Monday, February 27, 2012

Happily obsessed...

My daughter laughs at me.
She says I become an obsessed person when I find something new to do.
So what if I am?
Right now I am a 'little' obsessed with zentangle.
I think it's because all you need is 2 things and you're off.
With scrapbooking I have to schlep out all my stuff.
Cover the kitchen table with glue, tape, paint etc...
That's the easy part.
The worst of it is that I have to clean up at the end of the day.
The schlepping begins when I have to put back all my portable drawers.
Down the stairs.
Now you can appreciate all the more how much I want to Scrapbook.
And the knitting takes concentration.
There's a time for that too.
But sometimes I want to just zone out.
As apposed to zoning IN.
So I doodle.
You might call it obsessed.
I call it 'happily' obsessed.
No harm done to anyone.

You have no idea how relaxing it is.
I would be surprised to know that you haven't tried this yet...
And still I am also 'happily' scrapbooking.
HAPPY stuff.
Making little moments count.

Not my finest artistic creations.
But they make me happy.
So happy.
Little tiny moments.
Strung into long memory necklaces...
By itself, nothing special.
Together - fabulous, gorgeous length of beauty...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Come Zentangle with me...

For many years I've thought about doing Yoga.
Or pilates.
Excersize for the body.
To be fit, healthy and calm.
I finally did it.
Yoga that is.
For the mind.
For the MIND.
I've been doodling since I was a little girl in school.
As I grew older I became much better at it.
It was a great way to look like I was taking notes in class.
So you could imagine how much of that I did back in the day.
Finished school.
Stopped doodling.
Got married.
Had children. (B"H)
Went to learning class.
Started doodling again!
I never saw anyone else doing it, so I figured it was just me and my inability to focus without scribbling.
Enter the computor age.
Now it's me and a million other people who doodle.
Except there are people who take this really seriously.
Blogs and books.
Who knew?
And I learnt a new word for it: ZENTANGLE.
Doodling is for babies!
Has a sophistication to it.
The more I explored this world of Zentangle, the more intrigued I became by it.
Now I am more than just a doodler.
I am a Zentangler.
Imagine that!
Last night I did my first real zentangle.
It was so pleasant.
Just me my marker, and my music...
Now I understand why it's called 'yoga for the mind'.
I will be filling this with color at some point, but for now here it is.
Presenting - my very first authentic Zentangles.......

If I say it's easy will you believe me?
Ok. Maybe it's a little intimidating, but there are videos galore you could see.
Then try it.
White cardstock.
You can start with regular paper if you want.
Fine point marker.
You're ready.
Easy as that.
Keep at it.
The little or big artist in you will emerge.
That I promise you.
Everyone has one living deep inside of them.
Remember, there's no wrong way to do it.
Only your way!
...and here is one of my 'old' ones.

I have a feeling some of you may try this.
Here's a good place to start.
Google 'zentangle' and go!
You will see.
The quieter your mind becomes, the more you can hear.
That's enough reason for me.
What about you?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our chains may stretch a little sometimes, but they never break.

Lately I've become nostalgic for my family that lives far away.
I have a large family  K'H and a huge extended family.
(One day I will make an effort to take pictures with each of  my neices and nephews etc, and make layouts galore.)
It's not easy to keep up with everyone.
We live in different parts of the globe.
Isreal, Australia, Canada and more.
We are fortunate to live in this generation, though.
Technology has significantly changed how we connect with each other.
"A'int no mountain high enough to keep me from gettin to you..." is not such an impressive statement anymore.
We 'see' each other on Skype whenever would like.
We speak to each other across continents like we are talking to our neighbors.
It took the generation before us a little bit of time to grasp the fact that long distance fees no longer apply.
The paradox of it all is now we don't have enough time to spend connecting
Too much technology, taking up more time, to do things more quickly than before!.
So I do it the way I know best.
I spend time creating.
Quality time.
Almost like meditating about myself and this person.
In my heart I feel close to whomever I'm concentrating on.

I hope my sister's other children won't feel slighted that I chose this nephew to scrap about.
I love them all.
But I especially love this one.
I think about him more than he knows.
I was so lucky to be in New York at the same time as he was.
Some time after that we actually visited with him and his family in Italy.
What a great experience that was.
To our great disappointment the weather was horrible.
But staying by Mendy and Chanchi was worth every cold rainy second.
I feel as comfortable with them as I am with my own children...
This next layout is one of their first 3 children.
It's a scraplift from one of my scrapbooking magazines.
I don't know these children at all.
But I love them anyway.
Because they belong to my very delightful  nephew and neice.
This is a wonderful layout to copy.
Easy and fun.
Anyone can do this.
Practice writing between the stems.
Use any color combination you like.
A black and white picture is effective here.
But you can do it any way you like.

There are friends that I consider my family.
Some of my children's friends have become mine too.
The first time I met Rina, Rochelle's friend, I fell in love with her.
Ane now she is my friend too.
I wait every year for Pesach.
Not only for my family to be together.
But for my 'extended' family.... Rina and Moshe...

Note to my nephew and neices (or anyone who wants one): if you send me a picture that you have of us together, no matter how old it is, I will be happy make a beautiful, meaningful layout.
Like this one....

This layout was created 6 years ago.
Time does fly...
But for the moment I look at it, time does stand still.
And that makes it worth it for me.
And it will do that for you too.
Go for it.
Noone has to see it.
You can show it 6 years later too!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Same photoshoot, different layouts...

As many of you know, my daughter is a photographer.
She is remarkable at what she does.
She is dedicated to pursue excellence in her work.
Having a camera makes you no more a photographer than having a hammer and some nails makes you a carpenter. - Claude Adams
Self taught, she has a gift that stands out in her field.
Whenever we are lucky enough for her to visit us, she makes time to photograph her sisters.
Sarale allowed herself to be used for Rachel's first photoshoot ever.
The one that inspired her to take the journey into photography.
She's come a long way since then.
Her pictures speak in a way that needs no translation.
I luckily have the pleasure of making memories of each photo shoot.
I enjoy challenging myself to come up with different layouts for similar pictures.
I think I've accomplished that here.
What you want to do is make sure the picture pops.

I have a few beautiful linen tablecloths from when I got married, that include fine linen napkins.
I've never used the napkins.
So I decided this would be the best way to enjoy them.
In my scrapbook.
It adds femininity and elegance to the layout.
A reflection of Sarale...

This next layout, I used a canvas frame, washi tape,  paint, brads, page from an old book and  paper ribbon.
Washi tape gives you many different options for design.
Very easy to use, washi tape comes in a ton of patterns and colors.
Be careful though, it's addicting.

Now the canvas is hanging on the wall.
Makes me happy to look at it.
My daughter's in it.
My daughter took it.
And I made it.
That's three for one!
Maybe you just see a pretty picture.
But I put my emotions into each layout I make.
They each have a message from me.
To you.
Time will never stand still and those moments that bring us such joy become memories in an instant.
To capture such a moment and record it forever is truly monumental.
This is why I love what I do.
If you do it, you will love it too.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why does time pass slowly when you're waiting for something good to come...

When I create layouts of adults I really mean business.
Thats when I get serious.
I have to dig deep inside myself to get to the core of how I feel.
About my family.
About my friends.
And about myself.
The easiest layout for me to create are about my grandchildren.
The love I feel for them is always fresh.
Like a hot cinnamon bun melting in my mouth.
The happiness and love I feel hits my brain like sugar.
Sends me directly to a happy, good all over feeling.
Living far away from them I have to satisfy myself with little morsels of lovin' in the few and far between visits.
In a few weeks almost all my children will be here for a family wedding.
I am excited in the way a little child is.
I keep asking my husband "How many more days till they come?"
I am most excited because the grandchild I see the least will be here for a full week.
How can I make the time count?
I want to know her.
I want her to know me.
Can we do that when the time we have together is so short?
Hashem runs the world and there's a reason for everything.
So I have to believe there is a higher source of explanation for me being here and them being there.
Meanwhile I scrap....
And dream...
About when we will finally live in one city together.
Sharing ordinary moments made significant because I will be witness to them.
I dream about picking you up from school, holding your hand and walking home together.
I think about me and you (any one of my children or grandchildren)on the train going somewhere.
I dream of you falling asleep on my shoulder on the way home of a satisfying day together.
I dream of being a little bit parent, alittle bit grandparent and a lot of best friend.
Whilst I dream I scrap...
(I obviously dream and scrap alot!)
As soon as I heard about my children's visit I was inspired to create.

Notice the combination of different papers that work well together.
Using a black and white picture makes the subject stand out.

Feels like a minute ago when in fact almost six years have passed since this picture was taken.
I love the idea of cutting the photo and matting with black.
Use the right picture to capture a moment like this.

This is one of my favorites.
You can try this too.
Practice writing the word Love the way I did here.
Use a sharpie to outline.
You can fill with puffy paint, glitter, color, anything you want.
Copy this one exactly.
Make me proud!

This is one of my favorite.
Not only because I love the picture.
Because I love the memory of making the layout.
I used tissue paper scrunched up with mod podge.
Paint, stamps, gold embossing, fabric, brads, flowers and rubons.
It takes time.
I usually leave my work on the kitchen table and in between working (sheitels) making supper and then some, I keep adding to the layout until  I feel satisfied.
The longer I work on a layout the better.
It keeps my mind on the subject.
It keeps my heart full of love.
It forces me to figure out how to transfer what I feel in a physical way.
It's an emotional process sometimes.
But well worth it.
At least until I see them again.
Then who has time for this nonsense!!!

Adair Lara, author of The Granny Diaries
"Grandkids bring you into a sweeter, slower present. They show you the future at a time when a lot of your friends are thinking about the past. And they take you back to childhood--theirs, the Parent's, your own: a three-time admittance to wonderland."
So Grandmothers get scrapping.
And you too, grandchildren.
The days pass slowly, but the years fly by.
Don't wait.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Ta....

Every year I call my father on his birthday and wish him well.
Being that I don't live near him I don't have the privilege of participating in his birthday celebration.
But he is blessed with grandchildren and great grandchildren that live near him.
Oh how lucky they are to know my Father, their Zeidy.
He is larger than life.
If he had the power to buy himself years he would ask for another lifetime.
Not because he hasn't accomplished enough.
Because he has so much more he wants to do.
So many more people to help.
So many more Seforim to learn.
More dances to dance.
More songs to sing.
More stories to tell.
More questions to ask.
More ideas to share.
He is a young man in an aged body.
I am still startled that he remembers to ask me about small details of my life.
He doesn't miss a beat.
He knows what each grandchild is up to.
(and there are many!)
He pays attention to where they are headed and passes along words of wisdom for their journey
He still wants to change the world.
He still wants to make a difference.
He has a twinkle in his eye that hasn't dimmed with age.
He has passion in his heart that grows stronger every day.
For him "Old age comes at a bad time" sam banducci.
I want my children and grandchildren to understand the kind of man my father is.
The best way I know how to show them that is by scrapbooking.
This next layout is full of color and joy.
A little whimsical.
Just like my father.

This is my favorite picture ever of my father.
It depicts his charachter to the T.
Enjoying his youngest grandchildren.
He makes every second with them count.

How fortunate is my son to have his father and grandfather davening with him for his future?
(And how lucky am I to have a daughter to photograph this extraordinary moment...)

This is a moment to cherish.
I'm sure you have many of your own.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

To my sister Lena...

I was born three years after my sister.
She was a sweet quiet child that never hurt a fly on the wall.
I don't remember my parents ever telling us she was different.
We knew we had to help her with basics skills like reading and writing and arithmatic.
So it was self understood.
It must have been incredibly challenging in those days to raise a child that is developmentally challenged.
Thank G-d my parents had the guidance of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
They were advised to educate her in the same schools as everyone else.
Due to her happy nature she made friends easily.
She felt love and acceptance there and most importantly learnt how to conduct a beautiful Yiddishe life.
As a teenager she attended a variety of different schools in Williamsburg and Flatbush.
I don't remember her challenges as part of my everyday life.
What does play in my mind is how I felt watching  friends of mine react to her.
When I saw  people choose to ignore her simple friendly chatter I felt sad.
Not for her.
For those people.
She never took notice of it.
She has no malice so she sees no malice.
Lucky for her she had (and still has) a wonderful group of friends in Crown Heights that treated with the sensitivity she deserved.
My parents did the best they could.
She got married and moved to New Jersey where she currently lives.
When I got married I moved to Miami.
I was a young busy mother of 7 k"h and to quote my mother "before i turned around" 30 years had passed.
I wish we could have lived in the same city.
I believe Hashem runs the world and puts us where we are meant to be.
Otherwise I would never forgive myself for not being there enough.
Maybe I could have taught her different skills that would have made her life easier.
Maybe I would have helped her learn how to set up a healthy life where she could have preserved her health better.
Maybe I could have learned from her too.
She is upbeat.
She is positive.
She is resilient.
And with all her challenges, she never complains.
In spite of our shortcomings, she loves every one of her sisters and brothers unconditionally.
All she wants in return is love and attention.
That doesn't sound so different from you and me, does it?

Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago - the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider.... It doesn't seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we've traveled. ~Jane Mersky Leder