Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Profoundly simple words for the Holidays

You've probably received something like this via e-mail but I thought it was profound enough to bear repeating. During this Holiday season don't forget about the most important one on your list...YOU.

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those people on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said , 'How about going to lunch in a half hour?' She would gas up and stammer, 'I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain' And my personal favorite: 'It's Monday.' She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because people cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches.. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm going to,' 'I plan on,' and 'Someday, when things are settled down a bit.'

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something YOU WANT to do...not something on your SHOULD DO list.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


At the end of August this year my trusty but old computer crashed. It took with it every photo I'd ever taken digitally plus every word I'd written since 1995. It basically took away my life because I use my camera and Adobe Photoshop to make my art. My son, who is now a certifiable genius, loaned me his notebook and took on the arduous and sometimes seemingly impossible task of resurrecting my old computer from the dead.

Things went along well for 3 months while he sporadically probed the depths of my computer. I continued to take photos and use photoshop daily. I started listing my photos on Etsy...a long time dream of mine. So imagine my surprise when two weeks ago I went to one of my picture sites to retrieve some photos and when clicking on what looked like my gallery link initiated a tsunami of malware and trojans onto his notebook.

It seems that the innocent looking Adobe Acrobat Reader that popped up and then closed on my screen was hiding some nasty stuff that followed my keystrokes and wouldn't let me out of its stranglehold unless I BOUGHT the software needed to erase the viruses it had downloaded to me. Cyber blackmail at its best. Needless to say that notebook crashed and along with it three months of photos, notes, emails, etc. I was back to where I'd started...unable to connect in cyberspace with anyone.

Long story short. This latest cyber attack on my computer put my son into hyperdrive and he worked one solid week to restore my old computer and protect it from every and all nasty and malicious software that tried to worm its way in. He succeeded so well that I have my restored computer working better, faster and safer than ever before. And I can once again blog, post and list to my heart's content.

The moral of this story is simple. TRUST NO ONE. Even if a friend sends you a letter and there is a link, jpg or doc file in it don't click on it unless you computer tells you it's been checked for incoming viruses. As far as clicking links on websites...that's a crap shoot, I guess. I thought that this picture site was safe but they had obviously been hacked by professionals. This has happened on Twitter and even Facebook so the best advice is to be sure your security software is up to date.

BTW...the link you will be taken to if you click the title of this post is BusinessWeek. There you can read the full story about Adobe and their Hacker battle.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my tweets and facebook friends!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sugar Cookies - 140 year old English recipe

I wanted to share a favorite family recipe. I've been making these for almost 35 years. Before you say ewww, icky...bacon grease...I want to tell you that I've tried making this several different ways without the grease and the flavor is NOT the same. Of course if you hate bacon, leave it out! These are amazingly delicious sugar cookies and since they're now discovering that not all saturated fats are harmful I'm willing to give into my yearly craving at the holidays.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. shortening combine: 1/2 c. bacon grease & 1/2 c. Crisco
2 eggs
1 scant tsp. baking soda, mixed with milk
3 T. milk
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt

Cream together the sugar and the shortening. Gradually add the well beaten eggs, vanilla and milk. Beat in remaining ingredients and add flour until cookies are of a consistency for rolling. Roll out, cut with round cutter and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 14 minutes.

This recipe from the Angola Episcopal Women's Cookbook, 1970; Mary Hankins, Albion, Indiana

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I THINK in Photographs

Ever since my computer crashed in late August I have been neglectful of blogging. Call it apathy or laziness but it didn't seem important that I express my feelings on a daily basis because what I was mostly feeling was anger and discontent. In the those early days of computing I could turn on the computer, maybe, and nowadays I find myself spending most of my time online or just on the computer working at post-processing my photography.

But not having my 'real' computer has done something to me. The first thing is it has given me a sense of discontent. I'm using my son's laptop and the keyboard is all wrong. I can't get my fingers on the right keys and if I don't keep typing I find that my hands fall on the wrong keys and everything is scrambled. Very disconcerting. I mentioned to him recently about building me a new computer and he said he'd totally forgotten about his promise because I seemed to be getting along just find with his laptop. I think NOT.

Yes, I can still do my post-processing in Adobe PS but I have to hit an error key 53 times before it will actually open the program. Then there's the problem of my printer, scanner, tablet and mouse. There are just not enough USB ports to hold everything and I'm constantly plugging and unplugging things all day long.

So what am I really trying to say? In life, it's the little things that bug you and just really, really get under your skin. But I did do something that I've been putting off ever since that fateful day in August. I've finally put my photography out for all the world to see. In some ways it looks a lot like most of the photography out there. Kinda grainy, textured and antiqued...but I'm working on developing my own unique style. I find that every day the camera finds its way into my hands to record the moments in life that pass by without much notice. The way the new kittens snuggle down next to my husband, the 'cat whisperer'; the late afternoon light as it filters down thru the autumn trees; the full moon that shines so brightly even I can find my way around without the porch light.

Today I read something on a website that fully explained why blogging is so difficult for me. It said: I can't write stories only moments because I think in photographs. So to all my followers please note that sometime soon I may only be photogging, not blogging.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

LOVE is a Nikon camera

Have you ever had a day where everything seems to go wrong and then...just at the last minute...you discover MAGIC! That's what happened to me today. I've blogged before about my computer crash in late August when I lost all of my photo files. It seemed like a total disaster at the time and still makes me cry when I think about it for too long. Today I was supposed to get word if the image file drive could be saved. Alas when they tried to access it, it came up corrupted...again!!
So today I spent some time on flickr looking for inspiration and new ideas. I've been playing around with Photoshop and textures/overlays and on flickr I came across a young mother and photographer who works magic with her Nikon D700 and sells the most incredible textures to use with your photos. Shana Rae has a lovely website called Florabellacollection.com (click on the title of this blog and it will zip you over there).
Just spending time looking at her beautiful work has left me feeling hopeful that maybe I NEEDED to lose the old so there is room for the NEW. I'll always miss all of those thousands of photos I lost BUT I do believe there are some amazing photos waiting in my future!

Blog Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Jamie Lyerly who won those beautiful fabric scraps I blogged about last week. Jamie shared with me that her friend Starry who also left a comment will be receiving some of the scraps to play with as well! Have fun girls.
I'm a bit late in posting as I had to undergo some minor surgery to remove my chemo port on Wednesday. I'm doing well and the pain is minimal. The best part is that it's out and remission continues!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Vintage Kodak Slides

I've spent a fruitless evening surfing through eBay looking for vintage slides to use in making my SX70 and TtV images. I lost all of my photographic images (10,000+ images) when my computer crashed in late August so I've decided to scan and use my father's old slides to alter in Photoshop. Sounds like a great idea but I've come to realize that I'll need a lot more than Daddy's photography if I plan to keep on working. I always thought he had a camera at his eye but I've not been able to find more than 75-100 slides. *sigh* I love my great ideas but hate it when I can't find a way to carry them out!

So here's an appeal to all my readers. If you have vintage slides you'd like to sell.. I'm interested. If you'd rather do a 'loner' thing I'd be happy to trade with some of my work. Just leave a comment and I'll track you down. Thanks for any vintage images you can dredge up for me. I'm devastated to lose so much of my work. A hard lesson learned, always back up your computer even if you think you've got top of the line virus protection!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Who says that dreams never come true? Not my daughter, not anymore. I told her back in July to go on eHarmony for the 4th of July weekend. She tried it, liked it and I told her to join and I'd pay $60 for one month. I told her if she didn't meet the right guy in 30 days that was that. She went on a few dates with guys that were ok and had possibility but on the very last day of her membership they matched her with someone who was close to being perfect! That was five weeks ago and they have been together every day since.

I asked her if she didn't miss the 'thrill and excitement' of going out on dates to fancy restaurants and the movies. She said "been there, done that and this is better". This takes me back 40 years when I met my husband on a blind date and we've been together almost every day since ourselves. I guess the children really do learn by example.

Here's the happy couple earlier this evening when he gave her that lovely necklace for her 30th birthday. Thank you eHarmony!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blog Giveaway

Be sure to see the previous post for my latest blog giveaway. If you like to sew or create pretty little things you'll want to win this fabric stash!


We all have them. Those unfinished objects that sit in a closet, on a shelf, in a box...somewhere we don't have to look at them and feel the pain of not finishing what we started. I've got hundreds of them around here. After 40 years as a photographer/artist/crafter/seamstress I've got so many UFOs it could drive a sane woman crazy. Since I think that would be a rather short ride for me I've decided to start clearing out those UFOs and passing them along to someone who can make something spectacular OR just keep them in her own UFO pile :)

How this all came about is quite simple. I was looking for some vintage slides the other day and came across a bag in my linen closet. Since I rarely explore that area of the house other than to refill the towel shelf I just had to see what was hidden away in that tempting white bag all tied up in a bow. Now I wish I hadn't because I came across some of the prettiest materials that I'd been stashing away for that special day when I would need them. I've long realized that those 'special' days rarely arrive and if they do it usually comes with a preset agenda that doesn't include hidden treasures I've so long been collecting.

So I'm having a giveaway for these jewels. To win all you have to do is leave a brief comment with a very short description of what YOU would do with these gorgeous scraps. Be aware of the fact that these are just what I said...scraps. None of the pieces are over a half yard wide and most of them are smaller than that, perhaps 10" x 18" and up. No fat quarters, sorry. I salvaged these from brocade jackets, silk shirts and dresses and a couple of acetate skirts. But the grape, teal and gold mix is much prettier than my cheap little digital camera displays.

Hope you have something special you can use these for because they're ironed, folded, bagged and ready to be delivered to the lucky winner. BTW...ironing was never my strong suit...consider that my daughter used to call it Irun and you'll get an idea of just how domestic I really am. Drawing will be Tuesday, September 22nd at noon EDT. Good luck and God Bless.

Friday, August 14, 2009

BREAST CANCER...no longer taboo.....

I have been fortunate to meet a fellow breast cancer survivor. I long to give her a hug and tell her we're survivors because we BELIEVED we would be. She, however, lives on the other side of the ocean in a little village in Northern England! But her spirit, her zest for life is evident every time we talk via FB's chat function. I'd like to introduce this soul sister to you so when you have a moment be sure to check her blog for some of her inspiring words Itch2stitch
Last evening we were discussing how Breast Cancer and being a 'victim' of it was once taboo as subject matter in 'polite' society. Keeping things 'hush-hush' has probably killed more women in the past than anything else. Being open about your battle with cancer is essential to letting women know it does not mean a death sentence and keeping quiet because of fear is no longer an option. I've seen too many women in my life who refused to go to the doctor after they found 'the lump' because they were afraid it might be cancer. In some cases it was but in the majority it turned out to be nothing more than a fluid filled cyst. In one tragic case it was advanced cancer and had she just gone when she told us about it she would not have suffered the trauma she did.
As for myself...I'm to blame for not taking charge of my own health. When the doctor told me in January of '04..."Oh, those are just your cystic breasts" I should have suspected something. I've NEVER had cystic breasts. But since the soft squish lumps didn't hurt I waited 6 months before returning for another look. At that point he took it seriously and got me in to the local Breast Center for an immediate mammogram and biopsy. The diagnosis...ADVANCED cancer of the ducts that was doubling every 100 days. I could have used all of those months to be seeking care but his off handed manner and my trust kept me from seeking a second opinion. If I had gone in January of that year I would still have a right breast but as it is, I still have my life and that, my friends, is more important than any ounce of flesh I may own.
So what's my point here? Take charge of your health and your breasts. Do monthly exams while taking your shower. Notice any and all changes in your breasts. If you suspect even the tiniest little thing has changed go immediately to your gynecologists office and if he says: "Let's keep an eye on that", tell him to remove it, put it in a bottle on his desk and keep an eye on it that way. If you're 40 and have never had a mammogram, get one. If anyone in your family has ever had breast cancer you should be seeking special attention from your doctor and possibly have a scheduled mammogram prior to age 40. The new mammograms that are available are not like slamming your breast in a car door. They're much more comfortable and the fear of pain should NEVER be a good reason not to go for one. We've all been too dependent on the men in our lives our male doctors included. So this is a call to take charge of your life and your health. Stand up for yourself, take responsibility and ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT NO MATTER WHAT...YOU WILL SURVIVE!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The evolution of an Artist

I can't believe I'm actually blogging again. July 1st the darn computer black screened and refused to be awakened from the dead. Two weeks later I'm back with only minor loss of information. I knew I did a good thing when I sent my son off to college to learn all about electronic film, animation and COMPUTERS. He was able to save my 'soul' (my hard drive) but everything else was fried.

The Lord does work in amazing ways, however. Just that week I had been wondering if I'd made the right decision to go back to photography and hang up my brushes. Two weeks later I can honestly say I never picked up a brush to paint and didn't miss it for a moment but I longed for my Adobe Photoshop and the thousands of photos that were locked in my hard drive. Now I'm POSITIVE that I'm heading in the right direction at last. I thought it might be interesting to share some of the work I've done along the way and so my next posting will be glimpses of the 'art' I've produced during the last 30 years.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

This is the first piece that I've done to imitate Polaroid's Time Zero SX-70 art photos. Since Polaroid discontinued making the film a number of years ago I've been deprived of the process that I'd fallen in love with back in the early 90's. When there's something I'm hankering for, come 'hell or high water' I'm determined to have it. That's when I decided that if I couldn't have the real thing I had to come up with steps that could turn an ordinary photo into a fine art piece. I'm dubbing my process PseudoSX-70 art. Not surprisingly it takes longer to reproduce this effect on a computer than it ever did when I was manipulating the SX-70 prints straight from the camera. But as with all things I do, this sense of 'controlled chaos' is quite fulfilling!

This is a photo I'd forgotten about but when I stumbled across it yesterday I knew it was the "ONE". I took "EMTs" with a 'toy' camera from the sky bridge that leads from the hospital to the parking garage. The scene caught my attention because of what I perceived to be a perfect moment caught in time. Two EMTs returning to their rig after another ordinary run.

Each photo tells a story but there are stories and then there are stories! I remember this day so well that it can still make me shiver. It was one of those unexpected late autumn snowfalls that turns into a blizzard by nightfall and we were 100 miles from home. We had just finished one of my son's sporadic but crucial visits to a specialist buried deep in the labyrinth of the U of Penn Hospital.

After leaving the hospital we drove north through Philly and then on to a place called Peddlers Village in Lahaska, PA. For all of the 30 odd years that we've been taking our son to specialists in Philly we've always made the same run and we thought that this day would be no different.

It was a Thursday and in the main restaurant of the village it was a reservation only "King's Feast" that started at 4 pm. We reached the village around 3 and spent the time until our 4:30 reservation window shopping. By 3:30 I realized we were in trouble. The wind had picked up and was blowing the snow into drifts around the village square. My husband was undaunted even when I pleaded that we leave for home right then and there. A big bear of a man at 6'7" and 350 lbs. he wasn't about to be cheated out of the unlimited seafood and roasts that were awaiting him inside. My son takes after his Dad so it was a 2 hungry men against one nervous woman. They did, however, agree to go to early and see if we could bump up the reservation time. It was warm in the big waiting room and a fire crackled in the hearth. Besides ourselves there was one other couple for the 4 pm seating.

We sat near a window eating lobster after lobster while I kept a watchful eye on the ever worsening storm. Other than the three of us there were perhaps a dozen other brave folks who came in to feast. And those I can guarantee were locals because anyone who had to come from a distance would have been crazy to brave a storm like that. But the food was amazing and plentiful and by the time we had all eaten our fill and were ready to leave, night had fallen and the snow kept right on coming.

We haven't had a new car since the early 90's and that day we were driving an old green Suburban. I buckled up and started praying we'd be able to make the 90 minute drive without mishap. Past the darkened Delaware on Rt. 29 it was a bit tricky with all of the turns but we literally plowed on...with a guardian angel in there with us I know. It took us 90 minutes to reach the entrance to NJ 195 and that's when our angel took over. As we entered onto the highway we pulled right behind a trio of snow plows clearing the road ahead. My husband's knuckles were white by this time but he stayed behind the center truck and 75 minutes later we were home safely and joyously aware of having had a harrowing but unforgettable journey.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Why is it that I can get up in front of a thousand people and give an off the cuff speech or even a eulogy but put me on the phone with someone who is looking for/offering a job and my knees turn to vanilla pudding wobbly? When I decided to accept my son's offer of a Job with his company:

I was told it was going to be as a creative/marketing consultant finding new ways to promote BrokersBullpen.com. Well that sounded just ducky because I worked 12 years as a promotional copywriter for a large local newspaper. Then when he heard me on the phone negotiating my way out of a cancellation notice with either the car insurance company or the electric company he decided that I'd make the PERFECT new phone contact person for stockbrokers looking for a new position and broker/dealers looking for new reps.

Well you know how it goes. Sounded easy when he gave me my new job description because I've never been afraid of public speaking. But put a freakin' phone up to my ear and I go all sweaty. My hands are even shaking! Now THIS is just NOT me...I thought I was invincible...after all I kicked breast cancer's ass so good that the doctor who told me I only had a slim chance of recovery still goes red in the face when she sees me in the hospital for new scans. I obviously didn't stay with her...I don't like anyone telling me I can't do something :) And btw...the new scans I had last week came back clean and I'm now FOUR years and counting out from breast cancer...Yay me!!!

But I digress. What is it about a telephone and an unseen person that gives me the willies? I never have a problem with phone negotiations over cut off notices but this cold call deal is a killer. Especially the one guy who was gruff...he reminded me of my Dad and I felt like I wanted to throw up my oatmeal, excuse the visual image I just gave y'all. I'll keep at it, of course. My son is the reason I still have a roof over my head so I owe him big time. I just wonder at my timidness ... it just doesn't feel like ME!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Falling on Hard Times

Cleaning out my documents file I came across a .doc I'd written just over three years ago. Interesting perspective I had then and little has changed over the last 1,104 days but my faith. I am a stronger believer in a higher power than I was when the downward spiral began eight years ago. My level of empathy has also continued to spiral upward. No longer do I look at a poorly dressed woman dragging tired and worn clothing out of a dryer and think "Why doesn't she buy something new"? When I see an overweight woman my first thought isn't "How could she let herself go like that". The first thought when I see a bald woman is no longer one of repulsion but compassion.

So even though my circumstances haven't changed much, my viewpoint has and for that I am profoundly grateful. I have survived cancer, poverty and depression and still I am not defeated nor wallowing in self pity. I no longer measure time by man's clock but by that of a much higher power whom I am certain has amazing things in store for me.

June 12, 2006

I’ve often thought that if elected officials were forced to live as I have over the last five years, the middle class would be growing instead of disappearing. Healthcare for the masses would be a reality, not an impossible dream and those that sit in the seat of power would be doing more than warming their seat.

Since reality shows seem to be all the rage today, imagine a series where a Congressman, Senator or President was stripped of their cash and told they had to find a way to pay the mortgage, health insurance and utilities without the benefit of a regular paycheck. They would be forced to rely on wits not welfare. There would be no paycheck coming in at the end of the month but a guarantee of a mailbox full of final notices. Personally, I think it would be a phenomenal hit that would grip the country and keep them tuned in week after week. Should a producer decide to develop a reality series like that I’d be more than glad to be their technical advisor!

As incredibly stressful as the last five years of pinching pennies has been, it has given me a perspective that I would never have gained from the backseat of my limo. Having actually said to a driver ”Home James” (yes, his name was actually Jim) to be car-less is unimaginable to some but survivable by most. I went from riches to rags in a less time than it takes to grow a beefsteak tomato. How this happened isn’t as important as how I survived and eventually thrived. And wondering how the next mortgage and health insurance is going to get paid has left me with a strange sense of comfort. I’ve come to trust in a force much greater than myself and have handed over the illusion of actually being in control of my life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Those who follow this blog know that after years of retirement I recently took a job with the Marketing Department of BrokersBullpen, LLC. In this capacity it is my job to find additional resources to present the services offered by the firm. Word of mouth is a far superior source, especially from a friend. As a friend I'm asking you to help expand its fan base! Become a fan!

This is my idea...using social media to spread the word about the services they offer. It occurred to me that maybe all these years of blogging, FBing, tweeting, etc. could come to some good for my new position. So I'm using these resources to get people to refer licensed brokers to them and be paid a referral fee at the time of their hiring. Sounds like a good idea to me and they gave me the next few months to test my idea. So if you know of a stockbroker who would like higher payouts and a better position working for themselves, then please have them visit the BBP website.

And be sure to connect through the fan base by letting us know you've referred someone.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Economic Downturn

Economic Downturn puts the kybosh on my sabbatical!!

BrokersBullpen.com is my new area of creativity. I always said I wouldn't go to work for my son, CEO of BBP, but I've learned a few things over the last month. One of which is that my creativity is NOT limited to what comes off the tip of my brush.

I started out last month by declaring that I was going on a four month sabbatical. That I was going to spend the time 'finding' my artistic spirit. What I DID NOT count on was the effects of the Economic Downturn the country is in AND the effect it would have on my family's budget without my paltry contributions from my art sales. So in a word, the Economic Downturn has been BAD for my sabbatical but GOOD for my peace of mind. Taking off the month of May I discovered a number of things about myself.
1. I'm NOT happy painting pretty little pictures or collaging encouraging words on a piece of art.
2. I am happiest when I'm behind the lens of a camera.
3. Selling off my old gold jewelry didn't hurt a bit especially with spot gold at an all time high.
4. I can settle almost any bill with any company by being reasonable, calm and convincing.
5. That going back to 'work' is an inevitability BUT
6. Working for my son is allowing me to use some atrophied creative muscles. Those of the long retired copywriter and PR person.

My first bit of business will be finding men and women to refer friends, family or brokers to BBP who will in turn pay said person a 10% - 40% referral fee if the broker is hired through us. Sounds easy but I've found that the word stockbroker brings up a lot of hateful words and descriptions when googled! So my job isn't going to be easy. But I'm determined to help my son's company soar! The potential is great because a. we're helping people find jobs and b. we're helping families overcome their own Economic Downturn.

If you know anyone who is a broker, a broker/dealer or a WAHM who'd like to work for us by providing referrals, just comment on this post. One hand helps the other and in this economy we all need a helping hand!
Carolyn, a Jersey Girl

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


If you need a bit of sunshine in your home or to add to your jewelry collection, go to these sales at my two Etsy shops:

BarefootBrideDesigns is offering 20% off each piece of jewelry.

WildGypsyArt has a buy two get one FREE offer now through Sunday 6/14.

Thank God for a sense of humor. What's that old saying..."Man plans, God Laughs"...well I'm sure He's been yucking it up for years with my plans for success. And the latest...my SABBATICAL was really the best laugh yet. It's over before it started. But that's because I really didn't plan on the fact that the bit of money I made on eBay and Etsy was what put food on the table for the family. I simply assumed that DH's commission checks would keep right on coming and my little bit of cash wouldn't make a BIG difference. Boy, was I wrong!!!

But in keeping with my deep faith and abiding trust in God (even when He's enjoying a laugh at my expense) I can see how much of a difference taking off those few weeks has made in my life. I realize that I really don't enjoy painting or making jewelry. Something I've been doing for years and years. Just by putting away the paints, pencils and paper I got to take a deep breath and look around me. I spent time finishing my bathroom project as mentioned in previous posts and found some old photographs that I'd taken during my days in the college photo labs. It made me realize that the last time I'd really been happy was when my eye was pressed against a camera and the world was reduced down to a manageable size through my view finder.

Now that doesn't mean that I plan to go hying off and starting a photographic career but it does mean that I at least have come to realize where my true love lies. My Dad was a photographer during WWII so I guess I come by it naturally. But for right now I'm selling off my stock in my Etsy shops, my collectibles on eBay and my gold jewelry to a local Jewelry store that specializes in Cash for Gold. I'm trusting that whatever the future holds for me it will be the right thing at just the right time.

Pop over to those sales of mine that are going on through Sunday. Maybe you NEED a Sadowski original...after all they're going to be as scarce as hen's teeth if I pick up that camera again!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Perfection is Paralyzing

When I started this sabbatical I thought it was to learn more about my creative spirit. To get in touch with who I am and why I paint the way I do and the subject matter I choose. In Kelly Rae Robert's book she speaks of listening to your whispers (see May 24th post) and I thought that listening closely would be the way to discover who I am as an artist. Interestingly enough she also mentions that the first whispers she heard were for her to start training for a marathon. God forbid that my inner spirit wanted to run anywhere because this 60 year old body hasn't moved past a stroll in 30 years :)

Last week I showed a picture of the first painting I thought I heard my inner spirit wanting to create. It wasn't exactly my style but I figured maybe the lines of communication between my subconscious and conscious mind hadn't yet developed to a point where it was easy for me to interpret those whispers. So I started trying to perfect the whispers I thought I was hearing and this piece is the result. To me it's a disaster. It's too perfect, too pretty, too NOT ME. So I thought I'd just heave it in the garbage and start over when a whispery little voice said "Wait!"
...there might be someone out there in blogland who could turn it into a piece that would please them. So this piece 9" x 12" in size and as yet unnamed could end up on your drawing table. To win, just leave a comment. Perhaps one that will encourage me to keep listening to my inner creative spirit...and on Sunday, June 13th, I'll pick a winner and this piece arrive in your mailbox for you to love as is or to turn into something special that will please you.

After that disastrous turn of events on Monday I said forget it..."I'm packing it in" and I did just that. I boxed up all the paints, brushes, textures and papers that I'd pulled out in preparation for my BIG sabbatical and stored them away. And that's when I went into what I call a 'baby blue funk". For 36 hours I sat around having myself one honker of a pity party. That's when I heard it. The whisper I'd been waiting for. It said to do something that I didn't think I had the talent for or the energy to accomplish. Didn't take more than 45 minutes to figure out what that was.

It was 22 years ago this month that my family and I moved into this house. The house wasn't my first choice but it was within the budget and I agreed to go along with the purchase if DH would do just one thing. Paint the master bedroom and bath something other than the hideous Navy Blue wallpapered walls that it was then and still is sporting.

Well, of course, you know the ending to that story already. For 22 years I've begged, screamed, ragged on and pestered my husband to get out the brushes and paint and make it WHITE! I figured that plain white would be better than living in a navy blue cave. Well of courses it never happened and never will, by his hand at least. So after making a list of possible items I might need I went in search of said items in my storage areas.

Sure enough...I had a 2 1/2" brush that I'd bought to do some paste paper with and a quart of white paint that was supposed to be put on window trim somewhere in here. And I also found an over the toilet storage unit that DH somehow never got around to putting together along with a fixture I'd pulled from the curb one garbage day and an old medicine cabinet I thought might work. Here's the cabinet and light that will be replaced this week:

In those moments of quiet contemplation I thought I must be out of my mind since the whole house makeover that I was planning could not happen without money. But the universe doth provide for those eager or stupid enough to believe it will and I've since fallen heir to three gallons of white, one gallon light mossy green and one gallon of fairyland aqua! Four of these gallons courtesy of my professional house painter Nephew, Matthew Lang. This poor, sad bucket will also find its way onto my walls.

My first project was of course the smallest. The master bath which I decided should reflect the look of a Tuscan toilette at sunset as the last rays of warm yellow sunshine kiss the walls. So with some lace and fabric and texturizing paste I started slapping on some lumps and bumps that I could paint over and then glaze.

The project is only half finished because I had to beg DH to use his 6'7" body to paint the ceiling I had no way of reaching. It took him 15 minutes with a roller and paint can. Hmmmmmmmmmmm...22 years to get him to spend 15 minutes working on the house...ok...can you tell that I'm still pissed at him :) Here's the proof of my words via pictures...they are all worth a 1,000 words.

My next post will show the finished bath, and perhaps the beginning of yet another project. I may not be stretching my creative muscles...yet...but I am getting done things I never thought I should or could accomplish. God Bless you all...have an amazing and creative week! Oh, and don't forget the contest. Just leave a comment on this post and you could win that perfect little angel!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sabbatical-Week One

It's been a week since I turned off the computer and turned back to my art. I have had a roller coaster ride of a week with everything from excitement to terror! More about all of that in a moment.
I've also started journaling...something I haven't done in a dozen years...at least on a semi-regular basis. When I was doing the Artist's Way I was a devout writer but after 9 months it was painful because the OA kicked up in my right wrist the more I journaled.
So here I am with a mini report of my week. I'll only hit the highlights because as important as this sabbatical is to me, I know you have better things to do than read the minutia of my every day life.
5.18.09-I have heard whispers from my true artistic self for years. Now when I need her to shout out loud she seems to have gone off line. At 3 pm, emotionally and physically drained I decided to do something I never allow myself to do except in times of illness...I took a nap!
5.19.09-Lots of ideas spilling out of my head as I awoke this morning. Took notes for future reference and then called up my sister and said...I've got money and a 50% off coupon...let's go to ACmoore. When I got back after noon I dove into the work and about 3/4 of the way in I could feel an artistic tingle. An excitement for what was starting to "BE".
5.20.09-The sky is bright as a blue robin's egg today. I'm sitting in the shade of some mis-grown trees, birds squawking for having their feeding time interrupted. I see a jet gleaming in the sun overhead as it propels its passengers to places unknown. Always, always the sight of a shining silver jet overhead brings me pleasure...I feel the excitement of places I can only dream about.
5.22.09-I have never done art to express my inner feelings and fears. Every piece was done with an eye toward how much money it would bring. After 40 years and limited success I see each failure for what it was. A loss of interest because I was not painting to express my inner feelings.
5.23.09-My daughter asked if I would paint a piece for her home. Make it something that would express what I am always 'preaching' at her. I have never had a family member EVER ask me to paint a piece for them. But my daughter...She gets it!

Sunday night, dinner finished but dishes waiting until I blog the FIRST piece of art for ME.

Fear Kept Her Grounded

Week ahead includes a stress test for DH. But mostly it brings a test of my patience. DD has a roommate moving in and the cats had to move out. One sweet little cupcake, Willie, and one feisty, scratchy brat named Bella have joined my four cats and one Chihuahua. Bella got in a couple of good scratches and has yet to appear from out of my craft closet but Willie has settled in. What's not to love about this little cupcake!


Wishing you all a creative week. Until next Sunday...Blessings from Carolyn, a Jersey Girl

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm sitting here staring at the blank white screen and trying to figure out a way to begin. Someone brilliant once said...just begin at the beginning. And so I will.

For years I've been promising myself a May-September sabbatical. A time apart where I could find out what makes me, me! And every year the same thing stops me. Money, or the lack thereof. This year is no different. Money, as always is hard to find. But this year is different. I've found a way to escape and go on that longed for artistic retreat without changing my physical location. But to do that I have to change one thing. I have to leave the cyber world behind. Not forever because the lure of it is like a siren's song. But by changing the parameters of my physical location by turning off the computer I may be able to find the place that I long for each spring.
Initially I was introduced to cyberspace via a small intranet back in 1994. I was magically linked to the parents, students and administrators of my son's Charter High School, High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ. This school, which continues to blaze a trail in the high tech world, opened a door to such a magical place that to even think of leaving it makes me doubt my resolve. The Net has always provided me escape and friends with whom I could visit as I chose. For these last 15 years, the computer and the unseen but very real world in the ether has been a huge part of my life. Subtly sucking hours of my precious time into its vortex. When I pulled the plug, literally, last Saturday I didn't know if I could live without visiting my groups on Twitter, Ning and Facebook. My blog has not been updated in two weeks and for that I felt guilty! It was then that I realized that something drastic needed to be done. That I desperately needed that Sabbatical that I have promised myself year after year.
Spending so much time on the computer has had me neglecting not only my physical world but my creative life as well. The artists that I have met thru eBay and Etsy have been wonderful but have left me in doubt as to my own creative abilities. Every time I saw a new technique or a new fad I would find myself running after it and trying to catch the wave so that I too could be in on the money that was being made. But the more I ran after the money the less I had and the lower and lower my belief in my own abilities has sunk. As I write this now I am at a crossroads. But there have been signs.
It seems as if the universe and all the fates converged in a single week. And it happened so simply! I friended an artist because I was intrigued by her avatar on Facebook. Following the links on her page to her website and Etsy shop I came to realize that this young woman had achieved in four short years what I have not been able to do in forty. And she did it by listening to her inner voice. That little whisper that nags at you to do something that comes from your heart and is not influenced by the emptiness of your pocketbook.
"Taking Flight" by Kelly Rae Roberts is now in hand. After reading the introduction I know why its gone into a second printing. This is a very smart and perceptive lady and she is following HER own muse, not one she has 'borrowed' from someone else. So I have decided that I need to stop running and looking elsewhere for my creative wings. They're here; within me and waiting to sprout and take flight. And so it is with a bit of regret but a lot of hope that I blog about this and lay myself bare for anyone who happens to wander by and stop to read.
To keep myself real and on track I am making this promise to you and to myself; I'll be stopping by every Sunday night to report on my progress of the week past and my plans for the week ahead. You, my dear friend and reader are what will keep me real with myself. Have a blessed and creative week and I'll check in with you Sunday, May 24th.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Mission Accomplished

It took several months to figure out how to do it, 30 days to do the first 30 pieces and 60 minutes to upload just two auctions to Etsy but I feel empowered today! I made a major change in my creative direction, set the start date and accomplished my mission. It doesn't get better than that.
These pieces were all made using recycled plastic archival inks and dyes and sketches from my journals that go back to the mid-70's. I am LOVING this new medium and I hope it shows!
You can get to Etsy by clicking on the photo above. I'll continue adding more and more pendants daily. I hope you enjoy them and please...feel free to buy a bunch to spice up your spring wardrobe!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lake Como, NJ

This is for my friends who have left the area of Belmar and Lake Como, NJ. Life at the Shore has changed. No one walking down Main Street in S. Belmar would recognize it! Anyway this is for James and Adrian and Kirk and anyone else who wonders what happened while they've been away! This was taken in early Dec. '08 so I need to update as a lot of the building has been completed. I also need to take a picture of Borsetti's old store! Enjoy the memories.
Sorry folks...had to remove the slideshow...was messing up my ability to post additional posts...obviously a memory hog!

Friday, April 17, 2009


I usually don't share youtube videos because they're mostly all the same. This one is so extraordinary I couldn't NOT post it here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Here's a peek at what I have up and running for my ONLYS (ONLineYardSale)sale. Sorry but I had to remove the slideshow...another memory hog! You can see all of my items by going to http://www.primsywhimsy.com and clicking on the YEART sale banner which will take you into the craft supplies directory of auctions.


With hundreds of items for sale and only me, myself and I photographing, listing and packing this ONLYS (OnLineYardSale) is proving to be a tough nut to crack. My partner is leaving for a short vacation and has promised to start listing when she returns. BUT as usual I have left everything for the last moment since I've been destashing for 10 days. But I just KNOW you're going to LOVE the finds I have for you. If you do anything crafty or creative these first days will be the most important. I'm listing dozens and dozens of craft items, most NIP (new in package) and greatly reduced from what I originally paid for them.

After the weekend I'll be listing summer clothes from names such as Liz, J. Crew, Jones New York, etc. The better store brands that we all know and love at prices you WILL NOT be able to resist. $65 dollar dresses for $7.50 or $40 shorts for $5? WOW...if I weren't selling them I wouldn't be able to resist buying them!

So get ready to SHOP til you drop starting Fri. April 17th at 12:01 am. That's the official start time for the YEART sale that my Etsy Team is participating in. I will offer a little hint, however. If you should feel the need to start immediately, go for it. But remember I'll be listing new things daily, so check in often. ALSO, if you're looking for bargains be sure to look for Yeart Sale in the title. Now back to work listing ... *sigh*

ONLYS = ONLineYard Sale

TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY! The start of the Eclectic Artisan's YEART Sale. I'll be having my own version of the sale, an ONLYS at my site: http://www.primsywhimsy.com

Starting today I'll be uploading craft supplies, scrapping supplies, stamping supplies, brand name like-new clothing, books, magazines, household goodies, etc. I hope you'll take a moment to stop by tomorrow, APRIL 17-26 and do some shopping. Just think...you can get yard/garage sale bargains (and maybe even haggle a bit) without leaving your yard, porch, living room or den! I've been destashing like a fiend for the last 10 days and will work like a demon to get the hundreds of items up and ready for sale over the next 10 days. So mark that calendar. Sale starts 12:01 am tomorrow, April 17th on http://www.primsywhimsy.com.

And be sure to check out the great bargains they'll be having in the official YEART SALE at http://theeclecticartisansteam.blogspot.com/ they'll give you directions to all participating team member's shops. GET READY TO HAVE A BUYING FRENZY of goodies!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Yeart sale starts this Friday at 12:01 am. I'll be having a HUGE collection of craft supplies, brand name clothing, household goods, mags, books, etc. Will be updating daily. MARK THE DATE 4/17.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Have a date for the yard sale. I'm running it in conjunction with my Etsy Team. EART Team is holding a Yeart Sale April 17-26 so we'll run it at the same time. More details to follow in the next several days. We'll be selling name brand clothing, household goods, shabby chic craft supplies, artist supplies, stamping and scrapbooking supplies all at AMAZING prices. So be sure to check back and reserve the dates! We'll be updating our stock daily.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Business Wish List

Our EART Team is participating in a blog carnival and The first topic is:
Business Wish List
Create a wish list of up to 5 things/objects/items and describe why they are on your wish list for your small business!
Well this is an easy one and since it doesn't require me to spend any money I'm gonna GO FOR IT and post what has been my NUMBER ONE wish for several years.
THE Nikon D90 - the digital camera of my dreams. DX-format CMOS image sensor with 12.3 effective megapixels I have a Nikon film camera N90 that is my love and the auto focus lenses would definitely work on the digital one so I'm halfway there already!
I have a great Canon scanner and printer BUT since I'd love to be able to scan and print bigger sizes these are the two other items on my wish I had list.
Epson Expression 10000XL- Graphic Arts 12" x 12" Scanner
Epson Stylus Pro 7880 ColorBurst Edition Color Ink-jet printer
Happiness is not in having everything you want but being happy with what you have. I'm content for the moment but if I ever win a lottery, these are on the list!

Friday, March 27, 2009


It's that time of year again...SPRING!!! And every year I have a yard sale. I don't know how I always manage to find more stuff each year but I do and this year is no different, except...I've got CRAFT ITEMS that I won't just sell to any old passerby. These are items that are from private stash of goodies and I want them to go to the artists who will have the vision to turn them into ART. So I'm announcing that coming soon to my website (see icon above) will be a CRAFT SUPPLY yard sale that will make any crafter's heart go pitter-pat!!!

I haven't chosen a date because there is so much stuff to sort through but in April I'll choose a weekend to list everything and then will be announcing it everywhere on the web. Keep an eye on this blog to find out when you'll be able to find a yard sale deal without leaving your home!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eclectic Artisans Team ~ EART

The Eclectic Artisans Team is a wonderful group of artists who exhibit and sell on Etsy. If you'd like to join a group of fun loving and active Etsyians, click on the icon above and become a part of the family.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Penny a Piece

Took some time off but now back to listing my Flower Fairy House ACEOs. I scheduled three five-day listings tonight. You can go there directly by clicking on the image below. Hope you'll take a peek because they all start at JUST ONE PENNY!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

eBay is Still Where it's AT

I'm still selling my penny auction ACEOs but I've noticed that the less I twitter, facebook or blog about my auctions, the less sales I have. I've got to work out a schedule for promotions 'cause that's where it's at. If you don't promote, you don't sell. So here's my newest piece up on eBay for just ONE PENNY!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spring FUN!

I got my weekly mailing from PCcrafter.com. This week's was all about Spring and I must say that after the recent blizzard here in Jersey it was as welcome as the first crocus bloom.
I used to subscribe and purchase their digital downloads until it occurred to me that I might be overly influenced by the artwork of their featured artists. After all I am an artist myself and although I LOVE being inspired I don't want to cross over into the copyright infringement arena. Now every week I visit the site and just enjoy the truly beautiful artwork of hundreds of talented woman like myself. Perhaps someday I might even aspire to sell my work to commercial site like PC's but for now I enjoy my sales on eBay and Etsy and every day find the pleasure that comes from being given the gift of creativity.
You can get a taste of Spring for yourself. I've linked the title of the blog post directly to their site so surf on over and enjoy the warmer weather they're showing.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Finally, after years of searching for a 'style' that would 'catch on' at Etsy and eBay I've found what sells well and IS COMPLETELY MY OWN IDEA AND DESIGN. For years I'd see something that was selling well somewhere and think "I can do that, and do it better", but alas I always seemed to be the last one coming to the party and by the time I got a handle on the style or design it was no longer the 'in' thing. I'm hoping that I'm just at the beginning of this wonderful run of 'luck' in design because I really have found my Bliss. I find such joy and passion in these sweet little designs of Fairy Houses, Fairy Flowers and Fairies. But my favorite books as a kid were always about fantasy. The first book I read from cover to cover was Pinocchio the summer between 3rd and 4th grade. But reading and grade school is for another post.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Here's the aceo I found that was kicked under my desk. Is this one that you bought that never showed up?

UPDATE: Found out who this belongs to and it is happily winging its way via USPS to its rightful owner along with a 'mia culpa' archival print. Thanks to all who responded via email.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I'm the spotlighted Day Four artisan on our EART team blog
It's been an amazing week for me with my work in two Etsy West treasuries, being a featured seller on the Country Style Street Team blog and now being a part of a huge giveaway. Click on the EART team link above on on the title of this post and get yourself a chance to WIN big!!!

Friday, February 20, 2009


The most amazing week! I'm in another Etsy Treasury! Second one this week, third in 10 days PLUS am the featured seller on CSST's blog. WOW! Positive thinking is an amazing tool. I am so thankful that by changing my thinking I'm changing my life.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm at it again! Today I found out that I'm in an Etsy treasury! This one because of my wee little white kitties! You can see it here:

I've added a lot of new cats to my Etsy shoppe and will be having more white kitties on eBay soon as well. Yay CATS! I've got four and would love to have more. The most I got up to was six, three of them strays. Next time around I might even go somewhere and adopt instead of waiting for them to come to me!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Penny Ante

My plan for getting back to selling on eBay has worked quite successfully. When I realized that my LolliShops PrimsyWhimsy shop was not going to make the cut for me I knew I needed a 'hook' to get me back and on top of the heap of ACEOs on eBay. So I thought since I wasn't making any money anywhere I might as well go for broke. In early January I started selling my ORIGINAL aceo art starting at just a penny with free shipping. And YES, I lost money. How could I not! But slowly the tide has turned and now my once penny pieces are going for up to $10.00. So ok, I'm not going to change the economy with what I'm making at the moment but I've just begun! And I have a plan. And I'm working that plan!! Now I still start them at a penny but I charge 60 cents for shipping. Making a bit more but the plan is slowly expanding and this week I hope to have jewelry to offer. You might want to see my progress by clicking the icon below. If you check my feedback numbers you'll see how much each person paid and the progressive upward trend. Yay for the good ole Lincoln Penny. My Daddy always said: Take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. Miss you Daddy...you were almost always right :)

Monday, February 16, 2009


Featured seller info is up on the CSST blog. Check it out. Just click on the yay me title of this post. Or see the one just below this!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


What a week it has been!!! Talk about your whirlwind affairs. Last week started out with an announcement of the grand opening of our new website:

and each day seemed to bring some new and exciting events. The latest announcement I have to make...I am the featured seller on

this coming week!! I've sold my flower fairy house ACEOS on eBay so fast I can't keep up!

And my Etsy shoppe sold three ACEOs this week!

And I have a NEW grand-doggie. A BIG brindle boxer named Buddy! If you follow me on Facebook you'll see his picture in my PALS photo album. There's a link to my FB to the right of these posts so if you want to friend me, just send me a message along with your friend request so I know where you found me :)
So coming out of the mid-winter slump was like being shot out of a cannon. It's been exciting and FAST and completely unexpected. But then, maybe the book I've been reading has worked its magic! Money and the Law of Attraction by Abraham-Hicks has been engrossing and so eye opening that I feel as if my entire 'take' on life has been re-adjusted! I'm filled with joy every day and life continues to pleasantly surprise me. But then I did promise myself that my life would change on the 8th of February and just saying that seems to have put a positive spin on the events that have occurred over the last 7 days!

Sunday, February 08, 2009


GRAND OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT. As of 12:01 am EST, Sunday, February 8, 2009, http://www.primsywhimsy.com is open for business. A purveyor of all things shabby and cottage chic with a bit of glitz, glitter and grunge, Primsy*Whimsy is ready to serve your unique crafting needs. We offer ribbons, laces, embellishments, art and craft supplies for the discerning crafter. If you are looking for something specific we welcome all requests and will try and fulfill your needs as quickly as possible. New items added daily. Prices are lower than craft stores and we offer regular discounts to our customers.

GRAND OPENING WEEKEND special. Any auction that has the world VALENTINE in its title will earn you 20% more in product if you use the code: PW289. Please take a moment to stop by and see what's available.
Carolyn, a Jersey Girl
Owner: http://www.primsywhimsy.com

Saturday, February 07, 2009


As my last post stated, I'm back on Etsy and tonight I made it into a special group of pieces...an Etsy Treasury!! Click on the icon above to be transported to a delightful grouping of original pieces from some fabulous artists.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I had no plans of returning to Etsy as a seller but alas I have learned that one must have multiple streams of income to survive in today's economy. So as of this evening I am announcing the re-opening of my shop:
WildGypsyArt on Etsy A collection of fairyland ACEO giclee prints.