Thursday, June 30, 2016

When You're Down and Troubled....

you go shopping.  Yes, I have a tendency to shop when I am feeling down so couple that with a brand new hobby and bam! this is what happens.

I already had a couple of boxes full of punches and stickers and rubber stamps but this is the new acquisition. As you can see I haven't even opened them all up yet -- just waiting for the proper inspiration.  All of the punches are of a very basic variety so I suspect I will use them often.

I bought a Cuttlebug.  I am not convinced I need this nor am I convinced it was the proper purchase but it did fit into the budget although I could have gotten it cheaper online.  However, since I am still on the fence about it a return will be easier if purchased locally.  As you can see -- I haven't even taken it out of the box but Hobby Lobby has a 90 day return policy if I opt out.

So, that is what has been helping me straddle  this lumpy hump I have been trying to get over.  Today I might have to go pick up some other inks and things.  I have been watching youtube videos about distressing and texturing and all that sort of thing and I "need" some more stuff.  Actually, I am pretty sure I don't really need more stuff but  I could still use a bit of cheering up. Hee hee!

I don't even need to mention how all the paper is affecting me.  Paper --- fabric --- all the same sort of delightfulness.  I feel the same way when I look at the paper as I do when I look at fabric.  There is just something about it.  Honestly, though, paper is what I lack.  Back in my scrapbooking days I had lots and lots of paper but I passed it on to my daughter when I discovered I had no intention of scrapbooking.  There was tons of it to buy loose by the page.  Now, while you can still buy the loose pages, it seems that the majority of it is available in coordinated tablets which is brilliant.  I will have to check into some of those as this obsession hobby progresses.  I did notice a rather large display of Christmas card making supplies at HL the other day -- I became immediately confused and walked away.  I have some idea for Christmas cards, though, borrowed, not original, unfortunately. I am not that clever.

So, anyway, that is my "stash" -- partial, I am sure.  I now see my husbands joy in gearing up for a project -- if the project never happens the gearing up part is a good part of the fun!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Week So Far

This week has been full of anxiety for me for a lot of reasons.  I had a multitude of things to do:  sew patches on a Girl Scout vest, finish a quilt or two, make a couple of little dresses, make bread, finish a dreadful book....but I just couldn't settle myself down enough to focus on any of that.

So, I did this instead....

Version #2 -- much improved -- I made it dimensional but you really can't see that

Version #1 -- all kinds of crooked

Version #1 -- everything is "off" but I will use it anyway

This one will be used today for "somebody's" 6th birthday!
 I spent this morning organizing the multitudes of new equipment -- so much stuff, so little room.

Who knew that cutting paper could be so therapeutic?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dreams -- Bad or Otherwise

My father loved to dream.  He always said his dreams were vivid and exciting and gave him great ideas -- the artistic mind, I suppose.  I wasn't so fond of my dreams.  I had a tendency toward one particular recurrent dream that I found frightening as a child.  My parents and I -- and the cat -- were standing at the curb watching the house burn down.  I had that dream regularly until I was 19 when the house did burn down.  I never had the dream again.

It has been years since I have had anything remotely close to a recurrent dream until last night.  Sometime in the past I dreamed about my parents and in the dream I hadn't seen them in a long, long time so I went to their house to see them.  When I went into the house (which was my childhood home, the one that burned down) my dad was sitting at the dining room table shirtless (which was his norm) and my mother was a bit disheveled and ill -- she was crying.  They were in a big mess.  They had no food, the bills hadn't been paid, the house needed repair -- they hadn't done anything since my last visit which was long ago.  He said they were waiting for me to come and bring food but they didn't know when I would be there.  I was upset and trying to figure out how I could take care of them, I felt guilty and despairing.

I had the same dream last night. 

I took care of my parents through both of their illnesses and deaths and I thought I did a pretty good job considering I had a traveling husband and two school age children as well.  I did my best but was my best good enough?  Are they telling me I failed them somehow? 

It was disturbing and has left me very grumbly this morning.  I didn't sleep well and now I have this hanging in my subconscious.

I have had what I think are visitation dreams.  Now, I am sure that as a Christian I am not supposed to believe in such things but those dreams were different and fulfilled the definition of "visitation dream".  This was not that.  This was just plain disturbing and I am still shaking about it.

Then, when I just about got settled into a dreamless sleep the phone rang and woke me up. 

Now I am just in a bad mood.

Has anybody else had recurrent dreams?  Visitation dreams?  Opinions?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy First Date Anniversary!

Today is the 51st anniversary of our first date.  We went to a local theater to see a James Bond double feature.  We are celebrating by having homemade pizza and watching "Dr. No" which was one of the movies we saw that night.



Ok, I am an anomaly.  I have a strong artistic desire but absolutely no artistic talent.  So, what do I do?  I dabble in crafts sometimes.

I quilt and really enjoy combing color combinations of fabric.  My quilts will always look like a beginner quilter because I am more interested in the color and fabric than I am the block pattern or the quilting design.

I do cross stitch because that almost seems like painting to me.  Of course, I don't make up patterns of my own, I use other's creations but sometimes I change the colors around. 

I can't knit or crochet -- I just simply don't have the gene for that which makes me sad but I do have a set of those round knitting things that I am going to teach myself to use.  Someday. 

But, I have been intrigued by something else of late.  Cardmaking.  I have a friend who makes the loveliest cards and they are a joy to get.  I have to say she is quite the inspiration.

I have tried my hand at cardmaking before but it was basically a blank card with stickers and it was a LONG time ago.  Since then the internet is teeming with all sorts tutorials and ideas and such so I decided to give it a go.  Today.

And this is the fruit of my effort --

I did learn from my early attempt that you have to have lots of stuff to make cards.  Paper, ribbons, some way to stick it all down, blank cards, colored pencils, punches, embossing things, design elements -- the list goes on and on.  I have been making an attempt to acquire some of these necessary items and now that I have a few things I am going to have to make some cards to justify the purchases. 

So, anyway, what probably would have taken an experienced cardmeister fifteen minutes to make took me --- wait for it --- drumroll -- five hours.  Yes, five hours and a trip to Joann Fabrics for "design elements".  I broke a sweat.  I struggled but the card is made and ready to be mailed.  It is definitely masculine so it will probably go to the next male having a birthday.  Now I have to work on some girly stuff which will probably mean more "stuff" and "bling".  I wonder if I can sell these?

Long Time No Blog -- So Sorry

It has been a few days since my last blog post.  You are probably curious about what I have been doing.  No?  Cool.  The fact of the matter is I have been doing very little of any import.  It is hot here which makes trying to do anything outdoors pretty miserable and draining -- not that I do much outdoors anyway.  Getting into a hot car and navigating the ridiculous traffic isn't fun either so we have been pretty much staying at home.

I have done a craft project -- a tooth fairy box.  I decided to do this rather than a tooth fairy pillow.  The tooth was just about to come out so I put a rush on it.  The tooth still hasn't come out -- stubborn tooth.  Anyway, here is my creation such as it is.

 It is made from an altoid-type metal box and scraps of scrapbooking paper, felt and rick rack.  It was fun and quick to make and possesses just the right amount of tacky.

I have been making an effort to cook at home more.  I decided to make some potato soup from a very famous, down-home, cook's recipe and I just have to say it was dreadful.  I will be sticking to my own recipe, thank you which is pretty much potatoes cooked and mashed with some chicken broth and milk added.  Now THAT is potato soup.  Oh well, you live and learn.  The rest of the menu involved ham and cheese sandwiches.

The sandwich was ok, the soup not so much.  I also made bread in the bread maker and I just have to say I prefer the bread I make without the bread maker.  That is on taps for today, I think.

And, here are a couple of pics of Bean's kinder graduation -- I have to admit I shed tears through the whole thing.  They sang, and acted out, "If I Were a Butterfly" and I am proud to say she was the very best butterfly -- ever.

So sorry but the light was really bad in the church.  It is a lovely church but a photography nightmare. 

I rarely go to Walmart but we went the other day to get some stuff to make Hubs new tires shiny.  I happened across these

and I couldn't resist.  I purged the kitchen of all my old cup towels a while back and bought two new sets of four each in turquoise and white stripe but I thought these were lovely and the non-terry ones will look lovely in the bread basket at meals. 

So, that is what I have been up to.  Reading has come to a screeching halt because I am stuck on a book I just really want to finish but really don't want to read.  Ah, first world problems, what can I say.  I am working on some unfinished sewing projects that I would like to complete before the end of summer -- a couple of them before the end of this week, actually! Good luck to moi on that.

Anyway that brings you up to date on my incredibly dull summer thus far.  Hope yours is better. My next post will probably include mention of my new crafting obsession -- cardmaking.  I am intrigued yet terrified.  I am building an arsenal of tools and gadgets with which to create these cards.  More to come.  Maybe.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

It Is So Hot---

and getting hotter, it seems.  We are under heat advisories until 8 p.m. tonight (I think).  The mosquitoes are breeding like, well, mosquitoes and outside in Texas right now is pretty miserable.  So, I am playing inside.

I call it playing -- actually I am cleaning house.  If I look at it in the right frame of mind, I could call it playing.

Years ago I fell heir to my mother's Oreck vacuum cleaner.  She loved it.  It is a miserable piece of equipment, if you ask me.  It is noisy and you can't get under the furniture with it.  It did, however, come bundled with this little number --

my husband loves this little hand held vacuum but I never paid much attention to it. Well, now I am paying attention to it.  I discovered yesterday that it does a bang up job of dusting baseboards.  So, I put my extension cord on and am going to town.  Should I give him credit?  Nah! Yeah, I should.

Monday was quite the frustrating day in regards to laundry.  I like to do laundry every day so I don't have lots of stuff pile up.  I learned that when we had a power outage a few years ago.  So, Monday I set off to do my wash in the washer and dryer we have had for about 14 years.  It is a Kenmore and had done exceedingly well.  We have only had one repair in all those years.  However, the old girls have been getting grumpy as of late.  Not full blow cantankerous but I could see it coming on.  Sunday I washed a load of whites -- not a large large, just some of hubs unmentionables.  I had to push the start button three times to get it to start -- not an unusual circumstance.  Then I put them in the dryer and dried them on medium-high for 45 minutes.  They were wet.  Repeat.  Forgot about them until Monday morning.  Went in to fold.  They were wet.

We went shopping.

Yesterday this was delivered to my house --

along with the companion dryer.  I should have taken my own photo.  Maybe I will later.

I am thrilled.  Yes, they are OLD SCHOOL -- Speed Queen -- made in the USA.  Fabulous warranty.  All metal.  Do they look sophisticated?  No.  Do they play music for me?  Uh, no.  Are they tall? With drawers?  No, but my old ones were.  Am I ok with that?  Oh yes because it doesn't feel like my laundry room is being eaten by my appliances.

Most importantly -- do they work?


In fact, I am beginning to think that since they use a whole tub of water my clothes might be getting cleaner.  They feel cleaner and they look like they are rinsed better.  There is none of that musty smell that I used to have with the front loader.

Am I pleased with my purchase?


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The One Good Thing

about, uh, let's just say "maturing" is finally getting comfortable in your own skin.  This takes a while because you have to go through periods of competing with other teenagers, other young mothers, other co-workers -- you get my drift.  You have to be what the world wants you to be which might be a far cry from what you really are.

There comes a time when you don't have to do that anymore.  I have reached that point.

I have been reading blogs about what a "60 something" should look like.  Hmm...well, I guess leggings with gladiator heels

 just aren't "me".  So, I go to the mall the other day -- the first time in I can't even tell you how long -- and looked around at my fellow mall shoppers trying to discern what was in their minds when they got dressed.  There must be a code I can't crack because I never figured it out.  I didn't see much of the fashion forward thought that I see on the blogs. 

My conclusion -- appeal to your own sensibilities and I headed off to Lands End.  I am comfortable there -- hanging close to their sale rack which is still too pricey but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Gladiator sandals?  Hmmm....heading off to SAS Shoes. 

My feet hurt, I have arthritis, I am 60 something -- does anybody care what I wear on my feet?  Doubtful.  I am pretty sure nobody is looking at me saying "what WAS she thinking".  Actually, I am pretty sure nobody is looking at me at all -- I have reached that invisible age.

 That is fine with me.

That means I can do what I want -- dress for comfort, read what I want, frequent the locally owned businesses, just make myself happy.

I am friends with a couple who have recently moved from Los Angeles to Asheville, North Carolina.  They are people who, how can I say it, are right up my alley.  I grew up in an arty, literary, unconventional sort of existence that made me feel different than all my contemporaries.  This couple is so like the people my parents were friends with.  In any event, they have this gorgeous home in Asheville and occasionally the Mrs. will post photos of her lovely abode.  It is like a veritable art gallery.  The things they live with have history, like a small table that was her bedside table as a child, and the art is magnificent.  I am sure that if I were to visit I would be quite rude in just looking at all their stuff.  They have good stuff. 

But the point is, they live with what they love and don't worry about making it look like a furniture store showroom with meaningless things.  I love that.

That is a perk of being older -- you have a history and your environment shows it. 

As I am aging I am noticing that my spending habits are changing.  While I would still like to binge shop once in a while, I am noticing that I am definitely going for quality over quantity and I tend to not throw things away quite as readily as I used to.  Yesterday I had an almost uncontrollable desire to toss everything in my bathrooms and go "redecorate".  However, I talked myself out of it and decided I would rather go to the new bookstore and buy a new book.

I realize that it is only June but my thoughts have been meandering toward Christmas.  We have two locally owned stores close by that I really like -- Toyworks

 and Monkey and Dog Books. 

I think my Christmas shopping for the kids will be centered around these two stores.  Again, quality over quantity.  The toy store is pricier than, say, ToysRUs but they have unique items and I think I could do ok there.  I don't buy for the children like I used to -- they all have enough to open their own toy stores -- so I like to look for things that are maybe a bit unusual.  The book store has such a lovely variety of books and the location is magical -- the corner of a catering business -- I know how it sounds but if it were around when I was a child I would have loved to have spent a rainy day in there.

Again, I have finally become comfortable doing what I want.

And part of what I want is to frequent local businesses.  Our new bookstore -- The Last Word -- has such great potential. 

It is lovely.  I am hoping it grows into a modern day Rosengren's of San Antonio fame. 

It was announced that they are going to become part art gallery as well.  Now, if somebody would just bring a coffee pot it would be wonderful. 

So, as I awoke this morning, giving thanks for being here another day, I thought about how my and Hubs life has evolved.  We are finally free spirits.  We can progress through the rest of our days as we please.  I can wear what I want and what makes me happy.  I can bob my hair and go without makeup if I want.  NOBODY CARES!!! And if I don't care then it is ok.  We don't have to keep up pretenses. 

Whew! What a wonderful day!

(Ok, I know this was a completely random post!)

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Me and PaPa

I was going through some photos on the computer and I ran across this one.  This is my grandfather, James W. Davis and me at my 3rd birthday party in 1953.  I remember this birthday party well and I remember that little basket handbag.  I also got a red duster just like a grown up lady.  I should get the other photos out so you could see my cousins and my lovely cake.  Can you believe it was February?  This nice day was the norm for South Texas winter.  Sigh -- three was great.

Black Rabbit Hall

 Beverly Miranda -Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet says this about Eve Chase's Black Rabbit Hall -- "A twisting gothic of family secrets, forbidden lust, and four extraordinary children who'll stick with you long after they've scattered off the page."

I purchased this novel on a whim -- no research or anything -- and I was expecting a bit of Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House) and V.C. Andrews (Flowers in the Attic).  My first impression wasn't wrong but it wasn't quite right, either.  While Black Rabbit Hall did possess some of the elements of Shirley Jackson it wasn't anywhere near as frightening.  I was a bit disappointed but not disappointed enough to stop reading, for sure.  It also possessed elements of V. C. Andrews works but not nearly as graphic.  I was fine with that -- it was graphic enough for me, thank you.  I guess I would have to say it was a kinder, gentler sort of gothic novel. 

It is the story of Lorna who is looking for a wedding venue.  She and her fiance Jon visit Pencraw Hall, also known as Black Rabbit Hall.  Lorna falls in love with the place, is inexplicably drawn to it and Jon is -- well -- not.

It is also the story of the Alton family -- Hugo, Nancy, Amber, Toby, Barney and Kitty.  They are happy and in the blink of an eye they aren't.  They are a family intact and suddenly they are a family torn completely apart.

There is love and lust, forbidden alliances, deaths, an evil stepmother, adversity and survival.

It is a good read, I would definitely recommend but it is a little wordier than I think necessary.  Other than that, though, I would say it is a keeper.