Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Heads or Tails: Gaurd

Heads or Tails is a weekly meme hosted by Skittles. This is my first week participating.

The prompt for today is: Guard

You can easily see who the guard is around here - Tucker, our Corgi-mix - mixed with what is the million dollar question! When he first came to live with us, we thought he might not be able to bark because we never heard him make a sound for several months. We taught him to "speak" for treats, but he still didn't really bark. Then he made a "hello" kind of howl one day when we came home. We got pretty excited and made all over him about it. Since then, he's been barking. Not a lot - mostly just when UPS or FedEx or the garbage trucks come by. I guess his previous owners must have taught him to never bark and once he realized that we weren't going to fuss if he did, he decided it was okay. We love hearing his special "hello" bark when he's happy to see someone.

Here he is guarding the house.

And he's not going to let anyone get my rusty wabbit!

Don't even think about touching this car!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun Monday - Why Blog

The hostess this week is BeeDancer who has given us this assignment:

I'm relatively new to blogging, & I'm sure this has come up before, but I'd really like to know WHY you blog. Tell me how you got started or why you got started and why you keep it up. Plus there's a photo requirement: Post a picture of the one person/place/thing that most symbolizes the town or area where you live.

Why do I blog? Well, this is what I wrote in my first post on this blog:

It seems that everyone has a blog these days, so I thought I'd get myself one. I tried this before, but I wasn't very good at keeping up with it. I posted now and then. I had good intentions but time seems to get away from me. But I plan to do better with this one - really! When I started the last one, I was going to use it mainly to post pictures of artwork, but this time I want this to be a place to share my thoughts, as well. Not that anyone is interested, but I wanted a place to write them besides my ratty notebook. I've found that the thing about reading other people's blogs is that I seem to have a lot in common with the writers. So many times I find myself saying, "oh yeah, I've felt that way." or "I remember that." We're all just cruising along in this life, having similar experiences, and maybe, just maybe, we can share something along the way. I've gained some things from reading others' musings, and I hope that someone may read something here one day that may help them along, or maybe give them a little chuckle.

I'm still blogging along for pretty much the same reasons. Some days, I post some art, some days I've posted things that read more like a journal, some days I'm dry and can't think of anything so I don't do anything.

I enjoy playing with the look of my blog, adding stuff, taking away stuff. I keep looking at other bloghosts because sometimes blogger drives me nuts. I really enjoy reading other blogs and I spend way too much time doing it!

Now for part 2, the photo that most symbolizes my hometown, Hillsborough, NC. This is a photo taken in front of the court house during a Last Friday event. People enjoying music and each other.

There are more photos of Hillsborough events here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Metal Form Folding

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop at the ArtCenter in Carrboro, NC. The workshop was taught by John Fetvedt, on Forging and Folding Metal. It's a good thing that the course description only said we were going to be hammering metal, and did not say one thing about torches, because I would not have signed up! There have been other classes I have elected not to take because torches were involved. I had these pictures of me and torches and buildings on fire...

I'm glad that the brochure gave an incomplete description because once I tried the torch a couple of times, it wasn't as bad as I had feared. I didn't burn anyone or any buildings. whew! I'm even considering purchasing my own torch now. I haven't told RJ yet. Wonder what he'll say when he comes home from one of his business trips to find a tank and torch sitting in the garage? Do you think our home owner's will go up? Maybe I'll have to make a place outside for my torching?

I'm so glad that I didn't miss taking this workshop. I couldn't believe what you can do to metal just by folding it, hitting it with a hammer, and heating it. Of course, it depends on how you fold it, where you hammer it, how many times you heat it, etc... But some truly amazing things happen. We worked with copper in our workshop and I hope to have a chance to apply these techniques to other metals, especially silver.

Here are a few of my pieces from the workshop:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

PhotoHunt of the Week: Blue

The theme of the week is BLUE. Well this was the easiest week yet. Because everyone knows that BLUE means only one thing: Carolina Tarheels!!

We have a saying around here - "If God is not a Tarheel, why is the sky Carolina blue?" Just look at the sky in this photo of the Old Well on UNC's campus - is that not proof?

And Carolina fans love their blue - they fill every arena for every sport with Carolina blue.

Go Heels!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

PhotoHunt of the Week: Family

The theme of the week is: Family.

This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. My first choices were photos of my son and husband, but I thought that was so typical. So I thought about what family means to me besides my husband and my son. It means many things - my in-laws are family to me. And, of course, my brother and sister are family, and I have some friends that feel like family. But deep down, when I think of family and home, I think of these people.

This is my family - my parents, sister, brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. The photos were taken in my aunt and uncle's backyard in Bladenboro, N.C. Our family has changed since these photos in 1966. Sadly, our grandparents and our parents are no longer with us. Most of us have married and had children, and some of our children have had children. But, we have a lot of memories of times spent together that will never be forgotten. And that's what family is all about - the fond memories that warm your heart.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

PhotoHunt of the Week: Lazy

The theme this week is Lazy. I looked through my photos and didn't find anything that I thought fit the bill. After reading a beautiful post by Swampwitch, and since I've been wanting to do my own post to honor some special people as October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, I've decided to combine the PhotoHunt and that post into one - the only thing lazy about this post is me.

I really admired the way Swampwitch honored people using her photos and I hope she doesn't mind me borrowing her idea in this post. If there is anyone that you would like to have honored during this month, please visit her site. Not only will she post a photo and the person's name and any information you want to share, but she will also donate $1.00 to Breast Cancer Research for each person listed on her site. UPDATE: Swampwitch has an anonymous donor who is matching her donations, which means that for each honoree on her site, $2.00 will be donated to Breast Cancer Research. She is also honoring the honorees from my blog, which means an additional $6.00 is being donated for them.

The first person I want to honor is Pam, who was recently diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer, after being cancer-free for 10 years. Pam is married to my cousin, Woody, and I've loved her from the first time he brought her home when they were dating. I'm so glad he chose to add her to our family. Pam and Woody have three daughters: Natalie, Erin and Meghan. Everyone is holding Pam in their hearts, knowing that she will beat this thing again.
The photo was taken at a fresh market in Nice, France when we visited our son at the end of his semester abroad.

I would also like to honor Donna, who lost her battle with breast cancer in October, 2007, after a courageous battle. Even though I didn't know Donna personally, I felt as though I did because she was so loved by my very dear friend, Anne. Donna loved teaching high school math and was loved in return by her students. She is survived by her husband, Gene, and her children: Chris and his wife, Jessica, and Heather and her husband, Gary. Donna is missed by many friends, but Anne asked that I mention Drexel and Becky who have been especially supportive to both Donna, during her illness, and Gene in learning to cope with the trauma of losing his love and best friend.
The photo was taken at Atlantic Beach, NC. Donna enjoyed spending time at the beach with her friends and family each summer.

I saved my Grandma, Mary Carter Starling, for last, not because she's the least important, but because I wanted to write a bit more about her. My Grandma had breast cancer twice, but she still lived to be 85 years old. This amazing woman raised 18, yes 18! children. My grandmother was 20 years old when she married my grandfather, who had 5 children from his first marriage. What was she thinking!?! She then had 12 of her own children (one died when she was 5 months old). Her youngest son was just 4 years old when my grandfather died, which was 3 months before I was born - yes, I had an uncle only 4 years older than me! A couple of years later, Grandma married my step-grandfather, who had 2 young sons. Again, what was she thinking!?! Grandma actually helped to raise even more children. Her sister was 9 months old and Grandma was 12 years old when their mother died, so she had to take care of her baby sister. Then there are all of us grandchildren who were sent to Grandma's at some time or another. Some of them stayed with Grandma most of their lives. I spent about 6 months with her when my mother was going through a divorce. In other words, it's hard to say, how many of us she helped to raise, but it was a lot! The woman was BUSY!

Sometimes when I'm complaining about things like my dryer being broken, or when my microwave died, I think about my Grandma and her life. Not just that she had all those kids and I only had one to deal with - I'm talking about the things that I take for granted, which has become everything! The first time that I remember going to her house I wouldn't use the bathroom because it was an outhouse. Yes, people, those still existed in our lifetimes - at least in mine. I was 6 years old and I saw a spider as soon as my mother opened the door - no way was I going in there! and I was supposed to pull my pants down! Then, when my mother pulled me in there trying to convince me to use it, I saw the hole I was supposed to sit on - NO! I knew I would fall in! I ran out, screaming that I'd rather pee in the woods! The next time I came, I was 7, and a bathroom had been added on to her house - thank heavens! I had worried the whole way there about that hole!

That was the time I stayed 6 months with Grandma, and I remember that she used a washing machine that she had to wring the clothes by hand, and she had no dryer - maybe nobody did in 1958? I'm not sure, but she still had at least 6 boys at home that I can remember, a cousin and me staying there, her and my Pop - that's a LOT of laundry to wash, wring by hand and hang on the line! Then she had the IRONING to do! Even the sheets got ironed by Grandma - in Florida, in a house with no air conditioning! In between all of this, she cooked 3 FULL meals, with biscuits, each day for all of us! She couldn't get away with giving us PB&J, you know? Lunch, which was called "dinner", had to be almost as big as supper. The boys came home from their jobs, or school, to eat and they ate a lot! Cooking and washing dishes for this crowd three times a day, in a kitchen that did not have a microwave or a dishwasher, or anyone willing or able to help her. I guess you do what you have to do, but when I think about this and compare it to my life - I have it soooooooooooooo easy, yet I bitch and moan at the drop of a hat. And I never heard Grandma complain.
The photo is a lilac tree in my yard.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun Monday - The White Glove Test

Our lovely hostess this week is Mommy Wizdom and she gives us the following:

The assignment:

Themes to choose from:

  • A visit by your mother in law

  • Bedtime Stories

  • Raising a Teenager

The words: Ostrich, goosebumps, magazines, soup, cats, lethargic, noodles, tequila, doorknob, biscuit

Wild card words: prehistoric, Jedi Knight, cactus, periscope, humor

Your job is to write a story (true or made-up), poem, song, letter... whatever strikes you ABOUT one of the three themes. You must INCLUDE all 10 words. Wild cards words may be used in addition to or in place of the main 10 words


I'm one of the lucky ones. Most women I know have a hate-hate relationship with their mothers-in-law. A friend of mine once said that she was sure that her mother-in-law must be a dinosaur because every idea she ever had was prehistoric. I was blessed because my mother-in-law was also my best friend. However, I didn't know that in the beginning. I had no idea what to expect.

RJ's mother comes from a pretty famous Southern family. Practically everything in their hometown is named after her family, so I expected that she might be a little bit uppity. She was also the type of woman who got up and dressed every day as if she had someplace to go even if she didn't. I'm talking about dressed to the nines. And the woman never wore a pair of pants in her life. She belonged to the Junior League, too, for goodness sakes. Not only that, the woman could cook! Can you tell that I was a little intimidated? And this was all based on what I'd heard - I'd never even met the woman.

How was I supposed to measure up to this woman? I came from a middle class family that had nothing named after it. If I'm wasn't going anywhere, you can bet that you would catch me in my blue jeans and a t-shirt, and back then I could barely heat up soup with noodles, let alone bake a biscuit.

So you can imagine that I was more than a little nervous when I heard that RJ's parents were coming to visit. In fact, I wanted to turn into an ostrich and bury my head until the weekend was over! First of all, RJ and I weren't married. He had moved in only a couple of weeks before this and he was sick with mono. His parents wanted to visit to check on him. I was sure that they also wanted to check out this girl that was corrupting him, convincing him to live in sin. They probably had this vision of wild parties with the Jedi Knight serving tequila shots. Ok, that might be pushing it - she might not have known who the Jedi Knight was, but she probably imagined the wild parties, or so I thought anyway!

We lived in an old rental home, that I could only do so much with. No matter how hard I tried to clean it, it still had the lingering odor of the previous owner's cats, who must have used the carpet as their litter box at some point. But I cleaned and cleaned for days for this visit. Poor RJ couldn't help because the mono made him so lethargic, but he tried by straightening up the magazines and a few things in the living room. By the time they were due to arrive, I didn't think the house had ever been cleaner.

When they pulled up out front, RJ, turning the doorknob as he looked out, said, "Oh my God, she's broken both her arms!"

As she walked up the walkway and got closer, we saw that it wasn't casts on her arms, but she was wearing formal white gloves that came above her elbows! When she reached the door, without cracking a smile, she said, "I'm hear for your white glove inspection. Step aside, please."

She walked in and proceeded to run her fingertip along my mantel! The rest of us were cracking up. She turned around, hugged me, and said, "Never worry about the shape of your house, dear. We are coming to visit YOU, not your house. Now, do you have any ice tea?"

That was when I discovered that my mother-in-law had the very best sense of humor, and that she was to become my very best friend in the world.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

PhotoHunt of the Week: Sad

I had another photo in mind for this week's theme: Sad. But I was driving past the Colonial Inn and decided to stop and shoot some photos. Anyone who has lived in Hillsborough long enough to remember when the Colonial Inn was a thriving inn and restaurant is saddened by its current state. Most are angry.

I've lived here since 1983 and even before moving here, I would drive to Hillsborough to eat at the Colonial Inn. It was famous in the area for it's delicious food served family-style. The building itself was beautiful. It was hard to believe that it had been around for more than 200 years. The porch was lined with rocking chairs, inviting one to sit for a spell. This is my son sitting in one of those rockers in 1995.

It's not hard to believe the Inn is over 200 years old when you look at it now. The current owner, Francis Henry, bought the Inn after it closed in 2001. I don't know why. He paid $410,000.00 for a beautiful historic landmark, only to let it go to ruin.

In 1781, General Cornwallis used the Colonial Inn, then called the Tavern House, as his headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Aaron Burr and Dolly Madison were both guests at the Tavern House, so this is not just any old building - it's a building with history. Even without the history, this building is loved by the residents of Hillsborough.

Francis Henry has been asked, fined, practically begged to repair the Inn. But he has continued to let it sit and grow worse each year. When he bought the Inn, it had been closed for a year so it's possible that some damage was already beginning, but had he started making repairs right away he could have stopped the progression of the damage. But perhaps there is hope for our beloved Colonial Inn. A recent article in the Chapel Hill News tells us there is.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

PhotoHunt of the Week: View


I just discovered this weekly blogging meme, and since photography is one of my many hobbies, I thought I'd join right in. It's actually supposed to be posted on Saturday, but I didn't find it until today, so this week I'm posting a day late. This may not be the only week that I post a day late, either. Who knows, some weeks I may post a couple of days late. The blogging sheriffs may have to come shut me down or fine me or whatever happens when we don't follow the meme rules. Hey, I'm trying here, ok? It's all good - really.

So, this meme has a theme every week, and the theme this week is view. The photo I'm posting is the view through the window of my breakfast nook. Did you ever wonder why it's called a nook? Anyway, I was watching the cats - there is a tiny bit of black just below the birdbath - circling each other, while the hummingbirds seemed to be oblivious. I grabbed my camera and shot a couple of pics. I caught this hummer (red arrow) in flight. I knew if I'd stepped outside, everyone would have scampered. But it came out pretty well considering that it was taken through a window and a screen.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Somebody Loves My Blog :D

I'm speechless - ok, almost speechless - anyone who knows me knows it takes a LOT to make me speechless, like cutting out my tongue or taping my mouth shut with packing tape. Ok, I digress. I am truly thrilled to have been given this award from The Altered Gypsy. Thank you, thank you (curtsying).
Now, I need to follow the rules:
  1. The winner (that would be me -grin) may place the logo on his/her blog. [Done]

  2. Link to the person who gave you the award: The Altered Gypsy

  3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs. I chose the blogs listed below from the blogs that I read regularly, and that either make me laugh or inspire me in some way.

  4. Link to those blogs

So, I love your blogs, y'all!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Everybody Needs a Pal

This cute little bunny's name is Pal. She was lovingly knitted by my bestest friend, Rea, who recently opened her very own Etsy shop, Wool and Wood. Go, Rea! Her shop sells her knit and felted items, as well as some interesting wooden boxes and clocks made by her husband and brother.

Rea's daughter has been friends with my son, MJ, since elementary school, which means that Rea and I have been friends that long, too. When she was little, Rea's daughter had a bunny Pal that helped her when she needed some extra loving and support. Now, Rea is making these bunny Pals to help others who might need a little extra loving. I bought this one, but there's another one still available, and I believe there are more on the way. Rea also knits beautiful purses like this one with the hand-appliqued Celtic knot. Is this not gorgeous??

She also has the cutest little gift bags! I have seen these in person and they are sooooooooooo soft! You owe it to yourself to check these out!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Will Never Forget

I took this picture when I was in New York in 2004. It had been three years, and still there was a hush in the middle of this huge bustling city.

A couple of months ago, I visited the Newseum in Washington, DC - a fascinating history of journalism. I was surprised to find myself moved to tears by the incredible 9/11 display. Seven years later, but it was still as raw as though it had just happened. I was not alone in my grief either - others were tearing up right along with me.
Take a moment to remember by watching this video tribute here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quilling is More Fun When You Do it With a Friend

When I first started to quill, I didn't know anyone else who quilled. I didn't know anyone else who even knew what I was talking about, for Pete's sake! "Quilling? What is that? Rolled paper? Why do you want to do that? Are you going to smoke it? You aren't? Then why are you rolling it up?"


Finally, I found the Quillers group on Yahoo. There were others out there that liked to play with paper like me! This group was such a helpful resource. I could get answers to my questions, find out where to get supplies. I learned so much from these other quillers. Then I found the North American Quilling Guild (NAQG). These quillers also proved to be a valuable resource.

One Saturday, a few of the quillers in North Carolina met in Burlington. They taught me so much in those few short hours that I just couldn't get from a book! One of them taught me how to make roses. I'd been trying and trying to make them, using the directions in a couple of books. But, having someone demonstrate it in front of you is so totally different. I was finally able to make a rose! yippee!
Maybe you've been looking for someone to quill with, or someone to show you how to make a rose, or how to husk, or ... If so, stop by Denise's site, Custom Quilling Supplies. She has a good list of Quilling Friends. Maybe you'll see someone in your area that you can get together with and have a playdate. If you aren't on Denise's list, send her an email and ask her to include you. It's so much more fun to quill when you do it with a friend. (I'm not on her payroll, but I do like her site).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My 23 year old son, MJ, is heading off to Atlanta today. Since the end of July, he and all of his stuff have been staying at our house. I'm talking everything, not just his clothes - furniture, lots of furniture! It's been really great having HIM home, and I'm not ready to wave goodbye yet again, but I'll be so, so glad to see the extra furniture depart.

Earlier in the week, I asked if he had any special requests for me to cook. Without even taking a minute to think, he said, "Oh yeah, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!" I was thinking more along the lines of favorite meals before he left, but cookies works for me.

Here's my recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have no idea where this recipe came from. It's written on a smudged 3x5 index card that I've had forever.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
2 cups quick oatmeal
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cream butter and sugars in large mixing bowl.
Add eggs.
Mix in other ingredients.
Make small balls, or drop by teaspoonful.
Bake at 375°F for 6 to 8 minutes.
Cool slightly (2 minutes) before removing from pan.

Go make some cookies! I'm off to Atlanta to help my big guy settle in. Hope the storm stays away so we can fly home.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tarheel Football Season Opens Today

Once again, RJ got season tickets for UNC football. I wrote about how I feel about football here. I might enjoy it more if I knew a little more about the game. I know about as much as Andy Griffith knew when he stumbled upon his first game. Watch: (go over an stop that music first so you can hear him!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Miatas, Wine & Touring

It was a beautiful day, driving with the tops down on our Miatas. It was my first trip with the Triangle Miata Roadsters, a club my husband [I need a cute blogger name for him, but I haven't been able to think of one that isn't already taken, so RJ will have to do for now] recently joined. In June, RJ went with them to the VIR (Virginia International Raceway) Vintage Sportscar Race, which had a spectacular turnout, I understand. We had a much smaller turnout, with only 6 of us in 4 Miatas.

We started out with a nice lunch at Tupelo's in Hillsborough, NC - my town, yeah! Then the Miatas lined up in the parking lot, circled the block, which allowed the others who hailed from Cary, Chapel Hill, and Atlanta (and Cary, I believe), to see a bit of Hillsborough's historic district, then we headed north to our destination, the Chinqua Penn Plantation.

I must say this is an amazing place. It's not that it's so big - it is big, but what I found to be so incredible was the furnishings that the Penn's had collected from their world-wide travels and incorporated into their decor. The house was built in the 1920's and has items dating back to the 13th century. Every room is filled with things, not just one or two little pieces sitting on tables, but dozens of things that are part of the rooms - antique Italian tiles, 8 foot tall iron gates, large elaborate Scandinavian cabinet in their mud room that also served as a bar...

The other thing I found fascinating was that every room had an unusual wall finish - one had foil, one had a beautiful scrolling design that had been glued, one was painted fabric, one was cypress wood, etc. The point here is that the tour guide told us that these were the original finishes -almost 100 years later! I want to know HOW they got the glue and the foil to stick that long! The foil was a little distressed around the edges, but seriously, if this house truly is in its original finishes, it's very amazing! I wish we'd been allowed to take photos. The photos on their website are good, but if I could, I would have taken closeups of the walls and some of the individual pieces. There was an embroidered piece from China - large, over 3 feet - that the stitching was so intricate that it looked like a painting. There were beautiful tiles, urns, statues, prints, tapestries... I can't imagine - it would be like living in a museum.

Outside the house there is a garden which was full of blooms and shade. What draws the attention though is a red-roofed pagoda which sits across from the house, just behind the swimming pool - this was their bath house!

Part of the Penn's farm is a vineyard and they produce Chinqua Penn wine, therefore, one of the offerings when you tour this estate, is a wine tasting, in which we did indulge. Though not all of the wines in the tasting were grown on the property, they were all local to the region. There were whites and reds, ranging from dry to very sweet. I will admit that I'm not a connoisseur of wine, so I can't say much about the wine at Chinqua Penn. I prefer a martini, thank you, but they weren't offering those, so I sipped the wine along with the others.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coffee? How I Helped My Mom Meet the Neighbors

I was reading this post on Tropic of Mom's blog about her son, known as the Man-cub, knocking on her neighbor's door and helping his mom meet her neighbor. It reminded me of this little story told often in my family. I also decided that my mother needed to meet the neighbors.

I was 3-and-half years old (you know at that age that "half" is very important!), and we had just moved to Hawaii. I mean, JUST moved - everything was still in boxes. We had arrived the day before, and it was late by the time the truck had been unloaded. My parents had put the beds together, found sheets and said the heck with unpacking anything else. I had heard my mother say something the day before about wanting to meet the neighbors. She actually had what today we refer to as a "meltdown". She was upset because she was in Hawaii - this was a very long time ago, before Hawaii was a state! (now you know that I truly am "older than dirt"!) She was expecting an uncivilized place with scary natives or something. We didn't know anything about Hawaii before landing there - there was no Google back then! Plus, she didn't have any friends there. She's 24, all alone, except for my dad and me, in a strange country, and probably exhausted. So she had a little meltdown that upset me and made me want to do something to help.

I got up early, Dad had already left to report for duty at the Air Force base, and mom was still asleep. I was probably thinking that she'd feel better when she had some friends. So, while she was still asleep, I slipped out of the house. Our house was "base housing" and it was on a sort of courtyard where 6 or 8 (I can't remember - I was only 6 when we moved from there!) houses faced a central yard. I went from house to house in this little courtyard. I told the women who opened their doors to find little me standing there in the early morning, that we just moved in and that my mommy wanted them to come over for coffee so she could meet them. (heehee)

Yes, this is me in Hawaii - 3 1/2 years old

I'm not sure what they were thinking, but all of those women followed me home to have coffee and to meet my mother. Remember that we had just moved in - everything is in boxes. Plus, my mother was still in the bed! Oh, my poor mother! She was awakened by me running into her room and yelling that I'd brought her some new friends! When she figured out that I meant right then - that there were women in the house - she jumped out of bed, threw some clothes on and went out into the kitchen. She tried to explain that we'd just moved in, that I heard her say she was going to have everybody for coffee, but that she didn't mean right then.

These women were wonderful - they told her not to worry about it. They ended up getting together some coffee, cups, and food from their houses. Soon, we were having a "coffee" on our living room floor. Then these lovely women pitched in and helped my mother unpack. She had her some new friends - and I helped.

I'm sure she wanted to strangle me when she first realized what I'd done! But it all worked out, and from then on, every time we were transferred to a new place, she would have a "coffee" to meet our neighbors. She just waited until she was unpacked and could find the cups!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wave That Flag!

I've been meaning to post this all month, but, well, you know stuff happens...

Like the Easter Bunny design I posted back in March, this was one of my designs that was included in the Accord 2008 Quilling Calendar. For those who don't know, all of the designs in this calendar were submitted by members of the North American Quilling Guild.

This "Wavy Flag" was the design for July 3 - the reason I've intended to post the pattern all month. But it IS still July, so it still counts, right? Plus, I figure that flags can be used ANY time of year, so it's never too late to have a pattern for a flag.

This is a fairly easy flag to make and can be used on a greeting card, gift tag, scrapbook, page, ATC, or just as a decoration - whatever way you can think to use it.

Shapes Needed:

Star: White
5 diamonds (2 inches, 5.1 cm)

Blue field:
2 marquis (1 ½ inches, 3.8 cm)
2 marquis (2 inches, 5.1 cm)
4 marquis (3 inches, 7.6 cm)
2 marquis (4 inches, 10.2 cm)
1 banding (4 inches, 10.2 cm)

Red stripes:
18 marquis (3 inches, 7.6 cm)
2 bandings (3 inches, 7.6 cm)

White stripe:
9 marquis (3 inches, 7.6 cm)

First make a star. Using five (2 inches, 5.1 cm) lengths of white strips, form each into a diamond. Attach the five diamonds together to form a star shape.

Fill in the around the star with 10 blue marquis shapes, using the photo as a guide. Outline with the (4 inches, 10.2 cm) banding strip of blue to help give it shape.

Place a row of 9 red (3 inches, 7.6 cm) marquis in wavy pattern, again, using the photo as a guide.

Place a row of white (3 inches, 7.6 cm) marquis below this row.

Place another row of red (3 inches, 7.6 cm) marquis.

Glue a banding strip of red to each side to give stability to the shape.

This is another variation of a quilled flag - the heart flag. This one is glued on a piece of mulberry paper to be used on some future project.

I hope you enjoy these little patriotic quillings.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Bucket List

Apparently, I wasn't the only one to watch the movie, The Bucket List, the other night. The Apron Queen was so inspired that she has started a neme centered on the theme. By writing up your own Bucket list and linking back to hers, you can enter to win some vintage aprons. How cool is that?

Jack Nicholson is a rich guy - owns the hospital, even - and is rooming with Morgan Freeman, just a regular guy. They both have cancer with only a short time left to live. Sounds like a depressing movie, right? Well, it has a few sad moments, but it's also very funny. These two guys become good friends - predictable because it IS a movie, but it's still worth watching. Morgan Freeman starts writing his Bucket List - things he wants to do before - yeah, before he kicks the bucket. Jack Nicholson gets in on it, and the list gets longer, and they actually decide to try to do the things on the list.

While watching it, I can't help but think, what would be on my list? Some things are going to be on there, no matter what: See my son happily married, see my grandchild(ren). But what else? What are the things that I've always wanted to do? Realistically, of course. Unrealistically, I'd like to win a gazillion (it is too a word!) and share it with everyone I know that needs a little help. But, the lottery doesn't go that high, and I don't seem to be lucky where it's concerned. Anyway, here are a few things I'd like to do sometime in this lifetime:

Take a hot air balloon trip
Run a 10k (and be in good enough shape to finish!)
Visit Alaska
Visit Napa Valley
Visit the Scandinavian countries
Spend a month at the beach
Spend a month in the mountains

That's the list for now. But it can, and probably will, change over the remainder of my life.

What about you? Besides winning a gazillion dollars, what would you want to do?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My First Award

Wow! I'm feeling pretty darn special right now! The very talented Miss Amy has bestowed the Arte Y Pico award upon my blog. Amy is my good friend, but she also has a lot of talented friends, so she didn't have to choose my blog, but she did! I feel very honored that she thought my blog worthy of this award. Thank you Amy . It's true.

It's my turn to pass this award along, but it's very difficult to choose from all the creative blogs I read. But, here is my list of artsy blogs that I think are deserving of the Arte Y Pico award:

Lucy, I mean, Cookie
Jane - I don't how strict I have to be about the "art" rule, but Jane runs a very creative blog and it is one of my very favorite places to visit, so I'm going to give her this award. She has, after all, created some pretty special art named Sally, Susan, and Spot.

If you have been selected for the award, please pay it forward, following the steps below:
  1. Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award based on creativity, design, interesting material, and overall contribution to the blogger community, regardless of the language.
  2. Post the name of the author and a link to his or her blog so everyone can view it.
  3. Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award.
  4. The award-winner and the presenter should post the link of the "Arte y Pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

  5. Please post these rules!
The Arte y Pico blog is written in Spanish. To read it in English, click here. As with most translations, it is not perfect.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Got Blog Candy?

Drop by Renee's blog and see what she's up to - she does some pretty great things with rubber stamps!!!! AND, she has blog candy!!!

I'll be back with more later...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Belated Art & Soul Goodies

My second day of classes at Art & Soul was just as much fun as the first - maybe more! It was a little more stressful, but still a lot of fun. Sally Jean Alexander taught us to make these adorable little houses. The class was called, "Little Pink Houses," and I had no intention of making a PINK house! But, LOOK! my house turned out to be a rosy pink after all! I don't even know how it got to be that color. My favorite color is blue - Carolina blue, to be exact - but, somehow, my house is not blue. When I started, I'd actually planned to do it in black and white with blue or red as accent colors. Shows how things change when you're doing art, eh?

This project was so much fun! We first had to make 6 tiny collages, keeping in mind that they had to fit the glass sides, AND that they had to be transparent. Because these houses are designed to sit over a light and glow! I wish you could see how pretty all the houses were at the end of the day, sitting over a string of Christmas tree lights - a gorgeous miniature village!
Now 6 collages, tiny or not, could have taken me the whole day!! Luckily, we had Sally Jean, cute as a button, reminding us to "just do it - tear it, glue it, don't think about it!" Every few minutes I had to put it between the glass, hold it up to the light to check everything out, work some more...
Then we put the collages between the glass, taped them with copper tape and we were ready for the big thing we had come for - learning to solder! Oh we looked so professional with all our tools all around us. We had soldering irons in stands, flux and brushes, sponges and stuff to clean the tip. We were so ready! Sally Jean and her husband, Brad - also known as Mr. Sally Jean (this was what his name tag read!) - were really great about coming around and helping us with our soldering, making sure we had smooth edges, and that our corners look nice, etc. Each piece was soldered and we were proud! Yes, we were! Then came the time to assemble the house. It was a little tricky to get started, but once we got one side attached to one end, it went pretty easily. I say that, but I WAS the last person to finish. I don't care - the key word there is "finish" because I did finish my house! I walked out of class with a completed house! Ok, Mr. Sally Jean had to help me with the roof, or I'd probably still be sitting there, but, I had a house to show for my day's work!! And isn't it a lovely little house??

The best part of this class, besides all the fun we had - We learned to solder! Now, I can make those really cute glass charms that I've been dying to make. I've already got the glass. I just wish I had the time! This is going to be my first project to do as soon as things lighten up around here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Been Awhile...

It's been a very long time since I've posted. Wonder if anyone still bothers to check and see if I'm still around. I won't go into all the sordid details but when I returned home from Art & Soul I was sick with a cold that progressed to bronchitis and lasted FOREVER! During this time my shoulder started hurting and that turned out to be a nasty case of bursitis that wouldn't go away. I ended up having it injected and going through PT and everything to make sure that I didn't have to go under the knife. Did I say I wasn't going to give any details? I lied. The best part about having these things is getting to whine about them to everyone you know, right?

When I first got home and before I got too sick, I decided that I was going to reorganize my studio because I had bought so many supplies for my classes. I went out and bought a bunch of plastic bins and started moving stuff out of my studio. Then I got sick. I would do a little bit of work and have to rest. I am now sitting in a studio that is empty (well almost). All of my stuff is piled in my son's room. I have to decide how to rearrange the shelving in here before I bring everything back in here. As much as I want him to visit, I hope my son doesn't want to use his bed anytime soon! Because where, oh where! would I put everything that is on and around his bed???

On to better things - at least I think it will be better. Yesterday, I spent some time taking pictures of the things I made at Art & Soul - about time, don't ya think? I'll be telling you about them over the next couple of days.

One thing exciting about this year - I actually finished my projects! Last year I never completed anything in any class. I was a little bummed out by this, but I kept telling myself that I was there to learn the techniques and that when I got home I could take my time and finish the projects. Right! Do you think I rushed right home and finished up 6 projects??? Not! I did work on some of them and I did use the techniques that I learned, so that was the point, right? But, I have to admit, it is so much more satisfying to walk out of class at the end of the (very long) day with something to show for it. OK, let's be honest - with something to strut around and SHOW OFF to everyone you know, and those you don't even know! Because that is what happens in the lounge at Art & Soul! Everyone does a little Show and Tell of that day's class. It's so much fun to see what everyone did and to hear about the different classes and instructors.

My first class this year was "My Precious" - (Precious Metal Clay), with Melanie Shockley and her assistant, Jane. It was so much fun and since I had never worked with PMC, I thought it was MAGIC! You take what looks like clay, roll it out like cookie dough, fire it in a kiln, put it in a rock tumbler (just like the one my son had that used to drive us nuts all night long for days at a time!) and voila! it's sterling silver! We were oohh'ing and ahh'ing all over the place.
The first one is about an inch square, and is 1/16 inch thick. I used a dogwood rubber stamp to make the design. Yep, it was that easy! I borrowed a small square cookie cutter to cut it out, and I used a coffee stirrer to make the hole for the jump ring.

This second one is 7/8 inch diameter and thick - over 1/8 inch thick. I used a metal button to create it and I needed to be sure that it didn't poke through. It has a nice heavy feel to it. I also created a bail on this one by draping a piece of clay over a drinking straw. The bail is attached and basicly glued to the charm with more clay, using a paint brush and brushing, brushing, brushing it until the connection point is smooth. I wanted to be sure to learn to make a bail before I left this class. I wish I'd had time to make one of Melanie's beautiful fancy, "snake" bails, but I did good to get this one attached before these had to go into the kiln. After the PMC is fired and tumbled, it comes out very shiny sterling silver. You can leave it that way or use various things to change the look. I wanted mine to look a bit aged, so I used "Black Max" (I think that's right) to help age it and to highlight the lines.

Tomorrow, I'll show some more of my beautimous projects...
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