Isn't it great when you meet someone who always makes you smile? Even online, we can use all the smiles we can get, right?
This month's Featured Etsy Blogger is MadeByMelissa, whose blog always has something cheery to say or show. Drop by and see her Halloween greetings!
At her Etsy shop, I go back and forth a lot, thinking, I like her crochet items the best!
But then her jewelry is so pretty, too....
I guess it's just a good thing I don't have to choose!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Isn't it great when you meet someone who always makes you smile? Even online, we can use all the smiles we can get, right?
Friday, October 30, 2009
Saw this while driving through the Irvington neighborhood today:
"There's only one thing I never did and wish I had done: climbed over a fence. "
Kinda makes me glad for all the fences I've climbed over, under, and through in my life. The reward of being a confirmed tomboy is knowing what's on the other side!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Ever run across someone online that you just HAVE to share? I have, and her name is MizMollye! I've been reading her blog and emailing back and forth, and exchanging comments, and now it's just time I stopped hogging her and let everyone else meet her.
I'm going to start by telling you MizMollye's having a give-away, to celebrate her upcoming 100th post, right here.
I asked MizMollye some questions:
1. I know you're coming up on 100 entries at your blog. What got you started blogging, and what do you most enjoy about it?
In Jan. 2007 I had gone to Arkansas to visit my daughter Lori and she excitedly showed me my birthday present which was a domain for me to have my own website to write little stories and memories etc of my childhood and people in my life no longer here as a way of leaving it for my grandchildren. Also at that time she was on Etsy constantly buying ACEO's for her collection of original mini art and being the first time I'd ever seen them I was enthralled and in love.
I had never done anything of the computer other than spreadsheets at work and MS Word, so I had much to learn. I began looking at the world of today's art with a new set of eyes and before you knew it I was cranking out ATC's by the hundreds and had joined up with every dang Yahoo Group possible dealing with ATC's, Collage, Mixed Media, Assemblage, etc. and outgrew my kitchen table so had to then create a studio and my website was called Shezadoozey and it grew and grew and was something else!
But this past summer, I realized that while providing me with a great forum to be used as an art/writing gallery, it was not interactive and I had become a regular reader to so many blogs and made such good friends through swapping but they could not communicate with me. I could leave them comments but they could not do so on my website, so I decided to give it up and go to a blog and I am loving all the communication with other bloggers, but am finding that I am spending way less time on my art itself, so as with anything new, I have to find that balance.
2. You do so many kinds of art; do you have a favorite form or medium? What makes it your favorite, if you do?
I have been involved in dollmaking off and on for more than 40 years and it is just evolving into so many forms of creativity that I am re-entering my love for it, but the actual form of art which gives me more pleasure and awe in the creation of is Collage and especially something small as the ATC's or the Moo size cards. I love them because there is no limit to the layering I can do and have no idea when starting a project how it will actually turn out and probably the biggest reason is that there are no rules and they can be completed in record time and they're something you do not have to think about while doing. Your hands do all the work and when you are finished you think "WOW, I love this, did I DO this because my mind was completely somewhere else and how did this happen?"
3. What would you say is the difference between Art and Craft?
The age old question here much like the chicken and the egg. However my opinion only is that for me when I see a funky hat I'd like to make or one of the trendy little handbags, I grab some yarn and a hook, or some fabric and a snap, print out the directions and begin making it all the time thinking Oh these are cute, bet they would go great on Etsy and in my mind I can see me turning them out by the dozens, and when it is finished I think ok that's cute and it is put away and I never try to make more! To me I just made a "craft".
But when I see something that just squeezes the part of my heart and brain and won't let go, I just know I have got to go in and experiment with that technique. I never try to duplicate or copy someone's work, but I try to learn from them and I put my own spin on a technique and add my own twists and turns and make whatever I am drawn to make, sometimes taking weeks or days to finish and I never forget what I learned and I use the techniques as part of my very being and nature always. To me at those times I have created Art.
The question of whether it is art or craft depending on if you sell it has absolutely nothing to do with it. Your heart is not as affected on a longterm basis with craft as it is with art.
4. Can we see your work area/shop?
Yep. We bought the old house where my hubby grew up and it was only two bedrooms and since our nest had been empty for many years, decided to make one of the bedrooms for my studio and then built another room for DH to use for his gun hobbies.
5. What do you see as your strongest personality traits? (They don't have to be the "good" ones!)
I think my strongest personality trait is that since I've gotten to be one of those quirky senior citizens I see all the women in the world as my sisters that I've yet to meet so that when I dialog with them they easily slip from people unknown to people I feel very comfortable with as in an actual sister and when I was young, I always viewed people I didn't know as just that and I think it all comes down to a place in our lives where we cease to view immortality issues as abstract. And a weakness although you did not ask that one!, is the undesirable trait of changing my mind back and forth. I believe it is called vascillating? In other words I can be convinced to jump from one side of the fence to the other by smooth talking characters. I just hate that about me! Wish I could be more firm and stick with it!
And there you have it, the good, the bad and maybe the downright ugly! whoah nellie I'm on a roll. Hugs, Mollye
Couldn't resist putting her whole answer in, cuz that's the way she always talks, and I love it!
Here are a few of my favorites from her shop. Just click on any of them to go see MizMollye's Etsy store:
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We have this thing about turning on the heat in October around here. It's like a matter of principle or something. No turning on the furnace until November! It's supposed to be to save money, but honestly, there are just 3 days left in this month, so what are we talking about? Three dollars? Whoo-hoo!
Anyway, the upshot is that even with a fire in the fireplace, I spend a lot of time sitting on the bed with a blanket over my legs, listening to the news on TV and working on crafts. This is what I finished up today:
That's it for today, which makes this a nearly Wordless Wednesday. (Or at least, as close to wordless as I'm likely to get!)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Got a sudden craving for Dump Cake yesterday, something I hadn't fixed or had for a couple of years probably, for reasons unknown even to me. It used to be a favorite, because it's so easy to make, and so dangerously delicious.
Anyway, I had the ingredients in the cupboard (which my cabinet-maker husband says we don't have, because a cupboard is literally a board shelf to hold cups, and we have cabinets, but I digress), so I set to work, also deciding to share the fun.
Here's what you'll need:
- Box of chocolate cake mix
- 20 oz can of cherry pie filling
- 1 large apple
- Lemon curd (optional)
- 1 cube butter, cut into thin pats
- Chopped nuts
So, begin by peeling and chopping the apple. Dump the chunks in an 11"x7" cake pan, or whatever you have. Now open the can of cherry pie filling and dump that into the cake pan. Microwave a couple of dollops of lemon curd for about 20 seconds, just enough to liquefy it. Pour it over the apple and pie filling and stir everything together.
Next, pour the dry cake mix over the fruit mixture, spreading it out evenly. Lay the pats of butter, evenly spaced, all over the cake mixture, and then sprinkle as many chopped nuts over everything as you want, or you can leave them off entirely.
It won't resemble a "normal" cake that's ready to go into the oven, but that's okay. Put it in an over preheated to 350F (176.6C), and bake for 1 hour, or until it looks done.
Dish it up and eat it--it's even better with ice cream on top!
This recipe is endlessly adjustable--use more pie filling, or something other than cherry, or a can of pineapple instead of the chopped apple. Canned peaches are good with yellow cake. Use a different flavor cake mix--lemon or yellow are just two suggestions.
Monday, October 26, 2009
It's been a long, literally dirt-y spring and summer, since the DH killed off all the lawn in the central yard, and then dug up the dead grass and all the roots, preparatory to putting in new grass. (Vinegar is what he used as an herbicide, by the way, a nicely natural, non-poisonous-to-animal-types method. You just spray it on, being careful not to get it on any plant you don't want to kill.)
Then DH dug out all the rocks, and leveled the yard, and let it set for a while. He rented a trencher, and he and his son, my DSS Jeff, laid out a sprinkler system, dug the trenches for it, and DH put the lines in. After that, he and Jeff brought in good topsoil and spread that out and leveled it. Then the dirt sat for a while longer.
Not all the sitting was strictly necessary for the health of the new lawn. In fact, most of it was waiting for DH to finish with other, more important tasks.
Finally, though, that last step was taken: DH bought the sod, and over the weekend, while I was minding my booth at Art in the 'Burbs, he put the sod down.
I am way beyond thrilled:
I realize that grass wouldn't be a big deal for a lot of people, but it's the culmination of an entire yard remodel, and I love it.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I was driving through a nearby neighborhood the other day when I spotted the gate, and bit of fence here. I knew if I waited even a day or two, a gust of wind might scatter the leaves, and the beauty I'd seen would be gone, at least until next fall. So the minute I got home, I grabbed the camera, and drove back.
There's a lot more gate than fence in this picture, but I think it's just luscious:
Whew. Long day today. Was up at 6:30, finished packing up China Blossoms and Tea Kettle Characters, while DH loaded the van and car. Then it was off to Alberta-Rider School, where we unloaded and set up my little space for Art in the 'Burbs. The show started at 3, and lasted until 9pm, and will continue through the weekend.
It's 10:30 now, and I've been home long enough for a peanut butter sandwich and piece of pie. Petted our litte doggie, too, who was beside herself to see me, after my day-long absence.
Off to bed now. Good night, World, and sky and hello sleep.
I was driving home from the Art in the 'Burbs sale when a pile of junk sitting against a decrepit shed caught my eye. Something about the colors and unintended composition, almost sculptural, made me pull over, roll down the car window and start shooting:
Click on the photo to see it full-sized, and full resolution.
Happy birthday to my brothers, Wayne and Duane!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Halloween is next week, and the question is, “How are you celebrating Halloween this year?”
My first inclination was to say, “I’m not. I don’t plan on dressing up. The DH hasn’t been in the mood for going out on Halloween in years, and we don’t get enough Trick-or-Treaters to hardly make leaving the porch light on worth it.” That sounded pretty dismal to me, because I love costumes, and I love dressing up. The DH and I used to go out every year…
You know how I’m celebrating this year? I’m reminiscing.
When I was a kid, our costumes were all Mama-made. The boys were hobos and bums and cowboys. I was a gypsy every year that I can remember. I never got tired of it. I got to wear Mama’s lipstick and eye liner and mascara, earrings, and layers and layers of necklaces, and a big swirly skirt. Until I was ten, we lived in warm places, and in that innocent era, my brothers and I roamed wide through the neighborhoods. Our trick-or-treat bags were big brown paper grocery bags, and when they filled up, we’d come home and dump them I the living room floor, and go back out again. People gave full-size candy bars, and popcorn balls, and whole packs of gum. I don’t remember ever getting sick. I think Mama must have hidden much of the haul, and doled it out over several weeks’ time.
We got bigger and started making up our own costumes. One year, I stacked lightweight boxes on my brother Gary’s shoulder until they were level with the top of his head, and strapped them securely in place. He put on Dad’s old pea coat, and the boxes pulled the shoulders of it up high enough that the sleeves were the right length. A pillow on Gary’s chest made the stomach bulge where the coat “said” it should be, and a scarf over his head made him look headless, while letting him see. He looked great.
When I had kids, the fun really began. They were clowns in suits I sewed. A flapper girl. A Rubric’s cube made of a cardboard box with big squares of bright construction paper covered with clear Contac paper to make it shiny. A caterpillar, made with a velour tube dress I created, antennae headband, and a double row of baby shoes all the way down the front. A dandelion—yellow petals covering a knit cap, big green paper leaves that ran down the arms and legs, and a brown turtle neck and tights. A robin with a bright yellow cardboard bill, and yellow rubber gloves for the feet. The obligatory princess, tall, pointed hat and all.
I remember one year, the kids went to a party and took all three of the prizes for best costume!
I went to a party myself one year in that dandelion costume, my face painted, as I’d painted my daughter’s, to look like a lion’s. No one could figure out who I was, and I wouldn’t speak, so they couldn’t guess from my voice. Then I sat down, and one of the guys said, “That’s Anitra! I know that butt!” Can you believe?!
One year, when the DH and I were still dating, we went out country-western dancing for Halloween. He was dressed as a riverboat gambler, a dapper hat, like a stovepipe, but shorter and brown, charcoal satin stripes down the outside seams of his grey slacks, and a black ribbon tie. I had made myself a barroom gal’s dress, all raspberry satin and black lace, with fishnet hose and black fishnet, fingerless gloves, and a black feather mask. I was smokin’. We got to the bar where they were having the party and sat down, and had barely had time to greet our friends, when someone wild-armed the barmaid right behind me, and she dumped an entire beer down the front of my dress. I was soaked, and cold, and reeked of beer. My girlfriend, Jeannine, had a pair of jeans and a polo shirt in the trunk of her car, both two sizes too big for me, and that’s what I wore for the rest of the night.
Another time, I just vamped it up. I was single, and still in my thirties. I put on tight black leather jeans, a maroon satin and lace teddy, which I covered with a black ribbon-work shawl. My best friend, Alice, helped me do my hair and make-up. I even got myself some store-bought painted fingernails. Then I went, alone, to the bar where my dear friend, and former music partner, Paul, was playing. I joined the table where his wife was sitting, and when break came, of course Paul came and sat with us. I gave him a hug, and chatted, but he seemed oddly distant. I couldn’t figure it out. Then something was said, and his jaw dropped, and he said, “Anitra?!” He hadn’t recognized me, At All. That was sweet, let me tell you. I wasn’t even wearing a mask!
I’ve been a witch to the DH’s warlock, and a belly dancer the year he was a Chinaman in richly embroidered silk pajamas.
There’ve been years when we went Trick-or-Treating with the grandkids, too, and basked in the reflected glory of their cuteness. Haven’t done that in a couple of years, though.
But I think I will always love Halloween, whether we look like we’re celebrating it or not.
Hey! We have a ghost at this house. I’m serious. Maybe this Halloween we’ll just sit down and have a drink of bubbly together. Sure would like to know who she is….
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I did it! My goal as to have ten little Tea Kettle Characters made by this weekend's show. There are twelve, if you count the tiny fairy that won't have a face until tomorrow. Yes!
I got pictures of all the finished ones this afternoon, and will just put up one of each for now. Their names are tentative, with a few exceptions. (Ramona, Winston, and Beazel I'm pretty sure of.)
Now all I need to do is label and price them, make gift bags, and finish some more of the greeting cards. Oh, and bring in all the bins of China and Mega Blossoms, choose the ones I'm taking to this show, and make sure everything is priced and has my vendor number on it.
No worries. I've got all day tomorrow. eeek.
And I got the most loveliest blog award a couple of days ago, and haven't even had time to put it here! Tomorrow? I hope!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Another really busy, busy day.
Had it all planned out, which is almost always a mistake, and was on schedule until about 10:30. That's when a friend called to say she'd been in an accident. She was okay, but shaken. The DH and I spent a few hours helping her settle down, retrieved her car, and then took her to the hospital, which she hadn't initially thought she needed to do. They gave her something for pain, and the fire department took her home, since she has MS, had surgery not long ago, had just been in a fender bender, and now was loopy with meds.
Still, I did manage to get the shopping done, and then came home and worked on the little Tea Kettle Characters. Here they are, most of them, a couple still in the upside-down stage, the rest mostly finished.
Click on the image if you'd like a better view.
Good grief. It's midnight. Good night, World!
Monday, October 19, 2009
I'm going to have to start calling this little photography project "Almost a Picture a Day". I'm just too absent-minded. But I did take one shot, of what's keeping me busy today, and tomorrow. I have a show coming up this weekend, and I'd like to have ten new Tea Kettle Characters done for it. Need to get some more of the gift bags sewn, too, since I had them for this show last year, and they were fairly popular.
But here's today's main workspace:
I managed to get seven of the little guys' faces painted, and start the glue-up process on those. Tomorrow, maybe I can paint the other three, and add finishing touches--buttons, fairy wings, hair, etc.
Right now, though, it's 10:20, the kitchen is a mess, thanks in no small part to the fact that tea pots, bowls, saucers, mugs, paints, and other assorted oddments are scattered on every surface but the range. I'm going to do some clean-up, and go to bed.
Good night, and God rest on your pillow.
Friday, October 16, 2009
We have bedroom windows, as do most people. Other people have lovely views, of gardens, or mountains, lakes, or maybe trees. Some people look out on blank walls, derelict buildings...Hey! That's us! We have a great outbuilding of some sort right outside the window, with fascinating areas of peeling paint and a cloudy window. Somewhere there's a designer looking for exactly this bit of Shabby Chic to dress up a landscape. I'm sure of it.
Between the outbuilding, which is in our neighbor's yard, and our window, is a fence. Even better!
Another really cool feature of our "view": There's a dog's face in the fence. I found it just today, and I know I'll never look at that fence the same way again.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
My plan, today, was to make Mama's no-bake cookies. Out came my big loose-leaf notebook of recipes. Not there. The little book I'd used for a while some years back. Not there, either. The big recipe box. The little recipe box. Nope.
I called Mom. She went hunting, and started to read one to me, but before she was half finished, we realized it was similar, but not hers. So was a second one, filed nearby. Finally, she said she'd find it and call me back.
In the meantime, all that recipe browsing had reminded me of a bunch of other recipes that are begging to be made, but the one that topped the list was an apple cake recipe I got from a neighbor friend many years ago. I no longer even remember her name, but I thank her for the Best Apple Cake recipe ever.
Here's what you'll need:
- 4 cups unpeeled chopped apples (I promise you won't notice the peels!)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teas vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teas baking soda
- 2 teas cinnamon
- 1 teas salt
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the apples and nuts.
Mix together the liquid ingredients, and add to the dry. Stir gently until everything is well-mixed. The batter will be quite thick, but as they cook the apples will "juice up", adding the moisture needed.
Spoon the batter into a greased and floured baking pan. Mine was 7 x 11 inches, but you could also use a 9 x 13.
Bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until a knife inserted at the center comes out clean. (I actually had to cook this one for nearly an hour, because of the smaller pan, but it made for a thicker cake.)
I'd intended to drizzle caramel syrup over the plates before serving, but found we were out of it, so I served it as I had 100% of the time before--just as it came from the baking dish, no frosting or adornment at all. It really doesn't need it.
DH had a one-word description, with his mouth still full of his first bite: "Gooood!"
Posted by Anitra Cameron at 8:18 PM
It's coming back to me, how lovely fall is. Every year I thrill to Spring, and bask in Summer's sunshine, and dread Fall because it's taking us into the cold, dark months, and then it's here. Autumn leaves, bluster, misty moisty mornings, and rain. And then I remember the beauty.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Today's photo is...
It was really good, too. I started the chicken cooking, then sprinkled it with the better part of an envelope of dry onion soup mix. After a while the chicken began to look kind of lonely in that big skillet, so I added a couple of handfuls of carrots, and then, the cabbage.
When everything was tender but not mushy, I dished it up, along with fresh orange segments and chunks of banana--yum!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sometimes you just don't know what you're going to take a picture of until you see it. All day long possibilities presented themselves, and yet none of them made me grab the camera. Until I looked down and saw my knee:
By the way, that shiny object in yesterday's photo was a tiny cube of shattered glass, stuck in the pavement.