There's a Buzz in my Ear

Last week we were experiencing negative temperatures as the polar vortex pressed down hard on us, leaving us with crunchy, hard snow, constant fires in the wood stove and 2 full days of school closures. Today, the sun is shining, my office window is open and I can hear a buzzing sound from a pesky fly in my ear just feet away. Crazy northeast weather, I suppose. I’ll gladly take this little teaser from Mother Nature, though, and am not complaining. Anytime I can turn the heater off and open windows and hear nature, however pesky it might be, more clearly is a good day.

Lately, we’ve had some Ah-mazing setting skies! I count them as good days, too! This one was from the weekend… and the colors were breathtaking! My iPhone 8 camera is pretty dang sweet, if I say so myself.

Sunset February 2

The girls’ school district originally sent out a 2-hour delayed start notice on Thursday. So, we all slept in a bit, and leisurely got ready for the day. How nice those delayed starts are, don’t you agree?! I much prefer that instead of the usual rush-rush, hustle-bustle mornings. I hadn’t checked my email yet that morning, so by the time I did and learned of the change in plans that the girls now had the whole day off, they were all set to go. I played it all serious faced and said to each one separately (with camera set to shutter their reactions), “I have to tell you something and I don’t want you to get upset, … (insert dramatic pause) … but… school is closed today.” HA! Worked like a charm! :) They totally weren’t expecting that one. High five, mommas!!

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Contrary to what you might believe based on their reactions from my “Gotcha” moment, these girls LOVE school!! They love their friends, their teachers, the structure and gathering new knowledge. I’ve often asked if I could homeschool them, but they won’t have it. They kept themselves busy creating during their days off and made these puppets to act out new plays with! Emilia has discovered the incredible benefits of hot glue guns, along with the cons of unfavorable blisters. ugh. These puppets were worth it, wouldn’t you agree?!

Sophie and Annie the puppets

This past weekend we celebrated Kurt’s mom, Dorothy’s (aka Grandmom), 89th birthday!! She’s been living in assisted care for over a year and our visits with her are getting more and more difficult, as her mind slowly fades away to the horrible disease of dementia. We had a nice visit with her on Sunday. There was a musician playing his acoustic guitar and singing some of our favorites to the residents. He even personally serenaded Dorothy with “Happy Birthday!” as we all sang along. It was a sweet treat with our beloved Mom/Grandmom. We are so thankful to have her and for the million ways she continues to bless us, daily. She’s a Peach.

The girls with Grandmom Celebrating 89 birthdays

What’s been happening in your corner of the universe? How’s your weather? I’m thankful you took the time to stop by and for your friendship. :) Happy February to you!! Wishing you ease and joy in all of your days. xo

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january's nest

The weeks following the holidays and December’s festivities leading into a brand new 12 months, new chapters awaiting to be discovered leave me feeling like a nestling in my warm home, making preparations to soar into the new year! It’s a time of renewal and cleansing, as I organize closets, drawers, filing cabinets and make my dream lists of what the year ahead may transpire - some are in my control, while others I leave up to the Universe to take hold, guide and make manifest. It’s possibly one of my most favorite times of the year. I’m great at dreaming up new schemes - just ask Kurt!! (;

the january light

I’ve been on a Facebook cleanse, as a friend of mine calls it. I tiptoed my way back in after taking a full 2 months of “deactivation” and reactivated my personal account a week ago, but I must tell you, I’m not really “there.” I apologize if I’ve missed the latest news that my friend connections have posted within the site, however, I’ve found that my mental health and creative life was suffering — actually, I only realized it after taking the break. It was much needed. I do love Instagram though! Please connect with me there if you haven’t already! So… please, fill me in, friends. Let me know how things are going with you!! You all know how much I love your comments!

Emilia's Art Studio

I’ve put my girls on a cleanse also. The minecrafting, youtube watching, pinterest pinning, and anything unrelated to homework has been put on pause. I noticed Alanna writing again; Emilia is creating up a storm (quite literally a STORM - and I go in to her new art studio space to scraps of paper, glitter, pens, markers, colored pencils galore!! - insert my scary face!!)! Alanna has always been a book worm, but she’s been more so while on the internet fast. They are making their plans for when the break is over as they prepare to make videos for their youtube channel, including stop animation. But, in the meantime, I think they’ve gained a new appreciation for their creative selves.

the mill property

The girls and I took an afternoon and made our way to a local favorite, The Mill Property Antiques. January is a great time to find good deals while treasure hunting within their brick and mortar walls. I love to find unique gifts to give while rediscovering the past nostalgia of collectibles that are a plethora here!! Although, there are new, antique inspired goodies here that are equally rare finds! Plus, it’s just plain fun to browse the booths!

the mill property
the mill property
the mill property

I added some vintage finds, and not-so-vintage items to a happy house-warming package I sent to my Chelsea and her partner, Sara, as they settle into their new home in Craig, Colorado. I’m so dang proud of the two of them!! Talk about brave girls - they surely are! We’re counting down the days until we visit them!

the mill property

I’ve been dreaming (there I go again!) of painting an entire wall with chalkboard paint for YEARS! Well, we did it!! We’re calling it our “Welcome Wall.” It just happens to be the wall you first see when you enter our home. Perfect! We’ve been having so much fun with it.

the Welcome Wall

I’m in the process of developing plans to expand on my summer program for girls ages 7 and older, to include year round art activities in our studio space! We’re set to launch this new idea into life this February with a Pizza & Paint Night on Saturday, Feb 16, just in time for Valentine’s Day! The girls will be making their own personal size pizzas (rolling out the dough and all!) then we’ll paint a Valentine’s inspired design on 11x14” stretched canvasses! This is bound to be a memorable night together with my hive of Busy Bee girls!

There will be more art nights and days coming up this year to keep our girls buzzing along together in a safe, creative space where they can grow their beautiful minds, and keep their hands busy making art. A calendar of the spring events will be coming up via my newsletter. Have you signed on yet? If not, click here to subscribe. Special discounts apply for our alumnae of girls.

Alanna outlined Emilia (:

Alanna outlined Emilia (:

Emilia outlined Alanna

Emilia outlined Alanna

The Busy Bees Summer Camp calendar will be announced on Friday, February 1. I’m loving all the positive responses to the ART studio and for your warm encouragement and friendship. It’s going to be loads of fun and Busy!!! (: Check out the new page I added to my website for a preview of what’s to come: Busy Bee Girls

Please let me know how you’re settling into the new year. What’s one thing you’re dreaming of? What’s on your agenda to create? I’d love to hear from you! xo Wishing you ease and joy in your day.

with gratitude, Barb

an Earl Grey day

Happy NEW YEAR to you, my friends and family, near and far!!!  How’s your month one of 2019?  You all know me, I absolutely adore a “blank page” to write and create on and a new year’s the perfect opportunity to do just that!  How were your holidays? The holiday season is a festive, joyous blur of activity to celebrate and we had a wonderful time with our family and friends.  I hope the same was true for you.  

There’s so much to share with you! But before things get revved up with all the newness a fresh year brings, I thought it’d be fun to recap the past couple of months.  Plus, I just love having the time to look through images I’ve created with client-friends and then share with you.  So, here we go… photo highlights from November and December. 

In November, I ran a fundraising event for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with the kids in mind.  The theme was “Milk-n-Cookies in Bed” with plenty of monkeys jumping, playing and, of course, eating cookies in bed.  It was a sweet success!! (:  We raised $270 for CHOP’s “Children’s Fund” in one day with the many families that came out to join me in my studio.  I loved it and had a blast with the kiddos!!  

just some of the many cuties that came to our “Milk-n-Cookies in Bed” fundraiser for the internationally acclaimed Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

just some of the many cuties that came to our “Milk-n-Cookies in Bed” fundraiser for the internationally acclaimed Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

I hosted “Home for the Holidays” portrait sessions for families in my studio during Thanksgiving weekend and the following as well. I decorated the studio in a rustic, simple old-fashioned style of Christmas reminiscent of something my grandparents may have experienced as children. It was delightful! Speaking of grandparents, I utilized a rocking horse that my wonderfully, exceptionally talented wood-genius-working grandfather had made for my oldest daughter, Chelsea, when she was about one. The little ones loved it so, so much!! What a gift he gave and I’ll forever cherish it.

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

I invited and encouraged families to bring their fur-babies into the studio, too! Why not?! They are part of the family and we had SO much fun with their antics and playfulness. Just look at these cuties that brought extra smiles my way!

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

~ Holiday Portraits in Studio ~

There were outdoor, on-location portrait sessions with families in November. We lucked out with nice weather. Yay! And there were so many belly laughs, smiles and moments caught on digital pixels that I’ll always treasure! (:

~ on-location at French Creek State Park, family sessions ~

~ on-location at French Creek State Park, family sessions ~

Here’s a “Before and After” photo edit that I created with the intention of sharing an entire post about the value of hiring a professional photographer, yadda-yadda-yadda… but, well, just didn’t find a moment to sit down and prepare it properly like I had wanted. So, I’ll share it here instead. I will say, though, that yes, it is in your best interest to hire a professional for any job, especially photography. (; Can you see the difference in this SOOC (straight out of camera) and the edited image?!?! Plus, I adore these sweet faces!

~ on-location at French Creek State Park, family sessions ~

~ on-location at French Creek State Park, family sessions ~

Did I hear someone say “magical?!” We made some happen on this shoot!! What House of Hogwarts have you been sorted into? Here’s a fellow Ravenclaw sister stirring her bubbly brew.

~ on-location at French Creek State Park, family sessions ~

~ on-location at French Creek State Park, family sessions ~

I did some work for a corporate client of mine, the Keystone Villa at Douglassville (retirement community) who needed marketing material for the holidays. I thoroughly enjoy the times I spend at any of the Villa Properties.

~ Business Marketing Images for the Keystone Villa of Douglassville ~

~ Business Marketing Images for the Keystone Villa of Douglassville ~

This couple has been married for 60 years and have 9 children and many grandchildren! They were a complete joy to photograph!!

~ Business Marketing Images for the Keystone Villa of Douglassville ~

~ Business Marketing Images for the Keystone Villa of Douglassville ~

You may remember last winter when I interviewed and photographed Ashley Feiler, a super bright, thespian-loving student at Wilson High School, for my Year of the Girl personal project. When they contacted me to make a plan for family photos - because their “Papa” said that was all he wanted as his Christmas present while visiting from Kansas City - well, I was over the moon with happiness to oblige!! We made plans weeks in advance for our photo date so we had no idea if the upcoming December weather would cooperate or not. Mother Nature granted us a reprieve from all the cold rain we’ve been drenched with and graced us with unseasonably mild temps which felt like it was meant just for us! How delightful they were!

~ on-location at Reading Public Museum, family session ~

~ on-location at Reading Public Museum, family session ~

More delights, yes please!! This Breakfast with Santa morning at Robeson Lutheran Church was such an immense JOY for me! To see the magic of Christmas and Santa come alive for the kids was priceless. Their reactions and interactions (and sometimes tears) with Mr. & Mrs. Claus was incredibly fun for me! And it was all for a great cause, too. The perfect recipe!

~ Breakfast with Santa ~ Fundraising event for Robeson Lutheran Preschool

~ Breakfast with Santa ~ Fundraising event for Robeson Lutheran Preschool

I appreciate your kind support and for stopping by the blog. I hope you’ve been sipping on hot cups of tea, staying warm and cozy, dreaming of the year ahead and how to make the next steps toward creating memories and fun! Cheers to your success, health and happiness in 2019 and beyond!!

With gratitude, Barb Liszcz