Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In my mind I'm gone to Carolina

Just a short post because I'm doing this in the rental office where we're staying.
These are pictures by some artists I have just discovered.

The cut paper is by Clay Rice. Last month I saw an article in one of the magazines about a woman who does cut paper pictures. More than silhouettes, she does elaborate and large works. Also, there is a guy that a lot of bloggers have mentioned lately, forgot his name, but he does fascinating thing with cut paper, using both the positive and negative parts of the cutting. Now I find Clay Rice who is local to South Carolina and look at this example of work. The universe is trying to tell me something.

This second artist is Jonathan Green. I saw an original of his in a bookstore in Beaufort, SC and WOW!!! Many of his paintings are the backs of gorgeously dressed black women. The colors are sparkling and they make me smile.
Today we went to Charleston. It is elegant and tropical and lush. We ate at Jestine's. I had fried okra and fried green tomatoes and a meatloaf sandwich. Last night we ate here in Edisto Beach at a wonderful place called the Old Post Office. I had pecan crusted fried quail with cheese grits and a Charleston Chewy cake for dessert. Hey, I'm walking a lot - no worries.
I'll try to get back to the computer tomorrow. Until then...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Queen of the World

And I've got the sign to prove it!!

New camera in hand I was able to capture a bit of what I've been up to. I got my apron finished and I can show a little corner. I love this fabric! It is the softest cotton, it really feels like it has been washed over and over again for years.

And this little sweetie is a pin cushion that I fashioned from little ollitas from Mexico. The picture is rotated, Blogger did that all but itself. That's a nice little service, no?

This picture is to show you why I probably had trouble with my apron. This is where I was sewing. Our downstairs is full of stuff from the kitchen remodel (SIX MONTHS AND COUNTING) so I set up a tray table in the guest room and sit on the bed. Wacky, huh?

Time is racing by today. I'm off to the South tomorrow, where there's honey in every accent and on every biscuit. I will post if I can. Sure to be lots of photo ops and me with my new camera, tra la!

I just want to show you these silhouettes that the art class did. They lent me some to decorate my desk. Spooky!!!

Happy Halloween, y'all (do you like my accent? I'm practicing)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Boo! (not boo hoo!!)

I got a camera - that's the first bit of good news. The photography teacher here at school has lent me one to use until I can buy another and it's even niftier than the one I had. Second bit of good news - my readers of this blog may be few but they are the best ones ever!!! Everyone should wish for such goodness in friends. Thanks, ladies. And three - the apron is coming right along and should be done on time. Order is restored in my little world.
Next week I'll be heading off to places heretofore unknown to me, Georgia and South Carolina. I have my own personal trip advisor, Teresa who has set me up with an enviable itinerary. including little towns to snoop around in, places to eat on a Sunday and Halloween ghost tours. She has also been the guide for my travel wardrobe - warning me of impending cold weather and possible freezing temps. I'm ready, I'm prepared and I'm excited.
Every year for the past decade or so, my mom and one or more of her three daughters have gone on an autumn trip to somewhere new in the lower 48 states. We've been to Iowa, Cape Cod, The Outer Banks, San Clemente, and this year we will explore the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. I am really looking so forward to the cuisine - Southern food is one of my favorites - grits and biscuits and sausage gravy - all lo-cal, of course, is my breakfast of champions. Then there's all the seafood, yum, I never miss a meal on vacation!!! I hope to trip around thrift stores and find folk art and go to the beach and marvel at the architecture and dream of where I would live and what I would do if I could move there. Now that I have a camera again I can post pictures and my blog from the road - a regular Charles Kerault.
The world is so full of a number of things we all should be as happy as kings or queens.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Last night I went home to make an apron for a swap I'm involved in and it was one of those situations when, despite my care and attention, a project refuses to be done easily. I had issues picking out contrasting material. I thought I had several to choose from and in the end none of them worked. Anyway, I solved that dilemma by deciding to make the entire apron out of the one fabric and trim with some print bias fabric that I have. I guess I thought this whole apron making adventure wasn't going to take a huge chunk of time and it was taking a long time to do everything and the bias tape didn't go on easily and the tension messed up on the hem and at that point, after 2 1/2 hours of wrangling pins and needles and bobbins and such and the room looked like the calico cat and the gingham dog (or is it the reverse?) had finished there fight in my spare room - well, I just bagged it, left everything everywhere in a mess and went into my bedroom. Just gave up!!
An hour later I had calmed down some when I remembered that I had promised to make an apple cake for today. Jumped up, ran to the kitchen and started peeling apples. The batter didn't look right. I hadn't made this particular recipe for a couple of years. There wasn't much batter, mostly apples. Another failure? I shoved the darn thing in the oven and crossed my fingers. Wow! It turned out great, moist and delicious and I had hope that all was going to be right with the universe. The cake looked so lovely. I whipped out my camera so I could show blogland how great this cake is and what a miracle had occured in my kitchen. And I took those pictures and they turned out beautifully, also and then, in all the joy and glory - I dropped my camera. I dropped my camera and it landed on the hard Mexican tile floor. I dropped my camera and...I think I killed it. And all the great words I had in my head to tell you about how when things look like there not going right, when the stitching on the apron is crap and the cake batter looks like something a three-year old would concoct, when ideas don't come for the Christmas ornament swap -= well, I was going to say, don't give up, just keep plugging on because you will succeed, blah, blah, blah. Then I killed my camera and nothing was right in the world.
This morning I tried to get someone to revive my camera. The man at the camera store was uncharacteristically nice but said no go. The man at Frys, the least customer-friendly store on the planet, told me I couldn't buy a new camera today because they were remodeling that aisle of the store, only that aisle. I could see the camera I wanted just out of reach but no, I would have to wait until tomorrow if I wanted to buy it. Yes, and he will probably have to wait until hell freezes over for me to even consider going back to buy one gosh-darned thing there. So now I am without a camera. I know that I can overcome this. But I love writing this blog and I love taking pictures to put up on this blog and now I won't be able to for awhile and the whole situation, well, it's really getting me down. And it feels like the earth has shifted of its axis. Yes, I am being a baby. Many things are more important than this, almost everything is. But I feel glum.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In my room

It's where I do almost everything - in my room. My mom looks in sadly and says, "I wish you had some better place to work." But over the years I've made my room the most comfortable nest and like a gawky bird, I fly out now and again to get food or supplies to bring back to my room where I prefer to be.
Often, when I'm home alone, I bring a tray up with my dinner to eat in front of the TV. Food is limited to things that don't need to be cut with a knife - that's a little hard, really I pretty much go the fingers-as-tools route when at all possible.
My room is where I read - I have the balance of pillows down to a science. The big down pillow at my left to balance the arm with the book leaving the right hand free to turn pages. Head propped up by one pillow set horizontally behind one set on its end to keep my head and neck from hanging in painful positions.
My room is where I talk on the phone and write letters and cards, where I go through cookbooks and design menus and make shopping lists and where I try to finish my Sudoku puzzles, one each night.
My room is also where I do pretty much 100% of my crafting. That's why my mom shakes her head when she finds me chin-deep in yarn and bits of wool, working on my crowns or Christmas presents, glue tottering from my work board and glitter and needles, pins and markers always close to becoming a disaster on the comforter on my bed. It conjures up an image right out of a Dr. Seuss story.

My room is, also, where I sleep and my bed has been made plush with feather pillows and feather pads and wooly blankets. Most nights I nod off reading or watching TV in velvet comfort. Some nights, though, as most of you experience, sleep doesn't happen for all the thoughts swirling and eddying behind my eyelids. Last night was like that - I had a kaleidoscope of ideas and concerns and "to do's" and "what if's" clicking around. I don't think I relaxed and fell asleep until after 2:00 a.m. Not good when the alarm goes off at 5:30.

I needed solid ideas and I had too many bits and bobs of ideas, that was the reason I couldn't get to sleep. I have three swaps I am preparing for. I like to be ahead of time when it comes to getting the goodies ready for these swaps, so although many of the deadlines are far ahead on the calender, I hate to be doing things at the last minute scrambling at the end. Last night I was rolling over ideas for apron swaps, ornament swaps and Christmas card swaps in my brain for hours and actually, I didn't come up with much in the way of solutions though I kept running pieces of ideas through the machine
This morning while taking a shower, hot water washing away the sleep in my eyes, I remembered so many of the art classes in college and how we had to come up with new ideas and projects on a weekly basis and how in hell did I manage that? And I remembered "Zenning" my work, that's the term we came up with. We'd "Zen" a project by letting the parameters of it sit in our minds, snippets of ideas percolating , not dwelling on it until one day, seemingly without effort, the vision of what you were to produce came fully formed into your mind's eye. We would let loose of the urgency of getting the project done and just store the thoughts away to form themselves into a whole concept and every time, every single time we were ready to make the project come to life, the idea for it was there in our heads. It always worked. SO that will be my plan. No more sleepless nights trying to come up with ideas for Christmas ornaments and Christmas cards. The ideas will come if I open my mind up for them. They'll come just in time, I'm sure. Ohmmmmmmmmm

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Wish You All Could Be California Girls

Well, I chose that title because I was going to brag about our summer weather here in the Golden State. We have enjoyed 85 degree sunshine for the last four or five days. But then this morning - look what we woke up to. FOG!!! Yes, it will burn off and yes, it will probably be 80 degrees this afternoon but right now it looks like wet winter on weck!! Sooooooo.... Now I wish you all could be California girls so we could get together for dinner or brunch or a weekend at the beach and drink wine and talk crap just have a good ole' time.

I spent most of my weekend in the kitchen, cooking and baking and in the dining room stuffing my tummy and hanging with the family. On Saturday we were graced with the very rare appearance of my younger daughter Erica and her husband Sean for brunch. They were going to a concert in town so we all got together for ....What else, food. Erica is a vet and is interning this year at a big animal hospital. Her free time is almost non-existent. I haven't actually seen her since June. SO to celebrate I made brunch for everyone, my other daughter Megan came with her husband and my delightful grandson Mikey was there, too. I made scrambled eggs, sausage (turkey for the non-red meat eater, veggie for the vegetarian and pork for the rest of us) ham, muffins and scones and my very easy hash browns: two pounds frozen shredded hash browns, one can cream of celery soup, one pint sour cream, a bunch of grated cheese, half an onion chopped and half a can of French fried onions. Mix it all together and put in greased pan, Bake 1 1/2 hours until it's crispy. Top with remaining French-fried onions. It is sooooo not low-cal. I think I got the recipe on the All Recipes website. What I really liked and was easy to do was sliced pears and apples drizzled with olive oil and then sprinkled with salt and fresh rosemary and broiled. That was delicious. The recipe came from epicurious.com. We ate and ate and ate some more. We talked and laughed and told stories. I love having my girls home.

No sooner had we packed away all the leftovers and finished drying the last dish, than I started preparing my Sister's birthday dinner. We celebrated her day on Sunday. I have been wanting to make a roast like I sampled in England this summer. I roasted a loin of pork and had mash and veg and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. My niece came up from university to join us and that made it all the more special. Cooking is a passion for me but it is never as much fun as when I cook for my family. I love sitting around after we eat, telling stories that we have heard a hundred times but always find funny, usually about the youngest members but everyone is fair game. I always feel so lucky on the special occasions that we are family.

I did manage to get a couple of crafty things in. I'll let you know about these soon.
Well, the fog is just now beginning to burn off and it looks like today will be a good day to be a California girl after all. I'd like to hang on to these last days of summer but I know that the frost is on the pumpkin and I will surrender to autumn...But maybe not for a few weeks yet.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Boxes and boxes of love

Earlier this week I was at a loss for words when I tried to post, but today I have so many words trying to tumbling out of my brain and down to my tap-tapping fingers that they will probably get garbled in the process. For this I apologize beforehand. The cause of my loquaciousness (loquacity?) is the absolutely jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring generosity of my Brown and Pink Swap partner Teresa. I knew to expect 2 boxes from Georgia. I knew they were coming this week. Truth be told, I walked up to the front stoop every afternoon with anticipation and yesterday, well, yesterday waht was waiting was beyond anything I could have imagined!
First off, look at these boxes. The care given to make the outside beautiful is just a hint to the care and thoughtfulness given to the contents.

I couldn't find the box cutter so I just grabbed a knife (shh, don't tell my mom) and started slicing away. Look what I found!!! Dozens of packages, each one wrapped and fit precisely into the big boxes. There wasn't a breath of space between them. I started to count the bundles but I got too excited and just opened them all with mad abandon, reading all the delightful messages attached to many.

I found this...

and this...

and some of this...

and WOW, look at this...

I she even sent this...

And the icing on the cake with the cutest little strawberry on top was this...

And I can, without reservation, say that I have never felt, in my entire life, so appreciated and loved as I did when I opened this gift. I love every little morsel and drop of everything that was in every package in every box. There were goodies to eat, gorgeous pieces of fabric, trinkets that will become part of the crowns that I make. There were bath luxuries and kitchen things. There was paper, oh my gosh, so much amazing paper. There were flower seeds and stamps and coasters and yarn and ribbon and thread and frames and , gosh, too many items to even list. It was an unbelievable sight.
At the risk of getting mushy, I will say that starting a blog, getting in a swap and making these new and wondrous friends has given my life a boost and a focus and a joy that makes me jump for joy and kick my heels up and boogie on down the road. I thank you Teresa for the incredible bounty and Mary Ann who started this lovefest of blogging and swapping. The gushing is not over but I'm going to keep it to myself for now.

I wish you all a fantastic weekend. I'll be playing with all my new stuff. What will you be doing?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Paper Frenzy

I have a passion for paper, fabric, too, but a real jones for paper. I save paper from labels, I save paper that is wrapped around the newspapers every morning. I go through the recycling bin at school and grab paper scraps. When the library discards books I go through them and tear out the beautiful caramel-y sheets from the front and back. I save cool cards that I can cut up and re-use, I once saved a whole cupboard of paper sample sheets of card stock whose colors were out-of-date. Can you believe someone parted with THAT!! When I was in art school having the right paper was ever so important. The paper had have the proper weight for every project, the exact tooth necessary to propel the medium, be it marker, paint, or pastels, and of course, the color was all-too-important. I'm pretty sure that I will become one of those old ladies who has 6-foot piles of paper stacked in my garage with but a skinny path cleared to walk through to the freezer.

Knowing all that about me, you'll understand when I read onTeresa's blog that she had issued a challenge to make a postcard for someone who inspires us using one or more of the images that she provided, I was ready and willing for the fun. Here's what I came up with.
I had the very best time creating this - it is my first ATC-ish project. Definitely not my last. In fact I envision stacks and stacks of these in my future, (but not piled in the garage). Teresa, dear, thanks for the inspiration.
I have made such lovely friends these last couple of months through this blog; Teresa, Jen, Raesha, and MaryAnn among many more. Stop by all their blogs and introduce yourself 'cause they are some amazing women. I am in awe of how much they do and create.

Also, on the paper front, look at the cool swag I got from Jen's etsy shop. Vintage wallpaper - oh my gosh, look at this fabulous, marvelous paper. And Jen sent a couple little tidbits - the great "V" card, some delicate ribbon with green embroidery and a tag with - guess what? - a crown on it. I am such a lucky girl. This paper is so beautiful and there's scads of it. Do I have to use it or can I just take it out of the drawer now and again and drool over it?Oh, that might be messy, nevermind.

Well this paper chase is over. Have yourselves a great day. Curl up with the paper and relax.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Smells like teen spirit

And it is a delightful scent. The Quad looks deserted at 7 a.m. but 'long about lunch time kids will be screaming their little hearts out trying to garner points for their class. It's Spirit Week here at our high school. A week of festivities leading up to the Homecoming game and homecoming dance. It is a week of yelling and screaming and dressing up and acting crazy, in a good way, and having a barrel of fun. The Student Council decides on the theme of the costumes - yesterday the staff had to wear P.J.'s and I lounged around in my grandson's reindeer-print, XXL, flannel pajammies with my own UGG's on my feet. It was a very comfortable day. General consensus was that it would be a wonderful way to come to school everyday. The kids' theme was salad dressing. Let me explain that - Freshmen were Healthy Choice. They dressed in athletic or exercise gear. The sophomores were Ranch dressing - dressed up as cowboys and farmhands. The juniors were Thousand Island - Hawaiian inspired and the seniors were Caesar Dressing and were toga-clad. I always dread the toga day because I invariably run out of safety pins and am challenged to find different ways of draping sheets around teenagers.
Today is Color Day. Each class has a color.
The color doesn't change from year to year. The Freshmen are always orange; the sophomores, red; the juniors, yellow and the seniors take on our school color, green. Wearing costumes and colors and yelling loud accumulates points for your class. The staff just lends its support by dressing up and showing all-around spirit. Most of us can't really choose one color so we dress in a combination that is nothing short of haute couture. Kids come by my desk all day to make sure I have worn their class color - Today I am sporting an orange shirt, red pants, a yellow sweater and green tennies. I am a vision. Look at the rest of us

Tomorrow the staff has to dress like students, oh yeah I've got my very saggy blue jeans ready. It is going to be a challenge keeping them up (down) around my toosh. How do they do that, anyway? The kids have a whole schedule of costumes that includes babies and senior citizens, sophisticates and teenyboppers. Does it get any better than this?
The homecoming football game - I cannot wait. I am a rabid high school football fan. I go to every game, home or away, and I yell until I'm hoarse. I have accumulated all sorts of green gear - down jacket, fleece blankets, beanies, boots, gloves, scarves so that I can watch in warmth and school-colors.
Saturday is the Homecoming Dance. It's semi-formal. Okay, okay when I was in high school, when my kids were in high school, even, a semi-formal dance was a dance where the boys wore a suit and the girls wore tea-length or cocktail -length gowns. Formal dances were tuxedos and long dresses. Semi-formal and formal dances were like the Emmies and the Oscars. These days formal is still long gowns and tuxes but semi-formal? Well, according to the kids that means no jeans and only nice tennis shoes. Seriously! You gotta love 'em.
Right this second I have two kids at my desk - juniors - who are wrapping their legs in yellow caution tape. I have managed to unearth some yellow cloth tape from the bottom of a drawer and that is being employed to secure the caution tape around athletic shoes as big as boats and thighs as thin as pretzels. This is the best job EVER!!!

I didn't take a picture of myself today except for the pin on my yellow sweater. Didn't know I did modeling, did ya.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

At a loss for words

Nothing came to me this morning. I hadn't words to put down. I went to other blogs I enjoy reading hoping for inspiration. They were great and beautiful blogs but they made me feel all the more pathetically banal - nothing to say. SO today I'll do more show than tell, unless of course I find some words along the way.
Monday night is one of two nights that I watch lots of TV. I start with Wire in the Blood and end with Studio 60 . That is a lot of time for idle hands. So rather than succumb to the devil's work (as much fun as that might be) I put those hands to work and LOOK! I finished a tea cozy and covers for pan handles (I'm sure they have a name...???) and hot pads and a trivet. I really like them. I lined them all with the sweetest , softest red calico print. The calico would make a nice little apron to go with the cozy set.

I also finished the cell phone caddy for my buddy Liz whose birthday it is today - !!!Sapo Verde to you my Lizard friend!!! Once upon a time Liz didn't even carry a purse, she's a minimalist kind of girl. Then one summer while on a road trip she decided that my purse looked kind of handy - you know to carry things in and stuff. I lent her an extra one I'd packed and, well, she was hooked. Upon arrival back home she promptly bought a purse of her own. At last count I think she has three purses. And so it goes. She mentioned to me the other day that her cell phone was getting lost at the bottom of her purse and maybe I could show her how to make a felted bag for it. Yeah, yeah, I'll show her but in the meantime I just made her one. She is on her way to being an accessory queen, first the purse then the cell phone caddy she'll probably be wanting a lipstick case any day now. I have created a monster!!

So, I found a few words after all and I will leave you with one of my favorites - corazon. You gotta have corazon.