Wednesday, April 27, 2011

365 Project: Week 15! Spring is Springing!

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Full photo descriptions on my Flickr page!

This week has finally been bringing some real spring weather! I even donned a skirt to school for the first time since last summer! I spent the weekend in Indiana with my husband doing nothing but driving around (checking out a house on... OLIVE DRIVE!), eating out, playing cards and even flying a PANDA kite! I desperately miss doing hanging out with my husband on a daily basis... I think this distance thing is getting HARDER as time goes by! Ugh!

I also have been watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 movie quite a bit over the last week (for those of you who DON'T know, I'm quite obsessed) and got the random urge to construct a golden snitch necklace. I stopped by Michaels and picked up a couple of wings and a perfect metal wire 'bead' and hooked them together! It's my new favorite necklace! I even made my sister (a fellow HP geek) a matching one!

In my Art 7 class we have been knee deep in our metal project - the pieces are turning out so great with no casualties! :) If you had told me 2 years ago that 7th graders could be trusted to manipulate metal with dangerous tools, I would've laughed in your face and prayed for your safety... but I'm really amazed at how responsible they are! (Their very safety-conscious teacher threatening them that failure to handle it responsibly would result in them NOT being allowed to finish the project was great incentive too :)

Are you noticing the GREEN popping up everywhere?!
I'm loving watching the world come back to life!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

365 Project: Week 14

This week brought time outside (more so in the beginning of the week, before we were subject to another coating of snow on Saturday...), Justin home for the weekend, our first meal on the grill, a minor surgery for a broken toenail for Bella (oh, the things we do for our pets...), lots of time spent on an ongoing project and new panda earrings!! (check out the images on my Flickr page for more information :) I even got in some 'girl time' with some friends today and got a pedicure - hopefully it will be warm enough soon to start wearing sandals!

It was so nice to have Justin home for a few days... and the best thing is - I only have to wait 4 more days to see him again! On Thursday after school, I'll be taking a road trip to Indiana to see him this time! I'm excited for some new sights to spice up my 365 project this week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 94 = Volume One COVER ART!!

Big News!!
Today, the new issue of Volume One was released - with my 'Barn' photo featured on the cover! (Day 94 of my 365 Project for those of you keeping track)
CLICK HERE to see the Description/Artist Bio on the Volume One website (Or pick up a copy - they're free all over the Chippewa Valley!) 
Volume One is an amazing magazine that I've read since I moved to Menomonie 6 years ago (wow... 6 years...?!) that highlights all the art/music/theater/community activities in the area. (the kind of publication every good community should have - with all the 'what's happening' information in one place!) To see what it's all about, CLICK HERE to view some of the highlights and articles in the newest issue.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who were expecting a 'baby announcement' ... I should've been more clear that the 'big news' was creative/art related only!  (someday, someday... :) 

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend!
Justin is home for a few days, so I'll be enjoying every minute!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

365 Project: Week 13

Wow! What a week! It has finally begun feeling like spring!! The grass is starting to pop up, the ticks seem to be out in full force (Note to self: It's Frontline time for Bella!), we even had our first real thunderstorm! (Unfortunetely for my poor Altima, that thunderstorm came complete with golf-ball-sized hail...)

HUGE accomplishment for the week: I bisque AND glaze fired the bowl/basin that I made for my church's baptism ceremony this past Sunday. The bisque didn't go quite as well as expected... I tried to rush the process and *thought* the pieces I made were dry enough to survive the kiln. Of course, patience is a vital part of the ceramic process, so two of the three bowls completely exploded, leaving one lone survivor (thank God one was all I truly needed!) I glazed it up and it did it served its purpose well on Sunday morning! Although I was really stressed out meeting this super short deadline, I'm grateful for it. Without some sort of incentive to get out and make some ceramic pieces, I don't ever find the time! It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to know that I CAN actually do it (if someone lights a fire under me, of course :)

I also had three lovely visitors over the weekend! With the weather the way it was, we got plenty of hiking/geo-caching in, went to the park, played many rounds of 'Disney Scene-it', made recycled box books, colored Easter eggs... wow! No wonder it doesn't feel like I had a 'real' weekend! But was so much fun- I love having kids around to justify doing 'kid activities' like easter egg coloring and playing board games. (it's no fun at all doing those things alone!)

With Earth Day coming up, I hope you get inspired to make your own 'Recycled Art' as well (the kids LOVED the box books)! What a fun way to re-define 'junk'!
Check out Needle in a Haystack for a fun (& easy!) tutorial on how to create books out of recycled boxes. Thanks for the tip, Lisa! ALSO - if you can find it, check out THIS BOOK. It's full of instructions and ideas on how to make recycled books out of all sorts of crazy amazing things (like hot water bottles, window screens and old gift cards!) It is seriously one of the best purchases I've made in a long time. I'm getting inspired to make something just thinking about this book!  Enjoy!


Friday, April 8, 2011

365 Project: Week 17

Individual photo descriptions on my Flickr page!
This week was "Teacher Appreciation Week" and to celebrate, I spent most of my afternoons staying late grading projects. This was a bittersweet process because although I value my afternoons with Bella, I got to cross many things off my to-do list at school and I got to give all the kids' charming projects a closer look! (They're AMAZING this semester!) 

Besides that, Justin was home for the weekend (yay! We finally found a place to rent in Indiana!) and I'm preparing for a garage sale on Saturday, which is encouraging me to go through all my stuff and decide what I need to keep and more importantly - what I don't! Saturday from 8 - 4, stop by to sift through the treasures!!
Enjoy this GORGEOUS weather!

Monday, April 4, 2011

365 Project: Week 12

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My husband was my main inspiration this week, sending me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers to school - so many I had to split them up into 2 vases! It was a God-send, as I'm in dire need of more color in my life... which, thanks to the lovely flowers, I accomplished this week in my photo set! To learn about each photo (I know I often like to know the stories behind random photos I see...) click on the individual photos to the right of this page and it will take you to my Flickr photostream, where I've written detailed descriptions!

And... I've started another ceramic project for my church (A baptismal basin) that has to be done in less time than I have to do it - wish me luck! I'll post finished photos! 

 I've spent most of my time the last couple of days organizing and documenting many of our photos from MEXICO - check out Part 1 Here, Part 2 Here and Part 3 here or just scroll down!

MEXICO Series Part 3: Mayan Ruins Adventure

On our 2nd day in Mexico, we chose to venture off our resort to view the Mayan ruins that are very near where we were staying (only about an hour away). We graciously declined the tour bus group and Justin rented us a Jeep (he has a soft spot for jeeps:) to head off on our own adventure!
Our first stop was the city of Coba, which is one of the least 'commercialized' Mayan ruins site, as only parts of the city are excavated and accessible to visitors. We made the trek out to the farthest structure, The Nohoch Mul pyramid, and climbed our way all the way to the top for a breathtaking view of the entire (although overgrown) city.
(it was much scarier coming down than it was going up!) It's amazing to think of what amazing things the Mayan people were capable of, and how sturdy their structures were built to be able to withstand tourists trekking up them hundreds of years later! Click HERE for more information (and history) about Coba.
After leaving Coba, we stopped at the city of Tulum on our way back to the resort. If Coba was beautiful, Tulum was GORGEOUS! I could easily have set up a tent within the city and lived there forever. The views were straight out of a dream. The entire city was surrounded by stone walls on 3 sides and a cliff overlooking the ocean on the 4th. What an amazing city this must've been when it was inhabited. I can imagine how intimidating it would be for the Spanish to sail up to this spot and see this impressive stone city perched high above them on the cliff. Word has it that they turned around and found a new place to land after spotting Tulum. I can't blame them! Tulum's location left them well protected-very smart advantage! Click HERE to learn more about Tulum and its history.

The beach was blue water + white sand + warm breeze blowing through the palms = heavenly. This place was by far one of the most beautiful places I've ever had the pleasure to experience. 
I didn't want to leave! Ever!

P.S. These little guys (most of them not being 'little' at ALL!) roamed free all over the place! Super cool!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


On our honeymoon, a year and a half ago, we made the decision to invest in becoming scuba certified. We knew we wouldn't get a TON of chances to do it, but when we decided to take a trip to Mexico, having a PADI dive center at our resort was our #1 priority!

Our guide, Joram, was hilarious and took us to some really great sites that are part of the gorgeous reef that covers the entire Yukatan peninsula. On this trip, we experienced something we didn't get the chance to in Jamaica - swimming with SEA TURTLES! We went quite a bit deeper on our dives in Mexico and apparently that's where the turtles hang out! We saw them on 2 of our 3 dives and were amazed at how mellow and peaceful they were! They came right along side us, matched our speed, and were totally cool with swimming along with us, which made for some great photos! It was so exciting! (and made me think of Crush on "Finding Nemo" the entire time!)
We also had the pleasure of spotting some lion fish, manta rays, lobsters (with HUGE antennas!), parrot fish, crabs, angelfish, and many schools of very bright yellow and blue fish... I still haven't figured out what they're called..)

**Please forgive the graniness of the photos - we just had the cheap point-and-shoot kind of cameras. Someday, I'll get a housing for my Nikon ... then I'll get so caught up in snapping photos, I'll never want to surface!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

MEXICO Series Part 1: Our Resort

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Our experience at this resort couldn't have been any better. It was so relaxing! Our room was so beautiful and our patio led right out to the pool and the ocean beyond, and came complete with a fully stocked mini-fridge full of Coronitas (yes, little bottles of Corona!) Not to mention the 24 hour room service was available as part of our 'all inclusive' benefits... oh, heavenly!

We spent many hours lying in the sun reading and sipping drinks with pineapples and umbrellas that were brought to us. We took breaks to get more drinks from the swing-up bar :) The sun didn't even get too hot because of the delicious warm breeze that came in off the ocean. The beach was beautiful and the water was crystal-clear. We didn't spend much time swimming on our resort (we saved that for scuba diving - photos to come!) but the sound of the waves crashing while we were relaxing was an experience I wouldn't mind re-creating every day of my life... 

Our resort was all-inclusive, so we indulged ourselves in 3 FULL meals a day and all the mojitos and pina coladas we could enjoy in between :) Had we stayed much longer, I would've been forced to join the daily water aerobics class our resort offered! Not only did we eat lots of food, we ate it in super fancy five-star resturants right on our resort (the kind where they call you 'sir' and 'lady' and pull out your chair for you and place your napkin on your lap... Justin even got all his crumbs brushed away between each course:) My favorite resturant was the 'El Patio' resturant that served authentic Mexican food (I love guacamole now!). It was a HUGE grass hut with hanging lanterns and a great metal tree in the center of the room with blown glass hanging from it. I couldn't keep my eyes from looking up! Aside from El Patio, the 'Oceana' outdoor seafood resturant treated me with the best clam chowder I've ever had in my LIFE **sigh** and Justin even had SHRIMP for an appetizer! When in Rome! (or Mexico!)

Overall, the service and the friendliness of the staff at this resort can't be beat. I would stay here again and recommend it to everyone I know in a heartbeat.

Since I took so many photos on our trip, I've decided to post them in 3 different parts based on the top 3 experiences we had while we were enjoying Mexico. (My computer also seems to be on its last leg... so it took me WAY longer than it should have to format these photos. It looks like it may be computer shopping time!) I'll try to have them all uploaded by the end of the weekend! Stay tuned!

Part 1: Time spent enjoying our amazing resort. (above)
Part 2: Scuba Diving!
Part 3: Our day trip to view some awesome ancient Mayan ruins.