Friday, November 30, 2007

Easy gift box

As I was getting ready to send off my new necklace and earring set, I realized that I was out of jewelry gift boxes, the kind that has the cotton "bed" already inside. So I started rummaging through my stash of boxes, and the only one that would work was a box that had held bank checks. Hmm.

I had been reading Kelly Rae Roberts' article in the November/December Cloth Paper Scissors about collaging paper "patchwork" as a background for paintings. She suggests using old cards for the collage. The light bulb turned on in my head! I have a bunch of old Christmas cards, and they could be used to collage the check box.

I lightly sandpapered the glossy surfaces of the box with fine-grit sandpaper, then gessoed. Picking cards with lots of blues, I cut rectangles and squares to cover the surfaces of the box, and glued them on. In Kelly's article, she suggests coating the surface with gel medium at this point. My box would have looked nicer if I had done this, but I wanted to get done quickly, so I didn't do that.

I dabbed white and blue paint all over the box with a sponge, wiping it off if it got too heavy.

After the paint dried, it was time to jazz things up with sequins.

I felt that the box was lacking a focal point on the top, so I found some writing in an old calendar that I liked, glued it on, and painted "Peace" on top.

The last photo shows the finished bottom and top of the box. Now the lucky winner of my jewelry doesn't even have to wrap it to give it as a Christmas present.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

5 really good things, right now

  1. The sun is shining today, after days of clouds and foggy gloom.
  2. I just finished and delivered a necklace and earring set for a charity auction, complete with a collaged gift box. (I posted a photo of the set yesterday. I'll post photos of the gift box later.)
  3. I've pulled out some of the Christmas decorations from their storage spot -- they're ready to go, once I've cleaned the living room.
  4. I'm going to run to the post office after I post this, to finally mail a package that should have gone out a week ago.
  5. I shoveled snow this morning, and I am feeling great!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Soul color?

What color is your soul painted?


Your soul is painted the color blue, which embodies the characteristics of peace, patience, understanding, health, tranquility, protection, spiritual awareness, unity, harmony, calmness, coolness, confidence, dependability, loyalty, idealism, tackiness, and wisdom. Blue is the color of the element Water, and is symbolic of the ocean, sleep, twilight, and the sky.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz

Quizzes and Personality Tests

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 26, 2007

Playing catch-up with the leaves

This weekend we played catch-up. Chris worked hard on his grading, and all three of us worked on the yard, trying to get things cleaned up before the snow flies. Between our illnesses and the lateness of the hawthorns dropping their leaves, we hadn't done any work out there in a while.

Saturday, I started to prepare the roses for winter. I pruned the tallest canes back, wanting to save the plants from ice damage (if that's what winter brings this year), and hoping that such a late pruning won't wreck the plants. Then I hauled out the bags of compost, and discovered they had been frozen solid! Argh. So I hauled them inside, by the back door to thaw, and resigned myself to raking the front yard.

I piled leaves on top of the new daylilly bed, hoping to stop it from heaving the new plants out of the ground when the freeze/thaw cycle starts next year. I filled our yard waste cart with the rest. There are so many little twigs from the spruce tree that it would be very hard to compost that stuff without shredding it first, and I don't have a shredder (yet). I was happy to finish as the dim daylight was failing. My hands and arms ached by bedtime.

Sunday morning, Ross was pacing around the house with way too much energy, so I sent him to the back yard with a rake and put him to work. He managed to make a small leaf pile before we left for church. After church, I changed into work clothes and headed for the back yard, and Chris joined me. He had the great idea to put the shop vac into reverse and turn it into an impromptu leaf blower! It didn't move the leaves that were frosted to the grass, but it did lighten my load considerably.

I opened the thawed bags of compost and spread them on the base of the rosebushes. As I patted the piles down, it seemed as if I was tucking the roses into bed for a winter's sleep. "Night, night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite!" Then I spread a layer of pine needles on top of the compost, and a layer of hawthorn leaves on top of that.

The damp cold day was getting dimmer and dimmer, and it felt as if it would snow any second. And once I had the roses covered, I thought, okay, now it can snow. But it didn't. I managed to rake up most of the remaining leaves in the back yard before it got too dark to work. Whew.

A long hot bath went a long way toward easing my aching back before bedtime. Oh, there aren't many experiences in life as grand as a lovely soak in lavender-scented hot water!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Our friends, the Crowleys, hosted a fun and relaxed Thanksgiving celebration. Jason ambitiously roasted a 20+ pound turkey.

Jason enjoying some refreshment after lifting that bird:

Chris was trying not to think about all the grading he has to do this weekend.

Patricia creating a yummy mushroom gravy:

Unfortunately, I ran out of picture-taking steam after that. I could have had some nice shots of the kids eating. But hey, I was enjoying the feast myself! Thanks to our hosts for a lovely day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The pies have cooled, the turkey is roasting, and soon we will be feasting with friends and family -- it's Thanksgiving day.

I AM GRATEFUL for so many things in my life!

I am grateful for the wonderful circle of family and friends that are around me now, were around me in the past, and will be around me in the future. I send blessings to them all.

I am grateful for my talents and for my ability to use them for good.

I am grateful for my curiosity and for my eagerness to try new things.

I am grateful for the beauty that is all around me, everywhere, from the smile of an elderly gentleman at the grocery store, to the tiniest raindrop hanging from a tree branch.

I am grateful for the limitless bounty that is my life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Art Deco, anyone?

On Sunday I went to see the restored Fox Theater in downtown Spokane. This theater was once the home of the Spokane Symphony, but it had been converted to a triplex movie house in the seventies, and was not far from the wrecking ball in the nineties. Fortunately, some folks at the symphony and throughout the city had the good sense to save it, and the symphony has returned.

The restoration has been proceeding slowly, but now it is almost complete, and well worth the wait. The theater is a jaw-dropping example of an Art Deco palace. I forgot to bring my camera when I visited (argh!), but I did find a decent slideshow here. You really need to get a taste of what a sumptuous, opulent place this is. I can imagine what it was like in the thirties -- all those flapper girls with their bobbed hair, and the dashing young men....

Of course I came home and had to play with the Art Deco imagery. The lobby was painted in blues and greens and had something of water theme. Here's a collage I made for my journal. Sorry about the poor quality of the photo -- I really need a scanner!


It's been quite cold and frosty the past couple of mornings. I love to look at the frost on the plants -- so delicate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I've decided that I need to keep my camera with me as much as possible. I've had too many moments lately when I've thought: I wish I had my camera right now! Using the camera has been a big boost to my paying attention to what's around me. I slow down and look. I appreciate the beauty around me, in this very moment.

In that spirit, I'll be sharing more photos with you.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I hadn't paid attention to the weather forecast, so when I woke up this morning, I was surprised to see a little snow. The weather was grey and damp last week, and it felt like it would snow a couple of days.

I had been hoping it would hold off. I've had the nasty cold that's been around lately, and I haven't felt up to raking my (late-falling) leaves. Now I'm hoping for a little dry weather so that I can at least prune and cover the roses, and maybe run the lawn mower to chop the leaves for mulch. Gee, I thought I still had some time before winter hit....

Why is it that early Christmas displays in the stores make me say "bah humbug," but a skiff of snow makes me hum Christmas carols?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

1970s crewelwork

Last night, one of my art quilting students brought me some 1970s crewel pieces that she got from an estate. Wasn't that sweet of her?

"Hey, baby, what's your sign?"

Here are some botanicals.

I never really outgrew my fondness for the 70s mushrooms. I've collected a few pieces of vintage mushroom fabric recently -- maybe they'll gel into a wall hanging?

I love this little girl! I'm not ordinarily enthusiastic about "sweet" images, but I am smitten with this one. I'm not sure where she'll end up -- I'll have to think about it.

The mushrooms and the little girl have found a new home with me. In the spirit of sharing the bounty (and keeping my stash from getting even more bloated), I'd be happy to ship any of the other pieces to you for free! Think of them as potential components in art quilts or tote bags or pillows or dolls or mixed media pieces . . . Most of them are in really good shape. Just email me (click on my profile link at the top right).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Autumn thoughts

From my journal, November 11:
"I have always been a lover of spring. The brightening days, the peeks of green in dreary March days.... I am the eternal optimist, and spring sings my heart's song: there is boundless potential; look what's coming!

Today I realize that I have come to love autumn. My optimistic eyes thrill to the colors -- the fires of the leaves, and the rich blues and purples of the royal asters, courted by the last of the bees.

Yet I am also learning to admire the rust of fallen pine needles, the crunchy brown leaves, the greys of naked twigs shivering in the pale November sun.

I stop to wonder at the shriveled rose hips and the fragile seed pods that huddle in the brush.

Perhaps I had to reach that stage in my own life, when I know that I am closer to the sunset than to the sunrise, to appreciate the beauty of life when it has learned to let go, to release its bounty, and to stand as testimonial that we can embrace our full cycle, the full circle of what is. There is nothing to fear. We can point to winter and feel its potential, too."

Friday, November 9, 2007

My creative mess

Alma posted pics of her studio messes, and challenged others to do the same. Well, most people who know me understand that I am a horrible packrat and not much of a housekeeper. I will also add, in my defense, that Chris and I were very exhausted by the time we arrived in Spokane in the summer of 2006, and the basement became the defacto dumping ground as we settled into the house. So, yes, I know this mess has to get cleaned up! In fact, I've deliberately cut back my teaching schedule this winter, in order to do exactly that. (My apologies, Mom, if this is too much to bear!)

Without further ado, a tour of my creative mess.

As you walk into the house, you will see the piles of stuff that are out for the art quilting class that I'm teaching right now, plus some current projects. (This will get cleaned up next week, once the class is over.)

Most of my actual working time is spent on the dining room table. I have a small table in the corner that holds current projects, journals, collage supplies, markers and pens, and the like. Chris and I have talked about installing a hutch and/or shelves to organize this area. I keep hoping that I'll stop using the dining room table, but that day will probably never come.

My work area is supposed to be the breakfast nook at the end of the kitchen. But it is buried under an avalanche of fabric, yarn, books, found objects, beads, etc.

I've got a bunch of stuff under the tables, including the sewing machine, which gets hauled to the dining room table when I'm ready to use it.

The worst horror is the basement, which is best described by the phrase, "it looks as if a bomb went off in it."

Most of my stuff (fabric, yarns, found objects, beads, ephemera) are stored in large plastic bins, and most of those are in the hallway between the office and the bathroom. You can see that I have 3 cabinets now, and I'll be putting most of the fabric in them. But I'm waiting till art quilting class is over, so that I am not constantly pulling out fabric to use while I'm trying to get organized.

The office is the hell-hole. Moving boxes are everywhere. I know where most of my stuff is, and at least I try to return it to the same box where I found it. Ross' art supplies are also scattered around in here.

The good news is that there are some built-in cabinets in this room, and they aren't entirely full yet. I'm hoping that most of the stuff living in the boxes will eventually fit in the cabinets.

The other piece of good news is that I've come to the conclusion that I need to packrat less, and share my bounty more. Some of my thrift store finds may be looking for new homes when spring comes....

Working on the jeans purse again

I am determined that this purse is not going to end up as another UFO (unfinished object)! So I have done some planning about how I want to finish it, and gone back to the embellishing. Here are the eyes that I added this week -- embroidery outline, button pupils, beaded irises.

Here's looking at you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Five really good things

I've been inspired to list 5 really good things. Right now. (See Liz's original post here.)
  1. I am drinking a yummy glass of Red Diamond shiraz. Local stuff, pretty darn good, and I nabbed it on sale.
  2. This blogging thing has been way bigger and better than I thought it could be. Thanks to all of you who write blogs, and thanks to all of you who read my blog.
  3. One of my art quilting students offered to bring me a bunch of 1960s and '70s fabrics that she acquired from an estate and doesn't know what to do with it. She mentioned mushrooms and burlap-like fabric, and I'm tripping down memory lane. I can hardly wait to see it!
  4. My husband, and my son. I'm crazy about both of them.
  5. My friend Debbie, who is so supportive, patient and generous. I wish we still lived within a mile of each other, but distance can't defeat wonderful friendship.
Okay, folks, what are your 5 really good things, right in this moment?!?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Red crayon

You Are a Red Crayon

Your world is colored with bright, vivid, wild colors.
You have a deep, complex personality - and you are always expressing something about yourself.
Bold and dominant, you are a natural leader. You have an energy that is intense... and sometimes overwhelming.
Your reaction to everything tends to be strong. You are the master of love-hate relationships.

Your color wheel opposite is green. Green people are way too mellow to understand what drives your energy.