Friday, October 31, 2008


Fences all have their own personalities, some more striking than others, and like people they age in different ways. Apparently, some fences also enjoy getting into costume for Halloween!


Web Head


Happy Friday, and Happy Halloween to all!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I feel like I have been working at getting my new gift bags photographed and online forever, although it's actually been just (just?) a month. Even now, I'll be able to show only the little ones. The large size still aren't in the camera. I'm holding out fond hopes for Saturday on that, since tomorrow looks too solidly booked for anything in the Art area.

As usual, I can't just put the photos up. I have to give a little background.

In my family, gift wrapping has always been something of an art form. Mama was so creative, there are still gifts I remember for their inventive packaging, years now since I've forgotten what was inside.

We were also very frugal. I have very fond memories of my Grandpa Parker, setting a gift aside to pull a small pocket knife out, choosing the smallest blade, and gently slicing through the strips of scotch tape that held the paper. All of us were careful not to tear the gift wrap, even if Grandpa was the only one with a knife. We would smooth the paper and fold it, trying not to make new creases, and put it away for the next gift-giving occasion.

Eventually, we had good stores of what came to be known as our "Heirloom Wrapping Paper", the increasingly fragile, but now familiar bits that had survived years of being passed back and forth. Every year, the boxes the old paper would wrap would get smaller, as little tears ate away at the edges.

So you can understand my mindset when I got married, at nineteen. My new husband and I had very little money, but I went to Meier & Frank and bought rolls of elegant and lovely paper, and the ribbon to go with it. It was an investment. I knew I'd be using it for years.

Christmas with the new hubby's family came. The gifts we brought were beautiful. I handed one to my brother-in-law, and then watched in stunned horror as he ripped the paper off, wadded it into a ball, and threw it to the dog to play with. Even now, nearly forty years later, my jaw has dropped, just thinking about it. Holy cow.

You might say I have issues with that kind of wastefulness. And as a society, we are so heedless! I have watched my daughters-in-law throw perfectly good store-bought gift bags in the trash. Why? How difficult is it to fold them flat and put them in the storage container for gift wrap? I do not understand it.

But that doesn't mean I can't come up with a very small way to fight our wasteful tendencies. Last month, I created gift bags from designer fabric samples. Their seams are sewn, rather than glued, so they won't tear when bumpy things are put in them. Their ribbons are sewed on, so you don't have to buy a bow, and can't lose this one. They look pretty. And they don't, somehow, look like something you're supposed to throw away, especially the larger ones.

That's what I think, anyway. Can I get an opinion from someone else on it? Here are the little bags:

A rather funky five

Closer up

A classic trio

With some little gifts tucked into the top, to show size

I can hardly wait to show off the big ones! I took both sizes to a show this past weekend, and they did well, so that's a good sign.

In other news, this has been a rather long, and tiring day. How is it that days like that often seem to start off really well?

We went out to breakfast. When we got back, DH went to get a load of gravel while I cleaned out a little display case left over from when we had stores. I hadn't gotten very far with that when DH called to say the wheel had come off his trailer full of gravel, but he had a spare.

I said okay, and to be careful, and we hung up. The phone rang again, just moments later. I'd taken the lug wrenches and jack out of the van, DH told me. No, I had not, but I said I'd bring them to him. He was tense and yelling about everything, and gave me really pukey directions for finding him. (Honestly, why couldn't he just have said, "I'm on Columbia, west of 60th"?)

But, long story short, he ended up having to call a tow company. He got home, and we struggled and sweated through getting the display case out of the basement, up a flight of stairs that had been moved and acquired an extra twist since we'd taken the case down there. By the time it was upstairs, I was drenched and panting, but hey, he'd insisted I couldn't lift one end of the thing, and I'd insisted I could, and I was right! Na nana na na!

We took the case over to Trillium, forgetting the shelf, but remembering the furniture polish and glass cleaner, so I could spiffy it up.

At home, the rest of the day was less physical. I put a meatloaf in the oven, and edited the photos above and a bunch of others while we watched TV, and then we had dinner. More TV and photo editing afterwards.

I topped it off with a new experience: laptop on my desk alongside my desktop keyboard, working on both computers at once. Confusing, but it was nice to do something while a computer did its "thinking" bit.

Oh, and Etsy Forums. They are addictive, aren't they?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I can't resist posting this. It makes me think of all those times on a school bus, coming home from some game we'd won, chanting, "We're number one! We're number one!"

Representative Ben Cannon was interviewed on the radio this morning about his new status as a "hottie". He said it ranks as the most thoroughly embarrassing moment or event in his life. "I promise you," he said, "My name and the term "hot" have never been linked before!" Rep. Cannon also said the news broke on Friday, and he was fortunate enough to escape the school where he teaches before more than a few of his students had heard.

I gotta say, he looks pretty good to me. If I were to set aside my own political leanings, I might have picked Obama as #1 hot legislator myself, or, frankly Sarah Palin, but those choices were probably too politically "hot" right now for AOL.

The #1 hottest politician in America is: Rep. Ben Cannon (D-Portland)


According to AOL LemonDrop:

This guy teaches middle school and is an avid cyclist. He's
also got that grunge-cute look of a guy who plays in an indie rock band
on the side. We like. A lot.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I haven't put up a new Coffee Pot Person in quite a while. Seems kinda silly, for a blog called "Coffee Pot People", doesn't it? So, here's Cyrus, aka Cy the Spy, and a bit of his bio.


Do you remember the Black Spy/White Spy duo from Mad Magazine? Well, Cyrus has idolized them ever since he was a kid growing up in Odell, Oregon. It’s a natural enough admiration, given his resemblance to them, a resemblance he deliberately accentuates, with his wide-brimmed hat and dark glasses.

He likes to call himself Cy the Spy when he’s introduced. Unfortunately, most of the people he runs into these days are too young to get it.

His occupation is not so glamorous as spying, either. He drives a cab, one of the black and whites, of course, and likes to tell his fares who among the high and mighty he’s met. For a “spy”, he’s remarkably chatty. Best not to tell him any secrets you don’t want known by one and all—he’ll spill the beans just to prove he’s got them to spill!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Today, I want to show off the art of some other people, just because it delights me, and I want to share the joy of "a thing of beauty".

First, HuckleberryArts. You can click on any picture below and be taken directly to that item.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Next YankeeDoodled:

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

There are so many other sellers I'd like to put into this post! Unfortunately, I just looked at the clock, and I have one hour to fix and eat breakfast and be ready to leave for today's show.

It's Art in the 'Burbs, at the Alberta Rider School out in Tigard. Wish me luck, and come out if you can!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Another old diary entry. I spotted it the other day when I was looking for something else on my computer.

Background: Wanted to put together a little play, photograph it, and make a book to give the kids' dad. Jen was all enthusiasm; Joe...not so much! We worked with the "not so much", and I think the book turned out even better than if he'd wanted to do the project in the first place!

Joe, I'm Sleeping Beauty! You be Prince Charming, and kiss
me awake.

Keep dreaming. Just keep dreaming.

Joe, I'm Rapunzel! come climb up my hair.

Oh, yeah. I'll climb up your hair, all right.

Joe, now I'm Cinderella! Come try the slipper on me.

Anything for you, Princess
Bwah ha ha ha.

Wow, Joe. Thanks!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

You're the best!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Whew. Quick post tonight. I've been gone most of the day, doing a show at my granddaughter's school (Art in the 'Burbs). Now it's twenty to eleven at night, but I don't want to miss my Friday Fence Post!

First one isn't, technically, a fence, but it struck me like one, and I loved the look of it, sharply defined against the enormous wall of a building I photographed last week, and put in my "5 Steps to Decrepit" post. I've called it "Call to Arms" because my brother did, saying it looked like the lines of rifles you sometimes see in old photos.

Call to Arms

Then, same day, the loops of razor wire atop a chain link fence struck me. They remind me of the penmanship exercises my dad used to have me do, in an effort to add grace to my handwriting.


Last, two shots of a picket fence near my home:


Overgrown II

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I'm having a hard time deciding which of my two new tools has me more blissed out. One of them is new only in the sense that it now "lives" in my shop. The other is going to be old news to a lot of people, but my oh my, do I love it!

Here's the first:

Spot Welder

Now, is that sweet sweet sweet, or what?!

Yeah. I know. That probably isn't a reaction I'm going to get, but this is what I use to weld the backs of my China Blossoms, and for years the spot welder has been located about five miles from home, in the garage of a friend. If I wanted to make the China Blossom backs, I had to make sure my friend was home, and drive over, and sometimes inconvenience him.

It is sheer, pure, bliss to know I can walk out to my shop and throw together fifty, or ten, or a hundred backs, or even just one, anytime the notion takes me. If you were here right now, you'd be hearing a very happy sigh.

Probably, more people will be able to identify with me on the second tool. It's one I noticed several years ago, but I'd look at it and think, That couldn't possibly work as well as the package says it will. pfft. Scissors have been around for hundreds of years, and everybody knows they work just fine.

Well, I was wandering around Joann Fabrics the other day with a 40% off coupon in my hand, and no pressing need for anything to spend it on, sooooo...I bought this:

Rotary Cutting Kit

I brought it home and set it in a chair by the dining table, and left it there for a couple of days. After all, it wasn't going to work worth beans, right? I don't know why I even bought that, I'd think. But after a couple of days, curiosity got the best of me and I opened the package.
Blatant digression: I just realized "curiosity" is a word made by adding "sity" to "curio". Huh. Had never looked at it like that before. And now that I do, DH thinks I'm a tad crazy.
So anyway, I opened the package, put the cutting mat on the floor, read the directions on the cutter, which were easy as falling asleep after Thanksgiving dinner, picked up a fabric scrap, and...

It worked! It really worked!

What a great tool this is:

The Dritz rotary cutter itself, and a pinking blade from Olfa

By the way, this is what happens when you get your photos from the net, instead of taking them yourself. The blade does not, in fact, dwarf the cutting tool. They're, like, out of proportion, you know?

I got the pinking blade at Michael's the next day. The cutter is a Dritz, and the blade is an Olfa, but the manufacturers seem to have done the intelligent thing and standardized the blades, so you can mix and match.

A couple of details now: There's a safety feature on the cutter, a cover that keeps the blade's edge so it isn't exposed until you press the cover's rim against something solid. Also, when you aren't using the tool, you can lock the cover, so you don't accidentally press it, and the now-exposed blade against something you'll regret, like maybe your hand.

Using it is as easy as it looks. Place the fabric on the mat and smooth it down. For a good, straight, cut put the ruler on top and just draw or push the wheel along it's edge.

Wow. This is going to make creating my new fabric gift bags so much easier!

Funny, too. I was enthusing to my Mom about the cutter, and she said, "Yeah. That's what your Aunt Jewel used, to cut the strips for those rugs she made. Your Uncle Walt would sit at the table with the cutter and cut all the strips Jewel needed." And I never knew that. It gives me a fresh, cozy image of Uncle Walt and Auntie Jewel, two people I already adored.

Coming soon: Actual photos of the new gift bags. I'm really proud and excited about them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I was cleaning off my desk a little bit ago and came across a page from my journal. Don't know why it was out, unless I'd printed it out to send to Paul. Anyway, I so enjoyed reading it again that I'm going to reprint it here. When I wrote it, Jen was about ten. (She's a bit over thirteen now.)
Jen and I had what I'd have to call a perfect day today.

I picked her up at her house, arriving at nine-thirty in the morning. She and her brother, Joe, were still in bed, each of them with their radios tuned to their own particular music. It wasn't too obvious if you were in one room or the other, but standing in the hall between the bedrooms it was an unintelligible cacophony of male and female voices, guitars, and drums.

Jen lay face down on her bed, her face buried in her babyhood blankie, but I could see her smile as she looked at me out of the corner of her eye. She still loves the scent of that aqua blanket, made of the typical thermal material that little ones seem to gravitate to. Or is it just that thermal blankets are so danged durable? I know my daughter's Love Blankets, as we called them, were thermal, and I can't think of any other material for any other child I've known either.

Anyway, I sat on the bed beside her, giving her a teasing bump with my hip to nudge her aside to make room for me.

"Doesn't look to me like you've had breakfast yet," I said, and got a small shake of the head in response. "Hmmm. Well, what do you want to do today?"

"Hang around here."

"Oh, no. I would die of boredom. Tell you what. Get dressed and come downstairs, and we'll go over our options. I have a whole list of things we could do, and you can tell me what appeals to you."

She was down a short while later, and I told her the ideas I had, with Jen throwing in a few of her own.

One of the things she wanted to know was where I get my notebooks, which are, 90% of the time, graph paper, my preferred writing material. Unfortunately, I get them at estate sales most of the time, and there isn't an office supply place nearby that's likely to have any. I told her I did have several on my desk, and if she wanted one of them I'd give it to her. She was happy with that, and went to the kitchen to find a pen like mine.

I'd suggested she could have her favorite breakfast at my house, green beans, butter, and garlic, and she was delighted by that idea. We went into the office, where Joe was playing a computer game now, and talking to his new, and old-enough-to-be-idolized, stepbrother.

I put my hand on Joe's shoulder once while we were talking, and he said, still facing the monitor, "Don't touch me, Anitra. Your hands smell like poo-poo." Right. Sophisticated thirteen-year-old humor at its best.

So I put both hands flat on his head, and stroked down to his neck and shoulders, and then down his arms and rubbed and patted his back, and then put my hands back on his head.

"Yuuuck," or something like that was the cry from my young friend.

"Now you'll have to take a bath," I told him, defusing his slam by joining in with it. Step-bro sat grinning in the chair.

Jen and I left, and took care of the notebook choice as soon as we got to my house. Then she wanted a bag to put it in. I showed her every bag I had, and she hadn't liked any of them except my leather briefcase, which wasn't available, and then, just as I was about to give up, I spotted one more strap, to a colorful handwoven shoulder bag. I rarely carry it anymore, and when Jen said she liked it, I gave it to her. She promptly stashed the notebook and pen in it, and for the rest of the day, pulled them out whenever we needed to add or cross off something from the to-do list she made while I fixed breakfast.

I loved the little codes she devised for herself, so as not to have to write entire words. It wasn't until almost the end of the day that she told me what three particular ones stood for, and they were all about me:

C = Crazy
N = Nice
NETE = Not Easy To Explain

You can imagine my smiles.

What we did today:

Breakfast at my house

A trip to Michaels to get the biggest crochet hook they had, so Jen can learn. We also picked up t-shirts on sale for two bucks apiece, and t-shirt transfer paper, acrylic paints for painting rocks, and a child's scrapbook kit, also on sale for two dollars.

A visit to the hardware store, since we were driving right by it, for fender washers I use in making China Blossoms. We also found two really great perennials on sale.

Goodwill, to find a Hawaiin shirt for DH, for a party we're going to tomorrow night, and sunflower seeds to feed the squirrels at Glendoveer

McDonald's, where we picked up grilled chicken salads, an apple juice for Jen, and a diet cola for me

Glendoveer Fitness Trail, where we sat at a picnic table and ate, and then walked two miles. Unfortunately, feeding the squirrels is no longer allowed. We read the signs telling why, and decided they were right to forbid it.

While we had our salads we talked. (Actually, we usually talk nonstop, but, you know, this was serious conversation over a meal.)

A nearby sign said, "No Pets Allowed". Jen pointed it out, and I said, "Oh. Well, I can leave you in the car," and she gave me A Look.

"If it said 'No Animals Allowed', we couldn't go," she said.

"That's right."

"'Cause we're animals, too."

"Yes, but we're different. What do you think the difference is?"

We had quite a little talk about that, including some discussion about whether you could worship if you didn't have a church, or a preacher, or a Bible.

"I think all people have an idea that there's a God," I said. "That's why everywhere you go in the world, there are people who believe and worship their idea of who God is, God the way they understand Him."

"Not everyone believes in God," she said.

"Yeah. Come to think of it, you're right."

I was wondering if Jen would come up with the existence of a soul as what made us different from other animals. (Forgot about "self-awareness". duh.) We did finally come to that, don't remember how, but I asked, "Do animals have souls?"

Jen put her spread fingers against her chest, and tilted her head. "Well, I think they do," she said.

"What is it that makes you think so?" She'd surprised me, but I didn't want to show that. Kids sense it when you're patronizing them or skeptical, and Jen obviously had thought about this. I wanted to hear her thoughts.

"Well, the soul is the part of us that's inside us, and makes us who we are, right? It's what makes each of us different."


"Well, if animals didn't have souls, they'd all be the same."

WHOA! Let me tell you, my mouth fell open, and I had to give my head a smart shake to put my brain back straight. The child just blew me away. I was speechless for a minute.

"Jen. Jen, that was absolutely profound."

"What's that, 'profound'?"

You, I thought.

We had our walk then, two full miles, talking and singing all the way, and stopping to sit on a bench and chat with a lovely white-haired elderly woman, and throwing a few sunflower seeds to a squirrel that absolutely intimidated us into it, and then we went to Party Place and looked for an eye patch. Didn't find one, but bought a grass skirt and a bra top with hibiscus flowers for the cups for DH to wear to the party, as a surprise joke. (He says he doesn't think he'll wear them to the party, but he'll put them on and I can take a picture for Jen. She's going to put it in her scrapbook, she says.)

We came home, and she worked on her scrapbook in the next room, and emailed me from DH's computer every five minutes or so, and I sent her replies and pictures.

And then I took Jen home.

Came back, talking to Bruce on the way, who says he now has some peripheral vision, and fixed dinner, and watched TV with DH. Perfect end to a perfect day.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This month's featured Etsy Blogger is BabyFriendlyBeads, (that's her etsy store) and her blog, Mama's Magic Studio . All Etsy Bloggers team members do these features as part of the requirements of being a team member. I'll admit that I've waited rather far into the month to get this done! I just haven't quite gotten into the swing of it yet, so I procrastinate. Well, I'll get better at this. Promise.

In the meantime, I really do like the things in the Baby Friendly Beads store! Of course, I love beaded things, and the first time I saw a nursing necklace I couldn't believe it had taken so long for someone to come up with the idea--something for the nursing baby's hands and mind, something pretty for them to look at and feel while they snuggled with their Mama's and had a meal.

Then there are her beaded dragonflies, which I adore, for the sparkly beauty of them. So what I'm going to do is put in an etsy mini, full of goodies from Baby Friendly Beads:

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

PS This Mama also tells delightful stories about her children!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Cousins' reunion was yesterday, up in The Valley. (Yup. In our family, there's just one--the Hood River Valley.) We had a wonderful time, and some woefully, sinfully, way-too-temptingly delicious food.

On the drive to my cousin's house, I passed several amazing buildings. Funny how much more interesting building seem to get as they decay. I took dozens of pictures of them, as my brother and I walked back along that road. Here, I'll post five individually, and the rest in the form of a slide show, to keep this entry from being way l-o-o-o-n-n-g.

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Step Four

Step Five

And because I couldn't decide between color and black and white, here they are again, in black and white:

Step One

Step Two

Step 3

Step Four

Friday, October 17, 2008


Man. I've been busy, busy, busy, and tired, tired, tired.

The two-day Handmade NW show left me with lots to catch up with, and way too much to do, so by evening I'm so tired I sit down in front of the TV after dinner with my laptop, and promptly fall asleep! So here it is, Friday already, going on 4pm, and past time to do the Friday Fence Post.

And THEN, I'll need to rush into something gig-worthy, preferably black, and be at Blackbird Wine Shop on Fremont by five-ish. Swappin' Lies, the band I'm in, has a gig there from 6 until about 8. What a great way to end the week--wine-tasting and music! aaaaaaaaaaah.

And now, without further ado, some cool fences!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Live in the Portland, Oregon area? Tomorrow and the day after (that would be Tuesday & Wednesday, Oct. 14-15th) is the Handmade NW show, at Montgomery Park on NW Vaughn. Come see us, and get your Christmas shopping started early!

Christmas shopping aside, I love meeting people in person that I've only met online. They are, so far, as lovely in person as they are "through the wire". If you do come, be sure you introduce yourself!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


This is as much a post about philosophy and theology as it is about breast cancer. How can that be? Let me explain.

I've felt a twinge of guilt for a long time because I didn't get into the whole pink ribbon breast cancer awareness thing. I wouldn't. Couldn't make myself do it, and didn't want to try.

It isn't that I'm callous. It's that I don't really want to walk around thinking about breast cancer.

Consider the scripture, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." It's echoed in the Eastern religions, and New Age beliefs. What you think about, you either become or draw to yourself.

Now, maybe it doesn't extend to disease, but you know what? I'm not willing to take that chance. It might look selfish or uncaring, but there it is.

But then, something lovely-wonderful happened. I was in the Etsy forums, chatting away about who knows what, when I noticed the avatar of another poster, Payson Winters . Here it is:

Now, that's a slogan I can get behind! I will happily walk around all day, every day, smiling about saving TaTas! They're fun. Saving them is GOOD.

Even better, there appears to be an entire industry promoting the idea. I didn't know it, but I've waited a long time for a t-shirt like this:

Want a website? Here:
Save the Tatas!

Friday, October 10, 2008


I'm getting to this late, but I found some great fences today, and so many that I've got several in reserve for another Friday.

Here are today's:

Every Which Way

Fretted & Looped

Little Feet



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