Monday, February 18, 2013

A Lovely Valentine's Bottle Swap

Has it really been a year since I last posted? Google tells me so, and I won't argue. And this post is almost a week later than I'd intended, but I've been waging computer battles of epic hair-tearing proportions. (Shhhh. Everything seems to be working reasonably well this evening. Don't even whisper that to the computer jinxing gods!)

Last Thursday was Valentine's Day, and in honor of that I participated in a bottle swap! My sister-I've-never-met-in-person, darling Miz Mollye, over at Fruit of the Spirit was our hostess for it. Have you ever tried one? You take an empty 2 liter bottle, cut a trap door in the side, stuff it full of goodies, and then mail it. (I loved the look on the postal worker's face when I placed the one I was sending on the scale!)

I am here to show off the lovely wonderfulness I received from my swap partner, Terry Lee. (Her blog is here: AllThingsTerryLee .) Are you ready? Here's what the outside of the bottle looked like:


See how she surrounded all the little gifties with pink paper shreds? So pretty! And a close-up of the heart-shaped picture:


I opened my bottle with a girlfriend who'd come for a visit. We could hardly believe our eyes as we pulled one item after another from the bottle. How on earth did she get all this in there?! And almost all of it was gift-wrapped, so there was the delight of anticipation, and opening each one.


Whoo-hoo! Lookit all the CHOCOLATE! I have nibbled, and nibbled, and nibbled, and when I'm not nibbling, I'm hoarding. I swear, sometimes thinking about that chocolate waiting for me is as good as actually eating it. (Well....maybe not quite, lol.)


And so many prezzies! Socks, a bracelet (haven't taken it off since), a little note pad for my purse, a darling hanging heart, decorated box, my initial on a hat/coat hook....


"AC sweet as can be" (My initials are AC. How darling is that? Not to mention flattering!)


The sweet card and envelope, and a delightful stamped and decorated cloth tag:



And last but not least, this metal hanger. I love it, and I'm looking for just exactly the right place to put it.



All I have to say is my swap partner spoiled me absolutely rotten. I have smiled, and smiled, and smiled. Thank you, Terry Lee!

Monday, February 13, 2012

WEIGHTY MATTERS

I wrote this some time back for another website (www.thinkcrafts.com), and am reposting today. Hence the "odd" reference to summer heat!
 
Ah, summer. Picnics, farmers’ markets, concerts in the park, camping, and festivals abound, and all the world wants to be outside.

Of course, with temperatures in the 80’s, 90’s, and even 100’s, we’re also looking for shade, and canopies are becoming very popular ways to take your shade with you. They’re getting better all the time, too, with pop-up types springing up in a matter of minutes, and collapsing into a bundle smaller than a kitchen stool.

The downside? If the wind comes up, a canopy can behave like a parachute with wanderlust, and go tumbling willy-nilly away from your set-up.

The solution, of course, is to weight it down. One way is to fill empty milk jugs with water, tying from two to four to each canopy leg, but jugs can be hard to lug, and I’m one of those people who find it all too easy to trip even on something as obvious as  Big Jugs O’ Water In The Corner.

As someone who does art/craft shows, I also wanted something that looked professional, without spending a bundle. My son and daughter-in-law had the solution.

You’ll need:

  •  Four 4’ lengths of 3” diameter PVC pipe
  •  8 end caps that fit your pipe
  •  PVC primer and glue (It will be in the plumbing supplies area at the hardware store.)
  •  Sand
  •  Optional: 4 short lengths of chain with S-hooks on each end, and 4 sturdy eye bolts
Start by gluing an end cap to one end of each of the four pipes. You need to use the primer first, and then the glue, according to the instructions on the cans. Protect your work surface! My dear husband spilled some on our linoleum, and the purple stains don’t look like they’ll ever come out! (No worries for me—I’ve already painted polka dots on my floor; this is an excuse to do more!)

Let the glue dry thoroughly, and then fill each of the pipes with sand, then glue the other end caps to the open ends of the pipes. 

You now have four good weights that are ready to use by just standing them next to the canopy legs and bungee-cording in place.


Or you can finish up with just one more step: Drill a guide hole in one end cap of each weight that’s just a bit smaller than your eye bolts’ diameter. Screw the eye bolt in securely. Now you can use those short lengths of chain to hang the weights from each corner.


Friday, August 19, 2011

FRIDAY FENCE POST #80: Raccoon Highway

It's been a Long time since I did a Friday Fence Post, and this one is kind of a cheater. It has a fence, the one right outside our bedroom window, but I'm reasonably certain that isn't what will get your attention. I was sitting near the window when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye....



Isn't it beautiful? I got quite close to it, even closer than these photos. The fence is only about six feet from the wall, and our not-so-little friend here was at eye level. It was only when I opened the window to get a better shot that s/he backed up, away from me. I thought to myself, when it did that, Huh. Apparently, this raccoon understands the difference between an open and a shut window. Now isn't that interesting?

I wonder how often raccoons use the top of our fence as their highway....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

SUNDAY RERUN: Dad Tells Me a Story


This is an entry from my diary, May 12, 2003. It includes a story Dad told me, one which I'd forgotten:

There are times I'm intensely aware that any journal is a series of choices--what to record, in how much detail, what to omit. You may even have to choose whose stories to tell. I'm deciding tonight, here in the time-share vacation condo I'm sharing with my parents, Mom's sister Charlotte, and Dad's brother's widow Jewel. Already a week has passed since the fund-raising dinner/theatre entertainment for the new production of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Mother's Day was yesterday, Bruce's hearing with his supervisor's superior was this morning, and I have spent a rare five hours alone with my dad as we drove from Portland, (actually he joined me in Hood River) to Leavenworth, followed by dinner here, a round of crafting stick-pins, and swapping reminisces until Mom and the aunties were too tired to stay up any longer. Dad went to bed shortly after dinner. The trip had worn him out.

Now here I am, sitting propped against the wall, sideways at the head of the Murphy bed. I'm trapped in pajamas, as the living room is my bedroom, and perspiration beads my forehead. Aunt Charlotte was worried some Peeping Tom could see through the vertical blinds. What would she think if I opened a window? I am ready to go out and sleep in the van. Anything to cool off. I am going to open a window.

I surprised myself by being ready to leave when Mom and Dad arrived this morning. The car was packed, I'd had time to eat, RC had checked the tires and transmission.

Mom rode with me as far as Aunt Charlotte's, in Hood River. We had a brief visit there with cousin Cindy, and a light lunch, and then loaded Charlotte's gear into Mom and Dad's little red Taurus and drove over to pick up Aunt Jewel. Dad was my passenger now. Said he didn't want to get stuck in a car with three gabbling women. He'd told me in Portland he'd switch with Mom. Sometimes I've felt as though Dad and I didn't have a lot in common. I think it's a male/female thing. Duane told me once he always fretted about what to get Mom for Christmas and birthdays, but Dad was easy. It's just the other way around, for me--with Mom, I have to take a l-o-o-o-n-g list of possibilities and pare it down; with Dad I walk around wondering what one earth he might like to get! But there's one thing Dad and I have always shared: Our love of music.

We sang together for long miles, reminding each other of songs we hadn't thought of in years, resurrecting lyrics in a patchwork fusion of mental filing systems. 

And Dad told me stories. 

He told me of the time he'd been out logging with his brother, (my Uncle Walt) and a couple of buddies. They'd set out from camp one morning, Dad and one of the guys. Uncle Walt was still in camp, and the fourth man was already out in the woods. Dad had a double-headed clearing axe over his shoulder, which they used the way I suppose one would use a machete, to clear brush around the trees they wanted to cut, or to clear a path through the forest. It was honed every morning until it had an edge you could have shaved with.

Well, it was cold and frosty, and Dad stepped up onto an icy log lying in the path, lost his balance, and tried to keep his feet by bringing the handle of the axe down, slicing his neck quite neatly at the base of the skull.

His buddy managed to get him back to camp, where Uncle Walt hustled them into their old car. Dad's friend had a thick, folded cloth over the gash, trying to staunch the bleeding, but it wasn't working. At the sound of the car's engine, the fourth man came out of the woods wanting to know why they were going back. Uncle Walt jerked a thumb at the back seat, where Dad and his friend were. 

That fourth man took one look at the two of them and said, "Stop the car!" to Uncle Walt, yanked the back door open and said, "Get out!" to the friend, who did, and scrambled into the front seat. Then the latecomer climbed in with Dad and pushed his thumb into the pressure point on the side of Dad's neck, stopping the flow of blood. Without his knowledge and action, Dad would have bled to death.

Now, back to 2011, with the latest photos from the yard:







Saturday, July 2, 2011

SWAP-BOT SATURDAY: Altered Bingo Card, ATC, Chunky House


What? It's been a month since I blogged?! Oh, dear. Well, I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, and I'll start with a Swap-Bot Saturday post.

These are the things I sent out this week. I enjoyed working on them, and am hoping their recipients like getting them in the mail.

This first one is an ATC (Artist Trading Card). The swap theme was "Altered Photograph". I had several to choose from, and was leaning toward a pretty child.

As I went through my little stash, this one grabbed my attention, as it does every time I see it, but I set it aside. I know my proclivity for the quirky and irreverent. It would be too easy to make fun of her, I thought, and I don't want to do that.  There's always been, for me, something compelling in this woman's face. I feel a little sad looking at her sometimes. Her name is Rebeccah. I look at her eyes and mouth, and think, She must have been beautiful as a young woman.

A little while later, I fixed a cup to tea to drink as I worked, and read what was on the teabag's tag. I knew instantly that I'd use Rebeccah's photo after all. The tag is on the ATC. (You may need to click on the picture to read it.)


Then came an Altered Bingo Card, my first. I thought at first that I'd do something vintage-y and frilly and feminine, but....


Last up, a Chunky House, with the assigned theme of "something to do with the sea". Here's my creation, with the "porthole" closed:


And then with it open:


In two days it will be Independence Day. Already the fireworks have begun. I love that part, everybody setting off firecrackers all over town, in spite of the fact that most of what I can see and hear are quite illegal here! I'm so glad Washington still lets people have big, loud, showy fireworks; what would Oregonians do, otherwise?!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Almost Summer in the Garden



Well, I think I've been brain dead for the last couple of months! Odd what dealing with even a non-threatening bit of cancer will do. (Update: My DH has been through the surgery, and the first six treatments, and is doing fine. No more treatments now until mid-July. As you'll see from the photos, he's feeling a Lot better!)

Today marked the first real day of spring/summer here, and was it a wonder. We went from day after day of cold drizzle, to mid-sixty temperatures yesterday, with more drizzle, to brilliant sunshine and a high of 90 degrees today.

There was just one thing to do: Get out in the yard and garden!

Bob and I had been working for a couple of hours when I looked across the yard and realized, It's finally coming together. After all these years...look how beautiful! I had to get the camera, even though some of the photos are littered with spades, wheelbarrows, and other tools.

We've lived here now for eleven years. When we bought the place, our main thrust was to keep the weeds mowed. The "lawn" was up to our thighs the first time we mowed it. There were no arbors, no benches, no swings, no paths, no flower beds other than the ones along each of the houses, and they're only about 18" wide. (Unusual property alert: We actually bought five houses on half an acre. We live in one, and rent out the other four.) Now...Well, I'll let the photos do the talking.













Okay, so what have I been doing? I have a new passion, or an old passion with a new twist: For the first time in my life, I'm taking voice lessons, something I'd always dreamed of doing. The new twist is what I'm singing--opera! Coloratura, to be exact. What's coloratura? Usually soprano, I'm told, and rather acrobatic, with lots of movement and runs and jumps from one octave to another. I am having SO MUCH FUN! Our teacher's master class is having a get-together tomorrow, and we'll all sing for each other. This is one of the tunes I'll be singing:

Friday, April 8, 2011

FRIDAY FENCE POST #79--Child's Eye View

I'm two weeks past due for a Friday Fence Post. I do apologize for being away so long. I got kind of distracted with the DH's illness, and to tell the truth, kind of misplaced the big WHY of blogging, a bit of lame on my part.

But I'm here, with some cool fences, and even cooler, several of the shots were taken by my 7-year-old granddaughter, Meggie. She has a real eye, that one, and her own thoughts about framing. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that she did not want me rotating any of her pictures, that she had taken them the way she wanted them to be seen.

So now, here are some of the fences we shot on our walk today, hers interspersed with mine. I'll tell you which were hers at the end. I think it will not necessarily be obvious.









The fences are: Meg's, mine, mine, hers, hers, hers, mine, mine. Did you get them all right?

A word on the last two, also. The next to the last, if you look closely, especially at the right side of the sidewalk, is the shadow of a picket fence. The last is chain link, reflected in rain water on some corrugated sheeting.

Click on any photo to see it large.

Your turn! Has spring brought out the fences in your area? Post them on your blog, and drop the link here so I can come see them! And be sure to leave a comment. I love them anyway, but comments in my inbox let me know something's going on over here!

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