Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Beginnings!

I'm officially retired... for the first time and maybe the last.  Due to changes at my workplace and losing my benefits, I've made the choice to move on.  I thought I'd be working until the 30th of September (2016) but that took a sudden change yesterday.  My boss suggested I accept her offer of two weeks of sick leave.  I worked the rest of the day while I packed my box and I walked out with a final paycheck yesterday at 4:35 PM.  I left behind 25 years of memories.

I've been unloading my box today as well as a couple of boxes from a coworker who walked away a month or two back.  She gifted me some craft stuff that I simply hadn't gotten around to unloading until today.  

And now I figure out where I'm heading next.  It's on my list to change the picture in the header, I certainly don't look like that anymore!

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I think the Fly is Dead

Paper beads.  That's my latest endeavour.  Roll up long skinny, tapering, pieces of paper - around a coffee sippy straw.  Glue the end down, varnish it a few times and there you have it.  A bead, or many beads.  You choose depending on your level of insanity.

Apparently I am rather insane as I ordered a box of 1000 coffee, stir-er, sippy straws last night.  If that is an indication of the winter to come, it's going to be a long, wet winter.  And there she is....  twirling paper around sippy straws...

I am really getting old.  The older I get, the younger I get.  I play like a six year old.  If only I could sleep like a child too. 

I'm still into photographing everything I don't see, in hopes of seeing it better. Doesn't help usually, but it does keep me off the streets. (for the most part).  
I found a dead fly on the screen of my backyard screened house.  He didn't fly away which was a dead give-away to his life status. I took his picture, thinking the whole time how I detest pictures of bodies in coffins.  I suppose this might have been different as he was not in a coffin. 

On to spiders.  Not a very good shot.  I was hovering around in an overgrown area of my yard... swatting mosquitoes and dancing away from ants.  It was much easier to focus on the dead fly.  

What can I say?  I promised myself I'd get back to blogging, I didn't promise myself high quality, thought provoking commentary.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Post!  Yaaay...

Today, my set of four Jeweler's Loupes arrived.  I like.  I wandered around the yard again hunting for pictures.  Bugs, other than mosquitoes, seem to be in short supply in this hot weather.  I found only one wee spider.  

It took several attempts at different times of the day to finally get a semi-decent shot of him.  He lives near the wee pond full of fish.

Then I went around the yard looking for something, anything to photograph.  Found these pretty purple flowers.

Finally as the sun was going down, I was getting desperate for a good photograph.  I turned around and saw the bench by the pond.  On a whim I switched to black and white and snapped a photo. 

 I rather like this one.  

And I think it's time for me to be off to bed.  It shall take awhile to post anything of interest I think.  I have to get back into the swing of living in a 'safe' world.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Long Time No See

Yes, it's been a very, very (very) long time since I posted. A few years.  Suffice it to say that I had some major bumps in the road that took over my complete world. I did not want to blog about it.  It was all encompassing and I had nothing else to write about. The extremely short story is, my brother is a registered child sex offender.

I've had cataract surgery on both eyes with some glitches that left me with poor vision for awhile.  I let it be a lesson unto me to stop taking my eyesight for granted. Now, my vision is really good in one eye, the other eye is not so good, but good enough to function.  So function I will.

I've been taking pictures... cherishing my vision now that I've got it back.  So, since I'm checking out this new (for me) blog layout, writer, editor-thingie, I'll add a picture I took last night.

 I was outside wandering around snapping photos and saw something on top of a flower.  I put a 10X Jeweler's Loupe over my camera lens and snapped.

Figured I didn't get much and went on with my evening - looking for little stuff to photograph.

I downloaded my pictures from my camera and was surprised to see it was a tiny caterpillar. In person it was less than 1/4 inch long.  I had trouble with shaky hands. The focus range using the loupe is very, very narrow.  But, I'm rather pleased with the result.

Not to be outdone, a tiny fly flew into my view.  I had to work quickly with it, so it to was a one shot deal.
Here's my little fly!

Fun evening in the yard!

I must mention Mike Ash here.  He taught me a lot about getting macro shots with an inexpensive (read cheap) camera and very inexpensive magnifying glasses.  He died almost 10 years ago, but not before sharing lots of tips with lots of people.

You can see his 'stuff' here:

I'm back to claying after a long hiatus.  I'll be sharing that at a later date.  I'm taking online classes and learning lots of new techniques.  I give away almost everything I make.  I have happy friends!

I like the new blog editor by the way.  Much easier to get pictures where I want them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Everything's Bloomin'!

OK, here's my yearly look-it, the flowers are blooming post.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sweetbrier Studio - Where to find the molds!

I've just found out that Sweetbrier Studio is no more.  But don't fret, Penni-Jo, who created the designs has taken over and the molds are back in production.  You can read the story here:

There's links there that will take you to the place to buy the molds directly from Penni-Jo..

If you're in a hurry to get your stuff and don't want to read all about it, here's the link to her online store:  There's more than molds there, it's well worth the visit.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


It's been a warm and sunny weekend.  The pollen is a deep as the snow was a couple months back.  When you walk you leave footprints.  Everything is glowing yellow.  There's nothing to do but embrace the pollen.  There's no rain in the forecast. 

I put up a screen tent a week or so ago.  We hauled a table and chairs into it.  We added a fan and it's a lovely place to be.  When the sun started shining in a bit too far, I hung my dupatta (shawl) up and found that it was good. 

Then as the day passed, we added more dupattas.  We created a most wonderful, colorful tent. And that is where
Marsha and I spent the past 2 afternoons... reading, painting, staring off into space, or watching the pretty dupattas flap in the breeze of the fan.
I'm creating a fancy goat.  Anna, a friend requested it after seeing one I had made for myself.  This fellow is ceramic and will be heavily embellished before he's done.  He will be going to her friend who is a local Doctor. 

I did a bit of painting on it while I was in the tent.  Mostly though I did 'not much'.  Here's the goat in progress....

And here he is inside getting his horns glued on.  I'll smooth the connection off with plaster then paint it in to hide any seams.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wha'da'ya Think???

....ya think that Matzo grows on trees?!?!?!
Happy Passover Y'all!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fandango Fantasy... or it's a Jungle Out There

I went to the Orlando Area Polymer Clay Fandango Retreat again this year. I just finished up our Christi Friesen Project and have it hanging on the wall. Fantasy mirror or some such thing the class was called.

The supply list for the class called for a 6 inch mirror. Marsha and I discussed it and decided that we wanted to work together on a project. When we arrived at Lake Yale we met up with Christi quickly and told her our plan. She said "It's a very 'in' thing to do these days." She called it a collaboration and said all the artists are doing it now.

"Yeah, whatever" we said, "we just want to see if we can actually work together!"
We started with a 12 inch mirror. We figured it would be a challenge to make it work since our styles are so very different. We started off at 9 AM the morning of our Christi class... 'On a roll'. We purposely bickered and fussed at each other as we began to get into the spirit of collaboration. Not sure if it helped the spirits but it was fun as I tend to work tiny and detailed, Marsha works big and bold. We reversed roles. I wanted everything BIG and Marsha kept turning out small flowers and leaves.
Christi kept us encouraged with the idea that there are no rules for this project... this is a Dr. Seuss kind of creation. If the leaves want to be purple they can be purple. If the flowers are striped and plaid... no problem. We quickly forgot to fuss and kept cranking that pasta machine with all manner of strange color combinations.
We were so busy that we took only one picture... and it was when we were coming down the home stretch of the class.... and that's when the panic began. Three pieces of card stock was not going to provide proper support for our mirror's travel home

We'd planned on everything except how to get the unbaked mirror home! We had nothing to set it on to keep it safe in transport.

I searched our room. Nothing.

I searched the car. Nothing.

This was starting to look grim...

We saw a couple of options... beg the cafeteria staff for a box. We didn't have the nerve.

Go to Walgreen's and hope for a cookie sheet or a dumpster dive opportunity. Didn't want to give up any retreat time to take the trip.

Finally, a fellow retreat-er rescued us. She had a mailing box, still flat, in her car. She brought it to us. The mirror fit. We could get it home.
It was back to regular panic. As the mirror grew, we realized that this thing could be a challenge to hang safely. Marsha tracked down Christi for some last minute advice on hangers. "Three wire hangers" she said.

"THREE" we said?!?!

Three hangers on the back?
"Yeah baby" was the answer.

The mirror became the centerpiece of the car when we started packing. Nothing could infringe on our Christi mirror... with or without hangers.

We arrived home and Marsha was given the honor of carrying the mirror inside. She only got that honor because I take better pictures.

The mirror took up residence on a craft table as the story had to be continued.

Marsha took charge of 'shiny'. She spent a day dabbing on mica powders. Then I started adding beads and more leaves. After several consults there was still an empty spot and Marsha said, "Needs another flower of some leaves or something... There." and she poked in the general direction of the top of the mirror.

I looked at her and said. "Fine, I'm tired of working by myself on it, YOU fix it!"

She did... here's her last flower to fill the hole.
Time to bake.

I was in charge of toilet papering it. We decided we really should have brought home a supply from Lake Yale. After all, everyone else had baked theirs there and therefore they used Lake Yale potty paper. Alas, I had to raid my own bathroom.

I got everything supported so it wouldn't sag in the oven. This was a big baby and was going to take quite a while to cook... and nothing was going to droop in the heat. if I had anything to stuff into it. I fixed the shelves in the kitchen oven and did a test run to check the temperature. Reconfirmed that the oven bakes hot. 25 degrees to be exact.

Finally the mirror met the oven. We baked... and we baked... and we baked. I checked the temp and the condition of the mirror every 15 minutes. All came off according to schedule. Except for hangers, the mirror was done.

The orange thing at the bottom is my rendition of a funky fungus that was growing at Lake Yale. We almost convinced California Christi that those strange looking things are where flamingos come from.

Maureen Carlson got in on the story and while she was checking one out up close and personal, she stepped on it. That's one less flamingo in the world. She googled it while we were there and came up with a name for the fungus, but I've forgotten what it is - other than funky fungus. Whatever it is, it all rotted when the weather got sunny.

In the meantime, Maureen had been keeping an eye on the mirror. She asked, "But... who lives there??" I didn't know at the time.

Then Marsha showed up cradling a tiny mouse on a leaf. Christi had made it during a demo and had given it to Marsha.

And look, it just snuggled in... right there.

So today, I added hanging wires to the back of the mirror. Yes, three of them.

Christi, if you ever find your way to this blog and read this far....

I have a question. Have YOU ever tried to get all the nails in the right places on the wall to match three hangers... and then actually get all three nails hooked into all three hangers?!?!

I did it... finally!

The little stone dangling on the right side of the mirror is from Jerusalem. It's a jungle there you know.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Crawling the Labyrinth

I decided this past weekend that it was time to revive my backyard labyrinth. I know posts here have been few and far between but life circumstances knocked me for a loop. Perhaps I'm back up and blogging now, I'll just have to wait and see.

On to the labyrinth.

It was a beautiful sunny weekend and I was itching to get outside and putter.
I wandered outside to see where I was being led. I soon found myself down on my knees, pulling leaves and grass away from my labyrinth. It was almost totally covered with leaves. The grass was trying to crawl over the walls. It was a very neglected thing.

I was just going to pluck a bit of grass off the outside edge but soon I found myself with a pile of stuff that I couldn't just leave there. I rounded up a trash container - a big plastic flower pot with handles - and began my crawl. I started at the entrance and alternately traveled on my knees or on my butt... dragging my flower pot with me.

I used my fingers as my rake and scooped up the leaves. I pulled out up the dormant grass that was infringing on the structure. When my pot got full, I stood and stretched out the kinks then picked up my pot and took it to the compost pile.

It was a slow and steady scoot.

Slow was good that day, I needed it. I moved so slowly and so close to the ground that I was able to stop and see the bugs. I found a dried up bug carcass. The bugs on the ground and the bugs in my thinking.

Something about that carcass just caught my attention. Bug - been there and gone. Life moves on.

I keep up my scoot.


I'm fortunate to be living in my childhood home. That's not an experience that most folks have anymore.

When I crawled that labyrinth, my thoughts turned back to my childhood.
Squealing somersaults in the itchy green grass.
Games of Tag with the neighborhood kids.
Watching as the neighbor boys filled a garden hose with gas, then lit it and spun it around their heads. (I wasn't allowed to play with those kids...)

I remembered that my Father's tomato garden was "right about here". I continued on around the labyrinth circuit. I passed the bunny rabbit and tidied it up. He'd been knocked over during the winter and had been hidden by the leaves.

He's guarding his rocky rocks again.

The ribbon grass in front of the bunny was my Father's pride and joy. It's a variety that's hard to come by and is very slow growing. One time a local nursery owner, driving by, noticed it, stopped and asked my Father if he could dig it up. He'd trade anything in his nursery for it, he said.

Whatever Dad wanted, he could have, if he'd just part with his ribbon grass. My Father answered with a very firm "NO deal." Most of that grass is still in the front yard where my Father planted it, but I've been slowly transplanting it to special places.

Places to remember.
Scooting on... leafy fingers, muddy knees.

I'd forgotten the race horse. He was well hidden in overgrown shrubbery and piles of leaves.

It's Marsha's. I don't know the story, it's hers to remember when she walks the labyrinth.

I push on to the finish line even though it's a long way off and I won't hit it until the next day.

I'm remembering stories now. The stories my Mother used to tell me. Stories of how she and my Father had to tame that back yard. When they moved into the house in 1954 she said... "The trees were so close together that I couldn't stretch out my arms without touching one."

She and my Father cleared the land together. The yard was full of poison ivy. My Father tried to burn it once she said. "Don't ever burn poison ivy," was a very early lesson. Apparently the oils become suspended in the air. My Father ended up with poison ivy itch everywhere... "Yes, even 'there'.

Then I remembered another story... my Mother and Father crawled the whole back yard, planting sprigs of grass and pulling weeds. It was comforting this weekend to crawl where they had crawled... especially since all the poison ivy is gone.

Thinking about moved on to more current events in my life. A little light shiner reminded me that it's OK to be confused.

It's OK to wonder which way to go.

Scoot, pull, rake....
Sometimes, all you can do is gather up the broken pieces and keep going.

I stopped and stretched out on my back in the middle of the labyrinth. It was a beautiful sky.

Another 'remember' of childhood, lying in the yard with a friend. Finding dogs and rabbits in the clouds. Giggling.
Same yard. Wishing and dreaming, then and now.

On around the labyrinth I went.

Sometimes a bit of wine helps the whine.

Elephant tackles glass boulder.
Bunnies and Elephants and snakes... Oh My!

Tucked under the leaves, I found a tiny pine tree and a scrawny holy bush have taken root.

And the crawl continues back to where it began.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Life in the Tent

It's lovely having a tented retreat spot. The lettuce has been planted, the bloomers are blooming.
I went on retreat this afternoon. Here's a cactus that is in full bloom now.

Monday, November 9, 2009

S-H-E-D House

Or Tent City!

We had a busy weekend 'round the house.
I'd planned a work weekend as it's getting cooler and it is time to tuck plants into the green-tent and just generally button things down for the winter. But, mostly I wanted to add insulation under the house and needed help in doing so. Marsha was off work. I assumed Darrell would have some time to help also.

I forgot the part about Darrell being gone to a regional assembly. Oh well.... I scrapped the insulation idea and went forth on a backyard 'save the plants' mission. We have a green-tent. The green-tent is Marsha's territory. It's a tent style greenhouse that I bought on e-bay a few years back. It's a clear, well more like translucent, domed tent that does nicely for shoving the potted plants into. The only problem is, once all the plants are in, you really can't do anything except unzip the door and aim the hose in to water the plants. Simply not fun... we always made Darrell do it.
Sooooo.... I've tried something in addition to the green-tent this year.

There's a 'shed' in the backyard that my Father built. It's actually a nice little room now as I've cleaned it out. There's a twin bed, a couple of chairs and bookcases, and my hot tub out there. There's also an unused treadmill (it does make a nice towel hangar) but we won't discuss that.

The shed has a roofed patio. It's about 6 feet by 12 feet. A few years back, I hung a swing. The only problem with enjoying it is the mosquitoes. So mostly it has swung in the breeze by itself.

The brain gears started grinding in the past few weeks. "I wonder if I can enclose it with plastic for the winter?!?!" I checked things out and saw there was sturdy and ample room to staple plastic up. The only problem was... how to make room for the swing to swing as it is right at the outer edge of the patio. There's gotta be a way.

I decided that if I cut the plastic long enough that I could just anchor the plastic out a few feet away from the patio. It would hang at a gentle angle, but it should drain OK. Figured it was worth the risk. If it didn't work, it was only $20.00 worth of plastic.

Soooo... Friday, I unfurled 20 by 25 feet of plastic in the back yard. I split it into two pieces, each 10 feet wide and 25 feet long. I reinforced one edge with a duct taped hem. That would be my staple edge. Marsha came out to see what I was up to. She thought the project looked like a cool idea. She wandered around a bit then just as I was ready to take the first piece of plastic to the porch she decided to go clean the bathroom.

By this point I had realized just how big 10 by 25 feet is. This called for serious action. I whined. "OK, if you must clean the bathroom, I'll be fine, I'll get this plastic up all by myself.... you go ahead inside...."

It worked, she stayed outside to help. We draped ourselves in plastic and dragged the first piece to the patio. The stapling began. It was a messy job as Marsha soon found out. Palmetto bug turds from the gutter above rained down on us each time the staple gun snapped. I was very proud of Marsha who really, really doesn't like bugs, let alone bug turds.

As I was wrapping the wrapper behind the swing, she was down on the ground pulling the plastic farther and farther away from the patio. Before I knew it she had a tea olive bush inside the plastic. Then a lovely red verbena appeared inside. We discovered that if I pleated the plastic sheet that we could make our 'tent' even bigger. I pleated and stapled as she secured the lower edges with bricks.

Very soon, the first piece of plastic was secured. We stopped to admire. Way Cool! This may actually work! The second piece of plastic went up faster than the first as we had the technique down. We made an overlap door in the front.

We went inside to admire our creation. Getting Way Cooler! Marsha had arranged the walls so that two small flower gardens at the edge of the patio were under cover. It was getting dark so we went inside and washed the turds out of our hair.
Saturday I was on my own as Marsha had to work. I took the pressure washer inside and cleaned.

Probably backwards method... probably should have washed it down before hanging the plastic, but, hey, it worked. It made a really fun fog inside that lasted for a couple of hours. When it was reasonably dry I took in a garden table and chairs and some of the big potted plants that usually go in the green-tent.

Then I cleaned out the little gardens in the front of the patio. Sweet! I was on a roll. I went through the yard and started repotting summer long neglected plants. Got everyone tucked in with good clean dirt. I pounded nails into rafters and started hanging pots. It was turning into a masterpiece.

I sat and swang.