Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bird embroidery

Here is a scan of the finished piece. The only thing I don't like is my birdie kinda looks mean, like a miniature hawk swallow. It's the eye area. I worked with it some, but couldn't get a sweeter look. If and when I start making it into an art quilt, I'll keep you posted. Like I said earlier, plan on antiquing the background fabric so it won't look so starkly white and of course, ironing it, unlike I did before doing this scan, lol.

Back from the races

... last evening. I'm catching up on the internet I've missed while away and doing a little laundry to get ready to pack to fly out tomorrow to move Emily's stuff back to Alabama. Dh and I will be coming back in the Uhaul, hopefully, on Thursday, so keep your fingers crossed or say a little prayer for a safe, uneventful journey for us if you have time.

We had a great time at the races. Holly and her dh went with us. The weather was not as hot as last year, though Sunday at the beginning of the race it felt pretty hot. A highlight was we got to "meet" Jamie McMurray and get his autograph. While visiting all the Fan Day happenings, we checked out the Irwin tools display. It just so happened that Holly had on a U. of Alabama tshirt and one of the guys working for them was from Dothan, Ala. He spotted her shirt and came up to talk to us. Later on he gave us 4 tickets to come back on Sunday for the autograph session. You had to have a ticket to be able to stand in line. So we got to see Jamie McMurray up close. Isn't he cute and doesn't he look thrilled to be there? This was race day, so I'm sure his mind was elsewhere. That's me in front of the stand. Also included some other pics, one of me and my dh the day of the race, some at the race, with one showing Holly and Chris watching the race. BTW, my hubby's not mean, the sun was in our eyes and he hates to have his picture taken.

As for art, I took some supplies with me but didn't work on a single paper art project, but I did finish a bird embroidery purchased many years ago(it is copyrighted 1980). I put these kits back with all of the other purchased but to be completed at a later date projects. I have a closet bottom and a trunk full of these UFO's(all kinds of stuff, including a lot of cross stitch projects). I've thought about selling them or even, gasp, throwing them away because they do kind of look dated, but you know I kept holding on and I think I've come up with an updated way to use them. My plan is to age the fabric with tea-dying(the fabric is stark white) and to incorporate the embroidery into an art quilt. I'll scan as I go along. I have about 3 more bird embroideries and several 70's flower ones that should look cute with some vintage fabric and trims.

Please don't forget about my giveaway. It will be June 1. There are only 10 entries so far, so anybody that's entered has a good chance to win, lol! Remember the link is on the top left to the post.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A spot in my home

This is the area over my computer desk. Having dialup, I'm still anchored to the desktop computer when using the internet, for now, anyway. The desk sits in the corner of the kitchen and this is the present arrangement of stuff. I tend to do this kind of thing with no planning, just putting some items together. Hey, kind of like I do my art, lol! The colorful one is the lefthand wall and the all natural color one is the right hand wall. Tastefully not shown is the cluttered bulletin board to the right of the shadow box. I may try to show a few carefully photographed spots here and there. I enjoy looking at them on other blogs. I just noticed after I looked back at the pictures after posting that at the time I took the picture of the wooden box that I had plunked my glass cutter in the stork planter. It's no longer there and was not in there for any decorative purpose.

Yesterday we got a long row of tomatoes plants in the garden and the site preparation before that. It was a new garden spot, so we had to rake and remove all the grass clumps after my dh had plowed and tilled it. We still have all our seeds to plant, but are trying to borrow a cultivator until we can get one of our own or a tiller. I'm kind of sore from the raking and the stooping to put the plants in the ground.

Monday, May 19, 2008


This is a scan of another stamp chunky page. I thought it would go with what I planned on talking about today. I know I keep cheating by posting old stuff, but I didn't get anything new done this weekend. I've been kind of in a weird mood, kind of melancholy, feeling detached or displaced. I'm sure it's probably hormonal, but it kept me from being able to create, even when I had time. Whatever, I'm sure it will pass.

Today is a beautiful day here in Alabama. We are having actual spring weather this year, which I love! Most years recently, we've gone from winter to summer and then back to winter, with very little of the mild temperatures I enjoy so much. We may plant a garden today. It's a little late here in the South, but hubby's been busy with other farm stuff. I've been wanting to have a garden for years, but he has never wanted to. Finally talked him into it, but then first one thing or the other has prevented the actual doing.

To segue into the title, another tradition in these southern states is that the entire month of May is for what is called "Decoration". I understand from friends that moved here that this is not practiced up north. I wonder how far out of the deep South the practice extends? Of course, next weekend is Memorial Day and that I think is what brings all this on. To explain, graves at cemeteries are "decorated" with flowers and these different cemeteries will have a "Decoration Day" service on a specific Sunday during May. I can't describe anything about the services because my family has never been one to attend. I remember going to one cemetery when I was little and I think in the past and I'm sure still in some families that family reunions or gatherings occur in conjunction. The practice of family reunions has dwindled almost to extinction in our circle. Seems like people are just too busy these days or that is what I hear. It may be that there are still a few, but they have given up inviting us because when the girls were growing up, with me working full time and their activites, we didn't ever take the time to go to any.

I do remember going to some family reunions when I was young. My grandparents had built an outdoor pavilion for such gatherings, kind of like what you see at parks, with a tin roof, open sides, and ledges built in going round to hold food or your plate while you ate. There is a picture of one of these large gatherings and I do mean large. Isn't it something that they had a photographer come make a picture of it. I've never counted the number attending but it was my Dad's family, neighbors,friends, and extended families, like my Mom's family who would only have been related to my Mom. I wasn't born yet at this time, but I recall similar events and the cheek-pinching, playing with cousins, and lots of food. Because of them, I do have a notion of my distant cousins and who they are. My girls don't know a lot of theirs.

My Mom's family used to do this, too, though not on as grand of a scale. All her sister's and their families would gather at my grandparents little farm and eat. It was a tiny house, so mostly we stayed outside, only going in to make our plate. There were lots of barns and outbuildings, so all the cousins played in and about them and down in the woods or at the creeks. All make-believe with no toys to speak of. My Aunt Betty always had a camera and even a movie camera, so we even have a few films of us where we made up some stories she filmed for us.

It's sad we have gotten so busy. The closest we have to this type of get together now is when my Dad's family tries to get together at Christmas and July 4th. My Dad loved having everyone up to his house for a big BBQ and fireworks. Now with his Alzheimer's, he no longer knows, so last year was probably the last of that. My Mom's family used to try to get everyone together, but have pretty much given up.

I think one of the reasons for what I'm feeling is that the patterns of my life are shifting a lot at this time and I'm continually adjusting to all the changes.

Don't forget the giveaway for my 50th post. I put a link on the side so it would be easier to find. We'll be out of town a lot starting this Thursday, going to North Carolina to the races and coming back on Monday. Then that following Wednesday will be flying out to Texas to load up all of Emily and Craig's stuff in a Uhaul to move them completely back to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I'm not sure if I'll take my computer to the races. I'm sure I could pick up a signal there, but we'll be on a generator for power in our camper and I've been told not to use a computer with a generator, that it's not good for it? I'll check in when we get back for sure though. So if you enter during those times and don't see it show up, it will eventually when I get time to check.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Upon observing daisies...

I have a bed of daisies growing now. I lost most of my perennials several years ago to the blight caused by my husband going wild with the Roundup after me telling him to wait on me or let me spray the stuff myself. His explanation of spraying everything in sight was it all looked like weeds to him. Sigh! Well, I am slowly getting my flower beds back in some kind of order. Slowly due mostly to life circumstances the last few years and my not having the interest or time to maintain or work in them like I should.

This year the daisies were very pretty and I picked a bouquet to welcome my dd Emily this past Saturday. My dh flew out to Texas to ride back home with her as she travelled back to Alabama to start the new job she found in Tuscaloosa this week. Lucky for her that he did as they had a flat tire in Mississippi. We will be flying out the last weekend in this month to move them totally back to Alabama. Her dh, their doggie, and almost all their stuff is still in Texas. We will be glad for them to be closer.

Well, to the reason for the title of this post. Daisies are one of my favorite flowers. Perhaps because they bloom in spring and I love that time of year. Something about them makes me smile when I look at them. Still if asked I would have said they were one of the most uniform of flowers- white petals, yellow button centers, all appearing alike in their beds of blooms. When cutting the daisies for this bouquet, I began to notice they were each unique. Notice in the closeup the one with the chubby button center and little stubby white petals. Then there is the one where the petals are long and slender and almost paired off as they circle around. There are petals with pointy ends and others perfectly rounded, while others have squarish tips. Even the middles aren't the same. While some are mounded up like the cute little chubby daisy, some are more flat and "mum"ish in appearance. Made me stop and think. About how we categorize, standardize, and think we have everything or everyone figured out. But if we take the time to look at individuals, we'll see the special beauty of that one single bloom.

I wish I was able to express in beautiful poetic words or take breathtaking pictures, but that is not my gift, I guess. Maybe I've been able to convey what I felt well enough.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fiftieth post giveaway

I've decided to give away the collage piece I had done previously. In addition, I will include some surprises depending on the interests of the winner. So any comments to this giveaway post will be eligible to win and I will take entries until the end of this month. The drawing will be on June 1st.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A few more pet photos

My youngest dd, Holly, wanted me to be sure to post pictures of Casper. This was "her" cat that was staying at the popular pet attraction known as Mom & Dad's Animal Shelter while she was in college. The plan was supposed to be that we would keep Casper until Holly was where she could have a pet, thus allowing Holly to "visit" her cat without any of the bothersome niceties like feeding, litterbox emptying, grooming, etc. Yes, we do seem to have a pattern of this around here! Unfortunately, Casper managed to slip out one night without me realizing it when I took the doggies for a walk. By the time I realized he was missing, it was too late and my inlaw's dog had killed him. That dog has a killing instinct, not toward people, but especially toward cats. I was very upset and cried for several days.

Well, these pictures are in memory of Casper, also known as "Meepers". Don't remember why. My family has a habit of making up names for people and animals. A description or a nickname is modified and then that word is modified and so it goes until several funny names are derived. For example, Holly was a mischievous child and we called her "messy Marvin" then somehow "Harvin' Marvin" and sometimes just Marvin. Holly is the most prone to do this modifying. So she has such names for all of us and the pets, too. On my bulletin board right now, there is a note from her that reads "Sparka Farka, I sure do love you!" signed Marvin. I am Sparka Farka and I don't even remember the derivation of that. Another example, Angel is Angel Pangel and therefore sometimes just Pangels.

These are some more pictures from the disposable cameras I had developed and were taken by Holly at the friend's house that she got Casper from. The one in the middle was of him in a mullet wig and I had to do some work to try to get it plainer and it's still not too good. The flash was too bright, but you get the idea of the poor cat's humiliation. From the pictures, too, I think you can see what a funny personality he had. We still miss you, Meepers! Edited to add: This happened a couple of years ago, but in the process of posting photos of the pets we have now, it caused us to talk about past pets and to laugh about Casper's funniness, so we wanted to post his photo, too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

To all Mothers who will read this. I am at work today and it is a pretty hectic day, regretfully, but that does make the time pass more quickly. Plan to go visit with my Mom after work today and take her present to her. I found for her some reading aids as she is still having trouble with her right arm and it hinders her when she tries to hold a book with her left arm mostly doing the work. She loves to read. A friend recommended this thumb thingie that I found at Booksamillion, a small plastic device that slips on the end of your thumb and has tabs sticking out on either side that hold the book pages. I also got her a leather book weight and a lap desk. There was a cool plastic lap desk designed specifically for book reading, but it was kind of complicated with lots of little clamps and wire props and when I tried to use it with just one hand it was awkward so I decided to stick to simple. I was thinking if we see it will help, I can make 2 large elastic bands to color coordinate with the lap desk that could be slipped on to hold the pages and/or book down. We'll see how it works with what I got her first. Got my dmil a gift card so she can buy herself some clothes. She has lost a good bit of weight and needs some.

I'll post when I have more time about what I received myself.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Journal pages

I thought today I'd share a few journal pages. My scanner bed is pretty small, so I have to scan one page at a time. For the bottom pair, this layout began with the watercolor painted book page on the right hand side and I used the colors(which were painted on a whim as I went through an old school teacher's book, playing with watercolors) to cue from and then added scraps of paper, paint, and gesso. Also marking with pencils and markers. Above that is a layout which came out of me marking with my markers on pages just to see if the markers still wrote so I could cull the bad ones. I was going to tear the pages out, but decided I'd challenge myself to try to work with them, so I added a few more marks, colored detail with markers, scraps of greeting cards, and ink pen journaling. These are all in one of my composition book journals.

I'm caught up right now on all projects that have to be mailed out. Last night and some today I worked some more on an altered children's board book that I had started and put to the side. It's one of those in the shape of hands. Since it's in the works, I'll not share scans or pictures of it, until it is more completed. It is going to be about the creation. I wasn't sure when it was first began what it was going to be. Was just playing around trying to actually alter a board book, instead of just dreaming about doing it, and after completing the cover(which I'm pretty pleased with) that is what it said it needed to be, a book about the world's creation. So more on that project later, if it turns out suitable enough to share.

I'm still thinking about the giveaway, which will be in a few posts! One option I'm leaning toward is the collaged piece from this post. It will either be this or a collage/assemblage pack. I'm making up my mind. Depending on the day of my 50th post, I'll probably put a day about a week away from it as the deadline for entering.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lisa Vollrath's Mother's Day Countdown

I am trying to post here about Lisa's generous countdown, but keep having to redo it when the post won't load. Dialup stinks! I hope to be doing something about that soon. I have found out that I do have 2 other options now. One is cable internet and it is not as expensive as I thought and the other is through Verizon with a modem that would plug into my laptop and be usable wherever I went, though I'm not sure about whether I can use it with my desktop computer yet.

Ok, for Lisa's countdown go to here
and notice that before using her images in the countdown you need to post a link on your blog or site.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Salvation Army finds today

Skipped off from work a little early today to get to Mom's bank before they closed and had time to get into the Salvation Army store. I got there about 4:15pm and they close at 5pm, so in actuality that only gave me 30 min to look as they start turning out the lights about 4:45pm to get people to the checkout so that they can get out of there on time, I guess. Can't blame them for that.

Finds included a sewing holder for $3, map book plates 50 cents, groovy Luv Letters flower-shaped stationery for a buck, silver holder and demitasse cup for $1, miniature cabinet 50 cents, wooden heart garland with rusted wire $1, and not in the picture a small off white spatter painted planter which will make a great candle holder for $2(forgot to put in in the photo arrangement). I have an addiction to pottery, especially off white or white.

I thought the Luv letters were vintage-looking, like maybe from Target or similar store, but realized they were actually vintage after opening the box when I got home. There are only a few envelopes remaining which have age spots from the box, but still 13 of the flower letter pages. The girl who received them had written on a few as thank you notes, including thanking the one who gave her the Luv Notes, but must have been a girl like me and never gotten around to mailing them. Still stuffed in the envelopes and laying in the box. A fellow procrastinator! Not sure what I'll do with them, but couldn't pass up something so seventies for only a dollar. This looks like something I would have coveted as a teenager.

The cup with the silver holder was purchased because I was thinking of jewelry when I looked at it. Will try cutting the rim into several pieces which I think will make a main element for a bracelet, maybe with soldered edges and some kind of attached adornments on it and on either side. Does that make sense? Now, have I ever made anything like this? Well, no, but I might!

Why did I buy the tacky heart garland? My thought process on that was 7 wooden hearts to decorate or alter, along with several pieces of curly rusted wire, was a deal that couldn't be beat for one dollar.

After the trip to the SA, I ran to Hobby Lobby to get some flowers for church. I'm responsible for the altar table arrangement this month. I was very good and bought only the flower arrangement at half price and then a few Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads that I've been wanting to try for 1/2 price. Didn't even use the 40% off coupon I printed out!

I've been asked by Karen about the Kentucky Home collage. Sorry, it was done for a postage stamp themed chunky book swap last year, so someone, somewhere, has this page in their book and it is not available. I did 26 different pages, I think, for that swap, which were a lot of fun to do. I'm bad to put an older work photo up when I don't have anything current scanned and ready to post about. Thanks for your kind words, Karen! I don't think anyone has ever said they would want to buy my work before. This piece started out with a gessoed and color washed map background if I remember correctly and then the main images are the Kentucky stamp collaged on top of a piece of a scenery picture from a vintage children's schoolbook page. I used watercolor pencils, colored pens, and pencil to blend the images and the background by adding a few elements or bringing some like the road into the foreground. The words were handwritten on the inside of an old envelope and cut out. The stars were stencilled with gesso across the sky. I'm glad you liked it and thanks for taking the time to tell me so!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Baby Maximus

These were some of the pictures I just had developed, taken when Max was a pup(except the top one, I was taking some to take a roll up on one of the cameras). He is now 6 years old. Was he not the CUTEST puppy? Looking back at these I can see why he pulled on our heartstrings at the animal shelter. He lay there all quiet and still, a fluffy ball of fur, and we were taken in, thinking he would be a calm, sweet dog. We had the sweet part right, but as soon as we got him home, he was a bundle of flat-out puppy energy. They told us he was a sheltie mix, so thought he would be a smaller dog, but there is definitely retriever in him, so he ended up being bigger than we expected, but not too big. He chewed his way through the house, including socks, eyeglasses, shoes, & paper. The chewing was mostly a puppy thing, thankfully, but he still loves to play as you can see from the playful expression in the first picture of him, taken a few weeks ago in the backyard. He lives in eternal hope when outside that I will take off running and play the chase game and I will oblige occasionally. Inside he also loves to bring a "moo" which is what we call his toys for a game of fetch or catch.

Someone might be wondering why I don't give equal time to pictures of Angel as a puppy, but unfortunately we didn't have her then. Emily found her at the animal shelter in Tuscaloosa and it would be sad if there are pics of her as she was then. The previous owners had neglected and/or abused her as she was skin and bones and they had to shave her hair to get the matts off. You can't tell by looking at her chubby little self now! Angel is the sweetest dog I have ever been around and I don't know how anyone was ever mean to her. We're not sure how old she is, but she is losing her teeth now and also her vision is not what it should be, but we will love her as long as we are blessed to. You might ask why, if she was Emily's dog, she is living at our home? Yes, that IS a good question! While Em was busy with classes and a job, it became too much to take care of a dog, so she ended up at Mom & Dad's. I'm sure lots of parents can identify with this tale.

Bama, the cat, is also an Emily rescue from Tuscaloosa. Someone moved off and left her at the apartment complex she lived in, so Em and her friend, Kaci adopted her. Presently we are supposed to be serving as a temporary home until Emily gets a house in Tuscaloosa. They couldn't have 2 animals at their apartment in Texas or so we were told? Well, guess we'll see how long the Mom & Dad animal shelter keeps her, lol!

We have also been home to a cat for Holly, a funny, so-ugly-it-was-cute, smashed face, white Persian named Casper. He loved me and had the most unusual personality. I'll have to look for and post a photo of him, in memory, as sadly he slipped outside when I wasn't looking a few years ago and was killed by a dog. We still miss him.

I know people always think their pets and kids are the greatest, so pardon my rambling on about mine. Since it's my blog, maybe I'm allowed?

I'm still thinking about the prize, but have decided definitely to have a giveaway with the 50th post. Will be finalizing details to have ready for that post.

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