Tuesday, September 29, 2009


About five years ago, a friend gave me a big paper bag of computer innards consisting of small black squares with colored electrical wires embedded in them. I've waited all this time to come up with something to use them for.

Finally! So, two things: This is what I'm using the wires for:

And in the process of removing the wires, I discovered they were held in place by little green soft things. They're short cylinders with holes through them...looks like beads to me!

I think they're going to be fun to use. Watch for it....

Monday, September 28, 2009


I was out in the yard today, talking to the DH as he worked away on the new sprinkler system, and happened to look down. There, near my feet, was the ground cover we'd planted between some stones, blooming away.

There were two varieties. This is the one with the larger flower:

That is my index finger behind it, but you did read correctly--it's the larger-bloom variety. The smaller one is below:

I was glad to be able to get them in reasonable focus. Here's another one with my finger, to show size:

And on the way into the house, after shooting the flowers, I saw this rose hip. I guess Fall is here, for a fact:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

PICTURE A DAY, 09/26/09

Did a show today, over on Foster. The show was pretty much a bust, but the zinnias growing against the wall behind me were enough to make me happy I was there.

Happy Birthday to my eldest daughter!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Show Your Face!

Etsy Bloggers Carnival choices for the second half of September are to show or talk about your workspace, or to show your face. Well. I've done both already, more than once, so I decided this evening I would show my younger face.

I'll leave it to you to decide which one is me!

And while I'm here, here's the Picture-a-Day for September 25th:

I spent several hours today finishing these, and then felt guilty. Call me crazy, but I'm sure I shouldn't enjoy my job so much!


The same walk that found me the spider on Wednesday also found me a fence. Two of them, actually, one on either end of the Harvey Scott School grounds. I was enchanted by the work of the school children.

Those are the "long" fence shots. For the rest, I thought I'd just let the fish swim through on their own. Don't you just love them?!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


What a pleasure it is to write about this Etsy blogger! Not only does she have a beautiful blog, with a page that looks good enough to eat, full of luscious photos and finds, but her Etsy shop is full of things I love--songbirds and cupcakes!

Here's a look, too, at one of her inventive and attractive jewelry cards:

I don't know about you, but if I ever took that necklace off the card to wear it, I'd want to put it back on every night so I could see the jeweled bird again!

A few of Vanessa's Etsy offerings:

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

PICTURE A DAY, 09/24/09

I'm still being traumatized by my camera card. Twice today, I've taken pictures, and some time later put the card into the laptop, only to find...nothing. No new photos at all. Fortunately, that $40 program I bought recovered most of them, and I did make an excursion to Office Depot and picked up a new card.

Here's the photo for today, of the watercolor painting that hangs above our bed:

DH gave it to me for Christmas several years ago, bought because of my love for fairies. It made it into my camera today because I needed the image for an art project I'm planning.

(Hope I haven't scandalized anyone here!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The dog and I went for a walk today. We both needed the exercise.

Of course, I took my camera, and got lots of pictures, but this is the most striking one I took. It also felt quite dangerous, getting it. I wanted the extreme close-up, but this was one of the biggest spiders I'd ever seen, and I wasn't sure but what it could leap off that web and onto my camera, and from there onto me! And don't tell me spiders can't jump. I've seen them do it, and if there were a Bug Olympics spiders would win over everyone but grasshoppers and crickets. I swear. I am not making that up.

Scary creepiness aside, it's rather beautiful, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


My brother Duane would laugh at this. He has HUGE tomato plants, and a real vegetable and fruit garden. Well, I have flowers, and herbs, and a tomato plant. One. A small one, with small tomatoes. But it's MINE, all mine, and I get all the fruit! BWAH-HA-HA-HA!!

I used to have two tomato plants, but the other one disappeared. Probably went looking for company, maybe some cucumbers, or a few peppers. Good thing the one remaining is surrounded by mums and geraniums, or it would be really lonely!


This is the first of two slideshows. In the next one, I'll put face painting shots, and maybe a few other just-looking-at-all-the-fun pictures; this one shows the costumes, the action, the fun, the relaxation of all those adult inhibitions about doing things "they" might think are silly. It's one of the reasons I love the festival: Nobody worries about anything but the moment, and even the growed-ups play!

Monday, September 21, 2009

PICTURE A DAY, 09/20/09

This was an extremely busy day, coupled with an extremely tired me. It felt like slogging through mud to do anything at all, and at the end of the day, Surprise! I'd gotten almost nothing done that I'd intended to do. Well, there's tomorrow.

In the meantime, it was 10pm when I looked at the clock and realized I hadn't taken a single picture! EEEK!! I tried a few "atmospheric" shots of the lamplight in front of our neighbor's porch, and several of our own porch light shining through the birdcages and what-not of the front window, but what I finally settled on was this:

One of my favorite figurines. I doubt anyone notices them but me, but I love them. Two little flower fairies, joyfully singing and playing, in midflight. They stand on the top shelf of the china cabinet, where they frequently catch my eye, and never without making me smile.

PICTURE A DAY, 09/19/09

Is it cheating if my picture for the day is one taken by someone else? It's me in wench-wear, taken before I headed over to the Portland Pirate Festival yesterday:

Just in case that photo doesn't count, here's one I took myself, an example of something that never fails to make me smile--the obvious anachronisms walking around the park all day, both days:

It wasn't until after I took the picture of these pirate types that I noticed the camera and name tags, and of course, the utility kilt, while looking "oldish", did not exist in the century being portrayed. But I'm not complaining. A festival that encourages costumes to the point that a person in street clothes may feel underdressed is nothing to sneer at, to my way of thinking!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


One day down of the Portland Pirate Festival, and all things considered, not a bad day. It was raining when I woke up, and as I dressed, fixed breakfast, and ate. It was raining as I drove to Cathedral Park in St Johns. I was damp, damper, dampest as I unloaded things and took them to the tent I'd set up yesterday.

You know, a chilly drizzle is not good news for a face painter!

Fortunately, the rain tapered off by early afternoon, and after a while the sun even came out. As usual, I enjoyed myself. I mean, what's not to like about tickling little and big kids with a wet paintbrush, and then collecting smiles, thank you's, and five dollars?!

At one point, I decided to stretch my legs. I asked the folks in the next booth not to let mine walk away while I was gone, and a sturdy gentleman volunteered to handle my customers in my absence. I came back to this:

Uhm...I think maybe he meant that "handle" a bit more literally than I'd thought!

Sun forecast for tomorrow. I'm going to set my hair, and get to bed. Sun and a pirate festival can translate into a very busy day. Yay!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Well, just like Pragmatist's, my camera card bit the dust today. I had nearly 500 photos on that thing, many of them from our trip to the coast. I bought a CardRecovery program, choking over the $40 price, which just about cleaned my PayPal account out, as I've been spending more than I'm making of late. But I wasn't going to lose those shots if I could help it.

Since it took me all evening to recover the files and then reformat the card, my picture for the day is one that the card screwed up for me, just to show what that can do. And that's why this Picture a Day photo is called "Dang It!".

There's a lot of white space up there. It's the bottom of what's left of the photo. Sigh. Well, I recovered a lot of the pictures, if not all.

Tomorrow is the Pirate Festival. And Sunday. It's supposed to rain until noon tomorrow, and then warm up to about 70. I'll be painting faces for it, dressed in my pirate wench costume. Sunday they forecast sunny, so at least part of the weekend should be actual fun!


These are fences from the Ft Stephens State Park on the Oregon coast. It was beautiful there, and peaceful. DH and I have decided state parks are absolutely the best.

As is my wont, I have played with the photographs. I do love those Photoshop filters!

All of these are best viewed full-size. Just click on them to see.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I have some catching up to do, including several post-dated entries, but I'm going to do today's Picture-a-Day entry now. I'm going to cheat, too, and put up three photos, because we had what I'll choose to call "An Adventure".

On the way to the coast, this past Monday, we had some problems with overheating in the RV's engine. We did what we could to get to Ft Stephens without breaking down--stopped and poured water on the radiator, put the front grill of the engine down so the air would blow unimpeded over the radiator and engine, and turned the heater on full-bore, in case the problem was the thermostat. It worked, we made it, and at camp the DH and our male friends there checked things over and found a leak, so DH bought that stuff you pour into the radiator to seal things up, and we prayed.

Setting out today, the RV lacked power, and the engine would race but not shift, but the gauges all read normal. No overheating. We told each other the engine just needed to warm up.

Then we got to the coast range, and that first miles-long incline, up and up and up into the mountains. The RV went slower. Forty miles per hour. Thirty. Fifteen. Finally, chugging along, with occasional backfires, we were doing five miles an hour and crossing our fingers, straining to see around every curve, hoping the downhill slope would start.

Slower yet, and then DH looked in the rear view mirror, and saw the billowing clouds of smoke we were spewing. He pulled over, jumped from the RV, and started looking for the source. On his knees, peering under the carriage, he spotted not smoke, but flames. We were on fire!

He wrenched open the door, grabbed the fire extinguisher, knelt back down, and sprayed the retardant right into his own eyes. Jumped up, ran into the bathroom and doused his eyes, then back out, where he was able to put out the fire.

And would you believe? We stopped right in front of an ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) truck! The guy in it helped Bob look for any sign of more fire, called the fire department, and loaned us his cell phone so we could call AAA.

The problem was actually under the RV. The catalytic converter choked up on us. Don't quote me on this, but there are crystals lining those things, and eventually they collapse or something, and when they do that they sort of wad themselves up and clog the exhaust pipe. Then that superheated air (1200 F; 649 C) in the converter has nowhere to go, so it tends to melt through the metal, and set afire whatever it finds.

The tow truck came all the way from Hillsboro to get us, a drive of something over an hour. It took about an hour to get us hooked up, partly because the firemen had disconnected the battery, and without that we couldn't release the brakes, so the tow truck driver had to get under the RV and disconnect the drive train.

We left the dog in the RV, and the DH, the tow truck driver, and I climbed into the tow truck's cab. I got to sit on an upturned bucket between the two seats. Thank goodness, DH had the genius to grab a blanket to cushion it, because that was the bumpiest ride I have ever taken anywhere at any time. And on top of that, the driver had some kind of air shocks under his seat, and every time we hit one of those bumps his seat bounced way up and down, which dragged the buckle of his seat belt across the side of my thigh.

But you know what? At this point, I don't care. We made it home. We're safe, and nobody got hurt, and we'll probably be able to fix the RV. And we sure won't forget this trip!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

PICTURE A DAY, 09/13/09

Today was great. Got a fair amount of stuff done in the morning and early afternoon--couple loads of laundry, made sure the RV was cleaned up and ready, loaded in the non-perishable groceries, practiced my flute and singing, among other things.

By 3pm, I had loaded flute, mike, and mike stand, conga drum, and camera into the car and was headed over to Craig's, to carpool with the rest of the band to our gig at the Red Lizards Running Club's End of Summer party.

I wanted to get photos of our band, but I didn't know anyone there who wasn't a band member. No one to turn my camera over to. There were people taking pictures, though, and last year they posted one on their website, so I'm hoping they do the same again. I did get a lovely, peaceful, photo of Lorna, tuning her guitar beforehand.

So that was my Picture for Today, but I have to show this admittedly slightly-out-of-focus video, with apologies for the sound quality as well. I am no videographer. The thing is, we'd played our set, and I was sitting on a bench listening to the other band, when I noticed the tree near one of the speakers. Each time there was a particularly strong beat or burst of sound, the leaves right in front of the speaker twitched. They looked for all the world like green parrots dancing to me.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Our band, by the way, got very good reviews from the attendees. Lots of compliments, especially on the vocal harmonies, which are a special pleasure for the four of us. I haven't mentioned our name. It's Swappin' Lies. We've been asked back for next year's party.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


"It's not Fall yet. It's not Fall yet. It's not Fall yet."

I am clicking the heels of my ruby slippers together, and telling myself that, with a fair amount of success. The temperature was over 90 F (32.2 C) yesterday, and very nearly that hot today.

And that means we can still eat summer salads!

Chicken Basil Pasta Salad


  • 12 oz pasta in your favorite fun shape
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil
  • 3 cups chopped very ripe plum tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
Cook the pasta in 4 quarts water until quite al dente. Drain. Toss with olive oil and lemon juice. Cool, stirring the pasta from time to time to coat.

Add chopped basil, chicken, tomatoes, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste to the pasta. Mix thoroughly, but gently. Serve in a pretty bowl, garnished with fresh basil leaves.

Serves 8 to 10 as a salad, fewer if it's the main dish.

This salad is a lovely thing to pack for one of those late-season picnics, or dinner al fresco, out on the patio or deck. I'm thinking of toasty garlic bread, a nice wine, and good company....Yes. This is exactly the salad for that.


Well, I was going to be really selective about what I photographed today, carry my camera every minute, watch for the quintessential "today" moment for however long it took. It took about an hour from the time I got up until I walked downstairs to see what the DH was up to. He'd said he wanted to take the RV to Costco early and gas up for our trip, so where was he? It was after seven am!

Down the stairs to the TV/guest/Bob's computer room. Figured he was still reading the Craig's List ads, but

he was sound asleep, and Ceili had nestled herself right into the crook of his knees.

I backed away from the door, and tiptoed back upstairs for the camera, praying all the while that Ceili wouldn't get up and follow me, the way she usually does. Thankfully, she was just too comfortable!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Here's my Picture-a-day for today, which I consider proof that sometimes even a mess can be kind of arty. Oh, my. Just realized I've cleaned up exactly one third of said mess, and that only because I took the oven dial to Christine to use on one of her awesome record mandalas.

Well, then. I will take care of the rest of it now. It has served it's purpose, as of right this minute.


Two views today.

I chose the first one because of the way the colors popped. It's a plain old chain link fence, but that vibrant yellow wall behind it, and the verdant green of the Devil's Walking Stick (at least, I think that's what it is) growing behind, through, and in front of it make for an unforgettable "Wow" moment.

The other fence I chose just because I love it. It's my own front gate, or part of it, with the lavender and curry plant (helichrysum italicum) blooming beyond:

God bless.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


My daughter, Melody, has been taking one photo a day as a project. The idea, obviously, is to take a picture every day, in this case for a year (!), and see what insights into your life you gain. I think it's a really great, and interesting idea, and I'm going to try it.

Now all I have to do it remember! They say habits take fourteen days to form, so if I can get the camera out every day for the next two weeks....

My first "Picture a Day" shot:

Those little guys sit on the arm of the wicker settee in the living room.

And that's all the news that's fit to print today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So, my DH and I are expecting our first great-grandson. The baby shower is next Friday, and I have been shopping. Is there anything to give more joy? I mean, shopping for baby things is, for me, so much fun that I even shopped for my ex-husband's first great-grandchild! Of course, I was with my daughter, which turns anything we do into a party, but anyway...

What I was going to say is, I was having so much fun shopping that I decided to show off what I found. No, I did not buy everything you'll see on this page. These are just things that made my mouth go round, and a little ooh come out. And they're all on Etsy, so they're all handmade, which gives them that little extra-special something. Look:

It's an eclectic group, for sure, and I do have favorites. I love, love, love the cupcakes! They're made by folding onesies and bibs and washcloths to resemble cupcakes, and packaged as though they were. I mean, how cute is that?!

Then there's the emergency rock star kit, and the retro-cool guitar set, and that darling little hat...

And all the while, I have to keep reminding myself that while it might be coming on Fall here, it's late winter/early spring in New Zealand. Can't be sending the baby down overalls for summer!

Oh, but it is fun, just the infanticipating. I'm smiling and smiling.

Almost forgot! Clicking on an image will take you to the Etsy shop where you can see more about it, and also see what else that seller has.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Well, the kids are back in school. For some of us, that means more time to create things. Not for me, of course, since I've been an empty-nester for a l-o-o-o-n-g time, but that doesn't mean I'm, like, totally out of touch. Only partially. I think. Anyway....

I decided this would be a great day to encourage creative juices, and how better to do that than to give away something to create with? I fell in love with these two little boys the minute I saw them, at an estate sale a couple of years ago. The older boy seems to be completely befuddled by something, and the littler one just looks thunderstruck, and I can just imagine all sorts of possibilities for collage.

Click on the image, and it will show up full-size. Then right-click on that, and select "Save as..." from the drop-down menu. Tuck it somewhere on your computer where you can find it, print it out, and have fun!

Happy first day of school!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gettin' at the Knittin' Kitten

There's a place here in town called Knittin' Kitten. I think of it as a concept store, because I've never heard of another one like it. It is a resale store that sells only sewing, knitting, crochet, and craft supplies.

Now, I ask you. How cool is that?

It's been a slow year for a lot of people, and an exceptionally slow summer. I'll be so glad when this economy picks back up. One of the shops to suffer, has been Knittin' Kitten, but thanks to Diane, over at Craftypod, those of us in the Portland area who know and love the shop have been alerted, and many have made it a point to go shopping. This is a valuable, and fun, resource, well worth supporting.

Today, I made the trek, and got scrumptious goodies:

If you're a delighted with those Hello Kitty and butterfly buttons as I was, you'll be happy to know I left some there. I was tempted to get them all, but I didn't want to be TOO greedy. Such lovely prices, too--I got the entire haul for under $15!

Watch for those buttons to show up in bracelets soon. I'm fairly itching to get at them.

For those of you in the Portland/Vancouver area, Knittin' Kitten is located at NE 74th & Glisan, in Portland.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Hoo boy, have I got a fence for you today! I was just cruising the neighborhood, looking for an interesting fence to shoot, when I noticed the street in front of my car was painted, bright trapezoids with letters, eyes, hands sticking out. Wow. That's cool, I thought. Looks like maybe there's a creative sort with children living in one of these houses. Then my eyes lifted off the road, darted to the right, and saw this:

That was pretty cool, so I stopped my car and got out to take a closer look. There was a gate at the other end:

In between the gate and the bike wheel, there was a tall fence post, and this was atop it:

Then I spotted another wheel-topped post, which was great enough, but my jaw dropped when I saw what had been done to the fence when it turned the corner:

Fence boards had been cut into animal head shapes, too:

And this cat:

I'd knocked on the door of the house after taking several pictures, but no one answered. There was a car in the driveway, and one on the street, though. I wrote a note on the back of my business card, telling the fence artist I loved what he'd done, and that I'd be posting photos of his fence on this blog, and tucked it under the windshield wiper blade of the car in the drive.

As it happened, the artist and a friend were in the back yard, and saw me when I did that, so I got to meet him, and he gave me a tour of the yard. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the house, and hearing his artistic saga. One thing he told me was that he'd dreamed one night, when he was a boy, that he had a house, and painted it in bright colors. He has lived to see the dream become reality, Made the dream reality himself, and I love it.

It totally makes me want to haul out purple and orange paint, and green and fuchsia, and go at it here at home, but I'll restrain myself, and just enjoy what he's done.

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