Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Do you live in or near Portland, Oregon? Come do your day-after-Thanksgiving where it will benefit local artists! I'd love to meet you, if we haven't already met, and love seeing you again if we have.

In case the type on the flyer is too small, here's the pertinent info:

Friday, Nov. 28, 2pm-8pm
Saturday, Nov. 29, 10am-5pm
SMILE Station
8210 SE 13th
Portland, OR

Friday, November 21, 2008


So, I recounted. Last week was #10; this is #11.

Two fences this week. They are both nearly invisible, one because of what's in front of it, and the other because of what's piled behind it.

I nearly laughed aloud when I saw this first one. For some reason, it just strikes me funny. I find myself wondering whether it's a fence or a loosely-woven basket. This fence was not, by the way, hidden in some back area on an unpaved and pot-holed alley. Nope. Right on the street, in someone's front yard. But I have to admit my yard sometimes gets away from me, too, so maybe I shouldn't say anything more!

Don't make me release the flying debris!

Now, the next one, I'll have to confess I was hoping there was a fence in there somewhere, because I loved the color and form of the yellow bamboo. There is!

Look closely. The fence itself was about four feet high, but almost completely hidden.

Oh, man. I want a "fence" like this one.

Yellow sticks, walking

Yellow, green, blue--like angular flowers, or cranes' legs

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I've been wanting to put some of my music online for years now. I decided today was the day, in spite of the difficulties I was having. I don't know how to have an mp3 hosted somewhere, although I know for a fact that I could do that. YouTube takes only video files, so I couldn't just upload the music there. Finally, it occurred to me to play the tunes in the Windows Media Player and record the randomization with the music with my camera.

My apologies for the clicking noise. It's my camera, and I can't seem to keep it from making it.

This tune is titled "Various Stages of Decline". It was written by my dear friend Paul Lerman, and you'll hear him on bazouki (picture a mandolin with 8 strings and a very long neck), and me on flute.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A brief entry today. One poem that I wrote, and a more visual one, by God.

Harvest Time

August sings a turbulent song
That rustles the grass as it tumbles along,
Then harvest comes to lay the fields bare,
And October weeps for the stubble there,
'Til Winter, in mercy, covers it o'er
And holds its breath for the Spring in store,
When Earth drinks joy as storm clouds sigh,
And fields sprout life as old seeds die,
And the head of grain in dust bowed down
Will rise up green, with a spiky crown.

Burgundy, Black, and Gray

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This month's featured Etsy Blogger is Story Beader. There's a reason for her name: Each of her creations comes with a story. I know that if I were wearing her jewelry, I'd be thinking of the story behind the piece each time I put it on, which gives a dimension to her work you don't usually find.

I just clicked through all the offerings in her Etsy store, and chose six favorites to show you. Here they are:

You can click on any image and be taken right to it in her shop. You can also read and smile through her blog here: It's a pretty, and pleasant stroll through an artist's life, one I'm sure you'll enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008


I'm thinking about Thanksgiving. It will be different this year. It's our first Thanksgiving without Dad.

What are my favorite Thanksgiving traditions? We don't, didn't, really have that many. Get the entire family together, mix in a few compatible friends, usually people who live far from their own families, cook an enormous dinner amidst considerable hubbub and confusion, eat too much, and then play.

An after-dinner game of spoons

Mom and Dad have the biggest house, and it's always made sense for all of us to gather there, but Mama, now eighty-three years old, is finding the commotion a little hard to deal with. It isn't so much the cooking, I think, it's all of her kids, and the spouses, and the grandchildren chattering at once, and the lovely but inconvenient fact that we all tend to cluster in the kitchen.

You can't see them, but there are at least 3 other people in this kitchen, all busy!

Picture a kitchen, large enough, to be sure, but a kitchen where a feast is being prepared. The turkey. Giblets simmering on the stove. Potatoes being peeled at the sink. Sweet potato casserole being put together at the counter. Veggie Dessert, home-made cranberry sauce, gravy, dinner rolls, and more, all in various stages of preparation by at least three cooks at a time. Now add a couple of men and women standing around or sitting at the kitchen bar, drinking coffee, nibbling whatever they can get their hands on, a phone call or two from miles-distant friends and relatives, and three or four toddlers dashing through or clamoring for drinks, hugs, or attention. It is, in a word, pandemonium.

Typical scene from the next room

I called Mom last week, knowing her stress level was already ratcheting up as she played the memories in her mind, no doubt adding the weight of Dad's absence, and said, "Mom, I have an idea. Bob and I will be there a couple of days ahead of time. Let's make a list of..."

"Anitra, I always make lists! I have a menu list, a shopping list, a list of which dishes to use. It just doesn't help when there are so many people!"

"Mom, that's good, but I'm talking about a different kind of list." And I explained, "When I chaired the Revels auction, I knew that once we were in the space there'd be dozens of people coming to me, wanting to know what they could do, and I needed to not have to answer questions about it all afternoon, so I could get my own work done. I made up a list called, 'What Can I Do?' and taped it to one of the tables."

"Ohhh," Mom said. She was getting it.

"If anyone asked what they could do," I went on, "I said, 'Check the list on the table; take a task; and mark it off.' We're going to do that for this Thanksgiving. We'll put, 'Set the table' on it, and specify which dishes to use. 'Ask people what they want to drink' will be another, and 'Put ice in the glasses'. We'll just list everything that will need to be done, and then you won't have to answer fifty million questions on top of everything else."

She liked it! She liked! Makes me smile to think I may have taken a teensy bit of the work off her shoulders.

But traditions. Is what I've written a tradition, all that commotion? It's a loving and happy laughter-filled cacophony, but I'm not sure that's a tradition.

The traditions I can think of center around Dad. Dad at the head of the table, Mom holding sway at the other end. Dad asking, "What are you grateful for? Let's go around the table, and everyone say what they're Thankful for this year." Dad leading the prayer.

Dad carving the turkey. Dad helping himself to ham, his "favorite fruit". Dad getting a bunch of us around the table in the evening to play cards, keeping score in his elegant handwriting, using his own system of columns and initials. Dad. After the food, it's all about Dad.

This is not going to be easy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yesterday was Holiday Faire at Cascade College, their, oh, I don't know, forty-somethingth annual sale, and my third at the college. It may be the last one for both, all, of us. The college will close at the end of the spring semester. Feels weird, to think the college I attended won't exist anymore.

This being my third year, I knew one very important thing: The gym, where they hold the sale, is large, but quite dark. The first year I did it, it felt like having my booth set up in a garage. Off-putting atmosphere for shopping, and I didn't want to repeat that.

Last year I brought an LED light strip and a couple of battery-operated LED spot lights. It wasn't enough, and the batteries died before the end of the day.

This year I was prepared. At every estate sale I went to for weeks this summer, I kept my eyes open for those clamp-on work lights. I now have five, and paid a dollar each for them, and when I set up my booth Friday, one went in each upper corner of the booth, and then a string of mini-lights went the length of the two tables, the red bulbs surrounded by "silk" poinsettia petals. That was a Goodwill score--$2.99, and really pretty! Oh, and I didn't put the canopy on, to let even more light in. The organizers like you to set up an actual booth, to create sort of a "village" look, so I put up just the frame, and wrapped tinsel garland on the front and open side.

I was glad I took my camera, to get pictures. Here's the booth:

Long shot of my booth

A stand of China and Mega Blossoms

The Gift Bags table

Gift Bags, closer

They really do encourage decorated booths at this event, to the extent that they give awards for the best three. Guess what? Mine took First Prize! No actual prize attached to that, but the ego stroke works nicely for me.

The last shot shown here is of the new gift bags. They're lying flat in big flat baskets (another Goodwill find, and again, just $2.99 each. Yay!), but I put items in all three bag types to show how the gift bags looked when you did them up. I was a little surprised to see how many people still needed an explanation/demonstration, but was happy to give it, of course, and later one of the other vendors came by to tell me that a woman who'd bought several of the bags was so enthusiastic about her purchase that she pulled them out to show off and demonstrate herself! Cool!

Now all I have to do is get them photographed and up on Etsy.

The sale went well, and three of Mama's aprons sold (YES!!) as well as a goodly amount of my own stuff. It took several hours on Friday to set up, and I had an unexpected VERY late night, got up early and was at the venue by eight am, without benefit of breakfast or coffee (thank goodness they had coffee there!). I subsisted on coffee and cheese sticks until the show ended at four, with tear-down afterwards, but enjoyed the day.

Three of my grandkids were there, which was wonderful, and we got to visit for a while. Justin cracked up when he saw the tag line for the Coffee Pot People--"Inside every coffee pot is some poor soul standing on its head"--and I turned one of the little guys upside down for Adrienne, because at eight years of age she wasn't quite getting the joke.

"If this coffee pot were in someone's kitchen," I explained to Adrienne, "it would be like this." And there was this "person", coffee pot now right side up, but face and body upside down, standing on its head. "Imagine spending your whole life like that!" I said, eliciting a delighted exclamation from her.

There were other people there from my student days, which was sweet, and we visited. In the background of each conversation was the knowledge that we usually see each other only once a year, at this sale. The school is closing. Will this be the last visit in a long while?

By the time I got home, I was too tired to fix dinner, but Bob wasn't hungry, so I ate reheated soup, wine and cookies, and was so tired I went to bed before seven. What a day!

Friday, November 14, 2008


This may actually be #10, but who's counting?

It is, for sure, the Friday Fence Post for my Dad's birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad. I imagine you eating angel food cake, lit with stars. Just don't blow them out! And Dad? I'm dedicating this post to you, with love.

I took photos of just one fence this week, but it was a really interesting one. Here are the pics:

Look at it turned on its side. Cool, huh? Kinda looks like a road to me.

I'm late posting this, and resisting the urge to add "as usual". It really was a hectic day, though. Hit the road running, at a little before seven this morning, and didn't stop until eight in the evening.

Trillium is having a holiday sale tomorrow, with everything in the store 10% off, and refreshments and free gift wrapping for all. I stayed up until about 11:30 baking cookies for that, and then headed over this morning to set up the gift wrap station, for which I donated 30 of my fabric gift bags and most of my stash of vintage Christmas wrap, and a bunch of small boxes.

Before that, though, I rounded up everything I'd need for the show I'm doing at Cascade College tomorrow--all the bins and baskets full of China and Mega Blossoms, gift bags, Tea Kettle Characters--oh, forget the list. I have a 10X10 booth, and each show fills our van and usually a good bit of my car. I had all of it in the driveway by the time Bob gto back from picking up the tables, which our daughter had borrowed.

After Trillium, it was a quick-as-I-could-make-it trip through Joann's, where I picked up thread, a bigger cutting mat, some sterling wire and head pins, and a new magazine. Everything was at least 40% off.

I was actually running ahead of schedule, so instead of grabbing a cup of coffee on the road to eat with my low carb bar, I went home and had it there, and even took a few minutes for a bona fide break. Then Bob and I jumped in our vehicles and drove over to the college and spent the next several hours setting up my booth. By the time I was done enough there it was nearly six, time to rush home and get ready for dinner out, and also run to the store for some last minute purchases for the show.

Dinner at 8:30 or a bit later. Ten o'clock now, and I'm tired, but I think everything's done, ready for tomorrow. Show starts at 9am. Planning to be there by 8.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The Fall

My head has claimed a gnarled root
for a pillow;
Its rough caresses curve
with the back of my neck.
This upward view is all meandering whorls.
My eyes and I are besotted
like village idiots
drunk on acorns, oak leaves, and mistletoe.
If I rise I will stumble on my thoughts,
I cling to the ground with the small of my
clutch, white-knuckled,
the short blades of grass.

But it is not the earth that quakes,
and I fell long ago.


Sunday, November 9, 2008


Someone on Etsy posted a Forums thread asking to see people's workspaces. Well, she inspired me to do an actual blog about it.

Before I post the photos, though, I have to say they show only two spots I'm known to use. To my husbands continual dismay, I am almost literally everywhere with my work. The only rooms I haven't used yet are the bathroom and utility room. I'm working on trying to contain myself, but sometimes I just think it's hopeless. I mean, I can't sew in my shop, and the dining room's the logical spot for packaging, and that ping pong table in my offfice is such a nice, big, flat surface....

And I'm ADD. I don't know why, but it seems to mean I get way too spread out, and my work areas get more and more cluttered. sigh.

My Official Shop

Drill, baby, drill!

China Blossoms in the yard

Saturday, November 8, 2008


You go search cold arcane science,
If you can.
Will the starry vaults of night and time and mathematical equations
Smother your soul’s fire?
Will sudden muses wither your parasites of logic?

Me, I will study this rainbow,
And get back to you.
Tomorrow or yesterday.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm learning something about fences as the weeks go by: Unkempt, decrepit fences are much more interesting than "pretty" ones. In fact, pretty fences can be downright boring.

No worries, though. There are lots and lots of "interesting" fences around!

Here are today's:


Curling up with a Fence

Who's holding up whom?

Vines al Fresco

Not Quite White

Speckled Post

Marcel Proust said, "The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new places, but in seeing with new eyes”. I was thinking about that the other day, and realized that's part of what affects me when I look for the fences I photograph. The patchwork fence in today's post is one I have driven by at least once or twice a week for nearly a decade, and yet I never even noticed it until I started the Friday Fence Posts.

In some way, I hope these posts do the same for others. New eyes see new things, even in places we've looked many, many times.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


It's that time of year again. The leaves, with their brilliant autumn colors are falling, catching my eye, making me reach for my camera. I spotted this one the other day as I was walking through the yard. It had floated down from its perch in the maple and taken a seat in a rusty lawn chair.

Wine on rust



Textures of Autumn

This was a lovely day. I drove out to Dundee to take care of my granddaughter, and after a brief snuggle on the sofa, catching up on what she'd been up to, and meeting her new "baby", a teensy white stuffed mouse that still looks like cat to me, we chose flowered tights to go with her dress and put those and her shoes on, gathered up a small bucket of toys she wanted to give to her second cousins, had a bite of breakfast, and headed to my Mom's.

I had the singular pleasure of teaching her a few more words. Megan had asked how soon we would be at G-ma's (G-ma=Great Grandma), and I told her we'd be there after we drove through the woods, the forest.

"Nana," she asked from the back seat, "What's a fowest?"

It instantly struck me how many things we take for granted, such as assuming a four-year-old knows what a forest is. I explained it to her, telling her, "Watch for a whole lot of tall trees. We're going to drive right through a whole bunch of trees. That's a forest. That's the woods."

Then I sang a snippet of "Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go," and told her we'd do that, too--go over a river.

"Nana. I don't know what a wiveh is. What's a wiveh?"

Why was that so sweet for me, teaching her those terms? I don't know. Maybe it's just that I love her so much, these small conversations are all precious.

Once we were at Mom's, it was, as usual, pretty pandemonious. (If that isn't already a word, it should be!) It had not registered with my niece, Cat, that we were coming, but she and her three little ones were home, and the four children played happily, running up the stairs to join Mama and me whenever they could "escape", and Mama and I fairly tore through our respective to-do lists--bring in the Christmas gifts I'd picked up for Mama, show her how to change her online user name for her banking account, go through the box of costume jewelry inherited from Auntie Jewel, have a bite to eat, run to the post office--we never do have enough time.

Mama wanted to take me to The Elks thrift store, so I could see what they'd done with their recent upgrade/remodel. It's much cleaner, and more open, but it isn't as much fun as it used to be, when it was packed with racks and bins, and they've raised their prices. Still, I did find three painted metal trays for Mega Blossoms, priced "low enough".

As we walked out, I told Mom, "Give it a little time. It will go back to where it was after awhile."

We did have some down and damp and mildly grubby fun. One thing new is a big bin of clothing they put in the covered alcove outside. Anything in that is free, and Mom and I went through the entire thing, picking out a couple of dozen garments. Some of them are so nice that Mama will wash and/or iron them and take them to the consignment store in McMinnville. Others had pretty buttons to cut off. Oh, and they're put a waterfall rack out, too, such as you'd use for displaying purses. I disassembled it and put it into the back of the car. Store fixtures for free are, like, unheard of.

Then it was back to her house, to gather up Meggie, and head on home. Too short a day, by far, but dear.

Now I'm home. DH is asleep beside me, the political shows are chattering at me while I type. Time to say, Good night.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Going on ten o'clock at night, Tuesday, November 4, 2008. I think we are witnessing a new day in this country.

Monday, November 3, 2008


I've got two new little Tea Kettle Characters to show off! I'm just going to post the photos.


I wonder what he's thinking

I sure wish I knew how to do a gif--I'd make Orin spin in circles!

Now, Violet:

Violet and a tiny friend

I love the sun shining through her hat

Such a sweet expression

Going for a walk

It's nearly 11pm Pacific Standard Time. In a few hours, the polls will open back East. DH and I plan to go over to Trillium in the morning and get some shelving taken care of. After that, I'm pretty sure we'll be at home, glued to the television, biting our nails, hoping, hoping...

God bless and protect our country, and this election.

Please VOTE!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


A while back, my daughter called to see if I wanted to go to the airport with her and my granddaughter, to have lunch. It struck me as a fairly odd idea. I mean, airports are for catching flights to somewhere else, right? They are not, in themselves, a destination.

Turns out I was wrong, and the idea was quite a good one.

We drove to the airport, which is a mere five minutes from my house. The fun began as we left the parking garage. It's been years in the building, and I haven't been there in at least a year. In that time, the architects and builders, and yes, gardeners, have transformed the bulky, looming, concrete exterior of the garage into the Hanging Gardens of Portland.

The view from the skywalk to the airport

We had lunch in a restaurant that had windows facing the blacktop where jets pulled up to gates, little trucks with trains of baggage tooled around, and workers did whatever they do on the tarmac around jets. Meggie and her little friend, Ireland, loved watching the activity. Almost as much as they did inspecting the contents of their juice glasses.

What's in there?

I'm pretty sure our next stop was the play structure near the security check point you go through to get to the boarding areas, the gates.

Slip sliding around

Then, armed with my camera, we went shopping down the concourse. The idea was to scout out ideas for later, when we were actually ready to do a little Christmas shopping. Find the cool things, photograph them, and create a catalogue of items we might want to come back for.

Painting with water

The above was a big hit with Meggie and my daughter. It was a tablet a bit darker than the gray of newsprint, and paint brush. Plain water was the "paint", and when you first brushed it on, it was very pale, then deepened to dark gray, and then gradually disappeared completely, so you could create again and again on the same sheet.

Photoclip mobile

I thought the photo mobile was a great idea, but confess I'm more likely to make my own than to buy one!

Wreck This

I don't remember what the inside of this journal looked like, but it was really neat. Melody and I both fell in love with it.

And we looked at the Bunny Suicides book in front of it, too. I thought it was rather macabre. Big controversy here now over its being in a local middle school's library.

Bicycle bells in a bowl

(Had to add the "in a bowl" for the sheer alliteration of it!) It's been a long time since I saw this kind of bicycle bell, and I think they're absolutely adorable. But I seriously doubt I could bring myself to spend $20 on one.

Eyesore, indeed

My favorite is the one that says, "Keep an eye out". I think of Bruce when I see eyeballs, of course. I carried an eyeball keychain for months after he put his out, and we decided "his" song is now, "I only have eye for you," which still makes me laugh. I know. I'm one sick puppy. It's one of those times when you might as well laugh, because crying won't help.

Robot love

These little guys I may go back for. I love them, especially the Daddy Long Legs type. You should see it bouncing around the table!

And that's how you Photo Shop! Fabulous fun, and except for parking and lunch, we didn't spend a dime. Okay, okay, okay. I bought a greeting card and some stickers. But the card was really funny!

We had a great day, one I'd like to repeat soon, and often.

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