Saturday, September 5, 2009

Take a Walk...

path.jpg Path image by jlschmunk
One of my favorite past times is walking - anywhere. I feel good, healthier, getting a few miles in every day or so; it does the mind and body good!
Today I took my 2 yr old to my favorite walking spot - the tow path, just down the road from our home. I LOVE it there. I mean it too - I am in love with that place. It gives me strength. I'm safe. It's REAL beauty. I am enveloped in all of nature's most beautiful elements - water, earth, metal, air.
I've learned to be a better walker, a better runner (although, I'd say a better "jogger") and even hold my posture better - because of my miles on this path.
The word "path" alone is beauty. We are all on one, and walking on this one is just a great reminder of the symbol we live every day - the journey, the path, the Tao, the way.
Maybe, in some way, this place has given me a sense of awareness that I've needed to be reminded of. I remind my students, friends and family to always be aware - and often, need to remind myself - so, maybe, in some strange way - the path is doing that for me!
My 2 yr old has known this path since she was born. I'm hoping she grows up to love it, appreciate it and enjoy it just as much as I do. If not, at least it will be a place where she can go to find quiet, peace and, hopefully, answers.
We're told to "just let it go" or "listen to your heart" - quite often. I find that letting go, isn't always so easy. Listening to your heart, can sometimes be even more challenging! However, walking - especially here - I can let go. I actually CAN hear my heart. I can even find answers. It's as if they just come by being open and listening. It's meditation by walking and it feels great!
What may seem a bit "philosophical" is actually pretty simple. Try it. A simple walk - anywhere. Be aware. Listen. Look at your surroundings. Appreciate everything and see the beauty. It's everywhere.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

For the Love of Photos...

So I've played for months with Photoshop - being able to do the basics and attempting to keep up with the (what seems like) hourly updates ... Not so easy, but given a chance to "play" with photos of my little 2yr old and get crafty - I'm THERE.
Yes, I have an entire, wonderful, crafts studio which my husband put together for me a few years ago. However, now, with the addition of our little one, times in the studio are fewer and further between - sadly. At the same time, I'm on this computer more and more - eating up the "techy-crafty stuff" everywhere. I love the fact that I can now decorate and never have a glue dot sticking to me. No more glitter all over my face and ciao ciao scissors and punches - hello online craft world!
Recently, I returned to Photobucket ... and wow! They've made somem changes. I just spent 15 minutes "playing" with some photos I uploaded - SO fun! I made this one with a swirly thing on it - my daughter loves this toy and here I am "distorting" it - but it looked fun, and the coloring - bronzing as they call it at Photobucket - loved it!
Of course, after that, I had to do more... so, now, Photoshop has some competition! It's just so quick and easy with some of Photobuckets newest tools. And sometimes, quick and easy isn't a bad thing :)

There's also my favorite fall-back, Smilebox - love them! Smilebox has a zillion creations - you name it - they have it. Need a card? a vegitarian BBQ invite? a slideshow of your 400 photos from the zoo? they have it! You can insert your photos in any of their fun-filled creations - and viola', you're a photo wiz!
I also discovered scrapblog - for those of us who like to get creative with our photos and write lots... well, that's exactly what it does .... a little of both worlds, and some very pretty layouts. You can also design your own work - but Photoshop can do quite a bit more, of course, if you have the time.
Yes, like all good things - there's a fee. Some are minimal, and some are even free - depends on what you want. But they're well worth it!
I recently ordered some of my photos from Snapfish - I just didn't feel like putting my poor printer through ink hell... I had 240 photos to print (just from the past month - yes, I like my photos!). Well, after I got done ordering my photos I realized just why we own 3 printers and why it's worth doing them at home - SH for 240 photos is quite costly!
Of course, when it comes down to having photos of my perfect little (non-tantrum throwing) 2 yr old - ok, she does have a wee fit here and there - but nothing SO bad... It's all worth it. Me being online for hours after she's in bed, typing away... Hours of pixels on Photoshop on 2 whole pictures; hours of writing in her journal. Days of sorting and embellishing pictures... It's all worth it. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


"Start a blog, it's great for people who love to write..."
Yes, that's what I was told - and I followed right along. Then, three months go by and no posts - oops. But now that my husband has furnished me with this wonderful little laptop, a "mini" as it's called - I re-enter the wonderful world of blogging once again!
But I did think to myself - how sad that I can't just sit myself at our home PC, in our cozy little office and start working. BIG screen on that computer - another wonderful gift from my wonderful husband. But, No, I need yet ANOTHER piece of equiptment to get me writing. And now, I can even write in bed - ooh!
I noticed there is even a car charger for this lovely little mini - who am I? a cop? I need a computer in my car now too?! I need to get on my computer the minute a thought comes to me? the second I need to check facebook or an etsy transaction? It can't wait until I get home?
Ironically, I've been reading about simplifying things in life lately too - this, ANOTHER computer, doesn't simplify - it just makes laziness even easier. (but yes, I love it!)
There's the 80/20 rule - 80% of what we have, we don't need. If you were to go through your house , or apartment, condo - wherever - you could find that 80% of what you have, isn't really necessary. It's SO true with myself and my family. I look around and I KNOW that I could have a football field-sized dumpster pull into my driveway and take out more than 1/2 of our "stuff" and we'd be just fine.
Why cling to that piece of paper I sketched a little flower on from 7 years ago? I can do it again if I want to... or that stack of old t-shirts I WILL use as rags ONE day? or the 9 dog beds for our FOUR dogs??? Why do I still have a set of furniture in here, STILL, from the PRIOR owner of this house?! Why are there still fishing poles here from 1960?! no, not antiques, just very old, used, fishing rods that probably would crumble the minute they sensed water!
Ah yes, the invention of "having it all- right away" is here, and now we're faced with the question "is this how we really want to live?"
Lastly, on the same note - my husband and I did some early car preview shopping today for our next family car. I saw this beautitful little VW Bug - well, the new one, but in champagne and burgundy. They call it their "Blush Edition" - SO pretty. No, there's no way I'm getting a car seat in there comfortably - so, for now, Blush, as pretty as it is, is also out of the question. But I looked in the trunk and started to laugh. I currently have an SUV, nothing huge, but a comfy sized SUV. "Are you kidding?" I thought when I saw that trunk - "where would I put all of my stuff?" - and then in dawned on me. Stuff. What stuff? I don't need more stuff!!!! I LOVE this trunk , I love this car - this is what I need - I need that trunk.
And so, I leave for tonite - but will be blogging once again, thanks to receiving this great little item to add to my list of stuff.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chalk Tales

When I was a kid there was white and yellow chalk - big sticks, for sidewalks and driveways. I loved it. It was a big treat to go out and make the black pavement become bright! My dad didn't always love it, and the hose would come out soon after to wash away my artwork, but that was ok, I got my scribbling done.

Some years later, my daughter now has her choice of more than 15 colors of big chalk for her outdoor enjoyment! wow! I'm jealous! BUT wait, I get to play too! how fun is that?! and my husband loves it just as much.
Together we can now make our driveway turn all kinds of colors - and there's no hosing anything down afterwards, all works o'art are permanent (well, until the rain hits... then, ciao ciao chalk).

My daughter grabs the giant chalks and starts scribbling away, we follow behind to "finish up" for her - at all of 21 months, she's pretty darn good with a mega piece of chalk in her tiny hand. I admit, it's not all that easy to draw on a driveway or sidewalk... That's why we loved it as kids ! lightbulb! we were LITTLE, closer to the ground - much easier! hello!

As for my artistic talents, well, maybe they're best left for paper and collages, but my husband has quite way with chalk and pavement! he and my daughter have truly become little Monets on the blacktop. Look at this work! It's NY Times Art section-bound! Who else could recreate my daughter's favorite doll and her name - Sally - all in chalk!? (as she pronounces it more like "Sayee").
Of course, the whole outdoor chalk idea is also great for learning words too... as we've found out...

Here she is! all of 21 months, labeling herself! Wow, what a kid! She's a genius! :)

Tomorrow they're calling for 65 degrees and sun - I can only imagine the chalk tales for tomorrow!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Inspiration Overload

So I'm out and about, and my mind starts going in cirlces - so many ideas, so many things I want to start working on - around my home, little art projects, things for my daughter... I have lots of inspiration from my walks/jogs, and even the drives around town. I get home - and here I am - at the computer fishing around for even more ideas. Researching the "mind circles" of ideas that were flooding in just a few hours ago.

Where SHOULD I be? In my studio, working. In my daughter's room, working. Outside, helping do some work.

Even my husband is up and about - going after that garden we're FINALLY going to put in! and here I am in piles of books and papers, just fishing around for more ideas and inspiration.... Why? who knows!?! I have what I need, it's all up there - now , as Nike says, just go and do it!

what a mess.

Of course having this cold (or allergies, I still can't tell the difference...) doesn't help...
Ok, off I go to finish a piece that's been sitting forever (and is also due in a matter of weeks!) nothing like waiting until last minute!

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's almost spring, just a few more days and it's "official" - I can't wait. It's one of my favorite seasons (ok, fall is my favorite but spring is my runner up!). I love the way the birds chirp in the morning, before you even get out of bed - there they are! they're up and ready for their day, bright and early... and I'm an early riser myself (5am-ish...), so they're REALLY early risers. The sun is on it's way to coming out and you can just tell that the air isn't that cold. (ok, so I like to pretend sometimes...)

No more heavy jackets, scarves and gloves...

No more warming up the car forever...

No more hot tea - hello, iced coffee (and tea)! love those!

Time to switch out the clothes, pack up the heavy ones and send them sleeping into the's good for them.

Open up the windows around the house, fresh air everywhere! (Italians are famous for this one, and it's an "any time of year thing too)

Ciao ciao treadmill (or at least for non rainy days!) I can get out there with my daughter and the dogs, and stroll away... time for a new pair o'sneakers.
Maybe a few new miles to travel too...

Yes, it's definitley a great time of the year. Life is good.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Almost there...

So my technical skills - the ones I'm trying to improve, seem to diappear within 24 hrs of not using them at all! Today I was admiring and looking at this little page I put together - about a year ago - I had so much fun with it! It was just a few photos of us with some fun papers, photoshop. Now, I have NO idea how I got the graphics or where they even came from. I love Photoshop, but I swear that it's ever-changing... I mean within hours, days, the program has some other feature or does something else!!!

I tell my students to practice all of the time - no matter what you're learning USE it and work with it - time to take my own advice! It's just that there are so many avenues to go down with this technological gem of a program, and only so much time....

I could always retreat and go back to the "old fashioned" way of making some of my photos look "pretty" and get the collage stuff out. I have a whole studio to work in too - my husband was kind enough to put all of that together for me... and did a great job! Of course, the week after he finishes that up for me, I decide to scan everything and take up Photoshop again! Poor guy.

On another note - today I went to a craft fair, a pretty sizable one, going on for 3 days... I've gone a lot over the past seven or so's changed quite a bit. It was comforting though, to know that Etsy is still my safe-haven! I could find a lot more there than at this 3-day fair. I suppose it's like Etsy is an every day fair, with LOTS more great hand-made stuff !!! I could go through the "Treasury" lists for's a GREAT "get away"... and I don't even have to drive!

Monday, March 9, 2009


This weekend we had some amazing weather - so, like most families, we too FULL advantage! Getting out in the sun and airing ourselves out was the perfect was to spend time together...
first off, a full day at the beach... we played in the sand, walked the boardwalk, dined by the sea and took in all of the fresh seawater we could. I actually made my daugther draw in the sand - so did she really know I was getting her to exfoliate those adorable little hands??? not sure, but she loved it! and so did her skin! :)
Next, we hit the park, fed the geese, a few goats and got a glimpse of a horse. Usually, any of these furry little creatures are quite anxious to see a human soul - we = food. But not on this day. Even our four legged friends just wanted to soak up some sun (and well, by time we got there they were stuffed from every other human throwing food at them!).
Last stop of our day - the slide. Of course, my daugther has to get her slide time in - and boy did we ever! We were there for a good hour, just sliding away.

Vitamin D intake for the day = 100%!

Day two - time change! Up and out early with my daughter to find the tow path. I can always see it from the river, it's this pretty little path that has been there for ages... Mules and barges worked there for years - a LONG time ago - they found it, they made it! For crying out loud, it's 2009, I had to be able to get to this place- no mule needed!!! I was determined - and viola', we were there! After a bit of rough terrain (and thank goodness for my BOB, the best all-terrain jogging stroller a mom can have!!!), we were there... on a beautiful golden sandy path just a few feet wide, sandwiched between an old workers' canal and the river. The sun was perfectly positioned between the low hanging branches of the trees and shrubs. It was a perfect day. I stopped clocking the miles after a while. I even took off the Ipod and just listened to it all - the beauty. Of course, a few miles into it, splashing through some water, bouncing over the stones and rock, driving uphill and slipping through the sandy path, my perfect little cherub was out cold. No nature appreciation for her , well, not for now. A little movement gets her sleepy.

Finally, I decide it's time to turn around - I've hit what seems to be another town ! Oddly enough the desire to just jog part of it comes over me, and so , I jog. The geese are playing in the water, one without a partner - getting bullied. I stop, talk to her and give her my daugther's animal crackers - does she really need them anyway? I may not see the goose again; my daughter has a whole bucket of these things at home! I passed just a sprinkling of homes along the way - hidden little gems I would have never known even existed. One day, we too will live in a hidden place of beauty like this - for now, I live across the street from it all! :) And one day, my daughter will decide that bouncing around in her all-terrain carriage is worth staying up for and seeing some pretty darn beautiful stuff.
On our way back, off the path, we slowed down and traveled through the park. I got my daugther out of her carriage and let her walk a bit. She loves to watch the geese fly in their perfectly assembled patterns in the air. She points, smiles and goes on her way. She stops, and starts to sway. I begin to cry. She hears the church bells from across the way , she's dancing to them! She's noticed everything that's beautiful. It's a perfect day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Etsy finds!

I do love to browse the thousands of pages on - it's just a perfect little world of handmade everything. I too have a shop there, but I truly am more interested in some of the fabulous jewelry and fabric findings I see on there almost every day... people are SO talented!
Like just be designs - she has some GREAT stuff - SO fun! The "Bella" bracelet I just received it outstanding - perfect for the Italian teacher in me! :) She "reworks" jewelry - I love it! I should rework a lot of things I have hanging around here, just wish they'd come out 1/2 as good looking at this bracelet!!!
And the Glass Onion - woah - a crystal expose' of beauty! I had to have these perfect copper earrings - so pretty. (and they go with my blog!!)
Yes, I do have some things up there too... paper and artwork, things I get to when I have a chance... A fun little place to keep some of my work...
My Etsy slogan: It's a great place to escape to , where you find talents and many unique rewards!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tech addict...

I never thought I'd say it, but I think I'm a tech addict! Ok, I've seen REAL addicts, and NO, I'm no way near them... I don't even know how to set up half of the things they do online and the such... But all of the sudden I find myself wanting a Mac again and wanting to get some really good graphics going - again. My Photoshop years are so long ago, the new version -well, I open it, look around, click here and there, make an attempt to do some THING, then, I'm done. I do get frustrated with all of the new stuff out there- yet, at the same time, I can't wait to get my fingers tapping on it all!

It's really having an effect on work too - I keep building and building on these few silly webpages we're allotted, blogs too - I love it! I get in there every day, add, edit, change photos, colors... Do I have that kind of time? NO - absolutely not, but I do it, because I'm addicted! My students are starting to think I'm nuts.(starting???)...
Even now, I'm playing around with an initial and try to make it look pretty! how pathetic!
Do I break down and stop this "self-taught" method? and I may finally "get it" when I'm 70!?It just may be time to hit the books on this one, so I can get it done the right way... Of course following the books just doesn't make it as much of a "challenge" as I'd like either... :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

See you in October!

So, it's done - I'm walking. Well, I hope to walk. That is, I hope to get my team together and take part in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk this October in NYC. I've promised myself (and my friend Stephanie), for years now, that I would do this.

I'm not sure Jayne can do the 30+ miles in two days, but that's ok, one day, she will. For now, I'm hoping to reconnect with some old friends, get a team together and raise some money for Breast Cancer research.

Stephanie left this world almost ten years ago - she was a twin. We both loved Italy and speaking Italian, we loved art and fashion, good food and wine. We both resided in the same places throughout our lives - NJ, RI and Italy! Stephanie was spunky and determined. She had a beautiful line of clothing , a great little botique and energy and creativity to fuel entire countries! I think of her so often. She was a fighter too. She went through painful battles with breast cancer and won. She won. She kept working and caring for her family. Her creativity never failed her, or anyone around her. Then, brain cancer found her. She didn't win that battle, she tried, but in the end, well, the cancer took over. It boggles my mind almost every day as to how and why - but I told her that the breast cancer walk, among other things, was something we would do.

So here I am - hopefully making use of this blog and gaining support - friends, family... here we go!
Interested? please post here! thanks!!!
(ps - in order to post, I believe you need to subscribe to the feed.. otherwise, an email to me is also fine :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Slide a day...

If it were up to my daughter, everything could happen on a slide and the world would be a great place! She's been taking on the "big kid" slides since she could walk and has no fear of a twist or turn or slick spot - down she goes, and viola'! like a cat, right on her feet at the very end!

She's learned manners on slides too - she knows she needs to wait her turn when other kids are there. She knows that you don't climb up a slide backwards (although, sometimes, that can be fun!). She's learned that you sit down first, hold on and let your body do the rest- that is, gravity, etc. I suppose a lot could be said for what I've learned watching her on these things. She teaches me something new every day. That smile alone is worth a few brisky afternoons of sliding ... Luckily, we're surrounded with these big plastic slides so she has her choice. She even has a few choices of slides at school - indoor and outdoor!

It's a pretty simple concept, but then again, maybe that's just another lesson I can take from her - the simple stuff can be quite rewarding too!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Morning Coffee...

ok, so this whole coffee thing is getting out of hand... I never thought, or considered myself "dependent" on it - guess it's time to fess up - I am! I'm experimenting, no coffee, just tea - love my tea too - but it's just not the same! ugh!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

goonite moon...reminders

Mental note: my almost 20-month old daughter is too cute sucking her fingers when she's tired (nope, that's not her in the pic... some other poor two-finger-sucker...) ... BUT will the orthodontis bill be cute in a few years? NO!!! not at all!!!
ok, suck it up mom, no more fingers in her mouth - tomorrow, we begin! (Wed is good too of course...)

The Walking Path...

I took an amazing, and rather brisk walk with my daughter yesterday - the air was almost cleansing - which, can only be good. (As the daughter of an Italian father, you learn that air cleans everything all year long - open the windows when its 20 degrees - it's good - it cleans! -yes, I still believe it's true...)

We did about 3 miles, it was great. Lots of other people out there too...always nice too see.
There's just something about a good, brisk walk that makes you feel good - it's really something I try to make a part of my every day. Yoga is too - even it's 10 mins... although I prefer the 1 1/2 hr session in the studio - the 10-15 min version at home does help too. It's all about the breathing - go back to the breath, it's taught me so very much.
*Photos - since the birth of my daughter, well, actually, for most of my life - I've been a photo nut! But since my daughter has been born, I've been taking even more... The old polaroids and film of the '60s and '70s were dark, hard to read - just not 1/2 as easy as they are to do today! Who would have though I'd be printing and editing my own photos in my own home 25 + yrs ago!? Photos are part of why I started blogging too... If I send out one more Snapfish or Smilebox (which I love!) album - my family and friends will probably go nuts!

Example - this one: yeah, it's grafitti - but it's actually sort of pretty and has a nice message to it - "Make it Beautiful" - they're right, at least do what you do and make it beautiful! No, I don't think grafitti is "ok" - but this one hit a cord...
Then there's this one - small, I know - my daughter in pink looking after the geese - her new-found friends! I don't allow her to chase them, she knows better already - they were here first, be kind to them, they'll do the same for you :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Copper Hoops begins...

I've been meaning to start this for some time now - blogs are big -and plentiful. I wanted in a piece of this blogging, writing scene too! I'm a mother, a wife, sister, daughter, teacher, student and then some - just like many of you reading this.

Why Copper Hoop? It's a bit long and detailed, but it's an important piece I wear around my neck from time to time (see image, thanks to museglass on - copper has a wonderful energy to it and the "hoop" - circle - is a cycle, it's life.

Favorite quote- I try to live by - "What you think, you become." Oh - I do have one more favorite, "See things differently and the things you look at change."

This weekend it's just me and my almost 20 month-old daughter - it's February, still a bit chilly out for a kid with a cold... My husband is busy , working... I have a ton to do - but I'm here, writing because it's been on my " list o'things to do" - do you have those too? I still have lots more on the list - like cleaning the house, laundry, yard work, etc... - but I wanted to use my "me time" more selfishly today :)
Things I love:
* lists! I'm a big list person, love to create them, and doodle on them - then find them somewhere else...
*More things I love (other than my daughter, my family and our 4 dogs of course ) - yoga, reiki, and Etsy!!! you have to give it a whirl! for the creative types, it's a GREAT place to find some wonderful hand made stuff!!!! Yes, I have a shop up there too, I'll link it one of these days...
*Books o'choice - at the time, anything by Dr. Dyer - great stuff!
*I am grateful every day.