Monday, December 31, 2007

Out With the Old--In With the New

Happy New Year!! But if you've ventured out to any stores since Christmas, you've discovered that Valentine's Day is not so far away. So check out the updates for Glitter and Grunge; and while you're there, be sure to see what all the other artists are offering too.
But before we leave 2007, I was thinking of some of our fun family memories of Christmas pasts. Of course there's always the "Christmas Tree Fell Over, and Broke All My Favorite Radko Ornaments" story. You can probably guess who was responsible for that memorable moment. Yes, it was our infamous outside cat, Friendly (and no, he's not) who found his way into the house yet again and discovered a prime scratching post which happened to be our tree. (no poo this time; just broken glass, water, pine needles, and yellow and orange cat fur.) Apparently our tree stand was not designed to withstand 18 pound cat ornaments.
Another fun memory was what I call my "Norman Rockwell Meets Nurse Ratchet" story. One Christmas Eve several years ago, I was finishing up my last Christmas preparations. I'd ushered my husband off with the oldest 3 kids to deliver some home baked goodies to neighbors. My youngest, who was about 4 at the time, was quietly playing in our den with her newly acquired doctor kit which she'd received from a neighbor. And I was merrily baking a few last batches of Christmas cookies. (As a very astute and now experienced mom, I'd already warned my daughter that only the REAL vet can take the cat's temperature--a preemptive strike, so to speak, against any pre-schooler veterinary malpractice.) Anyway, as the radio softly played Christmas music in my snug, sweet-smelling kitchen, I put the last batch of cookies in to bake. "Ahhhh," I thought as I sat down to savor the moment. "All is right with the world--I feel just like June Cleaver--what a Norman Rockwell moment." Reality came crashing in along with flailing arms and a toy stethoscope, and I heard, "Get outa my hospital!" as my daughter's baby doll came flying through the door into the kitchen. Apparently, the doll was uninsured. This is probably one time Friendly was glad that he remembered that he is an outside cat.
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dave Barry, My Favorite Way to Ring in the New Year

Dave Barry reviews the doom and gloom of 2007:
"It was a year that strode boldly into the stall of human events and took a wide stance astride the porcelain bowl of history.
It was a year in which roughly 17,000 leading presidential contenders, plus of course Dennis Kucinich, held roughly 63,000 debates, during which they spewed out roughly 153 trillion words; and yet the only truly memorable phrase emitted in any political context was "Don't tase me, bro!"
It was a year filled with bizarre, insane, destructive behavior, an alarming amount of which involved astronauts.
In short, 2007 was a year of deep gloom, pierced occasionally by rays of even deeper gloom. Oh, sure, there were a few bright spots:
• Several courageous members of the U.S. Congress - it could be as many as a dozen - decided, incredibly, "not" to run for president.
• O.J. Simpson discovered that, although you might be able to avoid jail time for committing a double homicide, the justice system draws the line at attempted theft of sports memorabilia.
• Toward the end of the year, entire days went by when it was possible to not think about Paris Hilton.
• Apple released the iPhone, which, as we understand it, enables users to fly, cure cancer, read minds and travel through time.
• The plucky, lovable New York Yankees once again found a way, against all odds, to bring joy to the literally billions of people who do not root for them.
• Dick Cheney did not shoot anybody, as far as we know.
But other than that, 2007 was a disaster. American consumers came to fear products manufactured in China, which covers pretty much everything in the typical American home except the dirt. Global warming continued to worsen, despite the efforts of leading climate experts such as Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio, who emerged briefly from their private jets to give the rest of us helpful tips on reducing our carbon footprints.
On the economic front, the dollar continued to lose value against all major foreign currencies and most brands of bathroom tissue. There was a major collapse in the credit market, caused by the fact that for most of this decade, every other radio commercial has been some guy selling mortgages to people who clearly should not have mortgages. ("No credit? No job? On death row? No problem!")
The subprime-mortgage fiasco resulted in huge stock-market losses, and the executives responsible, under the harsh rules of Wall Street justice, were forced to accept lucrative retirement packages.
So they did OK.
But for the rest of us, it was another bad year. And as is so often true of bad years, it began with ..."
For the rest of the story, click here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good Tidings

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."– Luke 2:10-12

Monday, December 17, 2007

Let it Snow

Here's how we build snowmen in Georgia. We paint them--this is a miniature watercolor I did. (There's really more detail in it than the scan shows, but you get the idea. And this is just about the actual size.) Limited edition prints are available on my website.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snowman Ornament Swap

Here's a picture of the snowman swap with Lesley. She sent this lovely snowman ornament. He's a stylized fabric snowman, and I just love how she "framed" him in the fabric background. I can't wait to get him on the tree. (We are just now putting our tree up this weekend, since kids scattered to college will be home to enjoy.)

Tree Topper Swap

I finally had a chance to upload the pics of my recent swaps. (And I've had a terrible time getting the pics to load.) This is a beautiful cone tree topper that Tammy did, and as you can see it's as pretty on the back as it is on the front (with a vintage image of Santa). The pics just do not do it justice!! It has a background of red and white wallpaper, and Tammy has embellished it with tiny flowers, bottlebrush trees, tinsel and even a little bell. (It reminded me of "It's a Wonderful Life"--"Everytime a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.") I've never had a proper tree top ornament, so this will definitely find a place of honor. It is absolutely wonderful, and our tree will wear it well this year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Big Squeeze

I had my annual mammogram this week. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever done, but I would have preferred a root canal or maybe car trouble instead. In all fairness, the hospital does try to make everything as comfortable as possible, and they have a lovely waiting room with a soothing fountain and current magazines. They also issue you a luxurious robe to wear instead of the conventional hospital gown. But, the comfortable part ends there. After a few probing questions, the real fun starts when the technician positions the machine, hits the "squeeze 'til you cry" button, then ratchets it up one more notch. And then she says, "Now, hold right there." Ummm, at that moment, I'm fairly certain that I had no other choice--I have on no top, my clothes are in a room with a soothing fountain, and I'm being held hostage by the jaws of life. I did have to laugh though when she told me to relax; I told her that I thought she was really in more of a position for relaxing, and that I was taking care of the grimacing. All was over in about 10 minutes and then I was on my way.

Honestly, it's not that terrible. I have an aunt who is a breast cancer survivor, and have several friends who have been diagnosed recently. I know that early detection is the key. So I suppose it's a necessary part of life, and my husband says that it sounds way better than what they do at his annual exam, where he says that they do much more than ask probing questions.


A few new things on my website. Here's one: a little snowman basket made from a dried gourd. He's filled with glittered snow ball ornaments for the tree.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Yea! Lesley, the snowman's in the mail. And I also got my Christmas Tree Topper swap for Tammy in the mail today too. I'll get pics of the swaps and a few new things available on my website posted soon. In the mean time, here's a pic of some felt trees I made using Sophie's pattern. She offers an easy tutorial on her blog, so check it out. Since I am a sewing school drop out, you can see that mine aren't quite as nice as hers. But it was great fun experimenting.

One more thing. Check out this site, Lets Say Thanks to send a free printed postcard expressing gratitude to US military personnel stationed overseas. It only takes a minute.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tag I'm It

I've been tagged by Debra at Hop Hop Jingle Boo to write 5 random things about myself, then tag 7 others. So, here goes:
1) I could never be elected president, and it's not because I'm not polling well in Iowa or New Hampshire--it's because I wasn't born in the US ; 2) I'm related to Mother Goose, seriously--she was a real person, and our family tree traces back to her family in Boston; 3) I sleep in socks, always; 4) I get motion sickness on a porch swing, so don't even ask what I do on a Merry-Go-Round; 5) When I was a kid I found out the hard way that not everyone can float with an umbrella like Mary Poppins.

So now I tag: Jeannene and Mila, at Love Conquers All, because it's Mila's birthday; "The Samstress" at Gollywobbles; Amy at Crafting by Candlelight; Michelle at Faerie Dust Dreams; Lori at Faerie Window; Kim at Calamity Kim; and Suzanne at Painter of the Past

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Maybe This is the Kind of Boy Santa Misses

Or maybe our cat is the kind of boy that Santa Claus misses. Today I started unloading my dryer, and was interrupted by some dire "emergency" upstairs, like a wayward gallon of milk, or a missing pair of sweat pants. A while later I returned to the dryer and started pulling out clothes, with some difficulty; and when I bent over to get a better handle on a pair of purple sweat pants, there he sat, Friendly; and as many of you have read, no, he is not. (What I call our "Friendly Occupation" began many years ago. My kids found him at a warehouse where we were told he'd been hanging out for several weeks, seemingly abandoned. So my wonderful husband did what any firm disciplinarian might do under extreme duress and in the face of four pitifully pleading children, he caved and brought the cat home, telling them that we could keep him if Mama said it was okay. Thanks Honey. The kids told me he was soooooo friendly when they met, hence the name. The truth is that they should have named him "Desperate and Hungry.")
The deal was that Friendly was supposed to be an outside cat, but he hasn't chosen to believe that, and finds his way into our house more often than out. I'm reasonably sure he wasn't in the dryer when I put in the wet clothes, and that he must have found the door open and a nice warm bed waiting. From the pic I snapped, he seems not to have been fluffed on the perma-press cycle, but looks more than a little disgusted with me for interrupting his nap. Look out, Friendly, Santa Claus is watching, especially the bad boys.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm Not the Brightest Bulb in the Pack

Okay, what have I done? I noticed that clicking an image on new blogspot pics prompts a download instead of showing the image larger. I don't know how I did this, but does anyone know how to change it back? And if you can give me some advice, please, please keep it simple; I'm practically Amish when it comes to technology.

Deck the Halls

New things at Glitter and Grunge starting tomorrow, Dec. 1. "Ole Saint Nick", "Deck the Halls" Snowman, and some fun, glittery glass ornaments. While you're at G and G, check out all of the other wonderfully talented artists and their creations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Here's What I've Been Up To

New things on The Primitive Gathering, available December 1: papier mache Elle and vintage-inspired Christmas tree topper star. Fun new things from all the artists there too.

Nature or Nurture

I love touring the blogs of you ladies who can sew and I'm always amazed at the creativity and skill! I'm really not much with a sewing machine, or anything that involves electricity, for that matter. Call it "sewing-challenged" if you will, it's really not my fault. My mother gladly takes credit (or blame) for all of my domestic short-comings in the sewing room. By her own admission she is not a seamstress, and blames it on the fact that she's left handed. She swears that when others were trying to show her how to knit, or crochet, or sew, inevitably the person doing the teaching would give up in exasperation because her hands were "backwards." And sadly, the sewing disability was passed down to my sister and me.

So when I was 12, my mom decided to break the vicious cycle. (I suppose it was also an effort to compensate for her millinery deficit, or to ease her mother-guilt for not being able to impart any home-ec skills to her daughters.) She gave me a portable sewing machine, sewing scissors, a thimble, and about a million straight pins, and then signed me up for sewing lessons at a local department store. I was like a fish out of water and was, by far, the youngest in the class and probably the most illiterate in sewing lingo. I didn't know my bobbins from my zig-zags, and I thought that "finding a bias" was something good citizens were supposed to avoid. Mind you, I had no Betsy Ross or Martha Stewart at home to tutor me either. Each of the students had chosen a pattern and fabric and set out to make our own dress for the grand finale, a fashion show in which each of us would model our handiwork. That in itself was enough to scare the "zig zag"out of an awkward pre-adolescent. Each lesson was an intimidating struggle, although I did manage to learn to thread the machine, and sew a reasonably straight seam. But my dress was a hideous nightmare--the arms didn't quite match, there were bunches where bunches weren't supposed to be, and it looked like something Igor on Young Dr. Frankenstein might wear. So, unless I was willing to change my anatomy or remake the dress, there was no way I was going to model that. Turns out I never had to decide.

I gave up learning to sew when we came to the lesson on "darts". I wasn't even sure what they were, but it sounded dangerous, and I'm not even left-handed. And the final blow came when one of my fellow students mocked me for not even really needing darts yet. Her name was Bunny, and she was blessed with the need for ample darts. I never went back.

Things worked out okay. I can still thread the machine and sew a straight seam, and when one of my girls needs a prom dress altered or cheerleading skirt made, I have a long list of seamstress friends whose moms apparently were not left handed.

(Editor's note: My Mom happens to be a really great cook and has imparted that as her legacy.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Passing the Torch

Thank you to Suzanne at Painter of the Past, who was tagged for the "Friendly Site" award, and then passed it along to me. [And this award has NOTHING to do with our crazy cat who also happens to be named Friendly--and no, he's still not.] Suzanne is a wonderfully talented primitive-style painter, and her work has a sweetness that is reflective of her personality. Check out her cool website too.

And to pass the torch, so to speak, I'm tagging Blondie at Vintage Prims and Elaine at Artful Spirit. I love the way Proverbs reminds us that "A man that hath friends, must show himself friendly." Both of these ladies are really friendly and incredibly talented, and each has done something incredibly nice for someone else. You may remember the Ava's Angel Auction from a few months ago--the entire event was organized and orchestrated by Blondie to help a sweet little girl with her medical expenses. And Elaine has used her blog as a platform to remind us about Breast Cancer month, to bring our attention to the needs of the homeless and recently she has reminded us to Lend a Helping Hand.

You go girls~

Monday, November 19, 2007

We Have a Winner

You may be like me and think, "I never win anything." One of the few raffles our family ever won involved a turkey. My kids attended a carnival at school many years ago, and each guessed the number of jellybeans in a jar to win a free turkey. At 50 cents a pop, I thought it was money well spent, since our family does eat occasionally, and the money raised was going to support the school, and it also kept each kid engrossed in the counting for several minutes. (Mothers with four small children will pay big money to have 5 minutes of sanity.) Soon it was on to funnel cakes and face painting, and the jelly bean raffle was quickly forgotten. Monday rolled around and my oldest jumped off the bus carrying some sort of wood and chicken-wire box. "What on earth have they been doing in art class these days?" I wondered as my son ran to the car and proudly announced that HE was the lucky winner. Well, technically, he didn't win, but all of the other "winners'" moms wouldn't let them take home the prize. Somehow I missed that memo, because this grand prize just happened to still be covered in feathers and was staring at me and gobbling. I would have been happier with second prize, which was a jar and 1253 jelly beans.

P.S. In case you're wondering, our turkey received a name, and a full presidential pardon. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Handmade Parade

Handmade Parade is the brainchild of Claire Bone of little lovelies and Missy Ballance of Mohair Circus. Check it out here for all the scoop.

Monday, November 12, 2007


New watercolor paintings. All are very small, the largest which is the cardinal, is only 5" tall. The scans just don't quite capture the subtle colors or some of the detail. Available through my website soon, or email for details.

Juan Valdez and Computers, Not a Pretty Picture

Coffee is NOT "good to the last drop" if the last drop, (no, make that the last 1/2 cup) happens to land all over your keyboard. Finger's crossed that it'll dry out and suffer no ill effects. . . . so far so good, and it seems that my keyboard may have survived its brush with death. Only an occasional sticking of a few keys that took the worst of the java bath.

When I'm not pouring coffee on my computer, I'm busy working on some new Christmas things--a couple Santas, ornaments, etc. Hope to have something to show soon. Here's how one Santa looks at the moment--his head is wobbly, and he looks like a blind, Blackbelt Santa with wires for hands; but he'll eventually have a face, real hands and will be dressed in his traditional red--soon, I hope, because the snowman I'm also working on is feeling a bit intimidated.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"Honey, I didn’t think it was a big deal."

In my mind, finding out about a rabid skunk attacking my elderly neighbor as she watered her flowers is somewhat of a big deal. And the fact that my dear husband knew about it and didn't think to tell me was an even bigger deal. [Now, I’m wondering, in his mind, what would constitute a big deal?!] We live out in the country, and occasionally one hears of rabid animals, but this was just a bit too close–less than one mile from our house.

That prompted a call to the vet to make sure all of our pets were up to date on rabies shots. Both cats, who technically are outside cats, were due; so in an effort to save time and gas, I decided to take both at the same time. I enlisted our youngest daughter's help, since the cats are hers anyway. Getting 17 pound "Friendly" (and, no, he's not) in the cat carrier is a feat in itself. And trying to get both cats inside the same carrier, well, not even a possibility. So my daughter and I rigged up a second carrier made with a laundry basket and a towel. An inner voice warned me this might not be the best plan, but visions of Old Yeller were prominently playing in my mind.

All was well on the way to the vet. Apart from a brief encounter with an overly friendly and nosy great dane in the lobby, we made it uneventfully into the exam room; and when each cat was examined, vaccinated and pronounced safe, we headed home. The ride home was a bit different. Little "Tres" [who once was a boy cat until I took him to be neutered and found out "he" was a "she"--which is altogether another post] was not happy, and neither was Friendly. His mournful cries only made things worse, and my daughter struggled to keep Tres’ laundry basket jail-cell intact. Not happening. So she opted to hold Tres wrapped in a blanket. I’m not sure just what happened, but we were almost home when I heard, "Oh man, gross! My leg’s wet," and then black fur and cat urine flew all over our back seat. When the car finally came to a stop, doors flung open and all exited like a scene from National Lampoon’s "Family Vacation." Cats and kids went for the hills, and I went for the baking soda, club soda, FeBreeze, disinfectant, and whatever else I thought might remove the offensive odor. Nothing, I mean, NOTHING helped. I called my loving husband, (who, technically, is at the root of all of this), and he said he had something at his shop which might help. So, with windows rolled down, and fingers pinching my nose, I drove the 2 miles hoping for a miracle. The entire de-odorizing process took close to an hour.

Meanwhile, I received a phone call from my daughter–"Mom, there is something on the floor upstairs that really, really stinks. . ." (Reminiscent of the "Mom, can I vacuum glass" incident.) In the midst of the earlier melee, Friendly had somehow found his way into the house and upstairs, far away from that crazed, middle-aged lunatic who was frantically flinging chemicals at the car. I guess all the day's events–car rides, great danes, vet appointments, shots, cat carrier confinement, crazy women-- had traumatized him, and in an hour’s time he had managed to vomit or poo in every room upstairs. I am an animal lover, but at that moment, if I could have put my hands on some of that tainted cat food we heard so much about in the news last summer. . .

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I'm Somebody Now

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Lady Cathy the Sophisticated of Leighton in the Bucket
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Fun Continues

Just when you thought Halloween was over, Sandra at Sam I Am Creations extends the fun by having a Treat Give-Away!!!! Go to her site between today and Monday, Nov. 5 for the details.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hot off the Press

Just finished and pics sent, these two will be available at Glitter and Grunge starting tomorrow. This is a hand made papier mache Cat and Fiddle, and even the little fiddle is handmade. The other is a trinket box, and tucked inside is a banner which reads, "Winter Wonderland". Check out the other items I'm offering there too.
[Updated: Gift tags I'm offering at The Primitive Gathering--they're handmade with a handcast paper pulp emblem, gingerbread men and Christmas trees.)

My girls and I are off to a harvest festival at our church. :-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Candy Swap

I have just a minute or two to post some pics of the swap I received from Amy of Crafting by Candlelight. The box included a cute little book box to hide all my special treats, a fun little "cracker" filled with trinkets, a night light, and a headband with funny antennae. (And of course CANDY). Thanks so much Amy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Deadlines Revisited.

Finally finished my Liberty Uncle Sam, and here's a sneak peek. He's available at The Primitive Gathering starting November 1. I just can't believe it's almost November. (Website updates are coming soon as well.) The birthday cake card was made by my 13 year old daughter for a friend, and I loved it so much that I had to snap a picture before she sent it.
And deadlines are still looming. . . I think my oldest daughter, who is a new college student, recently said it best. She was also agonizing over her own busy schedule of classes, papers due, upcoming tests, etc. which all seemed to be converging at once. I did my best to encourage her over the phone. Later that night, I sent her a text message (which is an accomplishment for me, in and of itself! I'm just now mastering the art of posting messages on blogs).
Anyway, I asked her if she was okay, and tried to offer some final, reassuring sage words of motherly wisdom: "Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes, darling. It's called 'L-I-F-E'" To which she promptly messaged in return: "Life is like a box of chocolates. If you have too much at once you'll throw up." I'm feeling a bit queasy myself. Back to work.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Coffee Break

Just a minute or two to catch up on my virtual reality. Here's one of my new gourd guys--other things coming soon. And a pic of my "outside" cat who doesn't know he's not supposed to be in the house. My kids named him Friendly, and no, he's not.

And last, here's a pic of some meringue ghosts I made for a party I attended recently. They're so easy to make, just egg whites and sugar, and soooooo good.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Probably Not Being Used Much Anyway

Apart from the obvious impact to the victim, this article made me laugh out loud when I read it in our local paper:

Golf carts stolen from local cemetery:
Thieves stole two golf carts and their battery chargers with a total value
of $8,600 from the Evergreen Memorial Park cemetery, Atlanta Highway, between
4:45 p.m. Friday and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Athens-Clarke police said.

Hmmmm. . .perhaps a late tee time for Casper and friends?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Deadlines. . .

. . .always creep up on me and I never seem to learn. It's as if someday I'll suddenly discover an extra couple of hours in a day, or a couple of extra days in a month. Hasn't panned out for me yet, though. Where is leap year when I need it? But I have been busy trying to finish some new papier mache guys, and I've also been putting the finishing touches on a candy container for a Halloween swap with Amy at Crafting by Candlelight. Hopefully I'll have pics to share next week.
I did find time for a fun distraction: last night I went to an open house for an exhibition called "Hauntings" at the Blue Bell Gallery in Comer, Georgia. Over 30 local artists were represented and it was a wonderful, fun night. Here's a grouping of some of my papier mache sculptures. (Wish my other pics had turned out better.) Uh oh, I just looked at the clock, and now I'm off to check my calendar to see if October has 32 days.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Leaving the Nest

I just sent out my contribution for the Primitive Gathering Give Away this week. It's a limited edition print (signed and numbered) of one of my watercolor miniature paintings, and now it's on its way to Pennsylvania. Enjoy, Sam! Check out some of my other works at the PG too. The Primitive Gathering is a co-op of many talented artists, so while you're there, stop in and see some of the other wonderful things offered.