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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Handmade Christmas Tree Ornaments.

I love the holiday season! I love Christmas! The house gets decked out for Christmas with my Santa Claus collection on the coffee table, Christmas wreaths on the front doors and the outside of the house decorated with bright, colorful Christmas lights. We are actually practicing Muslims, but Christmas or more like the holiday season is just such a festive time of the year that it doesn't matter what religion you practice, we can all participate in the joy and cheer and goodwill of the season. The tradition is that after Thanksgiving we put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house with the garlands, red ribbons and bows along the staircase banister. And of course let's not forget the beautiful twinkly lights that are adorn the banister, and everywhere else possible. 



But this year, because I knew I was going to be away the day after Thanksgiving on a cruise with the family, I decided to go ahead and put the Christmas tree up a week before Thanksgiving. 

We use to get real trees when growing up in Chicago. The ritual of going with my dad to go pick out the tree, then bringing it home and placing it in the tree stand filled with water. And because the trees had been sitting outside in the frigid parking lot somewhere, we couldn't start decorating the tree the same day or even the day after we brought it home.  We had to wait a couple of days at the least to let the tree thaw out and open up. Since living in Florida for the last 14 years I've given up on buying real trees. Due to the extreme heat we don't have to worry about thawing out the tree once we bring it home. Our problem instead is ensuring that we keep the tree hydrated to avoid fires. Also living in Florida, I haven't had carpets in any of the homes I've lived in. Instead I've had marble or wood floors. And the idea of sweeping up the pins every day was enough to drive me straight to the store to pick up a nice artificial tree. I've had this tree for the past eight years now. Although the original lights don't work, I simply wrap a couple of strings of the bright twinkly lights and we're good to go. 
The advantage of having a real tree is that the whole house smells christmasy like the pine. But I've compensated by picking up these pine sticks which  make the home smell Christmasy. 

My favorite part about putting up the tree is unpacking all the many handmade ornaments from when the boys were in pre-K and-kindergarten. Our tree is a very simple tree but it is absolutely beautiful to me because every ornament has some kind of memory or significance to it. I've picked up ornaments over the years every time I've traveled around the world. I've also picked up ornaments from the different Broadway shows that we've seen. And have made a few over the years. But I realized this year that I haven't updated or added any new personalized ornaments in a year or two so I vowed  to make up for that this year. I simply change the ribbon on the tree and it has a new look every year. 

I had a few choices of customizable ornaments available to me at my local arts and crafts supply store. They have these clear glass balls which open up from the top. One can use those to fill up with different things or even squeeze a picture if you'd like. I knew for sure that I didn't want to use glass but instead was delighted to find these circular acrylic ornaments which open up in half,  making it extremely easy to work with. The first batch that I worked on our gifts for my sister-in-law and brother and their new baby who are celebrating their first Christmas in their new home. They have a beautiful tree with a few store-bought ornaments and I promised them that Iwould make  them a small collection of personalized ornaments to add to their tree. Unfortunately due to the busy time of the year and studying for my LCSW exams , which, thank God I passed on December 6 of this year, I wasn't able to get them done until the day after Christmas which happens to be today. 
So here are a few pictures with basic instructions of how I made them. 

I opened up the ornament and removed the center circular paper and placed it aside. Next I painted on a thin layer of Modge Podge  on the inside part of one half. I next sprinkled glitter, carefully ensuring it covered the entire surface. I chose Christmasy colors of red, green and gold. But you may choose any color glitter to coordinate your tree theme. I let them all sit out for couple of hours to dry. 



This is what it look like when the Modge Podge was still wet. A few hours later after the Modge podge had dried, this is what they looked like. 


Well these were drying, I used my Creative Memories cutting system from 16 years ago to trace out the circular shape.  I just happen to have one of the stencils that fit the size perfectly but you can also simply use the inserts that comes in the ornament to trace on the picture and then simply cut with a pair of scissors. After I had cut all the photographs, I use the double-sided scrapbooking tape applicator, and taped the circular pictures to the circular inserts.

Next I carefully wiped away any glitter on the inside of the other side. Then I closed the ornament and used a little bit of hot glue gun to seal the ornament. 
I used ribbons that had kind of a Christmas feel to it, to decorate the outside of the ornament. I simply used a piece of ribbon and glued it to the top part of the ornament. This served two purposes which included covering the top part where it joins together and adding a decorative touch. 


I hand wrote "2014" on each picture using a simple black pen. 


Here are the first batch of Christmas ornaments for my sweetheart's tree. 

And this is what one of the ornaments look like hanging on my Christmas tree. 

The other ornaments you see hanging toward the bottom of the picture are little notes that the teachers had sent home or the kids had written when they were in pre-K or kindergarten. 

I intend on making another batch of the circular ones along with a few others sometime this weekend for our tree. 

Here's another picture of our Christmas tree at home. 

Supply list:
Acrylic ornaments that open up in half
Mod Podge
Disposable paint brush
Glitter
Circular cutter or scissors
Tape runner or double sided tape or glue stick 
Festive ribbon of your choice
Glue gun/ glue sticks
Your photographs

Merry Christmas and wishing you all a very happy new year. 

Love, light, and blessings.
Anita





Sunday, December 21, 2014

Guilty pleasures!

I love fresh baked bread or for that matter, any bread! And butter! 😊
I am is on the lookout for fresh delicious bread and the best tasting butter I can get my hands on in North America. And I am happy to share that I have found it! Thanks to sweet friend Marcia! 


This is available in your our local Fresh Market store. If you don't have a Fresh Market in your state, I'm sure you can find it at whatever natural health food store you have. Cost $5.50. But worth every penny. 


And as we were walking through our local Fresh Market store, we try the sample coconut curry with chicken and it was love at first taste.


Cost about $10 per jar. 
I picked up some rotisserie chicken, brought it home and deboned it, put it in a pan along with half the jar and let it simmer. I added another quarter of the jar to give it the strong flavor. It's got a little bit of a kick to it and it's perfect! 



This is the perfect meal for a cold evening like today. 

My new favorite bread is sourdough!




And the kids loved it too!! Win! Win!

Love, Light and Blessings,
Anita

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Why Relationships Fail!



I'm reposting this on here ...its a piece I wrote for another blog...

Whether it's a friendship, a romantic relationship, a working relationship or marriage, in my humble opinion, the underlying reason for any relationship's failure can be attributed to disrespect.

I've been happily divorced and single for almost ten years now and I've done my fair share of datingit took me too long to recognize disrespect. But after all these years, I think I can easily claim to be someone of an expert in the matter. Be it as simple and obvious as being spoken to rudely or as subtle as someone not considering your feelings or your time. According to the dictionary, disrespect is a lack of respect or courtesy.  In my definition, disrespect is when I am overlooked; when my needs are not considered or when my feelings are not considered.

Here are a few other forms of disrespect:
- Verbal abuse: Being cursed at. Someone calling you names or belittling you, even if,  to them it's "just a joke".

- Physical Abuse or emotional abuse.

- Checking out another person while with your partner.

- I believe in complete transparency and welcome the opportunity to discuss anything and everything with my mate. But there are those who don't enjoy talking. It's either never a good time or they simply don't like to talk. Either way, an unwillingness to communicate is just disrespectful to the sanctity of the relationship because open and honest communication is one of the key ingredients to a successful relationship.

- Asking your partner for money. Gosh do I have stories to share. which I won't of course. I am always taken back by this one. How do men and for that matter, even women, ask their partner for money or for them to buy them things. Now I understand when a couple is committed to each other and have agreed to share their financial resources and responsibilities, but I am referring to a new couple that is perhaps still only dating. And yet, I wish I could forget how many times, a man has in a direct or a not so direct way, asked me to buy him a cell phone, pay his phone bill, loan him money for God alone knows what etc... Pathetic!!! And being the sucker that I was, until recently, I would give the money (no more than $50) but then walk away from this person forever!!! In my head, I paid the price for failing to recognize the slime ball that the person was. I guess my Catholic school upbringing continues to hover over me in my need to feel punished for my "bad" choices. :)

This is just the beginning of a what I'm sure, is a very long list. Since the intention of this blog is to initiate a conversation among friends, I am hoping, you'll share your thoughts on the subject. Of course, you have the option of posting a comment as "anonymous", but it's always more gratifying for me as a blogger to know who I'm interacting with. But I leave that to your discretion. Either way, please do share any other examples of disrespect that come to mind.

Everyone deserves love!!! And it starts with self-love!

Anita

Friday, December 19, 2014

Saying Goodbye To 2014 and Preparing For 2015!

Hello fellow travelers on this journey of life. As we come to the end of 2014, and get ready to bring in 2015, I am getting ready to do what I have done for many years now. Thought I'd share it with you here.

I find a place to sit and reflect about how my year went, revisit the goals and intentions I had set at the end of the year before and take stock. Next I write down my intentions/ goals for the next year.  Some are the same, others change and new ones are added.

This year I intend to use this workbook put together by Susanna Conway. She is awesome! and here is a link to download a free copy.

http://www.susannahconway.com/2014/12/lets-make-some-magic-in-2015/

I don't like setting New Year's Resolutions because I never seem to stick to them past the second week in January. Thus I stopped making them years ago. Instead, I like the idea of setting intentions. I found an awesome and very creative way of documenting my intentions for 2015. It was in the Somerset magazine.

It was in this issue which you can buy at your local craft store, in Barnes and Nobles or on Amazon.

http://stampington.com/somerset-life

It involves using chalkboard paint to transform a flip book that you can then write an intention or two with a chalk marker. If you haven't tried a chalk marker, you must!!! They are erasable but don't smudge as easily as regular chalk.

Here is a link to some fun and easy projects using chalkboard paint...which is my latest little guilty pleasure. I bought a pint of it from Hobby Lobby but haven't had the time to start with it. I have a feeling that once I start painting with it, I'll be out of control. Well...I'll let you know.

Here is the link:

http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2013/07/06/20-diy-chalkboard-projects/

So some of my intentions/goals for 2015 are:

- Eat cleaner.
- Walk more.
- Keep up with Project Life
- Plan and facilitate a women's retreat this year.
- Organize and maintain my studio space
- Be open to love in all of its forms
- Enjoy my boys. Aly is gone next year to college...Zayn is only home for 5 more years.
- Keep creating and growing "Anita Ladhani Designs"
- Sleep more regularly
- Meditate
- Start and work on creating a book for Aly for when he leaves for college.


I'll post pics of the finished project when I get it done...hopefully before the new year.

Love, Light and Blessings,
Anita

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Can I take a picture of you for my blog?"

"Hi, my name is Anita and I am a writer and I'm working on a piece on beauty and women for my blog. I am taking pictures of beautiful women to post on my blog. Can I take a picture of you?" And with this little introduction, I approached about a dozen women of various ages (16 - 75 years) at Boca's famous Town Center Mall. I was there at the Apple store to drop off my son's laptop...water damage..or more like...lemonade damage. Poor kid was actually trying to complete his homework during lunch at my behooving when some kid pushed some other kid and somehow, someone's lemonade ended up all over my son's laptop. Needless to say, it shut down and  has not turned on since. So I was at the Apple store to figure out our options.  Turns out, it costs approximately $750 to repair water damage or one could just buy a new Mac starting at $1000.

Well, I digress. So back to my little experiment. As I waited in the Apple store, I saw this beautiful woman walk by. She was beautiful, but not in the traditional sense of the word, but there was just something about her that was so exquisite that I couldn't help but ask her the question....And to be honest, up till the moment that the words came out of my mouth, I had no idea that I was going to be doing this. But once the sentence was out, it was like I had committed to it and had to see it through.

Now let me assure you that I was intimidated to approach random women in Boca. For if you know Boca, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Rich, white folks, dressed to kill even when dressed casually, in the latest fashion, carrying the most expensive purses, with the designer shoes and sunglasses to complete the look. Well they're not all white but rich and uppity folks none the less. And I admit that this is my perception of Boca. I've always felt out of place there. Its as though they look down on people like me who not only are not rich but are as down to earth and non-caring of fashion trends as they come. None the less, I mustered up the courage and looked around me at all the many women in the different shapes, sizes, colors and ages. And I saw the most perfectly imperfect women everywhere! Every face I saw, radiated beauty.  Just the realization that we are all one...we are all just spiritual beings having a human experience in this time and place together, filled my heart with joy and sadness. Sadness only because I could sense with many of the women that they had forgotten who they really were and were filled with doubt and shame. Its not something they said but its their energy that I was sensing. Call it my sixth sense to be able to pick up on people's inner demons.

Sadly, I had more girls and women say no to having their pictures taken then I had women who said yes. But I gave out my business cards like candy to any of them who would actually accept it.

Guess how old she is?

Isn't she stunning...bandaid and all...and she is Rola, 28 years old with her MBA from FIU.

Just loved her energy!!! God Bless her!

I asked this beautiful white woman who was a bit on the skinny side and was at the Gymboree store with her mom. She just said, "No sorry!" and her eyes immediately looked down to the floor.  I thanked her and handed her my card which she did accept, and let them be.

I saw these two women walking toward me and I mustered up the courage and said, "Excuse me...my name is Anita......"  One of them, who was actually dressed to kill, immediately tried to get away from me in case I were to snap a picture of her, with my simple little IPhone. She smiled awkwardly and said "No way!" but her friend, this brave, beautiful woman happily posed for me. Isn't she stunning?  Can you see her beautiful spirit radiate in her eyes and her smile! And she is in her early 20's.



Next I walked by one of the kiosks and saw this gorgeous woman who asked me if I spoke Spanish, which I don't really...Well, I did study it for 3 years in high school but not enough to carry on a conversation. I can understand it if the person speaks very slowly. Anyways, she did understand why I was taking the picture and asked to see them when I took a few. But she didn't like them and decided to take her glasses off for the next one.





I walked in to the Limited and asked the salesperson behind the counter but she excused herself to go in the back and ask her supervisor and came back and explained that she couldn't while at work. I respected that.
As I was walking out I saw this gorgeous 30 some year old latin woman who again, was happy to have her picture taken.


I stopped at this other kiosk to buy some essential oils (lavender and patchouli) and asked the sales woman in the peach jacket and she said that I should take a picture of her co-worker (in yellow). So I did once she agreed and then I managed to convince the one in peach that she too was beautiful. She smiled embarrassingly and let me take a picture of her. She is in her early 40's.



I asked a couple of women who looked like they were in their late 70's ...these perfectly done up older, white women and they literally just looked down their nose to me and shrugged me off as though I was some annoying fly. :) I thanked them and walked away with my card still in my hand since they refused to even accept my card.

That was a bit discouraging and I hesitated to ask others although that only lasted a few minutes. And I was back to asking again.


The department stores with their counter after counter full of creams, perfumes and makeup.


I just didn't have the courage to ask these two as they walked by me.


And I just had to take a pic of this guy. He worked in the shoe dept and is in his early 20's. Wow!!! Now that takes courage!  I walked by him when I entered the store and I heard this elderly woman go up to him and say, "You are absolutely beautiful!" To which I responded, "I second that." He had the most beautiful smile.  So when I was walking out of the store, I saw that he was still in the same area, I asked him if I could take a picture of him and he shrugged and said, "Sure."  He actually looks even better in person when he smiles!!!
selfie with shoe guy

Add caption
So this little experiment just confirmed what I'd suspected all along.

More to come on the "You are Beautiful" project.

Love, Light and Blessings,
Anita 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

It is about to go down!!!

Hello fellow travelers on this journey of life!!! I haven't written in a while because I'm always censoring myself in my head and then end up not writing at all because the things I want to say, to share are personal, sometimes not so pleasant and sometimes plain out controversial... so I behave like the good girl that I'm expected to be and not write a damn word...oh and not curse at all too...but enough with that bs...i am done...u know at 41 years old...i don't need to be worrying about offending people...if they don't like what I write or do, then don't read it. Feel free to just ignore me and my work. I won't take it personally, I promise! :)  but before going any further, I have to give credit where credit is due. I absolutely adore my fellow blogger, writer and dear friend, Gabe Berman. Now Gabe and I have never met in person, but communicated enough be in on the phone or via Facebook or text. Gabe is a kindred. He is also the author of 2 awesome books!!! (Live Like a Fruit Fly & Where is God when your loved ones get sick? - both available on Amazon).
So as I read Gabe blog about his daily life in Long Island, I smile, my heart smiles because he is HONEST!!!! He writes as he thinks and feels and I respect that. I used to believe that one should not curse in their writings but I realize now that if that is how one communicates/ thinks...then that is what should be included....hell we all curse don't we...even the most holy of us occasionally slip up in our heads if not out loud. So as I read Gabe's most recent posts, I was inspired to just be honest...be vulnerable...be myself...perhaps others will recognize a bit of themselves in my experience of life....after all I can't be the only weirdo who thinks, acts and feels like I do.

Alright so here goes...

I am not known for being diplomatic...in fact...i lack it! and to be quite honest, I find it exhausting. So let me share a recent episode of yet another time, when I put my foot in my mouth and walked away immediately regretting it.
I recently attended a funeral of a dear aunt who lost her battle to cancer at the young age of 52. I adored her and respected her and still can't believe she is gone. In fact, I found myself talking to her just the other evening as I was sitting at my jewelry table working on a piece. And in my head, I could see her smile and respond. Now please be clear that I am not a psychic or a clarevoyant and most definitely am not a Ghost Whisperer. But this was a just me missing a loved one who left way too soon!

Alright, back to being with family members before her funeral. Isn't it funny how we all come together for weddings and funerals and although funerals are by nature, supposed to be sad and they are sad but they are also a time of laughter and connection. We tend to come together as a family unit as we together mourn the loss of our loved ones.  While we wait for the funeral or get together after the funeral, we break bread together and cousins hang out together and aunts usually are helping out in the kitchen while the uncles sit back and watch the scene unfold. So it was at one such dinner the night before the funeral that I walked in to the home and immediately was surrounded by family members whom I hadn't seen since my divorce 10 years ago...oh did I fail to mention this was my ex husband's aunt. :) Well she was and although I've always been invited at weddings and other occasions, I have never gone. But there was no way I was missing her funeral. I had been in regular touch with her over the years and had a lot of respect for the strong, educated woman that she was.

So here I was standing with an uncle and aunt whom I had not seen in about 12 years. Now they have a son who is a senior in high school and is about to graduate. So naturally the conversation flowed towards his plans for college. They informed me almost proudly that they had decided that they didn't want him going away to an expensive university because he would get the same education attending a local community college for two years and then would look into transferring to a university to finish his Bachelors degree. They started to tell me how the son was going to basically follow in his father's footsteps and become a US customs inspector of some sort. They continued to explain how that would be wonderful for him and in 5 years, he had the potential of becoming a plant supervisor or something like that. Now I stood there just blown away. Why would you want your son to do what you do? Not that there is anything wrong with what he does but they live in America, the land of the free and opportunity.  America, one of the few countries in the world where one can access the BEST education available. And yet their aspirations for him were to have the life and successes that the father had experienced.  Not being college graduates themselves, the mother had been a stay at home mom for the most part and I respect that. No judgement there. In fact, I applaud and encourage all mothers who can make it work, to stay home and raise their kids for as long as they possibly can. And the father, I believe had completed enough college courses etc to be promoted to the supervisor position. At first the conversation was quite polite. But I think I lost in when the father said to me that in about 5 years, their son will make to a position of a supervisor and make about a $100,000 a year. HUH??? WHAT?!!! Are you kidding me? $100,000??? what is that...how much is that...what kind of lifestyle can one really afford with $100,000 a year. Now obviously I see the judgement exuding from my words because I know many families who make a lot less than that a year and are happy and healthy. But my immigrant roots scream in opposition as I remember the sacrifices our parents made when they came to America while in their 30'a to start over a new life for their kids. We were raised with the "You have to go to college. You have to get your Bachelors, You have to get a Masters! You have to make something of yourself. You have to preferably be in a career where you're working with your head and not with your hands." You see, our parents no matter what their education backgrounds from the mother lands of India and Pakistan, had to start from the bottom up with jobs such as working at What a Burger, the local dry cleaners, delivering pizza and even driving a cab in Chicago. They struggled and eventually were able to make a life for us. They worked two jobs, sacrificed the fancy lifestyle even when they could afford it to put us through college all in the hopes that we would have a better life than they ever could imagine for themselves. Because that alone would justify the sacrifices they made.
So back to the uncle and aunt, long story short, I basically said something similar to "Don't you want your son to have a better life than you?" and "Why aren't you encouraging him to aim higher". Of course I immediately bit my tongue and regretted those words ever leaving my lips...but it was done. I politely ended that conversation as I wished them the best and "I'm sure he will do great" etc etc etc bullshit.... and walked away from them, avoiding them for the rest of the weekend. I felt like an idiot and indeed I was a jerk for imposing my views, my expectations for my children on their family. But oh well...another lesson learned...keep your mouth shut Anita!!!
Later as the boys and I flew back home, I told them about this conversation and they just smiled and shrugged their head. "Mom!!! Only you!!!" they both said. Aly told me that he had a similar conversation about college with them and instead of blurting out like the idiot that I am, he was very mature and diplomatic and he bit his tongue and politely stood there saying nothing. He said, "Mom, I realized that that was their way of thinking and it was not my place to tell them any different." Damn!!!! Smart kid!!!! Now why didn't I think of that!! Oh well...yet another lesson learned....when in doubt keep my mouth shut. :)

Over and out!
Sending you love, light and blessings.
Anita

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Few Things You Might Not Necessarily Know About Me.


I love mangoes, longons, lychees and custard apples. 



I love writing which is equivalent to playing with play dough for me. I could take a piece of writing and go back and edit and re-edit it until I have written the whole thing over again. 

I adore vintage luggage and white-washed older furniture pieces with character. I also love lamps, bookshelves and wicker baskets! 



I have always loved singing but unlike other girls from India who have melodious voices, I have always had a deep, manly voice. As a little girl, I use to sing into my hairbrush and practice my acceptance speech as I went up to receive my Grammy. Alas, I will not be winning any awards for singing. In fact, they might consider giving me an award for not singing. :)

I love spending time near the ocean. The vastness of the ocean, the rhythm of the waves, the warmth of the sun on my bare skin, the smooth sand beneath my toes, laying down and staring up at the clear blue skies thru the luscious palm trees. It recharges me. I feel rejuvenated. 

I feel privileged to have worked with youth for over 10 years in various capacities. And have made an impact on their lives in some small way.


I love getting lost in a new book 
which enriches my mind, fills my 
soul with hope and joy 
and encourages me to dream. 
These days I find myself delving 
into the various magazines published 
by Sommerset which include: 
Where Women Create, 
Where Women Create Business, 
Artful Blogging etc. 
As an artist with a budding business 
in its infancy stage, I find enormous 
encouragement and ideas for where 
I see my baby growing into. 



I invite and relish the challenge of creating a custom piece for a client. To be able to actualize their vision into reality is awesome! And it pushes me as an artist to try something new and different. These end up being some of my best sellers when I offer them in my shop.

I love traveling to other countries and learning the local culture, discovering the little hole in the wall joints and discovering places off the beaten path. 
I have had the good fortune to travel to France, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, India, Nepal, St Thomas, Cayman Island, Greece. 

My favorite places in the world these days are the west coast of USA with the beautiful Pacific Ocean and Santorini, Greece. I hope to spend a summer there renting a cottage over looking the cliff/water and writing one of my many best sellers. Ameen!



That's all for now! Until next time. Please feel free to share something about yourself.

Love, Light, and Blessings,
Anita


Friday, July 25, 2014

Home Studio Space Revamped!

As many of you know, I am very new to this artist thing...now mind you, I am not new to the artsy craftsy thing...i've been crafting ever since I can remember...whether I was painting dressers, tables and bookshelves bought from garage sales and then stamping them or sewing pillows and table cloths while I was pregnant with my first born Aly and was totally in the nesting mode. (moms will know exactly what I mean) ....but I never dared call myself an artist! Hello I'm Indian (born in India, not American Indian) until the age of 12 which is when my family decided to migrate to the USA. But at the age of 40, after attending Liz Lameroux's Be Present Retreat (http://www.bepresentretreats.com), I came back re-evaluating everything about my life...this retreat was a game changer for me....and I slowly but surely started to shed my years of identities taken on by life to uncovering my true self which was....(clearing my throat)...an artist! 

Even today after 9 months of launching my ETSY shop and selling a few of my art journals and plenty of my custom made jewelry pieces, I hesitate to call myself an artist. You see, in my head, an artist is someone who can draw, paint etc etc...and yes although I can art journal,...i can't really draw or paint like say a painting. .:)

None the less, I have taken over the front room of our home, which is designed to be the formal living room of the house as my studio space.  It started about 2 years ago with just a large, oval, antique Ethan Allen off white dining table which I use as my desk and art table to then adding a long table by the window to work on my beads/ jewelry...but found that my Project Life / scrapbooking never got touched because I simply never had the table space for it...I'd have to clean up the paints or the sewing machine or whatever it was I was working on before I could work on something new....and it just wasn't happening. 

But then a few weeks ago, one of my neighbors put out their used office furniture out on the curb for bulk pick up. The furniture was used but in excellent condition. What caught my eye was the handsome cherry with black inset desk top!!! It was just sitting there. The kids and I pulled over our suv on our way home one night and got out of the car to examine it. I realized that although most of the pieces were good pieces, I only really would find use for the tabletop but having no certain plans or space for using the table top, I walked or rather drove away from it.

Well, my sons being my sons, decided to go carry it home the next day so that my youngest could use it to skate on. When I saw it sitting in the garage, I was a little confused as to why it was there. Zayn told me that it was not the right size or height to skate on and this is when I decided to go ahead and see if I could incorporate it into my work area. So I did! I moved around these cubes and drawers that I had bought a few years ago from Michael's to organize my craft supplies. These became the perfect base for the table. And I lined up the tables perpendicular to each other at the corners so that it created a nice U shaped work area. But then I wanted to tie the place together and decided to sew simple table skirts made of off white duct / canvas fabric (only $6 a yard). 

So off to Joanne's fabrics I went but once there I found myself drawn to the beautiful Waverly patterned fabrics which I have always loved!!!! So I had an idea. I bought a yard each of 8 different patterns (stripes, florals etc). I also bought 9 yards of off white belt trim which I used to finish off the skirt. I cut up 1/2 yard of each of the patterns including the off white duck/canvas material and sewed it all together. I made sure to iron the fabrics before and after sewing them and used hot glue to put the belt trim at the bottom of the skirts. I made two separate skirts (one for each table) and also used plain canvas panels to cover the area underneath the jewelry table. 

Here area  few pics!!!
Before...

After...












In a perfect world, I would have another work surface/area for my painting and art journaling and another for my writing / blogging etc. but this will have to do for now!!!
And I love how it all came together. Now anyone who is fortunate to have any kinda space for their crafting will tell you that organizing it is a constant process of moving things around, assigning items you don't normally use to the garage and incorporating new baskets, boxes and cups etc to store things in an asthetically  pleasing manner. After all, an artist irooms inspired and nurtured by their environment. 

I am proud to say that I have started working on my Project Life albums but alas find myself being way too busy with creating prayer beads, Nade Ali prayer jewelry and other pieces to spend any real time on my album. I 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2 days to explore San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

This past summer, Aly was to attend a three week camp at the University of Santa Cruz through the John Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth Summer program. So we decided to make it  a quick family trip. We flew out of Miami, Florida and landed in San Francisco, California. After renting a car, we decided to wait to check into our hotel and instead made our way down to Fisherman's Wharf.

We did the typical tourist thing with all the other tourists there. We took selfies and ate yummy seafood at one of their many restaurants.




















There are a line of restaurants and street side food eateries with such tempting seafood etc. Fried shrimp, curly fries, calamari


I couldn't resist taking pictures of all the amazing food that I wished I could eat but my stomach and my wallet were not in agreement.




Lobsters, crabs, oysters, mussels, shrimp etc etc.....YUMMY!!!!!



We get to pick it and they steam it...unfortunately we were
told that they were not fresh so we didn't try it.





We ordered a sampler with fried shrimp, fish, calamari, scallops and fries. It was delicious!!!







Then we started walking toward Ghiradelli Square. They have so many of these little street side shops with awesome jewelry!!! Now considering I make pieces very similar to these, I was super excited. What I wanted to do was to buy them all. But what I did instead was to buy a sweet pair of earrings and a matching bracelet and took a few pictures.





I loved San Francisco and the cable carts but I hated, I mean absolutely was terrified of driving on the steep hill like streets of the city.


We started driving toward China Town. Zayn wanted to go skate at this famous skating place which in actually is this famous park for the local Chinese families.

So Zayn and Aly went to the park where Zayn skated while I went in and out of the many little shops in China Town. We ate at this little Chinese restaurants with probably the worst Chinese food I've ever eaten. 


After walking around in China Town and buying souvenirs and being veryyyy tired, we made it to our hotel and had a good night sleep. We woke up the next morning and started driving to the University of Santa Cruz. We stopped at one of the local beaches!!! I live in Florida but I LOVE the West Coast and the beaches surrounded by the hills. Its so cool to see the crabs and sand dollar remains scattered on the beach. Again, so different from our Florida beaches. We enjoy the Atlantic ocean in Florida but my heart remains with the gorgeous Pacific coast line.



I did take a few pictures of us at the beach but I didn't save them here. But I LOVE THE WEST COAST!!!!
Can't wait to go back there again. We dropped Aly off at USC and

Love, Light and Blessings,
Anita