Friday, January 31, 2014

My Portrait Plan for 2014

I've decided to use fairy tales as my subject source this year. I want to use the original telling to create from, not a more Disney-like version. I have been looking at a lot of different fairy tales, and by different authors, as a result. I am loving going through these little stories, some familiar, some not. I am planning on working on one fairy tale a month, to then be 'released' the following month. And, I kind of want the story to suit the month, if possible.

The first one I chose, as you have seen, is the tale of Snow-white & Rose-red, as the Grimm boys recorded it. I thought it was perfect for February, being all red and white and roses. It is also a sweet, little love story. I planned on doing two portraits; one of Snow-white and one of Rose-red. Then I came up with the idea for the heart-shaped box.

My over all plan is to 'release' whatever I create during one month, on the first Monday of the next month. The 'releasing' will take place on my blog for my portraits (link on the side) and in my Etsy shop. There is a nice mix of open-endedness and structure, don't you think?

What next?

Well, I have compiled a list of fairy tales I am interested in spending some time with. There are some familiar tales (Cinderella, Hansel & Gretel, the Little Mermaid) and some new-to-me tales (Jorinda & Jorginel, the Snow Queen, the Brave Tin Soldier).

For March though, I have picked a classic which is also my favorite (esp. the ballet version): Little Briar-Rose (Sleeping Beauty) by the Brother's Grimm.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow White Box

I had a lot of fun doing this one and am glad it is complete! Here is a little look-see.

It started like this...

...and ended up like this.

Once the Snow White & Rose Red series is complete, I'll show a lot more pictures. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Downton Thoughts

Well, it happened. Bates knows the truth. Anna and Bates are reunited. Mrs. Hughes save the day.

I'm glad that's out of the way. It was a bit stressful waiting for the other shoe to drop. And, I guess I am glad that Bates knows the Truth truth. I think. Who knows where we go from here. And the ending, with his, dare I say creepy, response to Mrs. Hughes about nothing being over? Eeek! The music, the look on his face. Somebody's gonna get it!

Cora's new ladies maid. What's up with her? Obviously she used to bake, and then eat, small children (or something like that) in order to need to rely on Thomas for help.

Poor Alfred, go Daisy.
I keep hoping that there is a decent human being buried deep within Thomas. Very deep.
Mrs. Patmore, refrigerators and electric sewing machines are not evil.
Baby Sybils' 'uh-oh' was adorable!
Government studies are not good, folks.

Overall, this felt like an episode designed to wrap-up (Anna/Bates) and set-up (everybody else).

P.S. Loved the comment by the Dowager about the halo being so heavy it must like wearing a tiara all day long. :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

DA, W, RR, & V-Day

DA = Downton Abbey, of course!

Mrs. Hughes. Need I say more? No, but I will. A little.

Loooove Mrs. Hughes. I have not enjoyed seeing Edna back in our lives. I was baffled as to why she was allowed to set foot on our lovely estate. I am glad to see the back of her! When Tom took Mary's advise about talking to someone, Mrs. Hughes wasn't even on my radar. Tom has been behaving like an eejit (see what I did there) so I guess that's why I was surprised that he did something sensible.

Anyway, I feel that this last episode is further proof as to how anything unpleasant should be dealt with. Instead of going to the mattresses, go to Mrs. Hughes!

Then there's Edith. Come on! What's with this trend of showing women, striving to show how strong and independent they are, doing something stupid because of a man?! What is it about this man (who is divorcing his wife who has been committed to an asylum) that makes him all irresistible? I don't get where we are going with this, unless there is a major house fire caused by aforementioned wife in our future. Maybe Mrs. Hughes can have a little talk with Edith.

W= W is for Wasted, of course!

Last night, when I picked up my book to read, I saw that I am almost finished. It made me gasp in dismay.

RR= Rose Red, in progress...

V-Day= a bit of Valentines Day inspiration.

It involves heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, little faces, and littler flowers. I'm kind of playing around with this, seeing where it takes me. So far, so good. Here's a peek....

Monday, January 20, 2014

Books, Books and more Books!

Every Christmas, my wish list looks like an order form for a book store. 
This past Christmas was no different. Here is what I got:

 Eight, beautiful new books!

I have already read the Anne Perry Christmas book. Since she has been writing those, my husband get's me one every Christmas. It is always the first one I read. I read both the Monk and Pitt series that Anne Perry writes. Her Christmas novellas are always about a minor character from one of those series. It's kind of nice to get to know the various supporting character's a little better.

What am I currently reading?

'W is for Wasted' by Sue Grafton. Of course! Last year, I made a little challenge for myself, to not buy any new books. I could get them for gifts or check out books from the library, just not buy them myself. So, I have been waiting anxiously for Christmas day, to unwrap this book and read it. (I'll write more about 'W' and Kinsey and my anxiety brought about by the fact that there are only THREE LETTERS LEFT in our regrettably short alphabet, when I have finished the book.)

I am undecided as to what I will read next. I am looking forward to reading 'S' by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst and seeing what it is all about. However, the other books call to me, too. 
I'll have to see what mood I am in, 
what time period I'd like to slip into, 
what country I'd like to visit, 
what accent I'd like to cultivate....
It's quite a process.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

He's Back! (and Downton Anxiety)

Tonight, tonight, tonight!!! Sherlock is back!!! Sherlock and Watson are back! 
Benedict and Martin are back (when I pretend we are on a first name basis)!

Not only is Sherlock back, but Downton is back, too. I don't like that I am looking forward to DA with a bit of trepidation. I am assuming that the Anna story line is not going to be resolved tonight. (Sherlock would have it figured out ASAP.) Argh and urgh. 

But, there is more than that going on at the Abbey, so I'll hang in there. 

Mostly because...

...he's back!!!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Snow White Update

After a week of back-to-school for real, back-to-bible-study for real, a doctor's appointment and a rescheduled-because-of-crazy-weather salon appointment, I was determined to finish Snow White on Friday. That determination was actually followed through by yours truly on Friday afternoon. Snow White's portrait is finished.

My plan is to reveal the whole series on February 1st. (I'll write about the Snow White & Rose Red series, and my plan for my portraits for 2014, at a later date.)

In the meantime, here is a not-so-wee peak (What's with all of the dashes, Danielle?):

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thoughts on Downton Abbey (a.k.a. Urgh! Argh!)

Oh, Downton Abbey.

First, I will share what I liked about last nights episode.

Overall, it is beautiful to look at. A feast for the eyes, if you will. The outdoors. The indoors. The costumes. The way they set a table. (Did you see James pulling out the chair and measuring how far to pull it out so that everything matched? Made my heart flutter a bit.)

What else? Mrs. Pattmore giving herself a panic attack, James' slip and fall while showing off, Mary smiling and laughing, the results of the final poker game (Cora's comments to Robert about men who gamble). There were quite a few 'fun' bits last night. But alas....

I read, on Saturday, a little two-sentence blurb in our paper's what-to-watch section about last night's episode. It said that there would be one horrible incident that would happen and that D.A. is really just a beautifully dressed soap opera. So last night, when I saw Mr. Green flirting with Anna and Mr. Bates dislike of said Mr. Green, I had a bad feeling I knew what the horrible incident was going to be. It turned out I was right. Urgh!

Why? Did this have to happen? Is this going to take a typical soap opera turn?Will Anna get pregnant, and be wondering who the father is, and who knows what else. I wanted her to tell Bates right away and have Mr. Green disappear last night, before they rolled the credits. I was relieved when Mrs. Hughes found Anna and suggested just that. Unfortunately, we had to be reminded of Mr. Bates history and, therefore, Anna's refusal to tell him.Argh!

Maybe Anna will tell Lady Mary. Mary could make Mr. Green disappear, I'm thinkin'. I just hope this doesn't get dragged on forever or gets turned into some political comment. Urgh!

I'm just looking to be entertained on a Sunday night, with a warm bowl of popcorn in my arms. Go ahead and make me weep once in a while, just make me laugh more. Teach me something new, within reason. Give my eyes gorgeous scenes and costumes and hairstyles and table settings to feast upon. Do not be soap opera-predictable while leaving me with a sick stomach. Please.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Wednesday was the last of the snow days. It was also the day before Asher's sixth birthday. Six! I can hardly believe that six years have gone by. I can hardly believe my baby isn't a baby anymore.

Asher was about 5 mos. old in this picture.

Back to Wednesday. At 7:30, Asher and I went up to his room for bedtime. I read him a couple of books and, just before we said prayers, I gave him some extra big kisses. Asher responded with a giggly "Mom, stop!". I responded with, "I won't always be able to do this. Someday you'll be to big."

Asher's sweet, smiling face instantly crumbled as he burst into tears. My sweet boy was just as aware of the fact that he was no longer my little baby anymore, as I was! He even said he wouldn't be able to sit on my lap anymore. That almost got me started!

The two of us, pathetic as ever, hugged each other as I assured him that we would be together forever and that I would smother him with kisses for as long as he would let me. (Thank goodness he didn't choose "The Giving Tree" and "Guess How Much I Love You?" for me to read that night!)

Asher and Mom. 2gether4ever.


Thursday, Asher's birthday, was a lot of fun. 
We started the morning with our usual birthday donut 'cake'. 

Asher was excited to get back to school after nearly three weeks away. His school, on the Friday before Christmas break, always goes to a movie at the theater together. Because we had a snow day that Friday, it was rescheduled for Thursday the 9th. So I got to spend the morning with Asher and his school watching 'Frozen'. We had a great time. 

That evening, we met his dad at a restaurant, had dinner and opened gifts. Asher doesn't like cake so he settled for cookies and playing with his new toys. I kept any possibly emotional comments to myself. Learned my lesson!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside! (And Inside)

I woke up this morning to -14 degrees outside. Let's not even talk about windchill. -14 degrees real temperature is impressive enough for me.
Getting out of bed to set my feet on my cold bedroom floor took some convincing. 

The rest of the morning was spent trying to warm up the house. The thermostat wasn't moving past 62. I dug out two heaters from the attic and built a (my first) fire in the fire place.
 We are up to 69! Go me!! 

So I decided to spend the afternoon working on my latest portrait series. I have fabric, floss, pins and needles, and scissors laid out on my dining room table, close to a heater. Before I got going, I thought I'd show what- who- I was stitching up.

Appropriately enough, I will be spending the month of January working on the Brothers Grimm's version of Snow White & Rose Red. I am working on them simultaneously-ish. 
Miss Snow is first and this is a sketch of her.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Speaking of snowdays...

I don't know how much snow we got on Sunday. A lot. At least a foot. And now it's cold and windy and we're still supposed to get more snow. School was cancelled for today and, as of an hour ago, it has been cancelled for tomorrow. 
So here we sit, the boys and I, warm and safe in our house on the corner, rationing out our reserves of brotherly love for a little bit longer.


Last night I watched the return of Downton Abbey. I was a bit distracted by the snow storm that I could see out my window but I hung in there and watched the full two hours. 
My thoughts on the episode?

 Well, it felt kinda long. 
I wish Mary had snapped out of her funk a little quicker. 
Lord G. was so frustrating. Even Lady G. was making want smack my hand against my forehead. Edith, oh Edith. Surely she has read Jane Eyre. 
Thomas needs to be dealt with. Made to disappear, if you know what I mean. 
The whole Nanny West thing had me in a quandary. Thomas didn't like her so that should mean that I would like her. But there was something off about her behavior. Now I know why. (Which redeemed Lady G. a wee bit.)
Overall, I realize this episode had to wrap up last season and set us up for the various story lines this season. I can't wait to see where it takes us!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's Time!!!

Kids are in bed.
Popcorn is popped.
Tissue box is in reach.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Where Will You Be On Sunday Night At 9:00?

It's almost time for season four of Downton Abbey. 
I am so looking forward to it. I just hope there isn't quite so much emotional turmoil. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, New Planner

This year I decided to purchase a home planner instead of doing something on the cheap. I think that, because I spent money on it, I will be more faithful with my planning. Because, as much as I like to plan and make lists, I'm a bit inconsistent. 

So, I took a look on Pinterest and Etsy. I found a great holiday planner and purchased that to use for this past Christmas. I loved it and decided to see what else she had to offer. I settled on her Super Mom (ha) Family Organizer set and have spent the past couple of weeks setting up my binder.

It's an editable, digital planner so I can type in the dates and events that never change and use my marvelous pencils for the rest!

There's a great meal planning section. I'll be able to plan by the month and then get more specific week to week. There are even grocery lists and  coupon tracking. Love it!

 The day after Christmas we went shopping/returning. I bought pencils! 

I purchased this wonderful planner from HappyOrganizedLife on Etsy. She has lot's of great planners to choose from. If you like making lists and, more importantly, checking things off your list, you should check out her shop.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Roses & Resolutions

First for the roses. Congrats to the Michigan State University football team and their win against Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl! 

I'm not a diehard football fan and I tend to only, truly watch the Superbowl. I'm glad I tuned in to this game though. It was a great game to watch. We made it our New Year's celebration with lots of finger foods and dinner around the T.V. The guys donned their MSU gear and we kept a close eye on our sofa. A great time was had by all!


Now for the resolutions part of the post. I should say resolution, singular. One, big resolution.
At least, it's big for me. Ready?

I resolve to use pencil when writing in my planner, making schedules, and filling out to-do lists.

I have recently(ish) discovered that my to-do lists, my schedules and plans, my time organized by me alone, has become my idol. I have half-heartedly acknowledged to myself that this should not be and, as a result have been given the opportunity to see myself from an angle that is not very flattering.

I get upset, disturbed, frustrated when my plans, routine, vague-idea-how-the-day-will-go gets thrown off by... anything. A snow day, my husband deciding to take the day off, sickness, an invitation to lunch. You get the idea. 

So, I decided that I need to do something. And, since a new year, and therefore a new planner, was quickly approaching, I saw a tangible way to help myself make some necessary changes.

The biggest change...use a pencil! I always used a pen and could not stand it when my plans had to be altered. I would often tear out the page and start fresh. Repeatedly, if necessary. It took a while but I finally had an epiphany: use pencil.

Using a pencil is not, I realize, the only change I have to make. I also resolve to try and not fall to pieces when my day goes in a different direction. I resolve to apologize when I do fall apart. I resolve to be more realistic in my planning, giving priority to the must-do's only.

Order and routine are necessary and important. But so are the abilities to adjust and adapt. 
Snow days and surprise lunch dates deserve different reactions than stomach bugs and power outages. (Or so I've been told.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy New Year!

I've missed keeping track of events and pictures and everyday happenings. I'm going to revive this blog, this digital journal, and see where it takes me.

Here's to 2014!
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