A Special Day With a Little DIY!

A Special Day With a Little DIY!

I rarely talk about my kids in depth and when I do, I do so sparingly. When I started this blog, I wanted to share my story through my DIY journeys without putting too much of their stories out there; that is up to them if they so choose.

However, with epic moments comes exceptions with their permission of course.  Last Sunday, No. 1 Son graduated from Springfield College ( Massachusetts)! It was a beautiful day and I am  so very proud of him. From my perspective,  his educational journey included some challenges, however, he triumphed in the end and that is all that matters.

On Saturday, we had a celebratory dinner with a few of our extended family members. We dined at Tao’s, a restaurant, a place we frequented on occasion during our Springfield visits for Family and Friends Day, school performance, etc.

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The Asian and Japanese cuisine is as great as the service. It was the perfect place to celebrate.If you are ever in the neighborhood, I highly recommend it. It’s located at 31 Harkness Avenue, East Longmeadow, MA.

For dessert, I gave each person a single serve cake in a canning jar. I actually assembled them using cupcake slices and alternating it with layers of cream cheese frosting, all made from scratch of course.

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It was time consuming but I love offering a little DIY touch  whenever possible. However,  if I ever make them again, which I’m sure I will because they’re fun, I will bake the cake in the jars instead

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After dinner, we went back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep,  an early wake up call and a quick breakfast before the heading out to the graduation. This is our last walk through the corridor of  the Residence Inn in Springfield where we stayed many times. We prefer their apartment style layout. We’ve grown very loyal to the entire Marriot brand throughout our many travels.

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I love taking pictures of my guys from the back. I don;t why, but I do. Even with the blur factor, it’s still special.

And the graduation ceremony begins; It was held at the MassMutual Center.

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I’m so glad No. 1 Son is tall, I can spot him anywhere. It made picture taking from afar that much easier.

 

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He’s about to get the official handshake. Missed  that one, oh well.

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One week later, I am still elated with joy. There’s nothing better than watching your kids succeed. Job well done! It was a special day for our family and I’m so glad a woman stopped and offered to take this picture for us.

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A blessed day all around. I’m so thankful. One down!

 

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One to go!

 

 

 

Digital versus Old School

Digital versus Old School

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Digital dominance prevails; electronic communication – email, texts, social media posts – comprises the majority of our exchange these days with friends, family, coworkers, etc. We tap keys more, talk and/or handwrite less. Do you remember the last time you received a hand written letter or note? Card exchanges have dwindled, often restricted to holidays, loss of a loved one or an occasional birthday. Has it been the same for you?

This got me thinking about memory preservation and how, back in the day, keeping a collection of letters from a  loved one, friend or pen pal was the norm. Fast forward to our present day exchanges –  texts, tweets, posts and emails – a generic and quicker means to an end. Although they might contain meaningful dialogue and exchanges, they will never have that nostalgic appeal of their handwritten one on one predecessors. Think about it; have you ever printed an email for inclusion in a scrapbook or memory box?  I’m guessing not. Unlike handwritten correspondence,  electronic communication is devoid of any personalization and aesthetic beauty like penmanship, stationery design and impromptu freehand doodles. More importantly, a snail mail personalized message is intended for your eyes only and the intentions of the sender are so much clearer. Your message is not restricted to 140 characters and/or filled with texting acronyms.

 

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And how about our digital photos?. Most reside indefinitely on our phones, hard drives and or our social media accounts because that is how we share. As I write this post  I have 1035 photos on my phone.

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As you can see, only 109 have been categorized in separate albums. I think that’s a little telling of the lack of  importance of the other 926, don’t you think? Will the majority of these photos ever see the light of day? Probably not. I’m sure I’m not alone and the vast majority of the photos we take will forever reside in a digital void.  It’s been over three years since I put together a traditional photo album. Instead, I now store my keepsake photos, like those that I categorized on my phone or would have printed back in the day, on a dedicated hard drive, organized in file folders for quick access should the need arise to view or print them.

Realizing, on the one hand, that  digital technology allows us to restore and preserve history, I still wonder about the loss of those tangible remnants of our history that will never be created because we are so  digitally driven.

What do you think?  Is there an optimum digital versus old school balance for preserving memories? How do you store, collect and save your digital exchanges and memories?

 

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Loving The Voice

Loving The Voice

The Voice Season 6 has been a thrill to watch. The caliber of vocal ability is astonishing. Whenever I watch a competitive show, I usually root for the underdog, provided he or she has a sweet, humble disposition. Well this season there aren’t any underdogs. They’re all good! I do have my favorites, however, and sadly two, Sisaundra Lewis and Delvin Choice, have been eliminated. Even though they’re no longer on the show, I downloaded their songs so that I get to listen to them again and again and again….. As the semi finals approach, I will continue to cheer for Josh Kaufman.

The performances that blew me away are:

Though the show is about vocal ability, I find the fashion intriguing. I have such a deep appreciation for how people use fashion as a form of self-expression.

While Delvin adds unique flair and styling to otherwise traditional pieces

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Josh has a vintage vibe that usually includes showcasing the ankles

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and Sisaundra is all about classic style mixed with statement accessories.

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As for the back stories, I have mad respect for both Sisaundra and Josh; Any parent can relate to the difficulty, heartache and mixed feelings of being separated from their children. However, by example, they are teaching the invaluable lessons of realizing one’s passion, following one’s heart and pursuing one’s dreams. Kudos to them for taking the plunge.

I hope Sisaundra and Delvin will reach their dreams along a different journey and Josh will triumph in the end.

How about you? Are you a fan of the Voice or any other competition shows? What are you most passionate about? Has pursuing your passion caused you to make hard decisions?

Eggplant and Peppers

Eggplant and Peppers

Eggplant and peppers, hmmmm, that sounds like it can be a tasty combination.

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Fortunately, my eggplant and pepper seedlings are catching up to their tomato neighbors.

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A few days makes a world of difference. I love watching them grow little by little each day. It’s the simple things that make you sit up and take notice.

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Spring has Sprung!

Spring has Sprung!

I think Spring has finally sprung and so have my seedlings. Yeah!!

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I know I’m a long way from success but I choose to focus on the possibilities rather then the end result.

 

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Whether or not these young tender plants establish themselves and hold their own outdoors awaits to be seen.

 

 

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I planted everything at the same time yet the tomatoes are ahead of the game. The eggplant and peppers are taking their sweet time.

 

 

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Can you see the little guy there trying to pop up?

I’m waiting patiently.

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I resist the urge to be a helicopter gardener:)

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So I placed this pretty peachy Begonia next to my young seedlings for gentile encouragement.

 

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Again, win or lose, I focus on the possibilities.  I will be cheering them on all the way.

Have you planted your garden already? What’s growing in your garden? Have any tips to share?

Is it Spring Yet?

Is it Spring Yet?

The calendar says it’s spring but the outdoor elements tell me otherwise. It snowed a couple of days ago! I am so ready for spring and to get my mind off the cold weather, I have directed my thoughts toward exercising my green thumb.

I couldn’t resist and bought some seed packets the other day. This will be my first attempt growing veggies from seeds.
 
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I just wish I would have thought of this a few weeks ago as I should have started them weeks ago. As you might already know, I am the perpetual late gardener. Planting schedules and protocol overwhelm me so I just wing it and go with my gut.  Am I always successful? Nope. But I do have fun pushing the limits and experimenting. Here’s my theory though – Late start to spring = late end to summer, giving me enough time to catch up.

And my last visit to Home Depot, I saw some flowers I’ve never seen before. I don’t know their name. The sign just said perennials.

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They looked like a colorful cross between a mushroom (shape) and a marigolds (texture), if that makes any sense.

No label for this one either but they sure are pretty.

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Do you recognize either of them?

This one was labeled, Vigoro and it’s an annual.

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I’m ready to make a change as I usually gravitate toward Begonias or Impatiens. But seeing that the chill in the air is lingering, I have a little more time to decide.

Also exploring vertical gardening options since my back yard has limited in ground planting space. I do mostly container gardening. I have big plans for this growing season. The trick is turning these plans into reality.

Have any green thumb plans of your own?

If I Had a Craft Room?

If I Had a Craft Room?

Are you a Pinterest lover like me? It’s visual presence always takes my breath away. I can get lost in Pinterest land and I never know where I’m going to end up. Here’s my most repinned pin so far.

 

Do-It-Yourself Projects: Repurposed Cribs
Can you tell that crafty wall storage is made from a crib rail? Perhaps, like me, it’s repurposed appeal mixed with craft organization makes it a winner. Creative upcycling is a beautiful thing, don’t you think? I like this organized craft space as well.

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It has a light and airy feel.

Craft organization is a big deal to me. I want to be able to grab what I need without pause; otherwise my creative productivity suffers. If I had a craft room, I’d probably never want to leave. A dedicated craft room would be my ultimate dream; however, for right now, it’s just not in the cards. But that’s okay; it just requires me to be even more creative in order to find solution that will work and fit in my home. For now, I am collecting ideas on Pinterest that’s perfect for tight spaces while I reduce my craft stash before making any changes to my existing craft storage.

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Creative spaces always wow me because they are all so beautiful and unique. How’s your creative space? Is your creative space all put together or a work in progress?

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I love Friday’s. I look forward to Fridays. I always have. I raised my children on “Happy Fridays”. Sometimes I would buy an unexpected treat just to celebrate the completion of a busy week and the beginning of a two day break.

Just in case you may not be in a happy state as you start your weekend perhaps a listen to “Happy” by Pharrell might do the trick. It’s my new personal anthem because it’s an instant mood booster.

What song do you claim as your personal anthem?

Happy Weekend!

How Do You Get Into the Zone?

How Do You Get Into the Zone?

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I wanted to share with you my last read, The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. I loved it! Even though my book club met two weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about the main character, Claire Roth, a struggling artist who supplemented her non-existent income by painting reproductions of well known artist to sell on reproduction.com. She lost her credibility in the art community when she made the decision to paint a painting for her married professor boyfriend who was lost in an artistic manic episode in an effort to save his reputation. However, it all backfired propelling her to take part in an illegal forging scheme at the promise of her own art show. Claire struggles with internal and external judgement of being considered a master artist or master forger.

But why can’t I get Claire Roth out of my head? Probably because I can relate to her creative abilities and her intense painting sessions where she could stay in the present moment and create despite all the chaos and drama in her life. Here are a few excerpts:

“The shower cleans the sweat and the odor of fear from my skin, but it does nothing to wash away the residual emotions smoldering inside my body. Once I start painting though, the feelings disappear.”

“As the excitement grows at the thought of working on my own paintings, I push myself even more. I’ve taken to sleeping in multiple, short stretches during both night and day, upsetting my natural circadian rhythms and further cutting myself off from the cadence of the world…………I remain in the zone for longer periods of time than I ever believed possible.”

“When he leaves, I go right back to work. the zone is the safe place for me now.”

I can identify with that zone, that creative place one can go to escape, a place to take a mini break from everyday life and just be, reconnecting with who you are, all the while, filling your internal cup. Like Claire, who gets into her zone when painting, I am in my zone. of course, when I dabble in DIY and pursue my creative pursuits. It’s an important part of who I am. It’s cathartic, my respite and my heaven on earth.

Can you relate? What do you get lost in? How do you get into “the zone”?