Friday, May 29, 2009


I've often thought that well-kept, tidy, new, clean fences were not as interesting as decrepit, dilapidated fences draped in the dishabille of age. (Sorry. The alliteration was just there, and I couldn't resist its Herculean force.)

Today's fences are the "exceptions that prove the rule", whatever the heck that means.


Monday, May 25, 2009


It's been a while since I sent a Coffee Pot Person on vacation. This seemed like a good day to send Lumin somewhere, but where?


Lumin & the Westport Lighthouse

And as long as I was working with my little vacationers, I reworked Harold Angel:

Harold, watching over highway construction

I also, today, unloaded the utility trailer, which was full of old wooden pallets, some broken, some whole. I had to promise, Scout's honor, to wear gloves, and be very careful, and quit instantly if I cut myself.

Why would I want to? Because it needed doing, I like physical labor, and with muscles, it's use 'em or lose 'em. Statistically speaking, people lose about 10% of their muscle mass each decade after thirty. That is an "eventuality" I have no intention of fulfilling! And why should I, when there's plenty of good clean work to build muscle doing? I have absolutely no intention of ever becoming the proverbial 95 pound weakling. Besides, it really does feel good. Or is that just the tomboy in me speaking?

Also today, I weeded the bed next to our house, did a smattering of housework, had a nice visit with the neighbor, watched Dad's memorial video several times, and planted

    A nice big cluster of daisies
    A euphorbia griffithti
    A couple of liatris
    A lovely primrose I got for Mother's Day
    A low-growing, spreading form of oregano
    A nice, bushy agapanthus (bear's breeches)
    And eight geraniums, including one called "Happy Thoughts"

Thinking about a flower called "Happy Thoughts" is my happy thought to go to sleep on!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


First one is Floyd, an old biker dude. You should see him with candle stubs in his eye sockets--talk about having a "certain light in his eyes"! He's a pretty gnarly looking fellow, but has that proverbial heart of gold. One thing, though, riding that Hog all the time has given him a sailor's wavy regard for the ground.

Floyd's head shot

Floyd Full length

Next one is Amber Arachnoid, also known as Miss Muffet's Nemesis. Now why would Miss Muffet have been frightened of her? See seems harmless enough. Her mouth does open quite wide, though. I do hope that's just so you can hide your house key in it.

Amber Arachnoid

Today's last one is Ollie. You may recognize him from his starring role in the series, "The Cookie Jar Mysteries", although it's been some time since he was cast in anything. These days, he spends a lot of time at the casino. He plays a lot of pai gow, a card game he prefers because of the unusual odds--the chances of winning are so good, the casino charges a dollar per hand, to make sure they actually make some money.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Saturday was the 10th annual Alberta Art Hop, here in Portland, Oregon, and my first time participating. And a glorious day it was! I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about it. Instead, I'll just put the photos up, and let them speak for themselves, with the occasional comment.

My booth

The booth next door

I really liked her work!

A lull in the action brought music

While "next door" a massage relaxed and soothed

Sunny & hot

Vendors found their own shelter

Creating on the spot

Finished work on the flipside

Canvas is where you find it. Same artist as above

My Mega Blossoms, mere shadows of themselves

Shadow play

Members of March Forth! Marching Band

Definitely not your traditional, garden variety marchers!

It was a great day. More fun than profit, but, as I told my husband later, it was definitely more money than I'd have made sitting home. Looking forward to doing it again next year, when (I hope!) the economy has picked up!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We made Muffin Stands (aka Mini Cake Stands). Only one thing could have come from that--baking! We didn't exactly bake anything, though, unless you count the delicious enchiladas my daughter fixed for Monday dinner.

What we did was put together mixes for someone else to bake, using a book I'd picked up titled, Mug'Ems--Sweet Things It's a nifty little tome full of recipes for mixes, with printed tags. Assemble the mix, put it in a plastic bag in a mug, cut the tag from the book and attach it, and give it away. Your recipient adds the last few ingredients (usually liquid), and bakes it, right in the mug. Hence the title.

I figure it would be easy enough to come up with your own recipes for this, but I had the book so it made sense to use it. We made Chocolate Blondie Mix, and had so much fun we wanted to make more. Unfortunately, we hadn't brought more baking supplies than we needed for just the one mix, so we were out of luck, with the nearest grocery store about ten miles away.

The lovely thing about this activity/craft was that is was one even our five-year-old could participate in, with her mama's help. Of course, part of the activity was finding the mugs to use. I'd brought some with me, and we found others at the local Goodwill. Even little Meggie picked out two mugs she loved. In the photo, hers is the one with the hearts, her mom's is the plain one, my mom's is the one with the rose pattern, my daughter Sarah's is the one with the caterpillar, and mine is the one with the swirls--each a reflection of our respective personalities.

I love that this is so quick, easy, and inexpensive!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Make a mini cake stand? Your first question may not be "How?", but "Why?"

Oddly, when I wrote the sentences above, what popped into my mind was the question of why anyone would climb Mt Everest, and its classic answer: "Because it's there."

We have even better reasons for mini cake stands:

  • They're pretty, and you can put things other than cake on them:

  • Cupcakes and muffins

  • Candy

  • Soap

  • Jewelry

  • Candles

  • Your keys

  • Small bottles of perfume, lotion, etc.

  • Any number of other small things that would be pretty displayed like that

I'm back from my near-week of crafting with Mama, Aunt Charlotte, two daughters, and a five-year-old granddaughter, and eager to share what we did. The muffin stands were the first things we worked on.

You need:

  • Candle sticks, or similarly shaped glass items

  • Pretty saucers or salad plates

  • A really reliable glue (My choice: E6000)

The process is simple: Glue a saucer to a candle stick. Done.

But tips are good, too:
Pay attention to style consistency--put modern with modern, delicate with delicate, etc.

Let yourself see things with "different eyes". A candlestick may be what's on the Materials List, but that doesn't mean you can't use an upside-down wine glass, or a tumbler. What else makes a good pedestal? Let yourself see the possibilities. I frequently shop the thrift store aisles with a saucer in hand, checking to see if one thing or another will work!

Most surprising to me was the discovery that plates and saucers may be somewhat warped, rather than perfectly flat, and candlesticks may not have perfectly level tops. Before you glue pieces together, make sure the saucer is level. If it isn't, try rotating it on the candlestick, as sometimes the slant of one can be positioned to offset the slant of the other. If that doesn't work, try another piece.

You may feel a colored candlestick might work better than crystal. You can paint them, if you like. I paint the inside of the cup on top, and the underside of the base with the color I want, and then coat the paint with a clear, protective "lacquer".

I have a mental image of the breakfast table set, with one of these stands at each place, a lovely fat muffin atop each one, inviting smiles and butter. I have the stands now. All I need are muffins!

(A final word on the glue. E6000 is the best I've found for bonding glass, bar none. You do have to go back and check every few minutes for the first half hour or so, to make sure things haven't slid off-center, and do be sure to give the full twenty-four hours before doing anything too brutal to test the bond, but after that you'll be hard pressed to pry the pieces apart. You can get it at craft stores. And no, I don't work for the company that makes the stuff!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009


It's a family tradition. Mom and Dad bought one of those time share vacation packages years ago, and every year they would choose a location, and then we would gather--Mom, Dad, Uncle Walt, Aunt Jewel, my husband, and me--and we would spend from five to seven days together.

We had a routine. In the mornings, for the first several days, the women would hit all the thrift stores and garage sales in the area, gathering booty, mostly things we needed for crafting.

"Crafting," you say? Oh, yes. Each woman was charged with selecting a craft all of us might enjoy doing, and bringing the materials for that craft. Many times, we've chosen crafts that utilized things you could get second-hand--glassware, placemats, old jewelry, etc. Hence, the garage sales.

The guys would go golfing, or take in tourist spots in the morning.

Noonish, we'd all gather back at the condo, and have lunch, and there was always a sort of ceremonial unwrapping of everything we'd found. The job of the guys was to exclaim over what great deals we got, and they were good at it. We hardly ever caught expressions of befuddlement on their faces.

The afternoons were spent crafting. Once in a great long while the men would join in, but mostly they watched TV or read.

Evenings after dinner we played cards.

Uncle Walt passed away about five years ago, but we went on. Dad died seventeen months ago, and then Aunt Jewel, a few months later. It was hard to think about going on after that. Mama didn't think she could bear it, until I suggested we make it "Ladies' Week". My DH thought that was a good idea, and said he wouldn't mind being left out.

So here we are again, at Eagle Crest in Eastern Oregon. For the first time, it's just the women, but we've added one, my eldest daughter. Actually, we've added two, because she brought her daughter along, too, five-year-old Meggie. We have four generations of women here! On top of that, my middle daughter will join us tomorrow, and actually asked if she could cook dinner. She cooks for a living, God bless her. We gave an emphatic "YES!" and are looking forward to her enchilladas. Oh. Yum.

This is day four of our week, and I'm just going to put up a few photos of the first full day's garage/thrift sale fun. I'll add more soon, but I'm a mile or two from an internet connection, so I don't exactly know when that will be.

My daughter and granddaughter checking out the goodies

Bags o' booty

What will we make, & with what?

We've spent a lot of time doing all the things we've always done, having fun, laughing together, playing and creating. And there have been poignant moments, too, thinking about the dear people aren't with us anymore, but I'm so glad we still have this time to share, so happy that it won't end, and that we're widening the circle, passing the tradition down.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I've had a request for the lyrics to my song, "Herbalist's Lament", so here they are. (Toni, thank you so much for asking!)


A is for the Adder’s Tongue, with which my lover spake,
Betony begins with B, and cures the head that aches.
C for Comfrey, heals all wounds, Dittany as well.
Elderberry’s a tasty wine, but cannot sorrow quell.

And it’s Heart’s Ease, Heart’s Ease, to soothe this heart of mine.
Forget-me-nots forgot their task, and I need more than Thyme.

Give me Fennel when I cry, a poultice on each eye.
Let me breathe Geranium when I’m inclined to cry.
H is Hops, to bring sleep nigh, Iris root as well,
Jacob’s Staff, lit when I die, can drive away the smell.

Knapweed’s for my reddened nose and soothes my aching throat.
Lovage is the herb for those like me who missed the boat.
Marigolds the spirits lift, Nettle tea as well,
Origanum used as a snuff will errant sniffles still

P is for the Periwinkle. A lie said it brings love.
Queen-of-the-meadow gladdens the heart,
And Rue gives pain a shove.
Stonecrop cools the fevered brow, Triticum as well.
Unona is a pick-me-up for those whose eyes are dull.

V is for Valerian, to soothe my shattered nerves.
A Wallflower I’m bound to be, and Xyris will not serve.
Y for Yarrow, Z for Zilla, from the mustard family.
No cure for unrequited love in all my herbary.

Oddly enough, I can't find where I'd put the actual music up, except here: NaBloPoMo On the left side of that page is a small heading: Music. Below that is a list, that shows the album title but not the track titles. If you click on Track 03, you can then click the play arrow and hear the song. Hope you enjoy it!

Background on the song? I had gone to a St Patrick's day celebration, and the band sang and played a song that went through the parts of a sailing vessel alphabetically. I wondered if I could write an alphabetical song myself. To wonder is to do, yes?

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Whoo-hoo! My mojo has rejoined me! So I did a (very) little housework, and went to an estate sale, where my dear husband surprised the heck out of me by buying a 15-foot, two-person, kayak and paddles. He's says he's always wanted to try it, and I love water. I told him if we end up not putting it to use, we can resell it. We got an extremely good deal on it.

I also painted several more Tea Kettle Characters:






Saturday, May 2, 2009


Well, I did manage to get three of the little Tea Kettle Characters painted, though I found myself wondering at time where I'd mislaid my stamina. It'll be back tomorrow, right?

Here's Joan, who's thrilled to see spring arrive, even if she still has her chin tucked securely in her black turtleneck. Sandals is one thing. A cold neck is something else altogether.

This is Ralph, just barely old enough to grow that soul patch he's so proud of:
And a view of the top of his hat, because I like it:

Fast friends, enjoying the day, just after it poured rain in buckets, sending all the birds and squirrels to cover, and the humans goggle-eyed to the windows:

And last and least, in size at any rate, my personal favorite, the little Izzy. He's about five inches tall, and clearly not from around here:

Don't know why these photos are a bit fuzzy. My apologies there.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Time for a Friday Fence Post! I found this one down in Arizona last month, and was struck by how dry the wood is, and the bleached silver-gray of it. You know without even touching the wood that it has virtually no weight to it, and I suppose that fascinates me because wood here is full of moisture, damp to the touch, and heavy. (Mostly, anyway. It's not as though wood never get dry here!)

These first few pictures are undoctored, except for some judicious cropping.

I loved the flow of the wood's grain around this knothole.

The weathered top of a fence post

After cropping the photos above, I started to play. It's my way of teaching myself PhotoShop, and sometimes the results are pretty cool.

That's it, our fence for the week! (By the way, clicking on a photo will give you the full size version, some of which are very large. Pushing the F11 key on your keypad will give you more screen, less verbiage top and bottom. Return to normalcy by pushing F11 again.)

In other news, a cold has been dogging me all week. I have spent the great majority of my time in bed, and I'm growing bored with that routine. I vow to create something tomorrow, paint a face on a tea kettle person or nine, make a bracelet, crochet a doily for the roof--ANYTHING that feels productive.

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