Saturday, December 27, 2008

It was a quiet Christmas here, for the most part. DH drove in during a "dry slot" on Saturday the 20th. We've been having record-breaking snow, ice, and winds for this time of year. We got a foot of new snow the day before he arrived.
Love the way Doglet's got her tongue stuck out in this picture. It's hard work romping through such deep snow!

DD was preoccupied with her new group home housemates and their activities and didn't spend much time here with us. So we had lots of free time to do as we pleased and just enjoy being together. We treated ourselves to some yummy soaps and candles during a post-holiday sale at our favorite shop, The Iron Grate, in Fenton. Sadly, they don't have a website and I didn't think to take my camera but it's a real treasure. Then we had lunch at The French Laundry, which has become a must-do every time DH is home. Trying to enjoy our favorite things here as much as possible until moving day eventually arrives. Thanks to DH and my MIL, I am now well stocked on terrific books and magazines to help get my creative juices flowing after the first of the year.
Darcy got a plush new bed to ease her arthritic aches and pains, especially the leg she broke last year. She's always happy to pose for a picture!

Hope Christmas brought you some moments of peaceful joy and time with those you love, too. It's so easy to become "holidazed", as my friend Pam Yee puts it. I mostly avoided the trap this year, trying to keep things modest and refusing to procrastinate (most of the time). We smoked a standing rib roast for Christmas dinner, which was delish and something we will definitely do again...but only when the weather's warmer. (It's tough to keep the temperature in the smoker high enough when it's this cold.) I baked less than usual this year since it was just us but made our traditional favorites, Wedding Cookies, as well as a new recipe for Cranberry-Almond Rugelach, and came up with a terrific Cranberry Mincemeat Pie by modifying the instructions on the mincemeat jar. There's a local church that does a wonderful Christmas Eve service, so we always attend theirs, since our regular church doesn't have a Christmas service. This year they had a full orchestra in addition to the choir and we enjoyed it very much.

As usual, I didn't think to take many pictures. One of my goals for 2009 so stay tuned!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grateful Hearts

In spite of some early cold and snow, not to mention the challenges we've faced this year, we're thankful to be together, that we're healthy, and that DH has such a good job...even if it is 500 miles away. The heavy gray skies didn't dampen our enjoyment of our time together.

Love to our families and friends spread across the country.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

18th Birthday--Part II

Off to church in the morning, wearing her new Tinkerbell ensemble, then a little shopping to spend some of her gift cards before The Birthday Feast, which she chose to enjoy at Joe's Crab Shack this year. She devoured an appetizer of fried calamari, a bucket of three kinds of crab legs, corn on the cob, and coleslaw.

By the time the servers sang to her and brought this huge dessert she was just too full to be able to squeeze in more than a couple bites.

Later that afternoon we went to see The Secret Life of Bees, an especially touching story for girls like us with mother-issues. The film is visually beautiful and very family-friendly, with a compelling and informative subplot about the Civil Rights movement. We had an interesting conversation afterwards, comparing how things were during my childhood with the fact that our country has just elected our first African-American president.

All in all a fun and festive weekend, though we sure missed having DH here. Hope this is the beginning of a wonderful year for you, my sweet girl. Oh sweet young woman!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

18th Birthday--Part I

Dear Daughter is home on a long-weekend pass to celebrate her momentous birthday. Friday afternoon we had lunch out and did some shopping. Enjoyed a quiet evening at home watching TV and roughousing with the doglet.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to have our hair done. DD got caramel highlights and had a good trim. The hairdresser straightened her curly locks with a flat iron, too. Then we were off to the DMV to get her a state ID. Here she is with her new do...

Then it was home to bake her birthday treat. Since she doesn't like cake and her favorite dessert is apple pie, we decided to buck tradition this year. Warm homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream is far better than a big fingerful of frosting (that's all she ever eats of a birthday cake) any 'ol day!

While the pie was baking we called Dad and put him on speakerphone so he could listen in while DD opened presents. He sent her the world's largest musical card, which she used to torment the dog all afternoon. That evening we filled our tummies with pot roast and pie, then watched the charming move Penelope by the fire while wet snowflakes and sleet fell. Happy day-before-your-birthday, daughter o' mine!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Moving Sale

As I prepare for the move to a much smaller home (and presumably, smaller studio space) it's time to do some de-stashing. I've begun by marking down all the items in my Etsy shop

I'll be adding new things frequently so do check back and send friends. Thanks!

Yes, I'm a very bad blogger

My dear MIL pointed out the other day that I hadn't posted anything since July. I've been such an erratic blogger that I'm not sure anyone's still checking in here. Hello? <> Is this thing on?

My absence was due to (1) being in a bit of a funk, (2) adjusting to working full-time for a few weeks and (3) spending goo-gobs of time painting and fixing up the house after DH's employer declared we must list it ASAP before they'd extend his moving package. All that sanding, painting, etc. has led to some carpal tunnel-type symptoms which sorely limit the amount of time I can do stuff and having to get (and keep)the studio neat as a pin discourages art-making. But I did take a little time out around Labor Day to make this...

And this, featuring me at age 4, for a swap requiring the incorporation of our own photograph...

I do still carve out some time for my monthly potluck swap and local ATC club meeting so leave me a comment if you'd like to join the swap or arrange a one-on-one trade.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Now Selling on Etsy

Here's a sneak peek at some new items I just listed in my Etsy store.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Outward Bound

Finally made time to put together a couple of thank-you postcards. Had a play date with friends the other evening and we tried our hands at making Beryl Taylor's fabric paper, which comprises the background of the upper card. The lower one is just wet-into-wet watercolor that was later sprayed with spray webbing. They're both embellished with bits and bobs cut out from a sheet of fused plastic bags. Brushed on two coats of Golden's new Digital Ground medium for non-porous surfaces, then ran 'em through the old inkjet. Fun techniques!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

This month's Potluck swap

Since I hadn't posted any eye candy lately I scanned some of the cards from this month's swap before mailing them out this morning. These were made by several different people and are no longer available. But the swap will happen again at the end of this month. See details on the sidebar to your right.

I've been tagged!

Does this mean I'm "it"? I've always wanted to be an it-girl. My old friend Cheryl (wait, she's not old. We've just been friends a long time. Even though we've never actually met:-) Anyway, Cheryl, who blogs here, tagged me.

Tag Rules: Each player answers the questions below in a post on their blog. At the end of the post the player tags 4 new people by posting their blog address, then leaves each a comment letting them know they've been tagged. Notify the person who tagged you when you've posted your answers.

10 years ago... I'd recently quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom and was trying to decide whether to homeschool our special needs daughter. I spent a significant part of each day shuttling her to and from a special school on the other side of town and was just getting really addicted to online groups and paper arts. I was heavily into scrapbooking and card making back then. I think that's about when Cheryl and I "met", in a YahooGroup.

5 things on today's to do list:
1. Take Darcy to the vet for yet another liver function test
2. Repair and repaint the bathroom wall I wrecked while trying to put the light fixture back up on Saturday
3. Mail out June's potluck ATC swap
4. Balance the checkbook and pay bills
5. Watch the new season opener of The Closer tonight (opener of the closer? Hmmm, gonna have to think on that one.)

7/4 ADDENDUM: I had my dates screwed up. The Closer resumes on Monday the 14th.

Snacks I enjoy: Potato chips would always be my first choice if I let myself but I try to avoid them as much as possible. Next favorites would be (ripe) fresh fruit or almost any kind of nuts.

Things I would do if I was a millionaire: Build a compound on a quiet lakeshore somewhere in or near Texas with a house for us and 3-4 cottages on the property where my stepdad and elderly grandmother could come live and other relatives and friends could come and stay whenever and for as long as they liked. Be debt-free and save, save, save in order to stay that way and to be able to help all the folks we meet who need a hand.

Of course the house would have a bright and cheerful studio with built-in storage and running water, zoned for different types of projects. DD would need a place for a horse and DH would require a multi-media office (with regular visits from a professional organizer to keep it navigable).

Places I have lived: Texas (DFW area and Gulf Coast), Virginia, SoCal, Ohio, Tennessee, Sierra Nevadas of NorCal, Michigan

I'm tagging:
Vicci (Vicci, where ARE you?)

Most of my friends don't blog so I can't think of a fourth. Ahem...Maggie? Lorelei? Tammy, where's yours now?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Alphabet Soup

I now have letters after my name for the first time! Today I took and passed my first certification exam...woot woot! This one was only 2-1/2 hours and I don't remember how many questions. The next step is to take the big one...250 questions in 5-1/2 hours. So now I'm off to order a study guide and register for an exam date.

Marilyn M. Damschen, NCICS (National Certified Insurance and Coding Specialist)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Nutty Granny

I've been a fan of Janice Taylor, better known as Our Lady of Weight Loss, for quite some time. I so look forward to her weekly Kick in the Tush messages which include tips, recipes and encouragement. Janice's quirky sense of humor is wonderfully irreverent and her advice is always spot on and down to earth. And to top it off, she's artsy, too! Click here to check out the OLOWL site.

I submitted a recipe I'd come up with and was surprised and thrilled when Janice decided it jived (jove?) along with her topic of the week, nuts.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I loves my electricity!

Well, it turned out that over 350,000 people in the metro area were without power from the storm I wrote about in my last post. Ours was restored after about 48 hours and we were among the most fortunate. Many had no electricity for a week or slightly more. Apparently the failures, brown-outs and surges we dealt with while crews worked to repair the lines did some damage to both the fridge and the air conditioner, as both are giving off warning signs and sounds.

So, this is a very good time to be experiencing unusually cool weather. I am trying to be thankful for the things that are working and remembering what a pain it was to schlep all my water in by the gallon for the two days the well was out of commission. I'm grateful that flooding is not a risk here and glad to have a variety of places I can go to sit out the hottest periods of the day. Poor doglet spends long hours lying on the cool (but hard) tile floor and is either panting or sleeping at all times. Took her to the lake the other evening and she didn't hesitate to plow into the chilly water.Since we didn't do much except this weekend except prime and paint the newly renovated master bath, here's my meager photo offering for this post. The afternoon sun made the colors of my freshly-washed produce fairly glow. In spite of high prices at the pump and grocery store we're still fortunate to have one of the best food supplies in the world and I guess we all take it for granted. Good to remember what a blessing it is.

Monday, June 09, 2008

AWOL no more!

Greetings! Yes, it's really me. Sorry to have been away so long but life was happening in a big way lately. Now that I'm done with school (for the time being) and the first wave of major home renovations are nearing completion I can schedule many of my To-Do list tasks at my own convenience. One of those items is to get (and hopefully keep) the ol' blog up to speed, so keep an eye out for more posts in coming days.

We had a tornado touch down WAY too close yesterday afternoon, one of several that hit our area along with straight-line winds. We've been without power ever since so I am making this post from the public library, which has lights and computer access (there's a waiting list) but no A/C. Personally, I could go for 'puter and A/C with no lights but I guess those who've come for books might complain. We all have our priorities.

Guess we picked the right time (last week) to have our decrepit roof replaced. I had to collect a bunch of the neighbor's shingles from the yard last night. They estimate our winds were 75-80 mph for a brief period during the height of the storm and it rained buckets while the tornado sirens wailed on and on. Kidlet, doglet and I huddled in the basement until it passed and I've found no damage on our property so far.

Since my time allotment will end in 47 seconds I must close but I'll be back soon.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

It's Official...

On my 4th attempt and at the ripe old age of 46, I have finally earned my first college degree. Yesterday was graduation day and I gamely donned the awful polyester gown and mortarboard. Being as I attended a "career college" I had no fear of being the oldest student to graduate and DH and I thought it would be a good opportunity for DD to see what graduation is all about.
Here I am with one of my favorite instructors, Susan Miedzianowski. She gamely fielded my relentless questions and offered lots of support and encouragement during the past several semesters.

I worked really hard and managed to keep my grades high, earning some honor pins and finishing Summa Cum Laude. I intended to go on to earn a Bachelors degree in Health Information Management but have tabled those plans since I'm not confident I'll be in Michigan long enough to finish the program. Can't find a HIM program in the region of PA we're relocating to so it looks like I'll end up choosing another field of study. But at least I've finally finished one! Now if I can just find a job...
Our Nike and Adidas-only-wearing daughter surprised us by picking out a dress for the occasion. I thought she looked very feminine and grown up. (click photo to enlarge) But watching her walk in high heeled sandals reminds me of a baby giraffe, for some reason.
My precious friend Patrice sent these bee-you-tee-ful flowers for the occasion and my wonderful mother-in-law sent a box of enormous and decadent chocolate covered strawberries so it was a very fun weekend. And yes Margaret, we did go out for a nice dinner afterwards.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

More Signs of Spring

Although it's been extremely late in coming this year, spring has finally arrived! We have glossy new leaves on the trees and wonderful surprises such as this Polyphemus (Saturniid) moth I spotted on my way out to the mailbox. My attempts to find the best position from which to snap his picture must have disturbed him because he made a weak attempt to fly. He must have been near the end of his life as he hardly seemed to have the strength and appeared glad to land on my outstretched hand. After a couple more quick pics I helped him back onto the tree trunk. When I came out later to retrieve the mail he'd died and fallen off. I'm thankful to have seen it alive and still vibrantly colored.

When I was a girl in Texas I kept my eyes peeled for gorgeous Luna moths (another member of the Saturniid family), with their huge and luminous wings of palest celadon. I assume they were so named for their tendency to appear on moonlit nights, probably sipping nectar from night-blooming flowers. Another delightful surprise was the annual appearance of the tiny, almost fluorescnet-green tree frogs who climbed up the large plate glass windows of our house early each summer. Their underbellies and minute suction-cup feet were a lovely coral color and their calls provided background music to languid evenings spent trying to keep cool in the heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast.

I wonder if these and other unique animals still survive in that part of the country or if they've gone the way of the Horned Toad and succumbed to loss of habitat and pollution.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

C'mon Spring!

Today is "Gotcha Day", the day we commemorate DD moving in with us as a foster child. It's been 11 years now. We also celebrate Adoption Day, the anniversary of the day we legally became a "real" family. Gotcha Day causes mixed emotions, since it's a strong reminder of the dysfunction of her biological family so we try to keep it pretty low key. This year daughter, doglet and I took advantage of the mild temps and relatively sunny afternoon and visited a local park.
It's lovely to see the ice breaking up and melting. Darcy nearly drug us all into the water, she's so anxious for a true (i.e. wet) lake outing. Funny how something as insubstantial as a bit of water plant can radiate enough heat to speed up the melting around it.
We saw several crayfish exoskeletons like this in the shallows along the banks.

Monday, March 24, 2008


My aunt recently sent me this picture. It was taken in January, 1962 and I am the two-month-old baby. This was taken at my christening and my mother, Barbara Allen Coffee Mansee (and later, Merrell) is the lovely woman standing on the left. To the right is my grandmother, Jane Allen Shindler Coffee Crow, whom we called Mama Jane. Her mother, my great-grandmother, is holding me. Her name was Louise Ellen Osborne Shindler, Mama Louise to me. And seated on the right is my great-great-grandmother, Emily Allen Osborne, who was called Dam. Look at all those pearls!

I am very fortunate to have known and visited frequently with Mama Louise when I was a child and I enjoyed Mama Jane's presence in my life until she passed away several years ago. Dam died when I was still a toddler, so I have no memories of her. My mother was in and out of my life several times due to the roller coaster of mental illness and sadly, she died a few years ago at the early age of 62.

Dam's family lived in Georgia for many years but she somehow ended up in Hempstead, Texas. That's where my earliest memories of my mother's family are based. Mama Louise married a gentleman who emigrated from Austria, a brilliantly creative and charming man named John Thomas Shindler (most likely Schindler before arriving on U.S. soil). I spent two weeks every summer of my growing-up years in and around Hempstead, exploring Mama Louise and Pop's huge old house and dogging my male cousins and their friends, who had zero interest in including a girl in their adventures. So I was frequently the victim of their experiments and pranks (when they weren't hiding from me) and was once even tricked into the underground storm shelter where I spent a terrifying few minutes alone in the cool, dank darkness.

I cherish memories of the laundry room at Mama Louise's, which was a full-sized room where all the laundry was washed, dried on a complex indoor clothes line which could be raised and lowered (designed by Pop), then ironed. The room contained a second refrigerator where clothes dampened with water from an old bottle with a red sprinkler top were rolled up and stored until ironed. The fridge also held a highly-coveted store of pale green "pony" bottles of Coke which were always slightly frozen and gave blessed relief from the scorching Texas heat...when I was allowed to have one. Those bottles probably only held about 6 oz. and were doled out only when I'd been particularly different from today when kids are virtually raised on soft drinks and the customary size is ginormous. The only thing that could compare with one of Mama Louise's frosty Cokes was Blue Bell ice cream, which came from nearby Brenham or the locally-grown watermelons, torpedo-shaped, unbelievably sweet and juicy...nothing like the bland, fat melons available today. Amazingly, at the peak of the season, Hempstead melons sometimes sold 6 or 8 for a dollar back then! I sometimes wonder if I could find a melon that matched my childhood memory if I travelled to Hempstead one summer.

I think of these things every time I root around for special items to set around the house when I feel the need for some variety. I have so many old and pretty things that were passed down through the generations and I treasure them more for their ability to trigger such pleasant memories than for their aesthetic appeal. I think of stories I've been told of how Mama Louise scandalized the town by becoming one of the first women to get a driver's license. The town fathers cautioned Pop that he needed to speak to Louise about her reckless speed, said to be approaching 20 MPH. And I wish I could have been around when Pop's cotton gin still occupied the property behind their house. It was a large vacant lot when I was a child and prime hunting ground for wildflowers. Brandywine cups were elusive but my absolute favorites. (photo credit: Maria Bajema)
And back in those days "horny toads" were still plentiful, so toad hunting was another regular pasttime. (Actual name--Texas Horned Lizard.) Even though I never lived there, Hempstead somehow marked me with the strongest sense of place of any I've known. Not sure how that works but I'm glad to feel a connection to someplace in spite of all our moving around.

Creating my own spring

Being in mid-remodel, the house is perpetually covered in dust so wiping everything down is an every second or third day job. While I was at it this morning, I decided to rotate out some knick knacks and create a new vignette on my beloved old pine hutch. Because we had another 3 inches of snow Friday and are expecting a few more tomorrow, it's still a long way from spring-like here in SE Michigan but I assembled a bunch of pretty things I can feast my eyes on when I can no longer bear the sight of snow.

Since I'm such a dunce at photography and therefore ended up with an enormous band of shadow across the top of the picture, I piddled around with effects in Paint Shop until I got it to look a bit better. This one is called Brush Stroke. (Click to fully appreciate the effect.) More of the fab roses from DD front and center.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection Day!

Since DH has a presentation he must give at work Monday morning, he couldn't get home in time for Easter so it was just DD and me. She surprised me at the grocery store with this
bouquet of luscious bright pink roses so we set the table around their glory, using my great-grandmother's china and silver. To keep it from becoming too sweet or fussy I added some rustic Mexican glasses and a contemporary ceramic piece cast in a mold made from real leaves. Such a juicy green color! And, to keep the numbers odd, added my grandmother's old hand painted sugar bowl, probably by one of two spinster great-aunts called Duckie and Seal. (Most likely it was 'Cille but, to my young ears, they were then and always will be water creatures. I adored visits to their old house and wish I'd gotten to know them better.)

Hope you enjoyed a blessed Easter and were reminded of the promises of new life in Him who is risen and the annual wonder that is spring.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm ba-ack!

Sorry to be AWOL for so long. This semester got really tough the past few weeks and Darcy the Wonderdog got seriously ill a couple days after Cece died. She had a horrible reaction to a sulfa antibiotic and it began to kill her liver and almost killed her. Thank heavens she's almost fully recovered now but, after a week in doggie intensive care, it'll be a long time before our wallet recovers.

I took my last final exam of the semester on Saturday morning and am *still* waiting for grades. Academic standing at the end of winter semester determines my graduation status in June so I'm really anxious to find out where I am. DD acheived a milestone of her own last week so we celebrated her success and the end of my semester with a trip to the mall (yuck!) and nice dinner out. After some dog-nursing and a few household things, I immediately tackled some overdue projects.

Job one was to total up the funds raised February 15-March 15, which came to $361. Checks are going out to our two beneficiaries this morning. I want to thank everyone who has made a purchase or donation and to let you know that both women have been surprised, touched, and extremely appreciative of our help. And I have some great news to friend who was injured was granted an expedited disability determination and was approved, so limited but regular funds should start to arrive within a month or two! This was a major answer to prayer so thanks to all you prayer warriors, too. The February check was also a Godsend to her because her car had gone out of commission the week before and she had no idea when or how she'd be able to finance repairs. The total cost was within $2 of last month's check so she's once again got transportation.

Then I started on some projects that need doing. Here's the fabric postcard I made for the Cyber Fyber exhibit.
This thing was a real bear to photograph and this is the best one I could get. I call this piece "World's Ugliest Necktie" since that's where the base fabric came from. A few years ago when DH got a promotion to management and was being transferred to the corporate headquarters, his coworkers presented him with an assortment of ties to wear in his new position. (The branch office was beyond casual so this was a very tongue-in-cheek gesture.) To say these ties were awful is an understatement. Most of them went in the bin a while back but this one was so ugly and yet oddly interesting. So yesterday it was disassembled and ironed flat, then examined for promising sections.

The uppermost rectangle is a piece of a clear plastic report cover, fused to a piece of dyed Tyvek. Then I cut it down and stitched on tiny beads, then attached it to the copper mesh panel using gold thread. It's uneven surface and metallic colors made the thing nearly impossible to photograph.

If you aren't aware of the Cyber Fyber project, go here:

I am trading for postcard #117, which I already received. It's fab and I'm excited to be a part of this project. Hopefully we'll be able to attend the show this fall. Nothing like seeing your own work hanging in a gallery exhibit to seriously make your day!

Now off to finish some more overdue projects, most involving home repairs and painting. But I promise to post pics of anything fun I find time for between semesters:-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Meet me on the other side

Almost eight years ago we adopted this oddball cat CeCe from some dear friends who had to give her up. If you looked up "standoffish" in the dictionary, her picture would likely have been there. She did not want to be touched and appeared to need zero human interaction. This is Cece in November 2000, just after we brought her home.

Part of her disdain for us might have had someting to do with the fact that I immediately began to wean her off of canned food and put her on a diet. She was so heavy that carrying her (yowling)through two airport literally had me in pain for two days. She'd often go to sleep in DH's recliner, especially while it was still warm, wedging her big self in tightly between the arms.

Eventually CeCe grew to tolerate us all and in the past 3-4 years she has become especially loving with me, probably because I'm not only chief feeder and litterbox cleaner but also because I've nursed her through several health crises. So I was mostly just stressed when she had what I thought was just a flare of her chronic illness about a week ago. I've done little but take care of her between classes and assignments and we've been to the vet so many times I've lost track.

This morning I thought she was finally turning the corner and was once again on the road to recovery but shortly after that she suddenly collapsed and was obviously in trouble. I rushed her to the vet but it was soon clear that she could not recover enough to have any quality of life. We couldn't tell how much of her crying was from the normal anxiety of respiratory distress and how much was due to pain but I knew she was beyond miserable when she no longer purred. As difficult as it was, I knew there was only one viable choice. She has been such a trouper these past few days that even the vet cried while administering her final injection. I was fortunate to be able to say my goodbyes and cuddle her to the very end. DH and DD were not so lucky and I dread delivering this news. We will miss you sorely, Cece Louisa!

This is my favorite photo, taken when we lived in rural California and let her outside occasionally (she was declawed when we got her). She was nonetheless a masterful hunter, regularly presenting us with gifts of assorted lizards, large bugs, birds and various furry creatures. Usually they were dead but occasionally we'd get a bonus surprise! Watching her skill and patience was astounding. This picture was on the first really warm day of spring, when I haul out the flowerpots and uncover the deck furniture. She was obviously happy to get outside and soak up some sun and I just love her smug look, no doubt anticipating many happy adventures in the coming months.

Ceece, I hope it's always warm and sunny for you now and you're able to stalk lizards and birds to your heart's content while we anticipate a possible reunion on the other side of the bridge. xoxox

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Latest Fundraiser News

I mailed off checks to our two beneficiaries for $302.11 EACH...well beyond my goal! I got a very tearful phone call last night from one of the recipients. To say that she was touched and appreciative is an understatement. And the best part is, it was a complete surprise! She had no clue so that made it doubly fun.

My SINCEREST thanks go out to everyone who's made a purchase, donated cash, gift cards, or stuff for me to sell, and for all the encouraging messages and anxious inquiries. Because I know several people didn't have time to get something in, and because I still have a bunch of stuff in the Etsy shop, I'm going to continue the effort until further notice. PLEASE continue to send out links to my blog or shop and help me get the word out. I'll have a couple new things in the store soon, too...including a collaborative project!

I hope your Valentine's Day is a special one and that your heart is just aglow because you've helped brighten the day for two very special women.


And the heart goes to...

...Debby H from Ontario, Canada. Congrats, Debby and a very happy Valentine's Day, too.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Un-Shelved: An Altered Book Project

After school Saturday I met three of my artful girlfriends to tour the exhibits. We started out at Cranbrook where the most avant-garde items were on display, including books by two fellow members of Michigan Altered Book Artists, affectionately known as MIABA. ( somehow lost several images from my mem card so I can't show you everything but here are a few to give you a flavor.

This is the entrance to the exhibit at the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center where the bulk of the displays are set up.

My submission is on the back wall, far left. She's listed for sale in my Etsy shop if you'd like to see a closeup shot...see link on your right.

There's a link to the exhibit if you'd like more information. Show runs through February 24th. See next post for more pictures.

More UnShelved

Here are shots of some of the entries. Click images to enlarge. First two from the Forum Gallery at the Cranbrook Art Museum. Bottom two from the BBAC.

Many of the pages in this book had intricate cutting in the center of many of the pages. Because it was freely turning due to air currents I wasn't able to get a picture that does it justice. In the picture below I love how the shadow adds another dimension. Wish I could remember what this piece was called.

This guy is just downright amusing! Such clever use of so many different books. The head appears blurry because it's very 3-D. All the pages were cut into the profile of a face and the book is opened so they are completely fanned out.

Yes, this is a real live cactus.

Whoot whoot!

I'm so happy to tell you that the "Starving Artists" fundraiser has just surpassed the $600 point!!! Thanks, everyone and please continue to spread the word. I still have plenty of goodies up for sale (including some fairly recent additions) and will be adding more soon. So I'll send checks out in time for Valentine's Day but also plan to send another set in March.

I felt really tentative when this idea was rolling around in my head but now I'm so glad I took the chance. This success led me to have the courage to enter my assemblage doll in the UnShelved exhibit and it was accepted. I'm gettin' BOLD now so watch out! So what idea do YOU have that you're nervous to try? Please post a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Glad I took that call:-)

Caller ID, one of the small and underappreciated pleasures of life. I was sitting here slogging through a dull assignment for class when the phone rang and the display read "Caller Unknown". I normally don't answer those since they tend to be telemarketers or folks solicitating donations for various organizations but I picked up today because my sister's in the area on business and I thought it might be her.

I was delighted to hear a curator for the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center on the other end, telling me my assemblage doll called "Rooted in Literature" had been accepted for the Un-Shelved altered book exhibit! I'd stepped WAY outside my comfort zone to even submit anything and was totally prepared for a rejection, so this was actually a big surprise. The event runs Feb. 8-24 and you can go to for more information.

Now what in the world am I going to wear to the opening reception?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Have a heart

This is such a cool thing going on in Blog-land! I've joined this event along with a ton of other bloggers and will be giving away the little assemblage below on February 14th.... Click on "Have a Heart" to learn more about the project and see how YOU can join.

Here's my little offering.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on this post by midnight Feb. 13th. Be sure to include a blog or email address so I can contact you to arrange mailing. Spread the love!