Thursday, September 30, 2010


ATCs: My newest delightful hobby. Thanks to, I'm exploring them more or less regularly, meaning I've signed up for several ATC swaps and have completed two, for a total of four ATCs. That's a start, right?

I did two of them today, and they're nearly identical:

The theme, as you might guess was "Apple". I first found a clipart image of two apples, saved it to my computer, simplified and resized it, and then printed four of them out on a clear acetate sheet. I suspected I'd mess up at least one of them; I was right.

While (I vainly hoped) the ink was drying on the acetate, I took two pages from an old dictionary, one with the word "apple" on it, the other with the word "fruit". I painted an area on each of them a little bigger than the ATCs would be with red, brown, magenta, and green paints on a fairly dry brush, and then stamped APPLE and POMME on both of them. (I have a stamp that you can load with whatever letters you need, and I LOVE it.)

The hardest part was gluing the acetate sheets down. The ink never did dry, and it smeared with the slightest touch. I put a dab of glue on the two places that had no inking, and glued them, image side down, and when the glue was dry I painted on two coats of gel medium.

When that was dry, I took a fine-tip black Sharpie and drew over some of the lines. That was the last step.

They turned out okay, I think, and I learned something valuable: don't try to inkjet print on acetate!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Just two pictures each of two fences today, and I'm late! I'll cheat and tell the computer I posted them yesterday, but here it is, after eight in the morning on Saturday, and I'm just putting the photos up. I tried last night, but was soooo tired.

But with good reason! This weekend is the 18th Annual Parker Ladies' Night Out, and yesterday I drove to Seaside, on the Oregon coast, to be with the thirty-four of my cousins, mom, Aunt Charlotte, and second and third cousins, and first cousins twice removed, etc. who could make it.

There are no children, and no men allowed at the reunions. It's just as many women from my Mom's side of the family as can come. Every year, it seems, there's someone we've never met, or a cousin who wasn't old enough to come before. Last night, we sat in the living room and introduced ourselves, telling our names, where we live, and which of the Parker siblings we sprang from--"I'm Anitra, Lee Parker was my Grandpa, and I live in Portland". "I'm Cordie. Conor Parker was my dad, and I'm named for his Mama, Cordie Bell."

It is so much fun to get together. A little strange, too, to watch us all age. I realized on the way to the coast yesterday that I was no longer one of the young people. How weird is that?! I still feel very young! And then someone said of my mama, "I think Pawnee is the matriarch this year." My mom, the oldest one left standing. Her Aunt Katie is bedridden now, and living sometime in her youth, in her mind. Cousin Melody says sometimes Great-aunt Katie will do something like give a little pleased gasp, say, "O! There he is!" and then wiggle her fingers in a hello wave and almost giggle, "Hellooo!" Melody says it's really cute.

But the fences. I took the bird fence picture on a brief walk after I arrived here. The other fence I spotted last year, loved, but didn't get back to before the hydrangeas had gone.


Time for breakfast, and then a couple of crafts, and then a shopping contest: Take no more than five dollars, buy a gift, bring it back to the house and wrap and number it. We'll have a gift exchange, and then vote on who's the best bargain hunter. Now doesn't that sound like all kinds of fun? I think so!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I am so enjoying the Yahoo! group "Decorative Envies". It's a small group, with a simple aim: Make its members' mailboxes happier by sending pretty and/or interesting mail to each other. Real mail. Snail mail, if you will.

Each month a theme is announced for each of two categories, Decorated Envelopes (Envies) and Postcards. You can sign up, or not; there's no requirement to be in all the swaps, just the ones you're interested in and have time for.

This month's theme for the envelope was Music, and included not just the envelope, but a note card and tag. I had a great time creating the set I sent!

The front of the envelope

The back of the envie

The note care

The tag front

First inside tag page

Close up

Second set of pages of tag

These were made for my dear friend Miz Mollye, who has already emailed me to say she loves them! YAY!!!

Now I have to admit I haven't done the postcard yet, which has a book theme. I know what I'm going to do though, I think....

If this sounds like fun to you, too, search the Yahoo! Groups for Decorative Envies. I know they'd welcome you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SUNDAY RERUN: Portland Pirates, 2009

Time to repost a favorite! (Everyone has favorite blog posts; Click on the button in the lefthand sidebar to join Chari's Sunday Favorites blog party!)

This week I'm posting a slide show of pictures from last year's Portland Pirate Festival. It's what I'm doing this weekend, only we have wet, Wet, WET weather to contend with.

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!

Gotta run now--it's time to get into pirate wench mode, and go paint, hopefully, a whole lot of little pirate faces and arms!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

SHOW & TELL SATURDAY: Rain, rain, rain

Well, I spent a wet day at the Portland Pirates Festival yesterday. It wasn't actually raining when I got there to open my booth, but had rained so much during the night that my skirt was wet six inches up from the hem, and my shoes, socks, and feet were damp all day.

For some of the day, it just poured buckets. Even the ground was so wet that the legs of my stools were sinking into it, even though I had a heavy cloth spread for them to sit on. One man sat down on the stool to have his face painted, and the back legs sank in so deep the stool toppled! He jumped up and didn't fall, but after that, when a child sat down, I'd make sure his/her feet were on the top step (it's one of those with steps that fold out) and then firmly plant one of mine on the bottom, just to be safe.

Still, Portlanders are a hardy lot. It was POURING rain (notice the drips from my tent pennants) and while attendance was down, a lot of people didn't carry umbrellas or even seem to notice they were getting wet. I was soaked just getting from my booth to the car to go home, but we've had so much rain this year, I think people have given up caring.

I took this video later in the day. Before this, the crowds seemed almost as heavy as they have been in other years.

The forecast for the day shows some heavy showers on the way, but scattered, and it looks like maybe it won't be raining when I take down the booth.

Oh, and immediately after the festival, I have another event, a pub sing to benefit Portland Revels. I'll be helping to lead the singing. I don't think I'll have a chance to change out of my Pirate Wench costume. Pray that I'm not too bedraggled when I get there!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Just pictures today. The flowers at Eagle Crest were so pretty....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've been editing the photos from our crafty vacation, and finally have them ready to show off!

First, I'll show you a few views of the condo we stayed at:

You see the view from a few steps outside the front door, the kitchen and dining rooms, and the living room, with my bed folded down out of the wall, and the view out the living and dining room windows. It's such a pleasant place to stay!

Well known fact: I'd much rather be behind the camera than in front of it, so you see everyone but me in these photos! But the montage above shows Aunt Charlotte (in pink), my mom, and my daughter, working at various crafts.

We made gift tags, something none of us had ever done, using manila tags, magazine illustrations, stamps and ink, stickers, ribbon, and various other embellishments. We decorated and stamped the backs, too, but I'll just show you the fronts:

First three of December's tags

Second three of December's tags

Aunt Charlotte's tags

Mama's tags, with the back of the yellow one inset

My tags

We also made bird feeders from pretty cups and old light fixtures. December packed hers before I took the shots, and I didn't get to make one, but here you see


Aunt Charlotte's

Another craft was to decoupage or decal pictures onto the glass in small frames, which we then glued to gold-painted plaques. We also embellished the pictures with glitter, dabs of gold paint, and in Mama's case, a glittery and fuzzy snowflake. A votive stands behind the pictures, and when you light the candle, it softly back lights and shines through the picture:

Aunt Charlotte's




We made hummingbird feeders from old bottles, glass tiles, and flat marbles:

And we made Cook Book Bookmarks and put together Mug Em's, which I didn't photograph, since we'd done them before. (You can see the Mug Em's from last year here, though.)

I have just one fuzzy photo of Mama's bookmarks, because I thought I'd done a blog entry on them before and was just going to point you to it. These panels are from a 1940's cook book I picked up. I copied the cartoon panels, printed some in B&W, and others with a bit of color, and we backed them with scraps of fabric we fringed at the top and bottom:

I think we got quite a lot accomplished, especially when you consider that we also spent two whole mornings thrifting. We arrived at the condo late Monday afternoon, so no crafting that day, went thrifting until 3pm on Tuesday, and until 11 am on Wednesday, crafted in the afternoons, put together lovely lunches and dinners (everyone fended for themselves at breakfast), and played cards until late every night. And December and I managed to squeeze in two swim/hot tubbing excursions, we rented and all watched The Time Traveler's Wife, and got all of the thirty aprons Mama wants to put in her Etsy shop ironed and photographed. And we still managed to check out at noon on Friday!

It was an awesome four-day week, and I can't wait until next year so we can do it again!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

SUNDAY RERUN: Precious Memories

Time for another Sunday Favorites/Sunday Re-Runs entry. Want to join the fun (because it really is great to do the look-back thing)? Click on the Sunday Re-Run button in the left sidebar, which will take you to Chari's blog and the instructions.

The sleeping angel you see below is now eleven.

This is my daredevil granddaughter!

She doesn't look like this all the time--she is one wild little thing, with no fear whatsoever. She's been climbing and sliding down the 12 foot steel slide at the park, on her own, since she was just barely two. Climb. Whoosh! Thump! flat on her little bottom, over and over and over...

This is about Mom, and is a sort of vignette.

When we lived in Hawaii, Dad sold sterling silver, moonlighting to supplement his Navy pay. Sometimes his sales demonstrations took place at our home on Nigh Circle.

(How do you "demonstrate" silverware? Each pattern has a story. Then you stand on a teacup. Uhmm. Ask Dad.)

It was obvious to Mom and Dad that you couldn't do something like that in front of five kids, so Mom would take us outside.

In one of my most cherished memories, I can see the six of us on a blanket spread on the lawn at the end of the house. I lay there, alternately watching Mom and stargazing, while she read to us. The story was Thumbelina. And then she sang...

Thumbelina, Thumbelina
Tiny little thing,
Thumbelina dance,
Thumbelina sing.
Thumbelina what's the difference
If you're big or small?
When your heart is full of love,
You're nine feet tall.

Other memories, brief, but clear:

Grandma Parker to me: “Anitra, stop leading with your belly.”

Aunt Charlotte carrying me through the shadowy, scary woods to visit somebody. (You didn’t know it was scary? You weren’t three years old!) I felt safe because I was with her.

Grandpa Parker, after everyone had oohed and aahed over how beautiful newly-born Melody was: He sidled up to the sofa where she was lying, looked kind of over his shoulder at her, and wryly said, “Ugly little thing, idn’t it?”

Aunt Micki trying to pronounce “foot”. That French accent never let her get any closer than something that sounded like it rhymed with “toot”.

Daddy taking me to work with him when I was about six. He sat me at a drawing table and gave me paper, colored pencils, and some dark blue (is there any other colour?) carbon paper. When I saw that my beautiful, colorful artwork was duplicated all in navy, I was soured on carbon paper for the rest of my childhood.

I made a quilt for Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary. After that, anytime we stayed the night she would spread the quilt on the bed and admonish us, “Now, y’all be careful with that quilt. My grand-daughter made it for me and I don’t want anything to happen to it!” Every time. No exceptions.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Our condo. We had the lower level.

Okay. That was a teaser. I'm not really going to tell about the week yet, but I will show a few pictures, just of the condo and the four of us.

Aunt Charlotte, Mama, & my daughter December

Me, Mama, and December

Our crafty vacation ended yesterday at noon. December and I made pretty good time--three and a half hours from Redmond, Oregon to home, chattering like magpies all the way, except for times when she was copying recipes from the awesome cookbook I picked up at one of the thrift stores we'd gone to. I finally told her she could just borrow it; I know she'll bring it back.

I was too exhausted by the time I got home to do much of anything except vegetate, especially since we'd taken time before the drive home for a swim and soak in the hot tub. This morning, I got the DH off to his remodel, which is blessedly near being completed, and then rushed to get ready for a Trillium board meeting, after which I went to Value Village (Oh, my. Can you say SCORE?!) and Joann's. Home for a quick bit of lunch, change of clothes, and then off to our friend Bruce's, where I pounded nails in or pulled them out of lumber he'd thrown in the front yard for the burn pile, and loaded them in to the back of my car. Finished that up in time to get home and fix dinner, and yes, I'm even more tired tonight than I was last night!

Almost forgot: Just before jumping into the car to run load wood, I grabbed my camera and got a few shots of the Grandpa Ott morning glories and crocosmia out in the yard:

Aren't they beautiful?

I'm looking forward to tomorrow: I finally got to my email and found out who my partner is for the Decorative Envies postcard and envelope swaps. Oh, I am Smiling!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


About twenty years ago, my parents bought into one of those time share vacation deals, nothing really fancy, but nice. Each year they paid maintenance fees that entitled them to a week-long stay in one of a number of resorts. I’m sure they didn’t realize they were about to create a tradition when they did it, but that’s exactly what they did.

My living room, this past Sunday, tells a part of the story of that tradition:

Each of those piles you see stacked around on the chairs and sofa represents a craft we’ll be doing this week, up at the condo at Eagle Crest in Redmond, Oregon. I’ve been gathering the materials for days, and when it started to feel like one big overwhelming jumble, along about Friday, I finally got smart and pulled out some big note cards, wrote a craft on each one, and organized the items by projects.

Then I put each stack into its own box or bag, and Monday morning, I started packing it all into the car.

Our week at the condo has arrived!

The cast of characters has changed over the years. It started with Mom, Dad, Uncle Walt, Auntie Jewel, my husband and I. Each year, we women would each plan two or three crafts and assemble the materials and instructions for making them, and plan meals for the week, and on the appointed date we would meet at whichever resort Mom and Dad had chosen.

We very quickly established a routine: Breakfast, and then the women would head out to the thrift stores and garage sales, searching out the things for crafts that hadn’t yet been found. The guys would golf or sight-see. We’d all reassemble at the condo for lunch, after which the men would read, nap, or go out again, and then the women would craft until it was time to quit for dinner. After dinner, we might rest for a bit, walk, or ride our bikes. Then it was cards until late.

We’re a close family. It has always been a week of laughter, stories, the sweetness of just being together. Add in a solid week of crafting, and it’s such bliss that I start looking forward to the next one before we ever get home.

Last year was hard. My Dad’s brother, my Uncle Walt had died some years back, but we’d carried on. Mama’s sister, Auntie Charlotte, joined us. Then, two and a half years ago, Dad passed away, and less than six months later, darling Auntie Jewel. We didn’t go to the condo that year, and I wondered if Mom would ever have the heart for it again, but we put the week together for 2009. It wasn’t the same. No Uncle Walt, no Auntie Jewel, and no Dad. We added my daughter and granddaughter, but we didn’t play cards, and Auntie Charlotte had to leave two days early.

Oops. No Auntie Charlotte--she was taking the picture!

It took some doing to talk Mama into giving it another go this year. It’s still Mama, Auntie Charlotte, and me, but my husband is working hard on a remodel and couldn’t come, and the daughter who came last year couldn’t either. My youngest daughter, December, could though, so it’s four women, and a great, big, pile of crafts.

I am writing this on our second night at the condo. We are exhausted. We got up and planned our day this morning, went out and shopped (and boy, did we score some bargains!), came home and ate lunch (at 3:20!) crafted until dinner, and then ate a luscious meal prepared by December—Quiche and French toast made with apple strudel bread topped with real maple syrup or homemade blackberry syrup. And then we played cards.

Scattered through the day were stories, many of them about Dad or Auntie Jewel, or Uncle Walt.

Tomorrow, we will do it all over again. It’s a family tradition.

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