Thursday, February 28, 2008

A few of my favorite things...........'s a few of my birthday card fronts that are just TOO cute not to share with my friends! Above looks like my gal pals back in the hippy 60's;
....and all my friends know I'm a cat this baby feline just "too cute", or what???!!!!
And this baby asleep wearing her birthday crown, all tired out from the birthday doings.............
.......and from another artist friend who knows I love Laurel Burch's art.....
one of LB's wonderful, colorful cats with balloons in her famous hot, bright, happy colors! Stay tuned for more surprises tomorrow! Right now I'm needing a nap from eating too much chocolate!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Knitted Thingie................

Isn't this a pretty knitted scarf? Shawl? Shrug? I knitted it with two strands of yarn, and it's fuzzy and thick and warm, but the back just wouldn't shape itself into a point like I wanted for a shawl. And it's too wide to be a scarf.
And the ends are too long to tie for it to be a shrug. Shall I add beaded fringes to the bottom edge? Or a black ruffle? Or more fringes of matching yarn? Heck, I think I'll weave in the ends of threads and sell the durn thing. And go to the bottom-less closet and pull out yet another unfinished object to work on!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lorelei is home!!!

This is my beaded art mermaid doll who left home six months ago to visit other beading ladies in one of my online groups. Each beader worked an area on the doll in whatever pattern, stitches, and colors they wanted to.
She came home all finished yesterday, and I'm still handling her and finding new patches of beautiful beading! What a fun "round robin" this was!

Here above she's shown from the back, and her pretty long and trailing hair held up so you can see how the back of the head was beaded in a spiral pattern, and then longer dangling strands were done.............
...........and I just love the pearls and swarovski crystals woven into her braids that shine and sparkle! What beautiful beading all over; I'm so happy she's back home, and I thank the ladies who worked on her so very much!
Lorelei has a little clay face; and check out that ruffled bosom! She also traveled with a little paper journal I made to go with her, and each lady wrote about her visit. It's a treasure as well as the doll since they both traveled to Australia and Germany and Washington State and Arizona; then Pennsylvania before coming back to me here in North Carolina!

Now I'm working on two small beaded projects for the coming month of March; both for online challenges. Stay tuned.............

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tie one on!!

Here's the latest knitted ribbon scarf I finished this weekend....... it's pretty long, and then I put some long fringe on each end.
Aren't these glorious spring colors?!! Can you tell I LOVE "loud" colors now in my "golden years"?! I don't understand it at all.....and I'm hearing the same thing from other "seniors". We all used to look down on glitter and shiny fabric and sequins; now we can't get enough of them! Watch out!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Spring!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, isn't this tree full of new pink fluffy blooms just gorgeous?!! DH made a trip to a local mall the other day and since I was home, he took pix of the trees blooming to show me. So I'm showing YOU! I can't believe we're going to have such an early spring and summer. This must be an ornamental cherry tree, or something similar. Usually the first things to bloom in our area are the Bradford pear trees.......but all the trees to bloom in March are full of huge FAT buds! Thank you, God! Every winter I think I will not get through it to see another spring and early summer, which are my favorite times during the year. Clinical depression and chronic pain are hard things to deal with, and I know there are others who live with much worse things, but as my birthdays pile up and the "old age" aches and pains add themselves to my already full plate of discontent, I'm finding out that what Mama told me when she was 82 years old and laid up with a broken hip at my house: "NOTHING about old age is fun; and it's NOT for sissies!"
Our mothers were always right.

Did you miss me??????!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank goodness! Baby Sister and I have been "lost" for several days this past week, and couldn't find our blog! Thank goodness also, for girlfriends who know their way around computers and are willing to share their knowledge with those of us "old fuddy-duddies" who don't know what the hell we're doing most of the time!

It all started mid-week when DH (dear husband) got a wild hair to change our internet providers. THAT VERY DAY. We got a real good "deal"........
the only problem I had was that I could NOT receive my messages from any of my Yahoo Groups; and my blog would NOT let me in to add new stuff!! Grrrrrrrrrr!!! So I have been into each and every group and changed my new email address; (and while I was doing that I removed myself from about five groups that I don't "play with" anymore.) Then I had to send an email to every single person in my "address book" telling them how to find me with the new email addy. Whew!

Thank you, girls, especially Sue K. who sent me this a.m. a link and told me to try signing in w/the old addy; it worked!!! Yippee!!! I'm a happy camper today, so I will post some more new pix of what I've been working on. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 the twig is bent, etc...........

Finding the title for this entry has driven me nuts; I have heard the saying all my life and thought it came from the bible. I can't locate it right now, nor does my "Where to Find it in the Bible" book give me any help at all!!
Anyhow, it goes something like " the twig is bent, so grows the tree."
Or the bough. Or the limb. Whatever. Check out the bend in the tree above.
And the ones below. (And PLEASE let me know if you find the verse!)

When this pine grew as high as this old goat shed's roof, it didn't give up. It just grew AROUND the obstacle of the tin roof which was jutting out in its path! On my walk yesterday, I found FIVE trees like this around the farm. If my dad were still alive today, none of these trees would have gotten this large.......he loved cutting "trash" trees for firewood, which he sold by the truckload.

And this old sweetgum tree did the same thing here when it grew up to the edge of the tin slope. It slowed awhile and then just grew around the tin and the sun keeps straightening it back upright once it cleared the spot!

This happens to human beings we grow and have to endure one crisis or another through the years, we are left with scars and crooked limbs (and hearts!), but if we persevere, and look toward the light, God will eventually straighten us up in the right direction again. And again. And again. Isn't that wonderfully comforting to know?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tea-stained papers............

Isn't this little 5x7 hand-cut image the cutest thing?! My (older) heh, heh,
cousin here in town made her for me many birthdays ago in 1986 and I just found it cleaning out a drawer of stashed "treasures". I think back in that era everyone creative was doing tea and coffee stains on paper, and also these "silhouette" type pictures. Hers is very intricate, and I love especially the tiny little heart-shaped pockets on her apron! By the way, if you click on my photos on this blog, they are supposed to greatly enlarge so you can see details!

Monday, February 18, 2008

What I'm reading.............

How would you like to meet this guy?! I thought he was a real Confederate soldier from the Civil War, but he's a current-day re-enactor as I learned in the book. It's non-fiction and the author tagged along with this guy to all the battlefields; they dressed in clothing that the Confederate rebels would have worn and ate the same awful food and slept on the battlefields at night! It's a fascinating read and nearly every page or two has tidbits about the war and the people that wouldn't be found anywhere else. I couldn't put it down; it's gory and awful in some places, but then that's what war is.
But you have to admire these re-enactors who are obsessed with all the details of their modern-day war skirmishes being as close to they were in 1863, etc. Now I'm off to read a lighter story by Annie Dillard. More book reviews coming up!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blue "bling" pin...........

Here's another quickly-made brooch for my Cuz Ann this week; she wanted turquoise, big, bold, glittery, to match a scarf I knitted for her.
I got scraps of shiny ribbon, yarns, dyed wool/silk roving, gold beads and fake pearls from an old costume necklace. Then I used my trusty Babylock Embellisher machine with its 7 needles (and no thread!) to felt/punch the wide outside ribbon onto a felt circle for backing. Then added the other scraps one at a time; and finished it off by hand-stitching on some glass and metal beads and a pin-back.............voila! When I get time, I'll make some extra of these large pins in spring colors to sell uptown here.....everyone seems to like them.

Today is raw and cloudy and we had a few showers; the weatherman promises a GOOD rain tonight. A whole inch would be so welcome! It's been a good stay-inside day to answer emails and check out new artists'
blogs and read a new library book..........more on that tomorrow! It's VERY

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pink Artist challenge...........

.........well, here's my beaded 2" square finished and ready to send Monica Magness to include with over one hundred other artists who are donating
these little blocks. Monica has made a yard-tall doll that's gorgeous, and she's going to sew all these little squares onto the doll or her skirt; then auction the doll (and her little quilt made from left-over squares!) off on
ebay!!! All proceeds will go to research thru the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Thank you, MM, for your artistry and time for bringing this project together!
My breast cancer block is not meant to be "pretty". When first invited to make a block for this idea, I started out with something frilly and pink and girly and beautiful. But breast cancer is NONE of these's ugly,
horrible, sick, deathly and miserable to those of us who have had it. So here's my take on it, girls. I hope this doll raises LOTS of money for the Komen foundation!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Busy kitty..............

I'm working on a new spring knitted scarf with this pretty flat ribbon, and of course Baby Sister cat wants to help. I knew better than to leave the knitting while I was looking for a snack!
........and this is what she does EVERY day when I check my MANY emails!
She HAS to get in this chair and wants me to pull it up close to me, or hold her and try to type one-handed. If I ignore her, she starts sneaking that little white paw up on the table and knocks off the pens. Here I caught her trying to get the bright and shiny pink "diamond" paperweight given to me recently by my friend Sue Kurowski. Thanks, Sue! We're loving the pink gem every single day...............

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Snow for Valentine's Day!

We had a wonderful half inch of rain all day Wednesday, which was great for our drought; and the storm finished us off during the night last night with a beautiful little dusting of snow! I bundled up with coats over pajamas and ran out into the yard this morning to get these pix before it melted! It was 31 degrees! I wish we'd get at least ONE pretty snow before spring like we used to get!
The thin layer of snow showed up on dark things best, like this bed of ivy, but of course the sun is out now and the temps are rising, so it's long gone.
I received another fun "Pass It Forward" gift in the mail yesterday from the talented and nutty Monica M., whom lots of you readers already know as a talented artist.........especially with her needles and threads! Check out the little 3-D face at the lower left corner...........
...........this photo shows how tiny it is, leaning up against a Hershey's "kiss".
I think she used wool sweaters "felted" in hot water/dryer and made it by hand. Probably using a hand-felting needle....check out those eyelashes!
Thank you Monica!!! Oh, and all the little goodies were wrapped in the pretty piece of purple/gold fabric and tied w/a ribbon! I NEVER know what I'm getting when this gal sends a package! Love it all.............

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Currently reading...............

Of course the new issue of Quilting Arts is full of wondrous and beautiful fabric projects that I'm sure I can squeeze time in "one day" to make! I even go so far as to put a sticky note (lots!) in each issue........and I even read the ads, they're so pretty. When the new issue comes every other month, I spend an entire afternoon curled up with the cat and read it cover to cover. Then having marked great idea to try, it goes up on the shelf with about a hundred other I the only one who does this?!

And the well-worn and much-loved fat paperback has entertained me every night since my generous and kind gal pal Susan C. was kind enough to share it with me. It turns out that she and I read the VERY SAME books!
This is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, from 1989.
We have several other likes and dislikes, etc. that are the VERY SAME.
She is a quilter and lives an amazing busy life in a gorgeous yellow house..........find her blog (Blackberry Creek) in the list of blogs on the right-hand side of my first blog page and do visit her and pup Sofie sometime. Thank you, Susan, for the great reading time with this book; I'm almost finished and it's just as you said it was: good ALL the way through!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Round Red Rock!

For all you rock lovers out there: here's a tiny rock I painted like a red KEDS tennis shoe back in the 1970s, when I was doing tole and decorative painting with acrylics. Isn't it sweet, even if I did do it myself?!! I gave it to a special cousin of mine and it lived for 20-odd years on her windowsill and her little grandchildren when they visited would pick it up and carry it around with them until they went home, and then they'd put it back on her windowsill so the next kids could play with it. It has had a lot of loving and tender care; when the cousin died, her daughter asked me if I wanted the rock back, since all the grandkids had grown up and didn't want it. So now it's back on MY windowsill, and I think of my loving cousin and all the cute little cousins of mine who have fondled and loved this little "shoe" all thru the years. I'll bet it could tell some tales if it could talk!
I can't believe I'm still getting wonderful surprise birthday goodies in the mail again this week!!! This beautiful beaded ballpoint pen was made for me by my pal Tammy on Beaded Art Dolls; and the sweet little felt needle case was sent from a new online friend, Jenny, from the Cloth, Paper Studio group. Thank you, girls!!! I love them both, and appreciate your thoughtfulness more than you know. Hey, this blog was a good idea, especially announcing at the first of the month that my birthday was at the end of the month! It's raked in lots of nice RAKs for me! (Random Acts of Kindness).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Footprints in time................

Mother Nature left her footprints in this huge field rock; it's beginning to break into delicate little squares. And it has beautiful lichen growing all over it. In the warm spring and summer this rock wall is full of sunning little lizards. For some reason I have always loved rocks, both big and small. If possible, I bring them home. Some I paint and some live by our three goldfish/koi ponds and some that are smooth and small are good to just lay around the house and feel them in the palm of my hand sometimes.
And Mother Nature left heron footprints in the mud at the edge of the pond today.........we have a gorgeous blue/gray heron who comes on a regular basis to find his breakfast and supper here most days. We are so blessed to live in the country with acres of land full of wildlife; forests and pastures; hills and vales; pond and creek. All we lack now is about 10 inches of rain...........that's how far behind this area of N.C. is in the ongoing drought. I pray our good deep well still has plenty of its wonderful sweet water underground but we are being cautious about using it, just in case.
I'm not planting spring annuals this year, or any baby dogwood trees gathered from the woods and moved to the yard like I usually do. I'm afraid to "waste" water to keep them living if we have another godawful HOT and dry summer like last year. Maybe I'll plant some cactus and desert plants that live in hot, dry climes!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Old laces, etc................

This is an antique hand-crocheted ladies' collar that was made around a hundred years ago! Click on the photo and see the enlarged details of the wonderful clusters of grapes and leaves and connecting was worn with the square to the back, and the small ends met in the front, and were held together with a brooch or pretty pin of some kind. I don't know who made it, or where it came's a pity women who made such beautiful handwork didn't pass down their information with the pieces. I've had it for all my adult life and had it dry-mounted and framed to keep it safe, hopefully. It hangs over our bed, and reminds me of my maternal grandmother who lived with us when I was growing up......she was an excellent seamstress, and took in sewing for extra money. But I don't remember her doing any handwork, even though her daughters and granddaughters all are creative and artistic. This collar was crocheted with a tiny crochet hook and made using what we southerners call "tobacco twine"...........which is cotton string that comes in balls at the hardware store! And it's VERY tiny string. I started TWO bedspreads during my 45 years of married life, crocheting squares using tobacco twine; I think the pattern called for more than 300 blocks. After making around 33 blocks, that bedspread is resting safely in the back of my closet with other "UFO"s
(unfinished objects). I've got to be REAL bored to drag that baby out again!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Birthday goodies............!!!

This is turning out to be a fun birthday month for me! I'm receiving all sorts of RAK's (Random Acts of Kindness) from online friends who belong to the same artsy groups I do.......above is a sweet little "quiltie" made from three different fabrics and free-motion quilted with gorgeous copper threads! And with her totem (frog) image stamped on the back, this came from Diane on the Cloth, Paper Studio group......thank you, sweet one!
.......and this gorgeous turquoise fabric bookmark with fibers and sea horses (for my water/pisces sign) and strip of handmade paper came wrapped in a beautiful fold-over white card with the little sea horses showing through a window, and "Best Wishes" printed in silver! It came from our CPS group "mom", Wendy........all the way from England! I love the wonderful stamps on the mailing envelope, too...many thanks to you across the "big pond", Wendy!
Yet another birthday surprise from Jackie in our Beaded Art Doll group, this sweet and gorgeous "Dotee doll" to hang on the floor lamp right here by my computer where I'll see her every day! And this baby came in the prettiest purple organza bag and with a sweet note.......many thanks, Jackie, for your time and efforts in sharing a piece of your great artwork!

I'll be turning 64 on February 27th, and don't pay much mind to birthdays anymore, but these little wonders coming in the mail out of the blue from "strangers", but online friends, is so much fun! I enjoy the artsy-fartsy groups I belong to so very much; and to think I went most all of my life without a computer, not knowing there was a whole "other art world" out there in cyberspace, full of the nicest and most generous ladies ever! But I'm making up for lost time now, and am very thankful to be having another birthday.............especially with all the "goodies" coming in! I am so blessed with so many new "friends"!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Warm, fuzzy heart............

Here's what you do with a thrift shop sweater that's made of lambswool and other yarns that will shrink......throw it into the washing machine with a load of clothes and use HOT water. When it's finished, throw it into the dryer on HOT for a few minutes............voila! You have just "felted" a sweater! Actually, the proper word is "fulled" or "fulling". Anyway, it also shrunk about 5 sizes from a big 40 to fit a toddler!
Then you cut a heart shape out of newspaper; lay it on top of the newly washed/shrunk sweater with the pretty round buttons buttoned up. Cut around the pattern, leaving about 1" for seams, and after turning right sides of the sweater together, stitch it up on the machine (or by hand).
Also: hand-stitch down the opening of the front with the buttons in place, so that opening will be closed and you won't have gaps. Turn the heart right-side-out and stuff it as fat or as flat as you like with poly stuffing or bits of left-over quilt batting, etc. and then hand-stitch closed the little opening you left in the side seam for stuffing.
These can also be made into smaller heart shapes and filled with dried lavender for sachets. Or pin cushions. Or tree ornaments. Let your imagination go wild! Also: it doesn't have to be a sweater; anything made from 100% wool will shrink and "felt" vintage skirts or coats or men's slacks/vests/sweaters. Now, go make some "vintage" Valentine gifts for special people in your life!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 the pink..............

Here is the felted cell phone case after I embellished it with ruched polk-a-dot ribbon, sequins and seed beads. Somebody's phone will surely be going about town in style, won't they?!!
And here's our beloved old Baby Sister, helping me thank the online buddy who made and sent me the beautiful handmade birthday card shown here!
It has little tassels of fibers at the top and Sister cat played with it so much, it took me five shots with the camera to get one good photo! We thank you, Katherine! We appreciate your kindness so very much!

Monday, February 4, 2008

signs of spring.............

I could NOT believe my eyes this past weekend when I saw these cold, brave little jonquil buds that have popped up out of the cold earth this early!!! And some of the thicker leaves poking out of the soil look like hyacinths........
The sun is warm today with temps outdoors around 65 degrees, so these bud babies are drawn upwards towards the warm rays. I had forgotten we
transplanted some hyacinth bulbs to this little bed last year also; I will watch them daily and see what appears! Tomorrow's predicted temps will be hovering around 74, and these buds don't usually appear until March.

Isn't God good to us to send brave and hopeful sights like this when we are having a dark/dreary time in the late winter?! Just when we think we can't stand another cold/wet/windy/icy/grey-sky day!!! I am SO thankful for Mother Nature and all her miracles!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

.....more felted hearts............

Here's a pretty hot pink felted purse ready for embellishing, but right now it's holding my last two heart pins for this photo session! And the weirdly colored cheesecloth was a "bad dye job". It was supposed to be purple, but as I rinsed it, I loved this light blue/lavender/pink that turned up, so I quickly dried it. You'll be seeing it somewhere later...........
This pin's decorated with an odd metal/glass bead earring that I've lost the match to; and don't you just love those hot colors of feathers with polk-a-dots?!!! I pulled them off a long strand of feathers sold by the yard; don't know why I bought a yard of them........just knew I would NEED them sometime or other! Last, but not least is this felted pin........I added a red felted circle, a little felted ball w/seed beads, a pinch of lavender feathers, some white glass seed beads, and some white flower stamens from waayyy back in a drawer I hadn't looked in for months! (No telling WHAT other oddities live here!)

Okay. That's it for the pins. I'm sick of making them; will move on to the pink cell phone case and pink purse tomorrow and add some *bling* to them. I don't know WHAT has come over me as "a little old lady"!!! The older I get, the more I love bright, gaudy, shiny things! Like my beading friend Maggie says: "Life is short...........wear sequins!"

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lonely hearts club...............

I'm mighty slow this week "whipping up heart pins" the way I planned; it has turned into a hectic few days w/interruptions. Above are the two finished felt pins, and a hot pink felted cell phone bag ready for embellishing............
Just a close-up of one of the felted heart-shaped pins. I have two more of purple and solid hot pink to embellish now. And while digging into my stashes looking for little thingies to sew on, I've unearthed more pretty stuff that I had forgotten I even had! Wheeee! The next pins will have hot pink/polk-a-dot feathers! And also pretty perle cotton embroidery threads in lots of colors, with that nice sheen that perle thread has, rather than the flat colors of regular embroidery floss. Stay tuned.............
And we are getting a wonderful rain today!!! God is good!