Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year, Start of the New Year


The girls have come and gone.  And the house seems really quiet at times.  However, there is a lot going on under the surface.

First off, I am in a panic.  I can’t find my camera!  I know I had it recently and downloaded pictures.  But what has happened to it since then I don’t know.  And with classes starting in a few days I know I will need it for my drawing class to send in pictures of my work.  But hopefully, what I have planned over the next couple of days will allow me to find it.

Today is my bedroom.  Moving all the ‘extra’ stuff out, like craft supplies and junk.  Bringing in a larger bookcase for all my favorite books….Laurell K Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Anne Bishop to name a few.  My rocking chair will go in there also.  And setting up my altar again.  My bedroom will be a place of sleeping and meditating.

Then, onto the guest room.  It will house my crafts and work areas.  My how-to books will go in here.  The living room will be last, along with my desk area.

Hopefully, I can get this all done in the next day or two.  Then I will have two days before school starts again to pile on the couch and watch ‘stuff’ and knit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Twenty One Years Ago

This time 21 years ago I was a new mother.  I had never expected to have children.  But here I was, the first time I had ever spent Christmas away from my family, in the hospital, having given birth to my first daughter.

Luckily, despite me, she has grown up to be a fantastic person.  One of whom I am pleased to be around, even if she isn’t my daughter.


Savvy Pics (1) From a joyous child who loved, and still loves, to dress up and pretend.  DSC03860

To a young woman of many moods.




She is smart, talented, resourceful, witty….many things I don’t know how she came about having and being.


DSCN1954  And she has promised to take care of me during the coming Zombie Apocalypse.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Morning Update

So, still running a little slow after Christmas.  But I did have my ‘buns’ in gear for Christmas morning.

PC240003  My ‘buns’ were, to the left, orange non-cinnamon rolls.  And to the right, apple non-cinnamon rolls.  Texter is allergic to cinnamon.  Which is a pity because I like cinnamon.  But now that she is gone I can have cinnamon in the house!


PC240004  then my buns were done.  No bun pun intended.  Then the cream cheese icing for the buns.

PC240007  Of the two types, the apple were by far the favorite.  I do have to say, Pillsbury has the orange cinnamon rolls down.  There is nothing like popping that can of rolls, but the apple I made…..yummy.  I did put allspice in them, but with cinnamon they would be way good.  You use apple cider in the batter and then reduce cider down for the frosting.  Chopped apples in the roll also.   The recipe is from here.

Savvy felt this way about someone getting her roll….


Monday, December 26, 2011

Afghan in Progress

One of the things I wanted to do during my long vacation period was to do a ‘Lost’ Marathon.  Gibbs  (Texter’s boyfriend and a Marine, hence the Gibbs nickname) has all 6 seasons on DVD.  I had started the show when it was on TV, but got behind during the second season.  This was one show I had to be anal about and watched from start to finish or it just got too weird to follow.

Anyway, my plan is to relax, do a few things around the house, get a good start on next semester’s schooling and watch ‘Lost’.  And since I can’t just sit and watch TV, I am using up the rest of my scrap yarn and creating an afghan.

PC230009  The pattern I got out of a recent knitting magazine.  I am going to have to say I am really bad in that I copied down the basic instructions and forgot to list the magazine I got it from.  But if you have knitted washcloths in the past, this is the basic idea.  Start with 2 stitches, increase to 40 and then decrease to 2, changing colors at the 40 stitch marker.  Yes, there are a lot of long tails on these squares, but I am going to have to join them together and it seemed leaving long tails would make it easier.

Currently, I have 12 done.  PC230010  The fun is going to be once I have all these squares done, flipping and turning to see if I just want it really random or to make some sort of pattern.  I figured to make a decent size afghan I need 36 more squares.  Then in the middle of the night I had this idea of making half squares (ok, triangles) to go around the edge.

This square has the advantage of being a no brainer to knit.  So I can definitely pick up and put down at will and while knitting don’t have to remember any complicated pattern.  Also has the advantage of being able to use little bits and pieces.  Between my scarf (which I will take some pictures of today, I promise) and this afghan, but scrap bag will be down to nothing.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

Christmas Day dawned here cold (ok, in the mid-30’s) and foggy.  Since all the ‘children’, two and four legged, where still slumbering, I bundled up and went to the water to take some pictures of the sunrise and fog.

PC240008  This was the scene when I arrived.  Still a little gloomy.  But very quiet and peaceful.  I could hear the water running over the dam and the traffic in the distance.

PC240072 Then the sun started to make it’s appearance over the top of the trees and between the clouds and fog.

PC240075 A couple of ducks joined my morning meditation.

PC240079 The birch on the far bank looked ghostly in the fog.  Very surreal.  At times I was almost expecting to see an old canoe being paddled silently through the waters by a couple of Native Americans.  Or maybe that was just my wishful thinking.

PC240068 The air was so still the clouds and trees were perfectly reflected on the water. 

What a great way to celebrate the day. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Just Rollin’ Along

Did get up and take a break from my ‘Lost’ marathon in order to give this recipe a try.  As much as I love crusty bread, I also love soft, yeast rolls.   The kind you get in restaurants.  Texter also is a big roll love too.  I had come across a couple of Texas Roadhouse roll recipes, but finally decided to give this Honey Roll recipe a try.  Another thing that interested me was that it was also for the bread machine.  I don’t have the knack for kneading down yet.

PC230014 Needless to say, rising was not an issue.  So much so, it remind me of a big belly.  And it smelled really great just rising.  So after punching down and letting it rest in the fridge since I had a few hours until dinner, this was the outcome.

PC230020  Ok, so I need to work on my uniformity with crafting rolls.  And unfortunately, I forgot, in the heat of the moment, so to speak, to take a picture of the final product.  But they were definitely of the texture I was looking for.  Needed to pull out of the oven just a minute or two earlier or cover the top of the rolls, because they did get a little over baked and crunchy.  But this is definitely a keeper.  And a recipe I can half easily.  Doing it again I would probably have some honey butter made up to butter the rolls with while eating.  I have a big jar of local honey I bought at the farmer’s market just begging to be used.

Honey Rolls for the Bread Machine

  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (I did use all purpose in my trial)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  • Put in bread machine in order given. When adding the yeast, make a hole in flour and put yeast in the hole.

  • Put on dough cycle.

  • On lightly floured surface, divide dough into 20 equal parts and shape into smooth balls.

  • Place balls in greased 9 X 13 pan.

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Cover with clean cloth/towel and let rise in warm place until double in size (20 to 30 minutes).

  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown.

  • Heat butter and honey in microwave and brush over rolls.

  • Remove immediately from pan.

  • Friday, December 23, 2011

    First Project

    While I am doing all my moving and switching around (and school work), I am participating in this swap.


    Postcard Swap Logo


    I figure it will be a fun way to start the new year.  And as I move stuff, I will definitely be able to pull mixed media out of bins and boxes.

    But I love postcards.  Need to get active again on Postcrossing.  It’s fun to get a beautiful card in the mail.  Beats bills in the mail.

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Winter Solstice

    December 22 is the Winter Solstice.  I took a few pictures of the moon when it was full a few days ago. 

    PC110066  I live near a branch of a river and there is an area which has been dammed to form a small lake.  It’s private and quiet.  So I waited in the cold and stillness to take some pictures.

    PC110046  I would like a tripod to be better able to take some ‘moon shots’.  I live in an area where the moon coming up through the trees is beautiful. 

    Of course, big difference in walking to the water in the freezing temps (at least that night) of December versus the summer is about the length of a snake in the dark.  This night I only had to worry about a beaver which scared the pee out of me as it whacked it’s tail on the water as I walked by.

    This night did teach me stillness and peace.  It felt good.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Being Still

    I would put my activity level, if asked, at higher than a slug and lower than a tree sloth.  I do have 2 two dogs to walk a few times a day, but overall, physical activity is not high on my list of things to do each day.  What I do find myself doing is a lot of computer work, reading, needlework, crafts – all of which find me sitting.

    Therefore, when I came across this site the other day, I was very surprised.

    Do Nothing for 2 Minutes

    So I clicked and sat…….


    for about 5 seconds.  Then I started squirming.  I had ‘stuff’ to do.

    At thirty seconds, I was about ready to come out of my skin.  I needed to change out the load of wash.  I needed to finish cleaning Texter’s old room.  There was some cooking to do.  I needed to do this and that. 

    I last a whole minute!  I couldn’t sit still for two minutes.


    As I am cleaning and moving stuff around the house during this vacation time, a space to sit and be still is going to be important.


    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Bookmarks and a Small, Small World

    I stumbled upon this blog, The Vintage Lemon .  Some of the most beautiful photography going on here.  Anyway, she was having a giveaway for 2 bookmarks.  And since I have a ton of books I read, I entered the contest.

    bookmarks  I entered the giveaway, saying if I won them I would give one to Savvy because she was my reading buddy and had recently moved 2300 miles away.  It would be a way to stay connected every time we used the bookmarks.  And I won!  This was the end of November and with all the holiday stuff going on I actually forgot I had won them.


    I worked for someone on Saturday and got home after dark and didn’t check the mail.  So, once again working for someone today (Sunday), I stopped by the mail boxes on my way out at 5am and pulled out this little padded envelope.  Glanced at the return address and it was for San Tan Valley.  Hhhhmmmmmm.  Why would Savvy be mailing me anything when she is going to be here in 10 days?  Besides the writing was way to neat to be hers.

    Got to work (and light) and looked at the package.  Didn’t recognize the name (short memory here) and opened up the package.  I pulled out this lovely gauze bag and two beautiful marks were inside.  (Unfortunately, I left them at work so I will take pictures tomorrow.)  But what intrigued me more was the address.  In all the United States, what are the odds of winning something, from a random blog, based in the same town as my daughter?

    Once I got home this afternoon, I google mapped the address.  THEY LIVE 1 MILE APART!  Ok, I am officially blown away by the odds of all of this.  But everyone needs to visit Marci’s blog.  Right now she has me looking for some cute skirts to wear floral tights with.  Might be getting out the sewing machine on vacation.


    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Empty Nester

    Well, Texter moved out last night with her boyfriend.  Of course, this is after advising me she didn’t like to do dishes and when I asked who would do the dishes then…”J will”…Ok, let’s see how long that will last.

    However, after viewing this….

    PC040003  I don’t think I am really an ‘empty nester’.  They require just as much attention and care.  And there are 3 cats, too. 

    But I am ssooooo looking forward to this.  No more freezer with cheap pizzas and bagel bites in there.  I can really watch what I eat.  In fact, when I go into work today there will be a box of grapefruit and oranges waiting for me to pick up.

    However, both girls will be coming home for Christmas.  Savvy for about 10 days and Texter for a couple of days.  So I won’t be by myself for long.



    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    More Homework


    Still working with charcoal and light and dark values.  It has been interesting to ‘erase’ charcoal to get the light values and add more to get the darker values.  I did get some vine charcoal for this exercise.  It looks like a small vine turned into charcoal, but it gives me more flexibility than the sticks I think.

    Here is the still life I set up.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Actually, I was pleased with the lighting on this picture itself.  Very dramatic and almost an Old Master’s look to it in my opinion.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This is my sketch.  Not quite as dramatic, but adequate I think.  It does look better in person than in this picture.


    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    I Have Decorated for Christmas

    Pulled out a bit of this and that and a bit of glue and silver spray paint and glitter and my Christmas decorations are finished.

    This is the tree I created out of branches from the yard, silver spray paint, glitter spray, and a few little plastic snowflakes and a small string of blue lights.

    PB260007  I will dig up a piece of blue fabric to drape the top of the dresser in the living room to cover the box the vase is sitting on.  I can’t have a ‘real’ tree with the dogs and cats, so this is my alternative.  You can’t really see the branches are silver and glittery in the dark.







    My favorite is the finished wreath I started a few weeks back.  I had to wait until foil wrapping paper came out.  This is my completed wreath.

    PB260009  While the original instructions had balls in the center, I expanded on the idea and included a small string of white lights and pulled the cord through the back.  I also lightly sprayed the cones with glitter spray.  I also combined a few balls with multi-colored bells in the colors of blue and silver.  I have to let the wreath set up overnight so the glue will hold when hung up on the wall.  But it is a large wreath.  The backing is two pieces of foam core taped together.  If I make more I will use smaller pages to make the wreath a little more manageable.  I am pleased with how it turned out.

    Ok, my Christmas is done now.  All except the cooking.  I promised Savvy we would bake when she comes for Christmas.



    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Thanksgiving Goodies

    I did the regular, traditional foods for Thanksgiving and added a couple of new dessert recipes.

    The first is a Paula Dean recipe, Pecan S’more Bars….yep, a zillion calories later….



    But my favorite, and the simplest, was the Apple Slab from Pillsbury.  I made half a recipe and did it in a round cake pan.  I lined the pan with parchment paper and slid it out onto a plate.


    Which, by the way, is good for breakfast.

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    From Lady to Zombie

    This is the results of a homework assignment in one of my classes.  I used pictures of Savvy for my animated slide show.

    renfairezombie  I did enlarge it for this site.  I will probably pull it in a month when class is over.  And the quality, since I enlarged it for this site, is not great.  But it was fun.

    Sunday, November 06, 2011

    I Know, but….

    It seems like it has to be an all or nothing situation with regard to television programs.  You can go along for ages, flipping channels or just plain ignoring what’s on and then WHAM!  Here is a crop of worth watching programs.  Normally,  I only really care about NCIS (love my Gibbs) and Big Bang Theory.  Now, unfortunately, I have to add three new shows to my list.  The thing is they could all be group in the same genre, which is really surprising.

    The first is ONCE UPON A TIME.  A story within a story retelling of Snow White and all the other fairy tales we have grown up with.  The Evil Queen (who has a fantastic black outfit) has cursed Snow White and the Prince and now they are in modern day, not knowing who they are.  And a little boy knows what is going on and is trying to get Emma Swan, who is the daughter of Snow White and the Prince, to help save the day.  Problem is Emma is the little boy’s biological mother who gave him up at birth and then there is Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin, played by Robert Carlyle, who I have to say is hot.  Ok, I like Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister too!

    rumpel   Really good story line, all twisted up on itself like it is.  But how come the bad guys know what the situation is and the good guys never do?

    And following the story tale there is GRIMM.  Now this storyline is a little less convoluted.  The main character, Nick, is the last Grimm and can see things no one else can see it seems.  He is a police detective and crimes are not what they seem to be.  Unfortunately, the only person who can really tell him about his heritage, can’t, so he has to learn it on his own.  Two shows down and it is interesting.

    The third, talk about convoluted and odd…..AMERICAN HORROR STORY.  Don’t try to multitask during this show or you will be lost.  Creepy house which had bad things go on in in it the past.  People who other people see as being different ages, ghosts,….well, let’s just say it’s weird.  And good.

    So, fortunately, I can watch the shows when I want to, but…..yep….3 less hours of sleep!


    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    School Work

    This is one type of homework I have been doing recently.

    pencil contour drawing of hand  A drawing of my hand for my sketchbook assignment.  And this is my major assignment for the week….in charcoal.

    3 scarves for lesson 10  This is a drawing of this……

    three scarves for lesson 11  Not the whole thing, just a portion of it are we suppose to focus on.  I like my plaid scarf portion.

    And this is some Photoshop work I did with some images for an assignment last week.

    fairly-frightening  I really need to have the horse blend in a little better, or remove entirely, but we needed to use 3 pictures.  I am also working on logos for Savvy Clay and my ‘web design’ portfolio.  Those coming this afternoon.

    So this is where my time is spent these days.

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Bragging Rights

    I have to brag a little……

    No, I have to brag a lot.

    savvy clay cake  Savvy has created “Savvy Clay” and is producing tiny, polymer clay items, mainly food.

    white mug coffee  These are the earrings she did for me…which I have gotten a ton of compliments on.

    And a cheeseburger…….  hamburger

    So, while my active art production has slowed to a stand still for school, she is going full tilt.  Commissions are taken, so check out Savvy Clay on Facebook.

    Hopefully, part of my schoolwork will be creating an actual website for her.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Green Woman

    One of my favorite images is that of the Green Man.

    green man  This drawing, from Spirit and Flesh, typifies the idea of the Green Man.  A symbol of rebirth, sometimes called the Oak King, a favorite of mine for years.

    So, as we were leaving the fair, a Green Lady appeared out of the bushes surrounding the garden displays.

    PA210428  Isn’t she lovely.  The performer had was on stilts on her legs and arms.  She almost had a spider effect.  But she was completely covered in vines and leaves and grape clusters.


    She did have such a peaceful countenance.  So now I have a Green Lady to go with my Green Man.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Purple Garden

    This past week I went with Savvy and her boyfriend to the state fair.  I haven’t been in years.  But my final stop of the day is the garden area.  I love the mini-gardens they design and implement.  This year there was a beautiful purple garden.

    PA210354  And of this garden, my favorite part was the purple Buddha.


    The beads in the background are suppose to be a ‘water’ feature and the whole design really struck a chord with me.  But then I also liked the other water features in the garden.


    PA210374  I want water and a purple garden!