Thursday, March 29, 2007

spt challenge - plays well with others

i was reading about junior high school over at chez moi. for some of us, that seems like a long time from now (for others of us, it seems like a long time ago...) i was thinking about my 6 y.o. son's 'progress report' from kindegarden, and how i will see so many report cards in the coming years.

remember when you were 'graded' on things like stacking blocks, tying your shoes, sharing your crayons? you might have gotten supportive comments, like, "always has a smile," or the dreaded, "runs with scissors!" [i remember, in about the second grade, getting my first "U" for unsatisfactory. i don't remember what it was for, but i remember exactly how i felt .]

one of my favorite comments has to be "plays well with others." elementary school social skills speak volumes for the people we will become. were you a shy child? were you the class clown? the social butterfly? do you still identify with that inner child? what are you doing for "play" this weekend?

i know it is tempting for those of us who are moms to photograph how we play with our children. i would love to see how we play with our friends, our neighbors, our siblings. are you having a game night? a date night? a girls morning out for coffee and target? will you go to a party? or a picnic? are you on vacation? do you find yourself intimidated by these gatherings, or do you jump right in and organize them yourself?

do you play well with others?

spt - the recap

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors... ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

spring fever is in full bloom 'round here! it was so fun to catch a glimpse of spring making an appearance across the country: maryland, virginia, ohio, texas, arizona, utah, california, oregon, hawaii... there are flowers in amanda's garden in th UK. michelle a. is still looking for springtime in montreal, although barb's had some luck near calgary.

just as colorful as this week's pictures, were the voices that described the pictures. there are writer's among us!! set aside some time to read the wonderful posts that so eloquently paraphrase our feelings about spring. spt has become so much more than sharing quick pics with each other. in six short weeks, we have nurtured this seedling out of it's embryonic blanket, and are already enjoying the fruits of our labors!!

speaking of fruits of our labors... ;)

make sure you spring over to some new participants this week. welcome rachel and sheri and jessica. i am so glad you are here!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

please pardon the interruption

for those of you who are cruising by today for a recap...

i have a full day of meetings (why does work have to get in the way sometimes?!?) i've been working on the recap, and hopefully will have time to swing back by this afternoon and get it posted!!

what's keeping you busy today?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

spt - spring fever

my fondest spring memories involve the flowering of the land: the bulbs whose colorful bonnets peek out of thawing ground; the bushes that explode into vibrant colors bedecking well-traveled roads still dripping with thawing snow and early showers; the whisper thin layer of golden green pollen that blankets everything and tickles my throat!

in new york, spring ment daffodils, and lilac bushes. tender bouquets of lilacs carefully clipped in the pre-dawn, wrapped in wet paper towels and tinfoil, their heady scent intoxicating still to this day.

in maryland, it was the fruit trees. entire communities outlined with tender white bartlett pears and water-color pink cherry trees, literally humming with thousands of bees frantic with their labor.

in georgia, my spring memories are entirely smothered in pine pollen. we would spend weeks hosing off our cars, our decks, our feet as we traipsed throughout the blossoming yards. the fine dust would find its way into every crevice, and we inevitably would find ourselves closed up in our houses with air conditioners full-blast, just to find a little relief from the sneezing, the itching, the watering!

in north carolina, it is the azaleas. wild and full of brambles, or carefully arranged and trimmed, highlighting designer golf courses and squishy marshland alike. sadly, they don't have a fragrance, but their colors are vibrant and muted all at once, twenty-seven shades of pinkish orangish whitish paper-thin leaves.

entire festivals are devoted to these harbingers of spring. i feel festive today as i hastily snap a photo. spring has been teasing us here for a few weeks, but today, the azaleas are blooming, and i will remember to enjoy them!

Monday, March 26, 2007

window shopping

i'm in the mood to shop! my ever-growing list of "wants-not-needs" is growing longer!! if i had $1000 burning a hole in my pocket, here's what i'd be looking for:

a new camera
(looks like i'm going to have to replace my trusty point & shoot nikon. grrr. it's just not worth it to have it fixed. however, i won't be able to get my dream camera for a while yet, so, i'm in search of another point & shoot option.)

summer shoes
(i am sadly down to one pair of sandals that are appropriate for work/play, and i'm glad to report that they don't fit as well as they did last year - in a i'm-losng-weight-in-weird-places way.)

an everyday necklace
(i'm even bored with my selection of jewelry! i want a choker that will make me feel like this!)

something to read
(i keep putting off a trip to the library, because i feel hopelessly lost! what am i looking for? i'm thinking light and summery.)

a flirty skirt
(i need casual options for work that still say "i am FUN.")

what are you window shopping for these days?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

virtual mail

my blogging friend, carlo, has been on a getaway-built-for-two with her husband. i miss her thoughtful comments and website frustrations, and her sometimes-blurry self-portraits!!

carlo, i hope you had a great time! we have missed you around these parts of the www!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

spt challenge- spring fever

A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King.
emily dickinson

it's peeking out from your blogs, it's just outside your window, it's teasing us!

i know you've got it...


the challenge for next week is to get outside!! when you see those first daffodils, hear those birds heading back north, don those capris for the first time, how do you feel? do you have that familiar allergy tickle in the back of your throat? do you dig in the dirt? do you throw open the windows and let in the light? do you grab your feather dusters and sweep away the last of the winter dust? how about those cobwebs that have been lingering in your head?!?

how is spring teasing you this weekend?

spt - the recap

luck [luhk] (n): 1. the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities

good luck (n): an auspicious state resulting from favorable outcomes

it is fascinating to explore everyones' takes on this challenge. interestingly, when i began to pull bits and pieces from the blogs for a recap, it became obvious that we all have different feelings about the concept of "luck." take a look at the words that were substituted for "luck:"


these are the forces, the people, the feelings that shape our lives, our circumstances. we are a "lucky" bunch of women!

please take a look around, and see what other image consultants had to say on the subject of luck:

So while my Worry Dolls aren't lucky, they provided comfort and distraction from my childhood worries and were a good reminder this week that I don't have to deal with anything by myself. [amberly]

Each day when I look at the twists and turns of the knot I am reminded how we are all connected. Each one of us connected to everything, and everything to us. [amy m]

I wouldn't even call myself lucky - but I do consider myself to be fortunate. I think so many of the good things I have in my life now can be traced back to my happy childhood. [barb]

When I see my old name badge, it reminds me to be grateful for the mundane, crazy, boring, maddening days that I have. It is a reminder of what I could be doing instead, and instantly makes me feel lucky to be where I am right now.

I'm lucky to have close friends, lucky to have lots of new blogging friends, and lucky that I enjoy being a friend. [jill]

I think each one of us is trying to live a full life, one that is full of light and goodness, and I like to believe that we are all trying to become the best that we can become...and so I love to leave home with my little 'token reminder' of life, light, and striving to be complete... [cristin]

But as I started to think about luck, it made me think about what I think "luck" is. When I want luck, what I really want is confidence. I want to feel confident when I'm in any uncomfortable situation. [susan]

Monday, March 19, 2007

spt - luck o' the irish

The legend of the Barcelos cockerel goes back to the 13th Century. A pilgrim on his way to Santiago de Compostela stopped in Barcelos and was wrongly accused of theft and sentenced to death by hanging. After appealing to Our Lady and Saint James the Great, he announced that if he was innocent, the roasted rooster that the judge was about to eat would get up and crow. It did, the pilgrim was spared, and since then, brightly painted ceramic cockerels are sold throughout Portugal as symbols of good luck.

so my luck is actually portuguese (not irish!) i had to look this up at wikipedia, because i have had this 'good luck token' for a long time, but i was very vague on the 'good luck' part of it.

seven years ago, when matty and i moved into our first home, my sister, patricia (hi, patty!) came to visit and announced that we needed a 'kitchen chicken' for good luck. she promptly went off and found this one for us at a local craft fair. he's been in our kitchens ever since. (i believe he is intended to hold toothpicks).

he has always resided in the kitchen, which for me, is the heart of the home. he's had a few falls, shows a few chips. his ceramic glaze is cracking in all the best ways (kind of like marriage? family?) i believe he brings us luck, and i know he brings us love.

besides, it's just fun to say 'kitchen chicken' ten times fast!!

what is lucky for you?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

spt challenge - luck o' the irish

i am so tempted to challenge you all to get out there with your favorite green plastic derby and blinking shamrock necklaces this weekend!!

this week's challenge is to show us a lucky charm. perhaps it is a piece of jewelry? or a talisman you carry in your pocket? do you have something on your desk or in your home that brings you good fortune? is it a baseball hat or a smelly old t-shirt? did someone give it to you? why is it meaningful to you? will you tell us about a time when it brought you good luck?

if you don't have a lucky charm, then please feel free to post that photo of you in the green plastic derby and blinking shamrock necklace. extra credit if there is a green river flowing in the background!

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

lights, camera, action! - the recap

you guys did not disappoint this week! i loved the idea of everyone getting out and about, and i'm so glad you were up to the challenge!!

it can be a daunting task to make it through all of the 'image consultant links,' but i have to make sure i point out a few:

stacy is chillin' with JR and the ewings!

anne is a closet spy-nerd, and we love her for it!!

we saw crystalyn's gorgeous wedding photo (and thankfully not her sick bed!)

barb showed her Olympic spirit, while elizabeth teased us at the beach!

amy m and jill showed us nearby temples, and shared their personal affiliation with both.

kelly and michelle a. were both in portland for the challenge!

jenny showed us some really. big. boots, and andrea countered with an even bigger radio flyer!

kristi shows us a personal side of some national press (and introduces us to her new self-portrait gallery!)

laura went to prison (!) and kari's at the courthouse!

mandy and price cream parlor give us history lessons, hannah and her daughter are basking in the sunshine at the park, and neighbor jane payne is feeding the screen actor's guild!

amy s. takes a trip down memory lane, and melanie take us over the river.

and please, please don't miss missy running like forrest gump!!

there are several newcomers this week, and it's definitely worth swinging by the blogs of cynthia (scroll down to see her amazing laundry room, too! it's a landmark in and of itself!!), the self-proclaimed shoe addict andy, and amy's cute sister megan. victoria's landmark is featured in probably half of all the movies and t.v. shows we all watch (go check it out!)

next week's challenge will be up momentarily! in the meantime, i'm off to design some t shirts?!?

what's in a name?

i am amazed how many people are joining this project every week. welcome!! i have literally spent all day soaking up info from so many great blogs. i have a recap in progress, but will hold off until tomorrow to post (hoping in include some last minute posters out there!!)

so, now i've introduced you to my hometown: southport, north carolina.

in north carolina, we only have rear tags on our cars. that leaves the front bumper wide open for all manner of creative license plates. there are your university alum plates, your endangered species plates, your patriotic plates, your air-brushed personalized plates, your parrothead plates... i could go on.

my favorite front bumper plate is a design that has become very popular here over the past five years or so (and maybe where you live?) it's the euro-style, oval plate, which features a 2 or 3 letter abbreviation for your town/country, etc. (GB for Great Britain, OBX for the Outer Banks, etc.)

the abbreviation for SouthPorT is SPT. i see these letters everywhere throughout my day. and it finally clicked one day last week, as i was reading comments - several people were abbreviating self-portrait tuesday as spt. (i think i first noticed it in a comment from amy m.) it has sort of stuck. and while i originally thought i would get all crazy renaming this thing, spt sort of feels right.

there are self-portrait tuesdays and self-portrait challenges all over the blogosphere. i hope that what we are doing here is experiencing the fun of the challenge in a safe, supportive, creative community - this group of women who truly inspire me every week. as chad from alltel would say, you're all in *my circle.*

so, spt it is (for me.) you might think of it as "self-portrait tuesday," or "self-purpose tuesday," or "she photographs on tuesdays," or "shoot pictures on tuesdays..." seeing these license plates around town will make me smile even wider now.

lights, camera, action!

believe it or not, i live in a very film-friendly place. north carolina is known for having a temperate climate (which means more months of outdoor filming). also, between the mountains, the piedmont and the coast (where i live), there are plenty of different backdrops available in n.c. that can mask other locations. films shot in north carolina include dirty dancing & divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhood.

my little town is no exception. i chose to photograph one of my favorites. i give you two self-portraits: one taken just before my camera hit the ground, and the second taken with a borrowed camera.

what? don't you recognize it??? why, it's...

that's right. cue the paula cole intro music, "i don't wanna wait for our lives to be ov-eh-er." i heart pacey. heck, i heart joey.

dawson's *creek* is actually everywhere here. a good portion of dawson's creek is the intracoastal waterway. my town sits on a little bump of the east coast where the cape fear river opens to the atlantic ocean. other movies filmed in southport are crimes of the heart, i know what you did last summer, and summer catch

(all you parents out there looking for a true "G" rated movie, i definitely recommend pirate kids. it is very cute in a low-budget way. and totally safe for everyone in the family.)

i hope you had fun getting out and about for this challenge. check back later today for the recap, and to find out why it sometimes makes sense to keep things simple. oh, and also to learn next week's challenge!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

monday morning fun

i stumbled across this via amy, and found it be a cute monday morning project. you should check it out!

in frustrating news today - i dropped my camera!! have i ever mentioned i live in the sandiest place on earth?!? wish me luck. arrrggghhhh...

Friday, March 09, 2007

wide open spaces

the first tooth has finally come loose, and i am now $2.00 (not $1000.00) dollars poorer!!

i felt the need to have the tooth fairy leave a little something. using the library card template that missy pointed out, i made this sweet little envelope for the dollar bills. (sorry for the dark pics... i was under the cover of night!!)

<-cute clip art from my print shop program.

dollars slip in the back ->

we are planning to create more space in our garage this weekend, with a much needed clutter clear-out. does anybody else have that last box of Christmas decorations that still hasn't been sealed up tight?!?

on a personal note, i am sporting more space in my wardrobe, as the scales have dipped to the 18 1/2 mark!!

happy weekend, everybody!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

writer's block

whew. i am still reading and rereading tuesday's self-portrait submissions. i can honestly say that this project is sooooo much more than i ever could have imagined it to be. all i can say is, "where have you people been all my life?!?"

there are so many thoughts that i would like to comment on, expound upon, mull over and make a part of my personal daily pep talk. i should dive right in, and yet, the words, they are eluding me. each night as my son shares his newfound skill of reading, i think how alike we are: some words come easily to him, some he labors after, and inevitably the look comes over his face, "a - ha." i know the feeling that comes with that look. that is the feeling i am waiting for.

in the meantime, i must blog! i managed to quietly slip by the 100 post mark. i love going back and reading those first posts, when i wondered if my blog name was o.k., if my writing style would eventually come through in this new medium, if anybody was out there!!

100+ posts later, i am glad to say, yes, yes and YES!!

in the meantime, i continue my book journaling, a 24 year habit. for those of you who are also keen on the handwritten journal, may i introduce you to my good friend:

my oldest and dearest friend, a fellow lifelong journaler, introduced me to the 10+ journal shortly before my son was born. it is a gorgeous, leatherbound book that contains the contents of 11 years of life. i am in love with the fact that every day, i can glance back over "that date in history" and peek back at my life. the four line entries for each day are perfect at the end of the day when it takes all i have to jot down a few words. there is ample space in the back of the book to continue those entries that must go on and on. there are also monthly at-a-glance pages, goal-setting pages, address pages, and special dates records.

i whole-heartedly recommend this book to those of you who journal.

and, in up-coming news, i believe i have finally stumbled upon the "perfect identity" for our self-portrait tuesday challenges, which i will be revealing next week. hope you are having fun with the upcoming challenge!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

mirror, mirror - a recap

this challenge was difficult for me. i feel as if the photo i chose, which shows just a small part of me, reflects the small part of me that comes through in this blog. i hope as i blog on, that i will become comfortable revealing more.

(for example, several years ago, i wrote a one-act play entitled "a woman. reflected." how did i manage to omit that from my post?!?)

here's what you are saying about what you see in your mirror:

My hat is off to all those in the same walk in life. May we help one another by lifting each other and holding hands along our way. price cream parlor

This is me. This is how I see myself pretty much all the time these days - with a child on one hip and running out the door! missy

I can look into the mirror everyday and smile. michelle a (welcome, michelle!)

I think that a friend who truly knew me and what I have been up to lately would say that I am not afraid of trying new things. laura (check out laura's photoblog.)

I frequently wonder how my children view me. (This is why I decided to take pictures of myself in the mirrors that hang in their bedrooms.) michelle o

crystalyn asks some important questions.

kelly introduced us to her imaginary friend!

kari can multi-task!

natasha took a time-out to post her photo from vacation!!

don't forget next week's challenge: lights, camera, action! (here are the details.)

** please, please let me know if your name does not appear on the sidebar, and you would like to link up!**

self-portrait tuesday

Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you.
Wally 'Famous' Amos

i have to say, this was a difficult challenge for me. i have always had a hard time looking at myself in the mirror, stemming from a lifetime of dealing with poor self-image issues. mirrors can be so unforgiving! well, let's be true, i am so unforgiving when i look in the mirror.

this is one of the reasons i use hand mirrors so much: to apply lipstick, to wrangle my eyebrows into shape, to check for the ubiquitous spinach-in-the-teeth. this particular mirror has been in our family of four girls for awhile, and i happen to be the current custodian of it. it's not fancy, but it is the mirror that several of us gazed into as we prepared to walk down the aisle to our anxiously awaiting husbands.

recently, my creative energy has been reaffirmed through this process of blogging. i am inspired by so many, and this inspiration has willed me to start being creative again.

i wrote the word 'creative' on the mirror with my lipliner for this photo. i keep hearing the words, "you are so creative," and yet, i still have a hard time believing what i hear. my inner dialogue continues to speak: you are not creative enough.

this is not the first time i have written words of affirmation for myself on the mirror.

look at the way my reflection is peeking out from the center of my home, my heart. looking back at me with the faintest glimmer of the eye. watching me, watching over me. telling me, "it is enough. you are creative enough."

Monday, March 05, 2007

i wanna ROCK with you - the recap

jack ROCKED his 6th birthday with a playground party. we have a brand-spanking-new playground near school that features about 8 different climbing apparatus, so i took the ROCK-climbing wall theme and ran with it (special thanks to martha and kristi for some ROCK'n inspiration!)

the invites were printed on colored card stock, and tied to polished rocks with kitchen twine.

i made labels for water bottles out of the same card stock, featuring the slogans 'you ROCK,' 'ROCK on, and 'ROCK and roll.' i attached a bottle strap to each bottle (oriental trading) and this was not only great for drinking during the party, but a fun takeaway treat.

i couldn't bring myself to make a cake that looked like a rock (although, i did entertain some pretty far-out-there ideas!) in the end, we made dirt cake. ok, technically not cake, but it was super easy to make and super easy to serve at the playground. if you've never heard of it, it's pudding and cool whip folded together, layered with crushed oreo cookies. we threw in a few gummy worms and junior mints on top for 'rocks.' we set up an assembly line, and jack helped make each one, which was a special added bonus.

since it was at the playground, we didn't organize any activities (although we did bring a parachute, and had a few relay races.) we served pizza, and just let the kids have fun! for treats, we set up a trail mix station, where the kids got to mix their own combo of m & ms, raisins, peanuts and cheerios. they put their mix in ziploc sandwich baggies, which we then slipped into little mesh bags (again, oriental trading). we added a pre-packaged bag of 'magnetic rocks' and clipped the bag to each child with a caribiner.

it was fun for the kids, easy for the parents, and jack had a blast!! thanks for all of your birthday wishes!! now, we are waiting for loose tooth # 1 to fall out. jack has informed me that the tooth fairy now brings $1000 per tooth!! wow, i know we have inflation and all, but i think i remember getting a dime! what's the going rate?!?

Friday, March 02, 2007


march 1, 2001 the doctor says we can have the baby any time after the next two weeks. i almost can't conceive that it's so close.

i blinked twice, and here we are.

happy birthday to my baby boy.

And his laughter fills my world and wears your smile.
beth neilsen chapman

Thursday, March 01, 2007

self-portrait challenge

i am posting two challenges today, to carry us over the next few weeks. (the second challenge may require a little more time to complete, so i wanted everyone to have an opportunity to participate.)

for tuesday, march 6th:
mirror, mirror on the wall

take a picture of yourself in the mirror. any mirror will do. now, take a really good look at yourself. try to see your image as others around you see it. bring to mind something kind or unusual that a friend has noticed about your recently. can you see what they see? will you tell us about it??

for tuesday, march 13th:
lights, camera, action!

take a picture of yourself out and about in your neighborhood, your town, your city. do you live near a landmark or a setting that has ever been used by hollywood? would we recognize it? does it have historic significance to your community? has it become more popular since it was featured on the big screen? if no movie locations come to mind, how about showing us a significant landmark from your area? get out there and get creative!

i have added a sidebar item that will list the current challenge. enjoy!!