busy adding some items to my Etsy shop:

A few cards:

And a mini-album for the sports enthusiast:

This is about 8 x 8 inches and it will stand on its own when opened.  

There is room to add a couple of pictures and write a note or two and in the back there is a pocket to add a gift card or tickets to see his favorite sports team.  I am in the process of making a similar one for the handyman, complete with tool belt and tools.

What do you think?  Visit the Etsy shop to see the rest of the things I have for Father's Day.  

Monday, June 4, 2018

Jots in June - Escapist Coloring Club -

A few days late but here is my contribution to the Escapist Coloring Club this month.  I've actually had a chance to do a lot of coloring in the past couple of weeks.

This one I'm going to use as the background for a card.  I used markers to do the outlining and then pencil for the inside.

Same with this one.  It is actually meant to be a card as you can see the possible sentiments across the top.  Not sure which, if any, of those I'll choose.  This one was pretty simple.  I just used one color for the flowers and outlined the leaves.

These are a little different.  I was commissioned to do a scrapbook album for a friend and I found some papers that I thought would go really well in the book since it was to be a keepsake using school work from when she was a child. 

I am happy with the way they turned out and fortunately she was too.  It gave me the idea to offer to do similar albums as an item in my Etsy shop.  We'll see where that goes too. 

Thanks again to Linda G. Hill for coordinating this fun club!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Jots in June - 2018 #SLS Song Lyric Sunday

I had to participate in the #SLS Song Lyric Sunday today because the prompt is...SMILE.  (On reading the comments, I see that it was supposed to have been "simile" as suggested by Jim Adams but I am much happier with "smile!"

The song I chose is "Just The Way You Are" by Bruno Mars.  I love Bruno Mars and he is definitely on my list of people to see if he comes around our way again. 

The lyrics: 
Just The Way You Are

Oh, her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they're not shinin'
Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying
She's so beautiful and I tell her everyday
Yeah, I know, I know when I compliment her she won't believe me
And it's so, it's so sad to think that she don't see what I see
But every time she asks me "Do I look okay?"
I say
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change 'cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause girl you're amazing
Just the way you are
Her lips, her lips, I could kiss them all day if she'd let me
Her laugh, her laugh she hates but I think it's so sexy
She's so beautiful, and I tell her everyday
Oh you know, you know, you know I'd never ask you to change
If perfect's what you're searching for then just stay the same
So don't even bother asking if you look okay, you know I'll say
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause, girl, you're amazing
Just the way you are
The way you are
The way you are
Girl, you're amazing
Just the way you are
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
'Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
'Cause, girl, you're amazing
Just the way you are
Songwriters: Khari Cain / Peter Gene Hernandez / Philip Martin II Lawrence / Ari Levine / Khalil Walton
Just the Way You Are lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

I think this is a wonderful song.  Often there are things we don't like about ourselves, the way our hair looks, the way we laugh, etc.  It is sometimes hard to accept compliments from people when they tell us we look nice or that they like our smile.  I am not happy with my hair, too thin and too fine, but I think I have nice eyes :)  Conceit is not a good thing either but we should be able to be proud of ourselves.  We are, after all, unique and perfect in our own way.   

Here is Bruno singing his song.  I love the way they did this video too. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and remember to share those smiles! 

Thanks again to Helen at This Thing Called Life One Word At A Time for organizing this fun way to spend a Sunday!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Making Memories in May - 2018 - #SLS Song Lyric Sunday

I found this new to me blog hop called Song Lyric Sunday and decided to take a stab at it.  The prompt for today is "let go." 

Yesterday was Stevie Nicks' 70th birthday.  I've written many times about how she is my idol, my muse.  So many songs she's written have meaning for me.  Dreams is one of them.  It is from the Rumors album and was released in 1977.

Now here you go again, you say
You want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down
It's only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost, and what you had, and what you lost
Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Say women they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know, you'll know
Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself, it's only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and,
Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness,
Like a heartbeat, drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering, what you had,
And what you lost and what you had and what you lost
Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know
Thunder only happens when it's raining
Players only love you when they're playing
Say, women, they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean, you'll know
You'll know, you will know, you'll know
Songwriters: Stevie Nicks

It so happened that I was going through a divorce at the time.  Granted we had only been married for six months but it was my first love, my first everything and I was devastated.  I come from an Italian Catholic family so divorce was not something that came easily.  Fortunately, I realized quickly that I had to let go.  This became my theme song.  I was singing to him, saying..."You say you want your freedom.  Well, who am I to keep you down?  In the stillness of remembering, what you had, and what you lost..."

Singing that song gave me strength to let go and carry on.  Good thing too because a few years after that I met my current husband and we are on 34 years together as of last Sunday (36 if you count the two years we were dating before marrying). I found a YouTube video of Stevie singing the song on one of her solo tours.

Stevie was singing about Lindsay Buckingham and also interestingly, Fleetwood announced recently that Lindsay was "let go" and they are touring with Mike Campbell and Neil Finn.  We already have our tickets!

What do you think of my first attempt at Song Lyric Sunday?  Any of your favorite songs about letting go?  You can check out the rules and other participants here.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Making Memories in May - 2018 #SoCS

Well, Linda G. Hill has given us the Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS prompt of Grill.

Last Sunday at the ungodly hour of 4 AM we were up to go witness this happen:

Yep, our youngest graduated from Sonoma State college with a degree in Psychology.  Now she will be coming home to analyze us all.  Well, not really but you know I'll always have it in the back of my mind. 

It was a very nice ceremony and even though the graduating class this year was the largest ever, they spread the ceremonies out over two days so it was pretty quick, as these things go.  

After the ceremony we drove back home and were able to use the GRILL to have a little backyard party for her.  

Not everything was grilled...

but most everything got eaten.  

Oh yeah, last Sunday was also our 34th wedding anniversary but nobody grilled us about that.  

Seems graduation trumps anniversary.  Happy Saturday all.  

Friday, May 25, 2018

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: ROAD TRIP #roadtrip #AtoZChallenge 2018

I survived the A to Z and now it's time for a road trip!  This year I am going to attempt to visit as many blogs as I can that participated in the A to Z in April.  I already had about 10 or 15 that I was following on a regular basis.  As of this writing there are 63 people signed up for the Road Trip so that means I've already seen almost a third.  Should be doable, right?

We were asked to pick one post to link to and I picked "W" but it was really hard to narrow it down.  I was also a big fan of the letter "M" so I'm gonna be a rebel and link that one here.   

The details about the Road Trip are below.  Hope to see you on the way!

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: ROAD TRIP #roadtrip #AtoZChallenge 2018: The ROAD TRIP is back!  This year, we ask that you pick ONE post from your #AtoZChallenge 2018 offerings to link it up. Which ...

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Making Memories in May - 2018 - #SoCS

I'm jumping into the Stream of Consciousness Saturday as directed by Linda G. Hill this week.  Her prompt is empty/hollow and that struck a chord with me right now.

Tomorrow our daughter graduates from college.  It seems like only yesterday we were driving her up to live in the dorms as a freshman.  She has absolutely astounded us by handling everything in regard to this college experience on her own.  All she asked us to do was sign the papers, attend the orientation and help her move up.  We never helped her decide which classes to take or check on her to make sure she was doing her homework.

For a brief minute we were "empty" nesters.  I took over her bedroom as my scrap room and we had a friend of ours move in to the other "empty" bedroom.  Now that she is graduating, she will be returning home to live until she decides what she wants to do with her degree.  She is going through a lot of different emotions now and I can't help her with any of them, other than to be a good listener when she wants to share.  Mostly she wants a little time to relax from all the "adulting" she's done for the past four years and that is okay with us.     

I'm not/can't give up my craft room (I've accumulated so many supplies there is no other place in our house to put it all) so we've had to ask our friend to move out to make room for her return.  We'll have a few days when the room is "hollowed" out so that she can paint it.  We will no longer be "empty" nesters and that's okay with us.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Making Memories in May - 2018 - ASmile4UfromJanet

After April's almost daily posting, May is pretty quiet.  I'm thinking of joining some of the challenges that I've seen but I'm not sure which ones yet.  In the meantime, I was working on a project the other day and had to write my name.  Sometimes I like the way it looks, other times not so much.  When I am signing a check to pay a bill, I don't really care but when I know that it is going on the back of a card or something that I made, I want it to look nice so I started practicing - sort of a warm up, you know?  

I'm all about sharing a smile and I've been trying to think of a way to incorporate a smile into a logo.  I haven't wanted to just use a smiley face because that is too common.  All of a sudden, as I looked at the different times I had written my name, something hit me and I started putting two little dots in the crook of my "J."     

What do you know?  There's a smile for you from Janet!  

I love the "J" in this one but I am not happy with the closed "e" and open "t."

This one looked pretty good so I uploaded it to Vistaprint and had them make me a signature stamp.

This is what it turned out like:

I am happy with it for now but as I look at it, maybe the "a" should be a little closer to the "J" so I think I'll keep practicing with my signature and when I get one that is perfect I'll have another stamp made. 

What do you think?  Got any other ideas for a logo that includes a smile?  Any blogging challenges I should join?  Love to hear from you! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Making Memories in May - 2018 - Home Chef Meal Delivery

I don't know how other people do things but in our house we have a tough time deciding what's for dinner.  In all actuality, we have never been a regular eat dinner together type family.  Part of that stems from the fact that during the first 15 years or so of our married life my husband had stomach issues in the form of ulcers that would wax and wane and finally he had to have two surgeries to help alleviate the problem.  It meant that I would make dinner but then his stomach would be bothering him so he wouldn't be hungry.  I would end up with food that never got eaten or have to eat alone since he would be lying down.  Slowly but surely I got out of the habit of cooking dinners and would fix easy meals for the kids and I.

Fast forward to the present.  The kids are grown and out of the house so it is just my husband and I.  I am trying to lose weight and eat healthier so I am doing more planning, usually cooking four dinner meals at a time so I have them ready to go in the fridge.  I will make two chicken and two fish dinners for example.

Unfortunately, these don't exactly appeal to my husband so he will make his own dinners like ranch beans or chili, things that I don't really like.  Sometimes we'll get pizza or Chinese food delivered.  

Still, there is the "What's for dinner" question many nights.  Recently, I got an email from the Hungry Girl where she talked about Home Chef, the home delivery service, and if I used the link in her email I'd get $30 off the first order.  I figured we should give it a try.  Since it was endorsed by Hungry Girl, perhaps the meals would be healthier and by picking the meals in advance we could chose things we both might like.  We decided to try four meals.  I picked two and my husband picked two.  

We got the first delivery yesterday.  

The box was well insulated and inside were the ingredients neatly packaged and labeled for the four meals we had chosen.  There was also recipe cards for each of the meals and a binder to keep them in.  

We tried the first one tonight.  French Onion Shrimp and Grits.  This is what the packages looked like with the recipe card.  

Inside the baggie were these ingredients.  The tiny bottle is the white wine for the sauce, butter, shallot, sour cream and in the baggies are the grits and parmesan cheese.  The green stems are chives for garnish.  Wow, I'm not used to garnishing my meals - fancy!

The only things needed to make the meal that were not included were water, olive oil, salt and pepper.  The recipe card had simple to follow, step-by-step instructions.  No fancy pans or cooking utensils were required.  Here is what my result was and the picture from the recipe card behind it.  

It's not exactly the same but pretty close.  It was delicious!  We had never had grits before and were pleasantly surprised at the taste.  We both like shrimp and the caramelized shallots were yummy.  The recipe said it made two meals but I bet we could have stretched it to three as I had some grits leftover and I could have saved some shrimp and topping to go with it, but it was so good we didn't!

All the nutritional info is given for each of the options so you could really tailor the menus you pick to your preferences as far as low fat or low cholesterol, etc.  They even have vegetarian meals so you could do that too.  Obviously, since you are cooking them yourself, you could change any part of it to suit your taste.  I followed the directions exactly for this meal so that I could give the company a fair chance.  

I really like the flexibility of this program.  When you sign up you are asked about your taste preferences, whether you like meat or fish, vegetarian, low carb or low fat, etc.  They also ask if you would like to try advanced meals.  I chose simple!  They pre-pick the meals for you but you can swap them to others that are being offered for that week.  The choices are set up five weeks in advance so you can schedule a month of meals and forget it if you want.  You can choose some lunch type meals instead of dinners.  The dinner meals are $9.95 per serving and the lunch meals are $7.99.  Some of the meals can be increased to serve four instead of two.   You also have the option of adding a smoothie or a fruit basket with your order for $4.95 per serving.  We wanted more time to be able to try the ones we got so we decided to skip next week's delivery.  It was really easy for me to go online to my account and do that.         

If you think you might like to try this service, use my link to save $30 off your first order:

Have you tried any of the home delivery meal services?  Did you like them?  Share!


Monday, May 7, 2018

Blogging From A to Z - 2018 - Reflections

I want to thank everyone who came by my blog and commented or liked my showcase of things found at a Michaels Arts and Crafts store last month.  I was pleased to be able to finish the challenge on time this year and it was a lot of fun.  I was also a little afraid that it would be boring but it seems to have sparked some inspiration in a few people to check their local Michaels for things they would not have done before.  Now if I can just get Michaels to give me a kickback, it would be perfect, right?

In case you missed an installment or want to see something again, here is a recap of my Blogging from A to Z  of Michaels Arts and Crafts store:

A - App
B - Baking
C - Candles and Clearance
D - Drawing
E - Events and Classes
F - Floral
G - Glitter and Glue
H - Home Decor
I - Iron On
J - Jewelry
K - Kids
L - Lighting and Liquitex
M - Miniatures and Missions
N - Necklace holders and needlework
O - Organization
P - Picture frames
Q - Q-Line
R - Ribbons and Rocks
S - Scrapbooking
T - T-shirts
U - Unique and Unusual
V - Velcro and Vases
W - Wedding and Washi tape
X - X-treme, X-acto and X-tras
Y - Yarn
Z - Zentangle, Zippers and Zots

In addition to my recap, I have to put a shout out to several new people I met along the A to Z this year:

Leanne from Cresting the Hill - She blogs about midlife and the empty nest.
Wendy at Wendy's Waffle - She wrote about sports, the usual and the unusual.
Trudy at Reel Focus - She had a great movie game where you were to guess the title from the tagline.
Deena at Deena's Days - She was great with Elvis as her theme.
Sue at Sue's Trifles - Her A to Z was about occupations.
Jeanne Bryan Insalaco at Everyone Has a Story - I thought I knew a thing or two about Nancy Drew until I started reading her A to Z.

My friends from previous years:

Jacqui Murray at WordDreams who talked about the different genres in writing.  Jacqui, in addition to being the inspiration for my A to Z theme, was also the 100th follower of my blog!  Thanks Jacqui!

Patti at Scarlett 79 who shared great movie quotes.
Erika at Dorky Mom Doodles who doodled her way through her past.
Cathy at Curious as a Cathy who used her iPad to create some really neat sketches.
Iain Kelly at Iain Kelly Writing who took us on a trip through Europe.
Deborah Weber who gave us wonderful new words to learn in her manifesto.
Joe Owens at Fiction Playground who wrote a great detective story.

and we can't forget the founder of the A to Z and his wonderful assistants:

Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out who talked about cleaning the clutter.
John Holton at The Sound of One Hand Typing who played his word games again.
J. Lenni Dorner at Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner who once again gave us a thrilling tale of speculative fiction story of life on another planet.

If I've left anyone off my list, it was not intentional.  There were hundreds of participants again this year and while there were a few minor glitches with linking some of the days, all in all I thought things went very smoothly.  Of course you can't visit everyone every day and there are probably many more blogs I would have enjoyed reading so I'm thankful the lists are still available.  There is also the Road Trip starting on May 23 which should be fun.

Just a couple of things I tried this year and felt that they really helped was to get a draft post started for each letter, even if I didn't have the pictures or even the writing done.  There are a few paragraphs at the beginning and the end of every post that were the same so by having those things in place at the start made it much easier when I got down to putting the pictures in and writing the story.  The next thing was to start this recap post at the beginning of the challenge as well and then each day after I officially posted my letter, I would link it here that way once the challenge was done, all my links would be ready and I would just need to add the fluff.  It was also nice to see the number of draft posts I had start to decrease as the days went on.  When I was down to 3 to 4 drafts left I knew I was gonna make it!

Did you have a good time with the A to Z?  Do you have your theme for next year yet?  Any bloggers out there I should immediately go check out?  Any tips you want to share?  Let me know.