Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Hump Day!

Dang, I knew enough to feel guilty for not posting some blog entries, but it's been a whole week? I've no excuse other than I've been in deep deed.

It seems that every spring is like this: all of a sudden, I'm awash in chores with deadlines. After April 15th, I always want to chill out for a month or so, but nooooo. No one else waits around for that. winkwink

I can proudly boast that I've succeeded in biotch-slapping Hubs to hire out the humongo pool cleaning (after over a year of bog-like conditions). Finally, YAY!

May I present the most gorgeous blue water I've seen in a while, lol:

I had to sneak the photo because I didn't want Pool Guy to know he was being snapped. Kinda awkward. lol I have to say he worked hard. It was a tough job, and I have no idea if $325 for 3 afternoons of work was worth it more to him or to us, but it's paid and the pool's clean.

Of course, in 7 short days, it'll need the regular maintenance of brushing and chemicals to keep it from slowly going downhill again, which we can count on Pool Guy to take care of for $40 a week. That's $160 a month. And let's not forget the 12 hours of pump electricity each day for aeration. I guess I now know why our electric bill seemed lower, lol.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose. Whoever first said that must have owned a pool, but I digress. I'm usually the first to goad Hubs into doing the DIY thing, but this time I'm voting for Pool Guy to do the weekly work. Hubs came right out and asked if we could hire him. LOL Yeah, like maybe he hates doing the pool? Ya think? My thinking on it is that Hubs wasn't that great at it, and it needs to be done correctly or that investment gets more costly.

So, anyway, that's now the plan for the summer (which is like 6 mos. down here, if not longer). It's amazing to me looking at it in retrospect how it could take so dang long to do just that much, but I've been working hard in my thorny-sided role.

First, starting last week, I had to spend almost 3 days in virtual verbal war as I told Hubs he needed to find someone, then I told him again, and again, because he went into his usual little weirdo rebellion fits, until he realized his way wasn't happening. It only took 2 screaming matches to get to that point.

By Sunday, Pool Guy had made two appearances and Hubs returned to work on days. I only took it easy just a little bit because I dived back into creating, and haven't really looked up until tonight, when I became duly red-faced for realizing how long I'd gone without blogging.

While all this was going on, I have been having a midlife art crisis, for lack of a better description. I've been getting more and more into stamping, paints, background techniques, gessos, glazes, and glitter. A bigger canvas than an ATC affords. And the awesome ways so many out there are combining ephemera with the liquids to create mixed media art.

It's like Scrap booking, but it's not. It's, to me, the closest you can get to feeling what a real artist might feel, short of drawing or painting everything on the piece. You are more free, less constrained by the photos, which in art collage are people you don't know but are attempting to create a personal relationship which. And it can be anything you want it to be, what fantasy! I mean, you can't control the lives of the real people in your scrapbook layouts, but you totally can in your collage.

I don't know. On one hand, it's so much work, learning the ropes and getting informed. But on the other hand, it's fascinating. I even got out the old Artist's Way and read some, need to read some every day. I will admit to being reminded by the author Julia Cameron's ex being interviewed on TCM the other night. Who is her ex, you might ask?

Martin Scorsese, that's who, the film director and obsessed American Express photo development customer. She even refers to them in one chapter, so he's in the book's index. And he was describing in this interview about a tough mental time he went through, about the same time they broke up. Hmmm.... Oh, to be a fly on the wall concerning that one! I really enjoyed seeing him in that interview. I find him quite refreshing and a very positive and religious man. (Cameron's book is laced with religious metaphor and inspiration). Double hmmm.....

I seriously sometimes think I was really meant to be Mary Hart on Entertainment Tonight, except that somewhere something went horribly wrong for me, LOL.

Anyway, if I actually do go through any material changes, you heard it here first. Lately I have been so lazy that if God himself told me I'd win a million bucks if I'd just be a tad more industrious, I'd honestly have trouble finding motivation.

Relaxing and letting time roll along in a parallel universe is just so nice.

Well, speaking of rolling along, I was shocked in a great way to discover I won a RAK from Shirley! Congrats to her for her 1,000th post and I guess that'd be me! LOL See, it pays to reply to practically every entry you're behind in reading, LOL.

Anyway, I know Shirley's RAK will have something neat in it, so even though it may take a while to get here, it'll be sweet!

And, I've been tagged! That, for next time....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

HAPPY NUT N HUMPY DAY! Do The Hokey-Pokey, ya'll!


Thanks for all the sweet comments from my blog readers!

Haven't *said* that in a while and need to *say* it more often,

even though I think it all the time.

I love them.

Ya'll keep my little engine a-going, Toot Toot!


Congrats to my girl!

And a little birthday card to share, for an old girlfriend of mine who's turning 57 today (no names, please!):

I abuse my near-age friends nowadays, because they are the only ones I can use my new old-fart stamps on! Here I used a mix of stamps by Urban Lily, Gina K and I Brake for Stamps :

Here's a close-up of the lady I colored in with pencils, markers, gel pens and Stickles:

And now, the punch line:

Cracks me up every time, LOLOLOL.
Edited to Add: I did have this linked to a challenge, but I can't post my link to it, so I guess I am not entered in it, and so I'm sure not gonna advertise their challenge, ya know? Fix the link, guys! {pout}


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

In fact, the next few days contain Earth Day celebrations globally, so perhaps it's Earth week, LOL. And when I Googled for info, I saw a couple of celebrations that were on Saturday, the 18th, but that might have been for the sake of weekday workers who wanted to plants trees or some other day-long venture.

Those of you who've been reading my blog for a year or more know I like to make something to honor this day that incorporates the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle theme. This year I wanted to add bestowing an award to someone special who is environmentally aware and pushes for it on their blog more than anyone else I know.

The choice for me was easy. I immediately thought of my friend Vicki Cook, who never fails to commemorate days of action on her blog, whether it be to celebrate the beauty of trees, to plant flowers, install a bird feeder, or coax new birdie visitors with a nesting house.

Vicki, I salute you for being a 2008 Earth Angel and all around Nature Girl Extraordinaire! Here's your award, for displaying on your blog sidebar (I hope!):

Ok, so on to my Earth Day creation. I wanted to make Vicki a piece of hanging art-iness, and I wanted to include my ATC "Patchwork Earth" that I'd made weeks ago, because I'd originally made it with Earth Day in mind. Although I'd been excited about making this ATC from little slivers of scrap paper to look like a quilt, I wasn't 100% happy with it when I finished it. It was missing something.

So, I laid it aside and forgot about it for a while, hoping and knowing deep down that I'd come up with something to make it more acceptable to my tastes. Picking it back up recently, I decided to do the back with a map of the world stamped image (one of those background stamps from a previous post that I mounted cling cushion on and created storage in the VHS tape cases). I then let it sit some more and thought about adding some rhinestones and jewels and maybe some little stamped cut-out birdies to finish that side.

Turning to the front of the CD, I decided to go over the red gel pen with black, blue and green, thereby toning the red down some. That helped. And, I coated the entire top with my favorite Diamond Glaze, which always makes things look better. I also filled in the bottlecap earth with some Glaze, and then I applied some Crystal Stickles to the inside perimeter. Now, I was getting happy with this little card.

Next, how to hang it? Well, I killed two birds with one stone by using an old CD -- I was able to recycle, plus I'd be able to get out my alcohol inks and paint like I'd been wanting to. That done, I went looking for other elements I could add that were sitting around waiting to be re-used. I had some skinny green satin ribbon that I'd looked at for a few months on my creating desk, so I grabbed it and curling-ironed it straight, then stitched it through holes I'd punched with my Cropadile. Then, I found some beads that were the perfect colors and started stringing two tails on the bottom. (And I might add a couple of "arms" on the side.
I think those beads are so pretty, like porcelain or that turquoise kitchen ware from California in the 1940's (with the drink pitchers that look like a tire-shape with a spout and a handle?) Uh, yeah, obviously, I don't collect dishware, right? ROFL!

Anyway, I'm terribly later than I wanted to be with this post, because nothing went anywhere near a timetable today. So, I'll close with a cool thingy you can make to funnel rain water from your gutter to a rain barrel. And, it hangs, too!You can then re-use the water for feeding and watering plants and birds. You'll find instructions here, courtesy of Lowes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Climbing over the Hump

I'm alive, a little groggy still, but here and engaged in thought. Making plans, exploring possibles. Anyway, I couldn't resist recognizing HumpDay with these Oldfarts. Just makes me smile today.
But first things first. Today is the one-year anniversary of the Va. Tech campus shootings. Please join me in a quiet moment of reflection in memory of all who were affected.
Today is also Pope Benedict XVI's first day of his American tour. I am not Roman Catholic. In fact, I am Episcopalian, which is the American version of the Church of England, which is Anglican or Anglo-Catholic, due to King Henry the Eighth's need for divorce back in the 16th century. So, I do not obey Benedict, but I do have a curious interest in him because he is German. And since there are lots of Catholics in America, like Hubster's family, so I welcome him to America.
Hubs had to go to the emergency room at the local hospital last night. He had a vertigo attack, which he gets every so often. Since he was at work, they required him to go there, complete with an ambulance. Luckily, by the time he was able to get a phone call to me, his doctor was called in and showed up pronto because he was already there seeing someone else, and he quickly judged it nothing more than an attack, admonished Hubs to not quit his meds and released him. I say luckily because I was sound asleep and might have slept through the call to go up there. One of his coworkers had gone with Hubs and stayed, so he provided transport back to work and Hubs drove home. I really don't mean to make light of this, but we've been through this so many times over his vertigo, and it's his own damn fault and rather expensive too. (Work only pays for the ambulance, and our e-room copay is $75 plus always a straggler bill a week or two later for that much more, or more! And this time I'm sure his doctor will file a claim, too, for 5 minutes and a script.)

So, the reason I brought this up was that Hubs woke me up when he got home to fill me in. I couldn't get back to sleep right away, so I spent an hour listing out the art projects, pieces, creations I want/have promised to make for others, and that list sort of shocked me as to how long it is. So, that's hopefully going to be the focus of my spare time the next few weeks.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One. More. Day.

Take the Quiz

Your Mind is Purple
Of all the mind types, yours is the most idealistic.
You tend to think wild, amazing thoughts. Your dreams and fantasies are intense.
Your thoughts are creative, inventive, and without boundaries.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life for yourself.


Geez, that quiz was kinda...revealing...and dead on. What are the oddz? LOL I saw it on Sarah's blog and of course had to take it. Be strong, Aimes, only one quiz a day!


Well, I had to pull an all-niter, but I'm closing in on my deadline. WooHoo! I'd have to say I'm not much into wanting to create anything right now though. More like I want to pretend to be a bump on a log...hibernating. Bump on a log. SLEEP. Yup, I stayed up all nite working. Could not relax enough. Tried. Failed. Way too much java and stress.

Oh, and all those goodies I bought for Hubs yesterday? Yup, I helped eat them. I probably gained 2 pounds back in 24 hours, but it was fun. Note to file: grazing as a diet strategy only works when you graze on good, healthy food. Otherwise? Worse than worse.

Well, back to work. Gonna bust outa here and crash in a bit. Ahhhh......then I can really "spend a lot of time thinking of fictional people and places - or a very different life...WITHOUT BOUNDARIES".

Bbbbwwwaaaaaa! winkwink

Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Hubs!
The Birthday "Boy", 56 years young.

The Cake: A favorite of his from the neighborhood bakery.

And, his favorite brekkie: bakery kolaches and donuts.
I awoke at the crack of dawn to go get all of this (takes bow). That included a store-bought Hallmark card, which he secretly prefers to a handmade one, so I rarely make his card.
Hubs will spend his day getting his gift checks cashed, buying some liquor and cigar treats, going to get his complimentary birthday car wash, and then picking out some really nice steaks and fixing us a steak, baked potato and salad dinner tonight. We will go out to dinner later in the week.
The weather today is picture-perfect, sunny with a chilly wind. Everything looks so green and springy. I'll have to go out and take some more photos this week.

101-Year old Marathon Runner
I just had to celebrate this dude. Click on the link, it's a really short article, only like 5 paragraphs. He totally cracks me up and I can only wish I could live so long or do what he does at my current age. Sheesh! He's still working! God love him...

Well, speaking of old grinds, back to it for me. Just 2 more days, I cannot wait!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fit to be Friday

Can I just say it?

I'm going nuts right now.

Several things have aligned in my life this year to cause me to have to learn to acknowledge, adapt, adjust, accept. Yeah, when I have more time, I'll elaborate...

But right now, it's being exxacerbated greatly by having to meet a tax deadline without my usual enthusiasm or concentration. So, I've understandably turned to trying to pop some pills in search of energy, stabilization, calm.

Much to my surprise, I'm seeing some improvement!

In addition to my daily Centrum and Vitamin C (not pictured), what's in the picture above is my current stash of miracle helpers.

I give 10 stars to Cinnamon and Green Tea. I've been a bad bad diet girl since my hip began hurting badly, and on April 1 I learned what a Fool I'd been...I'd managed to gain 10 pounds back, which would be no-big-deal had I been at a decent weight, but when you've miles to go before you sleep on your weight loss, gaining 10 back is basically shameful.

So, I immediately began trying to get back on track gradually (it is tax season, after all), and while I won't be able to get my exercising turned back on until next week, I have been cutting out all fast food and sweets, and I've been eating at least 3 fruits a day and eating smaller more frequent meals.

As of April 10th, Ive lost 5 of those pounds. So, I'm halfway back to zero, and I'm thankful it was just 10 pounds and not more.

I'd been advised to try the Cinnamon recently, and I can feel a lift within 30 minutes. And when I dip back down again, a cup of green tea helps get me peppy again. I've been eating a half a grapefruit and a Lean Cuisine every 3 hours or so, too. (Hubs bought this gigantic bag of the g-fruit on sale, and the g-fruit is in addition to the other 3 daily fruit servings). I read the stories about the water myth, but I'm still drinking as much as I can, because I cannot deny that when I slack off I start gaining weight. (So maybe it's an appetite suppressor, it works, I'm not picky).

Anyway, I'm able to handle the stress much better, but I've learned one thing this spring: no more tax work. I've already told 3 clients this is the final year. It's scary, but I'm so wanting to celebrate, so I know it's the right thing to do.

I cannot ever in my life remember feeling so enthusiastic about getting to play and make art! Just a few more days....

Now, if I can just get thru Tuesday with enough energy, enthusiasm and concentration. Where are those pills...?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Learning to Love the Weeds

I Love Buttercups...
Patches of Blue...

I Love Old Clover....

And Clover Brand New!

Yep, it be Spring here on the Third Coast. Our night time low temps creep slowly upward, even though so far we've been enjoying cool winds in the day time.

And it's official: the Skeeters have landed. Thankfully they are still in that morning hangover phase: you know they are there, but they act a bit stoned.

So have the humongo tree roaches that can fly. (HATE those...)

In addition to take stolen moments away from my tax returns to enjoy the good and bad of Nature, I had a bit of a traumatic experience last week.

I walked into our detached garage, like I do 2 dozen times a day or so, and almost did not notice the little teeny brown field mouse sitting frozen with his back to me on the cement floor where it meets the garage door. And when I did notice, I was frozen, too.

I have a bad phobia about them little nasty things. I know that people actually keep them as pets, and since we live on the edge of a field / horse pasture those little "cute" ones are the ones we deal with. And, they are not that smart. But you'll never see me owning one as a pet. They totally freak me out.

So, there we are, frozen, both of us. Finally, my brain gets a thought to step forward: push the button and raise the garage door, like he'll just run right out and leave us alone forever. I know, stupid, like he's someone waiting for an elevator.

Just after I raised my arm and pressed the button, I thought uh-oh, what if he turns around and runs back into the dark recesses of our garage? So, I grabbed a little hand shovel that was hanging nearby.

So, I was ready. But still, mouse time stood still. He finally stirred and sure enough, wheeled himself around. So, what did I do? I batted him with the shovel like I was up at bat, out on the driveway. As I contemplated "what now", I watched him land on his side, right in the drip line of the roof overhead. It was raining, and so water was dripping and dabbling all over him, his face, his fur.

What did he do? Without moving anything else, he opened his mouth and started drinking.

It was then I realized he must have eaten some poison that Hubs has set out in the garage. We've had a few mice in prior years that have ingested it and make it into the pool where they drank themselves to a quick bye-bye. That's always fun scooping them out.

Back to my story...Now, Hubs would have beat the mouse flat with the shovel, or worse, just stepped on him. But I was wearing my pink fur thongs and nothing short of my life being imminently threatened would convince me to bloody-and-guts-up up those babies.

No way. No eff-ing way, okay? So, I fell back on my tried-and-true method for trapping snakes that has proven successful for me.

I ran into the house and grabbed a small wide-mouthed pickle jar from the pantry (I'm a packrat in the kitchen too), filled it a third of the way with water, then stopped in the laundry room and poured it full another third of Clorox bleach. Then I grabbed the tongs that hang there for pulling out clothes from the back of the dryer.

I carried my equipment out to the garage, where the mouse was still there writhing out on the driveway and shuddering in the still-dripping drip line. I placed my jar down on the cement and then picked the mouse up by the tail with my tongs and lowered him into his vat of death, dropped the tongs and screwed that lid on tight.

I wiped the tongs down with alcohol and put them in the dishwasher to run on the Scald setting (what I call the Sterilize setting) all by their lonesome (to avoid having to suppress gagging at the thought that my plate or glass mixed liquids with those tongs), and I'm proud of myself that I did not just throw the tongs away.

When Hubs got home from work a few hours later, I was all proud of myself for being so brave and resourceful, so I told him the story. He rolled his eyes and asked, what do I do with the jar now?

I'm like, dude, don't worry, I'll take care of it. Geez, how sissified can men be sometimes?

The jar stayed there on the garage floor until trash day, when I wrapped it up in bubble wrap, taped it securely, and then placed it in the trash. Problem solved, and no blood stains or guts to clean up.

I guess I could argue that I've built a "better mousetrap" - gives new meaning to "in a pickle". Personally, I can't think of a better way to recycle, can you?

Seems like there's always a test or quiz in Blogland.

For instance, here's the True Color test I found at Colleen's blog. I took it and here's the verdict. You decide, is it me?

Take this test!
You're brown, a credible, stable color that's reminiscent of fine wood, rich leather, and wistful melancholy. Most likely, you're a logical, practical person ruled more by your head than your heart. With your inquisitive mind and insatiable curiosity, you're probably a great problem solver. And you always gather all of the facts before coming to a timely, informed decision. Easily intrigued, you're constantly finding new ways to challenge your mind, whether it's by reading the newspaper, playing a trivia game, or composing a piece of music. Brown is an impartial, neutral color, which means you tend to see the difference between fact and opinion easily and are open to many points of view. Trustworthy and steady, you really are a brown at heart.

Then, I {stupidly} took the typing test over at Kim's blog. Like, did I forget I had arthritis in my hands, or something? I was reminded when I got my score: a big 44 words a minute. Dang. Let's just say that score was much higher when I was 25, and I didn't even do secretarial work.
44 words


Friday, April 04, 2008


b. January 15, 1929 - d. April 4, 1968
What a wonderful difference his life made!



That's right. Just like the Dad in "A Christmas Story", I value and highly covet major awards, LOL, especially cyber ones. And thankfully, no fishnet leg lamps have to sit in my living room.

I want to thank Tina and Lida for awarding me this in March, and Lynn in April:

The rules for the *you make my day award* are to re-present it to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blog land. Let them know through email or by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times yourself, and if you do, consider yourself really, really loved:
So I'm passing on the award to the following people (in no particular order):
1. Kim L.
2. Kim KT
3. Katy
4. Sandi
5. Vicki
6. Cheryl
7. Jenna
8. Gina
9. Heather
10. Noelia



I've taken lots of photos and collected tidbits of info in the last month to use here on the old blog, but as often happens with me, I either forget to upload them or I'm not in the mood or situation to bother getting into the detail needed to explain. And this past month has been a real black hole for my free time, what with tax returns and policy research.

Well, today I thought I'd try to get some of these out of inventory and into the light where they belong, so to speak.

Some things I've been into lately:

Here it is, April, and I still have not finished altering my 2008 art calendar I started back in January! Argh! I'm using it to keep track of the birthdays and dates of my artsy friends, as well as deadlines for swaps and challenges, and although not having it decorated does not stop me from using it, it still bugs the bunion outa me, so I'm making it a goal item for April.

Back in January, on Flickr's Inspiration Boards group, I saw people making these on their walls to help them keep their notes and inspiring papers out and visual. Soon, this morphed into people using these to show off their little pieces of art or pretty images, whatever, which is also inspiring. I've been wanting to make one for my wall and even decided where it would go, but was a bit shy about sticking the thumb tacks into a pristine wall. One day I just did it, and I'm glad I did. I'm using this one to hang my art after I finish it to "cure" a bit. And I plan to make more inspira-lines in other places. One cool thing about them is they can be as long or as short as you need them to be. And, they are really easy as pie to string up: just start at one end and then the other.

Aren't these pretty? (See? I even strung some more line under my bookshelves over my desk, LOL.) I took an afternoon not too long ago to work on cling-cushion my background stamps, and made up some image sheets for my stamp binder while I was at it.

I keep most of my stamps in VCR tape cases by theme, and these were all thrown into the cases, no rhyme or reason.

I have finally created a system for organizing these case contents. I make chipboard inserts that have glossy photo paper adhered to one side where the stamps cling to the surface, and have sticker paper on the other side where I stamp the images. That way I can pick up an insert and know what which stamp each image belongs to. It really makes it easier to see what I have in there. Only a million more cases to fix up this way, but at least I have a plan now.

Well, this entry is becoming a mile long so I will call it quits for today. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

You Likey?

Yeppers, I cut my hair again and I'm happy I did. It feels awesome. I get to the point of not being able to stand longer hair after awhile, because I always just end up wearing it up or in a ponytail (oh the shame, it's usually a scrunchie...).

Here's this week's creation for the challenge over at Bringing It Back. We were supposed to make something with the old Making Memories Details collection metal frames and doo dads:

Now, my ornery old arss got a bit huffy at the thought of having to use a certain brand and item, so I almost did not do the challenge, but I sucked it up. And along with that goes the caveat: if it's the wrong item, tough stuff. LOLOL

I have no idea what collection that any of my stuff in my embellies drawers came from, much less the brand. But the frame I used is a Making Memories and the package said 2004, so hey, it's old.

I also used an aluminum charm I had, and I colored in the dots and ribbon with some red Stickles (which proves that, yes, Stickles can be applied to metals, in case you ever need to know that). Here is a close-up of the Stickles charm:

And, some notecards I literally threw together with odds and ends that I'd looked at for forever on my desk and finally used:

Well, today's a tough one for me, so better get a crackin'. Have a good one!