PERFECTLY IMPERFECT-I may not be the best at what I do, but Nobody has MORE fun trying than I do! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays and Computer Freeze

Hi all!

I hope you are all having a safe and happy holiday season.

Hubby didn't get to be home this year for Christmas so Mom and I spent a quiet day together yesterday (we live next door to each other). We both got cards and phone calls from family members and friends, which we enjoyed very much. She cooked and I helped her eat it. :) I did fix a banana cream pie, but we got too full of cornbread dressing, dumplings, and mashed potatoes to eat it yesterday, so we'll have leftovers for a couple of days. Didn't bother with a turkey since it was just the two of us.

She gave me a gorgeous Aigner purse and I gave her a new toaster oven, things we had both said we'd like to have, plus we had a few stockling stuffers for each other. We will have Christmas again in 2-3 weeks, when hubby gets home, with his family and with Mom again. Believe it or not, I still have a few Christmas gifts to buy, hubby's included (no idea what to get him, but hopefully I'll come up with something).

One of my best friends came Christmas Eve evening and stayed a while with me and hubby got to call that night. I also got Christmas cards done and mailed at the last minute, however, I didn't get any hand made this year again. I still can't get my mind wrapped around the fact that it even is Christmas for some reason. Maybe I'm getting too old or scroogy or something. :) I'm just thankful for all my friends and family whether we're actually together physically or not.

I still am not writing or creating any art much right now. Maybe after the holidays I will get settled enough to pick up a pen and brush again. I have finished reading two good novels though, which I will post reviews about later. I have several more stacked up to read. Reading also inspires me to write, so not only am I reading a good story, I'm priming my writer's pump! :)

First I have to get my laptop pc fixed. The Windows XP operating system locked up on it just like it did my desk top pc last spring. It won't even open up. I wound up having to completely reinstall the operating system and all other programs on my desktop after hours on the phone with tech support trying everything, so I"m pretty sure I'll have to do the same on the laptop.

Fortunately I have all the photos and my writing saved to a disk, however I didn't think to save my email address book and favorites list, so they will have to be re-compiled, because I never put them back on the desk top when I got the laptop. So I'm in for some time and work to get it going again. Those of you that are in the habit of getting emails from me, if you don't get any for a while, it's because I lost your addy in the crash and I don't know it by heart, so I'll have to wait til you send me something to add it to my list. Next time I'll save them to a disk too, in case of another freeze up. Freeze ups are definately not fun, especially if you lose a lot of stuff because you haven't taken the time to back it up to disks or something. Hard lesson learned. :)

The locked up pc is another reason you haven't heard from me much on the blog, groups, or email. It's been locked up for a couple of weeks now. I'm on the desk top pc today, but it's a hassle to use and it's cold in the room where it is so I'm only checking email every few days and not online much. I'm grateful that I have it for a backup though. I'd be lost without a computer and my internet buddies. :)

Anyway, just wanted you to know that I'm still out here, it's a gorgeous, cold, sunny day here, and I'm loving sitting by my gas fireplace reading or dreaming while siipping on a cup of coffee.

I'm signing off for now. Mom brings my mail and visits a while every morning, and it's about time for her, so ya'll HAVE A WONDERFUL, SAFE, HAPPY, AND BLESSED NEW YEAR, and I'll be back soon with something more interesting, I hope. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Poetry @ Create A Connection

Hello, it's been a few days since I posted. Besides some medication changes, which I'm adjusting to, and life stuff, I apparently have writer's block too. Haven't been writing anything or doing anything creative for several days now. I did read a pretty good novel though, so that's a good thing. Maybe my muse will come back to me for Christmas. :)

Anyway, LaToya, the new resident poet on Saturdays at CAC, has asked us to post a poem (or poems) that describes the essence of who we are right now and inspires us to be the best we can be. I don't know that the following poem does what she asked, but it's always been a favorite of mine, has a good message, and is the only whole poem I still know by heart from my school days in the sixties, so I thought I'd share it with you now. When I find a poem that does describe the essence of me at this time in my life I'll post it too. OK? :)

Sara Teasdale

Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin

Oh better than the minting
Of a gold crowned king
Is the safe kept memory
Of a lovely thing

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Inchies, Mickey & Minnie

I tried this yesterday and had a long post about what's been going on with me besides inchies, but as I was reading back over it my thumb accidentally hit the touch pad on my laptop and most of the post disappeared and I can't find it, so I'm going to go ahead and share my inchies with you today and when I can I'll try to re-post what I sent into oblivion. :)

This is my first batch of inchies made during Oct & Nov. I was going to try making some anyway, but Tammy over at the MojoArtGroup decided to hostess a 12 for 12 swap, and I decided to play. I started out to make enough for the swap, but got carried away and made a bunch. Some turned out better than others, but I had a lot of fun with all of them, plus it's good therapy. :)

I tried making pictures in all kinds of light, but couldn't get a good one, so wound up scanning them in. A lot of detail doesn't show up, such as most of the blue background ones have sparklies in the background, and some have glitter, the orange ones aren't that dark and have chinese characters in the backgrounds, etc. Some have a matte finish and some have a gel medium finish making them shiny, so that made it hard to get a good picture.

Rarely do I get excited over anything, but I'm a tad excited right now. I was checking out the post after I posted it and wishing the pictures were better, and I discovered that if you click on the picture it will enlarge and you can see a lot more of the details. I'm still a greenhorn at this blogging thing you know. :) Passing this on for friends/family that might not know you can do this either.

All kinds of things were used to make them. I made the backgrounds on watercolor paper using stamps, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, liqui-gem acrylic with sparklies, etc., then cut them into 1x1 inch squares after they were dry, which I then painted, collaged, stamped, added glitter to, etc. In other words, each square was an experiment. :)

I finally decided on 12 to swap and they are fixed up and ready to put in the mail (not telling which 12 yet though :)). This is my first swap and I'm a little nervous, but I'm sure it'll be okay. I look forward to receiving 12 back from the other participants. They are all wonderful artists and I hope they aren't disappointed in mine.

Each of these little squares is a seperate 1x1 inch picture. The clown faces and pears on some of them are miniaturized prints of some of my linoleum block prints. The hearts (except the white one) and feather ones are carved eraser stamps (the gold ink on red doesn't show up much in the picture). The one in the top right corner of the first picture with the pink pears was my very first attempt. It has sparklies in the background that don't show up. I tried to make each one different. Sorry the pictures aren't better. :(

Anyway, as I said it was fun and therapeutic and I'm going to be making more, but not for a while. Too much going on between now and Christmas, like Christmas cards to make and shopping, which I haven't started yet, and Thanksgiving before that, plus a zillion other things that I've avoided while playing. :o

Right now I have to get busy on a project a friend dropped off on me yesterday evening. It's a wooden cutout blank of Mickey and Minnie Mouse sitting together on the moon. She brought me a picture to go by and wants me to draw in all their features, limbs, clothes, etc. so she can paint them. I tried to tell her I couldn't draw it, but she said I could do anything and left it. She's one of my best friends since we were kids, and she told me if it took me a year it would be ok (she knows I work slow :)), but patience is not one of her strong points, and I know she will call in a day or two to see if I've started it yet. I tried scanning and enlarging the picture so I could trace it off, but 2x the size isn't quite big enough and 3x was way too big. So I now have out a piece of charcoal and am going to see if I can sketch it off onto the wood enough that she has lines to fill in between with paint. If that doesn't work, I'll think of something else. So here I go... :)

Take care of yourselves. OK? :)

PS: I'm having a heck of a time getting this to post with seperate paragraphs, and have tried several times to get it to change, so I'm going to post it, and if the last paragraphs all run together again, sorry, and I'll try again later to fix it. If they're seperated...great!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Number I Am

I was blog hopping this morning and found this quiz that someone had taken to find out what number she is. She thought the number it came up with fit her pretty well, so I thought it would be fun to see what number I am. I answered several multiple choice questions and submitted them, waited a few seconds, and following is the answer I got. It does fit me pretty well, I think, and I'm in some pretty good company. Love Anne Rice, Johnny Depp, & Jim Morrison. :) Here 'tis:

You Are 4: The Individualist

You are sensitive and intuitive, with others and yourself.

You are creative and dreamy... plus dramatic and unpredictable.

You're emotionally honest, real, and easily hurt.

Totally expressive, others always know exactly how you feel.

At Your Best: You are inspired, artistic, and introspective. You know what you're thinking, and you can communicate it well.

At Your Worst: You are melancholy, alienated, and withdrawn.

Your Fixation: Envy

Your Primary Fear: To have no identity

Your Primary Desire: To find yourself

Other Number 4's: Alanis Morisette, Johnny Depp, J.D. Salinger, Jim Morrison, and Anne Rice.

If you'd like to see what your number is you can go here:
Have a blessed day!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Getting To Know You Day: Ghosts, Are You A Believer?

This is a meme actually from last Wednesday over at Create A Connection. Holly, the hostess for the day, came up with some very interesting questions and I enjoyed reading the other participanats answers, so I decided to play. Sorry it's a little late. Here goes.

1) Did you grow up in a household that believed in ghosts and spirits?
There were only my parents and me, and I don't remember ever hearing them talk about whether they did or not. I remember my grandparents and their friends telling ghost tales that happened around where I live, but don't know if they actually believed in ghosts or not.

2) Growing up, did you attend camp where you told ghost stories around the camp fire or were you one who found scary movies when you were in high school? What intrigues you most about ghost stories or scary movies?
I never went to camp, but my friends and I used to tell scary stories sometimes, and my grandpa and older cousins used to tell me ghost stories that were supposed to have actually happened in areas very near where I live.

I discovered scary movies when I was eight or nine years old and a much older cousin was staying with us. We would watch Shock Theatre late on Saturday nights in the mid-fifties. I was terrified of the wolf man for years afterward. I'm not a fan of monster movies though, although my husband is. I hate the torture, zombie, slasher, demons, and gore movies. I prefer the psychological thrillers and I enjoy many of the paranormal movies and some of the TV shows, although I'm not sure how much of it I actually believe.

3) Did your family ever have a story about a ghost/spirit that visited? Did anyone in your family ever see a ghost?
I have experienced things during the night several times, which I won't go into here. My husband says I was dreaming, but I'm not so sure. I would declare that my eyes were wide open. A couple of times I was afraid, but most of the time I wasn't. It would just feel kind of weird and I go back to sleep. I also remember some other family members saying they'd experienced things.

4) Have you ever been anywhere that you felt a strange presence you couldn't explain?
Oh, yeah. There were always certain rooms in certain houses I was terrified to go into by myself and it felt creepy even with someone. There was no reason for me to be scared. There have been other places as well.

5) What's the scariest or spookiest thing that's ever happened to you?
One of the scariest recently was not too long after my dad died unexpectedly three years ago I was still asleep one morning and I was awakened by his voice calling my name from outside the kitchen door. It sounded like he used to when something was wrong. I jumped out of bed, ran to the door, and opened it. I then remembered that he was no longer with us physically, which made me think it might be a warning that something was wrong with mom. I called her and she was ok. It could have been a dream, but it was so real that I was shaken for a while.

6) Have you ever known anyone who was not a believer suddenly have something happen to them that changed their mind?
I think so.

I guess that's it. Thanks Holly! This was interesting and fun and kind of spooky. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dialog Day: Doing Nothing At CAC

The hostess, Charlotte, for yesterday's project at the Create A Connection site asked us to tell about a blog or website that we read just for fun and why we read it. It was called doing nothing, but by doing nothing it meant reading, listening to music, etc., relaxing and "just being" instead of bouncing off the walls with "busyness." (Paraphrased)

I read a lot of really good sites/blogs about all kinds of things, but one of my very favorites is a daily blog by Laurie at . I found her site in a blog roll on a fellow group member's blog, and I absolutely love her.

She is divorced (3 yrs now, I think), lives alone except for three cats, loves to knit, and is a writer. She really has a gift for writing and humor and always makes me smile if not downright laugh out loud. She has just finished the first leg of a book tour with her first published book, "Drunk, Divorced, And Covered In Cat Hair", which she shared in yesterday's post. Reading it was like I was on the tour with her. She shares the ups and downs in her life with great humor, but also with lessons learned.

I read it because I enjoy her writing and humor so much, but I have also learned a lot from her. I hope you will check her blog out and enjoy it as much as I and many others do.

Thanks Charlotte. This was a good idea! :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

Today is my birthday. I don't get excited about birthdays and holidays. Wish I could, but I don't. I never did really. I don't want a party or to go out and eat or do anything special. A simple "Happy Birthday" from people who care about me and a quiet day at home is enough of a celebration for me. Is that weird? Most people seem to think so. :)

I didn't realize that it had been so long since I posted. I just haven't been in the mood to write anything much lately. I wonder if anyone is reading the posts anyway, but that's ok. I enjoy sharing when I do post in case someone does drop by. :)

Not too much going on with me right now. I've been kind of down for a couple of weeks because of a weight gain, which I really, seriously do not need, especially when I'm due for a Dr.'s appointment. I joined an online weight loss support group, which is a great group of women, but I haven't really gotten started on an exercise/healthy eating routine yet. I meant to, but a few days after I joined J (hubby) had to go to Paducah, KY for a brush up on fire fighting. We spent part of two days traveling there and back and two days with him in school and me holed up in a very nice motel suite of rooms.

I took some art/writing supplies, my laptop pc, my camera, and two novels to keep me busy. I meant to finish my writing assignment, which I've had to extend the deadline on yet again, but I didn't. I spent the time re-ironing our clothes, straightening up, watching TV, looking out the window (we were on the 5th floor overlooking the pool house and lounge area), taking long soaks in the tub, napping, and eating. I did take some pictures and work with them on the pc and do a little reading the second day.

We had bought microwavable breakfast and lunch food and junk food snacks for in-room eating. The first night J had to study, so we ordered a big pizza delivered to the room. The second night he went out and got tacos, etc., and we ate in the room. He was really tired. We stopped in Murray, KY at the Cracker Barrel going and coming to eat lunch. I finally had one of those delicious chocolate cobblers with ice cream. I always want one, but am usually too full to have it. This time we ate salads, then shared the cobbler. It was worth the wait. Then we stopped and got BBQ sandwiches to eat for supper when we got home.

Point is I gained four pounds in four days. I wanted to cry when I stepped on the scales. I knew part of it was water retention, but I was miserable for a week, all puffy and feeling sluggish. I finally lost it, plus another half pound. I was so happy. Well, I got on the scales this morning and have gained two and a half pounds back, so that wasn't too good a birthday present, but I'm thankful to be alive and ok, and to have family and friends that care about me and that I care about, and THAT is a good present. :)

I did get to go to Michael's the morning we left Paducah. I felt like I was in Disneyland. Now, I do get excited in art and book stores. :) I got some gorgeous decorative papers, a couple of new stamps, some yarn fibers on sale, and some beautiful glass beads. J got some beads, as well. He enjoys making jewelry. It keeps his hands busy while watching TV.

Oh yes, I also found a small piece of fabric at Michael's for the contrary art doll that refused to wear what I already had. It's kind of antique background with inspirational words written on it. I cut it so that the word "Joy" is "tattooed" on her cheek. I have her sewn and stuffed with a painted face and am in the process of finding hair and embellishments to suit her. Of course, she's nothing like I had in mind when I started her, and she's full of imperfections, but that's part of the fun of creating. You're often surprised by the creation. :) I'll post a pic when she's finished.

I signed up for my very first art swap ever in the Mojo Art Group. It's also the first swap for the group, so several firsts going on here. Tammy is graciously hosting an inchies swap. These are also my first inchies. These are works of art on 1"x1" squares, and they are a lot of fun. She was very lenient with us. The only rule is the size and we have to make twelve to send in to her, any style, any media, any subject. She will then send us twelve back, so we will have tiny original works of art from all the artists who participated. What fun! Mine are in progress. I'll post a pic when they're finished.

OK, here is something that IS finished. The latest Mojo Art Group challenge was "Hand Jive" using our hands as the basis for a piece of art. I tried a few ideas, but nothing would come together. I wanted to play, so the morning of the deadline I inked my right hand with a variegated ink pad and layed it in opposite directions, as in friends reaching out to one another, on one of the decorative papers I bought on our trip. I then used my new brush alphabet stamps to stamp the words on strips of paper, which I glued in place, then used my other new stamps in the palms of the hands. The stamp in the right hand says, "Of all possessions a friend is the most precious." As usual, it looks better than the pic, (I'm not the greatest photographer), but here it is.

I guess this is why I haven't been writing much. I've been more into my art persona, plus J has been home for a month, which keeps me pretty busy. As you can see, when I do get started writing, I don't know when to quit, which explains the long posts. Sorry! Not really. :)

Have a great week and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Getting To Know Me Artistically

Hi, I answered the following artistic questions in participation with the Create A Connection for getting to know you day for Tues., Oct. 2. Thanks to groovyholly, who was the hostess that day. You can also go from there to read other artists answers.

1) Do you do something creative every day? If not, do you wish you could?
Yes, I do something, however small, every day. I feel like something is missing if I don't at least look through my sketch book, write a short description, do a quick sketch, take a couple of photos, prowl through my supplies, or look at creative things in a magazine or online, even if I don't have time to work on something larger.

2) Where do your ideas come from? Are you inspired by others art, music, your children?
I'm inspired by other artists, but I also get inspiration from nature, taking photos, memories, friends and family, our cats, daydreaming and imagination, or sometimes I see something on TV that triggers an idea.

3) What is your favourite art form? Why does it call to you?
I don't really have a favorite. Each has it's own perks and I enjoy learning new ones (I'm about to try making inchies). Oil painting and working with pastels are favorites, but lately I've been more into collage, atc's, altered stuff, and I love linoleum block carving and printing. It calls to me because it's challenging and it makes me happy.

4) What is one art form you long to try? What holds you back from trying it?
I would love to take a photography class where I could develop my own black and white prints in a darkroom, but the nearest class is almost four hours away, round trip, it's at night, and I'm getting old. :)

5) Are you the type of person that concentrates on one thing at a time or do you have many projects started that you are trying to finish?
I'm definitely a multi-project person, and always have a lot of different media projects in progress at once. I can focus on and finish one project if I have a deadline, but there are always other wip nearby. I get bored if I work on one thing too long, so when I start getting bored, or stuck, I switch to another project...or start a new one I'm dying to try.

6) Do you belong to any creative communities, swap groups, yahoo groups that encourage creativity/art?
I belong to a relatively new yahoo art group, Mojo Art Group, of mixed media and creative artists, who are very talented, generous, and supportive of one another. I also have been a member of the Savannah Art Guild/Gallery since 2001, although I haven't been active in it for the last few years. Both of these groups have been invaluable in helping me to grow as an artist. Fairly regular visits to creative online blogs and sites help keep my inspiration and motivation up. I have never participated in a swap, but that's about to change.

7) Is there a group of friends in your community that you get together with to help each other out with your art?
No, unfortunately, I live in a pretty rural area, and the people are more interested in sports than the arts. I keep meaning to become active in my art guild again to have more interaction with other artists in person. It's in another town, several miles away, and I just haven't done it yet.

8) What is the most important reason you create?
It keeps me sane, is better than nerve pills, keeps my mind active, plus I love the challenge that each project presents to me.

I guess that's it. If you choose to participate, let me know. I'd love to read your answers. Have a happy and creative day!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Meme Trivia

I found this meme on Tammy's blog . She had borrowed it from another blogger, and I borrowed it from her. She's right, the questions are kind of crazy but fun. I enjoyed Tammy's and thanks to her for letting me borrow the questions. Here goes. :)

Ocean or Lake? If I have to choose-ocean. I don't really love to be on or in the water, but I love to sit on the bank (or beach) of any body of water and just watch the ripples/waves and listen to the sounds. Very relaxing and soothing.

Pizza or Chinese? I've never eaten Chinese food, but I love pizza.

Mansion or Penthouse? Neither. I'd like a either a studio loft or a small house way back in the woods by a stream or pond where it's quiet.

Have you been on a Jet Ski? No, and I have no desire to be on one.

Are you afraid of clowns? No, I love the Pierrot Clowns. Not all that crazy about regular clowns, but I'm not afraid of them.

How many brothers/sisters do you have? No blood brothers/sisters, but I have friends that are like brothers/sisters to me

Favorite band/group? There are several, but Aerosmith is certainly one of them. Brooks & Dunn are another. I know, totally opposite genres. What can I say? I have eclectic tastes. :)

Baseball or football? Neither. Not a sports fan.

Favorite brand of makeup? I don't wear makeup much, but what I do wear is usually Max Factor or Mojave Magic

Do you have an IPod? No, I haven't wanted one yet.

Bike or scooter? Probably a bike, but it's been so many years since I've been on one I'd probably fall over on it.

Ever go in a hot air balloon? No, and I don't plan on it. I like my feet on the ground.

What brand computer do you have? Dell desk top and Toshiba laptop

How many times have you been to Disneyworld? Never

Favorite city? I haven't spent time in too many big cities, but I really liked Montreal, Canada and I loved New Orleans pre-Katrina (haven't been since)

Do you think you are fat? Oh yeah! I am pretty fluffy. ;)

Ever throw up in a public place? Not that I remember

Do you have a pool? No, I've never wanted one, but hubby has talked about it

How many times a month do you go to the movies? None. We haven't been to the movies in years.

Last movie you saw? Failure To Launch with Matthew McConahey (?) and Sarah Jessica Parker yesterday on one of the movie channels. The supporting actors stole the movie though. Pretty funny.

Do you chew ice? Not anymore.

Have you been to California? Not yet.

Last book you read? Tara Road by Maeve Binchey

Do you like to go fishing? I'm not an avid fisherperson, but I enjoy going sometimes. I used to love to go out in the boat with my dad and hubby. When I got tired of fishing I'd take pictures or sketch.

Favorite professional team? None, don't watch sports

Do you like mohawks? No, although I did think Sanjaya's fauxhawk was kind of cute on him :)

How many pairs of shoes do you own? Not many compared to most women. Maybe 12-15 pairs gathering dust. I have a couple of favorites that I wear all the time.

Do you floss? Not like I should

Do you have braces? No, and I never have had to. My teeth were perfectly straight, just not very sound

Do you bite your nails? No, I never had that habit, but I have twisted my hair ever since I can remember

What is your last thought before falling asleep? Hope that my family and friends and I stay safe during the night to wake up to a new day

Do you fall in love easily? The last time I fell in love was over forty yrs ago and I've been married to him almost 38 yrs now, so I guess the answer's no :)

Ever have a crush and they never knew? Yes, before I was married.

Do you babysit? No, I've never been around small children enough to be comfortable with them. They would be babysitting me, I'm afraid. :)

Ever been shot at? Heavens no, and I hope I never am.

Do you consider yourself nice? Yes, most of the time. I am a nervous person though, so sometimes I'm easily irritated and snappy.

Do you go to camp for the summer? No, I've never been to camp, but I would love to go to an artists' retreat sometime

Have you been on a boat? Yes, a small cruise ship, Staten Island Ferry in NY, river ferry many times, and out in small fishing boats many times

Ever break a bone? My nose was broken, probably during birth according to the ENT specialist, and he broke it again last summer to straighten the septum so I could breathe better, and it helped a lot

What is your ultimate job? Something on the computer from home that combines art and writing

Do you want to walk on the moon? No way! She's gorgeous to look at, but as I said before, I like my feet on the ground

Can you name the seven dwarfs? Doc, Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy, Sneezy and 2 other guys?

Favorite TV show? Survivor and CSI: Las Vegas

Apples or oranges? Not crazy about either, but I'm allergic to oranges, so it'd have to be apples, preferably yellow and crunchy with salt

Favorite model of car? I'm not really into cars, but I've always wanted a Volkswagen Bug or Rabbit

Favorite flower? White peonies. I just love the fragrance and the splash of pink in the middle of all those ruffled petals

Favorite color? Blue and Copper

Ever climb out your bedroom window? No, not even as a teenager. Had to climb in the dining room window once because we locked ourselves out of the house though

Do you live in an apartment or house? House

How many times in the last month have you had the hiccups? None that remember

Ever laugh so hard milk came out your nose? I don't know about milk, but water, yes

How many cousins do you have? I used to have a lot of first cousins, but as we've gotten older, sadly many of them haver passed over. I still have a lot of second and third cousins though. My parents both came from big families.

Do you believe in ghosts? Anything is possible.

If you were a bird, what would you be? A house wren. They are so cute, tiny, and brave.

Ever get stitches? Only for surgeries, but a couple of times I should have gotten stitches for injuries

If you could, would you want to know what your future was going to be? I don't think so, unless there was a guarantee that it would all be good

If you could change your name, what would it be? I wouldn't change it. I didn't like it when I was young, but I'm ok with it now

Dogs or cats? Right now we have cats, but I love really small, furry dogs too.

Do you believe in love at first sight? It's possible I guess, but I wonder how you know you love somebody before you even get to know who they are

Do you go to church? I used to, but haven't gone in a long time now, and I miss it.

Would you marry outside your religion? At this point in my life that's not even an option, but if it were to come up, I'd sure want to give it a lot of thought and consideration

Ever ride in a limo? No, and I don't really want to.

Ever drink champagne? I've tasted it a couple of times, but I don't really like alcohol of any kind, not even beer

Well that's the end of the meme for me. If you post your answers to this meme let me know, and I'll enjoy getting to know a little about you. :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mondays And Groups

Happy Monday!

Most people don't seem to like Mondays. I didn't either when I worked outside the home, but now it seems like I have more energy and get more things done at the beginning of the week. By the weekend my tail is usually kind of dragging. :)

I have belonged to a couple of online groups for a long time now, one is a creative arts group and one a group on organization. I just dropped out of the second one because the activity on it has dropped to zero practically over the last few weeks. I really learned a lot of tips and got a lot of encouragement and motivation from the other members. They're a great and generous bunch of people and I will probably go back at some point, but my cleaning/organizing has come to a standstill at present, so for the time being I have dropped out.

The creative arts group has also been pretty quiet over the last few days. I've been pretty quiet myself on it, so I can't say much. I guess it's inevitable that there will be lulls in activity once in a while. It's a small group. I guess everyone is just busy working on their creative projects and with life in general. I usually have my morning coffee with them while I'm waking up, so it's like friends missing when there's nobody posting. This group has been instrumental in helping keep my creative juices flowing. They're a wonderful, talented, generous group as well, and I really enjoy their friendship.

I don't intend to get involved in too many groups because as much as I enjoy them, it takes a lot of time if you participate in them and you're still on dial-up internet. There are a lot of good ones and it's hard to choose just a few. So I dropped the one on organization for now, but I joined two different groups yesterday after looking through a bunch of groups on the topics I'm interested in.

I joined the women getting fit over fifty group and just sent in my introduction post this morning. It's a good sized group of over fifty year old women who encourage and support one another in getting healthy, exercising, and other problems that age and being overweight involves. I desperately need to lose some weight. I have been knowing this for several years. It has really affected my health and I am easily stressed, which compounds all the other health issues. I just cannot get myself to do anything about it...yet. I'm hoping that this group can help me and maybe I, in turn, can do or say something to encourage or help them. They ask that you post at least once a week and share your progress...or non progress. I can handle that. :) Wish me luck as I venture into an exercise and healthier eating program to not only get some excess weight off, but to make me feel better physically and mentally.

The other group is a post polio syndrome group , also a small group. I am a polio survivor so there is a risk for my developing this syndrome. This syndrome happens to many people who survived polio, went on to live normal, productive lives, then in their fifties and sixties the symptoms of the original polio come back, bringing a lot of muscle and joint pain, fatigue, etc., and completely changing their lifestyles, making them semi-invalid or invalids. There is no cure and it can only be diagnosed by eliminating everything else. Once diagnosed there are lifestyle changes to make it easier, supports such as braces, wheelchairs, etc., and medicines for pain, but no cure. Keeping your weight down plays an important role here too, as extra weight puts added pressure on already weakened or overworked muscles. The posts on this group are open to the public, but you have to be a member to post. I think I can learn a lot here. They seem like a wonderful, supportive group as well.

I forgot, I also belong to the writer's group in the Long Ridge Writing School, so that makes four groups and a blog that I post to and read. Perhaps that's why I can't get my current writing assignment finished and the housework is piled up. But it's fun. :) Have a great week!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Morning Clowns and Haiku

First, I want to thank all of you who have visited my blog so far. It’s still new and I’m still trying to find my way, so please be patient with me. OK? Thanks, also, for the comments left and emails sent. I appreciate so much your taking the time to read my efforts and tell me what you think. I hope you will continue to visit often. :)

Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day here, what I call a magic light day. The air was clear and the colors gloriously intensified under a cloudless bright blue sky. One of those “it’s great to be alive” days. We finally got some much needed rain for three or four days last week, and seemingly overnight it looked like a different world. Everything is green again instead of dead and parched. The ponds and streams are full again. We won’t have to sell our little herd of cows, which are more like pets, because we can’t feed and water them. It seems like a miracle and I’m so grateful. I was so happy when it was raining that I wanted to just get out in it and dance and twirl around, but I didn’t. Another opportunity not taken advantage of. I did get soaked coming back from checking on the cows on the 4-wheeler though. That was fun, but I still should have danced in it.

This photo was made while riding the 4-wheeler through the woods to the pond to check on the cows after the rain last week. It was early morning and everything felt so clean. The sun was filtering through the remaining fog and trees. It was kind of magical.

I wrote the haiku poem three years ago while daddy was taking antibiotic treatments in the hospital. It was a gray stormy day and I watched out the window as yellow leaves fell out of a huge tree nearby every time a gust of wind came. It reminded me of golden glitter as bunches of leaves fell loose and swirled to the pavement below. I put the poem and photo together for this month's mojoart challenge "Dreaming of Fall". The poem reads:

a quick gust of wind
golden leaves fall like glitter
shaken to the ground

" A quick gust" has been changed to "sudden gust" since entering it. Much better, I think.

I had to ask for an extension on my writing assignment because it was due yesterday and I’ve barely started it. It’s the second chapter for my novel, started several weeks ago. I got sidetracked, and just yesterday started working on it again. I first studied my text book requirements for this assignment, then I just dove in and started typing stream of consciousness, my favorite way to write. I was trying to make the transition from chapter one to chapter two, but I think chapter two has now turned into chapters two and three. I’m already way over my word limit and I'm not through, so I’ll have to go back and cut a lot out and do a lot of re-writing to pull it together and try to make it interesting. A challenge and a lot of work, but also enjoyable to me once I get focused.

My art doll pattern is still glaring at me (I shouldn’t have given her a face yet), because I still haven’t found suitable body material for her, and now she’s insisting on tiny wings for her ample body. We’re still debating that one. She’s going to be as difficult to please as Mollie Be Muse was (art doll previous post). :o

Art wise, I’ve been experimenting some. I read where someone uses a piece of watercolor paper under her stamping and painting projects, which invariably gets ink, paint, and stamp images all over it. When it gets enough on it, she cuts it up and uses it for backgrounds for atc’s, altered books, etc. So, of course, I’m having to try it. Some pretty interesting effects so far.

It reminds me of once when a friend was looking at my oil paintings and she really liked the one on the easel, which wasn’t a painting at all, but a canvas board which I put behind my stretched canvases while painting. Of course, it had all sorts of paint smudges where I had painted off the sides of several canvases, cleaned the paint out of my brushes, practiced brush strokes and paint mixtures, that sort of thing. When I looked at it through her eyes, it was pretty interesting looking though.

The other day I carved an atc sized piece of linoleum and made several trial prints in my sketchbook and other papers. It is of a Pierrot clown face with a harlequin motif background. I love the painted faces of Pierrot clowns, mimes, the Cirque de Soleil and Cats characters, etc. Not as crazy about regular clowns. Anyway, I drew it right out of my head directly onto the linoleum with a pencil (not always a good idea), and then went over the places I wanted to show with a black sharpie. The rest I carved out. Since I don’t do this on a regular basis, I forgot and carved a line between the eyebrow and the iris in her eye, which of course left a blank line when I printed her off. Thus, she looks kind of frightened unless I make an adjustment with a brush and ink.

To the right is a picture of a sketchbook page with a few trial prints, which are really plainer than the photo shows. The black one is done with printer’s ink brushed onto the design, then stamped onto the page, which doesn’t leave as sharp an image as it does when it’s rolled on and a barren used. The other three are dye ink pads stamped on. I’m not real happy with the way the design wound up, but I am going to make some real prints (probably altered) with it before I toss it…or not. Now that I look at her again, she does have a unique character about her. :)

Enough rambling for now. Ya’ll have a blessed week, and a creative one.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Over The Slump

Well, I did kind of get over my creative slump finally. I wrote a three and a half page piece which has nothing at all to do with my writing assignment which is due in nine days and I've barely started (the second chapter of my novel). I just can't seem to get focused on it.

That's probably because I've been focused more on art the last few days. I have an art doll pattern cut out and the face drawn on (she's standing nearby glaring at me), but since she refused to be made out of the fabric I had in mind, I'm still looking for something to suit her.

I've also been re-working some artist trading cards that I wasn't happy with, plus I started a couple of new ones with my new face stamp. Love it! And I love my new alphabet stamps. I'll post some pics when I get the atc's finished.

This month's mojoart challenge is "Dreaming of Fall". I'm beginning to have an inkling of an idea for it. I have written a haiku poem, now I have to come up with a background collage for it. Only have a few more days though, so I'm going to have to work fast.

I read an article in the last Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine about making paper beads that I just had to try. They were gorgeous and really easy to make...and addictive. I made a dozen in just a few minutes. I just made the basic ones, but the article showed how to dip the basic ones in powders, tiny beads, etc, to make them even prettier. You can also cut really small strips of words, really thin wire or fiber, etc and wrap around the basic bead for decoration to make them more interesting. They're pretty sturdy too. A great way to use up pretty scrap paper. I plan to use mine for decorative purposes on altered art, journals, whatever, but they make pretty jewelry too.

For the basic bead you cut a triangle (1-1/2"x around 7" or 1/2"x 7") out of decorative paper, magazine pages, etc., wrap the wide end around a straw, knitting needle, etc a couple of times, put glue (I used gloss acrylic gel medium) on the back of the rest of the strip, and roll it on, trying to keep the point centered. You can rub a small amount of olive oil on the straw every so often to keep the beads from sticking to it. I also put a coat of gel medium all over the outside of the bead before drying. Hang on a string, wire, or I used a wooden skewer laid across something to dry. The gel medium makes them relatively hard, so they don't crush easily. You can also make them out of rectangle strips the same size. The thinner the paper the longer the strips should be, and the thicker the shorter. No two are exactly alike. Once dry they make pretty jewelry or decorative beads for art projects.

Plus, I did a simple design of three pears on a thin piece of linoleum and cut it out, which left a positive and negative pear trio design. Then I made prints of on various papers and in my sketchbook. Very simple design, but I like it. Thought I could use some of the prints for cards, collage, etc. I have several sizes of linoleum pieces cut out, ready to draw the design on and carve out. I just love making prints.

Also printed some in an altered book on printed pages, a work in progress, which looks cool, and a couple of hot pink ones in the sketchbook (my red ink wasn't handy, besides it's oil-based and would have taken forever to dry.


I always have a bunch of things going at once. Sometimes I wish I could focus on one thing and get to be really good at it instead of being kind of good in so many different things. I want to try every new art technique or media I see, so I dabble in a little bit of everything. But sticking to one thing wouldn't be me, and I would get really bored, so I will continue to be a dabbler, or a Jill of all trades, I guess. :) Have a happy, creative day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Slump Days

It's been several days since I posted. I've been kind of in a slump for a few days. I'm having one of those weeks where I really want to write and create art and it's like the cork got put back in the creativity juice bottle, denying me access. My brain is coming up with ideas, but I just can't get myself to actually do anything. The weather has cooled up a bit; maybe that will help.

One bit of news, well actually two bits, my Mollie Be Muse art doll (see post/pic Aug 16) was chosen as winner of the Mojoart yahoo group challenge this month and is now gracing the homepage until the next challenge winner is chosen. Don't know yet what the next challenge is, but it will be fun. This one was a lot of fun. There were three other art dolls entered, among other great things, all made from recycled stuff, all adorable and unique. Mollie needed friends and she got some good ones. :)

I also got some very positive encouraging feedback from an assistant editor on a fictional short story that I submitted to the print magazine last March. I got an email reply this week making a suggestion for a revision in a couple of places to make the story better, which I am working on. She didn't say they were still considering the story, but she didn't say they had rejected it either. Kind of confusing, but we'll see what happens...

I did finish a book this week. I had started reading "Tara Road" by Maeve Binchey a few weeks ago, and though it was very hard to put down, I got sidetracked and didn't pick it up again until this week. It has all the elements of a good read and I found it well written, making me feel all sorts of emotions. The characters were all characters I really cared about and felt for and with. There is everything short of murder, and that came close, in this book. Love, anger, betrayal, adultery, addiction, abuse, friendship, loyalty, wasted years, success, failure, loss, suspense, blackmail, mystery, sadness, happiness are all there. All kinds of twists and turns building to a suspenseful climax and a satisfactory ending, although not the ending I expected.

I would recommend it if you haven't read it. It's not an edge of your seat thriller, but it's about the lives of ordinary people, how tangled up lives can get while they're trying to be lived, the strength that people find to face things they never thought they could, and peoples' need for each other. Very entertaining and at times thought provoking. At least to me. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mini-Mini Vacation

I didn't know I was going to get to go on a mini-mini vacation over the weekend. We never go anywhere anymore. Been married a long time and we're both happy pottering around the house. We hadn't planned on it.

I didn't know when I told J (hubby) Friday morning that the storm door to the kitchen was sticking and wouldn't close without pushing it to hard. This is where everybody goes in and out of the house, so the door was getting left almost closed a lot. This was the second time I'd mentioned it in as many days. J accused me of griping about the door. I wasn't. I just mentioned it, sort of thinking out loud. I told him to forget it, that I could use a screwdriver. I had tightened it up before and fixed it.

I was already in the dog house, so I went to take a nap after lunch.

I heard him beating and banging, but I thought he was fixing the door. Little did I know, until I woke up, that he had taken the old door down, cut off the new storm door, which we had bought three years ago, and discovered that the handle was on the wrong side to open. Since we couldn't use it on the kitchen, he had put it up on the outside door going to my studio, only to discover that it couldn't open all the way back without hitting the gutter on the very small back porch roof. It won't work without having to redo the porch top.

It was extremely hot outside, and inside too, because he had let all the cool air out. To say he was upset was an understatement. Of course, this was all my fault.

Anyway, we got up Saturday morning and nothing would do but to go to Florence, AL to Loew's to get another storm door. It's an hour and a half away without side trips, and it was noon before we got started. We got four miles up the road and J discovered that he'd left his wallet at home. We had to go back and get it. Then he had to make a side trip to pick up some medicine.

Now the mini-mini vacation starts. We stopped on the way to Florence at a Sonic and got ice cream, which was very tasty I must say. We were lapping those ice cream cones and laughing like two little kids riding down the road.

Our first stop in Florence was Hobby Lobby, an art and craft supply store. It was really hot outside and not much cooler inside. I have anxiety attacks when I get in a store, or anyplace, with lots of people milling around. They were having a sale and there were lots of people. It was a Saturday after all.

I was doing okay for a while, then I got so hot I was about to be sick so I went to the front. I didn't see J anywhere and had them page him. He was happily shopping for beads to make jewelrybefore the page scared him half to death. We paid and left. I had to get to a seat and an AC.

I did purchase a new sketch book that lays flat, gel medium, spray sealer, a few packages of small feathers and gorgeous beads, a gorgeous face stamp, two sets of alphabet antique typewriter stamps (upper and lower case), a new varigated stamp pad, and I finally found some copper glitter. Oh, and I got 5 small sheets of decorative art papers. J got several packages of beads (we have different tastes) and necklace makings.

We then went to Loew's and I sat in the car with the AC while J went in and got the storm door. Our other storm doors are silver. They didn't have any silver, so he got brown....and a wireless door bell.

He got it on top of the SUV luggage rack. I got out to help tie it. The heat coming off the pavement was stifling. He was worried about the rope holding it good enough to keep it from flying off on the way home. I suggested we try it on the inside by letting the back set lay flat and laying it over the passenger seat, which wouldn't fold forward. It was rubbing the ceiling and he was afraid it would rub a hole in it, so he took it back out and got it back onto the top of the SUV.

We got one end tied. He didn't have enough rope and was going to have to go back in and buy more. We were both boiling hot and cars were constantly pulling in and out on both sides of the vehicle, nearly taking our backsides off. I wouldn't have minded losing part of mine, but J doesn't have any to spare. :) I happened to think of taking the head rest off the front seat and scooting the seat all the way forward and trying it inside again. So we finally got it untied and off the luggage rack...again. We have a mid-sized SUV and if the door had been any longer it wouldn't have fit, but it did work. I crawled into the back seat behind J. We were both drenched in sweat, but we went to the Cracker Barrel and ate, cooled off, and relaxed a while.

The next stop was Krispy Kreme Donuts for a dozen plain donuts and two creme filled ones, then on to Books-A-Million, which we both love. It, too, was hot and crowded and having a sale. We didn't stay long. J didn't find anything he wanted. I, however, bought the Cloth,Paper, Scissors and The Writer's magazines and four books on sale. I found a cat mystery book, The Cat Who Dropped A Bombshell by Lilian Jackson Braun, on a table of hardbacks for $3. The others were paperbacks on a table where you buy two and get one free. I got Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell, Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott, and Having A Mary Spirit by Joanna Weaver. I've never read any of these authors, but the descriptions sounded like they would be good. Will let you know when I've read them, but first I have to finish Tara Road by Maeve Binchey, which is a very good book. I just got sidetracked off it for a couple of weeks.

I had meant to go to Best Buy and get the Photoshop software, but we were hot, tired, and I had already spent too much, so we headed home. I felt like I was being chauffeured by J as I rode behind him. We got into the donuts on the way home. No wonder I've gained weight during the past few weeks, which I certainly don't need.

We got home around eight p.m., tired, but happy. It was a good evening, we had some laughs, went to two of our favorite stores, ate out (that was the vacation part :)), and I treated the artist, the writer, and the reader in me. My spirits were lifted immensely.

Later just as I was about to doze off to sleep, my eyes flew open and I said, "You know what? The front seat wouldn't fold flat forward, but it would have lain almost flat backward. The storm door could have lain almost flat instead of being propped up on the seat back."

J said, "Yeah, we could have." We're smart that way. One more thing to laugh about. :) Oh well, we learn something new every day if we pay attention. Saturday we learned how to haul a door inside the SUV, the hard way, in case we ever need to again.

It was good to get away for a while, even on a mini-mini vacation. We've already been playing with our new "toys". Love em! And the new storm door is up and working, so it's all good. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mollie B Muse Doll

Thought I would share the doll I made to enter into the recycle bin art challenge in the Mojo Art Group this month. Everything is recycled from discarded stuff except the fiberfill stuffing and the face pin. I drew off my own pattern, cut it out of an old table cloth topper, and stuffed it, sewing across the knees, elbows, and seat so she's posable. Her strapless dress is made from an old skirt of mine. Her boots, gloves, and underwear are made from an old black dress glove, and her shawl is made from a piece of gauze bandaging left over from hubby's burn accident. Her hair and the boot feathers came out of an old feather duster made of Asian feathers. The silver choker necklace is a broken hoop earring, and the other necklaces are a silver chain looped around her neck with a palette, paint tube, and brushes charm. A porcelin face pin with a white feather, given to me a long time ago by a great-aunt, completes her. She wound up 16" tall.

I wish her hair showed up better. The feathers are gorgeous shades of reddish-brown, black, and brown shades mingled together. The little alphabet beads on her boots spell BE, as in "Just Be."

I don't know if I should call her an art doll or not, but I am. :) She refused to wear a lot of ribbons and flowers and she squirmed so much that I could barely dress her. Impatient she was, but she was sure fun to create, and with her legs and arms crossed she looks like she's got attitude.

She might be saying, "Ok, I'm here now, so create something!" :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

About Rabbit Hop

Thought I'd share a little about Rabbit Hop this morning, as some of you may be wondering what it is or if it really exists. It does indeed exist, and has since way before I was born. I've lived all but two years of my whole life here, and many magical things have transpired here over the years. :)

I'm not sure why it's called Rabbit Hop, except for the sheer number of rabbits that used to abound here. Even when I was growing up if you turned in to the drive after dark and the headlights hit, rabbits popped up like popping corn from everywhere and ran. Very prolific they are. :)

Rabbit Hop is a small community of houses in a rural area about four miles from the nearest really small town (one business street and no traffic lights). My maternal grandpa's dad bought a small farm with a house sitting back off the main road and moved in when my grandpa was about three years old, which was about 1899. The community was pretty thick with families at the time. There was a one room schoolhouse, Rabbit Hop School, near the main road, which Papa and his siblings attended. I'm not sure what else was here in the early 1900's (I need to do some research).

By the time I was born, Papa had married and raised six children in two sets (three,wait a few years, then three more). He, my grandma and the youngest two children were living in a house on the riverbank in town, and they ran a shoe shop in town, where they repaired shoes for a living. My mom, next to the youngest, married my dad, next to the youngest of eleven, when she was sixteen.

They lived with my dad's widowed mom, but I was born in Papa's house on the riverbank when mom was seventeen. We lived on the outskirts of town until I was two. Papa now owned the country farm, so he gave my parents enough land by the main road for a house and a garden spot in the Rabbit Hop community.

Papa and Granny moved back to the house on the farm for a few years when I was small. It was just over a little hill from our house, a short walk. They ran their shoe shop from a small building by the road, which my dad had built for a work shop. I grew up very close to all my grandparents, and I have made countless trips over that little hill to that home place in my lifetime. I have always loved it out there. So quiet and peaceful. Still.

The community was thick with houses, families, and neighbors who were the same as family. I was an only child, but I always had other children to play with and grow up with. There was a country grocery store across the road from us. They also sold gas. There was another one within walking distance down the road. There was also a button factory just under the hill on the way to the river, which we can't see, but it's only about a fifteen minute walk. There has always been a boat landing there and at different times beer joints. The man who ran the grocery was also a commercial fisherman and owned the button factory. Oh yes, there was also a rock crusher on the bluff above the river.

I went to school in town with all the other kids here in the fifties and sixties. We rode the school bus together every day. A few families came and went, but most were still here in the seventies when I married and my husband and I bought an acre adjoining my parent's garden spot from Papa near the road, where we built the home we still live in.

Daddy had already bought several acres adjoining their house place and eventually Papa sold him the farm, so I am the fourth generation to live on it.

The community is no longer a thriving one. The grocery across the road, the button factory, shoe shop, and beer joints have long been gone. A nice rock-sided home replaced the Rabbit Hop School many moons ago. Some of the homes burned and the families moved away. Many of the people have now died or moved on.

My dad made a wooden sign with two large rabbits a few years ago that said Rabbit Hop-population eleven and a half. It's fewer than that now. All that's left are hubby and me, my widowed mom next door, the elderly couple kind of across the road and down a little from us, and their granddaughter, husband, and little boy, who have only been here a couple of years now. The other three houses left are used as weekend/vacation houses. Papa's old home place over the hill is now falling down, though we're still using the old barn for the few cattle we keep.

I've often taken spells of wanting to live somewhere else, at least for a while. Everything is so far away from us. The nearest towns of any size are half hour away, and the nearest city with a mall or any shopping is at least one and a half hours away. It's frustrating sometimes to have to drive so far for everything, especially as I get older, but on the other hand, I'm deeply attached here and wouldn't know how to live anywhere else. It's where my roots are.

I've seen a lot of life, both good and bad, here. People came and went over the years, buildings changed and disappeared, just like everywhere else. Time doesn't stand still and everything changes constantly. But, as I said at the beginning, magical things happen here sometimes if you're paying attention. I have lots of happy memories associated with this little place out in the sticks called Rabbit Hop Community, and I'm beginning to dread the time when I have to leave it behind.

One day I will tell you about the people and some of the magic of the Rabbit Hop I grew up in. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Studio pix

Yesterday I showed you my real studio. Today I thought I'd show you where I have actually been trying to work for a few tiny dining room. I actually straightened it up before tackling the upstairs one.

I did have to crawl over all the piles on the floor and move the piles on the table to do anything. Needless to say I didn't do much. :) It's still pretty full and I don't have a lot of elbow room, but at least I can walk around the table w/o tripping or moving something. I have managed to keep it straightened up too. Right now I'm in the midst of a couple of projects so it's kind of messy, but I've gotten better at putting stuff away when I'm done, so the table stays pretty much cleared. The vinyl tablecloth is not for looks, but table protection. There are two rolling drawer carts behind the chair and under the small desk on the right. Those, stackable banker boxes, and wooden cheese boxes hold art/writing supplies. Stackable baskets hold my sewing stuff and magazines. I also have an easel and a portable table that I set up when I need them. A lot of the stuff down here is going back upstairs now that there's room up there. I may still have to work down here for the time being, but at least I'll have a little more room.

We still eat in front of the living room TV. :) Two pix follow:
Pretty embarrassing when company comes. But it's either this or give up art/writing and that would be like giving up breathing. :)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Playhouse

In this post I'm going to share some pix of my studio. Back in the spring I started the monumental task of cleaning out and organizing my upstairs studio. The room had not been cleaned out or used in several years (too expensive to heat/cool) and had become akin to an upstairs attic storage space. I could not walk around without moving stuff out of the way, every table, chair, etc was piled high, boxes/baskets of stuff filled the floor, and needless to say, I couldn't find anything. I should have taken before pictures to share. It took several days, but I started in the middle and kept digging out small spaces until I had my studio back again. I got rid of tons of stuff that I no longer needed or wanted, and stuff that had been ruined by light, insects, age, etc. I know it's still going to look messy to many of you, but considering how it was before it now looks like I'm a neat freak. :)

I owe a great deal of my success to the Organized Studio group. They cheered me on, gave me inspiration, and generously shared their ideas and before/after pix. I wish I'd taken before pix, but since I didn't here are the after pix I promised of my now workable space with the infamous blue curtains (see curtain saga post below). I didn't buy any pretty containers, just used what I had, and I haven't started working up there yet, so it's still relatively neat.

This is the NE corner where my stairs come up. The bookshelves hold books, new art papers, paintings, sketchbooks, paint, palettes, etc. The ice chests hold heat sensitive sprays, paints, etc. I temporarily laid some new frames flat on the table with the sheet curtains I just took down and will use as dust covers. On the floor are canvas and framed paintings. Also a few cleaning items. A little Santa wind chime hanging from the center adds a tinkling sound when the fans are on.

This is the North end where I paint with oils. The two paintings on the easels are works in progress that I started about ten years ago. I'll finish them eventually. The drafting table holds my palette, paint rags, etc. The TV and a radio sits on an old entertainment center that we rescued from beside a dumpster several years ago. It has 5 large compartments behine the doors.

The NW corner. The lop-sided chest was made by a great uncle and is over a hundred years old. I painted the oval scenes on the front when I first started painting. I broke the two end legs off dragging it across the floor and have never gotten them replaced, so it's kind of propped up. It has 3 shelves inside. The teddy bear and monkey are mine from childhood, very much loved. A magazine holder is in the floor next to the end of my work table.

The SW corner and side. The rest of my work table with storage underneath for frames, mat board, cutter, etc. The file cabinet holds newspaper and magazine clippings and journals. The wicker hamper holds my crochet yarn & projects. The corner table has a bartender's sink in it, but it froze & burst one winter and hasn't been fixed. My dad made the print rack for me.

South end. Utility table, thinking chair, baskets. I made the cloth doll from a pattern. She is one of my muses named Lucy, and she's very good company. ;)

SE corner. The old chest of drawers was bought at a yard sale. It and the shelves hold various containers of cross stitch supplies, paper making, papier mache, writing, and other craft supplies, as well as various magazines.

The middle of the floor is totally empty...for now. :) I am so proud of myself for sticking with it til it was straightened up. Now if I can just keep it that way? ;)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Curtain Saga

All is quiet and peaceful in Rabbit Hop this far.

The cows broke into the haybarn last night just before dark, so hubby was out trying to fix the gate by the four-wheeler lights after dark. The pastures have dried up and the pond is almost dry. We're having to try to keep two big tubs filled with water, which they can empty in just a few minutes. Praying that it rains soon so we don't have to sell the cattle.

But I was going to tell you a curtain tale. Earlier in the summer I cleaned out my large upstairs studio, which because of heating and cooling costs, had become like an attic storage space. There was no way to walk around on the floor without moving something out of the way. It took a while, but I got rid of tons of stuff and now it's all neat and tidy with plenty of room for me to work/play when I want to. Right now I play in the dining room when I write or try to make stuff.

Anyway, about the curtains. I had bought the cheapest thermal backed curtains JC Penney carried several years ago to help with the heat/cold in the studio. There are eight regular windows around the walls plus four triangle shaped ones high on each end. Daddy, hubby, and I built it and Daddy wanted me to have plenty of light. We didn't think about how much heat/cold all that glass would also create at the time. I bought four pairs of curtains and used one panel per window, which worked fine (none for the high triangles).

For several years I have washed and dried these curtains on gentle in the machines and they were fine. I skipped a year last year (too much else going on), but this year I washed two pair and dried them with different results. When I took them out of the dryer the thermal backing was all stuck together and when I tried to pull it apart it tore holes in the curtains and the seams apart. Goofy me, I layed these aside. Thinking the dryer caused it, I washed the other two pair, planning on hanging them on the line to dry. Alas, when I took them out of the washer they were stuck worse than the first pair, all in big wads.

Mom came and I showed her the curtain tragedy. The heat and cold upstairs must have rotted them I decided. She was convinced we could get them straigntened out. We couldn't. Not even with her pulling one end and me the other. We gave up and six panels went in the trash. There were two panels, however, that were only stuck a little and I straightened them enough to use on the end where the mid-day sun comes through, never mind the holes in the backing.

The curtains before these were made out of peach colored sheets and had been relagated to dust covers, so I gathered these up from their various positions, washed them, and hung them temporarily.

A few weeks later I got a sale book from JCP and lo and behold their thermal backed curtains were on sale with free S/H. They had the same ones that I had just ruined, the cheapest, but I decided to go with a little better quality. In reading the descriptions about both, I discovered that the ones I had been washing for several years were supposed to be dry cleaned. :o

I ordered the better quality, which were machine washable, and a tad more expensive, but they were on sale with free shipping and handling, so I ordered four pair just like before, one panel per window, cloud blue floral.

They came. First of all the color was more storm cloud gray (most shades of gray depress me for reasons I won't go into now). Second of all when I went to hang them one panel wasn't wide enough to cover the window and two panels were way too wide. I ordered the same size I had before. The nearest JCP return store was twenty miles away (not that far) but I would have to pay S/H to send them back.

I did a lot of thinking and figuring (didn't want to spend any more money than I absolutely had to), and decided to keep them, despite the color, order two more pair, and splice the ones I already had. Aggravated was what I was. Luckily JCP was having a weekend online sale and my curtains were marked down seven more dollars than the sale book and there was still free S/H on orders of a certain amount, which was good for me. They arrived four days later.

So I have cut four panels up the middle and sewn each half on to the side of the first eight panels. (I got to use the Janome computerized sewing machine which I bought three or four years ago and hadn't used in so long that I had to get the instruction book out again. I love this machine. I just hadn't been sewing much in a while).

It's been extremely hot upstairs so I haven't hung the curtains yet, but I do have the hooks on two of the panels and just holding them up, they don't look too bad. The main thing is that they help with the heat/cold up there. Nobody much is up there anyway except me. Still they wound up costing more than I meant to spend, and for the expense it would have been nice not to have to splice them.

Oh, well. I was lucky to get several years service out of the old curtains. They could have stuck together in wads the first year I washed them instead of dry cleaning them. So all's well that ends well I guess. :)

Incidentally, the same week I ruined the curtains, the tire came off the riding mower wheel just as I was starting to mow our acre yard, the carpet cleaner literally blew up on me (pop, fire, smoke!) in the middle of my carpet cleaning, and something else happened that escapes me right now. Think someone was trying to tell me something? :)

PS: I got the curtains hung today. I nearly boiled while I was upstairs hanging them, but I could feel the difference in heat coming through the windows immediately. The sheet curtains have once again been relagated to dust covers. Despite the gray color the new ones look pretty good I must say, plus they filtered all the light enough to give the room a cozy, relaxing atmosphere, which I really like. Two slight problems. One panel plus a spliced half still wasn't wide enough to cover the ends of the rods, but at least the glass is covered, and when we got into the truck to go after cow feed I noticed that the spliced seam, which is the dark gray (pardon me, cloud blue), is really shining against the white thermal backing from the outside. I took as small a seam as I could. Neither the rod ends nor the seams look too good; I can live with the rod ends, but those dark seams on the white background just jump out at whoever happens to be outside. I've already spent too much, so the curtain saga continues...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Kind of Stumped

I meant to post before now, but I've been feeling blah for a few days, and besides it's too hot to do much. My sinuses have been acting up and I've decided that the allergy shots I've been taking weekly for almost a year are not helping so I think I'm stopping them. It's so hot and dry here that that doesn't help. Anyway, I'm feeling better today.

I've been on a mini-vacation of sorts for a couple of hours. I flipped through all my back issues of Somerset Studio looking for the issues that had altered shoes and art dolls. Didn't find the shoes, found a few altered dolls, none of which helped me, but I found all sorts of other projects to tempt me and plenty of gorgeous artwork to inspire me. I will have to look in some of my other art mags or do some online research for something to jumpstart my brain. :)

I am working on an art doll for the next mojo art group contest. We're supposed to take something headed for the trash/recycle bin and make something artsy out of it. I've been wanting to try an art doll, so I drew a pattern, cut her out of an old table cloth, got her sewn and stuffed, and kind of dressed out of throw away stuff. Now I'm stumped on how to embellish her. Nothing I have in my stash seems to work, at least not yet. I guess it would help if I really could think of a theme for her. At this point she looks kind of like a Vegas showgirl, but I want her to be more artsy. I'll come up with something. I still have a couple of weeks. If she turns out ok I'll post her pic on here, as well as in the group. Will let you know how it goes.

We're also talking about one for altered shoes if enough members are interested. I have shoes, but no ideas yet, which is why I was mining the magazines with no luck. :) It's fun though.

I've posted the links to the last two personal experience stories I had published online this summer. I actually still have three others online as well, but they are archived in the ezines, and I couldn't get the links to work. Now I need to get some more written, submitted, and hopefully published.

I'm also working on the second chapter of a novel, which has come to a halt for the time being. I was going full steam ahead and making progress on everything last week, then all of a sudden I reckon I ran out of steam. I don't know if it's the heat or what, but it's frustrating to be wanting to work on projects and not be able to figure out where you need to go with them. They will tell me when the time's right what they need. Til then I'll wait.

I guess now would be a good time to finish the novel I have over half read (Tara Road by Maeve Binchey), which is very good by the way. : )

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Still Here

I'm still here figuring out all the bells and whistles. You won't believe it, but I just wrote a post and added a pic, then forgot to save it and lost it so I'm trying again. I figured out today how to add favorite links. I only had three handy at the time, but there will be many more. I also figured out how to add an image to my header, but when I uploaded a pic of orange daylillies they were huge, so I took them off. Will have to re-figure that one. :)

In the meantime, I'm going to try to share a pic of a small piece of artwork that I created for the last contest in the MojoArtGroup that I belong to. (What do you know? I did it!)
There's always a themed contest going. Members upload pix of their art in any media into a designated folder, then about once a month we vote on a favorite. The winner is featured on the homepage until the next one is chosen. The last one, which is being voted on now, was Feathered Friends. The next one is turning something headed for the recycle/trash bin into art. Should be fun and interesting. They're a very fun, talented, and creative bunch. Whether we win or not it's fun, it keeps our creative juices flowing, and it's a way to share our art and learn from each other.

Anyway above is my Feathered Friend, titled "Oriental Bluebird?", made out of torn mulberry paper, watercolor, and stamps on watercolor paper. I don't claim to be at the level that most of the artists on the web are on, but I sure do have fun trying. :) Now I must quit playing on here and go cook breakfast, iron, splice some curtains (not wide enough for the window), etc. Later!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Blog Overload

I think my brain is trying to short circuit from reading so many wonderful blogs out there. I've been visiting to get ideas on how to set mine up. One could easily get addicted to just reading blogs. I read one yesterday that belonged to a 14 yr old girl, who already had more insight and wisdom about life than most adults. Just blew me away at what she'd been through and what she'd learned from it.

Most of the blogs I visit are creative art or writing, and I've found so many awesome writers and artists that my creative juices are really boiling with ideas and the inspiration to try all sorts of things. For example, this morning I've discovered inchies, which are collages that are only one inch square. Amazing what can be said in art on an inch. When several of them are put down together, it has a mosaic effect. I enjoy ATC's so I am now going to have to try inchies. May have to dig out a magnifying glass though. My eyes ain't what they used to be. :) Later!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Testing: One, Two, Three

This first post is just to test out the blog, to see if I can actually do this. I look forward to posting my art, my writing, photos and life in general clips from here in Rabbit Hop in future posts. I'll try to post at least once a week after I figure out settings, profile, and get it customized. Til then, thanks for visiting!