Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas

Here are DD and Darcy Blue on Christmas morning, just before tearing into the gifts. I just put up these three itty bitty trees instead of the mammoth 10-footer that better fits the scale of this room to keep things simple. Well, that plus the fact that I can't wrangle the big tree in from the garage by myself. We have done the teddy bears every single Christmas since DD joined our family so they were required elements and the woodland Santa seemed to tie in nicely with all the other woodsy/rustic items. This theme seemed much more at home in our last place, up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California but we've held onto them because they remind us of our time there. We got the carved bear on one of our trips to Lake Tahoe.

Darcy has been eyeing her stocking for the past several days and has occasionally even stepped up on the hearth to try and give it a sniff. It's funny how she's able to remember that she gets fun things from it every year. She was very impatient to find out what goodies she had this time but DH only let her have them one at a time. Sorry she's so hard to see in these pictures.

Her favorites are always toys that squeak and, of course, things she can chew. Miss Kitty was camera-shy today but she's snugged up in her new kitty bed with a microwaveable buckwheat insert. Isn't that a great idea?

There was a very distinct horse theme to many of DD's gifts this year, including this western-style ultrasuede shirt in a horse print, a hatband, several horse figures, and even a Horsez 2 game for the PlayStation. My sweet sister sent a whole box of wonderful little gifts like this necklace and other girlie things which were so much fun to open.

It's been a very nice Christmas morning here, if a little quiet. We're always so aware of being a long way from our families at the holidays especially. We hope you're having a wonderful day with people (and pets!) dear to you.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A fond farewell

Thursday night the ATC club hosted by The Stamping Grounds in Royal Oak met for the last time. After 25 years in business, TSG is closing its doors this weekend. This has been my most favorite shop for artful rubber stamps and supplies since moving to Michigan and I've made some wonderful friends through the club.

Here are Dot, owner of The Stamping Grounds and Ms. Maggie, her right-hand woman. I'll miss the shop and all the great classes and ATC club meetings I've been able to attend. For our last get-together we enjoyed appetizers and desserts, chatted and then sang Christmas carols. Maggie brought her guitar and led the singing. A bittersweet occasion. Gals, please stay in touch!

It's beginning to look like That Time of Year

The three of us had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving at home. DH surprised me by agreeing to turn in early (he's a charter member of the Midnight Oil Burner's Brigade)and get up at dawn-thirty the day after to hit Kohls post-turkey sale. We thought we were so good rolling up to Kohls at 6am, only to find the parking lot of the entire shopping center SWARMING with cars and people. We were stunned to find that the 2 checkout lines ran around both side aisles and met at the back of the store.

Taking a deep gulp, each with a copy of our needy family's wish list in hand, we plowed into the crowd. It was so much fun! Everyone had a great attitude and there was lots of laughing and joking. When our arms were overloaded with stuff (not a shopping cart to be had at any price), DH agreed to take a stand in line while I continued to work down the list. He literally shuffled our mound of stuff along for about an hour and a half till it was finally our turn to check out.

Once we recovered from the shopping, DD & I got everything festively wrapped and tagged, then loaded it back in the car for delivery. Adopting a couple of needy individuals or a family has become one of our favorite family traditions, so we were especially glad DH started his new job in time to do so this year. What special traditions make it feel like Christmas for you?

Fire in the sky

This was one of those gorgeous late-fall sunsets we get up here. There were a few stormclouds off to the north so the contrast of the steely grey punched up the contrast.

This is looking off our back deck with the neighbor's house in the distance.

Back in the saddle

Yes, I know I'm a very erratic blogger. Sorry 'bout that. But priorities are important, too and blogging is fairly far down the list. But I'm trying to be a bit better. I have at least been making an effort to snap more pictures as I go along, and will then have posting sessions when time allows. So the posting dates may have no correlation to when the photo was taken, okay?

Lessee, I think my last post was around my birthday. Lemme look to see what the next picture is.

This was the scrumptious meal I made for my birthday. Fried oysters (my most favorite food in all the world) topped with a brown-butter panee of mushrooms, onions, garlic, spinach and white wine on top of mashed potatoes. I make fried food about twice a year so it was a very special treat, especially since you cannot get fried oysters within 500 miles of here. As they'd say back in my hometown, it was so good it make you wanna slap your mama!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Antique? Who you callin' antique?

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Serene Highness Lady Marilyn the Antique of Much Leering
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I saw this on a friend's blog & just had to go check it out for myself, since it's so wonderfully funny and whimsical. And the title it spat out for me seems quite apropos, being as it's my birthday this weekend. But I do take exception to that bit about antique!

I've been fighting off a serious case of the blues for the past couple of weeks. I was dreading my birthday since DH is now in PA for his new job, DD is STILL in the hospital, and my closest friend here just lost her job and is in no mood to celebrate. Another birthday all alone. (Well, okay, not alone exactly since Darcy the Wonderdog is not only here, but needs lots and lots of attention.) So I signed up to go volunteer for part of the day tomorrow at a distribution center for the needy. Nothing like giving stuff out to folks who really, really need & appreciate it to make one feel very blessed.

And then I got a real slap in the face yesterday morning when I learned that my precious little German grandmother in Texas has pancreatic cancer. The docs who operated on her at her local hospital took what they could, then closed her up & recommended taking her to MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston to see what they'd recommend. But first she must get back on her feet from this week's surgery and weigh her options.

I have cried so much the past couple of days and suddenly my little case of the blues over distant family and my self-absorption seem so trivial. I've been wondering what I'd do if I thought this might be my last birthday. Odd thing is, I'm not at all sure. But I think of Oma & wonder if she's thinking this coming holiday season might be her last. What would YOU do if you suspected your next birthday might be your last?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Poor Darcy!

Somehow or other Miss Darcy Blue managed to blow out her ACL last week, just as DH was getting ready to head for PA. Because it was a full rupture, the reconstructive surgery was MAJOR. Here she is the day after coming home.After a few days, the swelling is much improved and the Fentanyl patch (which was stapled to her skin...OUCH!) has been removed. She is on very close confinement for the next 8-16 weeks, depending on her recovery. She must walk on-leash even indoors and is only allowed outside for very brief potty breaks. I have to use a belly-band to help her down the 3 steps to outside and to cross the tiled floors and she can't go upstairs, to the basement, or jump onto her usual hangout on the couch, thus the glum expression.
This is how she spends most of her time when I'm home, alternating between sleeping and giving me poor-pitiful-dog looks. She does not understand why she has to stay in jail when I'm sleeping or at school. Even though I've had to cut her food portions in half, I can see that she's already gaining weight due to all this inactivity. Poor baby! Now who's going to keep all those pesky geese out of the yard?

Good news and bad news

Well, at long last DH has landed a wonderful new job. That's the good news. The bad part is, it's 500 miles away, at Three Mile Island, near Harrisburg, PA. So last Friday night we three went out for a farewell dinner at the wonderful French Laundry restaurant in nearby Fenton, MI. I made DD and DH squish together for a quick photo to mark the occasion.

Sweetie, we're really proud of your new position but we'll sure miss you! Can't wait to see you at Thanksgiving!

I just have to show you my adorable nephew and tell you how clever my little sister/his mom is. She MADE this Halloween costume out of a cardboard box! I think it's so creative and she did such an incredible job. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have such a cutie-patootie wearing the pants...square or not.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

An art-full event

My friend Linnet is once again hosting one of her amazing boutique art sales, this one just in time for holiday shopping. I can't think of a better place to find wonderfully unique not-from-the-mall gifts. If you go, please tell her you saw it here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Blaze of Glory

We had our first really cold night (mid-20's) last night and awoke to heavy frost this morning. As the sun came up and hit these trees across the backyard, the colors just glowed. I just love the way you can see the leaves in mid-fall from the trees! (Click photo to enlarge.) Sounds like we may see our first snowflakes early next week so I'm soaking up all the color I can, while I can.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fall Already

To celebrate the glorious weather and nip in the air, DH and I ventured out after our early morning walk for breakfast and a visit to a cider mill in nearby Franklin, MI today. Turns out, almost all the property around the mill has been sold off so it's far too crowded to have much scenic appeal and it was quite busy and expensive. However, it's always a treat to visit the tiny village of Franklin, which still manages to be scenic and charming. And because I well remember how scarce fall colors, not to mention cooler temps, can be in my childhood home along the Texas Gulf Coast, I'm posting a picture here for ya'll's enjoyment. Wish I could share a real fall treat from Michigan, the fantastic locally-grown Honey Crisp apples.

Here's some more gorgeous color. We're on a mission to visit every cider mill in the area because we've only made it to a handful in the three years we've been here. No telling where hubby's next job will lead us so gotta strike while the iron's hot. Errr...while the cider's fresh? No, make that while the doughnuts are hot. Warm apple doughnuts are good almost anywhere!
I cleared out my big pot o' color on the front porch yesterday and hauled it in for the winter. Now my little old apple cart is out but only has a bunch of Indian corn on it so far. Maybe we'll find a reasonably-priced pumpkin patch after church tomorrow.
Hope you're able to find some events or sights to mark the changing of the seasons wherever you are.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Two shows in September

If you're in this area, I hope to see you at one of the two events I'm participating in this month. The first is the 3rd annual
Art in the Garden, a collaborative show by my Feisty Chicks art group. It's on Saturday, 9/15 from 10am-4pm in the garden at 43359 Saal Rd. in Sterling Heights, MI 48313. (Just off Schoenherr and Canal, near the new Archiver's store.)

There will be a wide variety of art and jewelry on display and available for sale. We'll also have some demos and several artists at work throughout the day.

I will also have items available at the next semi-annual VOILA gallery sale. Here's a clickable flyer you can print with all the details. Linnet does a remarkable job of selecting diverse and well-made products in a wide variety of mediums. If you have any gift shopping to do, this is the place. Please tell her I sent you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Day Trip

A cold front blew in late last week, bringing very low humidity and wonderfully cool temps so we capitalized on the opportunity and scoped out a very budget-friendly destination and headed out Saturday morning. We drove to Midland, MI which is about 1-1/2 hrs. north to visit Dow Gardens. Here are a few images from the day.

Mr. Alden Dow was an architect who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. When he returned to Michigan in the late 1930's, he constructed the very contemporary home surrounded by water. He also designed a series of wonderfully sculptural bridges to the home and throughout the gardens. We hope to return and tour the home eventually.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Latest Project

The BadBabies group is in the process of making an alt-ABC's chunky book. I was assigned the letter "N" and the first off the wall N-word that came to mind was Nincompoop. And the first nincompoop that came to mind was....well, here...see for yourself.

This is the front. The image of Pee-Wee has a cool retro-style aqua and white spiral that didn't show up in my scan.

Now I just have to wait patienly until I get my completed ABC book in the mail from Idaho. I LOVE fatbooks!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Please visit my shop!

I've finally carved out the time and opened up an Etsy shop (online store). If you like to buy handmade, you'll LOVE Etsy. Scroll down to see some thumbnails and link on the right.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Michigan Lavender Festival

I will be participating in the festival, along with my fellow Feisty Art Chicks, July 20th & 21st. Those who took part last year simply raved about the scenic beauty, wonderful food and music, and overall atmosphere of the event. Looking forward to a memorable weekend. Stop by if you can. Here's a link for more info and photos:


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Another Link to help you pass the time


Stay tuned till the end and all will be revealed. Pretty amazing!

Step-by-step makeover

I've been making a serious effort to get my studio better organized during my semester break and have been tackling lots of roundtuit projects...you know, those jobs you say you'll do when you get around to it. I've accumulated quite a pile of instruction sheets, how-to's, tear sheets, class handouts, etc. that are much too dear to throw away but that I only use occasionally. I had a couple of nice binders from a previous business venture so I decided to overhaul them to hold all these assorted papers.

First I applied a medium coat of gesso and let dry well.

Once it was painted but before it was completely dry, I grabbed a couple of my favorite stamps. Using black StazOn, I stamped lightly in a random manner.

Then I reinked and stamped quite hard in other spots. The solvents in the ink pull up the tacky paint and leave a sort of ghost or negative image, such as the one in the upper right corner or the text image in the upper center.

Now for something dimensional...hmmmm. Oh! Last month, much to my amazement and delight, I won a drawing for some of Julie van Oosten's brand new line of chipboard products called Collections Elements. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to check them out.

The printed flashcards fit perfectly on the chipboard tags and I was impressed by the smooth and clean edges of the diecut shapes. Also popped out a couple of spiral flourishes and a frame, then went over everything with a quick coat of ivory paint.

Pretty eye-popping but I've always been a "More is mo' better" girl so I finished off by ironing on just a bit of silver transfer foil.

And here it is, all done and ready to hold a bunch of loose copies.

I really like Julie's products and showed them to my friends at The Stamping Grounds who hope to soon carry them in the shop. Here's a link to Julie's site: http://members.westnet.com.au/collections/index.html

If YOU decide to alter a binder, please send me a link. I'd love to have more ideas since I'm always repurposing them to house my collections of ATCs and other precious treasures.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A total waste of time...

...but what a blast! Dare you to leave in less than 5 minutes. Go here: http://www.mrpicassohead.com/create.html

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My review of the UHU Glue Roller

Okay, I've played with this nifty tool for a few days now. I LOVE the mechanics of this product. It's the best adhesive applicator I've tried to date. It operates perfectly every time, with no skipping or bunching and you need very little pressure to apply the adhesive so it would be great for those with arthritis or other limitations. I was glad to see that it's also refillable.

However, I am pretty disappointed with the actual adhesive itself, which is made up of tiny little sticky dots that dispense in a continuous line. It works just fine to adhere very smooth and lightweight papers but it wouldn't make a good initial bond on papers with high fiber content. Heavy papers came unstuck and the product wouldn't adhere to Fantasy Film at all. So I'd recommend this adhesive highly for use in office settings, as an envelope adhesive, or for projects involving only light, smooth papers. Might be great for giftwrapping...I'll try that next.

My guess is that, since this is a refillable product, it would be a simple matter to either improve the adhesive itself or else UHU will introduce another, higher-tack refill. It would be a shame to have developed such a great-performing applicator without a great adhesive for it to dispense.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Now here's a cool deal...


If you'll follow the link above, you can learn how to request a free sample of an UHU (of hot pink glue stick fame) adhesive product. I requested one on Tues. and here's what arrived on Fri.

Now I'm off to the studio to try it out. Stayed tuned for my product review.

Monday, April 09, 2007

My Next Venue

I'm once again flattered and excited to be showing some of my work at this upcoming event. Several of my fellow Feisty Chicks will also have work on display, as will my dear friend Patrice Pannill. Her beadwork is just exquisite!
The image will enlarge if you click on it but my scan is not very good due to the printed background. Email me if you need help with any of the details.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Thoughts on the month of March

Oh my...how did it get to be the end of March already? Someone please tell me that the passage of time will eventually slow down again. Remember when you were a kid, how slowly time seemed to pass? I wonder if it slows down again in old age? Hmmm......

I got a hilarious email the other day from my dear friend Janie, who sends me so many genuinely funny tidbits (Thanks, Janie!) Then I got thinking about the old "In like a lion, out like a lamb" saying about March. Somehow my brain made a lamb/sheep/March connection and I thought, "Hey, why not end the month with a good belly laugh?" So here goes...(If you're politically liberal, quit reading now.)

Many will recall that on July 8, 1947, witnesses claimed that an unidentified object with five aliens aboard crashed onto a sheep and cattle ranch just outside Roswell, New Mexico. This is a well-known incident that many say has long been covered up by the U.S. Air Force and the federal government.

However, what you may NOT know is that in the month of March 1948, exactly nine months after that historic event, the following people were born:

  • Albert Arnold Gore Jr.
  • Hillary Rodham
  • John F. Kerry
  • William Jefferson Clinton
  • Howard Dean
  • Nancy Pelosi
  • Dianne Feinstein
  • Charles E. Schumer
  • Barbara Boxer

See what happens when aliens breed with sheep? This piece of information clears up a lot of things.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What love looks like...

DH blazed a trail through the snow for Darcy Blue so she won't have to get snowballs (which quickly turn to ice) caught between the pads of her feet. Hope somebody shows you some love today, too.

Happy Valentine's Day!

(click images to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winter...at last!

It's been a long time comin' but we've finally gotten some true winter weather even if there's still very little snow. Today it's really cold (17 F. last time I checked) but the sun's been shining brilliantly since I got out of school this afternoon. I love the way it refracts on the ice that encases every single branch and glitters with color like a diamond! Photo above is the crabapple tree in from of the house. The picture below is looking across the back yard from the deck. The lake is behind those trees in the background. Click images to enlarge.

Little Treasures

Before stowing it all away until next year I snapped a couple pics of my little studio tree, decorated with ornaments and ATCs made by friends and topped with a hat I altered for the Feisty Chicks' Christmas party. The banner reads "...and a peacock in a pear tree".

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My latest tradeables

Here are a few more cards I made yesterday for Joyce's online swap. The center card is made on a piece of copper sheeting with a transparency overlay.
(all cards have been traded.)