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26. Bing & I ~ Celebrity Sighting

Last month we visited the Union Pacific Railroad Museum where I ran into Bing and we had a nice chat. He was kind enough to pose for a photo with me.

The new Bob Kerry Footbridge.

Entrance to the museum.

Silver from President Abraham Lincoln's funeral car.

Another view of the Bob Kerry Footbridge.

Photos Copyright 2009 Maggie Summers. All Rights Reserved.
Do not download or copy without permission.

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27. Spring Randomness

I am so ready for spring and can hardly wait to start planting again. This illustration reminds me of the spring planting season.

As a young child, I remember pulling fresh vegetables out of my grandparents and great aunt's gardens, enjoying the fresh smell of the dirt the new sprouts were planted in. Often, I would eat strawberries and tomatoes without taking them home and washing them. When it came to picking stawberries, I ate more than I picked. Oh, and the peaches and pears, picked right off the trees, unbelievably juicy! Hurry Spring-Please!

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28. Insomnia

A week of illness, sinus headaches and insomnia. What's a girl to do? Trudge on! :)

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29. Celebrate

Valentine's Day is definitely a day to celebrate
as it was on this day my oldest son was born! Today is a day filled with love, pride and joy!

Illustration for IF's "celebrate."

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30. IF's ~ Pale

Here the finished illustration. For a larger view, visiting my website. Thanks!

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31. New Beginnings ~ NewNie!

It has been with great excitement and continuous prayers and more prayers that this day has come and I, along with so many others, are rejoicing that Stephanie Nielson is once again blogging, sharing her life and her incredible journey of survival, along with that of her husband Christian, who were recovering from critical burns after their plane crashed August 16th, 2008. As a mother, I was overcome when I heard this story and felt deeply moved to pray for their survival, which I did on a daily basis.

Over these past 5 months many have shown their love and support and offered prayers and assistance to this young couple, the parents of 4 small children, and to their families who rallied around them and cared for them and for their children until they could grow strong enough to return home. That time came and all of our prayers have been truly answered.

Stephanie "Nie Nie" and Christian "Mr." Nielson, welcome home! I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Visit nieniedialogues for further information.

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33. New, New New!

I am currently working on a user-friendly viewing version in Firefox. Thanks Hanna for your feedback! Updated version coming soon so please check back later.

A NEW website, A NEW YEAR!

What a great way to start the new year. I know it has been a while since I last posted; I've been busy working on my new website and planning new work projects which will be posted here and on the website when completed. Let me know what you think, I appreciate the feed back.

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34. Cindy Woods - Learning Daily

Cindy Woods, an amazingly talented artist, died on Friday, the 21st of November 2008. "Cin" as she called herself in her blog called "Learning Daily," sketched her daily adventures and the lives of those around her.

Cindy and I never met in person-but through the internet, exchanging emails and comments about each other's art work. I was so inspired by the illustrations and drawings she created and by the unspoken word in her work, derived from the end of her pencil or pen. She left such an amazing gift, that of herself and of her talent, and I will truly miss her. May she rest in peace.

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35. Blogger technical difficulties

Blogger is on the fritz again. It has resized all my pictures so my right side bar is down below. Hopefully it will right itself soon...so annoying!

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36. Before and After Kitchen Updates

Before here and here... The kitchen and dining area before had white walls and blue and burgundy accents with linoleum flooring.

Now the walls are a warm maple cream with deep berry brick curtains and black and cream accents.

The project hasn't been without it's problems, namely the finishing of the hardwood floors. We had problems applying the polyurethane with the applicator the manufacturer recommended and had to strip the two coats we applied. Husband K did all the work including all the sanding between coats. Tips for applying polyurethane: lightly sand floor before applying 2-3 coats by hand with a brush. Allow to dry more than 16-24 hours. Sand and reapply additional coats.

The light fixture we wanted for over the island didn't come in black so I sanded it and sprayed it black to match the new black chandelier.

All the hardware was gold and we replaced it with a burnished brass. The chandelier is black with gold brushwork.

It's hard to capture the color of the walls however they are a beautiful warm maple cream and we couldn't be happier with the way they turned out. K also upgraded all the baseboards and added new corner pieces throughout the main floor.

We just love the new hardware! We'll replace the faucet with a new black one as soon as we can find the one we want.

The flooring continues down the full length of the hall to the upper bedrooms and is just beautiful. We plan to change the countertops to granite or granite like in the new year and we'll replace all the appliances with stainless steel or possibly black, still undecided yet.

New blinds for the windows (for under the drapery) will be ordered and I'll swap out the china in the cabinet for the cranberry Wedgewood "Bramble" from one of the other rooms.

We found the table cloth but I am still not sure if I like it, the pattern is quite large, but it has black it in. My husband says one can never have too many table cloths so live with it, see if it grows on you and purchase new ones as you find them. (What woman wouldn't love to hear her husband say this! :) I may even have one custom made if I can find a fabric I like. We've been searching for two oil paintings for each side of the china cabinet but still haven't found the ones we want.

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37. Encouraging News ~ Answered Prayers!

Today I was so encourage to hear the news that Stephanie grows stronger every day and is slowly coming out of her medically induced coma. God has answered prayers and carried Stephanie and Christian in his arms every day since their plane went down on August 16, 2008 in St. John's Arizona, where they were both badly burned, Stephanie over 83 percent of her body, and Christian over 35 percent of his body. The pilot, Doug Kinneard was also badly burned over 90 percent of his body and died the next day. Please pray for the family he leaves behind, they continue to need our prayers too.

As we wait and pray and anxiously await news of their progress, we are encourage by articles of news about the couple posted here and here in the Arizona Republic. For more about Stephanie and Christian and their beautiful children, visit Stephanie's blog, Nie Nie Dialogues.

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38. October Days and Halloween Nights

Is this cat waiting for a huge spider?

Mums, lots and lots of beautiful mums!

The colors of this front porch are just delicious, don't you agree?

This home is a favorite for both my husband and I. Unfortunately I didn't get the photo I wanted but will try again when the lighting is better.

Some ghoulish twists...freakish!

More posts later on in the week, feel free to check back...

Enjoy more fun Fall Drive By's at Melissa's The Inspired Room.

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39. Strings

Illustration Friday~ Strings

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40. Sugary, Painting

Illustration Friday: Sugary

I sat and sketched this while K ran into the store for paint.

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41. "Air Your Laundry"

Last Friday night I attended the Big 'O AIGA "Air Your Laundry Judges Reception" and had the opportunity to hear Elizabeth Resnick, Associate Professor, Communication Design at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA, Ann Willoughby, Creative Director of Willoughby Design Group, and Von Glitschka, Illustrative Designer, Glitschka Studios, share their respective experiences and knowledge in the design industry. I really enjoyed Von Glitschka's presentation and met and talked with him afterwards. He's a very down to earth guy willing to share the good and the bad of an illustrative designer's profession. Von spoke about where his design inspiration comes from, producing images from his earliest childhood (he stated his mother saved everything) when at a very young age, he created a fake ID card so he could drive his Dad's car. Thankfully, it was an illustrative version of one and he was way too young to ever possibly use it!

I found Ann Willoughby's presentation so intriguing. She showed us photos of her journals and what objects and elements inspired her creatively. She stated she always wanted to build a barn and finally found one and had it built (moved, rebuilt and renovated) which is now used as a creative refuge and for client entertainment. Ann presented photos of an amazing complete brand development, identity and visuals, built from scratch of a shop called Feng-simply gorgeous!

Elizabeth Resnick is best known for the 3 major exhibitions she organized in the 1990's. Russell Mills Within/Without, Dutch Graphic Design and Makoto Saito: The Art of the Poster. I didn't connect with her presentation as much as I would have liked to as it was more about the life she lead up to her current position of Associate Professor. I would have enjoyed it more if she had shown more of her work. But that's not surprising as what I might be drawn to as an artist might not appeal to another.

Von, Ann, and Elizabeth judged the "Air Your Laundry " competition and the entrant's work will be on show at Hot Shops on Friday, November 7, 2008.

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42. "20 Little Things"

This bird thought he'd join his friends in the birdbath....

With the hardwood floors almost completed, it's just about time to paint the walls. The color is one I have never gravitated towards before however we are looking for something that will enhance the richness of the wood cabinets and hardwood floors. Currently the walls are white. We are looking for a golden shade with a hint of Tuscany flavor, not too bright, not too yellow, not too orange-muted, yet rich in tone. Ok, so what's left you say? Here are two color swatches. We tried the Laura Ashley Gold 3 but against these colors and the walls it actually looked like it fell more into the tan family. Our kitchen and dining area are small and both colors look suitable, even in a smaller area.

The cabinets and flooring are golden oak in color. The other color we thought of was a pale blue shade with a hint of turquoise (enhances the rich golden oak) however it might clash with our great room which is in a midtone muted evergreen shade.

What do you think? Your suggestions would be most helpful!

Melissa from The Inspired Room posted a list of "20 Little Things" that inspired her in Autumn. Since autumn is my favorite time of year, hear are my list of 20 little things:

1. Painting the kitchen and renovating (always autum projects)
2. Family gatherings
3. Crock pots of bubbly beef stew and fresh baked loaves of bread
4. Riding in an open topped convertible through Breads Hills, Michigan
5. Thick and cozy handmade sweaters
6. Teracott pots over flowing with Chrysanthemums
7. Paint chipped chairs and furniture
8. Hot Pumpkin pie
9. Candles scents of cinammon and berries
10. Thick warm blankets on a cold night
11. Gourds, squash and pumpkins
12. Fall festivals
13. A hot latte with a warm berry Stella
14. Flannel jackets and duck boots
15. Early morning mist
16. Apple cider
17. Bike rides around the lake, through the leaves
18. Knee high boots and skirts
19. Fresh fruit scones with marmalade
20. Fresh breezes through open windows!

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43. Hope and Thanksgiving

Every day is a day to give thanks. A little over a week ago I heard about Christian and Stephanie Nielson, a young couple who survived a tragic private plane crash in Eastern Arizona on August 16, 2008. A third person, Doug Kinneard, the flight instructor, was also on board, and later passed away at the hospital. Christian suffered burns over 35% of his body and Stephanie's burns cover over 83% of her body. They are both receiving treatment at the Maricopa Burn Unit in Arizona.

As a young wife and mother of 4 small children, Stephanie shared her positive attitude and perspective about her family life through her blog, Nie Nie Dialogues. Sister Courtney, is continuing to blog for Stephanie and Christian, throughout their long road to recovery on her own blog, C Jane Run.

As a mother, my heart immediately went out to them, wanting to take action, anything that would help them to survive, anything that would help lessen their suffering and bring them back to their once joyful lives with their children and families. What could I do??? I felt so moved to pray for them. I've been praying for them daily, finding myself praying for them several times a day. I believe God will answer all of our prayers for them.

Every moring and evening I check C Jane to look for posts of their progress and find hope.

Today Courtney wrote the most beautiful love story and one of thanksgiving. You must read it for yourself here on her September 18th, 2008 post "I Could Never Do It Justice."

Courtney has a delightful gift of writing and her posts are warm and full of love, hope, and encouragement. She is a new mum to her firstborn son "Chief." She writes about motherhood, hubby Chup and her newly grown family of 3 of her sister's 4 children. Sister Lucy is caring for the smallest child.

Christian's sister Alice posts her brother's progress on her own blog.

Stephanie is still in very critical and both she and Christian need our continued prayers and support.

If you would like to help you can do so here.

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44. Labor Day Project

We are in the midst of a new project- replacing our kitchen and hallway floor with hardwood. Last night I emptied the china cabinet out and today we move it and the appliances out so we could get at the underlayment. It was glued down so it took a chisel and a lot of man power (my man K) to get it off the floor. The hallway is carpeted so it shouldn't be a problem to remove. We really want to do more renovations in the kitchen but we have several projects on the go at the moment and the rest of it will have to wait until the others are finished.

Off to clean some walls for painting. Have a great holiday weekend!

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45. Hull & Roseville Pottery Collection

My SIL collects Hull pottery and I think some Roseville and these are just a few of her collection. Lovely aren't they? The shells remind me of our recent trip visiting B & NJ. We had such a GREAT time.

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46. "Gourdulicious" Fall Nesting

This week the crisp smell of fall is in the air! The weather is in the 70's and it's one of my most favorite times of year. Unfortunately, with my "nest" under construction, all of my fall decorations are packed away and cannot be reached. Not to be deterred, I collected some beautiful goodies to create a fall piece that I will post here soon.

When we lived in California I was introduce to gourd art. Gourds were in abundant supply, especially during the fall months. I became interested in them and my husband K soon followed. The two of us set off to find the most unique and interesting gourds we could find and still have about 50 in storage. We found this to be an intriguing three-dimensional art medium with endless possibilities. This piece sits above our fireplace. K and I love elk and I created this piece as a tribute to this magnificent animal. To create this design, I used a burning tool, stains and paint.

Over at The Inspired Room, Melissa has kicked off Fall Nesting Week, so if you are looking for inspirational ideas for fall projects, you'll find a list of fellow bloggers who have posted links to their ideas.
Another fall posting here.

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47. It Get's Prettier

Click on the photo above for a closer view....

Husband K worked all day prepping the floor and tonight was ready to cut the carpet out of the hallway...Yikes! Not that I doubt his talents for a moment, but once you cut the carpet in two, you are committed.

We had several funny conversations revolving around me picking out the boards tonight, so I could choose the colors I wanted next to each other, and he remarking that if I waited too long it would all be planked by the time I returned home from work tomorrow.

The kitchen floor, not pretty, but soon it will have a shiny new surface!

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48. Fall at Starbucks

This morning K and I headed to Starbucks. The air was cool and crisp and a heavy fog had settled in. Starbucks was packed with customers looking for a piping hot cup of coffee and a good newspaper to read or a friendly chat with a neighbor. Our favorite mugs were back on display and we quickly scooped up the last two and purchased them. They carry the signature Starbucks mermaid design in warm bronze and brown tones, my absolute favorite of all the Starbucks designs. Don't you just love them?

We have the taller version of this design which is great for a latte or mocha, but the shorter, more full bodied mugs are just the right size for a hot cup of chocolate. A warm respite after a busy afternoon of working on a mixture of projects.

We're making headway on the floors and are about 1/3 of the way done, yeah! Of course with any project, one leads to another and now we want to paint the kitchen. I think we'll need to take a life line and ask the audience for help with the color. I'll post photos at a later date and maybe you can help. Right now it is white and while I know this is a popular color, we need a change, even if it is a minute one. Please stay tuned!

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49. Hall Monitors

For those who asked for updates on our flooring project throughout the kitchen, dining area and hall, here are a few peeks. We're about 1/2 finished and they're is still so much to be done. For previous posts, see here and here.

Notice the "Hall Monitors" (remember them in school?) at the end of the hall. They're actually a pair of puppets on stands (I think from India), but please correct me if I am wrong. I love them and K and walk past them and pose them sometimes...hilarious. Above them an antique plate from Portugal that was my great aunt's, mother's, sister's, who was a nun. I know, stay with me now. Kat, this post is for you, thanks for your patience and all your help and I will post before and after's when we are done. I have to say it's really coming along beautifully!

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50. Fall Nesting Part 2

More fall nestings. While not the latest project I hinted about, this was a wreath I made for our door a few years back. I would do things differently now, like white wash the bird house but I like the rich rust color and just plan to leave it the way it is. Several parts I collected from trips through the park nearby. The birdhouse I purchase from Michaels I think. It came on a stand and I pulled the flat bottom part off and secured it into the vine and applied hot glue. More fall nestings at The Inspired Room.

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