Saturday, July 29, 2006

Creating art...

I find myself in one creative mood today! Everything from the desire to create a new scrapbook page, soaking a few sheets of watercolor paper for creating some watercolored artwork upon, and even the entertaining thoughts of creating and beginning a new deco.

Unfortunately, the heat is in the 90's today therefore, making going out to the studio is only a dream to be realized at a later date. I hesitated greatly regarding going out and bringing some simple supplies back in to the cool air-conditioned space of our home; however, in my better judgement, decided against it. The studio is clean with little left to be organized so I have decided against disturbing its organized state of beauty. My heart longs for the cooler days of autumn but who am I to decide the cycle of the seasons? Although, I would be just as content with some cooler temperatures, LOL!

I find it sort of ironic that in the deadened days of a long, harsh winter my soul longs for these hot dog days of summer; yet once they are here, the longing for cooler temps is just the ticket! I cannot help but to wonder if there really ever is such a thing "as the perfect day" temperature wise. I find that sometimes, I'd like to believe that I'd be perfectly happy with 70 - 75 degree sunny day temperatures, although my heart simply knows better. I'm certain that even I would find some fault with them, especially after experiencing one after the other for seasons on end. Of course, that would mean an end to the seasons as I now know them and how boring would that be? For now, I'm content in the fact that God is in control even if it interferes with my what my heart desires. I sit in waiting, knowing, and trusting that there is a reason for the stirrings of my soul although I may not be aware of them yet. I think I'll add "the season's of my life" to the clock image I created on a tag on my list of gratitudes.

Here is a photograph I managed to capture only moments ago of my Gratitude Garland to date. The modge podge is drying super fast in the mid-day's heat.

Beginning to come together...

My gratitude garland is really beginning to come together. The created today links have been added and it is now over a foot long. Already! I'll have to capture a photograph of it soon... as I'm waiting for the modge podge to dry and the paper clips I use to hold it firmly in place isn't so attractive.

While I was in the mood to create some new links for this today, I thought that I'd jot down a random list of things that I desire to add to my garland in the future so I grabbed a few scraps and began to write and adding whatever I felt so inclined to do. How could I resist adding in the lazy old dog as Chaos laid at my feet while I continued to create? {smiles}

and... one more for today...

I couldn't resist the urge to create just one more link. I titled this one "together traveling" May Don and I always continue to always travel in the same direction!

My 6th and 7th Gratitude Garland links

Today, I created two more links for my gratitude {Friday} garland using scraps of paper, stickers, stamps, and a sweet image from a recently purchased Vintage Workshop cd. The first image has been sealed with modge podge while the second has not yet been. You can see how sealing helps to soften the images just a bit; also, I sealed the actual garland itself today as some of the layer pieces do desire to separate once it is formed into the chain, with a little luck and whole lot of love hopefully this will assist to prevent some of that once my garland is hanging.

I recently gave some thoughts to how to actually hang the garland within my studio and decided that I'd like to create some sewn fabric hangers that could be tied allowing me to tie them to the desired links as I hang this on the shelving supports along the shelved slatwall. I've always desire to use something to assist with lightening the oak in slatwall and avoid some of the glared reflections that hits my camera when taking photographs. I am certain using the vintage themed papers with bits of the off white and vanilla colors will be completely appropriate and at home there.

Gratitude Friday...

I apologize to anyone who may have visited my blog yesterday in hopes of discovering yet another link in my Gratitude garland. I spent my day yesterday savoring each and every moment that I was so blessed to have with my 3 month old granddaughter, Alexxis. Mommy went shopping in Columbus and asked me to babysit for her earlier in the week and my gratitude friday garland was quickly forgotten. I intend to create a new link today and who knows it may lead to more than one.

I am definately feeling blessed by God for having a new chapter in my life. Becoming a grandmother has provided me with more joy than I could have ever possibly imagined. Alexxis is such a sweetheart and so reminds me of her mother when she was the same age. Both of them, always greet me with warm smile; a smile that warms your heart and allows your spirit to soar. Alexxis is such a content child once her basic needs are met and her eyes sparkle in the gratitude that she feels within her own little heart. There is no need of words to communicate the love that she feels for it radiates out of her little body. Somedays, I wish she was talking and a bit more mature, then the reality of just how quickly she will grow up hits me, and I wonder why I think these thoughts and return to savoring each and every moment that we are sharing with one another in the here and now. It so hard to take my eyes off of her, I'm afraid that I may miss something..... a sly little grin, a sneakily given smile, and/or her tiny hands gently rubbing her sleepy eyes. I tell you she's magical! Completely entrancing me with each and every little movement and facial expression she makes. She is beginning to be quite a talker using her own language, of course, filled with "coo's"' and squeals of delight, especially after a few minutes of struggling to roll over from her belly to her back, it is such an accomplishment! Although, she was a bit puzzled of grandma's cheering and encouraging her on, LOL!

Anyways, the day wasn't completely lost; I'd give up so many more just to have her with me. I guess the best way to say it is that my gratitude Friday was spent experiencing the moments of gratitude vs. recalling one from my heart and memories and even I must admit, it is a more rewarding and pleasurable way to do so! {smiles and promises to post more photographs of our most precious, loaned to us, possession soon.}


Don and I both fell in love with this "floating" stairway that was created out of concrete and left suspending itself beyond the supporting pillars. There are more steps suspended in this same way as you follow the pathway on around the bend featured in this photograph. I had intended to capture a photograph viewing it from the opposite side, however a large group of hikers met us there and desired to linger in this spot as well; after a few minutes, we decided to hike on and out of the caves.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Neither Don nor I could even begin to imagine the hard work and effort that it must have taken to reinforce some areas of the park's hiking trails. This trail coming out of the Old Man's cave area and following along on the trial to the Lower Falls area shows some of the effort that has went into the restoration process after some of severe floods in the 1990's occured. Cemented areas such as this one replace old wooden timbers that were washed out and used in some areas as a border along the trails. I really loved the use of natural materials that are being used in the restorative efforts and how they blend themselves right into nature as if they themselves have been a part of this amazing wonder of nature.

After following the trail a bit further, we finally arrive across from the actual cave that Old Man's cave is named after. In this photograph you can see a section of the trail that we took. Unfortunately, there isn't enough sunlight in the late afternoon to show you the magnificant view of all the layers of golden and black sandstone that were carved out to create the cave itself nor some of the pathways surrounded and covered with sandstone that the trail often lead us through, but I assure you it was certainly just as breathtaking as this photograph!

Along the beaten path...

While hiking along on the beaten trails, we first stopped to rest near the Upper Falls at Old Man's Caves where we were both thankful for the coolness of the caves, the rocks, and shade from the trees as the temperatures were in the low 90's for the most part of the day. Within the canapy of the caves, there was such a sense of stillness here, while in this moment, although a few warbler could be heard singing, a soft, subtle breeze was blowing, and sounds of laughter and delight could be heard by many other visitors as well.

The structure of the caves are so beautiful here. The layers upon layers of sandstone that is ever so gently carved out from years and years of water streaming quietly through this region, although some wasn't so gently created as this area has also seen its fair share of flooding. The scenery is so breathtakingly gorgeous! Tall, towering eastern hemlocks, Canada yew and the yellow and black birch tell their own stories about the beautiful and destructive forces of nature which each add their own distinct features to the area.

Another Wednesday road trip....

Yesterday, Don decided he would like to get out and away once again. Sometimes, he gets so very restless while sitting around our home which leads me to believe he has more wanderlust in his soul than I do {although I'm not too certain if that is even possible} as I love to travel just as much! I hope I don't sound too complaining, its just that some days, I love being a homebody!!!

I had a strange sort of revelation yesterday though as I thought about the reasons for our travels. I realized that we both enjoy these road trips for so many different reasons. Don loves to meet new people, can easily walk up to a perfect stranger, begin a conversation that may lead to discussing anything and everything; while I am much more laid back, playing more of a role as an observer, lost somewhere in my own deep dreaming thoughts. It wouldn't bother me if I never saw a single soul on our journeys, I'd be just as content with a sketch pad, a few art supplies, and a few quite hours alone, LOL! Although, I must admit that the people we meet on our travels definately increase the excitement and desire to do more of it.

I think it is more realistic to say that our shared love of traveling, visiting both new and old places, the process of our journey's themself that leads us to our intended {and sometimes unintended} destinations. Another contributing factor is that we truly we enjoy one another's company and companionship on these road trips as they provide us some much needed time away from the distractions of business and our daily personal lives. These road trips also contribute yet another wonderful aspect of our relationship and fuels the fires of adventure in both of our gypsy souls. But, whatever the reasons of our shared love of traveling truly is, one thing is certain, we both love the coming and going, sharing the time with one another, and experiencing these adventures together. We both bring something wonderful to offer to one another to the table.

Anyways, here is where we ended up, deep within the ravines of the Hocking Hills State Forest just outside of Logan, Ohio where we hicked back to see some of God's wonderful handiwork displayed in nature. We've visited this area of Ohio on more than one occasion, however, I never cease to be amazed at how it changes from season to season and from one year to the next. Nor am amazed at how much harder it is to make the hike back to the lower falls area as we both continue to grow older and I'd love to believe a bit wiser! I can remember a time where I would have been more daring and adventure-some, where as now, I am quite content to stay on the guided trails!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Today's agenda....

I've been doing so good today.... not procrastinating regarding the things I desire to do! I had good intentions of getting around earlier but I must have needed the sleep as I slept in a bit later than usual. It wasn't too long before I dig in my heels and set out to cleaning our home and being amazed at how fast I managed to accomplish so much in a short amount of time. I had stopped at Amber and Chris's last night before returning home to check on her agenda for the day today as I had intended to visit and assist her with some of her to do items. As I worked here and she got Chris off to work, Alexxis fell asleep; so we decided tomorrow may be a better day as she could get alot more accomplished by not disturbing her for a visit with grammie.

Alexxis is growing so much... it is amazing to me to watch her. She's getting to be quite vocal, coo-ing and trying so hard to talk. She's been doing a lot of drooling, been cranky from time to time, and running a low grade fever. We suspect she's either beginning to cut a few teeth or its a reaction from her recent immunizations; but anyways, Thank God for infant tylenol and grandbabies! {I'll have to add that in to my gratitude chain for the week!}

Getting back to my own agenda, I made a list of addresses that I need for sending out some mail art and will be heading out to the studio in just a few to gather up the necessary supplies to finish labelling some recent ATC's for a swap. The mail date was for today and I completely spaced out on it, however all will be good if I get them completed for mailing tonight and mailed out tomorrow as I've a few weeks for the turn around date. While I'm out there, I believe I'm going to grab my fabric for the quilt making venture and get it washed up and ironed in preparation for cutting and assembling. I may be seeking my mother's assistance with that project fairly soon.

Well, that is about it...... it's just been a busy old Monday. I managed to get some laundry and cleaning done, steaks out defrosting for dinner. I believe I'll go whip up us a salad and get it chillin' and I think a relaxing evening at home is long overdue. Maybe a glass of wine and nice long relaxing soak in the hot tub this evening after dinner ...... ahhh, pure bliss!

Sunday happenings...

Don and I worked around the house for a bit during the morning hours yesterday, before I set out for the studio. I desired to run the vacaum and sweep the floor with the broom before we put the studio tables and chairs back that we'd recently loaned to Sheila. It didn't take me too long to have everything back in its place and the trash empty when Don assisted me with moving in the tables and chairs. Together we began making plans for the day. {The day was so beautiful in so many ways, the sun was shining brightly with only a few clouds in the sky and the temperate was still climbing making it too hot really for a comfortable stay. I would have loved to have simply spent the day getting lost in my studio, however, I am still hopeful that one day we can pick up a small window air conditioner for the studio.}

Thinking of ways to stay cool, at first I considered going swimming, spending the day at a pool or the beach however a last minute decision lead us to decide to go shopping instead. We really needed to pick up some things for our home, puppy treats and a chew bone for Chaos, so we set out to conquer those errands.

Somehow along the way, we got to talking about Flea Markets when Don mentioned one he'd love to revisit in the Columbus area so off we went to discover it isn't there anymore. This seems to happen quite a bit, although we do manage to find some good ones from time to time.

Giving up the search, we headed into Target, purchased what we needed before both of us got to thinking about eating some food. So, we set out to go to Spaghetti Warehouse for a nice dinner. It's sort of funny the amount of people we run into on our travels here and there, and yesterday was no exception as we chatted with a few other couples who had the same idea. After a lovely dinner, visiting with everyone we'd ran into, we set out to Dick Blick's on Sawmill Road. Don knew that there were a few more of the Cavallini & Company stamp sets that I've had on my wish list for some time, so he offered to purchase a set of them for me. What a wonderful man!

Anyways, this time I passed up the chance for the Paris themed set. Amazing, for me, I know! Instead I decided I'd like to have another set off of my wish list, so I purchased the Rubber Stamps Alphabet Set. I like the old typeface style of this set as it is simply perfect for journaling and adding sentiments to cards, tags, and what have you's. I also could not pass up the opportunity to purchase a 100 sheet count of Canson's Aquarelle Watercolor paper in the Montval style. 100 sheets of pure amazing watercolor paper in a 9 3/8" x 12 1/2" size. I was happy with the possibility of adding some watercolored pages to my scrapbooks as well as a variety of other uses such as journal pages. What truly amazed me more was the price tag! $16 on clearance for a normally $35 loose leaf pad! Whoo-hooo! I'm excited to begin doing some watercoloring once again and working on yet another art journal to bind into my own unique style of a journal!

I also searched high and low for the ever elusive Uniball Signo White Gel Pens. Unfortunately, I'm still searching for them. It seems I've the worst luck with ordering these as everywhere that gets them in sells out of them just as fast! But I know one day, I'll be able to add a few of them to my art supplies. I did however pick up a few of Sanford's Peel Off China Markers in White Blanc to try out. It is more of a pencil than a pen, but I'm certain that I'll fun experimenting and playing with it! {after I do a bit of research for its uses... LOL!} I find nothing more frustrating than trying to use some products to achieve a certain result that they were never intended to produce in the first place; but it's fun experimenting and playing. Who knows, I may just discover something new that I didn't know I could do before. I love how that seems to work!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What a gorgeous day!!!

The sun is shining, the birds are signing, I even managed to sleep in a little...... ahhh, life is good! Yesterday, after Don returned home from working, we headed over to Dennis and Sheila's for some good country living. We had an enjoyable day and evening complete with a cookout in the woods, some romping with Shadow {Sheila and Dennis's black lab who is Chaos's father}, visiting, good conversation, laughing and sharing with many of their family and friends. When Dennis and Sheila throw a party --- they really throw a party! We drank some margaritas while the guys shared a few cold beers, and there was an over abundance of food and music. Sheila even rented an amazing sound system for the occasion. After returning home and a good nights sleep, I feel great!

I'd taken my camera over to get some photographs of Dennis and Sheila's house, land, and wooded area where have our bomfires and cook outs over an open fire, however I got a bit too wrapped up in the festivities to take any photographs... so one day, I promise! I'm not certain what adventures our day will hold, but I'm grateful for family and friends to share it all with! I hope everyone has a wonderful and glorious day, I know I intend too. {waves}

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A picture of God's country.... and our day on July 20th

This was one of the breathtaking views that Don and I saw on our recent road trip to Southern Ohio on Wednesday. This photograph was tTaken from the parking lot at Uno's Italian Restaurant and in the lower left hand corner you can view the road that lead us up to the top of the hill.

Today, I added two more links in the gratitude chain

and began assembling it together. This picture shows it on my kitchen counter. I choose to use paper clips to assist with the glue adhering and believe that once this step of the process is complete, I want to seal it using either Mod Podge or Golden's Gel Medium. I'm excited to see it coming together......

I've started on my gratitude garland!

I began working on my gratitude garland yesterday and these will be the first three links in the chain. The first on has a defination of the word "believe" and I wrote that I am grateful for God's divine presence and intervention in my life. The second has a piece of a measuring stick sticker for the immeasurable moments of my life on which I mounted the letter "I"; another definition, this time the word, "cherish" for the ability to cherish and to contain so much love within my heart. I added the letter "R" to a circle tag sticker for two special people in my life: Rebecca and Don - the "R" was perfect since it is also the initial of Don's last name: Reams. The third link in my gratitude chain features a key because I honestly believe "Love" is the most important element in life. I added another piece of a measuring stick sticker with a number "1" to represent me along with the handwritten words "am grateful for" and another definition, this time I choose the word "Love" (luv) a strong, deep, affection and devotion for another, unconditional and unexplained. I also made this link in the chain a 1/2" longer, having decided that I don't want to limit myself to only the 1" x 6" size, I felt like the subject deserved a bit of great respect so I created it that way. I think some of my additional links will be a bit wider and longer whenever the urge to create them that way emerges. {smiles}

Friday, July 21, 2006

For my friends, Rebecca & Michael

Yesterday, I received an email from my dear friend, Rebecca. She informed me that her and Mike are planning and beginning to settle into their lives --- in Georgia!

When I first read her email, my heart sank. Don and I have had the greatest intentions of making it over to Mansfield to see them before the move, but life has happened and one thing after another had gotten in the way. I was sad to realize that we never had more time to spend with one another while they were near. The reasons themselves were many --- living 45 minutes away, me not having a driver's license, work, family, and personal obligations in both of our lives, but I realized we'd both missed out on a wonderful opportunity to get to know one another better.

Then, I realized it isn't over. Rebecca and I can still be the kindred spirits we felt when we first met, sharing our lives, thoughts, and feelings via the internet, email, and our blogs. We're not ending a relationship, we're simply writing a new chapter in our lives!

In Rebecca's words, "It's only 650 miles! Mike and I left a little after 7 in the morning last Sunday and were here late afternoon..." so it's comforting knowing that they are only a day away!!!! And who knows, maybe one day, Don and I will have to make the road trip to visit and they will visit with us here when visiting their families who still live nearby.

For now, I'm grateful that we had the opportunity to meet in the first place. The fact that when we reached out for one another hands, we touched one another's hearts! We connected with one another through our art, our love of scrapbooking, rubberstamping, paper arts and bookarts, and that is one of the aspects of our friendship that will always hold us together. We are now offered the chance to experience so many new opportunities and ways to enrich one another lives, through hand-written letters, trading ATC's, maybe one day a deco exchange --- there are a lots of possibilities here and I solemnly promise to stay in touch, mon ami! {smiles}

Rebecca also provided me with a link to a blog she's started to keep in touch with family and friends. Last night, Don and I sat and read, viewed photographs of their soon-to-be beautiful new home and studio space and suddenly they didn't feel so far away..... for they will always be cherished within our hearts!

Gratitude Friday's

Having recently re-read some of my journal entries written over the last year, I suddenly realized that I have become a queen at procrastination! I've re-read all my hopes and dreams, the things that I desired to accomplish and somehow never did. I discovered just how easy it has become for me to put things off, to find and make excuses, and let anyone or anything get in the way of the commitments that I've made to myself and others along the way.

I sat and wondered what exactly it is that I am saying to myself when I do not complete what is important to me. What I discovered is that I often do not find myself and my time worthy of the effort it takes to do for myself what I am so willing to do for others. The revelation of that statement was so sad, I sat with tears streaming down my face, knowing that I am not fulfilling the life that I desire and know in my heart that it isn't the life that God intends for me to have. I sat and simply experienced it all, the emptiness, the loneliness of that statement, and began writing down my thoughts and feelings on tear-stained pages as they came to me like waves crashing down upon my soul. Yes, it was a sad experience, however, it was also so freeing and healing to me. I realized I'm not doing myself any favors by denying myself the true happiness that I seek, so beginning today I'm making a conscious effort to re-commit to striving for and eventually achieving my hopes and dreams.

One of the items on my "Creative To Do List" was to start a gratitude garland. I do not remember where I originally seen the idea, however, I remember it like it was just yesterday. Within an artist's studio, there was this colorful garland hanging. It was created out of 1"x6" strips of paper and resembled one of the paper chains you'd create as a child. Written on each chain was one item taken from gratitude list. As each one was created it was attached to one prior to it until the chain was formed and strung within the originator's creative space. I was so attracted to the idea, being able to visually see what my gratitude garland would look like, how I'd like to decorate it, and see it hanging within my own studio space.

I was once again reminded of the desire to create one while reading my journals, then, once again on one of my favorite blogs that I visit: Autum's at Autum has what she calls "Gratitude Friday" where she creates a list of varying entries on her blog all the things that she is grateful for every Friday. Deciding that if she can accomplish this, so can I, so I'm starting my gratitude garland today. I'm marking it on my calendar to do every Friday and to check Autum's blog to remind me. I've decided not to set any limits to the number of paper chains that I'll create each Friday, just to commiting to creating at least one, allowing one link to link to the next. Of course, I can always follow my heart and discover where the journey may lead if I am inspired to create more than that.

But just for today, I've decided to create the first link in my chain. Today, I am grateful for God's divine presence and intervention within my life! And in the awareness that it is never too late to re-commit to an old idea, hope, or dream.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

On to brighter days...

Deciding to simply, "Let Go!" of what I cannot change, and attempting to change the things I can, I'm spending some time on me... on my relationship with Don... our home... and the things we love.

I dug out some of old journals, mostly a few from last year and reminensed regarding where I intended my/our lives to be now. I realized that they are vastly different from the lives we both envisioned. However, I discovered some lists of things we desired, places we desired to go, things we desired to do, people we desired to see, but more importantly, I saw the people we were intending to become. The hopes, the dreams, the steps and goals we'd began setting that somehow fell by the wayside. It's a place to begin once again from.......


Horray! Jordan is home!!!! I know I am awful...... I mentioned him having surgery but never once mentioned what for.

A few weeks ago, I discovered Jordan's right front paw was a bit bloody and it appeared to me like he had been in a cat fight. I honestly thought that he had pulled two of his claws out of it, so after attempting to clean it, Don and I watched him carefully for the next several days. He seemed to be doing just fine walking on it, it appeared to be healing, and not causing him any problems. I thought we should keep a close eye on him and that they'd grow back. He is an outside cat so we don't see him too often except when it is time to eat and he desires fresh water, then he's on the front porch or found sleeping on the porch, beside it, in the front lawn or wherever. Anyways, a few days ago, Don asked me if I'd seen him lately. That is when it dawn on me that no I hadn't --- not for several days as a matter of fact. So we checked his food bowl and he hadn't eaten any and what little bit was gone could have been eaten by any number of strays and birds, so we began looking and watching for him.

On Tuesday night, we'd taken some tables and chairs from my art studio over to Dennis & Sheila's for a baby shower and cookout and overnight camp out their throwing on Saturday. Upon returning home late in the evening, Jordan was laying beside our front porch..... and in all honesty, I didn't think he was with us anymore. I hollered, "Jordan" and he looked up at me, he'd only been sleeping, and he jumped up on the porch holding his front paw. It was so swollen!
Looking at the clock and realizing we didn't desire to disturb the vet, and not realizing the severity of the situation, Don decided to take Jordan into the vet's in the morning.

Upon arriving the next morning, the Vet's office was so busy that they decided to keep him until Jim could get a look at him and would call us as soon as they knew what was happening. Don informed them that whatever it was, just fix it, if possible. On Wednesday afternoon, we still had not heard anything so Don called them. Jordan was in surgery. His front claws weren't missing as I had originally thought, they had grown into his paw from the underside and it was the swelling from that made them appear to me like they were gone. I felt so horrible! Poor little guy.. how could we not have noticed? Then, it dawned on me just how little we actually do see of him..... either a few minutes here and there........ laying in the sun, on the porch, on the way out to the watergarden where he loves to drink water from even if there is water in his water bowl.

It was then that we both need to slow down more and pay more attention to what is going on in our own lives vs. getting caught up in the day to day drama that our children throw at us. I really do not want to go there....... with the current situation with our so-called "grown" children. Just trust me when I say it is a total mess..... both his son and my daughter's situations; and that the majority of it stems from their greediness and selfishness. Neither we're raised the way they've become and in recent conversations with many, many friends ---- we are not alone by any means.

Recent events...

Don and I both are feeling so much better today... I am more rested and relaxed than I've been in weeks! Yesterday, Don and I took a road trip, aimlessly driving, and driving, and driving! Over 350 miles.... just talking about everything and anything, re-connecting. We ended up in Wheeling, WV, LOL! Where we turned around and stopped to have dinner at an Italian restaurant named Unos.... or something like that. I have no idea where the hell we were, just that we were on I-70E and off of it on St. Rt. 40 in some town in the southern Ohio hills. The food was excellent! We dined on cold, crisp salads, and garlic pizza style bread covered in cheese with marinara sauce; by the time our dinners arrives, neither of us could eat much more so two "to go" boxes went into the cooler for our ride back home. Deciding to get away from some of the traffic on the interstate, we jogged off north onto I-77 N with no map or sense of where we were going but trusting we'd come across something. I finally remembered that when we were last on I-77, it was when we'd went to visit Jen in Dover, OH so I knew we'd eventually come into Coshocton where we could jump on St. Rt. 36 West taking us into Delaware then home from there. Well, somewhere along the line we missed a turned and landed on St. Rt. 16, drove into Newark, OH and St. Rt. 16 becomes St. Rt. 37 going into Delaware....... not to bad and approximately 10 miles total out of our way.

The day was absolutely gorgeous! Sunny and hot! We stopped once for gasoline, cold drinks, and a few chicken strips to snack on in the afternoon. The hills were beautiful in their lush green state and we could see for miles once on top of them. Looking out over green pastures, golden fields of hay and hay bails, valleys with small brooks and streams provided a most tranquil setting. I captured a picture from where we stopped for dinner that I'll upload soon --- suggesting that Blogger will co-operate {smile}. We didn't do a whole lot other than drive and talk, drive and talk......... but it was so fun! We never once even turned on the radio, just spent the day connecting, sharing, and laughing with each other. Thank you, God. We so needed the time to just do this..... for ourselves.... and each other.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Nothing to say...

Do you remember when you were little and your parents told you that if you had nothing good to say, to say nothing at all? Well, that has been my life lately.

To recap some of the week's events for my dear readers:

* a disagreement with my dd, Amber --- left me with a very bad taste in my mouth

* a disagreement Don has been had ongoing with his son, Shawn --- again, not settling too well with me

* back to Murphy's law thing --- everything that can go wrong, has.

* no time in the studio - I've lost all motivation and desire

* and Jordan, our cat, is at the vets after having another sucessful surgery; he'll be home tomorrow

can you read the excitement in my voice? I'm overwhelmed with the idea of Jordan needing to be inside again as he heals while trying to figure out just how the hell do am going to get Chaos to leave him alone?

Life's been really rough! and me, I'm looking for the largest rock I can find to crawl under, bury myself for awhile, and hopefully when I decide it's safe to come back out, I hope everything is at least *nearly normal* --- whatever the hell, that is!! I'm simply exhausted and way too stressed out... anyone desire to contribute to a vacation fund? LOL! A month or two away all by myself on a deserted island should cure what ails me!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

My Folk Art Bird

Not the best photograph of my wool felt Folk Art Bird but it will provide you with the idea. The resource information can be found along with the original post in the April archives. I sewed on amber colored beads for the eyes and created a thread hanger from which to hand it upon something...... I may purchase a branch with silk florals or do the found object thing --- it shouldn't be too hard to find a suitable one after the recent thunderstorms.
I went off in search of some of the items my sister, Mary has sewn to show you, however, I don't seem to have any. I must have lost them the last time my computer crashed. Maybe she'll be a sweetheart and email me or post some to our family group so that I can show you. The bedspread and pillows she made for my neice are adorable.

It will be some time before I start on the quilt as I am still researching it. I have some questions that need answered, fabrics to be washed, and I believe I'll ask my mom to borrow her ironing board so that I won't have to purchase one. I hate to spend the money for one if I won't be using it often enough to make it feasible for me purchase for myself. I think this is the safest route to go as I've an already obscene amount of $$$ tied up already in my crafty and artistic endeavors. So why do I desire to learn how to sew? was a question I really had to ask myself before I took the plunge to pursue this and the answer was because I believe I'll enjoy it and the fact that I can create and decorate my home in the style and fabrics that I desire really appealed to me! Besides, I can use the fabric scraps in a lot of my paper arts.... an added bonus. That's me, always thinking, LOL!

On that note, I'm planning to get off of here after I finish up with a few things so that I can grab the broom, dust pan, and vacuum and head out to the studio. I'm itching to finishing it up and get to creating something!!! {*tootles*}

More research on the quilt

After the storm had ceased, Don and I headed to Ontario for an evening out. We stopped in Barnes & Nobles where I spotted this magazine and quickly browsed through it.

I love the quilt on the cover, but I don't think it is one I intend to start quilt making with, LOL! However, there are a lot of great ideas in this mag.

I loved the Back to the Basics section, perfect for me as I have never created a quilt before. In that section, there is a variety of topics broken down: Tools of the Trade; Piece and Applique; Quilt It!; and Better Binding --- all perfect for me. I sat and read the articles last night and for the most part, I comprehended and understood what I was reading. The writing wasn't to technical, although there were a few things that I wasn't entire clear on. I guess you need to understand that I haven't sewn on a machine since I was the 7th grade and even then a crash course in simple apron making doesn't make one a seamstress, LOL!

Since I am older now, I really wished my parents would have taken more time to teach me a lot of things. My mother sews, knits, crochets, and has enjoyed a variety of crafts over the course of her lifetime; while my father was always more mechanically inclined using power tools. Heck, I even have one brother who is both an electrician and a carpenter who builds houses from the foundation up to the complete finishing details within! Me? I'm a scrapbooker, rubberstamper, book alterer, collagist......... meaning I can use a pair of scissors with the best of them! Ha! Ha!

Before you get the wrong impression of my parents, I want you to know that they are special people. They raised seven children, 4 boys and 3 girls, worked outside of the home, and held a variety of interests. It was just that when they did the things I'd like to know now, either I wasn't interested or they took the time for themselves to relax for a few moments of sanity, I'm sure!

Anyways, the important thing is that my parents are still here for me now. Mom has recently helped me by giving me some books, showing me a simple quilt, and there to answer any of my questions. I'm certain she'd even come over and assist me with this project if I asked her to. So, I'm not entirely left on my own here trying to figure this all out. My younger sister, Mary, and one of my faithful blog readers {even if she doesn't post comments, *hint*hint*} is a wonderful sewer. (Why does look mis-spelled? Sewer. LOL!) She's made a variety of sewn objects... from curtains to bedspreads to pillows and probably some items I don't even know about. Anyways, she has also recently helped me. She informed me to wash and press the fabric first, stating that the one time she didn't, she wished she would have! Okay, sis, I'll take your advice.

Back to the topic of the magazine..... {see how my frazzled mind wanders...}... there are a variety of other projects that I found interesting. The Tickled Pink tote, the Doggone Great Bed that is too dog-gone cute but not worth my time as Chaos would simply try to eat it!, and the Favorite Fabric Covered Journals --- now those are right up my alley!!!!! {*smile} I can see this magazine getting some use from me and one that I'll be on the lookout for should my sewing attempts become successful.

Hmmm, getting sidetracked?

Yesterday, I ventured out to the studio with the intention of getting a spool of brown thread, a needle, and a couple of beads so that I could finish sewing on eyes, stuffing, and sewing up the wool felt robin I had created back in April. Upon entering the studio, I couldn't find the needed supplies as we'd recently moved some supplies back out to the studio from the house.

So, I decided to use the process of elimination knowing the items had to be here somewhere.
I set out creating piles of like things, gathering up items by the handfuls, and putting things away. It wasn't very long there after that I could see I had actually clear one of the 3 Lifetime tables of everything! I had to laugh at myself when I realized that to some people this may still look like a huge mess, yet to me, it was PROGRESS!

Feeling happy about my accomplishments so far, I set out to working on the remaining supplies on the next table. Within a few hours, I had cleared all three of the tables of everything except my previously wrapped ribbons. I left them there as the metal shabby chic metal bowl from our Antique Flea Market trip was still in the house along with some recent flea market, antique, and yard sale finds and I knew if I located them someplace else that I'd procrastinate putting them into the bowl.

Looking around the studio, I quickly realized that the top of my bookbinding cabinet had accumulated some clutter in the process, so I worked on clearing it back off. Discovering some 12 x 2 page protector boxes and an entire scrapbook album and paper kit I'd left sitting on the floor behind the counter, I set them on the tables, and went entirely through each and every box. I managed to get rid of 3 of the boxes when I realized one of them would hold the leftover decorations from Amber's baby shower ---- so in it they went!
(The other two, I'll see if Amber can use as they do make nice storage since they were originally used for 12x12 page protectors. I've used them to store layouts when I was in need of a new album and hadn't yet purchased one and I remember her saying she had border stickers that wouldn't fit into the CIS Paper Sticker Binder I'd recently cleared out and given to her so maybe this will work for her for now. Those boxes were set with some storage containers and misc. supplies that I'd set aside for her and the baby shower box and various other leftovers were placed upon a shelf.)

Realizing it was nearly 4 p.m. and that Don would be returning home soon, I headed to the house with the intention of grabbing the broom, dustpan, and vacuum to futher clean up the studio. Upon arriving, Chaos stretched out leisurely as I had awaken him upon my return, so I put him outside for a potty break. That is when I first heard it --- a severe thunderstorm warning for Marion county. As soon as Don arrived, I sought out his assistance to carry the remaining bit of supplies left in the house out to the studio. We made just in time to get Chaos in, the windows in the truck rolled up before the storm began. I sat down on the couch with a Starbuck Frappachino enjoying the fruits of my labor. Happy and content, I realized all that is left to do is to clean off one bookcase located beside my computer of some art library books and a few magazines. Oh happy days!

Friday, July 14, 2006

This morning I did a bit of blog surfing, visiting some of my favorite blogs, and spent some time following a few links. I love absolutely love reading what others are doing, creating, and relating to the very words that they've written. I've promised myself that as soon as I tie up some of the loose ends in my life to post comments on some of them, although, I'm a little uncertain of how to post to some of the ones on typepad. Guess I'll have to sign up for an account?

Anyways, I've been considering changing my block template so that I can add my own header and side credits. I believe I found a template that I like and can easily switch to once I figure out exactly how to go about it. Learnign that is now on my list of things to do.

Well, I have some things that I desire to finish up today and since I recently purchased some fiber fill, I'm off to do just that. I promise some pictures once I'm done. {smiles}

Yesterday got away from me, too...

I somehow managed once again to get sidetracked, LOL! While doing laundry, folding, hanging, and putting things away, I decided to tackle cleaning the laundry room and our bedroom. I can definitely see that it is time once again to go through and weed things out once again, like the closets and dresser drawers. Yikes! A task I never look forward to, so it is easily put off. Deciding to save the majority of it for another day, I moved on into other rooms of our home.

While sweeping, vacuuming and mopping, I had to laugh at myself when I thought it was a shame that Chaos's black dog hair goes to such a waste. There should really be a way to spin it into something.... horse blankets, perhaps? Anyways, I an never left in awe of how much he tends to shed even with daily grooming. Sheeshhh... I just had to drag him home, didn't I? Not that I'd trade in or anything, but somedays it is an very entertaining idea.... Like yesterday while cleaning {wink}.

Figuring that since I'd already missed the 1 o'clock deadline I'd set for myself to make it out to the studio, I may as well rest for a bit before Don returned home and I set out to prepare our dinner. So, I tucked myself in on the loveset with a lightweight blanket, a cup of my favorite tea, and a good book. I read Danielle Steel's book Echoes, after reading Crossings the week before. I love Danielle's writings and have my own collection of her books, many that I've read once and some over and over again.

Shortly before Don was due home, I spent some time with Chaos. Throwing his ball seems to help wear him out a bit and truly a tired lab is a happy one. After washing myself up, I set out to preparing dinner consisting of Shake 'n Baked chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, and a california blend vegetable. Dinner was delicious and we enjoyed it along with one another's company. It was actually the calm before the storm as we both underestimated Chaos's strange sense of adventure as he slipped out the back door and off to visit Shawn's dog, Ally. Through the wet, marshy, bog-like grass he trampled, running full speed across the lawns. I quickly grabbed his leash, while Don sprinted for the truck; both of knowing he'd end up in the Church's lawn running himself ragged. Sure enough, I'd venture one way, get within feet of him and he'd dart off in the opposite direction. By this time, Don pulled the truck down the lane leading to the Church's rear parking lot and I hollered at him to try to get Chaos in it with him. All it took was one time of asking Chaos if he wanted to go for a ride and into the truck he went. I swear, it seems some days that there is never a dull moment around here, it is total chaos and commotion! Needless to say, our evening was spent resting and relaxing while Chaos slept from his outdoor adventure.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Today agenda...

is catching up. Catching up with a few loads of laundry, housekeeping, emails, and recent posts. Lots of thoughts on my mind, to do list, and most of it is art related. I am heading out to the studio at 1 p.m. this afternoon to clean up the supplies we recently took out there and to carry a few more boxes out, sort through, and organize.

I'm feeling a bit guilty as Christine telephoned me recently to invite me out to her house for an overnight crop tonight and unfortunately, I've been so busy with the studio re-0rganizing, cleaning house, spending time with the dogs {LOL! Yes, Don is included in that one!} that the thought of packing anything up at this point and time to take anywhere just wasn't feasible for me. To rectify that situation, I intend to get the studio done and establish my XXL as a project central. I've discovered a few things that I started to work on and never finished so if I stick them in there, I'll have something ready to take anywhere whenever. I have to call Christine and send my apologies. She's been wonderful to me, coming over here to crop and work on a variety of projects over the years that I feel guilty that I am unable to do the same for her - especially the first time she's invited me!

I'm also feeling so overwhelmed at the moment. There are so many things that I want to do yet the timing of them is off for me right now. I try to just take a deep breath, tackle one thing at a time, and not think about the rest of it. Definately "easy said than done" on some days; okay, most days! Don's work schedule throws me off so bad. I truly thought that I'd get more accomplished since he is on days, but now that he is, I'm not so certain. The five hours he's gone out of the day, doesn't leave me with much time to pursue the things I desire to do, especially with so many obligations to the house, the dog, my daughter and grandbaby. I feel pulled in a thousand different directions all at the same time. It is my hopes and dreams that get put on the back burner to accomodate everyone else so it's definately time to establish some time management skills and do what I can within the time that I have.

The washer and dryer just buzzed... time to go finish that up. I'll try to make it back on later. Ta. Ta. for now.....

Simple Sparrow

Just a simple little, "Thank You" card that I made in a total of 5 minutes last night using all of my newly purchased items. Simple, yet oh so sweet!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Chronicle Books... Oh Boy Labels

I also discovered these beauties! Labels! Contained within the prettiest mauve box with a transparent Plexiglas top holding lid with an elegant assortment of over 100 retro labels. In the most subtle shades of green, pink, red, and blue, and edged by beautifully intricate borders, these labels will add a stylish touch to gift tags, house-hold organizing, correspondence, and so much more.

I also purchased a book on sale regarding fabric and paper dying and decorating. I don't have it handy at the moment, but will post the title later. It features some of the most beautiful papers I believe I've ever seen along with supply lists and the techniques to re-create them; lots of the techniques that work on paper will also work on fabrics with a bit of additional supply purchases.

Don and I also looked at screenprinting equipment and supplies but decided to wait for a catalog from a wholesale company he hopes to deal with in the future. I'm hoping that we'll see something that we both can agree on and like. I believe I'd so love using one in my paper arts and Don will be able to use it for his business. They have a really nice large sized screenprinting press there and who knows maybe yours truly will really enjoy it and make some items with fabric as well!

I also looked, okay, swooned over, some linocut supplies but decide to wait a bit as I know I have some small block printing supplies and Speedball linoleum cutters somewhere in my studio. Deciding it best to locate them first before considering what to purchase would be my best bet to avoid duplicates. Also, I hesitated a bit, wondering how much I'd actually use them. What if I don't enjoy it? or cannot find the time to utilize them to their fullest potential?

But anyways, I'm really excited about learning some new printmaking techniques, although rubber stamping will always be my first love. I think it will come in handy for my paper and book arts projects and I'm dying to get started.


I've coveted these Cavallini's Birds & Nests rubber stamps every since I first spied them. These antique looking bird-themed wood-mounted stamps also come presented in one of the cutest decorator metal tin and the aged hard-wood mounts, are just as equally impressive! They are as beautiful to look at as the images they will imprint! The 11 stamps come together with a 4" x 2 1/4" ink pad.It's sort of strange looking back on them now, but I've always been attracted to these sweet images! Today, I am totally swooning after I purchased them while visiting and drooling in a Dick Blick's Art Supplies store, and I cannot wait to use them to stamp some tags and stationary sets. Aren't they adorable?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

An artful experiment....

Yesterday, I got a bit a curious about something would work and decided to try it. Here is my first attempt at it after I cut the bird image I freehand drew and used vivid dye ink to stamp it out on paper. It is something I plan to experiment a bit more with, although I am not trying to perfect it too much. Basically, it is just something that I desire to use in my art journals.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What a wonderful day...

After playing with Chaos for a while yesterday, Don and I set out to removing some of the art supplies that I've somehow managed to bring into the house over the course of time. It begins with me desiring to do a bit of research into something or desiring to create something yet have the TV on at the same time. So therefore, I trek out to the studio, grabbing the desired items, and heading back into the house, LOL! Well, yesterday, we made a huge dent in the supplies stored here and got them moved back into the studio; I still have a few things that need to go out yet but nothing like before. I did manage to actually get some of the supplies in the studio put away even! A major accomplishment in and of itself, LOL!

After eating a bowl of my homemade veggie soup for lunch, grabbing a short nap, we set out for the day with no particular destination in mind; just a getaway to enjoy the beautiful weather. We headed out St. Rt. 23 S to Columbus trying to decide where we'd like to have dinner at later in the day. Not desiring to be inside, I suggested having dinner at A Bag of Nails in Worthington. Upon arriving, we sat at an curbside patio drinking ice tea and lemonade while waiting for our meal. I just love this place, it is small, and very quaint. Add in the fact that menu itself is a piece of art any vintage lover would enjoy and outside patio seating and I'm in heaven. The menu features black and white and sepia pictures of the original owner's family with a storyline throughout regarding the dishes that they serve. One of our favorites is the fish sandwich platter which is huge! Don and I share one along with a house salad; trust me, that is plenty enough to eat! Our salads arrived shortly after our drinks and we sat and ate the cold, crisp lettuce, sprinkled with carrots, tomatoes, bacon, and crumbled blue cheese while doing a bit of chatting and people watching. Shortly thereafter our meal arrives; deep-fried fish with a side of tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato, and purple onion sliced thin on a kiaser bun -- pure bliss!
Having satisfied our hunger cravings, we travel on down the road.

Approximately, 15-20 minutes later, we decide to stop and leisurely walk off some of our dinner in Clintonville's Whetstone Park of Roses. It is a beautiful 13 acre park and the roses were absolutely gorgeous. The various gardens are truly a treasure with pathways engraved with memory etched stones scattered along the way. The garden was in just past the peak of being in full bloom and offered a multitude of colors, styles of roses, and fragrances. Its splendor exceeds many parks we've visited. The park offers a variety of things to do, a place to walk your dogs, people watch, allow children to play, enjoy a small pond, musical entertainment and picnic style dining under a majestic canopy of Maple and Oak trees. Anyways, we head into the main section of the park where the rose gardens themselves are located, meanderly strolling along the paved pathways past the Perrineal Gardens, a Herb Garden, and make our way to the fountain where we sat enjoying the sunshine and the moist wet breeze of spray from the fountain itself. After another leisurely stroll under the trumpet vine covered arbor we made our way back to the truck. Desiring not to let the excellent weather go to waste, we decide to travel on down St. Rt. 23 S.

Just south of the Columbus corporation limit sign, I spotted another sign for Slate Run Metro Park. Neither Don or I have been there so we follow the signs on a narrow country road, driving past golden field of hay just in its peak, the beauty of it is spectacular! Shortly after 7 p.m., we arrive at the first Slate Run Wetlands Wildlife Refuge of the park just off of Winchester Road. We walked a section of the Kokomo Wetland trial, probably a half mile, out to the actual wetland. There was a wood deck built there that goes right out over one of the the cattail marshes, where we did a bit of bird watching. We only seen a few eastern meadowlarks and sparrows there.

Next, we headed south further until arriving at Marcy Road, making our way to the main park entrance. We tried to visit the Slate Run Living Historical Farm and Farmhouse which provides the opportunity to see the routines of daily life of the 1880's being carried out. Unfortunately, this area of the park closes at 6 p.m. so we missed it. Deciding we'd really like to see it and spend more time in the wildlife areas, we promised each other that we'd one day return when the farm and farmhouse are open bringing with us food to cookout and have a picnic.

From there we continued on into the park, making our way to the Buzzard's Roost Picnic area and playgrounds where we followed a paved trail out to Buzzard's Roost Lake's deck and boardwalk. We watched a doe come out of the woods to the water's edge of the 14 acre lake for a cool evening drink through a telescope and saw a green huron, a ring-necked duck and some wood ducks sunning themselves on rocks located within the wetland lake. The area is surrounded by open marshes and woods filled with beech, sugar maple, oak and hickory trees which offers a wonderful area in which to spend the day birdwatching as there over 70 species of wetland dependant birds and over 200 migratory birds --- Everything from herons, to ducks, owls, and others. I was a bit remorseful that I'd not grabbed my digital camera to capture some of the flowers, fauna, insects and birds. As soon as we return, I promise I'll post some.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A sigh of relief..

The stress of the last week is behind me... the telephones are working, the broken mop has been replaced, and I've decided not to stress myself out worrying about the damn Jeep. It's old and should be repaired and replaced one day. I spent Friday night out with Don and friends. We listened to a great band at the Moose, chatted, laughed, and danced our hearts out. It was great to get out and gain a new perspective on life once more and spending the entire day on Saturday with my granddaughter helped me to simply rest and relax.

Around noon on Saturday, Amber and I headed to the grocery store, returned to put the groceries away, and Alexxis and I settled in for the day. Alexxis slept, and slept, and slept. She's doing wonderful; growing by leaps and bounds just like a beautiful weed. She weighs 10 lbs. and 13 oz. ; is in the 50% weight category, and is now 23 3/4" long --- and is in the 75% range of babies her age in height. I think she's going through yet another growth spurt as momma now has drinking 6 ounces of soy formula. I've began calling her "grammies piglet", LOL! She is doing great all in all; full of smiles and laughter, cooing, and trying to talk to her "friends". {Her "friends" are her Looney mobile hanging above her crib at home and the fishes who live in the FP Aquarium bouncey seat and swing}. And, of course, mommy, daddy, grandma Nancy and I. She's beginning to make the cutest facial gestures, demonstrating both her happy, disappointment, and frustration. Yesterday, she actually grasped one of baby toys for the first time that I am aware of and right into her mouth it went to be further explored.

While Alexxis slept, I browsed through blogsville, discovered inspiration galore and realized just how much I miss creating art. I've been thinking of creating a deco {a small handbound book}, starting another altered book, or painting some background pages for my art journals. Something, anything. I've so many ideas of things I'd like to create, I just need to jump in and begin one.

Having gotten a little sleepy from reading, I took an afternoon nap with Alexxis. Waking up an hour or so later, revitalized and refreshed, I decided to make a pot of vegetable soup for dinner last night. The pot turned to be a bigger pot than I had originally intented, so I won't be cooking today. In fact, I believe I'm going to freeze some of it for the upcoming days I plan to be in the studio.

I haven't yet began working on the quilt. I do need to clear off one of the tables in my studio so I can have a spot to iron the fabric before I start cutting out the blocks I'll need. I'm thinking of maybe setting the sewing machine up in the house so I can work on the quilt inside one days I cannot make it out into the studio or while Don watches TV in the evenings. It would be so much easier to work on it in small increments of time vs. spending long periods of time that I could be working creating art in the studio; so this will work better for me, I think.

Chaos spent the day outside yesterday, actually behaving himself. Him and I had a go-around regarding his barking the other day when I was so frustrated. I feel a little bit guilty about shouting at him and spraying him down with the hose to get him to stop and lay down. However, it worked! He has been so good ever since. I need to make some time for him today, giving him a bath and grooming. He's a bit overdue and it is time for his Advantix tx. I believe I'd like to spent the day here at home, cleaning and catching up so that I can get back to the studio on Monday and Tuesday. We'll see how that goes..... as it will depend upon how restless Don and Chaos are, LOL!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Customer Service? A thing of the past....

I've been in a not so great mood the last several days due to everything that seems to be able to go wrong or break has. It is Murphy's law, you know? Anyways, the stress in our lives seems to just be climbing and building as things in our lives break down. First it was our Jeep, then our telephones, then, my computer router,and the last straw, my kitchen mop! To vent some my frustration, I began cleaning! I mean really cleaning! I started by cleaning up the creative chaos that I left on the rear kitchen table after creating Alexxis's banner. I had scraps of paper, fabric, rick rack, and glitter everywhere. {Yes, even on my granddaughter, LOL! }

So I set the day aside to do some deep cleaning of the entire house, right down to mopping the kitchen floor on my hands and knees while running to answer the old landline telephone located at the opposite end of the house! During a recent severe thunderstorm earlier in the week, our electric power was out for a few hours in the wee hours of the morning. Once the power was restored to our area, our telephones wouldn't work. They had been acting a bit funky prior to the storm, so Don decided to try a new battery in the base before considering them totally fried. Since the power was restored, we attempted to charge a new telephone battery. To make a long story short, that didn't work as we quickly realized the cause was an electrical surge so all we were really without was the time it took to wait for the battery to actually charge and our money. I cannot tell you how many times we've went through this in the past several years, so I am really frustrated now, more at myself , that the incident itself.

Why the hell do we pay out good money for the telephones yet won't invest in a $7 surge protector to plug them into? Everything else in our home are on surge protectors but the cordless phones??? Hell bent not to allow this happen again, surge protectors are on our "to purchase lists" right along with new phones. So, I hooked up the old landline telephone on the only telephone jack in our home, located in our bedroom at the opposite end of our home and ran to answer it for the last several days before the message center picks up the calls on the fourth ring. As this continues, my frustration level continued to rise right along with it.

I couldn't get online at all for a span of about 48 hours. We'd paid the bill, then received a telephone call regarding it from a customer service department located somewhere. We had to inform them the bill had been paid! Then, my computer acted up. Don made a trip to our local cable internet company, who checked the line, said was working........while another customer complained of the same problem in the other line. Anyways, he returned home to tell me and I checked every wire going from the router to the modem to the computer. I could have sworn one wire from the computer to the router contained a short in it. So, Don took it to a computer store, where it was checked and determined to be fine. He brought it back, I reconnected it and finally was able to get online. Whatever the problem was......... it seemed to resolve itself and left me totally dazed and confused.

The last straw was when my recently purchased floor mop had also broken and I was in desparate need of a new sponge mop head. Believing that I could fix the floor mop as I reassembled it using a new sponge mop head we set out on Wednesday evening, to return a telephone battery to WalMart. Anyways, while Don waited in line to return the unnecessary battery, I went back to the broom and mop area of grocery and was ticked instantly!!! How can you buy a mop and a mop sponge replacement two months before and return to discover that don't stock these anymore?

Feeling really frustrated now, I thought, I'll be damned if I am going to purchase another mop from them or cordless telephones for that matter. So, after receiving a store credit for the cordless battery, which at this point, I've no desire to use on anything from them besides groceries only because I'm not throwing $25.00 away, we head out!!!

I get so frustrated with WalMart easily anymore. Their companies policies leave a lot for me to desire and this isn't the first time we've had to return items to them. Hell, if I had only known that the mop would break, they would have gotten it back, too. Their made in the U.S. policy has went out the window in recent years and there is all this imported from China products that they either refuse to restock or stand behind, so now I am truly ticked at them and will spend our hard-earned $$$ elsewhere...... anywhere else!!!

So, we head to Lowes. Into Lowes we go, inquirying at their so-called "customer service" desk as to where they would be located and told aisle 11. Upon arriving in aisle 11, do you think there are telephones there? Nope. Telephone accessories! Another mistake. I am totally fed up at this point, so we leave.

We head to Meijer's, back to the Photo and Electronic department where we find some cordless telephones we like and place them in the shopping cart. We search for another 10 minutes for surge protectors...... surge protectors = electronics, get it? So we search, and search some more, before finally giving in and go disturb the one lone employee who is swamped with a line of 15 people desiring one hour services on their 4th of July photographs. She's puzzled, so therefore calls another department, who takes another 10 minutes to ring her back to inform her that the surge protectors are in the aisle with the ceiling fans. {{{{What ????? the hell????? Okay, we'd have guessed that all by ourselves!}}}}

After walking another mile {ok,it wasn't really a mile, but when you're frustrated, it totally seems like one} through the store, we locate them, make our selections, toss them into the cart.

Then, I get this bright idea to go to lawn and garden outside to see if there are any flowers on sale. I get two bags of potting soil and 6 pots of petunias, somehow reading a sign that says 3/$1. We head back inside to check out, everything goes smooth, we get to the truck and I ask for the receipt thinking did we really just spend that much $$$? Looking at the receipt, I see the 6 pots of petunias rang up at 3/$10; My God!!!! that is $20 for these crappy looking flowers to plant after the 4th of July? No way!

So, I head to lawn and garden, check the sign, and sure enough, two signs have been switched and the price is now correct. Now, I don't want them so I head to the truck, get the 6 pots of petunias and the potting soil I now won't be needing, head back to the cashier who is outside to return them. He has to call a supervisor to authorize the damn return! She arrives and cannot do the return on his register, so inside to customer service we head, to arrive to discover after our arrival and many failed attempts the computers are up and down, and up and down. A half an hour later, I kid you not, I finally get my $$$ back after two transactions --- one for the petunias and the other for the potting soil. Why it took two is beyond me as it was all on the one receipt but okay! It's finally over.

We return home and I take the telephones out of the box, plug in the surge protectors, Hey! I'm not taking any chances of something else going wrong while we wait yet another day for them to charge.

While waiting, I am totally worn out from all the recent cleaning and running to answer the forever ringing telephone. We head out for a ride --- just to get away from it all. We ended up in Columbus at a Target store to purchase a new mop! LOL! Anyways, I couln't get over the differences in the stores we'd recently went into. At Target, we were greeted with a cheery "hello!" from a girl at the customer service desk. Another employee walked by with returns in her arms, yet asked if there was something she could help us with. She pointed us in the right direction after offering to take us to the broom and mop aisle of housewares. Target will definately be receiving more of our business!

Deciding yesterday that I really need to get my stress level under control, I did nothing but sit and read. I read an entire Danielle Steele novel... and today, I've not much energy either. All the recently cleaning, stressing, and running for the telephone has definately ran me down... but hey! our new telephones work!!!! and Me, I'm simply trying to take it easy!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independence Day!

Don and I celebrated our Independence Day by doing what we love to do, visiting with family, traveling, and visiting with family some more. After we had a good breakfast at home, spending the morning lounging around with our black lab, Chaos, we set out for an early afternoon visit to my mom and dad's house. I'd spoken to mom on the phone recently asking all sorts of questions regarding quilt making so she set to work to see if she still had any books lying around. My mom used to sew quite a lot, expecially when I was a child. She would make my sister, Mary and I, short sets and the coolest sundresses. I also knew she had made a few small quilts at one point and time, as mom and my sister, Mary, were once interested in making them, too.

Can you imagine my surprise when she found three books for me? What a wonderful mom, to have saved these! I may just have to scan some of them in; they are that beautiful! I also had to chuckle quietly to myself a few times when looking through the books. I noticed just how much like my mom I've become, LOL! I've always heard women say, "ACK! I'm becoming my mother!" but you'll have to trust me on this one, as Martha would say, "It's a good thing!"

What lead to me this revelation was seeing a quilt photograph featured within the book and gently written in ball point pen below it was may mom's handwriting, "instructions on pg. so and so". So, see, I get writing in books honestly {grin}; it is a true family tradition! Heck, I may just have to create a scrapbook page or an altered book about this, LOL!

Anyways, to make a long story short, I took my recently purchased fabric and the Fiskar's Rotary set over to show her. Mom loved the light purple, blue, and green paisley fabric that I had picked out and told me that she thought the fabrics I'd chosen would make a beautiful quilt, even thought we decided to ditch one of them. We discussed a vary of ways to lay the quilt block outs while I browsed through some of the books she'd given to me. My mom proceeded to show me a quilt she'd laid out on her bed just for inspiration to me and I loved it! It is a 6 1/2" square with a 1/4" seam allowance created in the 9 square pattern, with a 5" border, then a 6 1/2" border surrounding all four sides. Definately a lot easier than what I was looking at with at 4 1/2" squares and a lot less sewing; making it a bit more sensible for me to use this pattern since I am just beginning. We spent the next 15 minutes or so measuring the quilt. I measured and she created a sketch of the pattern and marked in all the measurements. Once again, I noticed her handwriting and quickly realized just how much I've always admired it!

Since I had made mention of worrying about the size of the quilts and all the conflicting info I'd found on the dimensions of a full size one, she gave me a beautiful ucre colored eyelet dust ruffle just in case I'd need it once my quilt was made. She told me how she loved having it on their bed but how my dad would get a bit upset about having to take it on and off for washing as he got older. I realized then, that I truly am beginning to understand that concept, LOL! Anyways, it is so nice to have something of my mother's, even if it is only a few items, to treasure! {smiles}. A while later, after chatting, having a cup of coffee that I really didn't need, we could tell mom was getting tired and ready for her afternoon nap, so we departed with warm fuzzies and happy hearts.

A quick stop at home to put Chaos outside on his lead, we soon departed for a little road trip over the Ontario - a visit to M's {Michael's} then to Target to purchase some household items. I didn't purchase much at Michael's -- a few sheets of Anna Griffith paper {imagine that!} and some clearance goodies that I can always use: artist's tortillions, two silk floral pins to add to Alexxis's banner, an embroidery hoop, and get this!!! I found two, yes two!, Fiskar's cutting blades in the pinking design for $1.00 each. Oh, happy day!

After purchasing some household items and browsing the baby department at Target, we checked out, made a quick stop into Pet Smart for a smoked ham bone for the mutt, and set off for home. A quick last minute visit to Amber and Chris's to see if there was anything we needed to bring over for a cook-out at 7 p.m. provided me a chance to peek in on my granddaughter for a moment, before we returned home for just a bit to care for Chaos before returning once again.

The cookout was nice, lots of Chris's family were there and a few family friends. We had a good time, laughing, visiting, eating, and Gary, Chris's dad made it home from working. I had to laugh as Amber once again asked me to keep Alexxis overnight, not that I found it funny, just sort of chuckling to myself as I thought she's finally realizing some of what I gave up in my life to care for her. Unfortunately, I had to turn down the opportunity for Alexxis to sleepover as I wasn't too certain how Chaos was going to react to all the fireworks scheduled at 10 p.m. although we fully intended to have him inside. Just too much traffic, people and noise going on all at once for me to really be comfortable with the idea of both babies at once. We've never had the dog around the baby; not that I don't believe he'd intentionally hurt her in anyway, just that he is still a puppy in so many ways himself --- jumping when he gets excited and a bit jealous of any attention I give to anything else sometimes. I didn't think it was too good of an idea and I could definately see Amber's disappointment. It is supposed to be sunny and nice later in the week so I'm thinking I'll keep the baby overnight one night this week, maybe on Friday so her and Chris can have some time in the evening to themselves and part of the day Saturday to go swimming or something.

We left to return home before the fireworks at the fairgrounds began, arriving inour driveway in just the nick of time. We grabbed a couple of chairs from the studio and sat along the front lawn to watch them with a few friends who stopped by. The fireworks themselves were a bit of a disappointment, not as exciting as I remember them from when I was a child but at least our county tries to do something for the children. While Don chatted with friends, I sat and thought about the county fairs of days gone by... how we'd make an entire day of it, planning a picnic with fried chicken, ice cold lemonade, seeing the 4H fair animals and visiting the craft and homemaking booths, riding a few rides, playing a game or two, and eating cotton candy and candy apples. It was then that I realized that I really missed the good ole' days, not that I lived through that many of them, but just how different things were then. I also thought about Alexxis and wondered if one day she'd be interested in such things and if so, how it would be my responsibility to share that with her. All in all, it was a great day. Shortly after midnight, we tiredly called it a night, but a good day/night it was!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Alexxis's banner!


and finally, the letter "s"

More clipart, monogram, glitter, and rick-rack. I may add some silk florals after I get it all assembled for hanging. I'll be sure to take a final pic once it is completely done! {I'm excited! Cannot wait to see it all together!!!}

letter "i" for Alexxis's banner

Another wally and monogram.

second "x" for Alexxis's banner

Use another wally, more glitter and popdots.

first "x" for Alexxis's banner

Using clipart, scallop scissors, monograms and glitter.

Letter "e"

Green Anna Griffin's background paper with a floral image from my paper stash. I glittered the BG monogrammed "e". Stamped a foam floral stamp on the background before adhering the monogram and stamped another, cut it out, mounted it on popdots and added a button for visual interest. More rick-rack, this time in a different direction, adds additional texture.

Alexxis's banner...

This is the "L" for Alexxis's banner. Again, I used Anna Griffin paper for the background {adhered to cardstock for sturdiness}. The fairy is a wally which I added purple glitter to her hat and petal skirt, and white to the bouquet of blow-aways! {That was mine and my sister's word for them!}

Banner for Alexxis

I decided that I'd like to create an banner for Alexxis's nursery here at grammies, so I started one today! Since this is all new to me, I started out small using a 4 1/2" across and 6" deep, so that once it is completed I could hang it over some smaller framed prints all ready in the nursery. I decided to personalize it by spelling out her name and decided to use my Basic Grey monograms just to speed up the process just a bit; although due to the size I went with I may need to customize just a few. I also desired to use general girly images so that the banner will be perfect for use in her room as she grows. I chose to use Anna Griffin papers for this just because I love them and they are so soft and subtle --- perfect for a little girl's room! The little charm says, "Live!" and the ballerina was simply meant to be --- what little girl doesn't dream of dancing and twirling like a ballerina? {smiles}

Rainy days and Monday's....

always get me down...... Ok, maybe not exactly true but all this recent stormy weather is certainly making me blue! I was so ready to get all the items in my home taken out to the studio today; at least until it started to pour rain and rumble with sounds of thunder. Scratch that idea...

The last several days have been spent running, shopping, and visiting with family. I made it to JoAnn's to pick up the Fiskar's cutting mat, hand-held rotary trimmer, and guide. From there we made it Mickey's for a surprise birthday party for my dd, Amber's 26th birthday. Picked up pizzas to eat, had cake and ice cream {Breyer's Rootbeer w/ Vanilla, yum!}, watched Amber unwrap gifts, visited and laughted, as well as squeezed in some more cuddling with Alexxis!

I spent some time online doing some research for the quilt I desire to start making. Got a little frustrated that I couldn't find info on the size of a full size quilt...... one site said 80"x106"; another 86"x112" so I called my mom who quickly located some old quilt books she has in her library and it said 84"x110", LOL! Okay. What a dilemna! So, I thought well I want to use a full size flat sheet for the reverse side so I desided to check Linens and Things website to discover that the size of the sheet isn't listed so back to square one...LOL! Then, it hit me. Just use the queen size sheet that I have on our full size bed. It is the same one I have in mind for using in the 500 thread count Egyptian cotton. Only one problem there, my fabric measuring tape is in the studio and it's raining! But the good news is, that once I have that information, I can adjust it to fit my needs since our pillow top matress is deeper and box springs are deep.

Since this is going to be the first quilt I've ever created, I did some more research on whether to wash the fabric prior to beginning, why you should or shouldn't, thread type to use for sewing, and some patterns to use. I've decided to do a simple 12" quilt block pattern, using 4 1/2" squares with 1/4" seam allowance in a 9 block pattern. To use a variety of the fabrics I've purchased, I've decided to alternate 2 9 block patterns on the quilt and alternate the rows as I work sewing them together. So, I made some sketches to allow the idea to brew a bit before I make my fabric choices. Once I'm ready to start and have some 4 1/2" squares cut out, I can play a bit with the actual design and determine how many squares I'll need to cut of each. I'm certain that I've purchased enough fabric that I should be able to create two matching pillow shams with a ruffle border and possibly two 18"x18" throw pillows. And if not, I can always go get some more of the fabrics since I choose some patterns that had a lot left on the bolts. Heck, while picking up the Fiskar mat set, I also grabbed two more fabrics and had them cut to 1 1/2 yards each.... one is a bit over 2 yards since I got it 50% just to purchase it! Gotta love those end of the bolt deals!

I'm sitting here watching Get Crafty, well, more listening, then looking! I'm amazed to see Pam Garrison on there! She's making her home book and then, this just up! She's gonna show how to make the banners!!! Oh, happy day!!!! Gotta go, need to take some notes............. {*smiles --- really big smiles!}

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Here is an example.......

Taken from the story of Puss in Boots. Aren't these just the cutest things ever?

Is the entire universe against me making it into the studio?

Isn't it amazing that no matter how hard I try to the last several days to knock out everything on my to-do list so that I can spend some guilt-free time in the studio, it's all for nothing! LOL!

Like yesterday, I cleaned the house, washed our bed sheets, dusted, swept, vacuamed and mopped floors, and Amber calls asking if I'd keep Alexxis for a bit. And you know that I'm going to.....

Anyways today, just as I finished up updating my blog earlier, Nancy, Chris's mom comes to the door and asks me if I'd like to go to some yard sales with her and her dd, Mickey. So, I get my shoes on really fast, put Chaos outside, grab my purse, some $$$, and a bottle of cold water.
I did discover some terrific finds! but here I sit at 3:30 p.m. hot and tired from our adventures: not to mention that I'm ready for a nap, LOL! The hot sun certainly took it out of me today. Figuring I should eat something I fixed me a hot dog, ate some cold macaroni salad and am lounging in the air conditioning. Ahhhhh, maybe I'll make it out in the studio on Monday. Today has just got me shot! I've still got to go to Joann's tonight and one other place this evening and tomorrow is Don's day off.

I guess I'm just gonna have to get up bright and early and escape to the studio without the telephone of any way for anyone to distract me! Don watches wrestling on Monday nights so with a bit of pre-planning a crockpot meal maybe I'll get to creating something yet!

The good news is that today I discovered a wonderful old book of children's stories at one yard sale for $2. The stories were still popular when I was a child, in the early 60's although they were written in the 1930's, and it has some excellent illustrations in it! When I called Amber on the telephone to wish her a happy birthday just a bit ago, I was telling her about it and asked her if she remembered a few of the titles. Titles such as, "The Shoemaker and the Elves", "There was a Tammie!", "The Oldest Story in the World", "The Owl and the Pussycat" and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" Okay, I'm probably dating my age a bit but I mentioned to Amber that I'd love to read these old stories to Alexxis, and Amber was like, "Mom, I don't remember them either." So, I quickly replied, "I'll have to read them to you, too." Anyways, I know what content I desire to use to create Alexxis some soft filled books. I'm thinking I can trace some of the illustrations onto material and embroidery them and stamp the story lines! A handmade gift and one I'm certain she'll always treasure! I'll just have to put them up for her when she outgrows them. {*smiles}

If I get some time, I'd be happy to scan in some of the illustrations for others to use. But right now, I cannot make that a promise. I've too much going on just trying to make it into the studio, LOL!

Some random thoughts before I head out to the studio...

While at Joann's the other night, I looked at and priced a large Fiskar's cutting mat with a hand-held rotary trimmer and a plastic/acrylic guide and decided I'd like to have one. Imagine my surprise when I got home and scoured throught the next week advertisement to discover that it is one sale for 50% off this week! I spoke with Don this morning and we are going out to get it later this afternoon when he returns from work. {Having only one vehicle is the pits sometimes! But such is life...... hopefully soon we'll get the Jeep repaired and running once again... hmm, by the time winter rolls in!}

I have a smaller Fiskars mat, scarred and worn from my rubberstamp and mixed media use, splattered with inks and paints that overlapped off of the paper I've inked or painted, sprinkled with bits of markers that ran off edges of paper that I create on. I wonder how it would take alcohol inks, LOL! The only problem is those babies warp when heat from a heat gun is applied..... care to ask how I would know that? {big grin} Anyways, I have sort of reserved it's use to paper use only... and my bookbinding, as I often use it to protect my tables when cutting and covering bookboards. Anyways, I'm planning to keep this new larger one for fabric use ONLY!

Another kewl item, I may purchase is a pinking shear rotary blade! I never knew that Fiskar's even made one. I have several different rotary blades already that I use in my Fiskar rotary cutting device, a deckle edge and a Victorian scallop but I have never seen this one. I'm thinking I'll pick it up although it will sort of cut into the amount of savings from the sale price of the cutting mat itself. I am sort of anxious to begin working on creating my first ever quilt. I've decided to also purchase a few more yards of fabric, one in a lighter shade of solid blue and another in a either a green or a purple; probably a lighter shade of the green most likely. I'll make my final decision when I actually see them. That ought to about eat up the savings I made this last month off the grocery bill, LOL!

I spent some time online yesterday creating a new wish list of some rubberstamps that I'd like to purchase. I know that I'll probably scare the be-jesus out of myself when I add them all up, LOL! But I quickly realized as my list grew and grew that I don't have to purchase them all at once. I can simply divide it up into some smaller orders and order them a bit at a time. I think that I will also leave just a few for my Christmas wish list for Don as he is always asking me what I want and by the time Christmas rolls around I really don't know what to tell him! So, I'm preparing a list for him in advance this year.

Speaking of gifts, today is my dd, Amber's 26th birthday! I haven't purchased a thing for her because I didn't know what she needed. Speaking with her yesterday, I asked her what she'd like and she totally amazed me with her response. She told me she'd just like some cash so that she could apply it to getting Alexxis's baby pictures she had recently had taken so she could give some of them to close family members and friends. I instantly thought to myself that the statement was spoken like a true mom! Always thinking about your children and other people first before yourself. So, I think I'm going to give her some $$$ on the photographs and do something nice just for her. I haven't decide what exactly yet but I do know that I'd like to do something that will allow her to pamper herself a little bit and maybe offer my time watching Alexxis while she does it. A gift card for anice lunch out with a girlfriend, a haircut and color, a manicure, a gift bag of bath and body works with a candle--- something! I'd thought about buying her a few new nice silk camisole top, but then it hit me the majority of her days are spent taking care of the house, baby, and her family so she'd probably have opportunity to actually wear it, LOL! so something pampering would be better. I also thought a quilt and good book would be nice as a Christmas gift for her, she could sit, read, and relax after Alexxis's is in bed at night... hmmm, I better wait and see how this first one goes before I decide to create another one!

Anyways, I need to check my emails, make a few telephone calls, and get Chaos settled in before I head out to the studio so I suppose I should get to doing..... again. The house is cleaned since I cleaned yesterday before the grandbaby came over and while she was sleeping. I even managed to strip the bed, wash our sheets and bedding and hung it outside to dry. It was great sleeping on clean sheets and smelling that crisp, clean line dried scent. Needless to say, both Don and I slept well, and today are ready to start our day!