As April approached I had a grand plan to blog each week under theme of autism awareness. Turns out the month got away from me. Here we are on the last day already. It's been busy, but oh so fulfilling. Thank you to our friends who have supported our new shop. 73 sales is pretty good for our launch month. We also had two commissions - just mailed the second one off today. I had a meeting with our DVR counselor this week. That's a state appointed person who tracks your progress in securing a job - she had referred us to two different agencies to assist with the process. As you know, after three years with no prospects we decided to go out on our own and build a business. She was very kind and went to bat for us with her supervisor to see if they could support us in any way - thanks, but we don't need anything. We got this. While I appreciated her effort, it ended up being a frustrating experience. Because I couldn't supply her with a tax ID and financial reports they regard our enterprise as a hobby, not employment,and have earmarked his file as a non-success. I left the meeting feeling deflated because they don't get it. Profit is not a goal. It's Purpose we are after. And Purpose we created. And Purpose fills our days and brings satisfaction and happiness. Who cares what the files say, we are doing it our way.
On launch day Sam received a bouquet of roses from our friend Janet - a sweet lady I only know through this blog and our email conversations. Thank you Janet - not only for making April 1st a very special day, but you've introduced us to a really fabulous enterprise: Roses for Autism. If you ever want to send roses, this is the place. Visit the site to learn more about their exceptional staff, HERE.
Just after Sam's birthday, he participated in a talent/fashion show at our high school with his peers. It was the most amazing evening seeing these special kids parade across the stage, and sing, and dance. Sam had a display of his cards with two other entrepreneurs; a friend who makes candles and air fresheners, and another artist who paints and illustrates. Super fun night and utterly heartwarming.
As I mentioned, in addition to painting cards, we were commissioned by friends to create special packages. Veering from our usual routine was something Sam took in stride but he can't wait to get back to painting next week. He whizzes through the labeling and packaging because he knows that once that is done he can get back to the easel.
Tomorrow is May. I remember making May Day offerings out of construction paper and filling with leftover Easter grass and a handful of treats to leave at the door of friends. Ring the bell, hang a surprise on the doorknob, and run! It was a tradition in my neighborhood that we continued with our kids. Anyone else do May Day cones or baskets?
What an honor to be invited to participate as a Guest Artist for The Documented Life Project. These girls have been inspiring artists for almost two years with their wonderful art and generous weekly challenge site. When Roben-Marie sent my assignment back in January I was thrilled. Stamps, Stencils & Masks are right up my alley. Not only do I love using retail products, but I also love to custom make all of these tools for making art. I have tutorials on both Stamp Carving and Stencil Cutting if the process is new to you or you want a refresher.
A few words about process....I love to work spontaneously, with no plan, no agenda. But I also love thinking about a project in specific detail, especially if I have an assignment. I make notes and some sketches, and try to discern what I want to express, or more importantly, what is channeling into my thoughts after being prompted with a subject. I love being immersed in the pre-project-thought-process as you give consideration to all the ways your ideas could be manifested. Here are my notes from January:
Last week I revisited the prompts, handcarved stamp and tapestry, and still found myself focused on a mental visual of the things I jotted down earlier in the year. Tapestry > foliage > trees > leaves > Autumn.
This is what I imagine when I think Tapestry. Woven, worn, rich. Lots of color, but a subtle range.
A word that kept repeating itself in my notes - Autumn. A strong influence - we are in full Fall colors here.... although most leaves are now on the ground. I am drawn in by the vibrant colors....especially the reds. I have a favorite quote that I think I will include. We'll see.
So how to interpret this through my own filters, with my own style? Make a few color selections and build a palette, then draw a few things that could be transferred to soft block and carved. Then start painting and see what happens.
The tree I carved is 4" with alot of intricate details so there may be an issue getting a good imprint on a page that has already been layered with gesso and acrylic. Going into this I knew that I wouldn't attempt to stamp the entire tree directly on the page. Through an experience of working on a project with a large (12" x 12") carving, I stumbled upon a trick that I like to rely on when applying an image to a page. Pre-paint loose paper (I used gessoed tissue paper) then stamp with black paint onto several sheets (paint on paint is better than ink on paint). Cut up all the "good" portions and splice together to recreate the image. It's like a paper quilt and makes the composition more interesting. Here is the piece where I learned my lesson of layering, 12" square framed collage painting made from a carved stamp:
My plan was to be tapestry-like but I ended up more quilt-like. This is a good example of how you can take inspiration from a prompt and have some loose intentions, then let the piece begin to work itself out while you are in-process.
I really admire these girls for launching their challenge site in 2014, then beginning again with weekly prompts for 2015. Having hosted my own monthly challenge site for six years I know how much work it is AND I know how much it means to get feedback. It's validating and encouraging. So be sure to chime in when you visit their site and offer your kind words.
Again, here is the link to The Documented Life Project: Art to the 5th Stop by and see what magic the hostesses have conjured up for this week's prompt.
I've said this before, I choose to celebrate my sister's life on our birthday, May 17. Then comes July 10, her departure for heaven, one of those dates on the calendar that weighs heavy and I wish we could skip over. To fend off the sorrow I revisit photos that make me happy...like the one below of Shannon with Fallon from July 1998. Fallon was not quite three. In the back you can see a young Peter, nearly eight, with my brother John. We were in Minnesota for the 4th of July and spent the day doing fun stuff with the whole family. Happy memories.
I haven't shown you my rose garden yet this year. Here are two sections showing about two thirds of the roses. They were late bloomers this year but when they did finally come out it was glorious. A sign of connection. Sam and I walk the neighborhood in the evenings and we always take a path to visit the local tribe of deer...another sign.
Tonight while I was alone in a store, this song came on. I was checking out and close to tears. Escaped to the car and it was on the radio. Another sign. Chasing Cars will always tug at my heart. I listened to it on my ipod repeatedly when at the hospital with her. It's such a sweet and gentle song. Every now and then I will hear it, and I know she's there. It's good to remember the things that make you smile in remembrance, but it's good to cry too. She mattered.
A page from my sister journal, April 2009. I was so thrilled to see my roses, after their first winter, come "bursting into life".
1972 - I remember this so clearly.....a sunny day at my grandparent's lake home. Two boxes, with matching wrappings from the department store were presented. Two floral broomstick sundresses - one too short, one too long. We probably had Welch's grape juice, Fritos, ham sandwiches, and birthday cake from the bakery in a fancy window box - eight candles for me, four for her. Within a few days we were likely at my other grandparent's lake home for the opening of fishing season. In jeans and hoodies, sitting in the boat with our little plastic rods, putting minnows on hooks and trolling for walleyes, or using worms to catch sunfish. Happy memories.
Last week I went home to Minnesota for my Grandmother's funeral. While it was definitely tearful, and she will be dearly missed, it was also, in a way, a celebration of her life and how present she was in all our lives. Born in 1913 as Mary Batchelder, grew up in Granite Falls, MN, attended University of Minnesota, married Fallon Kelly in 1935, had four children - Kitty, John (my dad), Anne, and Molly, who gave her 18 grandchildren, and they gave her more than thirty great grandchildren. In the last few weeks I've been filling a journal with stories of her, from my childhood until now. Lots of beautiful, sweet, funny, and sentimental memories. I smile as I think of them even this very minute. I've flipped through photos, both here and at my parents home, and even more memories flooded in. It's hard to think of her not being at the other end of the phone, or opposite me at the dining table, but it was her time, and we are grateful for a full, happy, healthy life she enjoyed.
After the funeral last Friday we had a family dinner with all the relatives (there were alot!) and there was encouraging chatter about sharing stories. You may not know this about me, but I am a total chicken when it comes to standing up in front of a crowd, even if they are loved ones. Several of my cousins got things started and confidently stood up to share a favorite memory or two. This one spoke, then that one. We laughed, we toasted. Dad spoke. Mom spoke. I squirmed in my seat, wondering which story to share, hoping I could muster the courage to join in, and refrain from crying before I finished. I wasn't sure I could do it. But I didn't want to miss the chance to say she mattered. That evening It became a running joke between cousins, as each took a turn, claiming they were the favorite grandchild. When I did leave the safety of my chair at the corner table, I managed to squeak out a few sentences before my throat clenched and the well of tears was ready to burst. I said that we each knew Grandma's qualities, which were many - including hunter, hostess, golfer, great listener, matriarch....but that she also knew everything about US. She *got* us. Each and every one of us, of every age. She knew what we were each about, what we were into, what was going on in our lives, because she was genuinely interested in even the smallest of details. For years she was sending me newspaper clippings of articles I would enjoy, she was the first person to take me to an art museum (Walker Art Center), she gave me my first book of poetry, ..... later she wanted to know what my latest project was, we'd exchange thoughts about books we'd read, she wanted to know what Graham was cooking, where Peter was working, what Sam was doing, what Fallon was studying. It was the same with all my cousins and their families. It occurred to me, after I sat down, that in addition to making the statement that she *got* us, that it was obvious I left out one important observation. I can't get a re-do, so I will finish my thoughts here. I can see now that the reason we each felt like we were the favorite grandchild, was because that was her gift. That connection of feeling important and special is what she gave us, and hopefully she felt in return. What a great life lesson. To make each person in your life - relative or friend, feel like they are your favorite. Thank you Grandma. I will try to live up to your example for the rest of my days.
Here's a small view into her life....
My last photo with her, August 2014. She lived to 102....we were so lucky!
Last week I received the new book by Joan Bess: Gelli Plate Printing: Mixed-Media Monoprinting Without a Press. It is fabulous, with easy-to-follow processes - I already have some new ideas for making textures on the gelli plate. As I wrote to Joan, I applaud the force she has become by infusing creative energy into this community with her genius invention, and the classy and stylish manner in which she presents many ideas on the blog, with the photos and video tutorials, and now this book! I recently scored the new small size gelli and can't wait to break it in - Joan makes it look so effortless, and it really is! Visit GelliArts.com and GelliArts.blogspot.com, and pick up the book at your local store or an Amazon. In addition to many techniques you'll want to try, the book has a guest gallery that displays how other artists are using the addictive printing process.
Also, just arrived is the newest issue of Somerset Studio. In my column, Make It Your Own, I write about taking some travel souvenirs and moving them from the keepsake box to the wall, so that they may be enjoyed every day. Are there any treasures you have tucked away that should move to your wall! What are you waiting for?
I'm prepping and packing to teach in San Diego next weekend. It's been ten years since I've visited California - looking forward to it!!
This is a long post.....visually loaded. I'm finally getting caught up on presenting all the terrific students and their work from the two Crowning Glories workshops back in May. I intended to do a montage of photos but we had so many, and my hand was ailing, so it was easier to take advantage of the photo albums here. I'm sorry it took so long to manage the uploads. These ladies created fabulous stuff! You can see the artists and their work from the first weekend here: Crowning Glories One. And the artists and their work from the second weekend here: Crowning Glories Two. (When you get to the albums you can click on the thumbnails to enlarge.)
Since Lynne and I are about to announce our next workshop for May 2015, I thought I better get the evidence from our recent one posted. Below you will find the work we did prior to the workshop.
Next up: our announcement for the workshops in May 2015!!
Late March I came down with a bad case of trigger finger on my right hand. For weeks I wore a brace to relieve the tendon, which helped with the clicking, but then it wouldn't straighten, and if it got bumped or pushed to full extension the pain was excrutiating. Finally, I met with a finger doctor and he gave me a cortisone injection. While I admit I initially regretted the decision as it was very painful and remained that way for several days, I can happily say that all symptoms have vanished (one month later) and I have a fully functioning finger. It feels so good to be uninhibited and no longer limited by my temporary ailment. If it should return I will scoot back over to get another shot sooner rather than later, but for now I'm watching my behavior with preventative measures. Let me say this: if you are on the fence about seeking care for a worn out body part, don't delay!
It's been six years since we began planting roses in remembrance of Shannon. While today's anniversary brings a tear, I am also filled with joy to have been blessed with such a sweet sister. I will never forget your arms wrapping around me when I needed it most, thank you. Here are two of the four walls of roses, and evidence of their rampant growth. I never imagined they'd grow taller than the fence! Reaching toward heaven.....xo
Fifty. Seems like a significant number doesn't it? Half a century. How did that happen? I have to say I loved my forties more than my thirties so I look forward to my fifties. Today I will enjoy being with my family, talking to loved ones, and we will all be remembering Shannon, and the special day we shared for forty years. She was born on my fourth birthday - a most precious gift to all of us. I'm a lucky girl. There are many roses on my table today from the florist - for Mother's Day, and for my birthday....red of course, but also pink. Perhaps the recent rain will prompt my the first rose bush blossom to open in celebration of Shannon, for they were all planted in her memory.
Here is a favorite from the collection of nearly-annual-dock photos. I love that her shoulders are raised in a fit of giggles. I can hear it when I listen really hard. Makes me smile. Happy Birthday to Us. Love you sweet sister.
It's May! One of my favorite months. In addition to all the special dates that mark up the calendar, it is when things really start to bloom in the yard. Today the lilacs opened up, and I found my first batch of four leaf clovers! Next week I may see a rose!
May also means the start of Workshop Season, beginning with the second annual event with my friend and teaching partner Lynne Perrella. Last weekend we hosted Crowning Glories and it was an outstanding class, with remarkable women. We met with lots of familiar faces and made a handful of new friends. I love the ripple effect that occurs, and the positive energy that grows, as we march forward on a project, picking up new tricks and techniques along the way because we are invested in learning, sharing, and elevating our process of creating. The enthusiasm was apparent, with each final outcome so personal and unique, as we set up an impromptu photoshoot to celebrate both the artist and their work. I will share at a later date as we want to keep it a surprise until we've completed the encore class next weekend. Thank you ladies for a memorable three days. Looking forward to more Crowning Glories on Friday.
In 2011, it was a thrill and honor to be invited by Mary Beth Shaw to join her Stencil Girl team of designers. Today, I am equally honored to introduce a new collection! This series of stencils was inspired by contemporary and traditional stained glass windows. The openings provide opportunity to fill with color or additional pattern. Use as a stencil with your favorite medium or as a template to guide layouts for collage and journaling. Scroll down to see some of the stuff I did with the large ones, then hop along to the SGP Design Team blogs to see their work with the smaller ones. I can't wait to see what they came up with, and thank them for participating!
SPECIAL DEAL: There is a promotional special available TODAY ONLY for all eight of the new stencils - $67 (savings of $17). Go to www.StencilGirlProducts.com
GIVEAWAY: There is a giveaway on StencilGirlTalk (the SGP blog, click HERE) for some of the new stencils. All comments on the hop are eligible for the giveaway. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win. Leave a comment here to be eligible, then visit the hop links and leave a comment there too.
EDIT: Giveaway will close on Friday, January 31st Sunday, February 2nd at 11:59PM Central Time.
CONGRATS to winners: Sue Chesley (large stencils), Beth Figiel (Small stencils). Thank you to everyone who came by to visit, leaving your comments, and for sharing the enthusiasm for the new series. Also, a special thanks to Maria for organizing the hop. That was fun!
Blog Hop Order (each link opens a new window)
It was a terrific Christmas and a nice few days of just enjoying family time. Today I'm catching up on loose ends, wrapping up a few deadlines, and planning to do some reading. A fabulous graphic book from Lynne looks amazing, a cool book of architect's libraries from Santa, and a handful of magazines are piled on the table. I've been hearing about Flow magazine (for paper lovers) from Lisa and Julie so I ordered from the Netherlands and they arrived in two days!
The Jan/Feb Somerset Studio arrived and like last year, Lynne and I collaborated on an article. The title of our workshop Crowning Glories is not meant to be literal or limiting, and we each presented different ways you could interpret the title. Lynne describes and illustrates how impressed she was at seeing pages on exhibit from The Persian Book of Kings. For my part of the article I took on a self-imposed challenge to incorporate faces, something I rarely do, and found inspiration from playing iPad Solitaire! Whether you're traveling to see something unique at a museum or gallery, or you're procrastinating on the couch while playing games, you can find new directions to influence your work.
I decided to leave my panels in black and white for the article, but I've been working additional pieces in color, which I will show you another time. This design style has become addicting and I can't stop making them. Here are the original four colorized in Photoshop.
And a reminder about our workshop, which is filling up! I think there is only one spot left in the first weekend before we start the waiting list, and a handful of spots left in the second weekend. If you are interested, email Lynne, lkperrella (at) aol (dot) com for the packet of details.
Lots of heat and rain means the clovers are reaching up from earth, wanting to find the sun. The lucky ones always manage to get noticed, at least by me. Evidence:
Something else that wants to get noticed....she always has to see what's going on, and is very much at home with us now. We took down the gate so Lucky has the full run of the house but she's never too far from any of us and we track her with the sound of her little green bell. I didn't think I could open my heart so swiftly and easily after Winston, but she's a charmer and has brought us so much joy.
I'm not sure if it's proper blogging etiquette to announce your own birthday. I can't recall what my practice had been prior to 2008, but I know on May 17th of that year I drew attention to it, and told the story that I share the birthdate with my sister Shannon. I made a post about us, flashing big birthday wishes for her, knowing she'd visit my blog from her hospital room. She turned 40 that year. It was her last birthday. We had forty birthdays together. And now I've had five without her. Five. When a loved one departs for heaven, you tend to mark the time by the hour, the day....then one week has gone by, then one month....you notice the date on the calender with every page you turn. The 10th. As time passes that number seems less significant. The day to honor is the day they were born. The day to celebrate is the one you were gifted by their presence on earth. And so today, the 17th, I have to call attention to my own birthday, because it was hers too.
Before 2008 my gardening experience was laughable. A few attempts of growing herbs or vegetables were pathetic. Sure, I potted flowers on the deck once...but then Graham took over and they fared much better. In July, five years ago, I planted a pink rose bush to honor Shannon. Then I planted a few more. I was chicken to cut off that first blooming rose, but learned that the more you cut, the more it grows. So now I have 21 rose bushes and that first one is 10 feet tall. I'm a rosarian. Who knew? I have an angel watching over my garden, I'm certain of it.
While I love discovering the first bloom each May, I also love looking deeper to see all the buds that are waiting to show off. So much life tucked in there. Maybe they will open up today, and wink at me, as a sign from her.
I've shown many pictures of the two of us together on this blog....here's one from the archives that you haven't seen yet. A glorious Spring afternoon, skiing in Aspen with my parents and our brother. I believe it was 1983 but I could be wrong. What I remember clearly was singing loudly on the chairlift together, and giggling. Look at the twinkling smile of hers, I bet she is thinking of that too. *blows kisses to the sky* Happy Birthday to US.
Above: two happy instructors following another wonderful weekend as we took on Far Away Places. Another enthusiastic group of artists met us in the generous studio space where we sprawled out and got messy for three full days of numerous creative projects. Some stellar work and special memories forged at our lovely venue. Oh, if we could just bottle up that energy and feed off it every day! We extend our thanks all the courageous voyagers and hope to meet you again, here or anywhere! Lynne and I had an utter blast and are already looking forward to next year, with lots of ideas for what that will entail. Stay tuned to our websites if you are interested in joining us - annoucement likely in just a few months. We need to catch our breath and soak in all the good vibes generated over these past two weekends.
Unfortunately, I never did the rounds with my camera on the first weekend, my apologies to the artists. Below are just some of the art pieces being made in the second weekend. Most students created three or more works of art - so fun to revisit the work spaces and busy hands through these photos!
Winner for the book giveaway: Diana Wilson!
Thanks to all who entered, and thanks to Julie for the generous offering.
Just back from Connecticut where Lynne and I hosted an enthusiastic and talented group of artists for the first edition of our workshop. This is the only evidence photo I have - so you'll have to believe me when I say it was an utterly delightful crew of travelers, a fantastic venue, and a very special experience to teach, learn, create, and explore together for three full days.
It was such a pleasure to meet new friends and reconnect with returning students. Thank you ladies, for a memorable weekend. It was such a treat to see each of you express yourself so beautifully with individual flare and finesse. Keep the momentum going!
We are looking forward to a repeat adventure next weekend! Plus, Lynne and I have already been conjuring up our agenda for next year! The question is: how do we top this? Ha! I'm cracking myself up because that statement might be hint for our preliminary plans. I will keep you posted as we flesh out the concept and prepare to announce the workshops for 2014.
The day is almost over, but the month has just begun. A very full schedule ahead. My lilacs are fragrant, bursting open yesterday. I found my first four leaf clover of the season. I didn't get a ding-dong and flower basket (like we did as kids on May Day) but the mailman did ring the bell to deliver a big package of merchandise with the new HIM cd!!! Mini-tour has started, I get to see them soon after a very long dry spell. Bags and bins are packed and ready for my departure tomorrow morning - to Far Away Places - a workshop with my friend Lynne. Looking forward to riding in the van with my band, not literally of course. A road trip is the perfect way to become immersed with a new album. I will report in on the weekend after I get back. The first batch of pre-orders from The Gothic Collection will go out tomorrow too. Thank you so much for the enthusiastic response. My manufacturers pulled off a fast turn around. Life is good!
The first video....
*waves, and blows kisses*
p.s. Gabriele, I got your lovely envelope, and clipping on the collection. I ordered it...should be here anyday. Thanks for thinking of me. It was a super fun thing to get in the mail. <3
I've been saying it for years....even had a ring made that says it: I'm a Lucky Girl. And now we have one! Yesterday we adopted a little female kitten. She is precious - still very shy and skittish as she gets used to our home, but she is very loving and a cuddler. We are crazy about her already. Her name is Lucky.
I didn't think I would ready for another cat this soon as we are still mourning our Winston. But one day when I was driving in the car, sobbing to myself as I was thinking about him, a black cat ran across the street and I almost hit it. Swerving over to the side of the road I said to myself, 'that was lucky'. And for some reason it felt like a sign that it was time to visit the shelters and see if we might fit with a new friends, and open our hearts and our home to another black cat. It's commonly known that black cats are the hardest to adopt out, maybe because people think they are bad luck? I've only had two cats and they are both black. I guess, like this bowl of jelly beans, the black ones get left behind. Lucky for me, I love the licorice, and I will gladly invite a black cat home. So with the help of the kind ladies of Second Chance for Animals, and the Franklin Township Animal Shelter, we brought home our girl. They think she was born sometime in March 2012, so we are claiming today as her birthday. Fits, right?
I haven't had time to mess around with graphics to create a St.Patrick's Day greeting for you, so I am pulling up the one from 2009. They say you have to make your own luck....done!
A departure from talking about loving art, to talking about the art of loving. On this calendar day when we honor and celebrate those we choose to love, I want to share our sweet boy, who gave us so much joy. It is a sorrowful time for us and I don't mean to bring down the day by sharing this, but want to ackowledge him, and that he matters. Blowing kisses to all of you, especially those who have embraced me at this time to share my grief in an attempt to divide it. Thank you. Loss is painful, but I loved loving him, and always will. I read a quote by Hilary Stantin Zunin, "The risk of love is loss, and the price for loss is grief, but the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love." Here's to us risk-takers, who love loving both people and the creatures who enrich our lives. Happy Valentine's Day.
The current issue of Somerset Studio is on the shelves. You'll see my friend Lynne and I each swapped our regular columns to collaborate on an article: Far Away Places. It's a subject we love and we enjoyed exploring it with words and visuals for the publication, and we are co-hosting two workshops in Connecticut this May on the same theme. It's going to be a wonderful experience to work together, and share our passion for making cool stuff with fellow creatives. Come away with us!
See the workshop description by clicking on the sidebar link or on navigation bar on top.
Visit Lynne's site to see more of her Far Away Places artwork, HERE.
I'm still wrapping. Are you? I thought I was on a good pace....numerous trips to the post office shipping gift packages and orders, nearly everything on the to-do lists is done but I'm still writing out cards, and still wrapping and baking....and tomorrow is Christmas Eve! No matter how much I try to be organized I am always down to the last minute with holiday preparation. I could ask for help, but that would take away the surprise and sneaky selections I've made as gifts. No, I am happy to be the chief elf. I am lucky to have that role. As I write out each gift tag I think about this great position I'm in to continue making Christmas a magical time - even though our kids are no longer little. It's the lights, the sparkle, the surprises, the LOVE....and tomorrow night at church we will pause, pray, and lift our voices in song. I'm rushing to beat the clock, but I'm grinning through it. As you enter into final-preparation-mode, like the rest of us, think about how lucky you are to be the magic-maker for your family.
I've mentioned this before - one of our family traditions is to collect souvenir spoons on our travels. Brought out each December, it is fun to remember places we've been together as we hang each spoon on the tree. This year we get to add a few new ones. I think this makes at least 6 from England, and now we have two from Italy. One purchased, one stolen (gasp!). If you sift through the box you'll see a newish one from New Orleans, an old one from Traverse City, several from Boston and Minnesota, and a special one from New York when the twin towers were still part of the skyline.
I would ask you to share with me some of your unusual holiday traditions....but you should be wrapping! We will talk about it another time.....for now, I'm raising a glass to toast you, the magic-makers.