"Whatever shall we do in that remote spot? Well, we'll write our memoirs. Work is the scythe of time." --Napoleon Bonaparte, on his way into exile.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Notes from a Quilt Show

Never A Dull Moment
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

I should have followed Karen's lead and written down more of the titles of quilts as I took pictures of them (at least, I think that's why she whipped out her program and scribbled something each time she took a photo). I'm working purely on memory here, and feel bad that I don't know the names of more quilts that impressed me.

A sign at the show said you could take pictures, but if it was for "publication" (and I believe posting it on your blog qualifies as publishing), you had to give proper credit.

This is the one I picked for Viewer's Choice. I have a deep admiration for anyone who can work with this much color. It's called Never a Dull Moment, made by Raylene Kruger, quilted by Marilyn Lange. THIS one I remembered.

I was good in the buying department at the show, because (a) I have fabric for about 6 quilts in the hopper already, (b) it's the end of the month and my crafting budget is shot, and (c) dammit, I just couldn't make up my mind! Too many vendors!

Some favorites were a monster block-of-the-month pattern from Sew Together, crazy quilt supplies from Lee's Lines (a local in-home studio, no web link), and (my only fabric purchase) a brown, coffee-themed 1/2 yard batik from The Quilt Patch (not to be confused any longer with The Quilter's Cotton Patch, an in-home fabric studio in my own backyard!).

My tennis-playin honey
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

In the morning (before hooking up with Karen D), Tess & I went to cheer on E in his first-ever appearance at the finals of a tennis tournament (the Ypsi Twp Open). Two things lead to him being runner-up (despite winning a second set at 6-love): his lack of conditioning (he says), and playing someone who believes "When in doubt, call it out." E's just too generous to fight those calls.

85+ degree heat and 98% humidity at 10:00 a.m. didn't help, either. When I got there, the first thing I saw him do was plant a bag of ice on his head. He said later it completely melted, and he didn't bring enough water (despite having a full gallon jug on hand). Now, there is one guy who loves his tennis!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Self Portrait as...a flowering garden

Self-portrait Challenge-July 2006
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

Holy cow, I forgot I joined this website. I was reading through blogs (most notably the prolific and stunning work of Joy) and realized I've forgotten about taking a picture of myself every month. I grabbed a chance after E got a side shot of my now 33 1/2-week pregnant belly in the garden to take a few arm's-length head shots of myself.

This month's challenge is "Self Portrait as a..." You fill in the blank according to a metaphor for your life. I didn't know this when I shot some portraits outside today, testing some principles and theories of CZ's that I've been mulling over since reading about the importance of self-portraits (and scrapbooking about yourself) in her latest book.

As I went through the gallery of photos I took of myself just now, I felt a weird sort of detatchment. Perhaps that's what I don't like about self-portraits. For me, at least. It's not so much that I feel they are self-indulgent (although I did feel REALLY foolish standing in my garden, aiming my camera at myself...waiting until E & Tess were off to swim before getting up the nerve...hoping my neighbors wouldn't pull up and glance in my backyard and think -- ?!?!).

I realized it all boils down to the same adoption. Not knowing who I look like really creeps me out at times. I see myself as a stranger on the street...I think, hmmm...she looks interesting (I think, dammit, her hairdresser gave her The Rachel cut & blow-out today...that is so 1995!)...I think, she looks very...pointy. Pointy chin, pointy nose. And that skunk streak right in the middle of her cowlick! Where did she get those weird features from?

I have no idea, and looking at a whole gallery of strange faces, all of them mine, is a little more than disconcerting at times.

How embarrassing...

How embarrassing...
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

The ladies I've been cropping with are never going to get to like me. They've been giving me the stink-eye for months now over the AMM tote I won back at the end of May (mainly because Scrapbook Memories is not restocking it so they can get one of their own).

Now I've won a second month-end drawing. And I didn't even have my lucky charm (Tess) with me! Or did I...?

These are HUGE snap-together stamps and three pigment ink pads. Of COURSE I had to swap out colors; they had packaged primary colors together and I like more subtle ones. Picky, picky.

And now, for my WTH?! Moment of the Week...

My WTF?! Moment of the Week
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.




I think my head's gonna explode.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sew much for that idea...

Dang! I thought the Novi Sewing Expo was at the end of August. Now I see it falls the week after my due date.

Of course, if I go over, like I did with Tess, perhaps walking around the cement floor of an expo center might be just the thing to set off labor.

Hopefully, I will already be dealing with a newborn at that time instead.

Went to a Stampin' Up open house in my neck of the woods yesterday. I put in a pitifully small order (since I just signed up for Close To My Heart's Stamp of the Month autoship program [available even to us lowly "Junior" Consultants]...$70 up front to get 4 stamp sets at once, Sept-Oct-Nov-Dec) but joined Rita's monthly Stamper's Club (minimum $25 order per month, 8 ladies take turns being "hostess" and getting the rewards, we'll get together once a month and learn new stuff).

My SU catty has waaaay more post-it notes than my CTMH catties ever get.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

32 Weeks

Holy cow, I just looked at the calendar yesterday and realized I'm at 32 weeks, not 30 like I thought. I put E into high gear on the nursery (we still have a loooong way to go there), most likely because I went to a baby shower yesterday where the baby came a month early! Oops!

Newborn Jonathan was not at his own shower, but mom was, and I just got to thinking, crap, that could be me in a month! --Not at a shower, I don't believe in those for anything but your first kid, but with a preemie...could happen.

Everyone comments on how I haven't gained much weight, and I don't look 8 months pregnant (or, seven-and-three-quarters, however you do the math)...I gained 35 pounds with Tess (after losing 12 in my 1st trimester). I lost 15 pounds with this one, my nauseau lasted well into my 4th month, but I haven't really gained it back this time. I'm hovering around my pre-pregnancy weight, 172. I got up to 195 with Tess! True, I went to 42 weeks with her, and she was a 10-pound baby, so I should be happy if this one comes on time, and around 8 pounds.

I've been having a lot of Braxton-Hicks, for the last month or two, more strong this last month. My energy is back, after being zapped around the 4th of July...I was very ill at my mom's (food poisoning at French Laundry on my way up? or pure anxiety due to an ill-timed, guilt-inducing email from my mom just before we headed up? Hard to tell...).

Yesterday I could've sworn I was nesting...I HAD to start laundry right after breakfast, and clean the bathroom (my most dreaded job) right after my shower. Totally not me.

I've also hit a creative streak...or at least, wanting to work more on my creativity. Especially writing. Brilliant E, he used our credit card rewards program to get gift certificates for Amazon and Borders (he knows me too well), so I've been book shopping. Here's my latest finds:

  • Secrets of the Zona Rosa, by Rosemary Daniell: I've been toying with the idea of starting a MeetUp Writer's Block group (if it weren't for the *paying* part of it, it would be done). This book is a little more navel-gazing (with a group of women? aaaack) than fits my leadership tastes, but it's chock full of great quotes and writing "exorcises."
  • See Jane Write: A Girl's Guide to Writing Chick Lit, by Sarah Mlynowski and Farrin Jacobs: Just preparing for NaNo in November. I know, with a newborn. As if. Well, I'm fighting the idea of the sophmore slump!
  • Writing Your Life, by Lou Willett Stanek, Ph.D.: I was looking for Writing About Your Life, by William Zinsser, but found this instead. I did find Zinsser's book, but it looked too "literary" and stuffy for me (although I've heard it's full of warm and witty advice...fonts and layout really mean a lot, you know?). Stanek's book had the best writer's block quote for me at this time (after struggling with the idea of Julia Cameron's Narrative Time Line, and Tristine Rainer's similar suggestion): "Working with a small bit of your past makes it easier to keep focus."


  • Clean and Simple Scrapbooking and
  • Clean and Simple Scrapbooking: the Sequel, by Cathy Zielske: two books I bought with my Amazon gift certificate. I like that she scraps in 8 1/2 x 11, since she can then print directly on her layouts (without an oversized printer, something very few of us -- even scrapbooking stars -- can afford). Her design advice is similar to Ali Edwards and Simply Graphic (a book out by CK's rival publishers, Memory Makers magazine), but her style is more, um...well, clean and simple, such as I aspire to. Ali Edwards is more eclectic, somewhat collage-y (without being junky), and architectural. Not really my style.
  • Decorative Journals, by Donna Downey: (OMIGOD, total dish on her blog...she's coming to the Zone in October!!) I'm not a fan of her other titles, which involve photo decor (if I have to dust it later, I won't make it, no matter how cute and/or sentimental), but I tagged this on to my Amazon order because [a] I was over my $25 gift certificate limit anyway, [b] I couldn't resist their price and [c] I liked the idea of illustrated directions for different journal projects. I just wish she had more suggestions for different themes; they're only listed on a handful of the 25 projects in this book.
  • The Big Picture by Stacy Julian (founder, Simple Scrapbooks magazine, a CK sister pub): Going old-school, I bought her Scrapbooking Made Easy (basically, with my Joann's coupon & creative cash cards, I got it for free) a while back, and it got me going on my Theatre album. I love that she started online scrapbooking classes. One of the gals that I crop with said that The Big Picture (and taking a live, in-person class with Stacy) changed her scrapping outlook entirely, so I had to check it out. I love the concept of scrapping out of sequence, even though I'm up-to-date on my annual family albums and still firmly believe in staying chronological (it's the Virgo I'm on the cusp of). However, I believe this book (and outlook) will help me get those theme albums (such as my Book of Me) under control. Also, I have a feeling with baby #2, things might get out of hand in the future. The Big Picture is not just about scrapbooking, but also about living creatively (open and aware), and as a writer, I'm all about that!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lady Bug collage

Lady Bug collage
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

It's a terrible weakness, my love for VW Beetles. Kind of like admitting to having a collection of Holly Hobbie or Strawberry Shortcake dolls, or being addicted to Little House on the Prairie re-runs. Cutesy and girly. But -- there it is.

Every time I see a yellow one, or one decorated with giant daisy decals (I even saw one once with daisy hubcabs, for goodness sake!), I have to giggle.

I caught this one at the Pioneer High School parking lot on my way home from the Ann Arbor Art Fairs today. It was packed to the rafters with lady bug dolls and tchochkes.

Freakin' adorable.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Best Week Ever...

...despite being without power from 11p Monday night until 9p Tuesday!

Tess has been in morning day camp at the gym, and I've had a chance to swim (Monday), use the spa (Tuesday...and later I got together with the A2 Knit In gang -- always a good time!), and today I spent the first of three mornings at the Art Fairs. I hit more today than I expected (all of the "original" Ann Arbor Street AF and most of the State Street AF), ; tomorrow I hit South University and Friday, the Summer AF. Very energizing. I love crowds. I know, I'm a weirdo.

Here's proof. Thanks, Carla!

You scored as Healer. You are a Healer Empath. You take in the energy of others and transmute it. You trigger transformation in others and free trapped
energy. You are capable of great healing abilities. You walk between the worlds and bring waves of healing energy with your presence. (from "The Book of Storms" by Jad Alexander at















Fallen Angel


What Kind of Empath Are You?
created with

Friday, July 14, 2006

Freak of Nature

Freak of Nature
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

I was sitting in my backyard this afternoon while Tess dug in the dirt and played on her swingset, when I looked up at "my" garden (top photo...and note, I have absolutely nothing to do with anything growing there) and was pleasantly surprised at the colors popping out at me (hard to see in the shade, but popping they were!).

Granted, I have no idea what half of these plants are...I hate gardening. Well, I love it in the early spring, when there are no weeds and my plot of land is a bare landscape like a sheet of paper waiting to be drawn upon.

I do love the smell of dirt and even digging in it. I planted seeds along the raised beds in my driveway in late April, poppies (!) and zinnia, and the lone survivor of that useless experiment (a single orange zinnia, pretty anemic) is shown second from right at the very bottom.

But I hate the heat, I despise bugs, I'm terrified of bees and wasps (they reduce me to a quivering, flapping fool in seconds flat), and I've never been able to sort out baby weed from Possibly Beautiful Plant. Being pregnant increases the effects of all of the above, plus makes it impossible for me to bend forward at this point.

There's one flower I would love to identify this year: the tall white ones in the second row (far right) (astibille? sp?!). It is a HUGE bush. The pinkish/purple and yellow flowers next to it seem to be growing from the hens & chicks groundcover...not sure if that's a good sign or not. Is "going to seed" ever a good thing?

The decorative "Mom's Garden" rock sums it up...buried in weeds, there is an occasional treasure. Not the milkweed (bottom left) that grows to six feet tall and blocks the view at the end of my driveway. I keep pulling it, but it's very persistent, and the butterflies love it, so I let some go in the heat of summer. There was actually a butterfly flitting around before I took that shot, but it was impossible to capture on film.

Don't even get me started on the Queen Anne's Lace in the foreground of that photo. The only amusement I derive from it is when I catch the groundhogs munching it down to the ground in August.

Skipped ahead of myself there...second row from bottom now: I know daylilies pretty well, and the purple flower is some kind of "-bell." The vivid red flower is bergamot, or bee-balm (the butterflies like that, too, so despite it's terrifying name, I let it grow. It's really very lovely).

In the bottom row, I had a canvassing state rep candidate (and organic gardener, Sharon...?) identify that as purple yarrow. Finally, there's my belagured-but-still striving rose garden along the back of my persistent as the milkweed, but I usually get just one round of blooms from the various bushes our seller planted years ago.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Zen Mom

Are You a Slacker Mom?
Your quiz results make you a...
Zen Mom

How do you do it? Even when explosions are all around, you are able to take a deep cleansing breath and chant your mantra "this too shall pass." You are a calming influence on your kids in a hectic world.

Take this free personality test by going to

Good thing I'm a Zen Mom, because Tess & I are both sick. Seems to be a pretty mild cold, but I'm drained & she's all froggy-sounding. We're just laying around the house, reading and relaxing. Keepin' it Zen...

Here's a link that is cheering us up tremendously:

Where the Hell is Matt?

Tess enjoys the 2005 version better, because of the giraffe running away in Kenya. Go to the "Dancing" link after you watch to see the earlier video.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Vacation all I ever wanted...

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile.

There's Tess, steering a pontoon boat, catching dragonflies, and getting a swing from her grandpa...There's grandma with one of her gorgeous applique and the "buoy," (hint, hint, haha), and various pics of us on the beach Monday.

Sunburned and happy! But glad to be home.