Monday, February 11, 2008

Vickie's Paintings and Miss Sandy's Artsy Friends

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. ~Michelangelo

I want to post about 42, 43 or 44 artists today. Artists impress me. I used to be married to one. I consider my daughter one. My niece, too. How a thing of *beauty is created from fabric, oil, watercolor or acrylic is an endless fascination to me. I like nothing better than sitting slightly behind and to the right of an artist at work. Not many have allowed me this luxury, though; apparently, they prefer working in peace even if I do promise to be as quiet as a mouse. (*Of course, art is subjective and many artists do not wish to create beauty, but in my world, if it isn't beautiful, it isn't art.)

Vickie at Sand Flat Farm has a talent that I have been admiring. That's her painting above entitled "Waiting on the Padre." Vickie and her husband enjoy traveling in Mexico and many of her paintings reflect the love of that country. The colors are vibrant and warm and the textures are wonderful. I've taken the generic art appreciation class where I learned that one should look for the touches of red and the diagonal lines because those are the arrows that some artists use to direct vision. And here we have the little white burrow beside the pot of red flowers. A very patient little fellow he is.

I've spoken before of my love of doorways and gates. Perhaps that's why of all the paintings that you can enjoy seeing at Sand Flat Farm, I've chosen the next one called "Puerta Azul".

Spanish speaking I am not, but that must translate to blue door. Vickie describes this as "loose palette knife painting" straying from her usual "tight realism." I adore it whatever it is. It makes me want to know what is beyond the blue door. Does it beckon you, too?

I hope that you'll visit Vickie at Sand Flat Farm and see the other wonderful paintings that she has shared. You shouldn't miss "Baile de las Velas" or Candle Dance. Thank you, Vickie, for allowing me to share your work here at my blog!

Miss Sandy at Quill Cottage featured Karla and Beth Sweet Treats and Roses Recipe Swap recently. Each one of the 42 who participated created a work of art that includes a recipe. Now that's my kind of art! You may have seen this effort discussed at a number of blogs, but you will certainly find an excellent representation at Quill Cottage. And, the good news is that Miss Sandy says that it is okay to snag any recipe of interest because they've been shared on each gal's blog. I snagged Gooey Bars by Terri and Salted Nut Rolls by Beth...not the art, just the recipe. Wonder what you'll snag.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Simple Truth

You're born. You suffer. You die. Fortunately, there's a loophole. ~Billy Graham

Photo source is no longer available...allowed to stand

...I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me. ~Jesus (John 14:6)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mary Shelley and Me

Are any of you like me? You see an old photograph and you wonder: what would that gal look like with her hair down?

All images today are from Dead Fred, a free genealogical site.

So here's the first photo of a lovely wedding party around the turn of the 20th century...

After gazing at the photo, I zero in on the bride. I think what a lovely face, wonder what she'd look like with her hair down. Are you still with me here? So I spend some time finding her some hair and playing games with PAINT so that she now looks like this...

And a side by side...

I am so struck by this next photo of an incredibly nervous young bride and groom. He is so nervous that he's biting his lower lip; she just looks plain scared to pieces and has gathered her skirt slightly with her left hand. I worry about them. Oh well, whatever has happened for them has happened.

Are you still with me? I can't help myself, and by now, you know what I'm wondering. Here's the bride with her hair down in another side by side comparison...

Hmmm, ahhh, wellll, sometimes the hair to the bride doesn't work so well; sometimes the bride must go to the hair...

I've satisfied my curiosity for today. Usually, I limit myself to the virtual painting of rooms or virtual architecture. This feels rather Mary Shelley-ish; I'm creating Frankensteins.

Maybe I'll wander off now and give my grandfather politician hair.

Have a restful Saturday, dear ones!

Friday, February 8, 2008

My Final Two Cents on the Subject of Making a Valentine

This photo was taken early yesterday afternoon right after already having done the transfer when I thought what a marvelous thing it would be to use the sewing machine to attach lace to the edge of the card. Not!

Patience, patience, patience I told myself as I worked hard at not gathering the scraps into a ball and tossing them into the trash as was my earnest desire in the moment. I left to do other chores, spent some time with my calico, called a friend, served coffee to a drop-in guest right in the middle of it. They don't say that "patience is a virtue" without reason. After I'd taken the time and no longer thinking about the disaster, I thought of Zanne; I thought of Zanne and her deconstruct project, which you can read about by clicking on January 31. And I thought that if she had deconstructed a man's shirt and created an apron, I could deconstruct that ruined Valentine.

This is how it turned out in the end. (Stay tuned because I am going to give you the expanded version of The Packing Tape Technique for transferring images.)

This was a learning process and I'd do it much differently next time. The images would be larger, and I'd remember that subtle doesn't always work.

As promised...

The Packing Tape Technique for Transferring Images

You will need:

A photocopied image; clear packing tape; a burnishing tool such as a bone folder or popsicle stick; a shallow dish; tap water; and a dish towel.

1) Make a black and white or color copy of the image, reversing it if necessary to the image when turn out correctly when reversed.

**This MUST be a copy of an actual image not printed from a picture file.

2) Lay a strip of packing tape sticky side down on top of the photocopied image. Use the burnishing tool to go over the image and make sure it has fully adhered to the tape.

**Be extremely thorough with this. Take time and do it carefully and well.

3) Immerse the tape-covered image into a shallow bowl of tap water for up to 15 minutes. Remove the image and pat it dry with the dish towel. Use your fingers to rub off the paper. If you experience difficulty getting the paper to rub off, submerge the tape into the tap water for a few more minutes and repeat the process.

** This took me much longer than 15 minutes. It was more like an hour. Be patient and the reward will float to you on the water. Remove all evidence of paper very carefully by rubbing gently with your fingers.

4) Once the paper has been removed, you will have a transparent image left on the tape. Allow this to dry. Once dried, it can be used in numerous projects, such as scrapbooking, decoupage, jewelry items and altered art projects.

** Important: Once the transferred image is dry, trim it removing all excess tape. The tape itself will not be removed from the project you'll be working on. Since it stays behind, be certain that the image has been trimmed appropriately. On the other hand, this may mean leaving enough tape to cover the entire area that you're working on. (My transferred image has an obvious line of demarcation that is unattractive.)

**My Notes


If any of you try this, I want to hear about it!!

I'd like to thank Rhette (link removed because Rhette has a private blog) for creating the sweet "Vee gif" that I am using in my profile right now. Rhette is new to blogging so drop by one day when you have the chance and say "howdy."

Edited to Add: For additional information, please check out comments today.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Suggestions Anyone?

Maybe it was the Thieves, but for whatever reason, I woke up able to breathe this morning. I'll take it!

Oh that Valentine I spoke of on Tuesday is giving me palpitations. It doesn't take much...;>

Here's what it looks like so far...

BumbleVee, I did what you told me...created myself a little tray that can be whisked off the table in no time.

This is a photo of my grandmother taken in 1914 when she was five. It's so darling that I'd love to incorporate it into the Valentine somehow...

Here's another of Nan taken last summer... Yes, she does look a lot like me!

What I really want to do is to superimpose the child upon the current photo using a transfer technique such as the first one suggested here: *click* There's a wonderful blogger out there somewhere, whom I can't find, who is doing all sorts of wonderful scrapping with this idea. Do you ever lose a blogger? I've lost so many! Of course I keep finding so many that maybe it all balances out in the end.

I had played with the idea of using these maternal grandparents...but I can't figure out how to do it without being too "over the top."

Whatever I decide to do, I'll be certain to share.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lysol, Thieves, and a Cottage Porch

Warning: Do not enter this blog without Lysol! It's true, I've officially had whatever-it-is for 39 days. It's a frustrating cold/flu because just when it seems that it's on the mend, back it comes again. Must be something that I'm supposed to be learning. Anyway, I know that I am not the only one dealing with whatever-it-is so I'm curious enough to ask if you or someone you know has been likewise sidetracked this winter. Let me know! I'm hoping to submit an entry on helpful tips and comfort recipes.

Okay, on with the real entry...

Isn't this a charming space? This photo comes from an article titled The English Gardener Moves Indoors: An English Cottage in Colorado. It's located on a newsletter called Front Range Living by Niki Hayden. She writes a lot of terrific articles on home and gardening, which you should be able to access by clicking on the link provided above.

A friend called me this morning and hearing my voice decided that I was desperately in need of something called "Thieves" an essential oil made of clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary, and eucalyptus. It has just arrived on my door handle (I wouldn't let my friend in) with a story about the Bubonic Plague and gypsies and how gypsies weren't affected by the plague because they used this combination of oils on their feet. The mere mention of "Bubonic Plague" made me laugh. I know this whatever-it-is is baaadddddd, but that bad? Anyway, I'm willing to give anything a try. I'd go to the doctor, but both my mother and grandmother have been on a course of antibiotic and it hasn't done a thing to help.

Stay healthy, everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

For Tuesday

I Believe

I believe that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I believe that no matter how good a friend is, she's going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive her for that.

I believe that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I believe that you can do something in an instant that will give you a heartache for life.

I believe that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe that you can keep going, long after you can't.

I believe that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I believe that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I believe that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I believe that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I believe that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I believe that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I believe that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I believe that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I believe that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you you will find the strength to help.

I believe that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

And I believe in true friendship, for I believe in you!

Source: Blessings for

Monday, February 4, 2008

Thinking About Valentine's Day

* It's time to think about Valentine's Day. Yes. It is.

Nothing was more magical or lovely than Valentine's Day when I was growing favorite childhood holiday right after Christmas and Easter. I adored the schoolroom projects and the way our heart mobiles floated from the ceiling. Making a Valentine's box was so much joy that my little heart nearly burst with the thrill of it all.

But somewhere along the way I lost my enthusiasm for Valentine's Day. Yup, it became another chore. Maybe I lost the love for glue on my fingers, glitter in my hair, and red construction paper messes. Actually, that is exactly the case now that I'm thinking about it. Lots of things became a chore for me when I no longer enjoyed the mess that they inevitably involved. Wow! A revelation in paragraph three. No wonder I hate to cook. (I can cook. I just don't like it much.)

So you may be surprised to know that I am in the middle of big messes attempting to create the most fantastic Valentine ever for my grandmother. My grandmother is appalled by my lack of delight for such a fantastic holiday. She loves Valentine's Day, has always shopped carefully for the perfect cards, and the perfect treats. One could always count on Nan on February 14!

This new-found urge to create is attributed to all those bloggers who scrap and create art from bits of lace, old buttons, a scrap of paper or two, and imagination. I've had to kick start my imagination, but I'm trying...I'm really trying.

So while the sheet music is soaking in coffee, I'll head off to find some lace, buttons, paper, inspiration, and joy.

* P.S. This vintage Valentine floated down from the rafters last October in the middle of construction.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. ~Robert H. Schuller

Imagine a green valley with storm clouds threatening.

photo source leaving the original photo source as you may enjoy seeing the hiking photos

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." ~ Isaiah 30:21

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Jammie Days

Yesterday's storm brought more ice than snow. Today the sun is shining brightly and everywhere one looks the world is shimmering like crystals on a chandelier. Looking up is the best way to enjoy the day because the ground below is treacherous. To paraphrase something E.B. White once said it's a beautiful day above.



Yesterday was spent in quiet pursuits: computer time, reading time, a nap. It was a jammie day. If it's true that one's clothes tell more than one's words, I'd hate to think what yesterday's outfit said about me.

I'll tell you what I said about it: Who dressed me last night? I'd like to say, in my own defense, that I was terribly weary, but still somewhat concerned about coordinating colors even if I wasn't too concerned about mixing stripes and plaids.

Even though I'm not enjoying a jammie day today, it'll be all quiet at the wee house where I plan to spend some time finishing this book...

A pleasant and relaxing Saturday to all!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Little Changes

Anyone remember Lynette Jennings? She used to have a show on the Discovery Channel in the 90s; here's her picture.

If you don't remember her, perhaps you'll remember that shirt! She wore it on nearly every show whenever she was about to get into a big mess. It might've been painting, carpentry, gardening or whatever, she had a hand in it all.

I was remembering Lynette...gosh, I miss her...while I was working on switching those rustic items out of my bathroom. (See January 25) Lynette taught me how to spray paint using a box. Before that, I'd just let the paint fly all over kingdom come.

Okay, backing up a bit. Everywhere I read these days, bloggers are explaining how to repurpose items. I needed to get those rustic decorative items off the bathroom wall because they just didn't work with the vintage mirrors, but I didn' want to leave the wall empty. I like stuff; I'm a lousy minimalist. I wished that I had some little frames that I could use. Wait! I did have some little frames that I could use...right out in the boxes waiting to go to Goodwill. (Sometimes FlyLady can goad me too much in the releasing junk department.)

So I rescued them, removed the faded Currier and Ives prints,

painted them (see above),

and replaced them with cut up calendar pictures.

I like them a lot. Here they are where the rustic items used to be...

Edited to Add: OOps, forgot one...

Not perfect, but better.

Next project is vintage tablecloth curtains...some day!

Lynette Jennings Picture Source link broken, but photo being allowed to stand for obvious reasons

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is Bilbo Baggins Home?

The oil delivery was yesterday. What was I saying about holding my breath? Now I need to get out my long johns! ;>

So the cost of the oil delivery encouraged me to do a little research on energy efficient homes. I never thought I'd find anything like the one you see above, though. It is a real home somewhere in Wales where real people, not Hobbits, live. It has a certain charm, don't you think? Do you think that you could live there? I'm beginning to think that I could.

Here are a few reasons for living in such a dwelling: one saves up to eighty per cent of the energy costs because the home is cooler in summer and warmer in winter; they are low maintainance for a number of reasons including that the water lines will never freeze; they're safe...tornadoes blow right over; and for more interesting reasons follow this link.

Here's an article called Bag End (Hobbit Houses) that you might also find of interest. To find more about the picture source, read this article titled A Low Impact Woodland Home.

Just something to think about...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Organizing a Life

Kits are wonderful ways to organize. I've been using the concept for a few years now and I can honestly say that it makes a big difference in how organized and well the home is maintained. I have had kits for everything and anything you can imagine, except for one, which I'll tell you about in just a minute. Even baking/cooking items are kept in baskets. It's wonderful to lift a basket from the cupboard knowing that everything I could possibly need for baking will be in there. I hate digging around for the can of baking powder.

This is a picture of what's behind the apron closet door. You'll be simply fascinated, I know.

Everything stays more or less organized. If it doesn't fit in this closet, it is stored on some basement shelves and I just refill the baskets from there. If you're not already doing something like this, try it, you'll impress yourself!

You'd think that with a system like mine, I would already have come up with the following idea, but, noooo, this idea comes directly from Brenda at Coffee Tea Books and Me where she describes creating a basket in order to keep her Bible, devotional readings, a pen and notebook, etc., at hand. Lightbulbs went off reading her words. I could do that; I should do that.

So that's the picture of my new basket with the items I've gathered. There is one that makes me grin—Living Sucessfully With Screwed-Up People by Elizabeth B. Brown. Why? I live alone. Living alone doesn't change the fact that I'm going to finish reading that book...lots of good concepts in there. A new Uniball Vision Elite pen and an empty journal with a picture of a black cat leaping over an alley from a rooftop to a fire escape were added. The leaping cat was so apropos given my current situation of holding-my-breath living.

Just another reason why I love bloggers. They spark me to try things I'd never thought of; they stretch my thinking; they inspire me. Now I'll just be off to see what God can do. ;>

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Little Apron Picture Story...

What a day brightener a new apron can be! For clearer pictures of my beautiful oo-la-la apron, see here on January 18. Thank you, Zanne! It is even more lovely than I imagined. And, as you can see, it fits! Now what will I do? I really think it looks so at home with the others; although, they must all be jealous. ;>

Some time ago now, sweet Robin presented me with this award: (If you're like me and not quite certain what bodacious means, click here.) Yes, I thought bodacious meant Rubenesque and, as you can see, I qualify! (BTW, Bodacious does not equal Rubenesque.) Thanks, Robin, and even more so now that I know you're not calling me names!! ;>

Now I'm passing this award on to three beautiful bloggers who truly are audacious:

Kari@Just Livin' Large

CC@Six Months of Settled

Zanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife

Monday, January 28, 2008


Tidying up loose ends here by returning to the humble house tour. I believe that I was going to show you the office and the bedroom. This won't take long so don't run off now.

Here's my office. It's disgusting. I can't keep it organized no matter what I do. Apparently, even my family is concerned since I receive lots of little gadgets and helps for office tidying whenever my birthday or Christmas rolls around.

What's up with that chair? Yes, I can see that you're all wondering. Well, I do have a beautiful chair for the desk, but it is the least ergonomically correct chair ever, much worse than the wicker one that you see there. So here's the beautiful chair serving its new purpose...holding LLBean bags and such.

The next photo is of the office of my dreams. I think you'll be surprised on two points: The first is that it isn't tidy either and the second is that it is not yellow. It must be all those books I love or maybe I really do enjoy chaos. No, it's the white woodwork again! I'm sure of it!

In my hometown, a large Edwardian home with a turret and a carriage house sits on a corner lot. When I was growing up, I always wanted a tour. Lucky for me, friends of mine bought the house and I did eventually get "the tour." I was disappointed to find that the turret room served as a storage room. I always wanted to see it used as a master suite. So, if I ever have the opportunity to own a house with a turret, hahaha, I want my bedroom to look like this...

Not so long ago, I posted a photo of my own bedroom here on December 30...look for a sleepy cat.

And so that ends the humble house tour. When I actually attempt the wonderful suggestions and tips that so many offered, I'll be sure to show you how it turned out.

Happy Monday!

Edited to Add: This was in the early days of blogging and I am appalled that I made no attempt to document sources. Nevertheless, I am making the decision to allow it to stand. I now know that Google Images sends out a "ping" representing every time an image is taken. All the owner has to do is follow the source. It's probably time consuming, but I've not heard from the owners of either of these fine photographs. If I ever do, I'll link properly or remove as the case may be. My apologies for my early ignorance.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hearth Dreaming

To poke a wood fire is more solid enjoyment than almost anything else in the world. ~Charles Dudley Warner

Guess that's especially true on bitter cold days. I'm dreaming of hearths today and watching a fire burn.

Picture Source

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wildflowers of New York 1921

Taking a weekend break from the humble house tour to chat about a different topic—specifically, the book you see above.

As you know, I am a blog nut. Love other people's blogs. Love to see where they live, what they do, what they eat, what they create. I'm nosy like that. Very. Don't leave your curtains open at night if you don't want me peeking in! Although I comment at many, many blogs, some blogs are revered so highly that I seldom, if ever, comment there. Isn't that bizarre? I know. I am not well.

One of those blogs is Dawn's The Feathered Nest (another would be Manuela's). Recently, Dawn was working on such an exquisite piece (here) that I remembered a book that I had rescued from the dumpster twenty years ago or more. Now where was that book? I hadn't seen it in ages. After a good bit of hunting, I found it buried beneath scads of other books and the Christmas wrap in the bottom of my closet.

The following are a few photos...

They have faded with time, I would imagine. On many pages, there are penciled notes such as these:

Mr. Whittier finds these growing in his lower field from July through September August 28, 1931

Found growing along Crystal Pond on the north side. June 12, 1929

Orr's Island July 17, 1931

The photos needed to be straightened, collated, and generally tidied. Instead of reburying the book, it is now in an honored spot in the bookcase waiting for the day when my gears are turning instead of churning. I'd love to try doing what Dawn accomplished because it's beautiful and meaningful. Besides, didn't Melissa just recently say that art in the home should be just that...beautiful and meaningful? (Follow the blogroll to The Inspired Room and read the January 23rd entry.)

And, if I ever do attempt this project, I know that I'll need the product that Sandy from Quill Cottage mentioned here.

Sorry to interrupt the flow, but if you really want a nice bedroom tour that'll have you chuckling, visit Suzanne right here.

A relaxing Saturday to all and STAY WARM!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Kitchen, The Bath, and Beyond

Now that's an original title! LOL!

I love comments. Adore them!! You bloggers are so talented and helpful. Hope that anyone reading yesterday's post will stick around and read the comments. Besides, that's where I've answered any questions you may have had including Sandi's rather personal one. ;>

Now where was I? Oh, the kitchen. Would you believe that the space that you see in my header and the space I've shown you with the dining room table all connects to the kitchen? Yes, it's one large space. The kitchen has not been redone...same old cabinets, same old hardware, same old, same old. But I don't mind because that's the look I enjoy best in kitchens...grandma's kitchen. Of all the kitchens I searched, I found a couple that I'm sharing here by way of explanation. Here they come...

This should please you lovers of red. Red is not my favorite color, but you get the idea that it's a vintage look that I most appreciate. Here's another in greens and lots of colors actually...

The above photo is taken through the pantry. I'd love a pantry. Do you have one? If you do, I'm jealous. The common denominator in both photos is the white...I think. Yes, I do believe it's all the white so I need to remember that: I adore white woodwork!

And here, as promised, is a photo of my own kitchen or a portion of it...

Moving on to my tiny bathroom, which was once described by my carpenter as "substandard." Ouchie! And I put quite a chunk of change into that bathroom back in 1994 because I hadn't been here a month before the sink fell off the wall and the pipes broke and the basement flooded. Still, I know what he means, it's much too small and there's only a shower. That has never been a problem for me because I loathe bathing in a tub. But I can understand why some would prefer one.

Here are two photos of my bathroom...

This taking pictures of one's space has been very helpful. I have seen it with "new eyes" and the first thing that I see is that simple changes are going to be made that will have a big impact. For example, I do not like the "rustic" items on the wall in conjunction with the vintage mirrors. That's going to be changed and soon!

Here are a couple of photos of bathrooms I enjoy. Again, a "farmhouse" style with a chair, etc. My former bathroom had room for a bureau and a chair...loved that!

The unifying theme? That claw-footed tub! And, even as I realize this and know that I will never want such a thing in my home...they're not easy to clean and they take up too much space, and they cost a fortune, and if you had an old one to recoat it would also cost a fortune, I know where this pseudo desire is coming from. It is a childhood memory of pleasant bath times in my grandmother's claw-footed tub. Okay, I can deal with that then. ;>

I think that we'll save the "beyond" for tomorrow. It's too frightening for Friday anyway.