Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lovely mail yesterday!

This piece of art in tag form was made by Diane Tisch who is the atc_group on yahoo. She has been a member of this group for awhile, even when it was an MSN group, and was one of the earliest people I swapped atc's with. Diane was also really supportive when my oldest dd, Emily, was in the group during a difficult time in Em's life and I appreciate her so much for that. Her work is always so beautiful and so well-done.

I've been working on the 2 tags I'm doing for this swap and will be mailing them out tomorrow. Just worked off my 7 day stretch this morning. We will be fairly busy the next few weeks. Holly and Chris are graduating from college on May 9th which is a Saturday right in the middle of my next work week. I asked off for Friday and Saturday and some of my coworkers have been kind enough to fill in for me so I can attend her graduation. Then the following Wednesday, we'll be heading down to Tuscaloosa to help Chris and Holly pack up to move out to Waco, Texas on Thursday, 14th. I, at least will be riding or driving out there to help them for a few days. Hopefully Kerry will be able to go as well, depending on how his Dad is doing. I am glad to report my Mom is doing great since her arthroscopic knee surgery. Her left knee is pain-free enough that she is able to walk around much better and she is even still having a small amount of improvement in her stroke arm enabling her to do a few more tasks by herself, like her laundry. She has to take her time, but it is probably good therapy really for stroke recovery.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Some of my mantras

I have a tendency to let others make me feel inferior. To try to overcome these feelings I have started saying some mantras to myself. I don't always remember to do this and I'll catch myself in a mind set where I am letting other people make me feel that way again, sometimes for a long period of time, before I wake up and realize it is happening and remind myself to repeat my phrases. They are not always these same words and it may seem silly, but I've found it helps me to refocus and to regain some self confidence. I decided I wanted to record these here, partially to remind me if I need it and then maybe someone else might find it helpful.

BTW, if you are one of the people who find that the easiest way to make yourself feel better is by putting someone else down or pointing out the fault of others, you need to realize the harm you might be doing. I think we all may do this from time to time. I realize I am guilty of this myself. I'm trying to do better in this regard. We all need to remember that no one is perfect and ask ourselves, one day if we make a mistake, do we want those around us to be glad to see us down or to be there with a hand to help us up? I think sometimes rather than trying to make yourself feel better by criticizing it has just become a bad habit to do so rather than compliment. Also, I'm sure that at times I might be misreading what someone means, but regardless of intent, I still seem to be talented at making myself feel unworthy or less worthy than others. Isn't it amazing all the "stuff" that swims around in our heads? Or maybe it is just me?

So anyway, here is what I say to myself, silly as it may be:

Do not let others rob you of joy.
I am important and special to God.
My feelings and opinions are valid AND of as much worth as those belonging to others.
Do not let others bring you down.

Ok, my little sermonette for the day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Our sweet Angel is now an angel

Even when you know it is coming and you know they are better off, it is still really hard to let them go. Angel had been having trouble getting around since last year. The vet had us try glucosamine supplements, which did help some, I guess, but lately it was getting harder for her to get back up if she slipped down on the hardwood floors as her hip joints were bad and then even her front leg was bothering her this week. Her vision was getting really bad. During this last few months, we had been debating taking her to the vet to have her put to sleep, but it would seem like that about the time we thought maybe we should, she would get better for a time. Starting Tuesday she was very restless and couldn't seem to ever get settled down. She kept falling down and then started getting really sick during the night. We were going to take her to the vet today, but Kerry called me at work to let me know she had passed on. I was able to hold her a lot yesterday and tell her how special she was and how much we loved her. I hope she understood. Kerry had her next to him in the bed when she died. Kerry was crazy about Angel. He's not one to be emotional, but he was about this little dog.

We were not really sure how old Angel was as Emily rescued her from the animal shelter in Tuscaloosa about 7 years ago, I think it was. The shelter told Em that Angel was about 8 or 9, so if that was right, she was about 16 years or so. She had evidently been in a bad home before as her hair was so matted that they had to shave it off and she was skin and bones basically. Her hip had been broken at some point and never set so that she always walked with a limp. So she probably lost some years off of her life from malnutrition and abuse. You could tell she had been hungry by how fast she would eat any treats you gave, as if she was starving to death. How anyone was ever mean to this precious Angel I will never know. She hardly ever barked and while she loved to be petted if you weren't paying attention to her, she would go off and lay down to sleep. I don't think I've ever seen a sweeter animal.

She was a little thing, but I still remember when we first got her how she would get a run and go to jump up on the couch to sit with us and hopefully get a belly rub, her favorite thing. We have pictures of her sitting with her eyes closed in bliss while someone rubs her stomach as in this shot.

I think I've explained before how we came to have her at our house. Emily decided she wanted a pet while she was in college. After a while, she realized that she and her room mate weren't home enough to care for a pet properly, so Angel came to stay with Mom and Dad. Later on, when Emily probably could have taken her back, Kerry wouldn't hear of it, as he had become attached to her by then. Even our other dog, Max, loves her. If I ever went to let him out to do his business, but didn't have Angel with me to take her out as well, Max would just sit down and look at me until I went to get Angel, too. He's probably not going to know what to think.

Bye, sweet thing!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Catching up and thrifting goodies

Sorry to not be blogging that much. Time seems to get away from me. I've spent some of my off time at the end of last week trying to get caught up on laundry and getting rid of a few clothes as I go through them. Also, been trying to clean up the art room some, at least the work table. I have a list of projects that I want to get done, some big, some little. Most involve decluttering or cleaning. The others are bigger ones like finishing up our remodeling efforts in the kitchen and utility room. I figure if I get a little done here and there it will eventually add up. Of course, I would love it if my screened in porch were ever completed. My dh promises we will work on at least the roof when we get back from getting Holly and Chris moved to Texas in May. To give him a little break, he is working a part time job in addition to the farm and his Dad has been limited in what he can do since his recent back surgery, so hubby has more to do than usual.

Have been able to get in a few thrift store shopping expeditions. These trips are stress relief for me and much needed after last week at work. I've gotten some great buys with several nice tops and 2 like new pairs of Izod pants. Found a couple maternity jeans for Emily. These finds were from the Salvation Army in Cullman where I also got a great deal on a king size Ralph Lauren comforter cover AND bedskirt for $10. It's a lovely floral bark cloth(I think) or a nubby linen that you can see in a close up. We have a formal looking blue comforter on the bed now, but I'd like to be able to have something less fussy for a change. Got a few other deals as well, including some hand crocheted wash clothes and this vintage Mexican floral curtain panel shown in the photo at the bottom. I've not taken pics of everything.

We went down on Saturday to take a baby bed down to Emily and Craig that my sister in law gave them and some boxes to Holly and Chris so they can start packing to get ready to move:( Holly and Chris were out of town attending one of his cousin's weddings in South Alabama so we didn't get to see them. The main reason we went down was so Kerry could go to the scrimmage game at the U. of Ala. Craig also went to the game. Emily was working. I did go by to see her at work, but then also killed some time thrifting, of course. Thomas has some more clothes now. I couldn't resist a pair of cute olive green overalls in 3-6 months and a few other items for him. I have a Santa mug and pitcher collection, most of which was given to me by my MIL. I try to add mugs when I find good ones. Got one Saturday for 50 cents that is really unique and has a face on each side. Other goodies included a small classical statuette in white and a cute Made In Japan relish tray. Then take a look at this starched-beyond-belief pink and white doily. I scanned it so you could see it up close. It's an odd shape that you can see in the blurry photo. Perhaps it was made to put at the top of a chair back? I'm not sure if I'll ever get all that starch out, but it was only $1.50 and it was begging to be rescued. For $2 I got a new Christmas framing set by Colorbok that I don't plan on using as is. The kit includes an 8x8" canvas which will hopefully be used for a mixed media painting and then I'll have the scrapbooking paper, metal name plate and other embellishments for other projects. Oh, yes, I bought 2 cute purses. Those are at the back of one of the shots.

We also got a little yard work done here and then I spent Friday afternoon at Mom's cleaning up sticks from recent storms before her mowing guy got there and will be going back today to her house to finish up some other work in her flower beds. We've been lucky to have made it through recent storms without much damage. I lost my only remaining rose bush last week. It was like it was just plucked up out of the ground and thrown out in the yard.

I hope to get some art time in here maybe tomorrow. I think I'll just have to give myself permssion to be all right with doing that. The problem with having a to-do list for me is that I then feel guilty if I'm not doing something on the list. Ok, I'm seeing what I need to do and that is put "make some art" on the list. Maybe that will help with the guilt thing. Why are women so good at making ourselves feel guilty about stuff like this? Do you ever see a guy worrying about making time for what he wants to do vs. housework? Not my guy, anyway!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter at our house and OWOH giveaway received

It's has been a crazy week. Very busy at work and then lots going on outside of work with it being Easter. Our church choir presented an Easter musical. The girls participated in the presentation, so they came home for that as well as to visit for Easter along with their hubbies. Friday morning I had to find time to get some food in the house, as we had a pretty bare cupboard. Friday evening we had dress rehearsal for the choir. Emily's birthday was the 13th, Monday, so we kind of had a birthday supper for her Saturday evening since they were going to be back home on the day of her birthday. I woke up to the smell of food cooking. The kids fixed supper which was lovely and then we had birthday cake for Emily. Now that I think back on it, Emily had to help fix her own birthday supper, bless her heart.

The pics of the family were taken Easter Sunday after we got home from church and before I went to bed to try to get some sleep in. The shot with me in it exemplifies why you don't see many photos of me. I am so not photogenic. It was a very windy day as you can see. A very handsome bunch, I think, excepting my mug. Emily is starting to look pregnant and glowing. She's almost 6 months now. Hard to believe time is flying by this fast. We are going to have a busy summer, what with Holly and Chris moving in May and then little Thomas making his debut in August.

Also, thought I'd show my 2 last minute Easter displays. Friday I was cleaning up the house some and decided the house would be a little more welcoming and festive for the kid's visits with some decorations. I've collected bunnies on and off over the years so one grouping shows several of those. The middle bunny dish is sitting on a cedar plank that my Dad once cut for me(I've 2 of these) and that I love to use in decorating. The other photo shows the dining table centerpiece where I used an old lamb planter that used to belong to my grandmother surrounded by my Capidomonte rose candlesticks with pastel Easter eggs instead of candles and then a couple of cute egg holders and little chick I found at the thrift store recently.

During this busy weekend, I received my other OWOH giveaway from Susan at A Drawer Full of Dreams blog. I LOVE the hand-knitted cap. She knitted this just for me after finding out my favorite color. The blue yarn is so soft, you just wouldn't believe, and this shade of blue is just gorgeous! Her wonderful prizes included a landscape sketch/journal handbook which I hope will jumpstart my recent wish to get back into drawing. Also included are a lovely art card, entitled Gift From the Sea, and then a book by Elizabeth Berg, The Pull of the Moon, which promises to be very inspiring and that I'm looking forward to reading. I just love everything! Thanks so much, Susan!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thrifting finds

Found last week at the Salvation Army. Not shown is a really cute baby boy quilt that I got for only $1. Emily has already taken it home with her. It will be a good floor quilt and had a cute, colorful design of planes, cars, and trucks and was like new. Shown above in the slightly dark photo are the other goodies that never look quite as exciting as they really are. On the left is a cute patchwork bag that I am seeing altered up, maybe some Teesha Moore style of embroidery and embellishments, definitely a new strap, and a closure flap to brighten it up. It's kind of a strange mix of a 1980's look with some older vintage fabrics, but I couldn't pass it up at only $1. At bottom are 2 cute vintage pillowcases for only a quarter each. Also, on the right, a couple of fabric remnants that were also only $1. I found more wooden plaques for 50 cents each(I had gotten some a few weeks ago). These would be good bases for porcelain or ceramic figurines or great for altering or decoupaging. Underneath those are some wooden boxes. These were $1 for the bigger ones and 50 cents for the smaller. I'm thinking they could even be taken apart to use as shadow boxes. The cute little bucket wasn't from the thrift store, but a recent meal out with friends. Their dessert was little cheesecakes in little pots in the buckets. You get to keep the buckets and they gave me one. It would be cute with Easter grass and an Easter egg.

I went to the thrift store hunting baby stuff, but you can see that I can't pass up other great stuff/junk when I see it. Now, if I only get around to doing something with it all. No luck with baby clothes. Most of what was there was for little girls. I did get some cute outfits recently at a Kid's Mart event which is like a giant consignment/yard sale held twice per year. We also got a bouncy seat. Never had heard of a bouncy seat until this baby was on the way. Those had not been invented when my girls were babies, but evidently they are a great thing for little ones according to what I've been told. A couple of friends at work have also given us some outfits for Thomas already. I didn't think to take pictures of the baby clothes and they've already gone home with Emily.

Next I'm showing one of my pieces from my collection of restaurant ware. Isn't this cup so cute? Not sure of the name of the pattern, but it's Walker China and I like it. It wasn't from this thrifting trip but another. I'm showing it to talk about some recent experiments with food. Yes, sometimes I have the mind of a mad scientist.

Experiment #1: I have the Celestial Seasons Sugar Cookie tea that I bought at Christmas. It's pretty good. Now I was thinking that maybe it would be good to sweeten it with sprinkles. You know, like sugar cookies. Well, not so good. The sprinkles don't all melt. Well, duh, they are designed to stay on top of a baked cookie and still look cute. Plus, the ones that did melt turned the tea a funky color, though the taste was not so bad.

Experiment #2: I love to put cheese in my soup once in the bowl. One day earlier this week, I had warmed myself up some chunky chicken noodle soup only to realize that we are out of any hard cheese because someone needs to get to the grocery store. Desperate for cheese, my mad scientist brain kicks in and I remember that I have blue cheese sprinkles in the freezer that I keep there for salads. Hhmm, worth a try. Also, I keep some grated Parmesan in there so I threw a little of both in the bowl. Yuumm! This experiment was successful! Very good flavor!

Experiment #3: I love me some Diet Mountain Dew. Now I guess I could be addicted, but I choose to not explore that possibility too much. I have tried adding a little OJ to my Dew before and that's good. This week I had some grapefruit/orange juice so I tried adding a little of that. This experiment was also successful. Of course, you'd have to be someone that likes grapefruit juice, but if you do, it's worth trying. I'm sure this like a juice spritzer or something that. Having grown up in the rural South, I've not been exposed to many social occasions to know. We'll just call this a Redneck Grapefruit Dew Spritzer.

Well, back to work tonight. I just realized that a full moon is coming up. The ER is usually much busier at a full moon, so keep your fingers crossed that not too much crazy stuff happens.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I have done something creative lately

Over the last couple of weeks, I've worked on this fabric necklace. This started with the flower. I saw the idea of taking the silk flower and sewing it to a felt base in one of the Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazines. (Unfortunately, I don't remember which issue as I have every one of them and almost all of the Somerset Studio magazines AND numerous other Somerset publications AND lots of art and craft books. I'm not addicted to buying them. NO, really! I'm sure I could go months and months without purchasing an art magazine or book if I really wanted to!.... Let's hurry and go back to the original subject, shall we.) I had also seen in another of the CPS issues where this artist had made these lovely necklaces with fabric tubes, beads, and other goodies. Again, I can't recall which artist or issue, but if I do run across it again, I'll be sure to post and point you toward the articles/artists. Being as I still haven't gotten up the nerve to set up my sewing machine to try to conquer my sewing machine phobia, I wanted to do adapt this project to what I could do by hand.

The flower itself, has purple, pink and white petals that you can't really see in the scan of the entire necklace, so I made another of it all squooshed up where you can see the under layers. If I were younger, prettier, more photogenic, and had my hair combed and make up on, I would have modeled the necklace in one of those self-portrait shots. Since I'm none of those things, you are gonna have to settle for these scanned views. For the necklace part I used various torn fabric strips, fibers, and ribbons tied or sewn together accented with beads, buttons, or fabric bows.

I actually got up the nerve to wear it yesterday. You know when you make something like this, there is always the fear that other people will just look at it and see a mess of torn fabric. I have that same feeling about everything I make really. Emily was home visting yesterday and she reminded me of what I would always tell them, which is "why are you worried about what other people think?". Yeah, sometimes your own words get thrown back at you, lol! So, I wore it with a pink top, pink linen cropped pants and a blue jean jacket. I got a couple of compliments and some second glances. So I'm sure there were those wondering, "what the heck?" But, oh well, I like it.

Edited 4/9/09 Ok, I found the respective articles that provided the inspiration. The flower is from the Sew Somerset book of Winter, 2009 and is found on page 19 with the artist being Leigh Houston. Also on that page is a necklace not done like mine, but where I got the idea for sewing my flower on the type necklace I was doing. The artist for the flower and bead necklace is Gaye Collins. My fabric necklace version was inspired by an article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Issue 17, March/April 2008, pages 66-71. The artist featured in this article is Tina Givens and her necklace on page 69 is most like the one I did. I didn't even have the article with me when I was working on the necklace, so I am surprised at how much like it this one it turned out to be. My subconcious memory is better than I thought, lol! Like I said, she uses fabric tubes that I didn't use because I was avoiding the sewing machine.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pictures from Bristol race

I got them uploaded to the computer and thought I'd share a few. I didn't go to any of the races, but Holly took my camera with her on Sunday and took some great photos of the track. She took the top 2 shots of the entire track and the one of the turn closest to where they sat. I'm showing this one to try to give you an idea of how steep the bank is to the track. She got a lot of great shots, but I'm just showing 2 of them.

I did go over on Saturday morning to walk around the advertising booths, etc. set up around the outside of the track. That's where I took the pic of Jimmy Spencer speaking to the crowd and Holly got close enough to get a good one of Kyle Petty(one of my favorite drivers) who was at a TV broadcast setup. There were fireworks on Saturday evening and I got some decent shots of those. If I knew more about my camera I could probably have done better. What's funny is that the shots of the fireworks never look like what you just saw. Also, showing one of what the track looks like at night from where we camp.

Just realized there are no people pics, so I'm editing this post to add a couple. One shows my hubby sitting watching the grill(looks like he's praying) which is on the ground and Jason in front of our RV at the campsite. The other shows me, Holly, and Dawn on Saturday by the track. Dawn and Jason are big time race fans who got Kerry hooked on going to Bristol and North Carolina.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Right now clover is growing like crazy here. Anytime I see a big patch of it, I think of my Dad. He would always stop and look for four leaf clovers and find them, sometimes several. I guess he had an eye for seeing the differences in the patterns of the growth. I remember him doing that my whole life.

Today I was outside spray painting a recent thrift store find(one of those metal sap buckets). While I was waiting for the first coat of paint to dry, I walked around in the backyard looking down at the clover patches. Of course this made me remember my Dad. Now, I've never had a talent for finding the lucky clovers. I'll look and look and never see them. When Dad was still alive, we'd look together and he'd find 2 or 3 while I'd never see the first one. I would press his finds in books on my bookshelf. After he was diagnosed with Alzheimers and had gotten pretty bad, I found one of them and put it in a frame. It's faded now, but I plan to use it in a shrine I'm going to do about my Dad. One of life's ironies, I guess, my Dad being lucky finding four leaf clovers, but being unlucky enough to end up with such a sad disease. Well, I digress, as I often do. To get back to today, while I visually searched the patterns of the clover, I was thinking about my Dad and how much I miss him. Wondering whether he could look down from heaven and see. Thinking it would nice to have a sign that he could. Immediately after I thought that, I unbelievably spotted this four leaf clover.Coincidence? I don't know.

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