Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Gulp. I've been reading about Artist's Trading Cards (ATCs) for years, and admiring the work done by many artists around the world, but frankly, kind of not getting it.

There are some art forms, I have to admit, that either don't make sense to me or seem beyond the scope of my abilities. ATCs have been the latter for me.

And then a dear someone actually sent me one. I have it propped up in front of my place at the table where I see it every day. It draws my eye ad makes me smile.

Oh, yeah. Who wouldn't smile?

Now, technically, I guess this isn't an ATC, because it's bigger than the required dimensions (2 1/2" X 3 1/2"; 6.4 X 8.9cm, the size of a standard playing card), but it's small, and it's art, and it draws me. I started thinking, Well, maybe I could do that!

You know what comes after that thought, don't you? Yup. From there you have to progress to, "I'm gonna try it!"

But where to start? How do I begin? Flutter-flutter thoughts. Stymied, I was. Then I got a clue: Artist's Trading Cards! These are created for the purpose of sharing, trading, swapping, and that being true, there would be places where you could find people doing that. Could I join up with them?

Over on MizMollye's blog, I found a button leading to Blissfull ATC Swap. Ooooh, beautiful. But daunting. Not a place for a rank beginner to, well, begin.

Enter SwapBot. This totally cool website is a clearinghouse for people who want to swap things--postcards, crafting supplies, handmade items of all sorts, and yes, ATCs! I'd joined ages ago, but never did any swaps. This time I looked for and found an ATC swap, with birds as the theme.

I am on it! I am in it! And the creative juices are flowing, and I can't wait to get started!

Now tell me, have you ever created an ATC? I would adore it if you'd leave a link in the comments and let me see yours!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


It's time for a Sunday Favorite, a repost of a blog post from the past. (The Blog Party is hosted by Chari, over at Happy to Design. Click the Sunday Favorites logo in the lefthand sidebar to join!) I've chosen one from about eight years ago, called Moving Day.

"The Baby" at Seven

We helped Lauree and Toby move last Thursday. Their new home is beautiful. I am so thrilled for Lauree. She really is the kind of woman who loves being a home-maker, and stay-at-home mommy. I spent most of the day over there holding Abby, who was put off by the strange surroundings. I felt kind of useless, but Laurie said not, that it was a great relief to her that I could hold the baby and let her get things done and direct the moving in. RC's mood in the forepart of the day was abysmal. So, of course, I wrote a poem!

Moving Day

How can there be so much in the world to yell about?
He shouts his way through the hours.
I mutter.
I mutter, because if he hears me
there'll be one more thing to roar about.

But then it's finished.
The boxes are stacked in the garage,
the furniture is helter-skelter in the rooms,
and we lounge, chatting,
my head on his chest,
staring at the U-Haul parked at the curb,
and suddenly I realize:
This day was perfect.

And while we're doing poems. This happened a couple of days later. True story!


Standing with one foot on the top of the ladder,
the other swinging free in the air,
my arms stretched over my head,
I squint as tiny, grey Chiclets of old paint
rain from my putty knife's edge
to my face.

I have spent so much time in the sun this year
that I am as dappled as the earth under a shade tree,
tawny shoulders sprinkled with russet spots.
My legs are sheathed in short denim
and a long summer's tan.

Yesterday, a man in a shiny white pick-up
swung into the driveway and proposed marriage.
You weren't here,
but I told you about it later and we laughed together.

Today, back on the ladder,
I have leaned around the corner just in time
to see you walk chicken-style
the length of the scaffolding.

Is it any wonder I smile as I work?

Saturday, August 28, 2010


The Etsy Bloggers Carnival, which I missed again, had two choices this time: Tell about a favorite kindergarten memory, or a Labor Day tradition.

Well, we don't really have any Labor Day traditions, so I'm telling about kindergarten, and showing you what I looked like w-a-a-a-y back then!

This is me:

I went to two kindergartens. We moved from California to Hawaii just before I turned six, which meant a new school. (It was so close to my sixth birthday, in fact, that I had my birthday party on board ship, with the captain presiding. How cool is that?!)

I remember Dad driving me to my first day of kindergarten in Honolulu. On the way, he told me my teacher's name was Miss Chu. "Chew! That's a funny name!" I said. Dad responded by telling me that mine wasn't any less funny, which gave me something to think about. I don't think I ever again thought of someone's name as odd after that. I'd just compare it to my last name--Pegg--and remember.

The school "room" was a quonset hut. Now that I think about it, that's pretty cool, too, since it basically meant we got a whole little building for a classroom. I remember the door step, and the rounded end of it as we walked up. We were living in a quonset hut at the time, so the building itself didn't seem odd to me.

That's not ours up there, but that's what they looked like, all right!

So what do I remember about kindergarten? The arts and crafts, of course!

I remember Miss Chu had a primitive mimeograph, one where she had sort of a jelly in the bottom of a 13X9" pan, and she's lay sheets of paper face down on it to print them. It fascinated me.

But also I remember learning how to made a picture of a bear that was "furry", using a cut-out of one as a reverse stencil, laying leaves on sheets of paper and then brushing a paint-laden toothbrush over a screen to splatter paint the sheet, removing the leaves when the paint was dry, and one craft I keep meaning to try again: We cut brown paper bags into strips, almost all the way across, but not quite. One bag was cut on the vertical axis, the other the horizontal. Then we wove the two bags together to make place mats, and varnished them. They looked really good, and were sturdy, too. I was quite thrilled with the result.

Oh, and another: Dipping strings in paints, and laying them in squiggly lines between two sheets of paper, putting the sheets in the middle of a big phone book and then pulling the strings out. The designs that made were rather like the aurora borealis.

Last thing I remember about kindergarten? Cockleburs! We didn't have them in California, but they were thick in Hawaii. I spent a lot of time pulling the prickly little balls out of my ankle socks.

Wow. Hadn't thought of that in a very long time.

School days, school days,
Good old golden rule days....

Friday, August 27, 2010


Got an interesting fence today, one of those, "Glad I had the camera!" moments. I shouldn't have been surprised, though; the fence is right around the corner from the ReBuilding Center, a salvage place frequented by Birkenstock-wearing, granola-eating, rampantly creative rehabbers. It was bound to rub off on the neighbors, which I consider a GOOD thing!

Urban Jumble

Oh, the spectacles of it all!

Roll 'em!

Sloppiness, or planned? Red, Green, Purple, Chrome--Oddly pleasing

Don't you love the way the peeling paint and wood grain combined to create a dancer?

Ahhh...thirsty, tired, a little hot. Time for tea, and then the bliss of sleeping near an open window of a summer's night.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


St Francis Xavier by Art4theSoul

I got a letter from a very dear friend yesterday. I've known Paul for nearly 40 years, played music with him professionally for several of those years, visited with him in his home, and he in mine, and spent many joyful hours with him. We even kissed once, a chaste kiss, with him in the back seat of my car and me in the front. We used to sit in the car for hours on end, just talking. Funny, I remember we kissed just because we never had, and decided after all the years we'd known each other (about 15 by then, I think) that we needed to!

My friend is in prison now, and I won't go into the reasons, but will say that there are many men and women in prison these days simply because of a very prevalent tactic DA's use these days: Cut any charge into as many separate charges as possible, and make the accused disprove each and every one of them. Thousands and thousands of people in this country simply give up, knowing they can't afford a lawyer who will be able to do that, seeing a plea deal as their only option.

Inside "Paul's" prison

So what do these people do, once they're behind bars? Who are these people, and what are they like, and why should any law-abiding citizen even care? Because they are us, and they suffer, often needlessly, often wrongly. I'm going to put my much-loved friend's letter in here.

"My very best friend (whom I truly love) Anitra,

Summer is marching on. A mild one so far as they go out here in the west Treasure Valley. Fine with me, the heat-wuss. I'm contented. I have fully accepted the present situation. Of course, you know what that means...change is just around the corner? LOL.

I finally found a book I've been wanting. It's the Psalter that is used by the English speaking part of the Catholic church. They are hard to come by, outside of seminary circles, or suppliers of priestly esoterica. But I managed to have a Christian book catalog fall into my hands that listed one. I saved up for it and got it a couple of weeks ago! Now I can pray the "Divine Office".

I begin each day with "lauds" or morning prayer before morning chow. Back from breakfast, I pray my personal prayers, petitions, and intercessions, and make reparations for the harm I've caused others. The hour before lunch I always say a complete Holy Rosary for those like you, most near to my heart, and in honor of Our Lady, my mother in the order of Grace. As the sun sets, it's time for "vespers" or evening prayers. Just before I turn in at 10pm, I pray the night prayers, put my head phones on, and listen to a sermon on EWTN, Catholic radio.

Then I sleep Oh-so-well and dream of being in better places than prison. The next morning, it begins again with new prayers and new readings for that particular day and liturgical season. There is a beautiful harmony of prayer to it's particular time of day, and the rhythm of seasons of the Church calendar. Each day seems more sanctified and meaningful.

Oh, how I adore beauty in all it's pure forms. Mozart. Telemann, Michelangelo, St Augustine, the Taj Mahal, Irish countryside, the Hubble photos of galaxies and nebulae--the list is endless. But the ancient liturgy of the Church and dignity of her divine Mysteries have become the apogee of my experience of transcendent beauty.

And the glory of it, my friend, is I can live it even in a "purgatory" like this. I never said I deserve such a merciful gift. Who does?

I've picked up a number of recipes for my favorite dishes that I hope to try some day. The list is hilariously eclectic: Indian fry bread, Matzo ball soup, Buffalo wings, various stir fry entrees, chocolate chip cookies, chicken liver pate, etc. These are things I've Never made before because I didn't know how, and felt intimidated. These are the stuff of dreams for food lovers in captivity.

In spite of my inordinate passion for food, I have managed to lose 15 pounds so far. Hope to keep them off and continue until ideal weight is achieved. My friends here have been very supportive and razz me no end whenever I slack off my exercise, and I do that. After all, I was a couch potato all my life. People around here have so much time to mind other people's business. It can be a real blessing. There is a lot of good-natured teasing goes on among us, as well as warmth and compassion. I've come to see that the system nets many more good fish than bad.

I still spend most of my time writing a treatise on some doctrine of the faith or another. I suppose it helps me to systematize, and then interiorize those truths that bring me comfort and hope, or draw me nearer to my beloved Saviour. Occasionally, I even find someone willing to hear one of my monographs and it gives me the greatest pleasure when they seem to share some of my excitement about one of my recent discoveries. I think my next book purchase will be he concordance that was created to fit my translation of the Bible, the RSV Catholic Edition. It's only been out for about a year, and I've been waiting for the right time.

A friend of mine and I brought our guitars out to the recreation yard with his book of Beatle songs and had a lovely time reminiscing. I may have mentioned it before, but nostalgia is particularly potent in the slammer. You know, there's nothing like a song can put you "right back in time" to a certain moment, at a precise place in your past. The Fab Four always inspire pleasant feelings. It's one of those gifts that keep on giving.

As I sit here writing, (and I should sound an alarm that this is to be a radical change of subject) I'm reminded how terribly fortunate I am to have your continued contact by mail over the course of years. There are so many, many men in here who would give almost anything to have friends outside like you. But you are precious, unique, and unrepeatable, (and spread thin between your many beneficiaries). A pity ALL friends aren't like you!

Our five-night-a-week corrections officer works the same nights as I do, and he's my boss. (I think Paul's job these days is sweeping the halls, and pays him about $30 a month.) He is a good person and I feel like he thinks well of me, too. I thank God for causing me to find favor, even with some of my captors. It really helps make the days go by easier when in the company, or custody, of men of good will.

The many prayers that have gone up to the Heavens on my behalf are effectual and very, very much appreciated. I can't even imagine how I could have managed without them. Have no doubt that I also pray for you and those you love. After all, I love them, too. Thanks for keeping me current on how you are all doing. My love and best wishes to you, Sarah, Pawnee, Bob, Bruce, and all the rest. I just miss you all so much.

A special hug goes out to Sarah and my wish for a much happier, more complete satisfaction with her life post-Mark. Have I just made a bad pun? I didn't mean to. (Explanation of inadvertent pun: My daughter Sarah was devastated this past Valentine's Day when her husband Mark left her for another woman.)

Love forever & always,

This is long, and I hope you weren't bored by it, but I'm still going to add just one more thing: Paul always says that stuff about me, and I always wish I actually deserved the praise! Mostly, it just makes me feel guilty that I'm not a better friend. sigh. But I do gain happiness in every blessing I can give him, every joy God sends.

Friday, August 20, 2010


The house is quiet. Mom, unlike her energetic usual self, went to bed about an hour ago. I am awake by sheer force of will, which you may feel free to call plain, pure, stubbornness. What is it about moving sales that makes them so tiring? (And why does 'stubbornness' have a double 'n'? It looks weird to me all of a sudden!)

Anyway, Mom and I ran the sale all day today, with people wandering through the house. Lots of laughter and talking, a fair amount of haggling over prices, and a bunch of phone calls to the DH about pricing tools and ladders and the like. Thank goodness, he'll be here tomorrow to handle the stuff in the garage.

So I didn't get to get out and take any photos of fences this week. Instead, I did an Etsy search, to see what they had to offer in the way of fences. Answer: Cool stuff!

From Found and Assembled:

From Fishbone Designs

From Gynx:

And I saved this one for last because I noticed first that it was really cute, second that it featured fairies, and third that the artist shares my same first name, which I thought was Way Beyond Cool, so from AnitraBear:

And on that note, dear reader, I will carry myself off to bed, which for this weekend is a sleeping bag on the floor. Only a few more days of this to go! (Then we will donate bunches to a charity, and move the good stuff to my home in Portland, where we will have another gigantic, enormous, gargantuan sale! And it's all good, isn't it?)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A very nearly wordless Wednesday today--photos from my own yard, of tiny things and not-so-tiny, that caught my eye:

The nightshade in the last photo looks so cool seen full-size--be sure to click on the photo to see all the detail!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Feeling frazzled? Lots of us are, with the school year nearly underway and all the fall and winter holidays on the horizon. So let’s make a card, and not just any card, either. Let’s make a Frazzled card!

Here’s what you’ll need:

• Blank card and envelop
• Fabric large enough to fit the card, front and back (fabric samples work well)
• Button
• Rayon or other embroidery thread
• Glue or double sticky tape

The first thing you’re going to do is choose your fabric. If you have one of those fabric sample books flip through it until you find a piece you like. They’re nice, because they have a paper backing around the edge, but any piece of fabric you like is good.

Take your blank card and open it out flat, and lay it on the fabric, with the side you’ll write on down, and what would normally be the front of the card facing up. That’s because you’re going to trace around all four sides of the card now, and if your pencil slips you don’t want the marks to show on your finished card.

You can see that my fabric is already nearly the size of the card, but that’s because I had a fabric sample that size. Once you’ve marked your fabric, cut it with pinking shears just outside the marks. You want the fabric to be a little larger than the card. If you have enough fabric, cut a strip as long as your card is wide, and maybe an inch wide.

Now choose a button that coordinates with your fabric. Flat buttons work best, but buttons with short shanks can be used, too.

Fold the fabric piece you’ve cut in half, so you’re looking at the front of your finished card. Take the button you’ve chosen, and play with positioning it a bit. Maybe it will look best centered on the card, or maybe near one of the corners. Maybe it wants to sit, centered, near the lower edge. Just move it from place to place until you like what you see.

Thread your needle with the embroidery floss, but don’t tie a knot. Rayon thread is crinkly, and will give shine and a lot of texture. Other option are regular floss, or yarn.

This is where the “Frazzled” part comes in. You’re going to sew the button to the fabric, but not from the back like you’d usually do. Push the needle in from the front, and pull the floss through until an inch and a half or two inches is left, sticking out of the button. Bring the needle through the other hole in the button, and cut the thread, again leaving a tail an inch and a half or two inches long. You can leave longer tails if you like; it’s all up to you.

If your button has four holes, do that twice.

Pick up the thread tails and tie them in a knot.

You’re almost finished!!

Glue the fabric to the card. You can use rubber cement if your fabric has that paper backing. Otherwise, double-sticky tape is the way to go, as the rubber cement may show through the fabric.

Glue the extra strip of fabric you cut to the flap of the envelope.

Here’s my card:

Frazzles are really very tactile. You’ll find people want to stroke them, and play with the shiny floss ends. Well, I do, anyway!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Well, it was certainly hot enough yesterday. After nearly a full summer of, literally, sweater weather, we suddenly have temps in the 95-100 degree range. (That's 35-38 degrees Celsius, for the non-Fahrenheiters among us.)

I spent a lot of time in front of a fan yesterday, meant to do "work" on my laptop, but got distracted and played instead. Bad girl! Bad! Or good, depending on how you look at it, because I made art, which is, after all, my favorite way to play.

I call this collage sheet "Echoes".

Now then, if you click on the image, it will enlarge for you. After that, press the F11 key on your keyboard. All the stuff at the top and bottom of your screen will go away, and the image will get even bigger, and you can save it at what I hope is full size. Press F11 again, and you'll get back all the stuff that just went missing.

Want to alter the page? Leave your email in a comment, or email me, whichever you prefer, and I'll email you the page as a Photoshop file (psd), and you can manipulate the layers, remove one and substitute your own, etc.

Hope this is something you can use!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SUNDAY RERUN: Achilles, Cole, DeLila, Tsarina Coffee Pot People

It's Sunday! Time for a Sunday ReRun, a blog party hosted by Chari, over at Happy To Design. Anyone can play, so if you have a favorite blog post or three, click on the Sunday Favorites button in my lefthand sidebar and come join the fun!

This is from August of 2004:

I took pictures of most of the new Coffee Pot People® today. Here are four of them, and I'll put up more tomorrow. I'm hoping to have at least a couple more finished tomorrow, too. The show at Edgefield is next week, and I want to have as many as possible put together. They are so much fun to do, it's hard to believe not everyone does something like this. You know, not exactly this, per se, but something like it, something that lets them laugh at the places the imagination can take you, and feel the satisfaction of seeing it take form. Guess it's one of those "different strokes" things.

First up is Achilles. He used to be a terra cotta cupid that my stepdaughter gave me, but then a tenant's friend pruned our rhody for us, the cupid was sitting at its base, it's head and foot got knocked off, and....my DH was appalled when I showed him what I intended to do with the dear departed's remains, and was afraid Lauree would be upset, but Lauree absolutely cracked up when she saw him. By the way, "Achilles" means "lipless"! I thought that was just a riot, since this little guy is definitely Greek. At least, I think he is.

(Update: I realized later that Achilles Mom had intended to name him Raphael, after the Greek fisherman with whom she'd had a brief, torrid, and entirely imaginary affair, but switched to "Achilles" when she saw her regrettably thin-lipped newborn. Oh, and the DH considers Achilles one of his very most favorite Coffee Pot People!)


Next up is Cole, jazz musician, looking cool above the tub of coals he holds. He does still work as a barbecue, and especially likes ribs, since I failed to give him any myself! (Update: Cole later married Isabella M. Goode in a televised ceremony at the Portland Convention Center.)

Cole Webber

Now DeLila is something special. Some folks party, and we all know the sort who would put a lampshade on his/her head and get silly to get attention. Who but DeLila would have thought of wearing one for a skirt, though? This girl really knows how to party, and gets lit pretty much every night. Really. There are candles in the base, and a tea light behind her hat. She's even better at night than she is by day. Come to think of it, I know people like that, too.

DeLila, party girl extraordinaire

Last, for today, is The Tsarina. A crown on her head, and stars in her hair

The Tsarina

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I have a video to show you! My friend, Christine Claringbold makes cool stuff from old phonograph records--



Cuff Bracelets

Suncatchers and Window Clings (which aren't from records, but are still cool.)

Spinners for the yard

I love everything Christine does, but most of all I love the spinners. They're so bright, and cheery, and they MOVE.

And today Christine's daughter, a young teen, created this video of them for her Mom. Isn't this just great?

Related Posts with Thumbnails