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.