Monday, September 28, 2015

Mandala Monday - "Nailed It"

It's been a little over a year now I have been 'investing' in my nails.  All my life I have wanted nice nails, mainly because I was a nail biter.  I never was one who bit back into the quick, but I always bit them.  When I was young, my mom tried the pepper stuff you could paint on nails to stop from biting them.  Didn't work.                                 

I tried all kinds of things.  Cuticle oils, nail strengtheners, polish.  Nothing work.  Part of the problem (in my opinion) is that my nails have the constancy of paper.  They are thin and brittle and I could get them out a tiny bit and they would break like glass.  

So last August I started with the acrylic nails and gel polish.  Every 3-4 weeks I go in and for an hour someone fusses over my nails.  Then for the rest of the month, I can type, handle books, dig in the garden, drum my fingers on the desk and not a chip or broken nail to be had!  And I get compliments on my nails/hands.

Ok, so it's a vanity thing.  But I figure I haven't really given a hoot in 58 years, so why not.  Better late than never.

Anyway, I came across the above picture (which I altered a bit) which was an advertisement for bracelets a little over a year ago and had it pinned to my bulletin board.  I wrote "my nails" on it and hung it there.  With the move, I came across it again.  I realized I had been living what I had envisioned.  Much like the kayak.  I had said all along, "my kayak" and there it is (still minus a paddle, I confess, but soon).  There is a lot to be said for vision boards and visualization.  I need to do more of it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week in Review - September 20 - 26

  • Finished the dress for Big Read
  • Finished 4 eye masks out of flannel
  • 3 pair of pj pants cut out for Texter
  • 10 eye patches crocheted for Big Read kids to have
  • 2 aprons cut out for Big Read
  • Tracked down a parcel which was delivered to wrong address and set up to have resent
  • 2 long trips to the 'play ground gran-ma'

  • Finished two more bonnets for Big Read, except for a tiny bit of handwork
  • Created a semi-capsule wardrobe (more later)
  • Attended an art opening 
  • Finished painting bathroom
  • Scheduled donation for blood drive in October

  • Walked 70,117 steps this past week.  Only 35,000 steps needed to hit my goal of 300,000 for September.
  • Read 1 book and abandoned another
  • Completed morning pages 5 out of 7 days
  • 6 posts published
  • Joined the Swapoween with Chaotic Goddess
For the coming week - 
  • Writing meet up on Sunday
  • Getting cable installed
  • Big Read starts!
  • Review September goals and plan out October's goals
  • New tires on car
  • First mortgage payment being made by Savvy/CJ
  • 1930's Farmer's Wife QAL starts
  • Get last of the 300,000 steps for September completed
  • Crochet more eye patches and finish up the 2 aprons
Lots going on the next couple of months with Big Read and then NaNoWriMo in November.  Lots of things planned for both activities.  And trying to get outside and walk/play while the weather is still nice.  I'm loving it!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

1 + 1 = 1 Gallery / Visual Poetry Opening

I had mentioned in an earlier post my desire to find out the name of the artist which Savvy and I had seen in November and whose work she really loved.  Lo and behold, last night we went to the opening of her current show.  Andrea Cross Guns (the artist) and Trudy Skari were showing and it fit nicely into a stroll down the street after work.  Savvy joined me for the opening.

photo by 1 + 1 = 1 Gallery

While the artwork displayed Andrea's bold use of colors and shapes, they were different from the ones we saw in November.  These pieces were a bit smaller, but all the pieces had some sort of collage element.  Included in this show's artwork is a small scroll with a poem and a fortune at the end of the poem.  The poem and fortune are also written by the talented Andrea.  As you can see, Savvy is intent on looking at each pictures.  I loved this piece because of the 'fungus' elements.  Very organic and reminded me of walking in the woods and seeing similar fungus on trees.

This was one of my favorites of Andrea Cross Guns.  And I believe this is the only one that had an actual figure in it.  The rest of her work is all very abstract.  I really like her work, which is odd, because I am definitely not drawn to abstracts normally.  I went to a Picasso exhibit one time in Raleigh and it left me completely cold.  Andrea's work is so bright and energizing, I really love it and am glad Savvy wants some of her work on our walls.

The other artist, Trudy Skari, displayed her sculptures.  This is a set of three raven heads.  I know my friend Marie would be sticking these in her bag to take home.  I particularly loved the fact she had all the odds and ends crows and ravens will pick up.

This is probably my favorite of Andrea's in the show.  I love the feeling of 'time' and time travel.

It took me a second to realize the body and head were separate.  Savvy was particularly appreciative of  it as Trudy had gotten the obi correct.  This piece was a bit different from a lot of her work in that it was more delicate in appearance and more detailed with the glazes.

But you can see how bright and full of energy the pieces are.  Frankly, any of them can hang on our walls.  The problem is deciding which one will be the first one.

Not the best angle for this picture, but this is Savvy's favorite.  It reminds me of a cityscape.

And oddly enough, this piece I fell in love with.  I had gone to the show strictly to see if there was anything which spoke to Savvy for a possible Christmas/birthday present.  And this little guy took my heart.  Maybe it is the title of the piece, "Immersed in Determining the Necessity of Leaving Some Things Unsaid".  If he is still available, I might be using some of my extra money from the Big Read volunteering to bring him home with me.  I think he and I need to talk some.

Besides feeling very cosmopolitan, after all I went to a 'gallery opening', the artwork was fantastic.  The owner/artist of the gallery, Maureen, is a sweetheart.  I have stopped on my lunch walk a couple of times and talked to her.  My problem with stopping in is I tend to stay longer than my lunch break! But I think a couple of pieces will be coming home with me/us in the next few weeks if I'm lucky.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Flannel, Flannel Everywhere

With cooler temperatures having arrived and a sale at Joann Fabrics, I decided to make everyone a quick and easy pj pants.  On those days when we aren't rushing around to work and school, we all like to get comfy and I thought some flannel pants would be great.  Big, baggy, soft and warm.

I had assistance picking out the fabric for everyone.  She liked the fabric so much I had to reclaim from her in order to cut out the pants.  Luckily, there is enough left over from each to make her a 'wild' pair of pants this week so she can be comfy and warm too.

Wrapping up in the length of fabric seemed like the thing to do last Saturday morning.  Guess my idea of warm, soft and comfy was spot on, pants or not.

Texter was excited about her pair of pants and couldn't wait to get into them.  Now the question will be how to get her out of them to wash them!  I had enough fabric I made eye masks out of each fabric.  Lady K refers to the as 'eyes'.  Savvy and Texter's bedrooms are light and they were both excited to have an eye mask to wear to cut out the light, especially for afternoon naps.

While in the flannel mode, I bought this plaid to make into a 1890's dress for the Big Read at the library in October.  I haven't used flannel 'shirting' before, but it is so soft.  A little thin, but with the apron I have planned to wear over it, it will be fine.  I have a pair of lace-up shoes which look old fashioned I will wear with it (maybe-depends on my bunion!)  My plan after the Big Read for this is to keep it as a night gown!  The style of the dress is big and loose and it will make a great 'granny gown'.

Once the dress and a couple of aprons made, it's time to start on the mock-ups for the cosplay outfits Savvy and Texter want for next year.  And I have the Farmer's Wife 1930 QAL starting next week.  Luckily, that will be stretched out over the next year.  Lots of plans for time at the sewing machine!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo Is Coming!

Yes, that pretty well sums up my feelings about most things!  

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and I'm getting excited.  I have my t-shirt as a 2nd year Municipal Liaison.  It's neon yellow and I plan on using it as a 'safety shirt' when I walk.  You won't be able to miss me in the dark.  In fact, I might have to hand out sunglasses when I wear this to the write-ins in November.

I have write-ins on the calendar at the library already and a pre-Nano prep meeting in October scheduled.  I wrangled a fellow writer into doing a story grid workshop for the October prep meeting.

I love the poster for this year.  I have to get some more items for little goody bags for the meetings to encourage people to attend and write.  Or just write.  Texter has an English teacher this semester who also does the creative writing classes at college.  I have to get a poster and stickers, along with dates and times, so she can tell her writing kids to attend.

November is coming!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mandala Monday

A view of the white chocolate curls on top of my Lemon/White Chocolate birthday cake from Park Avenue Bakery.

This is the whole cake.  Well, rather most of the whole cake.  We were so excited to eat it, I forgot to take pictures before we cut into it.

It's tart.  Not near as sweet as you might think.  But definitely yummy!  The cakes are small if you compare them to something you might pick up at the grocery store or Walmart, but the flavor is WAY beyond anything you would get there.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week in Review - September 13 - 19

So last week I hear this 'crash' in my bedroom and look in.  My closet door was closed and two of the cats were chasing each other around.  I thought one of the cats had 'bounced' off the wall.  (Lynn and Freya torment poor Sherlock).  A couple of hours later I go to find a top to change into and this is what greets me.  My closet is long and narrow and luckily I really don't have all that many clothes.  But it had pulled out of the wall.  Part of the issue was some of the screws barely made it into the wall to begin with.

I had to remove all the clothes from the closet and start repair work.  I had some long wood screws from something else I used to fix this, along with with wood glue.  And I added a couple of screws to the whole job.  Hopefully, that will fix the issue.  Otherwise, I will probably strip everything out of the closet and just start from scratch with a whole closet makeover.  With this job and putting up a set of shelves by my desk, my wrist has not been happy with me this week.

Lady K was helping out by telling me "Gran-ma, use hammer".  Sometimes a little encouragement goes a long way.
  • Finished up 4 bonnets for kids for the Big Read in October for the library
  • Baked a chocolate cake (not feeling well makes me want comfort food)
  • Sorted out the black/white/red fabrics and a second set of fabrics for the 1930's QAL starting in a week or so.  Trying to use as much as possible from my current stash (to justify buying more fabric!)
  • Up to Part 6 now on Sophie's Universe afghan
  • Taught Beginning Blogging class at library
  • Received books from Chaotic Goddess Books and Bloggers swap and a free book from Blogging for Books.  
  • Texter won a kayak!
  • Celebrated my birthday
  • Wrote 4 posts
  • Abandoned 1 book
  • Walked 72,959 steps, almost 3000 over my daily goal.  
    • As of the 19th, at 195,088 steps - well on my way to hitting 300,000 by the end of the month.  That's 89.41 miles.  So excited to say I will have walked over 100 miles by the end of the month!
  • Made 4 pair of pj for each of the adults in the family.  Cut out 4 eye masks to sew up for Texter and Savvy.
  • Did the "Fashion Night Walk" in downtown Helena.
But the 'biggie' this week has to be this...

One of our local banks was running a promotion this summer.  You open an account with them and you are entered into a drawing for the kayak.  They also had selected the library to receive $10 for every account opened for our teen graphics program.  When you opened an account you also received a downtown Helena gift card for $10.  Since it only took $20 to open an account, and the girls, CJ and I did not have local accounts, we all entered with savings and checking accounts.  I kept saying, from the minute it went on display at the library, "My Kayak".  To the point, the girls threatened me with death if I said it one more time.  Then Tuesday, Texter got a phone call and email from the back, winning the kayak!  Just in time for my birthday.

So now I just have to buy my paddle and life jacket (in October's budget).  I can't wait!  It is light enough for me to carry by myself.  I just need to learn how to get in and out 'gracefully'.  As in not falling in the water!  But there are a couple of friends here who are ready and willing to help me learn.  Good thing I have a carrying rack on the top of the car!

The coming week is more sewing and more walking while the weather stays nice.  There is also a gallery opening I will be going to as one of the artists is one Savvy really likes.  Hopefully, there will be something in my price range for Christmas for Savvy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


This was my first time participating in the Books & Bloggers swap and I loved it.  The premise of the swap is you are paired with another blogger.  You send three books and receive three books.  One book is a book on your partners wish list. Another is a book you loved and think they will like.  The third is a book you are interested in, haven't read, but think they might like too.

So there are my three books I received (in front of my stash from the library I need to read or return).

The first is a book on my wish list - The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki.

Part of the blurb on the inside jacket about the book is, "...with the little-known and tumultuous love story of "Sisi", the Austro-Hungarian empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph."  I have to admit I don't know much about the Habsburg court, so this should be a good read.

The second book is one that my swap partner, Diana, at Little Miss Drama Queen, had read and liked.   What is fun about Diana is that she is the same age as my youngest daughter and is a design major (like I pursued).  Her tastes in books flow right along with mine.

Actually, I think this got added to my wish list in the time it took for the swap to take place.  Set in India at the time of the British Empire taking over, it's the story of a warrior queen.  I can't wait!

Then, the final book, is one Diana is interested in and thought I would be too.  She could tell from my Amazon wish list I like how-to/self-help books also.

Creative Workshop by David Sherwin is right up my alley.  While it is geared toward people in the design world, it appears many of the concepts can be adapted to other things.  A quick glance at the inside on the day I got the book (they came in two shipments) had me considering 'timeboxing'.  According to the author, timeboxing is the use of short, structured sprints to achieve stated idea generation goals.  In other words, breaking that project down into doable parts and scheduling them.  I am thinking I will use the book and do one challenge a week to keep my design/creative skills flowing and not getting quite so rusty.

So my thoughts on the swap - BRING ON THE NEXT ONE!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mandala Monday

Some of the fabric selected for the 1930's Farmer's Wife QAL starting on the 28th of this month.  I can't wait to see what this will turn out to look like.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week in Review - September 6 - 12

  • Arranged the basement into piles and semi-organized it
  • Lunch on Monday at Mediterranean Grill
  • Cleaned up the front yard (a bit)

  • Made Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream 
  • Set September goals
  • 4 posts written
  • Illness got to me, only walked 68,024 steps this week, 2000 short of a perfect 10,000 a day.  But I was on vacation and for the month am at 122,129 steps, a bit over 10,000 a day.  With being back at work on Monday, my daily average should go back up. 
  • Won a book off Goodreads
  • NaNoWriMo poster for 2015 arrived.  One up on my door in my room for inspiration.
  • 3 books read and 1 abandoned this week

  • 1 bonnet complete and 3 more just need handwork on them.
  • Started watching Longmire on Netflix (darn you, Christine!) in order to get handwork done on projects.  Lou Diamond Philips sure has aged well.
  • Lady K has a viral infection, which I probably got a bit of this weekend.  Poor baby with her spikes in fever.
  • Received one of my 3 books from the Books and Bloggers swap.  Other 2 arriving Monday according to tracking
  • changed header on blog
So this week should be interesting...
  • Back to 'routine'
  • Have to repair closet where poles pulled out of the wall.  Not set in studs or with anchors.  So I have to empty closet and do some 'work' to get the pole ready for action again.  So I guess I will be 'pole dancing' this week.
  • Expecting 2 more books from swap partner and a shipment from NaNoWriMo
  • Should be getting book from Blogging for Books
  • Need to set up separate spot for books which I need to read and review.
  • Teaching a quickie class at the library on beginning blogging (if anyone signed up!)
  • My Birthday on Wednesday!
  • Pulling black and white fabric for the blocks from my stash for my 1930's quilt.  Using grey to set off the blocks I think.
  • Orchid Show next weekend to take in (maybe)
  • Finishing up the 3 bonnets for kids and getting for interfacing to make aprons and bonnets for adults
  • More Longmire while doing handwork

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Belated September Goals

While sipping my White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks (my reward for driving Savvy through Starbucks and dropping her off at work), I was reading my bloglovin' feed and came across Chair in the Shade's September Goals.  And I realized I had not set myself any goals for September.  Setting goals appeals to the Virgo in me.  I like crossing things off my list.  All of August was spent with the move and getting out of the old apartment by the end of the month.  So I stopped and thought about what I wanted to accomplish for September (and forward) now we are in a permanent location and semi-settled in.

  • Stuff to basement and/or sorted through and put up.  
    • We still have some items under the carport and on the front porch which need to be moved to the basement and at least put in 'piles' with the rest of the stuff for that person.
  • Painting - still have the main bathroom to finish up (so we can then empty boxes) and the kitchen to start on.
  • Sewing for the Big Read at the library in October
    • I want to sew 4 bonnets for kids, 4 for adults and several different aprons for the staff to dress up in during the month.
  • Start sewing on cosplay outfits
    • Take everyone's measurements, even mine (sob)
    • Make a muslin mockup of some of the pieces so they are fitted properly
  • Book reviews - have a couple of books coming I need to do reviews on
  • Letter to friend
  • Start QAL for 1930's quilt 
  • 300,000 steps in September - challenge with a friend
  • Read 1 book off my home shelves
  • Teach blogging class
  • Plan menus - so we'll eat better, shop better and I know what's going on
  • Write my morning pages
It looks like a lot, but some of it is really fast (sort of) and simple and a one-time deal.  Come October 1 I will see how I did and what my October goals are.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Mediterranean Grill

I have been in Helena for two years now and FINALLY visited the Mediterranean Grill.  This is a place I pass all the time as I am a frequent buyer at Park Avenue Bakery.  I just never ventured in.  Time and money just never seemed to aline.  However, yesterday CJ treated us all to lunch, even Lady K, despite the fact the concept of 'sit down and be still' has yet to be learned.  

Luckily, with it being a holiday, there weren't many people there and we got a corner in the other room so her antics wouldn't disturb too many people.  

Actually, CJ wasn't that miserable looking throughout lunch.  He is not, as Savvy puts it, an 'adventurous eater', so when he found out his one dish, the rigatoni was out, he was a little bummed out.  He and Lady K had pepperoni pizza for lunch.

Savvy and I started the meal with Spinakopita.  I had never had it before.  Phyllo dough is something that's hard to go wrong with.  Spinach and feta cheese - see, I can get my veggies in.

I opted for the lunch special which was grilled ahi with a blueberry aoli, tomatoes and cucumber on a cibotta bun.  The bun was also grilled on the inside. It came with a choice of soup.  I picked the chicken/rice/curry soup which I turned over to Savvy.  She likes curry, but it's not a flavor I really like.  The sandwich on the other hand was tasty.  I was a little afraid of the blueberry aoli, but it was very good.  Not too sweet. Even Savvy, who is not a fish person, liked it.  The fresh greens had a light dressing.  I love the little bamboo picks in the sandwiches.  What a great touch.  And the paper cup was for Lady K's water.  Everything else was nice glass and china and linen napkins.

Savvy and Texter both got the Gyro sandwiches.  These were made with beef rather than lamb and the serving size was something two people could share for lunch.

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of desert.  They set down the plate with a slice of Caramel Cheesecake and I was attacking it like I hadn't stuffed myself already.  We also shared a piece of Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake.

Despite the nippy weather, Texter, Lady K and I had walked down to the Mediterranean Grill, so I got to waddle home with a very full tummy and right to bed for an afternoon nap.  Actually, I waited until Lady K fell asleep and got up and finished up with some unpacking sitting in the living room floor.

Savvy and I decided the Mediterranean Grill was some place we would return with and sample other items on the menu and leave the others to Miller's Crossing for burgers and nachos.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Week in Review - August 30 - September 5

It's been that kind of a week - all mixed up.  Actually, I was entertained with a 'fashion' show by Lady K as she tried on and discarded outfits from a bin of her clothes.  She needed a little help with the shorts as she was trying to put both legs in one hole, but other than that, she handled it all pretty well. I have to keep reminding myself she's just an average 2.5 year old and not a genius for figuring out clothes.

Steps - That's the BIG news this week.  Christine and I have been pulling one foot in front of the other rather well and have given ourselves this challenge - 300,000 Steps in September

That is suppose to be 10,000 steps a day. But as I have found out as I have been hit with a cold (or something), extra steps on prior days makes it easy to keep my average up and not HAVE to make 10,000 steps when I feel like dog poop and it's rainy and chilly outside.

So for the 5 days so far in September, I am at 54,105 steps, 4100 over goal!  And that's even with only making 5400 steps yesterday.  For the week, I walked 76,625 steps or 6600 steps over my goal of 10,000 steps a day.  

At the end of September, upon meeting our goal (and I am sure we will as we are both too stubborn not to), a pedicure is our reward.  Of course, the way my feet currently look, a farrier might have to be called in!

In other news - 
  • Finished up with the old apartment and turned in the keys.  Now to concentrate on arranging and putting up things in the new house.
  • Purchased 20 yards of muslin for mockups of costumes for the girls and aprons and bonnets for the Big Read at the library.
  • 5 posts 
  • Mailed off my Books and Bloggers swap package
  • Made copies of the blocks and paper piecing patterns for the 1930's Farmer's Wife QAL starting on the 28th.  I made 2 copies of the paper piecing as I plan on a black/white/red quilt and a scrap quilt (I think at this point.)
  • Ordered my NaNoWriMo 'stuff' for November and made room arrangements for write-ins at the library.
  • Slowly getting in the groove with Texter being the student and her study needs.
  • New appliances arrived and installed.
  • Updated my calendar with activities during the Big Read to help out at the library.
The coming week I am on vacation! I made it through the move without time off.  Ok, I traded a day, but will be repaying that next Saturday.  This week I plan on -
  • Outline for blogging class at the library the following week.  Means I need to tweak my own blog a bit.
  • Finish up a book about an animal for the Nonfiction Book Group.
  • Texter to the dentist on Friday
  • Some sewing and crocheting and just relaxing.  Mainly finding all my sewing/fibers/craft stuff and at least have in one area, all together
  • Putting more stuff up and away in the house
Well, another fashion show is underway, so I need to refresh my coffee and pay attention.