lizard love . . .

Here in Florida we have so many little lizards, especially when it's hot out . . .


This one perched on the fence today while I was doing some gardening. Many of them are not shy and this one did not mind being photographed at all! When I first saw him, he had something in his mouth - some lunch! I think it was a beetle of some sort . . . 


It seemed too big for his mouth but he worked on it and managed to eat it all! I believe this is a brown anole lizard. The lizards in my yard are plentiful now and come in all sizes (some are sooooo tiny!). They are different shades of brown (some light, some very dark) and they have various patterns. They make an interesting chirping noise too . . . 


I really have grown quite found of these backyard companions and love to watch them! Mostly they don't mind . . . although some scurry away. What creatures do you have in your yard or neighborhood? 


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A tour: our yard transformation

When we moved last November 2012, the yard was beautifully situated on the Braden River but very bare as far as plants. There was also a lot of grass, which makes a wonderful home for those pesky little no-see-ums (ouch!) and Steven did not want to mow it. He was already busy enough with his boats and handmade paddles.

So, we called in Ann Hall, my friend from Nia class and Florida friendly garden designer. We asked her to help us come up with a plan and to help us to get it all done. She has done a wonderful job and we are so enjoying our new space, settling in and feeling at home. I invite you to take a look at what we have done, working together with Ann, Grant Blackwell, Len Besterman and Billy Jenkins.


Many thanks to all of those involved for our wonderful end result! Direct link if you cannot see the video: http://animoto.com/play/mmnN0NoQvCbS7olhkEjRZg

p.s. you'll find more of my animoto videos right here on their own page.

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creativity bubbling: a video/art spaces


Last weekend Steven said, "I'm coming to get you at 4pm at take you out on the river in Chelsea." I was pleased; he was arranging a date! Chelsea is the boat that we bought from Lucas Boatworks about a year ago. It was hand built by Dave Lucas and Howard Heimbrock. Chelsea is an unusual boat because it is powered by a Briggs and Stratton riding lawn mower engine (!) and looks a bit like the "African Queen" with the canopy top. I took a short video and a bunch of photos while out in the boat with Steven and our 2 dogs, Asia & Chloe. I remembered about the video yesterday and enjoyed putting it together with a few photos and some music ~I'm learning! But I think it came out good -most importantly, Steven loves it! If you do not see it below, here's a direct link. Only 2 minutes long and a lovely boat ride. Won't you join me?


Asia & Chloe having a chat?
So that felt very good to be creative making that short video. Then today, I started moving things around in my office/studio space and on my lanai (porch) studio space. Cool! I was happy to be finally interested in trying to figure out how to arrange things related to my art so I can get back to that. I moved a green plastic set of drawers full of interesting fabric & goodies, out of the garage and under my work table on the lanai. Then I thought, why not move those two plastic towers filled with rubber stamps out to the lanai as well? They did not feel like they were working well space-wise in my office/studio, so why not? Here's what I've come up with so far . . .

It is comforting to me because the green drawers were in the same place in my old studio. The strange boat you see there is a barge that has been brought in to build our dock!

The drawers of rubber stamps will work so much better out here where my big work table is, probably where they will be used the most. They were behind the big box on the floor in the photo below. They were pushed right up against the wall in my very messy and unpacked studio. These drawers kind of blocked the flow of things and I am happy I got the idea to put them out on the lanai with my table instead. All of this makes me think about unpacking the "studio" boxes in the garage and finding a home for things in my new space!


Please excuse the mess! I have a smaller inside studio now, but with the addition of the work space out on the lanai, I think eventually I will have a very workable and quite pleasing arrangement. I will keep you posted as things progress.


I'll get there!! wow, here is an apropos quote:

Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing.
~ William Feather


wonderful card and mail art envelope!

My friend Joanna who lives in the UK, sent a wonderful card and mail art envelope to us celebrating our recent move to a new home on the river. Her card and envelope are just so lovely, I wanted to share them with you. My own art stuff is still in boxes . . . so I thought you would enjoy this gift we received from Jo. : )

Below, a photo of Joanna taken for an Art House Co-op project we were both in together called, The Meal. I love this photo of her and Rosie Mae! It helps me to imagine her "across the pond".


This was so beautiful to find in my mailbox . . . I was grinning!


I just love this envelope and the card!  xoxo


Wow. Then look at the back of the envelope, bellow! 
Joanna knows I love quotes and this one is just perfect for Steven 
and all the canoeing he is doing these days. ; ^ )


Thank you Joanna! Please go say hi to her on her blog, Fiddlesnips.


"Live with intention.  Walk to the edge.  Listen hard.  Practice wellness.  Play with abandon.  Laugh.  Choose with no regret.  Continue to learn.  Appreciate your friends.  Do what you love.  Live as if this is all there is."  -Mary Anne Hershey

our new neighborhood

We took our first walk around the neighborhood since we moved, today. Our new home is much more in the 'country' with miles of fences to keep animals like horses in.


This neighborhood has a Ranch-like feel, very much . . .

We enjoyed the nice sidewalk, safe off the road . . . me & my sweeties, Asia & Chloe.

What?? This is not a horse! 


This llama came right up to the edge of the fence to meet us. Chloe even growled as we quickly walked past! Chloe was definitely really not sure about this llama, who seemed sweet to me . . although I did not get too close either! 

Another photo of our llama friend is found on my blip journal, here.

Do you see Asia ^ here still staring at the llama? : ) Chloe seems to have gotten over the encounter by now . . . this was a good first walk, about 2 miles, with just one small blister on my heel from wearing sneakers instead of my usual crocs!

Thanks for coming along with us . . . . we are making our way and slowly getting resettled. I am concentrating on the kitchen first, my clothes next, and then my studio!!!!! OH! My actual studio space is too small for my big art table so now it is out on the lanai -a screened porch, very large. It overlooks the water and is so grand! More photos as things come together  : )


Happiness is good health and a bad memory.
  ~ Ingrid Bergman

still here . . .

Even though I am still packing boxes (not done yet) and helping steven hand-carry over a number of odd shaped things, I find myself still here taking some photos. Thus, the new blog header I put together using Photoshop, Picasa and Picnik (through Picasa). Kind of silly, but not really I guess! I still have that an urge to do SOMETHING creative and my studio is completely packed up!!!!!!! This is hard to believe but true. The contents of my desk are the only things in my studio, that have not been packed and will soon be. The printer and scanner are still here, but we will hand carry those over closer to Moving Day. Yesterday Steven moved the studio cabinets over . . .



we are very lucky to have this luxury of moving in a bit at a time.


Chloe investigating the back yard . . . .

This will be a lovely home for us. Thanks for visiting, I'll stop in as I can. One week till we move!
I hope you are safe tonight, thinking of my family & friends in the Northeast. Love, lenna



If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
 ~ Marc Chagall


creative play: it's good for you!

I hosted a prayer flag swap recently, see the results here. It turned out to be a really fun swap, more than I anticipated when organizing it. Many of the participants found they so enjoyed working on these easy to make small flags, creating them with prayers, wishes and good thoughts in mind. There was a huge variety of flags which you can see if you follow the link above. A lot of us said, "I think I am addicted to making  these!"  When Jan Smith added a link to her photos on her blog, she wrote: I'm still addicted to making them...so if anyone out there fancies swapping a shabby style prayer flag (1 to 1 swap) I would love to hear from you.....

So guess who wrote back to her? That's right, me! I figured I would need a break from that tedious job of packing, so I went ahead and agreed to a trade. I knew Jan loved "shabby chic", so I took some fabric I had found and plunged in. These flags are small, around 5" x 8" - so it didn't take long and was a treat for me after a morning of squishing things into boxes and going through oodles of packing tape. While packing up some of my fabric I found a really old piece of cotton print that I made something out of 20 or 25 years ago!!! I also purposely chose one of my grandmother's old linen pieces with cherries on it, very small in size -not sure what it was used for, some type of napkin? I also chose a lace doily & trim for a shabby look. If you click on this first photo, you can view them all in the lightbox . . . . I made 2 layers for this flag, one muslin and one the old cotton print and only sewed them together at the top so they could move freely.


I sewed the doily on only via 1 straight line in the middle so it would flop over.
There is my Nonie's 'cherry' linen piece layered under.


I added a quote printed on fabric (found while packing) for my thoughts 
or wishes . . . and some cotton lace across the bottom



I also cut the floral print so it would be fringed


On the back I sewed a business card


Here it is -Voila! 


I sent this to Jan today . . . it is traveling to the UK so it will take a week or two if we are lucky and she is sending one to me today as well, what fun! My received prayer flags are shown via the link - wow, so many of them! Everyone was so generous and I received many flags as gifts. They stayed up outside for about 2 weeks and are now packed in a box to be brought to our new home.

New home? Yes, our closing is tomorrow morning!!!!!!!! We will move in about 3 weeks to a home on a canal right off the Braden River, and we have decided to rent our current home. I have Nia White Belt Training starting on Saturday that runs long days for a full week. We (mostly Steven!) have some things to do in the new home like painting the kitchen (cabinets too) and all the windows being replaced with Hurricane ones . . . Steven and I have an anniversary (together 8 years) coming up October 25th we'll be celebrating in Casey Key with our boat Chelsea in tow. I still have lots of packing to do here. I really have only just begun! So, that is my story, what about you? I cannot promise to answer but I would so love to hear from you. 

Hope all is well with you & yours. 
xo lenna  

"packing up is hard to do" . . . .

"packing up is hard to do" . . . . just writing that made me think of this song.
Well, I have finally completed emptying my very large 4-drawer metal file cabinet and tossing a lot of stuff out. Then reorganizing all the folders and placing the contents into file boxes for our upcoming move, phew! We will close on a new home at the end of next week and are anticipating moving sometime in early November. I will keep you posted on when we move and I know you will understand if I am not posting here on the blog as much. I do have a personal trade or two that I hope to accomplish soon -- I still need to be creative, even if I am moving!

We now have an empty file cabinet . . .


The next thing for me is to pack up the art you see here -
On the walls and on top of the file cabinet! 



From that empty file cabinet, we now have these 3 boxes plus one more on the floor!
(and a couple of accordion fie folders)


Of course my husband teasingly suggested that I could have just moved the whole file cabinet without going through it!! Yes, he is right, but! I did toss out 2 huge garbage bags full of old unneeded papers and now I can actually go through the files easily and find whatever I'm looking for. Plus I don't want to keep this old metal file cabinet. I guess moving was the impetus I needed to do this tedious job over a number of days. I did take breaks! This afternoon I started working on the template for this blog - creative lenna (if you are reading a feed) and later my creative lenna photos blog. Doing this work is a different way of being creative for me, one that I obviously enjoy doing. If you know me at all, you know I enjoy tweaking these online sites and changing the photos I use for headers & the backgrounds. I am especially happy with the changes I made today that include recent photos I have taken myself. I switched to the "lightbox" method of showing photos, something I have held out on for a while, but I think I like it. Your comments are always welcome.

Another interesting thing about packing and sorting was that I came across a few old newspaper clippings, old emails, old poems (mine & my boys), school reports and drawings. I even found an old invitation we made for my oldest son Decklin's 9th birthday (he is now 31 years old!). These things now have their own special accordion file folder - click for details.



That was really fun and made it all worth it for me.
I hope you all are well and happy and making the most of what you've got! sending love, lenna

The most valuable of the arts is the art of living.
 ~ Cicero


creativity re-channeled

With a house move on the horizon and all that is entailed with that, I find my creative outlet of choice is now taking photos... see my blipfoto journal for a beautiful clear and yet colourful photo of the Gulf of Mexico flowing over crystal white sand here in florida. I may be able to squeeze in a little 'hands on' art in the next month or so before we move, I would like to for my own sake, but I am trying not to fret about it if I don't.

The new house we found is moving along nicely as far as the contract, so it looks like we should close by the middle of October. There is some painting in the kitchen to be done before we more in, plus I have my Nia White Belt Training October 13-19, so we don't think we will move until early November. I guess it depends on how the packing goes! So far, I have only just begun. It wil be worth it! Our new home is located on a short canal right off the Braden River.


A large screened "lanai" as they call it here, overlooks the water.
French doors go to the master bedroom.

Asia came by boat with Steven for the showing . . . see her running on the lawn!

Only a four and a half minute paddle to Lucas Boatworks where Steven is every day, amazing! I'm looking forward to paddling there myself and visiting with Dave's wife Helen, who is a quilter.


This space below is in the front of the house; a more formal "living room" and separate dining room. The dining table you see there was left behind and we wiill not use it . . . I have a lovely dining room table given to me by my parents. I will put this long table in the front "living room area" along with some of the furniture from my studio that would look alright there. Then I will use the smaller "dining room" area for my messy studio work table, messy storage things etc. In fact, the large table in the front room could double as a teaching spot or an extra work area, when covered! It is amazing I'll get to spill my studio over into 2 rooms....


This is the view from the kitchen (we will paint the cabinets white) into the family room, complete with a wood burning fireplace which we will use in December & January!! The "dining room" space is in front of the kitchen, facing the street and the "living room" space is in front of the family room. The large screened lanai is behind the family room. There are 3 bedrooms as well, so plenty of room for guests.

This is just a little update for you . . . everything happened very quickly, so you may have missed my mention of this move in my last post. We are happy and excited and flabergasted we could find a home like this, on the water. Our current home? We may rent it out or possibly try to sell it. We have not discussed everything with our realtor yet as closing on the house comes first.

October 1st is coming up soon. This is the 1st anniversary of my father's passing and also the 1st wedding anniversary of my son Dallas and his wife Liz. My family experienced both death and a life commitment - all on the same day. I could not be at their wedding understandably, but I am so happy to have made a celebratory animoto photo-video for Dallas and Liz for their first wedding anniversary. If you cannot see the video below, follow this link. And wonderful news, my older son Decklin & his partner Tina will be getting married next year on October 5th, 2013!



sending love


prayer flag swap complete and hanging up!

Wow, this was quite a swap! It was more popular than I expected, with 40 participants registering and 36 completing the swap. Congratulations to the participants!

The flags were sent to me to be exchanged/ swapped and then returned home. View all of the flags that were created for this swap on my creative swaps blog. A visit to the blog is recommended for inspiration factor alone! Beautiful artist prayer flags arrived in my mailbox from Scotland, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Canada and many of the states across the USA -so much fun!

As part of this exchange I wanted to share photos of my swapped flags hanging up and then invite the participants to do the same. I'm adding a "link list" to the creative swaps blog so everyone can add a link themselves to a specific blog post or photo that shares the flags they received, hanging up. I'll add this to the "link list" on creative swaps as soon as I finishing sharing my photos with you!

As the swap hostess I was unexpectedly gifted with many gorgeous prayer flags, 23 of them to be exact! I also participated in this swap. I made 3 to swap but I also made 3 extras to hang with my received swaps, for a total of 26 flags hanging! Details of the flags I created are shown in my September 17th post if you'd like to see.

I started by dividing my prayer flags in three fairly equal piles, trying to coordinate them. The Super-Tech spool on the counter is the fishing line I decided to use to hang them. Click for details!


I strung each pile on fishing line with a big plastic yarn needle and then laid them out on the floor to see what they looked like. I ended up with 3 groups of flags strung together. I'm thinking I may choose a rope, ribbon or something different next time to string them on, as the flags slide a bit on the fishing line.


My original plan was to hang them over our patio tied to the tiny little lights we have hanging there, but my husband and I unexpectedly put an offer on a home last week (click to view) and it was accepted!!! Amazing. It is perfect for us. The home is on a canal, only a 5 minute paddle from Lucas Boatworks where Steven goes every day. Since we will be moving soon, I went for this easier to reach location, but they still look beautiful! I have already been thinking of where to put them in our new home : )



I love how they catch the breeze and spread their prayers and wishes . . . 











Thank you to all my creative and generous participants! 
Visit creative swaps to see and read more about these wonderful artists.


There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.
 - Author Unknown


time out


time out to relax!
Steven and I just had a patio laid down in our backyard. : ))

This photo was taken tonight . . . our friends Garth and Nora were supposed to be visiting from New York, but their trip had to be postponed. So we had this fire in their honor, as Garth really loves campfires and Garth is how Steven and I met in the first place, back in 1972!!! We have been friends a  l-o-n-g  time. Steven & I know we will see our friends another time soon . . . . Garth and Nora promised to come at another time this winter!

Our new patio is just the coolest thing (we love it!) and I'm sure it will help us to enjoy our backyard even more than we already do. Steven & I are very lucky to have 3 huge live oak trees that are so outstanding, especially for Florida. I fell in love with the backyard the first time I saw it. The new patio was built in only 2 days, Wednesday & Friday. To see all the photos of the build, here's a link to a slideshow in my new home set on flickr. I hope you enjoy. 

Asia & Chloe checking it out!

love this pattern!!

we are quite pleased!

family, cake & roses

My dad was the first one inside. Everyone came over to see our new home!
My sister Kathy is visiting from Connecticut and yesterday was her birthday! Before we went out to dinner to celebrate, the entire family came over to our new little house in NW Bradenton. Kathy & Ian had never seen it and mom had only seen it with no furniture, before we moved in.

My nephew Ian, me, my dad, my sister Kathy, and my mom with Chloe.

It's really been fun to have my immediate family all together this weekend!
Look at my proud papa with his 2 daughters : )

This is a little blurry, but it's still so much fun to have Steven in the photo with us!


After the birthday dinner we went to Mom & dad's for Kathy's birthday cake. Don't you love my dad's bandanna? This round of chemo made him loose a bunch of hair so he's been sporting this bandanna. I think he looks really cool!
**Happy Birthday Kathy!!** I picked out this cake for her myself and told Kathy could have the entire Rose! (we used to fight over this when we were little). Kathy was amazing and shared it with everyone, gave me part of the rose and a leaf!!!!  ; ^  )

Kathy and Ian are here until Monday and I look forward to spending more time with them this weekend, together with my mom, dad & steven. xoxo

we are here in our new home

tired, but very happy . . . phew!

moving day!
Very importantly, Steven moved all of the boats. I believe there are 8 of them, but not sure. They seem to multiply.
The living room got set up this afternoon. It is small but nice & cozy. 
Another view of the living room. 
Kitchen to my studio . . . 
There is a lovely kitchen . . . 
An even lovelier studio (i think!!)
Our first dinner here.

 xoxox 
 a happy and tired lenna

almost there

our new house is almost ready for us . . .
 
The overhead lights in the studio are newly installed - perfect.
 My new studio space looks awesome! Thanks again to Steven and my dad.

Chloe and Asia like it too . . . they have had dinner there a few times!
The orange walls are being transformed, thank you Steven! It is much lighter and brighter.
"why are they doing all this cleaning & painting?? mmmm, resting is so much better."
The first piece of mail/package I received, from my dear friend, Frieda!!
A 'Home Sweet Home' doorstop : )) so sweet of her, sent all the way from Scotland!
Yes, our new mailbox is THAT big!! creative swaps, you know . . . . 
Ahh, I think it feels like a wonderful home all ready! I am down to the nitty gritty of last minute packing up and there's not much left to do in that respect either. Steven has more painting to do, but he is doing a fantastic job, is almost done, and we have 2 days left before the move. Now, unpacking! That is another story . . .  Till next time! lenna