Wednesday, October 31, 2012

my oh my oh my.....I am just rambling here....
I took these photos today for a dear friend Diane who has inspired me to get back into working on my journals. This one was started some three years ago. Back then I wanted a coffee table journal to hold some of my digital art pages Now my vision has changed. Sooooo, am I going to take a saw and cute it down to a size that I might like better? I have to think about it because not only do I have this one journal, oh nooo,
I have seven. Yes, SEVEN plus various notebook journals that were the rage then and inspired by Tangie. Those are less important though because they have lined paper and I decided I don't like lined paper. I want the real
....Little did I realize that such a big book would turn out to get too big - it feels like a ton of bricks when you lift it even now and I haven't even started yet. Anyway, they were started....and I put a lot of hours into it because I had a 'vision' then.

(double click to enlarge)

One thing is sure: I need to change the back's positively revolting....what was I thinking? really....

And no, the journal is FAR from finished. It still needs lots of ribbons, papers, artwork, embellishments and fancy things on the cover though I want to keep it classic. (not classy - I dislike that word, it's been used too often for too much).....anyway, what you see here is not the finished product but a very very rough idea of what I am aiming at. I will work on it soon and upload the new look as I go along.......
grrrrr, I definitely need to change the back cover.....what was I thinking???? Ok, I am repeating myself. Just pure shock.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I love old doors and windows - amongst other architectural embellishments, not only because it's old or history but because it makes me think of all the people having walking over the threshold. Just look how the indentation shows the many feet that have worn it down.

main entrance (photo not original, I played with HDR)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I really could not believe that my work was considered special. This was a page that I had designed in the beginning of 2009, not very long after I had fallen in love with digital art and Photoshop. Here is the link:!-POTW-April-14-09/page3&p=54192#post54192. It was made into a challenge for others to lift it. Here is the message that came to me along with a great gift certificate - I did not care about the gift but I treasured the fact that my work
had been recognized at one of the better digital scrapsites:
This week's pick is a lovely Vintage Layout, once you check it out you should look at the rest of her Gallery. I did, and it has me wanting to see many more, such great history behind those layouts! I chose this layout to spotlight out of all of them because of the very special feeling it gave me, such love and admiration there :-) Here is Sabina_Canada's "Mama and Me" layout:
My Mama and Me

and here is what I replied in the forum:
Michelle, thank you so much. I am still swallowing hard here and can't believe that you noticed my layout. I come from a site where layouts created with kits NOT from that site are not recognized. This is truly an honor because you are recognizing a layout that was created with designers from other sites and yet you like it enough to pick it for other words you appreciate talent (not mine, but in general) and you give credit and love when you see it, irregardless whether it was created with one of your designers or some others...that is more important to me. The realization of your open heart and your generosity in spirit is what made me so happy today, not the kit.
Scrapbookgraphics has shown generosity in spirit and that I find awesome.

Thank you with all my heart.

(by the way, all of my photos and digital pages are posted here in small format (i.e. max 200kb). Naturally, the ones that are printed hover around 10 MB in size and they are obviously much sharper and better).

Friday, October 26, 2012

this really says it all. I am sure we all live with regrets. I most certainly do and in spite of what good advice, books and articles say that you need to forgive yourself, it is a lot of 'intellectual nonsense' - the regrets stay with you for the rest of your life. It does not mean that you need to walk around with a long face and be depressed, it simply tells you that you could or should have done better. I know I did not let this happen with my mother and can say without any doubt: "I have done my very best'.....
I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye.....
(lyrics from the song: In the Living Years with
Mike and the Mechanics)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ten years ago I started writing the story of my father. Since he was one of five last prisoners of war the Red Cross was very helpful in helping me trace his wartime path.
The page below was created just recently and I have to admit I have improved since I first started writing about it all. But all the same, I decided to keep the journaled pages in their original format, simple and without much fuss.

this page is one of the earlier ones and obviously not as good but as time goes on, I
believe that at heart I am a writer more than a digital artist or scrapper. I have always
loved 'words' and it was of course the main reason for me studying in England.

(just a few of my digital pages - I get easily bored with the same theme..and who does not love Italy......)
Portofino, a popular tourist spot and ancient fishing village (first mentioned in 986) -  where we loved sitting outside simply enjoying people walking by or boats floating around.

One of the first pages I created some years ago but it's still one of my favorite ones. The butterfly is from a photo I took when visiting the Butterfly Conservatory here in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

We called it the "Klonaris House"

 On her recent trip to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island my daughter took a few shots of the places that we lived in. The ocean can be seen behind the house...

Continental Park

 behind the wall and the gate is a large swimming pool and  on the other side of the screened-in patio I used to have what is called in the South a 'Bahama Room'...filled with orchids that I collected  (very often sending my husband into the woods to climb up a tree and retrieve it for me) - a paradise in the truest sense to wake up to and tranquillity at night ...enjoying it with a glass of wine, of course....

what I really loved most of all was my Bahama Room because I love plants and would take an orchid and tie it to the bark of a tree with Spanish Moss. Finches and a canary would add their song and I was in bliss. The children loved my coffee table, constructed by myself out of half a wine barrel, topped with heavy plate glass and inside the barrel you could see miniture plants and tiny bridges all growing in a little soil and rocks like a miniature Botanical garden with tiny benches to rest on.

P.S. the photos are not great quality but considering that I never took a photo of our actual homes, these are better than none at all. I do have a few of us in the pool or me in a bikini but no way am I posting them here.....)

Monday, October 22, 2012 unexpected gift and greatly appreciated. Thank you so much
for the generous thought, dear friend. Their wilted petals will be
reminding me of our beautiful city 'Montreal'......

original photo 1
original photo 2

 Then I played with the photos and kept playing and cannot make up my mind which one I love best of all. It is amazing just how much fun I have with photo editing and applications.  (see below)




Sunday, October 21, 2012

and sometimes you wonder what life is all about

ok, kids! Laugh! we all need a giggle once in a while and trust me, I shall be posting some other dribble that will be more serious and definitely probably opinionated.
I hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

One of our favorite places to relax is Balls Falls, not far from where we live.


Friday, October 19, 2012

(please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors, I am not of English birth!
and I never use spellchecker. Hate the thing.)

I have been asked many times to post a date on my photos or identify who
is in one of my actual digital now I am going to explain why
I don't post dates on photos and why I don't always identify a person in a layout.

Unless I use a photo from the 1900s or the person is no longer living,
it's fine. I normally don't have a problem with it, but my children and recent
photos of  myself or family remain unnamed normally because all of us have
realized that anything online is not private. I would love to post photos of
my beloved grandchildren in my blog but would have to ask permission each
time and that really is a pain....Maybe what I will do perhaps is just to show
a page for a short while, and then remove it after a few days? a while? not
sure about it because it really sounds stupid. Lol. (this is for my kids, sweethearts!):
I have however a gallery at where I post
 digital pages that are more personal and remove them after a
 few days or weeks....please feel free to browse through my gallery there).....
I have an enormously huge problem about dating a photo. Dates have never
been my strong side....I even mix up my son's birthday with my youngest
daughter's because they were born one day apart in the same month, not to
mention all the other data I should be remembering since they were major
milestones in our lives...
Back to dating a photo.....
I have thousands and thousands of photos.....from having lived all over the
world and in 47 different houses or homes, it is a given. Many photos were
taken with a polaroid or when I would think of it, our Zeiss (Leica)
camera. The digital era had not started and computers did not exist during
most of my life....and I never EVER thought of taking a photo for just the
memories. It was just something we did. Travel and enjoy and assuming we
would see it again and again. In other words, shooting or snapping a photo
was done, but not with the purpose or importance that photographers or
people put on it now. It had no particular significance and we often did
not bother taking a camera, always assuming that we would revisit the place
More importantly and that is the biggy in this:
very few people realize just how much I have travelled. It was not just a holiday
once a year or a vacation even twice a was a lifestyle filled with
exploring our beautiful Mother Earth.
When my father returned from Russia after a ten year imprisonment (he was
one of seven last returning POW in 1950), he made it his mission to enjoy life.
Work hard and play hard. Every single weekend, he would take us to a corner
of Germany, Holland, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria....wherever he
wanted to go, we would go.
He could not stay home and I largely attribute this to the fact that he was a
prisoner during the best years of his life. By the time I was 18/19, I had seen
most of Western Europe.....I have seen the Alps, the Dolomites, and
the seas surrounding the European Continent.
My father was racing cars and working for Mercedes Benz, so we had advantages.
During my studies in England, I would return to Germany every three
months. My boss, Robert Ian Maxwell, the owner of Pergamon Press, took
a liking to me and enabled me to return home whenever I felt like it.
I gained experience in being totally independent when travelling, be it flying
by plane or taking the big boat with all the cars loaded into its hull.
The rest of my life is literally history. I married twice, both husbands having
the love of adventure in their blood and making the world their oyster.
I have to insert one important fact: I never liked taking a photo with a person
in it. It had to be pure i.e. landscape or buildings or whatever but not aimed
at either me, the children or my husband. I look through the lens as an
artist would look at a canvas, not wanting to spoil it for the sake of showing
where we were at the time - though I did take portraits of the children every
now and then.
When I say that I lived in so many places, it not only means that we lived
there. It was a glorified center point and we would be taking trips to
any country surrounding our center point. Some of the time my husband's
job took us to other countries, sometimes I would fly to Italy or wherever
I wanted to do my semi annual shopping. I have shopped in Switzerland,
England, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Germany and of course Italy, Canada
and the USA. Since one of my children needed medical attention I would
be flying half way across the world and often stop at places that I love for
their food or fashion...taking a few days to explore the city. The children
grew up with a cosmopolitan outlook, the world was open to them and I
fostered this sense of appreciation in their little minds.
In short, I would be boarding a plane on an average every three months
to fly a minimum of eight hours to reach a destination, no matter where we
were. And then usually another eight hours to fly elsewhere.
When I said in one of my emails that a place is just another dot on the map,
it was not meant that it had no significance. Of course not. How can it
not be significant when we all love to travel so much? But you learn to
differentiate and appreciate each place on its own merits, some more
memorable obviously than others, depending on personal perception and
Well, this has become a long story and it really all condenses into one thought:
if I were to leave this life right now, I would be deeply grateful for having been
given such blessed years. I have seen and lived more than most, and feel
totally humbled by it.
I have had it all....and could not ask for more.
(hence my second name 'Serenity'......because I am at peace even though life is still hectic!)

Until we meet again, au revoir, 'Auf Wiedersehen', fino a quando ci incontreremo di nuovo; jusqu'à ce que nous nous revoyions; indtil vi mødes igen;

created by Sabina, the title "Years Ago"....

I used a photo of myself here some twenty years ago when visiting my daughter in Freiburg, Bavaria, Germany right on the edge of the Black Forest. Freiburg dates back to the 12 century and is wellknown for one of the oldest universities. I loved sitting in the square nibbling on some German Fries which are served  differently there than we eat in Canada. No ketchup, but mayonaise...(the background in the photo is not part of my own original photo, but it's a very likened image of what Freiburg really looks like. I just took myself out of the original and placed my image into the square of the paper, lol.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

before I go too far, here is Odorico Panfili/Panfilo - my husband's ancestor and founder of the Panfili shipyard in Trieste (see the pictures and story of previous posting.

Odorico Panfili
Palazzo Panfili or Pamfilli, the name was changed also to Pamphili. The building still stands today and is part of Trieste's heritage.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I love these photos of my maternal grandparents. This photo was taken when they got engaged. My grandmother was 16 years old. They loved each other very much and when my grandfather died, she went to live with my mother and never married again. My grandmother was 55 years old when her husband died. (digital page created with Lorie Davison's 'Drifting Snowdreams' and lots of other goodies...)
my grandparents (maternal) in 1906

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

a total remake of a page I created a few years ago for my heritage book. My grandparents' house was bombed and totally destroyed here for the first time. A few months later their new home was razed to the ground too. And my grandfather died a few weeks later from cancer of the kidney. Such is fate.
The arrow indicates where we lived for a while - in a cellar of rough bricks, no
drywalls or finishing as they do here in Canada, just the rough foundation walls
with dirt flooring. There was no water and very little food....
Perhaps my experience as a child has left me with an understanding and great desire to help hunger. Until you have experienced hunger you really don't know what it is all about. Fear and hunger. The fear of bombs that dropped around me whilst my mother dragged me out of my cot into a shelter and me begging strangers on the street to help (of course they were busy running to a shelter themselves).....but this fear has stayed with me all of my life and if something scares me I am still unable to move. It paralizes me for those moments.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Niagara Falls seen from the hotel window......clarity is lacking but I am not a photographer. Just having fun. The glass is of course obscuring the view.

well, after a really busy week our youngest daughter had a surprise birthday party in Niagara Falls and she decided it would be 'Girls Night Out'. She
booked a lovely suite at the Marriott Fallsview for us. My little granddaughter decided she wanted to spend some time in her Nana's studio, so she got busy with papers, cutting out flowers, coloring and discussing with me art and display.....then we watched a movie and had lunch and by that time it was time to go to the hotel. Marinella had been on a wine tour but she came back to spend a little time with us. Time flies by when you are busy, Victoria wanted to eat chicken so we tried 'Swiss Chalet' but it was crowded, so we ended up at another chicken place (never again!). My escargots were tasteless and not garlic laced at all.
Then back to watch a movie and read a book. She reads beautifully stumbling over two or three big words like a name 'Soheil', I wouldn't have known that one either and another big word 'appreciate'....but she reads almost fluently and I am just hoping that she will eat up books the way we all do in our family. It was a great finale to a very busy week.
Thank you, both.


Friday, October 12, 2012

And the rest is history. I am getting bored and want to move on. So much to talk
about and so many thoughts going through my head. I am glad this is done because I know that even Marinella will enjoy this. All my children are fascinated with our
family history -  their roots. I still have a scan of Odorico to post and some photos I took when in Trieste.

In 1878 the family started erecting an imposing complex of three buildings on one of these plots, each comprising of a lower level and five higher floors in 1878, known as Palazzo Pamfilli. The impressive buildings are still in excellent condition and are a remarkable part of Trieste's history.

(Title Atti (Center of historical research in rovigno)
vol 22 published in Trieste and Rovigno 1992
total of 438 pages
the Pamfili chapter pages 62 - 93....)