Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring! Spring! Spring!

Right around the middle of February, I start looking for signs of Spring. By then I am so tired of the cold, no sun, wearing too many clothes and a watery nose that I think Spring must be coming. Tra La, Tra La! Of course that is all in my head but sometimes the dogs and cats do get to hear my meanderings.
But in the last two weeks, the signs are here. They are definitely here! That is wonderful. I love Summer best of all and Spring is a very close second.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Only Time Will Tell

My dear, darling, beautiful kittens had a free-for-all, and in their fun, they knocked my sewing box off the shelf. My sewing box had been a gift from a friend and in that, it was special. I kept all my bits and pieces that I wanted to save in that box. My thimbles that I have collected, the small tools that my grandmother had given me, some very, very old thread that had no value, needles and iron on patches that I had used for my son's clothes. The box was broken. I tried to repair it. But the top would not be repaired.
The old box was clear plastic. That is what I liked about it. It was Lucite plastic and I could see very clearly what was in the box. But most of my important sewing is in the drawer in the sewing table. The thread, the bobbins, the needles and the scissors are all in there. In many ways, I have outgrown the box.
This new box won't break anytime soon.
Maybe the darlings were hearing a voice from the universe saying "Move on".

Friday, March 27, 2009

Beauty and Grace

It is still awe inspiring to look at my two wondrously beautiful kittens and think that they are going to stay. Such beauty! I have had many beautiful cats but never two at the same time with such symmetry. This matched pair are magical.

Penelope will pose for photos. Chester is the whirling dervish. The only time he is not moving is when he is sleeping.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What's on Your Wall Wednesday

This Painting hits me in many bright and also hidden places. First off the colors resounds in bright loud cymbals. It is so wonderful. Yellow and orange, how could anyone not respond. But looking further, diving into the painting and a anatomically fashioned heart comes through and it looks like it has been savaged. How is that? The eye is pulled further in and it is indeed a heart. The psyche pulls back a step or two. The overall painting is examined. Yes, the brightness and life are there but the darker side of life is also there. At that point, I fell deeper and deeper into the painting and realized that it had a part of my life in it. I was hooked. I look at it everyday and revel in the color and the deeper side of meaning.
"Broken but Still Beating"
Patrice O'Farrell Hinz, Acrylic on Canvas 24"x26". 2002.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Weekend Plans

My uncle was a designer of jewelry. He was attending art school while I was growing up. He gave me my first ring when I was nine. It was real!!! It was made of silver with a dot of gold on it. Of course, I lost it very soon after I received it. But I never forgot it or its design. Also, the fact that it was real set my course for life. I like "real" jewelry and the "real" has to be singular and not mass produced. That sounds so high hat, but the "real" and "unique" resonates deep within me.

So, since I am a simple soul, the "real" jewelry is a little beyond my means, I solved that by liking what I can make myself. I really enjoy my own jewelry.

I saw an ancient design in the Sundance catalog and it reminded me that I had made my sister this years before. I call it a "Bead Ring" but they called it a "Pinned Ring". Essentially it is a bead that has a wire going though it and the band comes up the side to hold the wire from the bead. It is ancient. I have seen replicas and original rings from Roman times and I am sure that it comes from before that time.

Well, I brought out what I need. The final adornments will come after I have made the ring. The stone is a form of Quartz and it is a Chinese carved bead. I don't know how old but it is not machine carved. My uncle gave it to me from his "stash". Maybe this weekend I will begin!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nature Trails or Strange Things Are Happening

I walk every morning with my dogs. I take each one separetly. This solves two problems. First , I get double the amount of walking time and second, it cuts down on the control of dog confrontations. Once, when I first had the two dogs, Simon and Frida, I walked both together. I did that exactly once. Down the block there was a male Blue Point Hunter. My male German Shepherd felt that he must protect his female, Frida, and me. It is very hard to control two German Shepherds who want to go another way. I held tight and inched my way back to a telephone pole and hung on. When everyone began to see things my way, we went back home.

Since Simon is the one that takes such good care of me, when we go on our walk I let him smell and scent anything he wants. Yesterday, he found a wonderful plastic bag. I could hardly tear him away from it. My curiosity became aroused. I looked closer and then closer still. Someone had chopped up a snake and put it in the bag. It was a BIG snake. I did not see the other 10-12 feet of it, only the first 12 inches. And oh boy, it was mighty.

From the markings, it looked like a Boa Constrictor and it was BIG!

What you see when you take yourself out into the world. WOW!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Time it Takes To Boil

I have been watching a pot. Hoping for it to boil. But as I heard from my mother as a child, "a watched pot will not boil". So, I put this aside and did other projects. As as luck would have it, it finally, in the early, early time of the morning, it boiled.
I think that I am about to proceed on this project.

Here is The Project:

I save all large scrapes of fabric left from other projects. I mean I have years old stuff. I went through the chest of drawers (I have two just for fabric) and looked for the wool stuff. I found lots. And it all turned out to be things that I had made for other people. Well, and good! The good vibes will enhance my project, I thought.
I made a template 4" x 4" and I cut and cut and cut. I wanted to have at least 200 pieces. But while I was cutting, I got bogged down. I like the concept of the using the wool but as I envisioned the completion of it, I began to hate it. So, I left it alone and let my inner self to deal with it.
Then a couple of nights ago, it once again came together. I have slightly altered the concepts. I gathered more information from some mavens and now I am anxious for Saturday to arrived so I will be free of my overactive conscience to begin.

Right now, we cue in the song "Come Saturday Morning" .

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I came to journaling late in life. I tried writing in a diary in high school. I had received a a diary at Christmas time. The first entry was really good, "I went to dance last night and had a terrific time. I danced most every dance". After that nothing happened to me that I felt significant enough to write about. Of course, even if I had a boy ask me out, my socially restrictive father would not have allowed it. Only if I got five A's on my report card and then only five times and not with the same boy. So, with that choice, I said "Screw you" and cut off my nose. Eventually my nose grew back.
In the years of taking care of my father in his illness, I really needed a shrink but had neither time nor money. I turned to journaling. It was a life saver. "I had to take a 1/2 a Valium to get through the day. He was a really asshole last night at dinner". It really helped a huge amount to journal my feelings.
I started out with binder paper and a binder. I hated using those lovely journal books that I was given. I have one in Irish green leather, one in Indian silk (the kind of silk with slubs in it) and one with family photos all over it. But to put my catalog of complaints in these book seems outrageous.
Along the way I came up with an aesthetic solution that eases my soul as well as my need for economy. I now use notebooks but I made a terrific cover that the current journal fits into. I used bookbinding material and covered the back with glue, placing card board slightly larger than the notebooks. folded everthing inside leaving room for insertion of the notebook. I tucked a ribbon marker in the top to hold my place and now it makes me happy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Love Stills Warms

My Mother loved her granddaughter lots, and lots. My Niece is creative just like her grandmother. They would see eye to eye on many things. For one thing, they both have red hair. A very charming trait.
My Mother sang professionally. When she sang, she wore beautiful costumes that looked like they came from the 1890's. She had two, one butter yellow and the other was royal purple. My talented Mother died in the early 1990's.
When my niece adopted an infant girl, I wanted to celebrate this addition to the family. My Mother would have been especially excited, as she loved little babies. I had the inspiration to make a baby blanket out of her yellow costume. Being that the costumes are over 50 years, it was a little tricky. The yellow fabric was tapestry silk. Absolutely wonderful. I spent all weekend, from morning till night on Saturday and morning till night on Sunday to make this. Of course, I poured all my love into this gift. I remember how exited I was to send this to my new grandniece.
Her mother calls it her baby's "Bonnie Bell Butler" blanket from the book Gone with the Wind.

I am very happy that it was so well received!

The Cookie and the Kitten

Last thursday night I went to the dog Club meeting. A lovely lady brought this wonderful cookie. They were so good I asked for the recipe. Then she offered me some to take home. I have been squirelling them away and eating one a day. They are that good!

But everytime I take one out of the refrigerator, no matter where he might be, Chester smells it. Then his panther imitation begins. I have hid it in my pocket, put it in the cracker box, repeatedly thrown him off the table and even locked him out of the room. I don't know what he finds so attractive about these cookies but he is a total pest.

P.S. I think I agree with him, they are that good.

Guilt Free Cookies by Barbara Karoff

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut up

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup dates, cut up

6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup canola or safflower oil

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small nonreactive saucepan combine apricots,raisins, dates, orange juice concentrate. Simmer 10 minutes and let cool.Combine oat, flour, salt, baking soda in large bowl. Add egg and oil and mix well.Stir in cooled fruit and seeds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten with spatula to 1/4 inch thickness.Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on rack and store in airtight container

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Clara and The Devils

Clara now has TWO blossoms. The blossoms are a beautiful, bright Garnet color. I brought the plant in to photograph - to vindicate my over enthusiastic kittens. And to show that I was to prompt in saying that they had killed the plant.

Yet, here I am photographing my darlings investigating this wonderful plant. They are saying hello to Clara. Clara, of course, is begging to go outside again with her friends.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Smile, She Said.....

Last Friday night, or early morning my subconscious self said " You will be cheerful today!".. This was said in a commanding voice and I don't take commands very well. But all day I tried to be cheerful. Sweeping out bad thoughts and putting a smile on my face. I finally thought, I must make something. But laziness said "Now, nothing to big, dearie".

I re-strung a necklace that I had made years ago that had stretched out. Now, I was much happier afterwards. The blue beads are cultured pearls from my Grandmother and the orange beads are antique Italian Coral.

I haven't taken it off and when I catch my reflection in the mirror, I smile.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Comission

A lady back east saw a Brown Corduroy bag that I had made. I made it as a "Knock Around" bag, but to glamour it up a bit, I trimmed it in Amber and Gold beads. The lady liked it but really wanted Red Corduroy. Not red but Lipstick Red. That took some doing. You would think that any store would have the basic colors of Corduroy but no. I scoured the web. Even ordered some fabric. And the time from the order to the time of beginning was growing longer. Finally, I decided that I had to get in the car and "crawl" the fabric stores. But I let my fingers do the walking first. I Finally found one store that said yes. I drove clear across town and in Los Angeles that is a long space of time and miles. They had 3/4's of a yard left. But it was the perfect color. I took it.
I emailed the lady and she was happy that progress had begun. Then 3-4 weeks later. I finished it. The bead work took so long, I thought my eyes would collapse on themselves. She loved the idea of common fabric and the beads. I used American Turquoise and Tourmaline beads on the front. The lady had lived in the Southwest and is also part American Indian. Now she lives in the East, near the Atlantic. That is why I put a piece of Ivory Scrimshaw on the back. The Silk lining is a bright purple with embroidered colored Polka Dots. She called to say that it was just what she wanted. I was thrilled

Monday, March 9, 2009

Clara Survives

When my kittens damaged my Amaryllis, I took it outside. Then I gave it a name, Clara. I personalized the plant, so that I could talk to the plant and encouraged it.
Dear Clara responded and began to thrive. The rains also encouraged her.

She Blooms!!!!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lump in the Rug

Hello, Right now, I have two kittens on my lap. They are getting to be giant kittens and it is hard to type without losing one or two. I feel very precarious because I must appease the Kitten God and still do what I want, also.

As you know, kittens are always into everything. Their curiosity is boundless. My house used to be as I left it. Roxanne, my darling that lived with me for twenty years, was not in to havoc making. But these two now are.

Last night I went out and forgot to leave a light on in the entrance way. Bad choice. I came in and practically landed on my bum stumblingon the carpet. The entry rug was balled up and lapped over. They had been at it again!

Chester, the Oriental Shorthair, has all the characteristics that we are familiar with in Siamese cats. But also, he is smart. He finds it extremely fun to roll himself up in the carpet and mew softly. Penelope comes running to find out what he is saying. And the fun begins.

This goes on all day. I straighten out the rug. Chester comes along and to play "Lump in the Rug".

P.S. This photo was extremely hard to take. Every time I tried, he would leave the rug to see what I was doing. The little devil!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Have I mentioned that I have Kittens?

I know that I sort of go on about the Kittens. Calling them Demon Kittens and saying that Chester was a bully. But two kittens is twice the trouble and also, twice the joy.

I came into the house a day or so ago and found all of the couch pillows on the floor. It is like having two toddlers in the house. Fun, fun, fun and trouble, trouble, trouble.

I get books from the library. I don't like to keep books that are not of a reference or history source. But I read all the time and I especially enjoy mysteries. so, I go to the library. I consider the Library the best bargain that the universe has given me.

So here I am, two Saturday night's ago sitting at the kitchen table. I am enjoying a glass of red wine and my book. Chester had just come home from the vet's on Thursday, after having his "procedure" done to him. He had an Elizabethan collar on to prevent licking and causing more harm. He is a curious cat and he thinks he has to know everything that is going on. He investigates what I eat, how I brush my teeth, tells me what he needs and generally bosses Penelope around.

Back to Saturday night. He has his collar on and I am at the table. Everything is quiet and I am peaceful. Bam! Chester jumps up to the table, the collar catches the wine goblet, down goes the glass and the wine pours all over my library book. I did not lose a second. I jumped up and grabbed the sponge. Put the red pages under the water. Nothing happened. Then I got the eve ready bottle of bleach. Put water with it and worked on the pages. Nothing, nothing nothing. I had a red library book on my hands.

At that point, I looked at the book. I noticed that I was the first user of this book. The cost was $24.95. Yikes!!! The cost of the glass of wine went up mega times.

After the book dried, I could see that nothing would help erase the color or the fragrance of wine. So, I went on Amazon to compare prices. It worked out to be $5.00 cheaper to buy from them. It got here in the nick of time. I took it in and the people were amused with my story and pleased not to have to go to the trouble of ordering a new book.

And I got to take the damaged book home, to pass along to another mystery reader.

Oh, the costs of the Demon Kittens is adding up!

Middle of the Night Perusings

I am not quite done with this purse but I want to share it. I need to put in a few more pockets. The way it was made did not allow me to install the pockets while the inards were separate from the exterior.

I get my ideas in the middle of the night. Right after I get back in bed and can't go to sleep right away. When I realize that sleep won't return,I then try to puzzle what is keeping me awake. Sometimes I can figure it out and sometimes it is just worry. When I can figure it out, it is an idea that has been boiling. Well, the idea that I had been working on with this purse is this:
1. I had this wonderful fabric - a remnant that I insisted on buying. It was to small to made anything from but the colors and flowers got under my skin.

2. I had bought red quilted fabric to make a jacket for my grandson but I didn't make it. I thought, "Oh, no, I can't give that to a little boy. It will get dirty and get thrown into the wash and everything will be pink". So, I had this red quilted fabric as extra.

3. Also I wanted to see if gros grain ribbon could be gathered and how it would feel.

I put all this in my brain and I came up with this idea. I would get the iron on fusing material. Fuse the great red floral to the quilted fabric, gather the gros grain and use as a trim. Sounds so easy in the middle of the night but in actual fact, it took quite a few weekends to do. Add on to that I am not done yet.

But I am very pleased with the outcome. Am I allowed to say that?
By the way, the feel of gathered gros grain is quite engaging.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's A Fairy Ring

My darling neice told me that the rings in nature are Fairy Rings. That fairies congregate around them. So, when I saw this cactus that I have had since it was a very little fellow, I said "A Fairy Ring, I must make a wish".

I made a wish, but I can't tell. Otherwise it won't come true.

Isn't it charming?

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Modem is Dead.....Long Live the Modem

Late last week my DSL modem bit the dust. Sad but true. Sad for me because in addition to not having access on line, I found out that I am almost addictied. But during the interval on not being able to go on line was I put to good purpose.

I was able to make a Farmer's Market bag that I have been wanting to make but never had the time.

I do not like to waste anything. Late last year I went to the Farmer's Market and bought a bag of Oranges. I have always liked the net bag that they come in. I always think what a waste to just throw it away. So I saved it and said I would make a carry-all with it. Well, what with work and sewing and then posting, I never got around to it.

I think that the next time I buy a bag of Oranges, I will look to see who has the best graphics, because I will make it again. This one has already gone in the mail.