Friday, January 28, 2011


Isn't it funny how you drive by something day after day after day, and never notice it? Okay, so I'd seen this fence a bazillion times, several of them within the last week or so. How long has the coat hanger been there?

Now it's your turn! Create your own Friday Fence Post, and drop the link to it in Mr Linky's magic box, and I'll come visit! Feel free to grab the button in the left sidebar, too--this is definitely a "the more the merrier" situation!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TUESDAY TAKE-OUT #4: January, Pt 4

It's still January, but February is coming, and that means Valentine's Day. And that means I have Valentine clip art for you today.

Click on the pictures to bring them up full size, and then save them to your computer, to be used as you will!

A picture of my day today:

Our water heater sprung a leak. It had been in this house for God only knows how many years, certainly since before we bought the house, ten years ago. Fortunately, my Dear Husband prepares for such exigencies (isn't that a great word?), and we had a "new" water heater waiting to take its place.

So the DH took out the old electric water heater, and put in the gas line needed to hook up a gas version, which meant turning off the furnace, water, and range for the day. By early afternoon he was ready to get the old heater out of the basement, and together we wrestled the monster up those fourteen basement stairs. We both survived, but my clothes probably did not, as they are now covered with blackish dirt and rust.

While the DH did his bit, I cleaned out the under-sink and under-range cabinets, vacuumed the entire upstairs, went through two closets and a dresser culling clothes, and then got everything that had been removed from the cabinets back. Oh, and did my quarterlies, and some other housework, and fixed dinner.

After that, it was eyes and ears glued to the TV for the State of the Union address. The DH has been asleep since about eight o'clock. For some unaccountable reason, I am not tired. Go figure.

Oh, and amn't I the lucky one, to have a husband who can replace an electric water heater with a gas model for which he has to run the gas line, and not blow up the house?!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


It's time for a Sunday Favorite, hosted by dear Chari, over at Happy to Design. (You can click on the button in the left sidebar to get the directions for joining the party, or go straight to today's meme there by clicking on the link at the end of my first sentence.)

This entry is from March 18, 2003. The baby born is now fifteen years old, and a lovely young woman. Lots of words, but an amazing story, I think.

I went to a baby shower at my eldest daughter's Saturday. As often happens at that sort of party, the women talked a bit about doctors, pregnancies, that sort of thing.

One of the doctors in town, who had been my youngest's OB/GYN, has been forced out of practice, apparently for incompetency. Talking about him, that daughter stated, "Well, I don't know, but I lost two babies with him, and he was great." Those miscarriages had been so emotionally painful for her it was both a shock and a relief to hear her talk so matter-of-factly about them.

I'm remembering how, I think during the first Revels show she was in, the cast was circled up on stage before the house was opened, all of us gathering and joining our energies in preparation for the performance. One of the cast members suggested, since Revels is all about the cycle of life and death, light and dark, that we share the names of those loved ones who'd died during the year, and honor them. It seemed like a loving thing to do, as several cast members had lost friends or parents that year. But suddenly I realized December had turned and practically run from the stage. I followed her to the women's dressing room and found her standing alone, sobbing.

"December. December, what is it, baby?" I asked.

"Mom, I lost two babies this year, and they didn't even have names! I can't even say I lost them, because they didn't even get to have names!"

I don't know what I said. Something. I just remember holding her in my arms, my spirit weeping with and for her, until she quieted, and was able to stop crying.

I'm glad she's healing.

Then I remembered this morning what it had been like, being with her in the delivery room when Caitlin was born.

They'd induced labor. I seem to remember that something wasn't quite right about the baby, but that wasn't something December shared with us until later. She was in labor thirty-six hours, and by the wee hours of the morning was so exhausted she was falling asleep between contractions that lasted two minutes or so and were spaced only about thirty seconds apart. She was sitting up on the bed, and a contraction would start and she'd get through it as best she could, and then as it ebbed her eyes would close and her head would droop and she'd be asleep, only to lift her head with a kind of shrugging roll as the next wave of pain spread its ugly mantle over her belly.

By the time she was ready to push, and the baby was coming, we were all exhausted. I have no pain during childbirth, and watching my youngest, my own baby, my joy, suffer so much was excruciating. And then the excitement, layered over that fatigue, when she was finally able to push and we could see the baby's head crowning. I think I must have hyperventilated. I was standing next to her bed, and I looked across at her husband, who's a paramedic, and I said, with more surprise than anything else, "I'm going to pass out!"

He looked at me and said, "Yes. You are." I didn't want to cause a disruption. I went slowly to my knees, still holding the railing of the bed with one hand, and as I knelt there, the room spinning in blackness, someone put her hand on my shoulder and said softly, "You don't want to miss this." Oh, she was right! I shook off the vertigo, and rose. Just a couple more pushes and the baby was out! She had a girl!

I realized in a great sweep of fear that the nurses weren't handing her to December. They'd whisked the baby over to a little table and were working over her. I heard them urging the infant, "Come on, baby. Breathe. Breathe!" I was horrified. December didn't know what was happening. I stood there, holding her hand, listening to the nurses, listening to my daughter. She said, "I have a daughter, mommy! I have a daughter!" I looked down at her and said calmly, "Yes. Yes you do," but all I could think was "Please let it be a live one. Please let it be a live one!"

The nurses were bagging the baby--they had a bag with a mouthpiece on it, and they were squeezing it, squeezing air into her lungs. "Breathe, baby!" My eldest daughter was videotaping.

On the video you hear the little cry as Caitlin finally, finally, finally gasped air into her tiny lungs on her own. You see the room spin, the floor is on the screen, the sides of hospital furniture, and you hear December's sister and mom sobbing with relief, but you don't see the baby. There was no control left for filming.

Later, I was talking to my eldest, Melody. I asked if it had been she who'd put her hand on my shoulder and spoken to me when I almost passed out.

"No, Mom. I was too busy with the video camera."

"Oh, then it must have been one of the nurses."

Melody gave me a puzzled look. "No, Mom. There wasn't anybody near you. You were the only one on that side of the bed, except for me."

I will believe until my dying day that an angel was in that delivery room, too, and that I felt the touch of its hand, and heard its gentle words.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


It's always a happy day when I get to take care of my granddaughter, Meggie, so yesterday was a happy one.

As usual, I brought art materials, and this time, something special: My little box of ATCs. It isn't yet a large collection--just twenty, so far--but I thought Meggie would enjoy looking at them.

She was fascinated. She took them from the box, one by one, laying them carefully face up in a grid on the floor. (We often sit on the floor with our backs against the sofa. It feels cozy.)

We talked about initials. She already knew her own--MO. I told her, "Well, ATC? Those are initials, too. They stand for 'Artist's Trading Card', and they're for trading. Do you want to try making one?"

She did, so we pulled out the paper and card stock, and Meg chose three she liked, and decided which of them she wanted for the background. I cut that out for her. After that, she chose a punch she liked, and punched out two flowers, and went through my stickers to see if there were something she wanted to use. She decided on an arrangement, glued her components down, and then decided gold glitter would be the final touch. (She had eight or nine glitter options, but she held the little flasks to her art-in-process, and decided very quickly on The One.)

This is her finished ATC. Quite a nice piece for a six-year-old, don't you think?

And mine, which Meggie opined was a bit "too pretty" for her tastes. "I like mine to be kind of a little wild," she told me. Actually, after her comments, I took steps to up the contrast, and even added some white glitter.

Meg decided she did like my ATC. But she still decided against trading with me!

Friday, January 21, 2011


Time for our Friday Fence Post! I took a new way home yesterday, and found these two fences right across the street from each other. Awesome.

How about you? Met any good fences lately? Put them on your blog and drop the link into Mr Linky here. I promise you'll get a visit and a comment from me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Feel free to call me a cheapskate. I've been known to turn down a $5 jar of buttons because I thought the price was too high. I almost did that just the other day, was a quart jar, and the buttons weren't all white. In fact, there was quite a lot of color visible, and a vintage button or two, too. I put the jar in my cart. Still, I thought about putting it back. Several times.

I'm so glad I didn't! The photo at the top of the page is all the buttons, poured into a 13X9 cake pan. Here are pictures of some of the more special buttons:

I'm a happy camper!

By the way, did you notice that little green button kind of to the left, in the green bunch? It has three holes, something I've never seen, ever. There were a number of those. Have you ever seen buttons with three holes before?

Tomorrow is another day in Dundee, taking care of my six-year-old granddaughter. Sweet happiness. Time to go downstairs and decide which projects to take which materials for. Hmmm....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I'm really enjoying ATCs, both making and receiving them. I'm planning on getting the ones people have sent me photographed and here on my blog, but for now here are two I finished this morning.

As you can see, they're nearly identical. I did them for another Swap-bot trade. For this swap we were to make an ATC for each of two partners, using any media or method, but including at least one punched element.

Because it's hard to see the layering of paper on paper, I'll tell you I used nine punched pieces. (The black you see around the two scalloped flowers is paper, not shadow, and accounts for two of them.)

I did the paper part, and was satisfied with the composition and colors, but the ATCs didn't 'pop' the way I wanted, so I added the buttons. That seemed to do it. Those buttons were a find--I got a quart jar of them at Goodwill yesterday for $4.99, and there were all kinds of wonderful lovelies in it. I'll have to show them off tomorrow!

By the way, check out Swap-bot. It's free to register, and there are tons of swaps going all the time, for crafters, knitters, seamsters, people who like to send postcards, you name it. I'm finding that joining the ones that interest me is really sparking my creativity, and it sure does make for a happy mailbox!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

TUESDAY TAKE-OUT #4: January, Pt 3

I think we'll do owls today. These are royalty and copyright free images. Feel free to copy them to use. (But don't go copyrighting them yourself, okay? That would absolutely fly against the spirit of these posts!)

Clicking on the pictures will bring them up full size.

Oh, and a birthday cake!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


My most recent swap on Swap-Bot is for an ATC (Artist Trading Card) that features chain stitch embroidery.

As frequently happens with me, it took me almost until the deadline to figure out what I wanted to do, and then that idea didn't pan out. So late last night, I started over. At midnight, I felt I had a good start on it, and I knew I was meeting my daughter and four granddaughters for a day of crafting today, so no worries--I'd finish the ATC first, and mail it before I came home.

HAH! I worked on the thing All Day. Couldn't believe it took so long, but I'm really happy with it. In fact, I kind of don't want to part with it! But that wouldn't be right, lol, so I'm showing them off here.

If you click on the pictures they'll come up full-size, and you can see that not only is the envelope chain-stitched, the lettered disks are chain-stitched together. It was a fun project!

(Mom, if you're reading this, I used a piece of that paper I won at the Parker Ladies' Night Out to make the envelope!)

Friday, January 14, 2011


I created my own fence for today. See if you can guess why!

The background is a shot I took out on our Oregon coast, at Ft Stephens. I found the candles online. (Hmmm. Just realized there were none to actually blow out, but I'm not real concerned about that--I finished the last piece of Mama's birthday cake just last night!)

I've been very remiss in posting anything lately. Don't know what's the matter with me. As my Dad used to say, "My get up and go just got up and went!" But I'd still like to see your fences! Put the link in Mr Linky, and I'll come visit, and that's a fact.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TUESDAY TAKE-OUT #3: January, Pt 2

Time for another installment of free clip art! Use as you will. (If you let me know you've taken something for you own, it will make me smile!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I’ve been helping my mom move, and in the process have helped her decide where to hang the numerous photos, prints, and paintings. One little set of butterflies reminded me of the hours we’d spent indulging in the craft that produced them. They were worth reproducing, as well as introducing to others, so I went home and made a pair for myself.

You’ll need very little to make your own:

• Two wooden drapery rings
• Paper with a repeating pattern
• Silicone adhesive/sealer
• Clear stiff plastic, or a background paper you like
• A snippet of ribbon in a coordinating color

What you’re going to do is create shaped layers that will simulate a 3-dimensional object, so first choose a picture you have at least three copies of that will fit inside a drapery ring. Wrapping paper is great for that, or you can use three identical note cards.

Cut one image out in its entirety. It’s the bottommost picture you’ll use. Figure out what’s going to stick out farther than the first picture and cut that out. Your last picture, you’ll cut so that only the parts that stick out the most remain.

(I cheated. I wanted to my butterfly to be a little bigger, so I used an extra set of wings. You can ignore that step, or copy it, your choice!)

Trace a circle that’s a little smaller than the outside dimension of your drapery ring on a sheet of clear plastic, and cut out. (The lid from a box of greeting cards works well for this.) I like the clear plastic because when the butterflies are on the wall, their background will automatically match the room, but you can use a pretty paper as your background if you prefer. If you do that, you’ll want to use a fairly heavy paper so it won’t be flimsy.

Now glue your first, largest, layer to the circle. I glued down my extra pair of wings and then glued the full butterfly atop that. This layer is flat.

Take the middle sized layer, and shape it a bit, curving the wings, and making a crease along the body where the wings join.

The silicone adhesive is what you’ll use to hold the shape of the layers. Put a little blob of it where it will support an upward curve. Toothpicks work well for getting good placement. The advantage of the silicone is that it’s both malleable and sticky. If you think the layer looks like it sticks out too much, just squish down on it a little, or you can pull up a bit on the paper if you want more depth. The silicone holds its shape while acting as glue, too.

You won’t be using much silicone, but do work in a well-ventilated area.
Do the same thing for the remaining layers.

Let dry. Flip over and glue to the back of the drapery ring. Carefully twist the metal loop at the top of the drapery ring so that it faces you. Tie a bow at the base of the drapery ring’s hanging loop.

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