Sunday, December 30, 2007


It's been really busy during the holidays this year. It seems that I have not had time for much of anything except going here and there. Plus, we had a couple of acquaintances pass away over the holidays. And really close to Chistmas. We went to the funeral of one of them last week. Such a sad thing to happen, but really bad at Christmas.

This morning I woke up with a scratchy throat and I decided to stay home today and rest and take medicine in hopes of kicking this thing before it gets any worse. I was really disappointed because I was supposed to go and get a complimentary free lesson on the hammered dulcimer from a coworker's husband, who teaches it. He said he would give me a lesson so that I could see if I am interested in it and also information on renting a hammered dulcimer. I can't afford to buy one right now, but I would rather just save my money and buy my own rather than throw my money away renting one. On the other hand, if I rented one and decided it wasn't for me, at least I wouldn't be out much money, so I'll have to think about that for a little while.

Last night Eddie and I went to a friend's house. It's actually my house, but we rent it to them and they are also our friends. As landlords, we have a key to the house and we have their permission to go in at any time to do repair work, etc. We are very close friends and trusting of each other. We always get together with them on Friday and/or Saturday nights and play Phase 10. I happened to get to their house early last night before they got home from work, so I called our friend on my cell phone and asked if it was ok if I went ahead and went inside the house to wait for them. It wasn't a problem, so I went on in. It was quite a while before they got home, about 45 minutes. I noticed that the cover was up on their piano. Since I've been really longing to learn to play an instrument this next year, I decided to fool around on the piano for awhile. It was alot of fun. I didn't learn to play anything, but I played around on the keys and had a nice time by myself before they got home.

When I was a little girl, I had an aunt (my mother's sister) who decided that I would learn to play the piano. She decided this without my permission. I wasn't interested at all. She even went so far as to buy a piano for me and pay for piano lessons. Talk about ungrateful. I was definitely that. The piano lessons were every Saturday morning while cartoons were on. Being a child, naturally, I didn't want to take piano lessons while cartoons were on. I did not practice, and after awhile the piano teacher finally told my aunt that I wasn't interested at all and that she was wasting her money. I was relieved, but I'm sure my aunt was really disappinted in me. She eventually sold the piano to my uncle (her brother) because his wife did play piano. Another sad part to this story is that later on, his housed burned and the piano burned up in the house.

I didn't think much about it then, being a child, but now that I'm grown, I think back on all that happened, and feel a tragic sense of loss and even a little guilt too. Loss because I wish more than anything that I had been interested at that age and had practiced. Guilt because I didn't even appreciate that beautiful piano and it later came to its demise because of that. Oh, I know that wasn't really my fault because the same thing could have happened at my house, but I still feel badly about it all. I can't help but feel that if I had really taken an interest and practiced that I might have been able to play the piano and might even still have that very piano in my possession today.

It's sort of like Eddie said tonight. You can't go back and change any of that. And I said, no I can't, but I can change what I do in the future. So, the thought has crossed my mind that I might even take piano lessons. The reason it two-fold. First, because I work at a community college, I can take piano or any kind of music lessons for free. Second, our friends are wanting to sell the piano and if we had the money I could buy it and have it moved to my house. I just don't know if I want to do that and then be stuck with it if I decide piano is not for me.

I've been thinking about New Year's Resolutions, as I'm sure we all are. I'm not going to make the usual promise to lose weight, etc. because in the past I felt badly because it never seemed to work out. I've decided that I'm not going to make any resolutions this year, but just think about things that I would like to accomplish this next year. One is that I would like to learn to read music and learn to play a musical instrument of some kind. I know that both of those things take commitment and practice, but I think I could do it for something I really want to do.

I've been thinking about what sparked this latest interest in wanting to learn to play a musical instrument. I've always loved music and wanted to play something, but I think I know exactly what got me to thinking about it most recently. Before Christmas this year, I went with my cousin to his boss's home for her annual Christmas party. We had a nice dinner, played games, and did a Chinese gift swap. Afterward, his boss played Christmas carols for us on her harp. I thought it was so enchanting and beautiful to listen to her play. It just renewed my desire to learn to play something. I know it takes practice, but it has taken her about 5 years to learn to play and I know she's taken some lessons.

It is my desire this year to learn to read music and learn to play something. At this point in time, I'm not exactly sure what that instrument is. I know that many people play more than one instrument, so I know that's a possibility too. I'm hopeful that as I research it and find out more information, that something will reveal itself to me. Whatever will be, will be, so I'll just have to wait and see in which direction I go.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Prints

I'm so excited to tell you how busy I've been. I've added some new prints to my shop.

The first one is Flapper Girl, and I love her feathers. She looks like she's just waiting for some fun. The second one is Bridesmaid, and the third one is Prom Night. These girls are part of my Lovely Ladies Series and are awaiting a new home.

This morning Eddie and I went out shopping for after Christmas sales, and I found three treasures. The first one is a lovely Nativity Scene, the second is a cute Christmas tree skirt, and last but not least, is a cute snowman Advent calender. Pictures to come soon...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gray Cat on a Tennessee Farm

I learned to play a mountain dulcimer a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. This is one of the songs I learned and I really had fun playing it.

The sad part is that I let someone discourage me in my efforts to play the dulcimer. I have what is known as a Tennessee Music Box. It's pretty long in length, so it's long on my short legs, but I still manage to play it. The person who discouraged me thought that the music box was too big for me to handle and thought I would do better with a smaller instrument such as a mandolin. For some reason, after that, I just put the music box away and never picked it back up. I should never have let that person discourage and dishearten me that way.

Lately I've been wanting to learn a musical instrument of some kind. I've toyed with the idea of the flute, clarinet, and piano. Even the hammered dulcimer, which I really want to learn to play some time in the near future. But, for now, with our finances so low, I'm going to pick my Tennessee Music Box back up and learn to play again. I'm mad at myself because I've lost my picks and some of my original music, so now I have to get some more. I'm sure they're in my sewing room, but I'll have to wait awhile before I can get to them again. At any rate, I can't wait to play Grey Cat on a Tennessee Farm again.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I've Been Crowned

On Thursday afternoon I went to the dentist to have my crown replaced. It was very easy. The dentist didn't even have to deaden anything. He just filed down the crown a little, put some new cement on it and put it back in. Easy as pie. It felt a little funny at first since I went for a week with a hole where the crown used to be, but now it's back to normal and I'm chewing on that side again. I'll have to have a root canal on another tooth after the first of the year, but I'm not thinking about that right now. I know I sound like Scarlett O'Hara. I'll think about that tomorrow.

I have been having fun making some artwork the past couple of days. I've been working on my Lovely Ladies series. I'll have the prints up in my shop very soon. Until then, here's a small preview.

This Lovely Lady is called Bridesmaid. "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride."

This Lovely Lady is called Flapper Girl. I think she's my favorite so far. I love her feathers.

This Lovely Lady is called Prom Girl.

The prints will all be 8 1/2" x 11" and will fit in a standard 8 x 10 frame. They would also look pretty in an 8 x 10 or larger frame with an oval mat. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to add color to them or not. I will probably do that later on, but for now I'm offering these prints as ink drawings. I'm working on a new one called Retro Girl. There is a poodle skirt involved in this one.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pretty Christmas Ornament

I saw this pretty Christmas ornament Monday when my sister-in-law and I were browsing some antique stores, and I just had to share.

The picture was taken with my new Motorola Razr V3 cell phone. I love this phone. Mine is a magenta color similar to the one in this picture.

It's nice to be able to take a picture of something when I'm out and I don't have my camera with me. I'm going to have to figure out something different, though, for emailing the pictures. Right now it's 15 cents per picture to email it somewhere. I really want to be able to post pictures on my blog and in order to do that I'll have to email them to myself. I think. ?? I still have alot to learn about all this new technology.

Well, I'm off in the next few minutes to the dentist. Last Friday while I was eating lunch, one of my caps came off one of my teeth. Hopefully, I can get it fixed today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Family Gatherings

This morning I decided to put an afghan that I crocheted recently in my Etsy shop. It was really a joy to make, and it came out really pretty. I hope it finds its way to a happy new home.

This weekend my brother and his wife, who live about 45 minutes outside of Chicago, came to visit us for 3 nights. They left yesterday morning at 4 a.m. because they had to be in Raleigh, NC by noon yesterday for his son's graduation from NCSU. I never realized just how empty the house would feel after they left. I miss them terribly already.

On Sunday evening we had a family gathering and I took a photo of the food layout.

Earlier in the week, before they got here, we snapped a quick photo of Heckle lying next to Snoopy. You know, those cute photos when you wish you had your camera, but it's at the other end of the house and by the time you go get it, they've changed positions? Fortunately, my camera was handy this time, and I managed to get this.

Heckle's eyes look weird and I haven't figured out yet how to change that, but overall, I think the picture is really cute.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wake Up

I saw this video on Angela Cartwright's blog and thought it really funny. If you are a feline owner you can relate, I'm sure. I know I can.

In other news, we've been working hard getting ready for my brother's visit and family gathering this weekend. The house is decorated and it's really looking alot like Christmas. I'm looking forward to his visit since he lives right outside of Chicago, and I never see him.

Eddie woke up this morning with some stomach discomfort. Well, diarrhea, but it seems to be better now, even though he still doesn't feel all that great. I'm hoping and praying that it will go away and it doesn't spread to me. I really don't want either one of us to be sick with my brother coming. In past years, we have both been sick at one time or another during the holidays and it is definitely not fun.

I will have a new painting to put in my shop later on. Once things settle down some, I hope to be able to do some more painting of my Lovely Ladies Series. The sneak preview is the first drawing, which is Bridesmaid.

"Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride".

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Enchanted and Funky

I have been wanting to see this movie for awhile now. I went to YouTube and saw a trailer and I had seen on some other blogs where short videos were included from YouTube. This is also a test, but I wanted you to see the trailer for this movie. It looks, well ... enchanting.

Ok, this is really fun. Now, I want to do this alot. This next video is a major change from Enchanted. This next video really shows my funky side. I found a music video of the song "The Club is Open". We Jazzercise to this song and I love to dance to it. It's not the music I normally listen to, but I love the Jazzercise routine that goes with it. It's sort of a Tai Kwon Do, type thing. It's really cool.

Ok, one more and I'm done for today. This next video is of some football players doing Jazzercise. We do this routine at least once a week. It's fun.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Last night I felt in the mood to draw and these lovely ladies are what I came up with. With each one I felt inspired. I really didn't know what I was going to draw until I drew the head, then I just went in the direction I felt it should go. They need to be put on canvas or wood, but I can see them becoming artwork that I can put in my Etsy store.

Monday, December 03, 2007

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas!

This weekend we had a fun decorating party on Saturday evening. My cousin and some friends of ours came over for dinner and decorated our house and put lights on the front porch railing.

Here is my fireplace mantel and I love it!

And here's the little tree on our front porch with the pretty redbird in the top. By the way, the gifts under the tree are for Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Here is also a picture of the oil painting of Santa and Friends that I painted last Christmas. This year is the first year I have used it and it was so much fun to paint. I enjoyed it very much.

I really want to make another Santa painting, but I don't know if I will get to do it this year or not. In two weeks, my brother and his family are coming from Illinois to visit us for a weekend. I'm excited about them coming and I know he's excited about coming too.

The Friday night before their visit, Eddie and I are going to his niece's house for a holiday party. We are to take some Christmas ornaments for a Chinese gift exchange. I'll post pictures later on that.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Things That Make Me Happy

We have had so much stress the past few weeks. I'm just amazed at the number of things that you try to do that go so terribly wrong. Or maybe not terribly wrong, but just don't go right. There is one thing I've learned, if nothing else, and that is that when dealing with cable companies, and other companies too, nothing is ever what it seems. They always make you think you are getting a great deal, but they neglect to tell you fine print and other important things, like extra charges and then you get a shock when you get your bill. I guess it's partly our fault for being so trusting and not getting every single detail clarified.

Another thing we have been dealing with is that we had some new gutters put on our house a few weeks ago. We had a much needed downpour last week and now our pantry, which is a small room that sits to the front of our carport, now has a ceiling in one corner that is about 1/4th of the way falling in. We believe this happened as a result of the shabby work by the gutter people (since we never had problems before), so now we are going to have to get it resolved in some way with them. If they cooperate, which I doubt. Whatever happened to customer service? I think it must be a dying art.

There are other things such as this that are causing us stress, but I won't go into them here. It would really serve no good purpose other than allowing me to vent and I don't want to use this blog for that. I'm also going through menopause and I believe that is making me really hormonal, so that it takes nothing to cause me to burst into tears. I would really like to go one day without crying. That would be nice. Of course, we are trying to keep our perspective and we know that really all this stress is nothing compared to what other people go through. These things can be fixed, but there are some things that cannot always be fixed, such as illness, death, etc. So, we realize that it could always be alot worse and try to remember all of our blessings, which are so many that I can't even begin to list them all.

In this time of stress, I look for things to give me joy and happiness. One of the things I really enjoy is reading Marmee's Blog. I love her artwork. I wish I could paint and draw the way she does, but for now just looking at hers really gives me joy. I especially love the new one she just put up on her blog that is a commissioned piece. The title of it is Lily.

Lily is playing a violin and has really, really cute music notes flowing from her instrument. I tried drawing some of those music notes, and they are really easy and fun to draw. Now, I need to figure out an art piece of my own that I can use those for.

There are lots of other things that give me happiness and joy too; I just happened to think about Marmee's blog this morning and how much joy her artwork gives me. She also has a wonderful Etsy store where her artwork is for sale. I have ordered several of her prints to give as Christmas gifts and to keep for myself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Lots of pictures today so that you know what I have been up to. We have been really busy getting some things done that really needed to be done, but I did find some down time for something fun. Like knitting this wonderful scarf. I can't remember what yarn this is but I think it was from ArtYarns and is a 100% merino superwash type wool. I think it's the color 109. I really think you could use any type of worsted weight yarn to knit this with. Any soft yarn that is good for scarves, such as Caron's Simply Soft or other soft yarn. As long as it's variegated yarn. I have seen a couple of scarves in this pattern in solid colors and while they are really pretty, they are not nearly as beautiful and dramatic as using variegated yarn. My needle size is US size 9.

It's called the Flying V Scarf and can be found in the Exquisite Little Knits book by Iris Schreier. I tired to knit this scarf about 2 years ago and got confused, so it went into my ever mounting UFO pile. I picked it back up this past weekend and decided to wing it and see if I could figure it out. Once I figured it out, it was really easy. It would help if there were more illustrations or explanations of what "on the other side" means. Basically, all it means is that when you have finished knitting row 15 you will have a small triangle on one side of your needles and some stitches that are not knit on the other end. After you have worked row 15 and you turn your work, you will be headed in the right direction. You just start from there and knit rows 1 through 14 again. It will look very funny, but trust me, it works out. That's the easiest way I know to explain it.

I've also been busy making gift tags. Fun, Mother Goose gift tags.

I'm going to put them in my Etsy store later on this week.

And another fun thing... Eddie went with a bus tour to Pigeon Forge, TN yesterday. He went to a show called "Christmas in China", and he brought me back this beautiful fan.

I really love it and I'm going to frame it in a shadow box frame so I can keep it forever.

Eddie also made an appointment for me to get a therapeutic massage last Friday. I had never had one before and it was wonderful. So relaxing. Makes me want to get one once a month. He takes such good care of me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

African Violets

Within the past couple of years I have fallen in love with African Violets. I could never grow them before (in fact, they died when I tried) until I discovered self-watering pots. I believe this is the real secret for growing African Violets. Well, that and a couple of other things.

For one, I always use an African Violet potting mix and I always water with Schultz Liquid African Violet food. Plus, I have placed them directly under the flourescent lights in my office. I have 4 African Violets at home in my sunroom and the one above is one of them. I do believe they love the fluorescent lights better because the ones I have at work are thriving. The ones are home bloom, but not as much as the ones at work. I also keep all of the dead flowers and ugly leaves trimmed off. I believe it helps to promote new growth and blooms. I just check the bowl about once every couple of weeks and when it gets low, I add more water with the food. So far, it's been easy peasy.

Everyone who comes into my office comments on my HUGE African Violet. I just trimmed it back this week, cleaning off the dead leaves and blooms, but just as soon as it blooms again, I'll post a picture of it. It's similar to the one above, only the blooms are a beautiful pink. I think it's a ruffled varietgated version.

I have gone to several different sites that talk about growing perfect African Violets. I don't really know anything about that. I just know what has been working for me and all I know is that I love them. They are just beautiful and they make me happy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkin Cake

Last Saturday Eddie and I went to a friend's house and carved pumpkins. Since I had a pumpkin shaped pan from when I took a cake decorating class several years ago I decided to make a pumpkin shaped cake. Not, pumpkin flavored cake, but shaped like a pumpkin. I used a yellow cake mix and for the decorating frosting I used Pillbury white frosting in the small 16 oz tub. It worked out really well. The cake actually looked better than the picture. It's the second cake that I have made and decorated and I was quite proud of it, even though it had its issues. We're not talking about those, though.

Other than that, I've been working on making some more jewelry for my Etsy shop. I decided to give it one more shot before I give up on Etsy. I have used some genuine gemstones this time and what I hope is an affordable price. If I could just sell one thing, I would feel really good. I do so love to work with beads and make jewelry. It's just that I have made so many things that I don't know what to do with them all. I'm going to give some away as Christmas gifts, but that leaves a whole lot more that I haven't even post on Etsy yet. I've also made some book thong type beaded bookmarks. They are really fun to make and I love using them as bookmarks. They would make a nice give for someone that you are giving a book too and just tuck a beaded bookmark inside.

This afternoon I have to go to the regular dentist to see about a tooth that's been bothering me. It's been aching some and I think it's because it's a really old filling. I'm sure he will take an x-ray. The last time I had trouble with a tooth like this, I had to have a root canal. I'm thinking that's probably what's going to have to happen wiht this too. I just don't know. There is no way to even begin to judge what is going on with it. I don't even try, especially after that periodontist episode last year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Today Eddie surprised me with some cat ears he had bought for me to wear for Halloween. I've never had any of them and I've always wanted some. It just felt fun and goofy wearing them. I even sent a short video to some of my friends and family.

To all the cat lovers out there. Happy Halloween. Merowwwww!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


About 4 months ago I put some jewelry that I had made up in my Etsy store. I became disheartened when I didn't sell one single thing. I thought my jewelry was the same quality as the jewelry in other stores, but then I decided that no one really knows me and there is so much competition on Etsy. It seems that everyone is trying to make and sell the same things. Some are more successful at selling things than others are. I don't know why. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I don't know if there is a trick to it that I just don't know about, or if you have to know alot of people who will go to your Etsy store and buy things. Anyway, I've just about given up on trying to sell anything there.

I have a friend who owns a framing shop and art gallery in Knoxville. I decided to take some of my jewelry up there and put it in her shop to see if it might sell there. I thought that with Christmas coming up this might be a good time to do it. So Monday, Eddie and I and my friend's mom went up there. I took some pictures of my display. I was a little disappointed because she doesn't have much room for anything else, but she did make a little spot for my jewelry and while it's not ideal, it will work. It's in a high traffic area, so hopefully someone will browse while they are waiting on some framing and maybe buy something. I'm selling earrings and bracelets and earring and bracelet sets. Also, some bookmarks. I have some tatted bookmarks, some quilted bookmarks and some of the book thong beaded type bookmarks, which I love and use all the time. I think it would make a nice gift to give someone a book with a beaded bookmark tucked inside.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quilting and Mitered Squares

This is a quilt top that I bought from Eddie's aunt about 5 years ago. I had started quilting it at that time using a different quilting pattern and a different backing fabric. I wasn't enjoying it at all. I kept putting it back, and every now and then I would get it out and work on it. I really hated the fact that I had put an ugly purple backing on it and I hated the quilting pattern I had chosen. What in the world was I thinking?

Last weekend I had an idea and decided that I would take all of the quilting out and take that ugly, ugly backing off. It took me about 3 hours, but I got it done. I put an offwhite muslin backing on it and pinned it together and away I went. I'm enjoying it so much more now. It's actually a joy to quilt it and I think it's going to look very nice when it's finished.

The other thing I've been working on is an afghan pattern called Make it Mitered Afghan from Creative Knitting Magazine. The photo on the cover of the magazine is the afghan I'm working on. I'm not using the yarn called for in the pattern, though. I'm using Caron Simply Soft yarn because I have so much of it right now and because it's so soft that it's perfect for afghans, scarves, and shawls. I don't think mine is going to be as large as the one in the magazine. It depends on how fast it goes and how my attention span goes, but I think it's going to be lap size.

Another thing I would like to try is the mitered square pattern from the Mason Dixon Knitting book. I don't have the book, but I ordered it through interlibrary loan from the library where I work. I also found a similar pattern on the Internet. I found a web site yesterday, January One by Cara, where she talks about her obsession with these mitered squares. I would love to make one of those afghans, but I'm not sure I have the stick-to-itiveness that's needed to get the job done.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing lately. I have a pesky toothache that I'm trying to ignore for as long as possible. I hate going to the dentist. Especially after that depressing trip to the periodontist that I took last year. It's enough to make me want to stay away from dentists forever.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tennessee Teddy

I was surfing the Internet the other day on a totally unrelated search and found a website that had patterns for knitting sweaters for teddy bears that are given to homeless children or other children in need. I also found a photo of a teddy bear sweater that someone who lives in Knoxville had knit using the Tennessee Vols colors, orange and white. My version if it is above. I have been looking for a teddy bear sweater for a really long time and really glad to have found this one. I really want to make another one later on, but not right now.

Again, I'm at odd ends and not really able to settle down to anything that I really want to knit. That is until I saw this shawl pattern this morning.

I don't know why I didn't think of this myself. This is as easy as pie. Using 4 skeins of Lionbrand Homespun yarn and size 10.5 knitting needles, just cast on 60 stitches and knit every row until it's 60 inches long. Then add some fringe. I've been wanting an easy shawl pattern and maybe this is it. I love the way the colors evolve in the Lionbrand Homespun yarn. Someone has it on sale this week. Sounds like a lunch time road trip.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Bummed Out

I have a genetic predisposition for having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high trigylcerides, etc. Over the past few years I've gained about 40 pounds, which contributes to these problems. I started going to Jazzercise about a year ago and I really love it, but I have realized that not only do I have to have regular exercise, but I also have to watch what I eat in order to lose weight and change all these factors. I have been really watching what I've been eating for the past 6 weeks and as of this morning I have lose 6 pounds since my 6 week checkup.

Six weeks ago when I went for my yearly exam, my blood pressure was higher than I would like for it to be even taking my bp medication. This morning it was higher than ever, but I had not taken my bp med because of the fasting. I guess I'm going to have to really watch the sodium intake more than I have for the past 6 weeks. My triglycerides have gone down because I've practically cut out refined sugar altogether, but I guess I'm going to have to cut it out totally because that number is still not where we need for it to be. My total cholesterol had come down and so had the LDL's and other things and they are closer to where they need to be, except for the triglycerides. The lipid nurse was going to put me on an additional medication called triglide or something like that to lower my triglycerides. She said that one of the side effects was it might cause me to have an upset stomach. I told her I have enough trouble with that already and I really didn't want to take it if I didn't have to. She said that I could get omega-3 fish oil caplets and take those. I went to Walmart and bought some, but they are HUGE. I don't know if I can take pills that huge or not. And then there is the fishy aftertaste or oder issue. Will that make me queasy too? So much to think about. I'm obsessing, I know. I did some research and found that flaxseed and/or walnuts added to salads, baked potatoes, etc. will give me enough omega-3's from my food, so I wonder now if I can get enough omega-3's from food without have to take the horse pills?

I guess I'm just really bummed out because I feel like I've been trying and there doesn't seem to be the improvement I had hoped for. I guess I haven't been trying hard enough, so now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty and really get serious.

On a lighter note, last week Eddie and I went to the quilt show in Nashville. Well, I did. Eddie spent about 6 hours in the pool and hot tub at the hotel while I was at the quilt show. I really enjoyed it. I learned alot and came away with some good information. I took a class from Linda Pool and learned how to do dimensional quilting. We made this pretty Victorian Lady.

I don't feel like I got her hair quite right, but overall I'm happy with her. It was fun to learn something new.

I also bought a kit and made this scarecrow wall hanging.

I haven't quilted it yet, but now my attention has turned to crocheting. I've been working on a couple of shawls that I will post pictures of later.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The World Can Wait

I've been feeling overwhelmed lately at work. Just so many people needing help, having questions. I work in an academic library and am responsible for hiring, training and supervising about 7 student workers in addition to all of my other work. I'm still amazed at the number of people who can't comprehend the simplest tasks. It's tiring and draining. I told a friend the other day that I felt like I was being picked to death by buzzards. Anyway that, along with so many different projects going with on with deadlines demanding more and more of my time, has left me feeling burned out. I'm pretty sure I can attribute part of it to the fact that we haven't had a real vacation in about 5 years. I mean the kind where we can go somewhere for a week, like the beach, and just relax. We haven't taken these because we've always been able to go to Spring Creek Retreat. But a couple that we usually go with have decided that they don't want to go anymore. They said it's too much packing and getting ready for just a couple of days. I think the reason is that one of the people in the relationship probably got stuck with doing everything with no help from the other person. Because my cousin works for the company, we only have to pay for the cleaning fee for the weekend, which is not bad compared to the normal rate. But if we get enough people to go we can divide the cleaning fee up and it's really cheap. But if we don't get enough people to go, then it's more. My cousin doesn't seem to want to go unless we have at least 8 people to go. It's getting harder and harder to find 8 people who will commit. Most people are wishy washy about it. At any rate, we had planned to go this past Spring and actually booked it for 2 different weekends. The problem is that if a paying guest wants it we have to let them have it and that's what happened both times. We were bumped. So, we haven't been able to go this year. I'm feeling it.

Between the work situation and not having a vacation, I remembered a Hallmark ecard that my friend sent to me awhile back when I was sick. It has a wonderful message. I love it.

Comfy jammies,
cozy bed
Big soft pillow
for your head
Worry NOT
The world can wait.
Take your time,

Sometimes I think we all need to just say The World Can Wait and take a sick day from work. We need to take time for ourselves.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kathleen E. Woodiwiss dies

I'm saddened to hear about Kathleen Woodiwiss' death and I can't believe that I'm just now hearing about it. I guess it's not one of those newsworthy items that would be plastered all over the TV and newspapers like Lindsey Lohen or Paris Hilton, or whatever their names are.

The passing of Kathleen Woodiwiss is the end of an era. I have such fond memories of when I was younger and started reading her books. I had just started working at my first job which was in a public library. One of my coworkers got me started reading Kathleen Woodiwiss. The first book I read was The Flame and The Flower. I went on to read the next few and have read almost everything that she's written. I think her first books were alot better than her later ones, but I'm so happy to have wet my feet on romance novels beginning with hers. So, as far as I'm concerned, there has been no one else who could hold a candle to her. Now I'm going to have to go hunt up my old copies and reread them. I was reading a forum and realized that several readers wrote that they have reread her books numerous times. When I read the books, the covers looked like one of the ones above. I haven't read the earlier ones since the mid-70's, so I guess I'm due.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Batik Wall Hanging

Saturday I went to get my hair cut and on the way back I stopped at a new quilt store that just opened up. I was browsing around and found some batik fabrics already cut into 5" squares. That attracted my attention and knowing how I hate cutting out fabric (I want to get to the fun part right away), I bought them. I love batiks and since these were already cut out I knew I would figure out something to do with them. It was just too good to pass up. There were 100 5" squares in the pack.

Yesterday after breakfast I got them out and started looking at them thinking about what I could do with them. Then I figured maybe I could make a 25 squares wall hanging, so I arranged them into 5 squares across, 5 squares down and I realized that it would make a nice size wall hanging. Not too large, not too small. After I arranged them in a pleasing way, I decided that it would take no time to sew them together, so I did that. Then I started thinking about borders and found some fabric for the borders that I thought would look nice. I managed to get this all done in about 2 hours time. Then I put it together in a quilt "sandwich", which is quilt top on top, batting in the middle and muslin backing on the back. I actually managed to get the quilt top quilted yesterday afternoon. Now I'm working on quilting the black border.

I showed it to Eddie and told him that I was thinking about either selling it or giving it to someone for Christmas. He said, "No, you're not. We're keeping it. we can hang it in the dining room." That made me very happy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dollmaking Class

Last night I went to a beginner's dollmaking class that was held at a new store in our mall. I have made cloth dolls before, but I still learned alot from this class. I learned how to sew yarn hair on and how to stuff really tightly. I also learned that for making primitive rag dolls you don't have to be that particular about the dress, apron, etc. I also learned how to sew the face on a doll rather than draw it on. This little doll is the result of my efforts in class. I would like to make some more of these. My only frustration was that the teacher kept telling me to stuff really tightly. I forgot to sew a small seam across the top of the legs until I had already stuffed it, so my doll doesn't want to sit down and I have to display her standing up. I can see what I did wrong and what I can correct on the next one. I got lots of good tips for cloth dollmaking and I was very pleased.

The teacher had already cut out and sewn the basic pieces, so all I had to do was turn them right side out and stuff them. Then do some hand sewing for the other things like sewing the arms on, sewing the hair on, etc. I also managed to get a copy of the pattern, which I'm happy about. I can make some more of these little dolls. She came out really cute. Now all I have to do is come up with a name for her.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Feather and Fan Scarf

I found a really pretty scarf pattern last week. It's called the Feather and Fan Scarf. I'm using Caron Simply Soft yarn for mine and size 8 knitting needles. I love the white and blue together, but I think my next one will be a solid color because I hate weaving in all those ends from changing colors. I can't believe how elegant this scarf looks when the pattern is so easy. It looks like really laborious work, but it's not. It's only 4 rows that are repeated until the scarf is a long as you want or you run out of yarn.

Knitting on this scarf has really helped to take my mind off of things. I had my annual doctor's appointment last week with my cardiologist. My blood pressure was up and I was really frustrated with myself because I have not been watching my diet like I should. I tend to use food as a comfort thing or a way to deal with stressful things. The doctor told me not to eat anything with added salt, that means no pretzels, potato chips, and he named off a whole list of things that I can't even remember because he rattled them off so fast. I thought that just because I had been going to Jazzercise and not cooking with salt and not adding extra salt at the table that I was watching my sodium intake. I thought that some of the things I was eating were ok to eat, but I guess I was wrong. Or maybe I had just never thought about the sodium content in the foods I was eating. Sodium is in everything. And lots of it. In fat free foods they add extra sodium to replace the flavor that was taken out with the fat. In some cases one dinner has about half the sodium you should have all day. So that means no more Lean Cuisines for me or any other low fat dinners like that for lunch. In some ways I think it's harder to eat a low sodium diet than it is to give up sugar. Sugar is pretty straightforward, but not so with sodium. That's another thing. I have to give up refined sugar because of my high triglyceride level. It's hard, but so far I haven't had anything sweet since last Thursday after my doctor's appointment. He doesn't want me to drink diet drinks either because of the artificial sweeteners in them. Well, I can't give up everything. It was pretty depressing at first, but I'm beginning to get used to it. I just have to be really careful what I eat from now on and I'm learning to read food labels more. My cardiologist is very matter of fact about these things. In his mind, it's very simple what you have to do, so do it. No excuses, no whining, etc. It was after that that I realized that I have to do it.

The other thing is that I have an appointment with a different periodontist next week. After the depressing appointment I had with one last year, I just couldn't deal with it. I put it off as long as possible. It turns out that I have periodontal disease and the periodontist from last year wanted to do major surgery and peel back my gums and clean deep down inside. I recoiled in horror at the description of such a thing. I was in her office for 3 hours. I was really overwhelmed after that and depressed for several days. So, my coping mechanism was to forget about it, put it on the back burner and not think about it right then. Well, now it's almost a year later and now I'm going to have to face it and figure something out. I would love to just call them up and cancel that appointment, but the front tooth that is affected right now is not loose, but it's looser than the other ones. Even now I don't know if it can be saved. I hope so. If it can I guess I'll do whatever needs to be done to save it. It wouldn't be so bad if the problem were not in the very front of my mouth. I have to work with the public for another 8 years at least before I can retire and I refuse to do it with one tooth missing in the front. The thing that bothers me is that I'm so afraid that I'm going to get sick after the anesthesia, especially if they put me to sleep and I'm not ging to have something like that done without being out of it to some degree. I don't want to know anything about it until it's all over with. I just have a pattern of getting sick after anesthesia. Well, maybe I shoudl just get overit and have it done. I have even done some research on the Internet and one person bought a Water Pic in lieu of having the surgery. He said the periodontists don't tell you that after you have the deep cleaning (gums peeled back, etc.) that your gums recede and never go back to where they were before. I don't know about that. It's just all so overwhelming. I'm going to go and at least see what the new periodontist says my options are.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Surprising Find

I haven't been working very much on crafty things lately. I can't seem to get settled down to anything. Feeling restless, I guess. I'm sort of that way about books too. It seems that I start something and can't get into it. That goes for books and crafts.

Yesterday Eddie and I went to my cousin's house to help him hang some curtain rods and curtains. It went alot faster than we thought and we were finished in about 2 hours. Afterwards, my cousin was ready for a nap and Eddie wanted to watch TV, so I decided that I would go shopping for awhile.

The first store I went to was T.J. Maxx and I found a couple of watercolor books that were about $3.99 each, which is an excellent price. I'm sure they were more than $15.00 each at one time. After that, I went to a new store called World Market. I've never seen it before and we don't have anything like it on our side of town. I went inside and it reminded me a whole lot of a store we used to have called World Bazaar and one we have now called Pier 1 Imports. World Market had alot of neat stuff. I just spent some time browsing around and eventually came upon a display of eclectic jewelry, handbags, and scarves, and other things like that. Then I discovered hanging down on a bottom rack some of these beautiful oriental print handbags, makeup bags and some smaller bags.

The handbags had been originally priced at $29.99 and they were on sale. When I got to the checkout, this purse rang up for around $11.84 or something like that. Less than $12.00. I was thrilled. I knew it was on sale, but I never expected a discount that large. I could never buy the fabric and make anything nearly this nice for that price. I never thought I would find anything like this and I've never seen anything like it anyplace else in any of our stores in our city. I love Japanese and Chinese oriental type fabrics. Ever since I saw the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" and saw all those beautiful kimonos, I've been enamored of these types of prints. I even made a small kimono wallhanging recently.

I have some more fabrics to make a larger one later on when I can get in the mood. They are not really oriental fabrics, but they have Asian themes and will make a pretty kimono wallhanging.

Finding this kind of thing like this purse doesn't happen to me very often. Usually I will see someone with something really unique and cute and if they tell me where they got it, it's usually either a gift or they bought it several months ago. But, even if it was a recent purchase, I will go look for something similar they are usually all out, and of course you know they won't be getting any more.

I think I'm going back tomorrow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Tatting

I've been tatting alot lately. Mostly self-taught by following Barbara Foster's book. It's been fun and I've learned alot, but I'm sure there is much more that I don't know. For now, I'm happy tatting simple bookmarks and motifs. Here is a picture of what I've done so far.

I'm also excited about a new shop that's opened up in our shopping mall. It's called Folkheart. We don't have anything like it near us and I'm thrilled that it's opened up. I have to go in there at least once a week, if not more. I even had a thought that I might be able to pick up some extra hours by working a few hours on the weekend. I know I would enjoy it very much. I'm just not sure that I want to give up any days on the weekend right now, even though we could certainly use the extra money. I'll have to think about it. Of course, this is assuming that they need extra help, which more than likely they probably don't. But, if I have to work someplace this would be the type of place I would enjoy.

Here are just a few pictures of the inside of the store.