Garden Gnome and Give-away Winner

10/26/2009 05:09:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 7 Comments »
Today I went to Frankenmuth, Michigan with some lovely friends of mine.  One was a delightful woman I met today - she's a friend of one of the other ladies I went with and is a most interesting world traveler.  For those of you who've never heard of Frankenmuth, it's a small town that specializes in everything Bavarian and Christmas.  There is a world-famous gigantic store there called Bronner's that's open almost everyday of the year.  They close on Christmas day, and there may be 1 or 2 other days of the year, but for the most part, they're open every single day.  Busloads of tourists and shoppers arrive there daily from all over.  Frankenmuth is also famous for its chicken dinners (which we did not eat ... we were too busy shopping).
So, I went with 2 things in mind (other than having a really nice time, that is) which were:  1.  Find a Christmas stocking for CC (our toddler grandson), who will be here for Christmas this year from Nashville, and 2.  Find him a Gnome Christmas ornament to commemorate his Halloween costume.  Well, happily I was able to get both things!  I also found some cute ornaments for our sons and their wives.   I had a 15% off coupon which I thought entitled me to 15% off the price of one item, but I was wrong.  It was for 15% off my entire order!!!!  Yippee!!!
When we left Bronner's, we went to a discount shopping mall called Birch Run, where I found some stocking stuffers in a kitchen shop, dog cookies made in the dog cookie bakery, a hand blender (which I've been wanting for a long time to use when I make cream soups) and a new pair of shoes!
We ate at a restaurant called Uno - I guess it's a chain, but I'd never heard of it before.  The food was good (and I have enough left to take to work with me for lunch tomorrow), and the company was even better.   All in all, it was a splendid time!
Now, for the winner of the 2 books:  (Pretend you hear a drum roll, please)..... the winner is funkycrafter!!  I've emailed fc, and will send the books off asap when I have an address.  In the event I don't get a response, I'll move to the next person generated by the  on-line random number  thingy I used.  So, funkycrafter, email me asap!! 
Here's a picture of CC's gnome.  See ya later!

Autumn Reverie

10/25/2009 04:00:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 11 Comments »
Autumn is my very favorite season.  It's such a treat for all of my senses.  The muted, subtle color changes of some of the leaves, and the bright, gaudy colors of some of the others dazzle my eyes and make me want to draw and paint them.  The scent of apple cider, the smell of burning leaves, and the wonderful aromas of fall dishes like stew and hot, creamy soups, and fruit pies,  put me in the mood for cooking and baking.  The sound of dry leaves blowing when the cold, autumn winds come through, and the crunch the leaves make when you walk through them makes me smile and drag my feet as I walk.  I love the cozy feel of sweaters and quilts.  We've started having fires in the fireplace, and I love the ritual of laying the logs and kindling ahead of time so that when it gets dark (or sometimes even in the afternoon), all we have to do is light a match.  I find watching the flames mesmerizing and soothing.   Sometimes we eat dinner by the fire - I really love it when we do that.
I love the respite from the feeling that I should be doing some kind of work in the garden.  Never mind that I haven't done any fall clean-up and there's many dead plants that should come out.  It doesn't matter.  For some reason, it doesn't bother me like it does in the spring and summer when the gardens need attention.  Autumn is for hunkering down, reading books, drawing, baking, writing, and listening to music.  Autumn outside is for taking walks and snapping photos of the fast-fading beauty of the season.  So, lean back, have a nice cup of tea or maybe some hot cider, and enjoy the most beautiful season of the year!


10/23/2009 04:04:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 25 Comments »
To  celebrate the 3,000th visitor to my blog, I'm giving away 2 wonderful books.  One is called "Let's Play Cards" published by Leisure Arts.  It's all about how to turn playing cards into ATCs, greeting cards, journals and more.  It has lots of cool ideas as well as ephemera you can use for creating your art. 

The other book is called, "Fanciful Paper Projects" by Sandra Evertson.  It's filled with so many fun ideas and besides the instructions, it also has great ephemera you can use.  I think you'll love them!

Just leave a comment between now and Sunday, October 25th, and I will choose a winner using a random number selection process on Monday.  Be sure to include a way for me to reach you, either in your post or by emailing me.  The last time I did this the person who won lost out because I couldn't get in touch with her and she didn't contact me when I announced who the winner was until after I had moved on to someone else.  Please don't let that happen to you!!  Good Luck and thanks for making my blog so much fun!

First Try

10/22/2009 03:04:00 PM Edit This 15 Comments »
Today is sort of gray and it's supposed to start raining this afternoon.  So, I decided to try making a painting with acrylic paint.  I've used acrylics before in my mixed media art, but I've never attempted to do a painting.  I've shied away from it for a number of reasons .... it dries too fast (I don't have one of those special acrylic palettes that keeps your paints moist); I haven't mastered how much water to mix with the paint - it's either too thick and blobs, or it's too thin and is too transparent for what I'm looking for; it leaves hunks of paint on your palette that are hard to get off .... well, I'm sure there's more, but that should suffice.  I've always been a watercolorist when doing paintings, so I decided to experiment a bit.

I've had a number of small canvasses for quite awhile along with a few tubes of acrylic paint.  I have 6 small tubes of Golden acrylics (3/4 oz each), and 9 tubes of Liquitex Basics (which I've had for a very long time and forget now why I bought them).  I started with a reference photo taken in the 1970s during a trip my sister and I took one summer.  We camped our way from Michigan to the West Coast (I use the term "camp" loosely - we actually slept in her van every night except for a few times when we slept in a motel .... that's another story).  The photo had nothing but water in the foreground, and the painting ended up looking only remotely like the photo, but that's OK.

I kind of like the background, and I think the water is only so-so, but the foreground is rather disappointing.  I really don't like the tree at all, and the "grasses" are rather boring.  But, since I'm a work in progress, and so is my art, here it is, warts and all!


10/21/2009 04:31:00 PM Edit This 6 Comments »
Not far from our house is a beautiful trail called The Lakeland Trail.  It used to be a railroad track, but for many years now it's been a trail for non-motorized use.  Lots of horseback riders use it, bicyclists, and of course walkers.  For the second time this week, Abby and I took a hike along the trail.  This is a beautiful time here - the trees are changing colors, large flocks of birds are preparing  to migrate, the air is clear and crisp, and (possibly best of all!), there are no mosquitoes!  I've had a pedometer for quite some time, but I couldn't figure out how to use it.  My sweetie got it set up for me, so today I used it for the first time.
Since it was pretty cool, I wore a lightweight, zippered sweatshirt under a lightweight denim jacket.  Abby decided to go au natural, so all she wore was her collar and leash.  We passed 2 women (we also passed them Monday), and they had their 2 dogs with them who wore matching checkered jackets.  The dogs were very polite and kept their distance from Abby, who is not very friendly with other dogs, to put it mildly.  Next we encountered a woman walking her dog off-leash, but when she saw us coming, she promptly put his leash on him, commenting as we passed that her dog is not very friendly with other dogs.  Even so, both he and Abby behaved nicely and there was no barking or charging from either of them.  Lastly, we met John, a portly, old, gentleman whom we met for the first time on Monday.  He remembered Abby (but called her Angie .... she didn't care a bit and greeted him warmly), and while petting her, confessed that one of his feet was hurting him today.  "I've come down with a new condition",  he said with a twinkle in his eyes.  I told him I was sorry to hear that and hoped it wasn't serious.  He replied, "You've heard of AIDS?   Well, I've got WOBS!".   Even though I'm a nurse, I'd never heard of WOBS before.    "I've got Weary Old Bones Syndrome", he laughed.  I laughed with him.  He said he made that up himself, and I offered that he might be able to sell that one to Jay Leno!

I took a picture of the trail with my phone.  I was annoyed that I hadn't brought my camera, when at the very end of our walk I remembered my phone.  So, here is a picture of the trail at the place where Abby and I started.  I'm planning on taking some real pictures and using them as subjects for paintings and drawings.  Until next time ....

CC's Costume's Done!

10/12/2009 03:46:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 6 Comments »
Our company has left, and I've been able to continue working on his costume. Today I finished the shirt, belt, bag that hangs on the belt, and the beard. The beard has been quite the challenge. I looked everywhere for a beard I could use, but all of them were giant, and they were either red, black, or brown ... definitely the wrong size and color. The Halloween shop suggested I use the glue on kind (I think it's sort of gobs of fake beard glued onto his face, then removed with some sort of solvent .... No Way on CC's little face!!). So today I went to a fabric store and bought some fabric that's called something like curly fleece. It's white and is indeed curly. I cut a beard shape, sewed a casing on it and threaded a piece of elastic through it. Then I tacked it to the inside of the hat. I thought that way the elastic in the beard could help hold the hat on his head. I know the beard is way too long, but I'm going to leave it that way and let Sarah and Ben trim it to size.

I'm anxious about the costume fitting him. I did my best to fit it to the measurements Ben sent me, but still, without him here to try it on before I did the final stitching makes me feel a bit wobbly. I'll be so relieved when I get a picture of him wearing it. Now all I have to do is find a box big enough to hold it for mailing! I had one of the kid's old Teddy Bears model it for the photo, then laid it out on the floor so you can see the whole thing. Let me know what you think!

CC's Halloween Costume

10/04/2009 08:30:00 PM Posted In , , Edit This 6 Comments »
When my sons were little, Halloween was a really big deal at our house. I made all their costumes (until they were older and wanted to put their own costumes together). We had pirates, bumble bees, lions, aliens, wizards .... well, all sorts of things (one year one of them was a bag of candy!). So now I'm a grandmother, and my grandson is 18 months old, so I'm making his second costume. This year his parents decided he should be a garden gnome. I started making it yesterday and I decided that I would make the "fur" boots first. I thought they might be the most complicated part of the costume. Today I finished them. They were a bit tricky, but I think they turned out just fine. The big thing will be if they fit him. I'm in Michigan, and they live in Tennessee. Even though I have all his measurements, it's always better to be able to try things on before the final stitching is done.
I thought I'd just post some pictures as I go along just to keep up with things. Besides the boots, I will make pants, a shirt, belt, hat, and a little drawstring bag to hang on the belt. I think I should put some of those chocolate candies in the bag that look like gold coins ... what do you think? He will also need a beard, which I may or may not make. The beard has become the biggest challenge, but I'll figure something out. So, here are the boots!